The Templeton Foundation and ID
Actually, the Wall Street Journal article from the previous post contains a nugget deserving its own post:
In a 1999 fund-raising proposal, the Discovery Institute -- an intelligent design think tank in Seattle -- outlined what it called a “wedge strategy” to replace the “stifling dominance of the materialist worldview” with “a science consonant with Christian and theistic conviction.” Its five-year objectives included making intelligent design “an accepted alternative in the sciences” and the “dominant perspective” at two universities which weren't identified.
While these goals weren't met, some intelligent-design advocates associated with the Discovery Institute, found a receptive ear at the Pennsylvania-based Templeton Foundation. Between 1994 and 2002, the foundation funded nearly 800 courses, including several on intelligent design. It has also supported research by William Dembski, who headed an intelligent-design center at Baylor University, and Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of a 2004 book, “The Privileged Planet.” The book claimed to discern a designer from the earth's position in the cosmos. Mr. Gonzalez, an assistant professor of astronomy at Iowa State, received $58,000 from the foundation over three years.
Foundation staff members now say that intelligent design hasn't yielded as much research as they'd hoped. Mr. Templeton, who chairs the foundation and will turn 93 later this month, believes “the creation-evolution argument is a waste of time,” says Paul Wason, the foundation's director of science and religion programs. Mr. Wason adds that Mr. Templeton is more interested in applying the scientific method to exploring spiritual questions such as the nature of forgiveness. Nevertheless, staff members remain reluctant to dismiss intelligent design entirely, in part because the doctrine's popularity could help achieve the foundation's goal of persuading evangelical Christians to pursue scientific careers. The foundation also complains that academia is too quick to censor the doctrine. (Emphasis Added)
Of course, I love the blunt statement that the Discovery Institute's scientific ambitions have not come to fruition. But it's that bold face line that really caught my eye. The Templeton Foundation generally supports any quasi-scientific endeavor that can be spun as supportive of spirituality, however you define that term. It is not surprising that they would be supportive of ID.
But it's definitely a welcome development that one of the chief financial supporters of ID is waking up to its total lack of scientific content. Better late than never.
Of course, the reason ID has not produced as much research as they hoped is that ID has never been about scientific research. That's been obvious from the start.