Nautilus Magazine is an online site that bills itself as “a different kind of science magazine.” And indeed it is—for it’s partly supported by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF). The Foundation is largely dedicated to showing that religion and science are compatible,—even in harmony—for Sir John left his dosh to the JTF to fund projects showing how science would reveal the divine. Thus the magazine publishes accommodationist articles, like this one from last July, and now we have a new one by Brian Gallagher, editor of the Nautilus blog Facts So Romantic and a “Sinai and Synapses” (oy!) fellow.
As we see so often, quotes are taken from Einstein and even Stephen Hawking to show that they had some simulacrum of religion, although Gallagher at least admits that Einstein’s views on religion weren’t that clear. Gallagher first quotes Elon Musk, who reportedly said, “I believe there’s some explanation for this universe, which you might call God,” and then trots out Albert and StephenJerry Coyne, “A bogus reconciliation of science and religion from Nautilus” at Why Evolution Is True
Actually, Einstein had a clearly mystical bent, firmly tethered to the Western tradition. Hawking was s naturalist atheist who had little use for philosophy, despite the philosophical underpinnings of science. His stance embarrassed some naturalists. That said, most traditional Christians would not recognize Templeton’s understanding of religion (not that it matters; the current placeholders can do what they like with Sir John’s money and may we all inherit a fortune!).
Still, it’s odd hearing the foundation that gave the Templeton Prize (2011) to Sir Martin Rees thought of as “religious” in any narrow sense. See, for example, Rees’s notion that we I’ve in a computer sim or maybe a multiverse. The most puzzling thing is, his views are widespread in cosmology, so what would change? Bernard d’d’Espagnat (2009) and Francisco j. Ayala (2010) preceded him. He was followed by a politically correct array of religious figures (Dalai Lama 2012, Desmond Tutu 2013, Tomáš Halík 2014 (an outlier of sorts), Jean Vanier 2015, Jonathan Sacks 2016, Jonathan Sacks 2016, Alvin Plantinga 2017, and Abdullah II of Jordan (2018). Some choices seem to recognize the role of science (Dalai Lama, Alvin Plantinga) but any sense of misrepresentation or threat seems like overactive imagination on the part of atheists. All the odder when it is becoming so clear that the war on science is being waged elsewhere.
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