This question was posed to Dr. Wendell Arnold by Reverend Curtis, and Wendell shares this conversation in his book, FROM THE COTTON PATCH TO Ph.D., GOD’S MANAGEMENT OF MAN THROUGH THE EYES OF A SCIENTIST. It is an interesting dialog, with the reverend saying it is strange to hear a scientist talk about faith, but then he doesn’t really know many scientists either.
Reverend Curtis asked Wendell, “Why do scientists always have to prove something? Why can’t scientists just accept certain things through faith?” Wendell replied that it depends upon a person’s definition of faith. “If you define faith as a belief in the system of religious beliefs then I would agree that scientists in general have faith,” he said. The reverend followed with, “But you have to prove it. Right?” In my opinion, Wendell hit it out of the ballpark with his answer. He replied, “If you define faith as a belief in the value or truth of something then you have to prove the probability of that something being probable, which is a mathematical statement of that something happening or not happening.” Wow.
Wendell goes on to talk about science being the study and theoretical explanations of natural phenomena, and they get into some deep thinking. By the end of the conversation Wendell asks if the good reverend is really a preacher or if he’s actually a psychologist, to which Reverend Curtis asks if there’s a difference. Delightful reading on some intriguing topics, this is a book you will have a hard time putting down.
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