Speaking at a conference on science, religion and philosophy in 1941, Albert Einstein famously said that “science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” Einstein, a German-born Jew, considered himself religious. But what he meant by religion was not straightforward. The first episode of a two-part podcast called Einstein and the Mind of God (iTunes – MP3 – Web Site) tries to sort out Einstein’s religious sensibility and how it squares with his scientific thinking. For Einstein, religion consisted of a belief, not in a personal God, but a universal spirit that manifests itself in nature. And it was the task of physics to make sense of nature, of God’s universe. Or, so that is how it’s explained by Freeman Dyson, a famed theoretical physicist who appears on the show. In the second part, the podcast turns to look at Einstein’s ethics (iTunes – MP3 – Web Site). Although not without personal flaws (he often fell short in his personal/domestic life), Einstein had a strong moral sense informed by his Jewish upbringing. He saw scientists having a deep moral obligation to society; he took strong positions against war (except when Hitler came along); he opposed racial discrimination and lamented the plight of African-Americans well before the civil rights movement; and he lauded religious leaders’ efforts to use non-violent action to oppose immoral conditions. Each of these podcasts runs around 53 minutes in length, and they form part of a larger radio/podcast series called Speaking of Faith (iTunes – Feed – Web Site), which is issued by American Public Media.
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