Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Is Bill Gates a creationist?

Science & Technology at Scientific Questions That Plague Physics: A Conversation with Lawrence M. Krauss -- [ COSMOLOGY ] -- Lawrence M. Krauss speaks about unfinished business

Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist, is a champion of the Enlightenment. In an interview with Scientific American he mentions something both disturbing and interesting.
...I'm not against teaching faith-based ideas in religion classes; I'm just against teaching them as if they were science. And it disturbs me when someone like Bill Gates, whose philanthropy I otherwise admire, helps finance one of the major promoters of intelligent design by giving money to a largely conservative think tank called the Discovery Institute. Yes, they got a recent grant from the Gates Foundation. It's true that the almost $10-million grant, which is the second they received from Gates, doesn't support intelligent design, but it does add credibility to a group whose goals and activities are, based on my experiences with them, intellectually suspect. During the science standards debate in Ohio, institute operatives constantly tried to suggest that there was controversy about evolution where there wasn't and framed the debate in terms of a fairness issue, which it isn't. [Editors' note: Amy Low, a media relations officer representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says that the foundation 'has decided not to respond to Dr. Krauss's comments.']
One grant could be a mistake. Two grants is design. I'd gotten rumblings that among some middle-aged west coast geeks there's been a resurgent interest in 'intelligent design'. George Gilder might be the tip of the iceberg.

These are very smart and wealthy people, but they are not often scientists. If they have a technical background, it's not in biology. They are middle-aged now and feeling definitively mortal. Perhaps this is not surprising.

This will be interesting.

Yoo-hoo? Mainstream journalists? All you folks fretting about your role and relevance? How about looking into the Gates donations to the Discovery Institute?

No comments: