since Einstein (don’t go back further,nwe don’t want a history); I shall supplynthe photographs, of nebulae and men,nand the print will be large, with widenspace between chapters. We shall callnit a book and price it accordingly!nSo the ambiguous project to whichnJastrow has now contributed, continues:nproving God’s existence throughnscience. But since science, in the lastntwo, three, four hundred years has been,nby and large, mechanistic, deterministic,nmaterialistic, the thing to do is to shownthat the phenomena are not compactnbut kind of porous, the electrons behavenpredictably in their orbits, and the universenis not eternal, it has a beginning,nthe “big bang.” Genesis already said so,nand science, that is, Bohr, Heisenberg,nPlanck, now Jastrow, comes to thenrescue.nNevertheless, I cannot imagine anyonenconverting just because he cannotndetermine simultaneously the locationnand direction of particles. On the othernhand, it is true that scientists since thenRenaissance have entertained a markednpreference for a soulless mechanism asnthe final explanation of the world-all,nrejecting the postulate of a consciousnintelligence. Anything rather than God:nthe chance encounter of atoms, a veryvery-veryncomplex matter in the coursenof a very-very-very long time, or absolutenignorance, nay indifference.nJastrow should be praised for proposing,nor rather popularizing, the “bignbang” theory, the primal explosionnwhich still distributes matter in all directions;nbut we should be aware thatnhe merely pushes the big question furthernback and does not ask or answer:nfrom where did the first matter, hydrogen,noriginate? If it was creation, wasnit ex nihilo? Who is behind it? Hisnother merit is the courage to mentionnthe “religion of science,” that is, ofnthe scientists, which too is an ideologynwith unproved dogmas based on irrationalnpreferences.nI read from the pen of no less thannMax Weber that the idea of ex nihilon14 inChronicles of Culturencreation was born in the Middle Eastnwhere peasants were amazed to notenplants grow out of the soil fecundatednby natural or artificial irrigation. Weberncalls this the image of “nothingness”n—which only proves that not only physicalnscientists, social scientists too.nhave their foolish notions. The peasantsnmost certainly knew that their harvestnwas the product of a collaboration:nthe soil, the Nile, and hard human labor,nblessed by God. But the peasants, likenthe workers, like the simple religiousnman, are hardly ever consulted. DnGuide to an Alternate WorldnBenjamin Stein: The View fromnSunset Boulevard; Basic Books;nNew York.nby Alan J. LevinenW riters have long played with thenidea of “alternate worlds,” where Leenwon at Gettysburg, or the Nazis rulenthe world, or in some other drastic wayndeviate from the world we know.nBenjamin Stein has written a lucid,nthough somewhat superficial, book thatnexamines an alternate world we arenshown every day, the one that is presentednon television, which. Stein argues,nis the dominant communicationnmode in America.nStein analyzes much of what we see,nthough the scope of his work is limitednto discussing regular weekly “primetime”n(evening) series. The pretentiousndramatic specials and made-for-televisionnmovies unfortunately are notnexamined. A look at them would, I think,nconfirm most of his important conclusions,nbut it would force him to modifynsome others.nStein finds that most of what we seenis manufactured by a group of just anfew hundred writers and producers,nnearly all of whom live in Los Angeles.nTo a surprising extent television showsnreflect, not an effort to give the publicnwhat it wants or is supposed to want,nbut the fairly uniform and usually sillynviews these people hold. Television expressesna genuine point of view; it is notnAlan J. Levine is an historian fromnNew York.nnnjust something whipped up to sell carsnor corn flakes. And, as Stein shows, itnis a mighty peculiar point of view, fornthe belief system of the people who makentelevision bears approximately the samenrelationship to reality as Alice innWonderland.nIn the real world, a rather disproportionatenamount of crime is committednby poor people and blacks, against othernpoor people and blacks. Crime on television,na staple of the medium, is committednby rich people and businessmennagainst well-to-do whites. Businessmennare lucky to be portrayed as clowns onnsituation comedies; on dramatic showsnthey are usually conspiring against thenpublic interest. Civilian governmentnbureaucrats are stuffy but harmless; thenmilitary are thugs, and may be plotting ancoup, and perhaps a nuclear holocaustnas an after-dinner treat. Small townsnare sinister and dangerous, thoughnsometimes, as on The Waltons, theynmay be seen through a dense fog ofnsentimentality. Cities, though at firstnsight unfriendly, are comparatively safenand comfortable. Traditional values,nStein observes, are largely inverted. Educationnand tradition are meaningless.nOnly villains are modest and thinkndeeply. An odd form of social hierarchynand class prejudice exists, however.n”Middle-class people appear generallynas heavies or fools. High-class peoplenare always covering up crimes againstnhumanity.” (Those crimes are liable tonbe particularly horrendous if they displaynany education or culture.) Poornpeople are almost invariably good, yet,nthough exploited, they seem to live inn