Thursday, November 29, 2012


Guest Commentary by | November 27, 2012

In Memoriam: Lawrence Guyot

Lawrence Guyot
By Alan Bean
I first learned about Lawrence Guyot from reading Taylor Branch’s celebrated Trilogy on the King Years. His name came up again when I researched the background of the Curtis Flowers story.
Readers of this blog will know that Guyot, Fannie Lou Hamer and several other civil rights activists were beaten within an inch of their lives by men under the command of Sheriff Earl Wayne Patridge at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Winona, Mississippi in June of 1963. Three decades later, Mr. Flowers was arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence for the 1996 slaying of four people at a Winona furniture store.
A little over a year ago, I had the chance to meet the man in the flesh when he spoke at an event in Cleveland, MS sponsored by the Samuel Procter Oral History Program at the University of Florida. The civil rights icon seemed more interested in telling the students what they needed to do in the present moment than he was in sharing tidbits of civil rights nostalgia. This September, my wife Nancy and I shared our story with the Florida students
This New York Times story captures the essence of Guyot’s amazing saga. There was nothing unusual about the man. He was not particularly eloquent or brilliant; he just refused to back down in the face of injustice. Without Lawrence Guyot’s brand of anonymous courage, the civil rights movement could not have succeeded.

Lawrence Guyot, Civil Rights Activist Who Bore the Fight’s Scars, Dies at 73

Published: November 26, 2012
Lawrence Guyot, who in the early 1960s endured savage beatings as a young civil rights worker in Mississippi fighting laws and practices that kept blacks from registering to vote, died Thursday at his home in Mount Rainier, Md. He was 73.
His daughter, Julie Guyot-Diangone, confirmed his death, which she said came after Mr. Guyot had suffered several heart attacks, lost a kidney and became diabetic.
Mr. Guyot (GHEE-ott) was repeatedly challenged, jailed and beaten as he helped lead fellow members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and student volunteers from around the nation in organizing Mississippi blacks to vote. In many of the state’s counties, no blacks were registered
He further pressed the campaign for greater black participation in politics by serving as chairman of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, formed to supplant the all-white state Democratic Party. It lost its challenge to the established Mississippi party at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, but its efforts are seen as paving the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Lawrence Guyot displays the wounds inflicted in a Winona prison cell
A famous moment in the civil rights movement occurred after Fannie Lou Hamer and two other civil rights workers were arrested for entering an area of a bus station reserved for whites in Winona, Miss., in June 1963. Mr. Guyot went to Winona to bail them out of jail. When he asked questions about their rough treatment, nine police officers beat him with the butts of guns, made him strip naked and threatened to burn his genitals. The abuse went on for four hours until a doctor advised the officers to stop.
Mr. Guyot was taken to a cell and beaten some more. The cell door was left open to the outside, with a knife lying just beyond. The guards’ apparent idea was to entice him to try to escape, but he saw two men lurking outside and stayed in his cell. “I didn’t fall for that one,” he is quoted as saying in “My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South” (1977), by Howell Raines.
Mr. Guyot was released after Medgar Evers, another civil rights activist, was assassinated in Jackson, Miss., on June 12. Mr. Guyot thought that the authorities feared the effects of another assassination of a civil rights worker when national attention was focused on Mississippi.
Later in 1963, Mr. Guyot was imprisoned at the infamous Mississippi penitentiary Parchman Farm. He was beaten, and went on a 17-day hunger strike. He lost 100 pounds. “It was a question of defiance,” he said in an interview with NPR in 2011. “We were not going to let them have complete control over us.”
In a recent interview with The Afro-American Newspapers, Timothy Jenkins, an educator who worked with Mr. Guyot in the 1960s said: “He is significant because he knew there is a price more ultimate than death. It is disgrace.”
Lawrence Thomas Guyot Jr. was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. His father was a contractor. Mr. Guyot attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., a historically black college that had some white faculty members and welcomed white students. He graduated with a degree in chemistry and biology in 1963.
While in college, he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and traveled around the state conducting civil rights workshops and doing other organizing. He and his colleagues concentrated on voter registration, not desegregation. When he took someone to the courthouse to register, he was often followed by two cars of whites.
Mr. Guyot was haunted by a 1964 conversation he had with Michael Schwerner, the civil rights worker who would be murdered that year along with his fellow workers Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. As Mr. Schwerner was preparing to drive to Mississippi from a training session in Ohio, he asked Mr. Guyot if it was safe to go. Mr. Guyot said yes, and always felt responsible for what happened later.
“I told him to go because I thought there was so much publicity that nothing could happen,” Mr. Guyot said in an interview with The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. “I was absolutely wrong.”
In 1968, while in Chicago as a delegate to the Democratic convention, Mr. Guyot went to a doctor after falling ill. The doctor told him that he had heart trouble and was overweight, and that if he went back to the civil rights struggle in Mississippi he had perhaps two months to live. Instead he went to Rutgers School of Law and, after graduating in 1971, moved to Washington, where he did legal work for city agencies and was an informal adviser to Mayor Marion Barry, a fellow native Mississippian.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Guyot is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Monica Klein; his son, Lawrence III; and four grandchildren.
Mr. Guyot favored same-sex marriage when it was illegal everywhere in the United States, noting that he had married a white woman when that was illegal in some states. He often gave inspirational speeches on the meaning of the civil rights movement.
“There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he said in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.”
Some of you readers, like me, were teenagers and college students during these times, and thus will remember well the names and events of the civil rights and anti-war movements.  Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, the Life Magzine cover photo of Kent State, and myriad other images are etched into our minds.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


On my first day as a post-doc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in the lab I saw an instructional sign, with point 3 slightly modified from the one below.  Since LANL is one of the US nuclear weapons laboratories, I read it seriously, and point by point, it pretty much made sense all the way through.  Presumably you will agree!!


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Regarding a Taizé service, a colleague said "I don't think that it matters whether or not one is a believer, if you enjoy communal singing and a time of meditation, you will be moved by Taizé."  And I agree.  I have been to several Taizé services, from Malibu to Hong Kong to Heidelberg, and although each has been slightly different, they all have the same sense of communal inward reflection.  The Taizé service at Peterskirche was typical of a larger service, with hundreds of participants and songs accompanied by a seven piece chamber group and a lead singer.  A previous service in Heidelberg was at the Jesuitenkirche Krypta and was much smaller, more intimate, and accompanied by only a single keyboard.  The service in Hong Kong was amazing - the new leader of the Taizé community, Brother Alois, was present, and thus the gathering was large and the singing and accompanyment ethereal.
Jesuitenkirche Krypta
 As usual, the language changed from song to song.  Below is a favorite in German.

Behüte mich, Gott, ich vertraue dir, du zeigst mir den Weg zur Leben. Bei dir ist Freude, Freude in Fülle.

Keep me, O Lord, for I trust in you. You show me the path of life. With you, there is fullness of joy.

Garde-moi,mon Dieu, j'ai confiance en toi. Tu m'entraînes sur le chemin de Vie. Auprès de toi, plénitude de joie.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


"Walking On Water"
Matt Cardle
Don’t say it’s over
Don’t breathe a word
How was I so oblivious?
I didn’t see how we got so deep down

When we were walking on water for so long
I didn’t notice the waves crashing over
I thought we were sailing somewhere
When did we start going under?

Now I see your colours
And now I hear your truths
I need something to pull us outta here
If we could get back up to the surface
Tell me could it be

Like we were walking on water for so long
I didn’t notice the waves crashing over
I thought we were sailing somewhere
When did we start going under, under?

'Cause you made me wanna fight
'Cause I found something to believe in
You made me who I am
And it’s so hard to see how
We’re so deep down

When we were walking on water for so long
I didn’t notice the waves crashing over
I thought we were sailing somewhere
When did we start going under?


Bratwurst auf dem Paderborner Weihnachtsmarkt

Monday, November 19, 2012


0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ...
Draw Squares for Each Number and Fit a Spiral to the Sum Corners



Sunday, November 18, 2012


Today is Volkstrauertag in Germany, and a special service was held at Peterskirche, the University of Heidelberg church, to commemorate all of the professors who were forced out of their positionsby the Third Reich and suffered great hardships including being sent to concentration camps.  A rough translation from various websites is this, with a more detailed description here, in Deutsch.
This Memorial Day is a state memorial in Germany and is one of the "silent days". Since 1952 it is celebrated two Sundays before the first day of Advent, and commemorates the war dead and victims of the tyranny of all nations.
The primary memorial ceremony is held each Memorial Day at the German Bundestag. Generally there is a speech by the President in the presence of the Chancellor, the Cabinet and the diplomatic corps, with musical performances including playing the national anthem and the song I Had A Comrade.
After the service which included reading the biographies of several of the professors, the university leadership led a recession outside to the courtyard shown above where two wreathes were placed in remembrance of both the professors who were purged as well as students who were also expelled.

File:Ehrenhain I OdF Volkstrauertag Hauptfriedhof Erfurt.jpg
In Silence, Remember

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Since I am in Heidelberg at the moment, I thought it would be appropriate to write a bit about Heidelberg Man.  From the Wiki - Homo heidelbergensis ("Heidelberg Man", named after the University of Heidelberg) is an extinct species of the genus Homo which may be the direct ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo sapiens.  The best evidence found for these hominins dates them between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago. H. heidelbergensis stone tool technology was very close to that of the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus.  The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has a wealth of information about heidelbergensis here.
1 HOMO HABILIS ~ NICKNAME: Handyman LIVED: 2.4 to 1.6 million years ago HABITAT: Tropical Africa DIET: Omnivorous – nuts, seeds, tubers, fruits, some meat
2 HOMO SAPIEN ~ NICKNAME: Human LIVED: 200,000 years ago to present HABITAT: All DIET:Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts, pizza, sushi
3 HOMO FLORESIENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Hobbit LIVED: 95,000 to 13,000 years ago HABITAT: Flores, Indonesia (tropical) DIET: Omnivorous - meat included pygmy stegodon, giant rat
4 HOMO ERECTUS ~ NICKNAME: Erectus LIVED: 1.8 million years to 100,000 years ago HABITAT: Tropical to temperate - Africa, Asia, Europe DIET: Omnivorous - meat, tubers, fruits, nuts
5 PARANTHROPUS BOISEI ~ NICKNAME: Nutcracker man LIVED: 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago HABITAT: Tropical Africa DIET: Omnivorous - nuts, seeds, leaves, tubers, fruits, maybe some meat
6 HOMO HEIDELBERGENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Goliath LIVED: 700,000 to 300,000 years ago HABITAT:Temperate and tropical, Africa and Europe DIET: Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts
7 HOMO NEANDERTHALENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Neanderthal LIVED: 250,000 to 30,000 years ago HABITAT: Europe and Western Asia DIET: Relied heavily on meat, such as bison, deer and musk ox
The Smithsonian site also has a very nice interactive Human Family Tree.  The reasons why Homo sapien supplanted the other homo species is an area of active research.  It is interesting to note that even though our species survives to this day, we carry a bit of DNA from H neanderthalensis, indicating that H sapien and H neanderthalensis did more than just live during the same time period.  And for fun, you can check out the relationship among H heidelbergensis and other Homo species and Sasquatch/BigFoot - details here and here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Photo of a Rare Transitional Water to Land Transitional Species circa 1952

Now, just a bit more seriously, one of the common claims that Young Earth Creationists make is that there are no transitional fossils.  In actuality, given the low probability of anything ever becoming a fossil, it is amazing how many transitional fossils have been found.  Nice lists of transitional fossils can be found herehere and here.  There are at least hundreds, if not thousands of specimens demonstrating characteristics between species, with examples for fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds and mammals.

What is even more impressive than the transitional species shown above are extant transistional species such as the mudskipper, a fish that lives mainly on land and breaths air, and the more famous platypus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Here are some pictures of the neighborhood close to Moore House. Click on the image for an expanded view. Most of the homes are at least 100 years old, but there are a few new ones interspersed among the more traditional residences. Many of the places are so large that some have been converted into multiple residence units - and at least one is a fraternity house.  The Heidelberg Schloß is also close to the Haus, and I will write a separate post about the castle.

A View From The Faculty Apartment

Moore Haus - A View From The Street

A Typical Garage & Entryway With House Up The Hill

Residence Close to Moore Haus

A Modern Residence Among The Traditional

A Lovely Condo Complex Overlooking The Neckar Valley

Up The Hill From Moore Haus

Nestled In Among The Trees

Burgfreiheit Restaurant Close To Moore Haus
Group Dinners Are Here On Tuesday Evenings

Monday, November 12, 2012


While wandering the streets of Lausanne with a colleague and friend, we happened upon a Nespresso shop - you can read all about their brand and concept here and a relevant blog here, but what struck me most was their 'wall of coffee.'  I asked if I could snap a photo, and it was "oh, no, no!"  So here are some photos from the web to give an idea of the place.  They have Nespresso Boutiques around the world, and in the US, you will have to travel to California, Chicago, New York City, Chevy Chase or Miami to find one.  Who would have predicted a super high-end global franchise for coffee and tea?

In Lausanne the wall of coffee was a least 20 feet high



Saturday, November 10, 2012


Some of you may have noted that one of the hotlinks on the right side of this blog is to Globe Radio, which is WGCS, the Voice of Goshen College, and a number 1 ranked college station.  Their playlists are incredibly eclectic - some great, some good, some so-so, but guaranteed to bring you new tunes.  I heard this one recently, and since I am a fan of steel/slide guitar, I was taken's Walking Over The Water by Mat Kearney, Mercyland:  Hymns for the Rest of Us.

The next one is from niece Anna Montgomery - After The Rain

What it was
A simple kind of ordinary dream
look arou  nd me now
Everything's changed somehow
As it does
Cause nothing is as perfect as it seems
So many with bad intent
Pray on the innocentIn darkness they inspire
Lies driven by desire to possess

At all cost
Before whatever hope I had is lost
For angel I must abide
Wherever those demons hide
I search for resolution
It's all that I could hope to gain
Must put the past behind me
Silently my last refrain
Like the eerie kind of quiet after the rain

Drum them out
The echoes in my head are filled with doubt
Are all of my feelings known
What the hell have I become
Still I try
But emptiness is all I ever find
With shadows I walk alone
The struggle is all I've known

I search for resolution
It's all I hope to gain
Must put the past behind me
So silently my last refrain
Like the eerie kind of quiet after the rain

Search for a remedy
And somewhere I can lay the blame
Can't walk from memories
So desperately I hide in vain
From this eerie kind of quiet after the rain

And lastly, Goshen by Beruit

You're on in five, it's time you rise or fail.
They've gone before, stood by your door all day.
For what it's worth, defend your kind from shame.
The lights are down, go on inside, they've paid.
You're the face in stone, through the land I own.
You never found it home.
You're not the girl I used to know.

What would you hide from such a glow
If I had only told you so?

You're on in five, it's time you rise or fail.
They've gone before, stood by your door all day.
But you never found it home.
A fair price I'd pay to be alone.

What would you hide from such a glow
If I had only told you so? ♥

Friday, November 09, 2012


The Science and Religion Dialogue: Past and Future.  An International and Interdisciplinary Conference Documenting 25 Years of Global Research Sponsorship by the John Templeton Foundation
Well, that is a mouthful, eh?  The conference was held in Heidelberg, October 25-28, and the full schedule of events and speakers can be found here.  Although the Conference was 'by invitation only' I was able to secure an 'invite' via a University of Heidelberg/Center for American Studies colleague.  As suspected from the title of the conference, a fair number of Templeton Foundation executives attended including current President and Chairman, John [Jack] M. Templeton, Jr.  The opening was held at the Alte Aula of the University of Heidelberg, and for me the highlight was the opening and closing by the Baroque Orchestra L'arpa festante, with the opening being Vivaldi's Concerto for 4 violins, strings and basso continuo b-Minor op.3 No.10 (RV 580) and closing with J.S. Bach 3:Brandenburg Concerto G-Major BWV 1048.



The second highlight of the evening was a brief reception in the bel étage followed by a wonderful dinner at the Palais Prinz Carl.  Thus the Welcomes and Lectures came in third.  Among the five welcomes, the most interesting was by Dr. Michael Murray, Executive Vice President of Programs at Templeton.  Some of the numbers that he shared were staggering:  $800 million in current endowment, headed toward $3 billion when Sir John's estate is completely settled; 432 active grants totalling ~$100 million; about $60 million funds the Humility in Theology Program "that seeks to define new spiritual realities via science and religion"; 72 folks working in Conshohocken, PA, near Philadelphia. All of this brought to mind an article by Nathan Schneider in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "The Templeton Effect."  The full article is here and worth a read as are some of the comments.  Interestingly I later noted that some Templeton folks including Jack were perusing the article even though it came out September 3, 2012.  While some folks, particularly theologians, philosophers and some scientists are supportive of Templeton's activities, others (Coyne - scientist) (Pigliucci - philosopher) are less than impressed.  A second-hand side note about the dinner at the table of Herr Professor Dr. Dr. Dr. Michael Welker, Conference organizer and host.  Apparently for a number of years the Templeton Foundation has funded awards to young scholars for professional development.  As is Templetons wont, for programs to continue beyond initial funding, other funding sources need to be secured, and thus the program will continue as the Lautenschläger awards.  Apparently the Obama-supporting Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger and the right-wing conservative Jack Templeton did not see eye-to-eye on some things, and Dr. Welker had to moderate the discussion.  I was several tables away, but sure would have loved to eavesdrop on those conversations!
DAY 1 - I will start with a few comments.  First, I had anticipated that the Conference would be truly more of a dialogue between science and religion, but if I had been paying close attention to the full title, I should have deduced that it was more of a report of what the Foundation has been funding in this area, provided by the people who the Foundation has funded.  Second, I would be labeled by some as an accommodationist, which is a pejorative used by both the atheist/nontheist/agnostic folks and by the fundamentalist Answers In Genesis crowd.  However, I do not define the term in the same way, but rather have the perspective that people cannot dichotomize their understanding of their faith and their understanding of science, and thus if they are going to be serious about their religion and their science, they need to develop a solid understanding of each.  Third, I am a modified NOMA, [the non-overlapping magesteria of science and religion] which is also not acceptable to many scientists, theologians, philosophers, etc.  The NOMA-in-Chief, Stephen Jay Gould, has been ripped on by a lot of folks, but I find merit in non-overlapping magesteria - but I would not call them magesteria.  Magisterium synonyms include autocratic, dogmatic, egotistic and imperious, and I have a problem with authority :-)  I prefer the term Realm or Sphere and find that there is little in common between science and religion regarding the nature of the quest for truth and understanding.  Science has a well-accepted set of rules about the nature of evidence that is allowed to enter the discussion of hypotheses, theories, evidence, etc., whereas Religion has no such agreed upon set of rules.  As others have noted, science and religion can be authoritative but should not be authoritarian.  Also, science by its very nature should remain agnostic, and sacred religious texts should not be considered authoritative scientific documents.  If Genesis is your authoritative reference for science, you have a big problem, whereas if you find Matthew 25:32 and ff authoritative, you find no conflict because there is no reference there to scientific understanding. 
I am not going to comment extensively on the presentations because they will all be published.  However, several Day 1 presentations were interesting.  Denis Alexander, Director Emeritus of the Faraday Institute at Cambridge gave an overview of some of the Institute activities directed toward better understanding of science among church members, with particular reference to the Test of Faith and LASAR projects.  To me, this project sounds closely akin to BioLogos, so I asked the obvious question - how do you deal with the religious folks like Ken Ham and Al Mohler who challenge your acceptance of cosmology, astronomy and evolution in relationship to faith, and he said that he simply ignores them.  Well that probably works in Great Britain, but surely is not a strategy that would work in the US, particularly if you are seeking to free young people from the blinkered confines of an authoritarian church and extreme dogmatists such as Ham and Mohler [be sure to check out Mohler's assessment of the election - using the word "aftermath" in the title should give you a clue as to where he is going].  The Astronomy session with Jennifer Wiseman and Chris Imprey was good it was good science [exoplanets] and good educational outreach [astronomy instruction to Buddhists].  A look at the titles for the Mathematics and Physics sections will give you an idea of the esoterica, and I must admit that I was not unpleased when the Psychology session was cancelled.  Again, one of the highlights of the day was dinner - this time at the Herrenmühle - where real dialogue between science and religion could take place.
DAY 2 - Again I will start with some comments.  While the speakers/readers on the first day were fairly conscientious, many of the speakers on day 2 seemed to be clueless.  What is so *** difficult about preparing a presentation that fits in to the time allotted?  It's not rocket science!  Several folks were told that they had 2 minutes remaining and expressed shock, yes shock since they were only on page 8 of their 20 page exposition or on slide 70 of the 150 they had planned.  Admittedly folks going over their time slot is a real peeve for me, and I am quite ruthless as a session moderator, giving several indications of remaining time, issuing one overtime warning, and then cutting it off!  To me such expansive exposition is indicative of oversized ego and misguided self-assessment of the importance of one's work.  Ditto for those who purportedly are asking a question during the Q&A and bloviate for several minutes, presenting their own mini-lecture.  After someone rambles for a minute or so, my favorite response is "Is there a question in there somewhere?"  And, if they respond that theirs was a comment rather than a question, I am tempted [but have never followed through] to say "If the conference organizers had wanted you to give your comments, they would have invited you to give a presentation."
The day's presentations were dominated by non-science types, some of which left me bewildered about the usefulness of the seemingly non-contributory-to-understanding-anything nature of the work presented.  Suffice it to say that I will not mention names here, but I am convinced that the efforts of some of these folks is important to a very small portion of the academy and thus negligibly important in general.  I will specifically say that my anabaptist perspective makes me cringe when I hear Calvinists. There was much Sophisticated Theology, with discussions of dual-aspect monism, non-interventionist-indeterminate-objective, divine-action [NIODA], with perhaps the most insightful thing said being "civilization is the triumph of reason over force."  Günter Wagner's presentation was interesting, but being basically a seminar appropriate for presentation at EMBL-Heidelberg, it was probably only interesting/understandable by several of us in the audience.  Simon Conway Morris is always entertaining, often offering a new twist - this time calling for a more serious study of the many reports of pilots and others who have experienced some sort of time travel.  Another worthy presentation was by Jan Stievermann who as a German academic has a much more accurate perspective on the history of religion in the US than do most Americans.  Finally, the presentation by Timothy Winter, Cambridge, was a fascinating story of attempting to work with the leadership of the growing Muslim community in Great Britain regarding science education.  He made his presentation in typical western professional dress, and during his presentation, a colleague leaned over to me to ask if I thought he was a convert, to which I opined that I doubted it.  Boy was I wrong - Winter is considered Britain's most influential Muslim.
Timothy Winter
Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad

The conclusion of a very long day was a most lovely dinner at the Schloss Heidelberg restaurant where once again, connections were made and conversations ensued. 
I perhaps was not enlighted by the Conference as much as I thought that I might have been, but enjoyed listening to folks who I would normally not listen to or even hear of. My take-home: Templeton Foundation is somewhat of a paradox, puzzling to both evangelicals [funding studies of evolution] and scientists [discovering spiritual realities], and is explained somewhat in this article - Honoring His Father.
John & Jack