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Apologetics Press :: Sensible Science

James Clerk Maxwell: a Brilliant Creationist
by Kyle Butt, M.A.

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Supplying a list of influential people who believe or do not believe a particular idea really provides no evidence for the legitimacy of that belief. Truth is truth, regardless of who accepts it or how influential they are in certain scientific or political circles. It is common, however, to hear those who propagate evolution use an appeal to the “intellectual majority” to bolster belief in their false theory. Often we are told that the erudite intellectuals believe in evolution, while the less discerning masses superstitiously cleave to the idiotic notion of creation in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it. We are led to believe that all informed, critical thinkers have rejected the idea of God, and have used their superior thinking abilities to arrive at the scholarly conclusion that evolution is true.

For instance, in August 2005, Dr. Warren Allmon wrote a brief pamphlet, titled Evolution and Creationism: A Guide for Museum Docents, to be used by docents who work at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York (Warren, 2005). In that document, Warren offers reasons to believe in and propagate evolution, as well as helpful hints to answer creationists. Much of his reasoning focuses on the notion that most smart people believe in evolution. He wrote,

Evolution is one of the most well supported ideas in science, that is, there is abundant evidence that it is true, so much that it would be irrational to reject it.... It is accepted by essentially every modern, practicing biologist, and has been since around 1870.... No serious biologist or geologist has seriously questioned whether evolution occurs since the late nineteenth century (2005, emp. added).

From his comments, it is clear that he believes only irrational people reject evolution. He further uses “intellectual majority” effect in an effort to add credence to the evolutionary claim.

This tactic fails for several reasons. It is altogether inaccurate to state that no serious biologist has questioned evolution since many have and still do. Furthermore, a number of the most brilliant minds ever to grace our planet were firm believers in creation.

For example, the eminent Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell was a prodigiously decorated researcher in the field of physics who maintained a fervent belief in an intelligent, personal Creator. The Wikipedia entry for him mentions that

Maxwell had perhaps one of the finest mathematical minds of any theoretical physicist of his time. Maxwell is widely regarded as the nineteenth century scientist who had the greatest influence on twentieth century physics, making contributions to the fundamental models of nature. In 1931, on the centennial anniversary of Maxwell's birthday, Einstein described Maxwell's work as the “most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton” (“James Clerk Maxwell,” 2006; NOTE: Newton was also a creationist).

The entry also documents that Maxwell received a plethora of awards and honors due to his multiple discoveries in the areas of electricity, magnetism, color blindness, and numerous others. He received the Rumford Medal from the Royal Society of London for his work on color blindness. At Cambridge he was awarded the Adams Prize for his work on the stability of the rings of Saturn. He has at least two buildings named after him, a small mountain range bearing his name, a scientific unit that measures magnetic flux named the Maxwell (Mx), and the James Clerk Maxwell road runs through Cambridge (2006).

Maxwell’s belief in a divine Creator was no secret. On many occasions he readily espoused his belief. He once stated: “I believe, with the Westminster Divines and their predecessors ad Infinitum, that ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever.’” Near the end of his life, Maxwell reflected: “The only desire which I can have is like David to serve my own generation by the will of God, and then fall asleep” (as quoted in Hutchinson, 2006). Hutchinson concluded his work, titled James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition, by stating that Maxwell’s “scientific work has proven enduring far beyond serving merely his own generation, marking him as a genius of the first rank—one formed and sustained in thought and life and death by the Christian faith” (2006, emp. added).

That many of the greatest minds ever to have assisted in the accumulation of scientific knowledge were creationists is a matter of fact easily ascertained by the least diligent inquirer. The idea that all “serious,” “intelligent,” or “rational” people believe in evolution is misleading and false. Furthermore, truth never has been based on a popular vote by men whom the current culture would deem “intelligent.” The truth that God created this Universe in the beginning will be scientifically and biblically accurate long after this present generation fades, should the world last that long. Men like James Clerk Maxwell would be appalled and disappointed to witness the level of disregard for the Creator to which modern scientific disciplines have sunk. Oh, that modern scientists would adopt the mindset of their predecessors like Maxwell and aim to glorify God in their study of His creation.

REFERENCES

Allmon, Warren D. (2005), Evolution and Creationism: A Guide for Museum Docents, [On-line], URL: http://www.priweb.org/Evolution%20and%20Creationism.pdf.

Hutchinson, Ian (2006), James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition, [On-line], URL: http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/maxwell/.

“James Clerk Maxwell” (2006), Wikipedia, [On-line], URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clerk_Maxwell.



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