Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Using Science in Support of Avodas HaShem

I have talked and written a lot about bad science.  I want to be absolutely clear that I have nothing at all against science as a method of investigation.  I don't even have a problem with people who use scientific data and models to support their own agenda.  The entire Sha'ar B'china of Chovos HaL'vavos is precisely that; using a critical scientific investigation of the world around us to become more aware and more inspired by the wisdom of the Creator.

For example, consider the circulatory system of the developing embryo.  In a baby living out here in the world, blood flows from the body to the right upper chamber of the heart, from right upper chamber to right lower chamber, from right lower chamber to lungs, from lungs to left upper chamber of heart, from left upper chamber to left lower chamber, from left lower chamber to the body; round and round she goes.  This is, of course, the circulation that will continue throughout the person's life from new born infant to goseis; cradle to grave, as it were.

In an embryo, however, things are different; very, very different.  First of all, while the heart begins functioning at approximately four weeks into gestation, the lungs are not ready till near term.  Secondly, nutrients and oxygen come from the placenta, which is outside the embryo's body.  The heart cannot pump blood into the not yet existent lungs, so there is a hole between the right an left upper chambers to shunt blood straight across.  The blood flow must travel out of the body to the placenta (via the umbilical cord), which means the circulation in the embryo is opposite to the flow it will have in the baby.  How much time does it take to switch from embryonic flow to crying baby?  One breath.  Not billions of years and countless happy accidents.  One breath.

That's inspiring!

What I do have a problem with -- a big problem that may sometimes sound like a chip on my shoulder kind of problem -- is people who misappropriate scientific data and models to support their own hidden agenda.

The reason I get on my high horse about this issue is that my grandfather (my mother's father), may he rest in peace, taught me a deep respect (verging on reverence) for intellectual honesty in general, and the scientific process in particular.  My grandfather was not religious, but was completely open minded to any true evidence.  He told me once that he was not an atheist, because atheists believe that G-d does not exist; since it is impossible to prove the non-existence of G-d, he rejected their dogma as illogical.  Moreover, he told me, he couldn't even call himself agnostic; agnostics don't know if G-d exists, but further claim that that the can't know.  He didn't know if he could know or not, so he again rejected their dogma as illogical.

I took that lesson to heart and spent years looking for the proof or disproof of the existence of G-d.  Had my grandfather had access to the same data that I have, I believe he would have reached the same conclusion.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…