Consti sent me this video some time ago of (NOT) Albert Einstein arguing with his professor about the existence of god. This story isn’t novel at all; people here have known the same argument attributed to Abdul Kalam. And while I wouldn’t be too surprised if Abdul Kalam came up with inanity like this, I’m tempted to think Einstein was more intelligent than this, even at ten.
Let’s forget for the moment, then, that Einstein repeatedly denounced people who called him religious, and repeatedly avowed his non-belief. Let’s also forget that this stupidity is so common that it’s been catalogued, and that the argument is lame enough for there to be a Jack Chick tract that tells the story of the calm student who takes apart the evil professor’s arguments. Here’s the video, and a summary:
Prof: If god exists, he is evil because he created evil
Student: God didn’t create evil, evil is the absence of love for god.
There. I’ve done the argument more justice than it deserves. Here, first, is a fairly respectful rebuttal (from Camels with Hammers):
My reply won’t be nearly as respectful. The distillation of stupidity that is attributed to Abdul Kalam has this gem of an argument in this:
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed. Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it […] Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? […] The link between man & god is faith. That is all that keeps things moving & alive.
i) The ‘science cannot explain everything’ refrain is idiotic. And that’s without even mentioning that ‘God did it’ is not an explanation. To quote Asimov, ‘if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.’ So yes, we understand electricity and magnetism, can explain both quite well, and can even explain thought, even if only at a rudimentary level. Also the understanding of death modern medicine has is vastly better than the rubbish that’s been attributed to Kalam.
ii) Evolution by natural selection is about as solid as science gets. Saying ‘I can’t see monkeys evolving into human beings’ is, apart from being technically wrong – monkeys and humans evolved from common ancestors, and monkeys today are evolving into monkeys, not humans, also silly. One might as well say ‘I’ve been looking at this baby all day, and it hasn’t grown into a forty year old man. I refuse to accept that babies can grow into adults.’ (This bit of wisdom is from Stephen Colbert, not surprisingly!). The only explanation for this argument being made at all is that the dumbass making it knows nothing about logic, to say nothing of evolution.
Now, there’s also the crap about ‘god cannot be measured’, and what not. Except, this genius somehow knows all this. How? Divine inspiration? I’m supposed to believe that this god that can’t be seen or felt somehow revealed its identity to the idiot who made up this argument? Yeah, right.
And if you’re still wondering whether the fact that cold and darkness are just the absence of heat and light should make any difference to an argument for a divine being, consider this: there are pleasant odours, and there is no odour at all, and I just farted.[hr]
Update: Nair said it seemed as though I was pulling my punches. I’ve made some changes to the body of the post. It’s hopefully better, now!