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← Correspondence regarding the Templeton Foundation

Gary Rosen's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Gary Rosen

A.C. Grayling and Daniel Dennett have refused to talk to a serious journalist (Edwin Cartlidge of Physics World) about a serious subject (philosophical materialism) because the journalism fellowship under which he is pursuing this subject is sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. They will have nothing to do with the Templeton Foundation, they say, because our aim is somehow to "muddy the waters" about the relationship between science and religion.

That's not how we see it at all. First-rate, peer-reviewed science is essential to our work at the Foundation and to the progressive vision of the late Sir John Templeton, who was deeply committed to scientific discovery. Many of our largest grants go to pure scientific research (like our support for the Foundational Questions Institute in Physics and Cosmology, the Godel Centenary Research Prize Fellowships, and the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard).

But, yes, we do like to include philosophers and theologians in many of our projects. Excellent science is crucial to what we do, but it is not all that we do. We are a "Big Questions" foundation, not a science foundation, and we believe that the world's philosophical and religious traditions have much to contribute to understanding human experience and our place in the universe. For Grayling and Dennett to compare this rich, expansive discussion to a dialogue with astrologers is silly. They know better.

Gary Rosen
Chief External Affairs Officer
John Templeton Foundation

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 08:40:00 UTC | #372752