Einstein and God

Michael Weiss’ article on Einstein and Faith makes me like the scientist even more.

Most of you will have come across the text of the following letter, recently sold at auction for about £200,000. It is a good one:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilized interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. 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.

That gets it pretty much right.

I’m not sure why people do believe in god. My father and sister do, but have never really been able to articulate to me precisely why that is. Some people have, in Rushdie’s words, a god shaped hole, and others do not. I like music instead.

Perhaps the answer lies in brain chemistry.