The most outstanding example:
For millennia, we were ridiculed for believing
the world began. Only in the latter half of the 20th century did the evidence come out overwhelmingly on our side. As Dr. Arno Penzias (one of the three who received a Nobel Prize for identifying the "background radiation" that became one of the pillars
of the current Big Bang cosmology) writes, "creation is supported by all the data so far."
Abraham was a maverick for believing that
all the forces of the cosmos are really a single force. This is the contention
of science for the past 100 years and the driving force behind the search for
the Unified Field Theory.
The Torah's account of Creation
and of events that defy the laws of physics -- and even defy logic -- implies that the laws of logic are not absolute --
i.e. it is not impossible for those laws to have been created otherwise, and
even now, the Creator could adjust them or supersede them at whim. An inkling of
this kind of thinking opened the way for modern mathematics, breaking away from
the Euclidian view that the axioms of geometry are absolute "self evident
truths," and laying the ground for Einstein's relativity. Indeed, later
attempts to demonstrate that mathematics is based on logic have all failed.
Thinkers today question the absoluteness of logic itself.
Torah, by presenting the concept
of Divine Providence within nature, requires
a universe that is only loosely linear, rejecting the determinist concept that
cause and effect are inherently linked. This is an outcome of the Principle of
Uncertainty, first enunciated by Heisenberg in 1928. Over the past 30 years,
experimentation has repeatedly affirmed this concept.
Torah does not talk in terms
of matter as a self-contained substance, but as
an event, a 'word'. Today we understand matter as simply a dynamic of
concentrated energy, as in the familiar formula E=mc2. Or, in physicist David
Bohm's definition, "That which unfolds, whatever the medium."
Torah relies on witnesses and observation
over intuition. Today we call this objective empiricism. It is what
distinguishes the scientist from the Hellenist or medieval philosopher.
Torah recognizes the role of human
consciousness as an active, rather than passive, participant in forming
reality. This outcome of the standard model of
quantum mechanics was first enunciated by John von Neumann in
Torah consistently relies on the
concept of synergy: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
This has become an essential principle in many modern
disciplines, from sociology to chemistry.
Torah, in many halachic applications,
relies on "quantum" -- smallest possible increments of change within space and
time. This was the postulate of Max Planck that opened the field of quantum mechanics.
The Torah describes all of humankind as
descending from a single man and -- earlier -- a single woman. The overwhelming genetic evidence concurs, although
the dating is still somewhat skewed. They're still catching up.
Torah understands the human psyche as
being multi-layered and multifaceted -- there isn't just one person inside. Welcome to modern psychology.
Torah describes planet earth and the entire cosmos in holistic terms. Science today is moving sharply in this direction, in life sciences and in physics and
Torah provides inference to many
of the customs, beliefs, politics, technologies, etc. of ancient times at which
historians once balked and archeologists have only recently confirmed.
Torah presents and rigorously develops the chazakah: An event must occur repeatedly under identical conditions
to be considered the most likely outcome in the future (such as the case of the consistently goring ox). This is the basis of the scientific method.
Torah prescribes public education,
popular involvement and constitutional governance. Sociologists describe how these elements generate stability and productivity in a society.
Torah prescribes a responsible
stewardship of our environment. Today we have
demonstrated that such an approach is the only one possible for sustainable life
on the planet.
Many of these examples may seem obvious and trite, however none of them were
accepted as such until recently. I'm sure there are more -- if you think of some,
please fire them over.
Acknowledgement is due to Dr. Moshe Genuth for his valuable suggestions and assistance with this article.