Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scientific Vs. Theological Justifications

As noted in our previous post, Thoughts on Torah Study, for the past few months we have been studying the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides. And in that previous post, we shared some responses to the text and the previous Saturday morning's discussion provided by Ludwik Kowalski.

Following yesterday's session, Ludwik shared with us a recommendation for the recently aired PBS documentary, First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty, which was the subject of our past post, Religious Freedom in America. And Ludwik also shared some further thoughts on the differences between science and theology, which we are happy to share in the post:

At the end of Chapter 2, discussed at our 12/22/12 Torah meeting today we read that "What's been said in these two chapters is like a drop on the ocean compared to what has to be said to [fully] explain it."  The explanations of the concepts in these two chapters is mystical and esoteric speculation. 
The word "mystical" will be discussed next week. It will probably generate many questions. The word "speculation," in my vocabulary, refers to a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement that calls for additional evidence. Scientific claims are validated by using deductive and inductive (laboratory-based) kinds of evidence. This is not true when claims about our spiritual world are debated; theological claims are validated only by logical deduction. Only some ignorant atheists call for laboratory experiments designed to validate existence (or non-existence) of God.

Ludwik, and we, welcome your comments on these thoughts. Is there empirical evidence for the existence of God, or that God does not exist? Are their experiments or tests that have been or can be carried out to test such hypotheses? Is it possible to prove or disprove these theological claims?

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