I am an inveterate listener to BBC Radio 4, especially the flagship Today programme. (Yes, I know Wogan's programme is on Radio 2 -- I listen to that sometimes, as well). In particular, I am always interested to hear scientific topics being addressed by John Humphrys, Sue MacGregor (now sadly retired), and the rest of the crew (despite the occasional inanity of the questions) and it is always good to hear my fellow scientists doing a good job of explaining their interests to 6 million radio listeners. And so, as the redoubtable John Humphrys introduced an item on cloning a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering which academic expert the Today programme researchers would have selected to discuss this scientifically -- and ethically -- challenging topic. Professor Steve Jones perhaps? Or that standard fallback "our science correspondant, Pallab Ghosh"? No, neither of the above -- instead the chosen expert was . . . Rael.
I normally avoid getting involved in discussion of religion in the context of skeptics and skepticism. The main reason for this is that I do not believe that there is necessarily any intrinsic conflict between a belief in one or more deities and a scientific approach concerned essentially with falsifiable phenomena. If someone's religious beliefs have no observable and testable consequences on the universe then, in a sense, they are of no interest to the scientist or the skeptic. Therefore, although I do not possess any myself, I do believe that it is possible to hold religious beliefs and, at the same time, to have a scientific and skeptical worldview. And, indeed, there are many people with religious beliefs that, in the main, do not contradict their rational worldview.