> From: Charles Harper, Executive Director, John Templeton Foundation
> Date: August 31st, 1999
> Re: Ongoing Debate over the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools &
> Recent Actions of the Kansas School Board
> The Templeton Foundation is not directly involved in debates over
> and the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Nor does the
> have a partisan "opinion" per se other than that we encourage and support
> wide range of rigorous and serious scientific research activities and
> associated scholarship broadly at the creative interface between the
> and religions.
> The John Templeton Foundation is not an advocacy organization. We provide
> resources to scholars holding many points of view, based broadly on merit,
> competitively evaluated through peer review. Our funding support is
> mainly on university teaching and research. In general, we find encourage
> exploration of the theory of evolution as an aspect of the created order
> believe that there are rich insights potentially available from such study
> which have important theological significance. Thus the Foundation in no
> shares the quarrel with evolutionary science that is typical of Christian
> fundamentalism in the United States. It is simply not possible for
> well-informed scholars to hold such positions either in terms of theology
> science. Philosophical issues over the interpretation or "meaning" of the
> scientific theory of evolution, however, of course are open to vigorous
> by scholars, and it appears that such debates over philosophy rather than
> science per se, are at root an important aspect of the current cultural
> and debacle.
> There are also quite significant and important constitutional and
> issues involved in the decision of Kansas School Board. The polity of the
> United States is based upon democratic self governance in which "we the
> are empowered to determine public policy rather than expert elites. Also,
> public schools have been a battle ground over the principle of free
> religion such that in the current climate of jurisprudence it is not
> that seriously committed religious people would feel offended by the
> structure of power and secular ideology and seek to redress their
> through democratic means of local governance properly available to them.
> context, one must respect such communities and their values, concerns and
> prerogatives, even if the specific scientific/intellectual credibility of
> position is nonexistent.
> Overall, the mission of the Templeton Foundation in the area of the
> long-standing confrontation between fundamentalism and science is to help
> provide a way around the impasse. This is a vital, challenging and long
> cultural task with many important and complex dimensions. It has no
> linkage with issues regarding possible litigation over the policies of the
> Kansas School Board and the ongoing saga of similar and recurrent public
> conflict in other areas.
> Charles L. Harper, Jr., D. Phil.
> Executive Director & Senior Vice President
> John Templeton Foundation
> Suite 100, Building #5
> Radnor Corporate Center
> 100 Matsonford Road
> Radnor, PA 19087 USA
> Phone: (610) 687-8942
> Fax: (610) 687-8961
> Footer information below last updated: 1999/07/19.
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