IN RESPONSE to Tom McCarthy’s question, do I think some scientists are motivated by their beliefs?
I think the broad answer has to be a tentative no. I have no desire to stoke up the religion v science debate again. It’s no surprise that scientists from religious eras would have been religious. Isaac Newton was also a devout alchemist. It’s no mystery that home-schooled Christian children might go on to university to become valuable players in science and remain Christian (in Prof Collins’ case). The contributions and works of these great inquisitive minds were in spite of their religiosity, and not because they simply accepted ‘God did it’ as an answer. I can’t know what it feels like to have faith, but I do know what it feels like to see people imposing their will on the rest of us and tearing the world to shreds every time I pick up a paper or switch on the television because of faith. What a beautiful place the world might be if everyone kept their religion private, then I could forget that I was ever an atheist at all.
P C Neilson, Dorset Crescent, Newport