Seven Nobel Laureates in science who either supported Intelligent Design or attacked Darwinian evolution
|April 7, 2012||Posted by vjtorley under Intelligent Design|
(Part two of a series of posts in response to Zack Kopplin.)
The Seven Sages, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Zack, in your poker challenge to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on May 24, 2011, you declared:
Congresswoman Bachmann, you claim that Nobel Laureates support creationism. Show me your hand. If you want to be taken seriously by voters while you run for President, back up your claims with facts. Can you match 43 Nobel Laureates, or do you fold?
Actually, what Congresswoman Bachmann said was that “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”
(Bachmann-Wetterling-Binkowski candidates’ debate. October 7, 2006. Voter’s Choice Candidate Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the St. Cloud Area, the St. Cloud Times and the St. Cloud Women of Today. Apollo High School, St. Cloud, MN.)
Well, Zack, I’ve managed to track down seven Nobel Laureate scientists who espoused some version of Intelligent Design when discussing the origin and/or development of life on Earth. They’re the subject of this post. (I’ve also identified twenty-one more Nobel Laureate scientists whose views on the origin and nature of the human mind put them at odds with Darwinism, and I’ll talk about them in my fourth post.)
Zack, you’ll be intrigued to learn that the first Nobel Laureate scientist on my list today is still alive, and as far as I can tell, he’s an atheist!
1. Nobel Laureate and Intelligent Design proponent: Dr. Brian Josephson (winner of the Nobel prize for Physics, 1973)
The first name on my list is a living Nobel Laureate who openly acknowledges his belief in a version of Intelligent Design: Dr. Brian Josephson, winner of the Nobel prize for Physics in 1973, and a truly independent thinker whose integrity I greatly respect. Interestingly, he appears to be an atheist! According to an interview entitled “Why Brian Josephson Embraced ESP” (link dead, but you can still see the script if you go to this page and scroll down to the comment by Chu Gai, dated 07-15-10, 10:03 AM) that Josephson gave to John Horgan on October 16, 2006, he grew up as a strict scientific materialist. “I was pretty well turned off religion by the rituals,” he said. And as far as I can tell, Dr. Josephson is still an atheist. In a lecture delivered on his 70th birthday, on May 5, 2010, Josephson put forward a non-theistic version of intelligent design, in which he seemed to favor an infinite regress of causes, and didn’t mention God once.
Zack, I put it to you that the example of Dr. Brian Josephson utterly refutes your claim that teaching Intelligent Design is tantamount to teaching religion, and that Intelligent Design requires you to believe in a supernatural Being who periodically intervenes in the cosmos. Josephson is not religious, and he doesn’t believe in a supernatural being; all he believes in is some sort of mind (or minds) outside our cosmos.
Evidence that Dr. Brian Josephson is an Intelligent Design supporter
“OK, so where’s your proof that Brian Josephson is an Intelligent Design advocate?” I hear you ask. Happy to oblige. Dr. Josephson professed his belief in a version of Intelligent Design in a lecture that he delivered to the Cambridge Physics Society on March 5, 2008, entitled, “A Critical Point for Science?” Here’s a quote from the abstract:
Current physics implicitly assumes matter is fundamental, life and mentality being secondary. There are reasons for thinking that such a picture may be incomplete, leading to error. This lecture describes a new conceptual foundation that reverses the order of things, making life and mentality more basic than matter.
Life and Mind are more basic than matter! Sounds promising. But wait – it gets better. Towards the end of his lecture, Dr. Josephson talked about some taboo ideas which he hoped would become a part of science, one day:
You could say what I’ve been proposing is an extension of science because mind has been added, a whole new thing is added into the picture, and some ideas as to how to handle it, but they’re not the usual equations, they’re rather complicated ideas like attractors and information processors, and of course quantum theory regards information as fundamental as well, so there may be lots of links with conventional science. Well that would lead I think to taboo ideas becoming a part of science, not a respectable part, but a reluctantly accepted part, because they would come nicely out of this picture, so I guess I’ll kind of list them here.
Dr. Josephson then proceeded to discuss three examples: telepathy, the memory of water, and cold fusion, which he was inclined to accept. He then proceeded to discuss Intelligent Design:
So I said at some point this theory looks a bit like theology, and I can imagine intelligent design is real. Intelligent Design is rejected just because it’s part of the scientific culture that it cannot be true, you must not talk about it, but it’s not actually disproved. I think it will turn out that there is a design and that the usual theories are wrong there as well.
Readers can view a slideshow of Dr. Josephson’s talk here. Slides 16, 23, 30 and 31 should be of special interest.
Readers who listen to Dr. Josephson’s lecture will notice the tentative, undogmatic tone he adopts. Also, at no point in the lecture does he even use the word “God.” I defy anyone to listen to the talk that Dr. Josephson delivered to the Cambridge Physics Society, and call it “religious.” Teaching Intelligent Design does not involve teaching religion.
Now I can imagine that some readers will ask what kind of Intelligent Design Dr. Josephson is endorsing. Is it the real McCoy? Yes, it is. According to the definition of intelligent design provided by the Discovery Institute, “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” If you believe that the cosmos or living things possess empirically detectable features which imply that they were designed, then you’re an Intelligent Design advocate. You don’t have to use jargon like “functional complex specified information” to qualify as an Intelligent Design supporter.
On Powerpoint slide 7 of the a lecture that he delivered to the Cambridge Physics Society on March 5, 2008, entitled, “A Critical Point for Science?”, Josephson lists four empirical criteria in support of his conclusion that the universe was designed to be bio-friendly, by some sort of mind (see slide 16). He lists one feature of the universe as a whole (the observer problem, or the apparent absence of “many worlds”), one feature of life (complementarity, or the inability of quantum mechanics to specify the properties of living systems which have not yet been measured – think of Schrodinger’s cat), and two features of the human mind (higher cognitive capacities such as our capacity for mathematical insight and musical appreciation, and paranormal capacities such as ESP). I think we can fairly conclude that Josephson is a bona fide Intelligent Design advocate.
2. Nobel Laureate and Old Earth creationist: Dr. Richard Smalley (winner of the Nobel prize for Chemistry, 1996)
The second name on my list should be even more embarrassing for you, Zack. I’m referring to Professor Richard Smalley (1943-2005), winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Now I noticed, Zack, that right at the top of your list of Nobel Laureates is the name of Sir Harold Kroto, who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Richard Smalley. So now I ask: which Nobel Prize winner are we supposed to believe, Kroto or Smalley?
(a) Evidence that Professor Richard Smalley was opposed to Darwin’s theory of evolution
You want proof that Professor Richard Smalley was an opponent of evolution? Be my guest. First, in an address that Dr. Richard Smalley gave at the Tuskegee University’s 79th Annual Scholarship Convocation (October 3, 2004) Smalley mentioned the ideas of evolution versus creationism, Darwin versus the Bible’s “Genesis”; then he pointed out:
The burden of proof is on those who don’t believe that “Genesis” was right, and there was a creation, and that Creator is still involved.
But wait, there’s more! Smalley also invoked cosmic fine-tuning as a scientific argument for God’s existence, and stated publicly that he had been persuaded on strictly scientific grounds that evolution was impossible.
(b) Dr. Smalley on cosmic fine-tuning
In a letter sent to the Hope College Alumni Banquet where he was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award in May 2005, Dr. Richard Smalley wrote:
Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ.
Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it’s true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done. (Emphases mine – VJT.)
(c) Dr. Smalley’s late-life scientific conversion to Old Earth Creationism
Towards the end of his life, Dr. Richard Smalley became an Old Earth creationist, after reading the books “Origins of Life” and “Who Was Adam?”, written by Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist) and Dr. Fazale Rana (a biochemist).. Dr. Smalley explained his change of heart as follows:
Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading “Origins of Life”, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, “Who Was Adam?”, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death. (Emphasis mine – VJT.)
“Puts the evolutionary model to death”?! These are pretty strong words for a Nobel scientist, Zack. So I hope you can understand that when I posed the question above, “Which Nobel Prize winner are we supposed to believe, Kroto or Smalley?”, I wasn’t being flippant. If a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry thinks it is now clear that evolution could not have occurred, then I think that high school students in Louisiana are entitled to hear why. Wouldn’t you agree?
Now, I’m sure that alert readers who checked out the last link will have noticed that at the time when Professor Smalley made those remarks in 2005, Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fuz Rana (who are Old Earth creationists) had spoken out against the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools – not because it was too supernaturalistic, but because it wasn’t sufficiently scientific. In particular, they claimed that ID didn’t make any testable, falsifiable predictions, whereas their Old Earth creationist model made lots of predictions. Well, I’m happy to say that this concern has been addressed. Signature in the Cell, by the best-selling book by Intelligent Design proponent Dr. Stephen Meyer, contains an entire appendix (18 pages) of scientific predictions made by the theory of Intelligent Design. There’s a list of a dozen detailed predictions at the end of the chapter.
What’s more, Professor Richard Smalley was on good terms with leading Intelligent Design proponent Professor William Dembski. Shortly before his death, they even had lunch together. Professor Dembski reported on their meeting in a brief obituary he wrote for Dr. Smalley:
Rick Smalley, a Nobel laureate in chemistry at Rice University, died earlier this week. You can read about his scientific contributions and passing here. I had the privilege of having lunch with Rick this summer. The meeting was arranged by his pastor at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, my friend Ben Young. Rick had in the previous year become a Christian as well as a member of Second Baptist Church, and begun to express his doubts about Darwinism publicly (see here and here). I reported on my lunch meeting with Rick here, though to spare him harrassment I did not mention him by name. Rick’s prediction at the end of his life was that ID would be mainstreamed in five years and that evolution in its conventional materialistic sense would be dead within ten. It will be interesting to see if his predictions are borne out.
Did you notice that, Zack? Professor Smalley was a Nobel laureate in chemistry at Rice University. Your university. It might be worth checking out how he came to espouse a view diametrically opposed to Darwinism.
Well, what did Dr. Smalley say to Professor Dembski over lunch? Here’s a report by Dembski:
I had an extended meeting today with two of the nation’s top scientists, one of them a Nobel laureate. The Nobel laureate spoke of evolution as “bankrupt” and thought ID would be mainstreamed in five years. The other scientist was not as optimistic about this timetable, but agreed with his colleague’s assessment of evolution. He also noted that with the Internet it wasn’t possible for professors to command the deference of students as in times past. For instance, whereas in the past he was able to throw together problems sets simply by cribbing from textbooks, today he finds that students need merely consult the Internet to find perfect solutions to such problems. Professors are therefore no longer the sole repository of answers for students. Accordingly, the scientific priesthood is undergoing a shake-up. This is all to the good of ID, which thrives as the subversive instrument par excellence for exposing priestcraft dressed in a scientific lab coat.
3. Abdus Salam (1926-1996), a winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics
In 1979, Abdus Salam was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces. Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg shared the Nobel prize for this discovery.
Abdus Salam believed in a non-Darwinian version of evolution, which might be best described as intelligently guided evolution. We can be sure that he held these beliefs, because according to his Wikipedia biography, Abdus Salam was a devout Ahmadi Muslim, and that’s the kind of evolution they believe in. (Unlike most other Muslims, Ahmadis do not regard the Quran as the final revelation of God; for this reason, many Muslims don’t accept them as genuine Muslims.)
(a) Evidence that Abdus Salam was a devout Ahmadi Muslim
Many people in Western countries adhere to a faith only nominally. However, as far as we can tell, Abdus Salam’s faith was sincere and heartfelt. Abdus Salam’s strong religious faith is documented in his Wikipedia biography:
Salam was a devout Muslim and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community  who saw his religion as integral part of his scientific work. He once wrote:“The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah’s created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of His design is a bounty and a grace for which I render thanks with a humble heart.” 
During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics, Salam quoted the following verses from the Quran:Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.
He then said:This, in effect, is the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze. 
In 1974, the Pakistan Parliament made a constitutional amendment that declared Ahmadi Muslims as ‘non-Muslims’. In protest, Salam left Pakistan for London.
Another online article, Dr Abdus Salam- His Faith and His Science by Zakaria Virk (November 24, 2010), also attests to the fact that Abdus Salam was a devout Muslim throughout his life:
From his childhood he offered five daily prayers. In the pocket of his jacket he used to carry of a small copy of the Holy Quran. At his home in Putney, while he was engrossed in his research, he used to listen to taped recitation of Holy Quran by outstanding Qarees of the Muslim world. He performed lesser pilgrimage, Umra when he was not internationally renowned. Despite his wish to perform Hajj, he could not do so on account of his religious beliefs. The Saudi Government would not grant him a visa.
When Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974 by Government of Pakistan, he grew [a] beard and assumed the forename Muhammad to show his pride in being a Muslim. He used to lead the Friday congregational prayer for Muslim students at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, in Italy.
When his father was staying with him in London, he could have bought a house in a posh London suburb, but he chose to buy a house in Putney, because it was close to FAZAL Mosque, where his father could easily go for daily prayers. On Fridays Dr Salam used to arrive at the mosque early and would take a seat in the front row. Even during the summer, he would don a winter jacket and a hat. When the Imam was delivering sermon, he would take out a notebook and start making notes. One day Imam Rafiq asked him: Do you like my sermon so much that you take notes? Dr Salam replied, the fact of the matter is that I get flashes of scientific ideas like an electric current, so I jot them down right away. These ideas subsequently become basis for my theories. If I don’t write them instantly, chances are I will lose them.
I think we may take it as safely established that Abdus Salam believed in the tenets of his faith as an Ahmadi Muslim. Which brings us to the next question: what do Ahmadi Muslims believe about evolution?
(b) What Ahmadi Muslims believe about evolution
According to the Wikipedia article, Ahmadiyya views on evolution, “The Ahmadiyya Movement is the only denomination of Islam that universally accepts in principle the process of evolution, albeit divinely guided, and actively promotes it” (Jesus and the Indian Messiah – 13. Every Wind of Doctrine).
However, Ahmadis believe in a decidely un-Darwinian version of evolution, as the Wikipedia article goes on to explain:
Rather than adopting the Darwinist theory of unguided natural selection, Ahmadis promote the supposition of “guided evolution” as being part of the progressive design of God. As such they deny that natural selection occurred purely by chance, or merely by survival of the fittest – and view each stage of the evolutionary process as being selectively and continually woven to an intricate level by one monotheistic creator (Allah).
Furthermore illustrated with scientific theories and Quranic scripture, Ahmadis contend that the processes of life on Earth started from one single point of species (bacteria) with a mixture of water and a viscous clay-like substance. From the source of that one single organism, to the point of the first Prophet Adam (so the Ahmadiyya view) was a slow gradual evolutionary process that occurred over several stages (Lane). Each stage being of a variable timescale – perhaps over billions of years.
Proponents of Ahmadiyya consider that the notion of unguided ‘natural selection’ does not adequately explain how various species that have progressed from the lowest forms to the highest forms have solely depended upon occurrence of random mutations within the gene pool, or purely by the demands of environmental factors. In his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth (published 1998), Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the late leader of the Ahmadiyya movement, elaborated the complex mechanism of evolution as having been played more like strategic game of Chess than a game of Dice. Subsequently evolutionary processes could only have been guided by a vastly higher intelligence (God).
1. Jesus and the Indian Messiah – 13. Every Wind of Doctrine
2. Quran, Adam and Original Sin, by Belal Khalid
3. Guided evolution and punctuated equilibrium
4. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 5: Survival by Accident or Design?
5. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 8: Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest
6. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 12: Organic Systems and Evolution
7. Review of Religions eGazette November 2008.
8. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 4: The Essential Role of Clay and Photosynthesis in Evolution
9. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 1: Life in the Perspective of Quranic Revelations – A Brief Introductory Chapter
10. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part V, Section 10: A Game of Chess or a Game of Chance!
11. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth: Part IV, Section 5: The Quran and Cosmology
(c) What Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the worldwide leader of the Ahmadi community from 1982 to 2003, taught about evolution
To give the reader a taste of how Ahmadis think about evolution, I shall quote a brief excerpt from A Game of Chess or a Game of Chance!, an essay in Part V, Section 10 of Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth by Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1928-2003), the worldwide leader of the Ahmadi community from 1982 to 2003. The book, which is available online at the official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, was first published in 1998, two years after Abdus Salam’s death, but it is based on an earlier talk which Mirza Tahir Ahmad gave in Zurich, Switzerland in 1987, while Salam was still alive. As we have seen, Abdus Salam was a very devout Ahmadi Muslim, so he would certainly have been aware of Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s teachings. Here is an excerpt from Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s essay, A Game of Chess or a Game of Chance!:
Visualize the drama of life and death as staged, act by act, from the beginning of evolution to the present time…
Was it really a game of chess being played with a Prime Mover representing order, wisdom, design, foresight, command and patience on the one hand and vast limitless chaos on the other? Or was it a mere game of roulette contested between chaos on the one hand and chaos on the other?…
…[W]e have decided to bring this subject to a close by quoting some competent scientists who had to confess that the only solution to the problem of creation lies in the admission that there does exist a Supreme Creator. It was He who created options at every creative step and it was He Himself who selected the right option to usher the creation into a higher order of existence. Hence, stage after stage it was He who made choices with purpose, design and direction.
Frank Allen, Professor of Biophysics, University of Manitoba, Canada and recipient of the Tory Gold Medal, Royal Society of Canada writes:
‘The adjustments of the earth for life are far too numerous to be accounted for by chance.’ 
(ALLEN, F. 1968. “The Origin of The World — By Chance or Design?” In: The Evidence of God in An Expanding Universe, by Monsma, J.C. Thomas Samuel Publishers, Bombay, p.20.)
What he evidently means is that in the long journey of evolution we find design, order and harmony which cannot be ascribed to chance.
Commenting on the complexity of proteins and the manner in which they play the essential role of building, supporting and advancing life, Allen categorically rejects the idea of attributing this to chance…
[The article goes on to cite many other scientists – VJT.]
The time scale required for evolution, if haphazard blind brainless chance were to be its creator, is so enormously large that it boggles the mind of even the most expert mathematician. No human expression can describe it, no human mind can grasp the immensity of the figures involved.
As mentioned earlier, Allen estimated the time needed for the chance synthesis of the complex proteins to be 10^248 years. The entire span of evolution however requires a much larger slice of time than the mere production of proteins to which Allen refers.
To help the unfamiliar reader visualize this mathematical concept, we would like to remind him that the total age of the universe since the Big Bang is only eighteen to twenty billion years. No name has been ever invented or will ever be invented to denote the astronomical figure Professor Frank Allen has worked out. Perhaps eternity is the nearest name to it.
To cut a long story short, we request the reader to realize that even if the creation of the universe and the subsequent evolution of life had actually started a trillion multiplied by a trillion years ago, it would still be mathematically impossible for evolution to reach the stage of man.…
Evidently it takes a very determined person who is otherwise sane to believe in such insanity. Yet many sane, highly intellectual scientists do believe in it. Their case is like that of a religious fanatic, who in ordinary affairs of life appears quite normal, but when it comes to matters of faith and belief, shuts himself off completely from the light of rationality and common sense into a cocoon of mindless prejudice.
(Bold emphases mine – VJT.)
Zack, I put it to you that the foregoing quote plainly shows that the Ahmadis obviously believe in a version of Intelligent Design. They believe that evolution had to be intelligently guided towards its goal by God, because otherwise it could never have produced the Earth’s various life-forms (including human beings) in the time since the Big Bang.
We may therefore safely conclude that Nobel Prize winner Abdus Salam, as a devout Ahmadi Muslim, could be fairly described as an Intelligent Design theorist of some sort. Specifically, Dr. Abdus Salam did not believe in the Darwinian theory of evolution. Rather, he believed that God explicitly directed evolution, like a chess player.
4. Sir John Eccles (1903-1997), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1963.
Sir John Carew Eccles, AC FRS FRACP FRSNZ FAAS (1903 –1997) was an Australian neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse. He shared the prize with Andrew Huxley and Alan Lloyd Hodgkin.
Most readers with an academic background in either science or philosophy will be aware that Sir John Eccles maintained, on scientific as well as philosophical grounds, that each of us possesses an immaterial soul which interacts with our brain – a view which puts him at odds with Darwin’s account of the human mind. However until recently, I had believed that Eccles nevertheless accepted Darwinism as a biological theory, which fully explained the origin of the human body. Apparently I was wrong: it turns out that Eccles believed in a version of directed evolution, in which certain mutations that were vital for the development of the human body were intelligently engineered by God. What’s more, Eccles also seems to have held that the first life-forms on Earth were created by God.
I first realized the full extent of Eccles’ anti-Darwinism when I came across an article by Selmer Bringsjord and Joseph A. Daraio, entitled, Eccles-iastical Dualism: Review of Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self by John Eccles in the philosophical journal PSYCHE, 5(10), May, 1999. The review, which is a very critical one, was written ten years after the publication of Eccles’ book, Evolution of the brain: Creation of the self (London: Routledge) in 1989.
(a) Eccles believed that our mental powers were originally given to us by God
In the first part of their review, Bringsjord and Daraio highlight one important difference between the way in which Eccles envisaged human evolution and the way in which Darwin envisaged it: For Eccles, the acquisition of human mental powers by our hominid ancestors could not have happened without an act of God:
1. Eccles is no Darwinian
Darwin might never have written Origin of Species (Darwin, 1859) had it not been for the arrival of a paper that shook him to the core – a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace, wherein was set out, in essentials, the very theory of evolution which Darwin had already devised, but had not taken the time to refine and publish. In a flash, Darwin took pen in hand, and hammered out the immortal book that would supersede Wallace’s work. All of this, of course, is but a tiny chapter in the history of science – with which many readers are doubtless familiar. Why mention it here? Well, Eccles calls himself a Darwinian, but actually he’s a Wallacean – and there’s a difference, a big difference between the two views. As Eccles explains, “Wallace felt that human intelligence could only be explained by the direct intervention of Cosmic intelligence” (Eccles, 1989, p. 235). This was a notion Darwin couldn’t stomach. Wallace outraged Darwin by publishing a paper on primitive people (with whom he lived most of his life) in which he declared:Natural Selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one but a little inferior to that of the average members of our learned societies (Eccles, 1989, p. 235).
The notion that the powers possessed by homo sapiens sapiens (HSS) were created not by mindless processes, but by the Almighty, is one Eccles is quite at home with. Indeed, this book, despite it’s empirical-sounding title, is in many ways a prolegomenon to Christian eschatology.
In the passage above, Bringsjord and Daraio refer to a paper by Wallace entitled, Sir Charles Lyell on Geological Climates
and the Origin of Species, published in the April 1869 issue of Quarterly Review. In this paper, Wallace puts forward his view that human beings were the carefully engineered result of millions of years of genetic modification of our hominid ancestors, by a Supreme Intellect:
While admitting to the full extent the agency of the same great laws of organic development in the origin of the human race as in the origin of all organized beings, there yet seems to be evidence of a Power which has guided the action of those laws in definite directions and for special ends…
Such, we believe, is the direction in which we shall find the true reconciliation of Science with Theology on this most momentous problem. Let us fearlessly admit that the mind of man (itself the living proof of a supreme mind) is able to trace, and to a considerable extent has traced, the laws by means of which the organic no less than the inorganic world has been developed. But let us not shut our eyes to the evidence that an Overruling Intelligence has watched over the action of those laws, so directing variations and so determining their accumulation, as finally to produce an organization sufficiently perfect to admit of, and even to aid in, the indefinite advancement of our mental and moral nature.
(b) Eccles was a saltationist, who believed that some human biological traits appeared instantly
So far, Bringsjord and Daraio have provided no documentary evidence that Eccles himself believed (as Wallace did) that a Higher Intelligence had manipulated the genetic (as opposed to psychological) evolution of our hominid ancestors, in order to generate animals that were physically human, and that looked like us. In the next section of their review, however, Bringsjord and Daraio make a solid case that this was in fact precisely what Eccles believed:
2. Eccles’ Non-Darwinian Story
… A casual reading may leave readers with the impression that Eccles is a Darwinian; a careful reading discloses the affinity to Wallace… Eccles’ starts spinning his narrative in the preface, where he informs us that he has “been able to unfold the fascinating story of hominid evolution of the human brain” (Eccles, 1989, xi). But we soon see that there are two separate stories. The first spans the evolution of the mammalian brain from the primates to the emergence of homo sapiens (HS). The second story starts after the first ends, that is, after the brain of HS had arrived; it’s the story of how we became – to use Eccles’ phrase – human persons: incorporeal creatures able to control, and have experience through, human bodies.
The first story is in many ways told from the point of view of a detective recounting a solved case. Understanding the brain is made possible by inference from clues – such as changes in posture and locomotion. For example, Eccles infers from the famous footprints found at the Laetoli beds in Northern Tanzania that Australopithecus (A) was erect and bipedal. He also goes on to speak of human-like relationships among A; this Eccles infers from hand-holding, which is in turn inferred from the fact that the footprints in question are side-by-side. That some of the footprints are superimposed one upon another implies, by Eccles’ lights, that A was capable of both a fairly high level of concentration and fine motor control. Eccles makes similar types of inferences from such evidence throughout the book.
Eccles’ evolutionary story includes his discussion of the development of fine motor control from early primates to HS in connection with expansion of motor cortical representation for the thumb and fingers. He tells us that it wasn’t until these features of the brain evolved that tool-making could occur. The idea is that the raw physical ability was present, but there was inadequate brain power.
This raises the obvious question: Why did these features of the brain evolve? In seeking an answer to this question one grasps the gist of Eccles’ narrative, and one begins to see that Eccles and Darwin are worlds apart.
Eccles’ answer to the question is that periods of stasis are punctuated by periods of rapid evolutionary change (speciation events), but with saltations and the creation of “hopeful monsters.” He cites Eldredge and Gould’s (1972) theory of punctuated equilibria for support of his saltatory view of evolution.
We can already see at this point that Eccles’ thinking is proceeding in a decidedly un-Darwinian direction. I should also point out for the benefit of readers that Gould never actually accepted Richard Goldschmidt’s theory of “hopeful monsters.” According to the Wikipedia article on Saltation (biology):
It is a popular misconception that punctuated equilibrium is a saltationist theory, often mistaken for Richard Goldschmidt’s hypothesis of “Hopeful Monsters.” However, punctuated equilibrium refers instead to a pattern of evolution where most speciation occurs relatively rapidly from a geological perspective (tens of thousands of years instead of millions of years), but through neo-Darwinian evolution, not by saltations.
(c) Eccles believed that the human body was the product of Divine genetic engineering
Bringsjord and Daraio identify a further peculiarity of Eccles’ theory of evolution: organs appear before they have any selective value. The authors suggest that Eccles’ view has affinities with Gould and Vrba’s theory of exaptations, but in my opinion, this overlooks a profound difference between the two accounts. The term exaptation refers to shifts in the function of a trait during evolution – e.g., a trait which served one particular function, subsequently comes to serve another, and undergoes further evolution in the process. But on Eccles’ view, the physical traits which make us human appeared before they had any selective value. This is identical with how Wallace envisaged the evolution of the human hand and the human voice box in his 1869 paper: “An instrument has been developed in advance of the needs of its possessor.” Bearing this in mind, we can now appreciate the full force of what Eccles is getting at when he talks about “anticipatory evolution.” He means that mechanisms in the body were engineered in order to make way for a subsequent neurological advance, and that finally, when the engineering of the human brain was complete, God could infuse a spiritual soul into the bodies of our hominid ancestors:
The interesting thing about Eccles’ view is that these changes have no selective value, at least initially. It is only later that they may have such an advantage. This phenomenon Eccles calls anticipatory evolution, which is similar to what Gould and Vrba (1982) call exaptations. The basic idea is that features that may presently have a function that conveys a selective advantage for an organism may have arisen without a selective value for may have had a previously different function then it currently has. (See Gould and Vrba, 1982, for examples.) In a sense, the new function arises by serendipity, but Eccles seems to hold that there is indeed a reason for these changes, at least when it comes to the brain. So first we have bodies able to walk erect in bipedal fashion, and then comes the neural machinery able to control such bodies. And first we have a hand physically able to build tools, and then comes the neural machinery enabling the use of such a hand. And first we have mechanisms allowing for the production of an array of sounds, and then comes the neural stuff that can put these mechanisms to work in communicating. In all these cases, the prior mechanism comes in order to get ready for the subsequent neurological advance. The ultimate trick of this type is the core of Eccles’ second story: the advent of dualist interactionism: the arrival of certain neural machinery in primates makes it possible, many years later, for persons, existing in the non-physical world of the mental, to interact with and control bodies. Such an exotic and teleological scheme certainly isn’t Darwin’s. It is Wallace’s (Clements, 1983). As Eccles proudly confesses:I believe that biological evolution is not simply chance and necessity. That could never have produced us with our values. I can sense with [Sherrington] that evolution may be the instrument of a Purpose, lifting it beyond chance and necessity at least in the transcendence that brought forth human creatures gifted with self-consciousness (Eccles, 1989, p. 116).
Zack, I hope you will agree with me that Sir John Eccles’ account of human evolution is profoundly un-Darwinian, on both a biological level and a psychological level. The man was no Darwinist.
(d) Eccles believed that the origin of life was an act of Intelligent Design
When asked directly about the origin of humans, Eccles stated that he concluded the evolution of life is an “immensely improbable event” and added that the origin of life and humans “is in fact” a result of “design, a divine design”. (Eccles, J., A divine design: some questions on origins; in: Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens, Margenau, H. and Varghese, R. (Eds.), OpenCourt, La Salle, IL, chapter 8, pp. 160–164, 1992; p. 162.)
Eccles-iastical Dualism: Review of Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self by John Eccles. Article by Selmer Bringsjord and Joseph A. Daraio in the philosophical journal PSYCHE, 5(10), May, 1999.
John C. Eccles, Nobel laureate and Darwin doubter by Professor Jerry Bergmann. In Journal of Creation 24(2):83–86, August 2010.
Eccles’ Model of the Self Controlling Its Brain: The Irrelevance of Dualist-Interactionism by Donald E. Watson M.D. and Professor Bernard O. Williams, PhD.
5. Nobel Laureate Ernst Boris Chain (1906-1979), winner of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology
Ernst Chain shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology with Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey for his work on penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, which has saved the lives of perhaps as many as 200 million people (a number obtained from a Swedish source, but without explication – see also here and here). Chain’s role was to figure out a way of isolating and purifying penicillin.
The quotations from biographical works about Ernst Chain have been taken from the following two online sources, which I believe to be factually reliable:
(1) Bergman, J. 2008. Ernst Chain: Antibiotics Pioneer. Acts & Facts. 37(4):10. (Dr. Bergman is Professor of Biology at Northwest State College in Ohio. An outspoken creationist, Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at Northwest State College in Archbold OH for over 17 years. Now completing his 9th degree, Dr Bergman is a graduate of Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, The University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 600 publications in 12 languages and 20 books and monographs. He has also taught at the Medical College of Ohio where was a research associate in the department of experimental pathology, and he also taught 6 years at the University of Toledo, and 7 years at Bowling Green State University.)
(2) 50 Nobel Laureates and other great scientists who believed in God by Tihomir Dimitrov. Dimitrov has an M.Sc. in Psychology (1995) and an M.A. in Philosophy (1999). He compiled the quotations over a period of 11 years, corresponding with many contemporary Nobel Prize-winning scientists who have shared their personal beliefs about God. He also studied hundreds of books, articles and letters – primarily those found in the archives of the National Library of Bulgaria (Sofia), Biblioteca Comunale di Milano and the Austrian National Library (Vienna).
Ernst Chain could best be described as a theistic, anti-Darwinian evolutionist who rejected the materialistic Darwinian theory of evolution.
(a) Chain on the origin of life and of living species
Concerning materialistic accounts of the origin of life and of living species, Chain wrote:
“I would rather believe in fairies than in such wild speculation.
“I have said for years that speculations about the origin of life lead to no useful purpose as even the simplest living system is far too complex to be understood in terms of the extremely primitive chemistry scientists have used in their attempts to explain the unexplainable that happened billions of years ago. God cannot be explained away by such naive thoughts.”
(Chain, as cited in The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond, by Ronald W. Clark, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985, 147-148).
This mechanistic concept of the phenomena of life in its infinite varieties of manifestations which purports to ascribe the origin and development of all living species, animals, plants and micro-organisms, to the haphazard blind interplay of the forces of nature in the pursuance of one aim only, namely, that for the living systems to survive, is a typical product of the naive 19th century euphoric attitude to the potentialities of science which spread the belief that there were no secrets of nature which could not be solved by the scientific approach given only sufficient time.
(Chain, E. 1970. Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society. London: The Council of Christians and Jews, 24-25.)
(b) Chain on the origin of man
Chain described “the divine spark which manifests itself so evidently in the spiritual creation of man” thus:
“Any speculation and conclusions pertaining to human behaviour drawn on the basis of Darwinian evolutionary theories from animal ethological studies, and in particular ethological studies on primates, must be treated with the greatest caution and reserve.
“It may be amusing for those engaged in the task to describe their fellow man as naked apes, and a less discriminating section of the public may enjoy reading about comparisons between the behaviour of apes and man, but this approach – which, by the way, is neither new nor original – does not really lead us very far.
“We do not need to be expert zoologists, anatomists or physiologists to recognise that there exist some similarities between apes and man, but surely we are much more interested in the differences than the similarities. Apes, after all, unlike man, have not produced great prophets, philosophers, mathematicians, writers, poets, composers, painters and scientists. They are not inspired by the divine spark which manifests itself so evidently in the spiritual creation of man and which differentiates man from animals.”
(Chain, 1971, “Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Spring 1971, Vol. 14, No. 3, p. 368).
Concerning Darwin’s theory of evolution, Chain wrote:
“It is, of course, nothing but a truism, and not a scientific theory, to say that living systems do not survive if they are not fit to survive.
“To postulate, as the positivists of the end of the 19th century and their followers here have done, that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations, or even that nature carries out experiments by trial and error through mutations in order to create living systems better fitted to survive, seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts.
“This hypothesis wilfully neglects the principle of teleological purpose which stares the biologist in the face wherever he looks, whether he be engaged in the study of different organs in one organism, or even of different subcellular compartments in relation to each other in a single cell, or whether he studies the interrelation and interactions of various species. These classical evolutionary theories are a gross oversimplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they were swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest.”
(Chain, 1971, “Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Spring 1971, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 367).
Regarding mutations, Chain wrote:
There is no doubt that such variants do arise in nature and that their emergence can and does make some limited contribution towards the evolution of species. The open question is the quantitative extent and significance of this contribution.
Chain, E. 1970. Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society. London: The Council of Christians and Jews, p. 25.
I’ll finish with the following quote, which sums up what Chain thought of Darwin’s theory of evolution:
“Only one theory has been advanced to make an attempt to understand the development of life – the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution. And a very feeble attempt it is, based on such flimsy assumptions, mainly of morphological-anatomical nature that it can hardly be called a theory.”
(Chain, as cited in The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond, by Ronald W. Clark, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985, p. 147.)
Chain, E. 1970. Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society. London: The Council of Christians and Jews.
Chain, Ernst Boris. 1971. “Social Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Spring 1971, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 347-369.
Clark, Ronald W. 1985. The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
6. Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945.
Wolfgang Pauli was one of the true giants of 20th century physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle,” involving spin theory, underpinning the structure of matter and the whole of chemistry.
Wolfgang Pauli left the Catholic Church as a young man, in 1929 (see his Wikipedia biography and see this online article on Jewish Physicists, footnote 40, for additional details). As far as I can tell, Pauli did not believe in God in later life. For instance, in his letter to Sambursky of October 7, 1957 (see footnote 51 in this article), he declared his belief that ultimate reality is impersonal.
Given his atheism, then, it is all the more remarkable that Pauli had little patience with the Darwinian theory of evolution.
(a) Why Wolfgang Pauli doubted Darwinian evolution: the total absence of probability calculations rendering the theory plausible
Few people are aware that Pauli was highly skeptical of Darwinian evolution, openly questioning the orthodox view that random mutations, culled by natural selection, were sufficient to explain the diversity of life-forms we see today. Pauli regarded Darwinian evolution as an implausible mechanism for evolution, on purely mathematical grounds. In place of Darwinian evolution, Pauli advocated a kind of directed evolution.
Evidence of Pauli’s skepticism has been documented in section 7.1 of an article by Harald Atmanspacher and Hans Primas, entitled, Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science (Journal of Consciousness Studies 13, 5-50, 2006), from which I shall quote an excerpt. The italics in the quotes below are Pauli’s:
…Before the advent of molecular biology in the 1940s, the mainstream position with respect to biological evolution was referred to by the term Modern Synthesis. A key concept of this position was that the genetic variation within a population arises by random mutations, not by adaptively directed mutations and recombinations (Mayr 1982). Pauli was not convinced that the evolution of life could be explained by random mutations only and questioned this aspect of the Darwinian model of natural evolution:(64)“As a physicist, I should like to critically object that this model has not been supported by an affirmative estimate of probabilities so far. Such an estimate of the theoretical time scale of evolution as implied by the model should be compared with the empirical time scale. One would need to show that, according to the assumed model, the probability of de facto existing purposeful features to evolve was sufficiently high on the empirically known time scale. Such an estimate has nowhere been attempted though.”
In order to achieve plausible evidence in favor of the Darwinian model, Pauli insisted that the probabilities for large-scale evolution need to be calculated realistically and consistent with mathematical probability theory:(65)“In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in an empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’, they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle’.”
Beyond the sloppy usage of the notion of chance by many biologists, Pauli also pointed out that this concept may even be altogether misplaced in particular applications to biological evolution:(66)“I am of course getting angry if biologists try to use the general concept ‘chance’ in order to explain phenomena which are so typical for living organisms as, for instance, those appearing in the biological evolution.”
In a seminal paper, Luria and Delbruck (1943) reported experimental results suggesting that bacterial mutations bore no relation to any pressures exerted by their environment. Most biologists took this as a confirmation of the dogma that heritable variations only result from random genetic changes. In addition, the successes of molecular biology led to the influential reductionistic stance that quantum mechanics and physical chemistry together with Mendelian genetics are in principle sufficient to explain biological evolution. Pauli emphasized his discomfort with this “orthodox view” in a letter to Delbruck:(67)“Probably the situation is a complex one and beside the holy chance there exist processes with a directed goal and also causal influences of the environment on inherited properties on the way over the cytoplasma.”
But Delbruck was entirely unwilling to consider seriously anything like purposiveness or adaptive mutations:(68)“My elaborations concerning neo-Darwinism made [Delbruck] very angry. He talked about a ‘plot of unemployed theoretical physicists against biology’.”
Mayr, one of the founders of Modern Synthesis, rejected Pauli’s (and Bohr’s) criticism as well. Similar to Delbruck, he played it down as based on an “oversimplified understanding of the biological processes involved in evolution” (Mayr 1982, p. 429).
64 Pauli (1954b), p. 298. Translated by the authors.
65 Letter by Pauli to Bohr of February 15, 1955, letter 2015 in von Meyenn (2001), p. 105.
66 Letter by Pauli to Delbruck of February 6, 1954. Letter 1720 in von Meyenn (1999), p. 472.
67 Letter by Pauli to Delbruck of February 4, 1954. Letter 1712 in von Meyenn (1999), p. 452.
68 Letter by Pauli to Elsasser of September 30, 1958. Letter 3067 in von Meyenn (2005a), p. 1271. Translated by the authors.
Mayr, E. (1982): The Growth of Biological Thought. Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance. Cambridge (Massachusetts), Harvard University Press.
Meyenn, K. von, (ed.) (1999): Wolfgang Pauli. Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Band IV, Teil II: 1953–1954. Berlin, Springer.
Meyenn, K. von, (ed.) (2001): Wolfgang Pauli. Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Band IV, Teil III: 1955–1956. Berlin, Springer.
Meyenn, K. von, (ed.) (2005b): Wolfgang Pauli. Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Band IV, Teil IV-B: 1958. Berlin, Springer.
Zack, I submit that the example of Wolfgang Pauli, who was an atheist, suffices to refute the claim that skepticism of Darwinian evolution is always religiously motivated. In Pauli’s case, as we have seen, it was mathematically motivated.
(b) Pauli’s own version of teleological evolution
In section 7.3 of their article, Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science (Journal of Consciousness Studies 13, 5-50, 2006), Atmanspacher and Primas go on to describe Pauli’s own views on evolution. Pauli was not an Intelligent Design proponent, but unlike Darwin, he believed that evolution was an inherently goal-oriented process:
Pauli did not agree with the neo-Darwinistic views of modern biology but proposed to take seriously the option of final causes as complementary to efficient causes. He argued that a Darwinian-style evolutionary logic in which chance plays the role of a deus ex machina leaves much to be desired:(71)“This model of evolution is an attempt, in line with ideas of the second half of the 19th century, to adhere to the total elimination of all traces of finality. This must, then, somehow be replaced by introducing elements of chance.”
In his Lecture to the Foreign People(72) Pauli did not rule out that the introduction of chance arises from a premature rejection of meaningful final (goal-oriented) processes. With this background, he speculated about a still unknown third type of laws of nature in addition to deterministic and stochastic versions:(73)“According to this hypothesis, which differs from both the Darwinian and the Lamarckian conception, we encounter here a third type of laws of nature which consists in corrections to chance fluctuations due to meaningful or purposeful coincidences of causally unconnected events.”
Only few biologists have the courage to refer to final causes since teleological approaches are reputed to lack explanatory power. This premise is usually accepted on faith and without logical evidence. The disrepute of teleological accounts is partly (and ironically) due to the strange belief (defended, e.g., by Stegmuller 1984) that they require a causal explanation in terms of ghosts, demons or an intelligent creator.
71 Pauli (1954b), p. 297. Translated by the authors.
72 According to Pauli (von Meyenn, 2005a, p. 350) the phrase “Foreign People” refers to thoughts not yet assimilated with consciousness. The Lecture to the Foreign People (Vorlesung an die fremden Leute) is part of the essay The Piano Lesson (Die Klavierstunde), dedicated to Marie-Louise von Franz, and was not intended for publication (attachment to a letter of October 30, 1953, letter 1667 in von Meyenn (1999), pp. 327–340.)
73 Quoted from the Lecture to the Foreign People. Translated by the authors.
Meyenn, K. von, (ed.) (1999): Wolfgang Pauli. Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Band IV,
Teil II: 1953–1954. Berlin, Springer.
Meyenn, K. von, (ed.) (2005a): Wolfgang Pauli. Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Band IV, Teil IV-A: 1957. Berlin, Springer.
(c) Pauli’s quantum mysticism
The Wikipedia article, Quantum mind–body problem, provides some useful information on Pauli’s mystical philosophy, which treated consciousness as something irreducible, in contrast to Darwinism, which treats it as a phenomenon of biological origin, which is ultimately reducible to physics and chemistry. Apparently the early founders of quantum mechanics debated the role of the observer. Among them, Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg believed that it was the observer that produced collapse – a view which Albert Einstein rejected as too mystical. Pauli happily accepted the appellation, and described quantum mechanics as lucid mysticism. (Juan Miguel Marin (2009). “‘Mysticism’ in quantum mechanics: the forgotten controversy”. European Journal of Physics 30: 807–822. Harvard abstract here. doi:10.1088/0143-0807/30/4/014. )
Wolfgang Pauli interpreted the laws of quantum mechanics as leading to a lucid Platonic mysticism, a position intermediate between the skepticism of Western science centered on objective observer-independent facts, and the philosophies of ancient Eastern mysticism which put primary emphasis on conscious experience.
During the last three decades of his life, Pauli embraced a kind of Jungian mysticism. Pauli believed that ultimate reality was impresonal, but he also believed that at some ultimate level, the mental and physical were one. Thus he may be fairly regarded as a dual-aspect monist, along the lines of the philosopher Spinoza. Pauli’s views on the mind were heavily influenced by Pythagoras, Plato and Jung, as Atmanspacher and Primas (2006) document in sections 5.1 to 5.4 of their article, Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science (Journal of Consciousness Studies 13, 5-50, 2006).
It should be pointed out that Pauli’s dual-aspect monism is incompatible with Darwinism, as it elevates the mental to the same ontological status as the physical: both are complementary aspects of an underlying reality. According to the Darwinian theory of evolution, however, our psychology is rooted in our biology, which in turn emerges from the laws of chemistry and physics. In other words, matter is primary, and mind is secondary. Pauli did not share this Darwinian view.
Readers who would like to know more about Pauli’s fascination with dreams and the Jungian notion of synchronicity are welcome to check out the links below.
Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science by Harald Atmanspacher and Hans Primas (Journal of Consciousness Studies 13, 5-50, 2006).
Wolfgang Pauli: Resurrection of Spirit in the World by Dr. F. David Peat, a theoretical physicist residing in Ottawa, Canada, whose recent book, Synchronicity: The Bridge between Matter and Mind (Bantam, 1987).
Divine Contenders: Wolfgang Pauli and the Symmetry of the World by Dr. F. David Peat. Originally published in Psychological Perspectives: A Semi-Annual Journal of Jungian Thought, Spring-Summer 1988. (This article discusses Pauli’s views on synchronicity.) See also this essay of the same title, by Dr. F. David Peat.
Quantum Mysticism: Gone but Not Forgotten by Lisa Zyga at Physorg.com, June 8, 2009.
7. Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937), winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics
Guglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937) was an Italian inventor, who is often called the father of long distance radio transmission. He was also famous for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy.”
Marconi explicitly stated his belief that science would never be able to solve the problem of the origin of life, while giving a speech in a public forum, in 1934. This fact alone makes him an Intelligent Design advocate, at the very least, and possibly a creationist.
Concerning the problem of the origin of life and the failure of science to solve it, Marconi declared:
“The mystery of life is certainly the most persistent problem ever placed before the mind of man. There is no doubt that from the time humanity began to think, it has occupied itself with the problem of its origin and its future – which is undoubtedly the problem of life. The inability of science to solve it is absolute. This would be truly frightening, if it were not for faith.”
(Marconi, Guglielmo. 1934. From a scientific address to the International Congress of Electro-Radio Biology. September 10. Venice, Italy.) (Emphases mine – VJT.)
You may say that 1934 is a long time ago, Zack. Fair enough. But you wanted Nobel Laureates, and I’ve already given you seven. Now I’m going to give you two more names, of scientists who espoused either Intelligent Design or creationism, and who may well have been denied a Nobel Prize for “political” reasons.
Nobel “runner-ups” who espoused either Intelligent Design or creationism
The following two scientists are believed by some to have been denied a Nobel Prize in science, partly because of their outspoken personal views. One of them (Fred Hoyle) was an Intelligent Design proponent; the other (Raymond Damadian) is a young-earth creationist.
1. Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle, FRS (1915 – 2001) was an English astronomer and mathematician who is famous for having developed the Steady State Theory in the 1940s, along with astronomers Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold. However, Hoyle’s principal contribution to science was his work on nucleosynthesis: the idea that the chemical elements were synthesized from primordial hydrogen and helium in stars. Many scientists were dismayed that a Nobel prize was awarded to his collaborator William A. Fowler, but Hoyle himself was excluded from the prize. (See Fred Hoyle: the scientist whose rudeness cost him a Nobel prize by Robin McKie. Article in The Guardian, 2 October 2010; The Observer, 3 October 2010.) “I have no idea how the Swedes decided to make an award to Chandrasekhar and Fowler but not to Hoyle,” admits astronomer Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society. “However, I think it would be widely accepted that it was an unfair misjudgment.” On the other hand, Sir Harry Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, argues that Hoyle was lacking in scientific objectivity, and that he would have used his Nobel to foist his views on the scientific community, had it been awarded to him. At any rate, there can be no doubt that Hoyle possessed a brilliantly original scientific mind, and was a truly independent thinker.
Here are some of Hoyle’s better-known remarks on evolution and the origin of life:
If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of…
(Hoyle, Fred, Evolution from Space, Omni Lecture, Royal Institution, London, 12 January 1982; Evolution from Space (1982) pp. 27–28 ISBN 0894900838; Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism (1984) ISBN 0671492632.)
In his 1982/1984 book Evolution from Space (co-authored with Chandra Wickramasinghe), Hoyle calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for even the simplest living cell was one in 10^40,000. Since the number of atoms in the known universe is infinitesimally tiny by comparison (10^80), Hoyle argued that even with a whole universe full of primordial soup, blind processes would have little chance of producing life. He claimed:
“The notion that not only the biopolymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.”
Hoyle famously compared the random emergence of even the simplest cell to the likelihood that “a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.” Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a solar system full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.
Hoyle’s famous comment “tornado-in-a-junkyward” metaphor has been dubbed “Hoyle’s fallacy” by evolutionary biologists, who either accuse him of employing faulty mathematics in his calculations of the probability of life originating by undirected processes, or accuse him of making faulty biological assumptions in his origin-of-life scenario. The Wikipedia article Hoyle’s fallacy accuses him of both, for good measure. Ian Musgrave’s online article, Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations is a more in-depth treatment of Hoyle’s alleged errors.
Regarding the accusation of mathematical incompetence: it needs to be remembered that Hoyle was a mathematician as well as an eminent astronomer. So was his collaborator, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, with whom Hoyle co-wrote Evolution in Space. The idea of not one but two mathematicians making an elementary blunder in probability theory, as their Darwinist critics commonly allege, is so absurd as to beggar belief.
I should add that Hoyle subsequently authored another book entitled, Mathematics of Evolution (Acorn Enterprises LLC, Memphis, Tennessee,
1999) in which he set forth his case against the Darwinian theory of evolution at greater length, and elaborated his case in support of the view that the Earth was deliberately seeded with life by intelligent beings at a point in the distant geological past. A list of several reviews of Hoyle’s book can be found on this page. One of the reviewers, biologist Gert Korthof, wrote in his 1999 review (updated 2004):
There isn’t any outsider who penetrated so deep in population genetics as astronomer- mathematician Sir Fred Hoyle, with such a mathematical knowledge, with such an integrity to find out the truth, and without distorting his subject of investigation.
Regarding the charge that Hoyle was misinformed on matters relating to biology, when putting forward his “tornado-in-a-junkyard” argument, the Australian biologist Stephen Jones has defended Hoyle’s competence in an article on his blog, CreationEvolutionDesign, entitled, Re: Fred Hoyle about the 747, the tornado and the junkyard (October 17, 2008). I would like to point out, however, that much more up-to-date calculations of the likelihood of a functional protein originating by chance are now available, thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Douglas Axe. These results, which I shall discuss in a future post, bear out the broad thrust of Hoyle’s probability estimates, and show that even the formation of a single protein on the primordial Earth – let alone a living cell – would have been astronomically improbable, and tantamount to a miracle.
2. Raymond Damadian (b. 1936) inventor of MRI, who missed out on winning the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
Raymond Vahan Damadian is the inventor of the first MR (Magnetic Resonance) Scanning Machine — described by M.I.T. as “one of the most useful diagnostic tools of our time.” He has also received over 45 patents (some co-invented) for improvements to his MRI scanner. Dr Damadian’s invention of the first Magnetic Resonance Scanning Machine has earned him several top awards, including the United States’ National Medal of Technology, the Lincoln-Edison Medal, and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers.
In 2003, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield for their discoveries related to MRI. Although Nobel rules allow for the award to be shared by up to three recipients, Damadian was not given the prize – a controversial decision which attracted criticism from various MRI experts including John Throck Watson, Eugene Feigelson, V. Adrian Parsegian, Dr. David Stark and James Mattson (see here), although some other MRI experts sided with the Nobel Committee. Damadian himself telephoned the Nobel Committee, organized a group called “The Friends of Raymond Damadian” and placed full-page advertisements in The New York Times and the Washington Post, costing about $US200,000 ($290,000) (see here and more links to ads on this page).
Damadian’s creationist views are well-known. The biographical article in Wikipedia summarizes them as follows:
He [Damadian] is also fundamentalist Christian and a young earth creationist and a member of the ‘Technical Advisory Board’ of the Institute for Creation Research.
The article  cited by Wikipedia is an interview with Damadian, titled, Super-scientist slams society’s spiritual sickness!, published in Creation 16(3):35–37, June 1994. I shall quote a brief excerpt:
Dr Damadian says emphatically that his greatest scientific discovery was to find that ‘the highest purpose a man can find for his life is to serve the Will of God.’ He recently attended a major seminar at which he heard creation speaker Ken Ham calling for Americans to return to trust in the whole Word of God ‘beginning with Moses and the prophets.’ He says that he is tremendously encouraged by the creation science ministry and blessed by it, calling it ‘a courageous exposition of the truth’ and a vitally important message for America today.
He believes that rejection of God’s account of Creation as the foundation for our society is basic to the spiritual, social and economic sickness of our times. We are replaying ‘the seven steps of human regression and social disintegration’ which the Apostle Paul described in Romans chapter 1 as happening subsequent to the rejection of the true God as Creator.
If Genesis cannot be accepted unqualified, what else in Scripture can be taken as the unqualified Word of God? Acceptance of the unqualified Word of God ‘has been the foundation for Western civilization since the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in the fifteenth century,’ he says. This has resulted in 200 years of blessing for Western civilization, including a level of individual freedom ‘unprecedented in human history.’
Dr Damadian says that ‘if America is to be rescued, she must be rescued from the pulpit—it is too late for the White House.’ He says that Americans need to realize that any country ‘runs off its spiritual batteries, not off its bank accounts, and when those batteries are drained, its bank accounts will be empty.’
(Super-scientist slams society’s spiritual sickness!. First published in Creation 16(3):35–37, June 1994.)
It has been alleged that Dr. Raymond Damadian may have been denied a Nobel Prize because of his creationist views. “Alleged by whom?” you may ask. By none other than Professor Michael Ruse, a leading philosopher of science who publicly testified against a state law permitting the teaching of “creation science” in the Arkansas school system, in the 1981 test case, McLean vs. Arkansas. Here is how Wikipedia describes Ruse’s allegations against the Nobel Committee:
Philosopher Michael Ruse writing for the Metanexus Institute suggested that Damadian might have been denied a Nobel prize because of his creationist views, saying:I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs. Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field. Apart from the fact that this time the Creation Scientists will think that there is good reason to think that they are the objects of unfair treatment at the hands of the scientific community.| M. Ruse
(Ref.: Ruse, M. “The Nobel Prize in Medicine – Was there a religious factor in this year’s (non) selection?” Metanexus Online Journal, March 16, 2004.)
Damadian himself said, “Before this happened, nobody ever said to me ‘They will not give you the Nobel Prize for Medicine because you are a creation scientist.’… If people were actively campaigning against me because of that, I never knew it.”
(Ref: “The man who did not win.” Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2003.)
I managed to track down the original article by Dr. Michael Ruse, entitled, Controversy over the Nobel Prize in Medicine , published in Metanexus Online Journal, March 16, 2004. I would like to highlight the following excerpts:
Dr. Raymond Damadian failed to be included in this year’s Nobel honors for work in Medicine, and feels sore about it. Although he was the inventor of the first machine that discovers cancers through magnetic resonance imaging, the award went to two other and somewhat subsequent scientists, Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield. Notoriously, the Nobel committees never reveal their deliberations (until everyone is long dead) and never change their minds. So, although by having taken out advertisements of protest in The New York Times and The Washington Post may make him feel somewhat better, and draw attention to his bad luck, Damadian seems fated to remain with the rest of us who are not Nobel Laureates…
But perhaps Dr. Damadian does have reason to feel having been slighted for the wrong reasons. He is not just an inventor, but also a very prominent Christian. And not just a Christian of any bland kind, but a Creation Scientist – one of those people who believes that the Bible, especially including Genesis, is absolutely literally true – six days of creation, Adam and Eve the first humans, universal flood, and all of the rest. It is as least as likely a hypothesis that Damadian was ignored by the Nobel committee because they did not want to award a Prize to an American fundamentalist Christian as that they did not think his work merited the fullest accolade. In the eyes of rational Europeans – and Swedes are nothing if not rational Europeans – it is bad enough that such people exist, let alone give them added status and a pedestal from which to preach their silly ideas. Especially a scientific pedestal from which to preach their silly anti-science ideas…
All of my life I have fought for evolution and against Creationism – in writings, on the podium, and in court in 1981 as a witness in Arkansas against a law demanding that Creation Science be taught alongside evolution in the state supported schools. But as one who loves science above all and thinks it the greatest triumph of the human spirit – as one who has no religious beliefs whatsoever – I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs. Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field. Apart from the fact that this time the Creation Scientists will think that there is good reason to think that they are the objects of unfair treatment at the hands of the scientific community.
There you have it, Zack. If a leading crusader against creationism admits that a scientist might have been denied a Nobel Prize because he is a creationist, then I think it is fair to conclude that the paucity of Nobel Laureates who espouse creationism or Intelligent Deisgn reflects a bias on the part of the Nobel Committee.
My third post, entitled, “Why you can’t be a Darwinist and a ‘human exceptionalist'”, and my fourth post, “Twenty-one more Nobel Laureate scientists who rejected Darwinism as an account of consciousness”, will be coming out tomorrow. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!