Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Lethbridge Herald of Lethbridge, the fourth-largest city in Alberta, Canada and it’s titled Einstein may have something to say about your analogy.
We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city, but we will disclose that the writer is a female. We are pleased to provide representation in our list not only to a Canadian, but also to a lady. Okay, let’s get started:
Re: Richard Brown’s letter to the editor, “Debunking the creationist strawman,” June 26 Herald.
She’s talking about Debunking the creationist strawman, written by Mr. Brown, a high school science teacher. Brown describes a teaching method he uses to show that the odds are not against evolution. We like his method, because it’s a simplified version of what we described in The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III). But today’s letter-writer doesn’t like it. She says:
Mr. Brown, I’m sorry but your credentials as a high school science teacher are about to be run over by Einstein and his view of intelligent design.
Einstein believed in intelligent design? Wow — why haven’t the Discoveroids trumpeted this fact? They never hesitate to hijack dead people to their cause. They once even tried it with Darwin — see Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute. But even the body-snatching Discoveroids have never attempted to kidnap the venerable Einstein. Perhaps today’s letter-writer knows something the Discoveroids haven’t yet figured out. Let’s read on:
Mr. Einstein once said: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
Aaaargh!! She’s quote-mining Einstein! It took quite a bit of Googling around, but we found the source of that quote. It’s from a book that contains the record of various conversations between Peter Bucky and Einstein over a thirty year period. Here’s the book’s listing at Amazon: The Private Albert Einstein. Many of its quotes are online, and you can see the letter-writer’s favorite here: Conversation on Religion and Antisemitism. But not only is the letter-writer’s quote there, but so are these, also by Einstein:
What I cannot understand is how there could possibly be a God who would reward or punish his subjects or who could induce us to develop our will in our daily life.
Let’s assume that we are dealing with a theoretical physicist or scientist who is very well-acquainted with the different laws of the universe, such as how the planets orbit the sun and how the satellites in turn orbit around their respective planets. Now, this man who has studied and understands these different laws – how could he possibly believe in one God who would be capable of disturbing the paths of these great orbiting masses?
No, the natural laws of science have not only been worked out theoretically but have been proven also in practice. I cannot then believe in this concept of an anthropomorphic God who has the powers of interfering with these natural laws
I do not believe that a man should be restrained in his daily actions by being afraid of punishment after death or that he should do things only because in this way he will be rewarded after he dies. This does not make sense. The proper guidance during the life of a man should be the weight that he puts upon ethics and the amount of consideration that he has for others. Education has a great role to play in this respect. Religion should have nothing to do with a fear of living or a fear of death, but should instead be a striving after rational knowledge.
That should be enough. Einstein wasn’t religious, he wasn’t a creationist, and he didn’t believe in intelligent design. Today’s letter-writer continues:
I’m sure there are more than a few students in your Grade 11 biology classes, Mr. Brown, who have noticed one of those “slight” details in your flawed card analogy. Have any of your students been brave enough stand up to your obvious “holier than them” attitude to inquire as to how the cards they are shuffling magically appeared? Then extend that “slight” question to: “How did the genomes come into being?”
That, dear reader, is known as moving the goal posts. Here’s the rest of the letter:
I think arrogance, ignorance and refusal to learn from one of the most intelligent and influential scientists ever known is a lethal combination in someone who is grooming young minds for the future.
What scientist is she talking about — Darwin? No, she probably means her quote-mined, bible-toting, cartoon version of Einstein. Nice try, lady. Welcome to the Curmudgeon’s collection.
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