Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin sIn existographies, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) (IQ:180|#152) (Cattell 1000:45) [RGM:27|1,500+] (Murray 4000:14|T) (Gottlieb 1000:54) [Kanowitz 50:25] (GPE:96) (HD:16) (FA:72) (CR:31) was an American politician, a founding father, scientist, and irreligion philosopher, an oft-ranked universal genius, noted for []

In 1746, Franklin showed that a lightening is a discharge of electricity. [1]

In 1749, Franklin invented the "lightening rod" for buildings

In 1752, Franklin had one built (Ѻ) on the steeple of Christ Church in Philadelphia. This provoked theological objection; some of which is recounted as follows:

“When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of god. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by god to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore, if god wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin ought not to defeat his design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But bod was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the ‘iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin’, Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to god's wrath at the ‘iron points’. In a sermon on the subject he said, ‘In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of god’.”
— Bertrand Russell (1943), “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish” [4]


Franklin’s personal library, numbering above 2,000 books, contain things such as William Cowper’s poetry and works by Baron d’Holbach, the latter of whom he visited in his Paris salon. (Ѻ)

Theism | Deism | Atheism
Franklin recounts his transition from theism to deism to atheism as follows:

“I was a scarce fifteen, when doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books that I had read, I began to doubt of revelation itself. Some books against deism fell into my hands. It happened that they wrought an effect in me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deist, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations. I soon became a deist.”
— Benjamin Franklin (c.1780) [3]

“I left town, as a teenager, because, in part, my indiscrete disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist.”
— Benjamin Franklin (c.1780) [3]

Franklin [HD:16][FA:72], at one point, stayed at the house of agnostic closet atheist David Hume [FA:66]; encouraged Thomas Paine [FA:81]; and proposed to Anne-Catherine de Ligniville, the widow of Helvetius [FA:42]. [3]

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Franklin:

“Those who knew Benjamin Franklin will recollect, that his mind was ever young; his temper ever serene; science, that never grows grey, was always his mistress. He was never without an object; for when we cease to have an object we become like an invalid in a hospital waiting for death.”
Thomas Paine (1794), The Age of Reason (pg. 130)

Quotes | By
The following are noted quotes by Franklin:

“If the way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason, [then] the way to see by ‘blind faith’ is to cover both eyes.”
— Benjamin Franklin (1759); "then" part added by Thims (c.2014) (Ѻ)

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
— Benjamin Franklin (c.1780) [2]

1. McFadden, Johnjoe. (2000). Quantum Evolution: How Physics’ Weirdest Theory Explains Life’s Biggest Mystery (pg. 125). W.W. Norton & Co.
2. (a) Cardiff, Ira D. (1945). What Great Men Think of Religion. Arno Press, 1972.
(b) Haught, James A. (1996). 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt (§: Benjamin Franklin, pgs. 77-79). Prometheus.
3. Hecht, Jennifer M. (2003). Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas (pg. 355-56). HarperOne.
4. Russell, Bertrand. (1986). Bertrand Russell on God and Religion (editor: Al Seckel) (Amz) (pg. 209). Prometheus Books.

Further reading
● Franklin, Benjamin. (1769). Experiments and Observations on Electricity. David Henry.
● Morison, Samuel E. (1959). “Ben Franklin: the Universal Genius”, Address upon the occasion of the publishing of Volume 1 of Labaree ed. Papers of Benjamin Franklin, at New Haven, Nov 22.
● Lemay, J. A. Leo. (1978). “Benjamin Franklin: Universal Genius”, in: The Renaissance Man in the Eighteenth Century (pgs. 23-25). University of California Press.

External links
Benjamin Franklin – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns

More pages