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?
Posted by The Thought Criminal at 3:56 PM