Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Eureka moment

This is another of those random brain fart posts where something is rattling around in my head and writing it down helps get rid of it :)

My question is this: has there been a major scientific theory that arose from what is commonly known as a 'eureka moment' that the scientist responsible has then claimed to have been divine revelation? I honestly don't know the answer, but I can't think of any.

I'm assuming that Archimedes (responsible for the original 'eureka') didn't do so as I guess the concept of divine revelation wouldn't have been around in the current form, but there have certainly been plenty of phenomenal scientists that were deeply religious - Isaac Newton is the most obvious probably. Whether or not his famous gravity-inspiring apple/head moment is apocryphal I'm not sure but that would qualify as an extraordinary moment of inspiration, so did he consider it to be divine revelation? What if Einstein had been a devout Christian - would he have claimed one of his famous relativity thought experiments to have been a revealed truth in the religious sense? Today there are proportionately few strongly religious scientists (in comparison the the proportion of the general public), but of those that are have any discovered something revolutionary and claimed it was religiously revealed to them?

So broadly what I want to know is, has there been any significant increase in the knowledge base of humankind that has been claimed to have come from divine revelation? If not (and I would guess not) - why not?