Kate, you really should read a biography on Einstein, esp one that examines the role of religion in his life.
As expected, Xians want to cherry-pick quotes to make him into a believer, when he was as disdainful of faith and belief as a Jewish scientist could be in the 20th century (with anti-semitism prevailing, leading up to the holocaust).
Newton also believed in God. His work on Gravity isn't as complex, but still drives home my point. There is a gap in human knowledge, lets fill it with God or an intellegent being as a Creator.
Newton believed and experimented in alchemy, the mystical practice that has long-since been abandoned as 'woo'. Science doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, since to do so would be foolish.
Newton also lived LONG BEFORE Darwin's theory of evolution emerged, and even longer before TONS of confirmatory evidence has been discovered from diverse areas of science, eg the fossil record, DNA analysis, botany, geology, animal physiology, etc. Newton was also a public figure, and served in public office (secretary of the Treasury, I believe): he pretty much HAD to be a God-fearing individual, since there were serious repercussions at the time for NOT professing a belief in God (even as they are today).
It's speculative to say what Newton would profess to believe if only he were alive today, but if he's a rationalist, he'd have NO external evidence to support beliefs in either alchemy or God, and TONS of evidence to support belief in evolution.
Thank you for promoting this, but if I was entirely comfortable with my ideology, I would be spending all this time doing something more productive. I am questioning my own beliefs, and I may in time be happy and content not to have any answers. But atm for me I want to take a closer look.
Well, you're answering your own question there, as to WHY you believe: you acknowledge that believing in God provides you comfort and happiness (which is not so unique to you: most people who are honest would abmit that they fear the idea of God NOT existing, since they're afraid of the implications of God not existing).
Reality doesn't hinge on what want: something like the existence of God either IS true or it's not. Humans cannot thru the sheer power of their will create a God into existence (although I recently saw a Xian bumper sticker that suggested otherwise: "if you believe, you can do ANYTHING!"). God is not Peter Pan, and if we believe or don't believe in fairies it'll have no actual effect on whether they exist or not, as if we are capable of such magical thinking.
Kate said- Whats the big deal if we do?
Most rational people vastly prefer to believe things that are really true, not as they WANT it to be.
The harm is you undermine your own credibility within the scientific realm, since it provides pretty compelling evidence of your being the kind of person who allows their own desires to effect your perceptions sufficiently to be influenced by your personal cherished conclusions, rather than letting the evidence lead the way.
You cannot claim to be a rational person (a desirable quality to possess in scientific endeavors), since you've admitted above that you'd rather wear 'rose-colored' glasses which is problematic, as doing so involves evaluating all evidence after it is filtered and colored by your emotions, thus admitting your perceptions are influenced by what you WANT it to be. Most scientists try to not allow their personal desires their work (and it's not just their views on God, but also their emotional involvement with their 'pet' beloved hypotheses), since all such biases can add to the problem of experimental biases.