NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS AND GOD
This section is
dedicated to the religious views of well-known Nobel Prize winners and
other notable modern scientists.
Denis (Editor). The Voice of Genius. Cambridge, Masssachussets:
Perseus Publishing, 1995.
PAUL DIRAC (Nobel,
with his wife.)
your husband’s attitude toward religion?
was a Christian. He went to church on Sundays.
mean he believed in Jesus Christ?
sometimes, and sometimes not. You know, most people are like that.
Most people I
contacted are atheists.
husband wasn’t an atheist
he feel there was an intelligent creator?
GEORGE WALD (Nobel,
live in a world of chance, yet not of accident. God gambles but He does
not cheat.” (P. 137)
…the stuff of
mind pervades the universe….The stuff of the world is mind stuff…The
mind stuff is not spread in space and time.
find that the Hindu and Buddhist thought on the imperishability, the
immortality of what the Hindus call Self, (Soul or Spirit), the Atman,
you think life has a purpose?
I said, I began realizing years ago that this universe of ours is a
life-breeding universe…we are in an astonishing universe with a special
concatenation of properties that makes life possible…Humankind then
takes a great place in cosmic evolution, one of transcendent worth and
dignity in which our purpose is to know and create and to try to
once wrote “A physicist is the atom’s way of knowing about atoms.” In
our knowing, the universe comes to know itself.
ARNO PENZIAS (Nobel, physics, 1978)
“ This world
is most consistent with purposeful creation.” (P. 153)
data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go
on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole, in
that the universe appears to have order and purpose.”
Bible) reflects the same world view, rather than exactly the same world.
It’s consistent with the same world view, though not exactly the same,
in the sense that there is not that kind of description. The Bible talks
of purposeful creation. What we have, however, is an amazing amount of
order; and when we see order, in our experience it normally reflects
this order is reflected in the Bible?
Well, if we
read the Bible as a whole we would expect order in the world. Purpose
would imply order, and what we actually find is order.
we can assume there might be purpose?
This world is
most consistent with purposeful creation.
kind of things that make me believe in purpose, or in the Bible, as it
were, have to do with the miracles of existence, and not whether
somebody can figure out a way of having ten percent better odds at
you a practicing Jew?
is just a tool to guide our intuition. Math isn’t separate, it’s just
one of those tools. It turns out as Kepler, the biggest true believer,
said. He thought God was going to be a mathematician and it turned out
to be a very fruitful supposition.
CHARLES TOWNES (NOBEL,
you believe in God?
few physicists do.
few. But a surprising number actually and it’s becoming somewhat larger.
The interaction between science and religion has increased, I think, in
the last decade or so.
you believe purely on faith?
would say I feel it intuitively. I think my prayers have been answered.
On the other hand, to prove it scientifically is somewhat like the
problem of telepathy. It’s my own judgment over my experience that makes
me believe in God.
you believe Jesus Christ was God?
That he was
part of God I could say, yes in a sense he was, and so are you. Christ
comes closer to being God-like than most of the rest of us certainly.
SCHAWLOW (Nobel, Physics, 1981)
(Intro before the interview.)
laureate Artur Schawlow’s favourite book is not The Origin of Species or
the collected works of Isaac Newton, but the Bible. This he told Carl
Irving, when interviewed by The San Francisco Examiner in 1985. When I
spoke with Schawlow almost a decade later, he not only confirmed his
faith but said his brother-in-law, Charles Townes, is also religious.
the Bible your favorite reading?
don’t read it very much, but if you asked me what I thought was the
greatest book ever written I guess I’d have to say that it was.
Yes, I was
brought up a Protestant Christian and I’ve been in a number of
denominations…I go to church to a very good Methodist church.
you believe that Jesus was God?
say I disbelieve it…Certainly I think Jesus was the greatest moral
philosopher. And the imitation of Jesus is the way to save your life, I
think. Beyond that I don’t know.
JOHN ECCLES (Nobel,
“There is a
divine Providence over and above the materialistic happenings of
“There is a
fundamental mystery in my personal existence, transcending the
biological account of the development of my body and my brain. That
belief , of course, is in keeping with the religious concept of the soul
and with its special creation by God.”
From the scientific view
the mind can only find expression through the brain. Now there may be
extra neural communication in the way of prayer, between the mind of man
and the mind
of God in the way of extrasensory
is a grand design in which all conscious individuals play a role”
(quoted by interviewer from
Penfield’s The mystery of the Mind, New Jersey: Princeton, 1975,
Bertch McGrayne, Sharon. Nobel Prize Women in Science. A
Lane Press Book, 1993.
BELL BURNELL (Discoverer of pulsars)
by the author from her booklet Broken for Life.
words are in quotations.)
“Can you find a wholeness that includes pain and a readiness to suffer?”
she asked. If God is a loving, caring God in charge of the world, why is
there suffering? And why so much of it fall on innocent people?
In her book, she offers a possible resolution to these ageless
questions. Although she was loath to abandon the idea of a kindly God,
perhaps God is not running the world. “If the world is not run by God,
then the calamities that occur cannot be blamed on God. Perhaps God
decided that we are responsible adults that should be given a free hand
and allowed to get on with life without interference…God would still
exert influence on the world, but only through people, through their
attitudes and what they do, through their healing and reconciliation.”
physicist, Burnell found such randomness comforting. “It actually ties
in very well with the randomness of uncertainty that modern physicists
know is at the heart of everything and seems to be one of the “givens
of this world.” In fact she found the idea liberating, releasing one
from the constraints of rewards and punishments, just and unjust, cause
religion appears to be presented as offering easy cures for pain: have
faith and God will mend your hurts…” (But) healing so as to eradicate
all the trace of the encounter is not part of the package,” she
concluded. Brokenness is an essentialingredient in life. “Suffering can
mature us and make us more sensitive to others ;then through small deeds
and kind actions we can interact with empathy, reassuring and helping
others…But pain is not part of a Grand Design and will not come to a
purposeful ending unless we work at it to ensure that it does.”
The Three pound universe. New York:
(This is a portion of an interview with
the discoverer of the opiate receptor.)
other physicists have described experiencing an almost religious awe
when contemplating the laws of the universe. Do you feel the same way
about the brain?"
"No, I don't
feel an awe for the brain. I feel an awe for God. I see in the brain all
the beauty of the universe and its order--constant signs of God's
presence. I am learning that the brain obeys all the physical laws of
the universe. It's not anything special. And yet it is the most special
thing in the universe." (P. 390)
FROM, Chandra Wichrasinge, "Science and
the Divine Origin of Life," The Intellectuals Speak out on God, ed.
Varghese, 23-37. Quoted in Ruggiero, V. R. Warning Nonsense is
Destroying America. Nashville: T. Nelson Publ., 1994, 175.
CHANDRA WICKRASINGE (British
scientist who worked with Sir Fred Hoyle.)
"There's no evidence for all of the basic tenets of Darwinian evolution.
I don't believe there was aver any evidence for it. It was a social
force that took over the world in 1860, and I think it has been a
disaster for science ever since.
Genuine science, she says, supports, " some miraculous property of life
that's either explained in terms of a statistical miracle or in terms of
an Intelligent intervening. It's one or the other."