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Lewis Wolpert

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UK Researcher

Wolpert is a Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College London.

In the March 9, 2001 edition of The London Times mentions that Wolpert had been named to a panel to select a 'Preacher of the Year' award sponsored by the paper:

"[Wolpert] agreed to judge the award because he believes 'religion is in our genes'. After abandoning God because he felt his prayers were not being answered, Professor Wolpert is writing a book, The Biology of Belief, in which he argues that religion is a biological trait that emerged as part of evolution.

[...]

"He said that his decision to become an atheist was purely pragmatic. 'I did believe in God as a child. I used to pray and he did not answer my prayers. My parents were quite religious. But it did not seem to make any sense to me. I would certainly not be converted by judging this award.'

"He said that he did not have much recent experience of listening to preachers but remembered what the preacher said to him at his bar mitzvah. 'He used the text: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? The difference between human beings and animals was that human beings had developed an understanding of cause and effect. 'Once there was a concept of cause, we needed to understand the causes of all the terrible things that happened to us. The most obvious thing to do was to invent God.'

"Although not religious himself, he said that research showed that people with faith did better in life."