Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind

  • #1
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind"

Hi, there

I just wanted to know what Einstein actually meant with this quote "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Did he mean it in the sense that religion is an attempt to explain why we're here and how we came to be, etc. and without science, we wouldn't find the answers... we would be blind and did he mean that science without religion in the sense that science without the attempt to explain why we're here and how we came to be is lame?

Is this what he meant or something else?


-Chris
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Danger
Gold Member
9,607
246


Nobody knows what he meant, if that was, indeed, a legitimate quote.
Only the quoted person can ever explain what was intended by the statement, and it's too late to ask Albert.
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
177


I don't know if it's legit, but I do have that one on a calender of E quotes.

I always took it mean that religion [or spirituality] nourishes the soul or spirit, but science is needed for objective reasoning. One is no good without the other.
 
  • #6


I don't know if it's legit, but I do have that one on a calender of E quotes.

I always took it mean that religion [or spirituality] nourishes the soul or spirit, but science is needed for objective reasoning. One is no good without the other.
Do have a read of that link I posted. If I read it correctly (though I'm a bit tired at the moment), my first interpretation was correct. The pages looks as if it's taken from something Einstein has written, but I'm not entirely sure if it is something he's written. I'll research a bit more when I'm awake.

I'm a bit too inebriated to fully appreciate that article right now, but I'll definitely read it in full tomorrow. The opening was great.
Haha. Yes, it's an interesting read. I'm a bit tired, but from what I read, I think what he's saying is what my first interpretation was.



Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/library/ae_scire.htm
 
Last edited:
  • #7
422
1


Einstein was not an atheist. This explains all.
 
  • #8


Einstein was not an atheist. This explains all.
I'm pretty sure he believed in the God that is nature, the laws of physics etc. I may be incorrect though, I can't remember what you call that. However, he did not believe in the personal God.
 
  • #9
1,796
53


My understanding he had his doubts about religion but too afraid to fess up to it because of how he would have been treated back then if he professed it.
 
  • #10
422
1


I'm pretty sure he believed in the God that is nature, the laws of physics etc. I may be incorrect though, I can't remember what you call that. However, he did not believe in the personal God.

"I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein



He was probably only a weak pantheist, as i have never seen a quote by him where he asserts flat out that nature and god are one and the same.


From the above wiki link:

Spinoza's ideas of God are often characterized as being pantheistic.


Anyway, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" is an understandble statement considering that he asserts:

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. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.202)
 
  • #11
56
0


The quote is in fact from his Science and Religion article for which the link was posted in this thread. It is indeed an Einstein quote.
 
  • #12


"I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein



He was probably only a weak pantheist, as i have never seen a quote by him where he asserts flat out that nature and god are one and the same.


From the above wiki link:

Spinoza's ideas of God are often characterized as being pantheistic.


Anyway, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" is an understandble statement considering that he asserts:

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. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.202)
Yep, that's the one. However, I think you're misunderstanding the quote when he says "I want to know his thoughts" - unless I'm misunderstanding you. He definitely did not believe in a personal God that intervened in the world. Again though, I might be misunderstanding you xP.



The quote is in fact from his Science and Religion article for which the link was posted in this thread. It is indeed an Einstein quote.
Ah good, thanks for confirming that :), it looked official to me.
 
  • #13
180
1


Nobody knows what he meant, if that was, indeed, a legitimate quote.
Only the quoted person can ever explain what was intended by the statement, and it's too late to ask Albert.
Oh, come on! This thought line is a bit of a cop-out, as Einstein both wrote and spoke about both these subjects on numerous occasions. So what if he's dead? So are 100% of those who wrote the books of the Bible, the Koran, and all the other religious texts of the world. We have a "fairly" good idea of what they think, so...

Admittedly, Einstein was never a religious author. Nevertheless, his writings, while not "extensive," do indeed clearly delineate his beliefs on this subject.

The discussion thus far is good, as it pulls in his contributions on both subjects fairly well, so please, let the discussion continue.
 
  • #14


Oh, come on! This thought line is a bit of a cop-out, as Einstein both wrote and spoke about both these subjects on numerous occasions. So what if he's dead? So are 100% of those who wrote the books of the Bible, the Koran, and all the other religious texts of the world. We have a "fairly" good idea of what they think, so...

Admittedly, Einstein was never a religious author. Nevertheless, his writings, while not "extensive," do indeed clearly delineate his beliefs on this subject.

The discussion thus far is good, as it pulls in his contributions on both subjects fairly well, so please, let the discussion continue.
I completely agree with you. Although, I'm sure many religious people would disagree when you say that "We have a "fairly" good idea of what they think, so..." because there are over 30,000 different Christian denominations... then again, I doubt there'd be many Christians who would know this because it'd be almost silly to be a Christian if the belief isn't a set belief. I think Jacque Fresco said it perfectly, "A church divided is no church at all." I'm just rambling on now, so I'm going to stop :P.

I understand why Einstein specifically said science without *religion* is lame and *religion* without science is blind, as it was the topic which he was talking about. However, if you put aside the fact that he simply wrote this as it was the topic, I disagree with him because it's not religion that inspires science, per se, but the questions that inspired religion that inspire science. I mean, the ultimate questions, "why are we here?", "how did we come to be?" didn't just come from religion, they came to contribute to the creating of religion itself.

Just my thoughts though. Obviously I agree with him in the way he wrote it.
 
  • #15
905
4


I don't know if the quote is actually from Einstein (I've heard somewhere that it isn't), but I tend to agree with it. There are a lot of people out there who say that you must believe in some specific religion, and sadly this turns many people in science off to the whole idea. But it's important, I think, to ask the sorts of questions that religion poses for us. Questions about the nature and purpose of our existence make no sense in a scientific context, but this doesn't make them unimportant. These are questions that theists and atheists alike can address, and without them science is little more than glorified engineering.
 
  • #16
180
1


...but the questions that inspired religion that inspire science...
Aha, and I would argue those are arguments continue today, not only in a small modicum of scientists, but ultimately, if the vast majority of them.

But it's important, I think, to ask the sorts of questions that religion poses for us.
Yes, it is!

Questions about the nature and purpose of our existence make no sense in a scientific context, but this doesn't make them unimportant. These are questions that theists and atheists alike can address, and without them science is little more than glorified engineering.
Hmm... My ultimate question would elicit answers from both GUT proponents as well as those would like to incorporate gravity into the mix. Put bluntly, we're still missing the Higgs.

Personally, I don't think it's one and the same. I think gravity is quite something else!

Yeah, what do I know - I'm just an "armchair scientist."

Bah, humbug. Or as my Dad would say, observing the bird feeder, "Bah, hummingbug!"
 
  • #17
422
1


Yep, that's the one. However, I think you're misunderstanding the quote when he says "I want to know his thoughts" - unless I'm misunderstanding you. He definitely did not believe in a personal God that intervened in the world. Again though, I might be misunderstanding you xP.


Well i can confirm your opinion that Einstein was atheistic towards official religions. But he was not a atheist nonetheless. Spinoza's God that he admired and pantheism in general is a sort of saying that existence is of divine nature and everything that manifests as existing, including me and you, is just thoughts in the mind of God. This is a perfectly valid way of reasoning(it could be wrong, of course, like anything else that we think we know).



Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 214)




"In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 214)


"What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos." (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)
 
Last edited:
  • #18
Evo
Mentor
23,154
2,804


Albert Einstein himself said he was Agnostic, so let's stop trying to interpret what he said since he left no doubt.

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

Albert Einstein, in a letter March 24, 1954; from Albert Einstein the Human Side, Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, eds., Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 43.
“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216.
 
  • #19


Aha, and I would argue those are arguments continue today, not only in a small modicum of scientists, but ultimately, if the vast majority of them.
In what sense?
 
  • #20
56
0


I don't know if the quote is actually from Einstein (I've heard somewhere that it isn't), but I tend to agree with it.
It is; Einstein, Albert., 1940, Science and Religion, Nature, vol 146, pg 605.

The entire sentence is "The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
 
  • #21
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
177


Albert Einstein himself said he was Agnostic, so let's stop trying to interpret what he said since he left no doubt.
That does not speak to matters of spirituality generally. He only denies the concept of a personal God and law-giver.
 
  • #22
Integral
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,201
56


What one has to keep in mind when reading a quote like this is that it is a window into a different culture. The culture AE grew up in is very different then ours. One needs to be very careful about applying such quotes to the modern world.
 
  • #23
56
0


What one has to keep in mind when reading a quote like this is that it is a window into a different culture. The culture AE grew up in is very different then ours. One needs to be very careful about applying such quotes to the modern world.
How is the culture today different from the culture of the 1940s?
 
  • #24
Evo
Mentor
23,154
2,804


How is the culture today different from the culture of the 1940s?
You don't know? There are too many differences, in the Wetsern World, to list here. You might want to look for some books about it, or even look on the internet if you are not familiar.
 
  • #25
dx
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,011
18


Einstein's religiosity is I think not different from his supreme intelligence, which leads to "a far-reaching emancipation from the schackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man."

"Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength."

Science without this kind of feeling is "uninspired empiricism".
 

Related Threads on Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind

  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
49
Views
6K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
27
Views
4K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
47
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
6K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
97
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
5K
Top