Mark Vernon of The Guardian commenting on Martin Rees winning the 2011 Templeton Prize:

imageWhen the cultural history of our times comes to be written, Templeton 2011 could be mentioned, at least in a footnote, as marking a turning point in the "God wars". The power of voices like that of Dawkins and Sam Harris – who will be on the British stage next week – may actually have peaked, and now be on the wane. Science could be said, in effect, to have rejected their advocacy. Rees brings a preferable attitude to the debate.

PZ Myers was upset by this. He didn’t fault Rees for accepting the award. He’s upset that it wasn’t him.

imageRemember William Skyvington,whose words about the Shroud of Turin on his blog caught my attention.

But there exist indeed hordes of crazy individuals—known as Roman Catholics—who are prepared to believe in such bullshit.

Remember, he suggested on his blog:

Maybe we’ll have a profound debate on my humble Antipodes blog about the alleged authenticity of the Turin Shroud.

Remember, he backed out as soon as I agreed to a debate. It bored him, he said. It was, to use a favorite word, “bullshit.”

Now he has written a posting on Martin Rees receiving the Templeton Prize. Frankly, it is the most interesting post on the subject that I have read.

And this self-proclaimed atheist has taken churchiness to its extreme limits by declaring that the Church of England is a "force for good", and that we should preserve the choral traditions and architectural legacy of Anglicanism. That’s crazy thinking, but brilliantly British! I would not hesitate in labeling Rees as a charming intellectual eccentric… but I prefer by far the healthy language of an authentic (non-eccentric) British intellectual such as Richard Dawkins, whose profound culture consists of dispensing with all convenient subterfuges such as churchy nostalgia. . . .

Today, we are all alarmed to discover that the good lord (Rees, not the other fellow) has apparently sold his soul to the US spiritual force of the Dollar Deity by accepting the notorious Templeton Prize . . . .

Skyvington is a dog person. So he has to be a nice guy. Right?

The offer to debate the Shroud of Turin still stands.