Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)Seung Yon Rhee
Line drawing of Louis Pasteur drawn by
David Wood from Genentech, Inc. Graphics Department.
|If one were to choose among the greatest benefactors of humanity, Louis Pasteur would certainly rank at the top. He solved the mysteries of rabies, anthrax, chicken cholera, and silkworm diseases, and contributed to the development of the first vaccines. He debunked the widely accepted myth of spontaneous generation, thereby setting the stage for modern biology and biochemistry. He described the scientific basis for fermentation, wine-making, and the brewing of beer. Pasteur's work gave birth to many branches of science, and he was singlehandedly responsible for some of the most important theoretical concepts and practical applications of modern science.|
Pasteur's achievements seem wildly diverse at first glance, but a more in-depth look at the evolution of his career indicates that there is a logical order to his discoveries. He is revered for possessing the most important qualities of a scientist: the ability to survey all the known data and link the data for all possible hypotheses, the patience and drive to conduct experiments under strictly controlled conditions, and the brilliance to uncover the road to the solution from the results.
On the discipline of rigid and strict experimental tests he commented, "Imagination should give wings to our thoughts but we always need decisive experimental proof, and when the moment comes to draw conclusions and to interpret the gathered observations, imagination must be checked and documented by the factual results of the experiment."
The famous philosopher Ernest Renan said of Pasteur's method of research, "This marvelous experimental method eliminates certain facts, brings forth others, interrogates nature, compels it to reply and stops only when the mind is fully satisfied. The charm of our studies, the enchantment of science, is that, everywhere and always, we can give the justification of our principles and the proof of our discoveries."
The pattern of logic in Pasteur's scientific career and the brilliance of his experimental method are well documented. It all started from studying crystal structure. As a student at the Ecole Normale, Pasteur observed that the organic compound tartrate, when synthesized in a laboratory, was optically inactive (unable to rotate the plane of polarized light), unlike the tartrate from grapes, because the synthetic tartrate is composed of two optically asymmetric crystals. With careful experimentation, he succeeded in separating the asymmetric crystals from each other and showed that each recovered optical activity. He then hypothesized that this molecular asymmetry is one of the mechanisms of life. In other words, living organisms only produce molecules that are of one specific orientation, and these molecules are always optically active.
This hypothesis was tested again by utilizing a synthetic tartrate solution that had been contaminated with mold. He found that this solution became more optically active with time and concluded that the mold was only utilizing one of the two crystals. Later in his career, he was approached with a contamination problem in alcoholic fermentation, which was thought to be an entirely chemical process at the time. After careful examination, he found that the fermenting solution contained optically active compounds and concluded that fermentation was a biological process carried out by microorganisms. This hypothesis, called the germ theory, was followed by many elegant experiments that showed unequivocally the existence of microorganisms and their effect on fermentation.
The germ theory was the foundation of numerous applications, such as the large scale brewing of beer, wine-making, pasteurization, and antiseptic operations. Another significant discovery facilitated by the germ theory was the nature of contagious diseases. Pasteur's intuited that if germs were the cause of fermentation, they could just as well be the cause of contagious diseases. This proved to be true for many diseases such as potato blight, silkworm diseases, and anthrax. After studying the characteristics of germs and viruses that caused diseases, he and others found that laboratory manipulations of the infectious agents can be used to immunize people and animals. The discovery that the rabies virus had a lag-time before inducing disease prompted the studies of post-infection treatment with weakened viruses. This treatment proved to work and has saved countless lives.
All of these achievements point to singular brilliance and perseverance in Pasteur's nature. His work served as the springboard for branches of science and medicine such as stereochemistry, microbiology, bacteriology, virology, immunology, and molecular biology. Moreover, his work has protected millions of people from disease through vaccination and pasteurization.
Make no mistake about it, Pasteur was a Christian but that did not hinder his science, in undergirded it. This article underlines this and reveals him to be one of the absolute greats of science.
"Louis Pasteur’s calling was to investigate God’s creation and to help mankind through his discoveries. Let no one claim that faith in God is a detriment to science! Pasteur said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.” In his last famous speech, he says:
You young men—doctors and scientists of the future—do not let yourselves be tainted by apparent skepticism; nor discouraged by the sadness of certain hours that creep over nations. Do not become angry at your opponents, for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition. Live in the serene peace of libraries and laboratories. Say to yourselves, first, “What have I done for my instruction?” And as you gradually advance, “What am I accomplishing?” Until the time comes when you may have the immense happiness of thinking that you have contributed in some way to the welfare and progress of mankind. (Vallery-Radot 1901, vol. 2, pp. 297–298)At first glance, Pasteur’s achievements seem to be a miscellaneous assortment of discoveries (table 1). They in fact form a cohesive whole, in which one can easily follow his unity of thought. We have tried to describe just a few of his projects that led to his remarkable discoveries. You will see that, like a brilliant detective, this great man of science conducted investigations using his wealth of experience and scientific guidelines. It is this method of study that held true for other men of God, each one of whom was called and was devoted to a particular field dealing with a specific problem."
|Table 1. Louis Pasteur and his major milestones in microbiology.|
|Date:||Milestones in Microbiology:|
|1822||Birth of Louis Pasteur in Dole, France|
|1844–1848||Discovers crystal rotation of polarized light to the right and left|
|1857||Shows lactic acid formation in milk and butter is due to bacteria|
|1861–1864||Disproves spontaneous generation|
|1862||Elected to the Academy of Sciences|
|1864||Invents pasteurization for wine and other foods|
|1867||Helps Joseph Lister develop aseptic surgery|
|1870||Publishes his studies on the diseases of silkworms|
|1873||Elected to the Academy of Medicine|
|1877||Propounds the germ theory of disease|
|1879||Discovers immunization against chicken cholera, using attenuated bacteria|
|1881||Successful experiment of vaccinating sheep against anthrax|
|1881||Awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor|
|1882||Elected to the Academie Francaise|
|1885||Successfully tests his first vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister|
|1894||The Pasteur Institute succeeds in producing vaccine for diphtheria|
|1895||Death of Louis Pasteur at Saint Cloud (near Paris), France|
Now one could say, at the risk of some superficiality, that there exist principally two types of scientists. The ones, and they are rare, wish to understand the world, to know nature; the others, far more frequent, wish to explain it. The first are searching for truth, often with knowledge that they will not attain it; the second strive for plausibility, for the achievement of an intellectually consistent, and hence successful, view of the world. (Chargaff 1971, pp. 637)
Almost all historians recognize Pasteur’s great contributions to science, microbiology, and medicine. He was an experimentalist and daily performed operational science. Pasteur is a prime example of the principle that one does not have to be an evolutionist to conduct good science. However, in recent years his Christian and creation views are being challenged. His most straightforward, anti-evolution remarks came from his studies on whether life can spontaneously arise. His case for special creation is best seen in his experiments disproving spontaneous generation. These experiments took place over a period of about five years. It was during this time that Pasteur “converted” from being a chemist to a microbiologist."
I also thought this little bit was especially worthwhile:
"The theory of biogenesis states that life can only come from other life. This idea mirrors the principles of Genesis 1: life begets life and like begets like. Yet evolutionists imagine that at one time several billion years ago, life did spontaneously appear. For example, German organic chemist Dr. Günther Wächtershäuser and his colleague Dr. Claudia Huber of the Munich Technical University have suggested that the first polypeptide chains necessary for life formed at the bottom of a primal ocean, in the heated environment of undersea volcanoes. But science continues to show a total lack of evidence that would suggest any living cell (even the smallest) could originate spontaneously through time and chance. Recently the evolutionist Franklin Harold (2001, p. 218) said, “The crux of the matter is that living organisms cannot be rationally and systematically deduced from the principles that generally do account for the properties of inanimate matter.” It has always been known that Louis Pasteur opposed the doctrine of spontaneous generation, and he presented compelling empirical evidence against it. He believed that the idea of spontaneous generation did not fit with the view of God as the Creator of life.
This is why the problem of spontaneous generation is all absorbing, and all-important. It is the very problem of life and of its origin. To bring about spontaneous generation would be to create a germ. It would be creating life; it would be to solve the problem of its origin. It would mean to go from matter to life through conditions of environment and of matter. God as Author of life would then no longer be needed. Matter would replace Him. God would need to be invoked only as Author of the motions of the universe. (Dubos 1950, pp. 395–396)"
John 18:37-39 (New King James Version)
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
Taking the Place of Barabbas39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
Pilate didn't wish to know the truth. He knew that if he waited for Christ to answer, he would be responsible for the knowledge passed to him. Instead Pilate sought for a way to get Jesus Christ off of his hands and set free. He had Christ scourged and beaten and presented Him to the crowd, hoping they would be satisfied with the punishment dealt out to an innocent man.
Later on in John...
The Soldiers Mock Jesus1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.
4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.
Pontius Pilate is a lot like some of my readers. You are faced with a dilemma that may well eat away at you if you allow yourself to think of it. Darwinism is a no-go from the beginning. There is no natural process to explain the beginning of life, let alone a macroevolutionary progression of organisms from remarkably simple to wonderfully complex. No one has seen an organism form from non-life and no one has seen a living creature evolve. It is as simple as that. Pilate was afraid to endanger his position, his power and his lifestyle so he went along with the crowd. Pilate made an attempt to straddle the fence later in that chapter:
19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
Nevertheless Christ was crucified. It was what Jesus had come to Earth to do, to give His life and take our sins and rise again to provide to man the eternal life that had been part of the original plan, before sin ruined creation and entered into mankind. Pilate stands in history as a man unwilling to sacrifice his place for his principles.
Now in our day we have Pilates working in laboratories and peering through telescopes, scientists who have doubts about Darwinism but do not have the will or the guts or perhaps even the internal character that would cause them to rise up and say, "No, I do not believe in that fairy tale." Only a few have dared to identify themselves as creationists or ID and so many of those who do get castigated and fired and pay a terrible price career-wise by the Inquisition of the Darwinist Paradigm. But enough have had the courage and determination to do science from a Christian or ID perspective as Pasteur did and Newton did and Bacon and Lord Kelvin and so on that there are now numerous groups of scientists doing investigation using the scientific method and publishing papers and not allowing the information-censors like the NCSE to slow them down. Quite a few of these organizations are listed in my links.
What is sickening to me is the so-called "Christians" who are pulling away from the Bible as a standard and Christ as the Savior and playing at church. When a Christian decides that Genesis is not necessarily factual and that Adam and Eve were not actual people and...well...pretty soon the Bible loses authority and God goes from Creator and Lord to a comfy story people like to tell.
Here are a couple of excerpts from an article written by Al Mohler:
"Preachers who don't believe: The scandal of apostate pastors
Q:What should pastors do if they no longer hold the defining beliefs of their denomination? Do clergy have a moral obligation not to challenge the sincere faith of their parishioners? If this requires them to dissemble from the pulpit, doesn't this create systematic hypocrisy at the center of religion? What would you want your pastor to do with his or her personal doubts or loss of faith?
Are there clergy who don't believe in God? That is the question posed by a new report that is certain to receive considerable attention -- and rightly so. Few church members are likely to be disinterested in whether their pastor believes in God.
The study was conducted by the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, under the direction of Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola. Dennett, of course, is one of the primary figures in the "New Atheism" -- the newly aggressive and influential atheist movement that has gained a considerable hearing among the intellectual elites and the media......"
A little farther along:
"In their report, Dennett and LaScola present case studies of five unbelieving ministers, three from liberal denominations ("the liberals") and two from conservative denominations ("the literals").
Wes, a Methodist, lost his confidence in the Bible while attending a liberal Christian college and seminary. "I went to college thinking Adam and Eve were real people," he explained. Now, he no longer believes that God exists. In his rendering, God is a word that "can be used very expressively in some of my more meditative modes" and "a kind of poetry that is written by human beings."
His church members do not know that he is an atheist, but he explains that they are somewhat liberal themselves. His ministerial colleagues are even more liberal: "They've been de-mythologized, I'll say that. They don't believe Jesus rose from the dead literally. They don't believe Jesus was born of a virgin. They don't believe all those things that would cause a big stir in their churches."
Rick, a campus minister for the United Church of Christ, perhaps the most liberal Protestant denomination, was an agnostic in college and seems to have lost all belief by the time he graduated from seminary. He chose ordination in the UCC because it required "no forced doctrine." Even as he graduated from seminary, he knew, "I'm not going to make it in a conventional church." He knew he could not go into a church and teach his own theological views, based on Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultmann. He did not believe in the doctrinal content of the Christian faith from the beginning of his ministry. "I did not believe the traditional things even then."
He does not believe "all this creedal stuff" about the incarnation of Christ or the need for salvation, but he remained in the ministry because, "These are my people, this is the context in which I work, these are the people that I know." In the pulpit, his mode is to talk as if he does believe, because "as long as ... you are talking about God and Jesus and the Bible, that's what they want to hear. You're just phrasing it in a way that makes sense to [them] ... but language is ambiguous and can be heard in different ways."
"He doesn't like to call himself an atheist, but: "If not believing in a supernatural, theistic god is what distinguishes an atheist, then I am one too."
The ambiguity about who is a believer and who is an unbeliever follows inexorably from the pluralism that has been assiduously fostered by many religious leaders for a century and more: God is many different things to different people, and since we can't know if one of these conceptions is the right one, we should honor them all. This counsel of tolerance creates a gentle fog that shrouds the question of belief in God in so much indeterminacy that if asked whether they believed in God, many people could sincerely say that they don't know what they are being asked.
In other words, some theologians and denominations have embraced a theology so fluid and indeterminate that even an atheist cannot tell the believers and unbelievers apart.
"Preachers Who Are Not Believers" is a stunning and revealing report that lays bare a level of heresy, apostasy, and hypocrisy that staggers the mind. In 1739, Gilbert Tennett preached his famous sermon, "On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry." In that sermon, Tennett described unbelieving pastors as a curse upon the church. They prey upon the faith and the faithful. "These caterpillars labor to devour every green thing."
If they will not remove themselves from the ministry, they must be removed. If they lack the integrity to resign their pulpits, the churches must muster the integrity to eject them. If they will not "out" themselves, it is the duty of faithful Christians to "out" them. The caterpillars are hard at work. Will it take a report from an atheist to awaken the church to the danger?"
The primary reason the "ministers" used as examples in the publication remained in ministry was money. They no longer believed in much of what they were saying from the pulpit, but they made their living doing it and were reluctant to leave the ministry and try to find another line of work.
The definition of a Christian, Bible version, is more than being a convert, more than being a church member and certainly more than wearing a cross around your neck. A Christian is a disciple, a born-again believer who seeks to follow the teachings of the Bible. From Acts 11:26
So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
If you do not believe the Bible and Jesus Christ is not your Savior and if you are not doing one darned thing to advance the Kingdom of God (unless your health precludes you from being active), then you shouldn't go around calling yourself "Christian."
What can I say about the snakes who stand in the pulpit and preach in a church service, not even believing in their own words and their ambiguous doctrine? When they let their hair down they admit they are not Christians by definition in any way.
Integrity is a word that basically means that you are what you seem to be. Be who you are. I am glad to say that I am a Christian and a YEC and my belief system stands on both faith and fact. Most of what you hear Darwinists proclaim are statements of faith...faith in unidentified *poofs* in unobservable times and places far removed from the world of today. I promise you not one comment on this piece will include any actual evidence for a spontaneous generation of life from non-life. Read and see for yourselves.