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Conference Proceeding

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Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) once observed that "Whoever is moved by faith to assent to [the Christian religion], is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience." Evidently Hume's cynical pronouncement did not apply to Descartes, Newton, Riemann, and other profound thinkers who believed God had commissioned and equipped them to glorify Him in their pursuit of truth through mathematics - And based on their extraordinary achievements the principles of their understanding do not appear to have been subverted too badly! Leading mathematicians of the past commonly affirmed that God created and sovereignly rules the universe and that He providentially sustains and nurtures His creatures. Despite Hume's assertion, history teaches us that faith often informs rational inquiry and vice versa. In many cases Christian commitment stimulated intellectual activity; sometimes mathematical understanding led to spiritual insight. In my former paper, ten of history's most influential mathematicians expressed the role faith in God and religious conviction played in their work in their own words. This paper explores the same for mathematicians numbered eleven through twenty.


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