The second consideration is that the festival is being supported by The Templeton Foundation. I absolutely believe you when you say that there are no strings attached, and that the Foundation is not exercising any editorial judgement. But this is not the issue. The issue is that, by saying it sponsors the Festival, the Templeton Foundation will use its sponsorship to prove that it is engaging in serious discussion with scientists. Like many of my colleagues, I regard Templeton as an organization whose purpose is to fuse science with religion: to show how science illuminates “the big questions” and how religion can contribute to science. I regard this as not only fatuous, but dangerous. Templeton likes nothing better than to corral real working scientists into its conciliatory pen. I don’t want to be one of these. That’s just a matter of principle. But the “no strings” argument doesn’t wash for me, for precisely the same reason that congressmen are not supposed to take gifts from people whose legislation they could influence. It is the appearance of conflict that is at issue.
See why I like him 😉