- John Templeton Foundation
The John Templeton Foundation was established in
1987by the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton; the current president is his son John M. Templeton, Jr.It is usually referred to simply as the Templeton Foundation.
The mission of the Templeton Foundation is:
"to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for scientific discovery on what scientists and philosophers call the 'Big Questions.' Ranging from questions about the laws of nature to the nature of creativity and consciousness, the Foundation’s philanthropic vision is derived from Sir John’s resolute belief that rigorous research and cutting-edge scholarship is at the very heart of new discoveries and human progress. [Templeton website."]
As described below, the foundation funds work in the natural and human sciences, in philosophy and theology, in research into free-market solutions to poverty, and in support of gifted education.
The Foundation’s motto is "how little we know, how eager to learn". [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/menu.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ] According to the Foundation, it gives away about $60 million a year in research grants and programs. [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/jt_interview.html JT Interview, Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ]
Grants are made in core funding areas that align with the Foundation's mission statement and charter. Typically, grants are approved in a process that incorporates scientific
peer review.The Foundation funds numerous high-level scientific research projects, usually by means of international competitions to which research teams from large universities apply. Grants are subject to standard peer review and approved by an international jury.For example, with the cooperation of the University of Cambridge, 18 grants were awarded for research on the origin and evolution of life and anthropology. [ [http://www.cambridge-templeton-consortium.org/ Cambridge Templeton Consortium] ] Other projects have attributed 30 grants for research in the area of physics [ [http://www.fqxi.org/about.html Foundational Questions Institute] ] and 14 grants in the area of cosmology. [ [http://www.templeton.org/archive/cosmology_fine-tuning/ Cosmology and Fine-Tuning Research Program] ]
The Foundation divides its primary activities into the following areas:
Scientific study of matters that seek to advance discovery in areas engaging “life’s biggest questions” is a major area of activity for the Foundation. These areas include questions on the laws of nature and the nature of the universe. [ [http://www.templeton.org/funding_areas/natural_sciences/ Templeton Foundation - Natural Sciences] ] It supports work principally by scientists, but also collaborations between scientists and other academics, such as theologians and philosophers. Many of these projects attempt to answer some of the big metaphysical questions, such as, "Why is there something rather than nothing? What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of free will?"
One example of the work funded by the Foundation has been taking place at the Oxford Centre for Science of the Mind. [ [http://www.oxcsom.ox.ac.uk Oxford Centre for Science of the Mind] ] In a project led by Baroness
Susan Greenfield, scientists have been using high-tech brain scans to examine how personal belief physically affects our brains. Part of the program of work has involved scientists talking to theologians to get a better insight into whether different people’s brains respond differently to the beliefs they do or don’t hold. Commenting on the project, Greenfield has said, “For the first time to actually have a theologian talking to brain imaging experts, which we have, will give us some insight. It won’t give us all the answers immediately, but what is wonderful is it will be a start.” [ [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/sr/overview.html Overview, Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ]
Humble Approach Initiative
The Foundation is the sponsor of the ‘Humble Approach Initiative’. Based upon its founder’s maxim that ‘humility is a gateway to greater understanding and opens doors to progress’, [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/sr/humble.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006 - Humble Approach Initiative] ] the initiative holds regular symposia around the world that bring together small groups of scholars and scientists to focus on a particular theme within an interdisciplinary framework. Scientific symposia under the banner of the ‘Humble Approach Initiative’ have resulted in the following published books:
"Universe or Multiverse" [ [http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521848411 Cambridge University Press] ] ; "Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment" [ [http://www.russellsage.org/publications/books/0-87154-622-1 Russell Sage Foundation] ] ; "The Link between Religion and Health: Psycho-neuroimmunology and the Faith Factor" [ [http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Psychology/Health/?view=usa&ci=9780195143607 Oxford University Press] ] ; "In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God’s Presence in a Scientific World" [ [http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=9780802809780 Eerdmans] ] ; "The Far Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective" [ [http://www.templetonpress.org/recentreviews_detail.asp?book_id=54 Templeton Press] ] ; "From Cells to Souls – and Beyond: Changing Portraits of Human Nature" [ [http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=9780802809858 Eerdmans] ] ; "The Work of Love: Creation as Kenosis" [ [http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=9780802848857 Eerdmans] ] ; "The Psychology of Gratitude" [ [http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Psychology/Social/~~/dmlldz11c2EmY2k9OTc4MDE5NTE1MDEwMA= Oxford University Press] ] ; "Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment" [ [http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=481688 Simon & Schuster] ] ; "Many Worlds: The New Universe, Extraterrestrial Life & The Theological Implications" [ [http://www.templetonpress.org/book.asp?book_id=9 Templeton Press] ] ; "From Complexity to Life: On the Emergency of Life and Meaning" [ [http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/LifeSciences/EvolutionaryBiology/?view=usa&ci=9780195150704 Oxford University Press] ] .
Examination of the spiritual nature of the individual is another core area of activity for the Foundation. Templeton-funded Human Sciences projects draw together a range of experts from anthropologists and psychologists to economists and educationalists.
In 2001, the Templeton Foundation helped to launch the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, [ [http://www.unlimitedloveinstitute.org Unlimited Love Institute] ] with an $8 million grant. Defined by Sir John Templeton, “Unlimited love means total constant love for every person with no exception”. [ [http://www.metanexus.net/Magazine/ArticleDetail/tabid/68/id/8271/Default.aspx Metanexus] ] The Institute has initiated nearly 50 scientific research projects across the United States, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton.
Philosophy & Theology
A new initiative of the Foundation seeks to advance discovery in areas that include philosophical and theological questions, including ethics and moral philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics and logic, and the philosophy and history of science. [ [http://www.templeton.org/funding_areas/philosophy_and_theology/ Templeton Foundation - Philosophy and Theology] ] One recent grant in this area supported an international symposium in
Vienna, Austria, entitled “Horizons of Truth: Logic, Foundations of Mathematics, and the Quest for Understanding the Nature of Knowledge,” celebrating the 100th birthday of mathematician Kurt Gödel. [ [http://www.logic.at/goedel2006/ Horizons of Truth - Gödel Century] ]
The Foundation supports ‘Character Development’ programs. The goal of this activity is, according to the Foundation, to “reinforce positive values such as honesty, compassion, self-discipline and respect, and support innovative research on the importance of character”.Two initiatives in this program include the Purpose Prize. [ [http://www.leadwithexperience.org The Purpose Prize] ] and the Laws of Life Essay Contest [ [http://www.lawsoflife.org Laws of Life Essay Contest] ]
A new area of activity for the Templeton Foundation is the funding of research projects and teaching programs that promote enterprise-based solutions to poverty and that promote "the virtues that support successful capitalist economies". [ [http://www.templeton.org/prizes/templeton_freedom_awards/ Templeton Freedom Awards] ] The Foundation claims it will be providing upwards of $25 million annually to these projects by 2010. [ [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/hs/fe.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ] It recently awarded a total of $1.5 million to three initiatives to help promote public understanding of how entrepreneurship and market reforms are alleviating poverty in developing countries. [ [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/hs/free_enterprise/poverty.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ] One of the recipients was
Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Liberty for Latin America, who is using the grant to examine how market-based institutions are helping to alleviate poverty in Latin America and in other emerging nations. [ [http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/ The Independent Institute] ] Another Templeton research grant in this area funded a two-year project, “Private Schools Serving the Educational Needs of the Poor: A Global Research and Dissemination Project”, under the direction of Professor James Tooley of the University of Newcastle. [ [http://www.ncl.ac.uk/egwest/research/privateschools.html University of Newcastle] ] Findings suggest that the root causes of poverty can be best addressed when people have a stake in their own educational destiny.
The Templeton Foundation has a program of activity to help encourage young people with ‘exceptional talents’ particularly in mathematics and science. [ [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/hs/gifted.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006 - Gifted Education] ] For example, one Foundation grant helped the Center for Talented Youth at
Johns Hopkins Universitylaunch Cogito.org, [ [http://www.cogito.org Cogito.org] ] an online community website that allows talented young people to form relationships with peers from around the world.
Prizes and awards
The Foundation is involved both in the awarding of prizes for specific achievements in different categories, and the funding of research in science and theology.
The Templeton Prize
In addition to its central activity funding scientific studies, the Foundation awards the annual $1.6 million
Templeton Prize[ [http://www.templetonprize.org Templeton Prize] ] to the living individual who best exemplifies "trying various ways for discoveries and breakthroughs to expand human perceptions of divinity and to help in the acceleration of divine creativity".
The Templeton Prize was first awarded in 1973 and monetary amount is adjusted to always be slightly higher than the
Nobel Prize. In 2008 the prize was $1.6 million.
Since its inception, recipients of the prize have included
Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Aleksandr Solzhenitsynand Baba Amte.
In March 2008, Polish cosmologist and catholic priest
Michael Hellerwas awarded the Templeton Prize. Heller received the prize in recognition of scholarship and research that has, according to the Foundation, pushed at the metaphysical boundaries of science. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cosmologist-wins-worlds-largest-monetary-award-794673.html "Cosmologist wins worlds largest monetary award"] , "The Independent", March 12, 2008.]
In 2007 the Templeton Prize was awarded to Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. Taylor is known for his belief that Western secular society does not satisfy the natural human desire for meaning. Commenting on the Templeton Prize award to Taylor, the United Kingdom’s Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks said, “If there is such a thing as a saint in a secular age, he deserves that title”. [Joanna Sugden, [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1737627.ece "Terrorism can be Overcome with spirituality, says Templeton Prize Winner"] , "The Times", May 2, 2007.]
Other recent prize winners include:
Charles H. Townes, Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 [ [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1964/townes-bio.html Townes Bio] , Nobel Prize Foundation.] for his investigations into the properties of microwaves and his co-invention of the laser, [http://www.templetonprize.org/bios_recent.html "Recent Biographies"] , Templeton Prize] and theoretical cosmologist George F.R. Ellisof the University of Cape Town, [ [http://www.mth.uct.ac.za/~ellis/ University of Cape Town] ] who advocates “balancing the rationality of evidence-based science with the causal effect of forces beyond the explanation of hard science, including issues such as aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and meaning".
In addition to its main activities and the Templeton Prize, the Foundation also awards many other prizes. In
2004, for example, the Foundation presented the makers of the controversial movie " The Passion of the Christ" with a $50,000 "Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspirational Movie". In 2007 the Epiphany Prize went to "Cheers and Laughter". [ [http://www.templeton.org/prizes/the_epiphany_prize/ Templeton Foundation - Epiphany Prize] ]
The Purpose Prize, sponsored by Civic Ventures with grants from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation, annually provides five awards of $100,000 and 10 awards of $10,000 to people over 60 who are taking on society’s biggest challenges. The inaugural Purpose Prizes in 2006 went to Conchy Bretos, Charles Dey, Marilyn Gaston and Gayle Porter, W. Wilson Goode, Sr., and Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed. [ [http://www.leadwithexperience.org/prize/ The Purpose Prize] ]
It also awarded writer August Turak with an earlier $100,000 "Power of Purpose" prize. A full list of prizes the Foundation awards yearly can be found on their website. [ [http://www.templeton.org/awarded_prizes/index.asp "Awarded Prizes"] , Templeton Foundation website.]
Other recipients of funding
Individuals associated with Templeton-funded initiatives or who have received support from the Templeton Foundation include
Paul Davies, Max Tegmark, John D. Barrow, James Otteson, Stephen Post, Martin Seligman, Harold Koenig, Laurence Iannaccone, Nicholas Colangello, and Alexander Astin. Organizations that are associated or which have received grants include Civic Ventures, Junior Achievement, the American Association for the Advancement of Science(AAAS), Rotary International, and many major research universities, including Yale University, Harvard University, MIT, the California Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Princeton University, and Cambridge University, among others. MediaTransparencylists grant-receiving institutions for 1998 to 2004; the top five are Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences($23 million), National Institute for Healthcare Research($8 million), Philadelphia Center for Religion & Science($4 million), Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science($4 million), and Science and Spirit Resources, Inc.($4 million). [ [http://www.mediatransparency.org/recipientsoffunder.php?funderID=29 Media Transparency] ]
The Foundation also has media presence. It runs its own
publisher, Templeton Foundation Press and publishes the periodical “In Character: A Journal of Everyday Virtues”. [ [http://www.incharacter.org/ In Character] ] It is published three times a year; each issue has a theme such as “thrift” or “purpose” and, in Spring 2007, “honesty”.
Since 1995, the "day-to-day" management of the foundation is by president
John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D., the son of its founder and also a member of Yale's Elihu Club. Templeton, Jr. is an evangelical Christianand as an independently wealthy person, is also active in philanthropy which is outside of the mandate of the Templeton Foundation itself. He is the chairman of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., a 502(c)(4)non-profit organization which "promotes constitutional government, economic freedomand traditional values" [ [http://letfreedomringusa.com/about.asp Let Freedom Ring website] ] group that raises funds for conservative causes. [ [http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/horgan06/horgan06_index.html The Edge] ] Templeton Jr has always maintained that his own personal religious beliefs do not affect his ability to administer the Foundation in accordance with the wishes of his father. The Templeton Foundation has also gone to great lengths to stress that it is non-political with no bias towards any one faith. [http://www.templeton.org/capabilities_2006/jt_interview_2.html Templeton Foundation Capabilities Report 2006] ]
Broadly, controversial aspects of the Templeton Foundation fall into two categories. The Foundation is seen by some as an extension of other right-wing causes championed by its management, and it also receives criticism from some members in the scientific community who are concerned with its linking of scientific and religious questions.
Accusations of right-wing orientation
501(c)(3)organizations, the Templeton Foundation is prohibited from engaging directly in political activity. However, a number of journalists have highlighted connections with conservative causes. A 1997 article in " Slate Magazine" noted that the Templeton Foundation had given significant financial support to groups, causes and individuals considered conservative, including gifts to Gertrude Himmelfarb, Milton Friedman, Walter E. Williams, Julian Lincoln Simonand Mary Lefkowitz, and referred to John Templeton, Sr., as a "conservative sugar daddy". [ [http://www.slate.com/id/1822/ "The Slate"] ] The Foundation also has a history of supporting the Cato Institute, a libertarianthink-tank, as well as projects at major research centers and universities that explore themes related to free market economics, such as Hernando de Soto's Instituto Libertad Y Democracia and the X Prize Foundation.
In a 2007 article in
The Nation, Barbara Ehrenreichdrew attention to the Foundation's president's funding of the right-wing group Freedom's Watch, and referred to the Foundation as a "right wing venture" [ [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071022/ehrenreich Ehrenreich] , Oct. 22, 2007, " The Nation"] . Pamela Thompson of the Templeton Foundation, responding to Ehrenreich's allegations, asserted that "the Foundation is, and always has been, run in accordance with the wishes of Sir John Templeton Sr, who laid very strict criteria for its mission and approach", that it is "a non-political entity with no religious bias" and it "is totally independent of any other organisation and therefore neither endorses, nor contributes to political candidates, campaigns, or movements of any kind". [ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ehrenreich/the-rights-academic-univ_b_67744.html#postComment The Huffington Post] ]
The "Intelligent Design" controversy
In addition to suggestions that the foundation has a conservative/libertarian bent, controversy exists over the foundation's support for
intelligent designproponents. In 1999, it provided a grant to the Discovery Institute, [ [http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/12862103.htm Philly] ] and has also funded the production of "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery", a 2004 book supporting intelligent design by Guillermo Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/17/news/Redid.php IHT] ]
In 2005, the foundation disputed suggestions that they promote
intelligent design, [ [http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_48/b3961617.htm Business Week] ] saying that they may support individual projects that support intelligent design, but that they do not support the " intelligent design movement". [ [http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/Intelligent_Design/Statement_Anti_Evolutionism.pdf Templeton Statement on Evolution] ] The foundation has also funded critics of the movement. A New York Times article said the foundation asked intelligent design proponents to submit proposals for actual research and quoted Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, as saying "They never came in" and that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned. "From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don't come out very well in our world of scientific review", he said. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/weekinreview/04good.html Ideas & Trends; Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker] Laurie Goodstein. New York Times, December 4 2005] The Templeton Foundation has since rejected the Discovery Institute's entreaties for more funding, Harper stated. "They're political - that for us is problematic", and that while Discovery has "always claimed to be focused on the science", "what I see is much more focused on public policy, on public persuasion, on educational advocacy and so forth". [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/national/21evolve.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=24bc7c9b16cac8a8&ex=1282276800&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive] Jodi Wilgoren. The New York Times, August 21 2005.] [ [http://www.templeton.org/topics_in_the_news/Statement_Anti_Evolutionism.pdf Anti-Evolutionism] John Templeton Foundation. (PDF file)]
In 2007 in the "LA Times", Pamela Thompson, Vice President for Communications of the Templeton Foundation, wrote "We do not believe that the science underpinning the intelligent-design movement is sound, we do not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge, and the foundation is a nonpolitical entity and does not engage in or support political movements". [ [http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-letters4.2feb04,1,4960042.story?coll=la-headlines-business LA Time] ] The same day the Wall Street Journal also included a letter from the same Pamela Thompson making much the same point: "The foundation doesn't support the political movement known as 'Intelligent Design'. This is for three reasons: We don't believe the science underpinning the 'Intelligent Design' movement is sound, we don't support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge and the foundation is a non-political entity and does not engage in, or support, political movements." [ [http://online.wsj.com/page/2_0048.html Wall Street Journal] ]
In February 2007 the
Discovery Institutebegan a campaign to counter the unfavorable statements of Harper and Thompson citing a "report" published on the pro-Intelligent Design wiki, ResearchID. [ [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/02/uncommondescent_and_researchid.html#more UncommonDescent and ResearchID.org Report: New York Times Falsely Claimed ID Theorists Failed to Respond to Call for Research Proposals] Evolution News, Discovery Institute.] This campaign quoted clarifications from Charles Harper of the Templeton Foundation denouncing intelligent design and distancing the Templeton Foundation from the intelligent design movement, notably a clarification by Harper that a Wall Street Journal article published "false information" that "mention [ed] the John Templeton Foundation in a way suggesting that the Foundation has been a concerted patron and sponsor of the so-called Intelligent Design ("ID") position," [ [http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/Intelligent_Design/Official_Statement.html Official statement on the false and misleading information published in the Wall Street Journal November 14.] Charles L. Harper, Jr. John Templeton Foundation.] ResearchID and Discovery Institute claimed that this was indicative of larger errors and bias: "The media has misrepresented the record of the intelligent design research community." [ [http://www.researchintelligentdesign.org/wiki/Media_Misreports_Intelligent_Design_Research_and_the_John_Templeton_Foundation Media Misreports Intelligent Design Research and the John Templeton Foundation] Joseph C. Campana, ResearchID.org] Critics of intelligent design responded by noting that though Harper appears to have "confirmed that while the first statement about a formal call for applications was false, the real point of the article, that ID advocates don't do very well in terms of actual research and scientific review, remains true and valid" a point the Discovery Institute glosses over. [ [http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2007/03/the_iders_who_went_up_a_molehi_1.php#more Dispatches from the Culture Wars] ] The Templeton Foundation posted a response to the Discovery Institute's campaign, saying:quotation|In response to errors and misrepresentations stated in the February 28, 2007 ResearchID.com blog post: 1. The John Templeton Foundation has never made a call-for-proposals to the ID Community.2. The Henry Schaefer grant was from the Origins of Biological Complexity program. Schaefer is a world's leading chemist, and his research has nothing whatsoever to do with ID.3. Bill Dembski's grant was not for the book 'No Free Lunch.' Dembski was given funds to write another book on Orthodox Theology, which was not on ID, however he has never written the book.
From our FAQ...
Does the Foundation support I.D.?
No. We do not support the political movement known as "Intelligent Design". This is for three reasons 1) we do not believe the science underpinning the "Intelligent Design" movement is sound, 2) we do not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge, and 3) the Foundation is a non-political entity and does not engage in, or support, political movements.
It is important to note that in the past we have given grants to scientists who have gone on to identify themselves as members of the Intelligent Design community. We understand that this could be misconstrued by some to suggest that we implicitly support the Intelligent Design movement, but, as outlined above, this was not our intention at the time nor is it today. -- "Templeton Foundation" [ [http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/Intelligent%5FDesign/ Templeton Foundation Statement on Intelligent Design] ]
Debate within the scientific community
The Foundation's views on the connections between religious and scientific inquiry and their ability to provide significant grants for scientific research has led to quite polarising debate within the scientific community.
Sean M. Carroll, a cosmologistat the University of Chicago, wrote, in describing his self-recusal from a conference he discovered was funded by the Foundation, that "the entire purpose of the Templeton Foundation is to blur the line between straightforward science and explicitly religious activity, making it seem like the two enterprises are part of one big undertaking. It's all about appearances." But he also said, "I appreciate that the Templeton Foundation is actually, in its own way, quite pro-science, and is not nearly as objectionable as the anti-scientific crackpots at the Discovery Institute." [ [http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/2005_04_01_preposterousuniverse_archive.html#111387591806156772 Preposterous Universe - Sean Carroll] ]
In 2006, John Horgan, a science journalist and the author of several books, wrote in an article in
The Chronicle of Higher Education(reprinted in "Edge") of his "misgivings about the foundation's agenda of reconciling religion and science". He claims that a conference he attended favored scientists who "offered a perspective clearly skewed in favor of religion and Christianity", and says that a Templeton official "told us that the meeting cost more than $1-million, and in return the foundation wanted us to publish articles touching on science and religion". cite web|url=http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/horgan06/horgan06_index.html |title=The Templeton Foundation: A Skeptic's Take |accessdate=2007-10-25 |last=Horgan |first=John |date=2006-05-04 |work=Edge.org ]
In his book "
The God Delusion", Richard Dawkins(an evolutionary biologist) repeatedly criticizes the Templeton Foundation, referring to the Templeton Prize as "a very large sum of money given...usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion." Concerning the conference that he and John Horgan attended, and to John Horgan's resulting article, Dawkins comments, "If I understand Horgan's point, it is that Templeton's money corrupts science."cite book | last = Dawkins | first = Richard | authorlink = Richard Dawkins | coauthors = | title = The God Delusion | publisher = Black Swan | date = 2006 | location = UK | pages = 183 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0-552-77331-7 ]
One critic of the Templeton Foundation is
Peter Woit, a mathematical physicist at Columbia University, who occasionally writes about his misgivings on his blog (which is hosted by Columbia University). Woit feels it is unfortunate that Templeton's money is used to influence scientific research towards a convergence between science and religion.
In June 2005, Woit wrote::"Look not at what the Templeton people say (which is relatively innocuous), but at what they do. They explicitly refuse to support serious science, and instead fund an incredible array of attempts to inject religion into scientific practice. ... Instead they are heavily funding the one part of the field that most people consider dangerous pseudo-science and a serious threat to the whole concept of what it means to do science." cite web|url=http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=205 |title=Multiverse, String Theory and Templeton |accessdate=2007-10-27 |last=Woit |first=Peter |date=2005-06-12 |work=Not Even Wrong (Peter Woit's blog) ]
In October 2007, he gave this more qualified, but still largely critical, assessment of the Foundation following attendance at a Templeton sponsored seminar: :The symposium I attended had not a trace of involvement of religion in it, and it seems that Templeton is careful to keep this out of some of the things that it funds as pure science…They appear to have a serious commitment to the idea of funding things in physics that can be considered “foundational”. People working in some such areas often are considered out of the physics mainstream and so find it hard to get their research funded. For them, Templeton is in many ways a uniquely promising funding source”. cite web|url=http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=606 |title=Deep Beauty |accessdate=2007-12-28 |last=Woit |first=Peter |date=2007-10-06 |work=Not Even Wrong (Peter Woit's blog) ]
:"However, they unambiguously are devoted to trying to bring science and religion together, and that’s my main problem with them. ... I remain concerned though about the significance for physics of this large new source of funding, out of scale with other such private sources, and with an agenda that seems to me to have a dangerous component to it."
Nonetheless, Woit's impression is that the Foundation is careful to keep right wing politics out of its activities and he does state that “their encouragement of religion seems to be of a very ecumenical nature".
Paul Davies, British-born physicist and member of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, gave a defense of the Foundation's role in the scientific community in the Times Higher Education Supplement in March 2005. Responding to concerns about the funding of such research by religious organisations that might have a hidden agenda and in particular the Templeton Foundation, Davies said:
:If the foundation were indeed a religious organisation with its own specific doctrine, [the] objections would have substance. In fact, it is nothing of the sort. The benefactor, Sir John Templeton, bemoans the way that religious leaders often claim to have all the answers. Imagine, he says, consulting a doctor about an ailment, only to find him reaching for a volume of Hippocrates. Yet priests rely on ancient scriptures to deliver spiritual guidance. Sir John wants to address the big questions of existence with humility and open-mindedness, adopting the model of scientific research in place of religious dogma. "How little we know!" is his favourite aphorism. It is a radical message, as far from religious fundamentalism as it is possible to get.
:...recurring research themes supported by the foundation are the search for extra-solar planets, the properties of liquid water, the evolution of primate behaviour, emergent properties of complex systems, the foundations of quantum mechanics and the biological and social bases for forgiveness in areas of human conflict. In none of these projects is anything like a preferred religious position encouraged or an obligation imposed to support any religious group.
:Britain is a post-religious society. Yet ordinary men and women still yearn for some sort of deeper meaning to their lives. Can science point the way? Science has traditionally been regarded as dehumanising and alienating, trivialising the significance of humans and celebrating the pointlessness of existence. But many scientists, atheists included, see it differently. They experience what Einstein called "a cosmic religious feeling" when reflecting on the majesty of the cosmos and the extraordinary elegance and ingenuity of its mathematical laws.
:Science cannot and should not be a substitute for religion. But I see nothing sinister or unprofessional about scientists working with open-minded theologians to explore how science might be a source of inspiration rather than demoralisation. [ [http://www.thes.co.uk/search/story.aspx?story_id=2020215 Times Higher Education Supplement] ]
* [http://www.templeton.org John Templeton Foundation]
* [http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/Intelligent_Design/Official_Statement.html Official statement on the false and misleading information published in the Wall Street Journal November 14] John Templeton Foundation
* [http://www.fqxi.org/ Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology]
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