Scientific discoveries as religious discoveries

Scientific discoveries as religious discoveries April 23, 2018


Veil Nebula astronomy
NGC6960, the Veil Nebula (Wikimedia Commons)


“This sense of wonder leads most scientists to a Superior Being – der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity – a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.”

–Abdus Salam, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in electroweak theory (quoted from his article “Science and Religion”)

“A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

–Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the first known binary pulsar, and for work supporting the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe.




“Then, last week, American scientists announced the discovery of radiation patterns in space that may mark the beginning of time itself. Said astrophysicist George Smoot, leader of the research team: ‘If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.  The order is so beautiful and the symmetry so beautiful that you think there is some design behind it.  Whatever caused the rapid expansion of the universe following the Big Bang–the same forces caused tiny ripples. Because if you try to do something too fast, you shake a little. God might be the designer.'”

Maclean’s Magazine (4 May 1992)

George Smoot, an astrophysicist and cosmologist affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006 — and won a million dollars on the television quiz show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? in 2009.




“Exoplanets May Help Us Understand How Venus Turned Into a Hell Planet: Exo-Venus analogs orbiting other stars can help us learn about how Venus came to resemble the hellscape we know today.”


“What Are Mercury’s Mysterious Red Spots?”


“Researchers find new way of exploring the afterglow from the Big Bang”




Of late, I find that I’ve stumbled onto a particular theme recently to do with the demonstrable compatibility — empirically beyond dispute in the people to whom I’m calling attention — between scientific rationality at a very high level and religious belief.


One of the foremost exponents (and examples) of their compatibility is the English theoretical physicist, priest, and theologian Sir John Polkinghorne.  (I realize that, strictly speaking, as an ordained Anglican cleric he’s not supposed to be referred to as a “Sir.”  But a “Sir” he is, nonetheless.)


Skim through his Wikipedia entry here.  It’s quite interesting.


Posted from Amman, Jordan




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