Millikan's work and faith

Millikan’s research through the "Oil drop experiment"  proved the particulate nature of electrons, and thus electricity. It was for this work that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1923. His research caused him to conclude that the design of everything, from the atom to the universe, was the work of God, who Millikan called the “beneficent creator” and the “Great Architect” in recognition of His creative powers and His role in creation.11,12

Millikan, religion and science

 Although a physicist and not a biologist, he was very aware of the conflicts between orthodox Darwinism and theism. He often acknowledged that scientists are far too dogmatic about Darwinism, cautioning “we have only just begun to touch the borders of the ocean of knowledge and understanding.”13 One topic he mentioned repeatedly in his publications was that one of the greater blunders that “science” has made was over generalizing claims “with undue assurance into fields in which they have not been experimentally tested” and

Millilkans's "oil drop experiment

Millikan was especially critical of naturalism (the worldview that teaches only the material world exists). He wrote that the eighteenth-century French philosophers

He concluded that although materialism was sometimes called scientific, it was “in its very method and essence unscientific” because it was “universally assertive and dogmatic”, and that “clear-thinking minds in all countries refused to be stampeded by it, realizing the limitations of the scientific method.”31

Millikan realized that the newer discoveries of science documented that, for science to progress, scientists must stick “close to the scientific method and avoid extending generalizations into fields beyond those in which experimental observations have demonstrated their validity.”32 Science must be guided only “by brute facts” regardless of whether they fit into our worldview. Millikan explained how 18th and 19th century materialism assumed that our universe consisted

Another example is that materialism had assured us that the entire universe could be explained by

He continues, “materialism assumed the universality of the electro-dynamic laws” and soon a

He concluded that the result of these discoveries is that “dogmatic materialism in physics is dead” and if “we had all been as wise as Galileo and Newton it would never have been born, for dogmatism in any form violates the essence of the scientific method, which is to collect with an open mind the brute facts and let them speak for themselves untrammeled by preconceived ideas or by general philosophies or universal systems.”36

Robert Andrews Millikan, scientist, professor, and college administrator. This picture was taken around 1917 at the height of his career. When he became president of Cal Tech he was forced to move more into an administrative role, a role he only reluctantly assumed because his first love was the lab.