The Introduction of The Bible According to Einstein

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Introduction                                              1
Introduction
      The Holy Bible is one of the greatest books ever to appear. It is the holy doctrine and basis of the Christian and Judaic religions. It emerged thousands of years ago and remains widely read today.
      In an art gallery in Europe, there is a medieval painting of a bearded elderly man, reading at a desk in a dark room. A candle lights a book, the man's face, and a small portion of the desk. The man through wire-rimmed glasses stares at the text. The book is the Holy Bible.
      Throughout history, devout men and women, like the man in the painting, have studied and restudied the Holy Bible in search of moral truth. The Holy Bible has been a dominant force for many people for many years. It represents the word of God. For quite a few people, it says what is right and what is wrong. For example, the most basic moral principles are enumerated in the Ten Commandments:
     (1) Thou shalt have only one God.
     (2) Thou shalt not make any graven image of anything that is in heaven above or in earth below.
     (3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
     (4) Thou shalt labor six days and do all thy work, and thou shalt rest on the seventh day. Keep the seventh day, the Sabbath day, holy.
     (5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
     (6) Thou shalt not kill.
     (7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
     (8) Thou shalt not steal.
     (9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
     (10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his wife, nor his servants, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.
      These and other biblical statements provide to a large extent the moral foundation for Western societies. These moral truths are indoctrinated into the laws of modern democratic societies. Today we live in a world where one must not steal, lie or kill. One is obliged to respect one's father, one's mother and fellow mankind. Democracies operate under the assumption that people believe in such moral doctrines.
      For some people, the moral truths follow from one principle, the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule is perhaps the greatest moral doctrine of all.
      Hence, the moral beliefs of today virtually coincide with the moral beliefs at the time when the Holy Bible first came into being. Other holy books, such as the Koran, the Veda and the Upanishads, contain similar moral principles. It appears that the fundamental moral truths were discovered and written down in holy texts thousands of years ago. These truths are as valid today as they were then. What was right and wrong 3000 years ago is, to a close approximation, what is right and


2                          The Bible According to Einstein
wrong today. The lack of evolution of moral doctrine is surprising. Almost every other aspect of human life has changed enormously during this period. This suggests that moral doctrine might be universal and absolute. Since the laws of morality and conduct are known, the main problem facing modern society is their implementation.
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      We live on a tiny planet in a vast Universe.1 Human beings on Earth are like ants on a leaf floating in the Pacific Ocean. The ants may construct colonies, they may crawl frantically around in search of food and materials, they may fight some foreign insect to survive, but if the leaf were to sink, the effect on the Pacific Ocean would be negligible. What happens on Earth has little effect on the Universe and the billions and billions of stars and astrophysical objects elsewhere. However, within our tiny world, there is a sense of purpose and morality which appears to be universal.
      If life as intelligent as man exists elsewhere in the Universe, do those beings follow a law and order similar to ours? The answer could be yes. Violation of the above-mentioned moral doctrine leads to a less stable society and a higher chance for self-destruction. One Hitler-like leader, who possesses a large nuclear arsenal, is capable of destroying all human life with the press of a button. If moral truths and other survival principles are not obeyed, the human race may suffer greatly or even cease to exist. Moral truths have been largely obeyed because they provide a more stable way to live, both for individuals and for societies. In short, moral laws do not have to be obeyed, but it is advantageous for us to do so.
      Unlike moral principles, which were discovered thousands of years ago and have remained essentially unchanged, physics laws are continually being discovered and refined. These laws determine how Nature behaves. A ball falls to the ground according to Newton's law of gravity. This law describes precisely how the ball moves at the surface of the Earth. Newton discovered the law in the seventeenth century. In some instances, proposed physical laws turned out to be incorrect. For example, until the Copernican revolution, it was believed that the Sun and planets revolved around the Earth. Analysis of planetary orbits allowed seventeenth century astronomers to demonstrate that the planets, including the Earth, revolve around the Sun. Of course, in the vast

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1 Given the thousand-billion-billion other stars, there surely exist many other planetary systems. In fact, recently other planetary systems have been discovered - the first of these is known as Pegasi 51. Given the presumably billions of billions of other planetary systems, there must be millions of billions of planets with Earth-like environments. Given the millions of billions of Earth-like planets, life elsewhere in the Universe is very likely to exist. In the vastness of the Universe we are not alone, yet in the vastness of the Universe we are so alone. The unknown question is whether such extraterrestrial life forms are "intelligent." It has taken about one-fifth of the age of the Universe for intelligent life to develop on Earth, and this development has been quite recent, corresponding to "a few minutes" of cosmological time. Hence, extraterrestrial life forms may not have had enough time to evolve to the sophisticated level that humans have obtained.


Introduction                                              3

Universe, the Sun moves in an orbit in our galaxy, our galaxy is moving towards other galaxies in our local galactic cluster, and this cluster is moving away from other clusters as the Universe expands, so that our motion is much more complicated than a circle around the Sun because the Sun, too, is moving. Earth is just a tiny leaf being tossed about by giant waves in the vastness of the Universe.
      The smallness of our role in the Universe and presumably our restricted physical and intellectual capabilities have prevented us from discovering all scientific laws. We probably understand Nature in a limited way and on a limited scale. We have discovered many physical laws, but we do not know how much more there is to discover. It is possible that we have uncovered only a tiny fraction of Nature's laws. If this is so, there remains a lot of work for science to do.
      In summary, the main differences between scientific and religious laws are as follows. Physical laws are continually being discovered and modified. Moral laws were essentially determined thousands of years ago and have changed little. Physical laws must be obeyed. Moral laws are often broken by individuals, institutions and governments. Implementation of moral doctrine is the main goal of societies. Discovery of the fundamental laws of Nature is the goal of science.

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      Given that many scientific discoveries have been made over the last several thousand years, some biblical descriptions about physical laws are outdated.2 This is in contrast to moral, historical and literary aspects of the Holy Bible, which have survived the passage of time. The purpose of The Bible According to Einstein is to present Nature's laws, as currently best understood, in a style and format that is similar to the Holy Bible. Undoubtedly, The Bible According to Einstein will, after a number of years, need to be updated. However, for the present, it is hoped that this book will serve as a means for people to understand the laws of Nature. The text is written in a manner that tries to imitate the way the Holy Bible might have been written had it been written in the twentieth century. Descriptions of the Universe earlier than one-ten-billionth of a second after the Big Bang are conjectures based on modern speculative theories. Certain other aspects of the text, such as the conception of life, also involve educated guesses. However, the text is based on established scientific thought, although it is not written

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2 One should imagine the situation when the Holy Bible was written. At that time, people saw clouds slowly marching across the sky. And they must have asked themselves, "What makes the clouds?" and "What makes clouds move?" The clouds to them must have been mysterious. And they must have responded to their questions with answers such as "Someone must make the clouds" and "Someone must make the clouds move." And for them that someone was God. In ancient times, God was in part an explanation of all things. Chapters 36-39 of the Book of Job of the Holy Bible exemplify this. Today there are many natural phenomena that we still do not understand. But there are things that we do know. And today we know what makes the clouds and what makes them move.


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in a way that scientists write. In particular, much of the text is written to be read aloud.
      The reader should be aware that narrative, poetic, literary and expository styles are used and intermingled in The Bible According to Einstein. It is not often that such divergent structures and modes of expression are combined. It is like rock. Sedimentary rock is fragile, thin and is found only near the surface of the Earth. In its layers, sedimentary rock contains concentrated geological information. It is highly varied and beautiful. It is in some sense like poetry. Igneous rock, on the other hand, is strong, omnipresent and makes up the mantle. Although igneous rock is more abundant, it is difficult to extract information from it. It is almost immutable and bold. Igneous rock is in a rough sense like prose. In The Bible According to Einstein, poetry and prose are mixed. In The Bible According to Einstein, rhythm, rhyme and reason are intermingled. Some metamorphic magic is performed. The most beautiful rock of all is perhaps metamorphic rock - it is made from igneous and sedimentary rock.
      Religion and science do not mix. They are like oil and vinegar. But if oil and vinegar are thoroughly stirred and appropriate spices are added, then something neither so bitter nor so oily is produced. May palatable concoctions be conceived. Black is beautiful. White is also beautiful. Gray is dull. But black and white patterns are perhaps the most beautiful of all. They constitute, for example, printed text. May one's vision not be blurred.

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      Although it is usually thought that science and religion are very different, in fact, they have some things in common. Both attempt, at least in part, to explain phenomena in Nature. The first chapter of Genesis in the Holy Bible describes Creation. Modern cosmology also provides a picture of Creation, the so-called Big Bang. Although the Holy Bible is concerned with moral issues, some parts of the Holy Bible deal with natural laws. Although science mostly deals with the laws of Nature, moral issues sometimes arise. Both science and religion try to describe the ultimate fate of the Universe. According to the Holy Bible, the world ends on Judgement Day. According to modern cosmology, the Universe has three possible fates: (i) it may go on expanding forever, (ii) it may cease its expansion, contract, collapse and undergo the Big Crunch, which is the opposite of the Big Bang, or (iii) it may choose a path between the two by expanding at slower and slower rates so that in the infinite future it virtually ceases its expansion. Both science and religion have a set of dogmas. Religious dogmas are moral laws such as the Ten Commandments. Scientific dogmas are physics laws.
      Both science and religion search for truth. Religion seeks to find moral truth, while science seeks to find natural truth. Often scientists think they understand a particular law of Nature, only to find out later it was wrong or somewhat inaccurate or only valid in a certain


Introduction                                              5

regime. Likewise, people sometimes misunderstand moral truths. With the passage of time, a more precise understanding of moral truths seems to have been achieved.
      Ancient people built the Tower of Babel as an attempt to reach the heavens and the Supreme Being. Scientists have made microscopes and telescopes to see the near and far. They have built high-energy particle accelerators and constructed spacecraft full of sophisticated equipment to further probe the small and large. The quest of scientists is not so different from that of clergymen. The latter are in search of holy and moral doctrines; the former are in search of Nature's laws. Both are trying to understand better what is already known and both are trying to discover what is now unknown. To see what no man has seen before, to sense what seems to be senseless, to give meaning to what seems meaningless - these are the goals of religion and of science.
      Religion often involves a striving for salvation. In many religions, salvation is achieved by pursuing a good life on Earth. Salvation is ultimately obtained by going to Heaven. Science, on the other hand, is driven by the quest for a better understanding of Nature. Such understanding generally brings great technological and practical benefits. The premise has been that new scientific knowledge leads to a better life. Although this was probably not its intention, science has played a role in taking care of mankind. It is also possible that science one day will save humanity from extinction. Someday, a sizeable asteroid will strike Earth. If man is still present at that time, the impact will threaten to kill off the human race. In such a circumstance, it might be possible to take precautions to save all or some people. As another example, new deadly diseases will arise. Among them might be one capable of spreading to all individuals, thereby threatening to wipe out humanity. It would then be the task of biologists and medical researchers to find a cure. Finally, far in the future, the Sun will explode, engulf the Earth and destroy all life. The only possible salvation from this fate is for life forms on Earth to escape to the outer planets or to a nearby planetary system.
      Revelation, the act of disclosing divine reality and sacred purpose to an individual, has an analog in science. It is scientific discovery. Revelation in religion often occurs through spiritual experiences, through historical events, through religious study or through mystical insight. Scientific discoveries often arise through experiments or through pure thought based on esthetics and fundamental principles. Sometimes the discovery occurs by accident. In many cases, the process of discovery seems almost mystical.
      Enlightenment occurs both in religion and in science. When a person, for the first time, suddenly understands a new religious truth, it is a moment of wonder and excitement. There is a feeling of elation. The same excitement happens when a scientist makes a discovery.


6                          The Bible According to Einstein

      Both science and religion make predictions.3 The Holy Bible contains predictions of catastrophes and of many other events, such as the Old Testament prophecy of the appearance of a messiah. Science attempts to predict the future motion of inanimate objects such as balls, trains, planes, waves, planets, missiles, molecules and electrons. The laws of Nature are used to make these predictions. When a new law is uncovered, the predictions can seem highly counterintuitive, almost mystical. The recent predictions of quantum mechanics and relativity are often viewed this way by non-scientists. It is only with the passage of time that one becomes familiar with such new phenomena and accepts them as natural.
      Perhaps few realize it, but science operates to a large extent on faith. The simplest example of this occurs in schools and universities. Students read textbooks and are told the scientific truths and results. Students usually accept what they read or what they are told, independent of whether experiments are conducted to convince the students. Scientific research is conducted similarly. Individuals carry out experiments, perform computations and present results in journals. Other scientists read the journals and usually accept what they read without further verification. Sometimes one or more groups do verify an experiment - even in such a case, most of the scientific community still accepts the results without performing the research explicitly. Scientists accept the work and conclusions of others on the basis of trust. Scientists have faith in one another.4
      Speculations about the Universe at the earliest times and about physics at scales smaller than a billionth of a billionth of a meter are based on the idea that there might be a single fundamental law of Nature that encompasses all laws. The fundamental forces and perhaps other undiscovered forces would follow from such a Uni-Law. The term "Uni-Law" is not used by physicists. However, the concept exists in Grand Unified Theories, Superstring Theory, M-theory and "Theories-of-Everything." For physicists, the Uni-Law is perhaps the analog of the Golden Rule.
      Like religion, science has its "priests." These are the ordinary scientists and science teachers who expound their knowledge. Students in science classes are told what to believe, and most students believe what they are told. As in religion, science has its saints. These are the giant figures who have made great scientific contributions. Often Nobel Prize winners are "revered" by devotees of science. Books, biographies and histories are written about the famous men and women of science and their achievements. And indeed, Newton, Einstein, Darwin and

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3 The character of the predictions, however, is very different. Also, non-believers in religion usually view religious predictions with skepticism.
4 Faith in science is different from religious faith, because in principle one can repeat the experiments and calculations to verify the results.


Introduction                                              7

others were truly great scientists and deserve to have their names etched in monuments paying tribute to them.
      Science exists because it works. In medieval times, there was little difference between alchemy and chemistry. Alchemy, which was unsuccessful, died out as a science. Chemistry, which was successful, remained. Religion exists because it gives meaning to life and life-after-death. It provides moral fortitude, comfort, guidelines for daily conduct and emotional support. Even those who do not believe in religion must admit that it can have some psychological benefit for individuals.
      Science works because Nature appears to follow a set of universal laws. When a scientist completes an experiment and confirms an expected result, the scientist is gratified to see that Nature obeys its laws. Technological devices work because the science behind them works and because Nature does indeed obey Nature's laws.
      Today science is so pervasive in our lives that we accept its achievements as routine. We often forget that even something as simple as a light bulb is a product of science. Many of us cannot live without a television set, a car, or a computer. Modern medicine has dramatically improved the quality of our lives. Today science permeates our world, much the same way that religion did in medieval times and earlier.
      Given the similarities between science and religion, perhaps science should be considered as a kind of religion, at least in a liberal sense of the word. For some, science functions as a framework for understanding Nature and for determining, in part, one's actions and decisions. Science can assist in the conduct of our lives.
      As an example of how science would deal with an issue, consider life-after-death. According to physics, chemistry and biology, once a person dies, biological processes begin to terminate. Decay sets in. Eventually the body decomposes and molecules are dispersed. In such a state, a person is not alive. There is no "life-after-death." For the dead person, there is nothing: No thought, no consciousness, no fear, no sadness, simply nothingness. There is, however, "existence-after-death." One still "exists" as a decomposed body. The body might be the host of other life forms such as bacteria. It might even become the food of an animal or the fertilizer for a plant. Eventually, one exists not as a coherent unit but as molecules and atoms dispersed throughout the Universe. This is what science would say about life-after-death.5
      In science, what plays the role of God? One possibility is Nature. Nature is an abstraction of everything that exists. Nature is omnipresent and powerful. Nature through chance and time created life. The domain of Nature is the Universe, which is all. If the word "God" is replaced by "Nature," then Genesis I of the Holy Bible more or less

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5 It does not, however, say that all scientists do not believe in life-after-death. What science says and what scientists believe can be different. As individuals, scientists believe in different things.


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makes scientific sense. In a similar way, a reader might find that, by replacing "Nature" by "God" and "natural" by "holy," parts of The Bible According to Einstein make meaningful spiritual sense.

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      Like the Holy Bible, The Bible According to Einstein is divided into two parts: an Old Testament and a New Testament. The Old Testament is historical. It discusses the creation of the Universe, the emergence of galaxies and the solar system. It narrates the evolution of Earth and the development of life. A few sections are included for completeness because the purpose is to tell the whole history from the beginning to the end. Although the New Testament covers some recent history, it is mainly concerned about man and his scientific knowledge. The laws of physics, the rules of chemistry and the basic principles of biology are presented. The information about the world, as currently understood by scientists, is compiled. The fundamental building blocks of matter are unveiled.
      For reasons of completeness, The Bible According to Einstein in a couple of places enumerates facts. This is not so different, for example, from the Book of Numbers in the Holy Bible, where the children of Israel are listed. A reader can simply glance over such enumerations, unless a specific listing or definition is sought.
      In The Bible According to Einstein, metaphors sometimes replace complicated physics concepts; it might be criticized on this basis. But perhaps it is better to speak in metaphors in a way that can be understood than to speak in precise scientific jargon in a way that cannot be understood.
      In relating the history of the Universe, one is faced with the problem of describing things that currently do not exist. Among these are some which resemble present-day objects. In this context, a useful device can be employed. The prefix "proto," which means "that which existed before and led to," can be attached to a word. This prefix indicates a primitive state of formation. A proto-object is what existed before the object. It is the progenitor, the predecessor. Here are some examples. A proto-star is a dense concentration of gas in which nuclear fuels will ignite in millions of years and produce light. When a proto-star produces light, it becomes a star. Proto-Africa is the land mass that existed hundreds of millions of years ago and which eventually turned into Africa. A proto-homo-sapien is an ape-man or a monkey. In principle, the prefix "proto" can precede almost any noun.
      In the discussions of biology, physics and chemistry, chemical compounds, such as oxygen gas, water vapor and methane, are mentioned. Their composition is given near the end of the New Testament Book of Chemistry. An index-glossary of scientifically related words is provided in the back of the book. Words in the index-glossary are defined in context in the body of the book, where they are italicized. Italicization is also used for emphasis in the same manner as the King


Introduction                                              9

James version of the Holy Bible. The text in script at the beginning of a section is a quotation, often from the Holy Bible and usually paraphrased. The Bible According to Einstein usually uses the name of a species as an individual member rather than as the animal class.6 Although they are capitalized and italicized in normal scientific writing, the names of species and life forms are written in lower case and are not italicized - this helps to emphasize that one is referring to an individual and not to a species class. The word "man" almost always refers to the human race and not simply to the male population. The Sun, Moon and planets are all capitalized. Thus "Earth" refers to the third planet from the Sun, and "earth" refers to dirt.
      The Bible According to Einstein should be read more than once: The more one reads, the more one will discover. The knowledge in its New Testament provides the understanding for the "Genesis" of its Old Testament. The Bible According to Einstein is a great opportunity for a reader to learn about a vast array of scientific subjects. The reader who studies this book will learn a great deal.
      The Old and New Testaments are related. An understanding of the past helps one better understand the present - history contains lessons for the present. Likewise, an understanding of the present helps one better understand the past. In fact, the geological past is mostly deduced from studying the relics and fossils found today. As another example, insight into cosmology is achieved by modern scientists using present-day theory and experiment. Knowledge gained in the twentieth century concerning fundamental physics has led to a better understanding of the events that took place just after the Big Bang.
      The reconstruction of natural history is similar to a criminal investigation. Evidence is available. It must be meticulously gathered and examined. From the evidence, one draws conclusions. The inspectors, detectives, coroners and investigators are called geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists and cosmologists. Consider, for example, the evolution of the Earth and life. The evidence is located in sedimentary rocks. Fossils are like fingerprints. Footprints of ancient animals, like crime-scene footprints, indicate how individuals moved about. A piece of shell determines the age of a layer of sedimentary rock - just like a broken watch fixes the time of a modern crime. Carbon-dating and the analysis of radioactive elements tell how long a prehistoric sample has existed. An autopsy on the body of a murder victim reveals his time of death and his means of death. Likewise, the dissection of preserved soft parts of extinct creatures reveals much information. DNA, now a tool of criminal investigations, is being used to determine the evolutionary tree of life. Through DNA analysis, one is able to decide how species evolve from one another. By these means for example, it was

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6 For example, "A homo sapien picked up a stone." would be expressed in standard scientific writing as "A member of Homo sapiens picked up a stone."


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determined that an African ape, and not an Asian ape, was the ancestor of the homo sapiens.

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      In the scientific literature, the creation of our world has been told in pieces. In The Bible According to Einstein, the whole story is told, from start to finish. It was easy to write the history that is about to unfold. The story line did not have to be invented. One simply had to look and listen and to see and hear what the Universe had narrated. One had to "feel" the atom and the nucleus. One had to examine the cells of life. One had to read the rock. One had to see the information in the stars. Thus the story was written in the micro-world of the molecule. Thus the story was written in the Earth. Thus the story was written in the heavens.
      May you too feel the atom, touch the rock and hear the heavens. May you read and understand.



Copyright ©1999 by Jupiter Scientific Publishing Company

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