April 30, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Atheist Writes Cosmological Bible

From Genesis to Revelation, Lawrence Krauss has reality all figured out. A book reviewer in Nature is not so sure.

Bombastic atheist Lawrence Krauss, having brought about A Universe from Nothing, now calls on his chosen deity — Chance — to inspire new scriptures. Chance returned the favor by picking  Krauss as its chosen vessel to pen the words. The new work is called The Greatest Story Ever Told … So Far. It was reviewed in Nature by Robert P. Crease.

Forget the Odyssey, the Aeneid and the Bible — the story of modern fundamental physics, Lawrence Krauss argues, is greater than all of these. What could live up to such a billing?

The tale has been told before, in outline and detail. Krauss’s retelling is fast (four centuries in 300 pages) and aimed at nonscientists. Its best parts are its explanations of difficult concepts. Its worst are where Krauss, a theoretical physicist, apparently feels competitive with the Bible and the humanities.

Crease shares details about how Krauss compares scientific discoveries with events in the Bible:

Krauss clearly thinks that his story deserves to displace the classics of the humanities. His book reveals why it can’t.

  • Genesis is the big bang.
  • Exodus is the 1930’s discovery of the short-range nuclear force (“It is silly for Krauss to analogize this period to the part of the Bible in which the Jews are enslaved in Egypt, but that’s the flavour of this book,” says Crease).
  • Revelation opens with the Standard Model of Nuclear Physics.
  • The Promised Land is the time after the Standard Model was accepted.

Crease is not amused. He criticizes Krauss’s “sloppy analogies” and imaginary scenarios, like his message to the inhabitants of Plato’s Cave, “We’re accidents!” The reviewer finds the author guilty of arbitrariness, too:

In Krauss’s oversimplified take, there are two answers to the question, ‘why are we here?’. The biblical one is to say that humans have a special status and that the Universe was made just for us. The other is to realize that the laws of nature are independent of us and that we are “the result of an accident in the history of the universe”. He opts for the latter.

Apparently, materialism is just an option in Crease’s opinion, given that he gives a fair and respectful summation of the biblical view.

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