The Templeton-funded Faraday Institute proselytizes kids by promoting books on God

“Give me the child and I’ll give you a faith-ridden adult”.

   (Implicit motto of the John Templeton Foundation and the Faraday Institute)

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge, England (webpage here) describes itself as “an interdisciplinary research enterprise based in Cambridge. In addition to academic research, the Institute engages in the public understanding of science and religion by means of CoursesConferencesLecturesSeminars and the Media.”

As far as I can see, it has no formal affiliation with Cambridge University; rather, it was founded in 2006 with a $2 million grant from—you guessed it—the John Templeton Foundation (JTF). And the JTF is still pumping money into it: the Faraday is now working off a $2.4 million Templeton grant to “lease new bespoke offices”. And it acknowledges JTF support on its webpage.

I’ve written about the Faraday before, including posts on the “Faraday Schools Project,” designed to convince kids that science and religion are compatible (website here); on its “Test of Faith” homeschool project, aimed at more accommodationism, and on the accommodationist  Emeritus Director of the Faraday, Denis Alexander. 

But now it’s gotten worse. As the Lutheran Institute for Faith, Science, and Technology reported in October of 2017:

Separate from this $2 million grant [for the bespoke offices], a second grant from the Templeton foundation is focusing on media development for science and faith initiatives aimed at children.

According to the Templeton website, this second $910,555 grant will allow Faraday to disseminate new media materials in UK schools for children aged 2 to 12. The materials will provide “more positive narratives about the relationship between mainstream science and religious questions. Out of 60 creative proposals for new books and apps, 19 were selected as part of the grant proposal. The publishers will return a 33% royalty to The Faraday Institute to establish a ‘Continuation Fund’ to fund future initiatives.

So both the Faraday and Templeton are in the business of lying to children about God.This book project is a new Templeton grant, separate from the “Schools Project” and from the “Test of Faith” homeschool project.  Have a look at the Faraday Kids website to see the insidious proselytizing of kids, trying to convince them, before they can think for themselves, that religion is great, and fully compatible with science.

And here are some of the Faraday’s products, likely funded by the $910,555 grant (click on screenshots to learn more).

The paragraph below, from the God Made Animals book site, is straight religious indoctrination, aimed at kids between 3 and 6 years old:

The ‘God Made’ series encourages young children to explore and discover more about the world around them, and tells them about the loving God who made it all. Scientific ideas about how everything came to be are simply explained through the lively narrative and amazing illustrations, leaving children full of wonder at God’s creativity, love, and power. With input from The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and fun experiments for curious young scientists to try, this series is an ideal way to help children engage with and celebrate God and His universe.

Yes, God made everything. As reader Mark (who pointed me to these books) noted, “Let’s see if they cover how God made the coronavirus.”

This effort by the Faraday and Templeton is contemptible. It’s no different from a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses hectoring kids about creationism or the apocalypse. The titles are so self-assured, and yet so wrong. The books are lying to kids.  And they’re being created by a bunch of academics and theologians funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

In fact, these things are even more blatant than the usual kind of stuff that Templeton funds—often scientific projects whose agenda comports with the JTF’s. This is how Templeton “whitewashes” its grants, giving them to another organization that produces odious books like those shown above. Of course Templeton knows about these products, and presumably approves of them.

I’ve hectored scientists and scholars for years not to feed at the Templeton trough, because the JTF is an enterprise whose goddy tentacles are everywhere. If you let its suckers fasten upon you, you enhance Templeton while debasing your own credibility. So, all my biologist and physicist colleagues who take money from Templeton, are you happy with your funder creating books like God Made Animals, God Made the World, and God Made Space?

I thought your answer would be yes. That trough is just too tempting.

 

45 Comments

  1. Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think I’ll write to them and suggest “God Made Nothing” as the next title in the series.

  2. GBJames
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    They should have just republished All Things Dull and Ugly

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Wow, god sure made a lot of stuff! But as Monty Python reminded us:

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.
    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom.
    He made their horrid wings.

  4. Muffy Ferro
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    What’s needed is a version of WEIT for children. The basic concept of plants and animals changing over time as a result of natural selection could be made accessible and memorable.

    • Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I think there is a good evolution book for kids, though I can’t remember what’s in it. It’s called “Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution.”

      Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Grandmother-Fish-Childs-First-Evolution/dp/1250113237

      • Muffy Ferro
        Posted April 14, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        That looks very good. And good reviews! Your credentials in evolutionary biology might give a children’s book even better traction (publicity word!) among science-minded parents, teachers, and librarians.

        • LaRo
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          I’m science minded, persistently looking for the first empirical evidence of large scale evolution.

          • rickflick
            Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            Then Why Evolution is True is the book for you.

          • GBJames
            Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

            Have you read our host’s excellent book, LaRo? If you really are science minded, you will before posting more.

  5. JezGrove
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure how formal the links with the University of Cambridge are, but they appear to at least host Faraday events: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/where-god-meets-physics

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “Give me the child and I’ll give you a faith-ridden adult”.

    JTF implicitly sampling the ur-Jesuit?

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The estate of Michael Faraday is ok with all this?

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      He was rather goddy, as of course we’re most people back then: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Faraday#Adult_life

      • LaRo
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Correlates with the progress they made.

    • Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure there is a Faraday estate any more. Faraday was a devout Christian, a member of the Sandemanian Church. As sects go, they sound quite good – they were pretty socially liberal compared to some. They didn’t proselytise, which probably explains why they have died out. Given that, I don’t know what Faraday’s attitude to childhood indoctrination would be, but I’m not sure he would approve of the Faraday Institute.

      • Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Oops, pressed enter too soon.

        I wanted to add that Faraday had a sort of obsession with empirical facts, so I suspect (but can’t be sure) that he would not have approved of these books.

        • LaRo
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          I know nothing about JTF or the books in case, but I’m quite sure of that Faraday would have approved the empirical observation about the lack of observation of (large scale) evolution.

  8. Roger
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone be impressed by an omnipotent god’s “creativity”? Especially the crap it decided to create.

    • Roger
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Seriously, their god didn’t even earn its omnipotence. How hard is it to “poof” the Big Dipper into existence anyway. Piece of cake for Yahweh.

  9. Posted April 14, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This might be a dumb thought, but I do prefer a Templetonian product that is sold openly; where their product is being passed at a busy street corner where everyone can see them as god-traffickers. This is better than their usual pattern of whispered deals through the back door to which furtive PhDs quietly come and hurriedly go.

  10. phoffman56
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic, but

    “The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge, ….
    As far as I can see, it has no formal affiliation with Cambridge University…”

    This business of ‘institutes’, often with dubious agendae, attaching themselves, if only indirectly or implicitly, to long-standing reputable universities, reminded me of Stanford University.

    There, indirectly relevant to an exchange I had with Keith Douglas here several months ago regarding an extremely dubious logic formalization of Anselm’s argument for the existence of ‘god’—more-or-less: ‘Non-existence being one imperfection, it follows logically that a being with all perfections must exist’— this utterly ridiculous logic formalization by Oppenheimer and Zalta is in a 20-year, 3-‘philosophy’ paper, 45-page, load of trivial mistranslation and of disreputable parts of ‘free logic’. Those two are not profs there, but are attached to something which I think is in a sense part of Stanford and had a very reputable start back 30 years ago, e.g. by the late Jon Barwise.

    And those two do yeoman work getting often reasonable people writing up topics in the Stanford Encyclopedia, even e.g. as minor as Free Logic by John Nolt.

    The institute is called ‘Center for the Study of Language and Information’. Much of its work now and in the past is undoubtedly reputable and even valuable.

    However a subset called ‘The Metaphysics Research Lab’ really has me wondering, because of the matters above. In general, professional philosophers include in their numbers people ‘living in 1908 Russellian, etc. logic’ including some connected with theological garbage, who are best kept away from young people wishing to learn the subject of formal logic.

    I’d even go so far as to say: take a course from the Mathematics Department, at first anyway, and stay away from the Philosophy Department in many places, not all, but additionally those mired in Thomist and syllogistic stuff that’s 10 centuries behind the times.

  11. rickflick
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I checked to see what Michael Faraday would say about this. Looks like he was shaped by his childhood and his culture:

    “a strong sense of the unity of God and nature pervaded Faraday’s life and work.”

    But, the plaque at his house reads: Man of Science.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      His successor and even more famous now is Maxwell, also a very convinced christian. Faraday was dead not long after Darwin’s ‘Origin..’ appeared. Very different for Maxwell.

      The latter was well aware of it, but:

      ‘This is a somewhat unfamiliar inverted form of argument from design. Maxwell is saying that molecules are perfectly identical to one another and this suggests that they are, as it were, manufactured according to an intelligent plan. Maxwell explained himself in more detail later in a letter “What I thought of was not so much that uniformity of result which is due to uniformity in the process of formation, as a uniformity intended and accomplished by the same wisdom and power of which uniformity, accuracy, symmetry, consistency, and continuity of plan are … important attributes…’. This was not an original idea of Maxwell’s and he gives the original Herschel reference, dated 1851, but it is interesting to realize that Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ was first published in 1859, a year before Maxwell’s first oblique reference to molecular perfection. Clearly, he was well aware of the extent to which the fashionable liberal academics’

      –> argument from design, based on the perfection of biological adaptation, was undermined by discoveries pointing to evolution.<–

      And though Maxwell was no theological liberal but accepted the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, he is pointing to a different perfection in creation, one which he emphasizes cannot be attributed to evolutionary adaptation. It is an intriguing thought, not that Maxwell was strictly correct that atoms are immutable..'

      Not the case, but present physics does have electrons, quarks, neutrinos, … with that property in a sense.

      Still far from convincing as an argument from design, but likely the best possible attempt.

      Maybe strings will become the newest example, if and once their theory is generally accepted.

      • Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        Maxwell believed in demons 😉

        • phoffman56
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          But he risked a flat on his carriage, by keeping his demon in the gas-filled tube.

  12. Dave137
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Templeton or Trump: I sincerely don’t know which name I loathe more.

  13. revelator60
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Some further suggestions for Faraday’s book line:

    God Made Flesh-eating Bacteria

    God Made Torquemada

    God Made Earthquakes

    God Gives Children Cancer

    God Made Satan (Our True Lord and Master)

    God is Either Indifferent, Evil, or Insane

    God Died From Shame Several Hundred Years Ago and His Body is Rotting in Space

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Rotting from shame is something appropriate for the man responsible for a good portion of the USian deaths from this virus. Three guesses who, first 2 + 9/10 don’t count. He should learn what Hitler and Eva Braun took, get some. and go down into his thermonuclear bunker out of sight for doing the deed. Fat chance.

  14. Filippo
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. A C Harper
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    A long title perhaps, but how about:

    “Why God allows bad things to happen to good children, and good things to happen to bad children.”

    I can’t see the parents buying the book.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Well, it seems a lot of parents out there admire a father whose big plan was to have his only beloved son killed by having him nailed to a tree, so perhaps you would be surprised by the sales of the book you suggested?

      • Gordon Anderson
        Posted April 14, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        The number of such parents is probably inceasing the longer the Covind lockdowns go on

  16. Posted April 14, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Maybe there’s really nothing to worry about. In a world where everyone is continuously bombarded by a plethora of diverse distractions this ludicrous Templeton stuff looks really naive and irrelevant.

    Kids today are not so easily hoodwinked. They learn ‘street-smarts’ early and are healthily skeptical of the ridiculous.

    rz

    • LaRo
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      >> “Kids today are not so easily hoodwinked.”

      Huh? They believe in (large scale) evolution. Takes a whole bunch of big leaps of imaginary faith.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        How old is the Earth/Universe?

  17. Posted April 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    This stuff of lies sets us back yet again with corrupting young minds to be dull and excepting.
    This is intellectually criminal to my mind. It may take years if ever in some cases for an alert mind to break the shackles.

  18. Hempenstein
    Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Is Templeton World Charity Foundation the formal full name of the Templeton Fdn, or is is a wholly-owned subsidiary?

    • Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      They are different organisations, though linked:

      Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc., is one of three charitable entities established by Sir John Templeton. The other entities are the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust. While all three organizations have similar aims, they operate as separate charitable entities.

      https://www.templetonworldcharity.org/about-us

      They are separate presumably for money/jurisdictional reasons.

  19. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    An alternative would be a site aimed at pointing out to children the weaknesses in religions.
    Christianity, for instance, has major issues due to problems in the Bible such as forgeries, copying errors, translation errors, parting company with historical or biological fact and so on.
    Plenty of cartoons and enough truthful material to help children with their religious studies homework, and it might counter-act the indoctrination they get at home, in church and in school.

  20. LaRo
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    You got it backwards. It is in secular schools where them kids gets indoctrinated. DDR-kind-of schools, like in Sweden.

    There they are taught that everything came from nothing by means of nothing due to nothing.

    I have seven children, all of them believing that the God of the Bible created man and the universe and one of them with has a PhD in the field of molecular biology and Bioinformatics and Biochemical engineering. He never had any problems pointing out the holes in the evolutionary propaganda being promoted at his University in the most secular of countries in the world.

    == CORRECTION STRATEGIES ==

    Regarding the Bible, yes, it has thosands of erors. I just gave you two, so that you would not be able to discover the truth in this passage. Which is why I restate it again, so thaat yoou would nt be abel to disover the truth in this passage and by stating it a third time, you will not be able to discover the truth in the passage.

    /Yes, the spelling errors above was deliberately made, although I often spell very badly “by heart”).

    Now you can put those part-sentences side by side and erase the errors (“mutations”) and reconstruct single flawless sentence even with the meaning (the original message) 100% intact.

    The principle for such damage recovery can be studied in the Deinococcus Radiodurans bacteria, of which is said that;

    “each bacterial cell contains four copies of this genome;”

    This enables a dead simple algorithm reconstruct new replicas with errors (mutations) removed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinococcus_radiodurans

    I suppose God did that one just for some extra fun when he got bored with the regular stuff.

    Anyway, the same principle is applicable to most, although not all, copying errors in the bible. Copying errors impairs the quality of the copied text, not the original, and doesn’t imply that the meaning (the message) was lost.

    BTW, no original text about Caesar has been found which was written within 900 years after his death, and you still believe in that stuff?

    Well, most of us do, which only shows how infantile the arguments are about the biblical texts (which originals (NT) are typically less than 400 years from the event, and most of the OT text can be verified against a text from 200-100 BC), especially when ignoring the fact that most obvious errors are identified and documented, and in most cases can be corrected (by comparing with parallel texts or stories), and when a reliable correction is not possible that is pointed out as well (typical in study-bibles). And so on, and so on.

    But none of that would matter to scoffers.

    • LaRo
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Ops, correction: In the post above it should have read: “with copies (NT) typically less that 400 years from the event…”.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Which God were you referring to?


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