On Religion and the Environment

Commentary, Climate, Frontier Centre


I enjoy receiving the email updates that are sent out from the Frontier Centre. I especially appreciate the work you have done in regard to the global warming bogeyman.

Will Rogers said, when he was a kid, that he was always told anyone in America could grow up to be president. Then he added that after he grew older and got a firsthand look at the performance of some presidents, he came to see how true that statement really was! I often think of his words when I see Al Gore with a Nobel Prize. It seems anyone can grow up to get a Nobel Prize too! What’s next… Al Sharpton with an Oscar? (By the way, did you ever see Sharpton’s speech from the 2004 Democratic Convention in which he wants to know what happened to his mule? You will kill yourself laughing! Comedy Central released a DVD of that convention, which includes Sharpton’s speech. It is one of the funniest things I have seen in my 50 years on the planet. Get it. You’ll love it!)

Anyway, I am writing to comment on the headline you chose for this recent email, and I suppose, by implication, the title of an item you have posted on your website-“More Science Less Religion Please.

The declaration presumes Al Gore is religious, and seemingly suggests that science is the antithesis of religion; essentially, that to believe in God is to be unscientific-neither are true. Just to get started, I present Copernicus, Lavoisier, Malpighi, and Fleming. Kepler, Heisenberg, Brahe, and Gauss were Lutherans. Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory and one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century was clear in his religious views. Leonard Euler, Christiaan Huygens, Thomas Digges, and Albertus Magnus all believed in God. John Dalton, who formulated modern atomic theory was a devout Quaker who saw no clash whatsoever between religion and science. He thought they both pointed in the same direction.

Some maintain that a list of the 100 most influential scientists of all time would include the names of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and James Clerk Maxwell. Two of these three, Newton and Maxwell, were clearly religious in their search for God, and Einstein, though not religious, is quoted as having said: “The idea of a non-created universe was impossible.”

James Joule, the originator of Joule’s law, and after whom the joule as a unit of energy is named, saw no contradiction whatsoever between his work as a scientist, his religion, and his confidence in the Bible as an authoritative document. He repeatedly and firmly acknowledged God as the Creator of all. George Mendel, the father of genetics, was a monk who conducted many of his experiments in a large garden attached to his monastery. George Boole (as in Boolean) was the discoverer of pure mathematics. Michael Faraday was a giant in electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Arthur Eddington, the man many consider the founder of modern astrophysics, was known throughout his entire life for his devout religious views. Georges Lemaitre, the individual who proposed what is now called the Big Bang theory was a priest who obviously saw no conflict whatsoever between his religion and the study of science. When he received the Francqui Prize in 1934, among those who proposed his name was none other than Einstein.

Bernhard Riemann, after whom the Riemann Hypothesis is named, was the son of a Lutheran minister and a deeply religious man whose last words were from the Lord’s Prayer. On his tombstone is the text of Romans 8:28. Nobel Scientists who believed in God include Smalley, Ross, Anfinsen, Mott, Bragg and Eccles just to name a few. There are many, many, more.

I don’t remember the statement verbatim, but I can paraphrase something said by A.W. Tozer that likely sums up the view many of these great thinkers may have had. Tozer pointed out that reason and true religion point in the same direction, and that when understood in context, do not contradict one another.

Al Gore, religious? LOL. I don’t think so. Gore would like to be the secular version of a bishop I suppose, or perhaps a Catholic cardinal with a pointy hat and red cape, but I am not sure there is anything about Gore that could be called religious.

After reading your headline, “More Science and Less Religion Please,” I open the correspondence you send to find a quote by Chesterton, the author of Orthodoxy, and a story about the pope taking a swipe at the global warming crowd? LOL…Less religion please… LOL This is too funny! (Forgive me you guys, but I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw how this was presented!)

As I am sure you know, Chesterton consistently and always referred to himself as an “Orthodox Christian,” and is regarded by both religious liberals and religious conservatives as one of theirs. You have to admit that a “less religion please” headline, in an online newsletter with a Chesterton quote that supposedly affirms such a headline, followed by an article about of all people, the pope, has to make somebody laugh…

Keep up the good work. I love what you do; you do it well; but I do think you may want to rethink suggesting that science and religion are at odds… A whole lot of people, including many great scientific thinkers, would take exception to such an idea.

Best wishes,

Kevin Avram
Scottsdale, Arizona