Whose “squawk”?

It’s strange to see The Chronicle of Higher Education giving Carlin Romano space to promote the Templeton Foundation.

The Templeton Foundation, which specializes in prodding believers and nonbelievers to discuss such things in civilized ways, has published all sorts of booklets, like “Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?”…

That’s a very flattering way of describing what Templeton specializes in. To a less infatuated observer it looks more as if Templeton specializes in flattering its own self – as in the CHE blurb for Romano’s piece:

Carlin Romano, critic at large for The Chronicle Review, is a professor of philosophy and humanities at Ursinus College. This essay is adapted from a talk he gave this summer as a Templeton-Cambridge Fellow in Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge.

 See? To anybody who isn’t familiar with Templeton and its “Fellowships” that last bit sounds very very very ultra academic-prestigious. It’s Cambridge. It’s Cambridge twice, which must be twice as good as being Cambridge once. Plus it’s something else that sounds very dignified and prestigious too and it’s just because I don’t keep up that I don’t really know what it is, but being hyphenated with Cambridge and having temple in its name it’s obviously way important and rigorous and up there.

That’s how that works. Templeton “specializes” in locating itself in places like Cambridge so that the unwary will think that it has something to do with the eponymous university, and in giving out things called “Fellowships” so that the unwary will think that Templeton itself is kind of academic.

Romano, meanwhile, specializes in pejorative language.*

Before one gets edgy over Hawking’s latest ex cathedra squawk…Wittgenstein’s and Toulmin’s Cambridge antidote to Hawking’s smugness about God…

Is this the “discuss[ing] things in civilized ways” Romano had in mind?

*So do I, you might point out. Yes, but I don’t do it in the CHE, or about cosmologists.

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