Is Science Jewish...?

I pose this question only because rabbis are known for their on-the-other-handing in any serious dialogs. Quick to see both sides to an argument, rabbinical thinking seems similar to scientific thinking. That is, to always leave open alternative explanations.

Currently I find myself scanning dozens of annual research projects, wondering if their collective intent is to enhance our humanity as they say or to diminish it without realizing it? On the one hand, we are told scientific research continues to decode the heretofore mysteries of our human behavior [eg. why we are attracted to some people and not others, why we join or reject gangs, why we succeed or fail in relationships]. On the other hand, some of us are confused by the way so many of these projects conclude that our behavior has to do with some particular body part [eg. the right brain, the X gene, the Y chemical, the Z circuitry] and little beyond such physically testable parts.

Look, I realize how the Age of Religion was supplanted by the Age of Enlightenment back in the 18th c, and that this was the dawning of modern unfettered science. However, I also realize how the Enlightenment not only led to freeing the human spirit from medieval ignorance, but led to the brutish likes of a Robespierre and a Napoleon. Yet could it ironically be that modern unfettered scientific research is leading us toward a new kind of ignorance?’ An ignorance of what there is to us that is more than simply our physically testable body parts? More specifically, what there is to us that may be metaphysical and spiritual not simply physical and anatomical?

Why get so upset so often with the great work of our great scientific research programs….?

I’m delighted you asked. Take the latest research as reported last month in ‘Nature Magazine.’ Researchers recruited 100 men to test their theory that the antibiotic minocycline [used in acne treatment] “….helps disrupt the natural tendency of men to lavish attention and gifts on attractive women in order to seduce them thereby increasing the evolutionary probability of producing attractive offspring.”


Here’s my un-professional reaction to today’s orgy of such behavioral research. Why in God’s name is the role of God excluded from any and all analyzes of human behavior….? True, scientists are not rabbis. But as Tevye sings in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ “Would that be so crazy???”

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