Daily Archives: 2008-05-14 15:32:27 UTC

A new letter from Einstein: on the childishness of religion and arrogance of some atheists

Einstein has been used as a football for both religionists and atheists.

A hitherto nonpublic and largely unknown 1954 letter of Einstein has been pulled out of a private collection for public auction. Einstein wrote it to philosopher Eric Gutkind apparently in relation to a book partly titled “The Biblical Call to Revolt”. James Randerson gives a fuller account of all this in his recent Guardian article. There he quotes Einstein as saying:

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.

And on the Jewish religion and Jews in particular? Randerson again quotes:

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.

So we can understand how Einstein may have responded to those religionists who seize on a few of his words without understanding. And on evangelists for atheism using his words? Randerson passes on Einstein’s thoughts via Einstein expert john Brooke:

[W]hat he understood by religion was something far more subtle than what is usually meant by the word in popular discussion . . . . . Despite his categorical rejection of conventional religion, Brooke said that Einstein became angry when his views were appropriated by evangelists for atheism. He was offended by their lack of humility and once wrote. “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”

Answering Zionist propaganda of the Anti-Defamation League

Facts and statistics can be spun in a way to tell lies and lying propaganda can consist of an overload of fineprint factual reports. The mass of factual detail can be so overwhelming that readers are numbed from any feeling of hope that they could possibly find the time or resources to personally investigate each claim. (Jacques Ellul, Propaganda)

The ADL has published one such list of facts that in fact is a source of ignorant lies and racial prejudice. It is a list of multiple scores of terrorist attacks on Israelis in an effort to demonstrate that there is a Palestinian genocidal campaign to drive Israeli Jews into the sea.

Since this list appears to be widely circulated on the net, and since it made its appearance in a comment on one of my blog posts, I decided I had the time to begin a detailed point by point response to each of the facts on this list. I do not dispute the facts presented, but when only half the facts are presented then we all know that a half truth can be as good as an outright lie. I have in each case begun to cite the facts missing from the ADL report, most of them sourced by mainstream western (US, UK, Israeli) media reports.

I’ve also included links for a “Palestinian right of reply” to some of the common charges levelled against Palestinians and Arabs generally by the ADL.

And since it received 1352 hits within just 24 hours of this lil newbie blog posting the page and bringing it to the attention of one and two other blogs, maybe it will be of some use to a few here too . . . .

Replies to ADL propaganda