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Einstein Letter Critical of Religion To Be Auctioned On EBay 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-behind-me-science dept.
cheesecake23 writes "In an admirably concise piece in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen summarizes Einstein's subtle views on religion and profound respect for the inexplicable, along with the news that a letter handwritten by the legendary scientist that describes the Bible as a 'collection of honorable, but still primitive legends' and 'pretty childish' will be auctioned off on eBay over the next two weeks. Bidding will begin at $3 million."
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Einstein Letter Critical of Religion To Be Auctioned On EBay

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  • Church and Einstein (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:19AM (#41654953)

    Also Einstein said:

    "Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . ."

    "Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."

    ORIGINAL SOURCE (you need a paid subscription): http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html
    ALTERNATIVE SOURCE: http://www.thinkingchristian.net/2008/12/time-christians-in-germany-during-world-war-ii/

  • Partly true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:02AM (#41655141) Journal

    Urk is a fishing village in Holland known to be part of the bible belt. They were also FIERCE resisters, their fishing vessels carrying many a Jew and downed allied airmen to safety. There reasoning wasn't so much a love of Jews and others they helped to safety but a pigheaded resistance to being told what to do. They knew wrong and right and nazism was wrong, end of story. They were good men, who did do something.

    But I wouldn't call them lovers of freedom, just people who when pushed, push back, by instinct. They would also have had nothing to do with mass religion, claiming "protestants" are one group is damn silly. Most consider the people in the next village to be weirdos.

    Meanwhile the pope at the time was thought of to be a good man too. He just didn't do anything.

    Mussoline and the holocaust were strange bed fellows, it has to be remembered that nazism and facism are not the same thing. And Mussolini was a fascist, not a nazi. He regonized Jews were part of Italy and should be left undisturbed, Jews were members of his party in quite high positions. It is only with the increasing power of Germany that this changed, resulting in Jews being stripped of citizenship rights in 1939.

    This was not at all popular with the Italian fascists and the pope even send a strong letter of critism on this. To increasingly appease Hitler, Jews were started to be round up in Italian controlled areas and send to labor camps but Mussonlini until the Italy surrender refused to send them to German controlled extermination camps. The Germans complained that Italy and its territories were becoming a save haven in Europe for Jews.

    After Italy surrendered, Mussonlini was freed by the Germans and they took over control over the remaining Italian land and started to put their holocaust plan into action. Italian soldiers who were not captured by Allied forced found themselves improsoned by the Germans, Italy very much became subjegated to full German control and all that entailed.

    The role of religion in WW2 is far from clean, but it is not as simple as some Discovery Channel programs would like you to believe.

  • Textual analysis (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Benfea (1365845) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:04AM (#41655149)
    Evidence of alterations come from textual analysis. For example, some of the alterations use phrases that were in use much later than the stories were supposedly written down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:32AM (#41655263)

    Sources are very important when you talk about controversial history. If you don't cite it please stop spreeding lies and black legends...

    Catholic Church saved more than 700000 jews from Nazis:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40300640/ns/world_news-europe/t/popes-praise-pius-dismays-holocaust-survivors
    http://www.amazon.com/Pius-XII-Holocaust-Understanding-Controversy/dp/081321081X

  • by jalet (36114) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:37AM (#41655285) Homepage

    Certainely not "Heinlain" or whatever...
    "Je voudrais, et ce sera le dernier et le plus ardent de mes souhaits, je voudrais que le dernier des rois fût étranglé avec les boyaux du dernier prêtre." [atheisme.free.fr]
    It's from Jean Meslier (1664-1729), who was... a catholic priest !

  • Re:2012 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @04:09AM (#41655631)

    I asked God: "Do you want me to believe in you?" And God told me: "Write the following program, and you will receive my answer." I haven't run the program yet. Maybe I am scared of what it will tell me.

    /* Copyright (C) 2012 God
      *
      * I asked God. Do you want me to believe in you? I didn't hear an answer, but
      * immediately after asking the question, this program formed inside my mind.
      * If God does indeed exist, then this program was given to me directly by God.
      * If God does not exist, then this program must have been formed by my own
      * mind. And my intelligent reasoning tells me, that if God exists, then God
      * controls the output of this program, and if the program produces a
      * nontrivial output, then the message was indeed carrying a digital signature
      * produced by God himself. Thus the output will be authentic.
      */
    #include <openssl/sha.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <inttypes.h>
    #include <sys/fcntl.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <string.h>
    #define RANDOM_SOURCE "/dev/random"
    ssize_t read_retry(int fd, uint8_t *buf, size_t count)
    {
      size_t done=0;
      while (done<count) {
        int r=read(fd,buf+done,count-done);
        if (r < 1) {
          if (done) return done;
          return r;
        }
        done+=r;
      }
      return done;
    }
    int main()
    {
      uint8_t buffer[111];
      uint8_t hash[64];
      int fd=open(RANDOM_SOURCE, O_RDONLY);
      if (fd == -1) {
        perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
      }
      if (read_retry(fd,buffer,111) != 111) {
        perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
      }
      while (!memchr(buffer,0,111)) {
        uint8_t buffer2[111];
        int i;
        if (read_retry(fd,buffer2,111) != 111) {
          perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
          return EXIT_FAILURE;
        }
        for (i=0;i<111;++i) {
          buffer[i] ^= buffer2[i];
        }
      }
      SHA512(buffer,111,hash);
      if (memcmp(buffer+47,hash,64)) {
        printf("God wants you to be an atheist\n");
      } else {
        printf("God exists\n");
        if (buffer[0]) {
    /* When this path is taken the output of the program is from 42 to 151
          * characters long. Of this output 41 characters is boilerplate and 1 to
          * 110 characters is the message from God.
          */
          printf("And he has a message for you\n%s\n",buffer);
        }
      }
      return EXIT_SUCCESS;
    }

  • by meglon (1001833) on Monday October 15, 2012 @04:30AM (#41655707)
    Which explains why the Vatican was the first governing body to recognize Hitlers election, and why Catholic churches aided ODESSA to move high ranking SS officers out of Germany as the war ended, instead of allowing them to be captured and tried as war criminals.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/paul_23_4.html [secularhumanism.org]

    http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Catholic/RC_scandal-3.html [catholicarrogance.org]

    ...but some of us in the US are not the only ones with seeing things this way...

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/10/a_papal_dustup_over_the_holoca [economist.com]
  • Re:2012 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @05:53AM (#41655963)

    I am no programmer, but i am guessing its very bad code. No good comments, no explanation of what and why. Just like in the real religion!

    There two most central lines of the code to understand are these:

    SHA512(buffer,111,hash);
    if (memcmp(buffer+47,hash,64)) {

    The first computes a SHA512 hash of a 111 byte buffer. The second checks if the last 64 bytes of that buffer was actually the hash of the buffer itself. Producing a 111 byte string with that property would require you to either find a security problem in SHA512 or perform a brute force computation which is out of reach even for the best know quantum algorithms. So the theory would be, that only God could produce such an input. I say the existence of a weakness in SHA512 is more likely than the existence of God. Hence even if the program did produce any nontrivial output, it doesn't prove the existence of God.

    Where does the contents of that buffer come from in the first place? It reads data from /dev/random, and repeatedly XORs 111 bytes blocks from there until the result contains a NUL character. Looks like some lame approach to ensure that the contents of the buffer is NUL terminated if it is finally printed out (which is never going to happen anyway).

    One can ask whether the bytes read from /dev/random are given by God. I don't feel qualified to attempt an answer to that question, since I am already convinced about the non-existence of God, and hence that question makes little sense to me.

  • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:30AM (#41656083)

    It is certainly getting safer. The world in 2012 is a less violent, less belligerent place than at any time in recorded history :

    http://hnn.us/articles/10-3-11/the-world-is-actually-safer.html [hnn.us]

    While there is no concrete reason to think that this won't continue, we have major time of upheaval on the horizon with shrinking food supplied due to global warming, and the impending robotisation of manufacturing which will displace millions of manual workers worldwide.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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