Scientific American Is Diametrically Opposed to Its Founder’s Vision

Rufus Porter, founder of Scientific American.
The man on the left is Rufus Porter. You’ve probably never heard of him, but during the middle of the 19th century, he was well known in certain circles. He was a professional painter, specializing in painting directly on the walls of homes to decorate them. Throughout his career, he painted murals in more than 160 homes. He was also a prolific inventor, designing things like passenger blimps, windmills, and rotary engines. He even designed a “revolving rifle,” which was purchased by Samuel Colt but never put into production. Finally, he was a promotor of science, which culminated in him founding Scientific American, the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States. It contains the works of many important scientists, including Albert Einstein.

While most people who are trying to keep up with the latest scientific advances probably know about Porter’s magazine, they probably don’t know about his vision for science. That’s because Scientific American has abandoned it, despite the fact that it is clearly stated in the very first issue. Here is how Porter put it:

First, then, let us, as rational creatures, be ever ready to acknowledge God as our Creator and daily Preserver; and that we are each of us individually dependant on his special care and good will towards us, in supporting the wonderful action of nature which constitutes our existence; and in preserving us from the casualties, to which our complicated and delicate structure is liable. Let us also, knowing our entire dependence on Divine Benevolence, as rational creatures, do ourselves the honor to express personally and frequently, our thanks to him for his goodness; and to present our petitions to Him for the favours which we constantly require. This course is rational, even without the aid of revelation: but being specially invited to this course, by the divine word, and assured of the readiness of our Creator to answer our prayers and recognize our thanks, it is truly surprising that any rational being, who has ever read the inspired writings should willingly forego this privilege, or should be ashamed to be seen engaged in this rational employment, or to have it known that he practices it. (R. Porter, “Rational Religion,” Scientific American 1: 1845)

Notice what the founder of Scientific American says at the end. He says it is “surprising” that any rational being who has read the Bible would avoid giving the Creator His due or be ashamed about doing so. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Scientific American is doing today. It gleefully promotes an atheistic worldview and even refuses to hire those who have the same vision as its founder.

While it’s sad to see what used to be an incredible magazine reject the vision of its founder, the fact is that science as a whole has been trying to do the same thing. The modern scientific method is a direct result of the Christian church, and most of the truly influential scientists of the past engaged in science because of their Christianity (see here, here, and here, for example). Nevertheless, the High Priests of the scientific community are diametrically opposed to the very faith that gave us modern science.

Thank God there are a few holdouts who honor the vision of those who founded modern science. I pray that they can do something to turn this truly unfortunate situation around.

9 thoughts on “Scientific American Is Diametrically Opposed to Its Founder’s Vision”

  1. It’s also unfortunate that there are people in the U.S. government that are diametrically opposed to its founders’ vision. Thank God there are a few holdouts who honor the vision of those who founded our country: biblicalcitizens.com

    And thank God for you, Dr. Jay, for being one of the few holdouts who honor the vision of those who founded modern science.

  2. This brings to mind the debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. There’s a point in the debate where they are discussing whether belief in God stifles or encourages scientific discovery. Lennox mentions how one of the Oxford institution founders of the Library (or museum) was driven by his Faith. Dawkins proceeds to erroneously correct him that this is false. So many of the top Universities in the world had religious founders, but you find even tenured professors incredulous when you suggest they walk on formerly hallowed ground.

  3. Great point about the corruption of true science. One of those resolute scientists that I have enjoyed reading is biochemist Dr. Michael J. Behe. His book Darwin’s Black Box was such an enjoyable read and I often refer to his irreducible complexity model when I engage in discussion with friends who swallowed the Koolaid of evolution. His argument is brilliant, simple, and profound. Since reading that book I got an impression from somewhere that he needed to backpedal a little in his challenge to Darwinian evolution. It is a very fine line he must walk between staying relevant in the scientific world and still challenge its foundations (as structurally unsound as they are).

    1. I don’t think he has backpedalled. As I understand it, he has always believed that evolution happened over the course of billions of years, turning single-celled organisms into what we see today. However, he shows that such a process is impossible given the science we know. Thus, he thinks that God “frontloaded” all the information needed to produce this evolution into the genome of the first organism that He created.

  4. The “front loading” of all the blueprints into the first genome is an intriguing theory and one that captured my imagination. Have you ever commented on that in the past?

  5. I here link a potential interesting and relevant report.

    “This report seeks to cut away from the headlines to explore large-scale survey data for the US, Canada, and the UK.”

    “a significant portion of academics discriminate against conservatives in hiring, promotion, grants and publications.”

    “70% of conservative academics report a hostile departmental climate for their beliefs.”

    “A hostile climate plays a part in deterring conservative graduate students from pursuing careers in academia.”

    “If we account for concealment, this means that between a third and half of assessors are politically biased, resulting in an open conservative facing an at least 80% chance of being discriminated against on a four-person panel chosen at random. By contrast, discrimination against left-leaning bids, papers or promotions is largely counterbalanced by political discrimination in favor of them.”

    Eric Kauffman, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship,” Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, March 1,, 2021, https://cspicenter.org/reports/academicfreedom/.

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