Monday, September 19, 2016


Most advertisements are so bad that I often tune them out, and if I do listen, often cannot remember what it is they are trying to sell.  Some are repeated so often that they can induce nausea.  However, I have seen this ad many times, and it still makes me chuckle whenever I see it - let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Image result for Bun Ryan pitcher

We lived in Los Alamos, NM from 1974 to 1980. I could not find a basketball group, but there was a fast-pitch softball league in town. With the advent and growth of slow-pitch, fast-pitch was loosing its preeminence in the softball world.  We purists scoffed at slow-pitch, noting that any beer-guzzling lard-butt could play slow-pitch, but fast-pitch required real talent.  Also, it is fairly well accepted that pitchers dominate in fast-pitch, with many games decided by only a run or two.  I made it on to a team with pitcher Tony Lujan, a most excellent pitcher.  However, our league of just six teams had a team with an even better pitcher, Bun Ryan.  I had heard anecdotes about Bun, but never really did any research on his background.  With a couple of outstanding pitchers in my family, Claude and Larry Swartzendruber, I had been given some inside tips on hitting.  Having played a lot of baseball, I was used to seeing curves and sliders, all of which go down.  Good fast-pitch revolves around the rise-ball.  Claude said "Roll over your wrists when you swing and that will raise your bat to the ball."  It works really well.  I think that I hit around .500 in fast pitch, and every time that I got a hit against Bun, he would scowl because he often threw no-hitters.  As will be noted below, he could throw over 100 mph, which is amazing for softball - plus the mound is 30 feet closer than in baseball!!  After each game, Bun was always a gracious gentleman, even on the rare occasions that we would win.

Several folks have written about Bun, so I will just cut and paste here. This is from the Leadville-Lake County Hall of Fame page - Bun was a native of Leadville, and is an inductee:

Bernard Bullet Bun Ryan was known nationally as one of the fastest softball pitchers in the country. He had been clocked throwing a softball faster than 100 miles per hour. Raised in Leadville, Bun was a 1941 graduate of Leadville High School. He started his playing days on Leiter Field during Leadville's infamous fast-pitchdays.

Pitching for the Varsity Cleaners in 1947 and 1948, Bun's team won the district tournament and advanced to the Colorado State tournament both seasons. Bun pitched in about 35 games per year from the age of 18 to the age of 65. He pitched in seven World Softball Tournaments, every State Tournament in New Mexico from 1949 to 1988, and he played in twelve different states.

 He rarely missed the opportunity to return to his hometown to play in the annual tournament in Leadville, where he often pitched for the Silver Dollar Saloon. Bun won numerous MVP awards throughout his career. 

On several occasions, games were called by the ten run rule in the fifth inning when he had struck out all fifteen opponents batters. During the 1951 New Mexico State Tournament, Bun pitched 29 straight innings for the S-Site; he gave up only one run and six single hits. At one time in his career, Bun held the lowest earned run average in the nation.

Perhaps the highlight of Bun's career was serving as the star pitcher of Pierotti's Clowns for 25 years. Known as the "Globetrotters of Softball", the five-man team toured the Rocky Mountain states in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations.

The Clowns were recognized in several magazines, including the very first issue of Sports Illustrated on August 16, 1954. In 2002, the Town of Los Alamos erected a mural as a permanent memorial to the Clowns whom they consider the "Goodwill Ambassadors of Los Alamos".

Bun will forever be known as a life long historian and ambassador of the sport of softball. In 1984, the softball field in Los Alamos was named Bun Ryan Field in his honor. In addition, he is a 1991 New Mexico Softball Hall of Fame inductee. "It all started in the place that will always be my home town." states Bun.

Here is an extensive story about Bun and Pierotti's Clowns from Veterans Today some of which is copied below:

Over 25 years, The Clowns won 177 games and lost only 23. The success of the team was due in part to Bun’s exceptional pitching. During his heydey, “Bullet Bun” was one of the most feared pitchers in the nation. His fastball was clocked at better than 100 mph.

With Pierotti’s Clowns, Bun was nearly unhittable, so much so that Lou Pierotti, the team’s third baseman, and the other players would often be seen throwing dice in the infield to pass the time when batters were struggling to make contact with his pitches.

Bun said in an interview that the team would constantly have to recruit catchers for him. “I changed catchers like socks,” he quipped.

One of the final catchers to try to stop a Ryan fastball was Alan Kirby. Kirby caught for him for two years and said that, even in his 60s, he could fire pitches as hard as anyone, to the point where Kirby had to keep his hand in an ice bucket between innings.

“He was the best teammate you could ever have,” Kirby said. “He was a leader… everybody respected him. Not only our team, but on other teams.” Bun was honored to be named a Los Alamos Living Treasure in 1999.

In September 2014, Bun Ryan passed away. He is now a treasure for the ages and currently — we suspect — greatly “ups the game” on the heavenly Fast-pitch Softball Team. The community and his family, through the tears, celebrate and share our memories of his life… Erica P. Wissinger ]

One of our favorite and beloved residents since 1949, Bun Ryan has passed on to eternity. Known as a “full-blooded Irishman”, he was nicknamed “Bullet Bun” and became famous nationally as one of the fastest softball pitchers in the country, able to throw more than 100 mph.

During his softball career, he pitched in seven World Softball Tournaments; every State Tournament in New Mexico from 1949 to 1988; and played in twelve different states.

Born in Leadville Colorado, Bernard “Bun” Ryan was drafted in the US Army in 1943, serving in Field Artillery during the WWII Pacific campaign; he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service and promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant at the age of 22, something that was a rarity at the time.

In 1945, he was part of an invasion force on the island of Luzon in the Philippines that was occupied by Japan that made significant headway for the Allies before it was halted because the force was getting too near a POW camp that the Army feared would lead to the death of several American prisoners.

Despite his service in the Army, Bun was repulsed by the idea of war. “War is so stupid,” he was quoted in an interview. “Nobody wins. Everybody loses.”

After World War II, Bun returned to Colorado to work at the JC Penney Corporation. He married his wife, Jean, a nurse, and moved to Los Alamos in 1949.

Four years after moving to the small mountain town of Los Alamos, he became a pitcher for Pierrotti’s Clowns, a five-man exhibition all-star fast-pitch team created by Lou Pierotti. Their clown antics, performed during regulation softball games, became a favorite form of entertainment in the community.

Pierotti’s Clowns was featured in six national magazines, including the first issue of Sports Illustrated published in 1954. One of the few games Bun lost as a pitcher with the Clowns came the day Sports Illustrated snapped a photo of him and his teammates for the first edition of the magazine, making the Clowns among the first victims of the SI Curse.

Bun was inducted into the New Mexico Softball Hall of Fame, and the Leadville Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

He was an active member of the Democratic Party, and played a pivotal role in bringing President John F. Kennedy and President Bill Clinton to visit and speak in Los Alamos during their terms. Mr. Ryan was the Democratic candidate for State Representative in 1994.

In retirement, and volunteering as a member of the non-profit Los Alamos Education Group, Bun worked to bring the Army veterans, the Navajo Code Talkers, to a conference in Los Alamos, where the town honored the Code Talkers by officially declaring it as “Los Alamos Navajo Code Talkers Day.”

This occasion ended up being an indelible and dignified community event honoring all WWII veterans — a rediscovery of so many unheralded men and women living among us, who had put their lives on the line in contributing their diverse skills to the American war effort.


If you get knocked down … Get back up

Bun joined Alcoholics Anonymous in February, 1966. He served as a substance abuse counselor and public speaker throughout his life and was dedicated to assisting others on their road to sobriety.

Bun’s son, Michael, related that when he was ten years old, he wasn’t sure if Bun was going to live. “Dad rescued himself from alcoholism, and then spent the rest of his life rescuing other people from alcoholism.”
During the latter part of his career, he received a Distinguished Performance Award from Los Alamos National Laboratory for his work in establishing their Employee Assistance Program — a confidential and structured program which focused on individuals’ recovery from substance abuse.

He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 40 years, from 1949 until his retirement in 1990.
Bun was a published author, having written a book “My Cat-Skills,” which chronicled the adventures of his adopted cat, Big-A-Boy, and donated the proceeds from the sales of the 2009 book to Felines and Friends. Bun was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Ryan. He is survived by his son and daughter and a large and loving extended family. Always a soft touch for animals, Bun requested that any memorial contributions be made to an animal rescue service of the reader’s choice.

Bun in has latter years

Image result for Bun Ryan pitcher

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I recently learned about M. Ward via Charlie D, one of the regulars at Herm's Breakfast Gang gatherings on Saturday mornings at the Sundance in Ned.  Interestingly, the Conejo Valley is not far from where we lived in California.  Learn more about M. Ward here.  Be sure to watch Slow Driving Man.

h/t Charlie D


As I mentioned, Led Zepplin won their court case re this tune - so crank up your speakers and enjoy!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Or maybe the Templeton Tango, or the Templeton Run-Around or the Templeton One Step Forward Two Steps Back. Regardless, this is a rather lengthy account of my interactions with the Templeton Foundation's funding bureaucracy. It was neither particularly pleasant nor fruitful, but it was enlightening. At the time of the saga, thought was given to writing an exposé on the experience but my colleagues and I decided to cool off for a while. Occasionally during the past several years, thought was once again given about writing it up, but I never got around to it. Having recently received some encouragement to put 'pen to paper', here it is. Many of you regulars here may want to hang it up now - this will be fairly long, and like many of my posts, interesting to me and uninteresting to most - thus you have been warned!!

Prologue - this all got started with some fairly random personal associations. Me - [not this guy or this guy] biology professor retired from research and teaching [Los Alamos National Lab, MD Anderson, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs] to enjoy some time on the Southern California beaches; serendipitously employed for several years by Pepperdine University in Malibu. Joe - neighbor in Colorado Springs [not a friendly place to teach or discuss evolution], good friend and colleague; formerly the Director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, an independent publisher of biology textbooks that make evolution the organizing principle [Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Theodosius Dobzhansky]. Francis - friend and colleague of Joe, mainly via their expertise in genetics and education; high-profile physician/scientist; Francis established BioLogos. Darrel - friend of Francis, initially via the books that they wrote; Francis' The Language of God and Darrel's Coming to Peace with Science. Darrel was a biology professor at Point Loma, and soon became deeply involved with BioLogos, serving as President for several years. Pete was brought in to BioLogos as the resident Biblical Scholar, likely because his edgy scholarship fit fairly well with the concept of theistic evolution/evolutionary creationism. Lastly, a quick overview of our perspectives on Christianity: Me - Marginal Mennonite; Joe - Staunch Ex-Catholic; Francis - adult acceptance of the evangelical Christian faith; Darrel - evangelical Christian in the Nazarene tradition; Pete - hard for me to classify - maybe you can figure it out from his website.
Of course each of these folks has their own opinion regarding the JTF, and thus it should be noted that this narrative is solely mine.


After we all figured out how we knew each other, we decided that perhaps there could be a collaborative project concerning evolution and faith, specifically a project to help evangelical students come to grips with the incontrovertible reality of evolution. The John Templeton Foundation had funded the establishment of BioLogos, and the organization was looking for projects and programs for possible additional funding by the JTF. After considerable discussion, the group decided to focus on the fact that that the vast majority of university biology professors were not well prepared for dealing with students and parents who did not accept evolution because of their young-earth creationist beliefs. Thus, the project would basically assemble easily-accessible resources for faculty to use for directing students to various thoughtful perspectives on science and faith. Title - “Integrating Evolution and Faith: Resources for College Biology Professors”.

Granting agencies often request a pre-proposal to determine if a project fits their funding goals. We did that and were invited to submit a full proposal. In addition to the usual narrative of a project [rationale, scope of work, expected results, etc.], the Foundation required a considerable amount of supporting information such as "Cost Effectiveness," "Theory of Change," "Benchmarks of Success," "Audience and Dissemination Strategies," "Enduring Impact," and a potpourri of additional information that is not a part of the typical NIH or NSF type of proposal. Completion of the proposal took a fair amount of time and effort, but the result was what we believed to be a reasonable three-year project with a total budget of a modest $260,303 to support the part-time efforts of me, Joe, and Darrel, with Francis as a consultant. Because the four of us were at different institutions, we concluded that either Pepperdine or Point Loma would be a reasonable host institution for grant submission. Ultimately we chose Pepperdine, primarily because Darrel's book had caused quite a ruckus at Point Loma, and in fact nearly cost him his job.

As one would expect, the Foundation took several months to complete their internal and external reviews. We received the following correspondence.

Thank you for the opportunity to review your proposal Integrating Evolution and Faith: Resources for College Biology Professors. We have completed the expert review phase of our process. In general, reviewers were supportive of the project. However, before we render a decision, we request your responses to several concerns and constructive comments raised by reviewers. These comments are on the pages to follow and also include a selection of the endorsements.

We would appreciate your response to these comments and look forward to hearing further from you regarding this interesting project. You are welcome to respond with a point-by-point response to each critical or constructive comment (or clusters of comments). Naturally, due to the nature of our review process, we cannot guarantee any particular outcome at this time. But we can say that we remain very interested in this project.

The "Selected Reviewer Comments" were quite detailed. This comment was fairly representative of the positive reviews, some of which explicitly recommended funding:

“My enthusiasm for this idea, which is so clearly explained and thoughtfully conceived, comes from the following aspects of the proposal. First, the authors have identified a genuine need; they have defined it precisely and given the right reasons for its significance. Their analysis of the actual classroom situation, relative to evangelical students, is highly accurate, and they understand one of the important things that needs to be done to help those students be more receptive to evolution. Second, I cannot conceive of people more qualified to carry out this particular plan."

This particular comment was fairly representative of the 'concerns':

"This project is built on a speculation—namely that biology profs are willing to put in efforts to learn how to overcome objections that their students have to learning evolution. Supposedly, if materials are readily available, these profs will learn how to use them and incorporate them into their teaching. I think this speculation is reasonable, but I wish the proposal had something resembling an incentive for these busy profs to take advantage of the new materials."

The group decided that as suggested, we would prepare a point-by-point response to the criticisms and concerns. However, at this juncture, there was a departure from the standard granting process that Joe and I were familiar with, e.g. submit a grant, receive reviews, address concerns, get secondary reviews, receive a funding priority score and wait to see if the score qualifies for funding. Because Francis/Biologos had an established relationship with the JTF, Francis had a chat with Foundation representatives about the proposal and was told that there was great interest in funding the project and that perhaps some of the concerns could be addressed by including some teacher training/incentives. Thus, in addition to preparing a nine-point, four-page response, we included the suggested component, and revised the budget upward to $499,166 for the three year period. This prompted the following response from the JTF:

"We have a few questions about the new elements you added to the project. We are still generally supportive, but have some questions about some of the project changes that you have added in response to the expert reviewer comments."

So - we now had to prepare a Response II to address the added proposal activities and the associated budget increases. We submitted that, and then received this:

Yesterday, the John Templeton Foundation announced some important news about a year-long initiative to restructure our grant-making system, with key changes in our deadlines and calendar. The overarching objective of this initiative is to align our grant-making system more fully with the Foundation’s long-range strategies.

I am writing today to assure you that our restructuring initiative will have no effect on the review of your funding requestor [sic] on our ultimate decision whether to fund this project. The Foundation is still committed to a careful, thorough review of your proposal, including, in most cases, asking experts in the fields related to your request to review the merits of your proposal.

As the time dragged out, Joe wrote:

In the old days, before one received grant scores and decisions via, NSF and NIH sent out rejection letters before grant letters, so no news was good news, at least in the short run. I'm not sure how it works with Templeton. In my experience it's unlikely that any granting agency would put an applicant through two rounds of questions -- program and budget -- and then deny funding.

Joe is seldom wrong. But there was yet another round coming. We had phone conversations with Templeton folks to discuss the project, particularly the budget. We were told that the JTF reorganization and significant fiscal restraints had put our project in the purgatory known as approved but not yet funded, but would be evaluated by a parallel Templeton foundation. Then after more waiting for a response, we received yet another letter requesting that we address five more issues.

The Grants and Programs Committee of the Templeton World Charity Foundation has now discussed your proposal Integrating Evolution and Faith: Resources for College Biology Professors. They have highlighted some addition information that will be very important as they work toward a final decision on the proposal at their next meeting, scheduled for early June.

Joe quipped that this process was certainly a roller coaster experience, but he remained optimistic as did Darrel. I was growing tired of responding, but respond we did, and the nature of the requests meant that the response required a fair amount of work. The JTF letter suggested that we add new components, which affected the budget; three year total was now $699,543. We sent in all of the material and again waited and waited. Then, we got this:

On behalf of the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charities Foundation, thank you for the opportunity to review your request for support of the project entitled, Integrating Evolution and Faith: Resources for College Biology Professors.

After careful consideration and analysis led by our Executive Staff, and ultimately by the Trustees of the Templeton World Charities Foundation, I regret to inform you that we will not be able to fund your proposed project.

The letter went on and on about "why" but I really didn't care what they had to say. I responded with a one word email: Astonishing. Darrel pretty much felt the same. But Joe expressed what I was thinking:

This is among the worst processes I have experienced in more than 30 years of seeking funding from a wide variety of public and private agencies. It reminds me of the old joke about the game-show host who says to the contestant, "For $1M: I'm thinking of a color. What is it?" The contestant responds, "White." The host says, "Actually, I was thinking of an off-white." It seems to me that they don't know what they're doing so far as a coherent review process is concerned. I would be very cautious in applying to the TF again. This was really a pathetic process -- and more than a little offensive. Have a beer for me....

While Joe and I were discussing our interest or lack thereof in assisting Francis, Darrel and Karl with other BioLogos projects, I received this email from the JTF:

Dear Doug,

I would venture to guess that your experience with the Foundation has left a sour taste in your month. This is probably too little, too late, but I do want you to know that as we dive into our restructuring this summer – re-evaluating every aspect about how we receive proposals, review them and communicate decisions – your experience will be one of several case studies guiding our thinking about things we need to improve. As a result, we are committed to making sure that if you choose to pursue grant support from the Foundation in the future, it will be a better experience for you.


Well, ya. Case Study?  More like autopsy.  Feeling obliged to respond, I simply said

I sincerely believe that a unique opportunity was missed, and that the confluence of experience, interest, and expertise presented in the proposal will not pass this way again.

Buscaremos la luz. Buscaremos la paz. Danos nuevos ojos par ver el mundo.


Joe and I were quite certain that we did not want to deal with the JTF, but we did feel that we were still willing to assist BioLogos with projects that supported the teaching of accepted science, particularly evolution, in the context of evangelical Christianity. We knew that would be a tough task, but we might develop some generalized guidance that could help others if we could find ways to convince evangelicals to re-examine their theological positions in the face of scientific facts. We had had a good experience working with Darrel, and felt that we wanted to help him if we could. Francis and Darrel once again had conversations with the presumed Templeton poobahs, and were convinced that the Foundation was very interested in biology education in private Christian high schools and Christian home school settings. Darrel had secured some funding from another foundation, and thus,
with non-Templeton money, BioLogos was able to organize several focus group meetings with Christian school teachers and administrators and with home school-parents. Joe and I agreed to assist.

At the time of these discussions and activities, three significant things were going on. First, it was becoming clear that President Obama was going to nominate Francis to head the NIH. That appointment would necessarily remove the most prominent person at BioLogos [an aside - the JTF apparently has a proclivity for funding high-profile persons/institutions. One well-known person in the science/religion arena told me regarding our initial experience "If you all were from Harvard, or Yale, or Oxford and not Pepperdine, you would likely have been funded."] Second, the leadership of BioLogos was being transferred from Francis to Darrel and Karl. And third, Pete was becoming an integral part of the BioLogos team.

Again, considerable time and effort went in to collecting and organizing the responses of the focus groups, determining the problems that the biology teachers face, and formulating strategies to overcome the barriers to teaching good biology to fundamentalists.

Now - I am going to skip over many of the details of preparing a pre-proposal, a full proposal, reviews and responses, and so on. Just re-read FIRST STEP - FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU and you will understand what went on. Although the total three-year budget for "Curriculum Resources for Biology Education at Christian Schools"was $1,133,100, the JTF's underlying concerns were not about the dollars.  A confounding issue was that non-JTF funding was also being pursued which added another explanatory section to the JTF application.  Darrel and I actually made a trip to the Foundation headquarters to make sure that this proposal was not going to go down the same path as the first one.

As Joe and I worked and re-worked the proposal with Darrel and Pete, it became ever more clear to Joe and me that the barriers that teachers encounter in the Christian-education setting are not related to biology, but rather are dominated by theology. Indeed, we found that many teachers were using standard textbooks such as Biology by Miller and Levine. Very few teachers were using the noxious curricula published by Bob Jones University Press or A Beka Books although a fair number of home-schoolers used the young-earth creationist A Beka Book biology text. And virtually all of the teachers were anxious to have resources that addressed the interface of evolutionary science and Christian faith.

Because Joe and I were firm in our position that the emphasis of the project should be on theology, clearly not our specialty, we suggested that the time commitments and thus the budget reflect the primary activities of the project personnel. Joe and I wrote a very extensive memo to BioLogos outlining issues that we felt had to be addressed, stating that we understood that BioLogos was "in a state of flux, practically and philosophically." We detailed the reasons for the proposed emphasis on theology. Pete added thoughtful commentary to our memo, especially regarding how to engage evangelicals in rethinking their theology in light of conflicting science. Joe and I recommended that we scale back our involvement and that Pete become the Project Leader. Pete found this acceptable. This approach became a basic component of our revised proposal [surprise - another revision]. Our first indication that this was going to be problematic was embedded in this request from the JTF:

Information Requested: In our December correspondence, requesting the revised proposal which we are currently reviewing, we asked you to consider the "theological credibility" of the program. The revised proposal offers some hints as to where that credibilty [sic] will come into play, specifically the advisory boards, but it does not name any individuals or institutions who might offer that additional credibility. Therefore, we would ask for greater detail as to who you would like to make up the various advisory boards for the project (or any other specific partnerships or plans you have to establish greater 'theological credibility'). Please note that we do not expect that you will have secured committments [sic] for this role, but if you have, please indicate as much. For any whom you have not secured, or not even asked, please simply provide the names of the top candidate or two you would ask to fill those roles if your grant application is successful. Please keep in mind that we are referring to scholars with credibility in the community you are seeking to reach, a group of people often too ready to dismiss good work as too “liberal” or whatever. Our concern is not about the intellectual quality of the project in itself, but about the likelihood it will be used extensively by your target audience.

In retrospect, this should have been translated as "Pete needs both guidance and a leash." Pete would likely admit that he is not the most diplomatic person, and often uses challenging and controversial ideas to generate meaningful discussions about important topics. The titles of his books indicate his positions: The Bible Tells Me So - Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable To Read It; The Evolution Of Adam - What The Bible Does And Doesn't Say About Human Origins; The Sin Of Certainty - Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs. I think that it would be safe to say that these are not the types of things that many fundamentalist Christians want to hear, and certainly would not be inclined to accept; hence the Foundation's fixation on 'theological credibility.'

Also, in retrospect, it seems quite clear that JTF personnel had privately conveyed concern to BioLogos about how the details of Theist Evolution /Evolutionary Creation were going to be presented in a pastoral manner to the targeted evangelical community. Note my emphasis on 'pastoral'. The target community needed more pastoring than biblical scholarship, especially if that scholarship accepts the scientific evidence for human origins, not a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve. To accommodate this perceived need, the JTF proposed that we add personnel to the proposal to address the pastoral component, and that Pete's time and effort be cut back. Understandably, Pete was not pleased. The implicit message was that targeted evangelicals would likely not be particularly receptive to Pete's Old Testament scholarship regarding creation and Adam and Eve. As one Templeton official said: "They need an Adam and Eve."

This is when Joe and I said "Nope". We agreed that this is not how projects should be developed, reviewed, funded and managed. We had established a good working relationship with Pete and respected his theological positions in relationship to what we biologists accept as established science. We were not interested in being funded by an organization that appeared to be involved with micromanagement, control, and influence.  It seemed clear to Joe and me that the JTF had a  literalist/creationist bias regarding the project and its expected outcomes, e.g., many evangelicals need a real Adam and an Eve; thus promote any data and any experts that support such a notion.  Not possible from my and Joe's perspective. 

End of story regarding Joe and me. Darrel and Francis expressed their disappointment re our decision. As far as I know, the proposal was withdrawn, and BioLogos pursued other projects funded by the JTF. And as many know, when Pete's contract with BioLogos was up for renewal, it was not renewed.

Well, end of story is not quite accurate for me because there was one last bit of irony:

Dear Dr. Swartzendruber

As part of the John Templeton Foundation’s proposal review process, we typically solicit outside expert opinions to help us evaluate funding requests.

You have been identified as someone who could provide valuable feedback on a proposal we have received from xx entitled, "Science, faith and professional development in new teachers". We would greatly appreciate your input regarding this work.

In order for the Foundation to meet its promise to applicants of a timely decision of all Full Proposals, we need your completed review submitted back to us by xx. As compensation for your work, we will pay you an honorarium of $300.00 for your timely completion of an electronic review in accordance with the instructions and terms provided by the Foundation.


The Evolution of BioLogos - it is interesting to postulate what BioLogos might look like today if Francis had remained as President, Karl and Darrel as Vice-Presidents and Pete as Biblical Scholar.  I believe that it would be quite a bit different, particularly considering that Calvinists  and Calvin College folks now have considerable influence including holding the Presidency Among the myriad Protestant theologies, I find Calvinism particularly noisome.  But that's the subject of another post....

The Evolution of The John Templeton Foundation - I am no expert here, but I do believe that there was a significant shift in vision when Sir John died and his physician-son Jack became President.  As noted in this blurb, Sir John was nearly new-age in his views of religions, cultures and philosophies. He died in 2008, and Jack took over.  Necessarily the Foundation's bio of Jack is complementary, but others noted his right-wing, Republican brand of evangelical Christianity.   I happened to see Jack in action once in Heidelberg, and I think that it is safe to say that Jack's perspective influenced the Templeton staff who were responsible for vetting proposals before he had a look.  Jack died in 2015, and the current President is Jack's daughter Heather Templeton Dill, whose primary qualification seems to be that she is the daughter of Jack and grand-daughter of Sir John.  It would appear to be business as usual at the JTF, at least for the time being.

People - me; I remain mostly retired, teaching a course now and then, writing here about things that interest me and a few other folks, and keeping track of retired CU faculty; catch up with Joe here; Darrel is also mostly retired, but remains a Senior Advisor for Dialogue at BioLogos; Pete is a faculty member at Eastern University, Karl is affiliated with Stonehill College, and Francis is still the Director of the NIH - we will see what President Trump has to say about that!

Addendum - Over at WEIT, Jerry Coyne has written about this post.

Sunday, September 04, 2016


I am working on a very long post, so thought that some good music would be nice diversion!

Keith Yoder on guitar, Irl Hees on bass, Dix Bruce on mandolin, Tim May on guitar, and Nate Lee on fiddle perform at the faculty concert at Acoustic Music Camp in Arlington, Texas, Aug. 7, 2015.

Keith and Tim are regulars at the Colorado Roots Music Camp; both are delightful, highly accomplished, and outstanding teachers.