BreakPoint: Scientists and Their Gods, 01/05/2004

From: Jay Willingham <jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 10:10:12 EST

BreakPoint with Charles Colson
Comments?

Jay Willingham

----- Original Message -----
From: BreakPoint with Charles Colson
To: jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 8:23 AM
Subject: BreakPoint: Scientists and Their Gods, 01/05/2004

     
      

        
     
     

      BreakPoint with Charles Colson
      Commentary #040105 - 01/05/2004

      Scientists and Their Gods
      The Question of Coherence

      Can God use accidents and embarrassing pauses? He did in the life of one prominent professor.

      On the first day of class at the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Henry F. Schaefer, was lecturing 680 freshman chemistry students. When he cued his assistant to demonstrate a crucial concept, the assistant wasn't ready. Desperate to avoid "dead air," Schaefer ad-libbed a joke-in which he mentioned having been in church the previous Sunday. By then his assistant was ready, and Schaefer resumed his lecture.

      But after class, about fifty students lined up to talk to him. What was a science professor doing in church? One student remarked that a favorite high school chemistry teacher had taught with great certainty that it was impossible to be a practicing chemist and a Christian. What did Schaefer think? He gave a short reply, but didn't have time to answer fully.

      The students in line overheard that conversation, and one asked if he would lecture on why a chemistry professor would believe in God. And so God used that brief exchange in 1984 to prod Schaefer into preparing "Scientists and Their Gods," a lecture he has delivered on campuses worldwide and now appears as part of his outstanding new book, Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?

      Henry Schaefer is an ideal person to answer skeptics. First, he once was one. Furthermore, he has been nominated several times for a Nobel Prize, so no one can say he's not a top scientist. Plus, he communicates on a popular level, making a profound case clearly, simply, and spiced with humor.

      In the lecture "Scientists and Their Gods" Schaefer quotes a striking statement from physicist Robert Griffiths: "If we need an atheist for a debate, I go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn't much use."

      Schaefer's argument, you see, is that being a scientist doesn't necessarily make one an atheist. Allan Sandage, for example, considered the world's greatest living cosmologist, says, "The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order . is simply too well put together."

      Or take Nobel laureate Charles Townes. He said, "To me, God is personal yet omnipresent-a great source of strength, who has made an enormous difference to me." Even the atheist Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman admitted, "Many scientists do believe in both science and God . in a perfectly consistent way."

      Sigma Xi, the international honor society for scientific and engineering research, polled its members about religion and found that 41 percent of Ph.D. scientists reported that they attended church on a typical Sunday. Another survey found 52 percent of biologists identifying themselves as Christians. M.I.T. professor Alan Lightman adds, "contrary to popular myth, scientists appear to have the same range of attitudes about religious matters as does the general public."

      That's why I'm so grateful to Henry Schaefer, the distinguished scientist and professor at the University of Georgia, for his contribution in his excellent book, Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? One reviewer says the book "attempts to woo readers to Christ, not beat them over the head." To obtain your copy, call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527).

      Do science and Christianity conflict? Not at all, and Henry Schaefer provides many scientific evidences of their perfect coherence.

      For printer-friendly version, simply visit www.breakpoint.org and click on Today's Commentary. The printer-friendly link is on the left-hand column.

      Copyright (c) 2003 Prison Fellowship

      THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

      "BreakPoint with Chuck Colson" is a daily commentary on news and trends from a Christian perspective. Heard on more than 1000 radio outlets nationwide, BreakPoint transcripts are also available on the Internet.

      BreakPoint is a production of The Wilberforce Forum, a division of Prison Fellowship.

       

        a.. Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? (University of Georgia, 2003). You can order this book ($20) from BreakPoint: 1-877-3-CALLBP. Read the table of contents from the book and read comments from others.
        b.. David Fisher and Eric C. Barrett, Scientists Who Believe: 21 Tell Their Own Stories (Moody, 1984). You can order this book ($20) from BreakPoint: 1-877-3-CALLBP.
        c.. BreakPoint Commentary No. 031219, "Lost and Found: Modern Science and Ancient Faith."
        d.. BreakPoint Commentary No. 031204, "We've Been Lied To: Christianity and the Rise of Science."
        e.. "The Theological Roots of Modern Science," Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, lecturing at University of California, Santa Barbara. Available on VHS and DVD.
        f.. John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Moody Press, 1992).
        g.. C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friends or Foes? (Crossway Books, 2003).
        h.. Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton, The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy (Crossway Books, 1994).
        NOTE: Referral to websites not produced by Prison Fellowship, the Wilberforce Forum, and BreakPoint is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites' content.

           | | |
       

      To subscribe to BreakPoint, click here.

      To update your profile, click here.

      To remove your e-mail address from Prison Fellowship, click here.

     
     
     
     

      Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? describes why/how Dr. Henry Schaefer became a Christian as a young professor. The book retains the highly personal character of the university lectures, respect for (most of) those with whom the author disagrees, and a delightful sense of humor. To order ($20), call 1-877-322-5527.

      Playing God?: Facing the Everyday Ethical Dilemmas of Biotechnology-This dynamic multimedia study brings Charles Colson, one of the foremost voices in America on the topic of integrating faith and life, and Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D., a highly respected bioethics expert, to your class or group!

      For more books, CDs, videos, and other materials visit the BreakPoint Store.

      Please share BreakPoint with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe to this free daily resource! Either forward this e-mail, or visit the commentary web page to send it to a friend (see "E-mail a friend" in the lower left-hand column).

      Are you a Christian school teacher? Did you know you can receive 2 CEUs for each course completed in the Wilberforce Forum's Certificate in Christian Worldview Studies through the Association of Christian Schools International? Registration for the second course (which begins February 16) ends January 30. The courses may be taken individually and/or out of order and will be repeated next year. Online registration is now available.

      BreakPoint to Go! Get BreakPoint delivered to your hand-held device or mobile phone.
     
     
      This message contains graphics. If the graphics do not appear click here to view it.
      Or copy and paste the following link into your browser.
      http://msg2svc.net/servlet/Pv?c=703d70666d26733d313737343835266d3d33373426743d4826723d4e
     
Received on Mon Jan 5 10:09:21 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Jan 05 2004 - 10:09:22 EST