Einstein's Biggest Mistake

Ingrained bias caused Einstein to make what he called the biggest blunder of his career.

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Comments (17)

(7) liz, September 11, 2016 6:04 AM

Love this , thank you for sharing! Made me look at things in a different light.

(6) Leah, October 21, 2014 5:16 PM

"spot-on!"

Forget arguing facts, as some reviewers need to do, the message of video is what's relevant: BE OPEN. BE HAPPY. GROW.
Thank you for the reminder.

(5) LarryB, October 20, 2014 6:15 AM

Einstein was right


Relativity told physicists that the universe was restless. It couldn't just sit there. It either had to be expanding or contracting.
By measuring the speed and distance of many different supernovas, from many different eras, you can see whether anything has changed over the billions of years of cosmic history. And when the astronomers looked, things had changed, but in a way nobody expected. The expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down. It was speeding up. Einstein's "greatest blunder" was actually one of his greatest predictions. There really is a mysterious antigravity force. Einstein's only mistake was in rejecting it.

Harry Pearle, October 21, 2014 2:26 AM

See Daniel Cohen: 'For Argument's Sake' TED.com

In my comment #1 I suggested watching a TED talk by Daniel H Cohen called: For Argument's Sake. (It can also be seen on YouTube)......In this talk Prof.Cohen says that he has learned to be happy when he loses arguments, because he is thus able to learn from his mistakes. Here is the link:

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_h_cohen_for_argument_s_sake

(4) Joey, October 20, 2014 2:11 AM

It's worth noting that one reason to favor a static universe is that it implies an eternal universe—one without a beginning, i.e., one which can be explained without God. That was considered the most likely atheist theory before the Big Bang, and since Einstein was not religious in a traditional sense, its failure may be why he found the expanding universe "irritating."

God bless!

Rafi, November 13, 2014 6:01 PM

Ironic the Rav doesn't admit that he is wrong

The video should be corrected using someone else as the whipping boy or simply removed because otherwise it amounts to libel and motzi shem ra.

Anonymous, January 17, 2015 6:17 PM

Huh?

Who is the whipping boy? Einstein? Who is being libeled? Einstien? Who is the victim of lies (motzi shem ra)? Einstein? He himself admitted he was wrong and that the irritation that kept him from admitting what was right was the biggest blunder of his life.

I don't get it.

(3) P. Melanie Vleit, October 19, 2014 6:05 PM

Brilliant!

I just posted this video to Facebook as being worth anyone's time regardless of their beliefs on anything. Great job, Rabbi Zeldman!

rafi schutzer, October 20, 2014 12:31 AM

History

Unfortunately, the Rabbi's talk was based on some profound discrepancies with what is really very recent history. But without even getting into the Hubble Telescope anachronism, I was disappointed by the demeaning narrative presented about Einstein.

I'm sure others will add other thoughts as they should, but I just wanted to present a corrected account of that historic time which wasn't that long ago.

Einstein's General Relativity of 1915 originally had one major "flaw". His Field Equations had many corollaries; that massive bodies like our Sun would bend space, that there things called "black holes" and also that the universe was NOT static. His equations showed that the universe would either be expanding or contracting. Nothing seemed to be moving using then current technology.

It took another two years (while in hiding in Berlin, WWI, etc.) for Einstein to add the lambda constant tensor. It was a fudge factor to achieve the metrically static universe which was the predominant view until 1929.

That was the year that Edwin Hubble, an attorney and part-time astronomer on staff at the Mount Wilson Observatory since 1919, explained the as yet unexplained but observed red-shift. The explanation? The universe was indeed expanding. [Georges Lemaître actually preceded Hubble in proving this and deriving "Hubble's" constant in 1927.]

So in reality, Einstein was right again! He was able to get rid of lambda. That was what he called his greatest blunder, that he hadn't believed what his theory was telling him and tried to force it into what was really an unstable static state. The reason that science is always changing is because our observations are always improving.

Ironically, his 1917 idea of a cosmological constant is returning in fashion now with some misguided researchers into "Dark Energy".

-rafi

(2) Julian Marks, October 19, 2014 4:41 PM

Error

Rabbi Zeldman may be a rabbinic authority but not on astronomy. Edwin Hubble did not invent the telescope named after him which was launched into space many years after his death. His great contribution was along with a Catholic priest was to observe that there was a linear relationship between the distance of galaxies and the red shift in their spectra which suggested that the further they were away the faster they were receding; thus the expanding universe. I do not see what this has to do with the existence of God which can never be proved and relies on faith.

Sharon, October 19, 2014 8:45 PM

YOU missed the point

The point is that because Einstein was irritated by that conclusion, he resisted it for years, and did not use his abilities but instead wasted his time refuting something unpalatable to him, even though it was well thought out. Similarly we resist ideas that are unpallatable to us not allowing reason to reign. And so it is for many regarding the existence of G-d.

Michael Mendershausen, October 19, 2014 10:24 PM

Proof of God

Your bias is showing. The existence of God has been proven; yours and others’ bias simply won’t allow you to be convinced. Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder, nuclear physicist and cosmologist, explains how in his three books. The easiest one for you to read would be “The Science of God.” The others are “The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth,” and “Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science and the Bible.” You won’t read any of these, of course, due to your bias, but in a nutshell, even protons, electrons, and neutrons, the ingredients that make up all matter, had to have been “Created” in the beginning; even this one simple truth is more proof than you have to prove Hashem does not exist.

Sam McCracken, October 20, 2014 12:33 AM

Faith can be based on observatiopn (among other criteria) and must be used when it comes to belief (Knowledge!!!) of God, for faith can be liokened to the kind of geometry which must be used in long distance navigation in the air. Common geometry will always give a false answer.

Mark, October 20, 2014 2:22 PM

Relative blunder?

Agreed, since faith by definition is believing in the 'unprovable' and so ironic that a brilliant mind referred to the belief in G-d as 'childish superstitions' ... Selah

(1) Harry Pearle, October 19, 2014 2:26 PM

See: 'For ARGUMENT'S Sake' by Daniel Cohen (TED.com)

This reminds me of a talk by Daniel Cohen on TED. It's called: For ARGUMENTS SAKE. (It can also be found on YouTube.) ..............In this great talk Prof.Cohen says that he enjoys being shown that he is WRONG in arguments. He says this is because being proven wrong adds to his knowledge...............Unfortunately, we usually do not like to be found wrong, because it may deflate our egos and make us feel that we are fooling or stupid or bad..........Thank you Rabbi Zeldman for making the case for the value of being proven wrong, even stronger. www.SavingSchools.org

Harry Pearle, October 19, 2014 7:55 PM

Admitting Wrongness Might Help Us to Admit other Mistakes

After the High Holidays, and Al Chait...it occurs to me that might be actually be a healthy thing to openly admit some of our mistakes. IF we can "break the ice" be showing our humility, we might become open to more corrections......If Rabbi Zeldman is wrong in some of his facts about Hubble, then perhaps he can benefit by admitting so, with his own comments, HERE. THANKS MUCH

Moshe Zeldman, October 20, 2014 12:57 PM

Thank you Harry

Thank you Harry for the invitation. In reviewing the video, I see that I do indeed stand corrected. The Hubble telescope was not created by Hubble, but rather much later and was named in honor of him, as Julian correctly points out. Rafi's point sounds correct as well.

Regardless, there is a bigger point here being made. It IS good to recognize our mistakes and be open to learning more. As psychologist Tal Ben Shahar says "we either learn to fail, or fail to learn". I'm glad I've learned from these comments.

Thanks

 

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