Prophet of Science—Part One: Arthur Holly Compton on Science, Freedom, Religion, and Morality
American physicist Arthur Holly Compton (1892-1962), who shared the Nobel prize with C. T. R. Wilson in 1927, was a leading public intellectual in the decades surrounding World War Two. A very active Presbyterian, Compton’s “modernist” Christian beliefs influenced his views on several important topics: evolution and the design argument, human freedom and the limits of science, immortality, anti-Semitism, and the morality of atomic warfare. Considering his seminal contributions to physics and his strong commitment to writing and speaking about science and religion, it is surprising that no one has previously studied this aspect of his career in detail. Compton wrote a great deal about these topics, and this lengthy essay will be published in three parts, continuing in September and ending in December. The opening section follows Compton’s family background, education, and early career, emphasizing the strong influence of his father’s philosophical and religious views on his attitudes and beliefs, especially on his theology of nature and his understanding of free will.
Davis, Edward B., "Prophet of Science—Part One: Arthur Holly Compton on Science, Freedom, Religion, and Morality" (2009). Biology Educator Scholarship. 216.