No Einstein: Tennessee Legislator Falsely Quotes Einstein As Embracing Christianity As Thinking Man’s Religion

Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains, TN) is one of the politicians leading the effort to introduce creationism back into schools to rival the teaching of evolution. He may, however, need a bit more time in the classroom on his intellectual sources. As noted on sites like Think Progress, Niceley has confused Albert Einstein with Francis Bacon in his insistence that Einstein discredited atheism and said that a truly thinking man will turn to Christianity.


As shown on the video below, Niceley offers the following lesson to his Tennessee colleague (who overwhelmingly voted in favor of creationism):

I think that if there’s one thing that everyone in this room could agree on, that would be that Albert Einstein was a critical thinker. He was a scientist. I think that we probably could agree that Albert Einstein was smarter than any of our science teachers in our high schools or colleges. And Albert Einstein said that a little knowledge would turn your head toward atheism, while a broader knowledge would turn your head toward Christianity.

The problem is that he appears to be confusing the 20th Century scientist Albert Einstein with the 16th century philosopher Francis Bacon. Bacon said in his essay “Of Atheism” that “a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”

Einstein was an acknowledged agnostic who stated in 1950: “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

Of course, Niceley can take heart. Bacon did say “by indignities men come to dignities.”

Things can get a bit confused in Strawberry Hills (Tenn.). It brings to mind the song about Strawberry Plains by the Beatles:

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right, that is I think it’s not too bad.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/strawberry-hill-lyrics-beatles.html ]

Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Always, no sometimes, think it’s me, but you know I know when it’s a dream.
I think I know I mean a ‘Yes’ but it’s all wrong, that is I think I disagree.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Source: Politics Daily

Jonathan Turley

28 thoughts on “No Einstein: Tennessee Legislator Falsely Quotes Einstein As Embracing Christianity As Thinking Man’s Religion

  1. Don’t try to confuse this guys with facts! He knows whats true and facts are not going to change that truth, dammit!

  2. Maybe he went to one of Kasich’s three year college programs. Politicians in Tennessee do not let little things like facts–or the Constitution–get in the way of promoting a religious agenda on the floor of the Legislature.

  3. One assumes that since Rep. Niceley acknowledges Mr. Einstein as an expert on science and religion, now that his error has been pointed out to him, Rep. Niceley will adjust his thinking on the matter to follow Einstein’s. To do otherwise would seem to imply that Rep. Niceley is a disingenuous hack using whatever ammunition of dubious origin he can find to implement his unconstitutional agenda.

  4. Otteray Scribe
    1, April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am
    Maybe he went to one of Kasich’s three year college programs. Politicians in Tennessee do not let little things like facts–or the Constitution–get in the way of promoting a religious agenda on the floor of the Legislature.

    ===============================================

    Oh god … this is so embarrassing … Kasich has turned Ohio into a cheap joke …..

  5. According to his bio, Mr. Nicely is a farmer and his community involvement is comprised of membership in the Farm Bureau and the NRA. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that he has ever heard of Francis Bacon. On the other hand, he might well have a pig named Francis Bacon, but I would suspect that the porcine Francis Bacon is also an agnostic or, at best, a deist.

  6. Well said Mike A.!
    I almost wrote about this Tennessee genius over the weekend. He reminds me of a gentleman that I worked in the factory with in the summer of 1969 who was trying to explain to me that the US astronauts had not landed on the moon, but on some star in between! You can’t make up this kind of ignorance.

  7. It’s called the Theory of Right-Wing Relativity. This theory holds that a right-winger can relate–via tortured logic–anything said or done by highly respected famous people or that they can just “make stuff up” to support their cockamamie positions.

    Here’s the Right-Wing Relativity Equation:
    RWTP=L+L+ML

    or

    Right Wing Talking Points = Lies plus Lies plus More Lies

  8. Dear politicians,

    Please research before you quote. You’re making us look bad.

    Signed,
    Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Jesus of Nazareth.

  9. Whelp, ol’ Rep. Niceley is Methodist (as I larnt after readin’ that extensive Curriculum Vitae of hisn) and since they aint no god-offal difference bewixt no Methodist ner Episcopalian, I come up with a varyashun of Iinstines therry o’ reletivtee that ‘splains the Niceley Therrum:

    E = mc2

    Episcopalian = mentally challenged square

  10. Rafflaw,

    Not wrong so much as “lied to.” Most of these misquotes can be traced back to a single source. Creationists in general seem especially prone to misquoting those three.

  11. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    Sadly, the fool has spoken …

  12. Y’all r callin’ fer good, God-fearin’ politicians tuh check theyr facts. But taht don’t matter nun if they dun heard it on thuh patriotic talk radio, er if’n they really, really believe it. I ain’t gunna question a good Chrisian man’s faith!

    Um, also, about that Bacon quote – I, too, haven’t checked my facts here, but I am under the impression that 16th century natural philosophy included “daemons” pulling things towards hell (an explanation for gravity), the sun orbiting the earth on a crystal sphere in the heavens, lots and lots of alchemy and a 6,000 year old universe. Don’t forget about “the humors” as a basis for medicine, also. (Even today, the author of the “Left Behind” books is trying to promote the medieval humors as a useful approach.)

    Indeed, knowing a lot of this sort of “philosophy” entailed lots of in-depth theology – it was all predicated on various ideas that we would today call “religious”. It was exactly this sort of “philosophy” that the enlightenment fought against, but it clearly hasn’t stamped it out.

  13. This is a quote from that ‘Rapture’ video (I caint hardly admit that I watched it):

    “Behold, I am Coming Quickly-Jesus Christ”
    _____________________

    Beholdeth Brethren Near n’ Far…Now we knoweth why J.C. nevereth got married and why he is returnin’ madder than an old wet hen a’spoutin’ “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

    (Sorry, I have been enroute to H#!! anyways for neigh on 42 year–onest I quit seeing the light through the shouts of old red-faced, bald Southern Baptist revivalists.)

  14. The saddest thing about the Nicely video isn’t what he’s saying, but the fact that people are actually listening.

  15. Elaine,
    That rapture video scared the crap out of me! It reminds me of the old Catholic Guilt that was hammered into our heads. Be afraid!! Be very afraid. It also reminds me of the lead up to the Iraq War!

  16. rafflaw,

    Religious and political leaders use fear to get control of people. I spent twelve years in strict parochial schools. Need I say that I was left with few happy memories of those days? There was one great thing about attending those schools though. I met most of my best friends there. I’m still close to some classmates that I met in first grade–and I met my husband in high school.

  17. All of what we are seeing today, the culture-war and religious BS that passes for politics, is just the great diversion from the real devastation to come; not the post-rapture devastation but the devastation based on non-reform of the banking industry. That’s going to be some real devastation:

    “S&P’s $5 trillion bank doomsday tab”

    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/18/sps-5-trillion-bank-doomsday-tab/

    S&P was as corrupt as they come in the run-up to the last crash- if they’re worried, things are probably much worse than is being said.

  18. Bacon has been called the father of empiricism…deductive reasoning one might say….. His dedication more than likely led to his death and killed by their own experiments.

    He died of pneumonia contracted while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.

    Ahead of his times for sure.

    I am sure TN would go all out for really thinking…

  19. I have a simple test for identifying fools.

    I ask, “Are you a fool?”

    Fools, and only fools, deny being fools.

    Fools found, problem of foolishness solved…

  20. I have known a lot of god-fearin’ farmers like Rep. Frank Nicely in my lifetime. They are hard workin’ and would never harm anyone intentionally. However,the Lord is everthang to them and their eyes glaze over when ‘he’ is dishonored in any manner whatsoever.

    Here is an old favorite song called ‘Blackland Farmer’. I have a 45 rpm vinyl copy of it and I was pleasantly surprised that the song was on YouTube. If you watched the video posted by Prof. Turley, Mr. Frankie Miller is very similar to Mr.Frank Nicely…

  21. czął broszurować skórę
    wprawnymi ruchami. Arnold przyglądał Emmett się
    z zainteresowaniem. – Sprawnie wam chodzi z tej dratwą – zauważył.
    Rycerz o
    cokolwiek nie zakłuł się w paluch. Podniósł znad
    śc.

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