Well, I’m no longer alone in having refused to speak at an event sponsored by the insidious John Templeton Foundation. Several of us got a report from Richard Dawkins this morning, who is at the Darwin bicentenary celebration at Cambridge University:
Robert Hinde is the elder statesman of the science of Ethology and one one of the most respected figures in British biology. I just met him at the big Cambridge Darwin Festival. Robert had agreed to speak in one of the sessions on ‘Religion and Science’ but withdrew on learning that it was sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. He is now even more respected among British biologists.
Hinde is indeed a famous guy, author of several well respected books on animal behavior, and well known to me as the guy who, with J. Fisher, first described how British tits learned to open milk bottles, and how that behavior spread through learning.
Yes, those religion symposia (there were two, one for scientists, the other for theology types) sounded a bit fishy to me, peopled as they were with accommodationists. You can bet your bippy that while there were several talks adumbrating compatibility between Darwinism and faith, there were none saying the opposite. Thanks, Templeton — you’ve done it again.
The curious thing, as P. Z. Myers reports on Pharyngula, is that while the sponsorship of this symposium by Templeton was well known, it wasn’t advertised on the Cambridge University conference site. Is this “stealth sponsorship”? Does Templeton have something to be ashamed of?