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Scientists & God: The Myth of Incompatibility

Scientists & God: The Myth of Incompatibility

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Scientists & God: The Myth of Incompatibility

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  1. Scientists & God: The Myth of Incompatibility Robert J. Marks II Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Baylor University

  2. Abstract • Is true scientific pursuit mutually exclusive of a faith in God. Those who objectively pursue their truth through the scientific method, some say, cannot realistically embrace a belief in a living God. This posturing often arises from an ignorance of the Christian faith and it’s role in science. Indeed, both today and in history, a number of scientists, mathematicians and engineers are motivated in their work by the uncovering of the precise orderliness and wonderful interrelations in God's creations. Many not only study the creation, but have pursued the identity of the Creator and have come to submission to God through acceptance of the sacrifice of His Son. Examples from history who embrace Christ as savoir include many giants in science and technology, including Isaac Newton - the father classical physics and co-creator of calculus, Michael Faraday - the father of electrical engineering, and Blaise Pascal - mathematician extraordinaire and inventor of the first computer. The myth of incompatibility between science and faith is without foundation or substance.

  3. The Mindset of the Academy • Tolerance? • Tolerance • The Origin • Overt or Covert? • Anecdotes • Curricula

  4. Excerpts • Index

  5. What motivates research at the Academy? Seeking Truth ?

  6. and/or Seeking Fame? Seeking Fame? • Dr., Ph.D., FIEEE, FOSA • Illustration... To: From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: Beller medal Dear Bob: I am attaching a file that gives a short list of my contributions to optical science and education. If you feel that I qualify as a candidate for the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal, I would very much appreciate and be honored by a letter from you on my behalf for this medal. Please note that the letter must be at OSA by Oct. 1. The address is: Optical Society of America Communications Dept. MS 112, 2010 Massachusetts Avenus. [sic], NW Washington, DC 20036-1023 Fax: 202-416-6134 I thank you in advance. Attachment Converted: "g:Proposed Candidate for the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal.doc"

  7. e-mail from an IEEE Professional Society governing board concerning actions of an Awards Committee (1999)… “I have never known an awards committee where the members grant each other the awards/medals. I don't contest that the committee members are not deserving of an award, but the mere fact of serving on a selection committee should exclude one from receiving the awards being distributed.” The Awards Committee was giving their members awards!

  8. Modest Mindset of the Academician U.S. News & World Report reports a poll of university professors found that 94% of the respondents thought they were better at their jobs than their average colleague. U.S. News & World Report 16 Dec 96 p26

  9. Seeking fame through research: Occupational Hazard? “Famous Researchers' Ultimate Stress: When Doing Science Leads To Suicide” Emil Fischer (1852-1919), Percy Bridgman (1882-1961), Hans Fischer (1881-1945), Stanford Moore (1913-1982), Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906), Alan Turing (1912-1954), Leading FactorsMinor precipitating factors isolation, 50 percent; death of a close relative, 17 percent; physical illness, 47 percent; overwork, 14 percent; politics 42 percent; business problems, 11 percent depression 31 percent. grant problems, 8 percent; problems with the administration, 3 percent. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Jesus Christ Molly Gleiser, a chemist, is the founder of Suicide Prevention Among Scientists, based in Berkeley, Calif. Richard H. Seiden, a former professor of suicidology at the University of California, Berkeley The Scientist, Vol:, #4, pg 21

  10. What motivates research at the Academy for some? Truth, fame and/or What motivates research at the Academy? Seeking God !?!

  11. The Beauty of Creation 1. The Beauty of Creation! 2. Who Created this beauty?

  12. Motivation? • Premise #1: Some Scientists’ and Mathematicians’ embrace a strong belief in God. Motivation for research, in certain cases, stems in part from their curiosity of discovering God’s creation and the awe and remarkable beauty of the relationships they uncover. “Science brings man nearer to God” Louis Pasteur Louis Pasteur (John Hudsion Tiner, Louis Pasteur - Founder of Modern Medicine, Milford, MI: Mott Media, Inc., 1990, p.75.)

  13. “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Into his tiniest creatures, God has placed extraordinary properties ...” Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) John Hudsion Tiner, Louis Pasteur - Founder of Modern Medicine, Milford, MI: Mott Media, Inc., 1990, p.75.) • “God is going to to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His.” George Washington Carver (1865-1943) (who named his laboratory God’s Little Workshop.) Ethel Edwards, Carver of Tuskegee (Cincinnati, Ohio; Ethyl Edwards & James T. Hardwick, 1971) pp.141-42.

  14. 2. Isaac Newton The father of classical physics. Co-Discoverer of Calculus 13. Louis Pasteur The father of microbiology 61. Michael Faraday The father of electrical engineering Biography’s Top 100 Persons of the Millennium 1. Gutenberg, Johann 2. Newton, Isaac 3. Luther, Martin 4. Darwin, Charles 5. Shakespeare, William 6. Columbus, Christopher 7. Marx, Karl 8. Einstein, Albert 9. Copernicus, Nicolaus 10. Galileo Galilei 11. Da Vinci, Leonardo 12. Freud, Sigmund 13. Pasteur, Louis 14. Edison, Thomas 15. Jefferson, Thomas 16. Hitler, Adolf 17. Gandhi, Mahatma 18. Locke, John 19. Michelangelo 20. Smith, Adam 21. Washington, George 22. Khan, Genghis 23. Lincoln, Abraham 24. Aquinas, St. Thomas 25. Watt, James 26. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeu 27. Bonaparte, Napolean 28. Bach, Johann Sebastian 29. Ford, Henry 30. Beethoven, Ludwig Von 31. Watson & Crick 32. Descartes, Rene 33. King, Martin Luther Jr. 34. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 35.Lenin, Vladimir 36. Fleming, Alexander 37.Voltaire 38.Bacon, Francis 39.Alighieri, Dante 40.Wright Brothers 41.Gates, Bill 42.Mendel, Gregor 43.Mao, Zedong 44. Bell, Alexander Graham 45. William the Conqueror 46.Machiavelli, Niccolo 47. Babbage, Charles 48. Wollstonecraft, Mary 49. Gorbachev, Mikhail 50.Sanger, Margaret 51. Jenner, Edward 52. Churchill, Winston 53. Curie, Marie 54.Polo, Marco 55. Magellan, Ferdinand 56.Stanton, Elizabeth 57. Presley, Elvis 58.Joan of Arc 59. Kant, Immanuel 60. Roosevelt, Franklin D. 61. Faraday, Michael 62. Disney, Walt 63.Austen, Jane 64.Picasso, Pablo 65. Heisenberg, Werner 66.Griffith, D.W. 67.Zworykin, Vladimir 68. Franklin, Benjamin 69.Harvey, William 70. Pope Gregory Vll 71.Tubman, Harriet 72.Bolivar, Simon 73.Princess Diana 74.Fermi, Enrico 75.Pincus, Gregory 76.The Beatles 77.Hobbes, Thomas 78. Isabella 79. Stalin, Joseph 80. Elizabeth I 81.Mandela, Nelson 82. Bohr, Neils 83. Peter the Great of Russia 84.Marconi, Guglielmo 85. Reagan, Ronald 86. Joyce, James 87. Carson, Rachel 88.Oppenheimer, Robert J. 89.Anthony, Susan B. 90. Daguerre, Louis 91.Spielberg, Steven 92. Nightingale, Florence 93.Roosevelt, Eleanor 94. Patient Zero 95. Chaplin, Charlie 96.Caruso, Enrico 97.Salk, Jonas 98. Armstrong, Louis 99.Da Gama, Vasco 100. Suleiman I Blaise Pascal The father of computer engineering James Clerk Maxwell The founder of electromagnetics Thomas Bayes The founder of statistical inference

  15. Newtonian Physics Quantum Theory (very small) Relativity (very big) Sir Isaac Newton(1642-1727) “ of the greatest names in the history of human thought”

  16. Sir Isaac Newton(1642-1727) • Newton’s Contributions • Newtonian Physics • The Calculus • Law of Universal Gravitation • Optics • ReflectingTelescope • White light components “In late editions of his scientific works he [Newton] expressed a strong senseof God's providential role in nature.” Microsoft Encarta.

  17. Namesakes • Newtonian Physics • Apple’s Newton • Newtonian constant of gravitation = 6.672 59 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2 • Newton (mks unit of force) • Newton’s rings • Newton Optimization

  18. God observed in nature... “[The] beautiful system of the the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Isaac Newton quoted from Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections From His Writings (Hafner Publishing, 1953)

  19. From “Optics” by Isaac Newton “God in the beginning formed matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with other such properties, and in such proportion to space, as most conduced to the end for which He formed them.” • “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

  20. Newton on Atheism Newton on Atheism “Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.” Isaac Newton quoted from Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections From His Writings (Hafner Publishing, 1953)

  21. Michael Faraday(1791-1867) “Michael Faraday's scientific work laid the foundations of all subsequent electro-technology.” Lenore Symons, IEE Senior Archivist • The Father of ElectricityFaraday’s Contributions • Faraday’s Law • Discovered electromagnetic induction: generators, motors & transformers. • The Faraday Effect A magneto-optic effect in which the polarization plane of an electromagnetic wave is rotated under the influence of a magnetic field parallel to the direction of propagation. • Discovered Benzene

  22. Michael Faraday... • Build first practical electric motor. • Coined the terms • electrode, • anode, • cathode • electronic Namesakes • Farad = unit of capacitance • Faraday’s constant = F=96 485.309 C mol-1

  23. “Later, having escaped the Nazis, Einstein again displayed a large portrait of Faraday - this time in his Princeton study.” Michael Faraday: Father of Electronics, Ludwig Charles, 1978, Herald Press, Scottsdale, PA. Albert Einstein “Albert Einstein... was a devoted admirer of Faraday. While still in Berlin, … [he] kept a large portrait of Faraday in his study.

  24. “[Faraday’s] standard of duty was supernatural. It was formed entirely on what he held to be the revelation of the will of God in the written word, and throughout all his life his faith led him to act ... to the the very letter of it.” Dr Bence Jones "The Life and Letters of Faraday”. See also

  25. Faraday on Knowledge vs. Wisdom “Alas! How foolish perhaps to leave home, to leave those whom I loved and who loved me for a time uncertain in its length, but certainly long and which may perhaps stretch out to eternity! And what are the boasted advantages to be gained? Knowledge. Yes, knowledge but what knowledge? Knowledge of the world, of men, of manners, of books , and of languages… Alas! How degrading it is to be learned when it places us on a level with rouges and scoundrels! … Ah, Ben, I am not sure that I have acted wisely in leaving a pure and certain enjoyment for such a pursuit” Homesick Michael Faraday in a letter from Rome to friend Benjamin Abbott during science tour of Europe as assistant of Sir Humphry Davy.Michael Faraday: Father of Electronics, Ludwig Charles, 1978, Herald Press, Scottsdale, PA.

  26. Faraday & AWARDS • Faraday was offered and refused the Presidency of the Royal Society. He responded no… "I must remain plain Michael Faraday to the very last."

  27. Thomas Bayes (1702 – 1761) Bayes Theorem • Baysian Inference: Making classifications using an historical data base. • Foundation of most modern e-mail spam filters. Thomas Bayes, Divine Benevolence,1731, and D.R. Bellhouse, “The Reverend Thomas Bayes FRS: a Biography to Celebrate the Tercentenary of his Birth” <>

  28. Thomas Bayes (1702 – 1761) • Reverend Bayes was a pastor of the Presbyterian Chapel in Tunbridge Wells, 35 miles southeast of London. • Bayes didn’t bother to publish his mathematical work. It was all published posthumously. Bayes was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1742 having no published works on mathematics. Bayes did publish about his faith. “God always does that which is right and fit, and that all his moral attributes, [namely] justice, truth, faithfulness, mercy, patience, [etc.] are but so many different modifications of rectitude.” Thomas Bayes, “Divine Benevolence”, 1731. D.R. Bellhouse, “The Reverend Thomas Bayes FRS: a Biography to Celebrate the Tercentenary of his Birth” <>

  29. James Clerk Maxwell Maxwell’s Equations On an Electrical Engineering Student’s T-Shirt... And God said... and there was light.

  30. “The formulation of these [Maxwell’s] equations is the most important event since Newton’s time” Albert Einstein • “Was it a god who wrote these lines…” Ludwig Boltzmann – Nobel prize winner in Physics - on Maxwell’s equations (quoting a line from Goethe). Quotes… • “To anyone who is motivated by anything beyond the most narrowly practical, it is worth while to understand Maxwell’s equations simply for the good of his soul” J.R. Pierce, Electrons, Waves and Messages, Hanover House, 1956. • “[Maxwell’s equations] can be appreciated, by those who understand them, on an aesthetic level.” Halliday & Resnick, Physics II, Wiley (1962) – a widely used undergraduate Physics text.

  31. James Clerk Maxwell “As with Faraday, his profound investigations into nature were concomitant with deep religious reverence for nature’s cause.” Sir Joseph Larmor in the Biographical Notes to: James Clerk Maxwell, Matter and Motion, (Dover, 1991).

  32. “The only desire which I can ..have is like David to serve my own generation by the will of God, and then fall asleep.” Maxwell (near death). Lewis Campbell & William Garnet, The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, London 1882, p.309 “I believe ... that ‘Man's chief end is to glorify.God and to enjoy Him for ever’.” James Clerk Maxwell Ian HutchinsonMIT IAP Seminar: The Faith of Great Scientists, Jan 98

  33. Dimitri Egorov • Egorov worked on triply orthogonal systems and potential surfaces and made major contribution to differential geometry. • Egorov also worked on integral equations and a theorem in the theory of functions of a real variable is named after him Born: 22 Dec 1869 in Moscow, RussiaDied: 10 Sept 1931 in Kazan, USSR • In 1923 Egorov was elected president of the Moscow Mathematical Society • In 1923 Egorov became director of the Institute for Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University

  34. Dimitri Egorov • The Church was repressed after the revolution. Egorov defended them. In 1922-23 and again in 1928, clergy were executed in mass. • Egorov tried to prevent the attempt to impose Marxist ideology on scientists. • In 1929 Egorov was dismissed as director of the Institute for Mechanics and Mathematics and given a public rebuke. • Egorov was arrested as a "religious sectarian" and put in prison. An "Initiative group" took over the Society in November 1930. They expelled Egorov denouncing him as “a reactionary and a churchman.” • Egorov went on a hunger strike in prison and eventually died.

  35. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) • Kepler’s Laws 1. The orbits of the planets are ellipses, with the Sun at one focus of the ellipse.

  36. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) • Kepler’s Laws

  37. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) • Kepler’s Laws III. The ratio of the squares of the revolutionary periods for two planets is equal to the ratio of the cubes of their semimajor axes.

  38. Johannes Kepler • “Throughout his life, Kepler was a profoundly religious man. All his writings contain numerous references to God, and he saw his work as a fulfilment of his Christian duty to understand the works of God. Man being, as Kepler believed, made in the image of God, was clearly capable of understanding the Universe that He had created. Moreover, Kepler was convinced that God had made the Universe according to a mathematical plan.” • “When asked: Why do you do science?", Kepler answered that he desired in his scientific research to obtain a sample test of the delight of the Divine Creator in his work and to partake of his joy.”

  39. PASCAL: a high level programming language designed by Niklaus Wirth in 1974 as a teaching language for computer scientists. • Pascal’s Law: the pressure in a fluid is transmitted equally to all distances and in all directions. • PASCAL: A unit of pressure. 1 bar equals 100,000 Pascal • Pascal’s triangle. Blaise Pascal(1623-62) Blaise Pascal (1623-62) Blaise Pascal(1623-62)

  40. Pascal: Computer Engineer • In 1642, Pascal began to create a machine that would be similar to an everyday calculator to help his father with his accounting job. • He finished the final model in 1645. • He presented one to Queen Christina of Sweden and he was allowed a monopoly over it by royal decree.

  41. Pascal: the Mathematician

  42. Pascal’s Triangle Pascal's Triangle 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 1 1 2 1 1 3 3 1 1 4 6 4 1 1 5 10 10 5 1 1 6 15 20 15 6 1 1 7 21 35 35 21 7 1 ...

  43. Pascal’s Triangle & Pizza 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 1 1 2 1 1 3 3 1 1 4 6 4 1 1 5 10 10 5 1 1 6 15 20 15 6 1 1 7 21 35 35 21 7 1 ... Four (4) available toppings (Extra Cheese, Onions, Pepperoni, Tomato) C,O,P,T You can choose two. There are 6 possible pizzas ... CO,CP,CT,OP,OT,PT

  44. Pascal’s Triangle, Pizza & Poker From 52 toppings, choose 5 = 2,598,960 pizzas = number of possible poker hands Note: From 52, choose 13 = 6,227,020,800 = number of possible bridge hands

  45. Pascal & AWARDS “Fame is so sweet that we love anything we connect with it, even death.” Blaise Pascal (Pensees)

  46. Pascal’s thoughts... “Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he faces his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness. And at once there wells up from the depths of his soul boredom, gloom, depression, chagrin, resentment, despair.”

  47. Pascal’s Thoughts ...there are two ways people avoid thinking about such matters: diversion and indifference. Regarding diversion, Pascal says we fill up our time with activities to avoid facing the truth of our state. "The natural misfortune of our mortality and weakness is so miserable, that nothing can console us when we really think about it.... The only good thing for man, therefore, is to be diverted so that he will stop thinking about his circumstances.”

  48. Nirvana’s Curt Cobain offers a Translation of Pascal: “With the lights out it's less dangerous “Here we are now. Entertain us.” … “The denial, the denial, the denial, the denial, …” Smells like Teen Spirit Nirvana

  49. Were all motivated by belief in God? Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827). Laplace transform Laplace Noise Laplace helped to establish the metric system.

  50. Napoleon appointed Laplace Minister of the Interior but removed him from office after only six weeks “because he brought the spirit of the infinitely small into the government.” Laplace Napoleon asked Laplace why God was not mentioned in any of his work on celestial mechanics. Laplace responded ... “Sire, je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothese.” “Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.” Petr Beckmann, “A History of Pi”, St. Martin’s Press, 1971.