The Bible According to Einstein
Published by Jupiter Scientific Publishing
634 pages, 1998
Buy it online
Waiting for the Punchline
Reviewed by Brad Murray
Misguided but clever is the most generous I can be. The Bible According to Einstein is an attempt to collect a significant body of scientific theory in a biblical format. What is not entirely clear is why one would want to do that. It is well executed and amusing as a fact, but not a particularly interesting book to read once you get the gag. It could be considered a work of humor, in which case it is clever, dry, and fun in concept, but not funny enough to read through. There is no punchline.
If it is intended as a serious format for the presentation of scientific principles, it is misguided. The presentation of scientific theory in the same biblical tones as those of God speaking to Moses is inappropriate for the discussion of science as it pretends that scientific work is unalterable fact delivered from God, when not all of it is. By example, most of the beginning of the book -- the New Testament, where the evolution of humanity is discussed -- is only speculation without support. This would, therefore, be an extremely poor place to start teaching about science, as it does no more than to enumerate some scientific principles, while it completely denies scientific method by its very approach.
If it is intended as a reference book, it fails dismally. There is plenty of very good information in it, but the organization of a religious tome is not one that leads to the rapid location of useful information. The God-delivering-commandments tone also misrepresents the level of confidence in those facts, and is therefore misleading.
The Bible According to Einstein is not bad, per se, it's just odd and inappropriate. It is well executed and the biblical tone is very consistently applied. Some of the re-tellings of biblical stories in natural, scientifically explained terms are actually quite fun to read. But it misrepresents the very philosophy of science, and as such it is valuable only as a novelty to science fans. It's fun to have on your shelf and explain to people. It's fun to read some parts out loud so your science-minded friends can share the joke. But it is a book without a niche. It serves no purpose except as a novelty. | September 1998
Brad Murray is a self-taught geek and school-taught philosopher. His loves include science, philosophy, philosophy of science, computer tinkering, and sweet manic depressives. He is an explorer of operating systems and programming languages and other computer esoterica, and a large French company pays him to design complex control systems. He views the planet as something here for his amusement, and therefore tries to skip the unamusing bits whenever possible. No degree, lots of school. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org but rarely reads his e-mail.