GOD IN THE EQUATION: How Einstein Became the Prophet of the New Religious Era

Corey S. Powell, Author . Free Press $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-86348-1

For thousands of years, science and religion have occupied separate rooms in the house of culture. As science writer Powell points out, though, such a separation is hardly warranted in the modern world, where a new faith that he calls "sci/religion" captures both the mystical and the empirical. The prophet of sci/religion, Powell claims, is Einstein, whose search for a unifying factor in his relativity theory brought together the elements of physics and metaphysics. Einstein believed that a "spirit vastly superior to the spirit of man is manifest in the laws of the universe," and he named this spirit Lamda. His Lamda principle became known as the "cosmological constant," a force that dominated the universe and mitigated the inward pull of gravity. In this lively story, Powell traces the rise of the scientific community's tendency to explain the workings of the universe in mystical ways, as they search for the forces—dark energy, dark matter—that unify and bring order to the universe. Powell argues that sci/religion offers a religion of rational hope as an alternative to what he calls "old-time religion." He also contends that sci/religion can offer a theory of human consciousness rooted in the interactions of subatomic particles and fields. Powell's view of religion is decidedly outdated, as he has missed the resurgence of religion and spirituality in the late 20th century. Despite this, he convincingly shows the ways that science has molded itself into a new faith, and his book will surely generate controversy and skepticism among scientists and religionists. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/15/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-684-86349-8
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