I'm always feeling like I'm lacking wisdom. This reassurance that one can ask God for that and it will happen is certainly reassuring to me.
Again, I find that happens by getting into a prayerful attitude towards God. I've never heard God speak out loud. That has not been my own experience. But oftentimes, when I'm struggling looking for an answer, looking for a wise approach to a difficult problem, a prayer seems to get me there in a way that's hard to describe. It's not the sort of thing that a nonbeliever can quite grasp. But for those of us who are believers, I think that is what prayer is all about.
The cover of your book looks like a strand of DNA made into a stained-glass window. Is that what it's meant to be?
Absolutely. It was inspired by a pair of images that I often use when I'm talking to groups about science and faith. [The images] compare what you see when you look at the rose window in Westminster Cathedral and what you see when you look at DNA. Imagine that you're looking down the barrel of the double helix. It gives you this beautiful circular pattern which has a remarkable similarity to a circular stained glass window in a church.
What do you wish religious people knew about scientists, and what scientists knew about believers?
Scientists see sometimes a caricature of what belief is about. They draw the conclusion that belief is something that is arrived at purely by emotion. They don't perceive the notion that faith can be a completely rational choice, as it was for me.
Just as scientists sometimes are exposed to caricatures of religious people, I think religious people oftentimes have a view of scientists that is based upon certain extremists. Forty percent of scientists are believers in a personal God to whom one can pray and expect an answer. That's proven by various surveys.
We need all kinds of ways of knowing. We need all kinds of ways of speaking the truth. Science is one way. Faith is another. They are not really about opposite things. They're about different ways of answering the most important questions.