Archive for April 2011

Bill allowing teachers to challenge evolution passes *

Apr 9th, 2011 | Filed by

The Tennessee House of Representatives passed HB 368, a bill that “encourages science teachers to explore controversial topics without fear of reprisal.”… Read the rest


Apr 9th, 2011 10:40 am | By

So what’s Templeton up to besides giving a wad of cash to Martin Rees for saying “religion is all right I suppose now please excuse me I have better things to do”?

Well, it’s up to asking silly questions like “Is There a Link Between Spiritual Growth and Academic Performance at College?” It’s up to funding people who investigate such questions by way of research on “spirituality in higher education.”

In 2003, we began a seven-year study examining how students change during the college years and the role that college plays in facilitating the development of their spiritual and religious qualities. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation, “Spirituality in Higher Education: Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose,” is the

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Their dinner with Sam *

Apr 9th, 2011 | Filed by

Is it possible to think of an example of an act that everyone would consider moral that unquestionably decreases well being?… Read the rest

Profound insights vital questions spiritual progress

Apr 8th, 2011 4:23 pm | By

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 … Read the rest

Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen

Apr 8th, 2011 3:17 pm | By

Dan Jones, also in the Guardian, also reacting to the atheist reaction to the Templeton prize, is slightly less belligerent than Michael White. Only slightly though.

Unlike Coyne, however, I don’t see a bogeymen round every religious corner, and I don’t feel compelled to denounce the Templeton Foundation as a enemy of science.

Only very slightly. It’s not a matter of bogeymen and it’s not every corner.

I say to Coyne: “Show me the money!” – where is the evidence that the mere existence of Templeton, and the facts of its funding activities, have corrupted science in any sense?

I offered some evidence in a comment.

Take a good close look at Templeton-funded BioLogos, for a start.

Read the rest

Victor Stenger on the contingency of convergence *

Apr 8th, 2011 | Filed by

Purpose remains a major area of conflict between religion and science. Religion claims the universe has a purpose, but no scientific evidence supports this yearning.… Read the rest

Buy Lady R some ribbons

Apr 8th, 2011 11:46 am | By

Sometimes – in fact often – the sheer vulgarity is surprising.

Brilliant scientists at some of our great seats of learning, men whose lives are devoted to the rational pursuit of knowledge, turn out to be capable of as much intolerance and stupidity as the rest of us.What have they done this time? They’ve hurled abuse and reproach on Lord Rees of Ludlow…a meteor shower of abuse descends upon his head.

I’m more puzzled by this kind of abusive behaviour than I am surprised. Deep down, we all know that great men of science can be as petty and spiteful…as politicians, footballers or captains of industry.

He seems to think all scientists are men, which is clueless and inattentive as … Read the rest

More Guardian “why are atheists so cross?” *

Apr 8th, 2011 | Filed by

Intolerance, stupidity, abuse, abusive, petty, spiteful, militant atheist, professional atheists, take Lady R on a shopping spree, blowhards, arrogant, men of faith.… Read the rest

Kylie Sturgess talks to Tim Minchin *

Apr 8th, 2011 | Filed by

“Christianity is still around because people have had self interest and have promoted it, the same way you promote Coca-Cola.”… Read the rest

Templeton is not either an enemy of science *

Apr 8th, 2011 | Filed by

“Unlike Jerry Coyne, I don’t see a bogeymen round every religious corner.” So there nyah.… Read the rest

Templeton: the Guardian fights back *

Apr 8th, 2011 | Filed by

Tunnel vision, proselytising atheists, metaphors, Newton’s religion, Einstein’s God of sorts, book-promoting blathering of Stephen Hawking, nuance.… Read the rest

Duty is peremptory and absolute

Apr 7th, 2011 4:28 pm | By

Well one good thing is, the Templeton prize is being treated as controversial. The Guardian, the Independent, Radio 4, Science – they all treat it as controversial. That makes a change!

The critics have gotten through at last. That makes a change, and a very good one.

Jerry Coyne is a little tired of being the go-to dissenter. Hmph – too bad. It’s his duty. He’s good at it, so that makes him the go-to guy, so it’s too late to be tired of that now.… Read the rest

Controversial Templeton prize is controversial *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

The controversial Templeton Foundation has awarded its controversial prize to an agnostic; that’s controversial.… Read the rest

Salil Tripathi on banning books *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

Narendra Modi decided to defend Gujarat’s pride and banned Lelyveld’s biography of Gandhi. He hadn’t read it, but that’s the nature of fundamentalists.… Read the rest

A good listen

Apr 7th, 2011 11:26 am | By

Do listen to Lewis Wolpert and Peter Atkins and the matey Today presenter whose voice I don’t recognize, talking about the Templeton Prize. It’s just Wolpert and the presenter at first and it’s all quite cozy, with Wolpert agreeing that religion is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere, and saying that he doesn’t know enough about the Templeton Foundation to know if it’s a problem or not. But then at the end Peter Atkins joins in and it becomes a matter of Atkins and Wolpert agreeing while the presenter gets all squeaky in the voice.

“The Templeton Foundation is an insidious foundation which is trying to insert itself into all kinds of rational bodies,” says Atkins.

“But,” the … Read the rest

Lewis Wolpert and Peter Atkins on Templeton prize *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

“But does all religion necessarily undermine rationality?” “Oh, absolutely.”… Read the rest

Kadyrov is turning the clock back in Chechnya *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

Women face coercion to wear hijab as part of a “virtues” campaign, men are allowed polygamous marriage and alcohol is forbidden.… Read the rest

Ronald de Sousa on the problem with the sacred *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

A rational mind has room for conviction, commitment, passion, perhaps even for parochialism and bias. But not for the sacred.… Read the rest

HRW to Libya: allow Eman al-‘Obeidy to leave Tripoli *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

Al-‘Obeidy says she has tried to leave Tripoli three times since she first told journalists about the rape on March 26, but was stopped by government forces.… Read the rest

Record number of German Catholics quit church *

Apr 7th, 2011 | Filed by

50,000 more Catholics cancelled their church membership last year than in 2009, an increase of 40 percent.… Read the rest