Scientists of Faith

Kepler

Johann Kepler (1571-1630, A.D.) was a committed Protestant Christian who laid the foundations for modern astronomy. Some of his achievements include “conclusively proving heliocentricity of the solar system and published the first ephemeris tables for tracking star motions.”

-Pgs. 11-13, Men of Science: Men of God, 1988, by Dr. Henry M. Morris

He taught others how to pinpoint a planet’s location in its orbit. He wrote three laws of planetary motion which bear his name. He also wrote a proto-science fiction novel entitled Somnium, Sive Astronomia Lunaris.

-http://www.cowart.info/Kepler/Kepler.htm

“To God there are, in the whole material world, material laws, figures and relations of special excellency and of the most appropriate order,”

-Pg. 50, Johannes Kepler: Life and Letters, 2008, by Carola Baumgardt (Author), cited by John Cowart

“I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”

-http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Johannes_Kepler

Bacon

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

This scientist was the father of the scientific method as it is known today: he made a major cognitive leap by using inductive rather than deductive reasoning in order to study natural phenomena. Deductive reasoning was previously the heart of natural philosophy and had been since Aristotle’s time.

Men of Science, Men of God, Henry M. Morris

‘To conclude, therefore, let no man … think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.’

-Sir Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, 1605 A.D. ( https://creation.com/sir-francis-bacon)

Pascal

Blaise Pascal (1632) was the father of the science of hydrostatics (the study of fluids, pressure on objects in fluids, and pressure within fluids, Wikipedia). He also pioneered the modern study of conic sections and established the foundations for differential calculus and the theory of probability in mathematics (Men of Science: Men of God, 1988, Henry Morris). He aided the Italian scientist Torticelli in the development of the first barometer by testing it out (https://scied.ucar.edu/docs/1648-small-mountain-and-large-barometer). He also was a Roman Catholic Christian and member of the Jansenist sect which believed that the personal virtue of the celebrating cleric contributed to the efficacy of the sacrament. He wrote the Pensees, a work which includes an intellectual argument for theism known as “Pascal’s Wager.” His argument was based on free will, probability, and what we might now term a “cost/benefit analysis.” Pascal’s argument may be summarized as follows. If God does exist and you serve Him, pray to Him, and obey His commandments, then you will gain eternal life (not to mention the happier earthly life that, at least internally, comes from following the Gospels). If God were not to exist, then you will have lost nothing by following the commandments (one would, in fact, at least have gained an earthly life happy because of virtue).

“Following McClennen 1994, Pascal’s argument seems to be best captured as presenting the following decision matrix:”

  God exists God does not exist
Wager for God Gain all Status quo
Wager against God Misery Status quo

Boyle

(https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/).

Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was a founding member of the Royal Society in London and is generally accepted as on of the founding figures of modern chemistry.  He never earned a college diploma, but instead was largely what we might consider a “self-educated man.” He believed firmly in Christian miracles and endowed a series of lectures, known as the Boyle Lectures, were directed only for refuting the arguments of non-Christians such as Atheists, Jews, and Muslims, not on differences between Christians. He was dedicated to transmitting the Bible by having it translated into various languages.  He, additionally, may have been a source for C.S. Lewis’ work Miracles directly or indirectly: “Additionally (a familiar Aristotelian point), our ability to abstract — to consider universals and not merely particular instances — was held to provide further evidence for the incorporeality of the soul and hence for the possibility at least of human immortality.” (Stanford, 2019). Lewis picks up on this idea of our ability to reason being supernatural: i.e. the fact that if A=B and B=C, then A must equal C is not reducible to material or “natural” causes but actually requires a supernatural ability. Boyle’s Law, that a gas’ pressure is inversely proportionate to its volume when the temperature is held constant, is still useful to scientists today.

 

Sources:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/boyle/

Men of Science, Men of God (1988) by Henry Morris


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