How Science and Engineering Strengthen Faith

Charles E. Hunt

Session 2B, 1:20pm, Room 112

Download: Podcast, Slides


Science is derived from observing the natural universe around us. Engineering by contrast is the practice of using science to solve problems. But, by definition, ”god” refers to a supernatural being, outside of nature; therefore, it is impossible to make a direct observation of God. To believe in God requires faith in a being which we never could, nor never will be able to, measure or observe. Just as science (as a knowledge base) and engineering (as a collection of best practices) is built on solid, albeit indirect, derivatives from what we can see, faith in the supernatural God is strongly confirmed by indirect evidence we can observe in the natural universe. Virtually all that we know of “science” is known by indirect observations, inference derived from those, and/or reliance on the observations of others. Scientists and engineers must have confidence in the data received in textbooks, research papers, discussions with peers and lessons from teachers and family. Only the tiniest fraction of what we know comes from our own observation; the vast majority comes from others’; and of we have little or no ability to confirm its veracity. A great scientist, Albert Einstein, as well as a great engineer, Werner von Braun, both concluded, after years of study in science and engineering, that acceptance of the supernatural is the only logical conclusion. In this presentation, examples from science and engineering will be considered which confirm their conclusion. The implications to faith of what is understood from science, and what can be derived via engineering, are vital to include in an ethical educational process.


Charles E. Hunt is Professor of Electrical Engineering at UC Davis (29 years), with an appointment in the Design Department as well as being a PI for the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC), among other appointments. He received a B.S. and M.S.E.E. at the University of Utah, and the Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1986. Prof. Hunt teaches semiconductor device physics, photovoltaics, and nanofabrication. His research focuses on experimental electronic and luminescent materials for energy-efficient light sources, cathodoluminescent phosphor technology and field-emission vacuum microelectronics. He is Author or Co-Author of over one hundred and sixty refereed publications, eight books, and holds eighteen US patents. From 1997-2004 he was Editor of the journal, Solid-State Electronics. Since 2006, he is a Member of the Board of Vu1 Corporation.

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