Orbiting Dicta

The Death of a Great Scientist

On 13 Nov., Dr. Allan Sandage died.  One of the great astronomers of our era, indeed of all time, Sandage was a man of deep faith as well as profound wisdom who famously cited Thomas Aquinas in his case for the existence of God.  He said in an interview some years ago,

“There need be no conflict between science and religion if each appreciates its own boundaries and if each takes seriously the claims of the other. The proven success of science simply cannot be ignored by the church. But neither can the church’s claim to explain the world at the very deepest level be dismissed. If God did not exist, science would have to (and indeed has) invent the concept to explain what it is discovering at its core.  Abelard’s 12th century dictum “Truth cannot be contrary to truth. The findings of reason must agree with the truths of scripture, else the God who gave us both has deceived us with one or the other” still rings true.

“If there is no God, nothing makes sense. The atheist’s case is based on a deception they wish to play upon themselves that follows already from their initial premise. And if there is a God, he must be true both to science and religion. If it seems not so, then one’s hermeneutics (either the pastor’s or the scientist’s) must wrong.”

May he rest in peace.

For an appreciative essay on Sandage and an illuminating interview (from which the citation above was taken), see the sites indicated below:

Allan R. Sandage dies at 84; cosmologist focused on the age of the universe

November 17, 2010

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times


Dr. Allan Sandage, “A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief,” Truth Journal.