Do Physicists Believe in God?

Every day, physi­cists and astronomers con­front the won­ders of the uni­verse. But does star­ing into the sub­lime abyss incline them toward a belief in God? Not if you ask the physi­cists at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Not­ting­ham School of Physics and Astron­o­my, who answer big ques­tions on YouTube and Six­ty Sym­bols, includ­ing “What hap­pens if you stick your hand inside the Large Hadron Col­lid­er, the world’s largest par­ti­cle accel­er­a­tor?

The Not­ting­ham physi­cists are in some good com­pa­ny. Accord­ing to a well-known 1997 study pub­lished in Nature, biol­o­gists with­in the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences reject­ed God and immor­tal­i­ty at rates of 65.2% and 69.0%. Mean­while, when phys­i­cal sci­en­tists were polled, the num­bers rose to 79.0% and 76.3%. The sum­ma­ry orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Nature now appears here.

via PourMe­Cof­fee

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Comments (27)
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  • Bart Haar says:

    The ques­tion itself isa wrong. Becuase it implic­it­ly says: ther is ome and do belive in this con­struct?

    So when­ver asked this ques­tion it has to be said: the ques­tion itself is wrong.

    God is an inven­tion of humans. Noth­ing more noth­ing less.

    Do you use the con­struct ‘god’ in nyou ever­day live to solve prob­lems, that seems to be unsolv­able?

    • Larry says:

      you a bafoon, livin and dyin in denile , because you nev­er think any deep­er than lookin to be enter­tained

  • Hanoch says:

    I would think that a physi­cist’s opin­ion con­cern­ing the exis­tence of G‑d car­ries about as much weight as a the­olo­gian’s opin­ion on the val­ue of string the­o­ry.

  • Jeckey says:

    And the ones who did­n’t agree just said so because they think human­i­ty is not ready yet to find out there is no father in heav­en.

  • Stephen says:

    What do you care what oth­er peo­ple think?

    Unless you are the kind of per­son who decides the most impor­tant issues in life based on social proof, then this fac­toid will be of lit­tle inter­est to you.

  • esso says:

    Of course, I myself can’t imag­ine uni­verse with­out God as I always ask myself why there is disi­pline not chaoes in uni­verse .How does mate­r­i­al orga­nize itself to be in such a fan­tas­tic form and order?What make beings die?How does the idea of immor­tal­i­ty come to mind? A lot of gues­tions prove the exis­tence of God

  • Larry says:

    When it all boils down to the basics, at some point there was noth­ing, no ener­gy no mat­ter. From the com­plex sim­plic­i­ty of the atom to the incom­pre­hen­si­bil­i­ty of the extent of the uni­verse, one ques­tion from those who just refuse to be account­able to any­one, still are unable to answer is. Where did it all come from?

    The answer will be made clear when your body ceas­es to uti­lize ener­gy any­more, unfor­tu­nate­ly for the major­i­ty of peo­ple they won’t like the answer.

    Matthew 7:13

  • Thoughtful says:

    Lar­ry, your should spell cor­rect­ly. It will more val­i­date your response.

    I per­son­al­ly belive life is a com­bi­na­tion of kar­ma and God. A man asked Bud­dah, ” Are you God?” Bud­dah relpied, “No, I am myself”. Thereis dai­ly evi­dence of both.
    I like Ein­stein’s thoughts when it was proven by asto­physi­cists the uni­verse was expand­ing and thius a begin­ning, changed his atheris­tic views, and I quote:
    “I believe in Spin­oza­’s God who reveals him­self in the order­ly har­mo­ny of what exists, not in a God who con­cerns him­self with fates and actions of human beings.”

    How­ev­er, it would also seem that Ein­stein was not an athe­ist, since he also com­plained about being put into that camp:

    “In view of such har­mo­ny in the cos­mos which I, with my lim­it­ed human mind, am able to rec­og­nize, there are yet peo­ple who say there is no God. But what real­ly makes me angry is that they quote me for the sup­port of such views.”

    “I’m not an athe­ist and I don’t think I can call myself a pan­the­ist. We are in the posi­tion of a lit­tle child enter­ing a huge library filled with books in many lan­guages. The child knows some­one must have writ­ten those books. It does not know how. It does not under­stand the lan­guages in which they are writ­ten. The child dim­ly sus­pects a mys­te­ri­ous order in the arrange­ments of the books, but does­n’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the atti­tude of even the most intel­li­gent human being toward God.” We haven’t begun to scratch the sur­face know­ing God and his pur­pose. I would like to sort the non-believ­ers into theroists and ego­ists. That would be inter­est­ing…

  • chil says:

    The athe­ist argu­ments in this blog are always one sided. “Do physi­cists believe in God?” Of course some do and some don’t. If you want to appeal to author­i­ty you should at least know what the dis­agree­ments are and the oppos­ing argu­ments.

  • Phil Coates says:

    The amount of “sci­en­tif­ic” knowl­edge in the world three thou­sand years ago is infin­i­tes­i­mal com­pared with what is known today. What the world will know in anoth­er three thou­sand years or more will almost cer­tain­ly show the extent of today’s “sci­en­tif­ic” knowl­edge as a tiny piece of minu­tia. Nobody knows the extent of under­stand­ing required to claim any knowl­edge of or defin­i­tive refu­ta­tion of a God or an after­life or lack there­of so a lit­tle more humil­i­ty on both sides of that argu­ment would be appro­pri­ate.

  • vishnu says:

    ..(anoth­er) the most amaz­ing thing about the Almighty is the He gave these astro­physi­cists the intel­lect to prove/state that He does­n’t exist.

    Very inter­est­ing indeed, you con­tin­ue to impress me, Mr. God! :)

  • Karen says:

    Don’t we all have our ideas about what the word “God” means?

    For many peo­ple in the Anglo­phone world (I fear that I am a monoglot, so daren’t make assump­tions), “God” is a gen­er­al­ly pret­ty amor­phous con­cept, usu­al­ly described as a parental pres­ence. When I ask peo­ple how they con­ceive of “God”, though, even those who con­sid­er them­selves devout mem­bers of the same con­gre­ga­tion of the same denom­i­na­tion come up with over­lap­ping but not iden­ti­cal ideas about the nature and func­tion of “God”.

    Every athe­ist and reli­gious per­son I’ve seen exco­ri­at­ing each oth­er’s non/belief online have start­ed with the assump­tion that “God” = the supreme being in a hier­ar­chy, very much in the mould of pater­fa­mil­ias; rather like a giant, omni­scient human; has a will which has been set down in a spe­cif­ic text or texts, and which has been per­fect­ly trans­lat­ed and nev­er changes, etc. It’s a very author­i­tar­i­an mod­el that both entrenched sides insist on in order to demon­strate how stu­pid and infan­tile the oth­er lot is, and how much more intel­li­gent, ratio­nal, wise, and adult they are than those pathet­ic losers who do/n’t believe in “God”.

    Yet this is only one mod­el. There are many oth­ers, some of which con­ceive of “God” as super­nat­ur­al and tran­scen­dent, oth­ers as utter­ly nat­ur­al and imma­nent; some involv­ing hier­ar­chies of beings, oth­ers involv­ing net­works of process­es; some some involve many “God“s, some only one, some the­ist, some non-the­ist; some demand belief in spe­cif­ic the­o­log­i­cal points, oth­ers don’t; some involve the con­cept of after­lives, while oth­ers con­sid­er what hap­pens after death large­ly irrel­e­vant…

    So when we ask oth­ers if they do/n’t “believe in” “God”, we need to ask what WE mean by “believe in” and “God”, and what THEY mean by those terms before we can get any­where.

    Of course, that means actu­al­ly lis­ten­ing to oth­ers, and — even hard­er — care­ful­ly exam­in­ing our own assump­tions, not to men­tion under­stand­ing our own deep emo­tion­al reac­tions to what oth­ers say when they talk about the issue. That means sit­ting with the dis­com­fort and allow­ing it to tell us why it’s there instead of rush­ing to expla­na­tions that make us feel safe and com­fort­able, or even supe­ri­or to oth­ers.

    Regard­less of what we SAY we believe, we all have a lot of deeply held beliefs about our­selves and the world around us that we remain blind to most of the time. They’re dan­ger­ous, because when we’re uncon­scious of them, we’re uncon­scious of how they affect our think­ing. If we can recog­nise that fact, we can reign in our egos for long enough to stop pour­ing scorn on each oth­er in order to feel safe and com­fy, and do the dif­fi­cult and grown-up work of lis­ten­ing to what oth­ers say about it, con­sid­er­ing our own reac­tions, and putting forth our con­sid­ered opin­ions in mutu­al­ly respect­ful ways. We can stop try­ing to “win” an unwinnable argu­ment which total­ly miss­es the point, and begin try­ing to under­stand each oth­er and our­selves. That’s the point where trans­for­ma­tion occurs — where peo­ple stop cling­ing to the need to be seen to be right, and open to new ideas and evi­dence, often find­ing them­selves going in direc­tions they’d nev­er before con­sid­ered.

    Sor­ry this was so long. It’s been brew­ing a while.

  • Charlie G says:

    “Do you believe in god”?

    Ans. Not the provin­cial god that is usu­al­ly ref­ered to, but the God of har­mo­ny; Yes, and I think that God will be proven math­e­mat­i­cal­ly in time.

  • Abid R says:

    LIGHT is GOD. We know veloc­i­ty of light is relat­ed to every mat­ter-anti matter(mass) by E=MC^2. Before the big bang there was only high­ly dense ener­gy; which lat­er gave rise to mass as stat­ed by the Ein­stein’s famous equa­tion.
    There­fore, “GOD is every­where, in every object­ed, EVERYTHING”. That’s why we can­not see god, but we can feel GOD’s effect!
    How­ev­er the sto­ry relat­ed to GOD as “he” has a son, etc.,etc., I think for me as I am a Physi­cist all these have no mean­ings at all!

  • MrOpenCultureRoamer says:

    God exists and is here before us.

  • Olusesi John says:

    God exits. With­out HIM,there is no life. If you don’t believe now,very soon you will believe. We, human beings,are the breath of GOD. there­fore we can do things few like like God.HE IS ALLIMIGTY

  • Olusesi John says:

    God exits. With­out HIM,there is no life. If you don’t believe now,very son you will believe. We, human beings,are the breath of GOD. there­fore we can do things few like like God.HE IS ALLIMIGTY

  • aziz boulakhrif says:

    salam aleikom mem­bers of a species called homo sapi­ens. First of all a closed mind is not a sci­en­tif­ic mind . Two: we human beings react dif­fer­ent on cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. We are not wilde­beests cross­ing a riv­er full of crock­odiles . That is giv­en by our Cre­ator. Evo­lu­tion is one sys­tem . One sys­tem by the one Cre­ator . Also the sin­gu­lar­i­ty caries the name of Allah . The dif­fer­ence is ahad which refers to Allah mean­ing one also means unique. Alah indeed is out­side space/time and mat­ter and as we know from islam noth­ing is com­pa­ra­ble unto Him. The Most High . As for cre­ation out of noth­ing . When we read 19:09 Allah makes clear that He cre­at­ed zacharias BEFORE out of NOTHING, so even if he was old he indeed had been promissed­to have a child named YAHYA (john) . When we read 76 :01 we read has there not been a peri­od over man that he was not a thing worth men­tion­ing! yes we indeed arrived late. The sin­gu­lar­i­ty was men­tioned , the elec­tron , solar sys­tem was men­tioned , the earth , plants , dinosaurs , mam­mals , mon­keys and then many among the sperm cells , one out of a mil­lion became arro­gant . You can not cre­ate some­thing out of noth­ing . Allah can , Allah cre­at­ed time so when he says be and it is it does not mean it hap­pened in one instant as we under­stand from quran . Allah is out­side space/time so athe­ists do not draw con­clu­sions from the sin­gu­lar­i­ty with­in the black hole or speaks about before the big bang the math­e­mat­ics stops there and you are giv­en limit­ted knowl­edge .Be hum­ble or oth­er­wise you will end with NOTHING .

  • aziz boulakhrif says:

    aas for those who say light is God or God is every­we­here they are peo­ple who speaks out of igno­rance

  • Touqer Abbas says:

    Very well said Aziz. Qouran does have all the answer human seek because it is the last and most com­plete book which describes the ways of Allah and how he does stuff. Every­one should read and under­stand this book no mat­ter if you are Mus­lim or not.


    There is no god or some­thing like super­nat­ur­al power.Everything must be in the bound­ary of physics.Mythology books can­not be true.These were writ­ten many many eras ago,when there was no advanced technology.JUST BELIEVE IN SCIENCE,TRY TO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND BE PRACTICAL.

  • DC says:

    As a Physi­cist and Math­e­mati­cian, once trapped with­in the con­fines of the per­va­sive reli­gion enforced in Acad­e­mia known as Sec­u­lar Human­ism, I can say that these types of polls are extreme­ly biased. There’s no doubt that the uni­verse had a begin­ning, which leads to the search for the pri­ma­ry cause. Math­e­mat­i­cal­ly speak­ing and con­sid­er­ing the prob­lems with Big Bang The­o­ry, nat­u­ral­is­tic expla­na­tions are not more prob­a­ble than a super­nat­ur­al expla­na­tion. String The­o­ry has made a mock­ery of mod­ern Physics and now the search is on to destroy the work of Ein­stein, Lemaitre and to ignore the Bor­de-Guth-Vilenkin The­o­rem. The­ist Physi­cists and Math­e­mati­cians are scared to admit their The­ism because of eco­nom­ic pres­sure (loss of grants, being fired and oth­er eco­nom­ic threats). Agnos­tics, who claim either posi­tion may be true, that is God or No God, are count­ed as those who reject God, which is a bla­tant­ly false claim. I’m not sure what they say about Deists, they are often for­give the Sec­u­lar Human­ist high priests, and such math­e­mati­cians and physi­cists are labeled “eccen­tric”. In real­i­ty if you reverse the ques­tion and ask those in phys­i­cal sci­ence, the sim­ple ques­tion will you agree that there’s 100% chance of No God, the answer will be a unan­i­mous NO, if there’s no pun­ish­ment for being hon­est. Unfor­tu­nate­ly this world does­n’t exist and telling the truth is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary act.

  • Kumar S Virbhadra says:

    The ques­tion is not well placed; I am afraid. Before you ask any­one whether or not he/she believes in God, you must first tell what is your math­e­mat­i­cal def­i­n­i­tion of God.

    Accord­ing to so called Hin­duism, every­thing “lies” in God and God “lies” in every­thing. If a set A is the sub­set of a set B and the set B is a sub­set of A, then A = B. Thus, entire uni­verse is God and we all believe that the Uni­verse exists.

    Next ques­tion: Does so con­ceived God take care of good and bad works of every liv­ing body? I mean, does it reward for good work and pun­ish for bad work? Empir­i­cal­ly, more than 99% cas­es, we find that good and bad works are award­ed and pun­ished, respec­tive­ly. How­ev­er, if it is uni­ver­sal phys­i­cal law, then why does it fail for though very small per­cent cas­es? We can­not see a moun­tain far­ther than hori­zon. It does not not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean that earth does not exist beyond hori­zon. There­fore, by more exten­sive and deep­er sci­en­tif­ic analy­sis, it is pos­si­ble that we can prove that causal­i­ty holds good by all means.

  • Kumar S Virbhadra says:

    I thought that I must clar­i­fy. I do not mean that “causal­i­ty” (in the sense that good work is award­ed and bad work is penal­ized) holds good as a uni­ver­sal law. I meant that it is worth inves­ti­gat­ing this after, how­ev­er, clear­ly defin­ing terms “good work”, “bad work”, “award”, and “penal­ty”. This is an open ques­tion.


    Hagá­moslo sim­ple: Quien afir­ma la exis­ten­cia de algo es quien debe pro­bar esa exis­ten­cia.
    Nun­ca la pudieron pro­bar por más que lo inten­taran.
    Tam­poco pudieron pro­bar ningu­na de las afir­ma­ciones adjun­tas sobre la exis­ten­cia del espíritu, alma, res­ur­rec­ción, ánge­les, demo­ni­os, la vida después de la muerte y demás fan­tas­mones.
    Tam­poco existe con­stan­cia cier­ta e irre­bat­i­ble de que los dios­es y/o sus emis­ar­ios se hayan man­i­fes­ta­do de algu­na man­era a los hom­bres.
    Es muy curioso y rev­e­lador esa inex­is­ten­cia de prue­ba o comu­ni­cación de los dios­es a los humanos ya que su factibil­i­dad sería para estos seres muy grande.
    La pre­gun­ta es: ¿A quien ben­e­fi­cia la no-prue­ba o la no-comu­ni­cación del más allá con el más acá?
    La respues­ta es obvia y lóg­i­ca: A los que mien­ten o están erra­dos, ya que les per­mite per­si­s­tir en su irra­cional­i­dad.
    Los ateos acep­taríamos gus­tosos el con­ver­tirnos si tal prue­ba apare­ciese, pero como no es así adop­ta­mos la opción de saber (ante la inex­is­ten­cia de prue­ba en con­trario) que no existe tal cosa frente a la opción improb­a­ble de los que creen en exis­ten­cias sobre­nat­u­rales. Has­ta aho­ra, hoy, sabe­mos eso, es decir su inex­is­ten­cia. Por otra parte si estu­di­amos la his­to­ria seria no-ses­ga­da de las reli­giones y tam­bién reli­giones com­para­das, todos podemos darnos cuen­ta de como la humanidad inven­tó a los dios­es en la alb­o­ra­da de la civ­i­lización, llenan­do con ese nom­bre el vacío de su igno­ran­cia, cre­an­do a sí mis­mo la primera gran religión madre de todas: El Ani­mis­mo.

  • Ella says:

    This ques­tion should be raised again to the same group

  • Professor Bob says:

    What I find quite amus­ing are peo­ple who believe in extrater­res­tri­als, or inter­di­men­sion­al beings, or time trav­el­ers, or that we live in a sim­u­la­tion, with­out a sin­gle shred of evi­dence. Yet those same peo­ple can’t accept the fact that there may be a God.

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