Chazal and Mistakes in Science
I am learning Bava Basra in the mornings and I just learned daf 25b. After learning this sugya I cannot understand how anyone can say that Chazal were not mistaken in science.
The gemara there has a dispute between R' Eliezer and R' Yeshoshua.
R' Eliezer says that the world is like a three-walled building; the north side is not covered; The sun travels along the inside of the building during the day. When the sun reaches the northwest corner, it goes above the building (therefore we can't see it, and goes eastward overnight, and rises in the northeast in the morning).
R. Yehoshua says, the world is like a box, the north side is covered;
1. When the sun reaches the northwest corner, it goes (through a window) in back of the box.
2. "Holech El Darom v'Sovev El Tzafon" - the sun (always) travels along the south by day, and circles around the north side by night.
It is absolutely clear that the above is incorrect. We know that the world is not covered by anything and the sun doesn't go behind it. We know that the Earth spins and this is what causes the Sun to rise and set and we know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. These are not theories, they are facts and they are undisputable, we have all seen the pictures from space with our own eyes contradicting this gemara.
The Maharal explains this gemara allegorically. He understands that Chazal hid deeper meanings in statements like these describing the world. However, even according to the Maharal, Chazal did not just make this up, they were describing the world as they knew it, which was mistaken, and through that telling us secrets of Torah.
I will be thrilled if anyone can explain this gemara based on the observable facts that we have seen about the world. I do not believe that it can be done.
In the same vein as R' Nathan Kamenetsky said in his shiur at YU, I say, if believing that this portrayal of the movement of the Sun as the gemara describes is correct, is one of the Ikkarei Haemuna, we are in very deep trouble indeed.