|Girls, be smart and get a Litvak! A man who has learned in Ponovitch.|
In the Jewish world, the Middle Ages have a different reputation than in the Christian world. In the Jewish world the Middle Ages are looked upon as the peak of Enlightenment. That is to say the "rishonim" are considered unsurpassed and also un-surpass-able. The best thing we can say about the Gra is he qualified as a rishon. It is considered that rishonim cant be wrong--at least in Torah subjects. But we admit they can be wrong about scientific issues.
I should add the the "rishonim" well deserve their reputation. But to see this takes years in yeshiva. Mainly the problem with achronim is fuzzy logic. This is mirrored in the Christian world where the best of philosophical thinkers after the middle ages show circular logic consistently.
David Hume wrote: The order in nature could equally well result from the intrinsic properties of matter itself. This he thought was an argument against intelligent design. The issue to be decided is whether the order in nature is the result of intelligent design. If it is, then the properties of matter (e.g the bonding properties of carbon and hydrogen) are also the result of intelligent design. Postulating a dichotomy between intelligent design and the properties of matter therefore amounts to postulating a priori that there is no design in nature. Hume (and all who follow him) essentially follow a grand circularity. That is called circular logic and proves nothing since anything can be proved if one is clever enough to conceal the circular nature of his arguments