Scientists on Religion

Please offer your favorite quotes of scientists on religion, and feel free to comment on each other’s quotes. It would also be helpful if you can identify the main contribution of the scientist to scientific thought.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Nicolaus Copernicus Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System
“The universe has been wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator.”

Johannes Kepler Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motions
“[May] God who is most admirable in his works … deign to grant us the grace to bring to light and illuminate the profundity of his wisdom in the visible (and accordingly intelligible) creation of this world.”

Galileo Galilei Laws of Dynamics
“The Holy Bible and the phenomenon of nature proceed alike from the divine Word.”

Isaac Newton Laws of Thermodynamics, Optics, etc.
“This most beautiful system [the solar system] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Isaac Newton

Benjamin Franklin Electricity, Bifocals, etc.
”Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped.

James Clerk Maxwell Electromagnetism, Maxwell’s Equations
“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen none that will not work without God.”

Lord William Kelvin Laws of Thermodynamics, absolute temperature scale
“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

Charles Darwin Theory of Evolution
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Origin of the Species, 1872 (last edition before Darwin’s death).

Louis Pasteur Germ Theory
“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”

Max Planck Father of Quantum Physics
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other.”

J.J. Thompson Discoverer of the Electron
“In the distance tower still higher peaks which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects and deepen the feeling whose truth is emphasized by every advance in science, that great are the works of the Lord.”

Werner Heisenberg Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
“In the course of my life I have been repeatedly compelled to ponder the relationship of these two regions of thought (science and religion), for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

Arthur Compton Compton Effect, Quantum Physicist
“For myself, faith begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man.”

Max Born Quantum Physicist
“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

Paul A.M. Dirac Quantum Physicist, Matter-Anti-Matter
“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

George LeMaitre Father of the Big Bang Theory,
“There is no conflict between religion and science.” Reported by Duncan Aikman, New York Times, 1933

Albert Einstein Special and General Theories of Relativity
“The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’—cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

I think you covered them. Or at least all the best ones :yup::yup: Most of those I had not heard before.

Very interesting post, Charlemagne III.

Here is one I forgot to include, even though atheists claim him for one of their own because he denied the existence of a personal God.

“I believe in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence pervading the Universe.” Thomas Edison - Inventor of Electric Light, Motion Pictures, etc.

The James Maxwell quote seems to me either misquoted or atheistic. In your version, it says:

“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen none that will not work without God.”

There are three negatives there (none, not, without) but it would only be pro-God if you deleted the not.

Yeah I think the quote should be:

“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

You are right! My apologies. The correct version is here:

“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

Thank you for noticing the error. :thumbsup:

A thought on the faith of the scientist

“The scientist’s condition as a sentinel in the modern world, as one who is the first to glimpse the enormous complexity together with the marvellous harmony of reality, makes him a privileged witness of the plausibility of religion, a man capable of showing how the admission of transcendence, far from harming the autonomy and the ends of research, rather stimulates it to continually surpass itself in an experience of self-transcendence which reveals the human mystery”.

  • Pope John Paul II, 7/17/85.

When we finish this one, can we do one on golfers? And then maybe one on accountants. And then plumbers and electricians and cab drivers and…well, this could run and run.

Yes, we could. Golfers have insight too. But I wonder if they have as much sway as scientists. If I was a seventeen year old, and I saw on TV that Stephen Hawking affirmed God’s existence while Tiger Woods denied it, who would be more likely to impact my opinion? Seventeen year olds are probably more likely right now to think the scientists have more expertise on the issue. In reality scientists probably don’t have more expertise on this issue than golfers, since neither golfers nor scientists are in the relevant field. And even there, it’s not a simple matter of counting votes.

Maybe people confuse their ability to furnish information with some insight into what that information tells us.

I like this comment. Please continue. Do you think a list of statements by golfers who believe in God could be a helpful list?

About as much help as quotes from scientists.

Edit: To be fair, if any quote from anyone can be used to enhance a point which you have already made in your own words, then by all means use it. Whether it is from the guy who cleans your pool or the pope.

I agree with that.

I also think some people have more authority than others on certain issues. If my pool guy says that his experience of cleaning my pool has taught him that evolution is real, that’s not a very persuasive testimony to me. But if a prize-winning biologist says that all of his experience studying biology has taught him that evolution is real, that’s more convincing. Do you think that’s reasonable?

I do. But that would have no influence on whether I believed in God or not.

Do you believe the quotes in the first post by all those scientists were nonsense?

If so, does that make you smarter than all of them put together? :confused:

By the way, if you think this thread is nonsense, why participate?

“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity…as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty.”

– Francis Bacon , 1561 –1626 “Of Atheism”
Bacon was arguably the most important of the early writers on the methodology of science.

“In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

– Charles Darwin, in a letter (1879) to J. Fordyee

Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and theologian

“May God never abandon me.”
“The heart has reasons reason cannot know.”

Francis Collins, the leader of the international Human Genome Project, which had labored mightily over more than a decade to reveal the DNA sequence.

“It is humbling for me, and awe-inspiring, to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.”

Nicola Tesla
Alternating Current, Pioneer of Wireless Communications

“So we find that the three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work. Many a year I have thought and pondered, lost myself in speculations and theories, considering man as a mass moved by a force, viewing his inexplicable movement in the light of a mechanical one, and applying the simple principles of mechanics to the analysis of the same until I arrived at these solutions, only to realize that they were taught to me in my early childhood. These three words sound the key-notes of the Christian religion. Their scientific meaning and purpose now clear to me: food to increase the mass, peace to diminish the retarding force, and work to increase the force accelerating human movement. These are the only three solutions which are possible of that great problem, and all of them have one object, one end, namely, to increase human energy. When we recognize this, we cannot help wondering how profoundly wise and scientific and how immensely practical the Christian religion is, and in what a marked contrast it stands in this respect to other religions. It is unmistakably the result of practical experiment and scientific observation which have extended through the ages, while other religions seem to be the outcome of merely abstract reasoning."

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