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# Einstein proves Religion

ThePolemistis
A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil."

The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"

The other students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color.

You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's Inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name - Albert Einstein
Gagnar The Unruly
This is a well documented urban legend, and it is understood that no such interaction ever took place between Albert Einstein and anybody.
ThePolemistis
 Gagnar The Unruly wrote: This is a well documented urban legend, and it is understood that no such interaction ever took place between Albert Einstein and anybody.

my source is a jewish author writing about another Jew. Read his book, "When bad things happen to good people" by Harold S. Kushner.

Gagnar The Unruly
I can only provide internet sources for backup, and I tend not to trust those too much. There are reasons why it immediately didn't ring true to me. The language is a bit trite and forced, and the logic is flawed. It also seems fishy because it plays up archetypes (the atheist professor) and sage student (here, Einstein). Einstein has said things better himself (translated from German):

 from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Dukas and Hoffman, Eds. Princeton UP. 1979. wrote: I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God. (on the meaning of life:) If you ask for the purpose or goal of society as a whole or of an individual taken as a whole the question loses its meaning. This is, of course, even more so if you ask the purpose or meaning of nature in general. For in those cases it seems quite arbitrary if not unreasonable to assume somebody whose desires are connected with the happenings. Nevertheless we all feel that it is indeed very reasonable and important to ask ourselves how we should try to conduct our lives. The answer is, in my opinion: satisfaction of the desires and needs of all, as far as this can be achieved, and achievement of harmony and beauty in the human relationships. This presupposes a good deal of conscious thought and of self-education.

The quotes portray a much more nuanced view of God and nature than the one portrayed in your anectdote. If you are interested in what Einstein really had to say about religion, you should go to the source. Much is written down, in Einstein's own words.

Regarding the quote, internet sources claim that it had been circulating prior to 2004, when it was first attributed to Einstein. I'm satisfied with that explanation. If you are curious, Google "Einstein cold evil professor" or something like that, and read away.

I challenge you to determine names, dates, and locations for the anectdote, or any reference Einstein has personally made to that event!
xalophus
 Einstein, allegedly wrote: Evil is simply the absence of God.

Even if we were to assume this anecdote is true - Einstein still only proved that the hypothetical God is NOT omnipresent.

I fail to see how that means "Einstein proves religion".

If anything, what Einstein allegedly proved actually debunks what most religions claim .

Associating a formidable intellectual's name with a flawed logic will not make any logical thinker blindly accept it as true - it only highlights the futility of the attempt.
ThePolemistis
Gagnar The Unruly wrote:
I can only provide internet sources for backup, and I tend not to trust those too much. There are reasons why it immediately didn't ring true to me. The language is a bit trite and forced, and the logic is flawed. It also seems fishy because it plays up archetypes (the atheist professor) and sage student (here, Einstein). Einstein has said things better himself (translated from German):

 from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Dukas and Hoffman, Eds. Princeton UP. 1979. wrote: I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God. (on the meaning of life:) If you ask for the purpose or goal of society as a whole or of an individual taken as a whole the question loses its meaning. This is, of course, even more so if you ask the purpose or meaning of nature in general. For in those cases it seems quite arbitrary if not unreasonable to assume somebody whose desires are connected with the happenings. Nevertheless we all feel that it is indeed very reasonable and important to ask ourselves how we should try to conduct our lives. The answer is, in my opinion: satisfaction of the desires and needs of all, as far as this can be achieved, and achievement of harmony and beauty in the human relationships. This presupposes a good deal of conscious thought and of self-education.

The quotes portray a much more nuanced view of God and nature than the one portrayed in your anectdote. If you are interested in what Einstein really had to say about religion, you should go to the source. Much is written down, in Einstein's own words.

Regarding the quote, internet sources claim that it had been circulating prior to 2004, when it was first attributed to Einstein. I'm satisfied with that explanation. If you are curious, Google "Einstein cold evil professor" or something like that, and read away.

I challenge you to determine names, dates, and locations for the anectdote, or any reference Einstein has personally made to that event!

The quote that you provide is most liekly the response of Einstein in his later life (due to complex of language). When he was youunger, he was perhaps more inspired towards religion. For instance, both Hitler and Stalin were obendient Christians in their youth. Hitler especially, attended CHurch and believed he was fulfilling Gods commands by killing the Jews. However, in Hitlers later life, i.e. by the time he came to power, he also began to attack Christianity.

Thus my conclusion is that, by contradicting Einstein earlier year responses with that of his later life is fruitless in the sense taht it does not invalidate my quote of Einstein in the first post.
Gagnar The Unruly
You are, of course, free to draw your own conclusions. I would mention the fact that Einstein didn't become a celebrity until later in his life, and I wonder how likely he would've been to recount a story that presented a perspective that was counter to his beliefs? Also, I think you'll find that by his college years, Einstein had become a skeptic regarding religion.

Also, as xalophus mentions, the anectdote is not a proof of the existance of God. In fact, it is probably impossible to prove the existance of God, as Einstein was certainly aware. If God could be proven to exist, God could be believed in without requiring faith. Without faith, religion would be pointless. Religious experts should be glad that it's impossible to prove the existance of God.
Indi
i could have sworn this was already dealt with in another thread.

 ThePolemistis wrote: The quote that you provide is most liekly the response of Einstein in his later life (due to complex of language). When he was youunger, he was perhaps more inspired towards religion.

According to Einstein his belief in God came to an "abrupt end" at the age of 12 (Quote: "I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."). So you're suggesting that he made this argument at age 11? In the year 1890 (absolute zero had only been around a couple of decades by that point)?
The Conspirator
As Gagnar said, its well documented and false.
http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp
tingkagol
 Indi wrote: i could have sworn this was already dealt with in another thread.

history repeats itself. (annoyingly)
The Conspirator
They like to repeat the same story's over and over no matter how much bunk they are.
tempdbs
 ThePolemistis wrote: A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?" A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!" "God created everything?" The professor asked. "Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied. The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil." The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?" "What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The other students snickered at the young man's question. The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat." The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?" The professor responded, "Of course it does." The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present." Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's Inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil. To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light." The professor sat down. The young man's name - Albert Einstein

Dear ThePolemistis,

From where did you avail this scrap & We are not getting what you wanna to prove by your lengthy story.

 Quote: my source is a jewish author writing about another Jew. Read his book, "When bad things happen to good people" by Harold S. Kushner
.

Nobody have this book and can you provide a link for this book availability.
moworks2
 ThePolemistis wrote: A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?" A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!" "God created everything?" The professor asked. "Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied. The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil." The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?" "What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The other students snickered at the young man's question. The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat." The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?" The professor responded, "Of course it does." The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present." Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's Inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil. To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light." The professor sat down. The young man's name - Albert Einstein

Nice story, I mean I just love professors who act like they know everything being humbled,...just a little...

kind regards...

M
Indi
You know the most ironic thing about this silly little allegory? Einstein was a "know-it-all" professor who claimed that God did not exist. You could just as easily rewrite it with Einstein in the role of the professor and Richard Dawkins in the role of the smart-ass kid.
HereticMonkey
 Indi wrote: You know the most ironic thing about this silly little allegory? Einstein was a "know-it-all" professor who claimed that God did not exist. You could just as easily rewrite it with Einstein in the role of the professor and Richard Dawkins in the role of the smart-ass kid.

This is only half-accurate. Although Einstein started out as basically an atheist (I tend to discount any religious beliefs prior to the onset of puberty, as the child is too much a part of his parents), he started having a belief in some sort of supreme being later in life (mostly due to the atomic bomb, but also his own work). Not saying he was a major convert, or that the anecdote is true by any means (although picturing Einstein in a revival tent is sorta funny), but that he grew into a belief as he got older...

HM
The Conspirator
The title of topic is "Einstein proves Religion", if the story where true (which its not) how would it prove religion? I could just as easily say "Good is the absence of God", "evil is the absence of compassion", or "good and evil don't exist, they are words made up by people to justify there actions"
ThePolemistis
yo,,, i know there is another thread having the same contents as mine.. so I apologise... but ill give ur responses here.

 The Conspirator wrote: The title of topic is "Einstein proves Religion", if the story where true (which its not) how would it prove religion? I could just as easily say "Good is the absence of God", "evil is the absence of compassion", or "good and evil don't exist, they are words made up by people to justify there actions"

Sorry about the title... Einstein proves existence of God is perhaps a better title. happy?

 Indi wrote: According to Einstein his belief in God came to an "abrupt end" at the age of 12 (Quote: "I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."). So you're suggesting that he made this argument at age 11? In the year 1890 (absolute zero had only been around a couple of decades by that point)?

Whilst absolute zero was perhaps founded like half a century before Einsteins remark towards the university professor, which in my view is sufficent for the concept to be accepted in society and manifestly so, however, we must also note that the absolute zero in the sense -273 was coined at that time, although many centuries before it, scientists did come up with a maximum, or minimum rather, freezing point near the 273 mark.
So my conclusion:
1. 50 years is sufficient for absolute zero to be accepted
2. Absolute zero is simply a term used, and can denote 273 or anything else depending on what time period you look at.

 The Conspirator wrote: As Gagnar said, its well documented and false. http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

Your site does not at all seem creditable, unlike mine who is from a well known author with a best selling book.

 tempdbs wrote: Nobody have this book and can you provide a link for this book availability. Please support your scrap by means of a public link

The book is a best seller and available on amazon. A simple search in google will yield the answer you require.. Unfortuanetly, I have neither the enthusiasm nor the time but im sure you do.

 Indi wrote: You know the most ironic thing about this silly little allegory? Einstein was a "know-it-all" professor who claimed that God did not exist. You could just as easily rewrite it with Einstein in the role of the professor and Richard Dawkins in the role of the smart-ass kid.

Einstein did believe in a God as you said so in your previous post. The question is not debating on his belief in God, the real question is What God is it?
Is it the sense of God that is written in the scriptures, or is it of a supernatural God perhaps composed of the four fundamental elements or some other. My post should have read "Einstein proves God" and I am deeply sorry for teh mistake it read Einstein proves religion.

Anyhow, I think for you to argue with me on this point, you first need to ask, what is the definition of God, and further, if Einstein would support this definition. It seems your mind is automatically attributed towards a God of the scriptures (perhaps inspired due to my initial subject for which I have already given my humblest apologies.

 HereticMonkey wrote: This is only half-accurate. Although Einstein started out as basically an atheist (I tend to discount any religious beliefs prior to the onset of puberty, as the child is too much a part of his parents), he started having a belief in some sort of supreme being later in life (mostly due to the atomic bomb, but also his own work). Not saying he was a major convert, or that the anecdote is true by any means (although picturing Einstein in a revival tent is sorta funny), but that he grew into a belief as he got older...

This view *completely* contradicts that of Indis. Whos is right?

[quote="The title of topic is "Einstein proves Religion", if the story where true (which its not) how would it prove religion? I could just as easily say "Good is the absence of God", "evil is the absence of compassion", or "good and evil don't exist, they are words made up by people to justify there actions"]

Dude... i made a mistak... Einstein proves existence of God... are u happy now?
The Conspirator
 ThePolemistis wrote: Sorry about the title... Einstein proves existence of God is perhaps a better title.

It doesn't do that ether, I could take the argument and change God to compaction, or conscience, or even say evil and good don't exist at all.

 Quote: Your site does not at all seem creditable, unlike mine who is from a well known author with a best selling book.

1. Just cause some one is a well known author dose not mean they are credible, just look at Michael Crichton and Dan Brown, they both said there books where based on a true premise when the premise's are complete crap.
2. Snopes.com is a very credible site, its a site that deals with urban legends, it talks about the validity and history of urban legends like the Einstein and professor one you used.
Gagnar The Unruly
Hereticmonkey and Indi aren't contradicting one another, they are just talking about different phases in Einstein's life. He started life indoctrinated, became a skeptic in his 'tweens, and evolved his spirituality in his later years and began exploring the universe.

Also, you may have a reliable source, but if his/her source is unreliable, then there still could be a mistake. I am curious to see how your source cites his/her source.
Indi
ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: According to Einstein his belief in God came to an "abrupt end" at the age of 12 (Quote: "I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."). So you're suggesting that he made this argument at age 11? In the year 1890 (absolute zero had only been around a couple of decades by that point)?

Whilst absolute zero was perhaps founded like half a century before Einsteins remark towards the university professor, which in my view is sufficent for the concept to be accepted in society and manifestly so, however, we must also note that the absolute zero in the sense -273 was coined at that time, although many centuries before it, scientists did come up with a maximum, or minimum rather, freezing point near the 273 mark.
So my conclusion:
1. 50 years is sufficient for absolute zero to be accepted
2. Absolute zero is simply a term used, and can denote 273 or anything else depending on what time period you look at.

Doesn't work like that, dude. A new scientific concept does not become public knowledge the moment the scientist comes up with it. It must be published, peer-reviewed, debated and then accepted. That takes years and years, perhaps even decades.

And then once it has reached scientific consensus it has to enter the public consciousness. Again, that can take decades.

And then it has to become so common-place that a 12-year old might come across it.

Could it have happened? Possibly, but highly unlikely. However, you're still not out of the woods.

You're assuming that what i was talking about was the actual concept of "absolute zero", and probably dated it from Kelvin. You are mistaken. The fact is that when Kelvin wrote about absolute zero, he did not consider it the absolute absence of heat, he considered it "infinite cold". In fact, the idea that absolute zero represents a total absence of kinetic and/or transmissable energy (and that a material would be "incapable of reaction") did not come from Kelvin. It came from Boltzmann. In ~1880 (but i allowed as far back as 1870, which is why i said "a couple of decades").

So... no. Doesn't fly.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: You know the most ironic thing about this silly little allegory? Einstein was a "know-it-all" professor who claimed that God did not exist. You could just as easily rewrite it with Einstein in the role of the professor and Richard Dawkins in the role of the smart-ass kid.

Einstein did believe in a God as you said so in your previous post. The question is not debating on his belief in God, the real question is What God is it?
Is it the sense of God that is written in the scriptures, or is it of a supernatural God perhaps composed of the four fundamental elements or some other. My post should have read "Einstein proves God" and I am deeply sorry for teh mistake it read Einstein proves religion.

Anyhow, I think for you to argue with me on this point, you first need to ask, what is the definition of God, and further, if Einstein would support this definition. It seems your mind is automatically attributed towards a God of the scriptures (perhaps inspired due to my initial subject for which I have already given my humblest apologies.

It's not enough to determine whether or not Einstein believed in God, or what conceptions he might have had of that God. The question would be what did Einstein think of God when he allegedly made that speech.

The God that Einstein talked about for most of his life has absolutely no relation to the concept being described in this example. Einstein's God was neither the creator of evil, nor the creator of good. Einstein's God was Spinoza's God. Of course, that must have only happened after he read Spinoza, which i know was earlier than 1920, but nothing more than that. Further, Einstein also said: "... I came — though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents — to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."

So, here's the chronology:
? to 12: Jewish.
12 to 40 (at the latest): Nothing certain, but probably pantheist for most of it (most likely Spinozist, even if he hadn't actually read Spinoza - probably read Spinoza at college age, though).
40 to death: Spinozist.

The only period in there that he could have believed in a God that is in any way relevant to that supposed speech of his would be before 12. If his "religiousness" was done at 12, he wouldn't make that argument after (later on he adopted a new definition of "religious" that actually has nothing to do with religion).

So, does that speech sound like something a 12 year-old Jewish kid would have made back in the late 1800's? i don't think so.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 HereticMonkey wrote: This is only half-accurate. Although Einstein started out as basically an atheist (I tend to discount any religious beliefs prior to the onset of puberty, as the child is too much a part of his parents), he started having a belief in some sort of supreme being later in life (mostly due to the atomic bomb, but also his own work). Not saying he was a major convert, or that the anecdote is true by any means (although picturing Einstein in a revival tent is sorta funny), but that he grew into a belief as he got older...

This view *completely* contradicts that of Indis. Whos is right?

Why don't you research that for yourself? Einstein's religious beliefs are heavily documented, although you will have to research deeply to understand what he's actually saying. The mistake everyone makes when reading or quoting Einstein is that they apply their own definitions of the key words as they read. They read that Einstein said "God does not play dice with the universe" (which he technically didn't say) and assume he was saying "YWHW does not play dice with the universe" or "Allah does not play dice with the universe". Not so. Find out what EINSTEIN meant by "God" (and "religious" and so on), not what you mean by it. Did EINSTEIN believe that "God" is a "supreme being" (as HereticMonkey claims)? Find out.
mike1reynolds
Einstein believed and readily espoused a supreme cognitive force in the universe, whether you like it or not, Indi. While it does not conform to your narrow minded notions of God, Indi, never the less he believed, and believes. I call on Him often, just as Catholics call on Catholics saints in meditative prayer. The force of His arguments calls upon His presence. You slaughter His notions, and He is not pleased with you.
Indi
ThePolemistis:

Here is a perfect example of the kind of ignorance stated as undeniable fact that you're going to have to wade through when studying what Einstein believed:
 mike1reynolds wrote: Einstein believed and readily espoused a supreme cognitive force in the universe, whether you like it or not, Indi.

So, upon reading that, it sure sounds like i'm just an ignorant atheist pushing my view and being corrected by the heroic theist with a true fact that i didn't want known.

It's possible.

On the other hand, if you were to actually read what Einstein wrote: "I believe in Spinoza's God..." then go and look up what Spinoza said about "God": "It has neither intellect nor will" perhaps you can explain to me how (combining the two quotes): "I believe in something that has neither intellect nor will." can lead to "Einstein believed and readily espoused a supreme cognitive force in the universe...".

Do your own research and see what you discover about Einstein's beliefs. Don't listen to the ravings of ignorant bigots - including me, if that's how you choose to think of me. i am confident enough in the facts behind my claim that i don't need to resort to threats to get you to believe me:
 mike1reynolds wrote: You slaughter His notions, and He is not pleased with you.
mike1reynolds
Indi, what you are doing is like what fanatical Christians do when they focus on one verse, take it out of context, and ignore all other verses that give an alternate context.

I am well aware of Spinoza’s theological arguments, and if you know anything about Einstein’s theology at all you know that he was just making a provocative statement here. Show me ANY other statement by Einstein that genuinely conforms to Spinoza? You have just taken this one statement completely out of context, not knowing very much about Einstein’s well documented agent provocateur personality, and just taking it at face value. Einstein is smirking at you from heaven.

I already provided an extensively referenced description of Einstein’s theological views, have done the research that you so snidely suggest that I do, but that you obviously have not. Just read my reference if you are really so lazy that you can’t research your own argument.

All you did is repeat yourself while completely ignoring the best reference on Einstein’s theology that anyone has presented. Did you even look at the portion of the reference that I posted? It certainly doesn’t look like it. People who repeat themselves, with great condescension especially, while totally ignoring the facts presented to them, are generally not very balanced in their views.

As I said, your narrow minded depiction of Einstein’s point of view, as if they could so easily be boxed into a label like “Spinoza’s God”, is ludicrous. That was simply a convenient label for Einstein to use, since Spinoza himself is not so easily labeled or boxed in. Even though Einstein’s theology is not all that meaningfully similar to Spinoza, it is the closest that anyone is going to get with a simple phrase for describing a totally different conception of God from what religionists or atheists conceive of.

In this regard, I do not trust your opinion anymore than I would trust a fanatical Christian’s opinion of Einstein’s theology.
mike1reynolds
Woops, wrong Einstein and God thread. In the other thread Indi dismissed the quotes of Einstein's colleagues as being “an opinion piece being made by someone who wants to interpret Einstein's use of "God" as a reference to a being... something Einstein explicitly spoke against.” Well obviously no one, not even Einstein’s colleagues, can understand Einstein as well as our humble Indi.

Lets see how much of their useless opinions of their friend Einstein we can fit in a post here... http://www.ctinquiry.org/publications/reflections_volume_1/torrance.htm

Indi
 mike1reynolds wrote: In this regard, I do not trust your opinion anymore than I would trust a fanatical Christian’s opinion of Einstein’s theology.

 mike1reynolds wrote: Einstein and God By Thomas Torrance

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Torrance wrote: Thomas Forsyth Torrance (b. 30 August 1913) is a 20th century Protestant Christian theologian who served for 27 years as Professor of Christian Dogmatics at New College, Edinburgh in the University of Edinburgh, during which time he was a leader in Protestant Christian theology.

...
mike1reynolds
 Quote: Max Jammer, Rector Emeritus of Bar Lan University in Jerusalem, a former colleague of Albert Einstein at Princeton…

 Quote: On the subject of Einstein and God Friedrich Dürrenmatt once said, "Einstein used to speak of God so often that I almost looked upon him as a disguised theologian." 2 I do not believe these references to God can be dismissed simply as a façon de parler, for God had a deep, if rather elusive, significance for Einstein

 Quote: Count Kessler once said to him, "Professor!..."

Indi, would you please calm down and give me an even halfway descent argument. You are making a complete fool of yourself.

Then this person you deem a complete idiot proceeds to directly address your vacuous “Einstein is nothing more than a Spinozaist” argument, and he quotes Einstein himself directly contradicting the assertion that he was a true Spinozaist. He then goes on to quote Spinoza to illustrate the false nature of even that part of the argument. Einstein was not a strict Spinozaist, and you don't even know what that would mean if he had been.

 Quote: Einstein certainly held, as his constant appeal to God showed, that without God nothing can be known, but what did he really mean by his appeal to Spinoza? Once in answer to the question "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but admire even more his contributions to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and the body as one, not two separate things." 26 In a letter to Henry Oldenburg, the secretary of the Royal Society, Spinoza declared, "I do not think it necessary for salvation to know Christ according to the flesh: but with the Eternal Son of God, that is the Eternal Wisdom of God, which had manifested itself in all things, and especially in the human mind, and above all in Christ Jesus, the case is far otherwise." 27 He himself, he claimed, "paid homage to the Books of the Bible, rather than to the Word of God." 28 Spinoza read the New Testament Scriptures as well as the Old Testament Scriptures, e.g. St John's Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews, in a Hebraic way. He complained to Henry Oldenburg: "You think that the texts in John's Gospel and in Hebrews are inconsistent with what I advance, because you measure oriental phrases by the standards of European speech; though John wrote his Gospel in Greek, he wrote it as a Hebrew." 29 That is what John Reuchlin used to call veritas Hebraica. 30 When another Jew, Martin Buber, whom Einstein had known for forty years, one day in Princeton pressed him hard to reveal his religious belief, Einstein said, "What we [physicists] strive for . . . is just to draw his lines after him." The deeper one penetrates into nature's secrets, he declared, the greater becomes one's respect for God. Einstein held that the main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lay in "the concept of a personal God" for that was to think of God in an anthropomorphic way, and to project into him figurative images and human psychological notions of personality, which give rise, he held, to religious practices of worship and notions of providence shaped in accordance with human selfish desires. That did not mean that Einstein thought of God merely in some impersonal way, for, as we have noted, he thought of relation to God in a sublime superpersonal way which he confessed he was unable to grasp or express and before which he stood in unbounded awe and wonder. Hence he felt it deeply when Cardinal O'Connell of Boston charged him with being an atheist. 31 When a newspaperman once accosted him in California with the question, "Doctor is there a God?", Einstein turned away with tears in his eyes. 32

You are falsely equating Einstein exactly with Spinoza, and then falsely equating Spinoza with atheism. You are just piling one non-sequiter on top of another, Indi.
Indi
 mike1reynolds wrote: Indi, would you please calm down and give me an even halfway descent argument. You are making a complete fool of yourself.

i'm sorry, but you seem to be under the mistaken assumption that i am actually interested in debating you. Let me assure that that is not the case. i have no intention of "giving" you any argument, "halfway decent" or otherwise. i am posting in this thread for the benefit of those whom i think might both benefit from learning from me, and from whom i might be benefitted by learning from. In other words, those who sound more intelligent when they speak than when they are silent, rather than the other way around, which, needless to say, would exclude you.

Aside from your repeated, abusive, childish behaviour, in all your posts to these forums i cannot recall a single instance of a coherent, rational idea being present in anything you have ever written. i recall copious amounts of verbose nonsense, consisting mainly of elaborate prose using various scientific, mathematical and philosophical terms arranged in patterns that, while syntactically correct, are semantically meaningless. Those are, of course, encircled by the usual array of insults, wildly implausible claims and flat-out, bald-faced lies. Most of the "points" you imagine you are making can be trivially dismissed... as in the post i made before this... and in fact present so small an intellectual challenge, i feel as i imagine a Fields Medal winner drafting a grade student's math homework must: almost guilty for throwing down an intellectual challenge to an effectively unarmed opponent. However, as anyone who has debated you knows, pointing out any flaws in your "thinking" (and i use the term loosely) simply leads to barrage of insults and straw man attacks - most of which have absolutely no basis in reality.

i do not expect that i will dissuade you from your delusions of adequacy, nor is it my intention to try. i did, however, feel that it was necessary to make it clear to you that despite what you may think... i do not take you seriously. in fact, unless i fear that your acerbic drivel might unduly influence someone who is honestly seeking answers, i would never acknowledge your existence, for the lack thereof would please me greatly. i assure you, i am not alone in this opinion. Since Anna received your message, she has taken to referring to you as "that offensive little worm with the smog picture" (actually, she has a great many terms for you, but i fear that Frihost's word filtering would make most of them less effective as a means to communicating the poetry of her opinion).

Thus, i felt it necessary to make this clear. Do not bother attempting to engage us in debate any further. Do not bother to send us any further private messages. You are not being considered as an intellectual equal to be engaged in civil debate. If you still feel a compelling urge to respond to my posts or to send me messages, obviously i cannot stop you. But now that i have informed you that you are... to be gentle, i shall say, differently clued... and that i have no interest in you as an intellectual peer, i shall no longer feel guilty about wholly ignoring your presence.

You may consider this a harsh position to take, and i do not deny that it gives me great selfish pleasure to have absolved myself of the burden of having to be aware of your considered existence, but given the vehemence with which you usually spoke to Anna and myself, and your repeated insults to us both, it seems to be that you might be happier completely staying away from me as well. After all, i am relieving you of the burden of having to debate a "narrow minded" person who is "generally not very balanced in their views" (and that would be just your most recent criticism of me). Were someone to free me from the drudgery of having to debate such a person, i would be thankful. Thus, you may perceive my refusal to engage you further as a token of good faith. You're welcome.

If you are concerned that, by completely ignoring you from this point on, i am depriving myself of any of the good qualities that might exist in what you bring to a debate, i thank you for your consideration, but let me quell your fears. If i should ever feel the need to experience the same quality of debate that you have provided in the past, i can always listen to myself fart.
HereticMonkey
Ever think, Indi, that it's hard to fly like an eagle when you have placed lead weights on yourself? It's fine to be an atheist, but I had figured that you were smarter than to dismiss someone else's belief out of hand. If you want us to respect your beliefs (even though we may not believe in them) you need to respect ours (even though you may not believe in them). Otherwise, you are just a fanatic, and thus easily ignored.

Now, if we can just break you of the "I'm right, and these 20,000 words back me up" habit...

HM
Indi
 HereticMonkey wrote: Ever think, Indi, that it's hard to fly like an eagle when you have placed lead weights on yourself? It's fine to be an atheist, but I had figured that you were smarter than to dismiss someone else's belief out of hand. If you want us to respect your beliefs (even though we may not believe in them) you need to respect ours (even though you may not believe in them). Otherwise, you are just a fanatic, and thus easily ignored. Now, if we can just break you of the "I'm right, and these 20,000 words back me up" habit... HM

i have no idea what you're talking about.

What "beliefs" am i dismissing out of hand?

Was i not clear when i stated - repeatedly and explicitly - that it was his offensive behaviour and lack of intellectual coherency that was the motivation behind my dismissal of him? i don't even want to debate his "beliefs", whatever they are, because any conversation with him invariably ends up with him hurling insults.

And what "beliefs" of yours give him the right to insult me repeatedly, yet do not give me the right to dismiss him for doing so?

If you consider the fact that i no longer wish to be insulted by a troll to be a condemnation of your "beliefs", then i wonder what your "beliefs" really are.
Gagnar The Unruly
It seems to me like you are basically doing the things you criticize mike1reynolds of doing.
Indi
 Gagnar The Unruly wrote: It seems to me like you are basically doing the things you criticize mike1reynolds of doing.

Indeed i am. i do not claim to be perfect. After being routinely insulted for months and months and months - and having my best friend insulted, too - i will tolerate no more. i have given him a taste of his own medicine as a parting gift.

Read back up in this very thread if you care, and you will see the same pattern repeated. In every response to him, i say things like "you are wrong", "you're facts are in error", "you do not know what you are talking about". In every response directed at me he has called me narrow-minded, ignorant, bigoted, fanatical and more.

i tire of it. i put a stop to it.
ThePolemistis
 Indi wrote: Doesn't work like that, dude. A new scientific concept does not become public knowledge the moment the scientist comes up with it. It must be published, peer-reviewed, debated and then accepted. That takes years and years, perhaps even decades. And then once it has reached scientific consensus it has to enter the public consciousness. Again, that can take decades.

Okay,,, I jus researched with Absolute zero was founded and its 1848. 1890 - 1848 = 42 years. I think that is suffcient time for it to be accepted among the scientific community.

 Quote: That takes years and years, perhaps even decades.

Here you say *perhaps* even decades, meaning its most likely less than a decade

 Quote: And then once it has reached scientific consensus it has to enter the public consciousness. Again, that can take decades.

Here you say "can take decades", so thus your statement is more towards many years.
So if we sum up what estimates you are giving, it is true from your statements it will take no more than 30 years for them to be accepted (thats im being exremely generous). Thus, 42 years is more than enough.

 Indi wrote: And then it has to become so common-place that a 12-year old might come across it.

You are forgetting one thing, EInstein was not an ordinary 12 year boy.
And to give you a true reflect giving his circumstances, we must relate to the most intelligent man ever lived William James Sidis.
William at the age of 7 began writing his own languages, at the age of 8 took the exams for Harvard but due to uni policy was admitted at 11 years old.
Thus, if william the most intelligent man was admitted at harvard at 11, and became a lecturer at 17, thus must mean williams intelligence is *at least* 10 years ahead of the most intelligent people (ie. most admitted to harvard at 18 or more).
I say at least because how many Harvard students invented their own language and mastered several others at the age of 7?

My Point: Albert Einstein's intelligence is on parable with the greats: there is no denying this. Phyically he may be a 12 year old. But mentally, his intelligence surpasses men 3 times his age.
To further cement my point, Einstein used to read many books on science and religion. Thus he would be well aware of this absolute zero term.

 Indi wrote: In fact, the idea that absolute zero represents a total absence of kinetic and/or transmissable energy (and that a material would be "incapable of reaction") did not come from Kelvin. It came from Boltzmann. In ~1880 (but i allowed as far back as 1870, which is why i said "a couple of decades").

Absolute zero is surely attributed to Kelvin because 0 K(Kelvin) is -273 degrees. I dunno a bout this Boltzmann guy, but maybe he gave a more accurate representation like -273.000000001 or something, i havent come across this man before. If you are saying absolute zero was not discovered by Kelvin, then what did Kelvin discover? he proposed the Kelvin scale, which is based on absolute zero.

 Quote: "... I came — though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents — to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."

This quote makes no mention of belief in God. Firstly the quote says "deep religiousness", meaning "total" religiousness is not ended. Also, it is most likely this religion is attributed to Judasism specifically, and not in God, perhaps because he wanted to escape the Bar Mitzwah, and as you say, the "age of 12", it was near his time.

 Indi wrote: So, here's the chronology: ? to 12: Jewish. 12 to 40 (at the latest): Nothing certain, but probably pantheist for most of it (most likely Spinozist, even if he hadn't actually read Spinoza - probably read Spinoza at college age, though). 40 to death: Spinozist.

I have read much of Einsteins religion and I find it more on the religious side than the contrary.
By the way, after 12 he did not disband religion completely. There are quotes of Einstein hating hardcore athists, and history tells us that he loved reading about Science and religion related books.
I have ample quotes by Einstein for his belief in God, i would kindly share with you, but only on ur request, cus I cant be bothered otherwise
HereticMonkey
And we're back to the "I'm being insulted" thing, even though you were the one that usually attacks in that way first.

It must be hard to be a martyr...

 Indi wrote: i have no idea what you're talking about.

You tend to increase your post length in any given thread based on how ticked you are.

 Quote: What "beliefs" am i dismissing out of hand?

Specifically, that Einstein may not have been the atheist that you think you was.

 Quote: Was i not clear when i stated - repeatedly and explicitly - that it was his offensive behaviour and lack of intellectual coherency that was the motivation behind my dismissal of him? i don't even want to debate his "beliefs", whatever they are, because any conversation with him invariably ends up with him hurling insults.

Actually, you're the one that usually throws the insults first (as you have in this case). Also, he's been rather polite; you're the one that's been rather rude. As for "intellectual coherency", he's been able to quote just about everything, as well as provide sources (that you've decided don't apply apparently because they disagree with your perspective).

 Quote: And what "beliefs" of yours give him the right to insult me repeatedly, yet do not give me the right to dismiss him for doing so?

He has yet to insult you, unless you count disagree with you. He's been able to back himself, which is more than you have done. Worse, you threw up a page (and then some!), that made little sense. In essence, he's been courteous, and you've been the problem child.

 Quote: If you consider the fact that i no longer wish to be insulted by a troll to be a condemnation of your "beliefs", then i wonder what your "beliefs" really are.

Which makes you come off as a bigger fanatic than the religious people you have a problem with...interesting that...

Note that I'm not insulting you; merely pointing out that your argument that you are being attacked is invalid, and that you claim it any time that you begin losing an argument. My apologies in advance if it isn't to your liking...

HM
xalophus
 ThePolemistis wrote: Einstein proves existence of God is perhaps a better title.

How does this anecdote prove the existence of God ?

I'll present another anecdote to make my and "The Conspirator"s point clearer.

 Totally true anecdote wrote: The young man asks the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course ..." To this the student replies, "Evil does not exist, sir. Evil is simply the absence of Flying Ostriches. It is just a word that man has created to describe the absence of Flying Ostriches. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have Flying Ostriches' love present in his heart. The professor now sits down. (Even as Einstein rolls over in his grave) The young man's name - _________ (Insert name of an imposing intellectual here for added effect)

Notice how the existence of Flying Ostriches has just been proved beyond any doubt (by any famed intellectual I feel like getting it done from).

Surely you agree ?
ThePolemistis
xalophus wrote:
 ThePolemistis wrote: Einstein proves existence of God is perhaps a better title.

How does this anecdote prove the existence of God ?

I'll present another anecdote to make my and "The Conspirator"s point clearer.

 Totally true anecdote wrote: The young man asks the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course ..." To this the student replies, "Evil does not exist, sir. Evil is simply the absence of Flying Ostriches. It is just a word that man has created to describe the absence of Flying Ostriches. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have Flying Ostriches' love present in his heart. The professor now sits down. (Even as Einstein rolls over in his grave) The young man's name - _________ (Insert name of an imposing intellectual here for added effect)

Notice how the existence of Flying Ostriches has just been proved beyond any doubt (by any famed intellectual I feel like getting it done from).

Surely you agree ?

I don't think you have understand the whole reasoning behind Einstein.
if you look at the paragraphs preceeding taht which you state, you will find he is comparing opposites. ie. A exists only from the lack of presence of Z (if A and Z are to be opposities)

Basically, what Einstein proved is the existance of a supernatural force or which with its mere existence, or rather the lack of it, it would result to the opposite of the purpose of that supernatural force.
My title is a bad choice of words, as I have said several times in my previous post, so I won't apologise further, and you have yourself to blame, for your incompotence of not being up to date with my current perspectives.
Now back on the subject to what Einstein really proved. Firstly, as i said to Indi, is to define the definition of God. I have never said that the God Einstein has proved is the God of the Torah, the Bible or the Qur'an. Further, I havent said its the God of any other religion. God could be light itself, it could be heat, it could be anything that serves a purpose and how you see it. The God of Christianity has 3 forms (the Trinity), the God of Islam is only one, the God of Hinduism has many arms etc etc. The is not one ubiquitous definition for God.
With respect to the question that God is evil made by the professor, here he is denoting that this supernatural force (whether its God of Islam, God of Christianity, a human, a animal or whatever), is reponsible for evil. Einstein refutes taht claim, taht you cannot say taht evil is part of the supernatural force, because it is the absense of it.

Now back to your question, if you assume flying ostroiches to be the supernatural force that is to combat evil, ie a God, then your perfect in your statement. But you have done exactly, what the subject of my post should have read... taht is you have proved the existance of a "thing" whos absense of it results in evil.
Thus, you hav supported my claims, and not contradicted it..
Gagnar The Unruly
In your example, the student isn't proving anything about God or evil. He is using heat and cold as an example, but there's nothing in those statements that concretely links temperature with God. The "proof" is hinged on the premise that God is like heat and evil is like cold, but that's a pretty shaky premise. God may not be anything like heat at all. There's a second faulty leap of logic relating an absence of human kindness to evil. Maybe human kindness has nothing to do with God. Maybe God likes it when people are mean to eachother, and an absence of people being mean is evil.
Indi
ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: Doesn't work like that, dude. A new scientific concept does not become public knowledge the moment the scientist comes up with it. It must be published, peer-reviewed, debated and then accepted. That takes years and years, perhaps even decades. And then once it has reached scientific consensus it has to enter the public consciousness. Again, that can take decades.

Okay,,, I jus researched with Absolute zero was founded and its 1848. 1890 - 1848 = 42 years. I think that is suffcient time for it to be accepted among the scientific community.

 Quote: That takes years and years, perhaps even decades.

Here you say *perhaps* even decades, meaning its most likely less than a decade

 Quote: And then once it has reached scientific consensus it has to enter the public consciousness. Again, that can take decades.

Here you say "can take decades", so thus your statement is more towards many years.
So if we sum up what estimates you are giving, it is true from your statements it will take no more than 30 years for them to be accepted (thats im being exremely generous). Thus, 42 years is more than enough.

 Indi wrote: And then it has to become so common-place that a 12-year old might come across it.

You are forgetting one thing, EInstein was not an ordinary 12 year boy.
And to give you a true reflect giving his circumstances, we must relate to the most intelligent man ever lived William James Sidis.
William at the age of 7 began writing his own languages, at the age of 8 took the exams for Harvard but due to uni policy was admitted at 11 years old.
Thus, if william the most intelligent man was admitted at harvard at 11, and became a lecturer at 17, thus must mean williams intelligence is *at least* 10 years ahead of the most intelligent people (ie. most admitted to harvard at 18 or more).
I say at least because how many Harvard students invented their own language and mastered several others at the age of 7?

My Point: Albert Einstein's intelligence is on parable with the greats: there is no denying this. Phyically he may be a 12 year old. But mentally, his intelligence surpasses men 3 times his age.
To further cement my point, Einstein used to read many books on science and religion. Thus he would be well aware of this absolute zero term.

 Indi wrote: In fact, the idea that absolute zero represents a total absence of kinetic and/or transmissable energy (and that a material would be "incapable of reaction") did not come from Kelvin. It came from Boltzmann. In ~1880 (but i allowed as far back as 1870, which is why i said "a couple of decades").

Absolute zero is surely attributed to Kelvin because 0 K(Kelvin) is -273 degrees. I dunno a bout this Boltzmann guy, but maybe he gave a more accurate representation like -273.000000001 or something, i havent come across this man before. If you are saying absolute zero was not discovered by Kelvin, then what did Kelvin discover? he proposed the Kelvin scale, which is based on absolute zero.

You're still missing the point. i'm not talking about when Kelvin figured out what absolute zero is. i'm talking about the bit where absolute zero is equated with the absence of energy and reactivity. When Kelvin figured out absolute zero, he did not believe that heat was energy. He thought heat was "caloric fluid". Most people did - the kinetic theory of energy wasn't even introduced until like the 1870's, and if i recall, the dude that introduced it was ridiculed until Boltzmann came along in the 1880's-1890's and proved it. Might Einstein have heard of Kelvin's work on absolute zero? Maybe. Doubtful, but maybe. But for him to know the kinetic theory of heat? Forget about it.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Quote: "... I came — though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents — to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve."

This quote makes no mention of belief in God. Firstly the quote says "deep religiousness", meaning "total" religiousness is not ended. Also, it is most likely this religion is attributed to Judasism specifically, and not in God, perhaps because he wanted to escape the Bar Mitzwah, and as you say, the "age of 12", it was near his time.

The quote itself might not make it explicit, but the context does. Einstein was deeply religious - in the traditional sense of "religion" - up until age 12. At that point, he "sold himself body and soul to science" and stopped believing in a "personal" god, or god as a "being". Did he stop believing in any god altogether at that point? We don't know. All we know is that by age 12, he no longer believed god was a being.

Much later in life we find that he had redefined god as "nature" (it's more subtle than that, but that's essentially correct). We don't know exactly when he did that - the best i can put it is between 12 and 40. It could have happened at 12 (although that's rather doubtful - more likely in his teens at the earliest - before that he probably never thought about it).

Regardless, there is no question that, unless you want to disregard Einstein's own words about Einstein's beliefs, there is no way he would have come up with that argument for god after 12. After that, it just doesn't make any sense when you use Einstein's definition of god.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: So, here's the chronology: ? to 12: Jewish. 12 to 40 (at the latest): Nothing certain, but probably pantheist for most of it (most likely Spinozist, even if he hadn't actually read Spinoza - probably read Spinoza at college age, though). 40 to death: Spinozist.

I have read much of Einsteins religion and I find it more on the religious side than the contrary.
By the way, after 12 he did not disband religion completely. There are quotes of Einstein hating hardcore athists, and history tells us that he loved reading about Science and religion related books.
I have ample quotes by Einstein for his belief in God, i would kindly share with you, but only on ur request, cus I cant be bothered otherwise

i don't believe anyone has claimed he completely abandoned religion or god. But he did abandon the religion and god of his childhood (which was a combination of Jewish and Catholic).

Did Einstein believe in god? That depends on how you define god. If you are using the Judaistic/Christian definition of god, then no, Einstein did not believe in god. If you are using the Spinozist/pantheist definition of god, then Einstein did believe in god.

If you already have a ton of Einstein quotes, you're already on the right track. The trick now is to read them carefully. Do not use your own definition of "god". Figure out Einstein's definition.
Indi
HereticMonkey wrote:
And we're back to the "I'm being insulted" thing, even though you were the one that usually attacks in that way first.

It must be hard to be a martyr...

 Indi wrote: i have no idea what you're talking about.

You tend to increase your post length in any given thread based on how ticked you are.

 Quote: What "beliefs" am i dismissing out of hand?

Specifically, that Einstein may not have been the atheist that you think you was.

 Quote: Was i not clear when i stated - repeatedly and explicitly - that it was his offensive behaviour and lack of intellectual coherency that was the motivation behind my dismissal of him? i don't even want to debate his "beliefs", whatever they are, because any conversation with him invariably ends up with him hurling insults.

Actually, you're the one that usually throws the insults first (as you have in this case). Also, he's been rather polite; you're the one that's been rather rude. As for "intellectual coherency", he's been able to quote just about everything, as well as provide sources (that you've decided don't apply apparently because they disagree with your perspective).

 Quote: And what "beliefs" of yours give him the right to insult me repeatedly, yet do not give me the right to dismiss him for doing so?

He has yet to insult you, unless you count disagree with you. He's been able to back himself, which is more than you have done. Worse, you threw up a page (and then some!), that made little sense. In essence, he's been courteous, and you've been the problem child.

 Quote: If you consider the fact that i no longer wish to be insulted by a troll to be a condemnation of your "beliefs", then i wonder what your "beliefs" really are.

Which makes you come off as a bigger fanatic than the religious people you have a problem with...interesting that...

Note that I'm not insulting you; merely pointing out that your argument that you are being attacked is invalid, and that you claim it any time that you begin losing an argument. My apologies in advance if it isn't to your liking...

HM

First of all, i can't imagine why you think this is any of your business. There are only two factors involved in this incident. mike1reynolds's behaviour, and the abrupt end to my tolerance of it.

It does not concern you. It does not concern your beliefs. It does not concern mike1reynolds's beliefs. It does not concern Einstein. It does not concern god. It does not concern atheism. It does not concern what Britney Spears had for breakfast this morning. It concerns only his behaviour, and the fact that i have had enough of it.

Second, i would challenge you to show me where i insulted him before i finally dismissed him, but i really don't care about your opinion on the matter. This affair is none of your business.

Third, i would point out that you are wrong in saying that he did not insult me, because in this very thread, in the series of posts before i finally said enough, he spent much time callign me narrow minded and fanatical. Furthermore, this has been going on for months and months. He has made several hate-filled rants against atheists, muslims, women and others. He sent an offensive message to Anna. Actually, the final straw for me was this post, where he claims he's justified in calling women bitches (i seriously hope that i don't have to explain to why his justification is idiotic and abhorrent). Part of the reason Anna doesn't want to join Frihost on her own is that she was treated so badly here, and he was no small part in that. Of course, i don't care about your opinion on any of that, either. That is also none of your business.

Fourth, i don't really care what you think about how our imaginary argument was going, or how good you think his "sources" are. We weren't having a debate. i was talking to the other guy, occasionally using the (blatantly wrong) points mike1reynolds was raising. i stopped debating him weeks ago. He hasn't got the message yet, but hopefully he will now. Once again, none of that is your business.

So... exactly why do you think i should be paying attention to any of your input on the topic?

...

And by the way:
 HereticMonkey wrote: Worse, you threw up a page (and then some!), that made little sense.

That wasn't me. That was him. He's the one that posted the wall of text that could have just as easily have been linked to... without even putting it in quotes at first. If you don't even have a grasp of what's going on - so much so that you're confusing my actions with his - there's even less reason for me to take seriously any opinion you have on this topic, which is of no concern to you anyway.
mike1reynolds
Indi, your argument that Einstein was a covert atheist is completely vacuous and everyone knows it. Throwing a temper tantrum doesn't make your argument any less vacuous, it makes it all the more so.
HereticMonkey
 Indi wrote: First of all, i can't imagine why you think this is any of your business. There are only two factors involved in this incident. mike1reynolds's behaviour, and the abrupt end to my tolerance of it.

Actually, as a public forum, it does. Especially when I've come under by you. And now someone else is under attack by you. I figure the easiest way to stop people from coming under attack by you due to their belief is put in two cents on it whenever it happens...

 Quote: It does not concern you. It does not concern your beliefs. It does not concern mike1reynolds's beliefs. It does not concern Einstein. It does not concern god. It does not concern atheism. It does not concern what Britney Spears had for breakfast this morning. It concerns only his behaviour, and the fact that i have had enough of it.

And yet you continue to post...If you really wanted it to stop, why continue to slam people for not agreeing with you...

 Quote: Second, i would challenge you to show me where i insulted him before i finally dismissed him, but i really don't care about your opinion on the matter. This affair is none of your business.

If you would stop slamming people for believing differently than you, then yes, it would not be business. As for insulting him, I would say your post on dismissing him pretty much covers that...

 Quote: Third, i would point out that you are wrong in saying that he did not insult me, because in this very thread, in the series of posts before i finally said enough, he spent much time callign me narrow minded and fanatical. Furthermore, this has been going on for months and months. He has made several hate-filled rants against atheists, muslims, women and others. He sent an offensive message to Anna. Actually, the final straw for me was this post, where he claims he's justified in calling women bitches (i seriously hope that i don't have to explain to why his justification is idiotic and abhorrent). Part of the reason Anna doesn't want to join Frihost on her own is that she was treated so badly here, and he was no small part in that. Of course, i don't care about your opinion on any of that, either. That is also none of your business.

Gee, you are aware that this is a public forum, correct? And you do have a certain deserved rep for being narrow-minded and fanatical, so I don't see that as an issue. (Oh, and his point re: "bitches" is actually one that a number of women's rights people have made, all the way back to at least Joan Collins; keep in mind before responding that I have no way to access the PM, and I'm referencing the post itself.)

Yeah, I agree that it has been ongoing for months and months; but, I've usually found you to be the one to throw the first brick and then complaining about the return fire. Heck, I've even seen you complain about being treated fairly and being told why people "insult" you.

 Quote: Fourth, i don't really care what you think about how our imaginary argument was going, or how good you think his "sources" are. We weren't having a debate. i was talking to the other guy, occasionally using the (blatantly wrong) points mike1reynolds was raising. i stopped debating him weeks ago. He hasn't got the message yet, but hopefully he will now. Once again, none of that is your business.

If you want to have a private debate, take to the PM's. Anything posted in the forums is fair game for any user. Also, you have yet to raise a single legit point in either the main argument (I'll get to that in a sec) or the other one, so I fail to see how he's "blatantly wrong".

 Quote: So... exactly why do you think i should be paying attention to any of your input on the topic?

Because I'm cute and furry? Or because I've gotten really, really tired of the poor, abused Indi routine. Either stop it, or go away; either way, it's really starting to get annoying...

Quote:
And by the way:
 HereticMonkey wrote: Worse, you threw up a page (and then some!), that made little sense.

That wasn't me. That was him. He's the one that posted the wall of text.
[/quote]
Actually, he may have thrown a wall of text, but so did you. Yours may smaller, but it was still a lot of text. Even now, your posts are getting longer...

Oh, and a quick note on absolute zero: Guillaume Amontons came up with the concept (that there must be a point when all action ceases) back in 1702-1703. In other words, the concept that absolute zero was the utter absence of energy and reactivity had already been around for almost two centuries when Einstein, who was already reading obscure books on physics, would have encountered the concept.

I'd say that length of time would pretty much be good enough for the idea to have gotten around...

HM
The Conspirator
 ThePolemistis wrote: I don't think you have understand the whole reasoning behind Einstein. if you look at the paragraphs preceeding taht which you state, you will find he is comparing opposites. ie. A exists only from the lack of presence of Z (if A and Z are to be opposities) Basically, what Einstein proved is the existance of a supernatural force or which with its mere existence, or rather the lack of it, it would result to the opposite of the purpose of that supernatural force. My title is a bad choice of words, as I have said several times in my previous post, so I won't apologise further, and you have yourself to blame, for your incompotence of not being up to date with my current perspectives.

Your missing the point, he story dose not prove a thing. The story if dependant on what evil is. In the story, evil is the lack of God but evil is highly subjective, one different people have different ideas of what evil is and idea of what evil is change though time. Saying "evil is a lack of conscience", "evil is a lack of compassion", "evil is actions that do harm to others" or "evil doesn't exist, its just a concept made up by people to justify there actions." all of those statements are just as valid (in my opinion more valid cause there not dependent on a supernatural force).
mike1reynolds
Indi, I totally apologize if you are not gay. I thought you had hinted that you were, and my PM to you was intended to demonstrate that I am not homophobic. I was basically just asking you if Anna was an alternate personality or a real person. My intention was to do it in a manner that would be cordial to a gay man. Many feminine gay men have a feminine "street name". The overall implication had to be completely misinterpreted if it was construed as directly offensive to a woman. I could understand her taking offense at the offense too her man, but asking if Anna was *your* alternate name is hardly an insult directly to Anna.

Since you so totally misconstrued my attempt at humor and not insult, it tends to strongly suggest that you are either not gay at all, and/or very young.
The Conspirator
Just cause you read something in a book doesn't make it true. authors are human too. Ask your selves "how valid is the statements in this book"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Religious_views
 Quote: The question of scientific determinism gave rise to questions about Einstein's position on theological determinism, and even whether or not he believed in God. In 1929, Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."(Brian 1996, p. 127)

The statment is clear.
mike1reynolds
Reposted from the previous page:

 Quote: When asked "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist.” Denis Brian, Einstein, A Life, New York, 1996, page 186

Since Spinoza's “God” is most poignantly associated with atheism and pantheism, your clear statement is clearly contradicted by Einstein at a later date.
Indi
 HereticMonkey wrote: Or because I've gotten really, really tired of the poor, abused Indi routine. Either stop it, or go away; either way, it's really starting to get annoying...

Well why didn't you say i was annoying you? i can solve that problem very easily by simply adding you to the same list as mike1reynolds.

There. Done. Now you no longer have to worry about my annoying you.

i'm a helper! ^_^
mike1reynolds
Poor kid just can't stomach any opposition at all.
HereticMonkey
mike1reynolds wrote:
Reposted from the previous page:

 Quote: When asked "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist.” Denis Brian, Einstein, A Life, New York, 1996, page 186

Since Spinoza's “God” is most poignantly associated with atheism and pantheism, your clear statement is clearly contradicted by Einstein at a later date.

Actually, it looks like atheism is something entirely different from pantheism and Spinoza's God. That is, atheism doesn't believe in any supernatural beings whatsoever, whereas pantheism and Spinoza both believe in God, just not a personal one (in effect, God is Nature). Sort of think "Buddhism Lite", and I think you've got it.

Hey, Indi's ignoring me! Let's test that: Yeah, "she"'s been doing that for a while; it explains the contradictory nature of some of her posts, as well as the occasional gender issue that pops up.

HM
HereticMonkey
 mike1reynolds wrote: Poor kid just can't stomach any opposition at all.

And then she complains that she isn't a fanatic...

HM
The Conspirator
me wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Religious_views
 Quote: The question of scientific determinism gave rise to questions about Einstein's position on theological determinism, and even whether or not he believed in God. In 1929, Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."(Brian 1996, p. 127)

The statment is clear.

mike1reynolds wrote:
Reposted from the previous page:

 Quote: When asked "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist.” Denis Brian, Einstein, A Life, New York, 1996, page 186

Since Spinoza's “God” is most poignantly associated with atheism and pantheism, your clear statement is clearly contradicted by Einstein at a later date.

Hmm, the Wikipedia quote comes from a book by Denis Brian an "acclaimed biographer, journalist, novelist, and playwright." (source: http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/basic/author_detail.jsp?id=1000015342) and the other one come from Thomas Torrance a theologian who's books are about religion (souce: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Torrance).

I don't know about you but I'll look to the biographer rather than the theologan for information on Enstine.
nopaniers
Conspirator, both quotes are originally from the same book.
mike1reynolds
 nopaniers wrote: Conspirator, both quotes are originally from the same book.

Yes, lets highlight this again for these youngsters.

 Quote: When asked "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist.” Denis Brian, Einstein, A Life, New York, 1996, page 186

BTW, what difference does it make who gives an exact quote, if it is an exact quote? Just because you are totally biased, Con, does that mean we should flatly ignore any direct exact quote that you post?
mike1reynolds
HereticMonkey wrote:
 mike1reynolds wrote: Since Spinoza's “God” is most poignantly associated with atheism and pantheism, your clear statement is clearly contradicted by Einstein at a later date.

Actually, it looks like atheism is something entirely different from pantheism and Spinoza's God. That is, atheism doesn't believe in any supernatural beings whatsoever, whereas pantheism and Spinoza both believe in God, just not a personal one (in effect, God is Nature). Sort of think "Buddhism Lite", and I think you've got it.

Now that I am not dealing with an arrogant know it all, I can admit that I don’t have a clue about the specifics of Spinoza’s theology, other than the quote of his that I posted from Thomas Torrance which seemed to indicated a strong element of genuine theism in his beliefs.

The thing about Buddhism is that, while it essentially denies the existence of a God at absolute infinity, it totally embraces the notion of God as an incarnate person who has subsumed the impersonal transcendental consciousness of the universe. Indeed, the TriKaya, the three Buddha bodies, are absolutely identical to the Trinity. Given that the Trinity is considered the very essence of God in Christianity, and Buddhism totally agrees with this in abstract, the “atheism” of Buddhism is a most peculiar one indeed. It is not really a denial of transcendent consciousness in the universe, but rather a prioritization. In Buddhism the Son is does not rank below the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit, but rather, like conquered demons, the Son subsumes them and controls them, not the other way around.

That is a bit different than the usual take on Buddhism which facilely makes the flat unadorned assertion that Buddhism is atheistic. Most Buddhists are more judicious in their terms and refer to Buddhism as non-theistic, which I still think is very misleading and doesn’t hit the mark at all. How does this compare to Spinoza?

 HereticMonkey wrote: Hey, Indi's ignoring me! Let's test that: Yeah, "she"'s been doing that for a while; it explains the contradictory nature of some of her posts, as well as the occasional gender issue that pops up.
Well, as I said before, a gay friend once said to me that the only thing worse than a bitchy woman is a bitchy guy, so for her sake lets hope she is a little girl!
HereticMonkey
Quotes: I'd be more interested not in what time the books were published, but when the quotes were said...

Spinoza vs. Buddhism: Both basically believe that God permeates nature. With Buddhism, it's more in the sense that God is part of the universe; it's not theistic because you don't pray to God, but worry about what you can do about situations. Nonetheless, there are demons, angels, and others that help or hinder humanity, not to mention that there is a soul.

Spinoza, on the other hand, believes that God and Nature are synonymous, but that God is highly impersonal, almost to the point that He has essentially not part of the Universe (read: He's there, but could care less about humanity). The reason that it's considered atheist is because the supernatural has no effect on reality, at least that we can discern.

Extremely brief, but if it helps...

RG
mike1reynolds
It was here that I was given a heads up about Buddhism from nam_siddharth. The original Pali texts say next to nothing at all about God. Such notions as the adhibuddha, the primordial buddha, are add-ons to other later Buddhist denominations, but the oldest form of Buddhism, Theravadan Buddhism, is strictly atheistic beyond the recognition that God incarnates as a human.

The only reference to God in all of the Pali texts is a dialog between Buddha and two brahmin in which Buddha dismisses the notion of God. "Who, from your tradition, has seen God directly?" "No one.", they answer. The Buddha goes on to question how there could be so much evil and suffering in a world controlled by a sentient all knowing being? It is basically a restatement of Indi's "problem of evil".

The Buddha was clearly an atheist in the sense of completely denying the existence of a transcendent God. In Buddhism, God is the true Self, the atman, and they acknowledge no other God outside of the sleeping self which has yet to awaken.

I must say that I've had a change of heart, my answers to the "problem of evil" is that the God at Absolute Infinity swapped himself out for an incarnate being in order to assert himself directly into creation, which has created a bit of an interesting mess!

I think some poor fool is out there at Absolute Infinity, having followed the sucker line, "Do you want to become the Creator God?" And God stepped in and took his place, leaving the universe with what is basically the devil at the helm. However, by direct insertion into creation and incarnation, God can now absorb the insanity of the sleeping nightmarish beings. In so doing, he's gotten pretty wonky headed too and so things are really out of wack right now. But I think that the time is rapidly dawning where there will be a mass awakening of the God Self within, and the original Creator God will no longer have to do everyone's thinking for them.

As it stands right now, from what I can detect of people's spirits, they are mostly all on autopilot, with most of the exceptions having some self-will but still being mostly insane. But I think that there are a handful of people who are awakening, and that will be a sufficient catalyst to completely alter the nature of the universe on the spirit planes.

My new theological theories are still rough around the edges, not to mention the fact that they totally contradict every theological argument that I've ever made up to this point!

My views on God, much less everything else, are constantly in flux.
Indi
The Conspirator wrote:
me wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Religious_views
 Quote: The question of scientific determinism gave rise to questions about Einstein's position on theological determinism, and even whether or not he believed in God. In 1929, Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."(Brian 1996, p. 127)

The statment is clear.

mike1reynolds wrote:
Reposted from the previous page:

 Quote: When asked "Do you believe in the God of Spinoza?" Einstein replied as follows: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist.” Denis Brian, Einstein, A Life, New York, 1996, page 186

Since Spinoza's “God” is most poignantly associated with atheism and pantheism, your clear statement is clearly contradicted by Einstein at a later date.

Hmm, the Wikipedia quote comes from a book by Denis Brian an "acclaimed biographer, journalist, novelist, and playwright." (source: http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/basic/author_detail.jsp?id=1000015342) and the other one come from Thomas Torrance a theologian who's books are about religion (souce: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Torrance).

I don't know about you but I'll look to the biographer rather than the theologan for information on Enstine.

No, that's wrong too.

Don't take the theologian's opinion, but don't take the secular biographer's opinion either (assuming he is a secular biographer). Einstein's quotes are widely reprinted. Look them up, and read them. Einstein gave all the answers himselves.

Einstein was very clear about his feelings on god and religion, and he spoke at great length about both. The cause of the confusion is poor comprehension skills, coupled with a poor choice in what quotes are used. As i said, Einstein was very clear on what he believed... but that doesn't mean everything he wrote or said was clear. A sure sign that someone is confused about the issue is when they start offering the vague quotes as evidence.

An example of a vague quote is given above: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist." Obviously the "yes and no" part is pretty vague. But the other part is vague, too, but it takes good comprehension skills to see why.

What true facts can we glean from the sentence "I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."?
1. Einstein was not an atheist.
2. Einstein was not a pantheist.
3. Einstein did not consider himself an atheist.
4. Einstein did not consider himself a pantheist.
Turns out that the only things we can glean for certain are c and d. Is it possible to be an atheist and not call yourself an atheist? Of course! Is it possible to be a theist and call yourself an atheist? Absolutely! (History is full of examples of people who called themselves atheist, but only really in rejection to the churches - they still believed in an intelligent being guiding the universe, even if they did not call it god.)

So how can we determine what Einstein really believed? Well, we can start by looking at the entirety of the quote (and pretend there's no controversy about it):
 Einstein, when asked whether he believed in the God of Spinoza wrote: I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but admire even more his contributions to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and the body as one, not two separate things.

Let's break that down.

First, Einstein rejects being labelled: "I can't answer with a simple yes or no. I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist." This is entirely understandable, because Einstein spent much time thinking about god and religion, and felt that he had a more subtle opinion than a mere label could offer. But look deeper. Remember that, in Einstein's mind, "God" was simply what he called the universe. Obviously, Einstein believed in the universe. Therefore, he rejected the label "atheist". But Einstein also believed that "God" was just the name he gave to the machinations of the universe... he did not believe that "God" has consciousness or mind. It's just what he called the dumb operation of the natural universe. So Einstein did not fully identify pure, classical pantheism, which does not imply that "God" has no intelligence. Thus, he said he doesn't really consider himself a pantheist (nowadays, we would call him a naturalist pantheist, but that idea did not really exist then - it's more from the 1970's). So Einstein's response makes perfect sense.

He then goes on to criticize common conceptions of god: "We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God." So after saying that he did not identify with traditional labels, Einstein explains why he has a problem with traditional labels. In Einstein's view, traditional notions of God hinge on the idea that he is something hidden and mysterious - like looking at the arrangement of a mess of Spaghettios that have fallen on the ground and believing there must be a deeper, hidden message that they're spelling out.

Then he goes on to explain his own conceptions and how they relate to or were inspired by Spinoza (this is the section that is mostly questioned for accuracy, but i think other than perhaps couching it more mystically than Einstein might have, Viereck pretty much got it right): "We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but admire even more his contributions to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and the body as one, not two separate things." Einstein is saying "don't look for hidden messages in the Spaghettios... look at the Spaghettios! The Spaghettios are all there is! We can't even begin to totally conceive of the beauty and wonder of those Spaghettios! It is foolish to look beyond them for answers when we're not even close to understanding the answers within them." (Replace "Spaghettios" with "Universe", and you've got Einstein's views.) The fact that Spinoza claimed there was nothing beyond the universe - that "body" and "soul" are one and the same - is the key. Einstein said several times that if you assume there's something else out there you will never be proven wrong... but why make that assumption? The universe itself is all we need to consider. Its beauty, its majesty and its wonderfully paradoxical simplistic complexity... that was Einstein's "god".

Einstein considered the idea that there might be "something else" out there guiding the universe lame. The universe itself is all there is (although Einstein did not assume that meant that the physical universe was the totality of the cosmos... he included other dimensions, including "dimensions of thought" (which most people might call spiritual, even though it does not imply spirits)). He called the universe "God", and called his deep-set admiration for the wonder and beauty of the universe "religion". That's pretty much it.

So don't go reading other people's opinions, form your own. Go out and collect Einstein's words, and read them. The answers are all there. Just use good comprehension skills, and try not to let your own views - and your own definitions of "God" and "religion" - throw you off the scent.
mike1reynolds
Saying that consciousness permeates the universe is hardly atheism. The fact that Einstein said that there is not “some other” force out there guiding the universe, is a deceptive false dichotomy. He said that the universe is self-guided and self-aware.

Indi goes on, quite rightly, about how Einstein didn’t want to be neatly labeled and placed into a trite box of some predefined category. So how does Indi conclude, by doing exactly that, labeling Einstein a facile atheist.
mike1reynolds
 Indi wrote: So don't go reading other people's opinions, form your own. Go out and collect Einstein's words, and read them. The answers are all there. Just use good comprehension skills, and try not to let your own views - and your own definitions of "God" and "religion" - throw you off the scent.

Excellent advice coming from the worst offender who plows everything through a profoundly distorted filter of strictly materialistic atheism.

Of all the forms of atheism, strictly materialistic atheism is the most shallow, circular and totally self-absorbed form of "thought" on God that there is.
HereticMonkey
 Indi wrote: So don't go reading other people's opinions, form your own. Go out and collect Einstein's words, and read them. The answers are all there. Just use good comprehension skills, and try not to let your own views - and your own definitions of "God" and "religion" - throw you off the scent.

The problem is that you are equating someone who believes in Spinoza's God is an atheist and/or a pantheist. Although the Catholic Church at the time thought so, Spinoza still believed in a form of God, just one that was a more literal part of Nature, and could be virtually synonymous with Nature.

As such, a believer in Spinoza's God would not be atheist, as he would be believing that Nature had a definite supernatural side (which is something Einsten professed to believe in and an atheist would not, by definition)), and would also not be a pantheist (a true pantheist has no morals, whereas a Spinozan believes in that perfection in mind and body are possible).

As Einstein believed in Spinoza and further believed that Buddhism was as close to perfect religion as you could find, it's patently obvious that he was neither atheist or a pantheist...

HM
The Conspirator
 nopaniers wrote: Conspirator, both quotes are originally from the same book.

I miss reas and mremimbered some earlyer posts. I is dumb.

 mike1reynolds wrote: Just because you are totally biased, Con, does that mean we should flatly ignore any direct exact quote that you post?

Typical, you attack. Do you know what a debate (or even a conversation) is?
HereticMonkey
The Conspirator wrote:
 nopaniers wrote: Conspirator, both quotes are originally from the same book.

I miss reas and mremimbered some earlyer posts. I is dumb.

Not dumb; just typing too fast...

Quote:
 mike1reynolds wrote: Just because you are totally biased, Con, does that mean we should flatly ignore any direct exact quote that you post?

Typical, you attack. Do you know what a debate (or even a conversation) is?

Actually, it's not an attack; it's a question. Basically, you have a very definite bias to your posts; does that mean that your posts should be ignored, because of the bias or should we at least consider your point in regards to the discussion at hand?

HM
The Conspirator
Quote:
 mike1reynolds wrote: Just because you are totally biased, Con, does that mean we should flatly ignore any direct exact quote that you post?

Typical, you attack. Do you know what a debate (or even a conversation) is?

Actually, it's not an attack; it's a question. Basically, you have a very definite bias to your posts; does that mean that your posts should be ignored, because of the bias or should we at least consider your point in regards to the discussion at hand?

HM[/quote]
No, it was an attack, I am in no way biased.
HereticMonkey
 The Conspirator wrote: No, it was an attack, I am in no way biased.

Sorry; I've been posting here too long. You are extremely biased when it comes to disproving religion. A bias isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, it can focus you. But...to say that you are "in no way biased" is serious BS, everyone has a bias of some sort...

HM
mike1reynolds
Con, if calling someone biased is an attack then you are guilty of much worse. What did you just say about Thomas Torrance? You said that even if he quotes Einstein directly it should be dismissed summarily because the man is a theologian and nothing that a theologian writes can be trusted, even if it is an exact quote of someone’s words.

So then, why could others not say the same about atheists, in all fairness? This is an example of a double standard, the root of all bigotry: one standard for you and another standard for everyone else. You are free to call others much worse than biased, you call them totally untrustworthy, simply because of their profession, yet to call a highschool kid biased, oooohhhh such a crime!
creezalird
can't believe the arguement is from the mouth of Einstein, a person who didn't believe in the existance of the God himself..
mike1reynolds
For a man who didn't believe in God, he certainly talked about God in shockingly reverent terms!

If you think that he was speak with tongue in cheek, here is some cheek for you!

Indi
 creezalird wrote: can't believe the arguement is from the mouth of Einstein, a person who didn't believe in the existance of the God himself..

(It isn't. The only question being discussed at this point is whether or not Einstein might have made the argument (that is, we know he didn't, but could he have, given the chance and the motivation?). The problem is that while there doesn't really seem to be anyone arguing that Einstein believed in God (in the sense of God as a person or being like Christian-God, or יהוה (YHWH), or اﷲ (Allah), or ब्रह्मा (Brahma)), people are arguing that Einstein believed in some kind of immanent consciousness, sorta kinda similar to ब्रह्म (Brahman) in some Hindu/Buddhist schools of thought.)
make_life_better
 Gagnar The Unruly wrote: It seems to me like you are basically doing the things you criticize mike1reynolds of doing.

I'm not at all sure that I agree - I think that we have seen ample evidence that some people will take a very particular viewpoint and try to bash eveyone else with it, using a variety of random quotes from dubious sources, loosely knitted together with insults and some raving, rambling and incoherent words to fill the spaces.

I don't think that is what Indi is doing. Or maybe I am just as raving and incoherent in my posts as Indi (I wish...) and so I just can't see them for what they are.
HereticMonkey
Indi wrote:
 creezalird wrote: can't believe the arguement is from the mouth of Einstein, a person who didn't believe in the existance of the God himself..

(It isn't. The only question being discussed at this point is whether or not Einstein might have made the argument (that is, we know he didn't, but could he have, given the chance and the motivation?). The problem is that while there doesn't really seem to be anyone arguing that Einstein believed in God (in the sense of God as a person or being like Christian-God, or יהוה (YHWH), or اﷲ (Allah), or ब्रह्मा (Brahma)), people are arguing that Einstein believed in some kind of immanent consciousness, sorta kinda similar to ब्रह्म (Brahman) in some Hindu/Buddhist schools of thought.)

More to the point, whether his belief in an immanent consciousness as opposed to specific personality constitutes atheism or not ....

HM
Indi
 HereticMonkey wrote: More to the point, whether his belief in an immanent consciousness as opposed to specific personality constitutes atheism or not ....

Um. No. That's not even a debate. -_- Both an immanent consciousness and a specific personality are obviously gods, so neither belief would be atheist.

As i just finished saying, no one seems to be claiming that Einstein believed in a god with any specific personality. That question is done. Over. Finit. (Unless someone else has something to add?)

The question is whether or not Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. If he did, then he would be a theist. If he did not - if Einstein's "god" was just big, dumb, mechanistic nature, with no mind or consciousness at all - then he would be an atheist, would he not?

That is what is being debated.
mike1reynolds
 Indi wrote: The question is whether or not Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. If he did, then he would be a theist. If he did not - if Einstein's "god" was just big, dumb, mechanistic nature, with no mind or consciousness at all - then he would be an atheist, would he not? That is what is being debated.
That is quite a bit more reasonable than what has appeared to be the debate so far, but up to the moment I haven't seen any evidence to support this notion.

Ironically, that is pretty much precisely my point of view, except that in contrast to Einstein I believe exclusively in a "personal" God that is incarnate, i.e. the oldest soul in the universe.

What if God was one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Tuxy
Was there anything before there was a God/ before God created life?According to a lot of religions 'No'. That means there was no shadow or cold even. So, shadow and cold are remainder of the creating process. God is all-knowing, so he knew there would be shadow if he created light. This means, he would know the impact of his decision. So why did he create 'good' if he knew there would be evil alongside?
HereticMonkey
 Indi wrote: The question is whether or not Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. If he did, then he would be a theist. If he did not - if Einstein's "god" was just big, dumb, mechanistic nature, with no mind or consciousness at all - then he would be an atheist, would he not? That is what is being debated.

In that case, Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. He treated God as an entity who made careful decisions, and whose mind we humans were trying to figure out, either through science or meditation.

HM
Indi
 Tuxy wrote: Was there anything before there was a God/ before God created life?According to a lot of religions 'No'. That means there was no shadow or cold even. So, shadow and cold are remainder of the creating process. God is all-knowing, so he knew there would be shadow if he created light. This means, he would know the impact of his decision. So why did he create 'good' if he knew there would be evil alongside?

That is a question called the "problem of evil". The answer depends on many things, including what you mean by "God" and "create" (among others).

Regardless, even if one presumes that that argument was given by Einstein (it wasn't), and even if one accepts all the presmises (Einstein didn't), it's still not a "proof" of anything. It's not even a cogent argument. (A cogent argument is an argument where the premises were true (which they aren't, really, but assume they are) and they make the conclusion likely to be true.)
Gagnar The Unruly
How did this discussion suddenly become so civil?
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: In that case, Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. He treated God as an entity who made careful decisions, and whose mind we humans were trying to figure out, either through science or meditation. HM

I think that Indi (and I know that I) would argue that this is mistaken. Einstein specifically denied having that notion of God (ie God as an entity who makes decisions and has a 'mind') in many of his writings. The most cogent quotes on this particular issue would be :
 Einstein wrote: The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.
 Einstein wrote: I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgement on creatures of his own creation.
 Einstein wrote: 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.
 Einstein wrote: 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
xalophus
 ThePolemistis wrote: I don't think you have understand the whole reasoning behind Einstein.

I'm not trying to understand Einstein, there are enough people already doing that in this thread. I'm merely trying to understand as to what has been purportedly "proven" in this anecdote.

 ThePolemistis wrote: My title is a bad choice of words, as I have said several times in my previous post, so I won't apologise further, and you have yourself to blame, for your incompotence of not being up to date with my current perspectives.

I'm fully aware of the perspective that you'd presented in your posts.
The last I read, you'd switched from "Einstein proves religion" to "Einstein proves the existence of God".
And that's exactly what I'm challenging now.

Where and How ? That's my question to you.
And this is the first time I've seen you attempt to answer it.

But I have to admit, that smug little remark about my incompotence [sic] does prove your point beyond all argument.

 ThePolemistis wrote: Einstein refutes taht claim, taht you cannot say taht evil is part of the supernatural force, because it is the absense of it.

Exactly ! The existence of a supernatural force is the very assumption that "Einstein" starts off with, in order to prove the existence of the very same supernatural force.

That was the whole point behind the "flying ostriches" example.

Also, as I've said in my first reply to this thread (and as has been discussed to no end in another thread), the existence of evil can only mean one of the following :
that God is not all good.
that God is not all powerful.
that God is not all knowing.

If at all we were to assume that God does exist.

 ThePolemistis wrote: A exists only from the lack of presence of Z (if A and Z are to be opposities)
 ThePolemistis wrote: Now back to your question, if you assume flying ostroiches to be the supernatural force that is to combat evil, ie a God, then your perfect in your statement. But you have done exactly, what the subject of my post should have read... taht is you have proved the existance of a "thing" whos absense of it results in evil.

No, I mean flying ostriches, literally.

You assume there exists God (a supernatural force) whose purpose is to combat evil.
I assume there exist Flying Ostriches for the same purpose.

You say this God is not present where there's evil.
Flying Ostriches have also never been observed where there's evil.

First, you assume "Z" exists.
You further assume absense of "Z" = existence of "A".
You observe the existence of "A".
You "deduce" the existence of "Z".

You basically start off with the observed existence of evil, you assume everything else on the way along, and you somehow end up "proving" the existence of God ?!

Following the very same logic, I can indeed "prove" the existence of non-symbolic Ostriches that literally fly.

Tell me, exactly where, the substitution of "God" (supernatural force) with "Flying Ostriches" (literally) causes any distortion of "Einstein" logic.

 ThePolemistis wrote: Thus, you hav supported my claims, and not contradicted it..

Actually - No.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
 HereticMonkey wrote: In that case, Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. He treated God as an entity who made careful decisions, and whose mind we humans were trying to figure out, either through science or meditation. HM

I think that Indi (and I know that I) would argue that this is mistaken. Einstein specifically denied having that notion of God (ie God as an entity who makes decisions and has a 'mind') in many of his writings. The most cogent quotes on this particular issue would be :
 Einstein wrote: The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.
 Einstein wrote: I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgement on creatures of his own creation.
 Einstein wrote: 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.
 Einstein wrote: 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

 Einstein wrote: Though I have asserted above that in truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with reference to the actual content of historical religions. This qualification has to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods.
 Einstein wrote: Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level.
 Einstein wrote: The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events....
 Einstein wrote: Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history.

Want more?

i honestly can't even see how this is a point under debate. Einstein wrote tons on the subject, and it's all universally against the idea of "God" as anything but dumb, mechanistic nature. Not just mechanistic, deterministic! The only quotes of Einstein's that give God any kind of intelligence as a characteristic are tongue-in-cheek jokes, such as the playing dice comment directed at Max and/or Hedwig Born as a gentle tease during a debate.
mike1reynolds
 Indi wrote: Want more?
Yes, something that actually proves your false contention. You smugly make a huge leap of assumption about what these quotes mean, an assumption which is totally unconvincing to the rest of us.

 Indi wrote: I honestly can't even see how this is a point under debate. Einstein wrote tons on the subject, and it's all universally against the idea of "God" as anything but dumb, mechanistic nature.
Is that what nature is to Einstein? That is what nature is to you, which is why you have no religious feelings, but that is not in the slightest what nature is to those of us with religious feelings, including Einstein.

As I asked before, what are the deep religious feelings that Einstein spoke of over and over? In the light of that, we do indeed wonder why this is even a debate. Clearly neither you nor Bikerman have even the vaguest answer to this question, and it completely nullifies all of your false assumptions about his statements on nature.

 Indi wrote: The only quotes of Einstein's that give God any kind of intelligence as a characteristic are tongue-in-cheek jokes, such as the playing dice comment directed at Max and/or Hedwig Born as a gentle tease during a debate.
How do you know it was a gentle tease? I have always seen it portrayed as a statement of angry frustration. You make so many assumptions to suite you, and then act like you are being objective and balanced.
mike1reynolds
In Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, God is depicted as unchanging and eternal, the alpha and omega. Something that doesn’t change does not act either, by definition. That is all Einstein was saying. Since Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism all have the essential feature that you claim made Einstein an atheist, are you going to attempt to argue that these three religions are actually atheistic religions?
HereticMonkey
 xalophus wrote: Also, as I've said in my first reply to this thread (and as has been discussed to no end in another thread), the existence of evil can only mean one of the following : that God is not all good. that God is not all powerful. that God is not all knowing. If at all we were to assume that God does exist.

Unfortunately, this is poor logic at best. You can have a an all-powerful, all-knowing God who is good AND have evil; you're just not factoring a deity that values free will into the equation and making the selfish assumption that an omnipotent deity must solve all of your problems for you. But....there's already thread for that.

That said: You can have a non-anthropomorphic intelligence, and I'm sure Einstein was smart enough to know that; the concept isn't exactly new (just ask anyone that's a major sci-fi or mythology geek). That Einstein looked at Spinoza'a version of God (where God is Nature/Universe), and was beginning (at least) to respect that there may have been some intelligence behind the design of the universe (even the quotes listed so far back that Einstein cold possibly believe in a non-interfering deity capable of offering solace, but otherwise would prefer to see people do things for themselves).

So, yeah; I think that Einstein could have believed in a deity with intelligence.

HM
mike1reynolds
The problem of evil has not only to do with free will, but with Newton’s Second Law in regards to evolutionary momentum. Evil gives a reason to strive and grow towards God, the Source of life and consciousness, in order to have enough power and understanding to overcome evil so that you and your descendants survive while most others perish or become barren. You plant a seed deep in the dark Earth. If you just leave it on the surface it will be burned by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and become barren.
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: That said: You can have a non-anthropomorphic intelligence, and I'm sure Einstein was smart enough to know that; the concept isn't exactly new (just ask anyone that's a major sci-fi or mythology geek). That Einstein looked at Spinoza'a version of God (where God is Nature/Universe), and was beginning (at least) to respect that there may have been some intelligence behind the design of the universe (even the quotes listed so far back that Einstein cold possibly believe in a non-interfering deity capable of offering solace, but otherwise would prefer to see people do things for themselves).

I think the Spinoza comparison specifically rules out even the concept of a deity offering solace.
Einstein elaborated on his admiration for Spinoza in a 1947 letter.
 Einstein wrote: It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropomorphic 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 to those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order and harmony 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.

So he is saying that any God does not have a 'will' or 'goals'. In other words no intentionality. This is an interesting point because of the point you raised about non-anthropomorphic intelligence. Intentionality is seen by some philosophers (Heidegger for example) as the thing which defines 'sentience' - the distinction between a thing and a thinking being. In artificial intelligence intentionality is argued to be something that machine intelligence will never achieve - as exemplified in the Chinese Room thought experiment. Whilst there is certainly not a consensus about this amongst philosophers, it is, nonetheless an interesting point.
A couple of years later he writes (and remember that this is towards the end of his life - the idea that Einstein got 'more religious' as he got older is not supported by his writings)
 Einstein wrote: “I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
So Einstein's god lacks intentionality and is not concerned with the fates and actions of humans. I think that rules out any notion of a diety offering any solace. To me it means that he did not believe in God as an 'entity' of any sort, simply as the laws, systems and principles underlying the physical universe.
 Quote: So, yeah; I think that Einstein could have believed in a deity with intelligence.
Hmmm....interesting. I see no reason why intelligence cannot be attributed to a device or 'thing' in principle...I will need to think about that one a bit more...I don't see much support for the notion in Einstein's writings though...
mike1reynolds
Being unchanging and eternal hardly precludes Intent. God is all the answers to all the questions we will ever have throughout eternity, transmitted in the now. God has no ephemeral goals because He is the attainment of all goals at the end of time, at the end of all time streams. God is all thought, all life, the sum toto of all conscious existence that ever was and ever will be.

Trapped in the moment we all have goals, but our eternal souls follow the “goalless goal” of Buddhism, “gate gate paragate” more poetically in Sanskrit. This whole argument revolves more fundamentally around misunderstandings about the nature of soul substance (to use Christian terminology) than about God.
mike1reynolds
 Gagnar The Unruly wrote: How did this discussion suddenly become so civil?

Indeed! Bikerman’s last offering was fabulous. Genuine thoughts straight to the point and not at all like his usual circuitous obfuscation. I wasn’t very convinced about your assertion that this dialog had actually become civilized until his last reply here, but I must admit that you are quick on the draw! I had not detected the real shift in this dialog that has taken place as quickly as you had.
HereticMonkey
You know, as long as you ignore Einstein pointing out that religion and science need each other, that he recommended Buddhism (which for a non-theistic religion, still has a means of rewards and punishments (karma)), that most of his analogies and comments tend to invoke God, and that he spent a lot of time debating the nature of God as it relates to humanity and science, it's easy to say that Einstein didn't believe in God.

However, factor even some of that into the equation, and it gets really interesting really quick...

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: You know, as long as you ignore Einstein pointing out that religion and science need each other, that he recommended Buddhism (which for a non-theistic religion, still has a means of rewards and punishments (karma)), that most of his analogies and comments tend to invoke God, and that he spent a lot of time debating the nature of God as it relates to humanity and science, it's easy to say that Einstein didn't believe in God. However, factor even some of that into the equation, and it gets really interesting really quick...

I think the confusion arises from the difference between spirituality and religion. He was certainly a spiritual man. So, I think am I. So are many atheists. A sense of wonder and awe at the universe is spiritual to me. A sense of wonder at something greater than ourselves is entirely consistent with an atheistic view of life - this point is often ignored and people assume that atheists are, by definition, complete materialists. It simply isn't true, in fact we know from science that matter is certainly not all there is. We still don't know how the universe works - we are pretty sure about big parts of it but there is still a way to go. Even when you do know, the concepts and scope are enough to fill any intelligent person with a sense of wonder and humility.

Now I am not arguing that Einstein was like me - an atheist. I don't think he would have said that - in fact we know he didn't. My point is that his notion of a 'greater power' is not compatible with any theistic notions - certainly not Judeo-Christian concepts of God. Let's continue by looking at the point you raise specifically - the notion of rewards and punishment.

His comment on Buddhism was
 Einstein wrote: “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.”

He is specific about the need to 'transcend' God and, as you say, Buddhism is a non-theistic belief system which simply underlines the point. Having ruled out a personal God and supported the idea of a non-theist belief system, it is difficult to reconcile anything that might remain with any notion of a divine 'entity' with a 'design' and a system of rewards and punishments, but we should consider that notion explicitly. I believe that the notion of Khama was not on his mind when he made that quote. My belief, however, is subjective and bias to some extent, I admit. It is based on good grounds though. Einstein was particularly explicit in addressing this notion of reward and punishment in many of his writings. I won't give a huge list, but a few examples should serve to illustrate the point.
 Einstein wrote: 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.

I don't think he could be much clearer on that specific point than that.
He said similar things many times:
 Einstein wrote: I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws.
Again he specifically renounces the idea of 'rewards and punishment' coming from any God. You could argue that he is not ruling out reward and punishment, merely saying that it is built into the natural laws. That would be a reasonable point, but we are now at such a distance from any conventional notion of God I think it would be fair to ask what is actually left of the Judeo-Christian picture of God?
We have a God with no intentionality (no will and no goals), no influence or interest in human affairs, no 'personality' in the sense we know it, no concept of reward or punishment, no afterlife of any sort. If that is religious then, yes, he was religious. I personally think he was spiritual but not religious in any sense that is meaningful when looking at it from a theist or even from a deist perspective, although deism is certainly much closer to what he said and wrote than theism. If we have to put a tag on what Einstein's faith was, I think that 'scientific deism' is probably the least inaccurate.
Indi
 Bikerman wrote: I think the confusion arises from the difference between spirituality and religion.

That's Einstein's fault. He redefined "religious" to suit his own ideas. He was always happily clear about what he meant when he was asked. But those too intellectually lazy to seek out the answer on their own are more than happy to simply use their own definition, even though it contradicts with Einstein's actual beliefs.

Here is how Einstein defined religious:
• "The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which 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. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints."
• "I have not found a better expression than 'religious' for the trust in the rational nature of reality that is, at least to a certain extent, accessible to human reason."
• "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. 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 only this sense, I am a deeply religious man."
• "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."
• "How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it."
Want more? i think that is enough to make it clear that Einstein's definition of religion had nothing to do with the standard conception.

Of course, Einstein's conception of religion is not only compatible with science... without it science is pretty... lame (to use Einstein's word). Fascination with the wonders of nature is what drives - or should drive - science. Without it, it becomes soulless fact-collecting. Or, as Einstein said: "I have found no better expression than "religious" for confidence in the rational nature of reality, insofar as it is accessible to human reason. Whenever this feeling is absent, science degenerates into uninspired empiricism."

i cannot grasp any line of thinking that might lead a rational person to make any sense out of "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" without interpreting "religion" as a sense of wonder - unless you want to interpret the phrase as a platitude.
mike1reynolds
Ha ha, so now you are a New Agey Buddhist type, Bikerman? So much for honesty. You are a strict materialists who denies the existence of spirit in any form. Where do you go when you die? What is it that feels inspired in your opinion? Just a wet computer that will start to rot even before you die.

As to Einstein supposedly only referring to the wonder and awe of the universe as an atheist, that is about the most pathetic pansy new age sounding poppycock that I’ve ever heard! Life is a bitch and then you die. What a wondrous and awe inspiring point of view you folks have! It sends chills all up and down my spine! *oooowwww* Can you feel the wonder of it y’all??

As to karma, what goes around comes around, anyone can figure that out, even Einstein. It is primarily an automated process having little to do with God. But as to Buddhism being atheistic, first of all only Theravada Buddhism is atheistic, none of the other major branches are at all atheistic.

But even Theravada Buddhism has the TriKaya, the three bodies of Buddha, which happen to correspond precisely to the Christian Trinity. In other words in a uniquely Buddhist way, Buddha is considered to be an Incarnation of God, but Buddhists in contrast to Hinduism and Christianity, put much more emphasis on the Incarnation than the transcendent forms, so instead of calling their Trinity God, they call their Trinity Buddha.

That doesn’t sound the least bit like either of your points of view.
mike1reynolds
 Bikerman wrote: We have a God with no intentionality (no will and no goals), no influence or interest in human affairs, no 'personality' in the sense we know it, no concept of reward or punishment, no afterlife of any sort. If that is religious then, yes, he was religious.

*If* that is a religion? What religion is it *not*? Name a single religion or shamanistic tradition that gives God a human personality? Name a single one?

God explicitly has no intentionality in the Old Testament and in Hinduism. In the Old Testament God is depicted as already eternally perfect with no desires of his own, never changing, the Alpha and the Omega. Only the Qodesh Rauch, the set-apart spirit of God, later referred to as the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, takes actions in this world.

Similarly in Hinduism, Brahma does not act at all, Brahma is unchanging and forever motionless. It is Prakriti, sometimes referred to as Maya, Brahma's feminine counterpart, that does all acting in the universe. Also note that the Hebrew term Qodesh Rauch is explicitly a feminine term.

So the best you two have come up with so far is that Einstein appeared to reject some of the notions of the Holy Spirit and Prakriti, but even in those terms you case is pretty lame. You haven't made ANY case at all for Einstein not believing in the Holy Father / Brahma.
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: I think the confusion arises from the difference between spirituality and religion.

That's Einstein's fault. He redefined "religious" to suit his own ideas. He was always happily clear about what he meant when he was asked. But those too intellectually lazy to seek out the answer on their own are more than happy to simply use their own definition, even though it contradicts with Einstein's actual beliefs.
Yep..I agree. At first I used to think he was playing games but nowadays I think he was just, well, not fully decided, anxious to do other things and reluctant to spend time on the issue rather than on science....a normal human being basically...
 Quote: ...Want more? i think that is enough to make it clear that Einstein's definition of religion had nothing to do with the standard conception.
I'm in complete agreement.
 Quote: Of course, Einstein's conception of religion is not only compatible with science... without it science is pretty... lame (to use Einstein's word). Fascination with the wonders of nature is what drives - or should drive - science. Without it, it becomes soulless fact-collecting. Or, as Einstein said: "I have found no better expression than "religious" for confidence in the rational nature of reality, insofar as it is accessible to human reason. Whenever this feeling is absent, science degenerates into uninspired empiricism." i cannot grasp any line of thinking that might lead a rational person to make any sense out of "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" without interpreting "religion" as a sense of wonder - unless you want to interpret the phrase as a platitude.

Again I agree. I would still probably stick to allowing the tag of scientific deism to attach to my understanding of him but only if I was forced to select a non-atheist tag to stick on him. I should, of course, explain for anyone who doesn't know that scientific deism is one of a host of modern 'deisms' which include Monodeism, Pandeism, Process Deism, Panendeism, Polydeism, Christian Deism, Scientific Deism, Humanistic Deism.
Scientific Deism means (to me anyway) a person who believes in some organising principle behind the universe but believes that principle to be nothing which would normally be understood as a deity, more like an underlying logic or symmetry or rulebook. It is very difficult to be specific - I think Einstein himself had the same problem. What we can both, I am sure, agree on is that any notion of an all powerful God was something he most certainly did NOT believe in. He was, in summary, possibly an atheist, possible a scientific deist (in the sense above) and possibly even a pantheist, as Dawkins would claim. Whatever he believed in it was not a theistic deity of any sort. I'll leave the last word to Albert himself.
 Quote: 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.
ThePolemistis
I think most people are asking the wrong questions.

We are asking what religion was EInstein, yet that is irrelevant. WHat is more important is whether or not EInstein sided with the belief of an existence of a God.

To prove EInstein was not religious, does not prove that he did not believe in a God. However, to prove EInstein is religious does prove his belief of the existence of a God, if of course we assume that religion means a belief in a supernatural thing and not the absense of it, which in most cases it will, otherwise, they would explicitly define religion.

 Indi wrote: The question is whether or not Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. If he did, then he would be a theist. If he did not - if Einstein's "god" was just big, dumb, mechanistic nature, with no mind or consciousness at all - then he would be an atheist, would he not?

If anyone believed in a God, then surely this God cannot be dumb, because it will defeat the very definition of a God. You cannot believe in something that is dumb to be your God because your God is something that you aspire to, and the reason for the existence. Whether God is a force or the one the abrahamic religion speaks about is a different question, but your idea of a dumb is out the question.
Whoever believes in a God, will never make him an athest, because athism is the lack of belief in God, and the opposite of the one who believes.

I know some people have quoted EInstein against a "personal God", but here is quotes of EInstein in his belief of "A God"

 Einstein said wrote: "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details."

 EInstein said wrote: "[S]cience can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

 Einstein also said wrote: "What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind. What these blessed men have given us we must guard and try to keep alive with all our strength if humanity is not to lose its dignity, the security of its existence, and its joy in living."

So my conclusion:
1. There is a distinct difference between "Personal God" and "God"
2. There is a difference in AThism and the belief in God
3. EInstein's exact belief will be akin to finding Hitlers exact belief
4. But in both cases, there are stronger evidences for a belief in a God, both in Hitler and Einstein.
5. I am in no way "directly" implying Hitler and EInstein are alike, but althought they both maybe of Jewish descent (Einstein definietly, and Hitler's is uncertain), their concepts of religion are different but belief in God more similar than different.
mike1reynolds
Not to mention that Einstein explicitly said that he was not an atheist. I don't know how much clearer you can get than that!

What more does anyone need really? Yet the atheists will still keep trying to argue that Einstein was one of them. The quote of Einstein explicitly denying that he was an atheist has been posted several times already, yet it has made no difference and been strictly avoided by them.

Are these people being dishonest with us or with themselves? It is so strange that it is very hard to tell. Is it a product of pure irrationally, or an intentional attempt to deceive? It is so far beyond the normal range of human behavior that it is impossible to tell.
mike1reynolds
 Bikerman wrote: Yep..I agree. At first I used to think he was playing games but nowadays I think he was just, well, not fully decided, anxious to do other things and reluctant to spend time on the issue rather than on science....a normal human being basically...
Totally false. As has been quoted here more than 4 times already:

Friedrich Dürrenmatt once said, "Einstein used to speak of God so often that I almost looked upon him as a disguised theologian."

Speaking of playing games and making up the facts to suite you…
Indi
 ThePolemistis wrote: I think most people are asking the wrong questions. We are asking what religion was EInstein, yet that is irrelevant. WHat is more important is whether or not EInstein sided with the belief of an existence of a God.

Neither of those are the questions being asked.

The questions being asked are "what did Einstein mean when he said 'god' or 'religion'".

 ThePolemistis wrote: To prove EInstein was not religious, does not prove that he did not believe in a God. However, to prove EInstein is religious does prove his belief of the existence of a God, if of course we assume that religion means a belief in a supernatural thing and not the absense of it, which in most cases it will, otherwise, they would explicitly define religion.

It is not clear what you're saying here. Try wording it in a way that is more clear.

But taking it line by line:

"To prove EInstein was not religious, does not prove that he did not believe in a God." We know. What's your point?

"However, to prove EInstein is religious does prove his belief of the existence of a God, if of course we assume that religion means a belief in a supernatural thing and not the absense of it, which in most cases it will, otherwise, they would explicitly define religion." False. Belief in a supernatural "thing" does not imply belief in a god. i could be an atheist that believes in ghosts or goblins. Einstein could believe in fairies and magic and a whole bunch of other supernatural things without being religious in any normal sense of the word. This is why we're spending so much time determining what Einstein meant by "religion" and by "god".

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: The question is whether or not Einstein believed in a divine consciousness. If he did, then he would be a theist. If he did not - if Einstein's "god" was just big, dumb, mechanistic nature, with no mind or consciousness at all - then he would be an atheist, would he not?

If anyone believed in a God, then surely this God cannot be dumb, because it will defeat the very definition of a God.

That is what i say. By all standard definitions, a god must have intelligence. But Einstein's "god" does not have any intelligence. Therefore, by all standard definitions, Einstein is an atheist. Of course, Einstein did not call himself an atheist, because he had no problem with saying that he believed in a dumb, mechanistic "god": nature. But by your definition, and by mine, Einstein was an atheist.

The dispute here is whether or not Einstein's god had intelligence. It's really a rather strange point to debate, because Einstein himself said no.

 ThePolemistis wrote: You cannot believe in something that is dumb to be your God because your God is something that you aspire to, and the reason for the existence. Whether God is a force or the one the abrahamic religion speaks about is a different question, but your idea of a dumb is out the question.

My idea of dumb? ^_^;

Einstein: "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropomorphic concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere."

Those are Einstein's words, not mine. And he repeats the idea again and again and again. Einstein's god does not have consciousness.

 ThePolemistis wrote: Whoever believes in a God, will never make him an athest, because athism is the lack of belief in God, and the opposite of the one who believes.

All true. But if i can define "god" to mean anything i want, then the distinction becomes meaningless: "i will call this piece of toast god! i believe in this toast! Therefore i believe in god! So i am not an atheist!"

You have already stated that a god with no conscioussness cannot be considered a "real" god. i agree. However, if that is the case, then Einstein was an atheist.

ThePolemistis wrote:
I know some people have quoted EInstein against a "personal God", but here is quotes of EInstein in his belief of "A God"

 Einstein said wrote: "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details."

 EInstein said wrote: "[S]cience can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

 Einstein also said wrote: "What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind. What these blessed men have given us we must guard and try to keep alive with all our strength if humanity is not to lose its dignity, the security of its existence, and its joy in living."

As has been repeated over and over and over, Einstein often spoke of a personal god metaphorically. That does not mean he believed in god. i speak about a personal god all the time too. i assure you, i do not believe in a personal god.

But whenever he was specifically asked about what he believed with regards to god and religion, Einstein was completely and totally consistent in his answers. He did not believe in a personal/anthropomorphic god. His god was nature. His religion was awe of nature. Nothing more, nothing less. He never deviated from these answers. Ever. There is no real debate.

Reread those comments of Einstein's keeping those points in mind. You will see that they don't say what you think they say with just a shallow reading.

 ThePolemistis wrote: So my conclusion: 1. There is a distinct difference between "Personal God" and "God" 2. There is a difference in AThism and the belief in God

Both of these are rather obvious by definition.

 ThePolemistis wrote: 3. EInstein's exact belief will be akin to finding Hitlers exact belief 4. But in both cases, there are stronger evidences for a belief in a God, both in Hitler and Einstein. 5. I am in no way "directly" implying Hitler and EInstein are alike, but althought they both maybe of Jewish descent (Einstein definietly, and Hitler's is uncertain), their concepts of religion are different but belief in God more similar than different.

None of these make any sense.

First, both Hitler and Einstein wrote quite a bit about their beliefs. The problem is that no one wants to believe either of them. People prefer to apply their own definitions to Einstein's views, even though Einstein was clear about what definitions he was using. And people just prefer to call Hitler a liar.

Second, there is a huge difference in what the two believed. Hitler's god was a conscious god with purpose. Einstein's god was not. Their concepts of religion were also entirely different. Hitler believed that religion was a complete and total submission to the authority of the divine. Einstein believed religion was just a sense of awe and wonder of what you don't understand.

What sense is there in comparing the two?
Bikerman
 ThePolemistis wrote: I think most people are asking the wrong questions. We are asking what religion was EInstein, yet that is irrelevant. WHat is more important is whether or not EInstein sided with the belief of an existence of a God.
Why is that the important thing? I side with Bolton Wanderers football club every Saturday. I am not a footballer though. The question under discussion at the moment is whether Einstein believed in a Theistic notion of God or whether he didn't. I accept that the thread title is somewhat different but let's sort out this point first before moving on to consider whether he 'proved' religion - that should be a fairly short debate.
 Quote: To prove EInstein was not religious, does not prove that he did not believe in a God. However, to prove EInstein is religious does prove his belief of the existence of a God, if of course we assume that religion means a belief in a supernatural thing and not the absense of it, which in most cases it will, otherwise, they would explicitly define religion.
I'm not clear what you mean by that last bit. Who would explicitly define religion? (not being funny, just don't follow it).
Your point that proving he was not religious doesn't prove he didn't believe in a god is a valid one. I have been explicitly trying to show, however, that he did not believe in a supernatural entity which could be classified as a god, not that he was not religious. I don't think, therefore, that the distinction, though valid in general, applies to the debate here. Your second point that proving he was religious therefore proves he did believe in a god is not correct in a semantic sense since religious can mean other things - he showed a religious devotion to his studies. That is, though, nitpicking I agree. OK..let's accept your assertion as a working hypothesis and see how/if it takes us anywhere.
 Quote: If anyone believed in a God, then surely this God cannot be dumb, because it will defeat the very definition of a God. You cannot believe in something that is dumb to be your God because your God is something that you aspire to, and the reason for the existence. Whether God is a force or the one the abrahamic religion speaks about is a different question, but your idea of a dumb is out the question.
This is the whole point of the debate really. It is NOT out of the question. Are you saying that Einstein aspired to be something divine or that he thought that a God was the reason for his existence? If God is a force then why can that force not be dumb (in the sense that it has no mind, consciousness or will)? I agree that it is a strange usage of the word God, but its the word Einstein chose so we should stick with his choice.
 Quote: Whoever believes in a God, will never make him an athest, because athism is the lack of belief in God, and the opposite of the one who believes.
Not quite correct. Atheism is, as you say, a lack of belief in God. That is not the opposite of belief (which would be disbelief). This may sound like a picky point but it is quite important. To be an atheist does not mean necessarily that you ASSERT that God does not exists. It means that you do not believe he exists. One is a positive assertion, the other is not. Atheists do not necessarily share an ideology or belief system. Lack of belief in God is not a positive belief in itself, it is an absence of belief.
OK...that being said, let's move on.
Quote:
I know some people have quoted EInstein against a "personal God", but here is quotes of EInstein in his belief of "A God"
 Einstein said wrote: "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details."
OK...that quote is used a lot, but fair point. Steven Hawkins, in his Brief History of Time, used very similar wording for, I think, the same mistaken reason. Hawking wrote 'for then we would know the mind of God' at the end of the book. Is Hawking religious? Does he believe in God? No. What Hawking and Einstein were both doing was using a metaphor - an attempt to be a bit poetic in their prose. He is saying that he wants to know how the universe works and he chooses words which, unfortunately, have been since leapt on as showing he thought God has a mind and created the world. He did this a couple of times with various quotes. What you have to do is compare that with the numerous and detailed comments and quotes he also makes stating the opposite.
Onwards.......
Quote:
 EInstein said wrote: "[S]cience can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
And what do you think he is saying there? Read it a few times. Which profound faith does he mean? In God? Or in the faith in the possibility that the regulations for the world are rational?
Quote:
 Einstein also said wrote: "What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind. What these blessed men have given us we must guard and try to keep alive with all our strength if humanity is not to lose its dignity, the security of its existence, and its joy in living."
Yep....no problem. What is your conclusion from that? He was commenting on their gift to humanity not their divinity. Buddha, for example, is not a God is he? Why, then, if he was seeking to make an explicitly religious point would he choose Buddha? Also, as a Jew he would, presumably, have been brought up in the Jewish faith. As he says himself
 Einstein wrote: "As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."
Now you will, of course, know that in Judaism Jesus was a prophet, like Moses, not a divine being or a God. He does not say 'What humanity owes to God', he is talking about what we owe to people, not deities.
I have some sympathy with what he is saying. He is saying that the biblical portrayal of Jesus is that of a man worthy of deep respect and that he stands out as the most exiting and most interesting figure in the bible stories. I largely agree with that myself. Christianity as a philosophy has some good and useful things to say. So does Buddhism. That does not mean that I believe in a supernatural Deity and nor does it mean that Einstein did. How do we know? Because he tells us so, time after time.
For example, later on in the same essay he says
 Einstein wrote: It is quite possible that we can do greater things than Jesus, for what is written in the Bible about him is poetically embellished.
He cannot be talking about a God can he? Unless he had really big plans...
 Einstein wrote: Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic [orgy of] freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Suspicion against every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude towards the convictions which were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude which has never again left me, even though later on, because of a better insight into the causal connections, it lost some of its original poignancy.

After their two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, were born he had to decide about their religious instruction and therefore their elementary school education. Einstein said, `Anyway, I dislike very much that my children should be taught something that is contrary to all scientific thinking.'
He never attended a religious service as far as we can tell. His last wish was that he not be buried according to Jewish rights and traditions but instead be cremated and his ashes scattered. We could go on and on. You will find 4 or 5 quotes which can be interpreted as perhaps meaning he was religious. This compares to innumerable writings saying otherwise.
 Quote: So my conclusion: 1. There is a distinct difference between "Personal God" and "God"
Agreed.
 Quote: 2. There is a difference in AThism and the belief in God
Agreed
 Quote: 3. Einstein's exact belief will be akin to finding Hitlers exact belief
Err...OK..I'll accept that in principle.
 Quote: 4. But in both cases, there are stronger evidences for a belief in a God, both in Hitler and Einstein.
Nope just the opposite. You will have to read a lot but might I suggest you check out the links below which point to a great deal of his writings and thoughts on this issue - far too much to summarise here.
To finish let's have his words from 'The World As I See It' (in 1954 on His 75th Birthday)
 Einstein wrote: You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a peculiar religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religion of the naive man. For the latter God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands to some extent in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe. But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality, it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.

Later
 Quote: 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.

and on the soul
 Quote: The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
I don't know how he could express it much clearer...I honestly don't.

Here's the promised link to much more of his writings.
http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/faith.html
mike1reynolds
 Indi wrote: By all standard definitions, a god must have intelligence. But Einstein's "god" does not have any intelligence. Therefore, by all standard definitions, Einstein is an atheist. Of course, Einstein did not call himself an atheist, because he had no problem with saying that he believed in a dumb, mechanistic "god": nature. But by your definition, and by mine, Einstein was an atheist. The dispute here is whether or not Einstein's god had intelligence. It's really a rather strange point to debate, because Einstein himself said no. Einstein: "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropomorphic concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere." Those are Einstein's words, not mine. And he repeats the idea again and again and again. Einstein's god does not have consciousness.

You have failed to provide a single quote where Einstein says that God has no intelligence. All you have done is make all sorts of false assumptions that would turn ANY religion into atheism. Your reasoning is profoundly circular, and you haven’t convinced a single person. Using precisely the same reasoning that you use, you could conclude that any religion on the planet was equally as atheistic as you absurdly claim Einstein was.

You perpetually equate Einstein’s comments about a “personal anthropomorphic God” with all notions of God, and try to convince people that he was saying all notions of God are anthropomorphic. That is such an obvious twisting of his clear meaning that no one can take you seriously on this topic anymore, young Indi.
mike1reynolds
Bikerman has provided an excellent quote from Einstein here (note that he is oddly speaking of his own point of view in 2nd person):

"His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, comparedth it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

So much for the argument that Einstein didn't believe that God had an intelligence. That is explicitly debunked now with Einstein's own words, thank you very much Bikerman.

Ironically, Bikerman glossed over that point and kept highlighting harmony of natural law, to try and impose his own false assumption which Einstein explicitly contradicts in the very same quote.

This is an extremely silly argument.
HereticMonkey
1) What exactly is the question? Indi has changed it three times...

2) Hitler and Einstein: Um...no. Einstein you can debate if he believed in God or not; Hitler most definitely didn't (we've had that debate before; Hitler used religion to manipulate the masses (as per his own journal), and his closest associates noted his atheism. On the other hand, as it was the atheists bringing up Hitler, doesn't that mean that they lose the debate?).

3) New Rule on Einstein Quotes: DATE THEM! If you're serious about the debate, that is...I'm noting a general progression as far as Einstein's belief in God. It's interesting to note that as he got older, he got more interested in God as an entity.

HM
Bikerman
 Einstein - 1915 wrote: I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him.

 Einstein - 1950 wrote: 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.

 Einstein - 1952 wrote: To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world.

 Einstein - 1954 wrote: I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.... This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

 Einstein - 1954 wrote: I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
ThePolemistis
 Indi wrote: The questions being asked are "what did Einstein mean when he said 'god' or 'religion'".

Precisely,, but some people assert that Einstein did not believe in a God, which is a false statement and irrelevant for our convresations

 Indi wrote: False. Belief in a supernatural "thing" does not imply belief in a god. i could be an atheist that believes in ghosts or goblins. Einstein could believe in fairies and magic and a whole bunch of other supernatural things without being religious in any normal sense of the word. This is why we're spending so much time determining what Einstein meant by "religion" and by "god".

Let split it up.

You stated,
 Quote: i could be an atheist that believes in ghosts or goblins

I agree,, I can also be a person who believes in a divine God yet believe in flying pigs. If your an atheist then it has nothing to do with belief in ghosts and goblins (in the above context). But I fail to see the merit in this argument.

 Quote: Einstein could believe in fairies and magic and a whole bunch of other supernatural things without being religious in any normal sense of the word.

Again I agree. Religiousness is the fundamental belief in religion. For instance, you can be a Christian and you can be a religious Christian. WIth respect to EInstein, *IF* we assume he wasen't religious, he was definetly Jewish, and if he was religious then he was religiously observant to whatever religion he followed.
Again, I fail to reason the logic behind your arguement.

 Quote: This is why we're spending so much time determining what Einstein meant by "religion" and by "god".

The definition here is simple:

God: a "thing" you believe is the reason for your existance, and whom you strive to please.

Religion: The belief in that God (described above).

As you can see,, u can choose anything to be God here. HOWEVER, *IIF* God is whom "you believe is the reason for your existance, and whom you strive to please."
Therefore, to believe in football as your God, is fine ONLY if you think football is the reason for your existence and whom you strive to please. If it is, then you are not an athist, and to be called one, would be out right discrimintion because you fundamentally believe in this concept and u will feel deeply and immensely hurt if your religion was mocked.

 Indi wrote: That is what i say. By all standard definitions, a god must have intelligence. But Einstein's "god" does not have any intelligence. Therefore, by all standard definitions, Einstein is an atheist. Of course, Einstein did not call himself an atheist, because he had no problem with saying that he believed in a dumb, mechanistic "god": nature. But by your definition, and by mine, Einstein was an atheist.

Never by my definition (which is one universally accepted in most peoples eyes) would that make Einstein an athist. My definition for God and his "dumb" state, is in the eye of the beholder (or rather believer)

People worship idols which cannot move, in your sense they are dumb, in theirs, they are not. Are you saying they are Athists?
You must understand belief in religion is not physical but spiritual. Thus, u cannot identify an object to be dumb in the spiritual sense, even though it maybe so in the physical sense.

 Indi wrote: all true. But if i can define "god" to mean anything i want, then the distinction becomes meaningless: "i will call this piece of toast god! i believe in this toast! Therefore i believe in god! So i am not an atheist!"

Again, people worship lifeless objects as their God, are you saying they are of equals to athists?
You again fail to understand because "IN YOUR VIEW" God cannot be a lifeless object(ie must be clever), but in some poeples view God "CAN" be lifeless(ie. can be dumb) .

And also, isn't religion a belief that one holds in his heart that "*MAY OR MAY NOT* be true? WHo you are to dictate what is correct and what is false? On another notion, Communism maybe the ideal way of life to the likes of Fiedal Castro and his followers. What right to you have to say COmmunism is not for the people, and that Democracy is the only way forward. SImilary, you have no right to say that belief in God cannot take place in lifeless objects. Not one shred of right, because its their OWN hearts and minds, and that is one thing no man has the right to take away or grossly interfere with.

 Quote: You have already stated that a god with no conscioussness cannot be considered a "real" god. i agree. However, if that is the case, then Einstein was an atheist.

I did not say that. I said:

 Quote: "If anyone believed in a God, then surely this God cannot be dumb, because it will defeat the very definition of a God. You cannot believe in something that is dumb to be your God because your God is something that you aspire to, and the reason for the existence. Whether God is a force or the one the abrahamic religion speaks about is a different question, but your idea of a dumb is out the question. Whoever believes in a God, will never make him an athest, because athism is the lack of belief in God, and the opposite of the one who believes."

As you can see, I did not express the definition of dumb. In our eyes, a lifeless object for belief in God is a dumb object. HOWEVER, it is wrong for us for OUR *BELIEF* to be expressed over the minds of others. In their view, God is not dumb.
I don't think you can see
 Indi wrote: inking. FOr some people, belief in lifeless objects is their God. Now back to what I meant to that comment. That comment was supposed to be attacking the flying ostriches or whatever arguement he was making. The reason being is that he exrpressed his belief sarcastically. Thus, if the believer himself believes that he is believing in a "DUMB thing that does no good at all", then that would make him an atheist because his belief there fore is only stimualted from environmental factors of which he is labeled as but not believes it. [quote="Indi"] His god was nature. His religion was awe of nature. Nothing more, nothing less. He never deviated from these answers. Ever. There is no real debate.

Haven't you now sided with my arguemnt. God can be anything so long as in your view he is not dumb. If he believed in nature, then he promotes the idea of God, as being the unity force that drives nature. You have supported my claim here.

 Indi wrote: Reread those comments of Einstein's keeping those points in mind. You will see that they don't say what you think they say with just a shallow reading.

I can write books that reach the ceiling to prove what EInstein meant by GOd, but I don't think that would change your position one bit.

 Indi wrote: First, both Hitler and Einstein wrote quite a bit about their beliefs. The problem is that no one wants to believe either of them. People prefer to apply their own definitions to Einstein's views, even though Einstein was clear about what definitions he was using. And people just prefer to call Hitler a liar.

Indeed, people do apply their own definitions. You, unfortuanetly, cannot accept or give credibility to the other side of arguement.

 Indi wrote: Second, there is a huge difference in what the two believed. Hitler's god was a conscious god with purpose. Einstein's god was not. Their concepts of religion were also entirely different. Hitler believed that religion was a complete and total submission to the authority of the divine. Einstein believed religion was just a sense of awe and wonder of what you don't understand.

Totally untrue. You are destroying the definition of God and religion.
I said earlier religion is belief of that God. Its important to note that the definition of religion is same for everyone, what is different is "that God".

Here you state, EInstein's God was a "sense of awe and wonder". This is the belief for all people who believe in a God. An atheist won't even have this belief, because atheism is the absense of the belief in God, and therefore you cannot even feel this "awe and wonder" let alone call it a God. ANd of course, there are different levels of piety, and Hitler believed what you said EEinstein beleieved, ie. "awe and wonder" but with additional "total submission".
It seems you have unwittingly proved that EInstein does believe in God.

ill perhaps answer bikermans post later.... i will sleep now.
Indi
ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: The questions being asked are "what did Einstein mean when he said 'god' or 'religion'".

Precisely,, but some people assert that Einstein did not believe in a God, which is a false statement and irrelevant for our convresations

What people? No one here. When you reply to claims, make sure that someone is actually making those claims.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: False. Belief in a supernatural "thing" does not imply belief in a god. i could be an atheist that believes in ghosts or goblins. Einstein could believe in fairies and magic and a whole bunch of other supernatural things without being religious in any normal sense of the word. This is why we're spending so much time determining what Einstein meant by "religion" and by "god".

Let split it up.

You stated,
 Quote: i could be an atheist that believes in ghosts or goblins

I agree,, I can also be a person who believes in a divine God yet believe in flying pigs. If your an atheist then it has nothing to do with belief in ghosts and goblins (in the above context). But I fail to see the merit in this argument.

You said: "...if of course we assume that religion means a belief in a supernatural thing..."
i said (in summary): "No. We don't assume that. Because it's wrong."

That is the merit of that argument.

Whether Einstein believed in the supernatural or not has no relevance to the question of whether he was religious or not - whether you use the dictionary (common) definition of religious, or Einstein's.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Quote: Einstein could believe in fairies and magic and a whole bunch of other supernatural things without being religious in any normal sense of the word.

Again I agree. Religiousness is the fundamental belief in religion. For instance, you can be a Christian and you can be a religious Christian. WIth respect to EInstein, *IF* we assume he wasen't religious, he was definetly Jewish, and if he was religious then he was religiously observant to whatever religion he followed.
Again, I fail to reason the logic behind your arguement.

That's fair because i fail to understand the logic behind yours.
1.) No one is assuming Einstein wasn't religious. Why would you or anyone make that assumption? He even said he was religious. The question is not whether or not Einstein was religious, it is what did Einstein mean by "religious"?
2.) Einstein was a Jew as a child. He gave that up. He was most certainly not Jewish.
3.) You don't need to be religiously observant to be religious.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Quote: This is why we're spending so much time determining what Einstein meant by "religion" and by "god".

The definition here is simple:

God: a "thing" you believe is the reason for your existance, and whom you strive to please.

Religion: The belief in that God (described above).

As you can see,, u can choose anything to be God here. HOWEVER, *IIF* God is whom "you believe is the reason for your existance, and whom you strive to please."
Therefore, to believe in football as your God, is fine ONLY if you think football is the reason for your existence and whom you strive to please. If it is, then you are not an athist, and to be called one, would be out right discrimintion because you fundamentally believe in this concept and u will feel deeply and immensely hurt if your religion was mocked.

Those are your definitions. Not Einstein's. How do i know this? He gave them explicitly.

But let's go with your definitions for a moment. You say "God" is "the reason for your existance, and whom you strive to please". In point of fact, Einstein did not "strive to please" his "god" because he did not believe that his god could be pleased (or not pleased). How do i know this? Again, he said so explicitly. Therefore, by your own definition, Einstein did not believe in a god.

 ThePolemistis wrote: Never by my definition (which is one universally accepted in most peoples eyes) would that make Einstein an athist. My definition for God and his "dumb" state, is in the eye of the beholder (or rather believer)

Not my definition, and not the rest of the world's. Determining whether a being is intelligent (in the sense of being aware) or not is an objective judgement, not a subjective one. It doesn't matter whether i believe in your god or not, or even whether it actually exists - i can tell you whether your god is intelligent or not if you tell me the characteristics of that god.

You don't need to believe in Einstein's "god" (although, you would be pretty weird if you didn't, because Einstein's "god" is nature). You can determine whether or not Einstein's "god" has intelligence just by looking at the characteristics of it. As Einstein said: it has no will, no motivation, no emotions... no nothing, really. Therefore, it is not intelligent.

 ThePolemistis wrote: People worship idols which cannot move, in your sense they are dumb, in theirs, they are not. Are you saying they are Athists?

False. "In my sense they are dumb"? Lies. Don't put words in my mouth.

If those idols can (in the minds of the believers) hear the prayers of their worshippers, and think, then they are intelligent, not dumb. It's as simple as that. i don't need to believe in those idols to recognize that they are allegedly intelligent, and they don't even need to actually exist.

 ThePolemistis wrote: You must understand belief in religion is not physical but spiritual. Thus, u cannot identify an object to be dumb in the spiritual sense, even though it maybe so in the physical sense.

i'm afraid this objection makes no sense. This has nothing to do with "physical" or "spiritual" or any other such nonsense. This is a very simple thing. You listen to the description of the god, you use basic comprehension skills, and you come to a conclusion. If the believer says: "My god is an immaterial spirit that watches over us and guides our lives", then i can conclude that their god is intelligent. If the believer says: "My god is that rock. It just sits there. It's pretty. It doesn't think or anything", then i can conclude that their god is not intelligent.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: all true. But if i can define "god" to mean anything i want, then the distinction becomes meaningless: "i will call this piece of toast god! i believe in this toast! Therefore i believe in god! So i am not an atheist!"

Again, people worship lifeless objects as their God, are you saying they are of equals to athists?
You again fail to understand because "IN YOUR VIEW" God cannot be a lifeless object(ie must be clever), but in some poeples view God "CAN" be lifeless(ie. can be dumb) .

HALT!

Where did i say "worship"?

You're putting words in my mouth. Don't. Just use the words i actually write.

i asked you if a person could be a theist if they said: "i will call this piece of toast god! i believe in this toast! Therefore i believe in god! So i am not an atheist!" Toast is not alive. It doesn't think. i don't believe toast has a consciousness, do you? It's just an ordinary piece of toast, burnt bread, and the person knows this. Yet that person has arbitrarily decided to call a piece of toast "god". He doesn't worship it. Hell, he may eat it.

Do you consider that person a theist? Because i do not. If that person can be a theist, then i can too. This can of coke in my hand is god. Now i am a theist. And no longer thirsty, too.

 ThePolemistis wrote: And also, isn't religion a belief that one holds in his heart that "*MAY OR MAY NOT* be true?

By your definition maybe. Not Einstein's. Once again, how do i know? Because Einstein said so.

 ThePolemistis wrote: WHo you are to dictate what is correct and what is false? On another notion, Communism maybe the ideal way of life to the likes of Fiedal Castro and his followers. What right to you have to say COmmunism is not for the people, and that Democracy is the only way forward. SImilary, you have no right to say that belief in God cannot take place in lifeless objects. Not one shred of right, because its their OWN hearts and minds, and that is one thing no man has the right to take away or grossly interfere with.

i have not said anything like any of that. i am reading Einstein's view, comprehending it and labelling it. What part of any of that consists of me telling people that they can't believe something?

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Quote: You have already stated that a god with no conscioussness cannot be considered a "real" god. i agree. However, if that is the case, then Einstein was an atheist.

I did not say that. I said:

 Quote: "If anyone believed in a God, then surely this God cannot be dumb, because it will defeat the very definition of a God. You cannot believe in something that is dumb to be your God because your God is something that you aspire to, and the reason for the existence. Whether God is a force or the one the abrahamic religion speaks about is a different question, but your idea of a dumb is out the question. Whoever believes in a God, will never make him an athest, because athism is the lack of belief in God, and the opposite of the one who believes."

As you can see, I did not express the definition of dumb. In our eyes, a lifeless object for belief in God is a dumb object. HOWEVER, it is wrong for us for OUR *BELIEF* to be expressed over the minds of others. In their view, God is not dumb.
I don't think you can see

i still don't understand what you're saying. Just answer this question: "can a totally dumb and unintelligent 'thing' be a god?" NOT "can you believe that a totally dumb and unintelligent 'thing' has intelligence and call it god". If you have a thing that is totally dumb, unintelligent, mechanistic and all that stuff... and you full well know it and believe it... can you call it 'god'?

Before you said no. Now you're calling me intolerant because i said i agreed. Explain. Be clear.

Watch - once again you're going to change your tune:

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: His god was nature. His religion was awe of nature. Nothing more, nothing less. He never deviated from these answers. Ever. There is no real debate.

Haven't you now sided with my arguemnt. God can be anything so long as in your view he is not dumb. If he believed in nature, then he promotes the idea of God, as being the unity force that drives nature. You have supported my claim here.

Yes, to the first part. Precisely. One of the requirements for a reasonable definition of "god" that we can all agree on is that it must be intelligent.

However, no to the second part. He believed in nature and he called it 'god'. NOT "god is the force that drives nature" or "god is within/behind/under nature". Einstein's god IS nature. That is exactly what he said. He also said that it was unintelligent. i don't care how you think a god should be defined - Einstein said his god was dumb, mechanistic nature, nothing more, nothing less. That is Einstein's god.

What i can't figure out - because you keep switching back and forth - is whether or not you think that calling some dumb, thoughtless machine 'god' makes for a theist. And if so, then why can't i fart and call it god and be a theist?

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: Reread those comments of Einstein's keeping those points in mind. You will see that they don't say what you think they say with just a shallow reading.

I can write books that reach the ceiling to prove what EInstein meant by GOd, but I don't think that would change your position one bit.

Not unless those books were actually based on what Einstein said, no.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: First, both Hitler and Einstein wrote quite a bit about their beliefs. The problem is that no one wants to believe either of them. People prefer to apply their own definitions to Einstein's views, even though Einstein was clear about what definitions he was using. And people just prefer to call Hitler a liar.

Indeed, people do apply their own definitions. You, unfortuanetly, cannot accept or give credibility to the other side of arguement.

You mean because i think you are wrong - based on the fact that you have presented an inconsistent argument and never once backed any of your points up with evidence - the reason for that must be that i'm an ******. i mean... it totally can't be because you're actually wrong, right? Nah. Can't be that.

ThePolemistis wrote:
 Indi wrote: Second, there is a huge difference in what the two believed. Hitler's god was a conscious god with purpose. Einstein's god was not. Their concepts of religion were also entirely different. Hitler believed that religion was a complete and total submission to the authority of the divine. Einstein believed religion was just a sense of awe and wonder of what you don't understand.

Totally untrue. You are destroying the definition of God and religion.

(What is it with everyone accusing me of destroying God, religion, Christianity, yadda yadda? Are these things really that fragile that one persistent questioner can utterly obliterate them?)

 ThePolemistis wrote: I said earlier religion is belief of that God. Its important to note that the definition of religion is same for everyone, what is different is "that God".

It's important to note that you're wrong. Einstein gave his definition of religion. It has been quoted several times. It does not match yours.

If i were you, i would now start accusing you of destroying Einstein. Then i would say something like "what gives you the right to tell Einstein what the definition of religion is?" But i'm not going to do either of those things, because they are idiotic.

Instead, i am going to state a fact, then offer a suggestion. FACT: Einstein's definition of religion was different from the standard definition, and your definition. SUGGESTION: Look up Einstein's definition before telling me what it is.

 ThePolemistis wrote: Here you state, EInstein's God was a "sense of awe and wonder". This is the belief for all people who believe in a God.

No, there i state Einstein's definition of religion was a sense of awe and wonder. Not god. Religion. Einstein's god was nature.

 ThePolemistis wrote: An atheist won't even have this belief, because atheism is the absense of the belief in God, and therefore you cannot even feel this "awe and wonder" let alone call it a God.

False. i am perfectly well capable of feeling a sense of awe and wonder. i just don't waste it on gods when there's a perfectly good universe to point it at.

Wanna know something really ironic? Einstein would agree with me: "The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling (a sense of awe and wonder), which 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. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints." (Emphasis added by me.)

 ThePolemistis wrote: ANd of course, there are different levels of piety, and Hitler believed what you said EEinstein beleieved, ie. "awe and wonder" but with additional "total submission". It seems you have unwittingly proved that EInstein does believe in God.

Hitler did not believe in what Einstein believed in. Hitler was not even close to pantheist, and he certainly believed in a conscious, intelligent god that directed humankind. Just look:

Hitler: "Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise."
Einstein: "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."

It's like... exact opposites. Night and day.

So... no. i have not "unwittingly" proved anything like what you claim.
HereticMonkey
Yo, Indi!

1) ThePolemists kept using a "dumb object" because YOU used the idea of calling a toaster "God". Obviously he went down the wrong path...

The better path would have pointed out that you are perfectly fine worshiping a random object, as long as you have some actual religious fervor regarding that object. A number of religions (including shintoism and shamanism) are based on the worship of objects (either directly or as a focus for some part of their rites).

I do agree with your statements re: intelligence and answering questions, however. Also, whereas I follow your reasoning, it is a bit circuitous at best...

2) Hitler vs. Einstein: Although I recognize that Hitler being a Christian fits your agenda, he wasn't a Christian in his public life, and was only Christian in public in order to manipulate the masses (if you're so interested in going by what the person said...).

3) As per the dictionary definition, atheism is a religion (you just need to have a belief regarding God, not an actual belief in God). Strangely, I think that most "atheist" religions would fit under Einstein's definition as well; it appears you need to just have a belief in something beyond yourself to qualify...

4) I find your comment re: celebrating Nature ("You don't need to believe in Einstein's "god" (although, you would be pretty weird if you didn't, because Einstein's "god" is nature") confused. No one believes that nature doesn't exist; however, not everyone believes in Nature as a god.

5) I'm not sure if I'm ready to believe that Einstein believed totally in a "dumb" god. There are just too many quotes that imply that, even though he may have believed that God was not omniscient, that God did know quite a bit. Also note that I'm not implying an anthropomorphic intelligence; my thanks to Gaia (the belief that the planet works to keep going).

'Course, I wonder: If you could have such a thing on a planetary level, why not on a more cosmic scale?

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: 3) As per the dictionary definition, atheism is a religion (you just need to have a belief regarding God, not an actual belief in God). Strangely, I think that most "atheist" religions would fit under Einstein's definition as well; it appears you need to just have a belief in something beyond yourself to qualify... HM

(I will leave the rest of this to Indi but I cannot let this pass since I find it personally offensive).
Atheism is NOT a religion. I do not accuse you of being anti-religious do I? Why? Because it is untrue. Therefore please do not do the same to atheists.
Atheism is a LACK of belief, not a BELIEF. A religion is a belief.
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: (I will leave the rest of this to Indi but I cannot let this pass since I find it personally offensive). Atheism is NOT a religion. I do not accuse you of being anti-religious do I? Why? Because it is untrue. Therefore please do not do the same to atheists. Atheism is a LACK of belief, not a BELIEF. A religion is a belief.

Incorrect; a religion is a belief regarding a deity; dogma, organization and history aren't important. Last time I checked, atheism is the belief that God doesn't exist. That is, you have a very definite belief in the existence of God, even if said belief is in the negative or in such a form that it may as well as be negative (such as pantheism).

Atheism is recognized as a religion by the US government, as well as a number of other groups (yes, this means that you could gain tax-free status in the US if you established an atheist group, and it has been done before (and yes, there are limits on what you can use as a religion; I don't think that Pastafarians could claim that status)). Not to mention that it can be stamped on a person's dog tags if they joined the armed forces. Not to mention that it is recognized as the state religion for a number of countries...

While I recognize that whereas many atheists would prefer to have no truck with anything religious, the irony is that Atheism is a recognized religion, and meets the barest definition of a religion (a belief regarding deity(ies)). [And, yes, "many" is more appropriate than "most", as there are atheist religions (such as Buddhism) or atheist versions of many religions (such as Deists being essentially Christian atheists).]

It may be annoying and offensive, but calling atheism a religion is a legitimate call.

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Incorrect; a religion is a belief regarding a deity; dogma, organization and history aren't important. Last time I checked, atheism is the belief that God doesn't exist. That is, you have a very definite belief in the existence of God, even if said belief is in the negative or in such a form that it may as well as be negative (such as pantheism).

It is not incorrect and perhaps you need to check again. For example:
 Wikki wrote: Atheism, in the broadest sense, is the absence of belief in the existence of gods.

What you are describing is a variant on atheism commonly known as 'positivist atheism', or 'strong atheism'.
Protestants are a variant of christianity. Would it be acceptible if I described Catholics as Protestants ?
I don't care what the US defines it as...that is not my concern. Are you suggesting that the US, as well as defining what is acceptible state policy around the world should now be allowed to define what words mean?
Bikerman
On a more general point:
Einstein did, beyond doubt, frequently express his opposition to 'militant atheists'. This is a matter of record. The question that atheists such as myself must address is why.
My own opinion is that there are two factors to consider.
1) Militant atheism is not something I would support. My own atheism is based on a conviction that there is no need for a 'divinity' to explain my perception of the universe. That does NOT mean that I positively state that god cannot exist. That is the reason I am sensitive to mis-application of the word atheist. Atheist is a shortening of a-theist. A theist is someone who has a certain belief. To be 'a-' something is to be apart from it, not against it. To be against something is expressed by the prefix anti-. I am not anti-theist, I am a-theist.
2) It must have irritated Einstein tremendously to see people who had no conception of his work using it to support a particular position. It would certainly bug me. Anyone who bases their atheism on ignorance is not worthy of respect when expounding that view.
HereticMonkey
Bikerman wrote:

It is not incorrect and perhaps you need to check again. For example:
 Wikki wrote: Atheism, in the broadest sense, is the absence of belief in the existence of gods.

I did, and the Wiki defiition didn't help. A number of dictionaries define "religion" as "belief in some sort of divinity" and some even list atheism as an example.

 Quote: What you are describing is a variant on atheism commonly known as 'positivist atheism', or 'strong atheism'.

So I can be an atheist AND believe in a personal deity? SWEET!
[This is what you are implying, BTW; if only a strong atheist doesn't believe in a deity, then that would imply that other branches of atheism do profess a belief in a personal deity, and that just doesn't match the definition of an atheist...]

 Quote: Protestants are a variant of christianity. Would it be acceptible if I described Catholics as Protestants ?

Bad analogy. I wasn't lumping all atheists under a sub-section; I was lumping them all under the category "not believing in God" (like most people, I wasn't aware that some atheists believe in God...I consider myself more educated now!).

 Quote: I don't care what the US defines it as...that is not my concern. Are you suggesting that the US, as well as defining what is acceptible state policy around the world should now be allowed to define what words mean?

Actually, most countries define it the same way, if for no other reason than to protect atheism's "right to worship".

[Bear in mind that I tweaking you bit; not much, but a bit. You're falling into the "militant atheist" trap, and taking your beliefs far too seriously. I'm always amused by atheists that are willing to fight to the bitter end in defense of atheism, all the while pointing out that very level of fanaticism is what they hate most about theist religions. Just an observation...]

HM
Bikerman
HereticMonkey wrote:
Bikerman wrote:

It is not incorrect and perhaps you need to check again. For example:
 Wikki wrote: Atheism, in the broadest sense, is the absence of belief in the existence of gods.

I did, and the Wiki defiition didn't help. A number of dictionaries define "religion" as "belief in some sort of divinity" and some even list atheism as an example.
What that shows is that you are a poor researcher..
Quote:
 Quote: What you are describing is a variant on atheism commonly known as 'positivist atheism', or 'strong atheism'.

So I can be an atheist AND believe in a personal deity? SWEET!
[This is what you are implying, BTW; if only a strong atheist doesn't believe in a deity, then that would imply that other branches of atheism do profess a belief in a personal deity, and that just doesn't match the definition of an atheist...]
Ridiculous logic...you must have been taking lessons.
A strong atheist asserts positively that there is no god. An atheist does not believe in god. Got it? It's really not too difficult.
Quote:

 Quote: Protestants are a variant of christianity. Would it be acceptible if I described Catholics as Protestants ?

Bad analogy. I wasn't lumping all atheists under a sub-section; I was lumping them all under the category "not believing in God" (like most people, I wasn't aware that some atheists believe in God...I consider myself more educated now!).
There's that bad logic again. The analogy is exact.
Quote:

 Quote: I don't care what the US defines it as...that is not my concern. Are you suggesting that the US, as well as defining what is acceptible state policy around the world should now be allowed to define what words mean?

Actually, most countries define it the same way, if for no other reason than to protect atheism's "right to worship".
Now that is just a lie.
 Quote: [Bear in mind that I tweaking you bit; not much, but a bit. You're falling into the "militant atheist" trap, and taking your beliefs far too seriously. I'm always amused by atheists that are willing to fight to the bitter end in defense of atheism, all the while pointing out that very level of fanaticism is what they hate most about theist religions. Just an observation...]

And you are falling into the trap of making fun of another person on grounds of religion or lack of it. I do not do that, never have and never will. My point was serious and if you don't want to debate it that way then why bother contributing? There are plenty of professional comedians who are actually funny.
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: What that shows is that you are a poor researcher..

Or that you have problem accepting the results of someone else's research. Either way, this is starting to get way off-topic.

 Quote: Ridiculous logic...you must have been taking lessons. A strong atheist asserts positively that there is no god. An atheist does not believe in god. Got it? It's really not too difficult.

Apparently it is. I'm trying to figure out how "asserting positively that there is no god" CANNOT fit under the "doesn't believe in god" idea. More to the point, how the ideas are of equal value (after all, would you not need to "not believe in god" before you can assert that "god doesn't exist"?).

 Quote: There's that bad logic again. The analogy is exact.

Nope. You need to believe in God first before you place a specific set of beliefs on your worship. For the analogy to be exact to Atheist>Strong Atheist, you need Christian>Catholic or Christian>Protestant; relative to this conversation, Catholic=Protestant, much as Pantheist=Strong Atheist.
["X>Y" meaning Y is a subset of X, and X=Y meaning that they are subsets of the same set.]

Quote:
 Quote: Actually, most countries define it the same way, if for no other reason than to protect atheism's "right to worship".

Now that is just a lie.

So...atheists should have no rights to pursue their way of belief, and should be persecuted? Interesting, that. Weird that I, as a Christian, have no problem with you following your beliefs, and yet you believe that you should be persecuted for being an atheist.

 Quote: And you are falling into the trap of making fun of another person on grounds of religion or lack of it. I do not do that, never have and never will. My point was serious and if you don't want to debate it that way then why bother contributing? There are plenty of professional comedians who are actually funny.

I don't know; I do okay in the humor department; you're just not a fan of Cheng'en Wu. My original point was merely that atheism needs to be considered as a religion because it has a very definite belief in God (albeit in either a limited or non-existent role), and is therefore a religion on its own merits.

On the other hand, you've shown yourself to be exactly what kind of person Einstein didn't like to see (a militant atheist). You're so busy trying to not be "religious" that you are behaving just as fanatic as if I had mentioned to a Christian that the Devil was a major component of the religion.

Something to think about, if nothing else...

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Nope. You need to believe in God first before you place a specific set of beliefs on your worship. For the analogy to be exact to Atheist>Strong Atheist, you need Christian>Catholic or Christian>Protestant; relative to this conversation, Catholic=Protestant, much as Pantheist=Strong Atheist. ["X>Y" meaning Y is a subset of X, and X=Y meaning that they are subsets of the same set.]
Excellent, now we are getting into serious debate. My analogy is
Take X as the set Christian. X>Catholic, X>Protestant.
Take X as the set 'Do not believe in God'. X>Strong atheist, X>Weak atheist
OK?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
 Quote: So...atheists should have no rights to pursue their way of belief, and should be persecuted? Interesting, that. Weird that I, as a Christian, have no problem with you following your beliefs, and yet you believe that you should be persecuted for being an atheist.
Bah. You start to show some promise of reasonable debate and now you descend to the gutter. What has any of this got to do with the point? (The point being that most countries define atheism as a religion). I repeat...it is not true.
 Quote: I don't know; I do okay in the humor department; you're just not a fan of Cheng'en Wu. My original point was merely that atheism needs to be considered as a religion because it has a very definite belief in God (albeit in either a limited or non-existent role), and is therefore a religion on its own merits.
OK...improving. And my point is that atheism is not a religion because it requires nothing of the sort. Atheism is the LACK of belief in God. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no definite belief in God and is therefore not a religion.
I do not believe in Faeries...do I need a tag to describe that? Does that mean I have to believe in Faeries before I can refuse to believe in them?
 Quote: On the other hand, you've shown yourself to be exactly what kind of person Einstein didn't like to see (a militant atheist). You're so busy trying to not be "religious" that you are behaving just as fanatic as if I had mentioned to a Christian that the Devil was a major component of the religion.
And now back to the gutter again. I am not a militant atheist. Perhaps you can point to one posting of mine where I assert that God does not exist? I do not believe in God. I remain open to the possibility that God exists but I require convincing. If you define that as militant atheism then we will have to differ.
Bikerman
For the benefit of other readers I should qualify my terms in the last posting explicitly.
Weak and strong atheism
Strong atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Weak atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. Anyone who is not a theist (does not believe in God) is either a weak or a strong atheist.
Under this categorisation many agnostics would be weak atheists.

For more information Wikki has a decent article on the matter here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
cornga56
This argument is classic in its basis. I love it.

I can agree that Einstein probably had the best and most thought out answers to the questions that religion brings up. But I'm sure we could all agree that what Einstein believed to be a god in the christian sense was nothing like what christians actually believe. In fact for any religion really not just christianism. Anyone who doesn't see the flaws and shallowness that appears in all religion is probably not looking close enough. Religion is good for people who want it, and not meant to be pushed on people who don't want it. But you can't take everything literally or even figuratively. You should be able to look deeply into the subject, analyze all it's moving parts, disassemble it and find the core pieces that really make the religion what it is. Example, the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Stupidly simple, yet do christians really need 10 commandments that all say in root the same thing? No, it's just redundant, confusing and unnecessary. Man was meant to progress and progression means working in harmony with other and the environment. No one can say that through totally destructive habits a progressive entity is born. It just doesn't happen. So how do you progress? You do things that help others survive, and when more of us survive we end up progressing, obviously there are things that hold us back but it's all part of a need to spread out, satisfy desire and help ourselves and others survive.

What it comes down to is most of us are scared of what we will never understand. We make stuff up to make us feel better...any psychologist can tell you that humans are known for mentally shutting down and shutting out anything they can't handle, example, Shellshock, post trauma stress disorder. And we do the same thing with religion, we believe in stuff that's so far out and so unbelievable because we need to. But it's like a safety blanket, eventually you HAVE to let go to survive. What people don't understand is that there may be a god in the sense of a highly evolved being, but it doesn't have to be a god that smites all unholy sinners that don't abide by these rules, and it doesn't have to be a god that creates and destroys the universe over and over, and it doesn't have to be a god that created the world in seven days/14000 years. What everyone should understand is that if there is a larger entity that it's much more complex and much harder to see and understand than anything else and that that is something to strive for. We need enlightenment and ascension to understand that entities purpose and meaning. We don't have to scrap religion altogether, there are great moral points to many stories in the worlds' religions and they should be kept. But no one should be killing each other over beliefs anymore. Please grow up with the rest of us. Death is not the answer, and spreading your beliefs to people who don't want or need it isn't the answer either. Stop coming to my door at 9AM trying to tell me about how you see the world and then trying to make me see it the same way. Form your own personal beliefs around whatever you want.
Just follow the Golden rule and progress, that's what Einstein would have wanted.
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: And my point is that atheism is not a religion because it requires nothing of the sort. Atheism is the LACK of belief in God. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no definite belief in God and is therefore not a religion.

Putting it another then: Can you define atheism without putting it into terms of believing in a deity of some sort? Think about it for a moment...

 Quote: And now back to the gutter again. I am not a militant atheist. Perhaps you can point to one posting of mine where I assert that God does not exist? I do not believe in God. I remain open to the possibility that God exists but I require convincing. If you define that as militant atheism then we will have to differ.

Why? All I need is one post: I point out that Atheism is a religion, and that there are definite advantages to such (tax-free places to get together, lack of persecution, annoy Christians), and your response is that Atheism is in no way a religion. Even though it meets the legal and dictionary definitions, it doesn't meet your personal definition.

In other words: Society in general has decided that Atheism is a religion, and yet because you are attempting to eschew religion at all costs you have decided that those rules don't actually apply. Something to consider...

[Note that I'm not trying to be disrespectful to Atheism, just trying to make a point.]

The Obligatory Attempt To Bring It Back on Track: By the time Einstein had seen the nuclear bomb used, Science was rather soulless; although major strides were being made, eugenics, more powerful weapons, and a "Science is God" attitude pervaded things, and the quality of life was just beginning to pick up (mainly due to more women in the workplace). Worse, Religion was starting to take a back seat to Science, and Atheism was beginning to serious inroads into the United States (it was more important to act religious rather than being religious, mostly thanks to the war, McCarthy, and Hollywood (its lack of religious portrayals was mandated in order for more universal appeal, but that lack of religion was soon taken to be the norm)). Politic expediency was becoming more important to Science than finding things out.

A Pure Scientist like Einstein would have been appalled by the situation, where Science was less important than the scientist's agenda. When the younger scientists started espousing their belief that this was a good thing, Einstein would have been shocked and so started looking for a way to return Science to being pure again. Religion would have been an ideal set-up for him; most belief systems (even Christianity) encourage curiosity, as well as providing the moral fiber that was lacking.

This is why I said that I noticed that there seemed to be an interesting trend: As Einstein got older, his quotes also became more religious in nature. He would have started debating philosophy, knowing that his fame would have helped give Religion a certain cachet, and hopefully bring Science back to the purity that he liked when he was a clerk. It's noteworthy that the religion he preferred was Buddhism, because from a quantum physicist's perspective its belief that the world is illusory would have matched perfectly (at the atomic level, it's hard not to acknowledge that everything is mostly empty space).

For what it's worth...
Bikerman
HereticMonkey wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: And my point is that atheism is not a religion because it requires nothing of the sort. Atheism is the LACK of belief in God. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no definite belief in God and is therefore not a religion.

Putting it another then: Can you define atheism without putting it into terms of believing in a deity of some sort? Think about it for a moment...
Another logical fallacy. You cannot define a lack of something as a subset of the same thing. I thought you had got that. Taking 'religion' to mean the belief in a deity, you are trying to assert that lack of belief in a deity is religion. I say that is logical nonsense.
Quote:
 Quote: And now back to the gutter again. I am not a militant atheist. Perhaps you can point to one posting of mine where I assert that God does not exist? I do not believe in God. I remain open to the possibility that God exists but I require convincing. If you define that as militant atheism then we will have to differ.

Why? All I need is one post: I point out that Atheism is a religion, and that there are definite advantages to such (tax-free places to get together, lack of persecution, annoy Christians), and your response is that Atheism is in no way a religion. Even though it meets the legal and dictionary definitions, it doesn't meet your personal definition.
Here we go again.
Legal definitions we have covered - you assert that because the US defines atheism as a religion then it is so. I say that what the US defines is up to the US. I live in the UK. In the UK atheism is NOT legally defined as a religion. Neither is it defined as a religion in most countries.
I asked you to point to a posting where I assert that God does not exist. You failed to do so. Yet you still assert that I am a militant atheist? Why is this? You define a militant atheist as one who refuses to accept that atheism is a religion? Strange definition.
 Quote: In other words: Society in general has decided that Atheism is a religion, and yet because you are attempting to eschew religion at all costs you have decided that those rules don't actually apply. Something to consider...
Your definition of society in general is, I presume, limited to the US? I do not live in the US.
Has it ever occurred to you that society might include non-US citizens?
Bikerman
I should add, once again for other readers, that the assumption in the US that atheism is a religion is based on a Federal Court ruling in 2005 concerning the rights of prisoners under article 1 of the constitution.

Personally I consider the court made the wrong decision for the right reasons.
dragonflame
Wall of text crits you for 5000 pts

You guys are taking this too seriously.

However, the text does claim something by presenting a bad argument. One of many feel good emails floating around the internet that should be taken for what it is. A 2 min feel good story, now back to reality.
mike1reynolds
HereticMonkey wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: What you are describing is a variant on atheism commonly known as 'positivist atheism', or 'strong atheism'.

So I can be an atheist AND believe in a personal deity? SWEET!

ROFL!!! So you are starting to get a feel for BM’s mode of “logic” I take it. The facts are whatever suites BM’s argument, regardless of what you may actually find when you research the facts. He is just a brick wall, troll extraordinaire.
mike1reynolds
"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 minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."

-Albert Einstein
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: The Obligatory Attempt To Bring It Back on Track: By the time Einstein had seen the nuclear bomb used, Science was rather soulless; although major strides were being made, eugenics, more powerful weapons, and a "Science is God" attitude pervaded things, and the quality of life was just beginning to pick up (mainly due to more women in the workplace). Worse, Religion was starting to take a back seat to Science, and Atheism was beginning to serious inroads into the United States (it was more important to act religious rather than being religious, mostly thanks to the war, McCarthy, and Hollywood (its lack of religious portrayals was mandated in order for more universal appeal, but that lack of religion was soon taken to be the norm)). Politic expediency was becoming more important to Science than finding things out.

I presume the era you mean here is 1945-1955
a) Eugenics effectively disappeared off the map after WWII it was at it's peak in Einstein's youth.
b) The economic boom had little to do with women in the workplace during this era. It was a white middle-class boom driven by turning the war machine into a consumer culture. Older people did badly at this time as did racial minorities.
c) Have you any evidence to show religious decline in this era? I have got the raw statistics for Church attendance from 1901 to 1981 and, although I have not had time to analyse them yet, they don't appear to support this assertion of a dramatic fall during this period.
 Quote: A Pure Scientist like Einstein would have been appalled by the situation, where Science was less important than the scientist's agenda. When the younger scientists started espousing their belief that this was a good thing, Einstein would have been shocked and so started looking for a way to return Science to being pure again. Religion would have been an ideal set-up for him; most belief systems (even Christianity) encourage curiosity, as well as providing the moral fiber that was lacking.

The agenda you refer to was not that of the scientists but that of the people funding, employing and directing them. There is no record I know that supports the contention that Einstein was 'shocked'.
 Quote: This is why I said that I noticed that there seemed to be an interesting trend: As Einstein got older, his quotes also became more religious in nature. He would have started debating philosophy, knowing that his fame would have helped give Religion a certain cachet, and hopefully bring Science back to the purity that he liked when he was a clerk. It's noteworthy that the religion he preferred was Buddhism, because from a quantum physicist's perspective its belief that the world is illusory would have matched perfectly (at the atomic level, it's hard not to acknowledge that everything is mostly empty space).

a) You have provided no evidence for this 'trend' whereas I have provided numerous dated quotes which show no such trend
b) Einstein was not a quantum physicist. He resisted quantum physics and its findings all his life.
Indi
 Bikerman wrote: Under this categorisation many agnostics would be weak atheists.

Agnosticism is unrelated to (a)theism. i could be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.

Theism: The belief in a god(s).
Atheism: The absence of the belief in a god(s).

Agnosticism: The belief that the existence of a god is not/cannot be known.

Agnostic atheist: "i do not believe a god exsits, but i do not know for certain."
Agnostic theist: "i believe a god exists, but i do not know for certain."

There are, of course, strong and weak forms of atheism. There are also strong and weak forms of agnosticsm: the weak form is that the existence of a god is not known, the strong form is that it cannot be known. You can mix and match to suit.

Personally, i am a weak atheist and strong agnostic. i don't believe any god(s) exist. But i don't think it's even possible to know whether they do or do not. (You could also call me "ignostic", meaning i don't even think that the term "god" has any coherent meaning.)
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: Under this categorisation many agnostics would be weak atheists.

Agnosticism is unrelated to (a)theism. i could be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.

Theism: The belief in a god(s).
Atheism: The absence of the belief in a god(s).

Agnosticism: The belief that the existence of a god is not/cannot be known.

Agnostic atheist: "i do not believe a god exsits, but i do not know for certain."
Agnostic theist: "i believe a god exists, but i do not know for certain."

There are, of course, strong and weak forms of atheism. There are also strong and weak forms of agnosticsm: the weak form is that the existence of a god is not known, the strong form is that it cannot be known. You can mix and match to suit.

Personally, i am a weak atheist and strong agnostic. i don't believe any god(s) exist. But i don't think it's even possible to know whether they do or do not. (You could also call me "ignostic", meaning i don't even think that the term "god" has any coherent meaning.)

Fair point. I was meaning to point out that once atheism is defined correctly then it does not exclude agnosticism as it does when defined incorrectly as 'anti-theism'.
Kitten Kong
That story is so obviously completely made up, tell me who was it who was taking notes and making a record of this conversation in a pre-war german university of an as-yet completely unknown student?

Propoganda
Indi
 Bikerman wrote: Fair point. I was meaning to point out that once atheism is defined correctly then it does not exclude agnosticism as it does when defined incorrectly as 'anti-theism'.

Actually, anti-theism doesn't necessarily preclude agnosticism either. Observe the thinking of an strong agnostic antitheist: "Of course it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a god. It's also impossible to prove or disprove the existence of fairies. But a god is such a stupid idea! No one with any brains believes that a god exists. Everyone who believes in a god is an idiot." (Implicit in the rant would be that the speaker considers themselves to be a person "with brains", thus suggesting their disbelief.)

Agnosticism really is orthogonal to theism (or the lack thereof).
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: Fair point. I was meaning to point out that once atheism is defined correctly then it does not exclude agnosticism as it does when defined incorrectly as 'anti-theism'.

Actually, anti-theism doesn't necessarily preclude agnosticism either. Observe the thinking of an strong agnostic antitheist: "Of course it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a god. It's also impossible to prove or disprove the existence of fairies. But a god is such a stupid idea! No one with any brains believes that a god exists. Everyone who believes in a god is an idiot." (Implicit in the rant would be that the speaker considers themselves to be a person "with brains", thus suggesting their disbelief.)

Agnosticism really is orthogonal to theism (or the lack thereof).

<thinks>...A strong atheist is one who holds that the statement 'God does not exist is true'...I thought that they also had to hold that it could be proved.....hmm. <checking a couple of references>
http://www.strongatheism.net/faq/#F3

It's a fine judgement call I think.....I'm not completely convinced.....
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: I should add, once again for other readers, that the assumption in the US that atheism is a religion is based on a Federal Court ruling in 2005 concerning the rights of prisoners under article 1 of the constitution. You can read about the case HERE Personally I consider the court made the wrong decision for the right reasons.

Actually, it was decided well before that. The military decided has been using "atheism" as a religion for better than fifty years, and several "atheist churches" have been tax-free since the 1800's.

In essence, from a purely legal definition, atheism counts as a religion for both the benefits and protections it gains. I'm not saying that any country has legislation that explicitly says, "Atheism is a religion." Rather, I'm trying to point out that atheism has gained the status of a religion over the years.

HM
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: I presume the era you mean here is 1945-1955

 Quote: a) Eugenics effectively disappeared off the map after WWII it was at it's peak in Einstein's youth.

Nope. Einstein was born in 1879; the US Eugenics Movement was in place from 1896 to at least 1945. I don't see a (1945-1879=) 66 year old man as a youth...
 Quote: b) The economic boom had little to do with women in the workplace during this era. It was a white middle-class boom driven by turning the war machine into a consumer culture. Older people did badly at this time as did racial minorities.

You'd be right if I had said "economic boom"; I had said quality of life. I was thinking more that women and minorities getting expanded rights and people being able to afford more nice things rather than mere male paychecks increasing...

 Quote: c) Have you any evidence to show religious decline in this era? I have got the raw statistics for Church attendance from 1901 to 1981 and, although I have not had time to analyse them yet, they don't appear to support this assertion of a dramatic fall during this period.

And how would church statistics even be relevant? I also didn't refer to a "religious decline"; I referred more to situations that religion was becoming important not as a personal belief, but rather that religion seemed to be used as proof of loyalty. If one's religion was the mark of the person's loyalty would not church-going increase? I'm looking more at McCarthy, the addition to the Pledge of Allegiance, and how religion was portrayed (when it was portrayed).

 Quote: The agenda you refer to was not that of the scientists but that of the people funding, employing and directing them. There is no record I know that supports the contention that Einstein was 'shocked'.

Logic 101: If you know that adopting a certain belief scheme will get you ahead, would you not adopt that scheme? And eventually would not that attitude therefore become prevalent?

Oh, and there is proof of Einstein being shocked: His letter to the president re: use of the nuclear bomb, and his reaction to that.

 Quote: a) You have provided no evidence for this 'trend' whereas I have provided numerous dated quotes which show no such trend

Then re-read your quotes. Also, combine with Indi's quotes. You'll get a very interesting picture...

 Quote: b) Einstein was not a quantum physicist. He resisted quantum physics and its findings all his life.

Sorry; I keep forgetting that Einstein was properly a theoretical physicist. I've been playing a lot with quantum physics lately, and Einstein has been a major part of that research.

HM
HereticMonkey
 dragonflame wrote: Wall of text crits you for 5000 pts You guys are taking this too seriously.

Sorry . I'll try to stop...

HM
Bikerman
HereticMonkey wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: I presume the era you mean here is 1945-1955

You did say 'by the time Einstein had seen the nuclear bomb used' which would be 1945, but I'll not quibble
 Quote: Nope. Einstein was born in 1879; the US Eugenics Movement was in place from 1896 to at least 1945. I don't see a (1945-1879=) 66 year old man as a youth...
I said that it was at it's peak in his youth but on checking it was actually peaking around 1925-30 so I was mistaken - he was into his 40s..I take it back.
Quote:

 Quote: b) The economic boom had little to do with women in the workplace during this era. It was a white middle-class boom driven by turning the war machine into a consumer culture. Older people did badly at this time as did racial minorities.

You'd be right if I had said "economic boom"; I had said quality of life. I was thinking more that women and minorities getting expanded rights and people being able to afford more nice things rather than mere male paychecks increasing.
More people affording nice things is what I meant by the boom. Women's rights did not change in this period. Minority rights changes marginally, not very significantly until 1955 onwards
 Quote: And how would church statistics even be relevant? I also didn't refer to a "religious decline"; I referred more to situations that religion was becoming important not as a personal belief, but rather that religion seemed to be used as proof of loyalty. If one's religion was the mark of the person's loyalty would not church-going increase? I'm looking more at McCarthy, the addition to the Pledge of Allegiance, and how religion was portrayed (when it was portrayed).
What you said was
 Quote: Religion was starting to take a back seat to Science, and Atheism was beginning to serious inroads into the United States
If Atheism was making serious inroads then religion was in decline...In that case one would expect to see a drop in members of religions and/or attendance at church.
 Quote: Logic 101: If you know that adopting a certain belief scheme will get you ahead, would you not adopt that scheme? And eventually would not that attitude therefore become prevalent?
No. I cannot change my beliefs so glibly. Maybe you can, I can't.
 Quote: Oh, and there is proof of Einstein being shocked: His letter to the president re: use of the nuclear bomb, and his reaction to that.
What you said was
 Quote: A Pure Scientist like Einstein would have been appalled by the situation, where Science was less important than the scientist's agenda.
The bomb was not 'the scientists agenda' it was a military and political agenda. I still don't know what agenda you think scientists of this era had...
 Quote: Then re-read your quotes. Also, combine with Indi's quotes. You'll get a very interesting picture...
I have and they do not support the idea of such a trend...in fact if anything it would be the other way around....
mike1reynolds
Back to the subject, only self serving atheists with ego problems pretend that any kind of meaningful case for Einstein being an atheist has been made. He repeatedly denied that he was an atheist and talked about God incessantly. No sane person without a BS agenda can reasonably conclude that Einstein was an atheist.
mike1reynolds
BM, you have a knack for taking brief quotes and sound bights out of context and forcing them into a contrived context of your own fabrication:

Bikerman wrote:
 Einstein - 1915 wrote: I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him.

Einstein was agnostic in 1915:
 Einstein - 1915 wrote: Letter to Edgar Meyer, a colleague, January 2, 1915 Source: Robert Schulmann "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."

Bikerman wrote:
 Einstein - 1950 wrote: 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.

I hear an echo. BM, the date for your 2nd quote is 35 years off here. It is a perfect example of how you manipulate arguments to suite you with no respect for the facts or anyone you are talking to. Einstein was an agnostic in 1915, not 1950, and further you are trying to contort a statement of agnosticism into a statement of atheism.

Bikerman wrote:
 Einstein - 1952 wrote: To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world.

Einstein also stated that God exists through all of us, a theological notion that I espouse repeatedly here. If this is atheism then you must by trying to convince me that I am an atheist too?

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."-Albert Einstein

Bikerman wrote:
 Einstein - 1954 wrote: I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.... This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

In other words he is not a conformist to religious notions. It is not a statement of disbelief in God, but of contempt for conformist notions. Once again, if that is atheism by your definition then you must be trying to convince most of the theists here that they are really atheists.

Bikerman wrote:
 Einstein - 1954 wrote: I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.

In a letter to a child who asked if scientists pray (24 January 1936), said: "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." [Einstein Archive 42-601]

In a letter to V. T. Aaltonen (7 May 1952), Einstein explained his opinion that belief in a personal God is better than atheism. Einstein said, "Mere unbelief in a personal God is no philosophy at all." [Einstein Archive 59-059]

Another quote from Einstein, dated 18 April 1955 (source: James B. Simpson, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, Houghton Mifflin, 1988;
“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 minds.”
Bikerman
 mike1reynolds wrote: BM, you have a knack for taking brief quotes and sound bights out of context and forcing them into a contrived context of your own fabrication: I hear an echo. BM, the date for your 2nd quote is 35 years off here. It is a perfect example of how you manipulate arguments to suite you with no respect for the facts or anyone you are talking to. Einstein was an agnostic in 1915, not 1950, and further you are trying to contort a statement of agnosticism into a statement of atheism.

I do not fabricate or distort quotes. The quote is taken from
and is — Letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215

PS - Should anyone actually believe this libel then you can cross reference the quote at the following locations and decide who is telling lies.
http://www.thismetalsky.org/quotes/bigquotes.html
http://everything2.com/?node_id=552029
HereticMonkey
 Bikerman wrote: You did say 'by the time Einstein had seen the nuclear bomb used' which would be 1945, but I'll not quibble

Point made. Like most ex-physicists I tend to think in terms of when the first forays into nuclear energy (back in 1939).

 Quote: More people affording nice things is what I meant by the boom. Women's rights did not change in this period. Minority rights changes marginally, not very significantly until 1955 onwards

I know a lot of women's rights activists that would seriously argue with you; by proving that they could work as well as men, the Rosies set some serious precedents. Minority rights may have changed little, but you had more of them in leadership positions, more were able to afford to go to college, and, as they had worked with others during the war and gained respect, there were fewer racists.

So, yeah: Fewer rights were gained, but major strides were nonetheless made.

Quote:
What you said was
 Quote: Religion was starting to take a back seat to Science, and Atheism was beginning to serious inroads into the United States
If Atheism was making serious inroads then religion was in decline...In that case one would expect to see a drop in members of religions and/or attendance at church.

Religion may have been in decline, but the necessity to appear to be a God-fearing Christian was up. Ergo, rolls wouldn't have been seriously affected.

 Quote: No. I cannot change my beliefs so glibly. Maybe you can, I can't.

Your perspectives are not others. People in general go with the prevailing wind and look for the safest route.

[quote]What you said was
 Quote: A Pure Scientist like Einstein would have been appalled by the situation, where Science was less important than the scientist's agenda.
The bomb was not 'the scientists agenda' it was a military and political agenda. I still don't know what agenda you think scientists of this era had...
I'm going with: Do what the government wants, and they will leave you alone and with funds to do as you want.

HM
HereticMonkey

You know, I'm really starting to debate if Einstein really knew who Spinoza was or what an agnostic is...

 Quote: http://www.thismetalsky.org/quotes/bigquotes.html

One out of context quote does not an argument make...

 Quote: http://everything2.com/?node_id=552029

Ironically, a discussion of how religious Einstein was...

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: I know a lot of women's rights activists that would seriously argue with you; by proving that they could work as well as men, the Rosies set some serious precedents. Minority rights may have changed little, but you had more of them in leadership positions, more were able to afford to go to college, and, as they had worked with others during the war and gained respect, there were fewer racists.
I agree to some extent. The effect on racism was, of course, because of the integration of the armed forces during the War which was prompted by necessity but maintained (to the credit of D.E.). Many women who worked during the war were actually sacked or 'let go' as soon as it was over. There was a net increase but not a huge one. The effect was more psychological - women had been given a taste of equality and they wanted more (quite rightly).
 Quote: So, yeah: Fewer rights were gained, but major strides were nonetheless made.
Yes. I can agree with that.
 Quote: Religion may have been in decline, but the necessity to appear to be a God-fearing Christian was up. Ergo, rolls wouldn't have been seriously affected.
SO the churches were full of atheists pretending to be religious? I don't know how that could be tested...therefore it will have to remain moot.
 Quote: Your perspectives are not others. People in general go with the prevailing wind and look for the safest route.
That's hardly the same as having an agenda though, is it?
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Indi wrote:
 Bikerman wrote: Fair point. I was meaning to point out that once atheism is defined correctly then it does not exclude agnosticism as it does when defined incorrectly as 'anti-theism'.

Actually, anti-theism doesn't necessarily preclude agnosticism either. Observe the thinking of an strong agnostic antitheist: "Of course it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a god. It's also impossible to prove or disprove the existence of fairies. But a god is such a stupid idea! No one with any brains believes that a god exists. Everyone who believes in a god is an idiot." (Implicit in the rant would be that the speaker considers themselves to be a person "with brains", thus suggesting their disbelief.)

Agnosticism really is orthogonal to theism (or the lack thereof).

<thinks>...A strong atheist is one who holds that the statement 'God does not exist is true'...I thought that they also had to hold that it could be proved.....hmm. <checking a couple of references>
http://www.strongatheism.net/faq/#F3

It's a fine judgement call I think.....I'm not completely convinced.....

You are operating under the assumption that all strong atheists base their beliefs on rationality, logic or evidence. That doesn't need to be the case. A strong atheist could have arrived at their belief just as irrationally as the most mindlessly devoted theist... and be just as convinced that reason doesn't even apply to the question. But even when reason is a factor in the atheist's beliefs, it is still possible for them to believe something while still believing that it is impossible to know it for sure.

Try taking "god" out of the equation, because it's such an emotional topic. Try something benign, like alien anal probings. (Actually... that's not particularly benign to those being probed... but it will have to do.)

It is not psychologically discordant to say: "It is entirely possible that aliens have visited Earth and conducted experiments on our rectums. No one can possibly say for certain that they have or have not. But i do not believe that it ever happened. It sounds a little stupid to me."

The first part, in green, is a statement about whether it is possible to know about alien anal probings existing. The conclusion (of this person) is that it is not possible to know. The second part, in red, is about whether it is believed or not. This person does not believe.

Replace "alien anal probings" in the paragraph above with "god". The part in green would make that person a strong agnostic. The part in red would make them a strong atheist.

Your position on the truth of the statement "X exists" is not related to your position on the truth of the statement "it is possible to know whether or not X exists". You can very easily say that it will never be possible to prove that ghosts do not exist... but that you don't believe in them. Similarily, i could say "it will never be possible to prove that god doesn't exist, or that he does - he can always hide in the gaps. but i think that he doesn't exist." That would be strong atheism and strong agnosticsm. If i were to say, "It is currently impossible to prove the existence or non-existence of god, but one day our science and/or philosophy may be up to the task. i however, believe that he does not exist." That would be strong atheism and weak agnosticism.
Bikerman
HereticMonkey wrote:

You know, I'm really starting to debate if Einstein really knew who Spinoza was or what an agnostic is...

 Quote: http://www.thismetalsky.org/quotes/bigquotes.html

One out of context quote does not an argument make...

 Quote: http://everything2.com/?node_id=552029

Ironically, a discussion of how religious Einstein was...

HM

What is your point? Mike1Reynolds accused me of altering the date of the Einstein quote. I presume you accept that it was just one more in a long list of his lies and that my quote was both accurate in content and date? If not then say so.
HereticMonkey
Besides pointing out that you had one out of context quote and led to another discussion on Einstein's beliefs, I was trying to point out that it would be interesting if Einstein didn't quite have the definitions of Spinoza or agnostic down. He uses "agnostic" a lot, but he evidently believes in some form of deity (that is, he's sure that there is a God of some sort, and don't agnostics doubt the existence of God?).

I am also struck by Einstein's reverence as to what Nature has wrought. Just thought that it was interesting, and would a true Spinozan be all that interested in what Nature had done?

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Besides pointing out that you had one out of context quote and led to another discussion on Einstein's beliefs, I was trying to point out that it would be interesting if Einstein didn't quite have the definitions of Spinoza or agnostic down. He uses "agnostic" a lot, but he evidently believes in some form of deity (that is, he's sure that there is a God of some sort, and don't agnostics doubt the existence of God?).
In what sense is my quote out of context? It certainly does not support your assertion that he grew more religious with age...is that what you mean by out of context?
HereticMonkey
Putting it more specifically: It wasn't put into context. No date was given; so it's use in this context is of debatable use...

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Putting it more specifically: It wasn't put into context. No date was given; so it's use in this context is of debatable use... HM

What are you talking about? I gave the exact date of the quote.
 Bikerman wrote: Einstein - 1950 wrote:
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Besides pointing out that you had one out of context quote and led to another discussion on Einstein's beliefs, I was trying to point out that it would be interesting if Einstein didn't quite have the definitions of Spinoza or agnostic down. He uses "agnostic" a lot, but he evidently believes in some form of deity (that is, he's sure that there is a God of some sort, and don't agnostics doubt the existence of God?).

Up to now our debate has been civilised and has stuck mainly to the issues. It would be a pity to spoil this with an untrue and unnecessary claim of 'foul' - the claim that I took a quote out of context.
I am careful to check my quotes and references and I take very seriously any claim that I have made a mistake in quoting or referencing material. You will note that I was quick to acknowledge an error I made previously in this regard with respect to the eugenics dates. I would therefore ask you to retract the accusation that I took this particular quote out of context - regardless of the rest of the debate - so that we may continue to debate in a civilised and truthful manner.
HereticMonkey
Consider it retracted.

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: Consider it retracted.

Thank-you. It is appreciated.
Indi
 laurenrox wrote: So basically your saying that "god" can't really be a "god" if he/she/it has no human-like qualities?

No, not human-like, person-like qualities. You don't have to be human to be a person.
ThePolemistis
Indi wrote:
 laurenrox wrote: So basically your saying that "god" can't really be a "god" if he/she/it has no human-like qualities?

No, not human-like, person-like qualities. You don't have to be human to be a person.

define the difference between human and person
HereticMonkey
1) Person: Sentient entity with demonstrable intelligence

Human: Person who happens to be a homo sapiens

(Yeahyeah; too simplistic)

2) So how does a "watchmaker" God fit into debate? In other words, is it possible to have a deity that's neither part of nature (as per Spinoza) or personal (as per default Christianity), but basically set up the Universe, and then just let's it run?

HM
Bikerman
 HereticMonkey wrote: 1) Person: Sentient entity with demonstrable intelligence Human: Person who happens to be a homo sapiens (Yeahyeah; too simplistic) 2) So how does a "watchmaker" God fit into debate? In other words, is it possible to have a deity that's neither part of nature (as per Spinoza) or personal (as per default Christianity), but basically set up the Universe, and then just let's it run? HM

The 'watchmaker' analogy is a bad one for this line for the simple reason that the analogy was originally coined to mean something related but different.*
Taking the general point, though, the question is a fair and deep one. In one sense God is personalised by the very fact that it is a person believing in him/it/her. I imagine a Venusian God or a beta-centuri God would reflect a similar bias in definition. That is one reason why many people (and I think this might apply to Einstein but this is person opinion, not assumption) people cannot easily accept the traditional anthropomorphic image of the Abrahamic religions (bar Islam, perhaps).
On the question itself, God is such a widely used and vaguely defined term that most people use it to signify some immortal or supernatural purposeful designer or maker. That is what we should perhaps more accurately call a Deity. Is it possible to regard a principle or law of 'nature' as a God? I think not because it bends the definition past breaking. I suspect Einstein thought differently, who knows. If we allow this definition then you could make a case for the Higgs boson to be the 'God' particle or the 'God' field and this has, in fact, been suggested.

One thing is certain - Einstein did not believe in a Deity. He was explicit, consistent (bar the use of a few careless or mischievous metaphors) and clear on this throughout his life as can been seen when you read through his archive.
http://www.alberteinstein.info/

The question then becomes at what point between 2 extremes did Einstein sit. The one extreme is the fundamentalist religious idea of a God, with all the anthropomorphic qualities that entails. The other extreme is the belief that there is no God, no designer, no design or plan, no underlying intelligence (or extelligence) controlling or even aware of us. 'No point' in short.

I believe Einstein was close to the latter of the two extremes but was also; being fairly wise, aware that we cannot know for sure;
being a scientist aware of probabilities and uncertainty, unwilling to dismiss things completely;
being a humanist, aware of the problems with the great systems of religion but aware that humans seek answers to existence and religion is one;
being a theorist, filled with wonder and awe that the complicated system of the universe appears to obey laws which we can comprehend;
being fairly wise, aware that science cannot answer most questions which do not relate to the physical universe
being a human being, aware of the human desire for a greater answer than can be expressed as equations.

All humans are complex. The extent of our complexity is shown by the fact that we can answer deep problems in physics and explain the physical evolution of the universe almost completely, but we can't answer comparatively simple questions about ourselves and our lives. Einstein knew this and knew that a reputation as a scientific genius is often mistaken for outstanding wisdom. He was wise enough to know ignorant he was - how ignorant we all are, even now - when it comes to explaining life, and honest enough to acknowledge it.

*The watchmaker analogy was coined by William Paley as an argument to prove that God exists and it was extensively used by creationists against the theory of evolution. It compares a disordered thing - a pile of rocks or leaves for example - with an ordered thing such as a person or a plant. It assumes that order must be designed and therefore must prove a designer. The watch is used as an illustration - the existence of a watch 'proves' the existence of a master watchmaker, therefore, proponents ague, the existence of complicated biology proves the existence of a master biologist - a God.
wise
I can only say that we need to be rational. That's all. Our beliefs may not necessarily be right. Religion must not come into the way.
HereticMonkey
Why not? Why is belief in something else necessarily irrational? Why is it that atheism is not irrational given that anything is possible? It's easy to say that atheism is rational, but why? Sorry;I'm just not seeing why, if even Einstein believed in some sort of God, that atheism is necessarily the path of rationalism...

HM
The Conspirator
Deeeeeeeeelllllllaaaaaaayyyyyyeeeeeeeed reaction.

HereticMonkey wrote:
 The Conspirator wrote: No, it was an attack, I am in no way biased.

Sorry; I've been posting here too long. You are extremely biased when it comes to disproving religion. A bias isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, it can focus you. But...to say that you are "in no way biased" is serious BS, everyone has a bias of some sort...

HM

I am not biased, you just don't like what I say, its a typical argument from those who have a strong belief in something, the level of evidence your wiling to except that supports your belief is low (you have your preconceptions and any evidence to support you're preconceptions no matter how small is enough for you) where for me, the level of evidence to support anything must be much higher then the evidence you are willing to except for your preconceptions.

 mike1reynolds wrote: Con, if calling someone biased is an attack then you are guilty of much worse. What did you just say about Thomas Torrance? You said that even if he quotes Einstein directly it should be dismissed summarily because the man is a theologian and nothing that a theologian writes can be trusted, even if it is an exact quote of someone’s words. So then, why could others not say the same about atheists, in all fairness? This is an example of a double standard, the root of all bigotry: one standard for you and another standard for everyone else. You are free to call others much worse than biased, you call them totally untrustworthy, simply because of their profession, yet to call a highschool kid biased, oooohhhh such a crime!

Fist, I made a mistake, you called be bigoted for making a mistake,thats an attack. A mistake is a mistake is a mistake. Nothing more
Secondly. if guy A says guy C said "This", guy B said guy C said "this" which is a complete opposite of what Guy A said guy C said, guy A is a biographer, guy B is anything else (it dose not madder) and guy B did not know guy C. Which statement is more likely to be true? Guy A's statement due to him being a biographer. Its the same as if guy A was a physicist and said something about physics and guy B was not and said something about physics that was dynamical opposed to what guy A said, Guy A's statement is more likely to be true due to him being a physicist.
mike1reynolds
Indi wrote:
 laurenrox wrote: So basically your saying that "god" can't really be a "god" if he/she/it has no human-like qualities?

No, not human-like, person-like qualities. You don't have to be human to be a person.

Einstein asserted that God is the sum toto of all consciousness. That involves quite a lot of person-like qualities.

Einstein also once stated, "All true physicists know that time is an illusion." If you put those two together, what you get is that God is the some toto of all consciousness unbound by time. God is all of us in the infinite future as a single being, who can travel anywhere in time.
blackheart
Although thought provoking, one could just as eaily replace "God" with good in the story, and it would still make sense. The story is known to be an urban myth, and if nothing else had to have been translated.

To be atheist or agnostic does not make you more or less likely to be a bad person than someone who is strictly relgious.
High-profile examples of relgious persons that are looked down as displaying disapprovable behaviour might be members of the Westborough church, or the puritan religious sect that has formed in New Zealand.

That, and as darkness is the absense of light, cold the absense of heat/energy, evil isn't exactly the absense of good, as the two definitions are both conceptual.

Psychologically, if you will, what is interpreted as good and bad are behaviours (i.e. pro and anti-social), but the two are not quite so scalable or definitely separate. One man's evil is another's good, and the enemy is always meaner on the other side.

I'm not sure how to put my understanding into words, but it's that bad or evil is still a behaviour and has it's presence... it's tangible and not a negative space where light or energy is not. So the analogy is innacurate, even if the intentions are perceptually "good".
sush
Look ma, a debate without any mention of God!

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:

"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied:

"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer that showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T =2 pi sqr root (l /g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel Prize for physics.
breebree
If noone did anything good, as in opposed to evil not impressive, that doesnt necessarily mean that evil acts have to be performed. More 'evil' has been committed because of religeon in my opinion than anything else.
tony
 Gagnar The Unruly wrote: This is a well documented urban legend, and it is understood that no such interaction ever took place between Albert Einstein and anybody.

ya i do believe you are correct, gagnar. but still an interesting post. such thing however must be read with grain of salts.
quex
xalophus wrote:
 Einstein, allegedly wrote: Evil is simply the absence of God.

Even if we were to assume this anecdote is true - Einstein still only proved that the hypothetical God is NOT omnipresent.

I fail to see how that means "Einstein proves religion".

If anything, what Einstein allegedly proved actually debunks what most religions claim .

Associating a formidable intellectual's name with a flawed logic will not make any logical thinker blindly accept it as true - it only highlights the futility of the attempt.

Quoted for truth. This is a lovely little encapsulated explanation, shorter than whatever I have been using whenever someone tries the evil-is-absence-of-god thing. Hope you don't mind if I borrow it. ^_-
Tristiano77
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The-Nisk
 ThePolemistis wrote: A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?" A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!" "God created everything?" The professor asked. "Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied. The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil." The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?" "What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The other students snickered at the young man's question. The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat." The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?" The professor responded, "Of course it does." The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present." Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?" Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's Inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil. To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light." The professor sat down. The young man's name - Albert Einstein

"You cannot measure darkness", can god be measured?

Einstein didn't prove god or religion, he proved wrong his proffesor's argument.

I agree with Einstein's quote "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former".
Coclus
Nice urban legend.. There is no real proof involved either, as you could as well say evil is the absence of good...
cornga56
Yea this isn't something that really happened and was meant to be a thought experiment. Eintstein doesn't denounce religion but he certainly wouldn't have agreed with the idea that the bible is literally what happened in the past or is a roadmap for the future. Einstein did however say that there had to be some sort of higher power whether it be a being of higher intelligence or some sort of energetically formed being with supreme powers of some sort.
toasterintheoven
yeah there's a fine line between being a scholar and a saint, but I think being both requires a very intimate personal understanding of the nature of God and the perspective of existence to which
Bikerman
 toasterintheoven wrote: yeah there's a fine line between being a scholar and a saint, but I think being both requires a very intimate personal understanding of the nature of God and the perspective of existence to which

This is bunkum. There is no relationship between scholarship and sainthood, they are completely distinct and unrelated things. It follows that there cannot be a 'fine line' between them.
Bikerman
 cornga56 wrote: Eintstein doesn't denounce religion but he certainly wouldn't have agreed with the idea that the bible is literally what happened in the past or is a roadmap for the future. Einstein did however say that there had to be some sort of higher power whether it be a being of higher intelligence or some sort of energetically formed being with supreme powers of some sort.
This is a distortion.
Einstein had little time for organised religion and for the teachings of those religions. He made this quite plain.
 Quote: 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.

 Quote: The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.

 Quote: The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action.

 Quote: 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.

As for believing in a 'higher intelligence' that is also not accurate. Einstein saw 'God' as the laws of nature - the deep underlying symmetries and structures of the universe - not some 'being' or 'intelligence'.
 Quote: I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.

 Quote: 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.
quex
Response of one Brandon K. of Tucson, Arizona to this story:

"So Einstein said that as a student? Said it to his professor's face? That's great. I asked out my Spanish professora in college, and she didn't know what to say, either. And I got drunk and went into the wrong room of the frat and passed out on perhaps four different occasions. A few years before that, I wanked off with another kid in the locker room. He got a job at NASA last year. I'm also pretty sure Einstein and I both shit our pants on a regular basis from ages 0 to 3."

Point being, even if this anecdote has a shred of truth behind it, the actions and opinions of young genius don't count for crap.

(Thanks, Brandon.)
spinout
The professor in what?.. I am the professor of talk, not any science! i wonder what the professor was professor in?

Fear is the absense love, sure and so on... I think our brains interpretates cold a.s.o. as a thing, more than a single level scale.

For the dualism - God must be Evil!!! iF god is every thing then if we interpretate evil as a state in a dual scale - > bINgo - God is also evil!!

Remember my God is a communist thread???? Yep the same idea. Or to not share is not to be god-alike!
Indi
 cornga56 wrote: Einstein did however say that there had to be some sort of higher power whether it be a being of higher intelligence or some sort of energetically formed being with supreme powers of some sort.

This is a lie that gets repeated so often that it's starting to become truth. Don't believe me? Here's what Einstein himself said about it:
 Einstein wrote: 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.

No "higher power", no "being of higher intelligence", no "energetically formed being with supreme powers of some sort", no nothing.

Einstein was an atheist, although he rejected the term. He - like most people even today - had been taught that "atheist" was a dirty word (like "godless"), and that it meant an outright denial of the possibility of gods (which would be a strong atheist, not an atheist), or a hostility toward religion (which would be anti-theism or anti-religion, not atheism). On top of that, at the time the term was closely associated with communists, which made it even more dirty. So he hated the term, even though that's what he actually was. So what did he call himself?

He called himself a Spinozist. Spinoza was a philosopher who denounced traditional theism and introduced his own brand of panentheism. In Spinoza's view, there is a greater, infinite "cosmos" that our universe is only a part of. He called this greater, infinite "cosmos" "God", but he was quite explicit that it was not a being of any sort - it has no mind, it has no feelings, it has no personality, it does not think or make decisions. Nowadays we might call this thing the "cosmos", or the "multiverse" or something like that... not God... but Spinoza called it God, and Einstein used Spinoza's term.

What that means is that whenever Einstein used the word "God", you can replace it with "the cosmos". Whenever he pretends "God" has feelings, emotions, plans or desires, (like "God does not play dice with the universe" or "i want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details") he was just being poetic. Furthermore, if you doubt this, Einstein was EXPLICIT that that was exactly what he meant:
 Einstein wrote: The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
In fact, Einstein even said that if you actually believed in a "higher being", you were a dunce or of mediocre intelligence at best:
 Einstein wrote: Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

---------------------------------------

The reason i took the time to write all this is because it is not a problem limited to Einstein, and it still happens today. Most scientists, while they may be brilliant in their branch of the physical sciences, are piss-poor social scientists. Einstein was no exception. He knew his physics... he did not understand philosophy, or politics. Einstein harboured this childish, almost hippie-like, notion that if we all just understood each other, we would all get along. Many scientists feel that way; that's part of the hope that drove them into their field, and then to reach out to the public with their results. Unfortunately, it's a fanciful notion that doesn't hold up in reality, because there are agents who don't want to understand other points of view, they just want to erase them... and these agents are not few and far between.

If Einstein was more cognisant of the consequences of his repeated, fanciful uses of "God" in his writings, i seriously doubt he would have kept using the metaphor. In his day, there was religious opposition to science (there always is, any time in history), but it wasn't the same kind of organized, sponsored and government-approved tripe we have today. There was opposition to evolution, sure, but there was nothing like the "culture war" being waged today by groups like the Discovery Institute. Those people aren't just random crackpots acting up against this or that scientific fact... this is an organized, sophisticated movement with the explicit intention of destroying science altogether (as they said themselves, in their infamous Wedge Document).

We can't know how Einstein would have reacted if he had seen the situation that exists today... but like i said, this problem isn't limited to Einstein alone. And, in fact, we just had a recent case that highlights the problem.

i'm sure everyone knows Stephen Hawking. Well, for years he wrote in much the same manner as Einstein... peppering his books with mentions of God this and God that, just like Einstein did. Unlike Einstein, though, Hawking lives in the twenty-first century, and can see first hand what the religious are doing to twist and use his words any time he gives them a chance. He can see how serious the battle is, and how well organized the religious nutters are. And so, recently, he stopped with all the poetic and metaphorical nonsense, and just said flat out that he was using the word "God" (and the word "religion") in the same sense as Einstein, and that it had nothing to do with the "God" of religious people. Controversy erupted.

If you want to understand what someone means, you have to make sure that the words they are using have the same meaning to them as they do to you. With scientists, there is very often a big difference between what they mean by a word, and what the general public means by a word. Words like "theory", "law" and "experiment" mean something very different to a scientist than what they mean to the average person, and the differences are very profound, so much so that a scientific theory isn't even remotely like a lay theory, and a scientific law doesn't even relate to regular laws. What you think when you think "law" is NOTHING like what a scientific law is.

Whenever you hear a scientist talking about "God" or "religion"... check very carefully to make sure they are using them to mean the same thing as you. Unfortunately, more often than not, they're not. More often than not, when a scientist says "God" or "religion", they're either using them metaphorically or sometimes in the Einsteinian/Spinozist sense. And if they are using them in the Einsteinian/Spinozist sense, then those words mean NOTHING like what you think they mean. Not even close.

If you want to understand what Einstein or Hawking or any scientist means by "God" or "religion", then read what they say they mean... don't go in there with your own understanding of the words. Most scientists are well-practised at being precise with their terms and definitions, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding out what they actually mean by the words.

Einstein was a fool for using "God" so much in his writings, and so was Hawking (although Hawking, at least, has wised up a bit), because it just creates confusion, and allows people who have agendas to claim them as believing in things they clearly didn't. Einstein spent dozens of letters and books explaining that he was NOT religious in the normal sense, and that he did NOT believe in a god with a mind or a will, always complaining about how people kept misrepresenting and distorting his beliefs (as cornga56 just did). He wouldn't have had this problem if he had used more neutral terms, rather than the emotionally loaded terms "god" and "religion", but that was the way he was raised. More socially-aware scientists (like Carl Sagan) avoided the use of such metaphors, because they knew that they would just be quote-mined and distorted. i think you'll find the current and next generations of scientists (like Craig Venter, and Hawking) will be much more sophisticated with how they deal with the public, and won't use language like that in their writings.

The bottom line: don't assume that scientists are using a word the same way that the general public uses it. Find out what they really mean by their words (like "God" and "religion"). You will probably see that it means nothing like what you think it means.