Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous?

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  • #590444

    ames
    Participant

    My question. How do you plan on doing that in the wonderful NYC? All you’ll end up seeing is the skyscrapers.

    #660369

    mybat
    Member

    Well I once went to hear a speaker that was proving that science in no way contradicts the torah.

    #660370

    squeak
    Participant

    mepal, not at all true. There are a number of observatories in good ole Brookland. Some are impossible to gain access to, but all of them view the skies.

    Besides, you don’t have to be looking at the sky to study astronomy.

    #660371

    Dr. Pepper
    Member

    Here’s a moshul my Rebbe once gave (not regarding this but I think it can be applied here).

    If you really need to get somewhere and the streets are all full of ice do you stay home or buckle up and drive extra carefully?

    So, in my opinion, stay alert, buckle up and be very careful. If you feel that you can weed out the facts and apikorsus- good for you. If not- make sure you discuss anything questionable with a rov or someone you trust.

    #660372

    mazca
    Member

    well learning science makes u see the wonders of Hashem, and if people do not want to see, they wont if a person learns science and doesnt see the wonders, a person its not learning science, its just learning opinions

    Please use punctuation when you post.

    #660373

    anon for this
    Participant

    Dr. Pepper, that’s a nice moshul. It would definitely apply if the course under consideration is required so that one may finish a degree that will allow him to earn a parnosah. But in your moshul, only those who absolutely need to go somewhere should drive when the streets are icy; everyone else is advised to stay home. The course ames is considering is not a requirement but one that she feels with strengthen her emuna. That said, I do agree with your conclusion.

    #660374

    zalmy
    Member

    i suggest you look up the following rambam’s:

    – hilchos yesodei hatorah perek 2 halacha 2

    – hilchos yesodei hatorah perek 4 halacha 12

    – the last halacha in hilchos teshuva

    the rambam explains that the way that a person comes to both fear hashem and love hashem (which we are commanded to do) is through in-depth study of the hashem’s world and all its wonders (including, specifically, astronomy), which gives a person a greater appreciation for the infinite brilliance of hashem’s creations (leading to a greater love of hashem), as well as a better understanding of man’s insignificance in comparison to hashem (leading to greater fear of hashem).

    it would seem that ames’ study of astronomy is EXACTLY what the rambam is describing as being part of the mitzvos of ahavas hashem/yiras hashem. those who are attempting to dissuade ames’ (and others) from studying science have the rambam to contend with.

    #660375

    squeak
    Participant

    ames feel free to share with us any interesting stuff that you learn! That is, if you’re brave enough 🙂

    #660376

    Joseph
    Participant

    Since the Rema in Toras HaOlah (1:2) states clearly that we assume rabbinic science to be infallible, and ancient rabbinic knowledge of astronomy complete, a good place to start learning is from our own sources.

    #660377

    mepal
    Member

    ames: yes, yes! We’re all sitting here anxiously waiting for some words from the wise…

    #660378

    NY Mom
    Member

    I think it’s a good idea to balance your study of astronomy with a good strong hashkafa book. I know that R’ Avigdor Miller’s “Rejoice O Youth!” deals with topics of science and appreciating Hashem through nature. Are you familiar with it?

    #660379

    Joseph
    Participant

    ames:

    Here are some starting material.

    Medrash Tehillim (19) quotes Shmuel as saying he is an expert in the streets of Nehardea as much as he is an expert in the ‘streets’ of the heavens. The Medrash asks how Shmuel knew all of that, and it answers he knew it all through the Torah. It then quotes a R’ Hoshea as saying there is “space” between the upper waters and the firmament, and the Medrash asks how R, Hoshea could know this unless he traveled to space. It answers, he knew it from the Torah.

    Aruch Hashulchan (EH 13): “I will tell you a great principle: Chazal, besides their holiness and wisdom in the Torah, were also greater scholars in the natural sciences those savants (“mischakmim”) who would argue against their pure words. And someone who disagrees with them testifies about himself that he does not believe in Torah she bal peh, even though he would be embarrassed to admit it outright.”

    Chasam Sofer (Beshalach) writes that this is the meaning of the posuk “Ki hi chachmascha ubinascha l’einei ha’amim” – Chazal were great experts in the secular sciences and disciplines. In fact, you need to know much secular knowledge in many areas in order to properly understand the Torah – and he gives several simple examples. However, since we are supposed to be busy learning Torah – not secular science – all day and night, and Hashem has no “nachas ruach” from us learning secular studies at all, how would Chazal have known all the secualr wisdom that they clearly knew, as we see they did from all of Shas?

    Answer: They know it from the Torah, since the entire body of secular wisdom is included in the Torah, for the Torah is the bluepeint of the world. And so, when the Goyim see that we do not study the secular science books at all – and we even disagree with them! – yet we derive all the secular knowledge, in the most precisely accurate form – from only the Sefer Torah, they will exclaim, “Am chacham v’navon hagoy hagadol hazeh!” (A similar explanation is given by the Raavad-ibn Daud. He says that the posuk refers to the philosophical truths that it took the nations centuries to develop, we knew all the time via tradition from Har Sinai.)

    The Abarbanel (Shmos 12) quotes Ptolmey as being so impressed with the Jews’ astronomical calculations, that he said it proves the Jews had prophecy. In the Sefer Eretz Zvi (by Rav Aryeh Zvi Fromer ZT’L, Rosh Yeshiva in Chachmei Lublin), quotes more such sources about Ptolmey.

    #660380

    goody613
    Member

    Rav Yisroel Belsky is an expert on astronomy, i don’t think he would know it if there was something wrong with it.

    #660381

    Joseph
    Participant

    Another interesting Chasam Sofer says (in Drashos Chasam Sofer Vol. 1 p.100b) – Our phophets and sages know all the sciences much better than the scientists, even though all they learn is Torah. This is because the One who created nature informs our sages of the correct facts. This is what amazes the nations, as it says, Am navon v’chacham hagoy hagodol hazeh!

    And the Ramak (Sefer HaPardes 13:6) says the same of Chazal regarding astronomy.

    #660382

    goody613
    Member

    Rav yonasan Eybishitz describes a rocket ship. and i think the mahral said its possible to go to the moon.all these people knew all the science from the torah

    #660383

    One word of torah has more knowledge than every science book in the world.

    #660384

    Joseph
    Participant

    How arrogant, and how ridiculous!

    The wisdom of Hashem Himself is manifest in the wonderful world we live in, and since His wisdom is infinite, the wisdom contained in the world is infinite.

    Now the question is: IF there is no creator, how did we get here? IF there is no Creator, then why do these organs seems so similar? The entire nonsense is only assumptions and wishful thinking, not logic or reason.

    #660385

    mazca
    Member

    Joseph…thanks

    #660388

    yoshi
    Member

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more knowledgeable in certain subjects. Most of all Science!

    There are many books out there that talk about the study of Science and believing in the Torah, are not contradicting. In fact they compliment each other.

    #660389

    Joseph
    Participant

    I’d put a link if it were allowed. Not sure if I can mention the site name here, but will put it on a separate post to this one, and let the site decide if it goes up.

    #660391

    squeak
    Participant

    A simple google search of the first sentence should give the information.

    #660392

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Fair enough. At least you should point out that you read it somewhere. 🙂

    In any event, I’d like to offer my apologies on the “again.” You weren’t (as far as I can tell) one of the ones who were involved in the sock-puppetry and plagiarizing last time. I did not mean to imply that you were.

    The Wolf

    #660393

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Joseph,

    I’m curious… do you think the sun goes behind the rakia at night?

    The Wolf

    #660394

    onlyemes
    Member

    Completely off topic. 26

    #660395

    Joseph
    Participant

    26, as with the comment you deleted, you can see what kind of kefira enters the mind with complete acceptance of modern science.

    #660396

    squeak
    Participant

    Can I say it again? Or will I be silenced again?

    Gimme a “T”

    Gimme an “R”

    #660397

    Anonymous

    joseph, I don’t believe the question of completely accepting modern science was addressed. The question seems to be whether it is possible to trust oneself to filter the apirkorsus out of the science.

    squeak, are you addressing the mods? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    #660398

    squeak
    Participant

    I said, it smells like troll in here.

    #660399

    Anonymous

    squeak, this time you’re right 😉

    #660400

    Joseph
    Participant

    Wolf: Do you have a complete understanding of rakia?

    #660401

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    What do you want to learn about astronomy? The positions of the stars? Their brightness? How to identify them?

    Or their origins?

    The first three are not dangerous; neither for that matter is learning about the gases which compose them.

    It is discussing the origins as believed by scientists that can be dangerous.

    The first way of studying is no different than knowing about the eating habits and bodily structure of a 600 kilo bear, or even to deduce that dogs and bears are somehow related. If the 600 kilo bear is black or brown, then his hibernation patterns may be of interest to scientists who want to replicate that process in humans to allow for certain types of medical treatment. (If he is a polar bear, which at that weight is more likely, then his fur and its layered structure is supposedly the inspiration for a type of insulation fabric made by duPont or one of the other giants which is used in outdoor sport coats).

    The second could lead you to believe that a 600 kilo bear and a mouse somehow evolved from the same organism, which is very possibly both kefira and shtus.

    #660403

    mosherose
    Member

    Okay I’m going to disagree here. I think that learning science is dangerous and can lead to kefira. If your curious about science learn Torah and the science will come along with it.

    #660404

    onlyemes
    Member

    I did a very superficial search on basic astronomy on the internet. Total time spent, approximately three minutes. There is a site which lists the “Top ten basic astronomy facts”. Some of these facts are in disagreement with the Yeshiva World News hashkafah and are regarded by many here as kefirah. From this point of view, any in-depth secular informational source will only be worse. If one wants to avoid this ,one must stay far away from modern astronomy. Better to learn Shor Shenogach.

    #660405

    mybat
    Member

    One thing is to learn about astronamers opinions and its another thing to learn about hashems universe.

    #660406

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I would suggest if you do go for the sciences, make sure to learn from a Yarei Shomayim. Many “professors” and textbooks have the ulterior motive of promoting Kefira.

    #660407

    ZachKessin
    Member

    If you are interested in the night sky Orion Telescopes has put out a number of new scopes for very cheap. They have a very nice 3″ Reflector for $49.95, this will show you the moon and planets even from NYC. If you can get out of the city it will of course show you a lot more. I am in Israel and tend to go to the Negev, from NYC I would suggest maybe the Delaware Water Gap area. If you have a pair of binoculars those will work quite well too.

    There are some very nice free star charts out there, you will need a printer of course.

    #660408

    charliehall
    Participant

    I found the “Top Ten” I think onlyemes was referring to by typing “Top ten basic astronomy facts” to Google. All are based on empirical facts, and empirical fact can not contradict Torah, chas v’shalom. Therefore they is not a threat to Torah, which of course does not require belief in anything that isn’t true. Acceptance of empirical fact is essential to Jewish observance.

    #660409

    charliehall
    Participant

    ames is not correct in saying a scientist can “believe any theory”. Scientific theories have to be consistent with empirical fact. The truth is, we *don’t* know the mechanism by which HaShem created bacteria.

    I am a scientist and I accept 100% all empirical scientific facts. I’d be an absolute fool not to! And I also accept 100% that “there is a god who created this wondrous universe” and indeed that is one reason I dedicate my life to studying it. But there is a lot of ignorance about the nature of science that unfortunately pervades the frum community as well as the non-frum. Science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of HaShem or the truth of His Torah. And the Torah is not a book of science or history but a teaching of how to live. The scientific material in our mesorah is not to be used as science lessons but as instruction for us in how to live. Proof that we are not to rely on the science of Chazal is that relying on their medical knowledge was prohibited back in the time of the Gaonim!

    The best explanation of this distinction was actually by a non-Jew, Galileo: Religion is about “how one goes to heaven. not how heaven goes.”

    #660410

    ZachKessin
    Member

    The idea that life came to Earth from somewhere else (or moved in the other direction) has been floating around for a while. From what I gather its kind of out there as theories go. We know rocks from Mars have made it to earth and vice versa. But if life could have gone with them well thats rather more complex. The evidence for water on Mars in the past is now quite compelling. And in the frozen state in the present we also know that from the various space craft that have beens sent there.

    Of course it does make great late night TV.

    #660411

    charliehall
    Participant

    An example of where modern science expands our awe of our creator: The pshat of Seder Olam Rabbah would indicate that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, but that is contradicted by empirical evidence, which clearly shows that the universe is billions of years old. The evidence shows that HaShem’s creation is far more vast than Chazal could ever have imagined. We should tremble that even our greatest sages could not comprehend the power and majesty of our creator; kal v’chomer must we feel humble as a result! How appropriate for this time of year to meditate on this in order to improve our yirat shemayim.

    #660412

    ZachKessin
    Member

    This is actually the “International Year of Astronomy” so a bunch of good cheap scopes have come out. Two important telescope things, don’t buy any scope that says “375x” or the like on the box, it will be junk.

    and

    NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITH A TELESCOPE

    #660413

    squeak
    Participant

    There are a lot of interesting things to observe in the night sky these days, if that interests you. You won’t even need a telescope for most of them – a good pair of binoculars should be enough.

    For the past few days, getting up in the pre dawn hours for Selichos, I encountered a false dawn. I had to search an astonomy website before I knew what it was – until then I thought it meant that dawn was miscalculated.

    Last night, I saw the Great Red Spot on Jupiter for the first time. It’s not at all a rare thing to see, but I just never took the time to look.

    The asteroid Juno was unusually bright last night as well – it was right next to planet Uranus which is extremely bright these days.

    #660414

    charliehall
    Participant

    ames,

    I wasn’t offended at all, but thank you. There *are* indeed scientists who are anti-religion; I’ve had disputations with them in the past. They abuse science by trying to make it do things it can’t do.

    But just as science can’t prove or disprove our basic religious principles, religion can’t disprove empirical facts!

    May all our conversations be in pursuit of spiritual and empirical truth.

    #660415

    squeak
    Participant

    The evidence shows that HaShem’s creation is far more vast than Chazal could ever have imagined.

    You need to slow down and think a little bit before posting.

    #660416

    Joseph
    Participant

    charlie disagrees with the Rema, the Maharal, Aruch Hashulchan, Chasam Sofer, Rabbeinu Bachyai, the Alshich, the Radvaz, and the Chida amongst others.

    I choose the Rema, the Maharal, Aruch Hashulchan, Chasam Sofer, Rabbeinu Bachyai, the Alshich, the Radvaz, and the Chida over charlie.

    #660417

    ZachKessin
    Member

    Jupiter is bright in the early evening sky right now. (Its the brightest thing in the night sky after the moon, you can’t miss it) With a small scope or binoculars you can see the 4 bright moons as well as banding on the planet. If you get the timing right you can see the great red spot as well. You will need to look up when to look for that, see the Sky & Telescope web site for times. Jupiter rotates about once every 10 hours, so it will change night to night, you can even see changes over a few hours if you look carefully. (Sketching helps here).

    There are also times when you can see one or two of the moons moving across the face of the planet, that is very cool to see. Again Sky & Telescope will have times.

    #660418

    ZachKessin
    Member

    In this I will side with Charlie.

    Full disclaimer, Charlie and I have been friends for years, he was one of the Aidim at my wedding. He is also one of the smartest people I know.

    #660419

    Joseph
    Participant

    Smarter than the Rema, the Maharal, Aruch Hashulchan, Chasam Sofer, Rabbeinu Bachyai, the Alshich, the Radvaz, and the Chida combined?

    Smarter than any one of them.

    I’d take any one of them over any friend and/or eid.

    #660420

    charliehall
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Would you eat a piece of meat that the author of one of your sources had told you was kosher, when you yourself had seen it taken from the carcass of a pig?

    None of the people you cite lived long enough to hear of the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, which proved beyond any doubt (1) the big bang, and (2) the ancient universe. We cannot conjecture what they would have said had they lived into the 1960s and studied the data carefully.

    #660421

    Joseph
    Participant

    Would you eat a piece of meat that the author of one of your sources had told you was kosher, when you yourself had seen it taken from the carcass of a pig?

    Yes, if the posek declared it kosher after having heard my testimony to that effect.

    None of the people you cite lived long enough to hear of the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, which proved beyond any doubt (1) the big bang, and (2) the ancient universe. We cannot conjecture what they would have said had they lived into the 1960s and studied the data carefully.

    Thank G-d for that. They would have said everything they had said already without all that sheker.

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