Ray Comfort Lies About Einstein

Ray Comfort has a new book called Einstein, God and the Bible, which seeks to rescue the great physicist from the evil clutches of atheists and agnostics. Two very predictable things: A) Comfort lies a lot in the book and B) the Worldnetdaily is terribly excited about the book. Ken Ham joins in too:

In the book’s foreword, Ken Ham offers a perspective on how atheists view Einstein: “In the propaganda war carried out today by the ‘angry atheists’ (as they have been dubbed), their standard-bearer is often the late great scientist Albert Einstein. In fact, why not use him as their poster boy, the atheists would argue, if he was the smartest man in the world of the past century and also an atheist? After all, if the most brilliant man in the world was an atheist, then shouldn’t all of us be smart enough to follow him and be atheists ourselves?”

Really? Which atheists make that argument, exactly? Quote some of them. Oh, you can’t? What a surprise.

Indeed, Comfort provides a plethora of actual quotes from the man himself. For example: “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”…

“Although he clearly didn’t believe in a personal God (as revealed in the Bible),” Comfort contends, “Einstein wrote that he wanted to know ‘His’ thoughts, referred to God as ‘He,’ and acknowledged that He revealed ‘Himself.’ So, it is clear from his own writings that he didn’t believe the Creator of the universe was simply an unthinking ‘force.’ He gave God a gender, and he asked how God ‘created this world.’ In other words, it is evident that Albert Einstein wasn’t a pantheist (one who thinks that God and nature are one and the same). Neither did he profess atheism, of which he is often accused by atheists.”

Talk about a strained reading. There are two possibilities here: Einstein actually believed in a personal god, with a gender and identity, or he’s just using the culturally popular “He” to describe this impersonal creative force. Gosh, how could we possibly decide which is correct? Well, we could ask Einstein himself, who was rather irritated by Christians like Comfort during his lifetime claiming that he was one of them. He wrote to Joseph Dispentiere, who asked him about those claims:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

And as far as pantheism is concerned, Einstein made clear in a letter to Herbert Goldstein:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

And later in another letter to a Japanese scholar he specifically said his views could be described as pantheistic:

Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order… This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as “pantheistic” (Spinoza).

It continues:

As with Darwin, there has always been some ambiguity when it comes to Einstein’s actual beliefs. For example, with the above quote, it’s clear Einstein at least dipped a toe into orthodoxy, yet he also referred to the Bible as a “collection of honorable, yet still primitive legends.”

Now let’s look at the full quote in context:

“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. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.”

Kinda changes the meaning just a bit, don’t you think? This is just plain old-fashioned dishonesty, which is, of course, Ray Comfort’s specialty.

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  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    I can’t quite figure out Comfort’s game. I have to assume he lies for money.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Title two words too long.

  • John Pieret

    Ray Comfort Lies

    The sun rose in the east this morning.

    Though I sometimes wonder if Comfort is capable of lying in the conventional sense. It takes a certain self-awareness to purposely lie. I’m not sure Comfort is capable of that.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Why bother? Einstein’s been dead 49 years. His opinions changed during his lifetime, and probably would continue to do so in the face of the last 50 years of particle physics and cosmology.

    My sense is that Comfort feels can’t “pick on” Stephen Hawking, because he’s unassailable from a public perspective. So, he has to pick on the “next best” well-known physicist — even if he’s been dead for 50 years. This is just another “Newton was a Christian” gambit.

    Comfort still doesn’t understand that we don’t have popes. Argument from authority is as much a logical fallacy with Einstein as with anyone else.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Einstein did write some incredibly dumb things on the topic of science and religion, which I will not go into here because I have already expounded on them in detail.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Comfort still doesn’t understand that we don’t have popes. Argument from authority is as much a logical fallacy with Einstein as with anyone else.

    That’s because argument from revelation/authority is bedrock fundamental to their entire epistemology. It’s everywhere, from their worship of “the Founders” to their attacks on Darwin and Pasteur. If you don’t have infallible authorities, you’re on the slippery slope to testing your beliefs agaist reality.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @5 Reginald Selkirk

    No need. Everyone here already is familiar with those quotes. It’s still argument from authority. Einstein was not Spinoza, he only read Spinoza.

  • Artor

    John, you offer too much comfort to Comfort. Many of his lies can be assumed to be “honest” errors of a lazy thinker, but many others are obviously deliberate. Often, he can’t possibly not know he’s full of shit, but he tells his lies anyway. He is an intentional & deliberate liar for Jebus, and he deserves not an ounce of the benefit of doubt.

  • AsqJames

    “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”

    I don’t know the context, but I’d suspect this reference to god is almost entirely incidental to the point being made…which seems to be congruent with Rutherford’s famous “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” In other words he’s either gently teasing those who aren’t theoretical physicists, or being an arrogant git towards them (or somewhere in between), and he’s using poetic language to do it.

  • colnago80

    Re AsqJames @ #9

    I don’t know about Rutherford but the late Luis Alvarez got into trouble with biologists by stating that biology was just stamp collecting when they showed skepticism about his asteroid theory on the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  • caseloweraz

    If I were to choose atheism because of someone smart and admirable being atheist, that someone would be Isaac Asimov. I don’t think anyone was as explicit about his atheism as the late prolific author of SF and non-fiction books.

    http://www.religionfacts.com/celebrities/religions_of_celebrities.htm

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov

    Of course, my knowledge of Asimov comes from my liking of science fiction. I surmise that Ray Comfort might not even recognize the name; and in any case Einstein is a name the public is sure to know.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Comfort will read this blog and laugh. He doesn’t give a stuff what atheists say about him. As long as the faithful are chucking money at him; that’s all that matters.

  • otrame

    I sometimes think Ray Comfort, who is, in my opinion, about 100% conman, is playing a game with his supporters. It’s called “How outrageously stupid can I be and still have them send me money?” I’m not sure if he’ll ever top the “So the first male dog evolved. Now he has to find the first female dog. And it is just random chance that a female dog evolved at the same time and they were close enough that they could meet and make puppies. Does that make any sense to you?”

    For fun, check out Baud to Bits discussion of Ray’s financial set up, not to mention other aspects of the phenomenon that is Ray Comfort.

    And this past summer Steve Shives included a couple of Ray’s books in his An Atheist Reads…. series. Admittedly, the discussion in that particular one in not as serious as he is when he reads C.S. Lewis, or even McDonald or (Chthulhu help us) Rick Warren, but it is a lot of fun.

  • eric

    Hate to burst your bubble, Comfort, but even if Einstein had been a theist, it would’ve been the Judeo part of “Judeo-Christian” that got credit for the win, not the Christian part.

  • Ethan Myerson

    @14 Exactly. Are we to assume that the conclusion Comfort reaches at the end of the book is that Judaism is the right answer? Mazal Tov, Comfort. Mazal Tov.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.mulroney Josef Mulroney

    even if albert einstein had been a christian there is one we can be certain he would not have been: a creationist.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    Thanks for the link, otrame, my suspicions are confirmed. (It was too much trouble to look into, the shithead isn’t worth it.)

  • Nick Gotts

    caseloweraz@11,

    Isaac Asimov was a serial sexual assaulter of women. Not so admirable.

  • colnago80

    Re Nick Gotts @ #18

    Well, Einstein was reputed to be something of a womanizer also. And of course, Richard Feynman was a notorious cocksman who had to leave Cornell over some liaisons with underage coeds.

  • http://wordsgood4598.wordpress.com/author/wordsgood4598/ wordsgood

    Just the fact that Ken Ham is endorsing the book is enough to let me know that reading it would be a a waste time.

  • peterh

    Did Comfort & Ham read during tryouts for “Dumb and Dumber”? They would have been shoo-ins.

  • Alex

    A whole book on this nonsense! Goodness…

  • david

    Presenting Einstein’s views as similar to one’s own is a time-honored tradition. Fortunately for all humanity, there’s enough wiggle room in the great man’s writings that almost everybody can play the game and win. In that regard, the subject is very similar to the bible.

  • Michael Heath

    david writes:

    Presenting Einstein’s views as similar to one’s own is a time-honored tradition.

    True.

    david continues:

    Fortunately for all humanity, there’s enough wiggle room in the great man’s writings that almost everybody can play the game and win.

    Not true. Instead and as Ed demonstrates here, some people misconstrue what Albert Einstein actually argued to in order to falsely claim he believed what they believe.

  • magistramarla

    I’ve stayed in the Einstein suite in the Atheneum at CalTech. This was the suite of rooms in which Einstein lived when he was lecturing there. (Daughter #1 is an alumna and has served as president of the alumni organization). The school is delightfully secular, and probably boasts some of the world’s best expertise on Einstein.

    I would love to see a debate between Comfort and an expert chosen by CalTech. Comfort would be totally outclassed.

  • John Pieret

    Comfort would be totally outclassed.

    Bozo the Clown could manage that.

  • colnago80

    Re magistramaria @ #25

    In at least one survey I came across a few weeks ago, Cal Tech was rated the best university in the world. Two other California institutions made the top 10, Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.