Martin Rees, the former president of the Royal Society and master of Trinity College, Cambridge, was given the award for "exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension" through his research and writings on cosmology. Lord Rees of Ludlow, who has said he holds no religious beliefs, defended the prize on the grounds it was awarded by a foundation which has given money to fund important science projects at respectable research institutions, including Cambridge.This did not sit well several members of the scientific establishment:
Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, said the Templeton Foundation is "sneakier than the creationists" by introducing the idea of faith into a discipline where faith is anathema. "Religion is based on dogma and belief, whereas science is based on doubt and questioning. In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice," he said.Oddly, Coyne is correct here. Science, especially evolution, is demonized by many as being dogmatic and religious, yet Coyne is presenting it exactly as it is, a scientific discipline that proceeds along scientific principles. In other writings, it is clear that Coyne thinks that religion in general is a vice but that is not his point here.
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