Albert Einstein on science and religion

I think most of us have heard the quotation “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”. I don’t think most of us have heard it in context – indeed, a quick web search revealed a lot of questions about whether the quotation was even validly attributed to Einstein. From Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, then…

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.

Feel free to click through and read the whole thing – I can just about guarantee to you that you will disagree with some of it, but it is an interesting read. I especially appreciated…

But when asking myself what religion is I cannot think of the answer so easily. And even after finding an answer which may satisfy me at this particular moment, I still remain convinced that I can never under any circumstances bring together, even to a slight extent, the thoughts of all those who have given this question serious consideration.

I’ve said before – we just need to abandon the world “religion”. Our tendency to categorize belief systems which are very different from each other all as “religious” confuses discussions (no wonder it is hard to define “religion”). I would prefer the term “worldview”, which also makes it clear that everyone has one, whether yours invokes God or not (as indeed, even some worldviews usually called “religions” have little to say about a god or gods).

And also,

For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.

Here here.


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