Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Look At An Old Post
[very messy, hope to expand a lot on it over the next week] from 2007, on the relation of science 'truth' and religion/ethics 'truth':
There is value in imprecision, of reckoning in coming to know in the world - where perhaps many maxims(?) are not systematically written up as a whole map because we live in lieu of Nevuah, the means of certainty in meta-matters. Or at least not taking as Revelation the attempts to do so (historical and present)... Restraining ourselves from doing so prevents binding the maxims themselves to transient meanings, interpretations of that time by (keeping a loose grip on them as it were).

Which would be all well and good if not for Rambam - whose view of the development of knowledge of the world was wed to his non-Jewish contemporaries - that proper knowledge means acquaintance with accumulated, revealed "facts" - religious and empirical where both accounted in Mishneh Torah for this reason, as was the view of his neighbors and their theology. His was not a science that would survive a year in our day and age, where previously-tested presuppositions are retested, older information considered suspect after 5 years. For him, religious and scientific facts were set and stone, and we need only grasp them in a cumulative fashion. For Rambam, it would seem impossible to be ethical or empirically accurate without a measure of mesorah-confidence that has not been shared by the scientific community in the very time it has made so many advances.

Yet another indication that though "Biblical presuppositions" are indeed behind modern science - they're not necessarily from the Jewish Bible, nor via the milieu of Judaism - but more accurately the Christian Bible (Septuagint largely), and Christian Europe. I could of course raise my "fruitful errors" analogy - but would only matter for the Judaism most compatible with (now no longer considered responsible for?..) science, the rationalism of Rambam - who would also seem not apt to accept science of today for lacking in theological grasp! Except as he "accepts" Christianity and islam as setting a stage for proper "true religion" - which considers heretical, if not Avodah Zarah! Would he amend his views on science? Why assume so? May we and still not be "in error" by the Rambam?...


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