Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Two Impressive Events
W. Jim Neidhardt
Department of Physics
Newark College of Engineering,
Newark, N, 1. 07102
From: JASA 23 (September 1971) 120
I was deeply impressed by two events of the last few months.
1. I attended the American Physical Society annual meeting in New York in January 1971. I noted a mood of despair and lack of interest in science that I think goes far deeper than the current job scarcity. The little groups in the corridors, engaged in violent argument over their latest calculation or experiment, were almost completely non-existent. Friends, and older former colleagues of mine (with job security), who have loved physics almost to the exclusion of all else, had no enthusiasm about their current work. The 10minute meetings I attended were almost devoid of the usual intense questioning. Some technical talks (Quantum Mechanics) wandered into political and moral areas without either disclaim or approval from the audience. Science for the People, a magazine distributed by a small group of graduate students states that seeking truth for truth's sake is no longer a viable goal but a myth, and that quantum chemistry is _______________ (four-letter word). Is it possible that the majority of physicists in attendance did not share the radical life style of these students but did share some of their attitude of disillusionment with science? Would it not be useful for the ASA to explore whether such disillusionment truly exists, what its origins are, and what its significance is for all in and out of the scientific community?
2. I recently had a number of conversations with members of an adult Sunday School class of a local, evangelical church. I noted some hostility and perhaps even fear with respect to scientific method and scientific advances. The pastor afterward told me that he has noted these same attitudes in many well-educated evangelicals. He pointedly asked me why many Christions have a hostile attitude toward science. Would it be appropriate for the ASA to explore the significance of and answers to this question?