Saturday, August 17, 2013

Do Not Let the Intellect be Your God

     "Einstein was slow in learning how to talk.  'My parents were so worried,' he later recalled, 'that they consulted a doctor.' Even after he had begun using words, sometime after the age of 2, he developed a quirk that prompted the family maid to dub him 'der Depperte,' the dopey one. Whenever he had something to say, he would try it out on himself, whispering it softly until it sounded good enough to pronounce aloud. 'Every sentence he uttered,' his worshipful younger sister recalled, 'no matter how routine, he repeated to himself softly, moving his lips.'" (credit:  Walter Issacsson, Time Magazine, April, 2007)

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298,00.html#ixzz2cENFFJtM

    Einstein stated that he believed in Spinoza's God.  He elaborated this to a Japanese scholar, explaining his views on science and religion.  This later appeared as a limited edition publication honoring Einstein's 50th birthday:
"Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order... This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as "pantheistic" (Spinoza)."
On the question of an afterlife Einstein stated to a Baptist pastor, "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."[16] This sentiment was also expressed in Einstein's The World as I See It, stating: "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. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature."[17]

Agnosticism and atheism

Einstein rejected the label atheist. Einstein stated: "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."[1] According to Prince Hubertus, Einstein said, "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."[18]
Einstein had previously explored the belief that man could not understand the nature of God. In an interview published in 1930 in G. S. Viereck's book Glimpses of the Great, Einstein, in response to a question about whether or not he believed in God, explained:
Your question [about God] is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.[19]
In a 1950 letter to M. Berkowitz, Einstein stated that "My position con

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