Over at "On the Main Line," there's a fascinating interview with Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudas Yisrael, by Baruch Pelta. Rabbi Shafran is a very fine person who I personally like very much, even though I dislike the tone and content of much of what he writes.
Amongst other topics, the ban on my books is discussed. Rabbi Shafran claims that the problem with my books was the "tone," that there was condescension towards Chazal. Now, I don't deny that the tone of my book would be problematic to many people in the Charedi world, but this does not make the books objectively kefirah. Furthermore, I'm not quite sure how the non-English-reading Gedolim such as Rav Elyashiv, Rav Lefkowitz and Rav Moshe Shapiro would have been able to evaluate the tone. Apparently they were following the testimony of Rabbi Leib Pinter, Rabbi Leib Tropper and Rabbi Reuven Schmeltzer, which, in light of revelations about these people since the ban, should surely mean that any verdicts reached on the basis of this testimony are invalid.
More to the point, this is not what the Gedolim hold or said. The idea that the problem was the "tone" is a common refrain heard from those who are uncomfortable with what the Gedolim actually hold. Baruch Pelta points out that the Gedolim were clearly condemning the basic position that Chazal could have erred in their statements about the natural world. Rav Elyashiv, Rav Wachtfogel, Rav Moshe Shapiro - they were all explicit about this.
So Rabbi Shafran first tries to claim that this in fact stems from the problem of tone. Now, this doesn't address Baruch's point at all; the Gedolim nevertheless claimed that the resultant position - that Chazal could be mistaken about the natural world - is kefirah, even though this was the position of many dozens of Rishonim and Acharonim. Rabbi Shafran then claims that what I said was different from all those Rishonim and Acharonim - that to say (as I did) that Chazal were making a statement about the natural world which is not true on any level, is something that was never said by any Torah authority.
I regret to say that this reflects simple ignorance about the positions of many dozens of Rishonim and Acharonim. I urge Rabbi Shafran to read the sources at torahandscience.blogspot.com. When the Rishonim said that Chazal erred in describing the sun passing behind the sky at night, they did not mean that Chazal were nevertheless correct "on some level." The Rishonim did not say that Chazal were talking about "a reality that is not the scientific reality." Maharal does say that, but his approach is an innovation that has no basis in the Rishonim and was not followed by many of those who lived after him.
Rabbi Shafran claims that when Chazal spoke about lice spontaneously generating, they meant that the eggs are too small to see. That's one view, which I discuss in my book, but others are of the view that Chazal were not talking about that (as the Rishonim and Acharonim make clear) and that they were simply wrong. When Rav Hirsch discusses Chazal's statement about spontaneously-generating mice, he does not say that Chazal were nevertheless correct "on some level" (aside from the idea that the halachic discussion is nevertheless valuable, a point that I stressed at great length in my book). Rav Hirsch says that when Chazal spoke about the natural sciences, they simply followed the scientists of their day, and were thus sometimes mistaken.
The irony is that Rabbi Shafran insists that he is a full-blooded Hirschian. I recommend that he reads Rav Hirsch's letters on Chazal and science (available at this link). The letters that the Gedolim condemned as forgeries and kefirah.