Templeton gives millions of dollars to promote “intellectual humility”

Perhaps readers can help me out with this one. First, remember that the goal of the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) has always been what its namesake specified in its will—Sir John’s money was to be used to promote the use of science as a way of helping make “spiritual discoveries”, i.e., entangling fact and faith. As Wikipedia notes:

. . . . .one of the major goals of the Templeton Foundation is to proliferate the monetary support of spiritual discoveries. The Templeton Foundation encourages research into “big questions” by awarding philanthropic aid to institutions and people who pursue the answers to such questions through “explorations into the laws of nature and the universe, to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity.”[29]

Templeton asserts that the purpose of the Templeton Foundation is as follows:

We are trying to persuade people that no human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities. So we are encouraging people to start using the same methods of science that have been so productive in other areas, in order to discover spiritual realities.

— Sir John Templeton, Interview with Financial Intelligence Report

What, pray tell, is a “spiritual reality”?

“Big Questions”, of course, is a euphemism for “spiritual and religious questions”, as the JTF has been sweeping the religious aspect of its mission under the rug. Here’s part of its mission statement (click on screenshot to go to site):

Note the questions. Some are already answered by science (Do we have free will? Is evolution directional? Are we immortal?), and the answers are all “no”. But of course the motivation for those questions is religious, not scientific. As for “What is love?”, do they seriously think they’ll be able to answer that? However, this shows the religious foundations that still underlie the JTF’s activities.

And the JTF is loaded. Loaded with so much dosh that they can easily skew the direction of research—in science, in sociology, in psychology, and in theology—toward the aims they want. Look at this money! $77.4 million awarded just in 2016! And the endowment is huge!

Reader Michael called my attention to one of Templeton’s recent funding areas: “science and humility”, for whose study the JTF has appropriated millions of dollars. For example, in 2013-2015 it gave 2.7 million dollars to St. Louis University to study “the philosophy and theology of intellectual humility”.

Here’s the original announcement of the grant from St. Louis University . (The middle two paragraphs come straight from Templeton’s description of the grant, in the screenshot below).

The emphases are mine:

The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility

Saint Louis University has received a generous grant from the The John Templeton Foundation to explore the subject of intellectual humility. The Templeton Foundation will contribute over $2.7 million to the project, with contributions by SLU bringing the total grant to over $3 million. The Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intellectual humility. The project is being led by John Greco and Eleonore Stump.

Intellectual humility is an intellectual virtue, a character trait that allows the intellectually humble person to think and reason well. It is plausibly related to open-mindedness, a sense of one’s own fallibility, and a healthy recognition of one’s intellectual debts to others. If intellectual humility marks a mean between extremes, then related vices (on the one side) would be intellectual arrogance, closed-mindedness, and overconfidence in one’s own opinions and intellectual powers, and (on the other side) undue timidity in one’s intellectual life, or even intellectual cowardice.

The project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intellectual humility, as informed by current research in the empirical sciences, including: virtue epistemology; regulative epistemology; peer disagreement; intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy and deference to authority; religious pluralism; divine hiddenness; intellectual humility and theological method; biases, heuristics, dual-process theories and evolution; intersubjectivity and mind reading.

The Saint Louis University effort complements the activities and research occurring under Templeton’s Science of Intellectual Humility project by encouraging philosophers and theologians to integrate empirical research on questions surrounding intellectual humility into their own investigations.

Note, please, that this project is “informed by current research in the empirical sciences”. What I take this to mean is that the project is aimed, as is so often the case with Templeton, at doing down naturalism and criticizing “scientism”, at the same time promoting religion by looking for “divine hiddenness” and using the “theological method”. They don’t appear to address this topic “informed by current work in theology”.  While scientists themselves can be less than humble, science itself is, and any scientist saying they were using faith to discern the truth would be laughed out of the field. All of us, even if personally arrogant, must couch our findings in terms like “this suggests that. . . ” or “we suspect. . .”. Yet theologians generally operate with certainty or near certainty, and nobody accuses them of a “lack of humility.”

As far as I can see, then, “intellectual humility” is aiming an arrow directly at science, not at theology. For when the dust settles, theology and religion are far more arrogant than science, with doubt being at best a trivial part of theology, rarely encouraged in religion, with religion having no tools to ascertain what is really true. What can be more arrogant than holding as firm truth that there is a God and his son/alter ego Jesus was killed and resurrected to expiate our sins? Or that Allah dictated the Qur’an to Muhammad through an angel, and that Qur’an is the final truth. It will be a cold day in July when Templeton decides to examine the “intellectual arrogance” of theologians!

And now Templeton has given another $5.75 million to the Humanities Institute of the University of Connecticut (click on screenshot) for another mushbrained humility initiative:

Part of the announcement (my emphasis):

The John Templeton Foundation has awarded $5.75 million to the UConn Humanities Institute for research on balancing humility and conviction in public life.

The grant is the largest for the humanities ever awarded to UConn, and is one of the largest humanities-based research grants ever awarded in the United States.

. . . The grant will allow the Humanities Institute, which is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to sponsor three high-profile public forums; summer institutes for high school teachers on how to incorporate intellectual humility into their classes; an online course on project themes; and a series of awareness-raising media initiatives. The co-principal investigator for the project is Brendan Kane, an associate professor of history and associate director of the Humanities Institute.

The project’s research activities include a visiting fellowship program hosting leaders from the academic, media, and non-profit sectors; an international research funding competition targeting interdisciplinary teams of researchers pursuing project themes; four research workshops hosted at UConn; and a collaboration with UConn’s Mellon Foundation-funded “Scholarly Communications Design Studio” for the presentation of project research in new interactive modalities.

And their definition of “intellectual humility”:

For the purposes of this CFP, intellectual humility can be understood to involve the owning of one’s cognitive limitations, a healthy recognition of one’s intellectual debts to others, and low concern for intellectual domination and certain kinds of social status. It is closely allied with traits such as open-mindedness, a sense of one’s fallibility, and being responsive to reasons. Traits and behaviors opposed to intellectual humility and its allied traits, then, would include closed-mindedness, overconfidence in one’s opinions and intellectual powers, dogmatism, an exaggerated sense of intellectual autonomy, reluctance to pursue and consider new evidence, intellectual arrogance, and intellectual vanity.

For the life of me, I can’t see the value of investing $8 million in studies of “humility”.  My take, as I said, is that this money is meant to fund studies of “scientism”: the overreach of science beyond its so-called proper boundaries, and the role that close-mindedness among scientists (e.g., towards God) impedes intellectual advance.

But I welcome other people’s takes. Templeton is really good at cloaking its accommodationist agenda, and I can’t quite figure this one out.

Finally, a cartoon comment from reader Pliny the in Between:

 

81 Comments

  1. Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Your conclusion is probably quite apt. Since Templeton’s conclusion is foregone, I suspect their humility is faux.

    • Frank
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Religion has ALWAYS consisted of obvious arrgance and overconfidence CLOAKED in false humility. We can see this when folks constantly use the verb “to know” instead of “to believe”: I “know” Grandma is looking down on us, I “know” Jesus loves me, I “know” the universe was created with ME in mind, etc. The humility argument is grasping at the same straws that they reach for when they cannot rebut Richard Dawkins’ actual arguments, and shift attention to his “stridency”.

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. There is no arrogance in saying “we have no evidence to support that conclusion”. There is only arrogance in claiming a gap in knowledge actually supports your claim.

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I think they should fund “spiritual humility”, which is the practice of the ways to STFU about spirituality.

    Oh wait… that would be free of cost.

  3. Historian
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait to see the “research” on divine hiddenness.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Oh I love it – intellectual humility- yes!

    What other humilities are there?

    Theo-humility?

    Culinary humility?

    Technological humility?

    This is FUN!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Please, let me add more as I go – this is fun.

      Mathematical humility
      Musical humility (this could be honestly interesting)
      Medical humility
      … and that’s just the M’s….
      Mechanical humility
      Automotive humility
      Computational humility
      Oh of course don’t forget:

      Philosophical humility

      Meteorological humility

      ….

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Neurological humility
      Psychological humility? Sounds self-referential like the holy trinity…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Athletic humility

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Competitive humility

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        AH!

        I was going to write that one!

        M I N D M E L D

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Trying to get back to things inside a Homo sapiens :

      Pulmonary humility
      Immunological humility
      Diges…. NAHHHHHH

    • Bob
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      I am proud of my humility.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      Economic humility

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Can certainly understand St. Louis U attachment to this quest for money and this would be right up their spirituality lane. I went to school there many years ago although to a separate part called Parks College. There was a live in Priest and we had a pretty good bar where you could drink beer and eat lots of popcorn if you were old enough. I think the father spent more time there than I did. He knew how to work a room.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      How old does one have to be to eat popcorn?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Actually, I don’t think you would be ID’d for the popcorn. It was free and only sold more beer.

  6. Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Trump could use that…intellect and humility. When will Templeton fund it specifically for Trump?

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Talk about virtue signaling! A prize for “intellectual humility”; “for research on balancing humility and conviction in public life” — that takes the cake.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The word is humblebragging.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Templeton oughta change its motto to “So there’s still a chance, huh?” (which works even better if you run it though Google Translate into the Latin “Et tamen non est a casu, hun?“).

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    JTF funding a study regarding intellectual humility is the best one I’ve heard since Melania announced that her cause as First Lady would be anti-bullying.

    • Historian
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I think Melania is one person that Trump can’t bully, which would make her the ideal one to lead an anti-bullying campaign.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        All I do is wish Melania good luck getting her hubby to stop, bless her heart.

  10. Ken Pidcock
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Ah yes, that world, in which claiming knowledge of supernatural events is humble and accepting that you can do no such thing is arrogant.

  11. Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    “God seeks Gaps. Apply to Templeton.com”

  12. Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    What a colossal waste of money.

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      I can’t help thinking of all the medical problems that could be solved with that sort of money. If god can’t stop childhood cancer, perhaps Templeton can.

      Or at my age, how about a cure for dementia?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:16 am | Permalink

        Colin. Sir John Templeton’s main interests were getting that nice title [not so easy for a Yank], the fight against “creeping socialism”, the evil as he saw it of government regulation of business & the spreading of an “awareness about how prayer and spiritual life can affect healing & health.”

        After Sir John was safely dead [he died 2008], some of the trustees must have seen the light, because for a while, they gave grants to organisations in poor nations to reduce the birth rate via education. There’s not much like that going on in the Trust today, so maybe there was a ‘palace coup’ & now we’re left with the weirdo trustees in charge. What normal person would authorise grants to ‘research’ empty, malformed questions to corrupt wanker philosophers & theologians [& scientists] while there’s kiddos with parasites?

        Sir John has a stained glass window in Westminster Abbey & a dark heart.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        I respectfully disagree because it’s more like slow progress, than bringing your car in for a clutch job. I think Brian Green or Frank Wilcek has a tw337 on that – how it’s real slow, but you look long term and see progress.

  13. Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Hey, I’ve got one.
    “A grant to explain why a putative creator of the universe, at least 10^24 metres across and 1.5X 10^ 10 years old, could possibly give two hoots about a bunch of apes who have only existed for 1/75000 th of the life of a tiny planet, orbiting a small star in an unremarkable galaxy, and will (best case scenario) be dead in a few more millenia. Extra credit will be given to grants for research seeking to explan why said demiurge is especially interested in what said apes do with their genitals.”
    Grants should be marked “appropriately humble”.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      This is very much my response too. It’s somewhat odd that theists – confident that atheists’ lives, being the fortuitous product of evolution and destined for oblivion, lack ultimate significance in contrast to theists’ own wonderful, God-created origins and heavenly future – should be so confused about who lacks humility.

  14. W.Benson
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Training to be sheep?

  15. glen1davidson
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Humility.

    Is that what ignores evidence-based answers to “Do we have free will?” and “Are we immortal?”

    It seems that they like to call asking old answered questions “humility” in order to arrogantly avoid the answers.

    Glen Davidson

  16. Kirbmarc
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    “What is love?”

  17. R.H.
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Love is a rose so You better not pick it..

    • KRL
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      But then what is the Pompatus of love?

  18. Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    … no human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities.

    If no one’s grasped it yet, how can they know there’s another 99% out there?

    • BobTerrace
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Because multi-verse?

    • Kirbmarc
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Because

    • glen1davidson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Because they know you can keep making it up.

      Glen Davidson

  19. R.H.
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Kirbmarc posted seconds before my earworm..

  20. Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I have no problem with people studying intellectual humility or whatever and earning grants to do it

    I *do* have a problem with the Templeton agenda, which makes doing the above with their money a sort of performative contradiction, if I can use the Marxist jargon.

  21. sensorrhea
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    If they want to encourage intellectual humility they should give all the money to ameliorating the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Trump is always talking about how smart he is, they could start there.

  22. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the project leaders will insist that the pilots of their airplanes use intellectual humility to operate the plane.

  23. nicky
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m seriously contemplating of applying for a Templeton grant, a few million is not to be despised. The problem is to find a way to construe a case that would please them. Not easy.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Here is a nice word salad that got a Templeton grant – use it as a model:

      $571,431 to Marc Margolios at Institute For Jewish Spirituality Inc. March 2013 – February 2016 “A Course of Study Strengthening Character Development in Jewish Communities through Tikkun Middot, Applying Mindfulness to Practice of Moral Qualities”

      • nicky
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        🙂 I guess I’m just not imaginative enough

      • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Personally, I think if an organization like T. exist, that’s the sort of thing they should fund – a specifically religious activity, and in this case it seems to be ecumenical (Jewish-Buddhist), too.

  24. Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Classic oxymoron: “spiritual reality”.

    Latest news: Donald Trump has joined the Templeton Foundation’s search for “intellectual humility”.

  25. Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    For the life of me, I can’t see the value of investing $8 million in studies of “humility”. My take, as I said, is that this money is meant to fund studies of “scientism”

    The “scientism” angle is a good guess, but I suspect they aim in a different direction this time.

    The term “Virtue Epistemology” caught my attention. The SEP describes what this is about:

    At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities.

    One Dr. Keith Korcz provides a paper on Virtue Epistemology as part of a course (at UCS Lousiana, he has a YouTube debate on “Does God Exist?”, where he seems to represent the atheist argument, but I haven’t watched it). The paper explains:

    [virtue epistemologists] intend to oust the basic Cartesian framework, and shift the focus of evaluation to the intellectual character traits of the agent. Thus, [Lorraine Code] announces her intention to alter .”..the emphasis of investigation and evaluation so that knowers, or would-be knowers, come to bear as much of the onus of credibility as “the known” has standardly borne.” (2) The defining feature of virtue epistemology is its focus on the intellectual virtues and vices instead of justification, knowledge, or any other evaluation of belief.

    All of this, with a bit of squinting, gives off a Strong Programme vibe (i.e. postmodern territory), because it also shifts the focus from knowledge to the knower, but I know nothing of this school of thought.

    The examples cited in the SEP article are interesting (see Passerby), but my first intuition is that knowledge is an interconnected web of models, or a crossword puzzle of sorts that fits too well together to be dependent of any virtues, and which is at the same time tethered to something “out there” (reality/nature).

    Here’s the possible Templeton connection (from the paper):

    Most self-proclaimed virtue epistemologists are interested in some form of conceptual focus on the virtues. […] Plantinga have also pursued conceptual foci on the virtues. Hookway defines the ever-popular concept of justified belief, while Braaten takes on the notion of intelligence, and Plantinga analyses of the concept of epistemic warrant. (10) (Plantinga is not self-proclaimed, but has been outed by Greco.)

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      So the goodness and (no doubt) godliness of the researchers (as determined by armchair judges such as Plantinga) are to be given greater weight than the actual results and the science that leads to them?

      Christ on a bike!

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Virtue epistemology has a lot of merits (and is not pomo, usually), but I wouldn’t touch anything Plantinga has written in epistemology proper with a ten foot pole. He’s the “divine sense” guy, after all.

  26. Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    “…Templeton’s Science of Intellectual Humility project by encouraging philosophers and theologians to integrate empirical research on questions surrounding intellectual humility into their own investigations.”

    The idea being is to ignore any theological uncertainties and find ways of using empirical facts on top of, and promote a lie using the “humble method” of deception,
    and therefore, by allowing something to “live” where it don’t belong!
    Like a polar bear in the sumatran jungle.

  27. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    1) Humility should involve recognizing that all beliefs about spirituality are at best tenuous, tentative, and provisional, and that science ought to operate independently from religion.

    2) Faith which advocates slavery and subjugation of maligned classes of people is by definition arrogant. This happens quite a bit in religion.

    3) Regardless of what case one makes that “scientism” is arrogant, religious fundamentalism is surely at least equally (and actually much more) arrogant.
    And, as Dan Dennett has noted, ” “[ accusations of scientism are] an all-purpose, wild-card smear… When someone puts forward a scientific theory that [religious critics] really don’t like, they just try to discredit it as ‘scientism’.”

    • W.Benson
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      JLH, if you go to the “Making of America” sites maintained by the U. of Michigan and by Cornell and do a word-search for “scientism”, you will find that all usage in the 19th century is by religious publications in articles attacking Darwinian evolution.

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Bunge wrote somewhere that although he is not a positivist, people use it as a weird smear meaning “science lover”, and he said – no big deal, he’d been called worse.

  28. Roger
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Personally I suspect “accommodationalist” is too nice of a term. Bottom of the barrel creationists is more likely.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      There very well may be some closet creationists at TF, but they seem to be publicly engaged in revisions of evolution re epigenetics, and questioning whether Darwin can explain altruism, etc.

      The folks at TF have co-operated a lot with the BioLogos Institute, which is definitely accomodationist, and they withdrew all support for the Discovery Institute, though they gave them some dough ($75K) in 1999.

  29. Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    PCC(E):
    All of us, even if personally arrogant, must couch our findings in terms like “this suggests that. . . ” or “we suspect. . .”.

    I think this is a very important point. It’s *the* one thing that theologians and spiritual folk refuse to allow into their thinking or discourse, for obvious reasons.

    And they don’t realize that apparently blunt statements like “evolution is a fact” is built on a few million carefully qualified statements that locate a piece of information on a sliding scale from “so certain it would be a waste of time to test it again” to probable, likely, to speculative…. (And the scale goes on into wrong, stupidly wrong, and then theology, and then Deepak Chopra.)

    And all the public usually sees is the theologian wafting about vaguely and a scientist appearing to speak like a Grand Inquisitor. And then when challenged with something like “Well how did life begin?” the scientist suddenly appears to collapse into a meek “We don’t know, but we’re working on it.”

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      and after Deepak, Heidegger – using bullshit to hide in this case fascism.

  30. Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Arrogance: Based on our best possible knowledge, I believe there are no spirits, free will, or direction in evolution. This may change as new evidence appears.

    Humility: I know an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent being created the universe just for me. Nothing you say can ever change that.

  31. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I propose a related topic, for those who want some TF funding :

    Intellectual empathy

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      That would actually be an interesting topic. (For example, it could study how knowledge of a situation increases or reduces empathy.)

      But that would require a non-contaminated source …

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        I’m still a little dazed by thinking what it is though

        Paul Bloom though – against empathy- I think his idea is empathy isnt helpful as an end in itself

  32. rickflick
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    One great thing about the Templeton Fund and it’s goals is that it gives us a litmus test for whether any particular scholar is able to be bought. Once we know it’s true, we can safely ignore their results.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good point.

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s also a good source of market information on the current price of an academic soul.

  33. steve oberski
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”

    ― Carl Sagan

    “I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that [s]he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim—so modestly and so humbly—to possess. It is time to withdraw our ‘respect’ from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.”

    ― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Good quotes!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      “The universe is under no obligations to make sense to you”
      -NDT

      (Should double check quote)

  34. Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    “Intellectual humility” is just a synonym for “god of the gaps”.

  35. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Ok, some of those ^^^^ of mine were duds.

    But I almost forgot

    The counterpart of the mind is the body, or hand, if you will – right?

    Thus

    Manual humility

    I offer another avenue, more Christian-y:

    Intellectual love

  36. Cliff
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    As a layperson I realise that I, like many others, am very dependant on the integrity of the scientific community. This being so, it saddens me to think that “Intellectual Honesty” is, in some circles, treated as just another commodity. Not just that, it’s nauseating to think of those instances when scientifically proven facts & principles have been dolluted. One of the reasons why I admire and follow WEIT is that the host doesn’t do or encourage such things. Thank you Professor Coyne and the many contributors for whom truths and integrity matter.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Ah

      “intellectual honesty”

      That’s one of those things I like to think is important , and like to think I work to achieve…. but I wonder sometimes… I wonder if it’s just pretentious…

      I wonder if TF came up with “intellectual humility” by being frustrated with arguments about “intellectual honesty”

      • Cliff
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Sorry for the Freudian slip – my old mind transposed “intellectual humility” to read “intellectual honesty” during posting ; but there again? Anyway, thanks for steering me towards my error in such a kind & thoughtful way.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          Nay, a good point, mistake or not I’m glad to have heard it!

    • rickflick
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      If you are a pessimist, you’d say humanity doesn’t have enough integrity to survive in an open democratic society. As an optimist, I think we will make it through the Templetons and the Trumps and go on to bigger and better things. Better angels, and all that…(I hope).


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