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Obituary: John Templeton dies today

John Templeton died today in the Bahamas. He was 95. I had long one-on-one conversations* with him over consecutive dinners back in 1999 during a conference titled “Complexity, Information, Design: A Critical Appraisal,” convened by Charles Harper and Paul Davies. Sir John impressed me as a good and sincere man who cared deeply about the misuse of science to marginalize religion and spirituality. On balance, his impact in facilitating conversation between science and religion has been enormously beneficial. Would that his advisors and administrators at the Templeton Foundation were as broadminded as he.

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*He shared with me regarding his initial investments at the end of the Great Depression and how they paid off big time: he chose 100 stocks that had fallen extremely low and invested $100 in each. When the economy turned around with the coming of WWII, those investments went through the roof. This, as he related, was the start of his brilliant investment career. That story is mentioned in the obituary linked to above; he must have told it a lot! Question: If ideas are like stocks, would this be a good time to invest in ID?

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9 Responses to Obituary: John Templeton dies today

  1. It’s a shame to hear, but I trust his legacy will continue to live on, and his foundation will still provide quite a lot of knowledge and reflection.

    The Templeton Foundation is a favorite of mine. It’s a very ecumenical, open-minded, and fair organization that does a lot of good for religious, spiritual, and scientific aims. And it still provokes the oddest fear out of some atheists, since Templeton showed that science is nothing for theists or most any religious to be afraid of – and that it, in fact, can provide us with some important insight into our faith.

    I’ll miss him, but thankfully I won’t have to miss the effect his efforts are having on the debate. That goes on.

  2. I wonder how many years before his foundation starts supporting causes he opposed in life, and vice versa?

    Would that his advisors and administrators at the Templeton Foundation were as broadminded as he.

    Looks like they may have gotten an early start, and (sadly) their last obstacle is finally removed.

  3. John Templeton was alive when the Dow Jones Industrials were at 40, and today the Industrials are at 11,000 reflecting the expanding world economy.

    One of my favorite books was the Lore and Legends of Wall Stree and Templeton was featured along with many of the legends….

    He sold his businesses to pursue Christian charities, including interest in what is now known as Franklin Templeton. The Franklin- Templeton empire now manages assets totalling around 623 Billon dollars and has made many investors phenomenally rich (which is more than I can say for what the socialist security system has done for the USA).

    On good Friday 2001, in honor of the the most sacred day in Christendom, he made an appearance on an obscure call-in radio talk show. I called in, and I still have a recording of our exchange on the radio program plus his hour long interview. I’ll keep the recording of that show the rest of my life….

  4. True Science is not at war with Christian Orthodoxy. Materialism is at war with Christianity. Materialists have re-defined the term “science” in order to advance their humanistic agenda.

    I pray that more people like Sir John rise up and say that science does not contradict with the spiritual nature of man.

  5. scordova

    The DJIA from 40 to 11,000 isn’t a good measure of economic expansion. It is not adjusted for monetary inflation nor for speculation.

    A better measure is real gross domestic product growth which, over the same time (1932-2007) the DOW rose from 40 to 11,000 grew at an annualized rate of 4% which would make the DJIA today 757 instead of 11,000. That’s still economic expansion of nearly 20 times over but an order of magnitude less than you suggested.

  6. DaveScot,

    You are correct. The reason I mentioned the industrials is that on Templeton’s 2001 Good Friday interview, he was talking about why he felt the Dow would one day be at 1 million. Part of the reason is inflation, but also because he believed that technology would drive economic expansion.

    Templeton was an inspiring optimist…

  7. Question: If ideas are like stocks, would this be a good time to invest in ID?

    Yes, but not for that reason: ID has not “fallen extremely low,” it has steadily grown since inception.

    DaveScot: your numbers surprise me, though I’m sure you’re correct: I hadn’t realized the real growth rate of the Dow was only 4%. Maybe I should get out of my Index fund. But what’s better?

  8. Question: If ideas are like stocks, would this be a good time to invest in ID?

    In economics, business, and financial markets, accountability is real. Bad business decisions result in financial losses, job losses, and bankruptcy. Bad monetary policy results in inflation and/or economic stagnation, again resulting in very real hardships. Go with the wrong belief and decision and you pay a very real price.

    Not so in the evolution/ID conflict. The Materialists weave their endless tale, without credible evidence or proof, and the only result is lots of book sales and tenured professors. As long as they can keep their oligarchy together, there is no handy mechanism to unseat them.

    Come to think of it, the Darwinists do not face Darwinian competition, nor natural selection, nor is their fitness every tested, except in the sense of treating their opponents with cruelty.

    But on second thought, I am wrong. Look at societies where Materialism dominates, e.g., Western Europe, Japan. Notice something they have in common? A substantial negative population growth (internally, Europe/Eurabia has a large Moslem influx that may bury them someday).

    Materialists seem to have trouble reproducing!! What conclusion should we draw regarding their fitness, I ask you?

  9. dacook

    4% is the annualized growth rate (1932-2007) of U.S. gross domestic product adjusted for monetary inflation. The unadjusted DJIA grew at an annualized 7% over the same period of time. I used this site

    http://www.measuringworth.com/growth/

    to obtain the annualized numbers then a compound interest calculator to determine absolute growth. I was quite into all this stuff in the 1990′s when I had a lot riding on knowing when to hold ‘em, knowing when to fold ‘em, knowing when to walk away, and knowing when to run. The DJIA today probably isn’t too inflated by speculation IMO but circa 1998-2000 I judged it was like a vaccuum tube ready to implode and I bailed out completely and invested instead in physical commodities including land and semi-precious metals which have done far better than the stock indexes in the meantime. The only thing I regret bailing out of back then was the bond market. No one’s perfect!

    Sal mentioned the growth due to technology. That goes in category of productivity gains and indeed those were grand during the information revolution when companies moved their operations over from paper accounting/reporting to management via electronic networks. Today when an item is sold at say, Walmart, the information is almost instantly transmitted down the supply chain to every last participant in it without any human intervention. You can’t get an advanced business degree anymore without studying WalMart and Dell. Dell went quite a bit further than Walmart in business automation as it had massive factories to automate as well. When I left Dell we were measuring inventory turns in hours (while our competitors were still using days and weeks) and we were using seconds to measure “human touches” in the process of taking an order for a computer to getting the finished product onto a delivery truck. For the fascinating story try this book:

    Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry

    Sorry for the off-topic. I’ll put a sock in it now.

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