Rabbi Meiselman's condemnations of my material reflected exceedingly poorly on him, for a number of reasons. One was that, while he doubtless has genuine differences of opinion with me, every single one of his criticisms was based on a serious distortion of what I wrote. Furthermore, he issued a number of personal insults, quite unbefitting anyone, let alone a Rosh Yeshivah. Worst of all, he issued some appalling motzi shem ra about my personal history, which subsequently was spread by others.
I sent a letter of protest to Rabbi Meiselman, to which he did not respond (you can read it here). A number of people thought that I was exaggerating his distortions, or wondered if perhaps he has more credibility than I made it appear. I therefore uploaded all his shiurim about me to my website, so that people could listen to them and hear his rhetoric for themselves. Rabbi Meiselman subsequently sent me his only communication, via an intermediary - a request that I remove the audio recordings from my website. I sent a message back that I would be quite willing to do so once he retracts his false accusations. There was no response. However, a number of people, including parents of students at Toras Moshe, complained to Rabbi Meiselman about his disgusting attack.
Possibly as an effort to regain credibility, he has written a book with his own views on Torah and science. "The Torah of Science" is due to be published soon by Feldheim Publishers. Apparently, he argues in the book that the world is 5770 years old and that evolution is false, amongst other things. I don't know if the book also contains overt attacks on me or my own work. According to my informants, Rabbi Meiselman also claims in the book that the famous passage by Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam about Chazal's knowledge of science is a forgery!
Here are my predictions about what the book will NOT include, even though one would expect these to be included in a book presenting itself as the authoritative guide to this subject matter:
- A citation of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh's important letters about Torah and science;
- A discussion of the most fundamental discussion in the Gemara on this topic, that of the sun's path at night, with mention of all the Rishonim on this sugya;
- A discussion of specific problematic statements in the Gemara that my books address, such as the mud-mouse, the gestation periods of different animals, Rashi's explanation of mermaids, and so on. There will be generic platitudes about the wisdom of Chazal and the folly of scientists rather than an analysis of the most difficult statements by Chazal that are challenged by science.
- An explanation of all the diverse biological phenomena that evolution so neatly explains, such as the nested hierarchy of the animal kingdom, fossils, vestigial limbs, the geographical siting of specific animal groups such as marsupials, and so on. Why do whales need to come to the surface to breath, rather than being able to breath underwater like fish? Don't expect this book to provide any framework for answering such questions; it will just be a list of kashyas on natural selection, presented as a fundamental disproof of the entire evolutionary model.
One person who saw the manuscript told me that I will have absolutely no difficulty in exposing the fundamental fallacies and errors of the work. Still, I do think that the book is cause for concern. Many people will be under the mistaken impression that since Rabbi Meiselman has a PhD in mathematics (and I heard one rabbi mistakenly claim that it was in physics), this means that his opinion on the age of the universe and evolution carries weight and authority.
On the other hand, when I (and probably others) do expose the mistakes in Rabbi Meiselman's book, the resultant publicity will doubtless lead many people to my website, where they will learn about Rabbi Meiselman's disgusting personal slander of me. This is not good PR for him or his yeshivah - especially since his book makes it look as though he is trying to "get back at me" for exposing his low behavior. So I think that, aside from the errors in science and rabbinic scholarship, Rabbi Meiselman is committing a strategic error.