The Templeton Prize is worth $2 million, intentionally more than the Nobel (about $1.5 million). The thought was that it would send the message that “spiritual” matters are worth more than “scientific.” The result, intentional or not, is an attempt to undermine science with religious superstition. Ironic, since the purported goals of the Templeton Foundation includes the reconciliation of science and religion. The foundation’s primary mission is to explore “the big questions” regarding the universe, life, and everything.
There have been many critics of the Templeton Prize, perhaps none so notable as Richard Dawkins, who wrote in The God Delusion this of Prize winner Paul Davies, author of The Mind of God
[It] seems to hover somewhere between Einsteinian pantheism and an obscure form of deism – for which he was rewarded with the Templeton Prize (a very large sum of money given annually by the Templeton Foundation, usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion).
Dawkins also criticizes the Templeton Foundations support of the 2006 study by Herbert Benson on the efficacy of prayer, which basically showed that there was no efficacy to prayer.The important point to this is that it shows that the Foundation’s goals do indeed include supporting religious superstition in spite of their repeated insistence that they “support” science and are not a religious organization.
Benson, H., et al. (2006) ‘Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients’, American Heart Journal 151 (4), 934-42.