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The More a Scientist Understands the Real World: a Conversion Story

[Originally published as Another Atheist Comes to Christ Because of Science]

In 2009, one of the largest German events celebrating the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, was headed up by Dr. Günter Bechly, a world-renowned paleontologist with an incredibly impressive list of original research published in the peer-reviewed literature.

At the time, he was the curator of the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History, and he wanted to show, in no uncertain terms, that there is absolutely no scientific dispute about origins. As a result, one of the displays in his museum’s celebratory exhibit was a scale with creationist and intelligent design resources on one side and Darwin’s book on the other. Darwin’s single book tipped the scale, indicating that the weight of the scientific evidence was in evolution’s favor:Stuttgart Museum scales of evidence display

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There was only one small problem. Dr. Bechly had not actually investigated any of the resources that were on the “light” side of the scale. Oh sure, he had read other evolutionists’ views on those resources, but he had not actually investigated them himself.

He decided to do so, and he was surprised by what he found. As he explains in the documentary Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines:

…and what I recognized to my surprise is that the arguments I found in those books were totally different from what I heard either from colleagues or when you watch Youtube videos where the discussion is around intelligent design versus NeoDarwinian evolution. And I had the impression on one side that those people are mistreated – their position is misrepresented and on the other hand that these arguments are not really receiving an appropriate response. And they have merit.

He ended up being scientifically convinced that Intelligent Design is the better explanation for the amazing world he had been studying his entire career, and he made that decision public in 2015. Then he faced a firestorm.

  • His requests for new fossil material were blocked. He received an announcement that one of the most important positions in his research staff would not be refilled when the current employee retired.
  • The large amber collection he was responsible for was moved from his office.
  • He was told that he must resign from the German Research Foundation, which directs the allocation of certain research funds.
  • He was told that he was a threat to the credibility of the museum and that he should quit.
  • The museum then deleted his pages from their website, despite the fact that they said nothing about Intelligent Design.
  • It then dismissed him as the head of a major exhibition that he had designed, despite that fact that he was the resident expert on the subject.
  • Eventually, it became clear that he would no longer be allowed to do the research he wanted to do, so he resigned from the museum.

He is now a Senior Fellow at The Center for Science & Culture, an Intelligent Design Think Tank.

In other words, the High Priests of Science marshaled The Inquisition against him

When a scientist of his caliber is convinced by the arguments of the Intelligent Design community, he must be silenced. After all, the official pronouncements from the Holy See of Science is that there is no debate on the validity of NeoDarwinian Evolution. An accomplished scientist who used to parrot that pronouncement and now says it isn’t true must be excommunicated.

Otherwise, his heresy might spread!

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Of course, the High Priests of Science are still left with a major problem. How can they rationalize the fact that someone who clearly understands evolution and was fully indoctrinated in their dogma could be convinced by “anti science” shysters like Intelligent Design “scientists.”

Perhaps they played on his religious leanings? As Dr. Bechly explains, that’s not possible:

I’m coming from a family background which is totally secular, agnostic. [I] was not baptized, didn’t join any kind of religious education, never went to church, so I was completely irreligious. [I] was not even interested for most of my life in philosophical or metaphysical questions. I was interested in nature, in animals, and natural sciences.

Much of Dr. Bechly’s spiritual journey is similar to mine, even though I have always been interested in philosophy and metaphysics. He examined the data and ended up realizing that there had to be a Designer who fashioned the amazing world that we scientists study. He eventually came to realize that this Designer is the God of the Bible. That’s pretty much what happened to me.

While the High Priests of Science will try to censor any scientist who has the audacity to follow the data against their pronouncements, they cannot keep the truth hidden. Those with Dr. Günter Bechly’s intellectual integrity and courage will find it.

Dr. Jay Wile

Written by Jay Wile

As a scientist, it is hard for me to fathom anyone who has scientific training and does not believe in God. Indeed, it was science that brought me not only to a belief in God, but also to faith in Christianity. I have an earned Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry from the same institution.

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