Monday, May 19, 2008

Einstein Letter on God Sells for $404K at Auction

How's your German?

The media loves to invoke "the culture war" between science and religion, which in this country means evolutionary biology and Christianity. Neither is mentioned in this letter.

The article mentions that Einstein said he fell out of his religion at age 12 and "never looked back" but he still seem to experience the numinous: "But he never lost his religious feeling about the apparent order of the universe or his intuitive connection with its mystery, which he savored. “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is its comprehensibility,” he once said."

And this statement is even clearer: “If something is in me that can be called religious,” he wrote in another letter, in 1954, “then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as science can reveal it.”
clipped from www.nytimes.com
From the grave, Albert Einstein poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion this week.

A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as “pretty childish” and scoffed at the notion that the Jews could be a “chosen people,” sold for $404,000 at an auction in London. That was 25 times the presale estimate.

The Associated Press quoted Rupert Powell, the managing director of Bloomsbury Auctions, as describing the unidentified buyer as having “a passion for theoretical physics and all that that entails.” Among the unsuccessful bidders, according to The Guardian newspaper, was Oxford evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, an outspoken atheist.

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