08 July 2008

Sir John Templeton, RIP


Sir John Templeton, billionaire investor turned philanthropist, died today. I mainly knew him for his creation of the Templeton Foundation, which aimed to find scientific approaches to spiritual topics. (Think studies of the effect of prayer on life expectancy, or the neurobiology of meditation.) As both a scientist and a Christian, I disagree with Templeton's blithe assurance that faith could be quantified; but I wouldn't join Slate deputy editor David Plotz in calling him a full-bore crank. At the very least, Templeton started from the assumption that faithfulness is not incompatible with a scientific worldview, and that's a perspective the world needs these days.

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