The Student, The Professor and Faith

I hap­pen to read the fol­low­ing from a friend who shared it on Face­book. Please take the time to read and under­stand. Thanks.

Pro­fes­sor : You are a Chris­t­ian, aren’t you, son ?

Stu­dent : Yes, sir.

Pro­fes­sor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Stu­dent : Absolutely, sir.

Pro­fes­sor : Is GOD good ?

Stu­dent : Sure.

Pro­fes­sor: Is GOD all powerful ?

Stu­dent : Yes.

Pro­fes­sor: My brother died of can­cer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help oth­ers who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Stu­dent was silent.)

Pro­fes­sor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

Stu­dent : Yes.

Pro­fes­sor: Is satan good ?

Stu­dent : No.

Pro­fes­sor: Where does satan come from ?

Stu­dent : From … GOD

Pro­fes­sor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Stu­dent : Yes.

Pro­fes­sor: Evil is every­where, isn’t it ? And GOD did make every­thing. Correct?

Stu­dent : Yes.

Pro­fes­sor: So who cre­ated evil ?

(Stu­dent did not answer.)

Pro­fes­sor: Is there sick­ness? Immoral­ity? Hatred? Ugli­ness? All these ter­ri­ble things exist in the world, don’t they?

Stu­dent : Yes, sir.

Pro­fes­sor: So, who cre­ated them ?

(Stu­dent had no answer.)

Pro­fes­sor: Sci­ence says you have 5 Senses you use to iden­tify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

Stu­dent : No, sir.

Pro­fes­sor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Stu­dent : No , sir.

Pro­fes­sor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sen­sory per­cep­tion of GOD for that matter?

Stu­dent : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Pro­fes­sor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Stu­dent : Yes.

Pro­fes­sor : Accord­ing to Empir­i­cal, Testable, Demon­stra­ble Pro­to­col, Sci­ence says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Stu­dent : Noth­ing. I only have my faith.

Pro­fes­sor: Yes, faith. And that is the prob­lem Sci­ence has.

Stu­dent : Pro­fes­sor, is there such a thing as heat?

Pro­fes­sor: Yes.

Stu­dent : And is there such a thing as cold?

Pro­fes­sor: Yes.

Stu­dent : No, sir. There isn’t.

(The lec­ture the­ater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Stu­dent : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, super­heat, mega heat, white heat, a lit­tle heat or no heat. But we don’t have any­thing called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any fur­ther after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We can­not mea­sure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the oppo­site of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lec­ture theater.)

Stu­dent : What about dark­ness, Pro­fes­sor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Pro­fes­sor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Stu­dent : You’re wrong again, sir. Dark­ness is the absence of some­thing. You can have low light, nor­mal light, bright light, flash­ing light. But if you have no light con­stantly, you have noth­ing and its called dark­ness, isn’t it? In real­ity, dark­ness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make dark­ness darker, wouldn’t you?

Pro­fes­sor: So what is the point you are mak­ing, young man ?

Stu­dent : Sir, my point is your philo­soph­i­cal premise is flawed.

Pro­fes­sor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Stu­dent : Sir, you are work­ing on the premise of dual­ity. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are view­ing the con­cept of GOD as some­thing finite, some­thing we can mea­sure. Sir, Sci­ence can’t even explain a thought. It uses elec­tric­ity and mag­net­ism, but has never seen, much less fully under­stood either one. To view death as the oppo­site of life is to be igno­rant of the fact that death can­not exist as a sub­stan­tive thing.

Death is not the oppo­site of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Pro­fes­sor, do you teach your stu­dents that they evolved from a monkey?

Pro­fes­sor: If you are refer­ring to the nat­ural evo­lu­tion­ary process, yes, of course, I do.

Stu­dent : Have you ever observed evo­lu­tion with your own eyes, sir?

(The Pro­fes­sor shook his head with a smile, begin­ning to real­ize where the argu­ment was going.)

Stu­dent : Since no one has ever observed the process of evo­lu­tion at work and can­not even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teach­ing your opin­ion, sir? Are you not a sci­en­tist but a preacher?

(The class was in uproar.)

Stu­dent : Is there any­one in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

(The class broke out into laughter. )

Stu­dent : Is there any­one here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, accord­ing to the estab­lished Rules of Empir­i­cal, Sta­ble, Demon­stra­ble Pro­to­col, Sci­ence says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lec­tures, sir?

(The room was silent. The Pro­fes­sor stared at the stu­dent, his face unfathomable.)

Pro­fes­sor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

Stu­dent : That is it sir … Exactly ! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

P.S. By the way, that stu­dent was EINSTEIN.

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  1. fabiobean

    Ein­stein never said that, or any­thing close to that. He was raised a Jew and fan­cied him­self a pan­the­ist, and he had marked dis­dain for all world reli­gions.
    Fur­ther, this hypo­thet­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion is very inac­cu­rate. Firstly, we can absolutely see brains. We need only cut open a skull to do so, or even just use an MRI. We can draw clear causal links between brain activ­ity and a bod­ily process (indeed, ALL bod­ily processes), and despite a lack of com­plete infor­ma­tion about it, we can eas­ily empir­i­cally demon­strate the exis­tence of such an organ.
    Like­wise, we can eas­ily observe evo­lu­tion by sim­ply using bac­te­ria or var­i­ous insects as con­trol species, because they repro­duce fast enough in lab­o­ra­tory con­di­tions to expe­dite the process. Even if we couldn’t, the tree of com­mon descent and its per­fect cor­re­spon­dence with the fos­sil record is more than enough to con­sti­tute as empir­i­cal evi­dence. In that vein, the pro­fes­sor (and the stu­dent) is incor­rect that we “evolved from mon­keys”, as that is sim­ply a term we’ve used to describe prosimian pri­mates. What we cur­rently label as mon­keys wouldn’t have been alive in the forms we rec­og­nize them at the point that the ances­tor of humans diverged from the ances­tor of the last extant prosimian. It is far more accu­rate to say that we share a com­mon ances­tor with mon­keys; to say we evolved from them dis­plays a gross mis­un­der­stand­ing of evo­lu­tion­ary the­ory, and thus the author reveals them­selves to be unwor­thy of pre­tend­ing to be Ein­stein.
    While the dis­cus­sion regard­ing cold and heat is accu­rate enough to avoid my crit­i­cism, I also have a bit of con­tention with the darkness/light part of the con­ver­sa­tion. It is accept­able that what we label as “dark­ness” is sim­ply an absence of light, but it must be noted that there are var­i­ous things in cos­mol­ogy that are lit­er­ally dark by their very nature, and like­wise most of the things we THINK are dark are sim­ply so because we can’t per­ceive the wave­lengths of light that illu­mi­nate them. While this doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily harm the student’s anal­ogy, it does make them seem unversed in astro­physics, which is another point against the author’s cred­i­bil­ity.
    Con­tin­u­ing, we’ve quite obvi­ously seen and mea­sured elec­tro­mag­net­ism, even in Einstein’s time, and we also know what thoughts and mem­o­ries are (bum­mer reminder here; every­thing that makes us us is nat­u­ral­is­tic in ori­gin and scope, includ­ing com­plex per­son­al­i­ties and iden­ti­ties, which inval­i­dates almost every rea­son­able con­cept of the soul/spirit).
    Now, regard­ing the professor’s ten­u­ous under­stand­ing of theod­icy, death from can­cer is a poor exam­ple. He’d be bet­ter off describ­ing the tor­ture and rape of a five-year-old Ugan­dan girl or some­thing of the sort if he’s really try­ing to come up with a good exam­ple of “evil”. Satan, accord­ing to Jew­ish the­ol­ogy, is sim­ply God’s pay­roll adver­sary, and as he is doing God’s work he can­not be con­sid­ered to be evil. The Chris­t­ian bas­tardiza­tion of Satan is def­i­nitely a dick, but then it raises the ques­tion of why God would allow such an entity to even con­tinue exist­ing, as there’s no remotely decent rea­son to allow its pres­ence.
    Now… Where am I? 5 or 6? Meh, I’ll go with 6. Sixth, we have far more than five senses, and we also DON’T use them for most sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies because our senses–and more par­tic­u­larly the way in which we process infor­ma­tion from our senses–are very faulty. So I don’t even know what the professor’s talk­ing about there; he clearly isn’t a sci­en­tist.
    Lastly, the kid’s argu­ment from anal­ogy, I posit, sim­ply does not work prop­erly. Heat/cold and light/darkness are con­cepts we’ve cre­ated to describe a nat­u­ral­is­tic uni­verse that is gen­er­ally beyond our capac­ity to alter it. God, how­ever, is in the hypo­thet­i­cal posi­tion to do what­ever it wants. It needs not even MAKE log­i­cal dichotomies. But let’s assume that it must do so. If one is then to define God as being life/goodness/health, with death/evil/sickness being the “absence of God”, an absurd con­tin­gency arises. Cold is the absence of heat because it was “before” heat (not in a chrono­log­i­cal sense–I mean to say that it is what exists before heat is there to act), and heat’s dis­ap­pear­ance would not remove cold. It would sim­ply remove the ter­mi­nol­ogy we use to under­stand it. Like­wise, the removal of light would keep all dark­ness. Dark­ness and cold are base­line states upon which some­thing else acts to make them less of them­selves.
    The rea­son I point this out is because death/evil/sickness are NOT base­line states. If there was no life, that would not mean that only death exists, because death is that which acts upon life (not the other way around). It WOULD mean that there was no life, but death is not sim­ply non-life (if it was, we would have to clas­sify things like rocks as “dead”, which is an absur­dity). And if there was no good, there could still be evil, as good/evil is a false dichotomy. The con­cepts attrib­uted to God are nec­es­sary con­di­tions (although not suf­fi­cient con­di­tions) of the exis­tence of the other con­cepts. In essence, the author of this chain let­ter has com­mit­ted a mis­taken rever­sal in the log­i­cal process. They’ve assumed that, because cold would still “exist” with­out heat, death would still “exist” with­out life–that is, death would be the absence of life–while we know this, upon even the slight­est inspec­tion, to be a clear false­hood. LIFE could still exist with­out DEATH, but death could NOT exist, even as a con­cept, with­out there first being life to act upon.
    • That is, cold is the log­i­cal oppo­site of heat. It is “not heat”, and it could still be itself if there was no heat.
    • Like­wise, dark­ness is the log­i­cal oppo­site of light. It is “not light”, and it could also be itself with­out light.
    • How­ever, death is NOT “not life” except in the most tau­to­log­i­cal sense. It is con­tin­gent upon the exis­tence of life. Death could not be a thing if there was no life upon which it could act, and thus death is more anal­o­gous to heat, not cold.
    • Like­wise, sick­ness is con­tin­gent upon the base­line state of health, and the word makes no sense if there is no health to first observe.
    • And the good/evil dichotomy is, in fact, a POLAR oppo­site. The log­i­cal oppo­site of good is “not good”. How­ever, that which is neu­tral is not good. Neu­tral is also “not evil”, and thus evil can­not be defined as sim­ply as “not good” with­out, well, caus­ing a false dichotomy.
    In short, the student’s anal­ogy is fatally flawed. Life is what occurs in the absence of death unless one observes a micro­cosm in which there is no life to begin with (in which case non-life is the base­line state, but I reit­er­ate that death can­not be equiv­o­cated with non-life for obvi­ous rea­sons). Health is what occurs in the absence of sick­ness unless one is, once again, to observe a micro­cosm in which there is no life to be healthy. And good/evil are true polar con­cepts; the removal of one would still allow the exis­tence of the other. As such, God’s involve­ment in the processes of life, health, and good­ness can­not be com­pared to heat/cold and darkness/light in the way the stu­dent is attempt­ing to do. If any­thing, the anal­ogy must be reversed; life must be anal­o­gous to cold and death to heat, which nat­u­rally causes issues in the student’s phi­los­o­phy.
    Also, theod­icy is hardly the best argu­ment against reli­gions, so I don’t know why the pro­fes­sor is wast­ing his time with some­thing like that. He could far more eas­ily dis­prove Chris­tian­ity by point­ing out that Adam and Eve didn’t exist, and thus there was no orig­i­nal sin, and thus there is no need for the human sac­ri­fice that under­pins all of Chris­t­ian the­ol­ogy.
    Basi­cally, what I’m say­ing is that the professor’s a goober, the student’s an idiot, Ein­stein didn’t say that, and who­ever wrote this doesn’t have a very good under­stand­ing of sci­ence OR the­ol­ogy OR for­mal logic.

    • Sherwin

      Quite a rebut­tal @fabiobean. Great points. I too had doubts that “Ein­stein” was the student.

      But what I take from it, is sim­ple… have Faith (whether it be in the avenue of sci­ence, the­ol­ogy, logic, spir­i­tu­al­ity, etc.)

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