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Eminent Lives in Twentieth-Century Science and Religion

With chapters on: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, Edward O. Wilson

Edited By Nicolaas A. Rupke

Can science and religion coexist in harmony? Or is conflict inevitable? In this volume an international team of distinguished scholars addresses these enduring yet urgent questions by examining the lives of thirteen eminent twentieth-century scientists whose careers were marked by the interaction of science and religion: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, and Edward O. Wilson. The richly empirical studies show a diversity of creative engagements between science and religion that defy efforts to set the two at odds.

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GEBHARD LÖHR Albert Einstein (1879-1955) 155

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Albert Einstein: For and Against Religion GEBHARD LÖHR The religious views of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) have played an im- portant role in the debates about the relationship between science and religion in the twentieth century and continue to do so in the twenty-first (Haught 1995, 5-6, 29-30; Dawkins 2006, 33-41). One reason for this may be that Einstein is one of the most important physicists ever and therefore has been considered an expert also on fundamental human problems in general (Wickert 2003, 102-105). Another reason may be that Einstein's scientific views have consequences specifically for our general picture of the world, and that Einstein is being looked upon as an expert with respect to worldviews or all-encompassing pictures of the world, i.e. non-religious equivalents of religion (Dukas/Hoffmann 1981, 8; Wickert 2003, 104). A third, contributing factor seems to have been Einstein's inclination to comment on all sorts of subjects of public inter- est (Dukas/Hoffmann 1981, 3; see also. Fölsing 1995, 576). Einstein's views on religion and religious issues were subject to heated debate already during his life-time, if only because it was not clear what his position on these matters was and whether he was taking a posi- tive or a critical stance. On the one hand Einstein was laid claim to by advocates of religion as a supporter who believed in the compatibility of religion with a scientific outlook (Audretsch 1995); also it was said that Einstein confessed to a personal religious faith (Muschalek 1960, 29). On...

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