The Templeton Prize is going to be awarded soon, and they’ve found a venue for it: the National Academy of Sciences. Please note that last word, science — the Templeton Prize has no connection to that subject. Previous winners include Mother Theresa, Chuck Colson, and Billy Graham — professional frauds. Richard Dawkins has an excellent piece on the subject.
The US National Academy of Sciences has brought ignominy on itself by agreeing to host the announcement of the 2010 Templeton Prize (see below). This is exactly the kind of thing Templeton is ceaselessly angling for – recognition among real scientists – and they use their money shamelessly to satisfy their doomed craving for scientific respectability. They tried it on with the Royal Society of London, and they seem to have found a compliant Quisling in the current President, Martin Rees, who, though not religious himself, is a fervent ‘believer in belief’. Fortunately, enough Fellows made a stink about it to ensure that the Royal will not flirt with Templeton in future. Now Templeton are apparently trying the same trick with the US National Academy. If you know any officers, or elected members, of the Academy, please write in protest.
That’s not my favorite part, though. The Templeton Foundation has invited people to guess who’s going to win.
Well, let’s all guess away to our heart’s content. Which leading scientist has done the most to betray science in favour of his imaginary friend? You can rule out the people they’d privately like to honor (such as Intelligent Design “theorists”) because that would go against the official policy of courting respectability among scientists. Nowadays they target genuinely good scientists (like Freeman Dyson, winner of the 2000 Templeton Prize), whose subversion provides more bang for the (mega)buck than primarily religious figures who happen also to be scientists. In the early days they didn’t even make a pretence of finding a scientist at all: the 1982 winner was the notorious creationist Billy Graham!
“Which leading scientist has done the most to betray science in favour of his imaginary friend?” is exactly the criterion they’ll use. In that case, the shoo-in would have to be Francis Collins. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ken Miller is solidly in the running, though, and if he doesn’t get it now, he probably will in the next few years.
I bet Michael Ruse lusts after that prize, but his drooling is just a little too obvious.