Earlier this week, John West reported on a major new exhibition on faith and science in Washington, DC, tackling the question of whether the Bible impeded or inspired the rise of modern science. (Judging from the historical record, “inspired” is clearly the correct answer.) In the article, he mentioned another Nobel Prize-winning scientist who endorsed the idea of an intelligent design behind the universe, using that phrase explicitly. This was news to me. He is physicist Arthur Holly Compton — see the slide above, which Dr. West shared from the exhibition.
Compton’s remark was, “The chance of a world such as ours occurring without intelligent design becomes more and more remote as we learn of its wonders.” Interesting. He said that in 1940.
Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 – March 15, 1962) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his 1923 discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time: the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted.
Compton joins fellow Nobel Prize-winning physicists Charles Townes (UC Berkeley) and Brian Josephson (Cambridge University) who have likewise come out for ID as a legitimate interpretation of the scientific evidence. (Townes passed away in 2015.) To those names you could add Gerhard Ertl (Nobel Prize in Chemistry) who, along with Dr. Josephson, endorsed the Discovery Institute Press book by chemist and ID proponent Marcos Eberlin, Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose (2019).