Scientists Who Believe
The topic of belief in God is multidimensional. We have discussed differences in God- belief, such as the startling drop in belief among 18-29 year-olds in the US from 2017-2022—the topic of our previous post. In April we also posted:
Our Science/Faith blog generally deals with science as it reinforces personal faith in the reality of God among the general populace. In the last few years we have not specifically addressed the topic of God-belief among professional scientists. Scientists belonging to AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) were cited by the Pew Research Center in 2009 as having less God-belief (33%) than the general population (83%). Pew Research employees state professional scientists “…on the whole are much less religious than the general public.”
Herein lies a startling irony. We might expect highly advanced scientists to be more likely to possess belief in the God of Creation. Instead, with notable exceptions, it is the reverse. We cite a thrilling exception:
Dr. Fazale Rana, of the Reasons to Believe organization, reminded readers of a 2005 event in his recent newsletter. We recall that Reasons to Believe president Dr. Hugh Ross had informed his supporters of a startling scenario. It was a story of a brilliant scientist, a former atheist, who was converted late in life. We quote Dr. Rana from his Weekly Digest Newsletter:
“I watched God transform Rick Smalley’s life through Reasons to Believe. And I’ll
never forget it.
Rick was a Nobel Laureate who was awarded the prize for founding the discipline of nanoscience and nanotechnology—the science, engineering, and use of individual atoms and molecules, especially to build microscopic devices.
He was a brilliant scientist…and an outspoken atheist.
But then, after a few conversations with Hugh Ross, Rick decided to read Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off.
Rick responded with a declaration: ‘Evolution has been dealt a death blow.’ And he became an outspoken follower of Jesus Christ!”
Rick Smalley possessed an early connection to Christian faith. As a young person he spent his first two post-high school years at Hope College, a 4-year liberal arts college advocating a vibrant Christian faith. Although he “…was a stickler for scientific credibility and integrity…and Bible passages that he presumed were in conflict with science…” But before he died, he proclaimed far and wide that science and faith can and do fit together.
A lengthy Wikipedia article entitled “Richard Smalley” speaks of the genius of this scientist. Late in life he became a follower of Jesus Christ and recognized God as Creator based on his knowledge of science. Professional scientists are uniquely qualified to identify the works of God and believe in Him as The Creator.
We thank God for the skill of professional scientists. They discover the wonders of our physical environment and help human society develop scientific technology to sustain and enrich our lives. The Creator has gifted humanity with the Image of God in their intellectual essence. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…” (Genesis 1:27 ESV).