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Thread: Einstein's God

  1. #1 Einstein's God 
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    Later in life in a speech delivered in Berlin, he gave this illuminating account of himself:

    Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that is there.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Yes, he was quite right. We have brains evolved for hunting and gathering, and so it's hardly a surprise
    that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection
    You can look at this two ways: either the brain, unsurprisingly, cannot do a job it wasn't "designed" for; or what we can't grasp must be supernatural.

    I'm pretty sure Einstein was in the first camp, although there's more than a hint of Platonism in that quote.

    This belongs in Philosophy.

    Edited: On second thoughts maybe BSG Corp belongs in the Spam file.


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    Forum Senior TvEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter A. Bucky
    So then, you consider yourself to be a religious man?
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Einstein
    I believe in mystery and, frankly, I sometimes face this mystery with great fear. In other words, I think that there are many things in the universe that we cannot perceive or penetrate and that also we experience some of the most beautiful things in life in only a very primitive form. Only in relation to these mysteries do I consider myself to be a religious man. But I sense these things deeply. What I cannot understand is how there could possibly be a God who would reward or punish his subjects or who could induce us to develop our will in our daily life.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter A. Bucky
    You don't believe in God, then?
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Einstein
    Ah, this is what I mean about religion and science going hand-in-hand! Each has a place, but each must be relegated to its sphere. Let's assume that we are dealing with a theoretical physicist or scientist who is very well-acquaintcd with the different laws of the universe, such as how the planets orbit the sun and how the satellites in turn orbit around their respectivc planets. Now, this man who has studied and understands these different laws-how could he possibly believe in one God who would be capable of disturbing the paths of these great orbiting masses?

    No, the natural laws of science have not only been worked out theoretically but have been proven also in practice. I cannot then believe in this concept of an anthropomorphic God who has the powers of interfering with these natural laws. As I said before, the most beautiful and most profound religious emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mysticality is the power of all true science. If there is any such concept as a God, it is a subtle spirit, not an image of a man that so many have fixed in their minds. In essence, my religion consists of a humble admiration for this illimitable superior spirit that reveals itself in the slight details that we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds .
    "First we build the tools, then they build us" - Marshall McLuhan.
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    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I think Einstein was perhaps a Deist.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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