Arsenic Aliens And Atheist Astronomers

Hubble Space Telescope, Eagle Nebula

Two recent newspaper articles about science, Oppenheimer on December 18th, “Astronomer sues school, saying faith cost him job”, and Kaplan and Brown on December 25th, 2010, “Something’s amiss with aliens and arsenic”, have caught my attention.

The first article tells of an astronomer employed by the University of Nebraska who was denied employment at the University of Kentucky when they found out the man was an Evangelical Christian.

The second article tells of a biochemist who studied the ability of microbes to metabolize toxic elements like arsenic, and then caught the attention of the NASA Astrobiology Institute who funded the project. But later, allegations of sloppy work placed suspicion on the results. One scientist even accuses NASA of pushing their own agenda to prove there is life in outer space. The article closes with a long description of scientific peer review–how that system began more than 300 years ago, the changes which were made in the 19th century, and then how peer review became a more standardized process after World War II. Several scientists then give opinions on the peer review process. Basically, it’s broken.

I apologize for the long synopsis, but the background is needed to understand what I am about to say.

There is a serious problem in the scientific world. Science has become anti-God. And I would say that the problem is getting worse. The first article quotes a 1998 survey where 7.5 percent of physicists and astronomers in the National Academy of Sciences said they believe in God.

Only 7.5 percent? I wonder what that number would be today . . .

I have heard studies cited about the state of science education in the world. Many countries are now ahead of the United States in terms of the number of people participating in the sciences, and in terms of the quality of that education. There seems to be a consensus that if the United States could just fix the educational process that all would be well. We used to be the world leaders in all things science related, in almost every single scientific field. Now we are not.


I am going to jump out on a limb here. I firmly believe that better educational programs, more hours in the classroom, more teachers, better books, better science fairs, more students in the field . . .isn’t going to fix it. The problem is with US. Not US as in the USA, but us as people. We have forgotten God.

In fact, we have become anti-God.

Bear with me a moment. I have a few questions for you.

Let’s say that the peer review process is the best way to handle scientific studies. What if 92 percent of those peers are atheist?

Logical constructs begin with a premise. We assume something which we hope to be true, and then we go about to prove it. What if the premise is all wrong? If 92 percent of scientists do not believe in God, then every single time we go out into the universe to prove that we are not alone, we are working with the premise that IF life is out there, it is there by chance, just like we are . . . here on this earth where energy sparked matter, microbes appeared, and then life involved until intelligent, decision making, bi-pedal creatures roam the earth in automobiles which use fossil fuels that cause global warming.

Let’s start with a different premise: God exists. He created the universe. He obeys laws of physics, chemistry, biology, because they are HIS laws. We don’t know ALL the laws, because we have not yet discovered them, or He has not yet taught them all to us. I am not anti-evolution. I don’t know HOW God put everything together so that this planet can support life. I don’t now how He used the building blocks of biology and chemistry to make living things. It is very possible that God used some parts of the evolutionary process to shape His creations.

Perhaps another premise: God has said (if you believe the things written by His servants), that there is life out there.

With that premise, that there IS life out there, doesn’t that change our outlook? Doesn’t that make us want to know HOW He did it, and where the life is?

Maybe instead of relying on a bunch of anti-God peers, maybe we need to have another 40 percent of the scientists asking Him for help. Build a time machine. Go back to 1940. Give the same survey to the scientists of the day. I’ll bet the number who believe in God is more than 50 percent. Go back earlier, several times, and I’ll bet the number continues to rise.

That is the problem with science in America. We have lost the great scientists who DID believe in God. I sure wish we could get them back.



Arsenic Aliens And Atheist Astronomers — 6 Comments

  1. I tend to agree. Some say that progress means moving ever forward, but if you are already at the peak-another step forward is going back down the mountain.

  2. I agree. I love science and astronomy, had planned to become an astrophysicist actually, before marrying & becoming a mother (wouldn’t change a thing!) Every time I study science, and especially astronomy, I am awed and grow closer to Heavenly Father.

    Scientifically speaking, I think it would be very interesting to “experiment” and actually have a dedicated Christian team of scientists who actively ask Heavenly Father for help and rely on His revelation in learning and discovery. I am intensely curious as to the results of such an “experiment.” 🙂

    I’d love to chat with you more on this subject at Storymakers, if you are both interested and attending.

    Shanda 🙂

  3. Interesting ideas. Although I agree with your thoughts that belief in God is vital to scientific enlightenment, many people would say that a lot of other countries are more “godless” than the United States. That isn’t to say that we all don’t need improvement, but I’m not sure your argument about less leading scientists in the U.S. is because of less belief in God in the U.S. is exactly accurate. On the other hand, the basis for my comment is all hearsay as well.

    I really appreciate the guidance and leadership from Elder Richard G. Scott. He’s given several talks discussing science and faith in God. I feel really blessed that we have a shining example of a leading scientist and an apostle in him.

  4. My son (5) was given a day planner with pictures from the Hubble space telescope. He was looking at it before bed and he said “look mom, this looks like a mother who found her baby.” The nebula wasn’t named, so I told him I’d try to look it up. I did an image search “Hubble telescope nebula mother and child”. I scrolled through countless pictures, and finally I found it on this page!

    I was interested in reading because I have only just found Jesus a couple years ago and I am very interested in science. I have a great pastor who is showing us just how carefully God has planned and detailed everything. He is very precise. I struggle with the argument over evolution and creation. The bible says God created the earth in 7 days. Is this 7 of our days or 7 of God’s days? I haven’t read it myself yet, but I am told that vast expanses of time for us is only moments to God.

    These are just my thoughts. I am still learning so I don’t let myself get stuck for too long on such things. Especially when I am learning so much about God every day. I do know that God has blessed me and now that I know he is there, I can actually appreciate and see those blessings! I am so at peace and happy now. I pray that everyone can know God’s love and peace. I know that belief in God is vital for all endeavours in life and learning.

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