Michael Heller, this year’s Templeton Prize winner, may be more willing to merge science and religion than many scientists are, but he’s no pal of ID. In a statement at the press conference announcing the award, he explained:
Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. They claim that scientific theories, that ascribe the great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes, should be replaced, or supplemented, by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. Such views are theologically erroneous. They implicitly revive the old manicheistic error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter; in this case, chance and intelligent design. There is no opposition here.
Heller is a Catholic priest and a professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Krakow, so he ought to know something on the subject.
The Templeton Prize is a $1.6 million prize, given to promote a vision of the compatibility of science and religion. That work has come in for criticism when it seemed like they were looking for scientific proof of theological claims, and for accepting almost any sort of invocation of the anthropic principle as if it were theologically relevant.
Templeton backed ID early on, but has since sworn it off. In a statement, they explained:
The John Templeton Foundation does not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge. In addition, we do not support political agendas such as movements to determine (one way or the other) what qualified educators should or should not teach in public schools.
When Templeton offered a chance for IDolators to apply for research grants, “they never came in,” explained Templeton’s Charles L. Harper. “From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.