The Poepol of the Week Award goes to Heinz Oldewage

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Read this dribble that this delusional moron writes below. He deserves this prestigious award. Congratulations Heinz, you are the Poepol of the Week!

SCIENCE VS FAITH? REALLY?

Friday, May 25, 2012
“Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind,” a crazy scientist with really bad hair and a wild look in his eyes once said.

His name was Albert Einstein, and although he most certainly was no theist, he was verbalizing an idea that would not have seemed too foreign to his contemporaries.

But while Einstein’s offhand remark hints at the fact that science and faith were not always seen as the mortal enemies many now assume them to be, it cannot be denied that, in the popular conscience at least, these two fields have come to represent two opposing and seemingly incompatible worldviews.

These days, more often than not, science and faith are portrayed as polar opposites – one being the domain of the rational, the enlightened, the progressive; the other a crutch of the weak and uninformed.

Now, let me be clear about one thing: I am not here to convince you to become a believer. I know better than to assume that a philosophical argument – no matter how forceful – will ever convince you to change your worldview. That is a discussion for another day. Neither am I here to argue for or against the existence of God. I’ll pick that fight again later.

What I’d like to challenge, though, is the unfounded view that science and faith are mortal enemies, locked in deadly combat. And while many clearly believe that the acceptance of one implies rejection of the other (a trend I see among both believers and unbelievers), I strongly disagree.

Of course, one of the most obvious objections to this view is the sheer number of scientists, throughout history and in modern times, who did not see the least bit of conflict between their scientific endeavors and their personal faith. No, I’m not referring to a bunch of wackos on the lunatic fringe – I’m talking about a veritable who’s who of scientific heavyweights: Roger Bacon, who helped lay the foundations for the empirical approach in the 13th century. William Turner, the father of English botany (who was once arrested for preaching in favour of the Reformation). Johannes Kepler, the famed 16th century astronomer and mathematician who studied planetary motion when he wasn’t dreaming of becoming a theologian. René Descartes, the mastermind behind analytical geometry and one of the key figures of the scientific revolution. Robert Boyle, the first modern chemist; also a theologian. Isaac Newton, considered by many as the greatest scientist who ever lived; also a believer. Lord Kelvin, key figure in the field of thermodynamics. Carolus Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy. Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory. John Lennox, master mathematician. Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project. And so the list goes on, running the gamut from the heady times of the scientific revolution right through to the even more heady times of quantum physics and string theory and evolutionary biology. Throughout history, science and faith have co-existed happily in the minds of its greatest champions.

Clearly, skeptics who claim science as the exclusive playing field of those who have turned their backs on faith are, quite simply, dead wrong.

Of course, the reason why these scientists could see no conflict between science and faith, they’d tell you, is because science and faith are geared to answer different questions. Science, with its reductionist approach and empirical method, is great at answering “how” questions (How does it work? How did we get here?). Conversely theology, based on revelation, is concerned with questions of “why” (Why are we here? Why is there something instead of nothing?).

Why the perceived conflict, then? Why should there even be talk of conflict if science and faith address two different aspects of reality? Why is it that some assume you need to be either a “man of science”, or a “man of faith”?

In my experience, lack of knowledge plays a significant role.

Few individuals who have investigated both worlds with an open mind would spurn one at the cost of the other (hence the significant number of Christian scientists). All too often though, I’ve seen individuals from one side of the fence question the view of someone “on the other side,” without really understanding the issue they’re criticizing.

For example, I have encountered countless rationalists who reject the Christian faith on account of the Genesis creation narrative alone, because it involves belief “in a fairy-tale God who created the world in six days while science shows us the complete opposite”. Comments like these reveal utter ignorance about the purpose and rich theological significance of the (in)famous creation account. You can’t dismiss a complex passage of scripture when you’re reading it like an eighth grade science textbook and you clearly haven’t gone to the trouble of understanding what it’s about.

Ditto for Christians who dismiss established scientific theories in their quest to defend their particular interpretations of specific biblical passages, while they haven’t truly invested time in understanding the concepts they so happily lay into. Read up before you speak up, for heaven’s sake.

To be fair, there are encouraging developments that hint at the possibility of a less strained interaction between science and faith in future. The mythical nature of the supposed science-faith divide has come under the spotlight in several excellent books by respected figures recently – including particle physicist and theologian John Polkinghorne(winner of the Templeton Prize, the world’s largest monetary literary prize, itself conceived to mend the relationship between the spheres of faith and science), as well as Nobel prize winning physicist Charles Townes, and many, many others. Also encouraging is a growing list of academic journals exclusively dedicated to the exploration of the relationship between science and theology, as well as the publication of numerous articles about the issue in respected general journals like Science and the American Journal of Physics. Another interesting development is the establishment of a number of professorships and other academic positions at world-class institutions dedicated to the exploration of science-faith interaction.

Of course I am fully aware that this is only scratching the surface as far as the science-faith debate goes, but I hope it’s enough to get the conversation started.

One thing is clear in my mind: it’s neither necessary nor fair to argue that the worlds of science and faith are in conflict. I think it is far more sensible to say they complement each other.

What do you think? Do you agree or not? Let me know where you stand on the issue in the comments section below. Keep in mind that this is a short post on a pretty complex issue – if you’d like me to write about a specific angle, let me know in the comments, or drop me a mail at mailme@heinzeugene.com

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39 thoughts on “The Poepol of the Week Award goes to Heinz Oldewage

  1. To be able to debate the religion-science compatibility issue, one must define science.

    Science is the method that describes the natural world we live in; in other words the description of Nature and all its splendours. Science is based on the Scientific Method, and this method comprises four basis steps: 1. observation, 2. postulation, 3. experimentation, and 4. verification.
    It is also important to realise that the “scientific method” is an ongoing process; it never stops. Newton’s theory of gravity is used to put a satellite into space, but Einstein found that Newton was only correct at low speeds and low gravitational forces. The Global Positioning System (GPS) works only when Einstein’s theories are used; using Newton the GPS would fail within a day.

    A scientific theory can be rejected hundreds of years after its first formulation and acceptance. Thomas Huxley said:

    “Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact.”

    The successful description of the precession of the planet Mercury’s perihelion by Einstein’s theory of general relativity is one “ugly fact” that killed Newton’s theory of gravity. Richard Feynman said:

    “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong”

    It is thus possible to adjudicate between the truths of two scientific theories, because Nature is the adjudicator and its correct description is the ultimate scientific truth.

    Compared to the scientific method, let us take a look at the Christian religion. Two examples are given below.

    God will answer your prayers, is believed. This claim can be tested scientifically. Studies of intercessory prayer – when the sick do not know whether they are being prayed for – have not shown the slightest evidence that it works. Faith-based healing has been shown to fail time and again. This “ugly fact” does not deter the religiose to keep praying to their god.

    It is believed Christ had a virgin birth and after his death was resurrected. Biological research shows the impossibility of human females reproducing asexually, or of anyone reawakening three days after death. These two “ugly facts” are rejected by the religiose; science must be wrong!

    This is the crux where science and religion differ; religious beliefs are immune to “ugly facts”. What is more, they are maintained in the face of “ugly facts”, such as the impotence of prayer, or the inability to “show my God for all to see”. Finally, there is no way to adjudicate between conflicting religious explanations, as can be done between competing scientific explanations.
    To quote Albert Camus, Nobel laureate philosopher:

    “Prophecy functions on a very long-term basis and has, as one of its properties, a characteristic which is the very source of strength of all religions: the impossibility of proof.” (The Rebel)

    Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist, had this to say about the compatibility of science and religion:

    “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

    Jerry Coyne (biologist) commented on Hawking’s comparison of science and religion: (Coyne’s blog is: whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)

    “He’s right, of course. The last, terse sentence sums up in six words the entire history of science and faith. Hawking, wilfully misunderstood by those desperate to harmonize science with faith, recognizes their profound incompatibility.
    “It’s time to admit that those who still claim that religion and science are compatible–ignoring their fundamental and blatantly obvious differences in philosophy, methodology, and success at understanding the universe–are intellectually dishonest.”

    Since there are scientists who are also religious, where does it leave the compatibility argument of the religiose? Religion and science can be compatible in the sense that both can be simultaneously functional in the human mind. But they clash because they analyse data in disparate ways. A scientist, who is also religious, exists in a state of “cognitive dissonance”, so aptly said by Coyne. There can be no harmony between science and religion in this person’s mind, until the religion is replaced by deism, or the science is polluted with unproven spiritual claims. And neither option is acceptable; the first one to the religiose, and the second one to the true scientist.

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  2. “Conversely theology, based on revelation, is concerned with questions of “why” (Why are we here? Why is there something instead of nothing?).”

    Yes, this guy deserves the Poepol van die week prize. How many times have this statement been answered by rational thinkers, but these assholes keep on repeating it. There “why” answers are based on unproven nonsense that religions have been making up for centuries. No proof of the existence of their gods, no proof of a Hel or Heaven. Shit, how can you live like that! Making up stories and then expecting us to believe them.

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  3. Came across the following article on News 24 – thought it was worth a post here.

    God: From hero to zero in 6000 years!, wriiten by “DelusionBuster” on News24.
    04 June 2012, 13:01

    How God lost his mojo over the ages:

    Some 6000 years ago, God created trillions of fiery galaxies from nothing – just for fun! Oh, those were the days!
    Also Earth and life on it. This drained him somewhat, so he had to rest after 6 days.
    But God apparently has issues: Due to a weak ego, he created people that must worship and praise him all the time. And beg him to change his mind. This flattery soothes his ego to this day. (Another issue incidentally, is that God is a hardcore atheist. He doesn’t believe in a higher power)
    In any case, God noticed to his shock one fine day, that his first attempt did not unfold according to his plan and wishes. He therefore decided to drown his creations- except for a few highly incestuous, highly virtuous people whose job it was to get busy and re-populate the planet.
    He used a lot of his remaining powers to dispose of all the excess water after that required corrective intervention.
    Several centuries later, he still managed to part the Red Sea for a couple of minutes.
    But in those days, he was still the undisputed angry Alpha Male of the universe who appeared to people, argued with them, threatened them, interfered with lives, bullied them, displaced them, lost his temper and committed genocide every now and then.
    As middle age crept in, he had a change of heart- he felt sorry for his creations. So God impregnated a virgin without her consent so that he could be born as his himself – to save his creations from himself – so his argument went..
    To represent all of mankind, he chose a tribe of ignorant herdsmen in the Middle East. Though none of the more advanced civilisations at the time – such as China.
    For light entertainment, he played on the feelings of his creations by making them think he died for them. But he didn’t really die. It was all staged. LOL!
    Anyway, towards retirement age, he managed to make loaves and fishes in a basket so people could have a picnic with his son.
    All he can barely manage nowadays is to appear on toast. On a good day, he will help us find parking, help a kid pass an exam, help a church to raise money for organ repairs and help an “overly blessed person” to shake off a kilo or so.
    Sadly, he cannot anymore help some 30 000 kids who die of starvation every day.
    He’s tired now, he’s old and he is on the run. And his peaceful hiding places are diminishing by the day as science is catching up with him.
    Shall we give him a break?

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  4. Welkom terug, Malherbe!

    Dit is jammer Analfa antwoord jou nie meer nie, want ek sou graag wou sien wat hy te sê het oor wat jy hierbo geskryf het. Maar aangesien jy net ‘n ander persoon se skrywe hier weer gegee het, sal hy miskien iets tog wil antwoord.

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  5. If you circumcise a horse, you can make some interesting napkin rings which should be useful if you are the type of person who has your boss over for formal dinners. You can use the rings to hang your shower curtain too, but you have to dry the rings off or they will get mouldy.

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  6. Oh, I see…. Next time I’l just ignore your comments.
    If you want to have fun, rather try going to the movies or walking on the beach.

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  7. “Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind,” a crazy scientist with really bad hair and a wild look in his eyes once said.

    Albert Einstein never said anything of the sort and resented attempts to make him out to have adhered to any religion. Einstein detested religion. Typical of a Godbot to brazenly lie the moment he starts with his drivel.

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    • Uhm, actually, he did. You can find it in his “Ideas and Opinions”, pp. 41-49. Ideas and Opinions is a collection of some of his contributions to symposiums and conferences – it was published under his supervision in 1954. That quote is from a talk he gave at a symposium in New York in 1941. Go check it out yourself: http://bit.ly/1gNvrIw

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      • Bottomline, Mr Rational: Einstein views on religion are well documented and he definitely did not believe or adhere to a supernatural creator-god. He indeed detested people that quoted him out of context for self serving reasons….very much the way you are doing now.

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        • Your contention was that the above quote from Einstein was made up. It wasn’t. Which of course you conveniently ignore now that you’ve been pointed to the source. As for Einstein’s religious views, although complex, they are indeed well documented: he was an agnostic, maybe even a pantheist, who certainly did not believe in a personal God. The quote doesn’t deny that, does it? To my mind, it reinforces Einstein’s (well-known?) view that science and theology operate in two different spheres – one is essentially concerned with physics, the other with meta-physics. Which, it appears, is the exact point the writer was trying to make.

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          • Ok, he did say it, but you have taken it out of the context of this paper which also states:

            “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. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?”

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          • “Your contention was that the above quote from Einstein was made up”

            – Where did I say or imply the above? Are you just another dishonest godiot?

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          • You could have posted the whole source and shown the quote within its context in the first place, but you chose not to do that.

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      • Rationalist, this is the paper you were referring to. I don’t see that quote. Would you like to point it out to me?

        Science and Religion

        This article appears in Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions, pp.41 – 49. The first section is taken from an address at Princeton Theological Seminary, May 19, 1939. It was published in Out of My Later Years, New York: Philosophical Library, 1950. The second section is from Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941.

        1.

        During the last century, and part of the one before, it was widely held that there was an unreconcilable conflict between knowledge and belief. The opinion prevailed among advanced minds that it was time that belief should be replaced increasingly by knowledge; belief that did not itself rest on knowledge was superstition, and as such had to be opposed. According to this conception, the sole function of education was to open the way to thinking and knowing, and the school, as the outstanding organ for the people’s education, must serve that end exclusively.

        One will probably find but rarely, if at all, the rationalistic standpoint expressed in such crass form; for any sensible man would see at once how one-sided is such a statement of the position. But it is just as well to state a thesis starkly and nakedly, if one wants to clear up one’s mind as to its nature.

        It is true that convictions can best be supported with experience and clear thinking. On this point one must agree unreservedly with the extreme rationalist. The weak point of his conception is, however, this, that those convictions which are necessary and determinant for our conduct and judgments cannot be found solely along this solid scientific way.

        For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is, and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values. The knowledge of truth as such is wonderful, but it is so little capable of acting as a guide that it cannot prove even the justification and the value of the aspiration toward that very knowledge of truth. Here we face, therefore, the limits of the purely rational conception of our existence.

        But it must not be assumed that intelligent thinking can play no part in the formation of the goal and of ethical judgments. When someone realizes that for the achievement of an end certain means would be useful, the means itself becomes thereby an end. Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelation of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of man. And if one asks whence derives the authority of such fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason, one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions, which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals; they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to find justification for their existence. They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities. One must not attempt to justify them, but rather to sense their nature simply and clearly.

        The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations. If one were to take that goal out of its religious form and look merely at its purely human side, one might state it perhaps thus: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind.

        There is no room in this for the divinization of a nation, of a class, let alone of an individual. Are we not all children of one father, as it is said in religious language? Indeed, even the divinization of humanity, as an abstract totality, would not be in the spirit of that ideal. It is only to the individual that a soul is given. And the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule, or to impose himself in any other way.

        If one looks at the substance rather than at the form, then one can take these words as expressing also the fundamental democratic position. The true democrat can worship his nation as little as can the man who is religious, in our sense of the term.

        What, then, in all this, is the function of education and of the school? They should help the young person to grow up in such a spirit that these fundamental principles should be to him as the air which he breathes. Teaching alone cannot do that.

        If one holds these high principles clearly before one’s eyes, and compares them with the life and spirit of our times, then it appears glaringly that civilized mankind finds itself at present in grave danger, In the totalitarian states it is the rulers themselves who strive actually to destroy that spirit of humanity. In less threatened parts it is nationalism and intolerance, as well as the oppression of the individuals by economic means, which threaten to choke these most precious traditions.

        A realization of how great is the danger is spreading, however, among thinking people, and there is much search for means with which to meet the danger–means in the field of national and international politics, of legislation, or organization in general. Such efforts are, no doubt, greatly needed. Yet the ancients knew something- which we seem to have forgotten. All means prove but a blunt instrument, if they have not behind them a living spirit. But if the longing for the achievement of the goal is powerfully alive within us, then shall we not lack the strength to find the means for reaching the goal and for translating it into deeds.

        II.

        Return to Top
        It would not be difficult to come to an agreement as to what we understand by science. Science is the century-old endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thoroughgoing an association as possible. To put it boldly, it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization. But when asking myself what religion is I cannot think of the answer so easily. And even after finding an answer which may satisfy me at this particular moment, I still remain convinced that I can never under any circumstances bring together, even to a slight extent, the thoughts of all those who have given this question serious consideration.

        At first, then, instead of asking what religion is I should prefer to ask what characterizes the aspirations of a person who gives me the impression of being religious: a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings, and aspirations to which he clings because of their superpersonalvalue. It seems to me that what is important is the force of this superpersonal content and the depth of the conviction concerning its overpowering meaningfulness, regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities. Accordingly, a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation. They exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself. In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts. According to this interpretation the well-known conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a misapprehension of the situation which has been described.

        For example, a conflict arises when a religious community insists on the absolute truthfulness of all statements recorded in the Bible. This means an intervention on the part of religion into the sphere of science; this is where the struggle of the Church against the doctrines of Galileo and Darwin belongs. On the other hand, representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgments with respect to values and ends on the basis of scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors.

        Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science 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.

        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. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes.

        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. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

        The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God. It is the aim of science to establish general rules which determine the reciprocal connection of objects and events in time and space. For these rules, or laws of nature, absolutely general validity is required–not proven. It is mainly a program, and faith in the possibility of its accomplishment in principle is only founded on partial successes. But hardly anyone could be found who would deny these partial successes and ascribe them to human self-deception. The fact that on the basis of such laws we are able to predict the temporal behavior of phenomena in certain domains with great precision and certainty is deeply embedded in the consciousness of the modern man, even though he may have grasped very little of the contents of those laws. He need only consider that planetary courses within the solar system may be calculated in advance with great exactitude on the basis of a limited number of simple laws. In a similar way, though not with the same precision, it is possible to calculate in advance the mode of operation of an electric motor, a transmission system, or of a wireless apparatus, even when dealing with a novel development.

        To be sure, when the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large, scientific method in most cases fails us. One need only think of the weather, in which case prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible. Nevertheless no one doubts that we are confronted with a causal connection whose causal components are in the main known to us. Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.

        We have penetrated far less deeply into the regularities obtaining within the realm of living things, but deeply enough nevertheless to sense at least the rule of fixed necessity. One need only think of the systematic order in heredity, and in the effect of poisons, as for instance alcohol, on the behavior of organic beings. What is still lacking here is a grasp of connections of profound generality, but not a knowledge of order in itself.

        The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exists as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.

        But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task. (This thought is convincingly presented in Herbert Samuel’s book, Belief and Action.) After religious teachers accomplish the refining process indicated they will surely recognize with joy that true religion has been ennobled and made more profound by scientific knowledge.

        If it is one of the goals of religion to liberate mankind as far as possible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientific reasoning can aid religion in yet another sense. Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rational unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling a prey to illusions. But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. By way of the understanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however, appears to me to be religious, in the highest sense of the word. And so it seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life.

        The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge. In this sense I believe that the priest must become a teacher if he wishes to do justice to his lofty educational mission.

        http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

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        • Sure matey. It’s right there in the text you posted. Go to part II, and scroll down to paragraph 4. It’s the last sentence in the paragraph.

          When looking for something on a page, use CTRL + F, it’s easy to find that way.

          Happy to help.

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          • Oh wow, you can press two key together at the same time. Does that make you ambidextrous? Can you scratch the back of your head with your elbow? You were too lazy to put up the article yourself, but this goes with the territory of being a godbot: get someone else to do it if God doesn’t do it for you.

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    • Einstein in his quotations often referred to God. He is invariably put in the religious box, but let Einstein answer for himself:

      “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.
      “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.” (Einstein’s letter on January 3 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind)

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      • The religious will always lie and lie to their followers and themselves. But when you think about it, it isn’t that hard to fool people who has no critical thinking capabilities left and has the mental reasoning capacity of a child.

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        • Die Atties sal altyd lieg en bedrieg en hulle volgelinge om die bos ly, nie dat dit moeilik is nie, die atties het hierdie vrees dat hulle uitgevang gaan word dat hulle nie inteligent, rasioneel, krities kan pirvorm nie
          Die saaintis vertel die atties dat al wat ‘n “werklikheid” is, is wat hulle kan bewys. En die volgelinge staar hulle blind vir dit wat ons elke dag mee te doen het wat nog nie bewys is deur hulle guru’s nie, en loop rond met die verwaande houding dat ons is reg en julle is verkeerd.
          In my realitiet is die niks anders as fundamentele atties nie.

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          • Ateïste lieg en bedrieg nie en een ding wat julle godbots nie kan verstaan nie is dat ons nie volgelinge het nie. Julle volg spoke, ons nie; ons het ‘n denkwyse wat die bestaan van julle spoke bevraagteken en julle kan nie enige bewys van hulle (die spoke nou) se bestaan lewer nie. As jy enersdenkende rasionele ateïste mekaar se volgelinge noem, then so be it, maar nie veel menses al met jou saamstem nie. Ons word ook nie uitgevang nie – ons sal slegs uitgevang word as julle spoke skielik hulle verskeining maak, maar ons wag nog. Ons is ook nie wetenskaplikes se volgelinge nie, ons toets hulle gereeld met eksperiment en waarneming en hulle slaag die toetse met onderskeiding. Johannie, jy sukkel met hierdie eenvoudige begrippe, maar ek wag, jy sal kort voor lank met dieselfde kak redenasies kom.

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            • As atties so “open minded” is dan kan ek nie verstaan waarom julle nie die een eksperiment wil doen wat ek julle vra nie, wat het julle om te verloor? Ek bedoel. . . “wat” . . .het. . . julle . . . om . . .te. . . verloor? (Ego’s, trots, rasionele denke (haha), selfbeeld, vriende, wat?).
              En dit is nie vir my voordeel nie, vir my maak dit nie saak wat julle doen nie, ek weet net toe ek was waar julle nou is, was ek verblind deur my eie “geloof” en nou sal ek graag wil aanbeweeg en nie soos julle heeltyd “agtertoe kyk” nie.
              Dis nie vir my maklik om met mense om my oor die dinge te praat nie, want hulle gee voor dat hulle alreeds “daar” is, sonder om te dink dat ander dit kan sien. (Die voorgee).

              En ek koop ook nie die nie-volgelinge storie nie, ek dink jy probeer net koel klink sonder om jou eie stelling te verduidelik oor hoekom “ons die spoke” volg. Hierdie “volg” storie is – dit dieselfde as “worship”?, wat Molly nog aan ons gaan verduidelik. . .eendag?

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      • Thanks Savage, that’s great. Compare it to this quote, also from Einstein:

        “The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations.”

        It’s on the same page posted by a user above. I’m well aware of his general views on religion. And I am, once again, not trying to prove that Einstein believed in a personal God. That is the point. I said that in my comment above, as well. I believe my exact words were: “Einstein’s religious views, although complex, are indeed well documented: he was an agnostic, maybe even a pantheist, who certainly did not believe in a personal God.”

        The exact words used in the original piece of writing above was: “…he most certainly was no theist…”

        I guess that is what irks me about the general tone of this post: there is an inability here to look at an argument with nuance and complexity. At which point I look at the words of McBrolloks below (“it isn’t that hard to fool people who has no critical thinking capabilities left and has the mental reasoning capacity of a child”), and kinda have to smile – because the level of reasoning here is not very robust. Two basic arguments were made in the piece of writing in the original post:

        1. Most of Einstein’s contemporaries had no problem reconciling their faith with science.
        2. Many scientists today have no problem reconciling their faith and science.

        So far, the response to those two arguments have been:

        1. Einstein didn’t say that!
        2. The writer sucks!
        3. Religion sucks!

        The first objection has been refuted, since the source and exact words were pasted above; and the other two objections fail to address any of the issues that were raised. I guess in my view that pretty much amounts to primary school level reasoning.

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        • Religion does not, per se, suck. It is people hiding behind a false mask of religiosity that suck. I don’t know whether a god exists, but I certainly grant that Judeo-Christian traditions are a lot more constructive than, say, the traditions of camel drivers with natural oil reserves. I can hardly listen to Bach’s Goldberg Variations without admitting that much that is good, noble and beautiful has come from European traditions of which Judeo-Christianity has been an integral part.

          I just don’t like fundamentalism because it’s so goddam TRASHY.

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        • What about the fact that these religions always gets the most basic principles of human rights completely wrong? Right there in black and white scribbled all over their holy books, thousands of times over and over again? What does that say about your so called moral guide?

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          • Those holy books were written thousands of years ago when civilisation was still in a very crude state and no premium was placed on human rights. If you argue with what’s written in the bible you are arguing with dead people who wouldn’t have a clue what life is like today. But still, a code of conduct was necessary because it is inherent in human nature to do stupid things which endanger society.That’s why prisons are still full in secular societies where there are rules in place instead of relying on religion. Sweden, for example, has all kinds of social problems with immigrants rioting and wreaking havoc.

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          • Sweden is making the same mistakes as the UK in admitting people who do not share their values and refuse to adapt to Swedish culture. They want to scrounge off Swedish welfare and rape Swedish women and then they complain that they are discriminated against.

            It is a question of degree how one can cooperate with theists. I have now entered a “pax” with the neighbours because they recognise that I am better to have around than not have around. The pros outweigh the cons; what we have in common outweighs what we don’t have in common. If I had extremist Muslims living next door insisting that I wear a burka in the garden then there could be no pax.

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        • Answer me this rationalist44:

          What about the fact that these religions always gets the most basic principles of human rights completely wrong? Right there in black and white scribbled all over their holy books, thousands of times over and over again? What does that say about your so called moral guide?

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        • “Many scientists today have no problem reconciling their faith and science”

          Not so. The percentage of scientists with a PhD degree being atheists is up near the nineties. The life of proper scientists is to verify theories, postulates and the like by experiment and observation. No gods have ever been found and it does not take a rocket scientist to deduct that all religions were created by humankind. The problem with the godbots is they try their utmost to get scientists in their laager and go about the process with lies and deceit. Newton and scientists from centuries ago were religious but since Darwin, Einstein and Bohr, the need for a god has deminished drastically. Feynman’s attitude towards religion speaks for most rational people today. If anybody wants to believe in a god, go ahead, but please don’t try to sell it as some kind of reality.

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          • “Laager” is the correct word. Afrikaner adherence to Christianity comes from a culture of not allowing dissent. In its most extreme form it is fascism.

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