Derek, is it possible for a scientist to believe in the Tao?
Yes. Some scientists already do, but they may not have a name for it, or they may call it by a different name. This doesn’t matters at all, since “Tao” itself is just a label.
Let’s use the great physicist Max Planck to illustrate this point. His name is not as easily recognized to non-scientists as Albert Einstein, but real scientists know that his achievements were no less astounding than Einstein’s, and he occupies the same level of greatness in the history of physics.
Here’s how the mind of Max Planck regarded reality, in his own words: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
He probably had no idea what the term “Tao” meant. Nevertheless, he understood it quite well and called it “the matrix of all matter.” Compare this to chapter 73 of the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu described the very same concept as “the heavenly net,” a vast and loose pattern in which everything is embedded. Both were pointing to the omnipresent, universal field of existence. Both were talking about the Tao. It cannot be any clearer than this — science and the Tao are completely compatible with one another.