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Subtle are Einstein's thoughts
Physics World via PhysicsWeb ^ | September 2005 | Alan H Batten

Posted on 09/10/2005 4:56:18 AM PDT by PatrickHenry

"Stop telling God what to do!" When Niels Bohr said these words to Albert Einstein - if indeed he ever did - it was probably in exasperation with Einstein's frequent repetition of the phrase "He does not play dice with the universe". The latter is perhaps the most famous of Einstein's many references to religion, although "The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not" comes a close second. There are many others too (see box below).

Scientific materialists, who regard all forms of religious belief as superstition, are often puzzled and even embarrassed by Einstein's frequent remarks about God. But conventional religious believers - knowing that Einstein was a Jew - often jump to the conclusion that he was referring to the traditional Judaeo-Christian God, and invoke his authority in support of their own beliefs.

I suspect that both groups have misunderstood Einstein and that we should all read more carefully what he wrote about science and religion. In 1940, for example, he submitted a paper to a conference on this subject in which he clearly stated that, in his view, there could be no "legitimate conflict between science and religion". The main source of conflict between the two, he argued, lay in the concept of "a personal God".

As the physicist Max Jammer describes in his 1999 book Einstein and Religion, that remark created a furore at the time. Many people in the US assumed that by denying the existence of a personal God, Einstein was denying any kind of God. What we now call the "religious right" was then vocal in its criticisms (and probably would be today).

However, Einstein's use of the word "God" was idiosyncratic. Indeed, Banesh Hoffmann - his biographer and former colleague - wrote that we do not know precisely what Einstein meant by the word. Perhaps, however, we can explore some of the things he did not mean.

Religious experience

As has been well documented, Einstein was born into a secularized Jewish family that did not observe any traditional rites. Nevertheless, stimulated by religious instruction from other relatives and at school, the young Einstein had an intensely religious phase that lasted for about a year. It came to what he later called an "abrupt end" at the age of 12, when he concluded that many Bible stories were incredible. At the same time, he discovered Euclidean geometry, which he then thought offered a level of certainty that no religion could.

After that early experience, Einstein never again took part in any formal religious observances - Jewish or Christian - except, perhaps, to attend the weddings or funerals of friends and relatives as a matter of courtesy. Looking back on his brief religious foray, Einstein wrote in his 1949 Autobiographical Notes that it was quite clear "that the religious paradise of youth...was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the 'merely personal', from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings".

Einstein felt that the insights into the universe given by science and mathematics were a greater and surer release from the "merely personal" than religion. He was awestruck by our ability to comprehend the universe, at least in part, and in later life remarked several times that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. This kind of awe, he believed, was essential for scientists and, indeed, for human beings.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious," he wrote in a 1931 essay. "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." This remark shows that Einstein defined religiosity in his own terms. Indeed, in the essay he goes on to distance himself from orthodox Jewish and Christian religion, expressing his disbelief in the idea that an individual can survive after their body dies or in any kind of final judgement. He was instead satisfied with the "devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature".

Pantheism and the personal God

Einstein's conviction that nature is rational is closely linked to his conception of God: he could not believe that God played dice with the universe, because that would be irrational. He accepted what he believed to be the corollary, namely that human beings have no free will. Einstein's other favourite saying - that the Lord is subtle but not malicious - is related to the same conviction of rationality. "Nature", he concluded, "hides her secret because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse."

For those who regard all forms of religious belief as superstition, it would be attractive to conclude that Einstein simply meant "nature" whenever he used the word "God". Indeed, identifying God with nature is known as pantheism, a belief that is generally attributed to the unorthodox Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677). We know that Einstein admired Spinoza greatly and, although he did not share all of his religious views, it would seem plausible to label Einstein a pantheist.

However, in 1929 - during a rare interview with a journalist - Einstein was directly asked if he believed in the God of Spinoza. "I can't answer with a simple yes or no," he replied. "I am not an atheist [and] I do not know if I can define myself as a pantheist." Indeed, pantheists view God and the universe as co-eternal and believe that there was no act of creation, whereas Einstein does seem to have regarded the universe as a creation.

But why did Einstein not believe in a personal God? To answer that question, we have to understand what he meant by the term. I would define a personal God as a God with whom human beings can have a relationship, analogous to those they have with one another. Although this idea might seem to indicate that God has a human form, I think it is perfectly possible to believe in a personal God who is not anthropomorphic. I suspect - but cannot clearly demonstrate - that Einstein sometimes confused the two ideas.

For example, while Einstein certainly did not like anthropomorphism, he still used personal terms, such as subtlety and malice, when speaking about God. Indeed, in his 1929 interview, the best simile he could think of for God was as the author of a whole library of books! Einstein would probably have defended himself by pointing to the limitations of human language, which make it almost impossible to avoid personal terminology completely.

But it is surprising that Einstein used such personal terms when talking about God, given that he saw his lifelong devotion to science as an attempt to transcend the "merely personal" in his own life; this suggests that he thought a personal God would be a limited God. Whatever he meant by "personal God", Einstein remained consistent in his opposition to the idea until the very end of his life.

Cosmic religion

Although Einstein was not always consistent in what he said about God, there is a consistent theme running through his thoughts on religion - a theme that he called "cosmic religion". He used this term to reflect the awe he felt when confronted with the universe and our ability to begin, at least, to comprehend it. Writing in 1930, he saw hints of this cosmic religion in the Psalms and the Hebrew prophets, and more clearly in Buddhism. This cosmic religion, he wrote, "knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it".

Einstein's dislike of organized religion is clear. Many people today, according to opinion polls, have similar ideas. They profess to believe in the spiritual - or even in God - yet rarely or never enter a church, mosque or synagogue. However, Einstein should not be regarded as their precursor. Their "new-age spirituality" is often anti-scientific, whereas Einstein's cosmic religion was based firmly on a profound understanding of the physical universe, and of its underlying mathematical structure.

Einstein also often referred to his feelings of mystery and awe. The mystery, it seems to me, had three elements. Why is there anything at all? Why is the universe rational and ordered? And how can we, with our limited human minds, understand and appreciate at least something of that ordered rationality? I believe he used the word "God" as a shorthand for all this because he could think of none better.

Einstein's condemnation of anthropomorphic images of God is at one with the most profound insights of all religions. He knew very well that the second commandment (which Jews and Muslims have kept more strictly than Christians) says we should not make any graven image and bow down and worship it. On that theme, Einstein agrees with the Hebrew prophets, whom he saw as forerunners of his cosmic religion.

Whether or not he meant more than their denunciations of idols when he denied belief in a personal God, I do not know. However, Einstein's cosmic religion differs both from orthodox monotheism and from scientific materialism because of his conviction that science and religion must work together to explore the mysteries that fascinated him. That, surely, is the meaning of another of his famous sayings: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Box:
Einstein on God and religion

*[Quantum] theory yields much, but it hardly brings us close to the Old One's secrets. I, in any case, am convinced He does not play dice. (1926, in a letter to Max Born)

*I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual who survives his physical death.... (1930, from an essay)

* We see a universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand those laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. (1929, part of his reply to the question: "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?")

* What I am really interested in is whether God could have created the world in a different way; in other words, whether the requirement of logical simplicity admits a margin of freedom. (Mid-1940s, remark reported by Ernst Gabor Straus, then Einstein's assistant)

* Then I would feel sorry for the good Lord. The theory is correct anyway. (1919, reply to his assistant, Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, who asked what he would have done had Eddington's eclipse measurements not supported general relativity)

* Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. (1941, from an essay)



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; einstein; stringtheory
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Seems like a good thread for the weekend.
1 posted on 09/10/2005 4:56:18 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
SciencePing
An elite subset of the Evolution list.
See the list's explanation at my freeper homepage.
Then FReepmail to be added or dropped.

2 posted on 09/10/2005 4:57:04 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Discoveries attributable to the scientific method -- 100%; to creation science -- zero.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Shhhh!


3 posted on 09/10/2005 5:19:16 AM PDT by bkepley
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To: PatrickHenry

Well. Now that he's left this mortal coil, he probably has a fair idea of what the truth is.


4 posted on 09/10/2005 5:30:57 AM PDT by siunevada
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To: PatrickHenry

"In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests"

Albert Einstein, "Science and Religion", Out of my Later Years, 1950


5 posted on 09/10/2005 5:32:23 AM PDT by djf (Government wants the same things I do - MY guns, MY property, MY freedoms!)
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To: PatrickHenry

I am not worried what Einstein thought about God. The man was not even good with personal relationships, so his views on supernatural ones are somewhat suspect.


6 posted on 09/10/2005 6:40:17 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: PatrickHenry
Probably a good idea. You'd think Einstein was some kind of snake-handler the way his quotes get bandied about by the miracle-peddlers.
7 posted on 09/10/2005 7:08:11 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Another one, from his late years "I want to learn to think like God thinks"


8 posted on 09/10/2005 7:14:19 AM PDT by Vision (When Hillary Says She's Going To Put The Military On Our Borders...She Becomes Our Next President)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


9 posted on 09/10/2005 7:20:00 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: siunevada
Well. Now that he's left this mortal coil, he probably has a fair idea of what the truth is.

If a way is ever found to recreate individual consciousness after death and destruction of the body then we all will.

10 posted on 09/10/2005 7:50:06 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: djf; Physicist
"In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests"

I think what Einstein meant is that God is what He is, not what we want Him to be, which is very similar to what Physicist says sometimes.

11 posted on 09/10/2005 7:57:09 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: Right Wing Assault
The man was not even good with personal relationships

He was a babe magnet. Goedel, though, wouldn't be in the same room as a germ.

12 posted on 09/10/2005 7:58:37 AM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: PatrickHenry
My favorite: "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." - Albert Einstein

Others:

http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/EinsteinQuotes.html

13 posted on 09/10/2005 8:15:08 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: Right Wing Assault
"The man was not even good with personal relationships"

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

14 posted on 09/10/2005 8:22:56 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: PatrickHenry

Einstein was a theologian too?


15 posted on 09/10/2005 8:25:57 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: PatrickHenry
"Stop telling God what to do!" When Niels Bohr said these words to Albert Einstein.

But Albert was smarter than God. /sarcasm

Brilliant physicist, amateurish theologian.

16 posted on 09/10/2005 8:29:37 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: JCEccles
Brilliant physicist, amateurish theologian.

He was even worse in economics. The guy was a socialist. Anyway, everyone has thoughts on theology. It's always interesting to see what a really intelligent person has to say -- for whatever it may be worth. We get more than enough strident theological proclamations by people who have no clue about anything.

17 posted on 09/10/2005 8:38:22 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Discoveries attributable to the scientific method -- 100%; to creation science -- zero.)
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To: Moonman62
If a way is ever found to recreate individual consciousness after death and destruction of the body then we all will.

I don't think I would. The entire idea of living forever makes me feel very tired.

18 posted on 09/10/2005 8:41:54 AM PDT by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: PatrickHenry

To me, Einstein's theology wasn't amateurish at all. Painfully honest.

God is unknowable. That's the honest truth.

You won't understand God by reading a book. That's the honest truth.

Put down the books and look around you, look outside, then you'll begin to understand God.

Einstein was able to prove things about physics that persuaded him that the universe moves according to predictable and knowable forces. That told him a lot about God, and it tells us all a lot about God.


19 posted on 09/10/2005 8:46:34 AM PDT by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: PatrickHenry
"The guy was a socialist."

From 1933 until 1955, the Federal Bureau of Investigation compiled a 2,000-page file on Albert Einstein, hoping to "destroy" his immense stature by linking him to Soviet espionage activities. At one point, not long before the scientist's death, a serious attempt was made to have him deported. This alarming campaign--responsible in large part for Einstein's exclusion from the Manhattan Project--is the subject of Fred Jerome's The Einstein File. Einstein's disloyalty, in the FBI's view, was clearly evidenced by his adamant political stances. He was a socialist, a pacifist (though he advocated war with Germany), and an outspoken foe of McCarthyism, nuclear war, and racism. Jerome's skillful narrative weaves the file's hateful (and often ludicrously inaccurate) entries with American political history, creating an invaluable context for both Einstein's views and the FBI's actions. Further, Jerome points to the more recent "sanitizing" of Einstein, from angry activist to "genial, absent-minded professor." This is a fascinating, compelling tale, one that reads like the strangest of fictions. --H. O'Billovich

Here is the link to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312288565/ref=pm_dp_ln_b_6/002-7865334-7653614?v=glance&s=books&vi=reviews

20 posted on 09/10/2005 8:50:19 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: CobaltBlue

Exactly!


21 posted on 09/10/2005 8:53:05 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: RightWhale

Sure he was a babe magnet because he was a famous, quirky looking guy. What real babe wouldn't want to be with the most famous scientist in the world? She could brag to her babe friends that SHE slept with Albert Einstein. But being a magnet is different from 'personal relationships'. I wonder how long each babe stayed with him?


22 posted on 09/10/2005 9:09:26 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: CobaltBlue; VadeRetro
God is unknowable. That's the honest truth.

You won't understand God by reading a book. That's the honest truth.

Despite Einstein's unbelief, God is such a personal and knowable God, He chose to become a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. It doesn't get any more personal and knowable than that.

Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

It has been traditionally thought by the originators of Western Civilization that the Holy Spirit inspired and preserved the Old and New Testament. It has been taught by the vast majority of the founders of our American Universities that the only valid revelation from the Creator is the Old and New Testament.

Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Mat 8:7-10
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this [man], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth [it].
10 When Jesus heard [it], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

This guy didn't fight authority as Americans with our "fairness doctrine" do.

Modern people are to full of ourselves to have the humility to accept God's authority. If we aren't the prime mover in our lives, it isn't fair. Glorifying victumhood is Academia's pride and joy (God isn't good to me therefore he doesn't exist).

Think it through; I know I need to regularly!

23 posted on 09/10/2005 9:21:33 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: bondserv
Despite Einstein's unbelief, God is such a personal and knowable God, He chose to become a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. It doesn't get any more personal and knowable than that.

Your assertions != evidence.
24 posted on 09/10/2005 9:24:27 AM PDT by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: FireTrack

Thus: anti-commies like McCarthy were bad, fellow travelers were the good, noble, misunderstood? You provide a link for Freepers to buy this book? Are you sure you are on the right website?


25 posted on 09/10/2005 9:32:57 AM PDT by Zechariah11
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To: JCEccles; PatrickHenry
Brilliant physicist, amateurish theologian.

And the same can be said about Isaac Newton. At least Einstein wasted very littke time on theology.

26 posted on 09/10/2005 9:37:47 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. - William Pitt)
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To: Dimensio
Your assertions != evidence.

There is this pesky thing called the Resurrection, which permenantly changed mankind like no other event in history. The miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proved to the world the authority of His words.

The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign

Mat 12:38-41
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."

39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41
The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

27 posted on 09/10/2005 9:44:34 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: Dimensio
Mat 12:39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

The word adulterous here is refering to those who are breakers of the First Commandment. Adulterous towards our Creator.

Scientism replaces the Creator.

Exd 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

28 posted on 09/10/2005 9:54:35 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: bondserv
"There is this pesky thing called the Resurrection, which permenantly changed mankind like no other event in history. The miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proved to the world the authority of His words."

Your assertions!= evidence.
29 posted on 09/10/2005 9:58:13 AM PDT by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: Zechariah11
"Thus: anti-commies like McCarthy were bad, fellow travelers were the good, noble, misunderstood?"

Wow, what a stretch... You obviously didn't read the entire post.

You provide a link for Freepers to buy this book?

Yea, it is pretty well researched/interesting reading for those who might wish to learn Einstein's economic leanings and of little known problems with the FBI. Keep in mind that his passion was mathematics/physics but his speaking truthfully of what was on his mind often got him into trouble.

Are you sure you are on the right website?

As long as this site upholds the freedom of religion, of thought and of expression I am. I see I been here a couple of years longer than you. Reading posts more thoroughly and without jumping to conclusions helps to cut down on the misunderstandings.

:-)

30 posted on 09/10/2005 9:59:41 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Your assertions!= evidence.

History asserts.

If you want to revise it, be sure to include disclaimers.

31 posted on 09/10/2005 10:03:34 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: bondserv
It has been taught by the vast majority of the founders of our American Universities that the only valid revelation from the Creator is the Old and New Testament.

I don't think it's possible to study science & nature without being moved by it. The Bible is an awesome book; but you can't convince me that the universe is not also a revelation of God. Nothing teaches man greater humility before the Infinite than to see his insignificant place in the midst of time and the cosmos.

It looks to me as if Einstein shared the same humility before God as you, even though his reasoning towards that end was different than yours.

32 posted on 09/10/2005 10:04:27 AM PDT by Quark2005 (Where's the science?)
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To: Quark2005
I don't think it's possible to study science & nature without being moved by it. The Bible is an awesome book; but you can't convince me that the universe is not also a revelation of God. Nothing teaches man greater humility before the Infinite than to see his insignificant place in the midst of time and the cosmos.

I agree with what you are saying. I should have clarified my remarks by saying, "The Bible is the only Holy Book that is a valid revelation from God."

Thank you for making that distinction. Clearly I believe that God also reveals his ways through His creation; as my tag line indicates.

33 posted on 09/10/2005 10:18:18 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: PatrickHenry
[ for whatever it may be worth. We get more than enough strident theological proclamations by people who have no clue about anything. ]

Or lots of clues about everything..

34 posted on 09/10/2005 10:20:13 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been ok'ed by me to included some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Right Wing Assault; PatrickHenry; VadeRetro; Moonman62; FireTrack; Raycpa; JCEccles; bondserv; ...
I am not worried what Einstein thought about God.

Well, the point is that a lot of creationists are. They're quite fond of quoting Einstein out of context (creationists disingenuously using quotes out of context? What a surprise! [2]) in order to bash people over the head by saying in effect, "if this really smart guy sees God in the universe, how can you be dumb enough to disagree with the genius?"

That would be a sleazy, fallacious argument even if Einstein *had* actually believed in a "personal God", but it's even more slimy when, in fact, Einstein did *not* actually subscribe to the kind of God the creationists say he did, and in fact Einstein found the creationists' idea of God to be, in his words, "naive".

Here's a perfect example from a recent FreeRepublic thread -- along with my response:

What are you so afraid of that you would say such a thing so obviously at odds with the "gods" of your profession? [...] And dude, seriously, Einstein believed in God, too. That the universe was His creation. He saw God's hand in even the "slightest details" as he put it.

Just not *your* God. Creationists like to selectively quote Einstein out of context to make it appear that he endorsed *their* notions of God, but as even your own next quote hints, he actually found that notion of a "personal God" to be childish:

"Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man.... In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive. [Albert Einstein]"
Let's have a look at some of the quotes that the creationists like to sweep under the rug, shall we?
"In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task..."
-- Albert Einstein, "Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A Symposium", published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941.
And:
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
-- Albert Einstein, letter dated 24 March 1954, included in "Albert Einstein: The Human Side".
And:
"It is quite possible that we can do greater things than Jesus, for what is written in the Bible about him is poetically embellished."
-- Albert Einstein, quoted in W. I Hermanns "A Talk with Einstein," October 1943
And:
"My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950
And:
"To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to an Iowa student who asked, What is God? July, 1953; Einstein Archive
And:
"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.... This is a somewhat new kind of religion."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to Hans Muehsam March 30, 1954; Einstein Archive
And:
"I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."
-- Albert Einstein, 1954 or 1955; quoted in Dukas and Hoffman, Albert Einstein the Human Side
And:
"I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls."
-- Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, Secaucus, New Jersy: The Citadel Press
And:
"The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve."
-- Albert Einstein in a letter to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952; Einstein Archive 59-797
And:
"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems."
-- Albert Einstein, 1947; from Banesh Hoffmann, Albert Einstein Creator and Rebel, New York
And:
"I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to a Baptist pastor in 1953; from Albert Einstein the Human Side, Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, eds., Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 39.
And:
"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."
-- Albert Einstein, quoted in The New York Times obituary, April 19, 1955; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Thoughts, New York: Ballantine Books, 1996, p. 134.
And:
"Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees."
-- Albert Einstein, "Religion and Science," in the New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930, pp. 3-4; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, pp. 205-206.
And:
"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one."
-- Albert Einstein, to Guy H. Raner Jr., September 28, 1949; from Michael R. Gilmore, "Einstein's God: Just What Did Einstein Believe About God?," Skeptic, 1997, 5(2):64.
And:
"I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist. Your counter-arguments seem to me very correct and could hardly be better formulated. It is always misleading to use anthropomorphical concepts in dealing with things outside the human sphere—childish analogies. We have to admire in humility the beautiful harmony of the structure of this world as far—as we can grasp it. And that is all."
-- Albert Einstein, to Guy H. Raner Jr., July 2, 1945, responding to a rumor that a Jesuit priest had caused Einstein to convert from atheism; from Michael R. Gilmore, "Einstein's God: Just What Did Einstein Believe About God?," Skeptic, 1997, 5(2):62.
Einstein's "God", his "religion", was the deep spiritual awe he felt in contemplation of the majestic breadth and depth and orderliness of the Universe itself:
"The religious feeling engendered by experiencing the logical comprehensibility of profound interrelations is of a somewhat different sort from the feeling that one usually calls religious. It is more a feeling of awe at the scheme that is manifested in the material universe. It does not lead us to take the step of fashioning a god-like being in our own image-a personage who makes demands of us and who takes an interest in us as individuals. There is in this neither a will nor a goal, nor a must, but only sheer being. For this reason, people of our type see in morality a purely human matter, albeit the most important in the human sphere."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to a Rabbi in Chicago; from Albert Einstein the Human Side, Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, eds., Princeton University Press, 1981, pp. 69-70.

Ya see, pal? He believes in a God-created universe? INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED BY GOD! What part of that ain't ya gettin'?!

The part where you grossly misrepresent the nature of Einstein's "God" -- the part where *you* "ain't gettin'" the first thing about what Einstein actually believed. Einstein believed in "God" as the humbling scope of the Universe *itself*, absent any anthropomorphized "intelligence", absent any conscious "designer". In short, Einstein's God was Nature, in all its awe-inspiring glory.

From Einstein to Hoyle to Hawking, a great number of the world's top physicists beleive or are amenable to the idea that the UNIVERSE has been intelligently designed.

You're wrong about Einstein, Hoyle was a crank, and at best Hawking leaves room for the possibility while also pointing out the possibilities of natural origins.

So where are you going with this, if anywhere?

Consider yourself skooled.

In order to "skool" me, you would have to know more about the subject than I do, which so far seems highly unlikely, since much of what you "know" is distorted, fallacious, or outright incorrect.

Goodnight and goooooooooood riddance.

You would do well to use less adolescent "attitude" and more substance and research. Cutting-and-pasting stuff from creationist websites leaves you at a huge disadvantage. Try expanding your horizons with a broader range of sources and, you know, that "education" thing.


35 posted on 09/10/2005 10:20:53 AM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: PatrickHenry

All these quotes are taken from his writings during the "middle-age-crisis" time of his life; do any more exist from his mid-fifties to his death at 76?


36 posted on 09/10/2005 10:23:29 AM PDT by Old Professer (Some infinitives deserve to be split.)
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To: Oztrich Boy
And the same can be said about Isaac Newton. At least Einstein wasted very littke time on theology.

And even less than his predecessor did on alchemy!

37 posted on 09/10/2005 10:26:11 AM PDT by longshadow
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To: Ichneumon

"When will I ever learn to read all the posts before piping up?," Old Professer says shamefully.


38 posted on 09/10/2005 10:28:14 AM PDT by Old Professer (Some infinitives deserve to be split.)
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To: Quark2005
Well said.

Ever delve into entanglement?

39 posted on 09/10/2005 10:28:20 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: bondserv
There is this pesky thing called the Resurrection, which permenantly changed mankind like no other event in history.

Yes, yes, mankind no longer engaged in wars, stopped sinning, and treated each other with love and respect.

Oh, wait...

Okay, I give up -- what actually *did* "permanently change"? To the degree of being "like no other event in history"? Frankly, the world seems the same as it always has.

The miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proved to the world the authority of His words.

Then why does the majority of "the world" remain unpersuaded by this "proof"? Something appears to be wrong with your presumptions.

40 posted on 09/10/2005 10:28:53 AM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: hosepipe; PatrickHenry
"Or lots of clues about everything."

I'm afraid I resemble that remark.

:-)

41 posted on 09/10/2005 10:31:12 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: VadeRetro
"I am not an atheist"
--Einstein
:-)

42 posted on 09/10/2005 10:32:26 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Quark2005
I don't think it's possible to study science & nature without being moved by it. The Bible is an awesome book; but you can't convince me that the universe is not also a revelation of God. Nothing teaches man greater humility before the Infinite than to see his insignificant place in the midst of time and the cosmos.

I agree with what you are saying. I should have clarified my remarks by saying, "The Bible is the only Holy Book that is a valid revelation from God."

Thank you for making that distinction. Clearly I believe that God also reveals his ways through His creation; as my tag line indicates.

43 posted on 09/10/2005 10:34:45 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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To: Ichneumon
"Einstein found the creationists' idea of God to be, in his words, "naive"."

And we haven't even discussed the lesser Gods and Demons...

44 posted on 09/10/2005 10:47:40 AM PDT by FireTrack
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To: FireTrack
Ever delve into entanglement?

As in quantum entanglement and action-at-a-distance?

I know a bit about it, but I'm no expert. I've had several semesters worth of grad. level quantum physics; I spent a little time studying Bell's inequality & its implications, but it was a few years ago; I've since moved on to other areas of work - and as they say with all science knowledge, "use it or lose it". Quantum entanglement is not an easy subject to get your mind around.

It is my opinion that the theological (and even physical) implications of entanglement, while important, are somewhat exaggerated, however. I do know that the biggest misconception about it is that quantum entanglement somehow allows one to sidestep the effects of relavity (and the speed limit of light), when in fact, it really does not.

45 posted on 09/10/2005 10:49:10 AM PDT by Quark2005 (Where's the science?)
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To: FireTrack
relavity

I meant relativity of course. (Embarrassing to misspell this word on an Einstein thread....)

46 posted on 09/10/2005 10:52:51 AM PDT by Quark2005 (Where's the science?)
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To: Right Wing Assault
he was a famous, quirky looking guy

I would not know personally, but apparently he was very lively, personable and outgoing, had an excellent sense of humor, and was quite relaxed in social situations, and was the only friend of Goedel. Goedel was the opposite in almost every way, yet had a very close home life.

47 posted on 09/10/2005 10:54:14 AM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: Ichneumon
Do you think Einstein believed that God exists or he just referred to him as another way to describe nature?
48 posted on 09/10/2005 11:04:10 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: RightWhale
Einstein was quirky-looking in his later years (a fate that probably awaits us all), but as a younger man -- although he was nobody's idea of a movie-star, I can understand that he may have had a way with the ladies:


49 posted on 09/10/2005 11:16:45 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Discoveries attributable to the scientific method -- 100%; to creation science -- zero.)
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To: Ichneumon
Then why does the majority of "the world" remain unpersuaded by this "proof"? Something appears to be wrong with your presumptions.

Your thoughts were foresaw by God and He inspired Paul to clear things up for us. Bolded for your convenience.

Rom 1:18-32
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, *sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, *unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

50 posted on 09/10/2005 11:22:46 AM PDT by bondserv (Creation sings a song of praise, Declaring the wonders of Your ways )
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