Templeton funds dubious “Center for Christian Thought” at Biola

UPDATE: As a commenter noted below, Biola is committed to Biblical inerrancy, which you can see on the university website’s mission statement. See also their doctrinal statement, which besides accepting the usual divinity of Jesus, affirms the reality of Adam and Eve as humanity’s progenitors, proclaims the coming of The Rapture, and contains the following chilling statement:

All those who persistently reject Jesus Christ in the present life shall be raised from the dead and throughout eternity exist in the state of conscious, unutterable, endless torment of anguish. . .

There is a personal devil, a being of great cunning and power: “The prince of the power of the air,” “The prince of this world,” “The god of this age.” He can exert vast power only so far as God suffers him to do so. He shall ultimately be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever.

And check out the undergrad admissions form, which, besides requiring a letter from the applicant’s church (I guess you can forget going to Bioloa if you haven’t gone to church), has an essay question:

Essay Question. On a separate sheet of paper, please answer the following question in your own words.  A 1-2 page, typed response is expected.

At Biola University our common foundation is our faith in Christ and becoming transformed into His likeness. In light of this fact, please describe: a) the circumstances surrounding your decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ, using various Bible passages as the framework for your salvation and eternal life in Christ, and b) using specific examples, describe your process of spiritual growth over the past three years.

So let us be clear: Templeton just gave over three million dollars to a college that, by requiring acceptance of Biblical inerrancy, absolutely denies the findings of modern science, including the history of humanity and the fact of evolution, and won’t take a stand on the age of the Earth.  So much for Templeton’s pretense of accepting modern science. They’re looking for answers to the Big Questions while funding people who have the wrong answers to the Little Questions.

_________________________

I thought that the Templeton Foundation was making a big push to attain respectability in the scientific community, and concurrently to distance itself from purely religious projects—until an alert reader spotted this.

Biola University, a conservative evangelical college in La Mirada, a town in southern California (the college’s motto is “Biblically Centered Education”), has received the largest grant in the school’s history—from the Templeton Foundation. 

The $3,030,000 Templeton Grant, given for three years and starting in February, is to set up a “Biola University Center for Christian Thought, which will, according to the University’s blurb, be “an ambitious new initiative that will bring world-renowned Christian scholars together to research, collaborate and write about important questions facing Christianity in the 21st Century.”

Most of the money will go to 6-month and 1-year research fellowships.  And the money will also fund a pastor in residenceWay to go, Templeton! Those people working on the Big Questions of Science and Faith will surely require spiritual counseling when they sense some incompatibility between the brain and the soul.

At the heart of the Center is a residential fellowship program that will bring together eight research fellows — four Biola faculty members and four external scholars — for a semester at a time to do work on a selected theme. The Center will also bring well-known “visiting scholars” to Biola’s campus for several days or weeks at a time to help facilitate the dialogue.

Over the course of each year, researchers will produce books, articles, blog posts, videos, lectures, podcasts and other resources to help address some of the questions that matter to the Church and the academy. Each year will conclude with a public conference where participants will present their research related to the year’s theme.

The Center will also include pastors’ roundtable discussions and a pastor-in-residence who will collaborate with the researchers each semester and produce a publicly available sermon series related to the research.

Who are the first big fish they’ve landed in this program?  Why, none other than Nicholas Wolterstorff, a theologian/philosopher from Yale and—get this—Alvin Plantinga from Notre Dame. They’ve published together, and, as you may recall, Plantinga is a Sophisticated Theologian® who believes that there’s a conflict between science and naturalism (because our senses aren’t evolved to be trustworthy) and who favors the intelligent-design creationism of Michael Behe.  I thought that Templeton had long ago distanced itself from intelligent design.

As usual, Templeton (and Biola) try to sell this as a way to harmonize science and religion (btw, have a look at the comments at the bottom of this page):

The $3.03 million grant is part of the Templeton Foundation’s wider efforts to promote research and informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians and the public on subjects it deems to be of public importance. The foundation describes itself as a “philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”

“Big Questions,” as we’ve come to learn, represent those Questions that Science Can’t Answer, questions like “Why are we here?” or “What is our purpose?” or “Where did the laws of physics come from?”  And as we’ve also come to learn, theology (or religion) can’t answer those questions, either.

So what are the Big Questions about Science and Religion that this $3 million grant will address?  Only one has been highlighted so far.  Wait for it: it’s on “Neuroscience and the Soul.” But the details of this program don’t make it look very science-y:

Fellowship Description

This RFP is aimed at work on the implications of contemporary neuroscience for the existence and nature of the soul. Questions to be addressed include:
• Does the difficulty of solving the so-called “binding problem,” where this is a matter of explaining the phenomenon of the unity of consciousness, suggest an argument for the existence of the soul?
• Does recent evidence that various “mindfulness” techniques can affect neuroarchitecture suggest anything about (a) which views of soul are most plausible, and (b) how the soul might causally interact with the brain?
• What further can be said about claims by Libet and others that there is tension between recent findings in neuroscience and the existence of freedom of the will?
• What philosophical theories of soul best accommodate the deliverances of recent neuroscience?
• What are the most promising strategies for integrating the findings of contemporary neuroscience with Christian theological anthropology?

Much of this presumes the existence of a soul, of course, but that’s no problem for a university like Biola. And the program involves a lot of money:

Proposal requests from non-Biola-affiliated scholars will be for $70,000 to $90,000 (plus a $6,000 per semester housing stipend and relocation expenses) for projects lasting the full 2012-13 academic year and $35,000 to $45,000 (plus a $6,000 per semester housing stipend and relocation expenses) for projects lasting one semester that academic year. Proposal requests from Biola faculty will be for half-time course releases. We anticipate hosting a total of 8 fellows per semester. . .

The other Big Question has nothing to do with science: “Christian scholarship in the 21st century.” This is the program that will include Plantinga and Wolterstorff, and its purview is this:

Questions to be addressed include: What is Christian Scholarship? Why is it important? What are its proper aims and methods? What challenges does it face? Whom does it serve and how? How does Christian scholarship contribute to a life of obedience to the love commands of Jesus? Need it so contribute? Should Christian scholarship aim to influence culture? If so, how?

Remember, this is how the Templeton Foundation is spending its money (the Biola program is about 4.28% of Templeton’s total grants for the year).  And the money is going not for pure science, but for completely useless lucubrations that presume the existence of a soul and the divinity of Jesus.

Once again, the Big Questions are being addressed, but there’s no hope in hell of answering them, because they rest on false premises.

You might have asked yourself, “Is Biola University down with evolution?”  Not really: it seems to accept some form of ID that allows microevolution, but also requires the hand of God for both macroevolution and the origin of the universe.  See here and here, for instance. (And note that their “evolution” conference included ID advocates like Jon Wells, Casey Luskin, David Klinghoffer, and Denyse O’Leary.)  Biola appears to have a course in intelligent design, but I can’t find one on evolution.

J’accuse. To my colleagues Robert Plomin, Günter Wagner, Martin Nowak, and Brian Greene, among many other scientists on the Foundation’s payroll: have you no shame at all at about taking money from Templeton—an organization that’s just given three million dollars to fund studies about Jesus and ways to reconcile neuroscience with a nonexistent soul? And to hire a pastor in residence to counsel those who get into trouble when trying to reconcile brains and souls? Is there no organization so soaked in religious woo that you scientists won’t take money from it?

I must say that although these scientists turn their back on Templeton’s pro-woo activities so they can fund their own pro-science initiatives (e.g., The World Science Festival), I find that kind of cognitive dissonance contemptible. In the end, such scientists, by lending their Big Names to Templeton’s website, only put their imprimatur on the Foundation’s pro-religion and pro-right-wing agenda. I call that selling out.

And I call on journalists to question these scientists about how they can take Templeton money with one hand while covering their eyes with the other.

h/t: Michael

93 Comments

  1. daveau
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    He he. “Christian Thought”

    • MadScientist
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Yeah – what an oxymoron.

  2. Se Habla Espol
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Minor correction: it’s La Mirada, not La Miranda.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      Corrected, thanks!

  3. Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    It’s worse than you think: According to Wikipedia, ” Biola holds to the key doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, the idea that the original writings of the Bible were without error with regard to both theological and non-theological matters. The institution also officially holds to the teaching of premillennial dispensationalism, and requires its faculty members to be in accord with this theological and cultural perspective. As a final guarantee of strict adherence to its theological and cultural worldview, the university requires every faculty member, when first hired and again upon application for tenure, to submit their understanding of and complete agreement with each item of the doctrinal and teaching statements to the Talbot School of Theology for evaluation.”

    Look up “premillenial dispensationalism”; the-end-is-nigh stuff, with links to Jewish messianism (another Biola speciality); real scary.

    • Christian
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Look up “premillenial dispensationalism”; the-end-is-nigh stuff, with links to Jewish messianism (another Biola speciality); real scary.

      Now I’m really curious how they want to turn that into SophisticatedTM.

  4. Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    ‘ Questions that Science Can’t Answer, questions like “Why are we here?” ‘

    Another Big Question that Science Can’t Answer ‘Who designed God?’

    Of course, Sophisticated Theologians declare that you just can’t ask those questions.

    You can only ask questions to which the answer is ‘God did it’.

    It takes millions of pounds to fund research to find which are the questions to which the answer is ‘God did it.’

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      No no, the purpose of the research is to say “God really did it. Why are you still laughing?”

      I wonder how long the Templeton money will last, as the real results of these ‘research’ grants will inevitably be “nope – still no evidence.”

      • Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        Of course, science can answer the question ‘Who designed God?’

        The answer is that humanity designed the character of the Christian god, just like humanity designed the character of all fictional characters.

        But I doubt research like that would be funded by Templeton.

        • daveau
          Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          They’re not going to fund you because you already think you know the answer, and it has nothing to do with God. If you want money from Templeton, you have to be prepared to put on a good show and futz around a bit. Your results can be inconclusive, as long as you really, really tried.

          • Christian
            Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            And I think it’s this futzing around they are really after.

            It’s the raw material for the sophisticated theologians who can then go on proving that their god really exists and that the futzings of renowned scientist XYZ even supports it.

            And of course, there will be the obligatory “ergo Jesus” somewhere in there.

            • daveau
              Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

              You are absolutely spot on, my ironically named friend.

        • raven
          Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          Of course, science can answer the question ‘Who designed God?’

          The xian god wasn’t designed at all.

          He evolved. Starting with Jewish polytheism, the fusion between El and Yahweh, gaining powers and losing some of the incompetence and malevolence, and then spawning jesus and the Holy Spook. Then the trinity, and finally moving behind the Big Bang.

          Religions evolve and so do their gods.

          • microraptor
            Posted January 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            I am forever going to associate god with Pokemon now.

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      “Why are we here?”

      1. To make apple pies.
      2. To find out how fucking magnets work.

      /@

      • daveau
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        ;-)

      • Christian
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Hm, fucking magnets…
        Sounds like magnets helping with sexual intercourse (where I think that figuring out how to implant them and a powerful battery should be more challenging).
        ;)

        • Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          Well, we already have erotic electrostimulation, so why not erotic magnetostimulation?

          “Oh, what makes you such a sexual dynamo?”

          “It’s because you’re such an attractive coil.”
          :-o

          /@

          • daveau
            Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Ouch!

      • Strider
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget: we’re also here to make pake!

        • Posted January 8, 2012 at 3:25 am | Permalink

          You can’t make a pace without making a pie (from scratch).

          /@

      • Posted January 8, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

        But not
        3. why tide comes in, tide goes out.
        Nobody will ever figure that out.

    • Christian
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Sophisticated theology is just a “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” for adults.
      And it seems Templeton is financing these so-called sophisticated theologians to come up with ever more elaborate and contrived versions thereof.

      • Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        This: “Sophisticated theology is just a ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’ for adults.”

        /@

    • microraptor
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      We are here so that we can open doors for cats, saving them the bother of evolving opposable thumbs.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Another Big Question that Science Can;t Answer: Would you like fries with that?

  5. Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The answers to the questions described in the Fellowship Description are as follows:

    a) No;
    b) No;
    c) Nothing;
    d) None;
    d) “Lalalala: Not Listening!”

    Can I haz Templeton monies now? kthxbye.

  6. Susan Ingram
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    When you say Brian Greene you don’t mean ‘The Fabric of the Comos’ Brian Greene do you because I’m half way through ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’ and if I find that goddidit when I get to the end I’m going to be very annoyed? Please tell me you didn’t mean that Brian Greene. God didn’t do it at the end of The Elegant Universe, is there hope, another Brian Greene surly?

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Yep, that Brian Greene. There’s no god of any kind in The Fabric of the Cosmos, as far as I can remember.

      I don’t think Jerry’s suggesting that Greene is a goddist himself, just that he’s providing scientific credibility for goddists – he’s implicitly a collaborator.

      /@

      • Susan Ingram
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        I agree with Jerry, I’ve already had to stop reading Paul Davies and Martin Rees now I’ll have to add Brian Greene to the list, he’s got his 30 pieces of silver he’s not having my hard earned cash as well.

        • Jack van Beverningk
          Posted January 7, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Sounds like the wrong reason for not reading Greene’s otherwise excellent books.
          He’s criticized here for taking money from the Templeton foundation, not for writing bad, or religiously tainted books.

          • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
            Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            True. Hawking has been on The Pedophile Church™ seminars waaay back et cetera.

            I would stay away from such people like the deist Davies who IIRC seem always push some gap for gods into his books.

          • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
            Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Oops. That is physicist Paul Davies, in case someone wonders.

            It seems quite obvious that one of his drive forces to write books is to push his deism. And that it was part reason why Templeton awarded him so early on, when they started to award scientists instead of the ilk of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu and other predators on the poor and suffering.

          • Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            I agree with you and Torbjörn about Greene; he covers his subject matter well and honestly, whatever we may think about his integrity.

            And with Torbjörn about Davies, except that I don’t think he’s a true deist, which I wouldn’t object to too much.

            /@

            • Posted January 8, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

              A deist perhaps, but also an *idealist* (in the metaphysical sense), or at least he was. See the rather awful _The Matter Myth_. This is not very science friendly.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Biola indeed. At least we can tell the difference between it and Shinola.

    Do they teach English Composition there? How does:
    “the phenomenon of the unity of consciousness” differ from the phenomenon of consciousness?
    or is,
    “how the soul might causally interact with the brain?” any different from how the soul might interact with the brain?
    and finally I suppose:
    “integrating the findings of contemporary neuroscience with Christian theological anthropology?” can be reduced to integrating the findings of neuroscience with Christian theological anthropology?, but WTF is Christian theological anthropology?

    • articulett
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      What about Muslim theological anthropology? or Buddhist theological anthropology? Or Scientology theological anthropology?

      Oh that’s right… the goal of Templeton is to make CHRISTIANITY seem more sciencey than the competing woo via semantics.

    • Posted January 8, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

      “Biola indeed. At least we can tell the difference between it and Shinola.”

      But Savonarola might be more difficult.

  8. Posted January 7, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Cornelius Hunter, a reportedly adjunct professor of Biola and Discovery Institute fellow, has a lovely blog (darwins-god.blogspot). Read a few of his posts if you want to get a sense of what kind of biology is probably being taught at Biola. I only learned about him, because he was not a happy with a post I wrote.

    • Strider
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Do tell!

  9. ahimsa
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that in these efforts to study the compatibility of and “harmonize” science and religion, there seems to be an almost singular focus on Christianity and its theology as representing the side of religion.

    If they’re truly interested in studying religion as a whole and not just privileging Christian theology, why not fund studies on how a Hindu or Buddhist conception of the universe meshes with evolution and other scientific theories?

    There really is no reason for all of their research to be limited to a Christian or even just a monotheistic perspective. Why not study how a universe with many gods, as a Hindu might understand it, could be compatible with scientific discoveries?

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Re harmonising science and religion: Perhaps, like Jefferson, we should take a pair of scissors to all holy books and excise everything that is incompatible with our current scientific understanding. Better throw in historical and archeological understanding as well, for good measure.

      Would we then have more holes than paper?

      /@

      • Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        I don’t know but you would at least have some holy paper.

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The focus on Christianity makes it even more ridiculous, assuming that’s possible.

    • Oeditor
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, the Hindus probably have enough gods to have one for fucking magnets. Must check with the Kama Sutra.

      • Circe
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        The god for engineering and mechanics is called Vishwakarma, if that is what you are looking for.

      • Circe
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        And, I am not joking here: there is a god for accountacy, a Goddess for music,linguistics and the sciences and also a god for stenography and mathematics. The goddess comes with a capital G because (unlike the other two) she is part of the First Tier of gods which consist of three separate gods, and three forms of the same goddess who are wives to these three gods.

        And of course the First Tier of gods are not the top gods either, since they, and their wives, were created by the “Great Goddess” (GG)(referred to, usually, as “Mahamaya” (lit. great illusion), though the three First Tier goddesses are also given that name sometimes, since they are supposed to be avatars of the GG).

        And of course “Mahamaya” is not supreme either. She is just a personification of the powers of the “Parmeshwar” (lit. god beyond god, though that appellation is also applied sometimes to the other three First tier gods, in order to imply that they are supposed to representatives of the true Parmeshwar) who has no properties whatsoever (no color, shape or gender, in particular), cannot be prayed to, and in general, does not interfere with the universe (except when even the First Tier gods mess it up so badly that Mahamaya has to intervene: I think there is exactly one instance of this in the “literature”).

        So that was an unasked-for crash course in the structure of the divine bureaucracy of Hinduism (except, of course, for the atheist sects).

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      why not fund studies on how a Hindu or Buddhist conception of the universe meshes with evolution and other scientific theories?

      I had the unusual experience of once meeting a Hindu creationist. It differs from the usual Christian creationism in interesting ways.

      • Circe
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        The first one is in the notion that the universe is about 20 billion years old (rather than the currently accepted 15 billion). One of my CS professors in India had a tongue-in-cheek theory on this: his premise was that when you are writing a mythology, you want to make it as grand as possible (because ultimately you want to influence people with it). Thus, Indian mythology writers in the early centuries CE, who had access to the place value system developed by their contemporaries, and could easily keep adding zeroes to their number for the age of the universe to make it grander and grander, while the mythology writers in the middle easy could only add M’s and gave up after 4 of them.

        • Circe
          Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          *middle easy” => Middle East

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Why not fund an effort to harmonize religions with each other before they start taking on science?

      • microraptor
        Posted January 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        I thought that was more of a Disco Institute tactic.

  10. Kevin
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Well, I for one am glad that Templeton is finally shaking off its pretense of being an accommodationist organization. This was never going to work, and frankly I like to see the fangs of the enemy.

    And I’m glad it’s spending its money on stuff like this, instead of mucking around in areas where it clearly was having no impact whatsoever.

    I’ll be very interested in seeing the results of research into these “Big Questions”. After all, I’ve said all along that religion only asks the questions, never answers them.

    I suspect, however, the end result will be mush-mouth platitudes and echo chamber apologetics. And not one answer to any question where the existence (or not) of a supernatural would make the slightest difference in how the solution is arrived at.

  11. Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Can I suggest a gnu atheist “perspective on such topics as how neuroscience informs our understanding of the soul, how contemporary psychology relates to spiritual growth and how to foster intellectual virtue and civil discourse”?

    1. It tells us that there is none.
    2. Not at all.
    3. By minimising the intrusion of all kinds of irrational, devisive woo.

    /@

  12. Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I, like you Jerry, thought Templeton was making a real attempt to gain respectability in the scientific community. I was even hopeful that real science was making its mark on Templeton, but now I realize that any moderation is purely for deceptive reasons, hoping that their critics will be caught off guard and gradually influenced to their theology. It is like an insidious cancer that disguises itself as normal and healthy tissue until it takes control of the feeble minded and naive. To legitimize their claims they should but won’t invite even one contrary scientist to participate. Their process of scientist selection and controls of what must be believed and signed on to, delegitimizes their whole program. These so called smart people are simple minded sheep in wolves’ clothing. They don’t fool anyone.

  13. Rob
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    BIOLA requires that all faculty be in complete agreement with their Doctrinal Statement, which specifically repudiates common ancestry.

    Will the “scholars” funded by this grant likewise have to sign on to the Doctrinal Statement?

    • Erp
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Well half the fellowships are internal to Biola so those ones yes.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      That reminds me- not on topic, but does anyone know whether it’s true or not that Liberty University actually has an Archeopteryx fossil on display that’s labeled as being 3000 years old?

      I’ve been hearing that rumor for years but have never managed to track down anything concrete on it.

  14. Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I am not a accommodationalist or compatablist, but I do relish the infighting and confusion between those who try to resolve the disagreements between science and religion. I think that in the long run, they actually wean believers away from a variety of religious views to a non theistic understanding of science. Those who play with fire too often, get burned.

  15. Ken Browning
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    According to Wiki, William Lane Craig is “research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology….” This is probably why the money spigot has opened wide.

  16. Posted January 7, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    If you read enough ID “literature”, balancing each hour of reading with an hour of drinking (preferably before reading) you get inundated with code words: suggests, implies, friendly, maybe, points to, might explain, best explanation, etc.

    It’s all opinion wanking.

    What will be fascinating to watch, like a slow-motion train wreck, will be all the creationist parasites descending on Biola to feed. I predict we’ll see Dembski, Behe, Wells, Egnor, Meyer and other jolly good fellows from the DI.

    I mean, what creofraudster could resist a few thousand bucks and a tube of K-Y?

  17. raven
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Biola is hard core fundie.

    It’s also hard core creationist.

    Templeton seems to be moving rapidly away from so called moderate xianity to hard core wacko fundie-ism.

    I expect they will start funding xian Dominionist fronts in the near future. Followed shortly by Geocentrism and the Flat Earth.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      And making contributions to Santorum.

  18. Tulse
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Templeton seems to be moving rapidly away from so called moderate xianity to hard core wacko fundie-ism.

    Ditto BioLogos, and ditto the Discovery Institute. I think the shifts of these organizations are the best evidence that moderation and accommodationism just doesn’t work.

    • raven
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Up until a few years ago, I was a moderate xian.

      I rarely noticed any of them bothering to defend their sects or fight flaming fundie-ism.

      Who was opposing the creationists, Geocentrists, xian Dominionists, and christofascists was…..The Atheists. I ended up helping the group that seemed to have the best ideas for a workable society.

      This apathy or denial or whatever it is, is costing the mdoerates a huge amount. They are declining as fast and probably faster than the fundies. The Catholics due to their own internal problems are declining fastest of all.

    • raven
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      The DI was always heavily influenced by fundies and YECs. It’s money comes from hardcore xian Dominionist sources which tells you all you need to know.

      Intelligent Design is mostly devolving back to its YEC roots.

      • Tulse
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        DI has always had fundie roots, but in the past it tried to hide those, and claimed to be concerned with non-religious science (e.g., being incredibly coy about what might be the “designer”). Reecenty they seem to have abandoned this subterfuge, and are now much more explicitly religious, Christian, and creationist.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      +1 +1 +1.

      And on the other end we have seen accommodationists commiserate recently that “new” atheism is “old”. So the Overton window worked as advertised.

      It will be a Good Gnu Year!

  19. Papalinton
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The setting up of this centre has all the smell of the Michael Polanyi Center (MPC), a research centre dedicated to the study of Intelligent Design at Baylor University. Thankfully reason prevailed and the centre has since shut down.

    • Papalinton
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      The Michael Polanyi centre was also a Templeton funded exercise, along with the Discovery Institute.

  20. ardwellpolicyforum2020
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I suggest that some of the unformed , uninformed and deeply intolerant views expressed above vis a vis Christianity , should spend just a couple of hours reading someone like CS Lewis on his own transformation from atheist to believer . Open your minds to alternative possibilities and don’t die ( whenever that day comes )in complete ignorance , friends .

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Actually, apfmmxx, many of us have considered alternative possibilities and that’s why we’re here — because we found the religions we were brought up in sadly lacking.

      And Lewis… really?

      But thanks for your concern.

      /@

    • articulett
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I think you need to be indoctrinated for C.S. Lewis’ inane book, “Mere Christianity” to seem like a deep book or a testament for faith.

      C.S. Lewis determined from his bible studies that “pride” is the worst sin of all. I think victims of sexual abuse, torture, or pedophilia would beg to differ. I can’t understand how Christians can eat this shit up, but I guess it’s easier than trying to make bible stories seem like divine wisdom.

      Does religion make you vapid or are vapid people disproportionately drawn to religion? Did you actually read any post before declaring intolerant and uninformed, because I’ve read every post and you are the only one that seems uninformed to me.

      If there were no such thing as souls, would you want to know– or would you rather just continue wallowing in your vapidity spreading inane messages across the internet like this?

    • Chris Granger
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Your username piqued my curiosity, ardwellpolicyforum2020, so I did a little Google search and found that your policy forum has absolutely no web presence. Interesting. Is it an imaginary policy forum, much like the imaginary deity you worship?

    • Notagod
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I checked them out but christians have very little to say without resorting to lies and deception, so I gave up on them. If the christian gods existed they wouldn’t be worth worshiping as Their devoted servants are dishonest and vile.

      • Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Ard, I would think that you are quite stupid to think that the people on this forum are ignorant about CS Lewis and have already dismissed what you dredge from his works as “philosophy.”

        I would suggest, Ard, that you simply learn to think for yourself, granted, probably impossible at this stage in your life, but at least try. Do you a world of good. That and a good woman and if you’re a woman the same advise holds.

    • raven
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      ardwell the idiot:

      I suggest that some of the unformed , uninformed and deeply intolerant views expressed above vis a vis Christianity , should spend just a couple of hours reading someone like CS Lewis on his own transformation from atheist to believer .

      That is cosmically stupid.

      1. Most atheists, including myself, are ex-Xians. Where do you think atheists come from, found in cabbage patches? We know xianity from the inside.

      2. Surveys show that atheists know more about xianity than the vast majority of xians do. The churches hide and lie about virtually all of their history and rarely do more than quote mine the bible. Because the bible is clearly a fictional work and it’s also an atrocity.

      3. Anyone who think CS Lewis had anything intelligent to say outs themselves as an idiot. CS Lewis was a tenth rate thinker. To point out his most famous blunder, the Trilemma is false. Jesus, lord, liar, or lunatic. Or Jesus, myth, misattribution, or mistake. There are at least 6 possibilities.

      But feel free to enlighten us on our unformed, uninformed, and deeply intolerant views on xianity.

      • raven
        Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Speaking of intolerance, xianity has drenched itself in blood for 2,000 years. The number of people slaughtered by that religion is just an estimate, but it must be in the tens of millions at least.

        Witch hunts, crusades, heretic hunts, sectarian warfare, mass slaughters of pagans, you name it they have murdered it.

        Like a lot of scientists, I’ve been getting death threats from fundie xians for over a decade. Many of us do. PZ Myers has gotten over 100 death threats in one day.

        More than a few MD’s have been assassinated by xian terrorists. Xian terrorism is an ongoing problem in the USA. Cardinal Cormac of the UK just recently called “atheism the greatest of evil.”

        Multiculturalism, secularism, freedom, and democracy are repulsive concepts to a lot of xians and they say so themselves every single day.

        • Chris Granger
          Posted January 8, 2012 at 1:28 am | Permalink

          PZ Myers has gotten over 100 death threats in one day.

          To be fair, 98 of them were from DM… ;)

        • Posted January 8, 2012 at 3:36 am | Permalink

          Cormac Murphy-O’Connor? Oh, I’ll have to edit his Wikipedia page for balance. The only comment reflecting his views on atheism is, “Murphy-O’Connor has urged Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with deep esteem, ‘because the hidden God is active in their lives as well as in the lives of those who believe’.”

          /@

          • raven
            Posted January 8, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            Cardinal Cormac ‘Atheism the greatest of evils.’ – Topixwww.topix.com/forum/religion/atheism/8 posts – 2 authors – Last post: 24 May 2009

            Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, said, that a lack of faith is ‘the greatest of evils.’ He blamed atheism for war and destruction, …

            Cardinal Cormac called atheism the greatest of evils. He also blamed atheism for all the wars. Atheism is responsible for the crusades or Reformation wars. Really?

            The Cardinal is also up to his pointy hat in the RCC child sex abuse scandals.

            Atheist haters are dime a hundred. Hate is the basis of fundie xianity.

            No hate = no fundie xianity

    • microraptor
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Dude, I’m not an atheist because I haven’t read the arguments for believing in Christianity, I’m an atheist because I have.

  21. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    He can exert vast power only so far as God suffers him to do so.

    There you go; God must shoulder a large portion of the blame for evil in the world.

  22. Papalinton
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I say, ‘A belief in religion is to believe indiscriminately’.

    And CS Lewis, renowned writer of faery stories, sure had tons of relevant experience and anecdotal material to write, “Mere Christianity”.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      His works of fiction served the purpose of exposing young readers to sophisticated theological concepts, such as talking animals.

      • microraptor
        Posted January 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        And the importance of putting 12 year old children with no military training at all in charge of your army so that Ceiling Cat can swoop in and rescue them after they screw everything up due to not having the slightest idea what they’re doing.

  23. Posted January 8, 2012 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Should Francisco J. Ayala return the monies he got for the Templeton Prize he was awarded???

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      He should but he won’t.

  24. dunstar
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    lol. thats so awesome. i wonder if George Lucas wes ever to build his own university and require that those who attend it to believe that there exists a literal galaxy far far away with a constant battle raging against the empire and the rebel alliance.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      Teachers there would probably have to sign something affirming that Greedo shot first.


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  1. […] In defense of militantism – the only antidote for poisonously lethal Kellyism Posted on January 7, 2012 by revelmundo Jerry Coyne to his colleagues who take money from the Templeton Foundation: […]

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