A critical analyis of the TV Movie – Einstein and Eddington (2008)
For over thousands of years, science has been the most important fundamental foundation of knowledge. Tracing its root back from the time of Aristotle down to Plato and that of Socrates, from the very beginning of science through natural philosophy and philosophic investigation of natural phenomena, would lead us in the modern world of science and innovations.
Science as a systematized body of knowledge has been widely useful for countless centuries up until today. The different theories presented by exceptional geniuses in our history ever recorded by man, helped a lot in understanding these natural phenomena and eventually gave birth to the scientific revolution. On the contrary, it also became the reason of unexpected outcome and consequences brought by these innovations, death of the hundreds and retreats that resulted from the never ending history of warfare. Take for example, the chemical weapons used by Germany against England during World War I which came after scientific revolution and innovations of German scientists. It was like making the benefits of science for the sake of oneself and the degradation of the other. But it was also that time when science itself was experiencing crisis with the theories that were proposed in the past and were then being questioned and later on, be debunked. There comes Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington.
The movie depicts several issues not only in the long history of science, but also its impact on the society, in religion, in the long bygone days of world wars and political divisions, and in humanity itself.
The writer and director should be commended for this outstanding contribution they made to better understand what science concepts try to tell us, what exists behind the so called “Theory of Relativity” and how come Einstein and Eddington introduced this theory to the world.
We were at least enlightened, maybe not on the whole thing about Einstein’s theory of Relativity, but on how these two geniuses proved the possibility of superseding what science back then [Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation] tells us about the universe and the world’s view of understanding time and space. It was all despite of their differences in terms of beliefs and allegiance, sharing only a common measure of interest – that is for the sake of science and to exclude it as a discipline separated from those of political divisions and religious differences. But how can one such of Einstein and Eddington make us believe in this, while in fact, scientific innovations lead us to the development of new warfare tactics that cost a hundred civilian lives to pay? Science and polity could never be separated, they can only be treated as one discipline different from one another, but to say that science has no relations with the latter is neither justifiable nor the fact.
However, we must admit that the two of them just did what was only right and necessary. For the sake of science, they never minded these political divisions. Instead, Einstein and Eddington strived for the best to overcome the boundaries that limit them. Their exceptional efforts for theorizing the Relativity of Einstein could never be ignored nor discarded in our history. They pushed through what the world decrees to be impossible. They engaged themselves in a continuous search for truth and wisdom to form an organized body of knowledge. Hence, Philosophy way back from the time of Aristotle.
Einstein and Eddington proved us more than what we expected from them. They did serve their own life and even sacrificed their family for the benefits of science. Einstein, for instance, left his family just to give way for his job and almost spent his life proving his Theory of Relativity. Eddington, on the hand, must be commended for his support on Einstein’s theory. Without him as the ‘best measuring man in England’ Einstein would be nothing. He was not that well recognized as we all know, but his scientific contribution had given way on the Relativity Theory, eventually popularizing one of the greatest scientists in the history of science – Albert Einstein. Unfortunately, Arthur Eddington was left behind the spotlight. With the Theory of Relativity, along with Einstein, there should be a man named “Eddington” to be recognized, mentioned and be given credit at all times. The world should admire the two of them for the valuable contributions they made.
Einstein and Eddington – The Movie, presents one of the issues and perhaps the most controversial one related to science – the reconciliation of Religion and Science itself. How can one stand right in the middle of the two? Can one predominantly lead over the other or is it even possible to reconcile the two? If the situation calls for it, would you stand in between or make a choice? Which is which.
I want to take as a good example what Arthur Eddington did. He aimed to reconcile his faith and scientific principles in life with the hope of choosing none between the two. He was a man of courage who strongly believes in God regardless of his career path. He was able to hold to his faith despite the challenges he had been through to the extent of questioning the existence of God, as all humans did, or if God was with him why would He allow those miseries to happen. Eddington was indeed a man of his belief as what he held to be true with Eintein’s theory, because at the end of the story he did not allow his fear and distress to be bigger than his faith. It only implies that challenges may really come to our life but it doesn’t mean God isn’t with us. It could only be God’s way of saying “how long can you hold on to your faith?”
Science is a rational explanation of phenomena or as we know, an organized body of knowledge while Religion though organized in nature believes in religious principles and reverence to a “Supreme Being” who created everything in existence. Many believed that we can never reconcile the two for its opposing views and disciplines. Yes, Science and Religion have contradicting ideas. The latter does not believe the first nor the other way around. But to say that the two can never be reconciled is an impossible and uncertain assurance. We should always be reminded of our great scientists in the past, not only Einstein and Eddington but many among them. They believe in God more than the certainty of Science. If man will always think of the impossibility of reconciling science and faith, it will really appear and happen to be that way.
It will not be biased to say that Science gives way for humans to understand these natural phenomena in order for us to realize how great God is, how majestic He is, to put everything into existence and to know that He created science as a way of seeing how wonderful life is and how scientific it could get. This is what Eddington’s trying to imply in the film, which Einstein also held to be true. As what Einstein said, “Science without Religion is lame. Religion without Science is blind.” The scientists had already spoken: one cannot stand without the other nor exists alone. This is the best and only way to reconcile the two beliefs regardless of the gaps they share. Therefore, it was a useless debate to contradict science with religion or vice versa, a because they will never meet each other except for the above way of reconciling the two. If someone will insist to do this, he was just like trying to magnetize the same poles while in fact, only opposite poles attract the same way with charges and with asymptote that will never touch the x-axis in a curve. They will only keep on repelling and repelling each other. If that happened, the problem lies within the person himself not with science nor religion. Then do not blame it on any of the two.
Another issue that were not directly impose in the movie are the deeds opposing to the religious beliefs of the characters being portrayed as in real life. The homosexuality of Arthur Eddington, as can be pictured out in the movie draws a big controversy with what he truly believed in. Some might say, his religion was against with what he’s doing. However, as far as reality is concerned, it is not appropriate to portray the character of Eddington as homosexual despite of the thing that there’s no firm evidence to support this speculation. Hence, it was only speculation. But since the movie was only a drama, the BBC/HBO Einstein and Eddington as a work of fiction, it takes many liberties, from the invention of characters to the reordering of events. We can refer to it as evidence of Eddington’s presentation in popular culture, but not for anything beyond that.
Gdr 22:36, 30 November 2008 (UTC) No one knows the real thing about the sexuality of Eddington so it is safer not to say anything nor question his masculinity. As long as he did not stand and shout that he’s homosexual, he was still a man, both of courage and faith.
The movie Einstein and Eddington has inspired a lot of viewers and somehow changed their perspectives of what science is. That it does not only revolved around scientific principles upon understanding the different phenomena of the universe, but also with the disciplines it proposes to humanity. The movie also reflects the current situation of scientific innovations and its continuous approach to modernization; that science can be very essential to life and it can be beneficial as destructive as it could get. We must never forget the lessons learned in the past, to use science as an organized body of the knowledge and at the same time be responsible as stakeholders of it.
The film serves as an interpretation of how the history of science went through over decades, its everyday application to the life of man and every beat of second Einstein and Eddington’s Theory of Relativity works out. Most importantly, we have seen from the movie how Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington showed the world that through FAITH and determination, anything can be falsifiable even the toughest theory of all time.
This was a paper requirement submitted to my Physics 11 Class under Mr. Alipio Garcia (Professor of Physics, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Department of Physical Sciences, University of the Philippines – Baguio)