Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yale Professor's Experiment to Find God

Agnostic Harvard University doctorate, Yale University professor and one time director of the Yale Psycho-physiology Center Gary E. Schwartz decided to use the scientific method to determine whether God exists. His experience is detailed in his 2006 book, The G.O.D. Experiments. It's always informative when someone who does not originally accept the Judeo-Christian world view finds evidence to support this view. Who better to make this claim than someone entrenched in the liberal world of academia?

Having recognized the difficulty of mathematical random distribution to explain the universe, Schwartz felt a universal intelligence was a better explanation. He had no background or training in religion. His parents where Jewish, but did not regularly attend services. He was unfamiliar with the Bible, but after reading Huston Smith's The Religion of Man, he decided if the prophets in the Bible could communicate with God, why couldn't he? He decided to try a personal experiment in contacting God. So at 3 a.m. on a cold winter morning in 1986, Dr. Schwartz decided to pray. As an agnostic, he had no experience with prayer. In his mind he explained that he was a systems scientist undergoing an experiment to find if there were some Guiding-Organizing-Designing process in the universe. He was having issues communicating with "God" because, due to his background, the word "God" evoked a negative emotional reflex. So in his mind he asked the Universe to give him another name for God. I will let Dr. Schwartz tell what happened next in his own words.

Immediately--and I mean immediately-- a name literally popped into my head. The name was not at all what I expected. What I heard was the name "Sam."

Sam! I said to myself, and started to laugh. I know this was foolish and tried to reassure myself.

I thought, I finally build up the courage to ask the universe for another name for God. What happens instead is that I end up like a character in a Woody Allen movie.

However, for reasons I did not understand then (but do now), I was moved to get out of bed, to go to my study, and pull out my favorite dictionary, the huge old unabridged version of Webster's second edition. I was compelled to look up the meaning of the word "Sam." It is, of course, short for "Samuel." . . . According to the dictionary, the name Samuel originally comes from the Hebrew Shemuel, which means literally "name of God."

Dr. Schwartz was shocked by the results of the experiment. This was not what he expected. Due to his position at Yale and concerned what further experiment on this topic could do to his career, he decided to drop his search for Sam.  It was not until a couple decades later when he at the University of Arizona that he felt his career would allow him to pick up the experiment again.

I hope I have raised your interest in reading this book. For those of us interested in advancing the concept of Intelligent Design this provides some useful support from an unexpected source.

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