imageI follow Richard Dawkins (pictured in blue shirt) in the news simply because he interests me and in his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, he has written about the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin including this:

The dating of the shroud remains controversial, but not for reasons that cast doubt on the carbon-dating technique itself. For example, the carbon in the shroud might have been contaminated by a fire, which is known to have occurred in 1532. I won’t pursue the matter further, because the shroud is of historical, not evolutionary, interest.

imageSo I noticed a long and interesting interview with Dawkins in the New York Times two days ago:

Professor Dawkins’s closest intellectual ally on progressive evolution and convergence is Simon Conway Morris (pictured in green shirt), the renowned Cambridge evolutionary paleontologist.

And Professor Morris, as it happens, is an Anglican and a fervent believer in a personal God. He sees convergence as hinting at a teleology, or intelligent architecture, in the universe. (emphasis mine)

Ask Professor Dawkins about his intellectual bedfellow, and his smile thins. “Yes, well, Simon and I have converged on the science,” he says. “I should think in the world there are not two evolutionary scientists who could rival each other in their enthusiasm for convergence.”

As to Professor Morris’s religious faith? “I just don’t get it.”

It helps to know who Morris is. According to the NNDB he is, indeed, an Anglican/Episcopalian and . . .

. . . a professor of evolutionary paleobiology at the University of Cambridge, best known in scientific circles for his research and writing about the Burgess Shale formation, a fossil field in mountains of British Columbia. He has taken a somewhat middle of the road position on creation, accepting evolution as scientific fact but arguing that convergent evolution (similar biological traits in unrelated lineages, or as Morris puts it, "Many different groups of plants have learned how to become trees") suggests the existence of a creator working through evolution. He has written that the presence of human beings, despite long odds against mankind’s existence, is a miracle, and humans "had to exist, exactly as we are." He also maintains that life on other planets is extremely unlikely, but that if such life forms exist the most evolved and advanced beings among them would be similar to humans on Earth.

It is an interesting article. I recommend it.