I enjoyed this interview – thanks for providing the link. Have a quick question and comment about the material touch upon in the show.
Firstly, with regards to the topic of whether finding intelligence elsewhere in the universe would be a difficulty for religions to deal with; as someone who is completely on board with a universe with orderly, natural laws, the idea of God doing something completely different and specific to create life doesn’t fit well with my worldview. Therefore, I take the opposite pole, that if we were the only life anywhere in the Uni/Mulitverse, it would look like the project of conscious life was on the whole a fluke and probably not a main goal of the process. On the other hand, if intelligent life was in lots of places, it may lead to a bit more credibility to the idea that life is at least one of the things that the universe is and was “headed towards”, which then opens up the door to questions of meaning and purpose.
Secondly, Philip, you quoted the studies about scientists with religious beliefs. I have seen such numbers in a couple of studies and they seem to be fairly consistent – lower than the general populace but a significant percentage. I am wondering what your thoughts are about the study recently that showed the percentage of “elite scientists” (defined, I believe, by membership in the NAS) with belief in a personal God as being in single digits. What would cause such a huge drop-off in belief at that level? Surely the “regular” scientists are not stupid, but it does seem to be such a drastic change that there must be some reason behind it.
Finally, this may be more of a question for your publisher, but do you know if your two new books will have a Kindle version at some point?