Tuesday, March 8, 2005

The Clever-Clever Theory

There is another theory as to the conflict of Science and Torah. It says that there is some really clever answer, but I, or we, or maybe humans in general, are just not clever enough to figure it out. I call this the Clever-Clever Theory.

Clearly, humans don't know everything. Well, the Rebbetzin Hador does, but that’s a different topic of discussion. A few hundred years ago, or even more recently, many humans could not conceive of a theory of relativity. In fact most people still can't. Likewise in the religious sphere, we don't know everything. For example, the problem of evil, or understanding G-d, or G-ds omniscience vs free will, are all out of bounds of human intellectual ability, (at least according to our tradition).

Even in everday life, there are some things we just cannot figure out. Like why did I dream I was being chased by a deranged chimpanzee the other night ? Strange.

So, some people claim, given our inability to understand certain things, isn't it possible that there is some amazing answer to the conflict of Science vs Torah, we just either haven't found it yet, or maybe its beyond our ability ever to grasp ? Maybe an answer that only G-d could give ?

Well, maybe. However I don't think its likely. The Torah clearly implies that the universe is 6000 years old (taken literally). Science clearly implies the universe is 15 billion years old, give or take. 6000 vs 15 billion is a fairly easy concept to grasp. Although time is relative, in the context of the earth itself, it was either 6000 or 15 billion. It can't logically be both.

The Rambam says that the class of things which are logically impossible (e.g. 1+1=3, or G-d commiting suicide), are impossible for G-d too. Other Rishonim argue and criticize the Rambam for 'limiting' G-ds powers so to speak. They say its foolish to assert that there is something G-d can't do. I guess according to those Rishonim, it would be possible for G-d to have some answer as to how it could be both 6000 and also 15 billion. However I still don't think its likely.

But, just like Nes-Nisayon, this one is impossible to disprove.