As the Templeton Foundation tries to claw its way up to respectability, it finds a number of willing pitons, ready to accept its largesse while ignoring the organization’s anti-science agenda. For example, there are some journalists who have accepted prestigious and lucrative journalism fellowships from the Templeton Foundation, and yet, as journalists, decry the anti-science activities of the very organizations funded by Templeton.
The Heartland Institute, located here in Chicago, is well known for its anti-global warming agenda. In 2009 they held a notorious “climate-change” conference partly sponsored by Free to Choose, an organization that not only has been funded by Templeton, but was in fact a recipient of a 2009 Templeton Freedom Award, money given to “free market think tanks.” (The prize was for an educational-video website that distributes, among other right-wing material, climate-denial videos.) Although the Freedom Awards are administered by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, they are completely funded by Templeton. (For information on the Templeton/Atlas connection and more, see the paper by Sunny Bains and these two posts by Salty Current.)
Chris Mooney has condemned the Heartland Conferences as “idiocy,” which they are, but he is either ignorant of, or chooses to ignore, their connection with Templeton. And just this week Mooney also condemned the American Tradition Institute (ATI) for “seeking scandal amongst the ranks of climate scientists.” And again, this condemnation is justified, for the ATI is simply trying to discredit global warming. But the ATI is also a partner with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
As Salty Current documents, Templeton has given money to other antiscience enterprises:
- Poland’s Globalization Institute, which won a Templeton Freedom Award in 2009 for—get this— for “publishing The Mythology of the Greenhouse Effect, right before the 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan”. The Institute is also part of the Atlas network and may well—though I can’t document this—receive funds that ultimately came from Templeton.
- Templeton funded the climate-denialist Mercatus Center, which won a Templeton Enterprise Award. Mercatus, funded largely by the Koch Foundation, works against environmental regulations, and appears to have opposed government regulations to limit the amount of arsenic in drinking water.
- Atlas has received a four-million dollar grant directly from Templeton to promote “free enterprise”:
Building on the success of the Templeton Freedom Awards (Grant #10605), this expanded program seeks to improve research and education on the nature and benefits of freedom and free enterprise. The program will introduce a new competition to launch Free Enterprise Centers and establish a high-profile Templeton Leadership Fellowship program to advance the strategic impact of think tanks.
Salty Current notes that Atlas is affiliated with other sponsors of global-warming denialist activities:
I noted parenthetically in the previous post on the subject that several of the organizations listed as sponsors [of Heartland’s 2009 “global warming” conference] are funded by Atlas, and I’d like to be more specific. Most of these were listed by DSB as having “No funding records from Exxon, Koch, or Scaife,” but they all appear to be in the Atlas international stable:
- Institute of Public Affairs, Australia
- Instituto de Libre Impresa, Peru (2007 Templeton Freedom Award grant winner)
- Instituto Juan de Mariana, Spain (2008 and 2010 Templeton Freedom Award winner)
- Instituto Liberdade, Brazil (2006 Templeton Freedom Award grant winner)
- Instituto Bruno Leoni, Italy (2004 Templeton Freedom Award winner)
- Liberales Institut, Switzerland (2005 Templeton Freedom Award winner)*
Note the nepotistic connection between Templeton and its awardees, something we’ve seen before with Templeton Prize winners. Those institutes affiliated with Atlas, which itself gets big-time funding from Templeton, also get Templeton Freedom Awards.
The point of all this, of course, is to show that Templeton is anti-science in more than one sense. It not only promotes woo, religion, and “spirituality,” but also, as part of its right-wing, free-enterprise agenda, supports—directly or indirectly—global-warming denialism. Those scientists and science-friendly journalists who take money from Templeton should be aware of this connection. Let us also note that the World Science Festival, going on right now in New York (and I do approve of the event itself!), is heavily funded by Templeton.
I am wondering how anti-science the Templeton Foundation has to be before scientists become unwilling to take its money. It’s an object lesson on how scientists and journalists can look the other way when there’s funding to be had.