Scientists On The Possibility Of God

The astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei was famously convicted of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church for supporting the theory that the planets revolved around the sun. In private letters, he confirmed that his beliefs hadn’t changed.

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Known as the founder of the scientific method, Sir Francis Bacon believed that gathering and analyzing data in an organized way was essential to scientific progress. An Anglican, Bacon believed in the existence of God.

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Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution. On the question of God, Darwin admitted in letters to friends that his feelings often fluctuated. He had a hard time believing that an omnipotent God would have created a world filled with so much suffering. But at the same time, he wasn’t content to conclude that this “wonderful universe” was the result of “brute force.”

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Maria Mitchell was America’s first female astronomer and the first woman to be named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was born into a Quaker family, but began to question her denomination’s teachings in her twenties. She was eventually disowned from membership and for the rest of her life, didn’t put much importance on church doctrines or attendance. Instead she said she was a seeker,

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Marie Curie, a physicist, was brought up in the Catholic faith, but reportedly became agnostic in her teens. She went on to become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Both Marie and her husband Pierre Curie did not follow any specific religion.

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Albert Einstein, one of the most well-known physicists of the 20th century, was born into a secular Jewish family. As an adult, he tried to avoid religious labels, rejecting the idea of a “personal God,” but at the same time, separating himself from “fanatical atheists” whom he believed were unable to hear “the music of the spheres.” 

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Astronomer Carl Sagan is best known for hosting the TV series “Cosmos.” He rejected the label of “atheist” because he was open to the possibility that science would perhaps one day find compelling evidence to prove God.

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Francis Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In a 2007 book about the intersection between science and faith, Collins described how he converted from atheism to Christianity and attempts to argue that the idea of a Christian God is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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10 thoughts on “Scientists On The Possibility Of God

  1. It’s said a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A little knowledge of science makes you feel wise and dismiss religion. But the greater the scientific knowledge, the greater the development of awe and wonder, the realisation of the spiritual.

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    • Really? If I were to guess I’d hazard that (on average) the scientific community would have less belief in God than the general community.

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      • Only in the west with its background of atheistic humanism and lack of freedom in education.
        The rest of the world scientists tend to believe in God more as they study and learn more free of the brainwashing philosophies of hopelessness and materialism.

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      • Science was founded by people of faith. Most of our early institutions were Christian. The first schools in Australia were Church schools.

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      • Alexie:

        “Only in the west with its … and lack of freedom in education.”

        Freedom to do what exactly?

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      • “…the first universities around the world were founded by Christians”.

        Interesting to see Oxford and Paris vying for earliest – yet neither make the list of continual standard.
        Paris: the University of Paris was founded circa 1150
        Oxford: there is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

        But in the United Kingdom, the earliest university-type establishment was probably the College, established by the Celtic preacher St. Illtyd in about AD 500.

        There is a list of the oldest existing universities in the world.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_universities_in_continuous_operation
        To be included in this table, an educational institution must satisfy a traditional definition of university at the time of its founding. Chronologically, it must have been founded before 1500 in Europe or be the oldest university derived from the medieval European model in a region. It must also be still in operation, with institutional continuity retained throughout its history, and so some early universities, most notably the University of Paris which was suspended from 1793 to 1896, are excluded.

        The word university is derived from the Latin: universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning “community of teachers and scholars”. The term was coined by the Italian University of Bologna, which, with a traditional founding date of 1088, is considered the first university. The origin of many medieval universities can be traced to the Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools which appear as early as the 6th century and were run for hundreds of years as such before their formal establishment as university in the high medieval period.

        Other institutions of higher learning, like those of ancient Greece, ancient Persia, ancient Rome, Byzantium, ancient China, ancient India and the Muslim world, are not included in this list due to their cultural, historical, structural and juristic dissimilarities from the medieval European university from which the modern university evolved.

        In lists based on broader definitions, Al-Qarawiyyin, founded in 859 as a madrasa and in 1963 as a university, is sometimes considered as the “oldest university”.

        These also are notable
        1. University of Taxila or Takshashila: Ancient India (now Pakistan) 600 BC and 500 AD
        2. University of Nalanda: India 500 AD to 1300 AD
        3. University of Al-Karaouine: Morocco 859 AD to present.
        4. Al Azhar University: Egypt- 972 AD to present

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      • Not many people would know it would seem bit Al-Azhar University is one of the first universities in the world and the only one to survive as a modern university.

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