I'm not sure which of these twenty Nobelists actually are Christians,
or which would agree with the ASA statement of belief, but I noted some who
might possibly be Christians:
(1) Neville Mott at the age of 50 "started attending church [and]
found that I could express in that way a vague belief in God." He later wrote,
"In religion I am proud to call myself a liberal."
(2) Arno Penzias titled his contribution "Creation Is Supported by All
the Data So Far," and quoted the psalmist but did not explicitly say he is a
(3) Arthur Schawlow wrote, "It seems to me that when confronted with
the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The
only possible answers are religious. For me that means Protestant
Christianity, to which I was introduced as a child and which has withstood the
tests of a lifetime."
(4) Charles Townes wrote, "I believe in the concept of God and in his
existence," but he did not elaborate.
(5) John Eccles wrote, "... the conscious self is not in the Darwinian
evolutionary process at all. I think it is a divine creation." In answer to
the question, "do you see any special relavance for the theist in the Big Bang
theory?" Eccles responded, "Yes, in a way, but it is the trancendent God that
does it all. But when it comes to the human situation, it is the immanent God
what is so important although the transcendent God is there too. We have to
all the time think of them as two aspects of the same Being." However, he did
not say what his own particular religion was.
(6) Manfred Eigen wrote, "I think religion and science neither exclude
nor prove one another." He did not elaborate but referred to his book, Stufen
zum Leben (Munich: Piper, 1987; English translation forthcoming).
(7) Tadeus Reichstein wrote, ""Personally, I very much agree with
[the] concepts of Darwin, Einstein, Schroedinger, Heisenberg, Planck, and
others. ... As far as I can see, Darwin was a very religious man; the
Darwinists misinterpreted his attitude. It is probably impossible to explain a
miracle with physics and chemistry."
I might have missed some, but, as you can see above, I have tried to be
generous in listing people who might possibly (i.e., possibly consitent with
the data I found in the book) be Christians. I would be curious about other
evidence confirming or disconfirming the hypotheses that these are (or were)
Although he does not have a contribution to this book, I remember
hearing Anthony Hewish, who received a Nobel Prize for the discovery of
pulsars, give a talk at Great St. Mary's Church in Cambridge about twenty years
ago on "Is Space Big Enough for God?" in which he represented at least some
sort of theistic, and I think Christian, viewpoint.
One other Nobelist who contributed to Cosmos, Bios, Theos, Vladimir
Prelog, though not a Christian, gave the following valuable cautionary note:
"Winners of the Nobel Prize are not more competent about God, religion, and
life after death than other people; some of them, like myself, are agnostics.
They just don't know, and therefore they are tolerant of religious people,
atheists, and others."
Considering the wide range of views expressed in Cosmos, Bios, Theos, I
wondered whether it might be that Nobel laureates are not significantly less
theistic than scientists in general (who, according to recent polls, are
apparently not significantly less theistic than the general public), but since
they might be generally more independently minded, it might just be that a
smaller fraction of them would fit into any particular subset of theistic
beliefs, such as Christianity or evangelical Christianity.