Princeton physicist believes in both God and science

Bob Kaita, a physicist from the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, does not feel he has to choose between God and science.

“Can a scientist believe in God?” Kaita asked. “The simple answer is ‘I’m standing here, so yes.”

Kaita is part of a team that performs nuclear fusion research in the hopes of finding an alternative energy process.

He traced his spirituality back to his childhood, specifically to the teachings of his parents, well-educated and devoted Christians. They taught Kaita about the natural world and God at the same time, which he said helps him switch between the world and religion, especially during his scientific studies.

Kaita pointed out that Johannes Kepler, noted 16th century astrologist, was a scientist who never faltered in his view that God was the ultimate astronomer. Kaita said this holds as proof that even at a time when science was challenging the teachings of the church, there were scientists who practiced both of their beliefs equally.

Kaita did acknowledge that, despite being a devout Christian, his mind did stray from the religious path.

“When a tube or a gasket blows, I don’t always have the purest thought in my mind,” he said. “Even believing scientists like myself don’t consciously think of God all the time.”

Using the Anthropic Principle, Kaita presented the idea that if the universe didn’t exist exactly as it does now, then humans wouldn’t be here to observe it.

Kaita said scientists question the validity of God’s hand in creating the universe, and question whether or not he exists at all.

“No creator means no judgment, but also no reception at the end, good or bad,” he said. “It is (logical) for me to think that there was a creator.”

“Our logic is based on the way things are,” Paul Soon, freshman biology major, said. “I totally agree with (Kaita) . that the fact that we can look at logic points to the idea of a creator.”

While Kaita remained unwavering in his ideas about God and science, he acknowledged that strictly scientific models of thought do have their rewards.

“It’s possible that Einstein, had he not been prejudiced against the idea of God, would not have made the predictions on the universe that he did,” Kaita said.

Kaita said he told one inquiring student, if all you’re looking for is an objective view, “it’s all in the attitude.”

Instead of judging, he said, think critically and you’ll be able to see things in a completely new light.