Templeton Foundation

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  • 6 Apr 2010
    Michael Ruse

    Reconciling Science, Religion, and Awards Season

    Evolution, global warming, human cloning, abortion rights. The cultural and political debates playing out on today’s world stage invoke frenetically partisan passions, and yet they are symptomatic of a broader cultural rift: the division between Christianity and science. Michael Ruse, author of Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science, is a persistent figure on the frontlines of this divide. Negotiating the fine line between scientist and skeptic, Ruse pushes to show how it is possible for a believer of any faith to engage in an open and informed intellectual dialogue—for science and religion to coexist. He’s not alone. Over the weekend, Ruse blogged about the Templeton Foundation for The Huffington Post. The Foundation’s stated mission is “to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discovery in areas engaging life’s biggest questions. These questions range from explorations into the laws of nature and the universe to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity.” This year, the Foundation honored Francisco J. Ayala with its prize for “a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. It is the world's largest annual monetary award given to an individual, currently valued at 1,000,000 pounds sterling.” (Past winners included Mother Teresa and Chuck Colson, former Watergate burglar -turned- born-again Christian). Yet no worthy award presentation is without controversy! Read on as Ruse dissects the role of the Templeton Foundation in influencing debate today (“It is hardly too strong a term to say that it is an object of derision by many of today's scientists…”), and accusations against Ruse’s friend Francisco Ayala – called a “master of non-committal waffle” by Minnesota biologist P.Z. Myers.

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