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First Cause

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bluegray
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2009, 11:08:15 AM »

Saw this on psychohistorian.org:
Does the Universe need to have a cause?
NEW YORK, MARCH 12 – Michael (Michał) Heller, a Polish cosmologist and Catholic priest who for more than 40 years has developed sharply focused and strikingly original concepts on the origin and cause of the universe, often under intense governmental repression, has won the 2008 Templeton Prize.
A quick search failed to find much more on this. Anybody know more?
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ingwe
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2009, 17:11:46 PM »

I thought it had some connection to the DI (Discovery Institute) but can find no obvious links


Purpose:
The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Established in 1972 by Sir John Templeton, the Prize aims, in his words, to identify "entrepreneurs of the spirit"—outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to those aspects of human experience that, even in an age of astonishing scientific advance, remain beyond the reach of scientific explanation. The Prize celebrates no particular faith tradition or notion of God, but rather the quest for progress in humanity's efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine.

Men and women of any creed, profession, or national origin may be nominated for the Templeton Prize. The distinguished roster of previous winners includes representatives of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The Prize has been awarded to physicists, theologians, ministers, philanthropists, writers, and reformers, for work that has ranged from the creation of new religious orders and social movements to humanistic scholarship and research about the origins of the universe.

What these remarkable people have shared is a devotion to one or more of the Big Questions at the core of the John Templeton Foundation's mandate. All have been seekers of wisdom, humbled by the complexity of the human condition but determined, with their ideas and deeds, to chart fresh paths forward. Some Templeton laureates have demonstrated the transformative power of virtues like love, forgiveness, gratitude, and creativity. Others have provided new insights on scientific questions relating to infinity, ultimate reality, and purpose in the cosmos. Still others have used the tools of the humanities to provide new perspectives on the spiritual dilemmas of modern life. The Prize seeks and encourages breadth of vision, recognizing that human beings take their spiritual bearings from a range of experiences.

Criteria of Merit:
The qualities sought in a Templeton Prize nominee include creativity and innovation, rigor and impact. The judges seek, above all, a substantial record of achievement that highlights or exemplifies one of the various ways in which human beings express their yearning for spiritual progress. Consideration is given to a nominee's work as a whole, not just during the year prior to selection. Nominations are especially encouraged in the fields of:

Research in the human sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences.


Scholarship in philosophy, theology, and other areas of the humanities.


Practice, including religious leadership, the creation of organizations that edify and inspire, and the development of new schools of thought.


Commentary and Journalism on matters of religion, virtue, character formation, and the flourishing of the human spirit.
These fields do not exhaust the areas in which achievement might qualify for the Templeton Prize, nor is it necessary for a nominee's work to be confined to just one field.

Award:
The Prize is a monetary award in the amount of £1,000,000 sterling ($2,000,000 USD).


A list of previous winners is @ http://www.templetonprize.org/bios_recent.html

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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2009, 18:34:19 PM »

If the Templeton Foundation has any but the most indirect and obscure connection to any Creationist or Intelligent Design organisation, somebody would surely have weaselled it out by now.  Some of the Templeton Prize winners of the past are very respectable scientists (who, in the approximate words of Richard Dawkins IIRC, “didn’t say anything bad about religion”).

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scienceteacheragain
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2009, 11:26:18 AM »

Some respectable scientists may have won the prize, but the foundation itself is basically dedicated to blurring the line between science and "spirituality", which is not looked upon favorably by most scientists.
PZ (talking here about the second Beyond Belief conference)
Quote
The questions afterwards got a little heated, though, because both Atkins and Kroto said disparaging things about the Templeton Foundation — Jonathan Haidt accused them of "moralistic tribalism" and defended the Templeton because they had funded some of his research on moral psychology, and Michael Shermer sounded absolutely furious that people weren't appreciating the wonderful things the Templeton was doing. I think they're both full of crap: the Templeton funds stealth religion, and the good work they support is a façade to conceal their aims…an effective shield, if Haidt's and Shermer's responses are any measure.
and Jerry Coyne, among others, really seem to get annoyed with the foundation, but many do not say much about it but do not support it either.
I personally don't care much for the award since I think it is to placate people who are religous, but also believe that science is (at least mostly) correct.  While I don't believe we should be confrontational, I don't like endeavors that feel the need to use "mealy mouth" language and awards that are supposedly entirely scientific.
I can't find a good link to it yet, but the Templeton Foundation was supporting the DI at one stage, but dropped it.  Again, that is from memory, and with mine, it is lucky that I have that much.  I can't remember what the relationship actually entailed.
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2009, 11:53:26 AM »

Some respectable scientists may have won the prize, but the foundation itself is basically dedicated to blurring the line between science and "spirituality", which is not looked upon favorably by most scientists.
Sorry, perhaps I phrased my reply poorly.  I didn’t mean to suggest or imply that the Templeton Foundation commands general scientific respect or that it is an acknowledged scientific institution – quite the opposite.  My point was purely that, while sharing a basically anti-scientific agenda somewhat aligned with Creationism/ID, it has no easily detectable ties to Creationism and/or ID institutes.  The mention of some respectable scientists who have won its prize was meant to illustrate that separation because very few scientists feel comfortable being associated with something as overtly anti-scientific as Creationism and ID.

The morality of the Templeton Foundation is indeed a little tarnished.  In our view, it runs entirely counter to the spirit of free enquiry to attempt biasing scientific findings towards some preconceived ideas through promise of the possibility of a large financial reward at the end – a scurrilous approach that is reminiscent of some clinical trials conducted not too long ago and funded directly by large pharmaceutical concerns who expected (and got) the results they “paid” for.  One of the Templeton Prize’s most basic conditions is that it must always exceed in value that of the Nobel Prize.  Now why should that be?

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