Monday, March 27, 2023

Mr. Wisotsky’s interesting discussion travels well-trod ground (Sachs, Slifkin, Schroeder et al.)(“Is Hashem Using Scientists as His Agents to Fulfill Torah Prophecies?” December 22, 2022). He posits a syncretism between religion and science. I would argue with this premise. Religion and science have entirely different objectives. In a nutshell, science asks how and religion asks why. They run parallel but don’t intersect. They may inform each other yet don’t unite to form a coherent synthesis.

There are a number of points of confusion with his rendition of cosmology and information theory. Einstein’s revelations of the equivalency of matter and energy and of space and time demonstrate a concordance of areas of science rather than a union of unrelated areas of inquiry. Black matter and energy are not data banks but integral components of the architecture of the universe with physical manifestations, e.g., gravitational effects.The latest theory posits that information is not lost, not even beyond the event horizon of a black hole, but is represented as a hologram on the surface of an object. Certainly all matter can be represented by its individual Schroedinger’s equation; however, the equation is impossibly complex for any entity larger than a few atoms. The concept that information is not lost does not indicate that it is retrievable.

I would also take issue with his positivistic approach dissolving the distinction between physics and metaphysics. One deals with the body and one with the soul. Genotype, phenotype (epigenetics) define our physical essence. Would duplication of the physical body necessarily lead to retrieval of the associated soul?

Mr. Wisotsky alludes to but doesn’t discuss a different area involved with his aspiration to resurrect specific individuals and entire cultures. We have now recovered 2 million-year-old mammoth DNA. What are the implications of reviving an extinct species? More to the point, we now have the genome for several extinct human subspecies: Neanderthal, Devosonian and Flores. Evidence indicates that Neanderthal had a language and culture. They lived in organized communities, cared for their sick and provided formal burials. The ethical implications of reviving an extinct or ancient human being are profound.

There is simply no need to use science to justify the wisdom and insights of the Torah. The Torah is Hashem’s book about man, not man’s book about Hashem. Attempts to bring Torah and science into alignment will always fail, as they serve two utterly different purposes.

Earl Sandor
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