Sy Garte – Biochemist Escapes Atheism

Portrait of Sy GarteListen as Sy Garte, a professor of biochemistry and Max Kolbe discuss the journey that led Sy out of atheism.

Max opens the interview by asking Sy his childhood. Sy responds that he was raised in a very religious household, but the normal religion. Sy was a “red diaper baby”.  Born to  the son of atheists who actively promoted communism in the 1950s and 1960’s, his childhood experience is one of indifference to active hostility to religion.

Max and Sy discuss historical communism in the United States. Max suggests 2 books, Commies by Ronald Radosh and Radical Son by David Horowitz. Sy talks about the attitudes of his parents, which believed religion to evil.  Max adds that although atheists claim not to have an ideology, it’s very clear that there is one.

Max asks Sy the event that started to transition him away from atheism. Sy recounts seeing a movie call the Passion According to St. Matthew. He remembers the drama of Resurrection and specifically the music of the moment. He recalls rejecting the feeling at the time and forgetting about it. He later becomes a scientist and during the course of his work began questioning the materialist viewpoint he had been taught.

Max discusses the “lack of belief” concept prevalent among modern atheists.  They also discuss the which god is God question.

Max then turns the discussion to exactly when Sy began to question atheism Sy responds he started in graduate school, not from the biochemistry, but quantum mechanics. Outlines how realizing that if the uncertainty principle and the observer effect is real that the universe is not a rational logical concept. The realization didn’t immediately lead to theism, but put a crack in the underpinnings of atheism.

Max mentions that once abandoned strict materialism as foundation, it was almost impossible to stay an atheist. Sy and Max discuss the philosophical implications of science accepting the idea that “stuff isn’t there if you’re not looking it.” They also discuss the spiritual leaning/nature of some of the newest physicists.

Sy fast forwards the conversation and discussed the idea of becoming a theist. He mentions the sense of coming out of the closet and the relief of having a coherent picture.

Max asks how long transition was from being a theist to being a religion. Sy Garte didn’t have a sense of God until he understood God through Jesus.

[to be continued – stop at 17:00]

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