Profound insights vital questions spiritual progress

The dear Templeton Foundation itself knows why it gave the gong to Martin Rees. It’s because he is

a theoretical astrophysicist whose profound insights on the cosmos have provoked vital questions that speak to humanity’s highest hopes and worst fears, has won the 2011 Templeton Prize.

Insights, which are more spiritual than research, or equations, especially when they’re profound insights. And if they speak to (what? what does that mean?) humanity’s highest hopes and worst fears (what do they say when they speak to them?) then those insights are a red-hot ticket to Templeton’s version of the genius grant.

But what does it actually mean? How do his “profound insights” about the universe speak to our hopes and fears? Is it just…you know…the universe is very big and full of surprises so…well that’s it really – ? Or is it something more…definite. If anybody knows, fill us in.

In turn, the “big questions” he raises – such as “How large is physical reality?” – are reshaping crucial philosophical and theological considerations that strike at the core of life, fostering the spiritual progress that the Templeton Prize has long sought to recognize.

What theological considerations? How are the questions reshaping them? How do the considerations “strike at the core of life”? How does that striking “foster spiritual progress”? What is “spiritual progress”?

This all looks, to the untutored observer like me, like pure bullshitting. It looks like empty word-spinning that means simply nothing at all. I think if it actually meant something they would have managed to say a little about what that was.

Sean Carroll is not bowled over.

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