RE: The more they learn, the less they believe

Steven Schimmrich (
Tue, 04 Aug 1998 16:40:52 -0400

At 01:29 PM 8/4/98 -0400, Dan Berger wrote:
>Allan Harvey observed,
>> I suspect more of this difference is due to a lower likelihood
>> of Christians in science achieving "leading" status. Things today are
>> not like they were early in the century when talent and a little hard
>> work could bring a scientist to "leading" status. Now, it tends to take
>> talent, a *lot* of hard work, and often a good amount of self-promotion.
>> Because Christians will (we hope) have other priorities besides worldly
>> success, they will be less likely to exhibit the sort of single-minded,
>> non-humble, workaholic pursuit that tends to be required (there are, of
>> course, exceptions) to make a scientist "leading". My semi-informed
>> guess is that this sort of self-selection is the biggest reason for the
>> disparity in the numbers.
> I can vouch for this. My dissertation advisor (an atheist) has seen his
> chemistry -- and some of his chemical prestige -- suffer because of his
> hobby, numismatics. He is a world authority in the field, and while he is a
> Fellow of the Royal Society and has won the Kipping Award in silicon
> chemistry, he doesn't publish as often as he might if his "bedtime reading"
> weren't taken up with numismatics. This is probably roughly the same amount
> of time that a Christian scientist would devote to prayer and Bible study.
> Frankly I don't know how Fritz Schaefer (or Francis Collins) does it.

I would tend to agree.

I see this in geology as well. The leading people in the field that I've
met eat, breathe, sleep, and dream geology. It's a single-minded interest
and they don't seem to have any hobbies or outside interests. Many of them
also seem to be either never married or divorced as well.

It seems to me, from my limited experience thus far, that being a good
teacher and a researcher publishing a lot of papers requires one to spend
evenings and weekends and holidays working.

- Steve.

   Steven H. Schimmrich
   Physical Sciences Department (office)
   Kutztown University      (home)
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