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Friday, June 27, 2008

His Learning Stumbling Block

Does Ray Comfort never learn? I made my first post about him quote mining Einstein and then twisting it around to read his own version of God into it. I speculated that someone must have pointed out his shenanigan to him, after which he promptly deleted the post so as not to look like an even greater fool to an even greater audience. Apparently, he has posted the message he received:

"Ray wrote: 'I have never said that Einstein was a Christian, that he believed in Jesus or in a personal God. He wasn't dumb. He knew there was a Creator...' No, when he denied that there was a personal God, he was denying that there was a creator. His concept of a non-personal God was of physical laws bringing about the universe, not of a pre-existing creator who willed it to happen. You still don't get it, Ray . . . Quote mining is ignoring the real meaning of what a person is saying and instead repeating snippets that, on their own, convey a false impression of the author's intent." Applejack
Notice, though, Ray does not mention at all his original post which also discussed Einstein believing that the Bible was the "Word of God."

Does Comfort acknowledge the mistake he made by using the quote to say that Einstein believed that the Bible was the "Word of God" as I pointed out yesterday? No. Does he acknowledge that he's never read anything by Einstein or Hawking, other than mined quotes? No. Does he acknowledge that it is wrong to post quotes out of context and on their own to distort to his own perspective? No. So, what does he post in his reply to the above? More Einstein quotes so that he can make him into a Christian or a deist!

And how does he do this? By picking words out of the quote which Einstein uses in a different sense than how Comfort uses them. When he talks about God, he isn't talking about an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc God that Ray is referring to. He had to repeatedly clarify his position due to people like Ray Comfort in his time. He has clarified that when he says God or Spirit, he meant that he believe in "Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind." What is Spinoza's God? It's a concept that nature and God are the same thing, that "God is the natural world and He has no personality." When he talks about Divine Will, he refers to that which is expressed in the natural laws. When he talks about being a religious man, he meant that "if something is in [him] 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."

Ray Comfort did not at all acknowledge that he mangled Einstein's quote to conform to his own view that God wrote a book called the Holy Bible. He did not at all acknowledge that, apparently, he realized what he was doing and how he got it wrong. He did not post a retraction. Ray Comfort is dishonest.

As I have said, it matters NOT that Einstein disbelieved in God (the traditional definition of which). That is not why people, both atheists and theists, attack quote miners like Ray Comfort for distorting Einstein's views. Comfort does a great disservice to history with his revisions. We stand on the principle of the matter. Many people more well read than Ray Comfort have addressed Einstein's religion and the, unlike Ray, have actually read his great writings. The verdict is in, Ray, you need only go to your local library and check some books out or consult an encyclopedia.

Since I have scruples, I do not quote mine Newton, nor do any atheists. Newton was a brilliant man. He was one of the greatest minds to have ever lived. He established classical mechanics, was a brilliant mathematician, astronomer, and natural philosopher. Being a computer scientist, I have run into his basic ideas in calculus and physics and they are simply marvelous. The brilliance of this one man was awesome (awe-some).

And you know what else? Newton was also a theologian, a devout Christian (and his interpretation differs from that of Comfort's). He wrote more on religion than he did on science. But I, as noted in the above passage, admire, respect, and revere Newton too much to take quotes out of context (which I well could) to distort them to my own personal view of religion. Why? Because doing so would denigrate the man himself.

The other reason why I do not quote mine Newton in the same way Ray mines Einstein and Hawking is that I don't need Newton on my side. I can think for myself. I can reason for myself. My view is fully supported by reason, rationality, and thought. I don't need to rest my view on the shoulders of Newton as my views can stand alone.

Ray Comfort disrespects Einstein.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

     Well, I have suggested before that Ray serves a deceiver. I realize that you don't believe in world beyond the one we see. But I postulate that Ray serves a wicked being and is trying to procure spirits for torment. If you consider that, you will find that all his actions fit.