“I want to know God’s thoughts”- Albert Einstein

Or “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.”
Recently a personal letter written apparently by Albert Einstein has been sold for close to 3 million dollars here. In it, Einstein supposedly claims that belief in God is a representation of human weakness… If that is true, why so many other statements by Einstein seem to support his belief in at least a god?

“God doesn’t play dice” – in reference to the unpredictability of quantum mechanics…
Einstein also never questioned the existence of Jesus. When “Einstein was then asked if he accepted the historical existence of Jesus, to which he replied, “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” here

So, what is going on here? Was Einstein mad? Was he bipolar? Some claim he had Asperger’s (ASD) because of his abilities to think in pictures (imagining space and time) as his thought experiments were beyond anything one could imagine…

Any thoughts?

120 Replies to ““I want to know God’s thoughts”- Albert Einstein”

  1. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    timothya,

    What you are suggesting is exactly what UD does, and what Lizzie and Alan complained so much about when this site was started.

    Yet everyday they inch closer and closer to doing the same.

  2. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    So, not as bad as UD yet, then. 🙂

  3. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox:
    So, not as bad as UD yet, then.

    Not as good as UD yet according to Timothy.

  4. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:

    CharlieM: Of course we can propose another solution to spooky action at a distance. It is that reality exists in a higher dimension. And we in our three dimensional, Euclidean world are unaware of it. In order to get an idea of what it would be like in the higher dimension we can look in the other direction and imagine what it is like for a being that exists in the dimension below ours, a sort of two-dimensional flatland.

    Of course…There is no spookiness at the distance if there is no such thing as a distance or the distance doesn’t matter on subatomic level…

    And at the macro level Einstein initiated a change in our understanding of reality. Space is not the absolute theatre in which physical substances move about jostling for position and interacting with each other. Space and time are relative, not absolute. So if we think about properties such as distance and velocity, we can ask ourselves the question: which one is more fundamental and which one is derived?

    It would certainly explain the instantaneous action of the entanglement as well as the backloading of the history supposedly reaching back billions of years in the John Wheeler’s thought experiment involving the delayed choice quantum eraser…
    But if there is no distance on subatomic level or it doesn’t matter..then neither does time….

    Take the case of an experiment where two photons are sent off in opposite direction and they are seen to be entangled. We see them as two separate photons, but this is the view from the relative perspective of us as observers. Is it not legitimate to entertain the possibility that what we see as two separate entities are in actual fact a unity? The appearance of separation may be due the limited way we experience things.

    And like you have been discussing for some time now, this changes how we must think about the molecular interactions of living organisms. We cannot just think of electrons and protons as minute particles moving about in an inert vaacuum. Discoveries of properties such as zero-point energy completely changes the way we should be looking at things:

    According to quantum field theory, the universe can be thought of not as isolated particles but continuous fluctuating fields…

    We are organised in such a way that using our senses we perceive things as separate. But through the gift of thinking we are able to combine into a unity what we have torn apart in the first place. And this unification is something that we are all aiming for.

    Once we realise this there is no going back to the old ways of thinking.

  5. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS:

    CharlieM:
    I do not think that the next higher dimension should be assumed to be four dimensional.

    Yes, I understand you have your own perspective on these matters. I am afraid I am not interested in exploring that perspective, so I will exit this exchange by wishing you all the best in the new year.

    And I wish you and everyone else here a very happy New Year when it comes. May the words of Rabbie Burns unite us all, whoever we are and wherever we are as the sound of the bells makes its way from east to west.

  6. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    Charlie,

    “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”- Albert Einstein

    The question still remains: Did Einstein reject time or the distinction between past, present and future?

    I think he just saw the limitations in our experience of time. we all have our own personal past, present and future. But thinking allows us to transcend that limitation.

    When we read the words, “I am what was, what is, and what is to come”, we should not think of this as a personal statement from some individual being, no matter who we believe that being to be. It has more meaning when we interpret it as, “The ‘I AM’, “the Ego”, is something which in its reality persists as a unity throughout time. The ‘I’ is not just in the now. I know through experience that I have a biography, and it will continue into the future (for how long I do not know).

    Goethe gave us an example of this reality which transcends the instantaneous now when he insisted that he could perceive the archetypal plant. Through intense thinking he examined plants in their becoming from seed through growth, flower, fruit and back to seed again. He discovered that the reality did not lie in any of theses stages in isolation. The reality was the dynamic story of the complete process through past, present and future.

    Like Goethe before him, Einstein saw the limitations in our normal experience of past present and future. He understood that reality transcends these concepts.

  7. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Haha, first time visiting?

    Isn’t your beef with faulty interpretation of existing rules which allows moderators to stifle your inalienable rights under the existing rules without actually changing the rules?

    Quantum indeterminacy.

    Let me introduce you to Alan Fox, former moderator, turned dictator. And his commandant, and Head of Propoganda, DNA Jock.

    Does that make Mung a Quisling?

  8. timothya timothya
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo:
    timothya,

    What you are suggesting is exactly what UD does, and what Lizzie and Alan complained so much about when this site was started.

    Yet everyday they inch closer and closer to doing the same.

    You appear to lack comprehension skills. I did not suggest banning trolls.

  9. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket:

    Not within one or a few generations, no. But religions and cultures do change slowly over time.
    Before the spread of christianity, most norsemen believed in norse mythology. Religions and cultures change over centuries. But it’s not like suddenly one day everyone found another religion more compelling. Interconversions between faiths also do happen to individuals. Individuals might leave christianity to become jews or muslims or hindus or buddhists, or and the other way around of course. But generally speaking, people assimilate the dominant religion of their surrounding culture, mostly directly through their upbringing.

    Of course the details of any particular faith change over time, and there are schisms, and there is conversion. What I was driving at was IF there were one “true” universal god listening to (and making uniform demands of) everyone worldwide, we could hardly have so many different faiths, gods, and beliefs. These things are tied to cultures rather than to some objective supernatural reality. And we’ve seen that even conversions are highly variable, with each culture adopting Christianity in practice blending it with their existing views, faiths and beliefs. Just as Christianity co-opted pagan rituals, symbols, and observances.

    If there is any long-term universal trend toward a single universal god, I can’t find it. Even in this thread, “god” varies from an abstract term referring to the nature of reality, all the way to an emotional human with magical powers (that is, an anthropomorphic god who enjoys praise and becomes angry at disobedience, and doles out purposeful blessings and punishments). And this becomes a communication issue when there is no real-world referent to use as a standard.

  10. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s probably true that the plurality of world religions (past and present) is incompatible with the following premise:

    There exists a being who would do everything in its unlimited power to tell everyone what it wants of them.

    Or something to that effect. The fact of plurality of world religions strongly suggests that if there exists anything like the God of classical theism, He/She/It does not care much about how He/She/It is addressed or worshiped.

    I suppose my own view that if there’s anything that transcends the observable universe — whether multiverse or God or turtles all the way down — it is completely unknowable. In that regard I’m happy to consider myself an agnostic.

    And of course I have no objections to anyone who wishes to take a leap of faith in any direction, whatever that happens to be.

    But I do think that no speculation, however existentially significant for an individual or community, can be a basis for law or public policy in a democratic society. So the laws and policies of a pluralistic, democratic society must be secular in motivation and execution.

  11. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: So the laws and policies of a pluralistic, democratic society must be secular in motivation and execution.

    If such a society can long endure.

  12. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: . So the laws and policies of a pluralistic, democratic society must be secular in motivation and execution.

    Both have failed miserably… Those who still believe that secular societies can function well have a selective memory of not so distant past… in Soviet Union, China and still North Korea, Cuba and so on…
    Obviously, self-deception is not very harmful as long as it is applied to self…

  13. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Both have failed miserably… Those who still believe that secular societies can function well have a selective memory of not so distant past… in Soviet Union, China and stillNorth Korea, Cuba and so on…
    Obviously, self-deception is not very harmful as long as it is applied to self…

    I think this is misleading, but I don’t know. For me, “secular society” means that laws are intended to prevent (or punish) behaviors gratuitously harmful to members of that society. In other words, we try to prevent ourselves from hurting one another if we can avoid it. This is somewhat different from programs intended to benefit people, which are always trade-offs. Programs are not zero-sum, but neither are they entirely harmless to everyone. Even a policy of painting a white stripe down the middle of the 2-lane road, while perhaps saving many lives, must still be paid for by someone.

    The example “secular societies” listed, while undeniably harmful or miserable for all but the elite, are not dictatorships because they are secular. Where the public at large has no say in what government does, government is invariably abusive to the public at large. I agree with KN that a democratic society, where the peoples’ input is important and respected, must be secular. Perhaps it’s possible for a theocracy to be benevolent, but I think it’s highly unlikely.

  14. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Flint: I think this is misleading, but I don’t know. For me, “secular society” means that laws are intended to prevent (or punish) behaviors gratuitously harmful to members of that society. In other words, we try to prevent ourselves from hurting one another if we can avoid it.

    Does your view make it true? If yes, evidence please!

  15. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Flint: The example “secular societies” listed, while undeniably harmful or miserable for all but the elite, are not dictatorships because they are secular. Where the public at large has no say in what government does, government is invariably abusive to the public at large. I agree with KN that a democratic society, where the peoples’ input is important and respected, must be secular. Perhaps it’s possible for a theocracy to be benevolent, but I think it’s highly unlikely.

    They were certainly secular, but since they were dictatorships and not democracies, they are irrelevant to my point, which is that a democratic society must be secular given the impossibility of securing evidence or logic for one’s preferred speculative faiths.

    Put otherwise: if one is unable to marshal evidence or logic for one’s preferred speculation, then one cannot persuade another to adopt it. To thereby force it upon someone else is an act of violence. And the impulse to resort to violence when reasoning fails is incompatible with the ideal of democracy.

    So if we’re going to have a democratic society, then it must be secular. And that’s on the basis of all the arguments in this very thread by people who have affirmed that their own commitment to the supernatural is a leap of faith.

    On the other hand, if one allows that there’s no rational basis for one’s faith but still demands that the lives of others be structured by it, then one has indicated a secret desire to be an anti-democratic authoritarian, or more simply, a bully.

  16. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: They were certainly secular, but since they were dictatorships and not democracies, they are irrelevant to my point, which is that a democratic society must be secular given the impossibility of securing evidence or logic for one’s preferred speculative faiths.

    Why don’t you give us few examples the secular societies that have accomplished your wishful thinking? I see a lot of excuses coming up from someone who, unlike me, has never lived in his imaginary utopia…

  17. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: In that regard I’m happy to consider myself an agnostic.

    I used to be agnostic about whether a human could set foot on the moon. Now I am agnostic about whether a human could set foot on mars. Forever an agnostic. That’s me.

  18. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    “I want to know Einstein’s thoughts.” – God

  19. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I want to know Einstein’s thoughts.” – God

    Einstein’s Quantum Riddle

    If you live in US, you can play from above link.

    Tells story of entanglement, starting from Einstein’s EPR paper, then to Bell’s inequality, and finally to latest tests.

    Includes side trips into the quantum hippies and into quantum computing (but screws that up by implying quantum computers are known to to be able to solve NP complete problems like traveling salesman).

    Clearly explains how latest tests address superdeterminism objection to entanglement but admits it just makes that possibility “extremely unlikely”.

    Includes lots of fodder for J-Mac!

  20. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    thanks

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