Dr. Gali Weinstein criticizes the decision to translate into Hebrew the book "Einstein's Jewish Science" by Steven Gimbel.
The book "Einstein's Jewish Science" was scientifically edited by Dr. Yachin Ona and translated into Hebrew by Emmanuel Lotem. The translator is experienced and the translation is faithful to the original, so I will refer to the Hebrew translation here.
The author Steven Gimbel explains the provocative central idea that is the basis of his book at the very beginning (on page 11): "We know that great thinkers such as the Nobel laureate Leonard, the celebrated mathematician Ludwig Beiberbach..., all stood together with their Nazi brothers. It is impossible to dismiss the thinking of such minds in vain... We may be hasty - too hasty - to reject outright claims made in defense of the abominable beliefs of Nazism. This is not to say that Nazism should be treated with some degree of sympathy; The intention is only to say that perhaps it is possible to gather insights through a more in-depth investigation of certain claims made in support of him." Philip Lenard has not stopped digging and looking for ways to discredit Einstein's theory of relativity since it arose as special relativity; And he did it for reasons of nationalism-racism and anti-Semitism.
Gimbel asks on page 75. Could it be Einstein's Jewish background that tipped the scales? And Gimbel asks it in a different way on page 76: "Were the Nazis advocating Aryan physics right, in their claim that there is a Jewish version of the scientific method, and Einstein's work is an example of it?" Gimbel continues to say that the Nazi argument came from three assumptions: 1) There is a typical Jewish way of thinking. 2) This way of thinking influenced the content of the theory of relativity. 3) This influence was malignant, and tarnished the theory. Gimbel concludes that the second premise was false. The content of Einstein's work was not influenced in any way by the Torah, the Talmud or anything else Jewish. The third assumption is racist nonsense. But he does not rule out the first assumption. He asks: "Is there indeed a Jewish way of thinking, ... and if so, can we find it in Einstein's science?" Again, Einstein himself thought that he was." In addition, Gimble asks: "Was Einstein Jewish?" And answers: "The Nazis thought the answer was positive." The Jews thought the answer was positive. Even Einstein himself thought the answer was positive." (page 21). And he writes on page 18: "Relativity will be a Jewish science if Einstein himself is Jewish."
Gimbel uses Einstein quotes to back up implicit anti-Semitic claims. Einstein never thought that there was a Jewish way of thinking and did not bother with personal questions. Einstein once wrote about the offer to write a biography about him: "As long as my personality is connected with it, I tend to give a negative answer; So no biography!". Einstein was opposed to preoccupation with his personality, he was opposed to preoccupation with nationality, his religion and anything that did not belong to the science he created.
But Gimbel insists on asking on page 75: "Why did a Jew formulate the theory of relativity?" Gimbel borrows the anti-Semitic phrase "Jewish science" and asks on page 18: "The theory of relativity, argued the followers of Aryan physics, is not real science, but 'Jewish science.' indeed? We will not be able to respond to this accusation if we do not first give an answer to the question 'What is Jewish science?' Why even raise this question when on page 143 Gimbel writes explicitly: "It is true that the concept of 'Jewish science' developed in part out of the so widespread anti-Semitism, especially in what concerns the general opposition to modernity in all its forms, and in part out of personal enmity towards Albert Einstein..." and on page 161 he Writes that the Nazis created the concept of Jewish science with the express intention of tattooing the theory of relativity.
Gimbel again asks if Einstein was Jewish? And he answers on page 23 yes. and why? The answer lies in the stereotype of the Jewish mother: "In truth, Einstein's mother was not just Jewish - and in many ways she was more Yiddish than the stereotypical mother - fierce, sharp-tongued, always ready and willing to take advantage of feelings of guilt to get what she wanted from her children, especially her son Albert." Lucky he didn't describe Einstein's father as Shylock.
Gimbel concludes: "When he worked on the theory of relativity, Einstein was no longer a theistic Jew, or an observant Jew." Hence the science he produced was not Jewish science. But he insists on asking on page 47: "Is relativity full of Jewish ideas?" After a long discussion, he answers on page 74: "But none of the intellectual ammunition that Einstein used came from Jewish suppliers... There is nothing in the software of the theory of relativity that is influenced by something Hebrew, drawn from it or refers to it." So why did Gimbal raise the question on page 47? After all, already on page 23 he answered this answer. And so it was unnecessary from the beginning to 'borrow' the phrase "Jewish science" from Nazism.
Gimbel decides at the end on pages 112 and 116 and 216 that relativity is not Jewish science but "science in a Jewish style" or thinking in a Jewish style" (in the style of the Talmud). He talks about methodology "in the Christian style" and "in the Jewish style", and writes on page 114 that not all Jewish scientists engage in science "in the Jewish style". What is the difference between Jewish science and Jewish science? Not clear from the book. On page 151 relativity returns to being "Jewish science". Gimbel says that one of the side meanings attached to the term "Jew" is disloyalty. He writes that the followers of Aryan science found this explicitly in "Jewish science". They argued that like everything else that man creates, science is dictated by race. He asks on page 159: "What about the disloyalty aspect?" He explores this aspect in one passage where he completely distorts history and presents Einstein as unfaithful:
"On the one hand, special relativity was the result of an aspiration to explain an experiment done by two Americans (Michaelson and Morley) through the work of a Dutchman (Lorenz), which combined with the methodological insights of a German (Mach) and a Frenchman (Poincare) led to conversations in Switzerland with members of the Olympia Academy who came From Romania (Moritz Solovin) and from Italy (Michela Basso). On the other hand, Einstein did not flaunt the multinational lineage of his theory. In fact, the noteworthy fact that his article does not mention any of these influences, other than words of thanks to Basso…”
Einstein did not remember whether he was specifically familiar with the Michelson-Morley experiment before he formulated the theory of relativity. In general, he knew that the site drift experiment had all yielded a negative result, meaning that no movement of the earth relative to the site had been detected. The problem for him was not experimental, to find a generalization of experiments; The problem was theoretical - to find the guiding principles, a principle that would guide him theoretically. It was Lorentz who tried through constructive efforts (the electron theory, transformations and the contraction hypothesis) to explain the Michelson-Morley and Poincaré experiment involving Lorentz's electron theory, which was based on the ether. Mach was the spiritual father of Einstein and Solovin and Besso, his close friends (Besso was not a member of the Olympia Academy). There is no reason for him to mention his friends and philosophical influences in an academic article.
On page 196, Gimbel adds to this passage other gross (!) mistakes: "Not only did neither of the two, neither Lorentz nor Poincaré, claim first rights to the discovery, but both even showed open hostility towards it, and Einstein worked hard to change their positions. He tried to convince the two, more than once and twice. As for Poincaré, his efforts failed again and again." Here Gimbel refers in a footnote to one of the world's greatest researchers Gerald Holton. Holton never said anything like that. But what is worse is that Gimble refers to the book from which he allegedly drew this incorrect information:
Holton, Gerald, Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps. New York: WW Norton, 2003.
This book was not written by Gerald Holton! It was written by Peter Gleason, and even Peter Gleason, an esteemed researcher, did not write in his book nonsense like the ones Gimble wrote above.
On page 144, Gimbel defines "Aryan science" and says that the German nationalists engaged in "Aryan science"; And on page 156 Gimbel comes to the following strange conclusion: "Einstein was engaged in Aryan science" and on page 158 he again writes that "in the terms of the Nazis themselves, Einstein turns out to be an Aryan thinker and not necessarily a Jew." First Gimbel said that Einstein practiced science in a Jewish style, then he demonstrated that Einstein practiced Jewish science and finally he wrote that Einstein practiced Aryan science.
In this context, it is worth recalling a joke that Einstein once told. Einstein became famous and not because of the Germans. It was precisely the English (Arthur Eddington), the sworn enemies of the Germans, who carried out the historical verification in 1919 of the theory of general relativity. The English Times asked Einstein to contribute an article on the new theory and to uplift his English colleagues and especially to bow to Newton's genius. Einstein agreed and on November 28, 1919 he published the article "Time, Space and Gravity". Einstein ended his article with a joke: "A final note. The description of me and my situation in the Times shows an amusing act of imagination on the part of the writer. Applying the theory of relativity to the readers' taste, today in Germany I am referred to as a German scientist, and in England I am presented as a Swiss Jew. If I am considered an abomination, the description will be reversed, and I will become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German scientist for the English!"
This joke annoyed the German nationalists who attacked Einstein's theory of relativity. In 1918 Einstein answered the German anti-Semites who attacked his theory of relativity. The paradox of the clocks (twins) especially bothered them. Einstein wrote a dialogue between a critic of relativity and a supporter of relativity:
The auditor: We will examine a reference system S in which there are two identical clocks at rest 1 and 2 and they both move at the same rate. Clock 2 moves with respect to the reference system S at a uniform speed. As seen from S it will move at a slower rate than clock 1 which is at rest at S. Suppose there are two points in our frame of reference: A and B. A is at the beginning of S and B is a point forward on the X-axis. Both clocks are initially at rest at A. They move at the same rate and the positions of the hands are exactly the same in both watches. Now clock 2 is given a constant speed in the positive direction of the X-axis and it moves towards B. At B its speed changes direction and clock 2 returns back to A. When it reaches A it slows down and is again at rest relative to clock 1. Now clock 2 lags behind clock 1. According to the principle of relativity the same process should occur in exactly the same way when it is represented in a frame of reference S' which moves together with clock 2. relative to a new frame of reference This is S' we say clock 1 is in motion and clock 2 is at rest. Hence clock 1 should lag behind clock 2 and this is contrary to the result we got before. If the two clocks are standing next to each other they cannot at the same time both lag behind each other and speed up with respect to each other.
Relativistic: according to the special theory of relativity the two coordinate systems S and S' are not equivalent. Because the theory of relativity says that only non-accelerating reference systems, that is, reference systems relative to which bodies move uniformly and in a straight line, are balanced. The system S is such an inertial system, but not the system S', which is momentarily an accelerated system. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that clock 2, after leaving clock 1, does not contradict the basis of relativity.
The critic: I see no reason why anyone would choose such terrible complications and mathematical difficulties just for the sake of intellectual preference, that is, for the sake of the idea of relativity. This seems contrary to our everyday logic.
Relativistic: We will turn to an example from everyday life and demonstrate why it is better to choose a complication. Suppose we consider the uniformly moving train to be at rest on the railroad tracks. In this situation the landscape is in uniform motion relative to the train. Will the common sense of the locomotive driver allow such a definition? The locomotive driver will strongly object to this, as it does not start the scenery, but starts the engine of the locomotive. Therefore, it is the movement of the locomotive that shows the effect of his work and not the other way around.
When you look at the classic example of the locomotive driver, you realize that the principles that stand behind it only come from physical thinking: work, energy and physical principles, which we know so well.
In his book, Gimbel repeatedly asks the same question: Is Einstein's theory of relativity a Jewish science? And cancels most of the achievements of the Jews in science by saying on page 13: "In the global Jewish community, not many have been awarded the same stature attributed to Einstein. Many enjoy pointing out that the actors Dana Shore and William Shatner, the supreme judges Abe Ports and Felix Frankfurter, the painter Marc Chagall, as well as Simon and Garfunkel, the three Stooges and the four Marx brothers, are Jews."
While a quarter of the world's Nobel Prize winners are Jews, Gimbel does not forget to point out repeatedly in his book that the German anti-Semitic nationalists won the Nobel Prize. For example, on page 147, he writes: "The two central figures who headed the Harry science movement, Leonard and Stark, won their Nobel Prizes for discoveries that resulted from their slow and meticulous observations of complex phenomena."
The translator Emanuel Lotem did a wonderful job in that in the Hebrew translation you don't find some stupid grammar mistakes that appear in the English original.
The book claims to be provocative by making controversial claims, which are backed up by quotes from Einstein and authoritative researchers. However, the author takes Einstein's quotes out of context and distorts the researchers' statements. The book is riddled with historical errors, errors in familiarity with scientific literature, and scientific errors so embarrassing that it is difficult to understand how a reputable publisher like Ketter agreed to publish a translation of it.
Dana Elazar-Halevi, editor of the non-fiction books at Keter Publishing, responds: "When we decided to publish the book, we had the review of the New York Times, which was certainly respectful, as well as a positive opinion on the book in terms of the interest it might arouse. Emanuel Lotem, an experienced translator of popular science books, and Yakhin Ona, who edited the book Scientific Editing, are, as far as I'm concerned, worthy trustees."
"It is clear to me that the starting point of the book is provocative, and it is possible that there were even mistakes in it. You probably understand more about this than I do. However, we are not an academic publication, and it often happens that books intended for the general public are not liked by professionals. "
"As far as I'm concerned, the very discussion of the question of the relationship between religion and science is interesting and thought-provoking, and therefore I think there should be a place for the book on the bookshelf - as mentioned, those intended for the general public and not necessarily for researchers and students."
For a review of Stephen Gimbel's book by Dr. Zev Rosencrantz, The former curator of the Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University and one of the editors of Einstein's writings at the Einstein Project at Caltech, Pasadena
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