The astronomer royal accepting the Templeton prize is a casual endorsement of all that is wrong with religionAs Mrs Merton knew, there are questions that answer themselves. "What first attracted astronomer royal Martin Rees to the £1m Templeton prize?" certainly looks like one of them. If an American charitable trust offered you a small fortune for "affirming life's spiritual dimension", you would need to check you had strong principles and a remarkably understanding partner before replying: "I have never been so insulted in my life."The reasons for the John Templeton Foundation's attraction to Lord Rees appear, if anything, more obvious.It is a well-endowed religious outfit, fed by the loot collected by the late Sir John Templeton, a ruthless financier with a pious streak.Initially, it made no secret of its admiration for clerical hucksters and dispensed prizes to the evangelical showman Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, who sought to wallow in...
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