Funding Evangelical Scholarship

Emergesque just turned me on to a great article about evangelicals in academia.

The articles focuses on the necessity of large foundations (especially the Lilly Endowment and the Pew Charitable Trusts) to provide funding for evangelical scholars (things like research and sabbaticals cost money!)

Something I find pretty interesting: the evangelical scholars seem to be good investments: “As measured by scholarly productivity, foundations supporting evangelical scholarship have received an unusually high return on their investment. A study by the National Endowment for the Humanities found that 45 percent of their grant recipients had published books within six years of receiving their grants. By contrast, a study of scholars receiving grants from the Pew Evangelical Scholars Program found that 90 percent had finished their books within six years.”

There’s a related article from 2000 in the The Atlantic Monthly

John Ashcroft: Son of a Preacher Man

The August 4th San Francisco Chronicle has a fascinating article on John Ashcroft called Son of a Preacher Man. The article is pretty factual, although the journalist’s dislike of Ashcroft’s value system shows through.

In case you didn’t know it, John Ashcroft (our current U.S. Attorney General) is an Assemblies of God layperson, and his father J. Robert Ashcroft was responsible for the founding of Chi Alpha.

Scientists And Their Gods

Note: this was originally an excerpt from the article mentioned at the beginning. Since then, I’ve added a few others and I’ve also done some further research on most of the scientists.

In Scientists And Their Gods, Dr. Henry F. Schaefer (Christian, Nobel nominee, Stanford grad, and the third most-quoted chemist in the world) writes about the fact that there are many Christians who work in the hard sciences. I was particularly interested to note that three (four counting the author) have connections to Stanford.

Some notables:

Robert Griffiths, “member of our U.S. Academy of Sciences, Otto Stern professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University received one of the most coveted awards of the American Physical Society in 1984 on his work in physical mechanics and thermodynamics. Physics Today said he is an evangelical Christian who is an amateur theologian and who helps teach a course on Christianity and science.” (incidentally, he’s a Stanford grad)

Richard Bube “For many years, Bube was the chairman of the department of materials science at Stanford and carried out foundational work on solid state physics concerning semiconductors. He said:There are proportionately as many atheistic truck drivers as there are atheistic scientists.”

John Suppe, “Member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences and noted professor of geology at Princeton, expert in the are of tectonics, began a long search for God as a Christian faculty member. He began attending services in the Princeton Chapel, reading the Bible and other Christian books.”

Charles H. Townes “My candidate for the scientist of the century is Charlie Townes. (Of course, he is a friend of mine and there could be some bias here.) He did something fairly significant when he discovered the laser. He almost got a second Nobel Prize for the first observation of an interstellar molecule.”

Arthur Schawlow: “won a Nobel Prize in physics, 1981, serves as physics professor at Stanford and identifies himself as a Christian.”

Allan Sandage: “the world’s greatest observational cosmologist, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution, was called the Grand Old Man of cosmology by The New York Times when he won a $1 million prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.”

William Phillips yet another Nobel laureate. Read a fascinating article about him.

David Cole: a Berkeley biochemist. Couldn’t find a bio page on him.

Francis Collins: director of the Human Genome Project, the largest scientific project ever undertaken, Dr. Collins once said I’d call myself a serious Christian. That is someone who believes in the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection, and who tries to integrate that into daily life and not just relegate it to something you talk about on Sunday morning. (source) Incidentally, Collins was an atheist who became a believer after attaining his doctorate.

Arno Penzias said “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.” (read more about him)

Owen Gingerich, professor of astronomy at Harvard and a devout Christian, said “I can only imagine that God, as a powerful force in the universe, could put on many different faces. If God is in fact all-powerful, there’s no reason why this all-powerful force in the universe could not represent itself and relate to the self-conscious human beings, in some fashion, through communication with human beings. And how do you communicate? Through prophets of all ages.” (source)

Related Stories

  • You might also want to take a look at the American Scientific Affiliation: a fellowship of men and women in science and disciplines that relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science.
  • Also read about our comment on Stanford’s own Don Knuth–the ultimate mac-daddy of computer science.
  • Larry Wall, creator of Perl and devout Christian, gets posed a tough question on Slashdot: read all about it.

last updated 5/21/2005: added Owen Gingerich

Emil and Vipul Come to Visit

Hosting a prospective Stanford student while he checks out the campus.

emil_and_vipul_pic.jpg Right now we’re blessed to have under our roof one Emil Geiger and one Vipur Sharma. Emil is a Chi Alpha student from Lousiana State University, and is hoping to get his master’s in engineering from Stanford.

It’s a lot of fun having them around (side note: they’re very appreciative of the XBox that the Southwest Missouri State Chi Alpha group blessed up with).

Reflections on Christian Scholarship

One of our chief goals is to integrate our biblical and academic perspectives on life. If you think it’s hard as an undergrad, just wait for grad school!

To help you out, Leader U has a special set of articles related to Christian scholarship.

Some that caught my eye:

Check out On Integrating Your Faith for a brief set of relections on combining your scholarship and spirituality. I liked the innovated idea of tithing your research.

I was also struck by The Calling of a Christian Professor (meaning a Christian professor at a secular school). If that’s what God is calling you to do, check it out!

Also consider The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. George Marsden argues that “Christian perspectives should make at least as much difference as feminist perspectives.” Hear, hear!

Finally, you might want to check out Toward Integrating Your Life and Work for a challenge towards viewing scholarship as a vocation that matters to God.

Dogs Can Do Math

This is sort of an offbeat post that caught my eye: dogs have rudimentary math abilities (CNN).

That’s right: Fido knows the difference between one and two. The research will be published in an upcoming issue of Animal Cognition final fantasy vii advent children divx download . For more details, check out the report on New Scientist.

Lunch with the Pastor of Glad Tidings Church

Brief notes about my lunch with Forrest Beiser, pastor of Glad Tidings Church.

Today I had the good fortune of meeting with Pastor Forrest Beiser of Glad Tidings Church for lunch.

It was a great meeting! I’ll be speaking at their Wednesday evening service August 14th, building up to their big evangelistic rally with Bubba Paris of the San Francisco 49ers. How fun!

Incidentally, Glad Tidings has a long and distinguished history of ministry in San Fran. Among the many notable events that caught my eye, I thought it particularly cool that Bethany Bible College had its humble origins in this church.

God is faithfully bringing us into contact with people with whom we can partner to see Stanford reached with the gospel!

Stanford in The Movies

Movies about Stanford or featuring Stanford.

Here’s another window on Stanford’s influence: Stanford in Hollywood. Disclaimer: I haven’t seen these. I got them by searching for Stanford at


Stealing Harvard is about one man’s life of crime to pay for his neice to attend the exorbitantly priced Stanford. Latest totals: $27,204 tuition + $4,450 room + $4,230 board. That’s $35,884 a year!

Invasion: Stanford 1991 A. D. features two alien janitors trying to take over the world after cloning two freshmen. It got a rating of 8.7 on the Internet Movie Database, but I’m thinking that with only seven votes the directors and producers cast them all. 🙂

In Orange County a bright student tries desperately to get into Stanford after his guidance counselor sends in the wrong transcripts by mistake. (thanks to Brad Lauster for noticing that I mistyped the movie name).

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find references to any of these movies on Stanford’s website. I guess they’re not too proud of their movie representation…

Still, yet another (admittedly minor) way that Stanford is influencing our culture!
Check out the more significant reasons Stanford is one of the world’s most significant mission fields!

Look At My New Tree!

My favorite gift of all time–a threefold citrus tree!

tree.jpgToday I got one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received–a citrus tree! Actually, it’s three citrus trees in one. I’ll name it trinity. A company named Willits & Newcomb specializes in citrus trees, and make these “cocktail” trees by grafting two or three varieties onto one trunk. Quite cool!

This one will bear Valencia Oranges, Eureka Lemons, and Bearss Limes!

This is one real advantage to having your mother-in-law come for a visit right before your birthday–you get great gifts!