Monday, November 07, 2005

What History

History begins at birth. Operating under the mistaken impression that the world didn’t exist before we were born, we ignore history, thinking that every situation is really new when it may be similar to historical occurrences. Since things have *always* been “like this” we abhor change, automatically distrusting it, thinking its “evil.”

Scientific advances have always caused problems. Supplanting accepted ideas with new, radical ones leads people to re-examine ideas, and that always causes consternation. We (in Judaism) haven’t been immune. The Gemara outlines cures which don’t work (some claim nishtaneh hatevah, which is really accelerated evolution), and so we don’t listen to them.

But medical cures are old hat. We haven’t followed them for hundreds of years. When the Rambam said to use (his) modern science, was there equal opposition similar to what we see today vis a vis the Big Bang, Evolution, etc? In five hundred years will all Orthodox Jews accept evolution and look at our current machlokes with humor? Or will there be some new theory and they’ll look at our science like we look at the Rambam’s, also with humor.