The PR machine at Rice University in Houston has proudly announced that Elaine Ecklund—a sociologist whose life’s goal is to show two things: 1) science and religion are compatible, and 2) scientists are far more “spiritual” than everyone thinks—has just been given another huge grant from the Templeton Foundation. It’s for 1.08 million dollars.
Note that I said her life’s work is to show stuff rather than (as scientists do) test hypotheses. That’s because Ecklund has repeatedly distorted her own survey data in the service of her (and apparently Templeton’s) mission to harmonize science and religion. To see this odious massaging, just go here, here, here, or here.
From the PR site:
“Much has been written about how science and religion relate to each other, and it will be interesting to see if the generalized media portrayal of science being in conflict with religion is really accurate,” said Dean of Social Sciences Lyn Ragsdale.
I can already tell you what Ecklund will find, for she operates not like a scientist but like a theologian, knowing what her conclusions will be in advance and then twisting the data to fit them. She’ll find that the “generalized media portrayal of science being in conflict with religion” is not accurate. For if it were, all her previous papers showing no conflict would be wrong.
The PR machine grinds on:
Ecklund says ‘This grant will provide a great opportunity for us to conduct cutting-edge research about how these religious groups understand science and provide outreach and translation to individuals who might have some difficulties with some aspects of science.”
Doesn’t that already sound like she knows what the results will be? No conflict!
The renewal of the grant to Ecklund goes to show one thing: if you demonstrate what Templeton wants to hear, you get a permanent seat on their Gravy Train. This is a total waste of a million dollars, for the results are preordained. It’s one case where there’s not very much “science” in “social science.”
But I’m sure Ecklund and Rice are very grateful for the one million dollars, which could save the lives of countless African children.