Friday, August 6, 2010

Examining the Templeton Foundation

(Picture from here.)

It should be no surprise that someone with my views on religion would find the Templeton Foundation troubling.

Oh. Forgot for a moment. I haven't yet stated my views on religion.

From a societal position, watching the power belief demonstrates in my culture, I find it fascinating and endlessly interesting. It's a wonderful way that people have used to answer questions they find important.

From a personal point of view I couldn't be more bored. Most of the questions are those created by the religion that can only be answered by religion. A good example is one that the evangelists liked to use when I was in college: "How will you spend eternity?"

My answer was usually "Mostly dead. Some life in the near future."

The Templeton Foundation was created to fund "discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality."

You can probably figure out my answers right off the bat: 1) None and 2) go ask the cosmologists and physicists. 3) Give me a million dollars.

I'm still waiting for my million dollars.

TF has certainly given out its share of money on things like the "science of godly love" and "faith, rationality and the passions".

Since I don't care about the questions you might think this a no-brainer for someone like me: ignore them.

But money talks and TF has a lot of money. Billions of dollars. NIH is reducing its funding of research over time and every where university research is having troubles. That Templeton money is very tempting.

We knowresearch money tends to frame the debate just by what they choose to fund. We've seen that in drug company and governmental research already. It doesn't help that the TF is scheduled to be one of the 25 biggest foundations in a few years when the estate is fully settled.

That's the troubling part.

A very good analysis of the Templeton Foundation is here.

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