The U.S National Academy of Sciences has agreed to rent out their lecture hall for the announcement of the 2010 Templeton Prize; cue much throwing of toys out of prams across the Dawkinisia-sphere. Richard Dawkins writes:
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.
Incidentally, look at the fatuous request in capital letters in the middle of the announcement: "If you guess the winner, please honor a strict embargo (you can't tell anyone) until 11.00 am on Thursday March 25th 2010." Embargo a guess? It is one thing to put an embargo on privileged information, but embargo a GUESS? Well, I suppose that is just another indication of the way a faith-head's mind works. Their whole world-view, after all, is founded on an inability to distinguish evidence from an ill-informed guess.
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.
Jerry Coyne on ‘Why Evolution is True’ wrote:
This is an outrage, of course, and shame on the National Academy for its implicit endorsement of religion. If they say, “Well, we rent our space to anybody,” then I look forward to seeing an adult film festival at the NAS. (speaking of which, he also posted this entertaining video)
I’m guessing that this year’s winner, based on the location, will be Francis Collins. Dear readers, do post your guess, and we’ll see how close we get. Runners-up may be Kenneth Miller, Karen Armstrong, John Haught, and Robert Wright.
I’ll go with Sir John T. Houghton as they haven’t yet appointed a climate scientist. Judging by past winners Conway Morris is too young, ditto Martin Nowak. Francis Collins is too high profile. Prof. Ernan McMullin could be an outside bet, but the last couple of winners weren’t particularly well known.
Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum