There exists a “Templeton Cambridge journalism fellowship programme in science and religion”. I’ve complained often enough about the state of science journalism nowadays; I would think the last thing it needs is a further infusion of soft-headedness and religious thinking sponsored by the devious dogmatists of the Templeton Foundation, but that’s what we’re getting. They’ve got the money, and they aren’t hesitant about using it to go straight to future information sources and pollute them at the wellhead. Anyway, one of these journalists in training wrote to a number of people requesting an interview on the subject of materialism, and made the mistake of mentioning his Templeton affiliation. You can guess what kind of response that elicited from those who do not trust the Templeton.
Many years ago I made the mistake of participating, with some very good scientists, in a conference that pitted us against astrologers and other new age fakes. I learned to my dismay that even though we thoroughly dismantled the opposition, many in the audience ended up, paradoxically, with an increased esteem for astrologers! As one person explained to me “I figured that if you scientists were willing to work this hard to refute it, there must be something to it!”
I cannot agree with the Templeton Foundation’s project of trying to make
religion respectable by conflating it with science; this is like mixing
astrology with astronomy or voodoo with medical research, and I disapprove of
Templeton’s use of its great wealth to bribe compliance with this project.
Templeton is to all intents and purposes a propaganda organisation for religious
outlooks; it should honestly say so and equally honestly devote its money to
prop up the antique superstitions it favours, and not pretend that questions of
religion are of the same kind and on the same level as those of science – by
which means it persistently seeks to muddy the waters and keep religion credible
in lay eyes.
Those are good responses. That’s both how and why scientists need to dissociate themselves from the lucratively tempting compromises of the Templeton Foundation.