North Carolina chemist wins award for book arguing science and God go hand-in-hand

North Carolina

(WGHP) — Spend some time with Jim Martin and you learn to not interrupt him when he’s on a roll.

“Here’s the RNA coming along with the code it picked up from one gene,” says Martin as he goes through a series of illustrations of molecules and chemical bonds.

That’s something he knows a little bit about. Martin earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University before becoming a professor at Davidson College. He eventually ran for office in the local government as a Republican in an era when Republicans were rarer than a woman without a fancy hat on Easter Sunday. “A community should have choices,” he once said about why he became a Republican.

Martin is the son of a Presbyterian minister so faith was always 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 works to show how science isn’t the antithesis of faith – it helps validate faith.

“There are, let’s see, 3.1 billion rings in the DNA,” Martin says, pointing to another slide with the famous double helix on it. “What do you think the chances of getting that just right are if it’s by chance? It’s not going to happen by chance. None of these reactions happen when you just throw a bunch of amino acids together, you don’t get proteins.”

Science is God’s way of speaking to us, he argues.

“People say, ‘Well, here’s something science can’t explain. And, therefore, that’s God.’ The problem with that is, somebody’s going to go and develop the science to explain is and, where’s God? You’ve got to find another gap. It’s called the God of the Gaps Concept,” says Martin.

And there is a long tradition of this – even the famous cases that Martin says are misinterpreted.

“Galileo, who I guess is the icon of dissent, was not dissenting against the church and what the church said, he was dissenting against what Aristotle had said about the earth being fixed and the sun going around the earth,” he says.

It’s all fun, Martin insists, as he talks about some of the scientific phenomena that used to catch the interest of his students.

“Hydrogen bonds give ice a particular structure,” he says with enthusiasm. “Ice, uniquely, floats. Everything else when it freezes sinks – when it solidifies because the solid is denser than the liquid. With water, the solid expands because of the hydrogen bonds.”

He’s hoping his book helps open these kinds of discussions about faith and science that all of us can begin having.

“Everybody in their own silos and they can’t talk to anybody who has a different point of view,” he says. “There are clusters of silos and they’re communicating but not with each other and I think that’s one of the big problems with the polarization of politics.”

See Martin explain why God and science go hand-in-hand, in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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