More ill-gotten gains: Templeton gives $1 million to BioLogos

The announcement below was apparently sent out by the evanglical Christian group BioLogos in a monthly newsletter, announcing an evolution-education grant to the tune of a cool million. But the money—from the John Templeton Foundation, of course—is going not for straight education in evolution, but to “introduce more people to the evolutionary creation position.” That, of course, is simply evolution guided or produced by God—theistic evolution. And that buttresses religion. Imagine the same thing, but for promoting theistic physics, or theistic chemistry. It’s God behind those chemical bonds!
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So, you scientists supported by Templeton, or whose World Science Festivals are supported by Templeton, do you still want to be part of an organization devoted to homeopathically diluting “science” by mixing it with supserstition? Oh yes, I forgot–of course you are. There’s simply too much money to refuse!

One more item: the “DoSER” (Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion) program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was founded with Templeton money and still gets it for various AAAS programs like the execrable “Science for Seminaries” initiative (why not “Science for Secular Southern Schools”?). DoSER’s director, Jennifer Wiseman, is also on BioLogos’s Board of Directors.  The AAAS is America’s largest organization of scientists, publishes the prestigious journal Science, and should not be engaging in theology. But you know how it goes. . .

And if you fall on hard times and need a 1-3 year job, the AAAS has an opening:

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19 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    FFS.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Ditto

  2. Posted June 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Alan GE
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Shots fired at Brian Greene!

  4. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    The question IMO is not just is Templeton diluting science (which weakens science) but actually adulterating it by making it something other than what it is supposed to be. If you try to mix science with metaphysics, one risks adulterating science as creationism seriously does. Isaac Newton achieved what he did largely by discarding the metaphysical presuppositions of the Middle Ages. No metaphysical speculation can ever be the basis for scientific enquiry.

    Oh, but please please teach science in seminaries, especially Unitarian and Quaker ones!! Unitarianism allegedly considers humanism “which teaches us to heed science” as the 5th of 6 sources of the living tradition. A bit more honored in the breach than the observance in a few cases, I must say!!
    I have known a few too many Unitarian ministers who are well versed in history and the arts and who have a child’s understanding both of scientific method and also quantum physics, and easily fall for naive attacks on “scientism”.

    It only took an intro course in quantum physics at a junior college to awaken Julia Sweeney to the nonsensical nature of Deepak Chopra, and presumably also the lowest nadir of quantum woo, the film “What the Bleep Do we Know?”

    I am personally acquainted with two important physicists who are also religious- the now deceased Charles Townes- co-inventor of the laser beam, and Francis Everitt, the fellow testing general relativity with Gravity Probe B
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Everitt)

    Neither of these religious guys would be fooled by a minute by Deepak Chopra or any other quantum woo business.

    So, please, teach basic courses in scientific method and the real deal in quantum physics in seminaries, and maybe some of the evidence for evolution as well.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm.
    Will cancel sub to ‘Science’ when it comes due, and xref to this.

  6. John Harshman
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I’d say the question is “Who is Biologos influencing?”

    If it’s causing creationists to turn into theistic evolutionists, that’s a net win. If it’s causing non-theistic evolutionists (whether religious or not) to move in the direction of theistic evolution, that’s a net loss.

    As far as I know, they’re actually doing neither; that is, they have no effect on anyone.

    Conceivably, Templeton money will give them the ability to have an influence, in which case we’re back to the question. And the answer to that question will determine whether that influence is positive or negative. “Negative” isn’t a foregone conclusion.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively, BiLog could be containing the growth of creationism like a tourniquet stops the flow of blood. But this is hard to measure.

  7. Ken Pidcock
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve long figured that the Biologos mission is futile. You cannot understand the evolutionary process to any extent without realizing that it isn’t guided or, if it is, it’s guided by a sadist. Paula Kirby:

    While I welcome anyone who recognizes that the evidence for evolution is such that it cannot sensibly be denied, to attempt to co-opt evolution as part of a divine plan simply does not work, and suggests a highly superficial understanding of the subject. Not only does evolution not need to be guided in any way, but any conscious, sentient guide would have to be a monster of the most sadistic type: for evolution is not pretty, is not gentle, is not kind, is not compassionate, is not loving.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand a Sadistic Evolution and its Selfish Genes would be a nice fit with their guiding hand, fingered as “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction”.

      But I doubt they will consider that.

      • sshort
        Posted June 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        Touchė!

  8. Mark Joseph
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s God behind those chemical bonds!

    Actually, True Christians™ know that He (it is a He, of course) is only behind triple bonds. Only heathen Muslims and Jews, and heretic Arians, believe in single bonds.

  9. sshort
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    “But the money—from the John Templeton Foundation, of course—is going not for straight education in evolution, but to “introduce more people to the evolutionary creation position.”

    “Evolutionary creation?” Yeeesh.

    To the BioLogos fellows: How far do you have to crawl up your own arse before you realize you’re talking out of your hat?

  10. Cornelius
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    But of course there is a God guiding evolution. He’s 100% malevolent but only 80% effective.

  11. somer
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Clearly AAA(r)S’s DoSER of cash from Templeton is producing hallucinogenic effects.

  12. Sastra
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    So, you scientists supported by Templeton, or whose World Science Festivals are supported by Templeton, do you still want to be part of an organization devoted to homeopathically diluting “science” by mixing it with supserstition? Oh yes, I forgot–of course you are. There’s simply too much money to refuse!

    The argument I’ve heard for taking Templeton money is that doing so dilutes its message by injecting it with more rational, scientific, naturalistic, and atheistic elements. The science-and-superstition contingency is mainstream and funding for this viewpoint is already plentiful. But if Templeton will also give money to the Other Side, we’d be fools not to take it. Otherwise, it WILL be given to less palatable recipients. Anything we refuse, they get.

    Iirc this is more or less how Michael Shermer justified a little Templeton-sponsored book on the God Debate he put out years ago. Yes, it contained the views of theologians and accomodationists, but there were also large segments from articulate atheists. The book was aimed at a general audience, most of whom are supernaturalists: that meant that a lot of people would only be directly exposed to naturalism because of the book.

    Maybe. Perhaps it depends on where you think the power lies. If you think science/atheism is the popular position of strength, then Templeton is the sneaky outsider trying to horn in and change things. If you think pseudoscience/religion ranks high in public position, then using its own money to try to undermine that makes sense.

    • Sshort
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      Nice parsing. I had a firm opinion, much on the side of this blog, and you tilted the field. Credibly.

      This is why I love science, rationality, critical thinking.

      I really really like my well thought out positions. But if you put the judo on my certainties, flip my world, lock the hold and make me tap out…I may be pissed, but I’m a fan. Keep it coming.

      Oh, and f**k Templeton.

  13. KD
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    This is the fascinating thing: purity taboos.

    The Pure Ones are being desecrated by contact with impure and dirty Evangelicals as mediated through the Templeton Foundation.

    From whence do humans derive this notion of purity and pollution? And how does one become convinced that one’s group is pure, and the other is dirty, and one is sullied by close contact with them?

    I imagine in the first instance it had something to do with disease, until it broadened, morphed, and abstracted itself into the first human cultures.

    I would imagine “religion” in the primitive sense consists of a shared set of purity taboos and a willingness to use violence to preserve them. The primal cult. . .


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