what I’ve been reading: Christian Science “Science” in Context

Somewhat related, Cucumbers Cause Cholera via kindism.org


Einstein & Christian Science

264971_700bChristian Science enjoys associating itself with famous people, great thinkers, and Albert Einstein. Einstein fits both aforementioned categories nicely, and what better way to give some merit to Ms. Eddy’s claims than to say one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century was somehow involved, intrigued, or interested in it.

The Researchers at the Mary Baker Eddy Library very diplomatically state that:

Much of the evidence of Einstein’s interest in Christian Science has proven unreliable or based on sources that can’t be verified. However, there is certainly evidence to suggest that Einstein had some interest in Christian Science. (1)

So yes, much of the evidence is unreliable, but of course Einstein was interested in Christian Science. The Library is careful to reason through anecdotal evidence and provide proper footnotes, including the oft-cited paper by William S. Cooper, Professor Emeritus University of California, Berkeley, On Albert Einstein’s Interest In The Metaphysics Of Mary Baker Eddy, (2)

Cooper’s paper is worth reading, in addition to citing anecdotal evidence — apparently Einstein attended a Christian Science lecture, he states

So far as I have been able to discover, Einstein never commented in writing on Eddy’s metaphysics, and in conversation spoke about it only in generalities.[16]

As far as Cooper can tell, Einstein never addressed Christian Science directly. A bit further down, Cooper concludes

… Eddy’s metaphysical system stands in general sympathy with his stated reservations about popular religious thought, concerns itself with the derivative character of matter, and shares some ground with some of his favorite philosophers. (emphasis mine)

Christian Science shares some parallel ideas with some of Einstein’s favorite philosophers. Given Ms. Eddy’s propensity to liberally borrow from various philosophical and religious dogmas I can hardly claim to be surprised.

Further Reading:

  1.  http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/einstein
  2. https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1SePVIC-mFMAGJtzElow5B8K-Wbe9bKo4cj5h3XZLoG8

image via http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/264971_700b.jpg

Carl Sagan & Christian Science


Someone shared above quote in a facebook group, and someone else pointed out that it is misattributed to Carl Sagan, but I like it anyway. Ms. Eddy often went off at length about The Truth, and her vision of Truth was Absolute. I find prefer Sagan’s views on the truth.

“The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.”

Carl Sagan on Christian Science & God

Carl Sagan’s last interview, part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jod7v-m573k) – shout out to Christian Scientists begins around the 3:00 minute mark.

what I’ve been reading: this post will make you happy!


And the most exciting news so far this month! MKHuggins is back!

Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End

A friend of mine shared this on my facebook wall recently and I thought it was worth sharing here. I love the reminder that when you pass away your energy is still around, it is not lost, it is just less orderly… some how that seems fitting.

Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End – via NPR All things Considered

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

– Aaron Freeman