At the Science and Religion Forum meeting in Birmingham (UK) this week, the subject will be 'the place of humans in the universe'. As this piece in the Guardian noted last week, the number of scientists that have religious beliefs is surprisingly high. For example "In the US, according to a survey published in Nature in 1997, four out of 10 scientists believe in God" [although in the total population it's more like eight out of 10].
So at what point do these supposedly logical scientists fall back on myth and superstition to explain the problems they feel science leaves unsolved? Here's one answer, from Colin Humphries, Baptist and professor of materials science at Cambridge:
"I think you can explain the universe without invoking God at all. And you can explain humans without invoking God at all, I think. But where I differ from the people who say, OK, the universe started with a big bang - if it did, it's not too sure but let's say it did - and everything else was chance event, then I would say that God is the God of chance and He had His plan and purpose, which is working out very subtly, but through these chance events."
And here's another, from Russell Stannard, Reader for the Church of England, contributor to Thought For The Day, and emeritus professor of physics at the Open University:
"I would say that God does take a personal interest in us. If you were allowed one word to describe God by, that word would be love. That does not come from evolution by natural selection, it seems to come from somewhere else, and the whole idea of morals does not naturally arise out of evolution."