New Science and Prophecy

“If the New Science brags that it has been liberated from Theology, it must know that by the same token, Theology has been freed of Science, which bound her in human chains. However, certainly a new name is required for the sublime subject, not a name coined by men, but a new name given by God.

Theology freed of the fetters of Science is Prophecy, the treasure of Israel, which will be revealed to us soon”

Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ื–โ€™ืœ, ‘Arpiley Tohar’, page 40.

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.

7 thoughts on “New Science and Prophecy”

  1. A very bizarre post. Non evidence based beliefs and delusions have never been fettered by evidence based and best fit models of the scientific method.

    Blessed are the believers of delusions/ the cheesemakers. They benefit enormously from their ignorance and intellectual deficits. They are even happy to pray to a fictitious genocidal, misogynist , slave approving dictatorial god who is just one very nasty piece of work , that no decent human being would seek any association with.


    1. You have a contradiction in terms in your second sentence. “Evidence based beliefs” do not exist.
      Scientific best fit models, are only that. They explain much but as we have seen recently, they need to re-process and re-model when new evidence materialises. The question of whether new evidence will materialise in time, is undecidable, as a matter of theoretical proof.

      Of course, you have your tongue in your cheek when you bless the delusional. That being said, one man’s delusion is another’s reality. There is also no scientific proof or even theory that suggests that ignorance is proportional to belief.

      There is no dictatorial God. There may be a dictatorial god. In terms of historical slavery, killing and the like, that same God provided the explicit license to apply his laws in reference to the reality of the society, albeit not in the unfettered approach of the reform, or the partially unfettered approach of the conservative lines of thought.

      There are, as you well know, many decent and super decent people who are not only men of faith; some are even men of science. (I use men in a non gender specific connotation here)
      Be well.


      1. I want to point out that I have been misquoted. I used the term “non evidence based beliefs. There is no such thing as an evidence based beliefs. Information that is evidence based moves on the continuum towards being a fact as the evidence is further substantiated.. A suprarational belief never becomes a fact, both practically and by definition. I suggest that any believer in the Messiah/Apocalypse pay careful attention to the following Youtube starring Peter Cook. It analyses such beliefs and is the best commentary I have found on the subject.

        I am at a loss as to how you determine the hierarchy of those religious leaders you have more time for and those you choose to despise. Are you as much aleprachaunist, aZoroastrian and aSita Deviist as I am? If so why? This will be harder for you to answer than me, because you are a believer. Once you are a ‘believer’ – you have opened a can of worms. I even see this in my professional work. A significant number of my religious patients believe in the whole gamut of non-evidenced based medical quackery.

        Sadly, | find most of the pitputim grossly self indulgent. I have universal respect for all humanity and their innate human rights, and abhor all caste systems, whether they be Indian, Islamic or Jewish. Caste systems are a blot on humanity. However I do not have universal respect for everyone’s ideas. Some people have a problem separating the two.
        The reason education deprivation is promulgated by many religious leaders is because education would improve the capacity of their followers to think.

        “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”.

        Carl Sagan

        Warm Regards,

        Peter Bassin


        1. But there is only such a thing as non evidence based beliefs. That was exactly my point! It is a contradiction in terms to talk about anything else. That being said, belief, or it’s higher manifestation in the future in the guise of prophecy, as explained by Rav Kook, has a completely valid place.

          The word “fact” is misused very often. Lots of science is actually portrayed as fact. It is fact, but limited to a specific domain of discourse. That domain of discourse may expand in time as new manifestations of our universe are realised, after which the so-called fact, is no longer. It is a fact, though, that you and I exist. That fact is confirmed by our visual (amongst other) evidence based confirmation. But so what?

          I haven’t had a chance to look at the youtube. Hopefully I will find some time in the future to do so.

          On your comment as to how to determine a hierarchy of religious leaders. Guess what. It’s my evidence based observation. I stress “my”. It’s what I see, what I feel. Not only am I entitled to such, I am meant to do that. I don’t resile for that or apologise. Nor do I have a problem arguing (or even changing my mind) if someone allows me to see or appreciate evidence I haven’t seen or appreciated.

          As a believer, I think I have closed a can of worms rather than opened it. I don’t have a problem with someone believing something else. Indeed, HaKadosh Baruch Hu clearly states that it’s more important that people are guided by his laws and have problems dealing with his existence, than the other way around.

          I appreciate that significant numbers of your religious patients are misled by medical quackery. My Posek clearly states that not only is that foolish, it is actually forbidden. The Gemora (and Rambam and more) was careful to provide the best medicine of its time. Anyone who follows that medical advice today, and doesn’t follow the evidence based science of their doctor, is not only a fool, but may be taking their lives into a forbidden risk area. It is not, however, limited to religious people. There are a myriad of people with all matter of views who also are misled by this stuff. At RMIT, where I work, there is Complementary Medicine. All and every piece of work that they do, must be tested using the same scientific/statistical standards that doctors use. Indeed, I read recently that nebach, people sometimes can even harm themselves when having something like “St John’s Wort” when they are being treated for cancer (even though, there may be no “hope” for them).

          I hope my pitputim are self-indulgent. Were they not, then they would not reflect the purpose of my blog. My blog isn’t here to promote a utopian socialist equality of all and every philosophy/approach in or outside of Judaism. It reflects, what is currently (self indulgently?) on my mind.

          I have respect for humanity and their basic human rights too ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t promote caste systems. If anything, I don’t “belong” to any group! I find it hard to be closeted. That’s just me.

          Religious educators sometimes deprive their students of other education, not because it may get them thinking, but also because it takes away from their thinking about Torah. I don’t agree with that approach myself. I do think that the basics of a western education need to be imparted to everyone. Those who have the type of child, for whom one deprives them of the opportunity to dabble in certain areas, may be doing more harm than good. The general rule is to teach according to the particular child’s needs. Indeed, with my own children, I have a different style of conversation with each of them. They have different vistas within which they think/work.

          Science certainly exists in my world, it doesn’t, however, challenge my belief system in any shape or form.

          Best wishes!


          1. Hi Isaac, I know you enjoy a little verbal jousting and are not personally offended by replies.

            Current research indicates that beliefs are determined largely by 1)accident of birth, 2) level of indoctrination, 3) cultural surroundings, 4) level of brain activity within the temporal lobes.

            From my memory you belong to the Priestly Caste! and have not actively sought to abolish this caste.


            Peter Bassin


            1. Hi Pinchus, you know I enjoy a joust, any time, especially when the person has a few neurones to their name.
              I do belong to the priestly caste, however, I see that only in terms of
              a) restrictions
              b) an ability to bless people through Hashem

              Indeed, I bless little Yaakov Meir almost every Friday evening, and I hope, that maybe someone finds me a fit and proper vessel to transmit something of use to him. In the worst case situation, he will remember me as a grandfather that wanted and did try to impart blessings on his little head!

              I have to say a) has been somewhat of a “privilege”. The restrictions have meant, until recently, that I could not get close to the reality of death. Like most of us, when one hears that clod of earth on a coffin, God forbid, it is a terrifying sound. I felt somewhat comforted that I could never get close to that reality. It was something I just hated, because it signalled the finality of a physical interaction with someone who I was close enough to feel that I should attend their funeral. All that came to a halt, when I stood over my father, ื”ื›โ€™โ€™ืž rather virginal and unprepared in all ways, but especially in respect of the proximity of a lifeless body. Here the Torah, according to most Rishonim commands me to get close, and commands me to “defile myself”. I am now welling up with tears, as a write, and have locked my office door in case a student or fellow staff member should knock and see me in this way. Hugging my dead father, when he left this world, left me with no feelings of privilege. At the same time, I was actually strangely accepting that the Halacha was that I should engage at close quarters with his body. I hope I never have to do it again, of course. So, yes, I am a Cohen, and yes, we have a particular role which requires us to attempt to maintain a certain level of spiritual purity, and avoid certain marriages. Do I feel superior to anyone? No way. But do I wear my badge of Kehuna with honour. Absolutely. Rav Soloveitchik encouraged all his Talmidim to write their names with “Levi” or “Cohen” so that the Mesora of a familial tradition was not lost. Rav Kook always wrote “HaCohen”. I am proud that I am a Cohen, but let me tell you, nothing prepared me for the “privilege” of shovelling the first clod of earth on my dear father’s coffin. I am sure it’s hard for a Yisrael or Levi, but I have seen many who do so (and it’s a Mitzvah) for those who aren’t their family. So, perhaps I was at a “disadvantage”. I don’t know. I don’t want to think about that episode, as it causes me great sadness.


  2. What is the difference between belief in a spiritual sense and a theory in a scientific sense?
    Neither has actual evidence for their basis.

    Scientific theories start out as a persons belief in a system and way of explaining the observed phenomena. Until the theory is ‘proven’ it is in the same class as a belief.

    By its very nature spiritual belief cannot be proven since its parameters are non-physical and therefore cannot be measured in this physical realm.
    However, for those individuals who possess genuine belief, not to be confused with superstition, it is a very powerful quality able to lift a motivate that individual to super-human feats.

    This is something not often recognised in the scientific and secular world.

    Nevertheless, being members of the human race endowed with a modicum of grey matter between our ears, it behoves us to utilise our intellectual faculties for the benefit of ourselves, our communities and the world.

    The ‘world’ of scientific debate is not mutually exclusive from the ‘world’ of belief, they can work and exist together, and from a Jewish philosophical perspective they should.


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