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Shame on the National Academy - Comments

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 1 by Steven Mading

And I thought it as bad enough that Francis Collins became head of the NiH. (And therefore in a very indirect way, sort of like my boss (or at least the grand-boss of the people who holds the purse-strings of my pay.)) This Templeton Prize bullshit is even worse.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 14:58:00 UTC | #451416

Bill3rd's Avatar Comment 3 by Bill3rd

Talk about filthy mammon!!! I can think of none more filthy...III

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:28:00 UTC | #451423

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

Francis Collins might be a shoo-in, especially since it's happening at the NAS...he is the poster-boy after all for scientists who believe. Robert Wright's been trying really hard lately, but still a long shot (although N. Iowa beat Kansas so who knows?).

I'd be better at making a list of scientists who WON'T be receiving the award. You know, the reputable ones.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:28:00 UTC | #451422

mmarchisin's Avatar Comment 4 by mmarchisin

Thank you sir for pointing this out. I live in America and I cannot believe the things that are happening here. It seems more people are becoming outspoken on topics like this, but I feel we are losing the battle against illogical nonsense. The Texas school board removes Thomas Jefferson from their studies of great political minds, which will most likely affect other school systems in the country. Who ever buys the most text books gets to control what goes in them. Anyway, I agree. Shame on the US National Academy of Sciences.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:35:00 UTC | #451424

LWS's Avatar Comment 5 by LWS

Richard, There is a claim that yet another famous Oxford Atheist A. J. Ayer, recanted on his deathbed:

Peter Foges

"An Atheist Meets the Masters of the Universe"

"Privately, and secretly, the story is more intriguing. On the day of that first “death” (the second and final one occurred eleven months later), Dr. George (attending physician) returned to Ayer’s bedside. “I came back to talk to him later that evening,” he told Cash. “Very discreetly, I asked him, as a philosopher, what was it like to have had a near-death experience? He suddenly looked rather sheepish. Then he said, ‘I saw a Divine Being. I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise all my various books and opinions.’

Please don't let us down when you go. I hope that Josh continues to have a video camera ready at all times.

Do you expect too much intellectual progress in the USA? Somebody is no doubt driving a car with a bumper sticker that says 'I'm a scientist and a Christian'.

The only way to put a stop to this is to outlaw faith schools and the initiation of defenseless children. I am feeling somewhat hopeful about the future as it seems that Roman Catholicism may be in its death throws. It will be the domino to knock out the others.

BTW Will you accept the invitation to attend the coronation of this year's winner?


Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:35:00 UTC | #451425

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 6 by Tyler Durden

Oh dear! The National Academy of Sciences?? Have they recently moved it to Texas?

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:40:00 UTC | #451428

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 7 by SaganTheCat


interesting article. no idea how true it is it does seem true that starving the brain of oxygen may lead to a damaged brain. maybe the article should read "brain damaged man believes in god"

always bloody christians though! never mind "take that atheists" what about "take that muslims"£ bit like Collins and his waterfall (as much proof of mohammed's divinity as jesus's IMO

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:54:00 UTC | #451434

GBile's Avatar Comment 8 by GBile

"Dear Colleague" ??

I wonder to whom these invitations have been sent.

I just made a guess and now I am going to pray that she will win.

Can I now attend the ceremony too ? I just sent an email to to find out. Must be interesting to see who shows up.

Well, ... maybe not.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:57:00 UTC | #451435

LWS's Avatar Comment 9 by LWS

CaptainMandate - I completely agree that the key phrases that start off the editorial are:

"elderly patient was admitted with pneumonia"

Dr George sees a "crumpled heap" and treats accordingly:

"Dr. George gave Ayer emergency oxygen and admitted him immediately to the intensive care unit, where his condition improved. “He would not have survived the day.”

Of course this is a story about a oxygen deprived brain dying. What on earth makes Oxford educated people proclaim that the ramblings of those who are dying or suffering dementia are evidence of spectacular and other world insight?

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:00:00 UTC | #451441

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by irate_atheist

Oh, FFS. Will the insanity never end?

Please, please, please, Richard. Tell me it will. *

* Yes, yes, yes, I know. But BEFORE our species is extinct.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:12:00 UTC | #451449

cristinabories's Avatar Comment 11 by cristinabories

Here is an address to which I intend to write 'a strongly worded' mail expressing how appalled I am with these bozos.
Suggest that other Americans in the forum follow suit.
Now I'm going to check what PZ is doing...

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:32:00 UTC | #451468

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins

Now I'm going to check what PZ is doing...
Jerry Coyne has posted on the matter here:


Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:40:00 UTC | #451473

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 13 by mirandaceleste

Definitely Collins. But oh, hey, I'd better "HONOR A STRICT EMBARGO" on my guess.

But I just thought of something- doesn’t the fact that Biologos is (at least in part) funded by a Templeton grant bring up a conflict of interest? I know that Collins resigned as president after he became head of the NIH, but he did start it and he still actively promotes their stated goals. Not that Templeton would let such a thing get in their way, but, still, it seems very sleazy and rather incestuous.

Oh, gee, I'm guessing again. I'd better remember to HONOR A STRICT EMBARGO on that.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:46:00 UTC | #451478

Mr. Davies's Avatar Comment 14 by Mr. Davies

I would bet on Simon Conway Morris, because only someone who can spend time in the bizarre wonderland of the Burgess Shale biota, yet still stick to the idea "the Creation (studies are )open-ended and endlessly fertile" (his quote from wiki) shows the kind of mental acrobatics and duplicity deserving of the Templeton Prize. Sad.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:10:00 UTC | #451516

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 15 by Stafford Gordon

GAG; "God's Applepolisher Guess" ; lovely!

On Jerry Coyne, read "Why Evolution is True" and die.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:24:00 UTC | #451525

PositiveAtheist's Avatar Comment 17 by PositiveAtheist

I was just on Youtube watching Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Free Market and Morality. When I was shocked to see a message at the beginning saying that the John Templeton Foundation is in partnership with! It was also interesting what Martin Rees had to say about Richard Dawkins on The Science Network. Something like don't alienate the moderates because we need them on our side when it comes to fighting the fundi's. But then I remembered Sam Harris and how moderation can foster extremists. So Rees also said that when one tells a Muslim to either choose Darwin or Allah, there is only going to be one winner. I guess this goes back to the Dawkins/Krauss conversation at the Aurora Forum.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:25:00 UTC | #451528

The Plc's Avatar Comment 16 by The Plc

Let me find some context, what is the Templeton society? Are they a creationist/psuedo-science group?

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:25:00 UTC | #451527

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 18 by mlgatheist

I called 202-334-2000 and explained what information I wanted and was transferred a couple of times and finally was able to ask the lady on the phone why they would give respectability to a group that either ignores or hates logic, science, and the scientific method and she stated that they were checked out and that they were a respectable philanthropic organization that supports the science she then gave me the following URLs to prove her point.

She also stated that allowing them the use of the facility does not give them any more respectability than they already have.

So now I wonder how much extra money they are paying the Academy for the use of their facilities.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:28:00 UTC | #451555

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 19 by Apathy personified

Epic fail.

Can I nominate the pope for the Templeton prize? He successfully combined a career in theology with the great arts and sciences of delusion and deception.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:43:00 UTC | #451561

ozturk's Avatar Comment 20 by ozturk

please honor a strict embargo (you can't tell anyone)

How unintelligent do they think the 'colleagues' they sent this to are? Not only have they demanded an embargo on the guesses (rightly ridiculed by Richard), but they have also carefully explained what an embargo is!

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 20:40:00 UTC | #451587

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 21 by William T. Dawkins

Hopefully! America’s distinguished alchemists, view this as a counterbalance to keep real science on it's toes.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:11:00 UTC | #451606

Scott_Cunning's Avatar Comment 22 by Scott_Cunning

Does the winner of the prize know he/she is receiving it beforehand? Is that perhaps a typo, If you are a guest of the winner ...

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:12:00 UTC | #451609

gumby gumby's Avatar Comment 23 by gumby gumby

I think Francis Collins should left science behind to become a pope.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:18:00 UTC | #451612

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 24 by the great teapot

I don't wish to spoil it but PaddyPower is paying out on Fred Phelps already.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 22:25:00 UTC | #451636's Avatar Comment 25 by

14. Comment #471638 by Mr. Davies on March 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

"the Creation (studies are )open-ended and endlessly fertile"

Hmmm, I would have thought that a professor at Cambridge would know how to spell 'futile' correctly.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 23:26:00 UTC | #451652

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 26 by Crazycharlie

Obviously the safe bet would be on Collins, (Frozen Waterfall Boy).

Incidentally, on crystal clear nights, far from city lights in northern Michigan, my home state, and also in the western United States, I've seen the Milky Way strewn across the sky like some spectacular diamond and light show. I've seen the Grand Canyon mid-morning on a haze-free day with the Sun burning thousands of brilliant colors into my brain. I've seen Bahamian beaches with blinding white talcum-powder sand leading up to electric, fluorescent, baby-blue bonefishing flats. And yes, I've seen frozen waterfalls in winter. I've seen these and other natural wonders that take your breath away, like everyone else here has I'm sure, and yet never once did I think there was some omnipotent force behind it all.

Collins says that on a hike in the wilderness he came upon a waterfall frozen in three streams, wich he took to represent the "Trinity".


But what if he had been walking a few days or weeks before or after that moment? Would the waterfall have been frozen in one stream, or two, or not frozen at all? What then of the "Trinity"?

I simply can't trust or take Collins seriously.

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 00:49:00 UTC | #451681

decius's Avatar Comment 27 by decius

My guess is on Conjob Morris.

He hypnotically delivers the highest ratio of woo masquerading as science - all commingled with legit paleontology into a foetid ex recto mush - making it hard for the layman to tell which is which.
He is also incredibly clever at dissimulating quasi-presuppositional doctrines as philosophical ratiocinations.

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 01:08:00 UTC | #451686

MauiHorse's Avatar Comment 28 by MauiHorse

That the NAS has agreed to host the announcement of the 2010 Templeton prize is indeed a joke, but I’m somewhat taken aback by Richard’s (and others on this board) hostility towards Francis Collins. Silly religious beliefs aside, Collins is a genuine, intelligent scientist. And I have to think that if he applied the same rigor to checking the veracity of the assertions made by his religion’s holy book as he does with his science, he would renounce his Christianity. He accepts the fact of evolution and even goes as far as trying to explain to Christian readers of his book why they are barking up the wrong tree when they deny the evidence for evolution.

By all means, ridicule the NAS’ decision. Ridicule Collins’ religious beliefs. But don’t ridicule Collins the scientist.

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 01:12:00 UTC | #451687

caradoc's Avatar Comment 29 by caradoc

To be fair to collin's I was walking through the bush and stubbed my toe three times, I was nearly converted to religion for in my toe based agony I cried aloud: "Jesus Christ!" spontaneously! Explain that science! Ha!

Seriously though - these people have been supping some seriously strong cordial.

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 01:13:00 UTC | #451688

Akaei's Avatar Comment 30 by Akaei

My email to the NAS ( &

Is it true that the NAS is going to desecrate itself by hosting the Templeton prize? We can't blame the religious organization (John Templeton Foundation) for seeking any means available to legitimize itself. But as the NAS is intended to rise above ideological concerns in pursuit of truth, this association with the Templeton Prize can only tarnish its (NAS's) image and credibility. Sure, it's a lot more than thirty silver pieces but betrayal of principle cannot be concealed by curtain of cash.

Cancel now, due to irreconcilable ideological differences. The NAS has the option of doing the right thing. It may be costly but the cost of scandal is higher. Redemption, after the fact, cannot be bought.

Please correct this egregious error.

Thank you for your consideration,
Thomas Ray

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 02:11:00 UTC | #451696