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Twenty-one more famous Nobel Prize winners who rejected Darwinism as an account of consciousness


Rodin’s Thinker. Musee Rodin, Paris.
Courtesy of Andrew Horne and Wikipedia.

(Part four of a series in response to Zack Kopplin. See here for Part One, here for Part Two, and here for Part Three.)

As I argued in my previous post, if you want to call yourself a believer in neo-Darwinian evolution, then you have to believe that it is an all-encompassing theory of living things, just as the atomic theory is an all-encompassing theory of chemistry. You have to believe that the theory of evolution is capable of explaining all of the characteristics of each species of organism. The theory of evolution stands or falls on its claim to be a complete theory. As Theodosius Dobzhansky memorably put it in a 1973 essay in The American Biology Teacher (volume 35, pages 125-129): “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Consequently, if you believe that there are organisms on this planet, such as human beings, that possess characteristics which evolution is unable to account for, then you cannot call yourself an evolutionist, and you certainly cannot call yourself a bona fide Darwinist.

Human beings are animals. One feature which characterizes human beings is consciousness. (It may characterize some other animals as well.) Consequently, if you believe that consciousness cannot be explained in materialistic terms, then you cannot call yourself a consistent Darwinian evolutionist.

By that criterion, there are at least twenty-one Nobel Laureate scientists who don’t qualify as genuine Darwinian evolutionists. I’m talking about Nobel scientists who were “human exceptionalists”: people who did not believe, or who doubted, that the theory of evolution would ever be able to explain human consciousness. These scientists’ beliefs about the mind are a matter of public record. I’ve already discussed John Eccles’ views on evolution in my second post, so I won’t count him again on my list. Here are the names of my 21 Nobel scientists who were human exceptionalists: William Phillips, Joseph Murray, Christian Anfinsen, Nevil Mott, George Wald, Charles Townes, Alexander Fleming, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schroedinger, Charles Sherrington, Arthur Holly Compton, Robert Millikan, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Charles Robert Richet, William Crookes, Joseph John (J.J.) Thomson, Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt), Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. Not all of these people were religious: some were agnostics, while others were spiritualists who rejected organized religion.

The belief that Darwinism cannot explain the human mind has been derided by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as “mind creationism” – a position still espoused even today, by scientists such as the famous contemporary paleontologist, Simon Conway Morris. To be sure, not all of the Nobel Prize winners listed below believed in a Creator. Marie Curie, for instance, was an agnostic. But the belief that consciousness cannot be explained by the theory of evolution is just as much of a threat to Darwinists as belief in a supernatural Creator. For this reason, I think it is fair to include the twenty-one Nobel scientists listed below with Intelligent Design theorists and creationists, because their views on consciousness place them outside the pale of what any evolutionist can accept.

Let me add, Zack, that I’ve been scrupulously fair about including these scientists. There’s an online book called 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Scientists Who Believed in God, by the psychologist Tihomir Dimitrov, M.Sc. M.A., who spent 11 years compiling quotes from Nobel scientists about their religious beliefs, after corresponding with many contemporary Nobel Prize-winning scientists who have shared their personal beliefs about God and the meaning of life. Dimitrov’s research required him to read 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). In short, the man has done his homework. Nobel Physics Laureate Charles Townes, the inventor of the laser, has commended Dimitrov’s book, writing:

“The book 50 NOBEL LAUREATES AND OTHER GREAT SCIENTISTS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD is a surprisingly pertinent and interesting collection of comments by important scientists!”

Many of the quotes below are taken from Dimitrov’s book, and I’d like to gratefully acknowledge his hard work. However, in selecting the names I did, I didn’t focus on the question of whether they believed in God, because belief in God – specifically, a God Who has made a cosmos which is capable of giving rise to life and consciousness without any need for additional help – is perfectly consistent with Darwinism. Instead, I focused on one question and one only: which of these scientists rejected the view that Darwinian evolution could explain life or human consciousness? That was my criterion. That’s why I didn’t include religious people who were comfortable with Darwin’s theory, as an all-encompassing theory of life and consciousness. For example, I did not include Arno Penzias on my list, despite his warm praise of the creation account in Genesis 1, because I could find no evidence that he rejected evolution, or that he believed that Darwinian evolution was unable to account for the human mind. The same goes for Isidor Isaac Rabi. I also didn’t include Christians such as Arthur Schawlow, for the same reason. I’ve included Professor Charles Phillips on my list of “human exceptionalists” below, because his views on our human capacity for free choice are unmistakably anti-Darwinian, as I showed in my previous post; but I decided not to include Professor Antony Hewish, as I wasn’t 100% sure about his views. On the other hand, I was quite happy to include on my list several agnostics and spiritualists who explicitly maintained that human consciousness could not be explained in terms of matter.

The testimony of Sir John Eccles

Before I get to my list of twenty-one Nobel scientists who did not believe that Darwinian evolution could account for the human mind, I’d like to quote from the writings of a Nobel scientist who stands head and shoulders above them all for his especially forthright denunciations of scientific materialism: Sir John Eccles.

The testimony of Sir John Carew Eccles (1903-1997), a neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir John Carew Eccles, AC FRS FRACP FRSNZ FAAS (27 January 1903 – 2 May 1997) was an Australian neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse, sharing the prize with Andrew Fielding Huxley and Alan Lloyd Hodgkin.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Although Sir John Eccles believed that the Darwinism could account for the various life-forms we observe today, he did not believe that it could possibly explain human consciousness. He believed on scientific grounds that each and every human being has an immaterial soul which is supernaturally created by God.

Where’s the evidence?

In his book, Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (Routledge, 1989), Eccles was forthright about his belief, which was based on scientific grounds, in the existence of an immaterial soul:

Since materialist solutions fail to account for our experienced uniqueness, I am constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the Self or Soul to a supernatural spiritual creation. To give the explanation in theological terms: each Soul is a new Divine creation which is implanted into the growing foetus at some time between conception and birth. (1989, p. 237)

I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition … we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world. p. 241

[W]e can regard the death of the body and brain as dissolution of our dualist existence. Hopefully, the liberated soul will find another future of even deeper meaning and more entrancing experiences, perhaps in some renewed embodied existence . . . in accord with traditional Christian teaching. p. 242

In How the Self Controls Its Brain (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1994), Eccles explained why he rejected materialism as an unscientific dogma, why he believed that the appearance of human consciousness required a miracle, and how he combined his belief in the evolution of the human body with his scientific conviction that each human soul was created:

The more we discover scientifically about the brain the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena and the more wonderful do the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems — a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.

…[W]ith hominid evolution there eventually came higher levels of conscious experiences, and ultimately in Homo sapiens sapiens — self-consciousness — which is the unique life-long experience of each human SELF, and which we must regard as a miracle beyond Darwinian evolution. (1994, p. 139.)

Eccles’ thoughts on the human mind are beautifully illustrated by the following quotes from Tihomir Dimitrov’s book, 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God (2007) (http://nobelists.net/).

1. In his article “Modern Biology and the Turn to Belief in God,” that he wrote for the book, The Intellectuals Speak Out About God: A Handbook for the Christian Student in a Secular Society, edited by Roy A. Varghese (Chicago, IL: Regnery Gateway, 1984), John Eccles came to the following conclusion:

“Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance.

We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence.” (Eccles 1984, 50).

2. In an interview published in the scientific anthology, The Voice of Genius (1995), Prof. Eccles stated:

“There is a fundamental mystery in my personal existence, transcending the biological account of the development of my body and my brain. That belief, of course, is in keeping with the religious concept of the soul and with its special creation by God.” (Eccles, as cited in Brian 1995, 371).

3. In his work, Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self. (London: Routledge, 1991), Eccles avowed:

“I am constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the Self or Soul to a supernatural spiritual creation. To give the explanation in theological terms: each Soul is a new Divine creation which is implanted into the growing foetus at some time between conception and birth.” (1991, p. 237).

4. In The Human Mystery, Eccles writes: “I believe that there is a Divine Providence operating over and above the materialist happenings of biological evolution.” (Eccles 1979, 235).

5. In Margenau, Henry, and Roy A. Varghese, eds. 1997. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens, (4th ed. Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company), Eccles set forth his own spiritual perspective on life:

“If I consider reality as I experience it, the primary experience I have is of my own existence as a unique self-conscious being which I believe is God-created.” (Eccles, as cited in Margenau and Varghese 1997, 161).

6. In his book, The Human Mystery (The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1977-1978; Berlin: Springer International, 1979), Eccles derided what he and philosopher Karl Popper referred to “promissory materialism”:

“There has been a regrettable tendency of many scientists to claim that science is so powerful and all pervasive that in the not too distant future it will provide an explanation in principle for all phenomena in the world of nature, including man, even of human consciousness in all its manifestations. In our recent book (The Self and Its Brain, Popper and Eccles, 1977) Popper has labelled this claim as promissory materialism, which is extravagant and unfulfillable.

Yet on account of the high regard for science, it has great persuasive power with the intelligent laity because it is advocated unthinkingly by the great mass of scientists who have not critically evaluated the dangers of this false and arrogant claim.” (Eccles 1979, p. I).

7. With regard to ‘promissory materialism‘, Eccles wrote in his book How the Self Controls Its Brain (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1994):

I regard this theory as being without foundation. The more we discover scientifically about the brain the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena and the more wonderful do the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems – a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.” (Eccles 1994).

8. In his book Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (London: Routledge, 1991), Eccles wrote:

“I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition.

We have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.” (Eccles, 1991, p. 241).

9. In How the Self Controls Its Brain. (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1994), Eccles declared:

“Since materialist solutions fail to account for our experienced uniqueness, I am constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the self or soul to a supernatural spiritual creation.

This conclusion is of inestimable theological significance. It strongly reinforces our belief in the human soul and in its miraculous origin in a divine creation.” (Eccles, 1994, p. 168.)

10. In his book, The Human Mystery (The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1977-1978; Berlin: Springer International, 1979), Sir John Eccles was forthcoming about what evolution could and could not explain:

As a dualist I believe in the reality of the world of mind or spirit as well as in the reality of the material world. Furthermore I am a finalist in the sense of believing that there is some Design in the processes of biological evolution that has eventually led to us self-conscious beings with our unique individuality; and we are able to contemplate and we can attempt to understand the grandeur and wonder of nature.” (Eccles 1979, 9).

11. In his article, “Scientists in Search of the Soul” (Science Digest, 90 [7]: 77-79, 105, July. New York: The Hearst Corporation. 1982), the science writer John Gliedman pointed out:

Eccles strongly defends the ancient religious belief that human beings consist of a mysterious compound of physical body and intangible spirit. Each of us embodies a nonmaterial thinking and perceiving self that ‘entered’ our physical brain sometime during embryological development or very early childhood, says the man who helped lay the cornerstones of modern neurophysiology. This ‘ghost in the machine’ is responsible for everything that makes us distinctly human: conscious self-awareness, free will, personal identity, creativity and even emotions such as love, fear, and hate. Our nonmaterial self controls its “liaison brain” the way a driver steers a car or a programmer directs a computer. Man’s ghostly spiritual presence, says Eccles, exerts just the whisper of a physical influence on the computerlike brain, enough to encourage some neurons to fire and others to remain silent. Boldly advancing what for most scientists is the greatest heresy of all, Eccles also asserts that our nonmaterial self survives the death of the physical brain.” (Gliedman 1982, p. 77).

12. In Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self. (London: Routledge, 1991), Eccles declared:

“We can regard the death of the body and brain as dissolution of our dualist existence. Hopefully, the liberated soul will find another future of even deeper meaning and more entrancing experiences, perhaps in some renewed embodied existence in accord with traditional Christian teaching.” (Eccles 1991, 242).

13. Here’s another statement by Eccles, affirming his belief in immortality:

“I do believe that we are the product of the creativity of what we call God. I hope that this life will lead to some future existence where my self or soul will have another existence, with another brain, or computer if you like. I don’t know how I got this one, it’s a pretty good one, and I’m grateful for it, but I do know as a realist that it will disappear.

But I think my conscious self or soul will come through.”

(Eccles, as cited in Gilling, Dick and Robin Brightwell. The Human Brain. London: Orbis Publishing. 1982.
p. 180).

14. In his book, The Human Mystery (The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1977-1978; Berlin: Springer International, 1979), Sir John Eccles was forthcoming about what evolution could and could not explain:

“The amazing success of the theory of evolution has protected it from significant critical evaluation in recent times. However it fails in a most important respect. It cannot account for the existence of each one of us as unique, self-conscious beings.” (Eccles 1979, 96).

15. Eccles also maintained that human beings have free will, which is why he denied physical determinism:

If physical determinism is true, then that is the end of all discussion or argument; everything is finished. There is no philosophy. All human persons are caught up in this inexorable web of circumstances and cannot break out of it. Everything that we think we are doing is an illusion.
(See Popper, Karl and John C. Eccles. 1977. The Self and Its Brain. Berlin, New York: Springer International, 1977, p. 546).

16. In Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover the Creator, (New York: The Continuum Publishing Co., 1994) edited by John M. Templeton, Eccles is cited as saying:

“With self-conscious purpose a person has a great challenge in choosing what life to live.

“One can choose to live dedicated to the highest values, truth, love, and beauty, with gratitude for the divine gift of life with its wonderful opportunities of participating in human culture. One can do this in accord with opportunities. For example, one of the highest achievements is to create a human family living in a loving relationship. I was brought up religiously under such wonderful conditions, for which I can be eternally grateful. There are great opportunities in a life dedicated to education or science or art or to the care of the sick. Always one should try to be in a loving relationship with one’s associates. We are all fellow beings mysteriously living on this wonderful spaceship planet Earth that we should cherish devotedly, but not worship.”
(Eccles, as cited in Templeton 1994, p. 131).

17. In his letter to Erika Erdmann (Eccles, John C. 1990. A letter to Erika Erdmann., December 19, 1990), Eccles contended the rejection of materialism in all its forms was the number one priority facing humanity, rather than the preservation of our environment, as Erdmann had proposed. He wrote:

“You refer to protection of our Earth as the most urgent goal at present. I disagree. It is to save mankind from materialist degradation. It comes in the media, in the consumer society, in overriding quest for power and money, in the degradation of our values (that used to be thought as based on love, truth, and beauty), and in the disintegration of the human family.” (Eccles, 1990).

18. In his book, The Human Mystery (The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1977-1978; Berlin: Springer International, 1979), Eccles articulated his visceral dislike of materialism:

I repudiate philosophies and political systems which recognize human beings as mere things with a material existence of value only as cogs in the great bureaucratic machine of the state, which thus becomes a slave state. The terrible and cynical slaveries depicted in Orwell’s ‘1984’ are engulfing more and more of our planet.

Is there yet time to rebuild a philosophy and a religion that can give us a renewed faith in this great spiritual adventure, which for each of us is a human life lived in freedom and dignity?” (Eccles 1979, p. 237).

The following quote is from Wikiquotes:

19. In Facing Reality : Philosophical Adventures by a Brain Scientist (1970, ISBN 0387900144), Eccles wrote:

I believe that there is a fundamental mystery in my existence, transcending any biological account of the development of my body (including my brain) with its genetic inheritance and its evolutionary origin. … I cannot believe that this wonderful gift of a conscious existence has no further future, no possibility of another existence under some other unimaginable conditions. p. 83

Twenty-one Nobel scientists who denied that evolution could explain the human mind

I’ve listed the scientists below in reverse chronological order, according to the date when they were awarded their Nobel Prizes.

1. William Phillips (b. 1948), winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.

Who is he and what is he famous for?

William Daniel Phillips is a Nobel Prize-winning American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji in 1997 for his contributions to laser cooling, a technique to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in order to better study them, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Professor Phillips was commended for his invention of the Zeeman slower.

How do his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Professor Phillips believes that human beings possess a kind of free will which is irreducible to the laws of physics and chemistry. For Phillips, our free choices are neither determined nor random, but belong in a third category. They are “not just results of biochemical reactions following deterministic or random processes.” No Darwinist could talk like that. For a Darwinist, life is the product of biochemical reactions, and all of the properties of living things have to be ultimately explicable in terms of those reactions. Ultimately, Darwinism is a “bottom-up” theory, not a “top-down” theory.

Where’s the evidence?

In a 2001 article entitled, Ordinary Science, Ordinary Faith, written for the Universite Interdisciplinaire de Paris (copyright, 2010), William Phillips wrote movingly about his personal religious beliefs, which I discussed in my last post. In this essay, I would like to highlight Professor Phillips’ views on human consciousness:

Another place where scientific investigation might make significant contributions to religious belief is the area of human consciousness. I find the fact of human consciousness and free will to be a strong argument for some sort of transcendence. If we truly have a free will, if our actions represent true choice and not just results of biochemical reactions following deterministic or random processes, then where does that will come from? If there is only physics and chemistry, where does decision come from? Of course, it may be that our impression that we have free will is illusory, or it may be that free will emerges from a sufficiently complex system all of whose components are deterministic or random. But I find these possibilities unconvincing and find it simpler to believe in a transcendence that provides something beyond determinism or chance. I call that transcendence God. But, considering the poor state of our scientific understanding of human consciousness and free will, my conclusion about the necessity of transcendence is not particularly well founded. A better understanding of consciousness, which may come from future scientific investigation, could significantly change this situation.

Phillips is aware of the internal tensions between his beliefs, and he is willing to change his views in the light of new evidence. But on his own admission, physics and chemistry, and biochemical reactions, are all unable to account for the emergence of free will. For Darwinists, this is heresy. To believe in Darwinian evolution requires one to accept that it can account for all of the characteristics of living organisms, including the human capacity to make choices. Ultimately, such a capacity has to be grounded in biochemistry.

2. Joseph Murray (b. 1919), winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1990.

Who is he and what is he famous for?

Joseph E. Murray (born 1919) was granted the 1990 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology (which he shared with E. Donnall Thomas) for work that “proved to a doubting world that it was possible to transplant organs to save the lives of dying patients.” Murray was the first to perform kidney transplants. He is one of the founders of modern transplantology.

How do his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He is a devout Catholic, who believes that each and every human being has a soul which is directly created by God.

Where’s the evidence?

In his article “Murray: Surgeon with soul” (Harvard University Gazette, 4 October 2001), John Lenger described Murray’s views on the spiritual aspects of surgery. Surprisingly, Murray believes that each of us has a spiritual soul:

“To Murray, a doctor’s responsibility is to treat each patient as not just a set of symptoms, but as someone with a spirit that can be helped through medical procedures. The title of his autobiography, Surgery of the Soul (Boston Medical Library, 2001), stems from Murray’s spiritually based approach to medicine. Though he has in the past hesitated to talk publicly about his faith, for fear of being lumped in with the televangelist crowd, Murray is deeply religious. ‘Work is a prayer,’ he said, ‘and I start off every morning dedicating it to our Creator. Every day is a prayer – I feel that, and I feel that very strongly.'” (Murray, as cited in Lenger, John. 2001. “Murray: Surgeon with soul: Nobelist’s memoir mixes science and humanity,” in Harvard University Gazette, October 4. Cambridge, MA.)

In an interview for the National Catholic Register (December 1-7, 1996), Prof. Joseph Murray asserts that there is no conflict between religion and science, and he also refers to his faith as a Catholic. Evidently Murray is still a faithful, believing Catholic. This is an important fact, because it is an article of faith among Catholics that each and every human soul is immaterial, that it is created immediately by God, and that it survives bodily death. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it in paragraph 366:

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.(235)

The footnote (#235) gives the following citation:

235 Cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis: DS 3896; Paul VI, CPG 8; Lateran Council V (1513): DS 1440.

There can be no doubt, then, that if Murray is a believing Catholic, he is what Daniel Dennett refers to as a “mind creationist” – which puts him at odds with the Darwinian theory of evolution.

Murray is quite clear that he accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church, in his interview with the National Catholic Register (December 1-7, 1996):

“Is the Church inimical to science? Growing up as a Catholic and a scientist – I don’t see it. One truth is revealed truth, the other is scientific truth. If you really believe that creation is good, there can be no harm in studying science. The more we learn about creation – the way it emerged – it just adds to the glory of God. Personally, I’ve never seen a conflict.” (Murray, as cited in Meyer, Gabriel. 1996. “Pontifical Science Academy Banks on Stellar Cast.” National Catholic Register (a weekly Catholic newspaper, founded in 1927). December 1-7. Circle Media, Inc., North Haven, CT.)

“There are a lot of moral problems that my Jesuit training has helped me with. In my own conscience, I’ve never had a conflict between my religious upbringing and my science.” (Murray, as cited in Meyer 1996).

Here, we have another Nobel Prize-winning scientist who does not believe that science can explain the human soul, or what it is that makes us human. Murray is a “mind creationist.” Darwin would have disowned him.

3. Sir Nevill Mott (1905-1996), winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir Nevill Mott, CH, FRS was an English physicist. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977 for his work on the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems, especially amorphous semiconductors. The award was shared with Philip W. Anderson and J. H. Van Vleck, who had pursued independent research.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He held that God was necessary to explain human consciousness, which lies outside science.

Where’s the evidence?

In 1991 Nevill Mott edited a volume of articles by famous scientists on the significance of religious belief and religion-science interface, entitled Can Scientists Believe? (London, James & James). In his article in this scientific anthology, Professor Mott wrote that God is absolutely necessary to explain the origin and the essence of human consciousness. Mott claimed that the mystery of consciousness can never be explained by science.

“I believe, too, that neither physical science nor psychology can ever ‘explain’ human consciousness.

To me, then, human consciousness lies outside science, and it is here that I seek the relationship between God and man.”

(Mott, Nevill Francis, ed. 1991. Can Scientists Believe? London: James & James Science Publishers Ltd., p. 8)

However, Mott did not believe in a God who broke or suspended the laws of the universe:

“In my understanding of God I start with certain firm beliefs. One is that the laws of nature are not broken.

God works, I believe, within natural laws, and, according to natural laws.”

(Mott, as cited in Margenau, Henry, and Roy A. Varghese, eds. 1997. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. 4th ed. Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, p. 66.)

4. Christian Anfinsen (1916-1995), winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Image courtesy of Edward A. Hubbard, National Institutes of Health and Wikipedia.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Christian Anfinsen (1916 – 1995) was an American biochemist who shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Stanford Moore and William Howard Stein for work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He was a convert to Orthodox Judaism, who apparently believed in the immortality of the soul – a notion which is incompatible with a Darwinist account of human consciousness.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Anfinsen’s conversion to Orthodox Judaism

In his online book, 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Scientists Who Believed in God (Chapter 1, entry no. 25), Tihomir Dimitrov includes the following biographical information about Christian Anfinsen:

In 1979, Anfinsen converted to Orthodox Judaism, a commitment he retained for the rest of his life; he maintained that he had been deeply impressed by the “the history, practice and intensity of Judaism.”

On 16 November 1995, in her Memorial speech for Christian Anfinsen at Memorial Garden Dedication, Weizmann Institute, Libby Anfinsen (Prof. Anfinsen’s wife) said:

“His religious background is interesting in that his Jewish maternal grandmother’s family disappeared when the Nazis invaded Bergen, Norway. His parents were Bible reading Lutherans, and he himself was an agnostic until the later 70’s when he studied and converted to traditional Judaism. He felt the following quote from Einstein accurately expressed his beliefs. ‘The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.’ He xeroxed and distributed this quote to many.” (Libby Anfinsen, 1995).

(b) Anfinsen’s contempt for atheism

To the question, “What are your thoughts on the concept of God and on the existence of God?”, Anfinsen bluntly replied:

I think only an idiot can be an atheist. We must admit that there exists an incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in the first place.” (Anfinsen, as cited in Margenau and Varghese, ‘Cosmos, Bios, Theos’, 1997, 139).

(c) Anfinsen’s belief in personal immortality

The fact that Anfinsen was so contemptuous of atheism, coupled with the fact that he converted to embrace Orthodox Judaism near the end of his life, strongly suggests that he did not believe that the human mind could be explained in terms of matter. Nevertheless, the reader may still be wondering what Anfinsen’s views on the human mind were. Did he believe in the immortality of the soul, for instance? His wife, Libby Anfinsen, answered this question at the end of her Memorial speech (see also here) for Christian Anfinsen at Memorial Garden Dedication, Weizmann Institute, in Rehovet, Israel (16 November 1995):

Chris is smiling now, if he is watching us, from his special place, ‘bimkom kavodo’, at peace, and finally knowing ‘what it’s all about.’ It was a wonderful association, and his immortal spirit will always live on here.

I think we may fairly conclude that Anfinsen believed in personal immortality, and that he did not believe that human consciousness could be explained as an outgrowth of matter, as Darwinists maintain.

5. George Wald (1906-1997), winner of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the biochemistry of vision

Source: George Wald on Freebase, licensed under CC-BY.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

George Wald was an American scientist who is best known for his work with pigments in the retina. He won a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Haldan Keffer Hartline and Ragnar Granit.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

George Wald converted late in life from an atheist who believed that life had arisen as a cosmic fluke, to a Christian who believed that consciousness was more fundamental than matter. Wald was not, however, a creationist; he believed that God had guaranteed the emeregence of life through cosmic fine-tuning.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Wald’s atheism during his early scientific career

In 1954 Prof. George Wald (who was still an atheist at that time) wrote in Scientific American:

“When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!” (George Wald, 1954, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 48).

“The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position.

Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.” (Wald 1954, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 45-46).

(b) Wald’s late-life conversion a religious outlook on cosmology and the mystery of consciousness

George Wald underwent an astonishing change in his intellectual position during the early 1980s, and came to acquire a religious outlook on life. In his article “Life and Mind in the Universe” (1984) Prof. Wald wrote:

“In my life as scientist I have come upon two major problems which, though rooted in science, though they would occur in this form only to a scientist, project beyond science, and are I think ultimately insoluble as science. That is hardly to be wondered at, since one involves consciousness and the other, cosmology.

1) The consciousness problem was hardly avoidable by one who has spent most of his life studying mechanisms of vision. We have learned a lot, we hope to learn much more; but none of it touches or even points, however tentatively, in the direction of what it means to see. Our observations in human eyes and nervous systems and in those of frogs are basically much alike. I know that I see; but does a frog see? It reacts to light; so do cameras, garage doors, any number of photoelectric devices. But does it see? Is it aware that it is reacting? There is nothing I can do as a scientist to answer that question, no way that I can identify either the presence or absence of consciousness. I believe consciousness to be a permanent condition that involves all sensation and perception. Consciousness seems to me to be wholly impervious to science.

2) The second problem involves the special properties of our universe. Life seems increasingly to be part of the order of nature. We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise – some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental – that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life?

It has occurred to me lately – I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities – that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality – that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.” (George Wald, 1984, “Life and Mind in the Universe”, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry: Quantum Biology Symposium 11, 1984: 1-15).

(c) An address on consciousness given by George Wald in Bombay in 1986

In 1986, in his address to the First World Congress for the Synthesis of Science & Religion held in Bombay, India, George Wald stated:

“I come toward the end of my life as a scientist facing two great problems. Both are rooted in science, and I approach both as would only a scientist. Yet I believe that both are irrevocably – forever – unassimilable as science. And that is hardly strange, since one involves cosmology, the other, consciousness.


The burden of this story is that we find ourselves in a universe that breeds life and possesses the very particular properties that make that possible. The more deeply one penetrates, the more remarkable and subtle the fitness of this universe for life appears. Endless barriers lie in the way, yet each is surmounted somehow. It is as though, starting from the Big Bang, the universe pursued an intention to breed life, such is the subtlety with which difficulties in the way are got around, such are the singular choices in the values of key properties that could potentially have taken any value.

And now for my main thesis. If any one of a considerable number of the physical properties of our universe were other than they are – some of those properties fundamental, others seeming trivial, even accidental – then life, that now appears to be so prevalent, would be impossible, here or anywhere.


I know that I see. But does a frog see? It reacts to light; so does a photoelectrically activated garage door. Does the frog know that it is reacting to light, is it self-aware? Now the dilemma: There is nothing whatever that I can do as a scientist to answer that kind of question.

Does that garage door resent having to open when the headlights of my car shine on it? I think not. Does a computer that has just beaten a human player at chess feel elated? I think not; but there is nothing one can do about those situations either.

I had already for some time taken it as a foregone conclusion that the mind – consciousness – could not be located. It is essentially absurd to think of locating a phenomenon that yields no physical signals, the presence or absence of which – outside of humans and their like – cannot be identified.

But further than that, mind is not only not locatable, it has no location. It is not a thing in space and time, not measurable; hence – as I said at the beginning of this paper – not assimilable as science.

Mind and Matter

A few years ago it occurred to me that these seemingly very disparate problems might be brought together. That would be with the hypothesis that Mind, rather than being a very late development in the evolution of living things, restricted to organisms with the most complex nervous systems – all of which I had believed to be true – that Mind instead has been there always, and that this universe is life-breeding because the pervasive presence of Mind had guided it to be so.

That thought, though elating as a game is elating, so offended my scientific possibilities as to embarrass me. It took only a few weeks, however, for me to realize that I was in excellent company. That kind of thought is not only deeply embedded in millennia-old Eastern philosophies, but it has been expressed plainly by a number of great and very recent physicists.

So Arthur Eddington (1928):

‘The stuff of the world is mind-stuff. The mind-stuff is not spread in space and time.’

So Erwin Schroedinger:

‘Mind has erected the objective outside world of the natural philosopher out of its own stuff.’

Let me say that it is not only easier to say these things to physicists than to my fellow biologists, but easier to say them in India than in the West. For when I speak of Mind pervading the universe, of Mind as a creative principle perhaps primary to matter, any Hindu will acquiesce, will think, yes, of course, he is speaking of Brahman [God].

That is the stuff of the universe, mind-stuff; and yes, each of us shares in it.”

(George Wald, 1989, “The Cosmology of Life and Mind.” Noetic Sciences Review, No. 10, p. 10, Spring 1989. Institute of Noetic Sciences, California).

Recommended Reading

Wald, George. 1954. “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 44-53, August.

Wald, George. 1984. “Life and Mind in the Universe”, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, Quantum Biology Symposium, 11, (1984): 1-15. Copyright 1984 by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

6. Charles Townes (b. 1915), winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

The inventor of the laser, Charles Hard Townes (born 1915) was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle.” Charles Townes is regarded as the founder of laser science.

How do his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Charles Townes accepts Darwinian evolution as an account of the development of life on Earth, although he also holds that the process was planned by God – that is, he believes in cosmological Intelligent Design. Additionally, Professor Townes is open to the idea that human consciousness survives bodily death – a view that is fundamentally at odds with Darwinian evolution, which embraces a purely physicalist account of consciousness.

Where’s the evidence?

In an interview with Bonnie Azab Powell of UC Berkeley News on 17 June 2005, about one month before he turned 90, Professor Townes was asked about his views on the profound questions of life:

[Question] Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas?

I think it’s very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.

[Question] Who decides what differentiates a “person” from a collection of cells, for example?

That’s very difficult. What is a person? We don’t know. Where is this thing, me – where am I really in this body? Up here in the top of the head somewhere? What is personality? What is consciousness? We don’t know. The same thing is true once the body is dead: where is this person? Is it still there? Has it gone somewhere else? If you don’t know what it is, it’s hard to say what it’s doing next. We have to be open-minded about that. The best we can do is try to find ways of answering those questions.

Townes’ openness to the possibility that one’s personality survives the death of one’s body clearly puts him at odds with the doctrine of materialism, which was central to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

7. Eugene Wigner (1926-1996), a winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Eugene Wigner, FRS was a Hungarian American theoretical physicist and mathematician. He received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 “for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles”; the other half of the award was shared between Maria Goeppert-Mayer and J. Hans D. Jensen.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He doubted that Darwin’s theory of natural selection was adequate to explain the human capacity to reason. He also believed that consciousness was a fundamental, irreducible fact about the universe, which could not be explained in materialistic terms.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Wigner’s doubts about the ability of Darwin’s theory of natural selection to explain the human capacity to reason

In an essay entitled, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences (in Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics, vol. 13, No. I (February 1960), New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), Wigner expresses his doubts regarding the ability of Darwin’s theory of natural selection to explain the human capacity to reason:

Most more advanced mathematical concepts, such as complex numbers, algebras, linear operators, Borel sets – and this list could be continued almost indefinitely – were so devised that they are apt subjects on which the mathematician can demonstrate his ingenuity and sense of formal beauty. In fact, the definition of these concepts, with a realization that interesting and ingenious considerations could be applied to them, is the first demonstration of the ingeniousness of the mathematician who defines them. The depth of thought which goes into the formulation of the mathematical concepts is later justified by the skill with which these concepts are used. The great mathematician fully, almost ruthlessly, exploits the domain of permissible reasoning and skirts the impermissible. That his recklessness does not lead him into a morass of contradictions is a miracle in itself: certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess. However, this is not our present subject. The principal point which will have to be recalled later is that the mathematician could formulate only a handful of interesting theorems without defining concepts beyond those contained in the axioms and that the concepts outside those contained in the axioms are defined with a view of permitting ingenious logical operations which appeal to our aesthetic sense both as operations and also in their results of great generality and simplicity.

(b) Wigner regarded consciousness as something that could not be reduced to the behavior of matter obeying the laws of physics

Later in the same essay, Wigner considers the case where two scientific theories which are both very successful in their own respective domains come into conflict with one another when their scope is universalized – for instance, quantum mechanics, a theory which is very successful in the domain of the very small, appears to conflict with relativity theory, which works well in the domain of the very large. Wigner notes that although physicists currently believe that the two theories can ultimately be reconciled, nevertheless “it is possible also to imagine that no union of the two theories can be found.” On an even more pessimistic note, Wigner then considers the possibility that we might one day discover a universal theory of consciousness which cannot be reconciled with the laws of physics, and he even suggests that this will probably happen:

A much more difficult and confusing situation would arise if we could, some day, establish a theory of the phenomena of consciousness, or of biology, which would be as coherent and convincing as our present theories of the inanimate world. Mendel’s laws of inheritance and the subsequent work on genes may well form the beginning of such a theory as far as biology is concerned. Furthermore, it is quite possible that an abstract argument can be found which shows that there is a conflict between such a theory and the accepted principles of physics. The argument could be of such abstract nature that it might not be possible to resolve the conflict, in favor of one or of the other theory, by an experiment. Such a situation would put a heavy strain on our faith in our theories and on our belief in the reality of the concepts which we form. It would give us a deep sense of frustration in our search for what I called “the ultimate truth.” The reason that such a situation is conceivable is that, fundamentally, we do not know why our theories work so well. Hence, their accuracy may not prove their truth and consistency. Indeed, it is this writer’s belief that something rather akin to the situation which was described above exists if the present laws of heredity and of physics are confronted.

The reader will notice that in the above passage, Wigner considers it likely that a general theory of consciousness, if one could be constructed, would conflict with the laws of physics, and he also thinks that the laws of heredity are inconsistent with the laws of physics. Such notions are anathema to Darwinists, since as we saw in Part Three, Darwin maintained that facts about consciousness were ultimately reducible to, and hence incapable of being in conflict with, the laws governing physical processes.

Wigner concludes his essay expressing his deep puzzlement at the fact that the laws of physics are able to explain the world around us so effectively:

Let me end on a more cheerful note. The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.

(c) Wigner regarded consciousness as a fundamental feature of the cosmos

According to his Wikipedia biography:

Near the end of his life, Wigner’s thoughts turned more philosophical. In his memoirs, Wigner said: “The full meaning of life, the collective meaning of all human desires, is fundamentally a mystery beyond our grasp. As a young man, I chafed at this state of affairs. But by now I have made peace with it. I even feel a certain honor to be associated with such a mystery.” He became interested in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, particularly its ideas of the universe as an all pervading consciousness. In his collection of essays Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays, he commented “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.

Wigner also conceived the Wigner’s friend thought experiment in physics, which is an extension of the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. The Wigner’s friend experiment asks the question: “At what stage does a ‘measurement’ take place?” Wigner designed the experiment to highlight how he believed that consciousness is necessary to the quantum-mechanical measurement processes.

We have seen that Darwin was a materialist, who regarded consciousness as something which could be explained in terms of matter behaving according to fixed, deterministic laws. Wigner’s view of consciousness was profoundly different from Darwin’s: he regarded consciousness as a fundamental and pervasive feature of the cosmos.

8. Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Werner Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics, and its application especially to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen. He is best known for formulating the uncertainty principle of quantum theory.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He believed in an immortal, immaterial human soul, and declared his belief that human psychology could not be explained by evolution, physics or chemistry. He was also heavily involved with yoga and had mystical yoga experiences.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Heisenberg’s belief in the reality of the human soul

According to an article entitled, The Religious Affiliation of Physicist Werner Heisenberg, Heisenberg was a Lutheran, who belonged to Germany’s largest Protestant religious body, the Evangelische Kirche. The article quotes from an essay by Raymond J. Seeger (NSF, Retired) entitled, Heisenberg, Thoughtful Christian:

When he was fifty-five, Heisenberg gave the Gifford lectures at St. Andrews on “Physics and Philosophy.” He himself was religious, a member of the Evangelische Kirche (Lutheran and Calvinistic mixture), which his family had traditionally attended. As he once wrote me, he obviously did not subscribe to all the tenets of his grandparents. Nevertheless, he and his wife educated their children “definitely along the lines of the Christian religion.” He was once asked by Pauli if he believed in a personal God. This was his reply: “Can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things, or events, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being? I am using the term ‘soul’ quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you would put the question like that, the answer is yes.”

(b) Heisenberg’s conception of the soul

Heisenberg not only believed in a soul, but he also favored the Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas’ account of the soul. In his classic work, Physics and Philosophy (1962), Heisenberg declared that the probability wave concept in quantum mechanics “was a quantitative version of the concept of ‘potentia’ in Aristotelian philosophy” (p. 41) and that the “concept of the soul for instance in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas was more natural and less forced than the Cartesian concept of ‘res cogitans,’ even if we are convinced that the laws of physics and chemistry are strictly valid in living organisms.”

(c) Heisenberg’s rejection of the view that science could account for the human mind

In Physics and Philosophy (1962), Heisenberg also explicitly rejected the notion that physics, chemistry or evolution could account for the human mind:

If we go beyond biology and include psychology in the discussion, then there can scarcely be any doubt but that the concepts of physics, chemistry, and evolution together will not be sufficient to describe the facts. On this point the existence of quantum theory has changed our attitude from what was believed in the nineteenth century. During that period some scientists were inclined to think that the psychological phenomena could ultimately be explained on the basis of physics and chemistry of the brain. From the quantum-theoretical point of view there is no reason for such an assumption. We would, in spite of the fact that the physical events in the brain belong to the psychic phenomena, not expect that these could be sufficient to explain them. We would never doubt that the brain acts as a physicochemical mechanism if treated as such; but for an understanding of psychic phenomena we would start from the fact that the human mind enters as object and subject into the scientific process of psychology.

(d) Heisenberg’s mystical yoga experiences

Further evidence of Heisenberg’s decidedly non-Darwinian views on the mind can be found in an article entitled, Science and Mysticism, (The General Science Journal, April 16, 2007) by Carina Aguilar-Chavez, Blanca E. Carvajal-Gamez and Jose L. Lopez-Bonill, where it is related that Heisenberg was keenly interested in yoga and had a mystical yogic experience known as kevala samadhi. To quote the authors:

In the Yoga International magazine (Vol. 3, No. 6, 1994), it was published that Prof. Heisenberg had a spontaneous experience of kevala samadhi. This was confimed by Paul Brunton and Paul Cash. It is not surprising that Prof. C.F. von Weizsacker (we may remember that this important German scientist had, in the 50’s decade, a deep inner experience during his visit to Ramanasramam at Tiruvannamalai) and Heisenberg had invited several yogis to Germany, (for example, Gopi Krishna,) who explained to them how to awake the kundalini shakti. In chapter 14, entitled “An experience in the Cosmic Consciousness” from Yogananda Paramahansa’s book “Autobiography of a Yogi”, you can find a beautiful poem in which the mystical experience of Samadhi is described.

The essential point is that in kevala samadhi, the mind is turned off and the physical world disappears along with its conception of space and time. The universe is perceived as an illusion without intrinsic reality. The ego is dissolved and reveals the Oneness of Creation and the existence of a Cosmic Mind. When somebody experiences samadhi at least once, a deep internal transformation takes place that annihilates all patterns and “reality” of the world. Then, it is not difficult to imagine the impact that the great experience of kevala samadhi had on Heisenberg. Surely this experience reinforced his concept of ‘reality’ that was introduced in the 20th decade as a fundamental aspect of quantum physics.

Samadhi is a state which one describes in very personal terms, so we are now trying to locate writings in which Heisenberg narrated his own mystical experience. This is important if there is to be an establishment of a direct correspondence between science and spirituality.

Heisenberg was a religious believer and a mystic, who accepted the reality of a soul which could not be explained in terms of physics, chemistry or evolution. His beliefs clearly place him in opposition to Darwinism.

9. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1945 for his discovery of penicillin.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir Alexander Fleming, FRSE, FRS, FRCS(Eng) was a Scottish biologist and pharmacologist. His best-known discoveries are the discovery of the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He was a devout Catholic, who believed that each and every person has an immortal, immaterial soul which is directly created by God.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Fleming was a Catholic – which means he believed that each of us possesses an immortal, immaterial soul

The Web site www.adherents.com lists Alexander Fleming’s religion as Catholic, and the Web tool NNDB mapper lists his religion as “Roman Catholic” in its biography of Fleming. But as we saw above, it is a dogma of the Catholic Church that each and every human soul is immaterial, that it is immortal, and that it was created by God. Consequently, if Alexander Fleming was a believing Catholic, it follows that he held a position that put him in direct opposition to the Darwinian theory of evolution, which claims to be able to account for the human mind in naturalistic terms.

(b) Fleming’s reference to a Higher Power in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech suggests that his faith was genuine

So, was Fleming a true believer? The evidence suggests he was.

Alexander Fleming was a singularly modest man, who seldom spoke about his religious faith. One exception was during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1945, in which he affirmed his belief in a Higher Power:

I have been trying to use penicillin to illustrate two points.

The first is that team work may inhibit the primary initiation of something quite new but once a clue has been obtained team work may be absolutely necessary to bring the discovery to full advantage.

The second is that destiny may play a large part in discovery. It was destiny which contaminated my culture plate in 1928 – it was destiny which led Chain and Florey in 1938 to investigate penicillin instead of the many other antibiotics which had then been described and it was destiny that timed their work to come to fruition in war-time when penicillin was most needed.

It may be that while we think we are masters of the situation we are merely pawns being moved about on the board of life by some superior power.

Thank you.

(c) Fleming’s belief in angels and in Providence directing human scientific discoveries confirms his Catholicity

An online article by Dr. Alan L. Gillen, Professor of Biology, Liberty University (July 1, 2009), entitled, The Genesis of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A Modern Day “Leprosy” and Hospital Menace over at Answers in Genesis contains the following biographical information about Alexander Fleming:

Fleming was a Roman Catholic who saw Providence directing him through life and suggesting an “Angel” had “stirred up the waters” for the Penicillium mould to mix with S. aureus on the Petri plate that August (1928) day (Maurois 1959).

The reference given by Dr. Gillen in his article is as follows:

Maurois, A. 1959. Life of Sir Alexander Fleming: Discoverer of Penicillin. London: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.

I think we may fairly conclude that if Fleming spoke of angels interfering with laboratory moulds, he was indeed a religious believer, and that his Catholic faith was genuine. In that case, we may conclude that he would have accepted the Catholic doctrines of the immateriality, special creation and immortality of the human soul.

10. Erwin Schroedinger (1887–1961) winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Erwin Schroedinger was an Austrian born physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics. He is famous for his important contributions to physics, especially the Schroedinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. In 1935 he proposed the Schroedinger’s cat thought experiment.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He publicly rejected materialism, and asserted that human consciousness was a fundamental fact which could not be explained in terms of material processes.

Where’s the evidence?

Schroedinger explicitly denied materialism, and affirmed that human consciousness was absolutely different from the material bodily processes:

Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

(Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.)

In his famous book, Nature and the Greeks (Cambridge University Press, 1954), Prof. Schrodinger also wrote:

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.”
(Schrodinger 1954, p. 93). Quoted in 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Scientists Who Believed in God by Tihomir Dimitrov.

From the above quote, it is clear that Schrodinger held that science could not investigate consciousness – which implies once again that he did not believe that it could be accounted for in physical terms, as Darwinists hold.

11. Sir Charles Sherrington (1857-1952), a neurophysiologist who won the 1932 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir Charles Sherrington, OM, GBE, PRS was an English neurophysiologist, histologist, bacteriologist, and pathologist, who was president of the Royal Society in the early 1920s. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian in 1932.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Towards the end of his life, Sherrington came to reject the dogma of materialism. He affirmed his belief in mind-body dualism and in the human soul.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Sherrington late-life doubts about materialism

Sherrington was a neurophysiologist who conducted his research on the basis of the widely accepted scientific dogma that materialism was true. But towards the end of his life, Sherrington voiced his doubts about this dogma in an influential book called Man on His Nature, (MN), which was published in 1940. The following excerpts reveal the extent of his dualism:

“Life … has resolved itself into a complex of material factors; all of it except one factor. There science stopped and stared as at an unexpected residue which remained after its solvent had dissolved the rest. Knowledge looking at its world had painfully and not without some disillusions arrived at two concepts; the one, that of energy, which was adequate to deal with all which was known to knowledge, except mind. But between energy and mind science found no ‘how’ of give and take…. To man’s understanding the world remained obstinately double.” (MN, p. 200.)

[Life and the processes of life are explicable by physics and chemistry, but] “thought escapes and remains refractory to natural science. In fact natural science repudiates it as something outside its ken.” (MN, p. 229.)

“For myself, what little I know of the how of the one [i.e. the brain] does not, speaking personally, even begin to help me towards the how of the other [i.e. the mind]. The two for all I can do remain refractorily apart. They seem to me disparate; not mutually convertible; not translatable the one into the other.” (MN, p. 247.)

“I would submit that we have to accept the correlation, and view it as interaction: body => mind. Macrocosm is a term with perhaps too medieval connotations for use here: replacing it by surround then we get surround body mind. The sun’s energy is part of the closed energy cycle. What leverage can it have on mind? Yet through my retina and my brain it is able to act on mind. The theoretically impossible happens. In fine, I assert that it does act on my mind. Conversely my thinking ‘self’ thinks it can bend my arm. Physics tells me that my arm cannot be bent without disturbing the sun. My mind then does not bend my arm. If it does then the theoretically impossible happens. Let me prefer to think the theoretically impossible does happen. Despite the theoretical I take it that my mind does bend my arm and that it disturbs the sun.” (MN, p. 248.)

Reversible interaction between the ‘I’ and the body seems to me an inference validly drawn from evidence.” (MN, p. 250.)

(b) Sherrington’s affirmation of dualism and the reality of the human soul

Seven years later, in a revised version of his earlier work, The Integrative Action of the Nervous System (1906), Sherrington declared:

“That our being should consist of two fundamental elements offers, I suppose, no greater inherent improbability than that it should rest on one only.”
(The Integrative Action of the Nervous System, 2nd edition, 1947.) This passage was later quoted by his student, Dr. Wilder Penfield, in Engrams in the human brain. Mechanisms of memory (Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1968 August; 61(8): 831–840) and also (?) in his 1975 book, The Mystery of the Mind.

Five days before he died, Sherrington made the following statement to his student, Sir John Eccles:

“For me now, the only reality is the human soul.” (Popper, Sir Karl and Sir John Eccles, The Self and Its Brain, Springer Verlag International, 1977, p.558.)

12. Arthur Holly Compton (1892-1962), winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the Compton effect

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Arthur Holly Compton (1892–1962) was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the Compton effect, i.e. the change in the wavelength of X-rays when they collide with electrons. This effect is caused by the transfer of energy from the photon to the electron. Its discovery in 1922 confirmed the dual nature of electromagnetic radiation as both a wave and a particle.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Compton rejected both materialism and dualism in favor of a more radical position: idealism, or “the doctrine that mind is the fundamental reality, and that the objective world is a mere product of the activity of the Supreme Mind or Spirit, God.” According to Darwinian evolution, mind is a by-product of matter; on Compton’s view, matter itself is merely a state of God’s consciousness.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Compton’s early rejection of both materialism and dualsim in favor of idealism (where matter is viewed as an off-shoot of mind rather than vice versa

The evidence comes from Compton’s senior thesis, which he wrote in 1913, while he was a student at Wooster College. It shows how Compton moved from being a dualist who believed that God had intervened on only a few special occasions in the evolution of life (e.g. at life’s origin and at the first appearance of consciousness), to an idealist who viewed matter itself as simply a part of God’s stream of consciousness, which was continually produced by God. The quotation below is taken from an article by Edward B. Davis in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, June 2009, entitled, Prophet of science—part one: Arthur Holly Compton on science, freedom, religion, and morality.

For a more detailed exposition of his views at Wooster, however, I turn to his senior thesis, a remarkable sixteen-page typed essay on God, nature, and humanity that warrants close attention. In the opening paragraph, he announced,

I feel that unless clearly prevented by logic, I should make my theory of the world agree as far as possible with the principles laid down by the Master Thinker, Jesus Christ.

Then he plunged into a critique of dualism, “the doctrine which I held before I began to study philosophy,” according to which “there are in reality two distinct kinds of substances, mind and matter.” On this view, God created elementary matter such as electrons “at some definite time” that Compton did not specify. The electrons then “combined and evolved, forming first the chemical elements and chemical compounds, then the stellar universe under the action of gravitation, and finally life was evolved in simple forms.” Natural selection “produced all the higher animals and man as we know them.” According to Compton, God’s role in this picture was only at the beginning “and at such stages as at the beginning of life and the beginning of consciousness where he either inserts a ‘new principle,’ or starts a ‘new force’ to work in the universe as it stands.” (20)

This was a typical view for theistic evolutionists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An influential prototype was (for example) the Scottish philosopher and theologian James McCosh, who had become president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1868, partly owing to his progressive attitude toward modern science. The first theologian in America publicly to support Darwin, McCosh accepted evolution insofar as it was “properly limited and explained.” (21) The principal limit to evolution, in McCosh’s opinion, was its inability to account for “new powers” such as life, sensation, intelligence, the soul, and morality; these required a vital force of some unspecified type, under divine guidance–thereby preserving a crucial role for God and ensuring human dignity. Compton would shortly contrast this with the view he favored (below).

As for materialism, “which would make mind a direct product in the evolution of matter,” Compton held “that there is a very essential difference between mind and matter which makes it impossible that the former should be developed from the latter.” As a “free agent,” consciousness “is the source of an indefinite amount of spontaneous energy, so that in directing the actions of the body it violates the principle of the conservation of energy on which materialism rests itself.” If consciousness were not free, then it would not be able to control our actions and would have “no conceivable use.” Such a consciousness could not have developed by evolution. Furthermore, “the universe as we know it is not eternal,” Compton added, and “therefore matter must have had a cause to produce it.” Applying the second law of thermodynamics, he argued that “the constant dissipation of radiant energy” meant either that “the universe should have long ago cooled to absolute zero,” or else that it should at least “be at absolutely uniform temperature throughout. Since neither of these conditions exists, the universe cannot have been eternal.” (22)

But dualism did not escape Compton’s analysis unscathed. If space is “ontologically real,” he argued, then it “must be unlimited and therefore all inclusive, hence [it] must include our souls and God.” If God is everywhere, he asked, then “is all of God” or only “a part of Him” in each part of space? Compton was unhappy with the implications of both answers, so for this and other reasons he rejected the idea that space is an ontological reality. Consequently, “dualism in its ordinary sense, that matter is real and spatial and that mind is likewise real and different from matter,” had to be given up. (23)

On the dualist view, he reminded himself, it was necessary for God “to intervene by inserting a ‘new principle’ or starting a ‘new force’ to work in the universe as it stands.” How much “more probable,” he suggested, either

for man to be evolved out of matter without any interference, or that God should be back of the world continually, sustaining it and controlling it in all its development. The first method would be materialism which we have found untenable, while the second, which is personal idealism, seems quite probable.

In addition, “Since God is a spirit, the creation must have been performed in a spiritual manner,” and we can understand this only by “analogy with the action of our own minds.” But “our minds can produce nothing but thoughts,” so “unless God’s creation of the world is altogether different from any experiences of ours, it must have been a process analogous to thinking, and matter must be similar to our states of consciousness.” (24) Compton therefore felt “compelled to give up both materialism and dualism,” turning instead to personal idealism, “the doctrine that mind is the fundamental reality, and that the objective world is a mere product of the activity of the Supreme Mind or Spirit, God.” (25)

(20) “My Philosophy: A Thesis Showing the Comparative Merits of Dualism, Materialism and Personalism,” AHC Papers, series 1, box 1, folder 4, dated March 29, 1913, 1-2.
(21) James McCosh, The Religious Aspect of Evolution, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890), x, quoted by James R. Moore, The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1870-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 246. I rely here on Moore’s analysis of McCosh’s views.
(22) “My Philosophy: A Thesis Showing the Comparative Merits of Dualism, Materialism and Personalism,” 2-3.
(23) Ibid., 6-8.
(24) Ibid., 10-12.
(25) Ibid., 12-13.

(b) Compton’s belief in libertarian free will

In his middle and later years, Compton wrote extensively about the question of human freedom. From his writings, it is quite clear that he rejected the reductionist account of human consciousness, according to which it could be explained in terms of matter, seeing it instead as something which transcends matter. For instance, he spoke of human desires as lying “outside the realm of science.” Such a view is totally at odds with the tenets of Darwinian evolution, which claims that all of the characteristics of the human organism (including conscious desires) can be accounted for in terms of their biology. In an article entitled, “Science and Man’s Freedom,” in Atlantic Monthly 200, no. 4 (October 1957): 71-4 (reprinted in The Cosmos of Arthur Holly Compton, Compton, 1967, pp. 115-24), Compton explained why, in his view, the laws of physics are perfectly compatible with human freedom:

There is nothing known to physics that is inconsistent with a person’s exercising freedom.

A set of known physical conditions is not adequate to specify precisely what a forthcoming event will be. These conditions, insofar as they can be known, define instead a range of possible events from among which some particular event will occur. When one exercises freedom, by his act of choice he is himself adding a factor not supplied by the physical conditions and is thus himself determining what will occur. That he does so is known only to the person himself. From the outside one can see in his act only the working of physical law. It is the inner knowledge that he is in fact doing what he intends to do that tells the actor himself that he is free.

Let me then summarize how a physicist now views man’s freedom. It is not from scientific observation that we know man is free. Science is incapable of telling whether a person’s acts are free or not. Freedom is not something that one can touch or measure. We know it through our own innermost feelings. The first essential of freedom is the desire to attain something that one considers good. But desire lies outside the realm of science — at least outside of physics. You can’t locate desire as somewhere in space. Similarly our recognition that within limits we can do what we try to do is not a matter of measurement or of external observation. It is a matter of immediate awareness. There is nothing in such awareness of freedom that is inconsistent with science. Freedom does, however, involve the additional determining factor of choice, about which science tells us nothing.

13. Robert Millikan (1885–1962), winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Robert Millikan was an American experimental physicist, who won the 1923 Nobel Prize in physics for his measurement of the charge on the electron and for his work on the photoelectric effect.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Millikan accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution. Nevertheless, he also rejected materialism, which he regarded as a sterile dogma.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Millikan rejected the mechanistic view of science, which claims that human behavior as the product of deterministic laws

I’d like to quote here from an online article by Professor Jerry Bergmann, entitled, Robert A. Millikan, physics Nobel laureate and Darwin doubter (Journal of Creation 24(1):88–91, April 2010). Bergmann points out that Millikan was emphasized the limitations of science in his writings, and was particularly dismissive of the sweeping generalizations contained in the doctrines of materialism and determinism (both of which Darwin explicitly upheld, as we saw in Part Three):

Millikan was especially critical of naturalism (the worldview that teaches only the material world exists). He wrote that the eighteenth-century French philosophers

” … forgetting that the essence of the scientific method lay in sticking close to the observed facts and not asserting knowledge beyond the range of observation, yielded to the lure of such inclusive generalizations as had rendered Greek philosophy impotent and proceeded to convert Galileo’s and Newton’s science into a mechanical philosophy in which the whole of the past and future was calculable from the positions and motions of inert material bodies and man became a machine.“(31)

He concluded that although materialism was sometimes called scientific, it was “in its very method and essence unscientific” because it was “universally assertive and dogmatic”, and that “clear-thinking minds in all countries refused to be stampeded by it, realizing the limitations of the scientific method.”(31)

Millikan realized that the newer discoveries of science documented that, for science to progress, scientists must stick “close to the scientific method and avoid extending generalizations into fields beyond those in which experimental observations have demonstrated their validity.”(32) Science must be guided only “by brute facts” regardless of whether they fit into our worldview. Millikan explained how 18th and 19th century materialism assumed that our universe consisted

” … of a fixed number of unchangeable atoms, and then brute facts were found which showed that some of these atoms were changing continuously into other atoms and the dogma of the immutable elements was gone. Then materialism assumed that the universe could be accounted for in terms at least of the motions of ‘material’ particles of some kind, and then brute facts were found which showed that matter could disappear into radiant energy or ether waves, and the dogma of the conservation of matter was gone, and with it the excuse for the very name materialism.“(33)

Another example is that materialism had assured us that the entire universe could be explained by

” … Galilean and Newtonian mechanical laws, which in large-scale phenomena had always been found to work. Then brute facts were found having to do with specific heats at low temperatures for example, where the laws of Galilean and Newtonian mechanics simply did not work at all and the dogma of the universality of the mechanical laws was gone.“(34)

31. Millikan, R., Time, Matter, and Values, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, pp. vii–viii, 1932, pp. 92–93.

32. Millikan, ibid., p. 93.
33. Millikan, ibid., p. 94.
34. Millikan, ibid., pp. 94–95.

Millikan was no dualist, but his rejection of the dogmas of materialism and determinism clearly puts him at odds with Darwinism, which is essentially a “bottom-up” deterministic theory, in which our mental acts are explained as the outcome of law-governed material processes.

(b) Millikan was an evolutionist who did not believe in an interposing God, but unlike Darwin, he regarded the human mind as something unique and inexplicable

As far as I can ascertain, Millikan was a Darwinist in his view of our biological origins, and he repeatedly praised Darwin’s contribution to science in his writings. In his work, Evolution in Science and Religion ( Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1927), he wrote: “A stage that is ushered in through the growth of another sublime idea or through a new revelation from God to man, in the idea that has come in human thinking out of the utilization of Galileo’s method in the study of geology, of biology, of physics, of palaeontology, of history, an idea in the development of which Darwin has been one of many outstanding figures.” (p. 80.)

In his writings, Millikan also expressed his belief that God works through the laws of Nature and that He does not violate those laws. For instance, in Science and Religion (Yale University Press, 1930, p. 79) Millikan stated: “Science began to show us a universe of orderliness and of the beauty that goes with order, a universe that knows no caprice, a universe that behaves in a knowable and predictable way, a universe that can be counted upon; in a word, a God who works through law.”

However, unlike Darwin, Millikan believed that the difference between humans and other animals was one of kind and not merely one of degree. Millikan also felt that there was something profoundly mysterious about the fact that conscious beings had emerged at all. Apparently he didn’t think that the mind could be explained in terms of matter. I’d like to quote again from Professor Jerry Bergmann’s online article, Robert A. Millikan, physics Nobel laureate and Darwin doubter (Journal of Creation 24(1):88–91, April 2010):

In an address to the American Chemical Society, Millikan said “everyone who reflects believes in God” and that it is pathetic “that many scientists are trying to prove the doctrine of evolution, which no scientist can do.”(18) He concluded that the discoveries of science have forced scientists to realize that modern science “is slowly learning to walk humbly with its God, and in learning that lesson it is contributing something to religion.”(19)

Millikan also believed that God not only originally created matter and life, but that “the creator is still on the job” of creating today.(20) What most impressed Millikan was the wonder of the human mind: “The most amazing thing in all life, the greatest miracle there is, is the fact that a mind has got here at all, ‘created out of the dust of the earth.’ This is the Bible phrase, and science today can find no better way to describe it—a mind” that thinks.(21)

Millikan often stressed that humans are not animals, noting that one cannot even “imagine a mere animal thinking about a future life” as do humans.(22) The chasm between humans and animals is so enormous that the “great spiritual forces which are in varying degrees in all mankind … sharply differentiate man from the whole lower animal kingdom.“(23) He added that even Charles Darwin in

” … an attitude of reverence … wrote, ‘No man can stand in the tropic forests without feeling that they are temples filled with the various productions of the God of nature, and that there is more in man than the breath of his body.'”(15)

15. Millikan, R., Time, Matter, and Values, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, pp. vii–viii, 1932.
18. Millikan, R., Robert Millikan’s address to the American Chemical Society Meeting, The Commentator, June 1937.
19. Millikan, Evolution in Science and Religion, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1927, p. 95.
20. Asimov, I., Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Doubleday, New York, p. 541, 1972.
21. Millikan, Evolution in Science and Religion, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1927, p. 69.
22. Millikan, The Autobiography of Robert A. Millikan, Prentice-Hall, New York, 1950, p. 280.

14. Niels Bohr (1885–1962), winner of the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He believed that consciousness could not be reduced to the laws of physics and chemistry, and that it requires laws of a different kind to explain it.

Where’s the evidence?

An interesting article at http://www.physorg.com/news163670588.html%7care/ tells us that Niels Bohr did not believe, as some of his scientific contemporaries did, that a conscious observer was required to collapse a wave function:

He rejected the hypothesis that the wave function collapse requires a conscious observer, insisting that “It still makes no difference whether the observer is a man, an animal, or a piece of apparatus.”

The article goes on to suggest that Bohr’s view is “perhaps best summarized in the following quote recalled by Heisenberg”:

This argument looks highly convincing at first sight. We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has even a remote bearing on consciousness. Yet all of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence consciousness must be part of nature, or, more generally, of reality, which means that, quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must also consider laws of quite a different kind. But even here I do not really know whether we need greater freedom than we already enjoy thanks to the concept of complementarity.
(Werner Heisenberg, “The Relationship between Biology, Physics and Chemistry,” Physics and Beyond, translated from the German by Arnold J. Pomerans (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 114.)

Notice that in the above passage, Bohr clearly states that consciousness cannot be reduced to physics or chemistry. Moreover, he even declares that it requires laws of a different kind to explain it. This is in flat contradiction to the Darwinian theory of evolution, which declares that no occult forces are required to account for the origin of life or of the human mind; and the laws of physics and chemistry, by themselves, are sufficient to guarantee the emergence of life and human consciousness. We may therefore conclude that Bohr held an un-Darwinian view of the human mind.

15. Max Planck (1858–1947), winner of the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Max Planck was a German physicist who discovered quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is generally regarded as the founder of quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He regarded consciousness as fundamental, and rejected the view that consciousness could be explained in terms of matter. Instead, he regarded matter as derivative from consciousness. He also believed in life after death.

Where’s the evidence?

When he was asked by The Observer, “Do you think that consciousness can be explained in terms of matter?”, Max Planck replied:

No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

(Planck, as cited in de Purucker, Gottfried. 1940. The Esoteric Tradition. California: Theosophical University Press, ch. 13).

Planck also believed in life after death. He believed in the existence of “another world, exalted above ours, where we can and will take refuge at any time.” (Planck, as cited in Heilbron, John L. 1986. The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck as Spokesman for German Science. California: University of California Press, p. 197).

16. Dr. Charles Robert Richet (1850-1935), winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1913.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Professor of Physiology at the University of Paris Medical School, Dr. Richet was considered a world authority on nutrition in health and in disease. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1913 for his work on anaphylaxis (an acute multi-system severe type I hypersensitivity allergic reaction).

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Dr. Richet was keenly interested in ESP, and he believed in psychic powers in humans and animals, premonitions, telekinesis, levitations, bilocations, hauntings, and ectoplasmic materialization, even though he was unable to explain these psychic phenomena scientifically.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Dr. Richet was heavily involved with spiritualism and the investigation of psychic phenomena

Dr. Richet also had a deep interest in extrasensory perception and hypnosis. In 1884 Alexander Aksakov interested him in the medium Eusapia Palladino. In 1891 Richet founded the Annales des sciences psychiques. He kept in touch with renowned occultists and spiritists of his time such as Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, Frederic William Henry Myers and Gabriel Delanne. He also conducted experiments with a number of different mediums, including Franek Kluski, Jan Guzyk, and Stephen Ossowiecki, both in Paris and Warsaw.

In 1905 Richet was named President of the Society for Psychical Research in the United Kingdom, and coined the term “ectoplasm.” He experimented with Marthe Beraud, Elisabette D’Esperance, William Eglinton and Stefan Ossowiecki. In 1919 he became honorary president of the Institut Metapsychique International in Paris, and, in 1929, full-time president.

(b) Dr. Richet was willing to accept the reality of phenomena which materialist scientists deemed absurd – e.g. telekinesis, levitation and ectoplasmic materialization

What follows is an extract from Thirty Years of Psychical Research, Being A Treatise on Metapsychics by Charles Richet, Ph.D. It is available online at http://survivalebooks.org/#Thirty Years of Psychical Research (http://survivalebooks.org/#Thirty%20Years%20of%20Psychical%20Research), a 626 page volume covering many areas of psychic research – cryptesthesia, the divining rod, psychic powers in animals, premonitions, telekinesis, levitations, bilocations, hauntings, and ectoplasmic materializations.

Here are some notable quotes from the book, which


Section (b) Leading Ectoplasmic Experiments
pp. 542-543

There is ample proof that experimental materialization (ectoplasmic) should take definite rank as a scientific fact. Assuredly we do not understand it. It is very absurd, if a truth can be absurd.

Spiritualists have blamed me for using this word “absurd”; and have not been able to understand that to admit the reality of these phenomena was to me an actual pain; but to ask a physiologist, a physicist, or a chemist to admit that a form that has a circulation of blood, warmth, and muscles, that exhales carbonic acid, has weight, speaks, and thinks, can issue from a human body is to ask of him an intellectual effort that is really painful.

Yes, it is absurd; but no matter – it is true.

(c) Dr. Richet maintained that psychic phenomena could still be studied scientifically, even though they fell outside the materialist paradigm

Here is an extended quote from the book’s Preface, which conveys the flavor of Richet’s approach to science:


Those who may expect to find in this book nebulous discussions on human destiny, on magic, or on theosophy will be disappointed. I have endeavoured to write on science, not on dreams; and I have therefore confined myself to a statement of facts and discussion of their actuality, not only without advancing any theory, but scarcely mentioning theories, for all theories as yet proposed to account for metapsychic facts seem to me terribly frail.

It is possible or even probable that some day a tenable theory will be formulated, but the time is not yet, for the facts on which any theory could be erected are still in dispute. It is necessary, first, to establish the facts and to review them in detail and as a whole, in order to verify the conditions under which they occur. This is our primary duty, and our only duty.

The task is a hard one; the phenomena being unusual, scientists and the public have usually rejected them without examination. Nevertheless the facts are facts; they are numerous, authentic, and startling. In the course of this work there will be given instances of these facts so numerous, so precise, and so evidential that I do not see how any unbiased man of science can cast doubt upon all of them if he consents to look into them.

The three fundamental phenomena of this new science can be summed up in three sentences.

1. Cryptesthesia (the lucidity of former writers [i.e. seance mediums – VJT]) is a faculty of cognition that differs from the normal sensorial faculties.

2. Telekinesis is a mechanical action that differs from all known mechanical action, being exerted at a distance and without contact on persons or objects, under certain determinate conditions.

3. Ectoplasm (the materialization of former writers) is the formation of divers objects, which in most cases seem to emerge from a human body and take on the semblance of material realities— clothing, veils, and living bodies.

These make up the whole of metapsychics. It seems to me that to admit this much is to admit a great deal. To go further is to go beyond the present limits of science.

I do, however, claim that science, strict and inflexible science, ought to admit these three strange phenomena that it has up to the present refused to recognize.

In giving to this book the usual form of treatises on physics, botany, pathology, and other sciences, it has been my intention to remove from facts called “occult,” many of which are indisputably true, the supernatural and mystical implications ascribed to them by those who do not deny their actuality.

From the last paragraph, we can see that Dr. Richet was evidently not a supernaturalist. However, unlike Darwin, he was willing to go beyond the limits of materialism when doing science.

(d) Dr. Richet attempted to systematize the study of psychic phenomena

In Book I, Richet set forth the guiding principles of the new science he called “metapsychics”:


Chapter 1. Definition and Classification, pp. 3-5

In all ages men have observed that sporadic, irregular, and unpredictable facts occasionally intermingle with the ordinary events of daily life. Unable to find rational explanations for these they have accounted for them by the intervention of supernatural powers – gods or demons.

With the growth of knowledge, faith in these divine or demoniacal interferences in our little human affairs has lost ground. In an aurora borealis, an eclipse, a comet, or a storm, we now see only a natural occurrence, some of whose laws we have been able to formulate. We no longer refer epilepsy and hysterical outbreaks to spirit possession or to Satan.

Nevertheless, in spite of the great advances in physics, chemistry, and physiology, the laws of these sciences, as at present known, do not account for certain exceptional phenomena, and these phenomena being inexplicable by orthodox science, it has been found convenient to ignore them. But these strange occurrences, whether they be accepted or denied, still remain facts; their actuality is unaffected whether we find a place for them in recognized science or not.

It therefore seems desirable to present the mass of these phenomena methodically. However unusual in their occurrence they must, as facts be subject to laws and therefore be accessible to study, i.e., to science. A science, or at any rate an orderly survey, of the supernatural and the occult is at least possible.

The terms “supernatural” and “supernormal” (the latter due to F. W. H. Myers) are, however, both inadmissible, for there can be nothing in the universe but the natural and the normal. From the moment that a fact exists it is necessarily both natural and normal. The terms “supernatural” and “supernormal” must therefore be rejected along with “the occult.” This latter term is indeed somewhat naive, for “the occult” simply means that which is involved in mystery and therefore inaccessible to us. In 1905, I proposed the term Metapsychic, which has been unanimously accepted….

Metapsychic facts are marked off from the physical in that they seem due to an unknown intelligence, whether human or non-human. In nature we observe intelligence only among living beings; in man we perceive no sources of cognition otherwise than through the senses. We leave to normal psychology the study of human and animal intelligence. Metapsychic phenomena are quite different; they seem due to unknown but intelligent forces, including among these unknown intelligences the astonishing intellectual phenomena of our subconsciousness.

Leaving aside the sharply demarcated field of normal psychology, metapsychics is the only science that deals with intelligent forces. All other forces as yet studied by men of science, from the point of view of cause and effect, are blind forces devoid of self-consciousness and caprice-in other words, without personality or will…

I shall divide our subject-matter into Objective and Subjective Metapsychics.

Objective metapsychics deals with certain mechanical, physical, or chemical effects perceptible to our senses, not proceeding from known forces, but seemingly directed by intelligence. It states, classifies, and analyzes these material phenomena.

Subjective metapsychics studies those phenomena that are purely intellectual. These are characterized by an indication of some realities that are not revealed by our senses. Everything takes place as if we had a mysterious faculty of cognition – lucidity – which the classical physiology of sensation cannot as yet explain. I propose to call this faculty Cryptesthesia, i.e., a sensibility whose nature escapes us.

Metapsychic science therefore treats of purely mental phenomena that can be admitted without reference to any known laws of living or inert matter, or any change in our concepts of the different physical energies-heat, light, electricity, gravitation, etc., which we are accustomed to measure and specify.

Objective metapsychics, on the contrary, deals with certain material phenomena inexplicable by ordinary mechanics – the movement of objects without contact, haunted houses, phantoms, materializations that can be photographed, sounds, and lights – all of them tangible realities affecting our senses.

In other words, subjective metapsychics is internal, psychic, and non-material: objective metapsychics is material and external. The boundary between the two orders of phenomena is sometimes uncertain; often, however, it is sharply marked. For instance, the assassination of Queen Draga was announced in Paris on the 11th of June, 1904, at the very minute that it was committed in Belgrade, by a medium who could have had no normal means of cognizance of this crime. This is a fact of subjective metapsychics.

Eusapia Paladino placed her hands half a yard above a heavy table; her hands, her feet, her knees, her waist, her head, and her mouth were all held; the table rose off its four legs without contact. This is a fact of objective metapsychics.

(e) Dr. Richet believed in personal immortality

While Dr. Richet was firmly convinced of the reality of mediumship, he remained publicly agnostic toward survival. According to Sir Oliver Lodge, his good friend, Richet privately accepted survival before his death. (Source: http://www.aspsi.org/feat/life_after/tymn/testimonials.htm ).

17. Sir William Crookes (1832–1919), winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Physics

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir William Crookes received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1911, for his discovery of the element thallium. Crookes was also elected President of the Royal Society, England’s most prestigious scientific body.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He was a spiritualist who accepted the reality of levitation, ghostly hands, automatic writing, telepathy and communication with the dead.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) Crookes accepted the reality of phenomena which were deemed to be scientifically impossible

In 1870, Crookes announced publicly, in an article published in the Quarterly Journal of Science (July 1870), that he had decided to take up a scientific investigation of spiritualism. In 1874, he published the results of his investigations in the Quarterly Journal of Science (January 1874). By now, he was firmly convinced of the reality of spiritualist phenomena, having verified them under the strictest conditions which he could devise, as the following excerpt from his report shows:

The phenomena I am prepared to attest are so extraordinary and so directly oppose the most firmly rooted articles of scientific belief – amongst others, the ubiquity and invariable action of the force of gravitation – that, even now, on recalling the details of what I witnessed, there is an antagonism in my mind between reason, which pronounces it to be scientifically impossible, and the consciousness that my senses, both of touch and sight – and these corroborated, as they were, by the senses of all who were present, – are not lying witnesses when they testify against my preconceptions.

But the supposition that there is a sort of mania or delusion which suddenly attacks a whole room full of intelligent persons who are quite sane elsewhere, and that they all concur to the minutest particulars, in the details of the occurrences of which they suppose themselves to be witnesses, seems to my mind more incredible than even the facts they attest….

My principal object will be to place on record a series of actual occurrences which have taken place in my own house, in the presence of trustworthy witnesses, and under as strict test conditions as I could devise. Every fact which I have observed is, moreover, corroborated by the records of independent observers at other times and places. It will be seen that the facts are of the most astounding character, and seem utterly irreconcilable with all known theories of modem science. Having satisfied myself of their truth, it would be moral cowardice to withhold my testimony because my previous publications were ridiculed by critics and others who knew nothing whatever of the subject, and who were too prejudiced to see and judge for themselves whether or not there was truth in the phenomena; I shall state simply what I have seen and proved by repeated experiment and test, and “I have yet to learn that it is irrational to endeavour to discover the causes of unexplained phenomena.”

Crookes went on to list no less than thirteen different categories of bizarre phenomena in his report, which he had personally verified, and for which there appeared to be no satisfactory scientific explanation:

CLASS I The Movement of Heavy Bodies with Contact, but without Mechanical Exertion
CLASS II The Phenomena of Percussive and Other Allied Sounds
CLASS III The Alteration of Weights of Bodies
CLASS IV Movements of Heavy Substances when at a distance from the Medium
CLASS V The Rising of Tables and Chairs off the Ground, with out Contact with any Person
CLASS VI The Levitation of Human Beings
CLASS VII Movement of Various Small Articles without Contact with any Person
CLASS VIII Luminous Appearances
CLASS IX The Appearance of Hands, either Self-Luminous or Visible by Ordinary Light
CLASS X Direct Writing
CLASS XI Phantom Forms and Faces
CLASS XII Special Instances Which Seem to Point to the Agency of an Exterior Intelligence
CLASS XIII Miscellaneous Occurrences of a Complex Character

Among the mediums studied by Sir William Crookes were Kate Fox, Florence Cook, and Daniel Dunglas Home (see Doyle, Arthur Conan. The History of Spiritualism. New York: G.H. Doran, Co. 1926: volume 1, pp. 230-251).

(b) Crookes publicly expressed his belief in psychic phenomena in later life

However, Sir William Crookes’ report to the Royal Society in 1874 so outraged the scientific establishment that there was talk of depriving him of his Fellowship of the Royal Society, to which he had been elected in 1863. Crookes subsequently became much more cautious about expressing his views, and refrained from discussing them openly until 1898, when he felt that his position was secure. That year, he gave an address to the British Association at Bristol, in which he declared:

No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honoured me with the invitation to become your President. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly. To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice – an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit.

I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions which, no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober senses, and, better still, by automatic record.

I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known. This advance is largely due to the labours of another Association of which I have also this year the honour to be President – the Society for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense – that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.

Confirmation of telepathic phenomena is afforded by many converging experiments, and by many spontaneous occurrences only thus intelligible. The most varied proof, perhaps, is drawn from analysis of the sub-conscious workings of the mind, when these, whether by accident or design, are brought into conscious survey. Evidence of a region below the threshold of consciousness has been presented, since its first inception, in the “Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research;” and its various aspects are being interpreted and welded into a comprehensive whole by the pertinacious genius of F. W. H. Myers. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

In 1904, Crookes published a book on spiritualism entitled, Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism (Two Worlds Publishing Company Ltd). By that time, Crookes was a world-renowned scientist. Later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911, for his discovery of the element thallium. Crookes was the President of the Royal Society from 1913 to 1915.

(c) Crookes believed in an afterlife

During the last two decades of his life, Crookes’ letters and interviews clearly indicate that he was a believer in Spiritualism (Doyle 1926: volume 1, pp. 169 – 170, 249 – 251). His writings in his later years show that he had a firm belief in spirits and in the survival of consciousness at death.

I have the greatest respect for Sir William Crookes’ intellectual integrity, and I commend the Royal Society for electing him its President in 1913. However, the point I wish to make here, Zack, is that a man who accepts the reality of levitation, ghostly hands, automatic writing, telepathy and communication with the dead, is clearly not a materialist in any meaningful sense of the word, and hence cannot be called a Darwinist.

18. Sir Joseph John (J.J.) Thomson (1856-1940), discoverer of the electron and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1906.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Sir Joseph John Thomson, OM, FRS was a British physicist and Nobel laureate. He is credited for the discovery of the electron and of isotopes, and the invention of the mass spectrometer. Thomson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the electron and for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He was a devout Anglican, who took an interest in psychic phenomena and who almost certainly believed in the immortality of the human soul.

Where’s the evidence?

(a) J.J.Thomson’s devout Anglican faith

In an article entitled, The Religious Affiliation of physicist Joseph J. Thomson, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Discoverer of the Electron, Founder of Atomic Physics at www.adherents.com/, we can find the following two two items of biographical information, which reveal that in private, Thomson was a devout, Bible-reading Anglican:

1. Sir Owen Richardson (Nobelist in Physics, 1928) described his teacher and friend J.J. Thomson thus:

“He was sincerely religious, a churchman with a dislike for Anglo-Catholicism, a regular communicant, who every day knelt in private prayer, a habit known only to Lady Thomson until near the end of his life.”

(Richardson, “Sir Joseph J. Thomson”, in The Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1970, p. 862).

2. In his biographical article “J.J. Thomson, Anglican,” in the journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Raymond Seeger (NSF, retired) points out:

“As a Professor, J.J. Thomson did attend the Sunday evening college chapel service, and as Master, the morning service. He was a regular communicant in the Anglican Church. In addition, he showed an active interest in the Trinity Mission at Camberwell. With respect to his private devotional life, J.J. Thomson would invariably practice kneeling for daily prayer, and read his Bible before retiring each night. He truly was a practicing Christian!”

(Seeger, Raymond. 1986. “J. J. Thomson, Anglican”, in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 38 (June 1986): 131-132. Published by The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation.)

(b) J.J. Thomson’s investigations of spiritualism

You might want to ask, “So what? Those were his private beliefs. What do they have to do with evolution?” Quite a lot, as it turns out. Apparently Thomson rejected the materialism which forms the basis of Darwinism, and espoused a belief in the immortality of the soul. It was precisely this openness that led him to investigate psychic phenomena and attend seances. In The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1985), author Janet Oppenheim makes the following observation about J. J. Thomson:

Indeed, between 1900 and 1920, four of the Royal Society’s presidents were men who had participated in psychic investigations to a greater or lesser extent: Huggins, Rayleigh, Crookes, and Thomson. (1985, p. 393.)

(c) J.J. Thomson’s belief in the immortality of the soul

The author R. Craig Hogan, Ph.D., in his online book, Your Eternal Self, refers to J.J. Thomson as follows:

Sir Joseph John Thompson – Discoverer of the electron, professor of experimental physics at Cambridge, and winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize in physics asserted that people continue to live after the body dies.

Unfortunately, Hogan provides no reference, but given the testimony above from his wife that he was a devout Anglican who practiced kneeling for daily prayer, and read his Bible before retiring each night, it would be surprising if he did not believe in the immortality of the soul. Very few Christians in Thomson’s day denied the doctrine. Also, if Thomson were a materialist, it would be difficult to account for his attendance at seances.

You cannot be a Darwinist and a “mind creationist.” Thomson evidently believed that the human mind continued after the death of the body. I can only conclude that he was not a true Darwinist. He was a human exceptionalist.

19. Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt) (1842-1909), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, was an English physicist who (with William Ramsay) discovered the element argon, an achievement that earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He also discovered the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering and predicted the existence of the surface waves now known as Rayleigh waves.

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

He rejected materialism, and took an interest in psychical phenomena, attending seances and sittings with those reputed to have psychic powers. He was open to the possibility of telepathy from the dead.

Where’s the evidence?

According to a biographical article on Lord Rayleigh in the New World Encyclopedia:

Rayleigh held deep religious convictions, and wished to harmonize these with his scientific pursuits. In the 1870s, influenced by fellow physicist William Crookes, he took an interest in psychical phenomena, and attended seances and sittings with those reputed to have psychic powers. (Source cited: Janet Oppenheim, 1985, The Other world: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914, Cambridge University Press, p. 331. ISBN 0521265053.) He never confirmed his belief in psychic manifestations, however, even though he retained a lifelong interest in the subject. He was a member of the Society for Psychical Research, as were a number of Nobel laureates, and gave the group’s presidential address in 1919, the year of his death. (Oppenheim, p. 331.)

His views on spirituality were perhaps best expressed in a letter to an acquaintance. “I have never thought the materialist view possible,” he wrote in 1910, with only a decade to live, “and I look to a power beyond what we see, and to a life in which we may at least hope to take part.” (Oppenheim, p. 332.)


Here is an excerpt from the Gale Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology article on Lord Rayleigh, available online here:

Lord Rayleigh married Evelyn Balfour, the sister of Arthur James Balfour, one of the presidents of the SPR in the 1890s. Evelyn Balfour’s other sibling was Eleanor Sidgwick, wife of SPR founder Henry Sidgwick. In 1876 in the discussion of William F. Barrett ‘s paper on Spiritualism before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, he declared that his own interest in the subject dated from 1874. He was first attracted to it by the investigations of Sir William Crookes. “Although,” he stated, “my opportunities have not been so good as those enjoyed by Professor Barrett, I have seen enough to convince me that those are wrong who wish to prevent investigation by casting ridicule on those who may feel inclined to engage in it.

Physical phenomena impressed him more than mental phenomena. He had many sittings with Kate Fox-Jencken, one of the Fox sisters, and with Eusapia Palladino. He was nonplussed by the result. Yet he never felt sufficiently convinced to declare himself in public. He paid little attention to automatic writing and trance phenomena. He did not think the evidence for telepathy conclusive, but he declared that, given irrefragable evidence for telepathy between living persons, he would have no difficulty in extending it to telepathy from the dead.

Speaking of Kate Fox-Jencken and the famous medium D. D. Home in his presidential address before the Society for Psychical Research, London, in 1919 (see pp. 275-290) he said: “I repudiate altogether the idea of hallucination as an explanation. The incidents were almost always unexpected, and our impressions of them agreed” (Rayleigh, pp. 275-90). He died June 30, 1919.

Recommended Reading

Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Rayleigh, Lord. “Presidential Address.” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 30, 70 (1918-1919).

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/lord-rayleigh-1#ixzz1R6I5BS00

20. Marie Curie (1867-1934), winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911.

Who was she and what was she famous for?

Marie Curie (nee Sklodowska) was a Polish physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes – in physics and chemistry. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris. Her achievements include the creation of a theory of radioactivity (a term coined by her), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. It was also under her personal direction that the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers), using radioactive isotopes.

How did her beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

She attended numerous seances with her husband, Pierre Curie. After the tragic death of her husband in an accident, she wrote that the spirit of her husband had appeared to her and comforted her.

Where’s the evidence?

Marie Curie was heavily involved in spiritualism and attended numerous seances, including ones by the famous medium Eusapia Palladino. According to an article by John Chambers in chapter 19 of a book called Forbidden science: from ancient technologies to free energy (Bear and Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2008) edited by J. Douglas Kenyon, and later published as an article in Atlantis Rising (March 1, 2007), entitled: “Madame Curie and the Spirits: What Are We to Make of the Strange Alliance Between a Nobel Prize Winning Scientist and a Notorious Medium?” Allow me to quote an excerpt:

We have an eye-witness account of a Eusapia Palladino seance that Marie Curie attended. (She and her husband Pierre attended a number in 1905.) It comes from Charles Richet, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology in 1913 and a leading contemporary European researcher into occult phenomena:

“[The seance]… took place at the Psychological Institute at Paris. There were present only Mme. Curie, Mme. X., a Polish friend of hers, and P. Courtier, the secretary of the Institute. Mme. Curie was on Eusapia’s left, myself on her right, Mme. X, a little farther off, taking notes, and M. Courtier still farther, at the end of the table. Courtier had ar¬ranged a double curtain behind Eusapia; the light was weak but sufficient. On the table Mme. Curie’s hand holding Eusapia’s could be distinctly seen, likewise mine also holding the right hand….We saw the curtain swell out as if pushed by some large object….I asked to touch it….I felt the resistance and seized a real hand which I took in mine. Even through the curtain I could feel the fingers….I held it firmly and counted twenty-nine seconds, during all which time I had leisure to observe both of Eusapia’s hands on the table, to ask Mme. Curie if she was sure of her control…. After the twenty-nine seconds I said, ‘I want something more, I want uno anello (“a ring”).’ At once the hand made me feel a ring….It seems hard to imagine a more convincing experiment… In this case there was not only the materialization of a hand, but also of a ring.”

What was Marie Curie’s reaction to this seance? We don’t know. But we do know the reaction to Eusapia Palladino’s seances of her husband, Pierre Curie, a scientist whose distinguished accomplishments in the fields of piezoelectricity, symmetry in physical phenomena, magnetism and, later, radioactivity, made him a power in his own right. Maurice Goldsmith writes:

The Curies, especially Pierre, believed in spiritualism… Pierre felt Palladino worked ‘under [scientifically] controlled conditions.’ After a seance at the Society for Psychical Research – where in a brightly lit room ‘with no possible accomplices’ he watched as tables mysteriously lifted into the air, objects flew across the room, and invisible hands pinched and caressed him – he wrote George Gouy, ‘I hope we are able to convince you of the reality of the phenomena or at least some of them.’

“A few days before his death Pierre had written of his last Palladino seance, ‘There is here, in my opinion, a whole domain of entirely new facts and physical states in space of which we have no conception.’ In 1910, four years after Pierre’s death, when Marie was rejected by the Academy of Sciences, Henri Poincare wrote that Pierre’s spirit had come to Marie and tried to comfort her by saying, ‘You will be elected next time.’

There was a moment when a belief in the afterworld seemed to burst suddenly, achingly, out of Marie Curie. This was when Pierre, whom she passionately loved, and who by every account was an exceptionally good man as well as an exceptionally good scientist, died suddenly in a traffic accident, in Paris on April 19, 1906. He had slipped while absentmindedly crossing a street in the rain; his head was crushed beneath the wheels of a heavy carriage and he died almost immediately. He was 47.

Marie never came close to recovering from this loss. Twenty-four years later, when she sat down to reconstruct a chronology of her life, she wrote that on April 19, 1906, “I lost my beloved Pierre, and with him all hope and all support for the rest of my life.” In the days following Pierre’s death, she wrote in a private diary (which became public knowledge only many years later) heart-wrenching words which – albeit torn from her in a moment of awful shock – suggest her belief in the spirit world was more than passing:

“I put my head against [the coffin],” she wrote. “I spoke to you. I told you that I loved you and that I had always loved you with all my heart… It seemed to me that from this cold contact of my forehead with the casket something came to me, something like a calm and an intuition that I would yet find the courage to live. Was this an illusion or was this an accumulation of energy coming from you and condensing in the closed casket which came to me… as an act of charity on your part?

She added: “I sometimes have the absurd idea that you are going to come back. Didn’t I have it yesterday, when hearing the sound of the front door closing, the absurd idea that it was you?”

Marie Curie also participated in experiments with the medium Eusapia Palladino.

According to the Wikipedia article on Eusapia Palladino:

The Institut General Psychologique of Paris carried on extensive experiments in 43 sittings from 1905 to 1907. Pierre and Marie Curie were among the investigators. … The Curies regarded mediumistic seances as “scientific experiments” and took detailed notes. According to historian Anna Hurwic, they thought it possible to discover in spiritualism the source of an unknown energy that would reveal the secret of radioactivity.

The last sentence might suggests that the Curies envisaged the possibility of a materialistic explanation for spiritualism. Perhaps; but the term used here is “energy”, not “matter”. The belief that spiritual energy can move matter is fully consistent with dualism – and as we have seen, Marie Curie, at various times in her life, appeared to harbor a belief in the spiritual, and even in an afterlife.

Recommended Reading

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss (It Books, 2010).

“Gale Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology” entry on Eusapia Palladino.

Radioactive: The Modern-Day Science and Spiritualism of Marie and Pierre Curie by Jill Schneiderman. Article on the On Being blog.

21. Pierre Curie, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903.

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Pierre Curie was a French physicist and a pioneer in the fields of crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity. In 1903 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with his wife, Marie Curie (nee Sklodowska) and Henri Becquerel, “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.”

How did his beliefs about the human mind contradict Darwinian evolution?

Pierre Curie also displayed a strong interest in spiritualism. He and his wife Marie attended several seances conducted by the Italian medium and psychic, Eusapia Palladino. Pierre was evidently convinced that Ms. Palladino was capable of feats of levitation and psychokinesis. He believed that these psychic phenomena could ultimately be accounted for in physical terms, but that it would require a new kind of physics, of which we presently have no conception.

No-one has ever claimed that the Darwinian theory of evolution is able to account for psychic phenomena such as levitation and psychokinesis. Anyone who even attempted to defend such a claim would be laughed out of court – and rightly so. If Pierre Curie believed in the reality of levitation and psychokinesis, then I think we may fairly conclude that he did not regard the Darwinian theory of evolution as an adequate account of the human mind. Indeed, we might legitimately wonder whether Pierre Curie even accepted the Darwinian theory of evolution as an adequate biological theory.

Where’s the evidence?

The Wikipedia entry on Eusapia Palladino provides the following information on Pierre Curie’s investigations of spiritualism:

In 1905 Eusapia Palladino came to Paris, where 1903 Nobel-laureate physicists Pierre Curie and Marie Curie and, again, future Nobel laureate Charles Richet were among those who investigated her.

Other members of the Curies’ circle of scientist friends – including William Crookes; future Nobel laureate Jean Perrin and his wife Henriette; Louis Georges Gouy; and Paul Langevin – were also exploring spiritualism, as was Pierre Curie’s brother Jacques, a fervent believer. (See Barbara Goldsmith, Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie, p. 138.)

The Curies regarded mediumistic seances as “scientific experiments” and took detailed notes. According to historian Anna Hurwic, they thought it possible to discover in spiritualism the source of an unknown energy that would reveal the secret of radioactivity. (See Barbara Goldsmith, Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie, p. 138.)

On July 24, 1905, Pierre Curie reported to his friend Gouy: “We have had a series of seances with Eusapia Palladino at the [Society for Psychical Research].”

It was very interesting, and really the phenomena that we saw appeared inexplicable as trickery — tables raised from all four legs, movement of objects from a distance, hands that pinch or caress you, luminous apparitions. All in a [setting] prepared by us with a small number of spectators all known to us and without a possible accomplice. The only trick possible is that which could result from an extraordinary facility of the medium as a magician. But how do you explain the phenomena when one is holding her hands and feet and when the light is sufficient so that one can see everything that happens? (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 208.)

Pierre was eager to enlist Gouy. Palladino, he informed him, would return in November, and “I hope that we will be able to convince you of the reality of the phenomena or at least some of them.” Pierre was planning to undertake experiments “in a methodical fashion.” (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 208.)

Marie Curie also attended Palladino’s seances, but does not seem to have been as intrigued by them as Pierre. (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 208.)

On April 14, 1906, just five days before his accidental death, Pierre Curie wrote Gouy about his last seance with Palladino: “There is here, in my opinion, a whole domain of entirely new facts and physical states in space of which we have no conception.” (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995, p. 226.)

Recommended Reading

“Gale Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology” entry on Eusapia Palladino.

In Part Five, Zack, I’m going to address the key objection of your 75 Nobel Prize winning scientists to Intelligent Design theory: that it violates the principle of methodological naturalism by leaving the door open to supernaturalistic explanations of the cosmos, life and human consciousness. I intend to demonstrate that methodological naturalism, far from being a time-honored principle for doing science, is of relatively recent origin: specifically, it became accepted scientific practice during a narrow 44-year time period in the mid-nineteenth century (1830-1874). Before then, scientists did not consider themselves bound by any such principle. In Part Six, I’m going to put forward no less than thirty noted scientists from the past who flouted the so-called “rule” of methodological naturalism in their scientific writings.

... and yet, they are factual descriptions.Axel
October 2, 2017
02:58 PM
'Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems — a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.' I love the wonderfully dry, acerbic humour, particularly in the terms, 'promissory materialism', 'superstition' and 'Messianic prophecy' !Axel
March 3, 2017
06:42 AM
I can see young Zack bursting into tears after reading the first few parts of that fifteen-part opus, and going off to stay in an ashram in the Himalayas for a few years. That was merciless, VJ! Merciless, I tell you! I wouldn't be surprised if the whole opus had put some fire in the bellies of the politicians who, I believe, have been pushing back against the nihilist enforcers, recently.Axel
January 19, 2014
01:34 PM
Hi Cannuckian Yankee, In answer to your question, I notified Zack when my first post came out, and added that there would be more to come. I'm afraid I don't have any other news.vjtorley
April 12, 2012
02:22 PM
This is a well organized, beautifully illustrated, and eminently persuasive presentation. I hope VJ will continue to let his light shine.StephenB
April 10, 2012
04:30 PM
April 9, 2012
11:57 PM
Dr. Torley, Yes, Wow! I just wonder if this Zack guy is paying any attention. Between this and whatever other homework he might have as a 17 year old; not to mention his little political project, I would be overwhelmed. Do you know something we don't know?CannuckianYankee
April 9, 2012
10:36 PM
Wow!Barry Arrington
April 9, 2012
05:41 PM

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