In the most recent issue of Jewish Action, Rabbi Gil Student reviews two books: Jeremy Brown's excellent book on Copernicus, and Rabbi Moshe Meiselman's disappointing and disturbing Torah, Chazal and Science. Set alongside the article is an interview with one of Rav Soloveitchik's most prominent disciples on the more yeshivish end of the spectrum, Rav Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshivah of RIETS, on the topic of science and Torah. The interview begins as follows:
Jewish Action: Did the Tannaim and Amoraim learn science from the Torah or from the scientists of their generations?This position is, of course, perfectly normative. It echoes countless statements by Chazal themselves, as well as being stated implicitly by many dozens of Rishonim and Acharonim (see list here), and most explicitly by Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam and Rav Hirsch. But Rabbi Moshe Meiselman believes this to be utter heresy. Rabbi Meiselman further claims that Rav Soloveitchik's understanding of Rambam's category of makchish maggideha would be applicable to such a position.
Rabbi Hershel Schachter: The Gemara says in the first chapter of Bechoros that just like the Sages had rules regarding how to derive halachah from the Torah (middos shehaTorah nidreshes bahen), they also had rules about deriving science from the Torah. We don’t even know how to use the rules for halachah, let alone for science. But the Tannaim did. However, this does not mean that they learned all their science from the Torah. They clearly also relied on the scientists of their time, as we all do. Sometimes this means that they relied on what was later discovered to be the scientific mistakes of their time.
So, according to Rabbi Meiselman, Rav Schachter and all those to the left of him - which is virtually all of the Rav's talmidim - are heretics. I wonder how he would account for Rav Soloveitchik's spectacular failure to produce disciples that adhere to the very basics of Jewish belief.
Other posts on Rabbi Meiselman's book:
Is R. Meiselman an Authority on Torah, Chazal and Science?
R. Meiselman: All The Rishonim Were Wrong, Again And Again And Again
Rabbi Meiselman Tries To Hide From The Sun
A Mistake In Science, Or A Mistake In Torah?
Omitting Inconvenient Sources
When Is A Mesorah Not A Mesorah?
The Limits of Science
Metzitzah and the Rav
Metzizah and the Rav Part II
A Recipe for Intellectual Dishonesty
Rambam on Demons and Segulos
Chinese Dinosaurs and Challenging Camels
The Bat, The Platypus, And The Echidna