Being a Christian in Science

Being a Christian in Science by Walter R. Hearn,
InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400,
Downers Grove, IL 60515, 1997, 178 pages

As the evolution/creation controversy has heated up over the past 25 years, there has been a growing resistance to any kind of belief in God. Those scientists who are believers have found themselves attacked by atheists as being inconsistent and incapable of good science. The amount of bad science promoted by denominational creationists has grown dramatically and, as this has happened, the pressure on believing scientists has grown.

Walter Hearn is a biochemist from the University of Illinois who has been in research a good part of his career. He has also been very active in the American Scientific Affiliation, a group of evangelical believers who all hold advanced degrees in science. This book is really written by a research scientist to young people who are considering a career in science, but are worried that their scientific career will put them at odds with their Christian convictions.

The first two chapters of this book deal with the nature of belief and the nature of science. There is also some of Hearn's story and of his involvement in printed materials dealing with the nature of science and faith. This is followed with discussions of values and what science is all about. Starting in chapter four, the book discusses what to expect as a new person in the science and faith arenas, with a brief history of the modern controversies and the positions of people like Sagan, Dawkins, and Phillip Johnson. The last two chapters are positive looks at how a Christian's involvement in science can be a positive experience for science and for the individual. The book ends with five close-ups in which resources and fundamental beliefs are examined. The basics of Christian faith, the relationship of the Bible to science, the role of Hearn's organization, the American Scientific Affiliation, and the use of the internet are briefly discussed. The last close-up is an excellent presentation of active practicing scientists who are believers and what they have accomplished in science. It is a good answer to the question of whether an active Christian can be a good scientist.

This is not a book on apologetics or issues. Its only use is in the use for which it is intended-to show that a Christian can be a good scientist and that faith and science are symbiotic, not adversarial. There are some of Hearn's opinions in the book you might not agree with theologically, but overall, it is very well done--an open, honest, free of whitewash approach to a problem many bright Christian young people face today as they plan their futures.

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