Jewish Ideas Daily has been succeeded and re-launched as Mosaic. Read more...


What Is Free Will? What Is Free Will?
Monday, March 18, 2013 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For millennia, philosophers have attempted to prove or disprove the existence of free will.  Ludwig Wittgenstein saw this as a misguided exercise—which obscures a genuine moral issue.
It’s All in the Angle It’s All in the Angle
Friday, February 1, 2013 by Jack Riemer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his new collection of essays, ultra-Orthodox rabbi Avi Shafran disputes the scientific worldview on its own terms.  But he refuses to acknowledge scientific challenges to Judaism.  
Editors' Picks
Lost Cause? Francis J. Caponi, Marginalia. A new book argues that the root of the conflict between science and religion is the reductive modern understanding of causality—which many scientists are now rejecting.
Defending the Faith Allan Nadler, Forward. The Great Partnership, Jonathan Sacks' new book on the relationship between science and religion, is a moving expression of his own faith.  But does it lack intellectual honesty?
More from the Start-up Nation Karin Kloosterman, ISRAEL21C. We need disease-resistant plants, but genetically modifying them is dangerous.  Now, an Israeli biotech company has a treatment that protects plants while leaving them genetically intact.
Proving Religious People Aren’t Crazy Steve Fuller, Times Higher Education. In The God Problem, sociologist Robert Wuthnow defends believers against charges of irrationality.  The fact that he needs to do so is a sign of the times.
Tell Me How to Get to the Sesame Synchrotron David Shukman, BBC. In Jordan, a particle accelerator named Sesame is being funded by Pakistan, Turkey, Iran—and Israel.
Very Superstitious Eli D. Clark, Torah Musings. While science and technology have supplanted magic and the occult in the West, Jews have not only retained old superstitions, but invented some new ones. 
Worlds in Collision Steven Shapin, London Review of Books. When Immanuel Velikovsky sought to explain biblical events in terms of astronomy, he ended up in a violent collision with the scientific establishment. 
God Bless the Science Baruch Sterman, Rarest Blue. Judaism has a blessing for even the most mundane of occasions.  What is the blessing, then, that a researcher should recite upon making a spectacular scientific discovery?
The Real Conflict: Science vs. Atheism Thomas Nagel, New York Review of Books. Contrary to the claims of atheism, says analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, science conflicts not with religion but with a naturalist worldview that denies God. 
Israel’s Oldest Residents Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post. In a cave deep under Ramle, scientists have discovered eight new animal species which have lived there in total isolation from the outside world for millions of years.