The Nation report on Templeton

Nathan Schneider has just written a long investigative piece for The Nation on the John Templeton Foundation.  I have barely had time to skim it, as I have duties in the UK, but if you’re interested in the nefarious JTF this is de rigeur.    I’ll post more on it later.

16 Comments

  1. Posted June 4, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Great stuff.

    When Templeton first financed Larson’s NIHR in the early 1990s, the number of medical schools with courses on religion could be counted on one latex glove. Now, according to Dr. Christina Puchalski of the Templeton-funded George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, three-quarters of US medical schools have brought spirituality into their curriculums.

    Gee, thanks!

    • Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      And thanks for your excellent recent piece on Templeton, Ophelia!

  2. Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Not to mention what it’s done to the field of mental health counseling.

  3. Jonn Mero
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Looking back, what has the Templeton Foundation’s contribution been to advance science and knowledge?
    Fuck all, by the sound of it!
    If anything, it has made some former proper scientists into prostitutes. And that is hardly a glorious achievement!

    • Screechy Monkey
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Well, the Templeton Foundation did fund that study on the effectiveness of prayer that showed no positive effect on patient outcomes.

      Somehow I suspect that Templeton won’t make that mistake again!

  4. Mike from Ottawa
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    “If anything, it has made some former proper scientists into prostitutes. And that is hardly a glorious achievement!”

    Not something either the article or the poster provides any evidence for. And I thought you ‘new atheists’ were all about the evidence.

    • articulett
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      The evidence has been discussed many times on this blog and others, however, I wouldn’t expect a faitheist to understand the evidence.

      When one gets money to promote faith based thinking over evidence based thinking, they are prostituting their integrity. There is no evidence that there are “other ways of knowing” though the Templeton fellows (and, no doubt, folks like you) pretend otherwise.

      Templeton is really asking that scientists coddle religious woo as if it wasn’t woo the way way all other supernatural claims and pseudoscience is woo. They want some brands of superstition off limit to scientists. We can dismiss demons and curses, but not gods and souls. Yet there is no more evidence for the latter than the former. Why promote such fuzzy thinking. It’s dishonest.

    • artikcat
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      arent we all?

    • Insightful Ape
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Evidence?
      Ever heard of the guy named Francisco Ayala? He is exhibit A.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted June 5, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      Mike from Ottawa
      Posted April 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

      … It would be convenient if we could ascribe everything to a cover-up by someone else, but the lack of public awareness owes more to our own difficulty dealing with rape even today.
      Where is your ‘evidence’ for this assertion? And I thought you ‘new trolls’ were all about the evidence?

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    (bottom, pg 3):

    1) [Templeton] once mused, “Could even [? - in addition to who else?] atheists, who deny the reality of a personal God, begin to worship fundamental reality…”

    Aside from the worship part, hasn’t fundamental reality, as in that for which evidence exists, always been the foundation of our whole argument? And (1a) if the pursuit of fundamental reality was what JT was after, why are awards being made to people like Francisco who want us to think that there are two kinds of reality?

    2) Why (upper part of pg 5) is the Templeton Foundation giving money to the Heritage Foundation? I believe that charitable organizations are required by the Federales to dispense some %age of their endowment annually to keep their tax-free status, but this seems akin to kiting checks – just keep the money up in the air. Will Heritage give the same amount back to Templeton next year?

    • Janet Holmes
      Posted June 5, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Exactly what would be the point of worshipping “fundamental reality”? Is it going to answer prayers? Give us eternal life? World peace? I don’t think so!!

      These clowns just don’t get it, what is this need to abase themselves in worship of something that either doesn’t exist or doesn’t even notice that they do. Weird, weird and pointless.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 5, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The dispassionate reality of it is that we will probably have Templeton until/unless some cataclysmic event wipes out their funds.

      Given a huge endowment, with the stipulation that it be spent in a certain way, as long as that way is not criminal there will never be a shortage of people happy to administer that endowment so long as they get a slice for themselves. The administrators only have an incentive to toe the line of the stipulation since in doing so they essentially have a lifetime meal ticket. Any deviation from the stipulation will lead to charges of infidelity to the mission and possible loss of the ticket.

      Only if they become a general laughingstock will anything change, and even then TF might have to petition the Orphans Court to change the provisions of the will.

      TF seems to have its roots in Philadelphia. This would have come as no surprise to WC Fields.

  6. justsearching
    Posted June 5, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Templeton is a financier of obfuscation. As long as God can exist, scientific truth and “proper” religious truth can be compatible, and everyone can use feel-good nonsense to talk about our place in the world, then everything is beautiful and intertwining and divine and mysterious. So everyone should be quiet and let the Templeton Mammon do its “proper” work.

  7. Posted June 5, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    “I fear the religious, even bringing gifts.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Horse#Book_II_of_Virgil.27s_Aeneid

  8. Posted June 5, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I see another full page ad by Templeton in the New Scientist. Things must be tight over at NS.


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