Are you a scientist who could use $1.4 million? All you have to do is act like your discoveries suggest religion may be on to something, and you could one day be the winner of the Templeton Prize, the annual award given out to the people who have done the most to confuse people about reality.
This year’s winner, announced today, is Marcelo Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College.
Gleiser, whose full title is Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., won the honor for being “a prominent voice among scientists, past and present, who reject the notion that science alone can lead to ultimate truths about the nature of reality,” the foundation said Tuesday in announcing the award. “Instead, in his parallel career as a public intellectual, he reveals the historical, philosophical and cultural links of being alive.”
So… what contributions has he made to show that God, not science, has something to do with the world around us?
He hasn’t. There isn’t any evidence of that. Instead, he’s just really good at trashing outspoken atheists and then saying any gaps in our scientific understanding of the world could maybe be filled with supernatural explanations.
While Gleiser describes himself as an agnostic, he is an avowed critic of atheism.
“I see atheism as being inconsistent with the scientific method as it is, essentially, belief in nonbelief,” Gleiser said in a 2018 interview in Scientific American. “You may not believe in God, but to affirm its nonexistence with certainty is not scientifically consistent.”
That’s the sort of ignorance that wins you $1.4 million.
Atheists don’t say God absolutely doesn’t exist. Rather, we say that there’s no evidence for God’s existence. You show me some, and I’ll consider it. No one categorically rejects the possibility — certainly not among the most prominent advocates for atheism.
He also said, “I’ll keep an open mind because I understand that human knowledge is limited.”
Oh, come on. Yes, knowledge is limited. It doesn’t mean we need to fill our minds with bullshit. Science remains the best method to discovering the truth as far as evidence can take us. It’s foolish to think science can answer everything, but no one actually believes it will. Gleiser takes that and runs off a cliff with it.
In a videotaped acceptance of the award, Gleiser said the “path to scientific understanding and scientific exploration is not just about the material part of the world.
“My mission is to bring back to science, and to the people that are interested in science, this attachment to the mysterious, to make people understand that science is just one other way for us to engage with the mystery of who we are.”
The Templeton Foundation noted that through the years, Gleiser has become skeptical of pronouncements that “physics has solved the question of the universe’s origin. He also increasingly rejected the claims of fellow scientists who asserted the irrelevance of philosophy or religion.”
If all that sounds fancy, here’s the gist of it: Science alone doesn’t answer questions about how we ought to live, what a discovery means, or why things happen the way they do. There’s a place for philosophy and ethics. There are debates to have over how far we should go with science. But none of that means that a Higher Power, who arbitrarily answers prayers and takes a deep interest in everyone’s sex life, plays a role in any of it. Gleiser doesn’t say that, though. He just says science isn’t enough… and then lets religious people fill in the blanks.
That’s the sort of academic malfeasance that earns you big bucks from Templeton.
I would love to hear one conclusion about religion or God that Gleiser has found through his research that we didn’t know beforehand. (Spoiler: You won’t find it.) Instead, he just uses vague language to suggest religion has a place at the table when it comes to understanding the world. He confuses a lens with the whole damn microscope. And like so many others, he will get a lot of money for that obfuscation.