Begun in 1901, the Nobel Prize has been the highest honor for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature and peace. Economics was added as a prize in 1969.
The selection process has become political, as it was not given to Ronald Reagan or Pope John Paul II or to anyone who criticizes the theory of evolution. The Nobel Prizes for literature and peace are mostly given to outspoken liberals, such as Jimmy Carter.
In two cases, the Nobel Prize was denied to the person most responsible for the discovery apparently because they had been critical of the theory of evolution. No other plausible explanation has been advanced for these awards. British physicist and evolution-critic Fred Hoyle was the leader on the project recognized with a Nobel Prize, but he was omitted from the recipients. Raymond Damadian, another critic of the theory of evolution, invented the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner but was omitted from the award relating to that accomplishment.