Category Archives: Templeton

Philip Goff returns with panpsychism: now claims that a non-goddy “conscious Universe” explains the “fine-tuning” of physical constants permitting life

I’ve written two critical posts about the ideas of Philip Goff (a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest): here and here. In both places (Aeon and NPR, respectively), Goff argues for “panpsychism”—the idea that in some sense the entire Universe is conscious. He waffles on exactly how that consciousness is manifested, or where it […]

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. […]

Templeton abandons pretense of rationality, awards Templeton Prize to Alvin Plantinga, intelligent-design advocate

Reader Mark called my attention to the fact that John Templeton Foundation (JTF) has bestowed its annual Templeton Prize on someone who’s not only a deeply misguided religious philosopher, but also has promoted intelligent design and criticized naturalism. Yes, it’s Alvin Plantinga, an 84-year-old emeritus professor of philosophy at Notre Dame and also a professor at Calvin College […]

More waste of Templeton money

Now that execrable organization, bent on blurring the boundaries between science and religion, has its sticky fingers in Oxford University (it’s long invaded Cambridge University). Here’s a worthless series of podcasts, for which Templeton anted up 1.3 million pounds (now about #1.6 million US) Here are some of the topics. I love the last one […]

Robert Wright in the NYT: Evolution could have a “higher purpose”

The article I’m writing about today at length—and I apologize to the “TL; DR” crowd—was brought to my attention by more than a dozen readers, which shows how eagerly they wanted a response—and a refutation. But the article is so muddled and philosophically weak that it basically refutes itself. Nevertheless, because it’s a big piece […]

Templeton-funded study shows that avoiding spiritual struggles worsens mental health

A new paper by Carmen Oemig Dworsky et al. in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (reference below; only abstract available though I’ve got the whole paper) deals with the effects of spiritual struggle and its avoidance on people’s mental health. It’s a long read, but in short the authors surveyed 307 people (recruited from […]

David Sloan Wilson: There is a god, and it’s the “superorganism” of insect colonies and group-selected humans

David Sloan Wilson is known as an ardent promoter of group selection, the evolutionary idea that the unit of selection is not the gene or individual, but groups of individuals whose differential extinction and reproduction (group “splitting”) can give rise to traits that are maladaptive within groups, like purely altruistic behavior. (E. O. Wilson, not […]

Templeton sponsors accommodationist “ads” in Smithsonian Magazine

Two days ago I was beefing about an “article” in Smithsonian Magazine in which physicist (and believer) Sylvester James Gates was interviewed about physics, and at the end espoused a harmony between science and religion. Here’s the masthead: I wrote a critique of that piece, concentrating on Gates’s answer to the last question, “In science, both […]

In defense of Richard Dawkins: Elaine Ecklund and team write a pointless, Templeton-funded paper saying that Dawkins “misrepresents science”

As you can see from the many posts I’ve written about Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, she’s made a career out of showing that scientists are far more religious—or friendly to religion—than commonly assumed. But her methodology is often suspect, so that her data are cooked or twisted to meet her agenda: to show comity between science […]

Templeton hands out nearly $3 million to learn why people are atheists

Here is three million dollars down the tubes—money that could be used to advance our understanding of nature. Yes, the John Templeton Foundation—which is again mad at me for criticizing them yesterday and has asked for a “meeting”—has given a grant of nearly $3 million to the University of Kent so that underemployed religious scholars, sociologists, […]