Posts Tagged ‘ The Templeton Foundation ’

Because of Templeton

May 12th, 2013 11:31 am | By

Brian Leiter hosted a discussion of the Templeton Foundation the other day.

Jason Stanley (Rutgers, moving to Yale) started a lively discussion on Facebook with this comment, which he gave me permission to repost here:

Because of Templeton, we may expect a huge number of papers and books in our field taking a religious perspective at the very least extremely seriously. This is not why I entered philosophy, and it is incompatible with my conception of its role in the university. I will not take any money from Templeton or speak at any Templeton funded conferences. Reasonable people may disagree, but I hope there are others who join me in so doing.

In the discussion that followed, the neuroscientist John

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Progress in fundamental ontology

May 9th, 2013 12:38 pm | By

Hey remember the Templeton Foundation? Sean Carroll says (not for the first time, but perhaps hoping it will be for the last) what he thinks of it.

I don’t think that science and religion are reconciling or can be reconciled in any meaningful sense, and I believe that it does a great disservice to the world to suggest otherwise.

That’s all I need to know. Next subject?

No seriously. There’s more. The question is just how nefarious Templeton is.

I don’t see much evidence that the JTF is actively evil, in (say) the way the Discovery Institute is evil, actively lying in order to advance an anti-science agenda. The JTF is quite pro-science, in its own way; it’s

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The notion Lord Rees so casually endorses

Apr 10th, 2011 11:21 am | By

Nick Cohen is not unduly impressed by the Templeton Foundation.

Initially, it made no secret of its admiration for clerical hucksters and dispensed prizes to the evangelical showman Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, who sought to wallow in Calcuttan poverty rather than end it. Now it has moved upmarket and seeks to reward intellectuals who allow religion to scrape an acquaintance with science; who imply, however vaguely, that evidence-based research and ancient fable are compatible.

That’s the one. I point this out because the gnu-haters have been so energetically defending it in the past few days – I want to underline the fact that Nick is not an ally in that project.

Rees is not, Nick points out, actually religious.… 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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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.

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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

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

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

You get what you pay for

Apr 6th, 2011 12:19 pm | By

Jerry Coyne’s take on the Templeton Prize is slightly different from Mark Vernon’s.

Templeton plies its enormous wealth with a single aim: to give credibility to religion by blurring its well-demarcated border with science. The Templeton Prize, which once went to people like Mother Teresa and the Reverend Billy Graham, now goes to scientists who are either religious themselves or say nice things about religion.

That’s why it really is a form of bribery. It’s open, transparent, accountable bribery, as opposed to back-room under the table bribery, but it is bribery: the prize rewards a predetermined ideological viewpoint, as opposed to research or inquiry or art. It rewards various versions of the claim that religion and science somehow work … Read the rest

A turning point in the god wars

Apr 6th, 2011 11:34 am | By

Mark Vernon is excited that Martin Rees won the Templeton Prize. He sees it as deliberate revenge for something Richard Dawkins said.

Last year, Dawkins published an ugly outburst against the softly spoken astronomer, calling him a “compliant Quisling” because of his views on religion. And now, Rees has seemingly hit back. He has accepted the 2011 Templeton prize, awarded for making an exceptional contribution to investigating life’s spiritual dimension. It is worth an incongruous $1m.

Funny kind of hitting back – it’s not as if Rees awarded himself the prize. It’s also not as if accepting the prize is a way to rebut what Dawkins said. As a matter of fact, it’s more like agreement … Read the rest

A category to watch out for

Jul 6th, 2010 12:51 pm | By

Mano Singham noted, in his CHE piece “The New War Between Science and Religion,” that

the National Academy of Sciences have come down squarely on the side of the accommodationists…In a 2008 publication titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism, the NAS stated: “Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. … Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways.

I notice an omission in that passage – a significant omission. It says supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science, but it doesn’t go on to say that they can be investigated … Read the rest

Those who can’t, give a “boot camp”

May 23rd, 2010 5:39 pm | By

Hmm. I see where Chris Mooney says he is

giving a four hour “boot camp” on science communication to a group of graduate students and other interested parties. The session begins with an overview of the “theory” of science communication–why we must do it better, what the obstacles are, and how a changing media environment makes it much tougher…Then, the session goes into a media “how to”–rules for interacting with journalists, media do’s and don’ts, and an overview of various key communication “technologies,” such as framing.

Interesting, but one question that occurs to me right away is what makes anyone (including Mooney) think Mooney is the right person to teach anyone how to communicate? He’s strikingly bad at it himself. … Read the rest