It was inevitable that the forces of religious irrationalism would return to their first target, i.e. physics.
A week or so ago I wrote up as an April Fool's joke a posting claiming that the Stanford theoretical physics group was joining a new Templeton foundation devoted to religion and science. At the time I had no idea of the degree to which Templeton-funded pseudo-science has infected mainstream cosmology. This joke turned out to be much closer to reality than I had imagined.
Read the whole thing, as they say. Woit has a larger point to make here, and I think it's a valid one: when theory runs so far ahead of testability as string theory currently is doing, and when "elegance" or mathematical "fruitfulness" becomes the determining factor of what constitutes good work, what is to stop others from adding in even more fanciful criteria of their own? The thing with string theory - with its compactified extra dimensions and its "landscape" - is that it throws the principle of economy straight out the window, which makes it hard to defend said principle when the Templeton types add on an unecessary hypothesis of their own in the form of "God."
I don't want to give the impression that I'm opposed to string theory, but from my vantage point as an outside observer, the whole field seems more fruitful as a source of new and interesting mathematics than as a means of obtaining deeper insight into the way in which our universe works. That an opening has been provided for Templeton and Discovery Institute types to buy themselves some unwarranted credibility is an unfortunate consequence of the incessant hyping of string theory as the theory of everything, rather than as just one research programme amongst others, and one which may well turn out to be a dead end.