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Eminent Lives in Twentieth-Century Science and Religion

With chapters on: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, Edward O. Wilson

Edited By Nicolaas A. Rupke

Can science and religion coexist in harmony? Or is conflict inevitable? In this volume an international team of distinguished scholars addresses these enduring yet urgent questions by examining the lives of thirteen eminent twentieth-century scientists whose careers were marked by the interaction of science and religion: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, and Edward O. Wilson. The richly empirical studies show a diversity of creative engagements between science and religion that defy efforts to set the two at odds.

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EDWARD B. DAVIS Robert Andrews Millikan (1868-1953) 253

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Robert Andrews Millikan: Religion, Science, and Modernity EDWARD B. DAVIS Let me then henceforth use the word God to describe that which is behind the mystery of existence and that which gives meaning to it. I think you will not mis- understand me, then, when I say that I have never known a thinking man who did not believe in God. (Millikan 1923c, 25) I do not see how there can be any sense of duty, or any reason for altruistic con- duct, which is entirely divorced from the conviction that moral conduct, or what we call goodness, is somehow or other worthwhile, that there is Something in the universe which gives significance and meaning, call it value if you will, to exis- tence; and no such sense of value can possibly inhere in mere lumps of dead mat- ter interacting according to purely mechanical laws. (Millikan 1950, 287) When Judge John Raulston (1868-1956) officially opened the Scopes trial on a hot July morning in 1925, Robert Andrews Millikan (1868-1953) was perhaps the most famous scientist in the United States, except for Albert Einstein (Kargon 1982, 148; Kevles 1979, 142). Two years later his visage graced the cover of Time magazine. Two years earlier he had been only the second American to receive the Nobel Prize for Physics, worth about $40,000, and he had won it partly for an elegant experiment on the photoelectric effect that confirmed in precise detail an equation proposed by Einstein (although.at the time Millikan...

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