The Altar Boy Who Became an Orthodox Jewish Cosmologist

Although born to Jewish parents, Brian Keating was raised a Catholic, and remembers being draw to the religion as child. Later in life, Keating—a professor of cosmology and the author of several books—rediscovered Judaism and became observant. He discusses the relationship between his academic work and his religious beliefs with Adam Jacobs:

I don’t look to the Torah for science. It’s crystal clear to me that Torah is not a science book. . . . And that’s why I think every scientist needs it, because doing science is the practice of people, and people need wisdom. To practice science (which means “knowledge” in Latin) divorced from wisdom is the ultimate form of pointlessness, as if a surplus of knowledge is tantamount to moral wisdom.

I think science struggles with a meaning crisis, and that what we do is important, but if it’s just used for technology or acquisition of knowledge for its own [sake], then there’s a pointlessness to it. I think to be a complete human being, you need to have both the knowledge that science uniquely can provide, and that the Torah cannot, about the natural world. [But] it’s functionally useless to acquire knowledge without any associated wisdom coming from it or leading to it.

To Keating, that sort of moral wisdom can come only from religion.


More about: Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy, Science and Religion

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security