Re: The Universe in a Single Atom

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 09:10:27 EDT

Randy wrote:

>
> This seems to be a rather lopsided type of integration of reason and faith.
> Science gets to trump faith at every turn. On the other hand, can any of
> you really cite an example where faith and revelation affected science?
> (not the metaphysical meaning of science)
>

Maybe there are countless examples that you never know about or that
you have to take on faith. So if a devout scientist has a "flash" of
inspiration that solves some problem, advances science and the common
good, we can't really say if that was indeed a divine revelation that
happened at the time God deliberately intended it to happen. Same
applies even if it isn't a devout scientist - that God might work
through them. What, after all is the nature of "inspiration"?

Can't resist quoting an amusing incident here about sparks of
inspiration. In my first year at university, the Cavendish professor
of physics was Sir Brian Pippard. It so happened that he was on a
radio program called "man of action", where someone famous would
choose to play pieces of music that were special to them, and
interspersing it with talking about their lives. Several of us who
were attending his lectures heard the program and one of them had
recorded it, so we got to hear again his innocent gem of a comment.
Pippard was talking about the nature of inspiration, and how often it
arrives when we least expect it. This is roughly how he described his
moment of "revelation":

"I'd been working on this particular problem without success for a
number of days. Then, one night, as I was getting ready for bed, I
had just taken my trousers down, and the answer appeared in a flash
...."

(Hoping the word "flashing" has the same connotations in the USA as it
does here in Britain, otherwise not a lot of people are going to get
the point of this ;-)

Iain
Received on Wed Sep 21 09:12:42 2005

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