Peter Atkins

Let's talk about your book Galileo's Finger. Can you tell me about the title and what it represents?
You've written that "natural selection is essentially unpredictable because it is the outcome of sometimes competing tendencies and adaptations that at first sight may be advantageous remain unachievable." Can you explain?
In your book Galileo's Finger, I was surprised to find a list of arguments against creationism. If creationism isn't science why bother addressing it at all?
Beyond the intellectual aspects, are there more tangible dangers in having a large segment of the population that doesn't accept evolution?
In your book you point out that "Darwin and his contemporaries...knew nothing about the nature of heredity" Can you explain how the emergence of genetics helped strengthen and support the theory of evolution?
At the end of your chapter on DNA in Galileo's Finger, you mention that we shouldn't "waste our aspirations in petty squabbles that stem from the difference of a few letters in our genes." Obviously, you see understanding genetics as a potentially unifying force, can you elaborate on this?

Peter Atkins began his academic life as an undergraduate at the University of Leicester, and remained there for his PhD. He then went to the University of California, Los Angeles as a Harkness Fellow and returned to Oxford as lecturer in physical chemistry and fellow of Lincoln College in 1965, where he has remained ever since, now as professor of chemistry. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom (Leicester), the Netherlands (Utrecht), and Russia (Mendeleyev University, Moscow) and has been a visiting professor at universities in France, Japan, China, New Zealand, and Israel.

Future of Science

There of Science conference was held in Venice, Italy in September of 2006. Peter Atkins, Daniel Dennett, Marc Hauser, and Ian Tattersall were interviewed at this the Second World Conference. The theme was evolution and as the organizers themselves state:

Evolution is a central concept in many spheres of human endeavour, ranging from astrophysics and genetics to philosophy and psychology. Reflection about evolution is reflection about ourselves, our future and our place in the universe.

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