Bryant Wood rightly dates the Walls of Jericho to the time the Bible said it occurred!!!

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NEW! Jericho Unearthed Bible Proof

Bryant Wood rightly dates the Walls of Jericho to the time the Bible said it occurred!!!

 

The Walls of Jericho

 

 

When one hears the name “Jericho” one naturally thinks of Israelites marching, trumpets sounding and walls falling. It is a wonderful story of faith and victory that we enjoy reading and telling in Sunday School class, but did it really happen? The skeptic would say no, it is merely a folk tale to explain the ruins at Jericho. The reason for this negative outlook is the excavation carried out at the site in the 1950s under the direction of British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. She concluded,

It is a sad fact that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains.…The excavation of Jericho, therefore, has thrown no light on the walls of Jericho of which the destruction is so vividly described in the Book of Joshua (Kenyon 1957: 261–62).

Thomas A. Holland, who was editor and co-author of Kenyon’s excavation reports, summarized the apparent results as follows:

Kenyon concluded, with reference to the military conquest theory and the L[ate] B[ronze Age] walls, that there was no archaeological data to support the thesis that the town had been surrounded by a wall at the end of LB I (ca. 1400 BCE…) (Holland 1997: 223).

H.J. Franken, a member of the Jericho excavation staff, stated,

Miss Kenyon’s work has presented scholars with the hard fact that if Joshua was active with the incoming Israelites either c. 1400 or c. 1200 B.C. he would not have been able to capture a great walled city of Jericho, because there was no city of Jericho in these periods…the huge ruins of the Hyksos city gave rise to the folktale attached to the hero Joshua (1965: 190, 200).

According to Kenyon’s dating, there was no city for the Israelites to conquer at the end of the 15th century BC, the Biblical date for the event. The Jericho of Joshua’s time could not be found-it was lost! Through our research, however, we have found the lost city of Jericho, the Jericho attacked by the Israelites.
 

Aerial view of Jericho, looking south. The trenches and squares visible today are from Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations in the 1950s and the more recent Italian-Palestinian excavation which began in 1997.

Fortifications of Jericho

Before the Israelites entered the promised land Moses told them, “You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky” (Dt 9:1). The meticulous work of Kenyon showed that Jericho was indeed heavily fortified and that it had been burned by fire. Unfortunately, she misdated her finds, resulting in what seemed to be a discrepancy between the discoveries of archaeology and the Bible. She concluded that the Bronze Age city of Jericho was destroyed about 1550 BC by the Egyptians. An in-depth analysis of the evidence, however, reveals that the destruction took place at the end of the 15th century BC (end of the Late Bronze I period), exactly when the Bible says the Conquest occurred (Wood 1990).

 

Pottery found at Jericho by John Garstang. This distinctive pottery, decorated with red and black geometric patterns, was in use only in the 15th century BC, the time of the Israelite Conquest according to Biblical chronology.

The mound, or “tell,” of Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart, or embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base. The retaining wall was some 12–15 ft high. On top of that was a mudbrick wall 6 ft thick and about 20–26 ft high (Sellin and Watzinger 1973: 58). At the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall whose base was roughly 46 ft above the ground level outside the retaining wall. This is what loomed high above the Israelites as they marched around the city each day for seven days. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for the Israelites to penetrate the impregnable bastion of Jericho.

 

Plan of the ruins of Jericho. A-area excavated by John Garstang where he found evidence for the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites which he dated to ca. 1400 BC. B-Two 8×8 m squares excavated by Kathleen Kenyon where she found similar evidence for destruction, but misdated it to 1550 BC and attributed it to the Egyptians.
Within the upper wall was an area of approximately 6 acres, while the total area of the upper city and fortification system together was half again as large, or about 9 acres. Based on the archaeologist’s rule of thumb of 100 persons per acre, the population of the upper city would have been about 600. From excavations carried out by a German team in the first decade of this century, we know that people were also living on the embankment between the upper and lower city walls. In addition, those Canaanites living in surrounding villages would have fled to Jericho for safety. Thus, we can assume that there were several thousand people inside the walls when the Israelites came against the city.
 

Schematic cross-section of the fortification system at Jericho.

The Fallen Walls

The citizens of Jericho were well prepared for a siege. A copious spring which provided water for ancient, as well as modern, Jericho lay inside the city walls. At the time of the attack, the harvest had just been taken in (Jos 3:15), so the citizens had an abundant supply of food. This has been borne out by many large jars full of grain found in the Canaanite homes by John Garstang in his excavation in the 1930s and also by Kenyon. With a plentiful food supply and ample water, the inhabitants of Jericho could have held out for several years.

After the seventh trip around the city on the seventh day, Scripture tells us that the wall “fell flat” (Jos 6:20). A more accurate rendering of the Hebrew word here would be “fell beneath itself.” Is there evidence for such an event at Jericho? It turns out that there is ample evidence that the mudbrick city wall collapsed and was deposited at the base of the stone retaining wall at the time the city met its end.

 

Section drawing of Kenyon’s west trench, showing the fallen mud bricks from the collapsed city wall (red area to the left of retaining wall KD).

Kenyon’s work was the most detailed. On the west side of the tell, at the base of the retaining, or revetment, wall, she found,

fallen red bricks piling nearly to the top of the revetment. These probably came from the wall on the summit of the bank [and/or]…the brickwork above the revetment (Kenyon 1981: 110).

In other words, she found a heap of bricks from the fallen city walls! The renewed Italian-Palestinian excavations found exactly the same thing at the southern end of the mound in 1997.


Excavations at the outer (lower) fortification wall by the three major expeditions to Jericho. At the north end (numbers 1–5), a portion of the mud brick wall (red) atop the stone retaining wall survived, demonstrating that the city wall did not fall in this area. Nothing remains of the mud brick city wall at other points investigated, showing that it had collapsed everywhere else (numbers 6–13). Remnants of the collapsed city wall (red) were actually found still in place in three places at Jericho: number 11 (German excavation), number 12 (Kenyon’s excavation), and the 1997 Italian-Palestinian excavation extending Kenyon’s south trench at number 8.

According to the Bible, Rahab’s house was incorporated into the fortification system (Jos 2:15). If the walls fell, how was her house spared? As you recall, the spies had instructed Rahab to bring her family into her house and they would be rescued. When the Israelites stormed the city, Rahab and her family were saved as promised (Jos 6:17, 22–23). At the north end of the tell of Jericho, archaeologists made some astounding discoveries that seem to relate to Rahab.

The German excavation of 1907-1909 found that on the north a short stretch of the lower city wall did not fall as everywhere else. A portion of that mudbrick wall was still standing to a height of 8 ft (Sellin and Watzinger 1973: 58). What is more, there were houses built against the wall! It is quite possible that this is where Rahab’s house was located. Since the city wall formed the back wall of the houses, the spies could have readily escaped. From this location on the north side of the city, it was only a short distance to the hills of the Judean wilderness where the spies hid for three days (Jos 2:16, 22). Real estate values must have been low here, since the houses were positioned on the embankment between the upper and lower city walls. Not the best place to live in time of war! This area was no doubt the overflow from the upper city and the poor part of town, perhaps even a slum district.

After the city walls fell, how could the Israelites surmount the 12–15 foot high retaining wall at the base of the tell? Excavations have shown that the bricks from the collapsed walls fell in such a way as to form a ramp against the retaining wall. The Israelites could merely climb up over the pile of rubble, up the embankment, and enter the city. The Bible is very precise in its description of how the Israelites entered the city: “The people went up into the city, every man straight before him” (Jos 6:20, KJV). The Israelites had to go up, and that is what archaeology has revealed. They had to go from ground level at the base of the tell to the top of the rampart in order to enter the city.


Dr. Wood points to collapsed mud bricks from the city wall that fell to the base of the retaining wall at Jericho. His left foot rests on part of the fallen wall. (Italian-Palestinian excavation, 1997, location 8.)

Destruction by Fire

The Israelites “burned the whole city and everything in it” (Jos 6: 24). Once again, the discoveries of archaeology have verified the truth of this record. A portion of the city destroyed by the Israelites was excavated on the east side of the tell. Wherever the archaeologists reached this level they found a layer of burned ash and debris about 3 ft thick. Kenyon described the massive devastation:

The destruction was complete. Walls and floors were blackened or reddened by fire, and every room was filled with fallen bricks, timbers, and household utensils; in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt, but the collapse of the walls of the eastern rooms seems to have taken place before they were affected by the fire (Kenyon 1981: 370).


Excavations of John Garstang at Jericho showing the remains of the city destroyed by the Israelites in about 1400 BC.

 

 


Exterior of the retaining wall in Kenyon’s west trench.


Section drawing of Kenyon’s excavation showing house walls from the city destroyed by the Israelites and the thick burn layer (lower red layer).

Both Garstang and Kenyon found many storage jars full of grain that had been caught in the fiery destruction. This is a unique find in the annals of archaeology. Grain was valuable, not only as a source of food, but also as a commodity which could be bartered. Under normal circumstances, valuables such as grain would have been plundered by the conquerors. Why was the grain left to be burned at Jericho? The Bible provides the answer. Joshua commanded the Israelites:

The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury (Jos 6:17–19).


Jars full of grain found by John Garstang at Jericho. They were charred in the fire that the Israelites set to destroy the Canaanite city.

The grain left at Jericho and found by archaeologists in modern times gives graphic testimony to the obedience of the Israelites nearly three and a half millennia ago. Only Achan disobeyed, leading to the debacle at Ai described in Joshua 7.

Such a large quantity of grain left untouched gives silent testimony to the truth of yet another aspect of the Biblical account. A heavily fortified city with an abundant supply of food and water would normally take many months, even years, to subdue. The Bible says that Jericho fell after only seven days. The jars found in the ruins of Jericho were full, showing that the siege was short since the people inside the walls consumed very little of the grain.

Lessons of Jericho

Jericho was once thought to be a “Bible problem” because of the seeming disagreement between archaeology and the Bible. When the archaeology is correctly interpreted, however, the opposite is the case. The archaeological evidence supports the historical accuracy of the Biblical account in every detail. Every aspect of the story that could possibly be verified by the findings of archaeology is, in fact, verified.

There are a number of theories as to how the walls of Jericho came down. Both Garstang and Kenyon found evidence of earthquake activity at the time the city met its end. If God did use an earthquake to accomplish His purposes that day, it was still a miracle since it happened at precisely the right moment, and was manifested in such a way as to protect Rahab’s house. No matter what agency God used, it was ultimately the faith of the Israelites that brought the walls down: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” (Heb 11:30).

The example of Jericho is a wonderful spiritual lesson for God’s people yet today. There are times when we find ourselves facing enormous “walls” that are impossible to break down by human strength. If we put our faith in God and follow His commandments, even when they seem foolish to us, He will perform “great and awesome deeds” (Dt 4:34) and give us the victory.

See Dr. Wood discuss the evidence in this cutting edge video, Jericho Unearthed.

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5)

The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy and Kyle Butt does a great job of showing that in this film series he did on “The Bible and Archaeology.”

_________________________-

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject:


1. 
The Babylonian Chronicle
of Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem

This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events: 1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharoah Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.), 2. The accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and 3. The capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC.

2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription.

King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment.

3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)

It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up “Hezekiah the Judahite” within Jerusalem his own royal city “like a caged bird.” This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah.

4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically.

In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives;

5. The Discovery of the Hittites

Most doubting scholars back then said that the Hittites were just a “mythical people that are only mentioned in the Bible.” Some skeptics pointed to the fact that the Bible pictures the Hittites as a very big nation that was worthy of being coalition partners with Egypt (II Kings 7:6), and these bible critics would assert that surely we would have found records of this great nation of Hittites.  The ironic thing is that when the Hittite nation was discovered, a vast amount of Hittite documents were found. Among those documents was the treaty between Ramesses II and the Hittite King.

6.Shishak Smiting His Captives

The Bible mentions that Shishak marched his troops into the land of Judah and plundered a host of cities including Jerusalem,  this has been confirmed by archaeologists. Shishak’s own record of his campaign is inscribed on the south wall of the Great Temple of Amon at Karnak in Egypt. In his campaign he presents 156 cities of Judea to his god Amon.

7. Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kings 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered.

8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls of gold, chalices of gold, cups of gold, vases of gold, lead, a sceptre for the king, and spear-shafts, I have received.”

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The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)

 

9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts.

Sir William Ramsay, famed archaeologist, began a study of Asia Minor with little regard for the book of Acts. He later wrote:

I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.

9B Discovery of Ebla TabletsWhen I think of discoveries like the Ebla Tablets that verify  names like Adam, Eve, Ishmael, David and Saul were in common usage when the Bible said they were, it makes me think of what amazing confirmation that is of the historical accuracy of the Bible.

10. Cyrus Cylinder

There is a well preserved cylinder seal in the Yale University Library from Cyrus which contains his commands to resettle the captive nations.

11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.

This cube is inscribed with the name and titles of Yahali and a prayer: “In his year assigned to him by lot (puru) may the harvest of the land of Assyria prosper and thrive, in front of the gods Assur and Adad may his lot (puru) fall.”  It provides a prototype (the only one ever recovered) for the lots (purim) cast by Haman to fix a date for the destruction of the Jews of the Persian Empire, ostensibly in the fifth century B.C.E. (Esther 3:7; cf. 9:26).

12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription

The Bible mentions Uzziah or Azariah as the king of the southern kingdom of Judah in 2 Kings 15. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription is a stone tablet (35 cm high x 34 cm wide x 6 cm deep) with letters inscribed in ancient Hebrew text with an Aramaic style of writing, which dates to around 30-70 AD. The text reveals the burial site of Uzziah of Judah, who died in 747 BC.

13. The Pilate Inscription

The Pilate Inscription is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to the Caesarea theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. There have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate

14. Caiaphas Ossuary

This beautifully decorated ossuary found in the ruins of Jerusalem, contained the bones of Caiaphas, the first century AD. high priest during the time of Jesus.

14 B Pontius Pilate Part 2      

In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.”

14c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Despite their liberal training, it was archaeological research that bolstered their confidence in the biblical text:Albright said of himself, “I must admit that I tried to be rational and empirical in my approach [but] we all have presuppositions of a philosophical order.” The same statement could be applied as easily to Gleuck and Wright, for all three were deeply imbued with the theological perceptions which infused their work.

The Bible and Archaeology (3/5)

 

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 564) Some Good Cartoons if You’re Suffering from Post-Tax Return Traumatic Stress Disorder

Open letter to President Obama (Part 564)

(Emailed to White House on 6-10-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. The recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

______________________

The IRS agents are as well thought of as Zacchaeus who was the tax collector that only Jesus was nice to. Here is a fine article by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute. 

For the past 30 or so years, I’ve done my own taxes by hand. I thought this was a good approach because it would help me better understand the practical challenges of the tax code.

Bravest man IRS

Dan Mitchell has dropped out of this contest

But it’s time to confess that I broke down and used Turbotax for yesterday’s tax return.

It’s not that my financial affairs are complicated. I basically get my Cato salary and a bit of income from speeches and articles. But even that became too much of a challenge. The tipping point was the form for Health Savings Accounts. The IRS is yelling at me for how I filled out this form in past years, and I fear that I will be perpetually in their cross hairs without relying on a computer program to avoid mistakes.

To help me deal with yesterday’s traumatic experience, I’m sharing some very good cartoons.

We’ll start with one from Gary Varvel.

IRS Cartoon 1

Sort of the visual version of this letter-to-the-editor.

Our next cartoon, which may be my favorite of the group, is from Glenn McCoy.

IRS Cartoon 2

By the way, if you don’t think the IRS is capable of thuggery, read this horrifying story.

I don’t know Paul Fell’s work, but this next cartoon is a very good introduction.

IRS Cartoon 3

This is the second time the grim reaper has appeared in a cartoon. The first time involved the death tax.

Last but not least, we have a Chip Bok cartoon about tax code complexity.

IRS Cartoon 4

As a bonus, it also features the complexity of Obamacare. If you like cartoons that mix the IRS and Obamacare, check out this classic from Glenn McCoy and this gem by Gary Varvel.

If you still need to be cheered up, here’s some more IRS humor to brighten your day, including the IRS version of the quadratic formula, a new Obama 1040 form, a list of tax day tips from David Letterman, a cartoon ofhow GPS would work if operated by the IRS, an IRS-designed pencil sharpener, a sale on 1040-form toilet paper (a real product), and two songs about the tax agency (here and here),  and a PG-13 joke about a Rabbi and an IRS agent.

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Did Antony Flew actually leave atheism or was it a hoax?

Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God

Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008

Has Science Discovered God?

A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last 50 years. Over the decades, he published more than 30 books attacking belief in God and debated a wide range of religious believers.

Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have led him to the conclusion that the universe is indeed the creation of infinite Intelligence.

For More Info Visit:
http://ScienceFindsGod.com

________________________________

Richard Dawkins vs William Lane Craig – Full Debate -

Antony Flew on God and Atheism

Published on Feb 11, 2013

Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death (he’s a much better thinker than Richard Dawkins too – even when he was an atheist). His conversion to God-belief has caused an uproar among atheists. They have done all they can to lessen the impact of his famous conversion by shamelessly suggesting he’s too old, senile and mentally deranged to understand logic and science anymore.

News on Antony Flew’s conversion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e4FU…

Interview and discussion with Antony Flew:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53REH…

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Did Antony Flew actually leave atheism or was it a hoax?

In There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”, the British philosophyprofessor, late Antony Flew, shared his reasons for converting from atheism to deism.

“We must follow the argument wherever it leads”, a principle that Plato attributed to Socrates, was the norm to which Flew followed (Flew 2007: 46).  With increasing evidences of the teleological argument, Flew had to change his position.

“I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine”, explained Flew, “has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason.”(Flew 2007: 155). He further expounded,

Science qua science cannot furnish an argument for God’s existence. But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume the laws of nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world. Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through an understanding of the structures they unveil and map.

Flew pointed out that even though “[s]ome have said that the laws of nature are simply accidental results of the way the universe cooled after the big bang”, Martin Rees showed that there are “laws governing the ensemble of universes”. He explained,

Again, even the evolution of the laws of nature and changes to the constants follow certain laws. “We’re still left with the question of how these ‘deeper’ laws originated. No matter how far you push back the properties of the universe as somehow ‘emergent,’ their very emergence has to follow certain prior laws.”[ Rees 2000: 87]

“So multiverse or not,” argued Flew, “we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.”(ibid 120-121)

Richard Dawkins was and is not pleased with Flew’s U-turned position. In The God Delusion, Dawkins asserted that “[o]ne can’t help wondering whether Flew realizes that he is being used”(Dawkins 2006: 82). In  a recent Playboy interview, Dawkin explained,

What’s rather wicked is when religious apologists exploit that, as they did in the case of Flew, who in his old age was persuaded to put his name to a book saying that he’d been converted to a form of deism. Not only did he not write the book, he didn’t even read it.

According to Dawkins, Flew changed from atheism to deism because “he went gaga”.  It is sad that Dawkins keep giving false account of Flew conversion knowing that Flew had already responded to the same Dawkinian’s charges in June 4th 2008 letter. Flew wrote,

I have rebutted these criticisms in the following statement: “My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 per cent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. That is my book and it represents my thinking.”

Flew also answered Dawkins’ The God Delusion’s notes’ assertion of his position in a great length. He admitted that Dawkins’ The God Delusion was “remarkable in the first place for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies”. He further wrote,

But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents or rather lack of contents of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot.

Turning to page 82 of The God Delusion’s footnote, Flew answered Dawkins “remarkable note” of his decision to convert from atheism to deism.  Flew explained that Dawkins caricature of his decision does not say much about Flew but about Dawkins himself. Flew wrote,

For if he had had any interest in the truth of the matter of which he was making so much he would surely have brought himself to write me a letter of enquiry. (When I received a torrent of enquiries after an account of my conversion to Deism had been published in the quarterly of the Royal Institute of Philosophy I managed, I believe, eventually to reply to every letter.)

For Flew, this indicated that Dawkins was “not interested in the truth as such but is primarily concerned to discredit an ideological opponent by any available means”. Flew suspected that Dawkins’ did not set to “discover and spread knowledge of the existence or non-existence of God” in The God Delusion, but to spread his own convictions.

Bibliography

Dawkins, Richard (2006) The God Delusion. Bantam Press

Flew, Antony (2007) There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. HarperOne

Rees, Martin (2000) Exploring Our Universe and Others”, The Frontiers of Space. New York: Scientific American.

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

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Francis Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live? (Full-Length Documentary)

 

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Miles Davis and Andy below:
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Dali and Warhol below:

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Francis Schaeffer with his son Franky pictured below. Francis and Edith (who passed away in 2013) opened L’ Abri in 1955 in Switzerland.


Francis 
Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” ,  episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted, “Schaefferwho always claimed to be an evangelist and not a philosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplified intellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pill because Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art and culture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about them because they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!

J.I.PACKER WROTE OF SCHAEFFER, “His communicative style was not thaof a cautious academiwho labors foexhaustive coverage and dispassionate objectivity. It was rather that of an impassioned thinker who paints his vision of eternal truth in bold strokes and stark contrasts.Yet it is a fact that MANY YOUNG THINKERS AND ARTISTS…HAVE FOUND SCHAEFFER’S ANALYSES A LIFELINE TO SANITY WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON LIVING.”

Francis Schaeffer’s works  are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts and they have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960′s  were right on  in the sense he saw where our western society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youth enthansia were  moral boundaries we would be crossing  in the coming decades because of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)

There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.” 

Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes.  Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTS ARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULT OF MINDLESS CHANCE.

Here is what Francis Schaeffer wrote about Andy Warhol’s art and interviews:

The Observer June 12, 1966 does a big spread on Warhol.

Andy Warhol, “It doesn’t matter what anyone does. I wish I were a computer.”

He is really telling you what is in his head. There is no difference between this and other forms of absurdity. Here you have a man who has taken absurdity and projected it commercially, and what it really is, is an absurd statement with absurd means. Not everyone understands it, but it has it’s impact. Billy Link is the forman of the factory. “Warhol does practically nothing, but he does it very well and that is all he has to do.”

These people are not dummies. Warhol calls his nightclub “The Plastic Inevitable.I think this he really understands. If you get away from nature and away from reality and if you are going to build these things then it is better to just build them in plastic.

Warhol says, “My work won’t last anyway. I was using cheap paint.” I think he has a purpose.  Don’t think those men don’t understand. the imitators don’t understand, but the people who do it do understand.

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Warhol said, “I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”

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Ali and Warhol pictured together below:

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Paul Morrissey and Warhol pictured below:
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Sam Bolton, Dolly Parton and Warhol pictured below:

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Dolly Parton with Andy Warhol below

Lou Reed with Warhol below:

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Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol pictured below:
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Artists Behaving Strangely

November 13, 2012 By  15 Comments

Why do so many artists behave so strangely? If their odd-looking work isn’t enough to make us scratch our heads, their weird behavior confirms our suspicions that they are charlatans, getting away with artistic murder in a laissez-faire and degenerate art world in which personality and image are more important than the quality of their work. No one resembles this portrait of the strangely behaving artist better than Andy Warhol (1928-1987). Everything about him, from his odd appearance, aloof personality, enigmatic statements, and strange collection of friends and associates gives the impression that “Warhol” was a fabrication for media consumption, an act, a ruse. Either he was a creative genius—brilliantly creative beyond our comprehension—or a marketing genius—brilliantly entrepreneurial of the P.T. Barnum variety.

But perhaps Warhol’s and other artists’ strange behavior is not due to their creative or marketing genius but a profoundly human response to a serious problem that all artists, in one way or another, face on a daily basis.

The Anxiety of the Art World

A painting is a weak and vulnerable thing because it is just not necessary. Smelly oil paint smeared across a canvas cannot be justified in this conditional, transactional world. Yet vast, complex institutions and networks have emerged to do just that, whether through the auction house (art as priceless luxury item), the museum tour (education), or the local chamber of commerce (art as community service, cultural tourism, or urban revival). That art is ultimately gratuitous, that its existence is a gift to the world, creates anxiety and insecurity in the art world. Everyone involved, from art collectors and dealers to critics and curators have to justify their interest in this seemingly “useless” activity—and justify the money they make or spend on its behalf. Art simply cannot be justified.

What makes matters worse is that no one knows what makes a great work of art great anyway, or if that work or this work is great. Even the experts don’t agree. Moreover, the art collectors, the millionaires and billionaires who drive the art world and whose own pursuit of art is powerful form of self-justication, are the most anxious and most confused of the whole lot. And so collectors must rely on their retinue of dealers, curators, and critics for confirmation. If a collector is going to spend several hundred thousand dollars on dirt and pigment smeared on a canvas, she better feel comfortable in her “investment.” And so curators, critics, and dealers are desperately looking for markers other than the painting itself  to assuage the collector’s insecurity.

The Artist

Yet for an artist to make a living, these smeared canvases need to be shown, written about, and purchased. In short, these precarious, vulnerable, useless artifacts, which no one is really sure have any “objective” value, or are any good, need to operate as currency in a conditional world, a transactional economy. Yet the work the artist produces operates in direct contradiction to this “reality.”

Artists know this precarious situation. It is they who realize, consciously or not, that the works they produce in their studios are vulnerable out in the world, wonder whether the work they do is any good or possesses any lasting value. And this is especially so for those artists whose work is represented by the world’s top dealers, shown at the world’s most important museums, written about in the world’s most important art magazines, and in the collections of the world’s most powerful art collectors. These are the artists, I would suggest, who feel the insignificance of their work most acutely and the pressure of the conditionality of the art world most strongly.

Their work needs help. And so many artists cultivate a certain kind of behavior—craft a social role—that simultaneously justifies and protects their work, offering a marker for art collectors, curators, dealers, and critics, while releasing them of the burden to have to explain or defend each work they produce. This is not, however, a new development. It has been a part of the western artistic tradition since the Renaissance, when painters began to claim that art belonged to the “liberal arts” (philosophy, theology, poetry) and not the “mechanical arts” (trades). The intellectual; the businessman; the scientist; the engineer; the prophet or priest; the entertainer or rock star are just a few of the myriad of social roles that artists have adopted throughout the history of art. These roles, which require tremendous effort by artists to develop and maintain, help legitimate the work by generating a justifying “aura,” providing art collectors, curators, and dealers sufficient validation to pay attention to the work they produce. Sometimes they work. Yet sometimes they don’t.

In this prison house of creative self-expression called the art world, where, following Sartre, everyone is “condemned to freedom,” the artist must wear a mask and engage in a game of high stakes poker, appearing resistant and transcendent in the face of the contingent, transactional, and conditional nature of the art world.

Yet appearances, as Warhol knew so well, deceive. Behind the aloof, ironic, and “underground” Warhol mask was the weak and vulnerable Andrej Varchola, Jr., the Pittsburgh native, the son of a working class family who emigrated from Slovakia; a lifelong Byzantine Catholic who struggled with his faith in light of his sexual identity; a well-respected commercial designer who became a fine artist because of his interest in revealing and exploring this Andrej Varchola in his work; and a devoted friend and selfless promoter of young artists, like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. This Andrej Varchola miraculously survived an attempted murder in 1968—a gunshot wound to the chest—the physical and psychological effects with which he struggled the remainder of his life, “gnawed within and scorched without,” as Melville describes Ahab. Warhol’s work, like his life, revealed the constant presence and judgment of death lurking around every corner in a culture that idolized youth, fame, freedom.  Warhol and Varchola died of cardiac arrest in 1986 after a routine gall bladder surgery, a surgery he put off because of his fear of doctors and hospitals after the trauma of his gunshot wound.

Warhol and You (and Me)

Warhol is a lot like you and me. He wasn’t a genius or a fake. He was profoundly, utterly human, justifying his work and his existence through the means available to him, and deeply insecure about its value in one of our culture’s most fickle, unpredictable, and insecure institutions: the contemporary art world.

So, when you are tempted to dismiss the contemporary art world as irrelevant because of the strange behavior of its artists, remember that their behavior is an admission that their work—what they spend their lives making and to which they are profoundly devoted and committed—is weak and vulnerable. And their personas are not only masks but the armor and weaponry that they are using in this suffocating art world to fight for it.

What masks do we wear, what armor do we put on, what social roles do we craft, and strange behavior do we cultivate to justify our own weak and vulnerable work?

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Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney, and David Goodman, 1963 (Pictured below)

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Today I am going to feature the artist David Hockney who was a good friend of Andy Warhol and you can see them pictured together above.

David Hockney

This painting depicts a splash in a Californian swimming pool. Hockney first visited Los Angeles in 1963, a year after graduating from the Royal College of Art, London. He returned there in 1964 and remained, with only intermittent trips to Europe, until 1968 when he came back to London. In 1976 he made a final trip back to Los Angeles and set up permanent home there. He was drawn to California by the relaxed and sensual way of life. He commented: ‘the climate is sunny, the people are less tense than in New York … When I arrived I had no idea if there was any kind of artistic life there and that was the least of my worries.’ (Quoted in Kinley, [p.4].) In California, Hockney discovered, everybody had a swimming pool. Because of the climate, they could be used all year round and were not considered a luxury, unlike in Britain where it is too cold for most of the year. Between 1964 and 1971 he made numerous paintings of swimming pools. In each of the paintings he attempted a different solution to the representation of the constantly changing surface of water. His first painted reference to a swimming pool is in the painting California Art Collector 1964 (private collection). Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool 1964 (private collection) was completed in England from a drawing. While his later swimming pools were based on photographs, in the mid 1960s Hockney’s depiction of water in swimming pools was consciously derived from the influences of his contemporary, the British painter Bernard Cohen (born 1933), and the later abstract paintings by French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-85). At this time he also began to leave wide borders around the paintings unpainted, a practice developed from his earlier style of keeping large areas of the canvas raw. At the same time, he discovered fast-drying acrylic paint to be more suited to portraying the sun-lit, clean-contoured suburban landscapes of California than slow drying oil paint.

A Bigger Splash was painted between April and June 1967 when Hockney was teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. The image is derived in part from a photograph Hockney discovered in a book on the subject of building swimming pools. The background is taken from a drawing he had made of Californian buildings. A Bigger Splash is the largest and most striking of three ‘splash’ paintings. The Splash (private collection) and A Little Splash (private collection) were both completed in 1966. They share compositional characteristics with the later version. All represent a view over a swimming pool towards a section of low-slung, 1960s modernist architecture in the background. A diving board juts out of the margin into the paintings’ foreground, beneath which the splash is represented by areas of lighter blue combined with fine white lines on the monotone turquoise water. The positioning of the diving board – coming at a diagonal out of the corner – gives perspective as well as cutting across the predominant horizontals. The colours used in A Larger Splash are deliberately brighter and bolder than in the two smaller paintings in order to emphasise the strong Californian light. The yellow diving board stands out dramatically against the turquoise water of the pool, which is echoed in the intense turquoise of the sky. Between sky and water, a strip of flesh-coloured land denotes the horizon and the space between the pool and the building. This is a rectangular block with two plate glass windows, in front of which a folding chair is sharply delineated. Two palms on long, spindly trunks ornament the painting’s background while others are reflected in the building’s windows. A frond-like row of greenery decorates its front. The blocks of colour were rollered onto the canvas and the detail, such as the splash, the chair and the vegetation, painted on later using small brushes. The painting took about two weeks to complete, providing an interesting contrast with his subject matter for the artist. Hockney has explained: ‘When you photograph a splash, you’re freezing a moment and it becomes something else. I realise that a splash could never be seen this way in real life, it happens too quickly. And I was amused by this, so I painted it in a very, very slow way.’ (Quoted in Kinley, [p.5].) He had rejected the possibility of recreating the splash with an instantaneous gesture in liquid on the canvas. In contrast with several of his earlier swimming pool paintings, which contain a male subject, often naked and viewed from behind, the ‘splash’ paintings are empty of human presence. However, the splash beneath the diving board implies the presence of a diver.

Further reading:
David Hockney: Paintings, Prints and Drawings 1960-1970, exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Gallery, London 1970
Stephanie Barron, Maurice Tuchman, David Hockney: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.38, reproduced p.158, pl.37 in colour and p.39, fig.24 (detail)
Catherine Kinley, David Hockney: Seven Paintings, exhibition brochure, Tate Gallery, London 1992, [p.5], reproduced [p.5] in colour

Stephanie Barron, Maurice Tuchman,
February 1992/March 2003

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David Hockney painting The Road to Thwing, Late Spring. © David Hockney/Photograph by Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima/Thames & Hudson

The Shock of the New – Ep 7 – Culture as Nature

July 18th, 2007
David Hockney

The Colors of Music

One of the best-known artists of the twentieth century, David Hockney is renowned for his prolific production, high level of technical skill, and extreme versatility. He has achieved renown in a wide variety of media including pen-and-ink drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Alongside the quality of his work, his round face and owlish glasses have made him one of the most recognizable artists working today.

Hockney was born on July 9, 1937 in the industrial town of Bradford, in Yorkshire, England, to a working-class but politically radical family. Although his father, Kenneth, ran an accounting business, he was also an antiwar activist who wrote letters of protest to world leaders. David was the fourth of five children. His mother, Laura, was a shop assistant and a strict vegetarian.

By the time he was 11, Hockney had already decided to become an artist. He studied at the local Bradford School of Art from 1953 to 1957, where he acquired an early reputation as a skilled draftsman. After fulfilling his National Service duties as a conscientious objector by working in a hospital for two years, Hockney enrolled at the London College of Art in 1959. He excelled there as well, both socially — his outgoing, gregarious personality won him a number of friends, most notably the painter R. B. Kitaj — and professionally — he discovered modernism, his work in the Young Contemporaries show in 1961 led critics to dub him one of the rising stars of the pop movement, and he won the College’s Gold Medal in 1962. Academically he lagged, though, flunking out twice before the school finally allowed him to graduate.

Hockney’s early work was characterized by a sort of false amateurism (”faux-naif”), in which he mixed sophisticated, highly skilled technique with intentionally crude folk-art styles. He often scrawled lines of poetry or other text over his works that related to their meaning. His influences throughout this period included Jean Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso, and Hockney’s own homosexuality (for example, a series of paintings in 1960-61 titled We Two Boys Together Clinging takes its name from the Walt Whitman poem). His 1962 seriesDemonstrations of Versatility was a dazzling collection of paintings, each in a different style, that showcased Hockney’s skill and creativity.

Hockney was an avid lithographer as well; some of his best-known work from this period includes 1961’sMyself and My Heroes, in which he appears alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Walt Whitman, and his 1961-63The Rake’s Progress, an updated version of a series of William Hogarth prints from 1732-33. In 1975, Hockney designed the sets for a production of the opera inspired by the prints at the Glyndenbourne Festival in Australia.

Unlike most of his contemporaries, upon graduation from art school Hockney had already established himself well enough professionally that he didn’t have to take a teaching position and could work full-time as an artist. In 1963 he moved to California. Settling in Santa Monica, he began working with acrylic paints instead of oils and adopted a more realistic style, winning acclaim for a series of rich, colorful paintings of swimming pools. Hockney fell in love with California’s sunny weather, its cleanness and spare beauty, its social freedom, and the beauty of its inhabitants. Many of his works during this period were “snapshots” of men in casual poses, engaged in activities such as swimming; Neil Simon’s 1978 film California Suite used a number of them in its opening credits. During this period Hockney also painted several critically acclaimed portraits of his friends; one of these, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, is considered by authorities at the Tate Museum to be the most popular painting in the museum’s collection.

In 1966 he met native Californian Peter Schlesinger, who became his romantic partner and frequently modeled for him. The two moved back to London together, but broke up in 1970. In 1973 Hockney moved to Paris briefly, where he spent part of his sojourn living in an apartment in the Quartier Latin formerly owned by the painter Balthus. While in Paris he produced a series of etchings in memory of his idol Picasso, who had died that year, and produced a 1974 exhibition at the Musée des Artes Decoratifs with the help of two of Picasso’s master printers, Aldo and Piero Crommelynck.

Throughout this period Hockney continued to explore other media besides painting, most notably photography. From 1982-86, he created some of his best-known and most iconographic work — his “joiners,” large composite landscapes and portraits made up of hundreds or thousands of individual photographs. Hockney initially used a Polaroid camera for the photos, switching to a 35 mm camera as the works grew larger and more complex. In interviews, Hockney related the “joiners” to cubism, pointing out that they incorporate elements that a traditional photograph does not possess — namely time, space, and narrative.

Always willing to adopt new techniques, in 1986 Hockney began producing art with color photocopiers. He has also incorporated fax machines (faxing art to an exhibition in Brazil, for example) and computer-generated images (most notably Quantel Paintbox, a computer system often used to make graphics for television shows) into his work.

In 2001 Hockney set off controversy in the art world with his film Secret Knowledge, in which he advances a theory that many Old Masters (particularly Jeane-August-Dominique Ingres, but others as well) achieved the extreme realism of their works through the use of a “camera lucida” (a series of lenses and prisms), projecting an image of their model onto the canvas and then tracing around it. This theory has not drawn much support among art historians, however.

Hockney also has a long history in stage design, particularly for operas and the dramatic theater. He designed the set for the Royal Court Theatre’s production of Alfred Jarry’s play UBU ROI in 1966, and has done design work for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as well as operas in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Hockney currently divides his time between the Hollywood Hills and Malibu.

– Brian Kennedy

Brian Kennedy is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn.

Culture as Nature

Episode 7 of 8

Duration: 1 hour

Robert Hughes goes Pop when he examines the art that referred to the man-made world that fed off culture itself via works by Rauchenberg, Warhol and Lichtenstein.

______________________

Stylish artist can still make a splash

Written By: Tribune web editor
Published: July 13, 2009 Last modified: July 17, 2009

Television

BBC1
“Scratch the tinsel in Hollywood to find the real tinsel”. The words bring a wonderful throaty laugh from a Yorkshireman in Los Angeles, mythologised as a playboy painter, hedonist, liberated gay, fashion icon and a truly gifted artist.
In Imagine: David Hockney – A Bigger Picture, Bruno Wolheim’s intimate and engrossing documentary, made over a three-year period, David Hockney sits in his Californian home and speaks directly to the camera, after four decades living in America, as he approaches his 70th birthday. “I felt quite alone really”, he says in a sombre, hangdog way. “I just suddenly thought I’ll go back for a while. I’m feeling very empty here.”
Cut to a quiet road in the east Yorkshire countryside and Hockney is looking out onto a splendid English rural scene. He has a large canvas balanced on an easel, a slanting table with painting accessories on it, one hand in his pocket and the other controlling his personal magic wand, a paintbrush. He has come back to his roots to revitalise his artistic energies by getting out into the world and experiencing the weather and cloud changes as he paints almost a canvas a day.
Hockney looks like a stereotypical painter and decorator as he goes about his business – with flat cap, splattered overalls and cigarette – and demonstrates a remarkable work ethic. He absorbs the scenery and is emphatic in his conviction that painting is far more perceptive and accurate than photography when capturing such images. Photography, he concludes, simply just cannot compete with painting at all.
In order to prove his point, he agreed to be filmed while he is working, confident that what appears on his final canvases would be far superior to the filmed images on television.
Having been a passionate photographer in his remarkable career, Hockney has now moved away from wanting to see the world through a lens and witnessing things through a “window”, to needing to be actually in it – to be part of it physically and in all seasons. He seems particularly obsessed with roads, lanes and tracks as they meander into the distance, suggesting loneliness and mystery. The landscape of Yorkshire clearly invigorates him, geographically and artistically distant from his decades painting LA swimming pools, naked men and sunshine.

Imagine: David Hockney – A Bigger Picture

BBC1

“Scratch the tinsel in Hollywood to find the real tinsel”. The words bring a wonderful throaty laugh from a Yorkshireman in Los Angeles, mythologised as a playboy painter, hedonist, liberated gay, fashion icon and a truly gifted artist.

In Imagine: David Hockney – A Bigger Picture, Bruno Wolheim’s intimate and engrossing documentary, made over a three-year period, David Hockney sits in his Californian home and speaks directly to the camera, after four decades living in America, as he approaches his 70th birthday. “I felt quite alone really”, he says in a sombre, hangdog way. “I just suddenly thought I’ll go back for a while. I’m feeling very empty here.”

Cut to a quiet road in the east Yorkshire countryside and Hockney is looking out onto a splendid English rural scene. He has a large canvas balanced on an easel, a slanting table with painting accessories on it, one hand in his pocket and the other controlling his personal magic wand, a paintbrush. He has come back to his roots to revitalise his artistic energies by getting out into the world and experiencing the weather and cloud changes as he paints almost a canvas a day.

Hockney looks like a stereotypical painter and decorator as he goes about his business – with flat cap, splattered overalls and cigarette – and demonstrates a remarkable work ethic. He absorbs the scenery and is emphatic in his conviction that painting is far more perceptive and accurate than photography when capturing such images. Photography, he concludes, simply just cannot compete with painting at all.

In order to prove his point, he agreed to be filmed while he is working, confident that what appears on his final canvases would be far superior to the filmed images on television.

Having been a passionate photographer in his remarkable career, Hockney has now moved away from wanting to see the world through a lens and witnessing things through a “window”, to needing to be actually in it – to be part of it physically and in all seasons. He seems particularly obsessed with roads, lanes and tracks as they meander into the distance, suggesting loneliness and mystery. The landscape of Yorkshire clearly invigorates him, geographically and artistically distant from his decades painting LA swimming pools, naked men and sunshine.

He reckons there is “a fabulous lot to look at” in nature and it is always available to replenish the artist’s imagination, because “you can’t think it up.” He holds the strong belief that a painter needs the hand, eye and heart to succeed. He talks with authority and warmth, an occasional chuckle and a self-deprecation that belies his genius but enhances his normality and connection with the real world. Family and roots are still important to him.

The film took us on a journey towards the completion and exhibition of Hockney’s epic creation Bigger Trees Near Water, a compilation of 50 canvases, assembled into a 40 feet wide by 15 feet high centrepiece for the Royal Academy’s 2007 Summer Exhibition. It was a joy to behold, a wondrous artwork to cherish and a statement of intent that there is still much life and vigour in this outstanding painter.

It would be too easy to see such a work as a kind of swansong, but Hockney has little interest in considering his legacy. “I don’t think too much of the morrow”, he mused with his cheeky grin. “I wouldn’t bother about my legacy. Somebody will look after it or, if they don’t think it’s that interesting, they won’t.”  Of course, somebody should and somebody will.

This was excellent television, beautifully produced, interesting, informative and entertaining. Now there’s a manifesto to reinvigorate the goggle box

Joe Cushnan

David Hockney’s Restless Decade

New exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young Museum examines 76-year-old artist’s burst of productivity

By

Ellen Gamerman

connect

Oct. 17, 2013 3:00 p.m. ET

The artist in front of “Woldgate Woods,” a film installation © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

David Hockney looks pale next to the new batch of vibrant paintings stacked along the walls of his Hollywood Hills studio. It has been a brutal year for the 76-year-old British native whose taffy-colored pictures of sun-kissed L.A. swimming pools, semi-naked men and hearty English landscapes have always seemed to defy sadness. He suffered a small stroke and lost a beloved tree featured in his work to chainsaw-wielding vandals. He mourned the death of a studio assistant and watched as an inquiry into that fatal night exposed drug use in his home.

David Hockney’s Burst of Productivity

‘More Felled Trees on Woldgate,’ 2008. See more images from David Hockney’s San Francisco’s de Young Museum exhibit. © David Hockney/Richard Schmidt (photo)

The artist, who is battling deafness and wears hearing aids in both ears and a hearing device around his neck, doesn’t talk while he works and plays no music. He stands at his easel for about five hours most days, tearing through his work, lately a series of acrylic portraits of close friends and associates. He has done 18 paintings in three months.

“There might come a time when I can’t work, but I can,” he says during a recent interview at his studio, his Camel cigarette burning between paint-smeared knuckles. “And I’m happy doing it, as much as I get happy, perhaps.”

Mr. Hockney hasn’t shied away from work with age—in fact, he’s done the opposite. The last decade, one of the most productive of his career, is the subject of “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition” opening Oct. 26 at the de Young museum in San Francisco. It is the biggest exhibit in the museum’s history, featuring so many paintings, prints, drawings, watercolors and digital works that officials can’t tally exactly how many pieces are in the show.

“Basically, there won’t be any empty wall space when we’re finished,” says museum deputy director Richard Benefield, adding that Mr. Hockney weighed in on everything from the color of the walls to the placement of the works. “We hold something on the wall and he goes, ‘Yeah, that looks about right.’”

An art-world boy wonder in his youth, Mr. Hockney cut a glam profile as he ushered in the pop art era alongside celebrity friends like Andy Warhol. His lifestyle is more subdued now, his old bottle-blond bowl cut faded to gray. But the artist, whose paintings sell for between $850,000 and $8 million, is still restless. The de Young will feature a hastily assembled gallery of the new portraits he completed after the exhibit catalog went to print.

Mr. Hockney says he’s fully recovered from a medical scare last October, when his longtime friend and curator, Gregory Evans, noticed the artist was having trouble ending sentences. Tests revealed he’d suffered a minor stroke. His first subject when he returned to work was what he has dubbed his “totem tree”—a tall tree trunk that starred in some of his kaleidoscopic landscapes and became a landmark for Hockney fans.

In attacks in the woods of East Yorkshire last fall, vandals scrawled an obscenity on the trunk with pink spray paint and later, as Mr. Hockney was in the hospital recovering from his stroke, reduced it to a heap with a chain saw. Mr. Hockney took to his bed for two days after the tree was cut down. “I would think that cutting it down brought out all kinds of feelings about his own situation and his own close call with death,” says Lawrence Weschler, a friend who has written extensively about the artist. The act was taken as a national insult: The Guardian put a Hockney drawing of the mangled stump on its front page.

His art changed in that period. “It got more intense,” Mr. Hockney says of the highly detailed charcoal drawings he pursued in the wake of his illness. “It’s the touch in charcoal, how you put pressure on it and all the subtle things you can do about smoothing it and rubbing it. I’ve not done anything like this before and I probably won’t do it again.”

Spring was just returning to the countryside last March and Mr. Hockney was busy at work on a new charcoal series when a flame-haired, 23-year-old studio assistant named Dominic Elliott died after an episode at the artist’s English seaside home when he ingested drugs, alcohol and household drain cleaner, an inquest by the Hull coroner’s court in East Yorkshire determined later.

At the proceedings in August, witnesses said the young man had been partying with Mr. Hockney’s former longtime boyfriend, John Fitzherbert, one of several men living with the artist in his redbrick home in the town of Bridlington. A statement read at the inquest on Mr. Hockney’s behalf said he was asleep in a separate bedroom and learned about the incident from an assistant when he woke the next morning. A coroner ruled it an unintentional death without a crime. Representatives for Mr. Hockney said the artist doesn’t want to comment on the subject.

After the assistant’s death, Mr. Hockney abandoned “The Arrival of Spring in 2013,” a series of East Yorkshire landscapes in charcoal. “We were very down then,” he says. But he believed in the series charting the return of life to barren woods, a subject he believes other artists would have found boring or ignored. Eventually, he pushed himself to finish it. “Something told me ‘No. Do it. Do it.’ It was a tough time and I’m glad I did it.”

Back at his Southern California home not far from the Hollywood sign, he is busy with portraiture, another constant in his career and a genre that friends say he turns to after periods of loss. He spends three hours on the sitter’s face—he describes himself “groping, groping” to find it—and keeps his subject posing for about three days as he studies them and paints.

The countless brushes and tubes of paint filling his studio seem old school compared with the high-tech mediums Mr. Hockney has been famous for embracing in recent years.

Few artists get calls from Apple because of the work they do—Mr. Hockney is the exception. The de Young will use eight screens with rotating displays of hundreds of works he created on an iPhone and iPad, images he made with his right thumb using the Brushes app. (Friends say he distractedly wipes his hand on his clothes afterward as if it’s covered in real paint.)

The exhibit will also feature his iPad drawings of Yosemite National Park with towering 12-foot-tall prints.

Asked if he had any digital works currently sitting on his devices, Mr. Hockney pulled out his iPhone and opened a picture he’d taken from his bedroom window a few days before, an impossible multi-perspective shot of the sunrise for which he used an app, Juxtaposer, to stitch together four separate images. Back when photocopiers and fax machines were new, he made art using those machines.

More recently, he has been creating “cubist movies,” digital films employing as many as 18 cameras tilted at different angles to subtly distort a scene as it plays across multiple screens.

His fascination with technology sparked an art brawl in 2001 with the release of his book, “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters.” In it he wrote that some early Renaissance artists such as Jan van Eyck used optical devices like concave mirrors to make pictures that were too perfect to be explained by talent alone. Critics said he was accusing the Old Masters of cheating.

In the de Young exhibit’s catalog, Mr. Hockney writes about “a fundamental change in picture making” now taking place as new technologies change the way artists see the world. He sounds happy about it, too: “It will mark the end of the old order,” he writes, “which is no bad thing.”

In an interview at his Hollywood Hills studio recently, he discussed the roots of his creativity, how encroaching deafness changes his vision and whether he’s ever lost a masterpiece to a dead battery. Below, an edited transcript:

What explains your burst of productivity in the last 10 years?

All artists work. That’s what keeps you going.

What about this new series of portraits you’re working on now?

The recent burst of activity was just because, in a way, I went back to acrylic paint, which is a bit like a new medium for me. I’ve not worked in acrylic for 20 years and it has changed a bit. That gives you a boost. I’m just going to go on and do [these portraits] after San Francisco, probably until the spring. I might do 25, 30.

You work quickly compared to other artists. Do you consider speed part of your process?

I often think some of my best work is done at speed. Portraits, you have to work quite quickly—the expression is going to change. You do want the person there. When they’re not there you stop painting. The shoes or anything—they have to be there.

Do you paint people because of your relationship to them or is there something you see in their faces?

It might be the face, it could be their character, it could be just be they’re a friend. [He gestures to a portrait of a smiling man in tangerine pants.] He said it was the greatest day of his life. He has this look on his face and I realize it might have been, actually, because I have painted him.

Some see a sense of mortality in your recent charcoal drawings. Do you agree?

I mean, I’m aware of my own mortality. I smoke. [He lights a cigarette.]

When you go through a painful time, do you channel your grief into your art?

Maybe. My life goes into it. So, I mean, it does actually, in a way. It does. I thought it was very worthwhile doing [the charcoal landscapes] because nobody else would do it. It’s a very worthwhile theme and thing to do.

Were you deliberately trying to get back to a low-tech medium after your iPad drawings?

It’s all drawing. It’s a new medium for drawing, the iPad, it’s like an endless sheet of paper. You can’t overwork a drawing because you’re not drawing on a surface, really, you’re just drawing on a piece of glass.

Have you ever lost work to a dead battery or it didn’t save?

No. I see the point. All the iPad and iPhone drawings were all printed out because they can be lost. I mean, loads of things are going to get lost on the computer, aren’t they? Knowledge has been lost in the past and it will be today and it will be in the future.

Has Apple ever contacted you about these works?

Yes, but I just didn’t react. I prefer to do it my way all the time. I just keep a little distance from it. I’m sure I must have sold some of their stuff for them.

What did they want?

I think they were just interested in what I’d done on it. People can do some things crudely but not many people can be very subtle with it. I see that now. It’s a new medium.

Is there a medium you want to try that you haven’t used yet?

I got interested a bit in videos, but different videos with 18 cameras. I now see how you can open up things. [Mr. Hockney's movies feature the same subject filmed from many angles, so the viewer has the sensation of experiencing a single scene from different points of view.] With one camera everybody’s seeing the same thing always, always, always—but we don’t always see the same things in real life, even when we’re looking at the same thing, because memories are different, aren’t they? It’s playing with time, that’s what it’s doing. I can see that it opens up new storytelling methods.

Why did you embrace the iPad and iPhone when younger artists didn’t?

I’ve always been interested in the technology of picture making. I quickly discovered the drawing app and started sending pictures out to people who liked getting them, and I’d done 300 or 400 drawings on an iPhone. Then when the iPad came out, I got one straight away and I thought, “Well, drawing on this will be better because it’s a bit bigger.” We’ve printed some drawings nine-feet high from iPads.

Do you see yourself as young at heart?

My attitude is this—this is why I smoke—life is a killer, we all get a lifetime and there’s only now. I believe that it’s not so easy to live in the now. I mean, most people live in the past, don’t they? Monet died at age 86. So it didn’t matter if he smoked or drank or whatever, he had something to do and he’s going to do it. Well, I have something to do and I’m going to do it.

I do think that. I think as my hearing has gotten worse I see space clearer. I mean, a blind person uses sound to locate themselves in space. I once pointed out about Picasso that the one art he didn’t care for was music, so I assume he was tone deaf. But he wasn’t tone blind. And I thought, yes, he saw more tones than anybody else and probably heard fewer tones.

What other kinds of art are you interested in—do you love opera?

I don’t go now much because of my hearing. I don’t go to the theater much now. I don’t watch television even. I don’t go to the cinema now. Deafness is a big thing. It’s why I’m very unsocial now. There’s nothing I can do about it. It will get worse, I’m told. You’ve just got to accept it. But as long as I’ve got my eyes and my hand, I’m all right.

What misperceptions do you think people have about you?

I don’t mind them having them, actually. I remember once I had lunch with [art critic] Mario Amaya and we met Man Ray in the street in Paris. [Mr. Amaya] said he’d written a book about Man Ray, and he’d like to send him a copy so then he could correct any mistakes. And Man Ray said, “Correct the mistakes? I’ll add some more.” And I thought, “Oh, that’s very good.” I mean, people think I’m a big partygoer. I don’t mind. I don’t care. But you know, I live very quietly actually, very quietly.

Write to Ellen Gamerman at ellen.gamerman@wsj.com

__________________

They are produced in a similar sort of way to how we are making our collaged figures, except rather than photographing the sections, we have cropped parts of the images Laura photographed in the shoots, and are using a wide variety of shapes to create unusual body shapes.
___________
I’m currently loving David Hockney’s “Portrait of Mother III,” the simplicity of line and color fascinates me. This print is a lithograph; keep in mind that each color is printed from a separate drawing, and has to be meticulously lined up on the press to make sure it overlaps in all the right places.  I’ve featured Hockney’s work for Print of the Week before, in case you want to see another excellent print of his.
___________

David Hockney 2009, A Bigger Picture

___________

In the video above at the 38:39 mark Hockney states:

We are all on our own….You do begin to see that we are just a tiny part of nature… A lot of things in nature live a lot longer than we do and a lot of things less. I am quite aware of my own mortality. How much longer will I live? 5 years or 10 years? I don’t know. I really don’t care. I am not going to spend too much time pondering that. I got too much to do. Some people have more of a life force in them than others. I think I have quite a lot of it. I have quite a lot of energy still for my age. I am almost 70. Three score and ten. It is what they suggested in the Bible isn’t it. So everything else is a bit of an bonus. I have always seen life as a rather big gift that I have valued. I see it that way. There might be another life afterwards since this life is such a mystery. I think so. Okay this is such a mystery then why can’t there be another?

ARE YOU THINKING OF YOUR LEGACY?

“Don’t think too much of the morrow” isn’t that an Biblical injunction? my mother would say. Perhaps on the other hand my mother said, you have to be a wee bit selfish to be an artist.

(At the 51:30 mark) Never believe what an artist says, only what they do . I think Van Gogh had said this, he had lost the faith of his father but he had found another in the infinity of nature. I think it is there if you get into it…It is an interesting life. My mind is occupied. That is what you want at my age, but I always wanted that and I am greedy for it.

____________

Let me respond to some of the points that David Hockney makes above.

FIRST:

Is there another life after this one? You should know the answer from the Biblical wisdom that your 99 year old mother passed down to you. The Bible clearly states in Hebrews 9:27 in the Amplified Bible version, “ And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment.”

SECOND:

2. David you quoted  Proverbs 27:1 but you only quoted the first part of the verse and the context was lost that way.

Proverbs 27:1 says “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

This verse was cross referenced to a parable that Christ told in Luke 12.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

_____________

This obvious point is that we should think about where we are now in our relation to God!!! This brings us full circle back to what Andy Warhol said at the beginning of this post: ” “It doesn’t matter what anyone does…My work won’t last anyway. I was using cheap paint.” Francis Schaeffer commented, “These people are not dummies. Warhol calls his nightclub The Plastic Inevitable. I think this he really understands. If you get away from nature and away from reality and if you are going to build these things then it is better to just build them in plastic.”

That is exactly what Christ is teaching in this parable. No matter how much money you save in this life in the end your relationship to God is what matters!!!

THIRD:

David, I am sure you want to see your mother again and she was a follower of Christ, so according to the Bible it is very simple on how to go to heaven and it does not involve working your way to heaven.

___________

The Bible is very clear on how to  go to heaven  (this material is from Campus Crusade for Christ).

Just as there are physical laws that govern

the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws
that govern your relationship with God.

Law 1

God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

God’s Love
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

God’s Plan
[Christ speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly”
[that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).

Why is it that most people are not experiencing that abundant life?

Because…

Law 2

Man is sinful and separated from God.
Therefore, he cannot know and experience
God’s love and plan for his life.

Man is Sinful
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn
self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken.
This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference,
is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

Man Is Separated
“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).

Separation This diagram illustrates that God isholy and man is sinful. A great gulf separates the two. The arrows illustrate that man is continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion
-but he inevitably fails.The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf…

Law 3

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.
Through Him you can know and experience
God’s love and plan for your life.

He Died In Our Place
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He Rose from the Dead
“Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day,
according to the Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.
After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

He Is the Only Way to God
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to
the Father but through Me’” (John 14:6).

Bridge The Gulf This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.It is not enough just to know these three laws…

Law 4

We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord;
then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We Receive Christ Through Faith
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth
(Read John 3:1-8.)

We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting
Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be.
Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross
for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience.
We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

Circles

Self-Directed Life
S-Self is on the throne
wpe463.jpg (790 bytes)-Christ is outside the life
wpe464.jpg (719 bytes)-Interests are directed by self, often
resulting in discord and frustration
Christ-Directed Life
wpe463.jpg (790 bytes)-Christ is in the life and on the throne
S-Self is yielding to Christ,
resulting in harmony with God’s plan
wpe464.jpg (719 bytes)-Interests are directed by Christ,
resulting in harmony with God’s plan

Which circle best represents your life?
Which circle would you like to have represent your life?


The following explains how you can receive Christ:

You Can Receive Christ Right Now by Faith Through Prayer
(Prayer is talking with God)

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude
of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, I invite you to pray this
prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

Now that you have received Christ

On this web site:
Copyrighted 2007 by Bright Media Foundation and Campus Crusade for Christ.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY “The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 2)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the last 30 plus years. Here is part two.

Friedman: Of course she didn’t stay here a long time, she stayed here while she learned the language, while she developed some feeling for the country, and gradually she was able to make a better life for herself.Similarly, the people who are here now, they are like my mother. Most of the immigrants from the distant countries __ they came here because they liked it here better and had more opportunities. A place like this gives them a chance to get started. They are not going to stay here very long or forever. On the contrary, they and their children will make a better life for themselves as they take advantage of the opportunities that a free market provides to them.The irony is that this place violates many of the standards that we now regard as every worker’s right. It is poorly ventilated, it is overcrowded, the workers accept less than union rate __ it breaks every rule in the book. But if it were closed down, who would benefit? Certainly not the people here. Their life may seem pretty tough compared to our own, but that is only because our parents or grandparents went through that stage for us. We have been able to start at a higher point.Frank Visalli’s father was 12 years old when he arrived all alone in the United States. He had come from Sicily. That was 53 years ago. Frank is a successful dentist with a wife and family. They live in Lexington, Massachusetts. There is no doubt in Frank’s mind what freedom combined with opportunity meant to his father and then to him, or what his Italian grandparents would think if they could see how he lives now.Frank Visalli: They would not believe what they would see __ that a person could immigrate from a small island and make such success out of their life because to them they were mostly related to the fields, working in the field as a peasant. My father came over, he made something for himself and then he tried to build a family structure. Whatever he did was for his family. It was for a better life for his family. And I can always remember him telling me that the number one thing in life is that you should get an education to become a professional person.

Friedman: The Visalli family, like all of us who live in the United States today, owe much to the climate of freedom we inherited from the founders of our country. The climate that gave full scope to the poor from other lands who came here and were able to make better lives for themselves and their children.

But in the past 50 years, we’ve been squandering that inheritance by allowing government to control more and more of our lives, instead of relying on ourselves. We need to rediscover the old truths that the immigrants knew in their bones; what economic freedom is and the role it plays in preserving personal freedom.

That’s why I came here to the South China Sea. It’s a place where there is an almost laboratory experiment in what happens when government is limited to its proper function and leaves people free to pursue their own objectives. If you want to see how the free market really works this is the place to come. Hong Kong, a place with hardly any natural resources. About the only one you can name is a great harbor, yet the absence of natural resources hasn’t prevented rapid economic development. Ships from all nations come here to trade because there are no duties, no tariffs on imports or exports. The power of the free market has enabled the industrious people of Hong Kong to transform what was once barren rock into one of the most thriving and successful places in Asia. Aside from its harbor, the only other important resource of Hong Kong is people __ over 4_ million of them.

Like America a century ago, Hong Kong in the past few decades has been a haven for people who sought the freedom to make the most of their own abilities. Many of them are refugees from countries that don’t allow the economic and political freedom that is taken for granted in Hong Kong.

Despite rapid population growth, despite the lack of natural resources, the standard of living is one of the highest in all of Asia. People work hard, but Hong Kong’s success is not based on the exploitation of workers. Wages in Hong Kong have gone up fourfold since the War, and that’s after allowing for inflation. The workers are free. Free to work what hours they choose, free to move to other jobs if they wish. The market gives them that choice. It also determines what they make. You can be sure that somebody somewhere is willing to pay for these cheap, plastic toys. Otherwise they simply wouldn’t be made.

Competition from places like South Korea and Taiwan has made cheap products less profitable, so Hong Kong businessmen have been adapting. They have been developing more sophisticated products and new technology that can match anything in the West or East and their employees have been developing new skills.

Hong Kong never stops. There’s always some business to be done, some opportunity to be seized. Its long been a tourist center and a shoppers paradise and it’s now one of the business centers of the East. It’s the ordinary people of Hong Kong who benefit from all this effort and enterprise.

This thriving, bustling, dynamic city, has been made possible by the free market __ indeed the freest market in the world. The free market enables people to go into any industry that they want; to trade with whomever they want; to buy in the cheapest market around the world; to sell in the dearest around the world. But most important of all, if they fail, they bear the cost. If they succeed, they get the benefit and it’s that atmosphere of incentive that has induced them to work, to adjust, to save, to produce a miracle. This miracle hasn’t been achieved by government action __ by someone sitting in one of those tall buildings and telling people what to do. It’s been achieved by allowing the market to work. Walk down any street in Hong Kong and you will see the impersonal forces of the market in operation.

Mr. Chung makes metal containers. Nobody has ordered him to. He does it because he has found that he can do better for himself that way than by making anything else. But if demand for metal containers went down, or somebody found a way of making them cheaper, Mr. Chung would soon get that message.

A few doors away, Mr. Yu’s firm has been making traditional Cantonese wedding gowns for 42 years. But the demand for these elaborate garments is falling. The firm has already gotten that message and is now looking for another product. The market tells producers not only what to produce, but how best to produce it through another set of prices __ the cost of materials, the wages of labor, and so on. For example, if these workers could earn more doing something else, Mr. Ho would soon find a way to mechanize his picture frame production.

Inside this Chinese medicine shop, a market transaction is going on. The customer’s confidence that this painful looking ordeal will help him doesn’t rest on any official certification of the bone doctor’s qualifications __ it comes from experience __ his own or his friends. In his turn, the doctor treats him not because he has been ordered to, but because he gets paid. The transaction is voluntary so both parties must expect to benefit or it will not take place.

Believe it or not, this backyard is an entrance to a factory. The workers here are some of the best paid in Hong Kong. It’s hot, sticky, and extremely noisy. The workers are highly skilled so they can command high wages. They could induce their employer to improve working conditions by offering to work for less, but they would rather accept the conditions, take the high wages, and spend them as they wish. That’s their choice. The best known statement of the principles of a free market, the kind of free market that operates in Hong Kong, was written on the other side of the world.

The argument from design led former atheist Antony Flew to assert: “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason, and it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being!”

 

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Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue

Published on Apr 7, 2012

http://www.veritas.org/talks - Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join the third and final debate between Flew and Habermas, one that took place shortly before Flew admitted there might be a God, just before his death.

Over the past two decades, The Veritas Forum has been hosting vibrant discussions on life’s hardest questions and engaging the world’s leading colleges and universities with Christian perspectives and the relevance of Jesus. Learn more at http://www.veritas.org, with upcoming events and over 600 pieces of media on topics including science, philosophy, music, business, medicine, and more!

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The God Debate II: Harris vs. Craig

Uploaded on Apr 12, 2011

The second annual God Debate features atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris and Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig as they debate the topic: “Is Good From God?” The debate was sponsored in large part by the Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters: The Henkels Lecturer Series, The Center for Philosophy of Religion and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.

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Antony Flew splits the design argument into two prongs: “The first is the question of the origin of the laws of nature and the related insights of eminent modern scientists. The second is the question of the origin of life and reproduction.”

After all the investigation Antony Flew’s final decision was, “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being.”

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Book Review: There is a God by Antony Flew

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His MindThere is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind is Antony Flew’s personal biographical account of his intellectual journey from the belief that there is no God to the belief that there is a God. The narrative is both fascinating and very readable. The purpose this review is to provide a brief synopsis and to highlight some of Flew’s reflections.In part one, My Denial of the Divine, Flew talks about his atheism. In part two, My Discovery of the Divine, Flew talks about his reasons for believing that God exists. Flew puts in concisely in the introduction: “In brief, as the title says, I now believe there is a God!” (252-58)* The goal of his book is to chart his intellectual pilgrimage. He emphasizes the fact that this is strictly the result of considering the arguments and evidence. He says: “For the record, then, I want to lay to rest all those rumors that have me placing Pascalian bets.” (267-73)

In chapter one, The Creation of an Atheist, Flew lays out a bit of the history of his former atheism. He explains that he never felt any desire to commune with God, even though he said prayers, went to church, engaged in various religious practices and his father was a Methodist minister. But one of his early reasons for conversion to atheism was the problem of evil. Even so, he maintained an interest in religion, even being a regular participant in C.S. Lewis’s Socratic Club at Oxford. Flew elaborates:

…my long-standing interest in religion was never anything other than prudential, moral, or simply curious. I say prudential since, if there is a God or gods who involve themselves in human affairs, it would be madly imprudent not to try as far as possible to keep on the right side of them. (508-15)

In chapter two, Where the Evidence Leads, Flew discusses his philosophical career, complete with accomplishments, embarrassments, and various changes of mind. Chapter three, Atheism Calmly Considered, continues to detail his atheist career, with insights and reflections on his substantial contributions to philosophy and the atheist position. He briefly recounts his numerous debates with leading Christian thinkers, such as Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, and William Lane Craig.

Flew also retells what he calls his “New York debut” in 2004. In what was to be a debate involving Israeli scientist Gerald Schroeder and Scottish philosopher John Haldane, Flew amazes everyone:

To the surprise of all concerned, I announced at the start that I now accepted the existence of a God. What might have been an intense exchange of opposing views ended up as a joint exploration of the developments in modern science that seemed to point to a higher Intelligence. (973-79)

Part two of the book begins with chapter four, A Pilgrimage of Reason. Flew challenges dogmatic atheism, pointing out that preconceived theories shape the way we view evidence instead of letting the evidence shape the theories. (1059-66) He challenges: “I therefore put to my former fellow-atheists the simple central question: ‘What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a reason to at least consider the existence of a superior Mind?’” (1080-86)

Then Flew lays his cards on the table:

I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. (1087-92)

And he explains the reasons for his views:

Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But it is not science alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments.” (1087-92)

Flew repeats his mantra that “we must follow the argument wherever it leads.”(1093-99) He emphasizes the role of reason in his journey:

I must stress that my discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena. It has been an exercise in what is traditionally called natural theology. […] In short, my discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith. (1136-40)

In chapter five, Who Wrote the Laws of Nature, the author begins to expand on the reasons for his belief. “Perhaps the most popular and intuitively plausible argument for God’s existence is the so-called argument from design.” (1148-54) This was not an argument Flew liked: “Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formatted, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God.” (1148-54)

Flew splits the design argument into two prongs: “The first is the question of the origin of the laws of nature and the related insights of eminent modern scientists. The second is the question of the origin of life and reproduction.” (1148-54) Throughout the chapter the author quotes statements from Einstein, Max Plank, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, Paul Dirak, and others who also saw good reason to infer an intelligent cause behind the apparent design of life and the cosmos.

Did the Universe Know We Were Coming? is the appropriate title for chapter six, in which Flew elaborates on the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life; the anthropic cosmological principle. Flew explains that “virtually no major scientist today claims that the fine tuning was purely a result of chance factors at work in a single universe.” (1336-43) He continues: “What is especially important here is the fact that the existence of a multiverse does not explain the origin of the laws of nature.” (1380-86) He explains that resorting to a multiverse hypothesis does not eliminate the problem that faces the atheist. “So multiverse or not, we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.” (1395-98)

Chapter seven is entitled How Did Life Go Live? Here Flew shows that the origin of life question needs an adequate explanation, and he does not find a satisfactory naturalistic solution: “…the age of the universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis to get the job done.” (1407-13) But there is more to the question than just living cells. Flew is also looking at such factors as consciousness, DNA coding, and self-replication:

The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of-life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’? Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem. (1414-20)

Flew observes that “Living matter possesses an inherent goal or end-centered organization that is nowhere present in the matter that preceded it.” (1414-20) He also observes, “but there is no law of nature that instructs matter to produce end-directed, self-replicating entities.” (1478-84) And so Flew concludes: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.” (1492-93)

In chapter eight Flew looks at modern cosmology: Did Something Come From Nothing?Flew explains that many years ago he was content in assuming an eternal universe, but no more: “the big-bang theory changed all that. If the universe had a beginning, it became entirely sensible, almost inevitable, to ask what produced this beginning. This radically altered the situation.” (1530-36) The author describes the effect of new cosmological discoveries:

Modern cosmologists seemed just as disturbed as atheists about the potential theological implications of their work. Consequently, they devised influential escape routes that sought to preserve the nontheist status quo. These routes included the idea of the multiverse, numerous universes generated by endless vacuum fluctuation events, and Stephen Hawking’s notion of a self-contained universe. (1537-42)

Flew also expresses his opinion on the multiverse:

The postulation of multiple universes, I maintained, is a truly desperate alternative. […] It seems a little like the case of a schoolboy whose teacher doesn’t believe his dog ate his homework, so he replaces the first version with the story that a pack of dogs – too many to count – ate his homework. (1537-42)

One more barrier that came down for Flew is described in chapter nine: Finding Space for God. Here the author explains his change of mind about the coherence of the idea of God being a person without a body. He explains the philosophical arguments that persuaded him. Although brief, this chapter is another shining example of a man willing to change his mind.

In chapter ten, Open to Omnipotence, the author sums up his findings:

I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being. (1706-12)

Flew also concludes that, “the existence of God does not depend on the existence of warranted or unwarranted evil.” (1706-12) Notable, as this was one of his earliest reasons for embracing atheism.
This final chapter closes with an optimistic and open note by Flew: “Where do I go from here? In the first place, I am entirely open to learning more about the divine Reality, especially in the light of what we know about the history of nature.” (1713-19)

“Some claim to have made contact with this Mind. I have not – yet. But who knows what could happen next?  Someday I might hear a Voice that says, ‘Can you hear me now?’” (1733-35)

The ten chapters of There is a God is followed by Appendix A, which is a critical appraisal of Dawkins, Dennett, Wolpert, Harris, and Stenger by Roy Abraham Varghese. Appendix B is a dialogue between N.T. Wright and Antony Flew on the self-revelation of God in human history. Both of these supplemental chapters provide very good insights from both Varghese and Wright. In answering Wright’s case for Christianity, Flew responds: “In point of fact, I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honored and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true.” (2002-8)

There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind is an extremely interesting read. Flew himself is a fascinating person, and his journey is one that atheists and theists alike can learn from.

*All citations are from the Kindle version of Anthony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. There is a page number calculator for these reference numbers, which are approximate (and an unfortunate drawback to e-books). ThisKindle book was read on an iPod Touch.

Posted by Brian Auten at 7:30 AM

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Antony Flew rightly noted that Richard Dawkins’ “monkey theorem was a load of rubbish”

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Mark Oppenheimer of Time Magazine claims Antony Flew was convinced by PSEUDOSCIENCE that God exists!!!

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 563) Justice in Gosnell case, but what about the rest?

Open letter to President Obama (Part 563)

(Emailed to White House on 5-17-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. I know that you don’t agree with my pro-life views but I wanted to challenge you as a fellow Christian to re-examine your pro-choice view.

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Many in the world today are taking a long look at the abortion industry because of the May 14, 2013 guilty verdict and life term penalty handed down by a jury (which included 9 out of 12 pro-choice jurors)  to Dr. Kermit Gosnell. During this time of reflection I wanted to put forth some of the pro-life’s best arguments.

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthanasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

Francis Schaeffer

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I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the video below. It is very valuable information for Christians to have.  Actually I have included a video below that includes comments from him on this subject.

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer: What Ever Happened to the Human Race? (Full-Length Documentary)


Part 1 on abortion runs from 00:00 to 39:50, Part 2 on Infanticide runs from 39:50 to 1:21:30, Part 3 on Youth Euthanasia runs from 1:21:30 to 1:45:40, Part 4 on the basis of human dignity runs from 1:45:40 to 2:24:45 and Part 5 on the basis of truth runs from 2:24:45 to 3:00:04

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Tony Perkins: Gosnell Trial – FOX News

Published on May 13, 2013

Tony Perkins: Gosnell Trial – FOX News

Justice in Gosnell case, but what about the rest?

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A couple weeks ago I wrote an op-ed for Live Action that got some unprecedented media attention. In the piece, I argued for Kermit Gosnell’s acquittal. I said that Gosnell deserves to be found guilty, but we don’t deserve to get to find him guilty.

I pointed out that our laws concerning abortion and the unborn have multi-personality disorder, and it’s morally incomprehensible to feel bad about killing a 25-week baby outside the womb, but fine about killing a 24.5-week baby inside the womb. Moreover, it’s ridiculous that the former is illegal and the latter isn’t.

This Monday, as you’ve probably heard by now, Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, among a plethora of other convictions. He now faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

When I argued for Gosnell’s acquittal, I was expressing my firm belief that all babies deserve the right to life, whether they’re able to live outside the womb yet or not, and that there is no meaningful moral distinction between first-trimester abortion and third-trimester abortion, or for that matter between third-trimester abortion and infanticide.

I felt – and still feel – that Gosnell deserves to be found guilty. In fact, not being morally opposed to capital punishment, I believe he deserves the death penalty. But now that a verdict has been returned, though I know justice has been served in this case, I worry that we’ve still got a long way to go to justice for all.

The problem is, we’re still making a distinction between a baby who has exited the womb alive and a baby who is alive inside the womb. We’re still making a distinction about the age or “viability” of the fetus. We’re still saying this baby is okay to kill and that baby isn’t, based on arbitrary distinctions such as location.

I think of people who are fence-sitters on the abortion issue, or those who are pro-choice but haven’t given the issue much thought. In my experience, many people fall into one of those categories. Are they going to watch this trial and feel like we’re doing a good job making sure the “bad” kinds of abortion don’t take place?

Are those people going to turn off the TV and think, “Well, that Gosnell guy was doing abortions the wrong way, but he’s been caught. The system works, and most abortions aren’t like that anyway.” Are they going to snuggle down in their beds feeling like the one bad guy has been caught, and remain pro-choice?

In the scenario above, I’ve made the assumption that our imaginary friend has any clue who Kermit Gosnell is, which is something of a leap, considering that Gallup found this case to be “one of the least followed news stories” they had ever measured.

LeRoy Carhart is gleefully making Crock-Pot meat out of fetuses in Nebraska and Maryland. He butchered Jennifer Morbelli and Christin Gilbert to death. What about him? He doesn’t even get a trial. No charges were filed in the Morbelli or Gilbert cases.

What about all the other abortionists who don’t do third-trimester procedures or routinely kill mothers, but nevertheless make their living ending innocent human lives? Do they get a pass because the babies aren’t that big and their offices are clean?

The Kermit Gosnell verdict is a victory for life. No denying that. He’s a convicted murderer, and he deserves to be treated like one.

But if we hold Gosnell up as an example of monstrous behavior, are we inadvertently saying that abortionists who don’t have cat urine on their office walls or fetus feet in jars are “not that bad”?

I’m overjoyed that there was some justice in the Gosnell case. I just wonder what it will take to get justice for the rest of the more than a million babies who died that year, most of them legally; the rest of the women who died or were injured during abortions; the women who suffered depression and suicide as a result of their abortions; the fathers who had no say in the matter and still grieve; the women who were coerced or forced to abort.

We have a lot of work to do, because they all deserve justice.

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

By Chuck Asay – May 09, 2013

________________

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband. I also respect you for putting your faith in Christ for your eternal life. I am pleading to you on the basis of the Bible to please review your religious views concerning abortion. It was the Bible that caused the abolition movement of the 1800′s and it also was the basis for Martin Luther King’s movement for civil rights and it also is the basis for recognizing the unborn children.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Al Mohler on Kermit Gosnell’s abortion practice

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

 

Dear Senator Pryor, here are some spending cut suggestions (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Dear Senator Pryor, here are some spending cut suggestions (“Thirsty Thursday”, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Senator Pryor pictured below:

Why do I keep writing and email Senator Pryor suggestions on how to cut our budget? I gave him hundreds of ideas about how to cut spending and as far as I can tell he has taken none of my suggestions. You can find some of my suggestions herehereherehere, hereherehereherehere, herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere,  here, and  here, and they all were emailed to him. In fact, I have written 13 posts pointing out reasons why I believe Senator Pryor’s re-election attempt will be unsuccessful. HERE I GO AGAIN WITH ANOTHER EMAIL I JUST SENT TO SENATOR PRYOR!!!

Dear Senator Pryor,

Why not pass the Balanced  Budget amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion).

On my blog www.thedailyhatch.org . I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. (Actually there were over 160 emails with specific spending cut suggestions.) However, I did not see any of them in the recent debt deal that Congress adopted although you did respond to me several times. Now I am trying another approach. Every week from now on I will send you an email explaining different reasons why we need the Balanced Budget Amendment. It will appear on my blog on “Thirsty Thursday” because the government is always thirsty for more money to spend. Today I actually have included a great article below from the Heritage Foundation concerning an area of our federal budget that needs to be cut down to size. The funny thing about the Sequester and the 2.4% of cuts in future increases is that President Obama set these up and then he acted like the sky was falling in as the cartoons indicate in the newspapers.

IF YOU TRULY WANT TO CUT THE BUDGET AND BALANCE THE BUDGET THEN SUBMIT THESE POTENTIAL BUDGET CUTS PRESENTED BELOW!!

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We don’t need to recruit people to be on food stamps but kick people off!!!

July 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Newscom

Newscom

Food stamps were a popular topic of conversation last month as Congress debated the farm bill. This decades-old Great Society program is in much need of reform for at least seven reasons:

  1. Food stamp spending has surged. Costs have been climbing since the program began in the 1960s, recession or not. Over roughly the past decade, food stamp spending jumped from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $84.6 billion in 2011.
  2. Food stamp rolls have also been climbing for decades, regardless of the economic situation. Today, food stamp use is at an all-time high, with the most recent data showing that about one in seven people participate in the program. This is a 140 percent increase since 1990.
  3. Government has vastly expanded food stamp eligibility. “Broad-based categorical eligibility,” put in place under the Clinton Administration and heavily pushed by the Obama Administration, loosens income and asset limits. That the number of households receiving food stamps has increased faster than households near the poverty line indicates that changes in food stamp policy helped boost the rolls.
  4. States are spending taxpayer money to “recruit” food stamp participants who might not otherwise choose to use them. From advertisements, aggressive tactics, and enrollment quotas used by recruitment agents, it seems like Uncle Sam wants you on food stamps.
  5. Despite what the left claims, food stamps don’t stimulate the economy. Every dollar spent on food stamps is a dollar that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. Therefore, it simply shuffles resources rather than adding economic growth.
  6. Even in good economic times, many food stamp recipients don’t work. In 2010, among the roughly 10.5 million households receiving food stamps that contained an able-bodied, non-elderly adult, 5.5 million did not perform any work. Of those who did work, 1.5 million to 2 million worked less than 30 hours per week.
  7. Food stamps discourage work and self-sufficiency. “The more income that a person receives when not working, the less is the reward to working,” University of Chicago Professor Casey Mulligan testified before Congress earlier this year. “In such cases, a person might have more resources available to use or save as a consequence of working less.” Because food stamp benefits are reduced by 30 cents for each dollar of net income a recipient earns, the program behaves like an income tax paid by recipients via reduced benefits. Thus, food stamps can often act as a disincentive to work. Mulligan estimates that this disincentive has actually prolonged the weak labor market recovery.

Policymakers should reform food stamps to promote self-sufficiency through work and roll back food stamp spending when employment rates improve. These changes would promote not only fiscal responsibility but, more importantly, personal responsibility and human dignity.

_______________

The Balanced Budget Amendment is the only thing I can think of that would force Washington to cut spending. We have only a handful of balanced budgets in the last 60 years, so obviously what we are doing is not working. We are passing along this debt to the next generation. YOUR APPROACH HAS BEEN TO REJECT THE BALANCED BUDGET “BECAUSE WE SHOULD CUT THE BUDGET OURSELF,” WELL THEN HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!!!! SUBMIT THESE CUTS!!!!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my ideas with you.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com www.thedailyhatch.org, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

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I am glad that my state of Arkansas is not the leader in food stamps!!! Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which State Has the Highest Food Stamp Usage of All? March 19, 2013 by Dan Mitchell The food stamp program seems to be a breeding ground of waste, fraud, and abuse. Some of the horror stories […]

Why not cancel the foodstamp program and let the churches step in?

Government Must Cut Spending Uploaded by HeritageFoundation on Dec 2, 2010 The government can cut roughly $343 billion from the federal budget and they can do so immediately. __________ We are becoming a country filled with people that dependent on the federal government when we should be growing our economy by lowering taxes and putting […]

Food Stamp Program is constantly ripped off and should be discontinued

Uploaded by oversightandreform on Mar 6, 2012 Learn More at http://oversight.house.gov The Oversight Committee is examining reports of food stamp merchants previously disqualified who continue to defraud the program. According to a Scripps Howard News Service report, food stamp fraud costs taxpayers hundreds of millions every year. Watch the Oversight hearing live tomorrow at 930 […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in spending out of control | Edit | Comments (0)

How do Evolutionists answer the question: If there is no free-will, then what of morality?

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How do Evolutionists answer the question: If there is no free-will, then what of morality?

Nancy Pearcey described a worldview as a mental map that helps us effectively navigate our world.  The better our worldview, the more effectively we ought to be able to navigate reality with it.  Faulty worldviews are easy to spot because they always run contrary to our pre-theoretical experience of reality at one point or another.  For example, scientific naturalists claim the material world—working according to natural processes—is all there is to reality.  There is no God, there are no angels, and there are no souls.  All that exists is what we can put in a test-tube.  This creates a problem for the concept of free-will, which in turn creates a problem for the concept of moral responsibility.

If there is no God everything is purely material, including ourselves.  Material things do not make decisions, but respond in determined ways to prior physical events.  They don’t act, but simply react to prior physical factors.  For any particular event there exists a series of prior physical causes that not only results in the event, but necessitates it.  Life, according to scientific naturalism, is like a series of falling dominoes.  When you ask “Why did domino 121 fall?” it will be answered, “Because domino 120 fell.”  Domino 121 could not decide to not fall when acted upon by domino 120.  It must fall.  If man is just physical stuff, then our “choices” and “knowledge” are like falling dominos: nothing but necessary reactions to prior physical processes.  There is no free will.  Scientific naturalists admit as much.  Naturalistic philosopher, John Searle, wrote, “Our conception of physical reality simply does not allow for radical freedom.”[1] He admitted that there is no hope of reconciling libertarian freedom with naturalism when he wrote:

In order for us to have radical freedom, it looks as if we would have to postulate that inside each of us was a self that was capable of interfering with the causal order of nature.  That is, it looks as if we would have to contain some entity that was capable of making molecules swerve from their paths.  I don’t know if such a view is even intelligible, but it’s certainly not consistent with what we know about how the world works from physics.[2]

Searle sees two pictures of the world that are at war with one another.  On the one hand science tells us that we are machines, and yet we seem to be aware of ourselves as free, rational decision makers.  He says “we can’t give up our conviction of our own freedom, even though there’s no ground for it.”[3] During an interview he said, “The conviction of freedom is built into our experiences; we can’t just give it up.  If we tried to, we couldn’t live with it.  We can say, OK, I believe in determinism; but then when we go into a restaurant we have to make up our mind what we’re going to order, and that’s a free choice.”[4]

Marvin Minsky of MIT, in The Society of the Mind wrote, “The physical world provides no room for freedom of will,” but “that concept is essential to our models of the mental realm.  Too much of our psychology is based on it for us to ever give it up.  We’re virtually forced to maintain that belief, even though we know it’s false.”[5]

John Bishop writes that “the problem of natural agency is an ontological problem—a problem about whether the existence of actions can be admitted within a natural scientific perspective…  Agent causal-relations do not belong to the ontology of the natural perspective.  Naturalism does not essentially employ the concept of a causal relation whose first member is in the category of person or agent (or even…in the broader category of continuant or ‘substance’).  All natural causal relations have first members in the category of event or state of affairs.”

If there is no free-will, then what of morality?  Our moral choices are not truly chosen; therefore, we cannot be held responsible for our wrongdoing, or praised for what we have done well.  In fact, if there is no God the very concepts of “good” and “evil” are entirely vacuous of true moral content.  Actions simply are; they have no moral significance other than what we determine to assign them for our own purposes.

Steven Pinker of MIT, a leader in the field of cognitive science, describes the dilemma scientists of the mind find themselves in: “Ethical theory requires idealizations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behavior is uncaused,” and yet “the world, as seen by science, does not really have uncaused events.”[6] He wants to maintain that man is both a machine and a morally free-agent, even though they are contradictory.  He writes, “A human being is simultaneously a machine and a sentient free agent, depending on the purpose of the discussion.”

John Bishop candidly stated that “the idea of a responsible agent, with the ‘originative’ ability to initiate events in the natural world, does not sit easily with the idea of a natural organism….  Our scientific understanding of human behavior seems to be in tension with a presupposition of the ethical stance we adopt toward it.”[7]

Notice what each of these scientists and philosophers have said.  They agreed that their worldview does not allow for free-will and ethical responsibility, and yet they are forced to believe in such concepts when they leave the lab or university.  As Pearcey noted, “Adherents of scientific naturalism freely acknowledge that in ordinary life they have to switch to a different paradigm.  That ought to tell them something.  After all, the purpose of a worldview is to explain the world—and if it fails to explain some part of the world, then there’s something wrong with that worldview. … Since their metaphysical beliefs do not fit the world God created, their lives will be more or less inconsistent with those beliefs.  Living in the real world requires them to function in ways that are not supported by their worldview.”

This is where evangelism comes in.  Again Pearcey writes, “In evangelism we can draw people’s attention to the conflict between what they know on the basis of experience and what they profess in their stated beliefs—because that is a sure sign that something is wrong with their beliefs. … An effective method of apologetics can be to compel people to face the logical conclusions of their own premises. … The task of evangelism starts with helping the nonbeliever face squarely the inconsistencies between his professed beliefs and his actual experience.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The non-Christians’ mental map is simply insufficient to navigate the real world in an effective manner.  There will always be some areas of reality they will run into conflict with; areas in which their professed beliefs conflict with their experience of reality.  Our job is simply to point those areas out, and then demonstrate how the Christian worldview does not run into the same problems.  The great appeal of the Christian worldview is that our mental map of the world is congruent with our experience of the world.


[1]John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 98, quoted in J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae, Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 104.
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2]John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 92, quoted in J.P.Moreland and Scott B. Rae, Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 106.
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3]Transcript of a television interview with John Searle from a program titled “Thinking Allowed: Conversations on the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery,” with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove at http://www.williamjames.com/transcripts/searle.htm, quoted in Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Book, 2004), 110.
[
4]John Searle, interview by Jeffrey Mishlove, Thinking Allowed: Conversations on the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, PBS, at http://www.williamjames.com/transcripts/searle.htm, quoted in Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Book, 2004), 394.
[
5]Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985), 301, quoted in Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Book, 2004), 109.
[
6]Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works, 55, quoted in Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Book, 2004), 107.
[
7]John Bishop, Natural Agency (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 1, quoted in J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae, Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 104.

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6 Responses to “Worldview and Evangelism”

  1. aletheist Says:

    The naturalist will claim that we are deterministically “hard-wired” to think (mistakenly) that we have free will, and that human ethics developed deterministically because it provided greater survival value for the species as a whole. Of course, there is no way to falsify this kind of “just so” story–how could we “prove” that we really do have free will to someone who insists otherwise? Also, if we really have no choice but to believe that we can legitimately make choices, why do we bother arguing about it at all?

  2. jasondulle Says:

    You are right. I would add more point. If we are determined, we could never know that to be true in any meaningful sense of the word “know,” because what we know is determined by physics, not good and independent reasons. So if determinism is true, it is irrational to think you know it to be true. I deal with this at some length here: http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/knowrequiresgod.htm

    Jason

  3. Marvin Minsky Says:

    This article nicely summarizes some of the problems that come from the concept of free will — but it fails to see that the same sorts of problems come back at the conclusion of the article. For, the God Hypothesis only makes things worse; it simply ‘chooses’ to not ask how the God works! Are its decisions determined by laws—or by some capricious causeless cause? Evangelism doesn’t help, but only tries to ‘pass the buck’—because “it’s turtles all the way up,” which leaves us asking which God to choose.

    In other words, as Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t true.”

  4. jasondulle Says:

    Marvin Minsky,

    God is a personal, immaterial being, so He would also possesses freedom of the will. In the same way we cannot predict what you will freely choose, we cannot predict what God will choose.

    God, if He exists, is the causeless cause. He could not be determined by laws, otherwise those laws would be the ultimate. But philosophers agree that if God exists, He is the metaphysical ultimate.

    Yes, there are two steps to the God question. First we must determine if a divine being(s) exist(s). If he/she/it/they exist(s), then we have to determine what he/she/it/they is/are like. Interestingly, the evidence in favor of God’s existence narrows this down for us to a personal, immaterial, eternal, non-spatial, powerful, intelligent being who transcends the physical universe. That rules out many options, leaving only a few to sort through.

    Mark Twain was wrong. That is not the biblical view of faith, and it is not mine either. Faith is active trust in what we have reason to believe is true.

    Jason

  5. aletheist Says:

    Along similar lines, I recently came across this definition of faith from C. S. Lewis: “the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”

    Regarding the necessary attributes of God, Paul K. Moser had this to say: “In keeping with a familiar theistic tradition, let’s use the term ‘God’ as a supreme title. It requires of its holder: (a) worthiness of worship and full life-commitment and thus (b) moral perfection and (c) an all-loving character. This does not settle the issue whether God actually exists, as the title might be satisfied by no one at all. The term might connote while failing to denote. Since God must be worthy of worship and full trust, God must be altogether morally good, a God of unflagging righteousness. A morally corrupt all-powerful being might merit fear from us but would not be worthy of our worship and full trust. So not just any unstoppable bully can satisfy the job description for ‘God.’ Even an all-powerful being who is altogether just, or fair, but nonetheless unloving would not fit the bill.” He goes on to suggest that the Jewish-Christian God is the most plausible candidate for such a being from all of world history.

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 562) FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the consumer?” Video and Transcript Part 4 of 7 “It’s time all of us stopped being fooled by those well-meaning bureaucrats who claim to protect us because they say we can’t protect ourselves.”

Open letter to President Obama (Part 562) (Emailed to White House on July 15, 2013)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

________________

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.

From the original Free To Choose series Milton asks: “Who Protects the Consumer?”. Many government agencies have been created for this purpose, yet they do so by restricting freedom and stifling beneficial innovation, and eventually become agents for the groups they have been created to regulate.

Milton Friedman correctly noted, “It’s time all of us stopped being fooled by those well-meaning bureaucrats who claim to protect us because they say we can’t protect ourselves.”
Pt 4
Nowadays, there are Corvair fan clubs throughout the country. Corvair’s have become collector items. Consumers have given their verdict on Ralph Nader and the government regulations. As Abraham Lincoln said, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. It’s time all of us stopped being fooled by those well-meaning bureaucrats who claim to protect us because they say we can’t protect ourselves. The men and women who have fostered this movement have been sincere. They believe that we as consumers are not able to protect ourselves. That we need the help of a wise and effervescent government. But as so often happens the results have been very different from the intentions. Not only have our pockets been picked of billions of dollars, but also we are left less well protected than we were before.
DISCUSSION
Participants: Robert McKenzie, Moderator; Milton Friedman; Kathleen O’Reilly, Consumer Federation of America; Richard Landau, Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago; Joan Claybrook, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Robert Crandall, Brookings Institute
MCKENZIE: Now back at the University of Chicago the consumerists, themselves, get their chance to argue their case.
O’REILLY: I agree with Mr. Friedman with respect to those agencies which have had the major purpose of economically propping up a certain industry which is why consumer advocates like myself advocate the elimination of the ICC, the CAB, the Maritime Commission. But when you’re talking about consumer protection in the marketplace and when you’re talking about government watchdog in competition, consumers need and as every poll is showing, they’re demanding more and more protection. And to give just two examples of how information is simply not enough to protect the consumer, five years ago I could not have bought a child’s crib in this country that would have had the slats sufficiently close together that I did not have to worry about the child strangling. Not until the government and the Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped in did consumers then have the choice to buy that type of a crib, strangulation’s down 50 percent. And in 1975, if I had wanted to lease a Xerox machine, I could not have done it. And not until the Federal Trade Commission antitrust stepped in and forced competition into that marketplace did I have that choice and in one year the price went from 14,000 dollars to 5,000 dollars. Those are dollars back in our pocketbooks to say nothing of minimized emotional trauma.
MCKENZIE: Well, before we ask Milton Friedman to come back on that, lets establish the viewpoint of our other participants and experts. Dr. Richard Landau, what’s your reaction?
LANDAU: Well I think the cost is certainly outrageously large and the benefits are trivial if any. I think that perhaps Milton overstates it slightly to make his point, but basically I would have to agree with it in the area that I know best, which is the regulation of new drug development.
MCKENZIE: And Joan Claybrook.
CLAYBROOK: Well in the auto safety field we’ve saved about 55,000 lives and millions of injuries because of auto safety regulations since the mid_1960s. I might also comment that the cost of auto crashes each year, the American public is 48 billion dollars a year, fairly substantial when you compare it to other things, much less, again, the human trauma.
MCKENZIE: Bob Crandall.
CRANDALL: Well I think it’s impossible to disagree with Milton Friedman on the effects of economic rate regulation of the sort that the railroads and the trucking industry have been through. The intent of that legislation was, of course, to protect the railroad and to protect the trucks, and the same thing is true for maritime regulation. What sustains regulation is sort of a populist theory that somehow through government we will redistribute wealth from people who own business firms to consumers. In fact it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work that way in economic regulation and there’s very little evidence that it works that way in any kind of regulation. As to whether we get any value from health and safety regulation, I think much of it is too new to know.
MCKENZIE: Well now that’s the area I want to start with because remember that was the first part of his argument. The whole idea of consumer product safety action by the state. Now, is that so far working? Very close to your interest I know. What’s your reaction, Kathleen O’Reilly?
O’REILLY: Well in product safety in the state of that, the lawnmower industry had said for twenty years they could not design a safe lawnmower. Only when the Consumer Product Safety Commission forced them with the new standard suddenly their creative genius was overnight. They came up with net whips that were made out of plastic and they came up with very innovative forces. Which is why __ where that government presence actually triggered innovation that otherwise would have been left uncovered.
FRIEDMAN: It’s very easy to see the good results. The bad result it’s very much harder to see. You haven’t mentioned the products that aren’t there because the extra cost imposed by Consumer Product Safety Commission have prevented them from existing. You haven’t mentioned the case of the triss (phonetic) problem on the flammable garments. Here you had a clear case where the __ regulation of the CPSC essentially had the effect of requiring all manufacturers of children’s sleepwear to impregnate them with triss.
O’REILLY: Oh, but that’s not true at all.
FRIEDMAN: Three years __ five years later the regulation required that garments to be nonflammable and as it happened, triss was the most readily available chemical which could do it.
MCKENZIE: Kathleen O’Reilly.
O’REILLY: It’s absolutely not true.
FRIEDMAN: But let me finish the story first. Because the second half of the story is the important part of it. It turned out that triss was a carcinogen. And five years later or three years later, I’m not sure the exact time, the same agency had to prohibit the use of those sleepwear garments forcing them to be disposed of at great cost to everybody concerned.
O’REILLY: All right, lets look at the real interesting history here. In 1968, when Congress passed the Flammable Fabric Act, they did not tell the CPSC what chemicals would comply with that and what would not. And so initially when industry said, “we’re going to use triss,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission, from their initial tests, were disturbed by it and had announced informally to industry that they were not going to allow triss to be used. Industry balked and said, “we’re gonna to take you to court because the Act only says it has to be flame retardant.” You, the government, cannot tell us how to comply. And it was the industry that forced the hand of CPSC away. And they don’t even deny that now.
FRIEDMAN: I’m not trying to defend the industry. Go slowly. I am not pro-industry. I am pro-consumer. I’m like you. I’m not pro-industry. and, of course, industry will do a lot of bad things. The whole question at issue is what mechanism is more effective in protecting the interests of the consumers, the disbursed, widespread forces of the market. Take the case of the flammable fabrics, suppose you had not had the requirements.
MCKENZIE: But you believe it was right to test them, don’t you? For a government agency to test it?
FRIEDMAN: No, not at all.
MCKENZIE: No, no.
FRIEDMAN: There are private consumer testing agencies. There’s the Consumers Research. There’s Consumers Union. You speak about a widespread demand for more protection, those agencies have never __ those organizations __
CLAYBROOK: Oh, of course, they have all these publications on cars __
FRIEDMAN: Of course.
CLAYBROOK:__ but what they do is they test the brakes and steering. They never crash test them and the most important thing to know about a car when you buy it is if the car crashes are you going to be killed unnecessarily?
FRIEDMAN: The reason they __
CLAYBROOK: You can’t even get that information.
FRIEDMAN: But the reason they don’t test __
CLAYBROOK: It’s too expensive, that’s the reason why.
FRIEDMAN: Of course. Anyway it is too expensive for them because the number of consumers who are willing to buy their service and take it is very, very small.
CLAYBROOK: That is not why. The reason why is because it’s enormously expensive.
FRIEDMAN: Of course, but if they had a large enough number of customers, if there were enough customers, enough consumers who wanted the __
CLAYBROOK: Yes, but that’s a chicken and egg situation which is ridiculous.
FRIEDMAN: It’s not a chicken and egg situation. The whole situation __
CLAYBROOK: If you believe that technological information is important for consumer to have, which is that basis ad the thesis of your argument, surely that you would say that one of the things that society does as it groups together to provide basic services to the public; police, traffic services, all sorts of basic kinds of things, the mail service and the fire service and all the rest of it. Why is that they shouldn’t even do testing of technological subjects which the public has no way of knowing?
MCKENZIE: Before you reply, I want one or two others in on this, Bob Crandall.
CRANDALL: It seems to me that Professor Friedman could give a little bit on this ground. Certainly in the dissemination of information there’s a free rider problem. And one of the problems is that while you and I might value the results from a Consumer Union rather highly, we don’t have to pay for it. We can look over the shoulder of someone else, borrow the magazine from the library and so forth. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the government should not at all be in the business of generating information though I am concerned about exactly the same forces, this evil industry that Miss O’Reilly talks about, having its influence on how this information is prepared. I don’t see how we guard ourselves against that.
FRIEDMAN: We don’t
CRANDALL: But it seems to me that there is a case to be made that the market does not supply enough information.
FRIEDMAN: It may not. But the market supplies a great deal and there is also a free rider problem in the negative sense on government provision of information because people who have no use for that information are required to pay for it.

 

________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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