This is going to be so much fun to watch the IDers try to spin. The Templeton Foundation, easily the largest and most prominent support of projects that point to the reconciliation of science and religion, has delivered a blistering public rebuke to the intelligent design movement in a letter to the LA Times. I’ll post the full text of the letter, which was written by Pamela Thompson, the Vice President of Communications for the foundation, below the fold:
“Testing the role of trust and values in financial decisions” (Jan. 21) incorrectly describes the John Templeton Foundation as having been an early supporter of the political movement known as “intelligent design.”
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.
The foundation has provided tens of millions of dollars in support of research academics who are critical of the anti-evolution intelligent-design position.
For almost a decade, the foundation has been a major supporter of a substantial program of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science. One of the program’s chief activities has been to inform the public of the weakness of the intelligent-design position on modern evolutionary biology.
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 movement, but this was not our intention at the time, nor is it today.
They are accurately identifying ID as a political movement, a PR campaign, rather than a serious scientific project. Bravo to Templeton for doing so. Let’s also note that there is a history here that provides support for that conclusion. Early on, the Templeton Foundation was eager to support ID research. The problem? There wasn’t any. Back in December 2005, the NY Times had an article which included the following:
The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.
“They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said 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.
That certainly speaks volumes. The ID movement makes a great deal of noise until it’s time to do actual scientific research, then it falls silent. So much so that even this organization had to recognize it. The Foundation supported, at least, Dembski and Henry Schaefer among ID advocates at one point. But once they started demanding actual research projects to fund that would provide support for ID, there was nothing else to fund. There simply was no such research.
It will be interesting to see how the IDers spin this one. They certainly can’t dismiss the Templeton Foundation as a bunch of “dogmatic Darwinists” or wedded to “atheistic materialism”, which is their usual shtick. Good luck guys; this one looks really, really bad for you.