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.
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