Implicit Religion, Vol 11, No 2 (2008)

Religion under Siege: a Scientific Response: A Lecture given to the Alister Hardy Society meeting at Oxford, 1 December 2007

David Hay
Issued Date: 29 Aug 2008


Last year, shortly before he published The God Delusion, I went to see Richard Dawkins in the Zoology Department in Oxford. I was gathering material for my biography of Alister Hardy and it so happened that Hardy had been head of the Zoology Department when Dawkins arrived there as an undergraduate in 1959. Both were advocates of evolution by natural selection, Hardy defending religion, and Dawkins attacking it on biological grounds drawn from Darwin. Hardy’s deeply religious nature and the juxtaposition with Dawkins’ atheism looked as though it might provide a good story for inclusion in my biography. If I was expecting fireworks, I didn’t get them. Richard remembered Alister as a very loveable man, which indeed he was, and claimed to be entirely unaware of his religious interests. He certainly makes no reference to his old professor in The God Delusion. That is an unfortunate omission, for it means that he never discusses Hardy’s important contribution to the empirical investigation of the biological roots of religion.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.v11i2.143


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