Could you tell me about the role of religion at home in your family?
Oh dear. [Sighs] Well I mean as Scouts one went to church for it and, ‘cause they were – somehow the things to do. I don’t think I ever found it very attractive and, you know, people were using all these wretched things, but when you sort of kept saying, ‘You use these three letters together, g-o-d, and I haven’t yet fathomed out what on Earth you mean by it, it doesn’t sort of, you know, it’s not a concept which somehow I’ve got any real control over.’ And then they just say, ‘Well forget all about that, you know, it will come, it will come.’ [Laughs] To which the answer of well it never does I think. That if you, if you think in the silly ways which I do, I guess it never comes at all. [Laughs] There’s no room for it.
What do you mean if you think in the silly ways that you do?
Well, you know, what is science all about? Science is thinking you know how things work. And so you make something work and it either works as you think it does, or it doesn’t work as you think it does, and now you move on. It’s no good sort of praying to God and if something doesn’t happen so, I mean this isn’t a test of anything. And so all the words which are being flung at you over the pulpit and so on, it might just as well be a meaningless noise, you know. You might as well stand up and say, ‘Blah blah blah.’ [Laughs]
How did your mother feel about your view, the way your views developed?
Oh I think she just hoped that someone who knew more about it than me would take me in hand [laughs] and put me right. [Laughs] Unfortunately we never found that sort of person. [Laughs] So she – I guess she just gave up on me in a sense, somewhat sadly. And I was somewhat sad too that I couldn’t, you know, I couldn’t really talk to her about it very much, because I could see it upset her and didn’t really seem the right thing to [laughs] – to do.