Evolutionist Maynard Smith on Science and Religion

Maynard Smith

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Explore the views of British evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith on science, religion and the relationship between them

What are the differences between science and religion? How do you address creationism? Is religion useful, or harmful? John Maynard Smith (1920-2004) had a 50-year-long career in evolutionary biology and repeatedly engaged with these questions. Winner of the 1999 Crafoord Prize (biology's Nobel Prize-equivalent), he recently joined the ranks of eminent British scientists living on in the British Library through their archives.
Taking the collection as a starting point, Helen Piel discusses Maynard Smith's interest in and involvement in the science versus religion debate. Himself an atheist from a young age, he spoke on BBC school radio about Christianity and the natural sciences. He received and kept publications on creationism, and – on one occasion together with Richard Dawkins – debated ('dismembered', according to one commenter) creationists in public events. 
Helen Piel is currently completing a collaborative PhD on the History of Science, co-supervised by the University of Leeds and the British Library. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project explores the archive of John Maynard Smith, focusing on aspects of science communication and the history of twentieth-century evolutionary biology. 
Image: John Maynard Smith, ca. 1984. Copyright The University of Sussex


Name: Evolutionist Maynard Smith on Science and Religion
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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