Tuesday, February 3, 2015

8.96 Out of 10 Atheists Tell Me This Man Didn't Exist

Winner of the Nobel Prize, inventor of the laser and devoted United Church of Christ member Charles Hard Townes died on Tuesday, Jan. 27, in California. His contributions are being celebrated by both the religious community and science community — a fitting way to remember a man whose strong faith helped open a discussion on the similarities between religion and technology.

Townes was 99.

"Charles was one of the most pre-eminent scientists in the United Church of Christ, and was also a man who was very open about the way in which his faith and spirituality informed his scientific imagination and vision," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, former general minister and president of the UCC. "He was important in the scientific world and religious world for finding common ground and seeing their vocation together at a time when the public assumed science and faith were at odds and competing."

His death was reported by news outlets and publications throughout the United States, on the front page of the New York Times, on major TV networks and by science magazines commemorating the man who envisioned the laser, an invention with so many applications in today's world, such as price scanners, DVD players, metal cutting machines, printers and vision correction devices

OK, so I did make up that number in the title.  Sometimes while online or being exposed to the finest scientific minds at FOX or the Discovery Channel, it seems like it's closer to 9.98 out of 10 atheists.  

I think I've heard Charles Townes' name before this but I can't claim to have been familiar with him.   I do think his scientific bona fides so sort of trump an Assistant Professor at a minor branch of a Midwestern University and most of the other big names in neo-atheism who are always telling us that science and religion are incompatible.  More of which in a minute. 

In a 1966 article, mentioned in the article linked to above, "The Convergence of Science and Religion," this Nobel laureate doesn't seem to have had the same experience.   At PZ Myer's blog a number of years back he slammed another scientist, one with far higher achievements than he can lay claim to, when said that he had found his religion very helpful in his scientific work.  I asked Myers how he could know what the guy's experience and what contributed to his thinking was when he didn't have religious experiences and, in any case, was in no position to second guess another person about their experience.  I did note that the man's scientific publications and his faculty position sort of blew PZ's authority to speak universally for the experience of scientists out of the arena. Which he and, more so, his sci-ranger community weren't happy about.   I've just read part way through Charles Townes' article (at the link) though it looks like it will provide a lot of good material for thought.  

But, of course, he couldn't have existed.  How could he have?  


  1. I want Christians with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

    1. Laser beams, I'm beginning to think that if I don't develop the habit of leaving my glasses in one place I'm going to be forced to get laser surgery. It's x-ray vision I want, though I'd rather have this ability


      Now that I know what not to do with it.

  2. His Xianity had nothing to do with his science. I have been assured of that by anonymous commenters who should know.

    1. (seriously. I saw a comment that Mendel's Christianity had nothing to do with his science, so Christians couldn't claim him. Yeah: a monk by day, a scientist by night, or something. Or split personalities. I dunno. All I know is: you can't make this stuff up.)

    2. Not only a monk but an ordained priest whose scientific work was supported by his abbot who gave him land for his experimental plot, built a greenhouse for him and otherwise supported his work, and who would have had to approve him publishing his paper. Oh, in a monastery that was a local center of scientific research and scholarship with a fine library. And a monk who was sufficiently pious that he became abbot himself. I don't doubt that the BBC may have represented it differently in one of those propaganda costume dramas they like to present as scientific programming, I seem to recall one such thing.

      What is true is that when he tried to interest Darwin and his inner circle in his paper, they ignored it. That Thomas Huxley and Francis Galton and other big names in atheist science in Britain were engaged in a campaign to exclude religious figures from science (as I believe is mentioned in that paper I linked to about the "debate" between Huxley and Wilberforce by J.R.Lucas) had a lot to do with why they ignored actual science done by an Augustinian priest.

      Salon, Alternet, to some extent The Nation and virtually all other media organs of "the left", and perhaps most of all the BBC, have pushed that kind of atheist propaganda falsifying not only the historical record but what even some of the most renowned scientists have said about the relationship of THEIR science and THEIR religion. Generally pushed by writers, directors and producers who have never been guilty of doing science in their lives or atheists who can't know that experience since they don't have religious experience. Which is the topic of I'm writing about today.

    3. So there's a heritage to the comment I saw. I should have known.

      What fascinated me was the insistence that the world was small enough to fit into a pocket, and any evidence to the contrary had to be dismissed out of hand. So Christians, the comment said, couldn't claim Mendel as one of their own, because his Christianity couldn't lead to his accurate science, or have any connection to it. Because, you know: truth.

      Or something.

    4. LOL. Same goes for Kepler. He just wanted to read the mind of God, is all. Newton. Einstein. And on and on.

      I don't understand that compartmentalizing stance at all.