Prize war

I made a belief claim, unsupported by evidence, in my piece on Martin Rees winning the Templeton Prize: ‘That such a highly regarded figure has received its premier prize will make it that little bit harder for Dawkins to sustain respect amongst his peers for his crusade against religion.’

An early piece of evidence is in, in the unexpected shape of a Guardian editorial (which I had nothing to do with, in case you read the comments – if only! And I thought such folk prided themselves on not being subject to conspiracy theories.)

Clever people are, if anything, especially prone to intellectual tunnel vision – recasting every discussion in terms of the one discipline they have mastered, with no regard for how ideas that enlighten in one context often make no sense elsewhere. The proselytising atheists rounding on the astronomer royal, Sir Martin Rees, for accepting a £1m award from an idiosyncratic foundation fall into a similar trap.

This is an editorial coming from a resolutely secular newspaper. It holds up a mirror to the ideology of scientism and finds the spectacle humanly wanting – which is striking again, as the ideology is typically championed in the name of humanism.