Albert Einstein: God vs Science

albert-einsteinI wanted to share a piece about where the student argued the point of God vs Science with his professor.

‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’

 The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand
‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’
 ’Yes sir,’ the student says.
 ’So you believe in God’
‘Is God good?’
‘Sure! God’s good.’
‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’
 ’Are you good or evil?’
‘The Bible says I’m evil.’
 The professor grins knowingly.
‘Aha! The Bible!’ He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’
‘Yes sir, I would.’
‘So you’re good…!’
‘I wouldn’t say that.’
‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’
 The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’
The student remains silent.
‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’
‘Er…yes,’ the student says.
‘Is Satan good?’
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’
‘Then where does Satan come from?’
The student falters. ‘From God’
‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’
‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’
Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’
The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’
‘So who created them?’
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’
The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’
‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’
‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’
‘No, sir, I have not.’
‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’
‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’
‘Yet you still believe in him?’
‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’
‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’
‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’
‘And is there such a thing as cold?’
‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’
‘No sir, there isn’t.’
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.’
‘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 (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’
‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’
‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.’
‘In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’
‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’
The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’
‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.
It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’
‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’
‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’
‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’
The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter.
‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’
‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’
‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’
Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday It is in the daily example 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.

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79 Responses to “Albert Einstein: God vs Science”
  1. laura says:

    Well…..I did like the story….. but I’m going to have to agree that you shouldn’t have put A.E. name on it even though there is no proof that he didn’t or did have this conversation…….I am going to agree with William.

  2. jeff says:

    Retoric like that doesn’t work on me. You can use scanners in todays society to view ones brain.
    The cold issue can be measured when heat is subtracted from something it means it is colder than that something. For instance if you get an ice cube it subtracts heat from the body making you colder. when something adds heat to you it makes it hotter like the sun. darkness can be measured as well for instance too dark to see. or can barely see which means it can be measured by the absence of light particles. Evolution is the changes that occur in an organism that gets passed on to offspring and has been observed in single celled organisms called viruses. hence Hepititus a Hepititus b and Hepititus c. and is why immunity builds up in various strains and new medicines need to be developed.

  3. Joel says:

    The points of contention posted within this section are irrelevant. The article is merely giving a correlation between the subjective qualities of science and religion. Science is because we make it so. It cannot exist without us. We give life meaning.

  4. Lol says:

    Einstein was Jewish, maybe whoever made this up should of just done a quicky google search first.

  5. Lol@religions says:

    Welp, the religous was illogical.

  6. Marty_d says:

    This story kind of hits the nail on the head for me. How is it that we humans have come to believe that our five senses are the only way to quantify the universe? Are we so arrogant as to think that there is nothing beyond our puny, limited way of observing things? Why is it so easy to dismiss the possibility of something simply because it is beyond our ability to comprehend or measure? By saying something “doesn’t exist” simply because we have no sensory perception of it says we are our own supreme beings, and that there is nothing greater. Given the state of the world today, I SERIOUSLY hope this is not the case.

  7. Chris says:

    This hypothetical conversation is very inaccurate. Firstly, we can absolutely see brains. We need only cut open a skull to do so, or even just use an MRI. We can draw clear causal links between brain activity and bodily process (indeed, ALL bodily processes), and despite a lack of complete information about it, we can easily empirically demonstrate the existence of such an organ.

    Likewise, we can easily observe evolution by simply using bacteria or various insects as control species, because they reproduce fast enough in laboratory conditions to expedite the process. Even if we couldn’t, the tree of common descent and its perfect correspondence with the fossil record is more than enough to constitute as empirical evidence. In that vein, the professor (and the student) is incorrect that we “evolved from monkeys”, as that is simply a term we’ve used to describe prosimian primates. What we currently label as monkeys wouldn’t have been alive in the forms we recognize them at the point that the ancestor of humans diverged from the ancestor of the last extant prosimian. It is far more accurate to say that we share a common ancestor with monkeys; to say we evolved from them displays a gross misunderstanding of the evolutionary theory.

    While the discussion regarding cold and heat is accurate enough to avoid my criticism, I also have a bit of contention with the darkness/light part of the conversation. It is acceptable that what we label as “darkness” is simply an absence of light, but it must be noted that there are various things in cosmology that are literally dark by their very nature, and likewise most things we THINK are dark are simply so because we can’t perceive the wavelengths of light that illuminate them. While this doesn’t necessarily harm the student’s analogy, it does make them seem unversed in astrophysics, which is another point against the author’s credibility.

    Continuing, we’ve quite obviously seen and measured electromagnetism, and we also know what thoughts and memories are (bummer reminder here; everything that makes us us is naturalistic in origin and scope, including complex personalities and identities, which invalidates almost every reasonable concept of the soul/spirit).

    Now, regarding the professor’s tenuous understanding of theodicy, death from cancer is a poor example. He’d be better off describing the torture or rape of a five-year-old Ugandan girl or something of the sort if he’s really trying to come up with a good example of “evil”. Satan, according to Jewish theology, is simply God’s payroll adversary, and as he is doing God’s work he cannot be considered to be evil. The Christian bastardization of Satan definitely is a dick, but then it begs the question of why God would allow such an entity to even continue existing, as there’s no remotely decent reason to allow its presence.

    Sixth, we have far more than five senses, and we also DON’T use them for more scientific discoveries because or senses — and more particularly the way in which we process information from our senses — are very faulty. So I don’t even know what the professor’s talking about there; he clearly isn’t a scientist.

    Lastly, the kid’s arguments from analogy, I posit, simply does not work properly. Heat/cold and light/darkness are concepts we’ve created to describe a naturalistic universe that is generally beyond our capacity to alter. God, however, is in the hypothetical position to do whatever it wants. It needs not even MAKE logical dichotomies. But let’s assume that it must do so. If one is then to define God as being life/goodness/health, with death/evil/sickness being the “absence of God”, an absurd contingency arises. Cold is the absence of heat because it was “before” heat (not in a chronological sense — I mean to say that it is what exists before heat is there it act), and heat’s disappearance would not remove cold. It would simply remove the terminology we use to understand it. Likewise, the removal of light would keep all darkness. Darkness and cold are baseline states upon which something else acts to make them less of themselves.

    The reason I point this out is because death/evil/sickness are NOT baselines states. If there was no life, that would not mean that only death exists, because death is that which acts upon life (not the other way around). It WOULD mean that there was no life, but death is not simply non-life (if it was, we would have to classify things like rocks as “dead”, which is an absurdity). And if there was no good, there could still be evil, as good/evil is a false dichotomy. The concepts attributed to God are necessary conditions (although not sufficient conditions) of the existence of other concepts. In essence, the author has committed a mistaken reversal in the logical process. They’ve assumed that, because could would still “exist” without heat, death would still “exist” without life — that is, death would be the absence of life — while we know this, upon even the slightest inspection, to be a clear falsehood. LIFE could still exist without DEATH, but death could NOT exist, even as a concept, without there first being life to act upon.

    That is, cold is the logical opposite of heat. It is “not heat”, and could still be itself if there was no heat. Likewise, darkness is the logical opposite of light. It is “not light”, and could also be itself without light. However, death is NOT “not life” except in the most tautological sense. It is contingent upon the existence of life. Death could not be a thing if there was no life upon which it could act, and thus death is more analogous to heat, not cold. Likewise, sickness is contingent upon the baseline state of health, and the word makes no sense if there is no health to first observe.

    And the good/evil dichotomy is, in fact, a POLAR opposite. The logical opposite of good is “not good”. However, that which is neutral is not good. Neutral is also “not evil” and thus evil cannot be defined as simply as “not good” without causing a false dichotomy.

    In short, the student’s analogy is fatally flawed. Life is what occurs in the absence of death unless one observes a microcosm in which there is no life to begin with (in which case non-life is the baseline state, but I reiterate that death cannot be equivocated with non-life for obvious reasons). Health is what occurs in the absence of sickness unless one is, once again, to observe a microcosm in which there is no life to be healthy. And good/evil are true polar concepts; the removal of one would still allow the existence of the other. As such, God’s involvement in the processes of life, health and goodness cannot be compared to heat/cold and darkness/light in the way the student is attempting to do. If anything, the analogy must be reversed; life must be analogous to cold and death to heat, which naturally causes issues in the student’s philosophy.

    Also, theodicy is hardly the best argument against religions, so I don’t know why the professor is wasting his time with something like that. He could far more easily disprove Christianity by pointing out that Adam and Eve didn’t exist, and thus there was no original sin, and thus there is no need for the human sacrifice that underpins all of Christian theology.

    Basically, what I’m saying is that the professor’s a goober, the student’s an idiot, and whoever wrote this doesn’t have a good understanding of science OR theology OR formal logic.

  8. Noble says:

    Religion: There exists something that has always existed and was never created but created all life.

    Science: At first there was nothing, which became something, which created life as we know it.

    I know that these are the arguments broken down to the simplest cores, but come on everyone. Both sides sound equally silly.

  9. ex-believer says:

    If evil is the absence of God, and evil does in fact exist, the implication would be that God is not omnipresent, which is in direct opposition to the bible.
    As a former believer, I can understand the passion which accompanies faith, but I also understand the tendency to ignore logic when considering such things and the bias involved in interpreting truth. Even if this story were true, which all evidence would suggest otherwise, it does not prove anything except that a large number of people have very poor reasoning skills.

  10. Grumpy agnostic says:

    Einstien identified with no religion, and of anything was an atheists. I hope in this poem you’re not implying that he was the student, cause he’d never say things that stupid.

  11. JB_physicist says:

    Ok, I have to write an answer to this post, and for several reasons:

    -Don’t you dare to take Einstein for this. You could have made a good story about a smart Christian and a dumb atheist, and it would be a good read. Now, it is a lie, a totally unnecessary lie.

    -I am sick and tired of hearing there are no arguments for evolution. Yes, there is more than enough evidence that evolution is an ongoing process. You can’t see it happening right now because major changes happen over a period of millions of years. Still, you can see bacteria adopt and better suit themselves to the environment in only a few generations – evolution in progress. It is not an opinion, it is not ‘just a theory’. It is roughly as much of a theory as the second law of thermodynamics.

    -This teacher does not represent a modern scientist. Mainstream philosophy fails to catch up with modern physics. Here, we have a teacher representing ‘science’ promote an absolute belief in a duality in nature. good-evil, heat-cold, light-dark. Yet in physics, we speak of a quantum world without local hidden variables. Either everyone needs to educate themselves better to trully discuss the current state of affairs in science, or we’ll be forced to repeat the same arguments over and over again. Science has not ‘disproven’ religion, and never will. But a good discussion is not possible when one side of the argument speaks in a language the other one cannot deal with.

  12. Reality says:

    This is a good story and makes a good point. There is a God whether you see him or not.

  13. Theresa Petersen says:

    “The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.” – Einstein

  14. RS believer says:

    To everyone that claims the aurguments of the christan in this situation. First, the point on the brain. It can now be proven that he had a brain. Second, his point on evolution is valid. Seeing cells change is not evolution. Single cells building emunities is an example of natural salection. Tis is sepret from evolution becouse the off spring is still a single cell organism. Evolution requires the that for it to be evolving its spieces must change. German shepards wear bread from wolves. This is not evolution but human directed natural salection because both animals are canines. In order for it to be evolution it must change spieces all together. For example a cat becoming a dog or a dog a cat. If the idea of a dog or cat changing to the other sound rediculous to you, you my want to look into evatulitonary resurch deeper ti see how truely obsurd the idea is. There are zero transitionary fosils and no recorded acounts of evolution betwean spieces. The lack of these to proofs implies that evolution never occurd only natural salection within a given spieces. Thrid, any argument based on messuring light or darkness is one of samantics. But, the ability to understand something is evil means something most be good to messure it by. If you believe in good and bad than there must be a hire a thority dedecide which is which other wise what ever

  15. RS believer says:

    One decides is good then is good and no one can despute it because there is no hire athority. This means that you can no longer call murder, rape, or child abuse bad unless you comitted it in which case you can only say it was bad for you. Sence it is common logic for these things to be bad than there must be a hire athority that said so.

  16. Adan says:

    I quite like looking through an article that will make people think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Bible never says that all men are born evil. Its a later ‘invention’ in christianity

  18. Anonymous says:

    What happened to atheist Russia. why did it fell apart?
    Atheism can’t sustain itself for long. You will have to believe in one almighty at some point in your life. The only thing long it takes you to accept the truth.
    Science and religion are complimentary..they don’t contraditc. it is at lower level of understanding that few think that God and Science are poles apart. “Science without religion is lame;Religion without science is Blind”

  19. LJ says:

    ‘Science is just too young to understand God.’

  20. Howard V. Blair says:

    Einstein is given credit for a good story. In our youth we all go through a period in our lives searching for the truth. Obviously atheists do not reach a stage of maturity that lets them believe there is a power outside themselves. They are pseudo-intellectuals who think their intelligence is offended by the Bible.
    The scope of intelligence expands far past the true knowledge available to us. Who invented the 9 qualities of life that make us admirable? How do the admirable use the 325 traits, both good and bad, that make us what we are? We put words to those qualities and traits but who invented them? Your brain? My brain? It is laughable to think so.
    Atheists carry a burden in life that makes their life so lonely. If evolution is their source of intelligence, do they reach for it as a consolation against fear when they find themselves facing critical times in their lives? Just a thought from an old man that at one time in my youth searched for the truth in life and found it.

  21. matthew says:

    god is everywhere, and omnipresent, so therefore, unless the bible is wrong, god IS in fact, evil.

  22. johnny says:

    Theres a loop whole in ficitonal einstien’s argument. If the professor in this story was real he would’ve have known it. It be very strange for a person with a phd in philosophy to not have noticed it.That how you know this is fake and written by a christian. Anyway from an artistic point of view this is brilliant.It made philosphy accessible to average joe but shame on you to use it to pushur opinion.

  23. jim pillow says:

    the young student is correct, we cannot see God as we see other objects, God tells us that for the invisble things of the world are clearly seen,being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse!!!!!! Romans 1;20 how can we see the beautiful mountains ,trees and wildlife and not know that God exist, man or the big explosion or a fallen comet didn’t create life ,animals or mankind. God is here,in all of creation and he knew you before you were formed in the womb…

  24. sam says:

    Seeing as there are many people trying to make smart responses to this i recon. This served its rightful purpose. Evil is the Absence of God..nice one

  25. Ricky says:

    Evolution has been directly observed

  26. RJ Laguna says:

    OK, this is real simple, much like when Jesus performed miracles 2,000 years ago. Those back then that saw them first hand, believed, some even believed without seeing them. Today I have seen three, yes, a mere human and I along with well over 25 other saw these miracles together. So now I witness to the fact, God exists. So now it is to you, you are hearing the words from someone who has seen and believed . .can you believe if you hear the words from someone who has seen? Or are you like the bible story or the man who lost his life and from hell asked God to send a message to his brothers to protect them. God said, your brothers have the prophets, the bible and the evidence of Jesus who rose from the dead, if your brothers don’t believe them, sending a messenger from you won’t make any difference. Now you have a message from me. Again I ask you, will you believe as I have seen and believe, can you believe since I have seen and believe!

  27. Rob says:

    Evolution is a little like “solving” challenging math problems by getting the correct answer from the teacher’s manual, and then working backwards.


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