au.christiantoday.com/article/testimonials-from-scientists-who-are-christians-part-i-best-of-2012/14718.htm, www.christiantoday.com.au/article/australian-scientist-changes-tack-and-makes-the-world-a-better-place-dr-howard-bradbury/14886.htm and au.christiantoday.com/article/testimonials-from-scientists-who-are-christians-part-ii/13423.htm
Today I present two of the younger generation of scientist/Christians; Nathanael Yates and Steve Mannyx.
Nathanael has a (metaphorical) cabinet full of trophies
Nathanael Yates played the mad scientist role at school. Despite the uniform code, he could always be found with multicoloured hair, spray-painted lab coat and safety glasses. At least he was following the Occupational Health and Safety guidelines! He claims that one the joys of admitting you are a scientist (even at parties) is that no-one minds how eccentric you act.
Now Nathanael is near the end of his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Western Australia. Like most people who sometimes act the clown, underneath he is thoughtful and serious. It took three emails before I winkled out of him that he had spent part of his PhD time at Oxford University, UK, on a special Commonwealth Scholarship; and that he has won *more than* the occasional award during his time at UWA, demonstrating that he is top of his game in several aspects of his academic career.
By contrast, the sports people that I associate with, usually mention their awards first up, and proudly show you their cabinet full of trophies. In this article, I am doing my bit to celebrate our Tall Poppies in all areas of endeavour, and I hope Nathanael will now allow hold up his head and without embarrassment, according to Matthew 5 verse 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Nathanael's passion is to research ways to find early intervention for mental diseases. By the age of 15, he decided that science was the best way forward in the complex task of understanding the human brain and its occasional malfunctions.
Even though other careers may have shown more direct benefit in helping him learn to treat mental diseases, Nathanael decided that the potential for large scale and lasting change was greatest if he became a scientist. He realises that choosing science as a career is risky, but (like many other scientists) he sees it more as a calling than a job.
Apart from almost total fascination with science, he loves to help his wonderful wife and soul mate, Clarissa, with her baking business when he needs a break from science and his video games.
He is also interested in mentoring young people, and finds teenagers fascinating because they have so many questions. He knows this because (among other volunteer youth activities) he has had experience teaching in church and at University, and has encouraged underprivileged high school students to consider university courses.
When asked to describe his attitude to his Christian faith, Nathanael replied: "I consider myself a non-denominational Christian. My attitudes to my faith have always been informed by the belief in the need for intellectual rigour in every part of life. The question on whether Christianity is true or not is the most important question in my life, and I continue to explore it every day. So far I'm pretty convinced that it is!"
Finally, he commented that he had no conflicts between his faith and his science, in everyday life. He explained it this way: "To be sure, being Christian can make things complicated, but the truth often is.
Being a scientist means not taking everything at face value, but trying to synthesise what is known about the world and weave that knowledge together. I try to think as deeply about my faith as I do about science.
There is nothing shameful about admitting that you don't know something, science and faith are both a process of exploration. You can't know or be an expert in everything. Both faith and science rely on trust, and an assumption that there is a knowable truth in the universe, and hopefully we keep moving closer and closer to the complete truth."
Sop Press – only last week Nathanael won the Australian Society for Medical Research "Gold" prize for his presentation from his PhD "Schizophrenia phenotypes in an animal model of developmental stress".
I wish Nathanael all the very best for the completion of his PhD thesis, and feel sure that with this auspicious start, he will find some of the truths he seeks. His articles can be found at: inserthttp://www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html
As beautiful as these beach leaves
Steve has a Christian worldview of science
Steve Mannyx is a young Presbyterian minister who, with his wife, is serving God and raising their two boys in Penrith, western Sydney. He has a combined Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Engineering degree with Honours. As an engineer, he worked for 4.5 years as an engineer in a small company affiliated with the packaging industry, in which he wore many different hats ranging from research and development to quality control to process improvement.
He began a career as a scientist as an atheist with an avid interest in Chemistry and the way elements and compounds would react together. It was while studying Chemical Engineering that he was confronted by the reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and His death and resurrection to restore us to the Creator.
"It is at this point my life turned in a different direction and I found an answer for the "why" questions of life grounded on a firm historical foundation. God's word took hold of my heart, and I began a theology study out of a desire to know Christ more and grow in him," he explains.
"My faith and hope is in God's salvation in history in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the Lord and my life finds its purpose in Him."
Now as a minister, Steve has a Master of Divinity and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Theology. He sees no conflict between his faith and science, stating that "Modern science was developed out of a Christian world-view as reflected in the assumptions from which it operates.
Science assumes an orderly universe in which experiments performed under the same conditions with the same components will produce repeatable results. The assumption of an orderly universe arises from the belief in the Creator God who made His world orderly."
Psalm 19 verse 1 states: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
Steve comments further: "Science gives an opportunity to explore and understand the world that God has made, and see how he has put it together. I am continually amazed at the discoveries that have been made, and they lead towards a greater awe of God.
Truly, the Creation is as John Calvin describes it – "The whole world is a theatre for the display of the divine goodness, wisdom, justice, and power…""
His overall view is that the Christian world view remains the best context for science as it is rationally consistent, as well as answering the "why" questions that science cannot answer, such as: "Why are we here?"; "What is the purpose to life?"; "Is there such a thing as good and evil?"
In Steve's view, perceived conflicts between science and faith occur because scientists and others have competing philosophies, usually between those who subscribe to philosophic naturalism and those who subscribe to a theistic world view.
With thoughtful, reflective, well-educated young pastors like Steve, I feel that the guidance of the next generation is in competent hands.
A story as lovely as these
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html