Monday, April 25, 2005

Unlimited Love (for Influencing Desperate Scientists)

At Syracuse we have an aggressive Office of Sponsored Programs, tasked with getting our grant applications in on time, making sure they conform to the standards of the funding organizations, and informing us of new funding opportunities. Generally, they do a great job.

Imagine my reaction therefore, when I received the following today.
Secondary School Faculty Invited to Enter Course
Competition on Unselfish Love

Deadline: July 15, 2005

The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love - Altruism,
Compassion, Service ( ),
which was established through a grant from the John
Templeton Foundation ( ), has
announced "Unto Others: Scientific and Religious Perspec-
tives on the Love of Neighbor," a course competition for
secondary school faculty.

The competition encourages academically rigorous secondary
school courses that focus on unselfish love of neighbor as
a spiritual and practical ideal. The winning courses must
combine the study of unselfish love as understood within
(a) spiritual traditions and (b) scientific frameworks,
such as physics, cosmology, evolution, biology, political
science, the social sciences, and health.

Faculty in religious studies and/or theology, the
humanities, and the sciences are encouraged to apply.
Courses co-taught by two faculty members representing
religion and science might be especially compelling in
some cases, but team teaching is by no means imperative.
In addition to new individual course development, it is
possible to apply on the basis of refocusing an already
existing course on the theme of unselfish love with
significant attention to religion and science. In some
cases, several faculty teaching in an integrative core
humanities course might work together to include the
topic as a major and sustained theme.

Ten awards of $5,000 will be made.

Applicants can review the full course competition
description at the Institute for Research on Unlimited
Love Web site.
Before my upcoming post on topics like this, it might help to read Sean's take on a related issue. Day by day, it just keeps getting worse and worse. What we desperately need is an absurdly rich philanthropist, who wants to fund a prize for, and research into, the relationships between (not the compatibility or incompatibility between) reason and dogmatic belief systems. Of course, the outcome is already clear and doesn't agree with the preconceived notions of the Templeton Foundation.
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