Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 14, 2013

22. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 8 – Charles Townes

The Argument from Design is a powerful argument for the existence of God. It has convinced countless people throughout history and it’s used throughout the Bible.

Complex designs require a Designer to produce them. The kind of information the designs contain can only come from an intelligent Agent. This is the Argument from Design. The prequels of this Evidence for God series have extensively discussed the Design Argument.

Evolutionists promote the view that scientists support Evolutionism and that scientists do not believe evidence for design. But this is false. Many eminent scientists accept the Argument from Design.

This article and its prequels/sequels present quotations from a number of prominent scientists who have been convinced by the Argument from Design.

Charles Townes

Nobel Laureate Charles Townes

Charles Townes

Inventor of the laser and the maser, Charles H. Townes (1915- ) won the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electronics.

This work was the foundation for Townes’ invention of the maser (his acronym for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Masers amplify microwaves to produce an intense beam. By applying similar ideas to visible light, he invented the laser, a term he also coined.

Townes is a professor in the Graduate School at UC Berkeley working in astrophysics.

He won the $1.4 million 2005 Templeton Prize. The Templeton Prize recognizes significant progress in furthering understanding of God and spiritual realities.

Townes believes that understanding the purpose and meaning of life is vitally important. He roots meaning and purpose in God’s creation of man in His own image. He says,

“I believe there is no long-range question more important than the purpose and meaning of our lives and our universe.”
(Charles Townes, Comments at the Templeton Prize Press Conference, New York City, 9 March 2005.)

“What are humans all about in general, and what is this universe all about? That comes as one tries to understand what is this beautiful world that we’re in, that’s so special: Why has it come out this way? What is free will and why do we have it? What is a being? What is consciousness? We can’t even define consciousness. As one thinks about these broader problems, then one becomes more and more challenged by the question of what is the aim and purpose and meaning of this universe and of our lives.

Those aren’t easy questions to answer, of course, but they’re important and they’re what religion is all about. I maintain that science is closely related to that, because science tries to understand how the universe is constructed and why it does what it does, including human life. If one understands the structure of the universe, maybe the purpose of man becomes a little clearer. I think maybe the best answer to that is that somehow, we humans were created somewhat in the likeness of God. We have free will. We have independence, we can do and create things, and that’s amazing.

…Where do brand-new human ideas come from anyway? To what extent does God help us? I think he’s been helping me all along. I think he helps all of us – that there’s a direction in our universe and it has been determined and is being determined. How? We don’t know these things. There are many questions in both science and religion and we have to make our best judgment. But I think spirituality has a continuous effect on me and on other people.”
(Preceding 3 paragraphs from UC Berkeley News interview with Charles Townes,
17 June 2005.)

Townes believes in the intelligent design of the universe based on the intricately fine-tuned complex interrelationships he sees in nature. He is implicitly using the Argument from Design when he says this:

“Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.”
(From UC Berkeley News interview with Charles Townes, 17 June 2005.)

“The laws of physics are very special, and the creation of human life is really quite striking. One has to believe that either it was planned or it was a fantastically improbable accident.”
(What I’ve Learned: Charles H. Townes, 30 November 2001.)

“I do believe in both a creation and a continuous effect on this universe and our lives, that God has a continuing influence – certainly his laws guide how the universe was built.”
(From UC Berkeley News interview with Charles Townes, 17 June 2005.)

Townes argues that Faith belongs as much in the realm of science as the realm of religion. Although many scientists do not recognize the importance of Faith in their work, Townes says Faith is as vital for science as for religion:

“Faith is necessary for the scientist even to get started, and deep faith is necessary for him to carry out his tougher tasks. Why? Because he must have confidence that there is order in the universe and that the human mind – in fact his own mind – has a good chance of understanding this order…The necessity of faith in science is reminiscent of the description of religious faith attributed to Constantine: ‘I believe so that I may know.’ But such faith is now so deeply rooted in the scientist that most of us never even stop to think that it is there at all…There are frequent occasions when things just don’t make sense and making order and understanding out of one’s work seems almost hopeless. But still the scientist has faith that there is order to be found.”
(Charles Townes, “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” IBM’s Think magazine, March-April 1966, p. 5.)

“Many people don’t realize that science basically involves assumptions and faith. But nothing is absolutely proved. For example, the mathematician Gödel showed logically that to prove something, there must be an overall set of assumptions, but that we can never prove that the assumptions are even self-consistent. We must make the best assumptions we can envisage, and have faith. And wonderful things in both science and religion come from our efforts based on observations, thoughtful assumptions, faith, and logic.”
(Charles Townes, Comments at the Templeton Prize Press Conference, New York City, 9 March 2005.)

Dr. David Shi, president of Furman University, nominated Townes for the Templeton Prize. He said of Townes,

“He still directs post-doctoral students, still speaks and writes with verve, passion, and humility about religious faith and scientific research, and still inspires others with his goodness and Godliness. He has made a profound contribution to the progress of exploring, discovering and embracing the awe and wonder of God’s creation.”
(Quoted by John Templeton, Jr. in announcing the 2005 Templeton Prize, New York City, 9 March 2005.)


Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes recognized signs of design in the universe. He implicitly used the Argument from Design to conclude there must be a Creator.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Does the opinion of Nobel Prize winner and laser inventor Charles Townes carry weight with you?
  2. Townes discerns a purpose for creation and life. Can there be true purpose without a Purpose Giver?
  3. Townes argues that science requires faith, for scientists must believe in an orderly, discoverable universe to pursue meaningful research. Does order imply the existence of an Order Definer and Maintainer? Is it logically consistent to pursue understanding order but to deny the Great Orderer?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 22nd article in the Evidence for God series that discusses the question,
“Is There Evidence for God?”
Read the prequels:
1. Evidence for God – Can You Answer a 6th-Grader?
2. Evidence for God – Design
3. Evidence for God – Experience
4. Evidence for God – Can You Prove God Exists?
5. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Simple
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical
7. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Biblical
8. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Old Testament
9. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – New Testament
10. Evidence for God – Stephen King & the Argument from Design
11. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz
12. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 1
13. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 2
14. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 3
15. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 1 – Ben Franklin
16. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 2 – Isaac Newton
17. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 3 – Johann Kepler
18. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 4 – Robert Boyle
19. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 5 – Albert Einstein
20. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 6 – Fred Hoyle
21. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 7 – Harold Urey

Read the sequel:
23. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 9 – A. E. Wilder-Smith

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Thursday November 14, 2013 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

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