Sarah J spoke with Professor Roy Peacock, a former atheist and well established scientist and advisor to many government bodies and industrial companies in the UK and overseas.

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Roy: Well I'm quite as keen a scientist now as I ever was, and there is no compromise or watering down of my scientific principles. I still believe the two laws of thermodynamics hold true and so on. Much of the results which people produce, I do see in a different light, and many of the claims which are made, which would be fundamentally atheistic, I can see the hollowness of those claims. Now ultimately I cannot say I have a proof. You don't do anything by proof in this business. The only thing you can prove in science is a negative. You can only prove that something doesn't happen. I can't actually prove Christianity to you, or prove the existence of Jesus to you. But you can discover it for yourself. And that's what I found. It was a discovery of Jesus that changed my life, not the proof.

Sarah: You've mentioned that you've seen the holiness of God through science. Can you give us an example of that?

Roy: Well what I can say is that within my scientific experience, I have known God's hand as a consequence of prayer. Let me tell you very briefly. One time I was directing a laboratory in this country and we were the leading laboratory in the world in this particular area of science. And we had a major problem occur on some of our instrumentation, which closed our whole operation down. Now we were working on contracts, and time is of the essence on contractual work. And we spent days trying to trace the source of the problem. And every member of the team was working on it. Finally I went back to my office in despair after about three days of this; and stood in the office with the door closed and prayed and I said, "Lord I've done everything, I don't know what to do. You'll have to show us." And went back out and finally, the man who's job - actually his job was to sweep the floor, you know he wasn't a Nobel Prize winner, said I've got an idea. And we were by now desperate. And he said leave it with me I'll come back after lunch and discuss it. So he came back after lunch and he brought with him a small radio and we thought the man had gone mad. He tuned it in to Radio One as it happens, which was playing and we found that the noise emanating from his radio matched precisely the traces on our videos. And we realised that we had some unscreened cable somewhere in our system and it was tuned in - it was an aerial tuned to Radio One. And so we were actually picking up Radio One rather than the instrumentation output. Amazing. Would we have ever discovered it? We would have sooner or later, but we did at that moment, after I'd prayed. And within half an hour the faulty piece of cable had been located and the whole problem resolved. That's how I see God at work in my scientific life.

Sarah: You've written a number of books - Foolish To Be Wise and A Brief History Of Eternity. Tell us a bit about those.

Roy: Well Foolish To Be Wise is basically autobiographical, and I was privileged to learn that it became a best seller actually within it's own circle. It really tells the story of my stumbling around in life, and stumbling as it were into the Christian life and what happened thereafter; up until 1980, which is when, I left my scientific work in the United Kingdom and went to the States. What I described there is where I've stood in matters before I became a Christian. In fact it's a rather longer answer to your first question.

The other book - A Brief History Of Eternity, I was invited to write by my publisher, shortly after Stephen Hawkin's book A Brief History Of Time had come out. And I was dismayed to see the sort of reception that was being given as quote, proof that God does not exist. And consequently I said to two of my publishers; you'd better get somebody - what you need is a scientist or mathematician or at least an astronomer or cosmologist of repute to write a response. And they had a meeting of the directors and came back to me the next day and said yeah it's a great idea.

Sarah: And you're the one?

Roy: I said no I'm not. They insisted I was. And I said well look I'll think about this. I actually flew across to the States to the West Coast where I knew a number of very good scientists who are Christians. I think nine altogether; I visited their laboratories and I said thus and thus and thus; do you think that you should be writing this book. And they pondered it for a while and they said no we think you're the guy. So I came back to England and said look I've had nine scientists who say I'm the man to write it. So I wrote this book, which took a different view of the history of cosmology; to that which most people conclude from Stephen Hawkin's book. I would say however that Hawkin's book - the reader of Hawkin's book is very much coloured in his reading by the introduction by Carl Sagan. Without the introduction by Carl Sagan I think people would have seen A Brief History Of Time in a somewhat different light.

Sarah: What are your thoughts on the debate around evolution and creation and science versus faith?

Roy: Within all the sciences put together there are two basic immutable laws of the universe. And they are called as it happens the two laws of thermodynamics. And as a thermodynamicist I'm fairly well acquainted with them. The second of those laws of thermodynamics says, whatever we do - whatever process we undertake within what is called a system, I won't trouble in defining that, whatever process we undertake, leads to an increase of chaos, not an increase of uniformity.

Sarah: OK

Roy: Now on that basis, I have to say I have difficulty in understanding any evolutionary model because evolutionary models are always leading to an increase of uniformity. Out of the primeval slime there crept me as it were. So from that original chaotic state man immerged. That runs intellectually in a sense, counter to the concept of the second law of thermodynamics. So immediately we are faced with a choice, I am faced with a choice. Am I going to say, well the two laws the laws of thermodynamics don't really apply or am I going to say that they do apply. If I'm going to say they don't apply then I have no basis for any science at all. So in order that science can have a structure and a basis, I have to lean upon these fundamental laws and say they are there.

When I begin to look at the arguments of evolution and creation with that in mind, I find great difficulty in accepting the evolutionary argument. If I was to take this all back and look at what the Bible says, which I'm quite fond of doing, Genesis 1: 1-2 says, the earth was without form and void. You could take the Hebrew there and look at it and re-translate the Hebrew and say and the earth was actually in a state of chaos. And it was out of that chaos that the order of the creation took place. That provokes another question, it's taking me a long time to answer your question I'm afraid, but promotes another question what is the Genesis story all about? Is it about the creation of God? Here is a Bible supposed to be all about God and it starts off with this sort of diversion about creation. And I have to conclude that Genesis 1, and remember you heard it here first, Genesis 1 is not about the creation of God, it's about the God of creation. And that means that Genesis 1 is telling me that what God is achieving, keeping in mind the two laws off thermodynamics, on each of the periods, call them days if you wish, of creation, is a miracle. So the chapter one of Genesis merely says here, in this book you're going to be introduced to a God who works miracles. If you start looking at it from that perspective Genesis 1 takes on an entirely different lustre.

We hold sciences as being a sort of on a pedestal. You have to understand that nothing in science proves anything. Science isn't about proving anything. In fact all that science can do is disprove. Now that's an interesting thing. All that we have in science says, it is here to disprove So that when something is disproved we can abandon it. Until that time it is proven not to be true, we will maintain it. Hence the two laws of thermodynamics; again if I go back to those. We know of no instance when those two laws of thermodynamics have ever been disproved; except in the special case of a miracle as I intimated a moment ago. But if someone looking through a telescope one day in a galaxy far away says, my word look, the two laws of thermodynamics being disobeyed, then we'd have to say we'd have to abandon that and try something else now. So you cannot prove it ultimately, you can merely say the supporting evidence and on that supporting evidence we will use what science gives us.