Ayala was also ordained a Dominican priest in 1960, but left the priesthood that same year. Since then, he has been consistently stating that evolution is consistent with Christianity.
According to the March 26, 2010 Los Angeles Times article 'UC Irvine's Francisco Ayala wins Templeton Prize,' the researchers from the University of California at Irvine was awarded the 2010 Templeton Prize in recognition of 'achievements in affirming spirituality' and specifically on his achievements in evolutionary genetics and his studies into fundamental questions of life.
The $1.6 million prize awarded with the Templeton award will be given to charity, according to Ayala.
Dr. John M. Templeton Jr., who is the president of the John Templeton Foundation, praised Ayala's research, commented, on Thursday, March 25 during the announcement of the award, that: "Ayala's clear voice in matters of science and faith echoes the foundation's belief that evolution of the mind and truly open-minded inquiry can lead to real spiritual progress in the world.'
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The Los Angeles Times article states that, 'Ayala, 76, has been at the forefront of efforts to defend Darwin's theory from attacks by Christian fundamentalists, many of whom favor the notion of intelligent design, which is consistent with a literal reading of the biblical creation story and holds that the world is too complex to have evolved without oversight by a supreme being.'
Ayala is the author of "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion.' According to the LA Times article, within the book Ayala states it, ''¦ is possible to believe that God created the world while also accepting that the planets, mountains, plants and animals came about, after the initial creation, by natural processes."
A webcast of the announcement of the 2010 Templeton Prize can be found at http://www.templetonprize.org/.