Today marks the passing of a great man, Sir John Templeton, founder of the Templeton Prize that gives an annual $1.4 million award to those who try to reconcile religion and science.
On the one hand, I have enormous respect for people like Sir John who encourage debate and enquiry. It is such a refreshing contrast to the more typical closed-mindedness of so many religions and religious leaders. Sir John should be an example to all religious people: Don't be afraid of knowledge!
On the other hand, I find it sad that Sir John set out on an impossible quest. It doesn't matter how much money you throw at the problem of reconciling God's existence with science. The two are simply incompatible. It would have been so much better if Sir John's prize money were directed at a truly useful problem, such as overpopulation, energy, medicine, or child abuse. These problems are real, and have real solutions. It's too bad the Templton Foundation doesn't reward those who contribute to genuine advances in human knowledge, who solve real problems that have real benefits.