And then I wrote… Ten years ago, blogs were all the rage, and one in particular that found me (soon after I had published God’s Mechanics) was a book-review site in the UK called Vulpis Libris — “Book Fox” for the Latin-challenged. The blog site moved to a Facebook page in 2017, and since I don’t do Facebook I have no idea what it’s up to anymore. But as it was about books, and I had written a book, they reached out for what turned out to be a lengthy interview. They ran it in two pieces, so that’s how I will run it here. The Interviewer was Kirsty McCluskey, who has gone on to become a respected and widely published journalist (under a number of different names…)
Which questions do you most often hear when you do science outreach?
“Would you baptize an extraterrestrial?” I have tried being funny (“only if they ask”) and tried being serious. (I wrote a chapter about it in my book Brother Astronomer and a booklet for the British Catholic Truth Society, mostly saying “we don’t know” in as many different ways as I could think.) But obviously nobody ever listens because they keep asking the question anyway and treating the answer as if it were news.
Have you noticed an evolution (ahem) in public perceptions of the relationship between science and religion in the course of your academic life?
I can see two different, and in some ways contradictory, changes in the atmosphere around science and religion over the years I have been involved in both. To appreciate these, you have to remember where I am coming from...
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