Trouble at Templeton?

November 2, 2010 • 6:17 am

Heather Wax, the main blogger for the Templeton Foundation’s Big Questions Online (BQO) site, arrived there from the Science and Religion Today website on July 22.  On Friday, after only three months, she left BQO and went back to her former home.

Some time ago, BQO disabled the ability for readers to leave comments on the articles.

Gary Rosen, Chief External Affairs Officer of the Templeton Foundation (i.e., their main mouthpiece, who sometimes wrote comments on Pharyngula, the Richard Dawkins website and other places), left Templeton a few months ago to go to the Wall Street Journal.  He’d barely been at Templeton two years, having joined in February, 2008 as editor of Commentary.

Maybe all these unconnected, but a little pulpo tells me that all isn’t well at the JTF.  One thing it can’t be, though, is money.

18 thoughts on “Trouble at Templeton?

  1. What? Gary left Templeton? It may become a healthier place.

    Or could it be even worse?
    Let’s bet for the later, these guys have imagination on their side.

  2. The Templetons have their fingers in a lot of different pies. I don’t see anything suspicious about the current situation – a pro-religion professional could easily change jobs every year or so, moving to an organization with a different title but still getting their paycheck ultimately funded by the Temps.

  3. People leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons. There’s no way to know what happened with each person. I would like to believe that Wax and Rosen both realized that Templeton is a silly organization and said to themselves, “Hey, this organization sucks!” but that may be farfetched.

  4. One of the problems at the John Templeton Foundation is that Sir John is no longer with us. When I met him many years ago at a meeting in St, Petersburg, FL, he struck me as a man of sound intellect. Although I did not know him that well, I suspect the management of his foundation, as happens too often, may be pushing an agenda he might not.

    As for Big Questions Online, they are honest in their premise; i.e., they are asking questions, but allow no one to answer. This makes them, in my view, more concerned with broadcasting their views than engaging a dialog(ue).

    1. Regarding your first point–shades of CFI’s current turmoil.

      Always interesting how human organizational endeavors are prone to the same foibles & internecine intrigue, regardless of organization raison d’être.

      1. For me, the primary example of this is fundamentalist Christianity. Assume Jesus was a sage, read his teachings as rendered by contemporary scholars like Lloyd Geering or John Dominic Crossan, substitute Gaia for Kingdom of God, then decide whether they are worth consideration. Indeed, disciples tend to distort the original views of their prophet.

  5. The Templeton Foundation and Randy Moss have something in common- they only answer their own questions.

    Good luck to them!

  6. I can’t say I understand all this Templeton bashing.

    I looked at TBQ today and found several interesting and fair-minded articles–one by Shermer on “why there is something rather than nothing”, a perfectly reasonable review of the The Moral Landscape, and another by Susan Jacoby on how The Moral Landscape puts lie to NOMA.

    If someone wants to spend their money providing such free content for me, I’m not going to complain.

    1. I fail to see how “something rather than something” (since “nothing” invariably turns out to be a variant of “something” in natural settings) is interesting in itself by now. One can discuss likeliest pathways, but we still know much too little on that.

      Reminds very much of abiogenesis – we know it can happen naturally, we know that nature is natural, so it happened naturally … well, naturally.

      So we have moved on from why to how (as we must eventually) and the discussion should reflect that. Especially if it aims to be interesting.

      1. “(since “nothing” invariably turns out to be a variant of “something” in natural settings)”

        I would say that that’s the issue: if you already have the laws of quantum physics or vacuum energy or something, it’s not really nothing (and where did those things come from). Of course the theists believe that “nothing” really means “nothing except a god”, which isn’t nothing either. If you start with really nothing, you’ll always have nothing, so since we have something it means there was never really nothing, and the question means nothing.

    2. As for the main issue, the varied articles is just varnish on the sordid NOMA construct beneath. An analogy, always risky business mind, would be a men’s magazine printing reviews on women’s literature.

      I’ll think I’ll stick to the bashing in this case.

      1. LOL. Bash away, Torbjorn. I’m just seeking people’s reasons. I always worry that there is implicit ideological purity being imposed, which of course is the atheist’s worst enemy.

      2. There’s “women’s literature” now?

        What would that include? The works of Lady Murasaki, George Eliot, Flannery O’Connor? Chick lit like that?

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