August 16, 2009: The author claims that throughout history, there have been religious groups which were dedicated with not seeking out the truth, but with obscuring facts and only presenting their own narrow world view as "the Truth". One such examples were the Jesuits, which were founded by Ignatius of Loyola as propagandists to fight the frequent criticisms of the Catholic Church.
The author then states that history is repeating itself in the United States with the proponents of Creationism and Intelligent Design, who are fighting a war against science. As evidence, he lists exam questions from the "Intelligent Design and Christian Apologetics" offered by William Dembski at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which not only demands that the students argue that Intelligent Design and the Bible are supported by science, but also asks the following:
You are the Templeton Foundation's new program director and are charged with overseeing its programs and directing its funds. Sketch out a 20-year plan for defeating scientific materialism and the evolutionary worldview it has fostered if you had $50,000,000 per year in current value to do so. What sorts of programs would you institute? How would you spend the money?
Game and Story Use
- Let's assume that that last question isn't entirely hypothetical. If the Templeton Foundation grows significantly and gains enough power in the American and other governments to threaten to turn the world back into a scientific Dark Age, the group (or some similar, fictional group) could be an excellent villain for heroic scientists to oppose.
- Of course for those happy with a more morally grey campaign, there need be no malice or villainy involved - PCs are simply required to engage in politically motivated violence against people who honestly disagree with current consensus.
- A religious organization that actively seeks to destroy or corrupt knowledge in order to pursue its particular agenda would count as a Religion of Evil
- Equally your PCs could be working for some kind of Inquistion hunting down and supressing unhealthy knowledge or opinion - heresy, blasphemy and Things Man was not meant to know. Including, possibly, scientists prying at the walls of reality…
- And speaking of corrupting knowledge: the exact quote is "By their fruits shall ye know them." Not "works", "Fruits". Get it right, guys!
- Depends on your transalation … "fruits" is more true to the original, but "works" is used in some translations as it makes more sense without context notes.
- Also useful for RPG material, a massive subversion: the Conspiracy is right. Whilst PCs enter the campaign assuming that they are dealing with a dogmatic conspiracy to hide "the truth" from people, they find that "fairy stories" being promoted by the conspiracy turn out to be (largely or completely) true. Would be particularly appropriate in an urban fantasy setting, in which it would make sense for the scientific/materialist worldview to be "significantly flawed".