Dr. Gotfryd has informed and inspired hundreds of audiences around the world on the synergy between modern science and traditional faith.

From Darwin and dinosaurs to quantum cosmology, his presentations captivate scholar and layman alike. He will answer your questions and question your answers, and inspire your public to grow.

“Where Faith & Science Meet”

The modern convergence of faith and science is nothing less than a megatrend — an immense, pervasive thrust in today’s culture that is emblematic of a new paradigm of consciousness. Kabbalah holds the key, let’s unlock the door… a Chabad perspective.

from an interview in Farbrengen Magazine:

As a man dedicated to both science and Torah, how do you deal with scientific proof that the world is older than 5770 years old?

Well, how old would you like the world to be? When I was a kid, it was 18 billion years old, then it was 10, then back up to 16. Now it’s 13.7. According to a recent astrophysics article by Nobel physics expert Moshe Carmeli, that 13.7 billion year age is believed to be a cosmological constant, or fixed number, ever since the first cosmological day. In other words, the universe was created old. The Torah’s view is essentially the same.

Also, for those who claim that it’s proven that the universe is at most 14 billion years old, there is the problem of quasars that the same scientists say are at least 16 billion years old. How can there be stars older than the universe they are in? The problem remains unresolved. But the deeper issue with the dating game is that such conjectures are absolutely unverifiable since they involve immense extrapolations backwards over aeons of unobserved time under unknown conditions. That’s not what we should call scientific proof by any stretch of the imagination.

We see huge conflicts these days between religion and science. Why can’t it just be live and let live?

This is a very important question that deserves consideration by every thinking person. A “live and let live” philosophy implies two things: First, that we cannot objectively determine who is right and who is wrong. And second, that everyone has a right to his opinion. Both these conditions are violated in the big debates, such as Creation vs. Evolution. Each side claims they are objectively right and each side maintains that opinions are irrelevant in the face of capital “T” Truth.

On one hand, the intolerance of some scientists is surely inappropriate. Thanks to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Einstein’s relativity, and Bohr’s quantum theory, science in the last 100 years has realized that its observations are subjective, it’s conclusions uncertain and tentative. If so, the scientist’s overriding trait should rather be humility.

On the other hand, what right do the religious have to be intolerant? Granted, their truths are to them absolute and inviolate and yes, religions often disagree. But most religions also mandate the qualities of respect, decency, peace and love, even toward adherents of another belief system, including the agnostics or atheists among some scientists.

There’s a lot of talk in science and the media these days about how our perceptions create reality and everything is subjective. That seems pretty far from the objective reality and rules of a divinely commanded Torah. How do you reconcile these vastly different approaches?

Paul Davies, an Australian physicist and science writer, is a devout believer in a supreme intelligence that creates and sustains the world, while at the same time he slams biblical religion as silly and foolish. I think if he were versed in the Torah, and especially Chabad Chassidus, he might sing a different tune.

While cosmologists speak of the “anthropic principle,” that says the universe was set up from the outset for human life, the mishna states, “For my sake was the world created.” While physics speaks of observers creating reality, Chassidus speaks of “think good, it will be good.” While science talks about “an indivisible wholeness beyond space-time which is the ultimate ground of reality,” Maimonides says the same thing about the Creator. While ecology advises, “Act local, think global,” Torah teaches that with one small act, one can either destroy or save the world.

How about prayers for the sick? Now that medicine has advanced to where it is today, with all its understanding about the body and illness, doesn’t prayer seem like a bit of placebo?

I’m not sure that biology takes us farther away from belief in miracles. On the contrary. For instance, Antony Flew, once deemed the world’s leading atheist philosopher, has recently recanted on his faithlessness, ascribing his change of heart to his studies of genetics and biological complexity. About prayer and medicine, statistical surveys of American physicians clearly show that the overwhelming majority of doctors believe that faith can heal, and a large majority of those believe that the prayers of others can also bring about healing. In fact a triple-blind study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that heart patients in a hospital got better faster and with fewer complications when prayed for. In that study, neither the caregivers, the patients, nor their families even knew that a prayer study was taking place at the time.

Besides, what is wrong, pray tell, with the placebo effect? It is based on the well-documented fact that believing you will get better, for whatever reason, boosts your immune system, cancels stress, fights disease, and causes healing. Every doctor knows that. There is even a medical specialty, psychoneuroimmunology, which is wholly dedicated to mind-based medicine.

Some people say that faith is a product of how our brains are wired. Maybe it’s less about about truth and more about biology.

A story is told of the Hasid, Berel, who was pacing his room one night holding a candle and calling over and over, “Berel, where are you.” A friend overheard and asked if he’d gone mad. He said, “No, you are the fool. When I die, you’ll say ‘Berel is gone!’ but will that be true? Physically, every part of me will be present. The Berel that you will be looking for then, I’m looking for now.”

There is a soul, a consciousness, a non-physical mind, call it what you will, that is increasingly invoked by the brain scientists. Why was the Dalai Lama chosen to deliver the keynote for the 2005 neuroscience conference and its 14,000 attendees? Because it is the spirit that impels the flesh and there is plenty of peer-reviewed research to support that conclusion. Yes, the brain is hard wired for faith. But faith is not part of the wiring. It just resides there. Then there’s the question of what we put our faith in. A recent National Post article reports progress in the research of Karl Skorecki, a University of Toronto professor who discovered the Y-chromosome markers that validate Judaism’s claim that the Kohen tribe is of patrilineal descent from one common ancestor 3,300 years ago, i.e., Moses’ brother, Aaron.

So is this a scientific faith or a religious one? My contention is that at some point, they come together.

 

Scholars on both sides of the fence, whether religious or scientific, seem to agree that we can’t prove scientifically that there is a G-d. Why not?

Science in general works by disproof, not by proof. We propose theories, then test them experimentally. If the experiments show our ideas to be wrong, we reject the theory. If the experiments work out, the theory is supported, but not proven, since more observations may yet be made to challenge the theory. In this sense, one can neither prove nor disprove the existence of G-d.

But there is another type of proof, a more natural definition, which is that if an idea explains the observations better than any other, we have what is called conclusive proof, meaning sufficient to base our future actions.

If we consider the stand at Sinai, with millions of personal witnesses to the giving of the Torah by G-d, and the unbroken chain of tradition for some 100 generations until now, including hundreds of thousands of individuals in each generation reconfirming that event, then we have sufficient proof to conclude positively. Is there an alternative explanation that is more feasible? Aliens? Mass hypnosis? Mass collusion? The best explanation is the traditional one, strange as that may seem.

Wouldn’t it be possible to verify the existence of a Creator by looking for some sort of unequivocal imprint left on the world around us?

I think most people have a sense of some greater intelligence, a creative force, some greater purpose, when they look at the world around them – the sun, the moon, the mountains, trees, bugs, clouds, the ocean.

Formally, we can speak of teleology, the argument from design, which says that orderly design in nature implies an ordering cause, an intelligent Creator. The modern incarnation of this concept is the anthropic principle. Then there is the fact that from time to time, our prayers are answered.

To my mind, the biggest proof is the fact that we exist as creatures who can even contemplate the existence of G-d. For why else would a G-d have created the world, if not for the purpose that beings such as ourselves should find out about Him and establish a relationship with Him.

This is where science leaves off, for the scientist can only describe how the world works, but in no way can he answer why the world works that way. For that, we need the Torah.

Here are some places Dr. Gotfryd has lectured.
When will he come speak for you?




  • Host Testimonials:
    “It’s been months since
    he came, but our congregants are still talking about it. His presentation was a real eye-opener.”
  • Host Testimonials:
    “We’ve got a highly educated crowd and to be quite honest, some of them have questions I don’t how to answer. After Dr. Gotfryd’s visit, a lot of those questions pretty much evaporated.”
  • Host Testimonials:
    “The Rebbe’s approach to Torah and Science issues is really quite distinctive so it was refreshing to have a speaker who can actually represent that perspective in a compelling way.”
  • Host Testimonials:
    “A great balance of depth, humor, scholarship and storytelling. We would have him again.”
  • Host Testimonials:
    “Most speakers on this subject are busy with apologetics and resolving conflicts. Gotfryd’s approach was different. He shows how science is evolving toward a Torah perspective and preparing the world for geulah. It’s actually a great way to bring the notion of Moshiach to the forefront.”

  • Host Testimonials:
    “A lot of speakers fall flat when it comes to Q&A, but not Gotfryd. His talk was under an hour, but the discussion went on most of the night. It was really a great program.”
  • Host Testimonials:
    “We have a reputation for working our schoars-in-residence quite hard, but Dr. Gotfryd stayed fresh throughout. He gave over a dozen talks during the Yarchei Kallah and each one was informative and inspiring.”

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