Very philosophical for a Saturday afternoon.
The private letter expressing his views on God and religion will go up for auction Monday on eBay.
From studying slices of his brilliant brain to probing profound physics theories, scientists and enthusiasts alike have long been spellbound by Albert Einstein. Now, an auction is offering the world a peek at Einstein’s thoughts on what may be humanity’s most profound question: the existence of God.
The private letter written by Einstein expressing his views on God and religion will go up for auction Monday (Oct. 8) on eBay. In the letter, he calls belief in religion and God “pretty childish” and ridicules the idea that the Jews are a chosen people.
“This is the most historic and significant piece we have listed on eBay,” Eric Gazin, president of Auction Cause, the agency managing the sale, told LiveScience in an email. “We are excited to offer a person or organization an opportunity to own perhaps one of the most intriguing 20th-century documents in existence. This personal letter from Einstein represents the nexus of science, theology, reason and culture.”
Einstein handwrote the letter in German to Jewish philosopher Eric B. Gutkind on Jan. 3, 1954, a year before Einstein’s death. The letter was a response to Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt” (1952, H. Schuman; 1st edition).
In part of his letter, Einstein writes, “For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them,” as translated from German by Joan Stambaugh. (Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus)…
The “God” letter goes on sale Oct. 8, with an opening bid of $3 million. Anyone interested (with the money to spare) can make an eBay bid here.
This is one debate that I’m looking forward to watching.
Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins and Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks will meet on Wednesday in an hour-long debate on science and religion, as part of the Re:Think Festival in Salford.
The festival, hosted by the BBC at MediaCityUK, runs from 12-13 September.
It aims to explore and debate ethical and religious issues affecting society.
This will be the second time that Prof Dawkins and Lord Sacks have exchanged their opposing views on faith and science in a public arena.
In October 2011, Andrew Marr discussed the wonders of nature with Prof Dawkins, Lord Sacks and cosmologist Prof Lisa Randall in BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week.
In that occasion, Prof Dawkins’s contribution touched upon the beauty of the physical universe, and highlighted the supremacy of scientific discourse over myth or faith in the explanation of reality.
But Lord Sacks said that, while science provides facts, religion gives meaning; humans, he said, need both.
Ahead of Wednesday’s debate, the Chief Rabbi reiterated that view.
He told the BBC: “There is a belief that science and religion cannot coexist, that the advance of one is to the detriment of the other.
“I believe this is wrong.”
He added that there was “more to life than science and more to religion than ignorance and superstition”.
“What is needed, now more than ever, is a conversation between the forces of science and those of religion,” said the Chief Rabbi.
“Richard Dawkins is a gifted scientist and someone who has contributed a great amount to our understanding of the world.
“I hope we will be pleasantly surprised and realise that there is a very strong argument for saying that, despite obvious differences, there can, and must, be a great partnership between science and religion.”
New year’s debate
The Chief Rabbi will also meet Prof Dawkins in a BBC documentary to be broadcast on the same day.
The programme will mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
During an interview with Richard Dawkins filmed for the documentary, Lord Sacks put it to him that hope was based on having faith that good things might happen.
Prof Dawkins replied: “You don’t need religion to have hope. You don’t need the supernatural.
“Hope is an attitude to the future. The future is an unknown and you can take a scientific attitude to prophesy the likely future.”
“Hope is not something that you have evidence for – it’s something that you feel in you.”
Aaqil Ahmed, commissioning editor of Religion & Ethics at the BBC, has high hopes for the Dawkins-Sacks debate: “Jonathan and Richard are two of Britains most revered thinkers in this area,” he said.
“I can’t wait to listen to them explore the complexities of the relationship between religion and science.
“This is a chance to see in the flesh if the gaps between these two worlds can be bridged by possibly the only two people who could manage it.”
The Rabbi is an intellectual and he should give Dawkins a good run for his money.
According to the Bible, as calculated in the August 1972 issue of Applied Optics:
The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed from available data. Our authority is the Bible: Isaiah 30:26 reads, Moreover the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days. Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much radiation as the Earth does from the Sun and in addition seven times seven (forty-nine) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the Moon is a ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the Sun, so we can ignore that.
With these data we can compute the temperature of Heaven: The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, Heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth-power law for radiation
where E is the absolute temperature of the Earth: 300K. This gives H as 798K absolute (525°C).
The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C. (Above that point it would be a vapor, not a lake.)
It’s not clear to me whether Isaiah chapter 30 is describing Heaven or “Zion at Jerusalem” – fulltext of the chapter here.
In the Daily Mail:
They have previously dropped an iPad out of a plane as well as launching a bowling ball on one.
But G-Form have now gone one step further in order to prove just how tough their protective iPad cases are.
The firm has dropped an Apple tablet from the edge of space and, incredibly, it survived.
The whole thing here.