Einstein and the professor

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Indicators that Albert Einstein was not involved:

In his Autobiographical Notes, Einstein states that his “deep religiosity” as a Jewish child ended at the age of 12 when he developed a skeptical attitude towards a personal God that he continued throughout his life.1
On 1954-MAR-24, Einstein answered a letter from a stranger stating:

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” 2

The Urban Legends Reference Pages comments that Einstein’s name:

“… gets used in legends whose plots call for a smart person, one whom the audience will immediately recognize as such (e.g. modern tellings of an ancient legend about a learned rabbi who switches places with his servant feature Albert Einstein in the role of esteemed scholar). This venerated cultural icon has, at least in the world of contemporary lore, become a stock character to be tossed into the fray wherever the script calls for a genius. …”

Likewise, “the atheist professor” is a figure common to a number of urban legends and anecdotes of the faithful — he gets flung into the mix where there’s a need for someone to play the role of Science Vanquished in Science-versus-Religion tales. …

He’s a stereotype, not an actual person. He exists to be knocked over by the persuasive arguments of the faithful in yarns about theology successfully defended.3



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