Discovery Institute: Francisco Ayala’s Templeton Prize

THE Templeton Prize has been awarded to Francisco J. Ayala. The news is everywhere, but here’s a good account at the website of The National Center for Science Education (NCSE): Ayala wins the Templeton Prize. One brief excerpt:

NCSE congratulates Francisco J. Ayala on winning the Templeton Prize. The prize, worth about $1.5 million, is awarded annually by the John Templeton Foundation to “a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

We’ve always liked Francisco Ayala, the former Dominican priest who is now a biology professor. Here’s something we wrote on him back in 2008: Francisco Ayala: Evolution and Creationism, and after that we wrote Charles Darwin, Francisco Ayala, and the Problem of Evil. In the latter post we quoted Ayala on what to us was a unique approach to an ancient theological problem:

“Natural selection is Darwin’s gift to science, his gift to religion,” Ayala said. “It made it possible to explain the dysfunction, the cruelty, the sadism of the way of life rather than the idea of a creator. It’s more the result of natural processes.”

Because Ayala is an outspoken opponent of creationism (and its jazzed-up version known as intelligent design), we’re delighted that he’s won the Templeton Prize. As we mentioned here, Discovery Institute: They Get No Respect!, the Templeton Foundation rejects creationism and ID. Our post has a link to a note at the Templeton website titled: “Does the John Templeton Foundation support intelligent design?” but that link isn’t working. Fortunately, we quoted its contents at our post.

The neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) are effectively locked out of ever winning a Templeton Prize, and they’re bitter at this rejection. They crave establishment recognition for their “science” and they’ll never get it.

We were wondering what their reaction would be to Ayala’s award. While everyone else has been posting congratulatory articles about Ayala and the prize, we’ve been waiting for the Discoveroids to speak — hoping that we could praise Ayala and take a jab at the creationists at the same time. Our patience has been rewarded.

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from “Smooth Words” from Francisco Ayala, which appears the Discoveroid blog. As a bonus, it’s written by David Klinghoffer. The bold font was added by us:

Francisco J. Ayala, biologist and former Dominican priest, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at $1.53 million, the prize has sought to reward serious thought, writing and research pointing the way to a reconciliation of science and faith. In Ayala’s case, for “science” read “Darwinism.” So a word or two is in order about the faith of Dr. Ayala.

Oooooh! “Darwinism.” Klinghoffer is upset. If you’re a Klinghoffer fan, you can click over to the Discoveroid site and read his entire post. But we’ll skip most of it and get right to the end:

Darwinism, if correct, obviates the need for a traditionally conceived Designer, working in any manner. That is the whole point of the theory. Ayala sees the merit of Darwinism, from a religious perspective, as lying in the fact that it would let God off the hook for aspects of nature that we perceive as flawed. Maybe, but it does so at the cost of emptying life of all divine intention, plan, purpose and meaning.

Hold on — just as we were going to press we noticed that they’ve posted another Klinghoffer hit piece at the Discoveroid blog: The View From Planet Ayala. Here’s one small excerpt we’ve selected because it will break every irony meter within a 50-mile radius. Remember — this is being said by a Discoveroid creationist about a respected biologist:

I mean no disrespect to Dr. Ayala, yet there is a sense in which he seems to be responding not to people and ideas as they are but to a construction in his own mind and of his own imagining.

Klinghoffer doesn’t like Ayala’s work. That’s okay. The Templeton Foundation does. And what we suspect really bothers Klinghoffer is that the Templeton Foundation has no use for what the Discoveroids do.

Afterthought: There’s yet another reason why the Discoveroids are hostile to Ayala. Part of their promotional mythology is that by battling “Darwinism” and “materialism” they’re heroically resisting the barbarian hordes of leftists and atheists. When someone comes along who is a living contradiction of their myth, they just can’t deal with it. But it’s fun to watch them squirm.

Update: See Answers in Genesis on Ayala’s Templeton Prize.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

7 responses to “Discovery Institute: Francisco Ayala’s Templeton Prize

  1. …obviates the need for a traditionally conceived Designer…it does so at the cost of emptying life of all divine intention, plan, purpose and meaning.

    I thought they were still trying to suppress their wedge document.

  2. dNorrisM, the Wedge Doc is just like all their other “facts.” When its useful, they take it out. When its embarrassing, they pretend it doesn’t exist. A useful skill when trying to make their imaginations real.

    Anyway, I think Ayala represents the DI’s worst nightmare. First, he’s a scientist and religionist and has no problems. Second, he points out the lie that science is trying to suppress anyone with religious ideas and instead rewards those with rational, useful ideas. And finally worse of all, he represents that science and religion aren’t at odds with each other, but can enhance each other. That’s enough to make all those Klinghoffers to run and hide under their covers.

  3. Albaneon, you’re right. I think that the DI and the old-school Biblical creationists hate theistic evolutionists and other science-religion compatibilists far more than the easily demonized “New Atheists.”

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    I think that the DI and the old-school Biblical creationists hate theistic evolutionists and other science-religion compatibilists far more than the easily demonized “New Atheists.”

    They’re competing for the same audience, that’s why. As Darwinian evolution tells us, the most intense competition comes from one’s own species.

    They want to get religious people by conflating evolution and atheism. You can see this dynamic in a lot of arguments, like those who conflate illegal with legal immigration.

  5. Well said, Gabriel, well said.

  6. By the by, it looks like no action was taken on the Kentucky antievolution bill, and this was the last day in the legislative session. I’ll wait for confirmation from the NCSE, but it’s looking good! Awfully thin year for antievolution bills…here’s hoping it’s a trend.

  7. James F says:

    By the by, it looks like no action was taken on the Kentucky antievolution bill, and this was the last day in the legislative session.

    It might be tomorrow. NCSE is in touch with these things. I’ll wait for them.