Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Science & Torah & Rabbi Carmy

I saw a funny comment on Hirhurim today. Dilbert wrote, regarding R Carmy’s rather vague article on Science & Torah:

Rabbi Carmy's editorial was disappointing to me on a number of fronts. I have long been an admirer of his, but this editorial was long on verbage, and short on substance. I don’t have it in front of me to quote specifically, but basically he wrote that he didn't agree with the ban, but understood and empathized with the rationale behind it. Even worse was his admission that he was not totally familiar with the specifics of the bans, not having read them all.

I would have hoped that the editor of the pre-eminent English language journal of Modern orthodox thought would have roused himself to a stirring defense of science co-existing with Torah. At the very least, defending the hashkafa that using science is a religiously valid view point. Or maybe even opining on the process by which the bans appeared. He did none of those. Instead, he basically said that one shouldn't think too hard about the difficulties that science poses, and that he understands, if not agrees with the motive to suppress these opinions. It was VERY disappointing.

Wow. Maybe R Carmy is smarter than I thought? No stirring defense of Science AND Torah? One shouldn’t think too hard about this stuff? Maybe R Carmy has been reading Not The Godol Hador!

It’s funny how my opinions have changed 180 degrees since last year. Originally I saw the Science & Torah reconciliation people as the guys with the answers. Now I realize that they have no clue. At best all they are really doing is trying to keep Orthodoxy open to the full range of Rishonim (which is not a bad thing in itself). Unfortunately all the Rishonim in the world aren’t going to help you with reconciling modern Science with Breishis, since the two stories are fundamentally different, and I don’t recall seeing any Rishonim say that Breishis 1-11 is mythology, or even that the Mabul was (gasp!) local. Dilbert, Y Aharon, Harry Maryles, Gil, Rabbi Slifkin and all the other ‘Science is okay!’ types are simply not facing reality. They want to have their cake and eat it, but it can’t happen. In fact, they seem to be as much about avoiding reality as the Chareidim are.

You guys want to accept modern science? Then it’s goodbye Orthodox Judaism, at least as currently defined. You have the cojones like R Louis Jacobs zt"l to go redefine Orthodoxy? No, I didn’t think so. So what do you expect? The Chareidim are unfortunately correct – modern Science IS incompatible with Orthodoxy, from any plausible viewpoint. Unless you want to tell me that Myth/Moshol is 100% A-OK? No, I didn’t think so. Oh wait, you have faith that the answers are out there, we just haven't found them yet.

Sure! Could be, could be.