Who does Einstein think he is?

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  • #1
PRodQuanta
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I was just doing some thinking, but some of the things Einstein has said over the years is just downright unacceptable. For instance, when he said his famous saying pertaining to Heisenburg's uncertainty principle and how it explains quantum mechanics,"God does not play dice."

Now, I know what he meant is that there is no need for probability to explain nature, but why did he have to incorperate God into his saying. To KNOW what God does and doesn't do is one thing, but to ASSUME that that is what God intended it to be just to support his theory is, in my perspective, WRONG.

And also, another saying of Einsteins:"When the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." Just think about it, is that the method people should use? It's like saying "Yeah guys, Jake can't play the football game because he broke his arm." without actually knowing if he broke his arm. Then before Jake gets a chance to meet anybody, you go and hit his arm with a hammer.

Now, I'm not saying that Einstein was a fraud (only most all of our present theories and technology today is based on his genious discoveries)I'm only saying that he had his times of getting carried away and making bad statements. Maybe not so much the role model we all should desire.

Thoughts?? (this should be interesting... )
Paden Roder
 

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  • #2
chroot
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Pack sand.

- Warren
 
  • #3
HallsofIvy
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Oh, chroot. You have a way of saying things that I would only think!


PRodQuanta: For one thing, Einstein doesn't THINK he is anyone: he's been dead for years. Did you miss that?

Secondly, while he was alive, Einstein KNEW for a fact that he was one of the top scientiest of the era and he had every right to express an opinion on any scientific question.

Third point: who are you to say WHAT Einstein said. Have you read anything other than third or fourth hand accounts?
 
  • #4
chroot
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And for a less-offensive version of my response, consider that the vast majority of Einstein's quotes demonstrate that he was a patient, kind, socially conscious, generous and deeply concerned man who valued above all else peace, the pursuit of knowledge, and a better quality of life for all of mankind. He was an incredible man in so many ways that it is absolutely an atrocity for you to say he should not be a role model.

Point of fact, many of his most popular quotes were intended to be quite tongue in cheek, and serve only to demonstrate his wit, sense of humor, and understanding of human nature.

- Warren
 
  • #5
selfAdjoint
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And for a less-offensive version of my response, consider that the vast majority of Einstein's quotes demonstrate that he was a patient, kind, socially conscious, generous and deeply concerned man who valued above all else peace, the pursuit of knowledge, and a better quality of life for all of mankind. He was an incredible man in so many ways that it is absolutely an atrocity for you to say he should not be a role model.

Couldn't handle women though.
 
  • #6
chroot
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Couldn't handle women though.
Except for cousins... :-/

- Warren
 
  • #7
Artman
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
...(this should be interesting... )
Paden Roder

You should have used the evil smiley face, , instead. PRodQuanta is pushing some buttons, I think.

Although I never met the man personally, Einstein is my hero. He rose from the position of lowly patent clerk to one of the most celebrated men of science of all time, and still remained a decent human being. He could have talked down to anyone on this planet, but he didn't. As chroot pointed out (in his second post),

Originally posted by chroot
..."Point of fact, many of his most popular quotes were intended to be quite tongue in cheek, and serve only to demonstrate his wit, sense of humor, and understanding of human nature."
 
  • #8
PRodQuanta
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Did I ever say I hated the man? NO. He is up there with my most respected role models. I have read at least 4 different biographies on the guy, and have looked over and done research on his work. (For those interested in his work, real live footage of his documents were just released at the California Institute of Technology. You can find them at there web site.)

As I stated, he WAS a genious, because he's dead. (Thanks for pointing that out... and we also landed on the moon!...:wink: )

But I just think that by some of the statements he has made over the years, maybe he Isn't the all mighty genious that some perceive him to be.

And yes, I knew this would push some buttons.
Paden Roder
 
  • #9
quartodeciman
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So Einstein wasn't the mighty genius some people think he was.

What does that matter?

Did he contribute in a very important way with applications of statistical fluctuations in gases of matter and radiation?
Did he champion quantum theories of light, gases and solids, and help as a midwife in the birth of a full-fledged twentieth century quantum science?
Did he show a way to new and important invariance properties of spacetime, electromagnetism and gravitation?

I say YES, and thank you, posthumously, for all that.

Was Einstein a man with his own foibles and limitations? Well, why not?

Did Einstein retard research because of his biases? Maybe Theodore Kaluza and Alexander Friedmann were temporarily left on the shelf by Einstein's failure to acknowledge their ideas. That wasn't for long. That was in the 1920s and Einstein was very busy as a worldwide ambassador of science. He later repented and took the work of both men seriously, one in unified field research and the other in cosmology. Those are the only cases I know of where Einstein's fame and influence had a negative effect. He hardly restrained the quantum revolution's progress at all, though he disappointed Bohr that he wouldn't accept the probability foundation of quantum physics. But he made Bohr think extra hard how to convince Einstein, and that was (in retrospect) a good thing.

So he threw off quotable sayings about God. He was a Spinoza-inspired thinker.

So he threw off a quotable saying about altering facts to match theories. There are at least a couple of other ways to take that:

1. Advanced experiments are as tentative as pure theories. They are based on accepted theoretical principles and pointedly embedded decisions about what is significant in a situation and what is NOT significant. Experiments can be and often are misconceived and misinterpreted. Both theory and experiment must test each other.

2. A researcher in a world with lots of competing researchers ought to stick to basic beliefs and NOT surrender at the first signs of failure.
 
  • #10
PRodQuanta
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Now that's the kind of response I was looking for.

He was a great man with lots, more than many, of controbutions to present day physics.

All I was saying is that nobody gave him the right or power to use God as an analogy (excuse if you will) to say what is right or wrong.

And it is my opinion that theories and experiments should be dealt with by facts, and already proved laws.

Paden Roder
 
  • #11
FZ+
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WHO gave you the right you talk about einstein? Huh? huh? (sarcasm)

Einstein, as a private individual, had every right to say anything he felt like. He hardly ran to the newpapers and forced them to print it. Rather, he said it once, and biographers etc quoted him because it best represented the belief system Einstein worked under.

But clearly it is a confusing quote. Read up on Spinoza. Einstein was a great follower of his philosophy - the belief that universal order exists is what he meant by God. God does not play dice, because in his view god by definition is order incarnate - he does not play dice because if he does, he wouldn't be god.

Einstein's beliefs are still debated though, and the issue is still not completely settled. The Bell inequalities, which are the best test of QM, left open a number of other alternatives, which have not been closed down.
 
  • #12
zoobyshoe
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And let's not forget how he got
talked into using his juice with
Roosevelt to get the big one
started.
 
  • #13
photon
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That can't work right

And it is my opinion that theories and experiments should be dealt with by facts, and already proved laws.
If this were how science went since the neanderthals, (hope i spelled that right) then us humans would know absolutley nothing. How would atoms be discovered? The reason we have gotten so far in Science, which is still far from knowing everything, is because we have speculated, and assumed without jumping to conclusions. How do you think Einstein came up with Relativity? By finding an old "book of everything" in a public library? If we didn't dare to guess, then we would still be stuck not understanding the most simple of principles.
:smile:
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
Now that's the kind of response I was looking for.

He was a great man with lots, more than many, of controbutions to present day physics.

All I was saying is that nobody gave him the right or power to use God as an analogy (excuse if you will) to say what is right or wrong.

And it is my opinion that theories and experiments should be dealt with by facts, and already proved laws.

Paden Roder
It is always a good idea to start with existing theories and work from there. Einstein did that. But its important to not be constrained by known flaws in existing theories. Einstein's major work was exactly that: an attempt (most would say a successful one) to explain known flaws in existing theories.
 
  • #15
PRodQuanta
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That's what I'm saying. I feel an analogy coming on... Ok, here it goes:

My theory: If you don't eat beans, you will live forever.

Now, people don't eat beans because they want to live forever. Right? You have no evidence that people will live forever if they don't eat beans. It was just an assumptions. Now, you just tricked people into not eating beans, and somewhere along the line somebody is going to die, and people will ask,"Did he eat beans?" No, but there must be a protein in the bean that is in another food, that he must have eaten. So people don't eat that food either. Soon enough there is a dominoe effect and people aren't taking CRUCIAL medicine because it possesses this protein, and they don't want to die.

DO YOU SEE? This theory that is not based on fact has slowed down or even stopped the progression of discovering new frontiers in science, because there is ONE FLAW in the system. And you must rebuild from the point of incident of the flaw to make the theory correct.

So, in my opinion, to build a framework on something that can not be proven, is simply inexcusable. To put in jeapordy that intire progression of a system would be irrational and discumbobulating (sp?)

Now, on the other hand, to build a theory upon something that has some scientific evidence or is highly probable or logical, but not proven, is something else. It is fine, as long as pointed out directly, as to not deceive the scientist persuing experimentation and advancement on the theory.
Paden Roder
 
  • #16
FZ+
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But Einstein's insistence in universal order did not at all hold back progress on the QM front. Instead, he has put it in a scientific context, leading to things such as the EPR paradox that went on to spawn whole reams of good research, including the best evidence for QM so far.
 
  • #17
zoobyshoe
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
"God does not play dice."
was Einstein's expression of this:
To KNOW what God does and doesn't do...
and not this:
but to ASSUME that that is what God intended it to be just to support his theory is, in my perspective, WRONG.
Einstein saw enough order in the
Universe to say with confidence
that God does not play dice, just
as he would in saying something
more obvious such as "God makes
the Earth go round the sun".
(And by "God" I mean Einstein's
Spinozan essence of order as explained by Fz+.)

He wasn't assuming this to be the
case to support his views on the
quantum front. It was a statement
of his firm conviction based on
his years of observation and ex-
perience. It wasn't a stipulation.
 
  • #18
zoobyshoe
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
DO YOU SEE? This theory that is not based on fact has slowed down or even stopped the progression of discovering new frontiers in science, because there is ONE FLAW in the system. And you must rebuild from the point of incident of the flaw to make the theory correct.
This all makes sence, beans and
all that, but hasn't what everyone
has said convinced you that your
original objection to the two
Einstein quotes was a result of
not understanding them to be more
philosophically than religiously
based, and more tongue-in-cheek,
or witty than dead serious? I
think you are fouled up on them
because you have misapprehended
the way he said these
things.
 
  • #19
PRodQuanta
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Point taken.

My whole arguement, is now, if I was to walk outside (considering I lived in town, and not out in the middle of nowhere) and say that Dragons don't play poker, NOBODY would care. But if I were to go out and say GOD doesn't play poker, I would get a black eye (considering I was in a religous community).

I know he didn't mean it in a way to manipulate the religous community into believing his theory, I just don't see why, in a society where there is ENORMOUS LINES between science and religion, he would incorperate GOD!?

Why not say,"There should be no reason, for in the theory of everything, that we should need probability."

Now, it may not seem like a big deal, but who am I,ME, to say what God does and doesn't do? NOBODY!

Now... back to the original statement, Who is EINSTEIN to say what God does and doesn't do?!

If it weren't for Einstein, we would be NOWHERE! near the place we are know in modern day physics. That's a fact. I have wanted to be like that man for many years, since the first time I heard the word Einstein. I have mounds and mounds of respect for him, but I just don't understand why. And neither do any of you. Just like me, we all have our opinions. Which surely everybody's is flawed. I'm sure only he knows what he meant by some of the things he said.

Maybe sometimes he just didn't look both ways before crossing the road! Crazy? Definitely NOT. Not tieing your shoes? DEFINITELY!
Paden Roder
 
  • #20
zoobyshoe
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Well, I'm confused. You start your post by saying "point taken" but from the rest of your post it is clear the point wasn't taken.

What point is it that you meant when you said "point taken"?
 
  • #21
PRodQuanta
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I meant that I understood your point. And I had taken it into consideration.

Like saying,"I see your point of view, BUT..."
Paden Roder
 
  • #22
When I first read that quote out of context I thought he meant that there must be immutable laws of nature, I don't remeber now what the context was truly, but
I think you did a fine job of sizing up Einstein, obviously probabilities are fundamental to understanding quantum mechanics if that's what he meant then he seemed to harbor something against quantum mechanics or probability to me, I wonder why he would do that if on purpose, who knows. At some point even a magician can tell people anything and they will buy it.
I once heard him called the world's smartest person ever! If there is a heaven he probably still laughs at us.
 
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  • #23
PRodQuanta
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exactly.
Paden Roder
 
  • #24
The_Brain
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Opinions in themselves are not inherently true or false, they are JUST OPINIONS. Now you may not like or agree with what he said and certainly now that he is dead, we will never find out what EXACTLY he meant by it; it's open to pure interpretations now. Thus, I think you are worrying a little too much over a person’s right to voice his or her own opinions regardless of how you feel about that opinion.

You keep asking why "HE HAS THE RIGHT..." to say what he said. Quite frankly, if one does not believe in God, one can say anything they want about him because it's THEIR OPINION. I could be wrong, but from your posts it seems like you believe in God and find it wrong to question him. Now since you don't believe in the something like the Earth rests on the back of a giant turtle you can question the turtle as much as you want.

What you are expressing is disbelief that Einstein "crossed the road" or whatnot but in reality it comes down to an inability to accept others ideas; you are somewhat angered that Einstein can talk about God like that, yet in his own opinions he believes he can. Just learn to accept others opinions instead of becoming angered over them because they are different from yours.
 
  • #25
Chi Meson
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I've been trying to avoid posting on this thread for two weeks now, but I can't help it.

Einstein's statement was not said in English, originally, but the full sentence goes something like this:

"Although we find it difficult to look into God's deck of cards, I will never believe that "the old one" plays dice with the cosmos."

In its entirety, it's a very different statement than the one you are arguing over; specifically, one about his own beliefs of nature. It is well documented that he was NOT very religious, and "god" to him was a metaphor for the way nature behaves.
 
  • #26
zoobyshoe
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Chi Meson,

Pointing out that the sentiment was originally not expressed in English puts the game in a whole different court.

We need to find his exact, original words (German, I assume) and examine them in the context of that language. We have to find out, for example, if the phrase "God's deck of cards" is exactly what he said in the original and we need also to find out if that is, or was, a "saying" current at the time, used to refer to "Nature" or "the unknowns behind the workings of Nature".

You have "the old one" in quotes which clearly indicates this is some exclusively German, or SwissGerman, term that doesn't translate well, and needs some clarification. Who'se ever heard God referred to as "the old one"? This isn't done in English, and the full ramifications have to be understood before anyone can take
exception to it.

-Zooby
 
  • #27
selfAdjoint
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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
Chi Meson,

Pointing out that the sentiment was originally not expressed in English puts the game in a whole different court.

We need to find his exact, original words (German, I assume) and examine them in the context of that language. We have to find out, for example, if the phrase "God's deck of cards" is exactly what he said in the original and we need also to find out if that is, or was, a "saying" current at the time, used to refer to "Nature" or "the unknowns behind the workings of Nature".

You have "the old one" in quotes which clearly indicates this is some exclusively German, or SwissGerman, term that doesn't translate well, and needs some clarification. Who'se ever heard God referred to as "the old one"? This isn't done in English, and the full ramifications have to be understood before anyone can take
exception to it.


-Zooby

Pais' biography of Einstein has this, from a 1926 letter to Max Born:

"Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me
that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice."

The Old One is the usual English translation of der Alte which is a German use of the adjective for old, alte, as a noun. Compare English the Bad and the Beautiful.

Einstein may have used the same phrase later in contexts which make it seem he is telling God what to do, but I think that in this one he is just reporting his own convictions.
 
  • #28
PRodQuanta
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Ok, first off Chi Meson, let me use an analogy to explain what I mean by "what gave him the right".

Chi Meson is a great baseball player.

Now, what gives me the right to say that? Do I know you? No! For all I know, you may be, so my statement is half true. But yet, it's half false. And because I don't know, I have no right to assume.

Now I'm not a very religious man, but even if I was or wasn't, it wouldn't make a difference. I KNOW Einstein didn't know God, so he had no right to say what he does or thinks or whatever in whatever language he says it in. Opinion? Maybe, but that wasn't my statement in the first place.

Paden Roder
 
  • #29
zoobyshoe
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Pais' biography of Einstein has this, from a 1926 letter to Max Born:

"Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me
that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice."

The Old One is the usual English translation of der Alte which is a German use of the adjective for old, alte, as a noun. Compare English the Bad and the Beautiful.

Einstein may have used the same phrase later in contexts which make it seem he is telling God what to do, but I think that in this one he is just reporting his own convictions.

Fascinating turn of events. In the translation you found, SelfAdjoint, there is absolutely no mention of the word "God".

This makes it important to find out what the implications of using the term "Der Alte" were for German speakers of Einstein's day.
It probably would be wise at this point to find the original German version of that letter and get the German speakers who post here at work on it.

I suspect that while "Der Alte" might very loosely be translated into English as "God" it may in fact be a term for a "divine" entity that predates the Judaic "God", and which stuck around in the language because of its usefullness in referring to a non-denominational creator. The peculiar term "Der Alte" may in fact, have been understood to refer to something more like "Zeus" than the newer "God" ("Der Junge"? "Der Neuer"?) of Judaism.

Translation always ends up as an excercize in finding the most meaningful paraphrase. That being the case someone's bound to get fouled up on a translator's decicions somewhere down the line.
 
  • #30
selfAdjoint
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I have always thought that Einstein knew perfectly well what he meant by his terms. Note that he was not shy about speaking about God in other contexts. In the famous "tricky but not mean" saying he attributed those qualities to "The Dear Lord".

All of this goes to the question of Einstein's own religion. There is a book called "Einstein and Religion" by an old friend of his whose name I can't at the moment remember. Oddly enough Einstein as a child was trained in both Judaism and Catholicism (that latter was legally mandated in Bavaria, where the family were living). He lost his faith as a teenager, but discovered anf "grokked" Spinoza. Generally IMHO his references to der Alte etc. are to a Spinozian god as Natura Creatans.
 
  • #31
zoobyshoe
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Other people have made that same point in this thread (Spinoza) and it makes sense to me.

I am certain, however, that a term like "Der Alte" has a very specific meaning and useage that would prevent it from being synonymous with "God" in all contexts. As long as Einstein seems to have been claiming knowledge of "God's" modus operandi, Paden Roder will be in discomfort. If we can discover that "Der Alte" was really merely "Natura Creatans" Paden Roder may be able to wipe this irritating bit of tarnish off his Einstein shrine.
 
  • #32
Chi Meson
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
Ok, first off Chi Meson, let me use an analogy to explain what I mean by "what gave him the right".

Chi Meson is a great baseball player.

Now, what gives me the right to say that? Do I know you? No! For all I know, you may be, so my statement is half true. But yet, it's half false. And because I don't know, I have no right to assume.

Now I'm not a very religious man, but even if I was or wasn't, it wouldn't make a difference. I KNOW Einstein didn't know God, so he had no right to say what he does or thinks or whatever in whatever language he says it in. Opinion? Maybe, but that wasn't my statement in the first place.

Paden Roder

Perhaps you are confusing me with the author of another response. I do not deny you the right to question anything. Nor would I deny anyone the right to state their opinion of the nature of the universe. Why do you?


edit:
oh, and I'm horrible at baseball. I was a great golie in soccer once.
 
Last edited:
  • #33
PRodQuanta
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Sorry chi meson, I did intend that post towards another poster. It was directed towards The_Brain. My apologies.

Paden Roder
 
  • #34
EvilPoet
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Originally posted by PRodQuanta
Thoughts??
Yes, two.

First thought - according to The Expanded Quotable Einstein the quote/saying When the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts is often attributed to Einstein but is probably not by Einstein. Second thought - this quote by Einstein: The truth of a theory can never be proven, for one never knows if future experience will contradict its conclusions.
 

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