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Famous Scientists who believed in God

Scientists God Belief

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#1
Meta_Agape

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  1. Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
    Copernicus was the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going around the sun. He attended various European universities, and became a Canon in the Catholic church in 1497. His new system was actually first presented in the Vatican gardens in 1533 before Pope Clement VII who approved, and urged Copernicus to publish it around this time. Copernicus was never under any threat of religious persecution - and was urged to publish both by Catholic Bishop Guise, Cardinal Schonberg, and the Protestant Professor George Rheticus. Copernicus referred sometimes to God in his works, and did not see his system as in conflict with the Bible.
  2. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627)
    Bacon was a philosopher who is known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning. In De Interpretatione Naturae Prooemium, Bacon established his goals as being the discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church. Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating, "It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about 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." (Of Atheism)
  3. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
    Kepler was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer. He did early work on light, and established the laws of planetary motion about the sun. He also came close to reaching the Newtonian concept of universal gravity - well before Newton was born! His introduction of the idea of force in astronomy changed it radically in a modern direction. Kepler was an extremely sincere and pious Lutheran, whose works on astronomy contain writings about how space and the heavenly bodies represent the Trinity. Kepler suffered no persecution for his open avowal of the sun-centered system, and, indeed, was allowed as a Protestant to stay in Catholic Graz as a Professor (1595-1600) when other Protestants had been expelled!
  4. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
    Galileo is often remembered for his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. His controversial work on the solar system was published in 1633. It had no proofs of a sun-centered system (Galileo's telescope discoveries did not indicate a moving earth) and his one "proof" based upon the tides was invalid. It ignored the correct elliptical orbits of planets published twenty five years earlier by Kepler. Since his work finished by putting the Pope's favorite argument in the mouth of the simpleton in the dialogue, the Pope (an old friend of Galileo's) was very offended. After the "trial" and being forbidden to teach the sun-centered system, Galileo did his most useful theoretical work, which was on dynamics. Galileo expressly said that the Bible cannot err, and saw his system as an alternate interpretation of the biblical texts.
  5. Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
    Descartes was a French mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern philosophy. His school studies made him dissatisfied with previous philosophy: He had a deep religious faith as a Roman Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth. At the age of 24 he had a dream, and felt the vocational call to seek to bring knowledge together in one system of thought. His system began by asking what could be known if all else were doubted - suggesting the famous "I think therefore I am". Actually, it is often forgotten that the next step for Descartes was to establish the near certainty of the existence of God - for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences - can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy. What he really wanted to see was that his philosophy be adopted as standard Roman Catholic teaching. Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon (1561-1626) are generally regarded as the key figures in the development of scientific methodology. Both had systems in which God was important, and both seem more devout than the average for their era.
  6. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
    Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and theologian. In mathematics, he published a treatise on the subject of projective geometry and established the foundation for probability theory. Pascal invented a mechanical calculator, and established the principles of vacuums and the pressure of air. He was raised a Roman Catholic, but in 1654 had a religious vision of God, which turned the direction of his study from science to theology. Pascal began publishing a theological work, Lettres provinciales, in 1656. His most influential theological work, the Pensées ("Thoughts"), was a defense of Christianity, which was published after his death. The most famous concept from Pensées was Pascal's Wager. Pascal's last words were, "May God never abandon me."
  7. Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
    In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God's plan for history from the Bible. He did a considerable work on biblical numerology, and, though aspects of his beliefs were not orthodox, he thought theology was very important. In his system of physics, God was essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, "The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."
  8. Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
    One of the founders and key early members of the Royal Society, Boyle gave his name to "Boyle's Law" for gases, and also wrote an important work on chemistry. Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "By his will he endowed a series of Boyle lectures, or sermons, which still continue, 'for proving the Christian religion against notorious infidels...' As a devout Protestant, Boyle took a special interest in promoting the Christian religion abroad, giving money to translate and publish the New Testament into Irish and Turkish. In 1690 he developed his theological views in The Christian Virtuoso, which he wrote to show that the study of nature was a central religious duty." Boyle wrote against atheists in his day (the notion that atheism is a modern invention is a myth), and was clearly much more devoutly Christian than the average in his era.
  9. Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
    Michael Faraday was the son of a blacksmith who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His work on electricity and magnetism not only revolutionized physics, but led to much of our lifestyles today, which depends on them (including computers and telephone lines and, so, web sites). Faraday was a devoutly Christian member of the Sandemanians, which significantly influenced him and strongly affected the way in which he approached and interpreted nature. Originating from Presbyterians, the Sandemanians rejected the idea of state churches, and tried to go back to a New Testament type of Christianity.
  10. Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
    Mendel was the first to lay the mathematical foundations of genetics, in what came to be called "Mendelianism". He began his research in 1856 (three years before Darwin published his Origin of Species) in the garden of the Monastery in which he was a monk. Mendel was elected Abbot of his Monastery in 1868. His work remained comparatively unknown until the turn of the century, when a new generation of botanists began finding similar results and "rediscovered" him (though their ideas were not identical to his). An interesting point is that the 1860's was notable for formation of the X-Club, which was dedicated to lessening religious influences and propagating an image of "conflict" between science and religion. One sympathizer was Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, whose scientific interest was in genetics (a proponent of eugenics - selective breeding among humans to "improve" the stock). He was writing how the "priestly mind" was not conducive to science while, at around the same time, an Austrian monk was making the breakthrough in genetics. The rediscovery of the work of Mendel came too late to affect Galton's contribution.
  11. William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907)
    Kelvin was foremost among the small group of British scientists who helped to lay the foundations of modern physics. His work covered many areas of physics, and he was said to have more letters after his name than anyone else in the Commonwealth, since he received numerous honorary degrees from European Universities, which recognized the value of his work. He was a very committed Christian, who was certainly more religious than the average for his era. Interestingly, his fellow physicists George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) were also men of deep Christian commitment, in an era when many were nominal, apathetic, or anti-Christian. The Encyclopedia Britannica says "Maxwell is regarded by most modern physicists as the scientist of the 19th century who had the greatest influence on 20th century physics; he is ranked with Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein for the fundamental nature of his contributions." Lord Kelvin was an Old Earth creationist, who estimated the Earth's age to be somewhere between 20 million and 100 million years, with an upper limit at 500 million years based on cooling rates (a low estimate due to his lack of knowledge about radiogenic heating).
  12. Max Planck (1858-1947)
    Planck made many contributions to physics, but is best known for quantum theory, which revolutionized our understanding of the atomic and sub-atomic worlds. In his 1937 lecture "Religion and Naturwissenschaft," Planck expressed the view that God is everywhere present, and held that "the holiness of the unintelligible Godhead is conveyed by the holiness of symbols." Atheists, he thought, attach too much importance to what are merely symbols. Planck was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though not necessarily a personal one). Both science and religion wage a "tireless battle against skepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition" with the goal "toward God!"
  13. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
    Einstein is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking about time, gravity, and the conversion of matter to energy (E=mc2). Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in "Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists." This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: "I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details." Einstein's famous epithet on the "uncertainty principle" was "God does not play dice" - and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

    Source: http://www.godandsci...iencefaith.html

Edited by Meta_Agape, 26 August 2013 - 11:42 PM.


#2
alphaparticle

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I find this interesting, but what I find kind of discouraging is that all of the scientists who most clearly believed in God are old timey, not that they aren't cool. Einstein did not believe in God is a traditional sense and really seemed to be deifying nature itself often (in language that is used by scientists who are atheists even now not infrequently). Planck seems to possibly have been deistic or a pantheist. It's a curious question to me, why there are so few scientists who are clearly believers in the full sense, though I do know there are some.



#3
Meta_Agape

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Yeah, I kind of expected a few of them to be critiqued, especially Einstein. Anyway don't be dismayed, there are a lot more traiditional Ph.D. types out there these days than the media acknowledges, I wonder why, because the media is all monopoly controlled! But that is another story altogether... http://www.discovery...download&id=660



#4
RobbyPants

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 Meta_Agape, is the purpose of the thread just as a resource, or as a proof that God is real because scientists believed in him? If it's the latter, that would be an appeal to authority.

 

 

I find this interesting, but what I find kind of discouraging is that all of the scientists who most clearly believed in God are old timey, not that they aren't cool. Einstein did not believe in God is a traditional sense and really seemed to be deifying nature itself often (in language that is used by scientists who are atheists even now not infrequently). Planck seems to possibly have been deistic or a pantheist. It's a curious question to me, why there are so few scientists who are clearly believers in the full sense, though I do know there are some.

 

Yeah, my understanding is Einstein was more of a deist or pantheist. As for why most of the others were "old timey" is likely because they didn't have the ability to observe all the things we can and didn't have as vast a wealth of knowledge to draw from as we do today. It's kind of like why deism started to die out after evolution became more accepted: they already didn't believe in a god that interacted in their daily life; they were looking for an explanation for how we got here.

 

As for the last question, I imagine it largely has to do with the god of the gaps argument. The more the gaps get filled in, the smaller the god becomes.


Edited by RobbyPants, 27 August 2013 - 07:33 AM.


#5
alphaparticle

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meta, there are believers out there who are also scientists, but let me ask you this, why so few proportionally? The proportions are quite a bit lower in the scientific community, a fact I often ponder.

 

robby, I suppose if the reason that someone believes is God is because they need God as a mechanism to explain phenomenon x, and once phenomenon x is explained using naturalistic means there is no longer any reason to believe, this may explain some of it.



#6
RobbyPants

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robby, I suppose if the reason that someone believes is God is because they need God as a mechanism to explain phenomenon x, and once phenomenon x is explained using naturalistic means there is no longer any reason to believe, this may explain some of it.

 

That's pretty much all deism is, isn't it? I thought it was centered on the notion that there is a god, and he created everything, but he isn't particularly concerned with us or our worship. It's basically just a filler to answer some unanswered questions. Functionally speaking, deism is a lot like atheism, in that deists aren't concerned about gods in their day to day lives.



#7
alphaparticle

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robby, I suppose if the reason that someone believes is God is because they need God as a mechanism to explain phenomenon x, and once phenomenon x is explained using naturalistic means there is no longer any reason to believe, this may explain some of it.

 

That's pretty much all deism is, isn't it? I thought it was centered on the notion that there is a god, and he created everything, but he isn't particularly concerned with us or our worship. It's basically just a filler to answer some unanswered questions. Functionally speaking, deism is a lot like atheism, in that deists aren't concerned about gods in their day to day lives.

 

Insofar as the concept isn't taken any further than positing God as an explanatory hypothesis over a body of facts I suppose that is right. I'll give it some further thought.



#8
Diatheosis

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Not to wander too much off-topic, but have you considered some believe in God because they experienced something in their life which the science cannot explain? I mean, getting healed from a severe sickness directly after praying etc.? 

 

So it's not in this sense just to find a 'mechanism to explain' things. But of course, often it takes you to experience yourself to really understand what it is about. And I don't mean to have some strange vibe and say that's God, but profound breakthroughs that change life.



#9
alphaparticle

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Not to wander too much off-topic, but have you considered some believe in God because they experienced something in their life which the science cannot explain? I mean, getting healed from a severe sickness directly after praying etc.? 

 

So it's not in this sense just to find a 'mechanism to explain' things. But of course, often it takes you to experience yourself to really understand what it is about. And I don't mean to have some strange vibe and say that's God, but profound breakthroughs that change life.

I don't think all belief in God is a mechanism to explain things at all. But, if that's all it is for someone, then I can see how that might get undercut by scientific knowledge. I believe in God for reasons that are very difficult to clearly explain and I don't find that my scientific knowledge lessens that.



#10
Diatheosis

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Not to wander too much off-topic, but have you considered some believe in God because they experienced something in their life which the science cannot explain? I mean, getting healed from a severe sickness directly after praying etc.? 

 

So it's not in this sense just to find a 'mechanism to explain' things. But of course, often it takes you to experience yourself to really understand what it is about. And I don't mean to have some strange vibe and say that's God, but profound breakthroughs that change life.

I don't think all belief in God is a mechanism to explain things at all. But, if that's all it is for someone, then I can see how that might get undercut by scientific knowledge. I believe in God for reasons that are very difficult to clearly explain and I don't find that my scientific knowledge lessens that.

 

 

That's nice. I am also fascinated by the latest research on many scientific fronts and for me it's revealing more of God's Creation and how amazing reality this is. I just wanted to open up the definitions a bit so that everyone may have a better glimpse on the subject, myself included. Thanks for the clarification.



#11
RobbyPants

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Not to wander too much off-topic, but have you considered some believe in God because they experienced something in their life which the science cannot explain? I mean, getting healed from a severe sickness directly after praying etc.? 

 

So it's not in this sense just to find a 'mechanism to explain' things. But of course, often it takes you to experience yourself to really understand what it is about. And I don't mean to have some strange vibe and say that's God, but profound breakthroughs that change life.

 

The context of me talking about using it as a mechanism to explain things was in the context of deism, not theism. The point of deism is that someone believes in a god, but not that the god has any active role in their life, so they likely wouldn't attribute any miraculous healing to the god; or, perhaps they would, and they would convert from deism to theism. The reasons any one person believes will be different than those of someone else.

 

For me, personally, when I used to believe, it was mostly because it was what I was told when I was younger. I simply accepted that as the way of the world for the first twenty years, or so.



#12
JDavis

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Take the case of Francis Collins.

His work on DNA and the human genome is what fuled his belief in God.

Not to fill in any gaps but because at that level, in his mind there is unmistakable signs if design and intelligence behind the design.

#13
gray wolf

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I think that many scientists are theists, they just are not in the sense of a personal God interested in the details of our lives.  The famous poll, I forgot the name of it, of scientists in 1916 and a century later posed the question of God in a personal sense.



#14
FresnoJoe

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I think that many scientists are theists, they just are not in the sense of a personal God interested in the details of our lives.  The famous poll, I forgot the name of it, of scientists in 1916 and a century later posed the question of God in a personal sense.

 

:thumbsup:

 

Not All Scientists Are Fools

 

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. Psalms 53:1

 

Nor Will All Men Be Fooled
 

This is another classic example of biased reporting that the militant atheist world abounds in. To start, you should be informed that Edward Larson asked scientists if they believed in“...a God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind.(1) This is clearly a belief in a “Personal God” that Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in. This question does not include a belief in a “Creator” who is not involved in human affairs, such as the divinity that “Deists” and “Pantheists” believe in. Without doubt, a significant number of scientists would describe themselves as such. Einstein, in fact, defined himself as a Pantheist; The famed British physicist, Hawkins believes in a Creator but, reportedly, not a “Personal God” and is, therefore, either a Pantheist or a Deist. If Deists and Pantheists had been factored in, the number of believing scientists would have been higher. (A few years ago, Edward Larson, in our correspondence, encouraged me to do a study that would ask a more all-encompassing question. I have not done so yet, but I am sure it would be quite revealing.)

 

Not surprisingly, “American Atheists,” in their continuing effort to elevate unbelief, skillfully transformed the results into, “40 % believed in a deity, while 45% did not.” Fortunately, there are many analytical minds around who can quickly spot the manipulation. On the other hand, there are lots of fanatical atheists who will hastily gloat at anything that appears to imply the gradual death of God and Religion.

 

Unfortunately for them, what is amazing is that decades of brainwashing by unbelieving evolutionists who heavily influence Education has not sufficed to transform all scientists into disciples. Furthermore, with the backlash that is presently in full bloom on the part of Creationist scientists, they can be assured that the number of unbelieving scientists who in the future will turn to Religion will be significant. http://atheismexpose...ist_and_god.htm



#15
alphaparticle

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I think that many scientists are theists, they just are not in the sense of a personal God interested in the details of our lives.  The famous poll, I forgot the name of it, of scientists in 1916 and a century later posed the question of God in a personal sense.

http://www.pewforum....sts-and-belief/

 

The proportions of belief really are much different and much lower than among the general public.



#16
gray wolf

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That is quite true. With increased education, belief wanes.

Edited by gray wolf, 09 October 2013 - 01:23 PM.


#17
alphaparticle

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Where do you find those proportions? I thought that the US popoluation has a large percentage of believers in a personal God?

yeah, check out the link I provided, you'll find it interesting



#18
gray wolf

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Oops I read you wrong. Sorry.

#19
FresnoJoe

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That is quite true. With increased education, belief wanes.

 

That Is Quite True.

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

 

With Increased Education, Belief Soars.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17



#20
alphaparticle

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That is quite true. With increased education, belief wanes.

Right, so here is a question- why?






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