Gosh, I get so tired of cliches from religion-friendly mush-heads. According to one such cliche:
Maimonides was a physician. A physician is a kind of scientist. Maimonides was therefore a religious scientist. Consequently any attempt to merge any science-flavored idea, such as Darwinism, with Judaism would meet with Maimonides’ approval.
You think I’m kidding. I’m not. This is how many Jewish people, hungry for social and intellectual approval, really think. And in their own respective context, so do many Christians.
So what a breath of fresh air it was for me over Shabbat to open the relatively new and admirably lucid Maimonides biography by Joel L. Kraemer at the University of Chicago, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds
(Doubleday). Professor Kraemer asks what should a student of Rambam (Maimonides) like himself reply if asked, “What is the most important idea
taught by Maimonides in his scientific and philosophic writings?”
Answers Kraemer: “A good answer would be that it is the idea of an orderly universe governed by laws of a cosmic intelligence.” Contemporary relevance, please?
Maimonides grasped the great divide between monotheists, who believe that an intelligence guides the universe, and Epicureans, who believe that everything happens by chance. The argument continues nowadays between intelligent adherents of intelligent design and Darwinian atheists who believe in chance mutation.
There you have it: Maimonides was fighting the good intellectual fight for intelligent design almost 800 years ago. It was his top philosophical and scientific concern. For heaven’s sake, do you need any further proof that ID, right or wrong, is at any rate an authentically Jewish cause?