North Carolina chemist wins award for book argues science and God goes hand in hand
(WGHP) – Spend time with Jim Martin and you’ll learn not to interrupt him when he’s on a roll.
“Here is the RNA along with the code he got from a gene,” Martin explains, browsing through a series of illustrations of molecules and chemical bonds.
It’s something he knows a little about. Martin obtained his doctorate. in chemistry from Princeton University before becoming a professor at Davidson College. He ultimately ran for local government as a Republican at a time when Republicans were rarer than a woman without a fancy hat on Easter Sunday. “A community should have choices,” he once said of why he became a Republican.
Martin is the son of a Presbyterian pastor, so faith has always been a big part of his life and he sees no conflict between that faith and science. His book, Revelation Through Science, recently won an International Impact Award and shows how science is not the antithesis of faith – it helps validate faith.
“There are, let’s see, 3.1 billion rings in DNA,” Martin says, pointing to another slide with the famous double helix on it. “What do you think are the chances of doing it if it’s by chance?” It will not happen by chance. None of these reactions happen when you just mix a bunch of amino acids together, you don’t get protein.
Science is how God speaks to us, he argues.
“People say, ‘Well, here’s something that science can’t explain. And, therefore, it is God. The problem with that is, somebody’s going to go and develop the science to explain and, where is God? You have to find another gap. This is called the concept of the god of gaps, ”explains Martin.
And there is a long tradition about it – even famous cases that Martin says are misinterpreted.
“Galileo, who I suppose is the icon of dissent, was not in dissent against the church and what the church said, he was in dissent against what Aristotle had said about the fixed earth and the sun circling the earth, ”he said.
It’s funny, Martin insists, as he talks about some of the scientific phenomena that sparked the interest of his students.
“Hydrogen bonds give ice a special structure,” he says enthusiastically. “Ice, only, floats. Everything else when it freezes sinks – when it solidifies because the solid is denser than the liquid. With water, the solid expands due to hydrogen bonds.
He hopes his book will help start the kind of discussions about faith and science that we can all begin to have.
“Everyone is in their own silo and can’t talk to anyone who has a different point of view,” he says. “There are groups of silos and they communicate but not with each other and I think that’s one of the big issues with polarizing politics.”
See Martin explain why God and science go hand in hand, in this edition of the Buckley Report.
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