Jeff Jacoby presents, in a style not unlike Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, a story about a scientist, and the school that he applied to, that will amaze you.

DID YOU hear about the religious fundamentalist who wanted to teach physics at Cambridge University? This would-be instructor wasn’t simply a Christian; he was so preoccupied with biblical prophecy that he wrote a book titled “Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.” Based on his reading of Daniel, in fact, he forecast the date of the Apocalypse: no earlier than 2060. He also calculated the year the world was created. When Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning,” he determined, it means 3988 BC.

So we have a young-Earth guy who seems really into this Christianity thing, and who is applying for a science job at a very prestigious university. Did he get the job?

Hire somebody with such views to teach physics? At a Baptist junior college deep in the Bible Belt, maybe, but the faculty would erupt if you tried it just about anywhere else. Many of them would echo Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, the prominent evolutionary biologist, who writes in “The God Delusion” that he is “hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. . . . It subverts science and saps the intellect.”

In today’s academic climate, things don’t sound promising for our intrepid physicist. Religion and science don’t mix, so they say.

But such considerations didn’t keep Cambridge from hiring the theology- and Bible-drenched individual described above. Indeed, it named him to the prestigious Lucasian Chair of Mathematics….

To find out who this guy was who beat all the odds to get hired, click here for the full column. (And if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may already know the answer. I covered it last month.)

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