Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Einstein's God

In Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, he makes a case for Einstein being in his camp. Here is the latest pull in the tug-of-war between theists and atheists for the soul of Albert Einstein.
"There are people who say there is no God," [Einstein] told a friend. "But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views...What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos," he explained.

The article continues:

"The fanatical atheists,...are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who--in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses'-- cannot hear the music of the spheres."
My comment: Richard Dawkins does hear the music of the spheres. His best books have the proper reverence towards nature. But he is like an art patron who misses the point and thinks taking measurements with a ruler and calipers is the proper way to appreciate Jackson Pollock, as if art can be reduced to its component parts. In his review of God Delusion, Terry Eagleton writes that reading Dawkins, one gets the impression that Dawkins thinks "‘Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness’ is a mighty funny way to describe a Grecian urn."

Between Carl Sagan's "The Cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be" and Shakespeare's "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," I bet Albert Einstein would find his ever elusive Beauty in the latter.

Addendum. 04 May 2007. Over at Scott Adams's Dilbert Blog, he comes to a realization on why theists and atheists are fighting over Einstein.

Now I know why Einstein invoked Spinoza when talking about his beliefs. Einstein discovered more than the theory of relativity. He also found a way to act like he believed in God, so all the God-lovers would accept him as their own, while simultaneously saying God is nothing more than semantics, so atheists would embrace him too. And he blamed it all on a dead guy, Spinoza. How many ways does Einstein need to keep proving he’s a genius? I mean seriously, this is just showing off.


Baldagyi Hatipoglu said...

Dilbert! That ever-devilish comic strip! :)

I strongly Einstein was in between being an agnostic and a closet theist (too embarrassed to admit it).

Baldagyi Hatipoglu said...

I hope God is not thinking things over with him right now, deciding whether he's in or out. :p

Jego said...

At first I thought he was a pantheist like Spinoza (or Dilbert). But in that Time article, he was quoted as saying, "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 languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how...That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."

At best he is a Deist: one who believes that God wrote the laws of nature at the start of creation and has pretty much left us alone to work things out for ourselves.

Baldagyi Hatipoglu said...

geez, einstein has long articulated what i've long been articulating: how can atheists sound so sure?

Baldagyi Hatipoglu said...

how can they afford to be so arrogant, disparaging religion just like that? at least religionists can disparage atheists because they (the former) know what they're talking about.

Jego said...

I could be wrong but the recent resurgence of atheists in the media could be traced to when Anthony Flew, who was on the atheist starting five, decided to play for the opposing team sometime in 2004. And there's been a clamor for someone to replace him as point man for the atheist cause in the media with various candidates vying for the spot he vacated.