Men’s Club News

Science in Synagogues

Professor Sylvester James GatesOn Sunday January 22, 2017, the Beth El STEM Affinity group, in collaboration with the Beth El Men’s Club and Sisterhood, presented the first Sunday morning program in the Science in Synagogues program. Science in Synagogues is part of a grant awarded to the STEM Affinity Group by Sinai and Synapses, an organization that seeks to promote the study of questions that relate science to Judaism. The talk was given by Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Regent’s Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland. Professor Gates, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, is a world-renowned string theorist and mathematician who frequently speaks to lay groups on various topics that relate science to broader interests, including religion.

The title of the talk was “What Did St. Augustine, Galileo, and Einstein Have to Say About Faith Vs. Science?”  The premise of the discussion was that the widespread opinion, that beliefs based on faith widely differ from scientific findings, is not correct.  Dr Gould presented the opposite view, which he characterized by the rubric non-overlapping magisterial, a phrase coined by the great evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould that states, ‘‘The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives.’’

Dr. Gates’ presentation explored the dichotomous roles of accuracy vs truth, certainty vs uncertainty, measurement vs observation and the incompleteness theorems of Gödel in an effort to uncover possible mechanisms that support the validity of the non-overlapping magisterial hypothesis.


Kavod Awards Articles


Sign up for the Men’s Club Newsletter