The many Christians crucial to science.

Posted on June 2, 2019 By

Christians crucial to science
Contrary to popular belief, Christians crucial to science are almost too many to number. Indeed, it is fair to say that the majority of the key branches of science were founded by devout Christians.
 
According to statistics compiled in 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, published in 2003, between 1901 and 2000, a total of 654 Nobel Laureates belonged to 28 different religions. Most (65.4%) have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. Overall, Christians have won a total of 78.3% of all the Nobel Prizes in Peace, 72.5% in Chemistry, 65.3% in Physics, 62% in Medicine, 54% in Economics and 49.5% of all Literature awards. According to U.N. statistics, in the last three centuries, among 300 outstanding scientists in the world, 242 believe in God.

Religion of Nobel Prize winners.png

Below is a short list of just a few of the many devout Christians who were ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL scientific contributors:

1) Sir Joseph J. Thomson, the founder of atomic physics.

2) Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics.

3) Sir Isaac Newton, who requires no introduction.

4) Gregor Mendel, the founder of modern genetics.

5) James Clerk Maxwell, the founder of classical electromagnetic theory (whose contributions to science are regarded to be of the same magnitude as those of Newton and Einstein).

6) Louis Pasteur, the founder of microbiology and immunology.

7) Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry.

8) Allan Sandage, the father of modern astronomy.

9) Wehner von Braun, the founder of space science.

10) John Ray, the English naturalist who is regarded by many to be the founder of modern biology.

11) Werner Heisenberg, the founder of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

12) Michael Faraday, the British scientist who made crucial contributions to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

13) Alexander Fleming, the Nobel Prize-winning British bacteriologist who discovered the life-saving antibiotic penicillin.

14) Sir Francis Bacon, the 17th century scientist and philosopher of science who is credited with discovering and popularizing the scientific method, whereby the laws of science are discovered by gathering and analyzing data from experiments and observations.

15) Ernest Walton, who won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “atom smashing” experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s, and so became the first person in history to artificially split the atom.

16) James Joule, propounder of the first law of thermodynamics (on the conservation of energy). He also made important contributions to the kinetic theory of gases. The unit of heat known as the “Joule” is named after him.

17) Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, the eminent English astronomer, physicist and mathematician known for his groundbreaking research in astrophysics. Eddington was the first person to investigate the motion, internal structure and evolution of stars, and is widely regarded to be one of the greatest astronomers of all time.

18) Charles Babbage, the mathematician and inventor considered to be “the father of the computer” for his invention of the first computer.


Quotes About God to Consider…If You Think Science Leads to Atheism: Just a few of many Christians crucial to science, as excerpted from the preceding post:

“As we conquer peak after peak we see in front of us regions full of interest and beauty, but we do not see our goal, we do not see the horizon; in the distance tower still higher peaks, which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects, and deepen the feeling, the truth of which is emphasized by every advance in science, that ‘Great are the Works of the Lord’.”

Sir Joseph J. Thomson, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who is recognized as the founder of atomic physics. Thomson was a devout Christian.

(In Presidential Address to the British Association, as quoted in Arthur L. Foley, ‘Recent Developments in Physical Science, The Popular Science Monthly (1910), 456)

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“Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”

“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls.”

Max Planck, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who made the crucial scientific contribution of founding quantum physics. Planck was a devout Christian and a member of the Lutheran Church in Germany.

Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184

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“Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, as cited in Principia Mathematica, which is widely regarded to be the most important scientific work of all time. Newton was a devout Christian.

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“Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection in various forms. He appeared to Mary Magdalene so that they might take him for a gardener. Very ingeniously these manifestation of Jesus is to our minds difficult to penetrate. (He appears) as a gardener. The gardener plants seedlings in prepared soil. The soil must exert a physical and chemical influence so that the seed of the plant can grow. Yet this is not sufficient. The warmth and light of the sun must be added, together with rain, in order that growth may result. The seed of supernatural life, of sanctifying grace, cleanses from sin, so preparing the soul of man, and man must seek to preserve this life by his good works. He still needs the supernatural food, the body of the Lord, which received continually, develops and brings to completion of the life. So natural and supernatural must unite to the realization of the holiness to the people. Man must contribute his minimum work of toil, and God gives the growth. Truly, the seed, the talent, the grace of God is there, and man has simply to work, take the seeds to bring them to the bankers. So that we “may have life, and abundantly.”

Gregor Mendel, who is regarded as “the father of modern genetics,” partly due to his pioneering work on plant hybridization. Mendel was also an Augustinian friar (Catholic priest). The above is an excerpt from an Easter sermon which he delivered. The text is undated, but it was delivered in a moment after he became an abbot in 1867. The excerpt is found in Folia Mendeliana (1966), Volume 1, by Moravian Museum in Brünn. It was first made public by the Mendel-Museum.

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“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

—Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory, and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton. Maxwell was a devout Christian.

James Clerk Maxwell, W. D. Niven (2003). The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, p.376, Courier Corporation

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“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”

“In good philosophy, the word cause ought to be reserved to the single Divine impulse that has formed the universe.”

“Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”

Louis Pasteur, the founder of microbiology and immunology. Pasteur was a devout Christian.

Pasteur, as cited in Lamont 1995; see also Tiner 1990, 75, Pasteur, as cited in Guitton 1991, 5; see also Yahya 2002.

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“God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”

—Physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, who is considered to be the founder of modern chemistry. Boyle was a devout Christian.

Robert Boyle (2000). The Works of Robert Boyle: Publications of 1674-6

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“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

–Astronomer Allan Sandage, winner of the Crafoord Prize in astronomy (which is equivalent to the Nobel Prize). Sandage is considered to be the father of modern astronomy, and was widely regarded to be the world’s greatest cosmologist until his death in 2010. He came to belief in God as a result of his science, as he announced at a conference on the origin of the universe in 1985. He also became a Christian.

Willford, J.N. March 12, 1991. Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomers Quest. New York Times, p. B9.

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“The vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”

“They (evolutionists) challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? They say they cannot visualize a Designer. Well, can a physicist visualize an electron? What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the grounds that they cannot conceive Him?”

“God deliberately reduced Himself to the stature of humanity in order to visit the earth in person, because the cumulative effect over the centuries of millions of individuals choosing to please themselves rather than God had infected the whole planet. When God became a man Himself, the experience proved to be nothing short of pure agony. In man’s time-honored fashion, they would unleash the whole arsenal of weapons against Him: misrepresentation, slander, and accusation of treason. The stage was set for a situation without parallel in the history of the earth. God would visit creatures and they would nail Him to the cross!”

“Although I know of no reference to Christ ever commenting on scientific work, I do know that He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thus I am certain that, were He among us today, Christ would encourage scientific research as modern man’s most noble striving to comprehend and admire His Father’s handiwork. The universe as revealed through scientific inquiry is the living witness that God has indeed been at work.”

Werner von Braun, the father of space science and the most important rocket scientist involved in the development of the U.S. space program.

Religious Implications of Space Exploration: A Personal View, Belmont Abbey College, North Carolina, November 22, 1971.

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“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science). Heisenberg was a devout Christian, publishing and giving several talks reconciling science with his faith. He was a member of Germany’s largest Protestant religious body, the Evangelische Kirche.

Hildebrand, “Das Universum,” 10., as cited in: Joseph, Selbie. The Physics of God (p. 187). New Page Books

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“Yet even in earthly matters I believe that ‘the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,’ and I have never seen anything incompatible between those things of man which can be known by the spirit of man which is within him, and those higher things concerning his future, which he cannot know by that spirit.”

Michael Faraday, the British scientist who made crucial contributions to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Faraday was a devout Christian.

Jones, B. 1870. The Life and Letters of Faraday: Volume II. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 325-326.

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“God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.”

Sir Francis Bacon, the 17th century scientist and philosopher of science who is credited with discovering and popularizing the scientific method, whereby the laws of science are discovered by gathering and analyzing data from experiments and observations. Bacon was a devout Christian. The above citation is from his book Of Proficience and Advancement of Learning Divine and Human.

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“One way to learn the mind of the Creator is to study His creation. We must pay God the compliment of studying His work of art and this should apply to all realms of human thought. A refusal to use our intelligence honestly is an act of contempt for Him who gave us that intelligence.”

— Physicist Ernest Walton, who won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “atom smashing” experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s, and so became the first person in history to artificially split the atom. Walton was a devout Christian.

(V. J. McBrierty (2003): Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton, The Irish Scientist, 1903-1995, Trinity College Dublin Press.

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“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

James Joule, propounder of the first law of thermodynamics (on the conservation of energy). He also made important contributions to the kinetic theory of gases. The unit of heat known as the “Joule” is named after him. Joule was a devout Christian.

J.P. Joule, in a paper found with his scientific notebooks, as cited in: J.G. Crowther, British Scientists of the Nineteenth Century, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1962, p. 139.

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“We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds.”

— Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, the eminent English astronomer, physicist and mathematician known for his groundbreaking research in astrophysics, as quoted in his classic work The Nature of the Physical World. Eddington, a devout Christian, was the first person to investigate the motion, internal structure and evolution of stars, and is widely regarded to be one of the greatest astronomers of all time.

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“In the works of the Creator ever open to our examination, we possess a firm basis on which to raise the superstructure of an enlightened creed. The more man inquires into the laws which regulate the material universe, the more he is convinced that all its varied forms arise from the action of a few simple principles… The works of the Creator, ever present to our senses, give a living and perpetual testimony of his power and goodness far surpassing any evidence transmitted through human testimony. The testimony of man becomes fainter at every stage of transmission, whilst each new inquiry into the works of the Almighty gives to us more exalted views of his wisdom, his goodness, and his power.”

Charles Babbage, the mathematician and inventor considered to be “the father of the computer” for his invention of the first computer. Babbage was a devout Christian.

Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, Charles Babbage (1864), pp. 396–402

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But, most importantly, please read my post titled Without Christianity, There Would Be No Science. That science is the product of Christian belief and Christian institutions is basically an uncontroversial point among historians of science. Does this seem like a bold assertion? Please read the above post.


  1. […] FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE: The many Christians crucial to science […]

  2. […] Although I know of no reference to Christ ever commenting on scientific work, I do know that He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thus I am certain that, were He among us today, Christ would encourage scientific research as modern man’s most noble striving to comprehend and admire His Father’s handiwork. The universe as revealed through scientific inquiry is the living witness that God has indeed been at work. —Werner von Braun, Former Nazi, the father of rocket science, and the most important scientist involved in the development of the U.S. space program (cited in, The many Christians crucial to science) […]

  3. sklyjd says:

    Nearly all (around 97%) of the scientific community accepts evolution as the dominant scientific theory of biological diversity. Times are changing.

    • God Evidence says:

      The conflict is not between theism and evolution. Evolution means change over time. Since virtually nobody of any belief system denies that living things have changed over time, virtually nobody of any belief system denies evolution, in the correct sense of the term.

      The real conflict is between theism and atheistic philosophical add-ons to evolutionary theory, not evolution itself. Specifically, I am referring to the atheistic philosophical add-on that this change over time is the result of unintelligent natural processes.

      But the problem for this atheistic philosophical add-on to evolutionary theory is that it is known to be false. How do I know this? Because we already know what unintelligent natural processes do, and it is the opposite of create order from disorder. According to the second law of thermodynamics, over time, natural processes create disorder from order. The SLOT is the reason your clean room will get dirty, your car will eventually break down without regular maintenance, your shoes will eventually wear out with regular use, etc, etc..

      Dr. W.M. DeJong studied Mathematics and Thermodynamics at the University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands. He is consultant and researcher of innovation and change at INI-Consult. Below, Dr. DeJong comments on the implications of the second law of thermodynamics to evolutionary theory:

      THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THERMODYNAMICS AND EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE

      WIM M. DE JONG 1

      In homes, offices, factories and laboratories, chaos never turns into order on its own and proceeds to maintain and expand itself, although the theory of evolution suggests this would be a normal and natural event. Instead, any order turns into disorder sooner or later, as predicted by the second law of thermodynamics. Everyday experience and empirical science seem to contradict the theory of evolution. This contraction is usually explained as a virtual one, by stating that the second law of thermodynamics only holds for closed systems and by reference to the experiments of Miller, Nobel Laureate Prigogine and Dawkins as a proof that in open systems chaos definitely can turn into order by itself. In this study, this argumentation is investigated more accurately, and found to be untenable. The implications for science are explored.

      When discussing the theory of evolution, sometimes the second law of thermodynamics is brought up to contradict the theory. This objection from science is mostly answered by stating that the second law only holds for closed systems, and that in open systems – like the earth – chaos can turn into order just by itself. The correctness of this thesis is underpinned by referring to the world-famous Miller experiment, the research of Nobel Laureate Prigogine into chaotic systems (Prigogine, 1984) and the computer simulations of evolution by Dawkins (1991). Everyday experience, however, shows that any kind of order – for instance, a tidied up room or desk, an efficiently moving production process, or a complicated chemical substance – never emerges by itself, but that directed external effort is necessary to establish and maintain it. In homes, offices, factories and laboratories, chaos never turns itself into order and proceeds to maintain and expand itself. Every system appears subjected to the omnipresent property of reality that any order finally turns into the ultimate disorder, if directed external effort to maintain the order is stopped. The experiments of Miller, Prigogine and Dawkins, however, seem to suggest organic molecules have a tendency to order themselves on their own when an advantageous fluctuation of chaos emerges. But is this suggestion realistic? How do the experiments of Miller, Prigogine and Dawkins relate to the second law of thermodynamics, and is it true that the second law only holds for open systems? Has a director of a chemical factory to reckon that one day evolution theory will lead to techniques that will make simple chemicals start arranging themselves into more complex substances without directed external effort? And should software engineers worry that one day they will be replaced by fully automated mutation and selection processes that will expand a program of a few bytes into a complex billion-byte program? In this study, these questions are investigated. First we look at thermodynamics, and the second law in particular, more accurately. Then, we assess Prigogine’s examples of chaos turning into order, as well as the Miller experiment. Next, we investigate the processes of order turning into chaos in computer programs and in DNA, as well as the provisions that are present to maintain the initial order. Dawkins’ computer simulations of evolution illustrate the findings. Finally, we discuss our results and close with directions for further research and some concluding remarks.

      THERMODYNAMICS, CHAOS AND ORDER

      Thermodynamics is often looked upon as a specialist sub-area of physics, where complicated calculations of phenomena such as the compression and expansion of gasses are made. This image of making complicated calculations is more or less correct, but thermodynamics is definitely not a backwater corner of physics. On the contrary, it lays down the relationships between the energy, heat, order and probability of systems, varying from motors to molecules, and is one of the pillars of physics and chemistry. Thermodynamics is a science that emerged from the field of engineering. Over the years, empirical knowledge was laid down into general rules that appeared to be trustworthy and finally gained the status of laws. Since thermodynamics deals with systems in reality, which are always influenced from the outside, the laws of thermodynamics relate to open systems. The first law of thermodynamics describes how the internal energy of a system changes when energy is passed to the system, or when it affects its surroundings. The second law describes the relationship between the supply of energy to a system and the change of its order. The third law describes the change in the order of a system as the temperature approaches absolute zero, and the fourth (or zeroth) law concerns the way irreversible processes influence one another.

      The Second Law

      Many inventors have dreamed of constructing a system that keeps moving without the supply of energy. An example of the design of such a perpetual motion machine is an electric motor that is fed by the electricity generated by a dynamo that is driven by the same motor. Disappointingly, the dynamo does not supply enough electricity to keep the motor running, and both stop when the motor is switched to the electricity generated by the motor-driven dynamo. Numerous other methods of constructing a perpetual motion machine have been tried, but time and again it appears that the energy supplied to a system never can be extracted from it completely in the form of work done by the system on its surroundings (A), and that a system can never be brought to a higher energy level without doing work on the system (B). As a result every perpetual motion machine construction always goes back to standing still. The empirical principles denoted as A and B are known as Kelvin’s principle and Clausius’ principle, respectively.

      In thermodynamics, both rules are combined into one principle, which is known as the second law of thermodynamics. It states that the supply of energy to a system resulting in a movement from a state 1 into a state 2 always leads to a smaller decrease of the disorder of the system than would be possible theoretically. The second law has the shape of a mathematical calculable formula (see for instance, Van den Bergen, 1974, p. 29), thanks to the use of the concept of “entropy” as a measure for the disorder of a system:

      The left term of the formula describes the supply of energy over the boundaries of a system when moving from state 1 to state 2. The right term describes the decrease of the entropy of the system. Using Bolzman’s law S = k Ln W (W is the probability of the state of a system) and elementary mathematics, the entropy S of, for instance, human DNA (a string of 3 billion characters) can be calculated.

      The second law indicates that a system can only move to a less probable state (i.e., a state of higher order/less disorder) if energy is supplied to the system from the outside. This corresponds to the principle of Clausius. The second law also indicates that not all supplied energy can be transformed into a reduction of the disorder/entropy, but that always some entropy-reduction is lost. This corresponds to the principle of Kelvin. The second law thus expresses the same properties of physical reality as the principles of Kelvin and Clausius do.

      No Conservation of Entropy

      The second law not only indicates that a directed supply of energy over the boundaries of a system (hereinafter referred to as a “directed external effort”) is always needed to reduce the disorder of a system, it also tells what happens when directed external effort is lacking. In that case, the entropy (disorder) is not conserved, but increases, until the maximum state of disorder is reached. It is clear that for closed systems the left term of the second law is zero and the entropy of the system will increase. But for open systems too, the left term can be zero. If an open system is subjected to undirected external effort, for instance random flows of wind and water, lightning, radiation, or random movement and transportation processes, than the left term will be zero averaged over a longer period of time. After a longer period of time, open systems that are subjected to random, fluctuating energy flows will turn into the largest possible disorder too, as ruins, ragbags, junkyards and car dumps make clear.

      ORDER OUT OF CHAOS

      In open systems that are subjected to undirected external forces, order can emerge, as Nobel Laureate Prigogine has shown (Prigogine, 1984). At a beach, for instance, grains of sand at random jumping in the wind can form regular ripples, and on a cooling window, complex structures of frost flowers can emerge. In addition, Prigogine shows that in living nature, too, chaos can turn into order. For instance, bacteria in a chaotic environment can ultimately form regular structures, and in a population of insects the great variation in shape of their wings can ultimately reach one stable form. It seems that when circumstances are advantageous, chaos can turn into order just by itself, in lifeless as well as in living nature. Besides, Miller has shown that random forces have the ability to create the building blocks of life, resulting in the interconnection of lifeless and living nature. All together, a continuous line seems to be present, starting at the self-organization of grains of sand into regular ripples, to the self organization of 2 1 T dQ__ < S2 S1 _ 4 organic substances into DNA-building blocks, and finally toward cells containing DNA and living organisms. When looking more accurately into the emergence of order in open systems by the influence of random external forces, firstly it appears that the emerging order is only temporary. Averaged over a longer period of time, the left term of the second law is zero and the disorder in the system will increase, since provisions to maintain the emerged order are missing. On a beach covered by well-structured wind ripples, the wind will blow from a different direction on another day and the wind ripples will disappear. The frost flowers formed on a window pane when water vapor cools and the water molecules are captured into a regular structure of “energetic holes” will disappear as soon as the fluctuating temperature moves above zero, and the water molecules will start moving again. Both the structures of sand grains as the structures of frozen water molecules lack a provision for maintaining the temporary order and will disappear again. Secondly, order that emerges from undirected external forces not only has a temporary character, but does not expand, unless directed external effort is supplied. This law of nature is clearly illustrated by the famous Miller experiment (see fig. 1). Random flashes of electricity can turn basic organic substances into the building blocks of DNA. But the next moment, new flashes may destroy these building blocks. The larger the building blocks, the faster they will be destroyed again. Therefore, Miller transported the building blocks formed towards a distillation flask, sheltering them for destruction by new flashes of lightning, resulting into the production of a more and more concentrated organic soup. Miller’s experiment confirms the second law, and shows that the order in a system can only be maintained and increased by directed external effort.

  4. Hey Scott, I hope all is well. I wanted to ask you a question. I’ve come lately to understand that atheism isn’t the best view in describing the purpose of our lives. I always thought that reason is the best to guide humanity as atheists like Michael Shermer love pointing out.

    Nevertheless, atheist ethicist Kai Nielsen says “we have not been able to show that reason requires the moral moral point of view. Pure practical reason even with a good knowledge of the facts will not take you to reason”. Combine that with Dawkins view that “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good” speech in river out of eden. You are left with no real way of knowing right from wrong. Most atheists are just good as Vox Day puts it in his book the irrational atheist that the atheist acts good because of post facto rationalization not reason or rational behaviour.

    Of course I expect the no true Scotsman fallacy to be commited since I was never a “real” atheist. Anyway, I hope you can help me understand this question. If the Bible was inspired by God, why do we keep changing methods of interpreting the Bible. Now I’m not saying I’m invalidating the Bible but why do we keep reinterpreting or changing the views.

    • God Evidence says:

      Jeff,

      I hope I understand your question correctly. If I did not, please let me know…

      We reinterpret the Bible differently because God is leading us on a path of moral progress, and our sinfulness prevents us from perceiving God’s pure morality. We perceive the world differently as our morality progresses closer to God’s perfect moral standard.

      In the ancient world, for example, humans perceived slavery as an acceptable fact of life. But God never did. Many aspects of ancient Near-Eastern culture are abominable to us moderns. Regarding this point, David Robertson writes in The Dawkins Letters:

      “…you need to learn the basic principles of reading the Bible. You must always read it in context – that includes historical, literary, theological and biblical context. To read out of context is to misread. Then you must recognize that much of the Bible is descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, it is telling us what went on rather than what should have happened.”

      Paul Copan comments on how our sinful nature is reflected in our culture, and how this prevents us from seeing God’s pure moral standard in Is God A Moral Monster? Copan comments in the context of slavery in the USA, prior to the American Civil War:

      “Despite the North’s victory, the Emancipation Proclamation that preceded it (January 1, 1863), and the attempt at Reconstruction in the South, many whites did not change their mind-set in regard to blacks. As a nation, we’ve found that proclamations and civil rights legislations may be law, but such legalities don’t eradicate racial prejudice from human minds. A good deal of time was required to make significant headway in the pursuit of racial justice.”

      “Let’s switch gears. Imagine a Western nation or representatives from the West who think it best to export democracy to, say, Saudi Arabia. Think of the obstacles to overcome! A radical change of mind-set would be required, and simply changing laws wouldn’t alter the thinking in Saudi Arabia. In fact, you could probably imagine large-scale cultural opposition to such changes. When we journey back over the millennia into the ancient Near East, we enter a world that is foreign to us in many ways. Life in the ancient Near East wouldn’t just be alien to us—with all of its strange ways and assumptions. We would also see a culture whose social structures were badly damaged by the fall. Within this context, God raised up a covenant nation and gave the people laws to live by; he helped to create a culture for them. In doing so, he adapted his ideals to a people whose attitudes and actions were influenced by deeply flawed structures.”

      “As we’ll see with regard to servitude, punishments, and other structures, a range of regulations and statutes in Israel reveals a God who accommodates. Yet contrary to the common Neo-atheists’ caricatures, these laws weren’t the permanent, divine ideal for all persons everywhere. God informed his people that a new, enduring covenant would be necessary (Jer. 31; Ezek. 36). By the Old Testament’s own admission, the Mosaic law was inferior and future looking. Does that mean that God’s ideals turn up only in the New Testament? No, the ideals are established at the very beginning (Gen. 1–2). The Old Testament makes clear that all humans are God’s image-bearers; they have dignity, worth, and moral responsibility. …Certain prohibitions in the law of Moses against theft, adultery, murder, and idolatry have enduring relevance. Yet when we look at God’s dealings with fallen humans in the ancient Near East, these ideals were ignored and even deeply distorted.”

      As the biblical scholar N. T. Wright affirms, “The Torah [law of Moses at Sinai] is given for a specific period of time, and is then set aside—not because it was a bad thing now happily abolished, but because it was a good thing whose purpose had now been accomplished.”3 This is the message of the New Testament book of Hebrews: the old Mosaic law and other Old Testament institutions and figures like Moses and Joshua were prefiguring “shadows” that would give way to “substance” and completion. Or as Paul put it in Galatians 3:24, the law was a “tutor” for Israel to prepare the way for Christ…incremental Steps toward the Ideal. How then did God address the patriarchal structures, primogeniture (rights of the firstborn), polygamy, warfare, servitude/slavery, and a number of other fallen social arrangements that were permitted because of the hardness of human hearts? He met Israel partway.

      Regarding Paul Copan’s above comments, please note that moral progress cannot occur unless there is some moral standard toward which to progress. It must be a moral standard which transcends human standards of morality, because, without such a higher standard, we would be left with the question of which human moral standard is the right one. Why not the moral standard of the Nazis and Klu Klux Klan? Because you and I are morally superior to the Nazis and KKK? Says who? You and I?

      • Jeff Mwangi says:

        I agree Scott. The moral argument is tough to answer from a non theistic point of view. There’s an interesting point I want to bring out. According to Youtube atheist rationality rules on hos video is morality objective, he says that since we have an inherent trait to not suffer. This is quote “no matter our background or genetics, the vast majority of us have the axiomatic ought of not wanting to suffer. Every human being wants love, patience and opportunity and given this mutual acceptance of what is good, let’s work together to create a better future”.

        My own thought is that I don’t think this would work Vox Day puts it “it’s post facto rationalization not reason or rational behaviour”. What are your thoughts on that Scott? I hope I didn’t divert the topic as I was adding on the moral poing at the end of your last paragraph.

        • God Evidence says:

          Yes, you are correct that morality is impossible to explain from a non-theistic point of view. According to naturalism (in which atheism is grounded), nothing exists except for the natural world. But the natural world is valueless. There is no such thing as a good or bad tree, or a good or bad bird, etc. There is no moral dimension to the natural world.

          Philosopher William Lane Craig explains why naturalism cannot account for morality:

          “…if there isn’t any God to issue commandments to us, then why think that we have any moral duties? On the atheistic view, human being don’t seem to have any moral obligations to one another. For example, in the animal kingdom, if lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra but it doesn’t murder the zebra. If a great white shark copulates forcibly with a female, it forcibly copulates with the female, but it doesn’t rape the female, for there is no moral dimension to these actions. None of these things is prohibited or commanded; they are neither forbidden nor obligatory. So if God doesn’t exist, why think that we have any moral obligations? Who or what imposes such prohibitions or obligations upon us? Where do they come from? It is hard to see why moral duties would be anything more than the illusory by-products of social and parental conditioning.”

          “So, admittedly, certain actions like incest and rape have become taboo in the course of human evolution, but on atheism that does absolutely nothing to show that such actions are really wrong. Activity that looks like rape and incest goes on all the time in the animal kingdom. So the rapist who chooses to flout the herd morality is really on atheism doing nothing more than acting unfashionably; he is like the man who violates the social conventions by belching loudly at the dinner table. If there isn’t any moral law giver then there isn’t any moral law that imposes itself upon us.”

          • Jeff Mwangi says:

            I do agree with you Scott. The conclusion is that morality can’t be explained from an atheistic worldview. Especially when you consider Thomas Huxley who once said “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man”. The value of a human being has to come beyond the chemical compounds that make up a human being.

            By the way Scott, when you mentioned that Mr. Robertson. What does he mean when he says “Then you must recognise that much of the Bible is descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words it is telling us what went on rather that what should have happened”. I don’t understand that.

  5. Jeff Mwangi says:

    Dear Scott,

    I hope you have been well. I had asked a question on your website as to what Mr. Robertson meant when he was replying to Dr. Dawkins harsh words on the God of the old testament written in his book The God Delusion. In one of his replies to Dr. Dawkins, Mr. Robertson wrote “Then you must recognize that much of the Bible is descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, it is telling us what went on rather than what should have happened”. What did he meant by that? I would appreciate a reply.

    • God Evidence says:

      Jeff,

      What he meant is that, just because there were such evil things as slavery and subjugation of women in the Bible, doesn’t mean that God approved of it. The Bible describes what happened in the ancient east (descriptive), but God does not approve of all aspect of ancient Jewish society merely because it is mentioned in the Bible.

      God is trying to bring us to a moral state more in accord with his perfect morality, but in the meantime, he must accommodate our sinful nature.

      Does that clarify?

      • Jeff Mwangi says:

        It does clarify but I am still confused as to how we interpret certain events in the Bible. Verses like Leviticus 25: 39-46. It is odd especially since it is God is endorsing slavery (as I understood it). Buying slaves is allowed but kidnapping isn’t allowed so why not ban them altogether. Why couldn’t God just say thou shall not have a male or female slave in the new testament if the old one was fulfilled by Christ? I am not trying to come at you Scott but I want to keep this at a rational discussion.

        • God Evidence says:

          Jeff, if God just made us do whatever he wished, we would be his puppets. But how could God love a puppet? Loving relationships can only occur between free agents, not between a free agent and a puppet.

          God is trying to gradually transform us into adapting his perfect morality by teaching us spiritual lessons. If he just snapped his fingers and made us morally perfect without learning the lessons ourselves, we would be his puppets. We must learn the hard lessons of horrible things like slavery the hard way. William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

          “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God.”

          “This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin. …In answer, then, to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil, we can say that it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. Without this clarity about the evil we have set in motion, we will always be in danger of reverting back to it because we do not see its gravity.”

          By allowing evils such as slavery (as well a natural evils such as genetic diseases), God is thus responding somewhat like the parents of a 12 year-old who, upon catching the child smoking a cigarette, force him to go into the closet and finish the entire pack so that he can grasp the consequences of his choice.

          Paul Copan comments on how our sinful nature is reflected in our culture, and how this prevents us from seeing God’s pure moral standard in Is God A Moral Monster? Copan comments in the context of slavery in the USA, prior to the American Civil War:

          “Despite the North’s victory, the Emancipation Proclamation that preceded it (January 1, 1863), and the attempt at Reconstruction in the South, many whites did not change their mind-set in regard to blacks. As a nation, we’ve found that proclamations and civil rights legislations may be law, but such legalities don’t eradicate racial prejudice from human minds. A good deal of time was required to make significant headway in the pursuit of racial justice.”

          “Let’s switch gears. Imagine a Western nation or representatives from the West who think it best to export democracy to, say, Saudi Arabia. Think of the obstacles to overcome! A radical change of mind-set would be required, and simply changing laws wouldn’t alter the thinking in Saudi Arabia. In fact, you could probably imagine large-scale cultural opposition to such changes. When we journey back over the millennia into the ancient Near East, we enter a world that is foreign to us in many ways. Life in the ancient Near East wouldn’t just be alien to us—with all of its strange ways and assumptions. We would also see a culture whose social structures were badly damaged by the fall. Within this context, God raised up a covenant nation and gave the people laws to live by; he helped to create a culture for them. In doing so, he adapted his ideals to a people whose attitudes and actions were influenced by deeply flawed structures.”

          “As we’ll see with regard to servitude, punishments, and other structures, a range of regulations and statutes in Israel reveals a God who accommodates. Yet contrary to the common Neo-atheists’ caricatures, these laws weren’t the permanent, divine ideal for all persons everywhere. God informed his people that a new, enduring covenant would be necessary (Jer. 31; Ezek. 36). By the Old Testament’s own admission, the Mosaic law was inferior and future looking. Does that mean that God’s ideals turn up only in the New Testament? No, the ideals are established at the very beginning (Gen. 1–2). The Old Testament makes clear that all humans are God’s image-bearers; they have dignity, worth, and moral responsibility. …Certain prohibitions in the law of Moses against theft, adultery, murder, and idolatry have enduring relevance. Yet when we look at God’s dealings with fallen humans in the ancient Near East, these ideals were ignored and even deeply distorted.”

          As the biblical scholar N. T. Wright affirms, “The Torah [law of Moses at Sinai] is given for a specific period of time, and is then set aside—not because it was a bad thing now happily abolished, but because it was a good thing whose purpose had now been accomplished.”3 This is the message of the New Testament book of Hebrews: the old Mosaic law and other Old Testament institutions and figures like Moses and Joshua were prefiguring “shadows” that would give way to “substance” and completion. Or as Paul put it in Galatians 3:24, the law was a “tutor” for Israel to prepare the way for Christ…incremental Steps toward the Ideal. How then did God address the patriarchal structures, primogeniture (rights of the firstborn), polygamy, warfare, servitude/slavery, and a number of other fallen social arrangements that were permitted because of the hardness of human hearts? He met Israel partway.

          • Jeff Mwangi says:

            Hey Scott, I hope you’ve been well. Thank you for your response. I agree that the old testament was for a period of time. However, I don’t think it’s alright for God to allow his people to take slaves and Midianites virgins who were not seducing the Israelites to their own gods. I think a being as powerful God could have said that rather than marrying the virgins hence polygamy. Instead, train them in the Israelite’s ways instead of marrying them off.

            I do understand that the Torah was for a limited period of time but I think that God could have handled it better. Perhaps in a way that both atheists and Jewish and Christian theists could understand and eventually avoid Dr. Dawkins vile words in the God Delusion.

            • God Evidence says:

              Jeff,

              I have learned through my own life experiences that it is not a good idea to think that we can make better judgements and decisions than God. For example, in my younger years, I suffered greatly as a result of being physically and verbally abused by my father. The suffering I endured turned me away from God for many years during my young adulthood because I was intensely angry at Him for allowing it. But later in life, I realized that my suffering had taught me compassion and love for others who are enduring suffering. Had I not endured my own intense suffering, I would have lacked this compassion and love for others.

              And my turning away from God due to anger also had a huge benefit: God brought me back to him by speaking to me through my mind. In other words, when I started reading about the subject of God’s existence, I was greatly inspired intellectually, I began to read and read and read. The more that I read, the more I became convinced intellectually of God’s existence, and it eventually inspired me to start this website.

              This website has been an immensely rich blessing, as I have conversed with and inspired many interesting people who are on the same intellectual and spiritual path as myself.

              So, to sum up, don’t make the mistake I made of assuming (for many years) that we humans can know how events should unfold better than God can.

              • Jeff Mwangi says:

                I’m sorry you went through all that Scott I’m glad you came up a stronger Christian than before.

                Nevertheless, Scott, I think you’ve read this verses before and are troubled. Even David Robertson admitted this in his 9th letter titled: the good book and moral zeitgeist.

                How would you advise me to investigate and process these verses as I’ve noted it’s a favorite argument among the new atheist and even internet atheists.

                Also, keep up the good work with the website. I do understand you are a busy man but I don’t like the long hiatus . Your articles are good.

                • God Evidence says:

                  Jeff, please cite the specific verses to which you are referring, and I will respond. P.S: I just wrote another post:

                  Why Scientific Consensus is Useless (at best)

  6. Erik Kreps says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this compelling list and excellent quotes. I’m reminded of Steven L. Pease’s book “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement,” which chronicles the staggering measures of success of the Jewish people across virtually all disciplines. For example, your chart at the top of this post indicates that 21.1% of Nobel prizes over a century have been award to Jewish recipients, yet Jews made up only 00.2% of the world’s population during that time frame. This pattern evidently holds true across the full spectrum of measures of distinction — science, education, economics, sports, writing, performing arts, visual arts, radio and television, philanthropy, etc. Coupled with the Biblical record, it would seem that this disproportionate ratio of achievement is no coincidence.

    • God Evidence says:

      My pleasure Erik. I often challenge my atheist debate opponents to produce an example of a branch of science founded by an atheist. But after about an hour of feverish googling, they have to give up! All of the major branches of science were founded by devout Christians! You may also be interested to read my post titled Without Christianity, There Would Be No Science.

      As I note in this post, it is basically universally accepted amongst historians of science that science is a product of Christianity. You would expect this to be a controversial point, but it is actually quite uncontroversial. A copy and paste from the above post:

      Cambridge University historian of science Ronald Numbers notes:

      “Generations of historians and sociologists have discovered many ways in which Christians, Christian beliefs, and Christian institutions played crucial roles in fashioning the tenets, methods, and institutions of what in time became modern science. They found that some forms of Christianity provided the motivation to study nature systematically; sociologist Robert Merton, for example, argued seventy years ago that Puritan belief and practice spurred seventeenth-century century Englishmen to embrace science. Scholars still debate what Merton got right and what he got wrong, and in the intervening years they have drawn a far more detailed portrait of the varied nature of the religious impetus to study nature.”

      “Although they disagree about nuances, today almost all historians agree that Christianity (Catholicism as well as Protestantism) moved many early-modern intellectuals to study nature systematically. Historians have also found that notions borrowed from Christian belief found their ways into scientific discourse, with glorious results; the very notion that nature is lawful, some scholars argue, was borrowed from Christian theology.”

      (Efron, N. 2010. Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion. p. 80.)

      Concepts with Christian origins are necessary for modern science

      Regarding Numbers’ above comments about the lawfulness of nature, please recall that the purpose of the scientific method is to discover regular, repeatable, and predictable (law-like) patterns in nature, such as the laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. This is why the scientific method demands that experiments be repeatable. Only a worldview which perceives nature as conforming to laws could give birth to the scientific method.

      The Christian worldview declares that nature follows the laws instituted by God. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry (and a Christian), put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics (also a Christian), put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

      Nancy Pearcey elaborates on specifically how Christian belief was a crucial ingredient in the birth of science in The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy:

      Science “demands some kind of unique soil in which to flourish.” Deprived of that soil, it is “as capable of decay and death as any other human activity, such as a religion or a system of government.” What is that unique soil? [Science writer Lauren] Eiseley identifies it, somewhat reluctantly, as the Christian faith. “In one of those strange permutations of which history yields occasional rare examples,” he says, “it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear, articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself.”

      Eiseley is not alone in observing that the Christian faith in many ways inspired the birth of modern science. Science historians have developed a renewed respect for the Middle Ages, including a renewed respect for the Christian worldview culturally and intellectually dominant during that period. Today a wide range of scholars recognize that Christianity provided both intellectual presuppositions and moral sanction for the development of modern science.

      Science is the study of nature, and the possibility of science depends upon one’s attitude toward nature. Biblical religion gave to Western culture several of its fundamental assumptions about the natural world. To begin with, the Bible teaches that nature is real. If this seems too obvious to mention, recall that many belief systems regard nature as unreal. Various forms of pantheism and idealism teach that finite, particular things are merely “appearances” of the One, the Absolute, the Infinite. Individuality and separateness are illusions. Hinduism, for instance, teaches that the everyday world of material objects is maya, illusion. It is doubtful whether a philosophy that so denigrates the material world would be capable of inspiring the careful attention to it that is so necessary for science.

      Many scientists, too, have noted that Christianity was a necessary ingredient for science.

      But the stance that Christian belief is a necessary ingredient for science is not limited to historians of science. Prominent scientists have also taken notice of this truth. Indeed, the very person credited with establishing the scientific method, the 17th century scientist and philosopher of science Sir Francis Bacon, was himself a Christian. Bacon wrote:

      “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy brings about man’s mind to religion: for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

      (Sylva Sylvarum Century X (1627))

      Similarly, physicist Paul Davies, winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Institute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (amongst other awards), writes:

      “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature–the laws of physics–are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

      (Physics and the Mind of God, Paul Davies’ Templeton Prize address, August 1995)

      There can be no doubt: Atheism is quite fashionable in current day academia. But, as Davies elucidates above, even a hardened atheist scientist must borrow elements of Judeo-Christian theology in order to perform science. For example, how can the atheist worldview explain why matter so consistently follows natural laws? In short, atheism cannot explain this orderliness of the universe, but rather, must merely assume it to be a brute fact. But to accept brute facts without explanation is, well…brutish.

      Famed English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead discusses how Christian belief furnished the conceptual framework in which science could take root, and his view that the possibility of science was “an unconscious derivative of medieval [Christian] theology”:

      “When we compare this tone of thought in Europe with the attitude of other civilizations when left to themselves, there seems but one source for its origin. It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality. Remember that I am not talking of the explicit beliefs of a few individuals. What I mean is the impress on the European mind arising from the unquestioned faith of centuries. By this I mean the instinctive tone of thought and not a mere creed of words.”

      “In Asia, the conceptions of God were of a being who was either too arbitrary or too impersonal for such ideas to have much effect on instinctive habits of mind. Any definite occurrence might be due to the fiat of an irrational despot, or might issue from some impersonal, inscrutable origin of things. There was not the same confidence as in the intelligible rationality of a personal being. I am not arguing that the European trust in the scrutability of nature was logically justified even by its own theology. My only point is to understand how it arose. My explanation is that the faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative of medieval theology.”

      (Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, p. 18-19.)

      Christian beliefs provide the conceptual framework for science to flourish

      Philosopher William Lane Craig elaborates on the specific philosophical assumptions, derived from Christianity, which serve as an underlying conceptual framework necessary for science:

      Christianity furnishes the conceptual framework in which science can flourish. Science is not something that is natural to mankind. …Although glimmerings of science appeared among the ancient Greeks and Chinese, modern science is the child of European civilization. Why is this so? It is due to the unique contribution of the Christian faith to Western culture. As [science writer] Eiseley states, “it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear, articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself.” In contrast to pantheistic or animistic religions, Christianity does not view the world as divine or as indwelt by spirits, but rather as the natural product of a transcendent Creator who designed and brought it into being. Thus, the world is a rational place which is open to exploration and discovery.

      Furthermore, the whole scientific enterprise is based on certain assumptions which cannot be proved scientifically, but which are guaranteed by the Christian world view; for example: the laws of logic, the orderly nature of the external world, the reliability of our cognitive faculties in knowing the world, and the objectivity of the moral values used in science. I want to emphasize that science could not even exist without these assumptions, and yet these assumptions cannot be proved scientifically. They are philosophical assumptions which, interestingly, are part and parcel of a Christian world view. Thus, religion is relevant to science in that it can furnish a conceptual framework in which science can exist. More than that, the Christian religion historically did furnish the conceptual framework in which modern science was born and nurtured.

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