Everybody wants Einstein on their team. Why not? It says good things about your team to have Einstein on it. This posthumous playground metaphor can be observed in arguments over whether he was an atheist or a deist, quote launching contests where he is shown to be either critical or favoring of religion, whether or not he had a last minute deathbed conversion to the jeebus (please), and, in the parlance of our social media times, facebook chain letters that portray him as taking down some smug, anonymous, atheist professor. They usually start like this:
The professor of a university challenged his students with this question. “Did God create everything that exists?” A student answered bravely, “Yes, he did”.
The professor then asked, “If God created everything, then he created evil. Since evil exists (as noticed by our own actions), so God is evil. The student couldn’t respond to that statement causing the professor to conclude that he had “proved” that “belief in God” was a fairy tale, and therefore worthless.
Another student raised his hand and asked the professor, “May I pose a question? ” “Of course” answered the professor.
The young student stood up and asked : “Professor, does cold exist?”
And end with,
That young student was Albert Einstein.
People love these stories. It puts one of the smartest people to have ever lived on their team. It implies that they, too, are smart. Personally, every time I read one of those stories, I substitute the last line for “THEN WHO WAS PHONE?” and it makes it bearable.
Given the countless variations of the stories and the similarly innumerably arguments that young Einstein dismantles in theological debate, you’d think one of these professors would wise up about bringing up atheist crap in ‘merikuh. Or at least start ignoring the well-armed junior physicist. “There is no god, and you’re all gonna– Einstein put your hand down!”
Speaking of dismantling, these stories have all been shown to be false, of course. The stories have been circulating for quite some time, and only recently was Einstein put into the role of M. Knight Shyamalan plot device. But that’s about as much as I’m going to get into it, because it doesn’t matter.
It’s irrelevant whether he may or may not maybe sorta kinda entertained the idea of a greater power or not. We’re not going to have that discussion here, anyway. Whatever his beliefs were, it never superseded his work as a physicist*. His concerns were that of the material world. I don’t care if Einstein had the Dalai Lama tattooed on his forehead. It doesn’t make him Buddhism’s champion.
We all know which team he really played for: Team Science.
This post is for the last kids picked. We tend to grow up and join Einstein’s team.
*Unless you want to argue about that “God playing dice” comment in regards to his initial reservations about quantum physics. I don’t think he meant it literally, and furthermore he la- Ugh! See? We’re doing it!
NECSS kicks off tonight with a special Story Collider show, featuring some of the greatest folks I’ve ever met. Hope to see you there!
Also, as mentioned previously, Matt Lubchansky and I are sharing a table at MOCCA Fest this year. We just got our table assignment right in the middle of the floor. Excitement! So come on over to G12 and get yourself a brand spanking new “Magnets?” magnet.