The Odd Couple: Ray Comfort & Albert Einstein

Night was dark

And the Drool-o-tron™ would not let us sleep. Its blaring sirens and flashing lights kept us awake, and the blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). Our computer was locked onto WND’s latest article, Was world’s most famous scientist a believer?

So we yielded to the Drool-o-tron™ and started to read:

Within the scientific community, a debate has raged for years: Was Albert Einstein an atheist? Like the stories swirling about the legend of Charles Darwin, it seems many on either side of the “faith and science” divide wish either that the scientific icon who fled Nazi Germany was a believer in God or an outright denier.

Into this raging argument steps Ray Comfort.

Ray Comfort? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He’s best known for his starring role in Ray Comfort’s “Banana video”. We had to see what this new article was all about. The sub-title gave us a sense of what was coming: “Jim Fletcher reviews ‘Einstein, God & the Bible’.” Ah, it’s a book review of something Comfort has written. Okay, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

[Comfort] has a new book, “Einstein, God & the Bible,” which offers provocative evidence that … well, you’ll have to read the book to discover Comfort’s conclusions about Einstein’s views of God. Rest assured, however, it is a fascinating, well-worth-the-time read that offers startling insights into the subject. [Ellipsis in the original.]

Throughout the article are links that lead to ads for the book. We’ll omit those, of course. Let’s read on:

In the book’s foreword, Ken Ham offers a perspective on how atheists view Einstein:

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! A book by Ray Comfort with a forward by ol’ Hambo! No wonder the Drool-o-tron™ was so insistent. Hambo’s forward is quoted:

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?

Usually it’s the other way around, with creationists arguing that people like Isaac Newton were religious, therefore … . You know how it goes. Although we’ve all read various blogs and other writings by atheists, does anyone remember any of them making an appeal to an authority like Einstein? Well, we’ve quoted Einstein’s objection to using a God of the gaps argument, but the logic speaks for itself. A pure argument from authority (“Einstein said it, so you should believe it”) is a tactic used by creationists, not atheists. Our guess is that ol’ Hambo is making it up. The WND book review continues:

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.”

We’ve all seen those quotes. If Comfort presents them out of context, with Einstein’s other writings on religion omitted, the result will be a distorted, one-sided picture. A better perspective might be gained by reading Einstein’s essay Science and Religion. It’s the source of a widely-repeated quote: “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

But he also said in that same piece: “During the youthful period of mankind’s spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man’s own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world.” At no time that we’re aware of did Einstein declare his belief in a deity, only in the utility of religion in the sphere of morality.

Here’s more from WND. It’s a quote from Comfort’s book:

“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.”

Oooooooh! Einstein gave God a gender. Well, that decides the matter. Skipping a bunch, here’s the last paragraph:

Launching from his fascinating subject, Comfort deftly uses the book’s platform to make a compelling case for a Creator, so that “Einstein, God & the Bible” becomes a powerful apologetic for pastors or youth leaders, especially, to instruct youth. The research Comfort puts into the book, along with his own insights – gained from decades in evangelistic ministry – makes “Einstein, God & the Bible” a powerful argument in opposing atheists, who want to use Einstein as Exhibit A for their worldview.

Somewhere, drooling creationists will be walking around with Comfort’s book, and they’ll carry it so everyone can see that it has “Einstein” in the title. They’ll want everyone to notice that they’re reading something really deep, and they’ll be so proud of themselves.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “The Odd Couple: Ray Comfort & Albert Einstein

  1. Einstein, of course, used God as a metaphor; he knew that this was one way of connecting with the great mass of believing humanity.

    Whether he personally accepted the literal existence of a Creator, I don’t know. And I don’t need to, either, to address this issue of evolution vs. Creation. Einstein was not a biologist and, unlike some creationists, never pretended to be one, and in any case the existence or nonexistence of God is an entirely separate question from whether the theory of evolution is correct. God can exist even if evolution occurs entirely without His intervention, and evolution can occur whether or not God exists.

  2. Oooooooh! Einstein gave God a gender.

    My acquaintances from linguistics occasionally point out that “sex” is a biological term, while “gender” is a linguistic term. If Einstein was writing in German, then the language would have required a gender of masculine, feminine or neuter. In this case, the masculine gender would have been set by the language community long before Einstein’s writings.

    I expect that it will give Ray no comfort to hear that I won’t be buying his book.

  3. michaelfugate

    Metaphor Ray metaphor – learn what it means.

  4. This is so typical of the deceptive rhetoric of creationists. Einstein clearly was not referring to God as an anamorphic male deity, but was referring to the as-yet-unknown structure and order behind the universe. Virtually everyone at the time understood that, and most still do, but creationists will turn a metaphor into a literal statement any time it serves their dishonest purpose.

    The DI carries on this loathsome practice in their reference to DNA as a operating system or code, and cell processes as machines, etc. They have taken metaphors used by biologists and made them into literal statements, and since most of them know almost nothing about actual biology it’s hard to tell if they do this from ignorance or with purpose.

  5. That reference to the gender of god disturbs me.

    As an observation on the grammatical gender of the German word “Gott”, it is of course true, as Neil Rickert observes, and has no more significance to “Madchen” (girl) being a neuter noun. I am also quite open to the suggestion the Einstein, like most men of his society, being a male chauvinist.

    Anyway, I don’t care what Einstein’s concept of God was, any more than I care about Dobzhansky’s, Fisher’s, Ayala’s, Darwin’s or Hawking’s.

    But it is the hint that as a”literalist” that Comfort’s audience thinks of God as having male sex. As we all know, male sex is defined in relation to female sex, for example as having the smaller gamete. Whatever, it is difficult to grasp how anti-materialists would be interested in a literal sex of God.

  6. Although we’ve all read various blogs and other writings by atheists, does anyone remember any of them making an appeal to an authority like Einstein?

    On occasion the atheist blogs discuss Einstein’s views (which Ed, above, summarizes exactly right: “Einstein clearly was not referring to God as an anamorphic male deity, but was referring to the as-yet-unknown structure and order behind the universe”), but like you I’ve never seen any of them try to use him as a poster boy. This may be because it’s a sort of “Dog Bites Man” bit of information: we expect bright people, even in Einstein’s era, to be atheist or agnostic, so the real point of interest comes when one of them isn’t.

  7. The only sensible thing to say about Einstein and religion is this:

    “Einstein was a giant. His head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. Those of us who are not so tall have to choose!”
    Richard Feynman.

  8. Doctor Stochastic

    At least the book was not titled: “God and Einstein on the Beach.”

  9. What makes this silly gender argument even funnier is that in the west our tendency to label various suffix-based inflection paradigm columns by “gender” was basically an error in the thinking of Latin scholars [a redundant term because all scholars started and completed their educations using Latin]. Their tunnel vision sentenced linguists and writers of foreign language grammar textbooks for centuries thereafter to thinking in terms of masculine, feminine, neuter gender labels even though the exception lists grew enormous and the classification never really made sense. (One of my favorite examples which students never forgot: In Hebrew a woman’s breasts are treated as MASCULINE in terms of grammatical agreement.

    Of course, we are talking Ray “Banana Man” Comfort here, the Alfred E. Neuman of Young Earth Creationism, and frankly, he almost managed to impress me with a lame but surprisingly earnest, feigned attempt at an “exegetical argument”. Sure, he failed miserably, but by Ray Comfort standards, that’s almost a flexing of neuron-power compared to his usual attempts at pretending to be semi-cerebral.

  10. Memo to: Ray Comfort
    re: Einsteins God

    Einstein’s God = Spinoza’s God

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    Ray’s proof of creation … a banana. Ray’s proof evolution is wrong … random interviews with college students. Ray’s proof Einstein believed in god … taking literally that which was obviously said metaphorically. Ray is a one-man confirmation bias case. (Well a two-man when he is hanging with Kurt ‘proof is a croco-duck’ Camron.)

  12. WND: “Launching from his fascinating subject, Comfort deftly uses the book’s platform to make a compelling case for a Creator, so that “Einstein, God & the Bible” becomes a powerful apologetic for pastors or youth leaders, especially, to instruct youth.

    To instruct youth?? Let’s be honest, WND. the correct word here is “indoctrinate”.

  13. There is a silver lining. Comfort has previously written about “Atheistic Evolution”. Now, he can’t. Well, I;m sure he will but will have even less credibility.
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ray_Comfort

  14. Sorry, SC, I didn’t expect the link to take over like that.

  15. “Launching from his fascinating subject…”

    Really? Fascinating? Irrelevant if you ask me.

  16. Hey Ray! DON’T CARE!!! Einstein is not remembered for his gawd but for his work in science. Even if he was a raving xtian, his work still stands. So I and many others could care less!!!
    You rabid xtians like rubbing our noses into the fact that Newton was a xtian. Guess what? He also VIOLATED the basics of your book of BS by being a practicing occultist. And whether he was xtian or occultist does not matter, his science is what stands the test of time!

  17. I agree with L. Long: who cares? Someone’s religious-or-not beliefs are usually not the most interesting things about him/her.

    This reminds me of people who are very interested in other people’s sex lives. Who cares? Why are you fretting about it?

  18. Garnetstar muses:

    “This reminds me of people who are very interested in other people’s sex lives. Who cares? Why are you fretting about it?”

    I don’t know for certain but in light of our SC’s discoveries regarding cretinists’ lavatorial spying pursuits, I’d guess envy has a lot to do with it…

  19. @Garnetstar and Con-Tester: no, the sex-life of Ray the Bananaman is definitely something I’m not interested in.

  20. @mnb0: I think you got hold of a green banana there, one that’d already been crocoducked. I meant that the (evangelical) cretinists à la Ray of Darkness would be looking for something in others’ lives to envy and to try and control. After all, they’re not content unless they’re telling others how to toe their particular line.

  21. There is only one way to answer this!
    Everybody Google “God’s sexual organ” and forward some of the results to Ray Comfort.

  22. OMG atheists everywhere Ray and Ken!
    In LIFE OF PI Mr Kumar explains at the Pondacheri zoo,
    ” A clear intellect,close attention to detail and a little scientific knowledge will expose religion as superstitious bosh”.