“Even Smarty Pants Can Go To Heaven”

Today we hear a lot about science…. Science is the answer… listen to the doctors and the professors. Well, I’m definitely not anti-science. I think science has made major contributions to life on this earth over the years. Hey, did I ever tell you about my project while a chemist at a big Fortune 100 company back in the day…. “yes, synthetic tuna fish”. It was pretty neat…. you made this 50:50 blend of real tuna fish and soy bean protein…froze it, cooked it, canned it, and it looked like solid pack Albacore tuna….. hey, it wasn’t perfect and it didn’t taste all that great, but ……” Well, that was almost 50 years ago and I have to admit that it still hasn’t make it to the grocery shelf… I keep looking. 

I believe humility is a major component to being a true scientist. You have to be willing to be wrong, to be corrected, to admit that your work wasn’t perfect. Your work may not stand the test of time.  Pride affects us all and scientists are no exception. I just read a book on John von Neumann. Yes, to be honest I had never heard of him either. Those who knew him, along with Albert Einstein and other brilliant scientists, concluded that von Neuman had by far the sharpest intellect of all of them, the sharpest mind on the planet.” His credentials and accomplishments are overwhelming… at 22 he laid the mathematical foundations for quantum mechanics, he was part of the Manhattan Project, a key developer of “Game Theory” ….. the first computers, artificial intelligence. (If you have no idea of what any of this is, don’t worry I don’t know much either.)

Dave, this story doesn’t seem to fit with the normal contents of “The BLOG”? Well, while that may be true, let me mention that before John von Neuman died at 53 from cancer, he returned to the Catholic Church.  While von Neuman was brilliant and would probably embarrass most of the great scientists of today, he knew what he didn’t know. Let me mention a few of his more profound non-scientific statements:

  • “If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is”. (Yikes, you mean God is beyond us…)
  • “There probably is a God, he once told his mother… many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn’t.”
  • Regarding his conversion, “he was thinking of Pascal’s wager and had always believed that in the face of even a small possibility of suffering eternal damnation the only logical course is to be a believer before the end.”  
  • “Catholicism is a very rough religion to live in but it is the only one to die in.” 

“Von Neuman, a devout Catholic, died on 8 February 1957. He was buried in Princeton Cemetery after a brief Catholic service.” ( ref. ”The Man From The Future… The Visionary Life of John von Neuman” by Ananyo Bhattaacharya, 2022)

Von Neuman lived an imperfect life and  while he is not up for canonization, he sure ended well.  It strikes me that this most brilliant man, after all his studies and accomplishments, landed on the most important truth…. “God created the world and  sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our salvation”. That was very good news for this man and it’s very good news for us. 

5 thoughts on ““Even Smarty Pants Can Go To Heaven”

  1. God’s mercy on all of us in this life is always there. His justice comes at our judgement. Please God, we keep walking in his mercy 🙏


  2. I know this was not the main point of the BLOG but I looovveee tuna so your tid-bit on that made me chuckle! I will also now be checking the shelves at shoprite for your invention 🙂


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