Science only strengthens belief

The world is abuzz with the implications of supersymmetry and Physics. Scientists continually seek to model the observable so that they can predict the observed. The uneducated or challenged see Science and Physics as a big bad rodent that diminishes belief in God. It is to be avoided at all costs, and only Sifrei Kodesh are relevant to the Jew. If and when Science fails to predict or fails to model faithfully, then the triumphalists claim that this is proof that Hashem exists. I’ve never seen it this way. I’ve always viewed such proofs as dangerous because they raise the pedestal of man, by according man with an axiomatic ability to actually fathom such issues. Judaism teaches us that Man is limited. That is the axiom. Watching man struggle to understand Creation is not a cause célèbre.

Man has done a pretty good job to date. The world we live in has been advanced incredibly by the imperfect models put forward by Science. Religion has benefited, as has one’s ability to keep Torah and Mitzvos! Your roof didn’t fall on you last night, and the addition of a second to the time, only caused momentary chaos on the internet. Life goes on.

Those who were blessed with the type of mind that is suited to the Scientific pursuit, have been blessed by God himself. They should not abandon such a blessing anymore that R’ Chaim Brisker should have abandoned his delicious categorical modelling of Halachic concepts.

For the religious Jew, Science brings him or her closer to Hashem through a deeper understanding of His majesty and impenetrable divinity.

In January of 1936, a young girl named Phyllis wrote to Albert Einstein on behalf of her Sunday school class, and asked, “Do scientists pray?” Her letter, and Einstein’s reply, can be read below.  (Source: Dear Professor Einstein; via Letters of Note)

The Riverside Church
January 19, 1936

My Dear Dr. Einstein,
We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered. We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?
We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis’s class.
Respectfully yours, Phyllis

Einstein replied:

January 24, 1936
Dear Phyllis, I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer: Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.
However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science. But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
With cordial greetings,
yours A. Einstein

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: