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Geneticist awarded $1.53 million prize

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former Dominican priest who later became an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist and helped scientifically refute creationism with his research was honored Thursday with one of the world's top religion prizes.

Francisco J. Ayala, 76, a U.S. citizen originally from Spain, will receive this year's Templeton Prize, valued at $1.53 million, the John Templeton Foundation announced at the National Academy of Sciences.

"I see religion and science as two of the pillars on which American society rests," Ayala told the Associated Press, saying the United States is one of the world's most religious countries. "We have these two pillars not talking, not seeing they can reinforce each other."

Ayala is adamant that science and religion do not contradict each other.

"If they are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because science and religion concern different matters, and each is essential to human understanding," he said. Ayala is a top professor of biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

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Library to display letter from Salinger

BOSTON (AP) -- A letter sent by a young J.D. Salinger to Ernest Hemingway in 1946 will be put on public display for the first time at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

Salinger, who met Hemingway in Europe during World War II, closes the letter by telling Hemingway that their talks were the only "hopeful minutes" of his war experience.

The letter, available to scholars for years, is part of the Ernest Hemingway collection that has been kept in the JFK Library for 30 years. It will be displayed Sunday during presentation of the PEN/Hemingway Award, given annually to a first-time writer of fiction.

Library director Thomas Putnam said Salinger's recent death sparked new interest in the letter, in which the future "Catcher in the Rye" author discusses his own efforts at a literary career.

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