WMWM's Rock 'n Talk Discussion of The Bible According to Einstein

Transcript of the broadcast that took place on March 23, 1998

Note: this broadcast was intermingled with rock music. The music has been taken out.

Jed Popek: We have Professor Stuart Samuel on the line right now. He concocted this book The Bible According to Einstein.

Heather: Really.

Jed: I can't read this whole thing -- look at how thick it is! I'm an extremely busy person. It's an AMAZING book. I mean the table of contents goes into The New Testament, The Books Containing the Chronicles, The Books of Physics, The Books of the Solar System, The Old Testament. And then it starts going into the eras. Do you remember the eras? The Paleozoic Era, the Mesozoic Era?

Heather: Yes.

Jed: The Jurassic Era?

Heather: Wow!

Jed: I don't remember any of them. And hopefully  .  .  . Professor Stuart Samuel are you there? [shrill] Hi, Professor Samuel, how are you?

Professor Stuart Samuel: Thanks. [shrill]

Jed: What's going on?

Professor Samuel: It's a pleasure to be on WMWM. Thanks for the kind words you said about The Bible According to Einstein.

Jed: Hello? I'm still working on some technical difficulties.

Heather: What made you write this book?

Professor Samuel: What? Sorry, I couldn't hear quite well.

Heather: What made you write this book?

Professor Samuel: Actually, I didn't write it. I was one of the editors.

Jed: See! I knew that one person couldn't write a book this thick.

Professor Samuel: That's right. Basically, The Bible According to Einstein is science and nature in a biblical format. And as you noticed, there's an "old testament" and a "new testament." And it's organized in books, as you mentioned. There's a book of physics, a book of biology, a book of chemistry. And each book can be read independently. I heard you were a little scared there about reading the whole book. In fact, you don't have to. You can just read parts of it.

Jed: It's almost like a digest. I mean, a research book that you can use. I'm more familiar with genesis. This is one of my questions. With the book of moral truths, how is it that there be can be a moral book of science added into the Bible?

Professor Samuel: There is no moral book of truths in The Bible According to Einstein.

Jed: But most people consider the Bible to be the book of moral truths. And then there's science, which would be like  .  .  .

Heather: This is something more advanced. We're talking about an idea that's more modern.

Jed: Right. How were you able to tie both of these together so neatly through this book?

Professor Samuel: Well, the book doesn't really deal with moral issues. It's a description of nature, the physical world. The "old testament" covers the complete history of the universe, earth and life. You just mentioned some of the eras.

The "new testament" represents the laws of nature, the development of man's spiritually; there's a little bit of history of science. It deals with our knowledge of how our world works.

Heather: Ah, hun.

Professor Samuel: See, the Holy Bible is a work that deals with moral issues, spiritual things.

Heather: Ah, hun.

Professor Samuel: But this book deals with science and nature. It deals with the physical world as opposed to the spiritual world.

Heather: OK, I see.

Jed: So, give me an example something that you use scientifically with Adam and [like] the beginning of time. I'm sure [like] a lot of people say that it's the Big Bang theory.

Professor Samuel: That's right. The Bible According to Einstein presents in its Books of Genesis the Big Bang theory.

Jed: Right.

Professor Samuel: During that early period of the universe, the universe was extremely hot. It was full of light and energy. It was so hot that atoms couldn't exist, the nuclei which make up the core of atoms couldn't exist. They were literally torn apart by the amount of energy in the system. It was EXTREMELY hot during the Big Bang. And during this period of the early universe, space was expanding as a consequence of Einstein's general theory of relativity. Space is a dynamic object. It can stretch, bend and so forth. And one of the consequences of his [Einstein's] theory is that the space of the universe can be either expanding or contracting. And indeed, earlier this century, astronomers discovered that the space of the universe is expanding and has been expanding in the past. So during these early moments of creation, the very fabric of space was stretching.

Jed: Ah, hun.

Professor Samuel: Now when a system expands, it tends to cool. So even though the universe was extremely hot in the beginning, as space stretched, the temperature went down. And this allowed the formation of various things. It allowed the formation of the light nuclei, of atoms and eventually of the stars and planets. So the books of creation here describe the scientific understanding of the way the universe began. They describe how stars essentially emerged.

You know for about the first 300,000 years, the universe was a bath of light. It was extremely bright and hot, and there was all this energy. But as the universe cooled, there was a point when atoms formed. An atom forms when an electron joins with a nucleus. An atom is a cloud of electrons around a nucleus. When an electron is captured by a nucleus, it gives off some light. So in the year about 300,000 -- right around 300,000 years after the Big Bang -- a tremendous flash of light went out. As the universe expanded, the light was stretched and it changed from ordinary visible light to infrared radiation. The universe went dark.

Jed: Yes.

Professor Samuel: In the year 1,000,000 the entire universe went black. And there was nothing. There were no stars then. There were no planets. Planets and stars developed later, after hundreds of millions of years as clouds of atoms and dust collapsed and heated up and then formed concentrated regions of material and gas in the form of stars. What you have is a picture of the universe for which -- in the beginning -- there was 300,0000 years of brightness and then you have this darkness. And it's actually been dark ever since. The darkness that we see when we look out at a night sky -- when we see the stars -- that's the darkness that has been with us for the last 10 or 15 billion years, the age of the universe.

Heather: Mmm.

Professor Samuel: And we have the illusion that there is a lot of light in the world because our planet is relatively close to a star, a star we called the Sun. And in each day, during half the day, the part of the surface of the Earth that we live in faces the Sun, and we have light. And when we turn away from the Sun, we have night. But the night that we see now is actually the darkness of the universe that really exists everywhere. The stars that light up the universe are spaced out at large distances. Most of the universe is dark.

Jed: Now, Heather had an interesting question.

Heather: That explains how the beginning of the universe started. What is your final scientific thought regarding the future in the book?

Professor Samuel: Well, scientists do not know what the future has in store. But there turns out to be two possibilities. Either the universe will continue expanding forever and continue cooling, and eventually the universe will become so cold that life will not be able to exist. All the stars will eventually use up their nuclear fuels. They'll burn out and grow dark.


Heather: Yes.

Professor Samuel: Thus one possibility is that the universe will expand forever and become cold and black. The other possibility is that the universe will slow its expansion, stop at some point and then begin to contract. And then all the galaxies and the stars in the universe, all the material will begin to approach each other and begin to heat up. It will be the opposite process as in the Big Bang.

Jed: Now many people have understood the Ten Commandments of the Bible. I want to know if I can quiz you, professor. If you can give me three commandments -- there are ten commandments of science. The "new testament" [like] reveals "Ye shall keep my commandments." Can you give me two of those?

Professor Samuel: The Bible According to Einstein has [ah] a Book of Commandments. The Bible According to Einstein is constructed in analogy with the Holy Bible. So it has sections in it that mimic the structure and style of the Holy Bible. So there is a book of scientific commandments -- the ten commandments of science. And it is written in the language of the Bible but the content is science. For example, you've probably heard that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Jed: True.

Professor Samuel: The Bible According to Einstein says, "Thou shalt not steal energy, momentum or angular momentum. Thus thou shalt conserve these quantities.

Heather: Mmm.

Professor Samuel: Energy shall neither be created nor destroyed but only changed from one form to another."

Jed: True.

Professor Samuel: That's one example of a commandment. It is impossible for us or actually any natural process to create or destroy energy. Another example of one of the commandments of science is that "Thou shalt obey the force of electromagnetism."

Jed: Right.

Professor Samuel: That's the third commandment.

Jed: Right. I found that one.

Professor Samuel: "If thou art a charge, thou shalt be repelled by the charges of thyself and thou shalt be attracted to charges

Heather: Mmm

Professor Samuel: that are opposite to thyself." That's Coulomb's law. As you know, like charges repel and unlike charges attract. In fact,  . . .

Jed: I remember doing that when I was doing static electricity in high school. I remember working on those laws before.

Professor Samuel: You see, basically, there are four fundamental forces that control everything in the universe.

Jed: What would those basic four be?

Professor Samuel: Gravity is one of them.

Jed: OK.

Professor Samuel: Very familiar to us. Ever time we drop an object and it falls to the floor, we witness gravity. We have to obey gravity. There's no choice.

The electric force and the magnetic force have been united into one force called electromagnetism. And that is the second force. Electromagnetism plays an important role in our daily lives. Everything from television sets to all the electrical appliances -- computers, light bulbs and so forth -- depend on the electric force. The atom, as we mentioned before, is a central nucleus of positive charge surrounded by a cloud of electrons, which are negatively charged. So the atom is held together by the electromagnetic force.

The other two forces are probably unfamiliar to your listeners. They are subnuclear forces. The third force is called the strong nuclear force. And it holds the protons and neutrons together in a nucleus. The fourth force is called the weak nuclear force. As the name implies, it is relatively weak. It leads to certain rare decays of nuclei, when nuclei fall apart, and it actually plays a role in the Sun, generating the Sun's energy and light.

Jed: OK.

Heather: That's really interesting.

Jed: Now from this press kit I know you're doing a discussion when? You're going to be in the Boston area?

Professor Samuel: I actually grew up in Massachusetts.

Jed: Oh, OK.

Professor Samuel: [Ah.] Currently I am a professor at Columbia University and also at City College. And I am in the area because I am attending a conference at Northeastern University on particle physics and cosmology. I am giving a seminar there on Wednesday.

Jed: This Wednesday?

Professor Samuel: Yes. Sunday at 2 pm, at the Beverly Public Library, I'll be giving a presentation that's open to the public and free. It's called "The Demise of the Dinosaurs. It's about the extinction of these giant reptiles. Its content is that 65 million years ago, an asteroid struck Earth, causing widespread ecological damage, wiping out the dinosaurs and 90% of other species. There's going to be a reading from The Bible According to Einstein

Jed: OK [interjected]

Professor Samuel: about that extinction event. And [ah], people are welcome to come to the Beverly Public Library.

Jed: It's going to be on Sunday at 2 pm?

Professor Samuel: At 2 pm. That's correct.

Heather: On this Sunday, March 29?

Professor Samuel: Yes, this Sunday coming up.

Heather: OK, that's good.

Professor Samuel: There will be lots of detail about that disaster. And there is going to be a discussion about the implications for human beings and whether such an asteroid extinction event can happen in the future and possibly wipe out our race.

Jed: Now, I'm curious that since your Wednesday discussion is going to be a lot different from your Sunday discussion since you're going to be doing a discussion of the demise of dinosaurs, how are you going to be able to tie in the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras into The Bible According to Einstein?

Professor Samuel: Well, the "old testament" of The Bible According to Einstein presents a complete history of the universe, Earth and life. Now the history of the Earth is divided up into periods. Different things happen during these periods. For example, during the Archean Eon, the Earth was in its initial formation. There was  .  .  . The structure of the Earth was developing. Initially when the Earth first formed, it was almost completely molten rock, and there were no oceans. There was no water on the surface of the Earth. It was only after the Earth sufficiently cooled from its process of formation that it finally rained and rains stayed as water on the surface of the Earth. The early eons describe the geological development of the Earth. Then later on, you have the periods of the various eras. The Paleozoic Era. The first period of it was the Cambrian during which there was a tremendous explosion in sophisticated life forms. Creations emerged with the complexity of sea creatures like squids and shrimps. Before that, before the Cambrian, the life forms were only worm-like or microbes and so forth. And each time you had a different period, new life forms emerged. During the Paleozoic Era, for example, there were no birds or mammals. During the Mesozoic Era, which consists of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, the reptiles came to rule the world. And the most familiar examples are the dinosaurs. But there were also flying reptiles called pterosaurs.

Heather: Mmm.

Professor Samuel: And also sea creatures. The swamps were occupied by crocodiles. Crocodiles are very interesting from this point of view because they have been on the Earth for about 200 million years. They are a fairly old reptile.

Jed: Now in your book when you kept with the scientific location of where the Bible was taking place, where these people took place, and the documentation and biography of Jesus Christ, are you also dealing with this era and that era? Like when you mention swamps, are you mentioning swamps all around the world or are you mentioning the swamps of the Middle Eastern area, of the Middle East?

Professor Samuel: Well, the swamps that I just mentioned don't exist today. These were swamps that existed more than 100 million years ago.

In the "new testament" of The Bible According to Einstein, there are four books dedicated to biographies of  .  .  . of four major religious leaders. Now this part of the book deals with development of human spirituality. And there's one book you referred to, called The Gospel According to the Gospels. And that is a biography of Jesus Christ. What The Bible According to Einstein has done is to take for four gospel books of the Holy Bible and combined them into one book, in which the story of Jesus is told in a form that involves poetry and prose. It is  . . . I mean, how could you have a bible without having the developments of man's spirituality?

Jed: Ah, hun.

Professor Samuel: So this particular book does that. And it's called The Gospel According to the Gospels. It gives a brief account of what happened. It has quite beautiful language. Much of The Bible According to Einstein is written in rhythmic prose that approaches poetry. [pause] And there is also poetry in the book. It has a very rich language that appeals to many people.

Jed: Now, Professor Stuart Samuel I want to ask you to stay on the line for just a second. We have two more questions to actually ask you, after this break. Is that OK?

Professor Samuel: [Ah] Sure.

Jed: That's great. If you just hold on one second, we going to get right to that.

We are talking to Professor Samuel here on 91.7 WMWM. He is the editor of The Bible According to Einstein. He is going to be doing a seminar on Wednesday and he's also going to be at the Beverly Public Library on Sunday at 2 o'clock. And we're going to talk a little more about that right after this.

You're listening to Rock 'n Talk.

[news break]

Jed: Thirty-two minutes after the 6 o'clock hour. How are you? This is Jed. And of course, you are listening to me too much. Anyway, we're going to go back to the show. We're talking to Professor Stuart Samuel, one of the master editors of The Bible According to Einstein.

Heather: And we each have one final question.

Jed: Yes.

Heather: I wonder whether it was scientifically possible for Moses to part the seas with his powers?

Jed: I mean is that actually notably true?

Professor Samuel: Scientifically, it is impossible to divide water.

Heather: Ah, hun.

Professor Samuel: And make a path through it that one could cross. Scientifically, something like that just couldn't have happened.

Jed: How was it documented so well into the book? Was it a story that was passed from person to person?

Professor Samuel: The story of Moses is modified [in The Bible According to Einstein] so that it is scientifically plausible. So what is described there is that some of Moses' men go up stream and create a dam. They block off the waters of the Sea of Reeds. They roll some giant boulders into the river. And then they throw in branches of trees and so forth. And they divert the waters and block them off. So the story of Moses is modified to be scientifically plausible.

Heather: When you think about that, how can something like that be proven? That's a very difficult theory.

Professor Samuel: It's not proven in the book. There is a footnote to The Bible According to Einstein's book of Moses that the reader is being presented with a scientifically plausible RENDITION of the story of Moses.

Jed: Well, thank you Professor Stuart Samuel.

Professor Samuel: Well, thank you.

Jed: You're listening to 91.7 WMWM.

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