Christians have been and are great contributors to science

I touched on this the other day, with my post “skeptics are more scientifically literate than alarmists.”  The conversation seems to be hitting a crescendo across the blogosphere, with Mooney and Green having a go at a variant of the discussion, who’s more anti-science, the left or the right.  Predictably, and perhaps inevitably the conversation drifted to the misperception that Christians are anti-science.  I believe this errant framing is intentional, but whether it is or isn’t intentional, its patently wrong. 

One of the problems is discerning what is and isn’t science.  Many try to frame the abortion issue as an issue of science.  It isn’t.  It is a moral issue.  Another group tries to make the argument that Christians are skeptical of the CAGW hypothesis.  Many are, but, there are many that aren’t.  A couple of notable professed Christians that are decidedly pro CAGW is Dr. Kathy Hayhoe and blogger John Cook.  So that argument is baseless.  But more to the point, much of the CAGW argument , as I’ve pointed out before, (The Travesty of Trenberth ) isn’t science at all, but rather, political advocacy.  For clarity, I’ll repeat the posit.  The CAGW hypothesis has little to do with science and more to do with political advocacy.  There’s nothing scientific about pretending to find heat where no measurements or observations have taken place.  There isn’t anything scientific about mischaracterizing other scientists positions.  There isn’t anything scientific about falsifying pictures and passing them on as views of reality.  There’s nothing scientific about stifling debate.  And to the crux of the CAGW hypothesis, there is absolutely nothing scientific about conducting science by a show of hands

Are most Christians skeptical of the CAGW hypothesis?  Christians are typically against acts of deception.  And most importantly, Christians typically oppose burning people out of their homes, murdering their children, and confiscation of people’s property.

If we are to define this as science, then I proudly stand by my Christian brothers and sisters as anti-science.  But, what I’ve described as part and parcel of the CAGW hypothesis isn’t science.  It is Malthusian.  It is misanthropy.  And it is collectivism in its worst form.  But, it isn’t science.  But, let us, for a moment, examine what is universally held as science. 

Most people hold that works of Isaac Newton is an establishment of many principles of modern science.  Who was Isaac Newton?  Isaac Newton was a deeply religious Christian, a prolific hymnist and studied the Bible with earnest and consideration.  His works, Optiks and Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John bear witness to his faith.  And, what of the Big Bang theory?  While some may disagree with the theory, the basis of the theory is grounded in science.  Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was the first to propose the Big Bang theory.  Yes, that’s right a Roman Catholic Priest.  A mathematician, physicist, astronomer……etc.  While we’re talking about physicists, a contemporary of Lemaitre, a one Max Planck should be discussed.  He’s often credited with being the father of the quantum theory.  Max Plank was an elder in his Lutheran church from 1920 to the day of his death in 1947.  There are, of course, many, many more examples of Christians leading the way in scientific understanding and discourse.  For those interested, a look at the Templeton Prize and its recipients would be a worthwhile venture.

Just one notable professed Christian deeply engaged in the CAGW discussion is Dr. Roy Spencer.  He is often criticized, not for his science, but for his belief in Christ.

There’s much more to say on this subject, and I’m sure there will be.  I’ll continue to enlighten on this subject as best I can.

A brother in Christ,

James Sexton

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12 Responses to Christians have been and are great contributors to science

  1. Bob says:

    Hi, James. I just discovered your blog from your posts on WUWT. I will bookmark it so I can come back and read your stuff, later.

    I shut down my political/everything blog because my wife objected to me spending too much time playing around when I should be working. Since then, I am still blogging, but try to pick light, non-contentious subjects.

    Later…

    Bob

    • suyts says:

      Bob, thanks for popping by. I have to apologize about the length of time to approve this comment. Once a comment is approved, then the author is approved without moderation. So, from now on, your comments will go right through. I keep thinking about changing this, but as soon as I’m about to, I get spam.

      I make efforts to make my posts as least contentious as possible. That is to say, I present data, give a modest interpretation and go from there. Lately, however, the stuff that has been spewed requires a response. It requires many responses. I just pray that I’m up for the task. My blogging is part time, which explains why it took me so long to approve your comment.

      Thanks for popping by. I hope you’ll give us the benefit of your insights soon.

      James

  2. nofreewind says:

    Jim, you seem to have a really good heart. Believing in Christ is also a “belief”, only vaguely based on what are not likely real facts. But most Christians, myself included – I attended today, hold to beliefs because they give us a focus of a greater good. The compromise we make with ourselves by adhering to a dogma and tradition is rewarded with a system of living that has worked for untold millions/billions for centuries. That is our “faith”. It seems central to the human condition. The warmers on the other side denigrate us for our unscientific faith, yet they appear to hold to their own set of beliefs. Their belief result in a lessening of the human condition, while for the part our beliefs tend to elevate the human condition.

  3. Frizzy says:

    James, I am also here via WUWT and have enjoyed your posts over there. Since you normally post factual information, I think it my duty to point out that you appear to be confusing Isaac Newton with Isaac Watts and/or John Newton, at least regarding his being “a prolific hymnist”. And personally I would not put him in anywhere near the same “deeply religious Christian” category as either of those other two.

    • suyts says:

      Frizzy, thanks. I’ll certainly investigate. I’m given to a flawed memory as much as I am a flawed intellect. I had investigated this question in the past, but, time does distort things, so I’ll check. However, the works, Optiks and Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John bear witness to his deep consideration and belief in the Almighty.

      Isaac Watts and John Newton have given gifts to humanity, as much, if not greater than Isaac Newton. But, I’m not sure it is legitimate to put value judgements on their gifts. Amazing Grace is what brought all of their gifts to us…… the hymn Amazing Grace as well as Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

      Frizzy, do come back. Your contributions are welcomed.

      James

      • Frizzy says:

        I shudder every time I begin to contemplate where I would be without His Amazing Grace; Not just in eternity, but in the here and now.

        Regarding Isaac Newton: imho, since he was strongly anti-Trinitarian, I think you can call him a Christian only in the very broadest of senses and he was actually more of a Deist. Again, that’s just my take. I haven’t read his books.

      • suyts says:

        The trinity concept is difficult for many, but, Newton was writing about Daniel and Revelations, in it there’s a heavy implication he was indeed a Christian…..quoting from the book……But before her flight there was war in heaven between Michael and the Dragon, the Christian and the heathen religions;…”

      • suyts says:

        More from his writings and interpretations of Daniel and Revelations…….“At length when a new truth was to be preached to the Gentiles, namely, that Jesus was the Christ,…….” Continuing….. “Daniel was in the greatest credit amongst the Jews, till the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian: and to reject his Prophecies, is to reject the Christian religion. For this religion is founded upon his Prophecy concerning the Messiah.

        I think it very clear that Isaac Newton was indeed a professed Christian.

  4. suyts says:

    A note: The purpose of this post wasn’t to make judgments of the level of belief of some people of the past, (this isn’t for us to do) rather to illustrate Christian contributions to the advancement of science. I submit that without Christian contributions we would not have anywhere near the level of understanding of all the sciences today.

    • HankH says:

      James,

      I too arrived at your site via the recent WUWT thread. I have for a long time enjoyed your factual and objective comments there. In my early career as a scientist I identified myself as an atheist. It was my love for science and a circuitous path of trying to understand the beauty of life and reconcile the complexity of our world that led me to eventually acknowledge God and later seek a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and become a Christian.

      I am fortunate that the fields I divide my time between, medical research and technology R&D, have a relatively high percentage of Christians working in them so my faith and work are well accepted. Climatology seems to be a different story judging by the harsh and undeserved criticisms I see of Dr. Spencer’s faith and other Christians.

      I could not agree with you more regarding Christian contributions to the sciences. If only those who criticize Christians as “anti-science” could remove the blinders and take a factual look at the expressed faith of the great minds that established most of the major branches of science, they too would realize that faith and science are not at all incompatible.

      I bookmarked your site and will visit often.

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