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← So you think you knew Templeton? A new report

So you think you knew Templeton? A new report - Comments

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 1 by robotaholic

I'm pissed at Shermer & Mooney for taking their money.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 20:17:25 UTC | #598470

locutus7's Avatar Comment 2 by locutus7

I don't believe in evil, but if I did, Templeton would fall into that category. An insidious organization intent on subverting science and reason, thus impeding the progress of civilization.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 20:41:16 UTC | #598480

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 3 by Mark Jones

This is an interesting report, which adds to fears that Templeton is in the business of undermining the scientific project. The history of Templeton that Sunny Bains details is very revealing, and suspicions are raised by the way that the compatibility of religion and science has moved to the top of the agenda after the initial fairly obvious religious agenda.

There's a particularly illuminating analysis of Shermer's Big Questions, and the device of insisting on 'balanced' responses (well done to Bains for this). That smacks of teaching the controversy, although I think Shermer's mistakes are understandable. In fact, the report shows how a number of folk have been sort of hoodwinked into being Templeton accomplices. The Foundation moves in mysterious ways.

I looked at a few more Templeton issues in a blog post here, with a hat tip to Jerry Coyne and Ophelia Benson.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 20:50:40 UTC | #598482

EvanO'Leary's Avatar Comment 4 by EvanO'Leary

Am I the first comment? One of the many benefits of following you on twitter, I guess. By the way, my biology class watched a documentary of yours, and it was of course very good, but what was amazing was that your documentary, from what I saw, (the genius of charles darwin, 1st episode) actually did change people's minds about evolution. Before I convinced my teacher to stop being a wimp and teach evolution already, there were questions people had that my teacher didn't answer very well. I did answer those questions, but they obviously still had more, and I want to thank you for explaining so much to students all around the world, because I noticed a very big impact on my other students that day.

Also, your latest book (which I FUCKING LOVE) helped me identify a fossil Acanthostega today in class. I could name thousands more examples where your book has been a great reference, but that was just the one today. Thanks to mainly you, Im going to all these programs for advanced learning stuff, too! Your work has been a HUGE help to me, thank you.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 20:51:33 UTC | #598483

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

Do I have to read the whole report Professor Coyne? It would be passing strange to not think the Templeton foundation has an agenda and much of, if not all, of that agenda is not only hidden but antithetical to science. But, you said they have deep pockets and money talks. Think of the poor evolutionary biologist that drools from the mouth with envious hunger at the grants going to molecular cell biology. Many will rationalize taking that money.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 21:45:42 UTC | #598500

locutus7's Avatar Comment 6 by locutus7

Maybe some who rationalize taking Templeton money will funnel it into the RD Foundation and other science/reason/atheist organizations. Then again, if they are the type to accept Templeton money, they are not likely thinking of science and reason as a high priority.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 22:05:28 UTC | #598507

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 7 by rrh1306

Religion has to die for the world to move forward into a more reasonable age. I don't care if you believe in a god or not but religion has to go. Just today here in America one of the best players on BYU'S ( That's Brigham Young University) basketball team was kick off the team in the middle of the dream season there having for having sex with his college girlfriend. You can also be kicked off the team for drinking tea. No, no one put a gun to his head to make him go to BYU, but the fact that they would have such stupid rules to begin with is a strong testament to what's wrong with religions.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 22:15:06 UTC | #598511

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 8 by Carl Sai Baba

They are evil for trying to hide their funding. But I wouldn't have a problem with a religious group [openly] paying me several thousand dollars to show up and tell them they are idiots.

Maybe Michael Shermer's "past life" makes him especially willing to think that a shady religious group might have been having an enlightenment and they honestly wanted to explore the issue (rather than just taking advantage of being able to stick his name on it).

I understand the "That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine" point of view (I think I first heard Dawkins quote whoever said this), but it depends on your position. Dawkins taking time from his normal work to debate creationists might be a waste of time and a distraction. But editing pro/con pieces on nonsense is fairly close to Shermer's regular job.

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 00:23:01 UTC | #598537

AdrianT2's Avatar Comment 9 by AdrianT2

The report failed to mention John Templeton Jr's $1.1 million donation to the Yes On 8 campaign in 2008, the campaign to deny marriage equality to gay people. See:

The Foundation allies itself with some viciously homophobic characters too. A truly nasty organisation whose connections and activities have remained unquestioned, because they are 'people of faith'.

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 00:26:03 UTC | #598539

locutus7's Avatar Comment 10 by locutus7

And I bet we can guess which political party Templeton will funnel money to, and it isn't the Democrats.

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 01:18:25 UTC | #598546

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 11 by Crazycharlie

There should be no doubt the Templeton Foundation's agenda is to use its deep pockets to commandeer the legitimacy of science to promote religion. I admire Michael Shermer but the author of this report is right in calling him naive. Professional scientists should be careful to avoid associating with the TF and not be tempted by the money.

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 01:28:48 UTC | #598552

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 12 by huzonfurst

@9, they gave money to Yes on 8?! FUCK THEM!!

Fri, 04 Mar 2011 03:00:40 UTC | #598579

James F's Avatar Comment 13 by James F

Another "pleasant face" religious organization supports the vicious and evil theocratic movement seeking to make the USA an American Middle-East. Completely not surprised.

One of the reasons we need to get a real charity going that can compete with the Salvation Army. These organizations have turned good will into their own commodity A commodity that can be peddled to those foolish enough to not suspect the darkness that hides behind their empty smiles.

Templeton pretends to be working towards a better mutual understanding when they are in fact undermining the pillars of rationality that have pulled our civilization out of the barbaric ages. I suppose that's what any compromise with religion means though.

Sat, 05 Mar 2011 06:36:46 UTC | #598911

PERSON's Avatar Comment 14 by PERSON

Comment 12 by huzonfurst

Not quite, the money was from JMT Jr, not the foundation. OTOH, it does highlight where he's coming from, and it's something people should know, particularly if they might be considering involvement with the foundation. It's akin to funding the KKK in the 50s or 60s, really.

Sat, 05 Mar 2011 22:50:11 UTC | #599185