News FocusScience and Religion

Subjecting Belief to the Scientific Method

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Science  21 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5418, pp. 1257-1259
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5418.1257

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The John Templeton Foundation, based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, is going full throttle to yoke science to its mission of breathing new life into religion and ethics, and it is waging its crusade on multiple fronts: staging conferences (see sidebar), offering prizes, designing courses, churning out books, and funding research as well as a program on science and religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science. With a war chest of $800 million, the foundation has, in essence, set out to do nothing less than accelerate the evolution of religion. To some critics, however, Templeton's agenda is futile, if not deceptive; other scientists complain that the dialogue the foundation promotes sometimes appears as an effort to prove that God exists.