14. Einstein, Hawking, Darwin, and Flew: Their Thoughts
The URL for my book is www.Evo-illusion.com.
The above video is about my book Evo-illusion, now available at Amazon. The page begins below.
In answering the question: “Do you believe in God?”, Albert Einstein’s reply:
“I am not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”
Do you believe in immortality? “No, and one life is enough for me.”
In a telegram, Einstein answered the question “Do you believe in God?” with: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind”.
From Time Magazine, April 16, 2007
Einstein thought nature was formed by “an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
“I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?” (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 208)
“We know nothing about [God, the world] at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. Possibly we shall know a little more than we do now. but the real nature of things, that we shall never know, never.” (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, Page 208)
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with modest powers must feel humble.” – Albert Einstein, towards the end of his life
On the issue of God, Einstein dismissed the widely held belief that he was an atheist.
“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one,” he wrote to a man who corresponded with him on the subject twice in the 1940s. “You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. … I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”
“Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.”
What Charles Darwin said:
An evolutionaut at rationalskepticism.org named Oldskeptic was ragging on me for not including the entire quote; for not including that Darwin backtracked on his expression of doubt. So here is the rest of the quote from Chapter six of “On the Origin of Species”:
“Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.”
“In searching for the gradations through which an orgain in any species has been perfected, we ought to look exclusively to its lineal progenitors; but this is scarcely ever possible, and we are forced to look to other species and genera of the same group, that is to the collateral descendants from the same parent-form, in order to see what gradations are possible, and for the chance of some gradations having been transmitted in an unaltered or little altered condition. But the state of the same organ in distinct classes may incidentally throw light on the steps by which it has been perfected.”
” The simplest organ which can be called an eye consists of an optic nerve, surrounded by pigment-cells, and covered by translucent skin, but without any lens or other refractive body. We may, however, according to M. Jourdain, descend even a step lower and find aggregates of pigment-cells, apparently serving as organs of vision, without any nerves, and resting merely on sarcodic tissue. Eyes of the above simple nature are not capable of distinct vision, and serve only to distinguish light from darkness. In certain star-fishes, small depressions in the layer of pigment which surrounds the nerve are filled, as described by the author just quoted, with transparent gelatinous matter, projecting with a convex surface, like the cornea in the higher animals. He suggests that this serves not to form an image, but only to concentrate the luminous rays and render their perception more easy. In this concentration of the rays we gain the first and by far the most important step towards the formation of a true, picture-forming eye; for we have only to place the naked extremity of the optic nerve, which in some of the lower animals lies deeply buried in the body, and in some near the surface, at the right distance from the concentrating apparatus, and an image will be formed on it.”
“In the great class of the Articulata, we may start from an optic nerve simply coated with pigment, the latter sometimes forming a sort of pupil, but destitute of a lens or other optical contrivance. With insects it is now known that the numerous facets on the cornea of their great compound eyes form true lenses, and that the cones include curiously modified nervous filaments. But these organs in the Articulata are so much diversified that Muller formerly made three main classes with seven subdivisions, besides a fourth main class of aggregated simple eyes.
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species, Ch. 6, Sixth Edition, 1872.
I always find it amazing when a person calls himself “skeptical” as does Oldskeptic, when he is not the least bit skeptical at all. Oldskeptic is skeptical about religion only. He has no skepticism about evolution whatsoever. He believes everything that has been told to him as long as it’s evolution. Why? He should rename himself, SelectiveOldskeptic. Oldsktptic doesn’t think out Darwin’s quote in the least. Actually, either did Darwin. If Oldskeptic is skeptical, why not try his skepticism on this quote? It’s so easy to rip apart. Darwin wasn’t thinking at all when he penned it. He mentions that there are no “lineal progenitors” that show the gradual evolution of vision. I am sure he meant there is no fossil evidence. So he must go to modern species and the visual systems that exist today to show the progression by evolution for vision. The only problem is that species today that have partial visual systems, or that can only detect light and dark are evidence AGAINST evolution. These species have had 500 million years to evolve a fully formed visual system, since eyes first appeared in the fossil record about 500 million years ago. They didn’t evolve fully formed vision. Why? According to Richard Dawkins, it took vision 250,000 generations to fully evolve, which is the same as 250,000 years, since most animals can produce offspring about once per year. 500 million years is 2,000 times longer than it took for the first species that developed vision to do so; two thousand times longer! Why? Why didn’t these species evolve fully formed visual systems? Evolution would then answer that “they didn’t NEED to evolve visual systems. “. Which is an absurd notion. Wouldn’t these species, if they could talk, say they could sure use full vision? Darwins’s own explanation supports his first quote: that it was impossible for natural selection to evolve vision.
Darwin also mentions the formation of an optic nerve, but of what use would an optic nerve be without an eyeball, or visual cortex, or code that takes visual stimulation from the eyeball to the visual cortex. Since he really had no idea how cells function, he really didn’t know the inner workings of the optic nerve, and it is doubtful that he knew what a visual cortex was, or how it functioned. He doesn’t mention which might have evolved first, the eyeball, optic nerve, code, or visual cortex. And in what order did the parts of the eyeball evolve. Did the retina evolve first, and just kind of sit there uselessly attached to an optic nerve? And if a visual cortex had not yet evolved, what good would the retina and nerve be? Darwin had to explain in what order the major parts of a visual system evolved, which came first, and how whatever did evolve first functioned. What sort of function could have been expected from an incomplete set. If any part was missing, the entire system would have been useless, and the organism evolving vision would be blind as a bat. In fact blind as a boulder! This is just another in a series of millions of “which came first” scenarios, the bird or the egg. So, which did evolve first, the optic nerve, eyeball, code, or visual cortex? All had to be present at the same time for any to be useful, but that would have taken intelligence. Since evolutionauts are always loudly screaming “no intelligence in nature’s non-design”, then they need to explain the step by step evolution of vision, and the uses of each step. Nature is filled with these problems for evolution, and evolution responds by making up fantastic stories to alleviate its failures and impossibilities. And this is a perfect example of one of those failures. The second part of Darwin’s quote does nothing but support the first. Evolution can’t explain the formation of vision except to those who easily believe fables. Darwin had doubts about his own theory, and in trying to explain away the doubts, he only made them worse. To bad the skeptical Oldskeptic isn’t skeptical enough to see it.
Oldskeptic came back at me numerous times asking if Darwin thought eyes were too complex to have evolved, or not. He wanted a YES or NO answer. Here is my response:
For the fun of it: I have no idea what Darwin’s inner thoughts were, just like you. I love the humor of your “yes or no, stevebee”. How could you ask such an inane question? You wonder why I ignore most of your stuff. One can only go by what Darwin stated. No person alive today can give a definitive answer, including you and me. Darwin is dead, and we can’t ask him. At what moment in his life are you discussing? Just like everyone here and myself, we have all had different periods where our belief systems changed. Darwin was the very same. Darwin didn’t think on a constant, and to attempt a “yes” or “no” answer to you inanity would be laughable.
“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”
“Absurd to the HIGHEST degree shows great doubt.” Got that? 😎 ABSURD TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE 😎 . Not “a bit absurd”. Not “kinda absurd”. But “to the HIGHEST DEGREE”. I hope that’s clear.
Now to his own rebuttal:
“Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.”
—Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
#2 shows Darwin had no ability to rationally think things out. This statement demonstrates the rational failings of your prophet. “if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life” demonstrates that he was unable to consider the visual system as a whole, just like all you evolutionauts here. He demonstrates very immature thought processes. He forgot the optic nerve, visual cortex, and code, and a huge number of other parts, like the oculomotor system, et al. I am 100% certain that makes no difference here to you evos. And his notion that an eye could self assemble slowly without offering a pathway to that self assembly is the real absurdity. So his first thought, the correct one, which he 😎 emphasized 😎 as an AN ABSURDITY”to the HIGHEST DEGREE” was very weakly countered by his second statement, “can hardly be considered real” which certainly isn’t as emphatic as his first. #1 trumps #2.
But as I can’t get into a dead guy’s head any more than you can, and give you a definitive answer like your comment childishly requests, you will have to be satisfied with sometimes oui, sometimes non, sometimes peut-être
Antony Garrard Newton Flew (11 February 1923 – 8 April 2010) was a British philosopher. Belonging to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought, he was notable for his works on the philosophy of religion. Flew was a strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose atheism until empirical evidence of a God surfaces. He also criticised the idea of life after death the free will defence to the problem of evil, and the meaningfulness of the concept of God.
There is a God, leading atheist concludes. Philosopher says scientific evidence changed his mind
NEW YORK — A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God — more or less — based on scientific evidence, and he says so on a video released Thursday.
At age 81, after decades of insisting that belief is a mistake, the professor, Antony Flew, has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.
Flew said he was best labeled a deist, like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people’s lives.
“I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins,” he said. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.”
A gradual conversion
Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article “Theology and Falsification,” based on a paper for the Socratic Club, a weekly Oxford religious forum led by the writer and Christian thinker C.S. Lewis. Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates. There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.
Yet biologists’ investigation of DNA “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce [life], that intelligence must have been involved,” Flew says in the new video, “Has Science Discovered God?” The video draws from a discussion last May in New York organized by author Roy Abraham Varghese’s Institute for Metascientific Research in Garland, Texas. Participants were Flew; Varghese; Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jew; and Roman Catholic philosopher John Haldane of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. ‘Follow the evidence, wherever it leads’ The first hint of Flew’s turn was a letter in the August-September issue of Britain’s Philosophy Now magazine. “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism,” he wrote. The letter commended arguments in Schroeder’s “The Hidden Face of God” and “The Wonder of the World” by Varghese, an Eastern Rite Catholic layman.
This week, Flew finished writing the first formal account of his new outlook for the introduction to a new edition of his “God and Philosophy,” scheduled for release next year by Prometheus Books. Prometheus specializes in skeptical thought, but if his belief upsets people, well, “that’s too bad,” Flew said. “My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.”
Discussion among the unfaithful
Last week, Richard Carrier, a writer and Columbia University graduate student, posted new material based on correspondence with Flew on the atheistic Web page Infidels.org. Carrier reassured atheists that Flew accepted only a “minimal God” and believed in no afterlife. Flew’s “name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Flew always comes up,” Carrier said. Still, when it comes to Flew’s reversal, “apart from curiosity, I don’t think it’s like a big deal.”
Flew told The Associated Press that his current ideas had some similarity with those of U.S. “intelligent design” theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts that it can explain the ultimate origins of life. Flew, the son of a Methodist minister, became an atheist at 15. Early in his career, he argued that no conceivable events could constitute proof against God for believers, so skeptics were right to wonder whether the concept of God meant anything at all. Another landmark was his 1984 article “The Presumption of Atheism,” playing off the presumption of innocence in criminal law. Flew said the debate over God must begin by presuming atheism, putting the burden of proof on those arguing that God existed.
Also:“The argument to favor Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it”. Recently Flew said “It now seems to me that findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to support Intelligent Design.” Flew goes on: “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of evolution of that first reproducing organism”. DNA in the human genome arranges 3 billion base pairs into a sequence that forms a segmented encoding scheme that commands each cell to construct specific proteins. Even one mistake in the sequence would produce a non-functioning protein (such as in cystic fibrosis). Fortunately the DNA contains error-detecting and error-correcting mechanisms. “One might ask: “Where did this programming come from?”. Pub. In the Montana, Daily Interlake newspaper about July 10th .
Me: Hey, this guy pretty much agrees with me! Except for the evolution part.
Some other very intelligent thoughts on evolution:
“The improbability involved in generating even one bacterium is so large that it reduces all considerations of time and space to nothingness. Given such odds, the time until the black holes evaporate and the space to the ends of the universe would make no difference at all. If we were to wait, we would truly be waiting for a miracle.”- Evolutionist and world class expert on the chemistry of DNA, Dr. Robert Shapiro, Robert Shapiro, Origins — A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, 1986, 128.
Ian Macreadie, winner of several scientific awards for outstanding contributions to molecular biological research, affirms that “all you see in the lab is either gene duplications, reshuffling of existing genes, or defective genes (with a loss of information). . . . But you never see any new information arising in a cell . . . we just don’t observe it happening. It’s hard to see how any serious scientist could believe that real information can arise just by itself, from nothing.” Creation ex nihilo magazine, March–May 1999- http://creation.com/creation-in-the-res … -macreadie
Dr. Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA, has said that he is convinced that life could not have evolved on this planet from non-life.
Francis Crick & L.E. Orgel, “Directed Panspermia,” Icarus journal, 19, p. 341–346; also Francis Crick, Life Itself (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1981).