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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