Blue Ribbon Science Voices of Science

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Dr. Wernher von Braun Wernher von Braun, Ph.D.*
Pioneer Rocket Scientist

Berlin Technological Institute (1932)
Bachelor of Science

University of Berlin (1934)
Ph.D. – Physics

U.S. Army Ordnance Corps (1945-1949)

Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ADMA) (1949-1960)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (1960-1972)

Wernher von Braun was one of the most prominent spokesmen of space exploration in the United States during the 1950s. He received a total of 12 honorary doctorates including one from the Technical University of Berlin from which he had graduated.

Intelligent Design

…For me, the idea of a creation is not conceivable without invoking the necessity of design. One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.

In the world around us, we can behold the obvious manifestations of an ordered, structured plan or design. We can see the will of the species to live and propagate. And we are humbled by the powerful forces at work on a galactic scale, and the purposeful orderliness of nature that endows a tiny and ungainly seed with the ability to develop into a beautiful flower. The better we understand the intricacies of the universe and all it harbors, the more reason we have found to marvel at the inherent design upon which it is based.

…The scientific method does not allow us to exclude data which lead to the conclusion that the universe, life and man are based on design.

To be forced to believe only one conclusion-that everything in the universe happened by chance-would violate the very objectivity of science itself. Certainly there are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of a man or the system of the human eye?

Some people say that science has been unable to prove the existence of a Designer… They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But, must we really light a candle to see the sun?

Many men who are intelligent and of good faith say they cannot visualize an electron? The electron is materially inconceivable and yet, it is so perfectly known through its effects that we us it to illuminate our cities, guide our airliners through the night skies and take the most accurate measurements.

What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the ground that they cannot conceive Him?

…Although they really do not understand the electron either, they are ready to accept it because they managed to produce a rather clumsy mechanical model of it borrowed from rather limited experience in other fields, but they would not know how to begin building a model of God.

I have discussed the aspect of a Designer at some length because it might be that the primary resistance to acknowledging the "Case for DESIGN" as a viable scientific alternative to the current "Case for CHANCE" lies in the inconceivability, in some scientists' minds, of a Designer. The inconceivability of some ultimate issue (which will always lie outside scientific resolution) should not be allowed to rule out any theory that explains the interrelationship of observed data and is useful for prediction.

We in NASA were often asked what the real reason was for the amazing string of successes we had with our Apollo flights to the Moon. I think the only honest answer we could give was that we tried to never overlook anything.

It is in that same sense of scientific honesty that I endorse the presentation of alternative theories for the origin of the universe, life and man in the science classroom. It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happening by chance.

References
* On September 14, 1972, this letter addressed to a Mr. Grose and attributed to rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was read to the California State Board of Education by Dr. John Ford; later cited in Jesus Christ Creator by Kelly Seagraves, 1973; printed in Applied Christianity, then quoted in the Bible Science Newsletter, May, 1974, p. 8. The complete text of the von Braun letter, from which the above excerpts were drawn, was made available through the courtesy of Dennis R. Petersen, author of Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation (Creation Resource Foundation: El Dorado, California, 1990) p. 63.

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