Templeton gives $200K to Religion News Service for reporting on “the intersection of science and religion”

Just in case you entertained the notion–one promoted by the John Templeton Foundation–that the JTF is becoming less attached to its goal of fusing science and religion (Sir John thought that science could give evidence for God), here’s a piece from Religion News reporting that the JTF has given the Religious News Foundation a lot of dosh to promote the compatibility of science and faith:

A snippet:

The two-year reporting project will analyze how science and religion intertwine to shine new light on the big questions of purpose and reality.

WASHINGTON – Religion News Foundation has received a two-year $210,000 grant from the West Conshohocken, Pa.-based John Templeton Foundation to help inform the public about how science and religion intersect.

The “Double Helix” reporting project will result in at least 40 original news and feature story packages produced by the Religion News Foundation’s subsidiary, Religion News Service, published at religionnews.com and distributed to some 100 subscribing and partner news outlets for republication. Stories will investigate the religious, spiritual, ethical and philosophical implications of today’s most talked about developments in science, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and deep-space exploration.

And here we go with the “theology and extraterrestrial life” nonsense again. Remember that Templeton joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in funding a project on theology and space exploration:

The Religion News Foundation will also produce four ReligionLink source guides to enhance journalistic coverage of complex issues surrounding science and religion on such topics as religion’s role in the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life, the religious and moral implications of artificial intelligence, neuroscience and religion, and animal faith. Each new resource will be directly distributed to our network of journalists and editors in the U.S. and abroad.

There’s not much here that couldn’t be discussed in terms of secular philosophy rather than religion. Why waste your time trying to comport the effects of scientific and technological advances on outmoded fairy tales? But, despite being warned, Templeton persists:

The successful completion of this series will enhance RNS’s reporting on science and religion, raising the bar for other media outlets to improve their coverage while educating them how best to do so with the aid of ReligionLink source guides.

This necessary improvement of mainstream media coverage will help our diverse readers and the general public better understand how science, religion, spirituality and belief impact notions of purpose and reality. The partnership aligns with RNS’ mission to inform, illuminate and inspire public discourse on matters of faith and belief.

Religion and spirituality impact purpose by telling us false stories about the “purpose” of the universe, as well as giving us “purpose” in our life that’s grounded on fiction and false hopes of an afterlife; and they impact reality by distorting our notion of what is real and true by heaping respect on faith, which is the opposite of rationality.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Templeton is by no means abandoning its primary mission of blurring the lines between faith and rationality. Shame on those money-grubbing scientists who continue to take money from the Foundation!

19 Comments

  1. Posted April 3, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    religion’s role in the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life

    Perhaps somebody can enlighten me.

    Which religion provides, for example, instructions on optimizing radiotelescope viewing time to maximize the odds of detecting a SETI signal?

    I mean, the closest I can think of is the Moron Kolob, but they can’t even point you to which hemisphere it’s in, let alone give you ascension and declination….

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Well, Ben, I think that it is time to join in with Ken Ham, AIG, etc., and admit that science is a religion. Then we can say yes, our religion supports the work of SETI; what I really want to do is form the Church of Science for all of the tax breaks that we should be able to accrue.

      • Brian Salkas
        Posted April 4, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

        maybe more people will listen to what scientists have to say if they think that they obtain their conclusions through divine revolution.

        • Richard
          Posted April 4, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink

          Asarrgh! The gods are revolting!

          (Sorry, just couldn’t resist it)

        • Posted April 4, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Brian – good idea! It certainly would be easier to publish revelations rather than having to do all of that dirty work in the lab or in the field.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The News of religion is part of the Missouri school of journalism? It’s all news to me, never heard of it. I use to think religious news was likely part of Fox news. However, it seems that Fox news is now the sexual harassment channel – I just can’t keep up.

  3. Sastra
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Templeton seems to have two goals:

    1.) change religion so that it becomes more spiritual, less fundamentalist.

    2.) get science to help.

    Given the increasing political polarity in the world, a message of “we’re in the middle between extremes!” is going to look more appealing to a lot of people. I think the best hope atheists have is that they’ll change the understanding of religion so far towards naturalism that at some point it will become completely secular, but it likes to dress up and sing the Messiah in old cathedrals on Christmas anyway.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      It appears more to be number 2 and that is it. Get science to somehow find evidence for religion they believe and push. The goal is to always push religion and attempt to have science join them in this mission. I should also say, they do this with or without the approval of science. Therefore, the only thing for the Atheists to do is speak out against Templeton as if it were a religion. The only power that Templeton holds, as always, is money.

      • Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Since you’ve capitalized Atheists you must be referring to my followers. I’ll pass the word on to them.

        • Randy schenck
          Posted April 3, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Ah, that was a slip on my part. My editor is off today as he is everyday.

  4. William Bill Fish
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    What? You haven’t seen the Creationist’s Telescope? “CREATIONIST TELESCOPE FINDS NEARLY 6,000-YEAR-OLD GALAXY”
    http://www.satirewire.com/content1/?p=5878

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    What, not more ‘intersectionality’?

    Or is that not what ‘intersectionality’ is taken to mean in the current trendy jargon?

    (You can probably blame it all on half-assed interpretations of Venn diagrams…)

    cr

  6. loren russell
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone else roll their eyes at RNF’s inclusion of “animal faith” in their mission statement?

    I didn’t know what to make of the expression — beyond Sierra’s clear expectation that the evening Fancy Feast should appear precisely at 6pm. So I checked Google:
    “Animal faith is the study of animal behaviours that suggest proto-religious faith. There is no evidence that any non-human animals believe in gods, pray, worship, create artifacts with ritual significance, or many other behaviours typical of human religion. Whether animals can have religious faith is dependent on a sufficiently open definition of religion…”

    Still careers in theology are staked out on supposed funeral ceremony in elephants, moral reasoning in bonobos, and chimps’ putative visions of the Image of God….

    Ai! — I’d go on, but it’s time to put out the Fancy Feast.

    • Posted April 4, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I thought it had something to with Santayana, which escapes me at the moment.

  7. Mark Joseph
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    To (hopefully) take everyone’s mind off of Templeton, the National Academies Press today published their 10th (and final) collection of “In the Light of Evolution,” an annual series collecting papers on a specific topic given at a certain conference.

    If you’re interested, you can buy the book (this year’s is on comparative phylogeography), or download the PDF for free here: https://www.nap.edu/download/23542

    I’ve snagged #1-7 and 10 in the series; now all I have to do is read them!

    • Posted April 4, 2017 at 4:43 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but what is this doing in the thread? You want to stop people discussing the issue?

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted April 4, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Far from it! At the very worst, I think I’m guilty of misplaced humor. Sort of like, “aargh, Drumpf tw**ted something stupid again; I think I’ll go watch cat videos.”

  8. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted April 4, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The intersection of science and religion is an empty set, isn’t it?

    • Posted April 4, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      On the contrary, it is full of things:

      – Huxley’s debate with Bishop Wilberforce
      – Galileo being shown the instruments of torture for speaking his mind
      – Bruno being burnt alive for the same
      – Descartes suppressing _The World_ because of what happened to Galileo
      – Christians slandering Epicureans as voluptuaries
      – etc.


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