The effect of this opinion of Maimonides and Saadia Gaon had no effect on the Jewish Orthodox world, but had an enormous effect on the world of Reform and Conservative Judaism.
The world of Orthodox Judaism was shifted into railroad tracks that were not constructed by Gaonim nor the Rambam. Rather by people that choose to ignore the Rambam because they were convinced that they knew better how to be religious. That is religious delusional fanatics.
I know the Rambam (Maimonides) wanted to make what he calls Physics and Metaphysics as a higher type of service of God.
So far I have not seen this done, or even taken seriously. When people in the Jewish world want to serve God nowadays, they go to learn Talmud. It is rare or never that they go to university to learn Physics. It, in fact, would be considered the height of folly to be involved in Physics for the sake of God. But not to me. I have tried to follow this advice of the Rambam ever since I heard of it, because it is not just the opinion of the Rambam that I am depending on for this, but also the opinion of my parents.
The way I see this is that the natural sciences are the wisdom of God contained in his Creation.
And I should mention that the two places I studied Physics at were amazing--Hebrew University at first and then Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Professor Elitzur, Sorin Solomon (who gave me the classic text Gravity), at HU and Prof Van Wagenen (who put up with my constant questions) and Prof Arnold at Polytechnic: Thank you. Plus the students at Hebrew U that helped me catch up, Michal bat Beila, and Noel at Polytechnic and all the others. There was a whole group that helped me, but I forgot most of their names. Without their help, I would have been lost. Without Michal's help, nothing would have begun. She showed me the way to derive the derivative of x^2. That one 15 minute session opened the door of Mathematics to me.
When I was young the idea of being self taught was also emphasized in our home. So if you are like me and not able to be part of a Physics program at a university and have to do the work at home I recommend just saying the words and going on and then reviewing the whole book as a whole--of what ever text you have available.