Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Judaism=Physics

And not just because one of the most famous physicists of all time was Jewish (ahem, Einstein), or because the other roommate was a physics major in college. Nor am I talking about what Andy Bachman refers to as the "Jewish Law of Physics" which is living life in slow motion.

I wrote a paper in college about how if electrons are deterministic (meaning that we can see both their velocity/trajectory and their location at the same time) it doesn't necessarily mean that the entire universe is deterministic, nor rule out the possibility of a creator diety. But that's not really what I mean either.

What I mean is more like this: physics as metaphor.

You see, I have some major issues with Judaism. The most pertinent being the treatment of women, and other disenfranchised groups. Most recently Harley and I have been discussing the treatment of homosexuality in Judaism, the conversation started by the recent ruling by CJLS. I firmly believe that in this respect Judaism is like physics. We're at Quantum Mechanics. Things work observably, but there are some theoretical problems. For instance, we've created legal loopholes so that no one can be proven to be a mamzer (bastard), but we haven't gotten rid of the idea of mamzerim, because it is biblical. Functionally the category of mamzer no longer exists, but it is still technically a part of the religion, and one that many modern people object to.


Where we want to be is String Theory. The String Theory of Judaism will reconcile the theoretical problems with the observable, physical world. Somehow the idea that homosexuality is not contrary to Judaism, and that homosexuals are not, by their nature sinful, will be worked into the fabric of Judaism without compromising it. I am just not sure how. This doesn't mean that our Quantum Mechanics Judaism doesn't work, or that it should be discarded, just that it isn't all-encompassing. What we're going for is a Grand Unified Theory of Judaism. One where everything works, but is simple to understand.
Well now I've proved my nerd status. And I know at least one of my friends will correct my descriptions of physical theories.

10 comments:

Liberal Jew said...

The String Theory of Judaism will reconcile the theoretical problems with the observable, physical world.

How will ST work when you are still governed by laws that have no context with in the reality conected to the "string"?

Please explain how halacha will be utilized.

DK said...

"For instance, we've created legal loopholes so that no one can be proven to be a mamzer (bastard), but we haven't gotten rid of the idea of mamzerim, because it is biblical. Functionally the category of mamzer no longer exists, but it is still technically a part of the religion, and one that many modern people object to."

Tragically, I think it does exist.

Smeliana said...

I hear Judaism, Physics, and God is awesome. And the author is a pretty good guy too...

Anniegetyour said...

Liberal Jew- can you rephrase the question?

DK- in some communities it probably does. I was mostly referring to the modern orthodox.

Smel- thanks. It is definitely on my 'to read' list. Since I just finished one of my three books.

Liberal Jew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liberal Jew said...

Forgot to Spell Check first...here we go:

ST states that everything is connected (I think) and that is all happens because of this connection yes? So how do things like laws in the Torah, which sometimes have no connection to reality or our modern existence, fit into a String Theory Judaism?

Anniegetyour said...

Liberal Jew- String theory states that everything can be reduced down to "strings" that vibrate at specific resonant frequencies.

There is a hope that this could be a "theory of everything" which is different than a "grand unified theory" the latter of which would "tie everything together." String theory is not entirely fleshed out, and while parts of it are experimentally verifiable, others are not.

Basically, string theory is that there should be an explaination that will fix the problems with Quantum Mechanics, and this is what we think it will look like, but we're not really sure.

Does that answer the question?

Amishav said...

Naw, you're not that much of a nerd. The cantor at my shul talks about string theory and kabbalah all the time. Actually that proves that you're actually in the cool crowd.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Don't forget one of the coolest (Jewish) Physicists of all time, Richard Feynman.

BZ said...

Jinx!

(It's cool that we posted these the same day, and though your timestamp is earlier, I swear I wasn't copying -- I started this post before yours was posted.)