October 31, 2005

Faith Versus Science

One of the fundamental arguments in life involves faith versus science. That is, we argue about the intangible using the tangible to prove the existence of the intangible. If this wanders you'll have to forgive me because "I am thinking out loud."

I find some of these arguments to be tedious because they begin and end with statements of "I know that this is true" and tend to be based upon the believers claim to be in touch with the real "truth" of the world.

A common example is found in "I know that G-d exists and if you do not it is only because you are intentionally not open to him/her/it."

Look, I believe in G-d because of faith. I believe that G-d makes sense because I exist, you exist, my children, this blog, animals, the universe etc exist and it makes sense to me that a higher power created it. But even with the empirical evidence of life that I cited, I don't expect that to be enough for proof based upon scientific testing.

This is my own thing, but I really don't have a problem with seeing the world as incorporating a blend of science and faith. That means that I don't take every word of the Torah as being literal. I am not a literalist. I see room for interpretation and I see how that interpretation can change based upon evidence developed by scientists.

It reminds me of an old joke that goes something like this. Congregants at a local synagogue have an ongoing debate about whether to rise or sit for a certain section of the liturgy.

One half claims that they have always stood and the other claims that they have always sat. The debate rages on until they can’t take it any longer and demand that the rabbi resolve it.

His solution is to go ask the oldest congregant 96 year-old Abe Goldberg what the tradition was to which Goldberg responds, "the tradition is that we fight over this every year."”

The point being that people like to think of themselves as living life a certain way and that their way is one, correct true way when often there are multiple ways to do things and when you try to make it a black and white world you often get hit with an awful lot of shades of grey.

Ok, now I am not sure if any of this made sense to anyone but me, but I get it which is good, because I wrote it.


Elder of Ziyon said...

You got the joke wrong!

Abe says "the tradition is that we fight over this every year."

bornfool said...

I get it, too.

Jack's Shack said...


Thank you. I couldn't remember. I am going to update it right now. You get credit for the catch.



bigkey said...

I have a problim with people and religon, some one should check out what Cane did after he was sent away from his famile God is suposed to have created the first Jews but where did all the Gentiles come from, Even after Noah The pesky Gentiles showed up to inslave the Jews. If people could stop being such idoits they would have time to figure it out that both camps could be right. Talk about a WIN WIN deal it is there for the reading if you look.

Ezzie said...

Good post. I guess you've been reading the Godol Hador...

Personally, I think every question can be answered. OTOH, I'm pretty sure that at this point in history, we cannot. We try to answer as much as possible; the rest, we accept that we can't yet answer, but we don't stop trying.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi bigkey,



Actually it is a collection of blogs that I was referring to. One of them can be found here

Ezzie said...

I was joking about GH, though he and others constantly talk about it. My father-in-law actually gives speeches on Science and Torah, and is in the process of trying to develop a college-level course on it.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi Ezzie,

I find those discussions to be interesting.

Ezzie said...

Jack - me too.

jg said...

Jack - I have a number of religion-related posts in draft in my head and your blog has given me much additional food for thought. Thank you.

Ezzie - I don't suppose your father-in-law is anywhere near NYC? I would take that course! The intersections of science and religion fascinate me also.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi JG,

I'd be interested in reading thos.

jg said...

I thought I'd get to write them last week while spending three days doing nothing in a jury assembly room, but ended up spending 5 days on a jury instead! Hopefully, I'll have time to move thoughts from head to hard drive soon. :)