RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 150 My May 15, 1994 letter to Stephen Jay Gould (Part B)

World-renowned, popularising palaeontologist who, controversially, revised Darwin’s theories and took a political stand on science
 

Profesor Stephen Jay Gould, who has died of cancer aged 60, was an unlikely figure to have been canonised in his lifetime by the US Congress, which named him as one of America’s “living legends”.

A palaeontologist, he was based for most of his life at the museum of comparative zoology (MCZ) at Harvard, where, since 1982, he had been Alexander Agassiz professor of zoology. But he was best known to the public through his unbroken sequence of 300 monthly essays in Natural History magazine, which began in 1974 and ended only last year; they were republished in a seemingly unending stream of books, translated into dozens of languages and bought by their hundreds of thousands.

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A stylish writer, Gould characterised each essay by deriving a seemingly abstruse point in natural history or palaeontology via a sideways look at a novel, a building, or, often, a reference to his lifelong enthusiasm for baseball. He once illuminated the peculiar evolutionary phenomenon in which more recently evolved species within a family group steadily decrease in size by comparing it to how the manufacturers of Hershey bars avoided price rises by making the bars smaller while keeping the costs the same.

As a scientific essayist, Gould’s only peers were “Darwin’s bulldog”, Thomas Huxley, in the 19th century and JBS Haldane in the 1930s and 40s. The comparison with Haldane is apt in two further ways; both made fundamental contributions to evolutionary theory, and both were politically engaged both within science and in the broader political arena. Gould’s critique of the pseudoscience of claims concerning the inheritance of intelligence, developed in one of his best-known books, The Mismeasure Of Man (1981), became a major source for anti-racist campaigners.

But Gould was no mere word-spinner; as a major public intellectual and powerful public speaker, he could be seen at demonstrations and on picket lines, especially during the 1960s and 70s. This was the birth of what became known as the radical science movement (Science for the People), initially in response to the Vietnam war. The movement, and Gould along with it, later became embroiled in the cultural fights that raged around the publication, in 1975, of EO Wilson’s Sociobiology, the forerunner to today’s evolutionary psychology, and seen by many as offering a scientific validation for social inequalities in class, gender and race.

Some saw this as a specifically Harvard-based battle, as Gould occupied the MCZ basement and his colleague, and sometimes co-author, Richard Lewontin, the first floor – with Wilson sandwiched between them on the ground floor. Wilson became distinctly uneasy when entering the elevator in case he might have to confront Gould, Lewontin or any of their student supporters.

However, for Gould the issues were never just about politics, but also about a different view of the mechanisms and processes of evolution, a view that reached its clearest expression in his last and greatest book, The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory – at more than 1,400 pages, the greatest in every sense – which was published only last month.

This is the most comprehensive statement of Gould’s Darwinian revisionism, a revisionism that began in graduate school when he and fellow student Niles Eldredge developed their critique of one of Darwin’s central theses, that of gradual evolutionary change. To the concern of his many friends and supporters, who had argued that speciation was likely to occur by abrupt transitions, Darwin had insisted that “nature does not make leaps”.

Gould and Eldredge re-addressed this question, pointing out that the fossil record was one of millions of years of stasis, punctuated by relatively brief periods of rapid change – hence punctuated equilibrium. To Gould’s fury, as a loyal child of Darwin, the theory was misappropriated by creationists, whom he attacked with characteristic vigour. However, in one of his most recent books, Rocks Of Ages (1999), he attempted to come to terms with a religion more reconciled to science, reversing the proposition of rendering unto Caesar by allowing religion its independent domain.

But punctuated equilibrium made many traditional evolutionists unhappy too; they saw it as evidence of Gould’s alleged Marxism – revolution rather than evolution.

Orthodox biologists also tended to resent the insouciance with which Gould upstaged them. Lecturing at the Royal Society, in London in the 1970s, he treated the assembled grandees to an account of the architecture of the San Marco cathedral, in Venice, in order to make the point that many seemingly adaptive features of an organism are, in fact, the byproducts of more fundamental structural constraints. The mosaic-filled spaces (spandrels) between the arches on which the dome stands may look as if they were planned, but they are merely space-fillers, albeit ones put to artistic and religious use.

Many features of an organism (its phenotype) may also be structural spandrels, others may be “exaptations” – another term coined by Gould, with Elizabeth Vrba, to describe features arising in one context but subsequently put to a different use. Feathers, originally evolved as a heat regulatory device among the reptilian ancestors of today’s birds, are a good example. But to evolutionists, who believed every feature of an organism was honed by what Darwin called “nature’s continuous scrutiny”, this claim, and the style in which it was delivered, was heretical.

The intellectual’s development from radical young Turk to mature senior academic is traditionally that from iconoclasm to conventional wisdom. Not so Steve Gould. The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory is a robust and formidable defence of his key contributions to Darwinian revisionism. Evolution is not a la carte, but structurally constrained; not all phenotypic features are adaptive, but may instead be spandrels or exaptations – or even contingent accidents, like the asteroid collision believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, thus making space for mammals and ultimately humans.

Wind the tape of history back, Gould insists, allow it to free-run forward again, and it is, in the highest degree, unlikely that the same species will evolve. Chance is crucial, and there is nothing inherently progressive about evolution – no drive to perfection, complexity or intelligent life.

Above all, he argues, natural selection works at many levels. Because genetics has come to dominate much of the life sciences, for many biologists organisms have become almost irrelevant, save as instruments serving the purposes of their genes – splendidly encapsulated in Richard Dawkins’ famous description of humans as “lumbering robots” – the gene’s way of making copies of itself. Evolution itself has come to be defined as a change in gene frequency in a population.

By contrast, Gould argues for a hierarchical view; that evolution works on genes, genomes, cell lineages and, especially, on species. Ignoring speciation, he says, is like playing Hamlet without the prince. This is the central theoretical issue underlying all the polemics that characterise what have come to be known as the “Darwin wars”, pitting Gould against Dawkins as his principal adversary, although in reality – and to the chagrin of creationists – both are children of Darwin, and agree on far more than they disagree.

Cutting-edge researchers are often ignorant of their own science’s history. Perhaps it was because he was a palaeontologist that Gould returned so often in his writing to the history of his own subject. His was not the sort of whiggish, anecdotal approach by which senior scientists tend to ossify the progression from past obscurity to present clarity, but a deeper attempt to understand the twists and turns of theory and evidence, which ensure that even our present-day knowledge is provisional, and like life itself, historically constrained.

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Born in Queens, New York, and educated through the city’s superb public school system, Gould trained as a geologist at Antioch College, Ohio, took a doctorate in palaeontology at Columbia University, New York, in 1967, and spent a brief period at Leeds University before moving to Harvard.

In 1982, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, rumoured to have been precipitated by the asbestos lining of the specimen cabinets in the MCZ basement. The disease has a median survival time of eight months; as Gould later wrote, he was committed to being one of those who survived long enough to help show that statistic medians are not means, after all. The 20 years before cancer finally caught up with him were packed with more than most public intellectuals and scientists can hope to achieve in a lifetime, and a small galaxy of prizes.

He was married twice, and is survived by his former wife Deborah, their sons Jesse and Ethan, his second wife Rhonda, and his stepchildren, Jade and London.

Steve Jones writes: The world of snail genetics has lost its leading light. Not, perhaps, how most obituarists will celebrate him, but true nevertheless. Gould was, like Darwin, a working scientist; an accumulator of facts, in his case about the snails, live or fossilised, of the Bahamas. However, and again like Darwin, he became most celebrated not for his own research, but for his interpretation of the facts gathered by others.

Evolutionists have the bitter feeling that theirs is the only science left in which it is possible to become famous just for having an opinion. Their field (or at least the public’s image of it) is filled with people with strongly-held views who have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, whether in a rainforest or a laboratory. Gould was not like that. He may not have spent five years on the Beagle, but he passed many uncomfortable summers kicking through bushes or scraping away at lumps of rock.

Whatever its merits, his famous theory of punctuated equilibrium – evolution by jerks, as its critics called it; Gould responded with taunts about evolution by creeps – gave the then slothful post-Darwinian giant a kick, just when and where it needed it. Biology was forced to remind itself that many evolutionary questions had been forgotten, and entered an era of intense debate.

In the view of most (but not all) in the field, the answer was refreshingly conventional: Darwin was, in the end, right, and the problems raised by Gould could be solved without toppling the great Victorian from his ped- estal. Gould, needless to say, did not agree.

Scientifically, he was – in the eyes of us “creeps” at least – a failure, but a heroic one, in the sense that Columbus failed to find India. In science, failures can be heroes, too – think of Newton after relativity; and to the public, Gould was the hero. He fought the creationists, joked about baseball, and wrote some of the finest of all science essays. Although sometimes visited by the curse of orotundity, he kept it up to the end.

The last time I met him, we talked snails, and now that the chance to do so again has gone, it is time to summarise his life. To most people, he was punctuationist, populariser or polemicist; to biologists, he earned that most rare and coveted title, that of his great predecessor, Darwin: naturalist.

· Stephen Jay Gould, palaeontologist, born September 10 1941; died May 20 2002

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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Stephen Jay Gould is the scholar I will look at today. In  the third video below in the 147th clip in this series are his words “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration” and I have responded directly to this quote in any earlier post.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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This is the second portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Stephen Jay Gould and last week I posted the first portion and next week I will post the third portion.

SECTION #1 Evolution is discussed by these scholars: H.G.Wells, Antony Flew, Neal Gillespie, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Joseph McCabe, Louis Russell, Leo Hickey, Francis Crick, Michael Ruse, Norman D. Newell, Robert C. Cowen, Jeremy Rifkin, Francis Schaeffer, H.J.Blackham, Paul Churchland, J.W.Burrow, Douglas Futuyma, William Provine, and Bertrand Russell!!!!______________________ I am trying in this letter to show that the following statements are true and can not be refuted logically.1. Theistic evolution is not rational.2. Evolution has been considered a fact by the vast majority of leading scholars worldwide for many years now.3. There  has been a drift from belief to agnosticism caused by science in recent years.4. The vast majority of leading scientists today do not consider creationism scientific.5. There are philosophical implications of Darwinism.——————
1. Theistic evolution is not rational.http://creation.mobi/hg-wells-evolution-and-the-gospelH G Wells

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‘If all the animals and man had been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there had been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no fall, then the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which the current teaching based Christian emotion and morality, collapsed like a house of cards.’—-Antony Flew

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It is obviously impossible to square any evolutionary account of the origin of the species with a substantially literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis.—-
2.Evolution has been considered a fact by the vast majority of leading scholars worldwide for many years now.—-
Humanist Manifesto II (1973): Science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.—Neal Gillespie
Darwin’s rejection of special creation was part of the transformation of biology into a positive science, one committed to thoroughly naturalistic explanations based on material causes and the uniformity of nature…——Carl Sagan

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Evolution is fact, not a theory—-Lee Dembart of the Los Angeles Times commenting on the book by Richard Dawkins called “The Blind Watchmaker”:The book cuts through the nonsense about the origin of life and leaves it for dead….He demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution is the only possible explanation for the world we see around us. In this work Dawkins refutes the argument that the complexity of life cannot be random, this implying a designer or creator.—-
Joseph McCabe in a debate with George Mccready Price:
Something over 50 years ago a great man of science launched the doctrine of evolution upon the world. Generation by generation , decade by decade, scientific men have fought out that issue. I say that there is not an university professor in the world today who does not emphatically endorse the doctrine of evolution ….100 years ago, in the days of Lamarck and Darwin, men looked across that broad river and there was nothing between (man and ape)….Now we men of the Stone Age carrying us nearer to the ape; the pilot down man, and one or two others, going as far again in the direction of the ape.—-Louis S Russell, director, Royal Ontario Museum, It’s completely false to say that there’s a lacking of transitional forms. We have plenty of them —-more than sometimes we can deal with.—-Leo Hickey, former director, Yale Peabody Museum, There are myriad transitional forms. There’s really no problem finding them.—-

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Francis Crick: The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is, in fact, to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.—-
3. There has been a drift from belief to agnosticism caused by science in recent years———————-
Dr Huston Smith: One reason education undoes belief (in God) is it’s teaching of evolution; Darwin’s own drift from orthodoxy to agnosticism was symptomatic.—-Asa Gray (1810-1888), a Harvard professor of botony was a supporter of theistic evolution. He tried to persuade Darwin to adopt the  position of  theistic evolution. Darwin quickly struck down Gray’s  argument, “The view that each variation has been providentially arranged seems to me to make natural selection entirely superfluous, and indeed takes the whole case of the appearance of new species out of the range of science. ——Michael Denton “ today it is perhaps the Darwinian view of nature more than any other that is responsible for the agnostic and sceptical outlook of the twentieth century…(It is) a theory that literally changed the world.”

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Vincent Sarich in a debate with Mr Gish said, “As far as I am concerned it was not God that created man, but quite clearly and obviously man that in ultimate example of his overwhelming pride created an omnipotent God in his own idealized image of himself and in doing so thought to make himself all powerful and independent of any laws but those of his own making.”—-4. Leading scientists worldwide today do not believe creationism is scientific.Michael Ruse – “And, I learnt what a hollow sham modern day creationism really is : crude, dogmatic, biblical literal-ism masquerading as  genuine science.”
Norman D. Newell
 – “Finally I should like to define the word science, and explain why scientific creationism cannot be included in its definition. Science is characterized by the willingness of an investigator to follow evidence wherever it leads.”Robert C. Cowen – It is this many-faceted on-going science story that should be told in public school biology courses. Creationists want those courses to include the possibility of – and the “scientific” evidence for – a creator as well. There is no such “scientific” evidence. The concept of a supernatural creator is inherently religious. It has no place in a science class.

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Jeremy Rifkin – “Evolutionary theory has been enshrined as the centerpiece of our educational system, and elaborate walls have been erected around it to protect it from unnecessary abuse.”5.There are philosophical implications of Darwinism.Francis Schaeffer in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? co-authored by C. Everett Koop in 1979 said this, “Humanism: 1. Rejects the doctrine of creation. 2. Therefore rejects the idea that there is anything stable or ‘given’ about human nature. 3. Sees human nature as part of a long, unfolding process of development in which everything is changing. 4. Casts around for some solution to the problem of despair that this determinist-evolutionist vision induces…

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The humanist H. J. Blackham has expressed this with a dramatic illustration: On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967). Mr. Schaeffer comments, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”Paul Churchland – “The important point about the standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all of its features are the wholly physical outcome of a purely physical process. If this is the correct account of our origin, then there seems neither need nor room to fit any nonphysical substances or properties into our theoretical accounts of ourselves. We are creatures of matter.”J.W.Burrow – “Nature, according to Darwin, was the product of blind chance and a blind struggle, and man a lonely, intelligent mutation, scrambling with the brutes for his sustenance. To some the sense of loss was irrevocable; It was as if an umbilical cord had been cut, and men found themselves part of a cold passionless universe.”

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Douglas Futuyma –  “Whether people are explicitly religious or not they tend to imagine that humans are in some sense the center of the universe. And what evolution does is to remove humans from the center of the universe. We are just one product of a very long historical process that has given rise to an enormous amount of organisms, and we are just one of them. So in one sense there is nothing special about us.”William B. Provine in “The End of Ethics?” article in HARD CHOICES (a magazine companion to the television series HARD CHOICES) wrote:Even though it is often asserted that science is fully compatible with our Judeo-Christian tradition, in fact it is not… To be sure, even in antiquity, the mechanistic view of life–that chance was responsible for the shape of the world– had a few adherents. But belief in overarching order was dominant; it can be seen as easily in such scientists as Newton, Harvey, and Einstein as in the theologians Augustine, Luther, and Tillich. But beginning with Darwin, biology has undermined that tradition. Darwin in effect asserted that all living organisms had been created by a combination of chance and necessity–natural selection.In the twentieth century, this view of life has been reinforced by a whole series of discoveries…Mind is the only remaining frontier, but it would be shortsighted to doubt that it can, one day, be duplicated in the form of thinking robots or analyzed in terms of the chemistry and electricity of the brain. The extreme mechanic view of life, which every new discovery in biology tends to confirm, has certain implications. First, God has no role in the physical world…Second, except for the laws of probability and cause and effect, there is no organizing principle in the world, and no purpose. 

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Bertrand Russell – “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

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Music Monday My Letter to Mick Fleetwood

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below

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Dan Jarrell Change Point Church (seen below)

DAN JARRELL
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Kerry Livgren

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Kansas

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Letters to Mick Fleetwood

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-I have read over 40 autobiographies by ROCKERS and it seems to me that almost every one of those books can be reduced to 4 points. Once fame hit me then I became hooked on drugs. Next I became an alcoholic (or may have been hooked on both at same time). Thirdly, I chased the skirts and thought happiness would be found through more sex with more women. Finally, in my old age I have found being faithful to my wife and getting over addictions has led to happiness like I never knew before. (Almost every autobiography I have read from rockers has these points in it although Steven Tyler is still chasing the skirts!!).

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April 30, 2018

Mick Fleetwood

Dear Mick,

I read your autobiography PLAY ON and I came across the passage that I found very interesting:

Living on the road help keep me from facing the cold hard facts of life, I was dire straights financially, I wasn’t doing my job as a father to my daughters and the band that bore my name was in flux. I didn’t worry if no one showed up for the Zoo shows because in my mind if I was playing I HAD A PURPOSE. My band however was embarrassed for me.

I know that you have been searching your whole life for the meaning of life and the secret of satisfaction and with the help of King Solomon and Kerry Livgren of the rock group KANSAS I wanted to pass along their conclusions.

I thought of you recently when I listened to a cassette tape of a sermon by Dan Jarrell of FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock entitled THE PLEASURE IS MINE on ECCLESIASTES 2:1-26 (4-21-96). It was hard for me to obtain a cassette tape player but I searched through my attic and found one hidden away.

As you know the Book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon at the end of his life and he was discussing LIFE UNDER THE SUN. I think it is easy to compare your life to Solomon since you both are pursuing satisfaction in this life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture. 

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias 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.”

Here is a portion of the sermon by Dan Jarrell below:

You and I grew up with Mick Jagger singing “I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION.” You think of the lyrics of that song and what Jagger and the ROLLING STONES did. They summarized this philosophy that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I seek it, no matter what I attempt to do, no matter which avenue I go down, there is no personal satisfaction in it for me. Personal satisfaction eludes me because I try and I try and I try but I can’t get no, no, no, no, hey, hey , hey. I just can’t get no satisfaction.

That is the idea  Mick Jagger and the rest of the ROLLING STONES and an entire generation that cut it’s teeth on rock and roll never got past the frustration of that song. We tried, and we tried and we tried. We tried DRUGS, and ALCOHOL. We tried SEX in a permissive moral society. We tried EDUCATION. We tried CORPORATE ACHIEVEMENT. We tried MATERIAL DECADENCE. We tried EMPIRE BUILDING. We have even tried HUMANISTIC SPIRITUALITY. We tried anything that would move us toward satisfaction, but the result of it all is no lasting satisfaction. Even our greatest pleasures lose their luster. Life is a vapor!!!! GONE WITH THE WIND!!!

I suppose the wisdom of ECCLESIASTES could have been the inspiration for the ROLLING STONES song that marked our generation if it were not for one significant detail. You see Solomon tried and he tried and he tried but the conclusion of his song was I FOUND THE KEY TO SATISFACTION. All the things he tried didn’t get him there but those experiences led him full circle to a conclusion that he began his reign with and apparently he ended with as well.

I really believe if MICK JAGGER or if any of us for that matter would listen to Solomon’s wisdom he will teach us a different song to sing, a new chorus that will mark a new generation.  Solomon will show us the key to satisfaction and he warns us of counterfeits. This is the way to go but beware of this that the vapors of life are there and pursue that and you will be CHASING THE WIND.

WHAT WAS SOLOMON’S ANSWER?  Ecclesiastes chapter 2 gives us that answer. This chapter is a discussion of life’s frustrations. Let me start with the conclusion of chapter 2 and then we will go back and look at life’s frustrating moves toward that conclusion. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

There is some disagreement on the translation of this particular phrase “There is nothing better for a man” The NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE translates it as a comparison. The idea is if you think of all the good things that a man could enjoy there is nothing better for a man or a woman than to eat or to drink and tell themselves their labor is good. In other words, it is good for us. 

The Hebrew seems to indicate we may want to translate it this way. “There is nothing in a man to eat and drink and tell himself his labor is good.” In other words, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US, FOR THAT IS FROM THE HAND OF GOD. In other words, it is either a comparison or a simple statement. Either way this is the sense of the passage. 

Either way you translate it, it says nothing is so good for us other than a satisfied life but nothing is as impossible for us because it is not in us to be satisfied for who can eat and enjoy life without him?  The answer is NOBODY CAN!!!! So you come down to the idea that if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION. That is my sermon in a nutshell. That is the conclusion. 

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Just like Dan Jarrell I also loved the song I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION by the Rolling Stones.  Then in  1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that both Solomon and the ROLLING STONES had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

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Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN according to Solomon.  FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “UNDER THE SUN.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Actually the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 14

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 13

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 249 Art Without Meaning — Francis Schaeffer on “The Red Virgin” (Feature on artist Joan Jonas)

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Fouquet Virgin and Child Steve Macias

Fouquet Virgin and Child

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Art Without Meaning — Francis Schaeffer on “The Red Virgin”

By Rick Pearcey • January 4, 2007, 11:19 AM

News outlets are reporting that an artist has portrayed actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary. The following analysis by philosopher-theologian Francis Schaeffer of Fouquet’s The Red Virgin provides background on the worldview dimension of this use of Marian imagery and on the modern problem of art divorced from meaning.

* Masaccio: “It is crucial to notice that with Masaccio [1401-1428?] and the others up to this point,” writes Schaeffer, “art could still have moved toward either a biblical or a nonbiblical concept of nature and the particulars (that is, the individual things, including the individual man). Up to this time it could have gone either way.”

* Nature’s Proper Place: “It was good that nature was given a proper place. And there could have continued an emphasis on real people in a real world which God has made — with the particulars, the individual things, important because God made the whole world. Masaccio . . . pictured Adam and Eve as the Bible portrays them — as real people in a real world. Or at this point humanism could take over, with its emphasis on things being autonomous.”

* Dilemma of Humanism: “Immediately after Masaccio, the die was cast and the movement went in this direction. Man made himself increasingly independent and autonomous, and with this came an increasing loss of anything which gave meaning, either to the individual things in the world or to man. With this we see the dilemma of humanism which is still with us today.”

* Fouquet’s Red Virgin: “This position and its dilemma is strikingly shown in a shift in art. In France, one sees this with Fouquet (c. 1416-1480) in his painting The Red Virgin (1450?).”

* King’s Mistress: “The world red refers to the overall color used in part of the picture. The girl was shown with one breast exposed, and everybody who knew the situation knew that this was a picture of the king’s mistress, Anges Sorel.”

* Not the Madonna: “Was this the Madonna about to feed her baby? No, the painting might be titled The Red Virgin, but the girl was the king’s mistress; and when one looked at the painting one could see what the king’s mistress’s breast looked like.”

* Mary as a Real Person: “Prior to this time, Mary was considered very high and holy. Earlier she was considered so much above normal people that she was painted as a symbol. When in the Renaissance Mary was painted as a real person, this was an advance over the representations of Mary in the earlier age, because the Bible tells us that Mary was a real girl and that the baby Jesus was a real baby.”

* Where Has All the Meaning Gone? “But now not only was the king’s mistress painted as Mary with all of the holiness removed, but the meaning, too, was being destroyed. As first it might have seemed that only the religious aspect was threatened. But, as we can see in retrospect, gradually the threat spread to all of knowledge and all of life.”

* Beyond Meaningless Mary: “All meaning to all individual things or particulars was removed. Things were being made autonomous, and there was nothing to which to related them or to give them meaning.”

Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, pp. 68-71; for a fuller statement on Christianity and art, see Schaeffer’s Art & The Bible

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Featured artist is Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York. A pioneer of performance and video art, Jonas works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, often collaborating with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational works that are equally at home in the museum gallery and on the theatrical stage. Drawing on mythic stories from various cultures, Jonas invests texts from the past with the politics of the present.

By wearing masks in some works, and drawing while performing on stage in others, she disrupts the conventions of theatrical storytelling to emphasize potent symbols and critical self-awareness. From masquerading in disguise before the camera to turning mirrors on the audience, she turns doubling and reflection into metaphors for the tenuous divide between subjective and objective vision, and the loss of fixed identities.

Joan Jonas received a BA from Mount Holyoke College (1958), attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1958-61), and received an MFA from Columbia University (1965). She is a professor emerita at MIT.

Among her many honors are awards from Anonymous Was A Woman (1998); the Rockefeller Foundation (1990); American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award for Video (1989); Guggenheim Foundation (1976); and the National Endowment for the Arts (1974). Jonas has had major exhibitions at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm (2013); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2013); Documenta (2002, 2013); Performa (2013); The Kitchen (2012); Bergen Kunsthall (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Venice Biennale (2009); Dia:Beacon (2006); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (2006); Jeu de Paume (2005); Renaissance Society (2004); Tate Modern (2004); Queens Museum of Art (2003); Taipei Biennial (2002); and Dia Center for the Arts (2000), among others. Joan Jonas lives and works in New York and Nova Scotia, Canada.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 150 My May 15, 1994 letter to Stephen Jay Gould (Part A)

Image result for stephen jay gould richard dawkins
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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman PhilipseCarolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Image result for stephen jay gould

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Love Him or Hate Him, Stephen Jay Gould Made a Difference

I never met Stephen Jay Gould, though I did attend a lecture he gave two years ago. Still, that hour explained many of the opinions I’d heard of him: love, hate, joy, envy, and respect. Like a lot of people who make a difference, Gould was a study in contrasts. You also had to wonder whether he ran according to a different clock than the rest of us. The campy cliché 24/7 didn’t apply to Gould—he could not have fit so much in a 24-hour day and a 60-year life. Gould was first and forem

Jun 10, 2002
BARRY PALEVITZ

1I never met Stephen Jay Gould, though I did attend a lecture he gave two years ago. Still, that hour explained many of the opinions I’d heard of him: love, hate, joy, envy, and respect. Like a lot of people who make a difference, Gould was a study in contrasts. You also had to wonder whether he ran according to a different clock than the rest of us. The campy cliché 24/7 didn’t apply to Gould—he could not have fit so much in a 24-hour day and a 60-year life.

Gould was first and foremost a scientist. His immediate research area, the evolution of land snails, might seem quaint to some, but his impact transcended those bounds. Most scientists, and others as well, knew him as a bold thinker and synthesizer unafraid to ruffle feathers, particularly with his Punctuated Equilibrium hypothesis. Together with Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History, Gould tried to explain why species suddenly change in the fossil record. The jumps were real rather than illusory, they argued, and not the product of poor preservation of intermediate forms. Searching for such forms was pointless because they don’t exist. Instead, much of evolution is characterized by static periods in which organisms don’t change, interspersed with rapid speciation events.

Published in 1972, the hypothesis pitted Gould against gradualists adhering to traditional Darwinian explanations. It may seem more like a molehill than a mountain now, but at the time debate over the idea was pretty heated. “It was shocking in ’72,” says evolutionary ecologist Massimo Pigliucci of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “It sparked a lot of papers,” and that’s why “it was one of the most important papers of the 20th century,” he concludes.

Whether change happens gradually or in fits depends on what you define as fast in geological terms. We now know that species can dramatically adapt to environmental changes in just a few years. Male guppies rapidly resume bright coloration for sexual display once predation pressure disappears and standing out is advantageous. By virtue of molecular genetics and developmental biology, we also know that one or a few mutations in major regulatory genes generate major changes in body form. It works in plants as well as animals—just one inactivated gene changes a bilaterally symmetrical flower into a radial one.

In a way, Gould prefaced such advances. You also see Gould’s insight on evolution and development in his books, The Panda’s Thumb and Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Pigliucci considers the latter Gould’s “most important contribution. It was one of those books that changes a field.” With Elizabeth Vrba, Gould coined the term exaptation to explain how evolution reuses parts and processes to invent new ones.

Like a lot of people who shake things up, Gould had his detractors, including evolutionary adaptationists and gradualists. Still, while “there are good reasons to question some of his contributions, several of my colleagues went overboard,” admits Pigliucci.

Just last March, Gould summed up what he’d learned about evolution—and synthesized still more—in The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Despite flaws, Gould’s 1,433-page tome is “a magnificent summary of a quarter century of influential thinking and a major publishing event in evolutionary biology,” concluded Mark Ridley in a New York Times review.

Science Popularizer

Gould had another, very public side. Along with Carl Sagan, he was one of the 20th century’s leading spokespeople and popularizers of science. While Sagan often made The Johnny Carson Show his venue, Gould reached young people in cartoon form on The Simpsons. Over the course of 28 years, he authored 300 essays in Natural History, with assorted forays into Discover and elsewhere. Unlike Sagan, Gould made it into the National Academy of Sciences despite his public persona. “I was inspired by his popular writings,” says Pigliucci, who does his own share of communicating with the public about evolution. “How many scientists bother to do that stuff?”

Gould had many strengths as a writer, but what garnered so many fans was his impeccable prose and incredible mix of metaphor, baseball, art, and literature. In a forthcoming analysis of Gould’s 300 Natural History essays in the journal Social Studies of Science, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, documented 53 mentions of the Bible, 21 of Gilbert and Sullivan (a Gould favorite), 19 of Shakespeare, and eight of Alexander Pope. He also found 16 Latin phrases, nine in French, six in German, and one in Italian. Adds Shermer, “73% contain a significant historical element.” It’s no surprise that Gould was as much a favorite on the humanities side of American campuses as in science labs.

Gould’s writing was anthologized for freshmen English courses, notes Hugh Ruppersburg, professor of English and associate dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia in Athens. “His essays … were excellent examples of nonfiction prose.” Ruppersburg thinks Gould was better than science writers who aren’t professional scientists. “There was something about the way he expressed concepts that made it clear he learned them himself,” he says.

One of the people who anthologized Gould’s work is Penn State English professor John Selzer. “He was a very gifted individual, cosmopolitan in his allusions and metaphors—a lot of fun to read,” he says. Selzer picked Spandrels of San Marco, coauthored by Gould and Harvard colleague Richard Lewontin, as a prime example. Another reason Selzer thinks Gould was a hit in the humanities was his “strong argumentative edge and a real sense of voice” in taking sides on issues such as sociobiology.

Opinions are split, however, on how good a writer Gould really was, at least later in life. Pigliucci won’t argue about Gould’s early work, but thinks his writing style became “baroque.” There were so many metaphors and diversions, it was hard to follow where he was going. At one point in Gould’s Rocks of Ages, which elaborated on his nonoverlapping magisteria argument for distinguishing science and religion, I almost screamed, “No!” after reading what seemed like the hundredth use of the word exegesis.

From my point of view, Gould was at his best in explaining the history, philosophy, and methods of science to a public that, despite his best efforts, is still woefully ignorant of the subjects. “Half the book was history,” marvels Pigliucci of Ontogeny and Phylogeny. “Scientists have a stupid tendency to ignore history,” he says, but not Gould. Maybe his training in paleontology made history an obvious tool. Opines Shermer, “As a historian and philosopher of science, Gould was intensely interested in the interaction between individual scientists and their cultures.”

Creationism Wars

Perhaps nowhere save human cloning does science conflict with culture as does evolution with fundamentalist religion. Gould “was a public scientist,” says Barbara Forrest, a historian at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond who studies creationism. Forrest appreciated Gould’s willingness to stand up for evolution in public school science curricula. Unlike many of his evolutionist colleagues, Gould thought the battle worth fighting. He even testified in the famous McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education case. Federal judge William Overton in part used Gould’s testimony in 1982 to outlaw equal time for so-called scientific creationism in Arkansas schools. It wasn’t easy for Gould, whose words and ideas were often misrepresented by creationists. “He was prone to comments that can easily be extracted from text and taken to mean exactly the opposite of what he meant,” says Elizabeth Craig of Kansas Citizens for Science.

When creationism mutated into its latest incarnation, ‘intelligent design theory,’ about 10 years ago, Gould again pitched in, for example, with his book Rocks of Ages and a Time magazine commentary on the Kansas School Board decision to remove evolution from state science standards. Michigan State University philosopher Robert Pennock used two of Gould’s essays in a recent, mammoth point-counterpoint analysis of intelligent design. Says Forrest, “A person as important in science as he was thought it worthwhile to get involved. He lent his reputation to get the attention of the media. He did what I wish more scientists would do.”

Pugnacious, or Obnoxious?

Gould was a fascinating, complex character who had weaknesses as well as strengths, including a reputation for arrogance. Many scientists still resent the rough treatment Gould and Lewontin gave soft-spoken biologist E.O. Wilson, father of the sociobiology field, back in the 1970s. The word around Harvard Yard, at least among some students, was that Gould was arrogant. Still, his classes filled. In a touching letter to the New York Times on May 22, a student in Gould’s history of life class paid tribute, calling Gould’s teaching: “a tour de force that Harvard students may not see the likes of any time soon.”

My Two Cents

Will Rogers once said of an American president, “He puts his pants on one leg at a time,” meaning he’s only human. The question is, do we hold Gould’s personal failings so important that they distort the sum of his life in science and society? The answer is no. When all is said and done, Gould made a big difference. With the death of Carl Sagan in 1996, and now Stephen Jay Gould, science is much the poorer, given that so many of its practitioners shy away from making their work accessible to the public.

On the bright side, for the first time, more than 50% of Americans agree that humans evolved from simpler animals, according to a recent National Science Board survey. We still have great science popularizers, such as E.O. Wilson and Jared Diamond. And more have come out of the ivory closet, witness testimony and articles about biotechnology and cloning. Still, we’ll miss YOU, Steve.Barry A. Palevitz (palevitz@dogwood.botany.uga.edu) is a contributing editor.

1986: The internationally-acclaimed artist, Robert Rauschenberg, with paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould during the American Academy of Achievement’s 25th-anniversary Summit at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia; 1987: Awards Council member Dr. Stephen Jay Gould presents the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award to Dr. Jane Goodall at the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala ceremonies in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Stephen Jay Gould is the scholar I will look at today. In  the third video below in the 147th clip in this series are his words “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration” and I have responded directly to this quote in any earlier post.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Stephen Jay Gould (/ɡuːld/; September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologistevolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read authors of popular science of his generation.[1] Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1996, Gould was hired as the Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University, where he divided his time teaching there and at Harvard.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

(This is the reason I put the 3 minute song DUST IN THE WIND at the beginning of the audio cassette tape I sent to these atheists on May 15, 1994!!!)

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

_____________________________________

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

_

The first portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Stephen Jay Gould and next week I will have the second part.

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I mailed the following letter to Stephen Jay Gould.

Image result for carl sagan

Could you take 3 minutes and attempt to refute the nihilistic message of the song (DUST IN THE WIND) which appears at the beginning of the enclosed tape? Back in 1980 I watched the series COSMOS and on May 5, 1994 I again sat down to watch it again. In this letter today I will tell you of 3 GENTLEMEN who contemplated the world around them. The first one is an evolutionist by the name of Carl Sagan. Mr. Sagan is what I would call a humanist full of optimism.

Image result for king solomon

The second man also sought to contemplate the world around him and this man was King Solomon of Israel. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon limits himself to the question of human life lived “under the sun” between birth and death and what answers this would give (that is exactly what Mr. Sagan has done in COSMOS).It is this belief that life is only between birth and death that eventually causes Solomon to embrace nihilism. In the first few words of Ecclesiastes he observes the continual cycles of the earth and makes some very interesting conclusions”…to search for understanding about everything in the universe.”

Image result for francis schaeffer

The third man I want to mention is Francis Schaeffer who I believe was the greatest Christian philosopher of the 20th century. However, when he was a young agnostic many years ago he also had an experience similar to King Solomon’s when he contemplated the world and universe around him.contemplated the world and the universe around him.CARL SAGAN:”Our contemplations of the Cosmos stir us. There is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory of falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.”KING SOLOMON: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11;3:18-19 (Living Bible): 2 In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. 3-7 For what does a man get for all his hard work?Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.[b] The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere.* The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . .everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!—-What Solomon said ties into this following statement by evolutionist Douglas Futuyma – “Whether people are explicitly religious or not they tend to imagine that humans are in some sense the center of the universe. And what evolution does is to remove humans from the center of the universe. We are just one product of a very long historical process that has given rise to an enormous amount of organisms, and we are just one of them. So in one sense there is nothing special about us.”

Image result for douglas futuyma

———-FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

__________________PAGE 1 B

Solomon died 3000 years ago and Francis Schaeffer passed away on May 15, 1984  exactly 10 years ago.I firmly believe Solomon was correct when he said in Ecclesiastes 7:2 “It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and it is a good thing to think about it while there is time.”Suppose that you to learn that you only had just one year to live—the number of your days would be 365. What would you do with the precious few days that remained to you? With death stalking you, you would have little interest in trivial subjects and would instead be concerned with essentials. I know that is what I did when I was bed ridden in a hospital in Memphis at age 15. I was told that I may not live. My thoughts turned to spiritual things. Thank you for your time.Sincerely,Everette Hatcher III, P.O. Box 23426, Little Rock, AR 72221TIME MAGAZINE May 28, 1984:DIED, Francis Schaeffer, 72. Christian theologian and a leading scholar of evangelical Protestantism; of cancer; in Rochester, Minn. Schaeffer, a Philadelphia-born Presbyterian, and his wife in 1955 founded L’Abri (French for ‘the shelter’), a chalet in the Swiss Alps known among students and intellectuals for a reasoned rather than emotional approach to religious counseling. His 23 philosophical books include the bestseller How Should We Then Live? (1976).” (January 30, 1912-May 15, 1985)

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 2

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March 22, 2015 – 12:30 am

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

March 5, 2015 – 4:47 am

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February 26, 2015 – 4:57 am

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February 19, 2015 – 5:33 am

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

February 12, 2015 – 5:00 am

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

February 5, 2015 – 4:31 am

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 44 The Book of Genesis (Featured artist is Trey McCarley )

January 29, 2015 – 5:01 am

___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged Trey McCarley | Edit | Comments (0)

Music Monday MY LETTER TO Paul McCartney about the song SHE’S LEAVING HOME

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I have read over 40 autobiographies by ROCKERS and it seems to me that almost every one of those books can be reduced to 4 points. Once fame hit me then I became hooked on drugs. Next I became an alcoholic (or may have been hooked on both at same time). Thirdly, I chased the skirts and thought happiness would be found through more sex with more women. Finally, in my old age I have found being faithful to my wife and getting over addictions has led to happiness like I never knew before. (Almost every autobiography I have read from rockers has these points in it although Steven Tyler is still chasing the skirts!!). Paul was a playboy early on when with the Beatles but he settled down when he met Linda. Paul has not written an autobiography but I highly recommend the book PAUL MCCARTNEY: THE LIFE by Philip Norman. 

_

March 8, 2016

Paul McCartney

Dear Paul,

I was so pumped up to read this morning about you having a concert in Little Rock on April 30th and I plan to buy tickets and go see you in person and I thought I would never get to do that in my whole lifetime. I got a big kick out of taking my family to see Ringo at Orange Beach, Alabama on July 4th, 2012. It was a great show. In fact, I have been so focused on the Beatles in recent years that I have done over a year worth of weekly posts on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org ever Thursday entitled FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE and posts 49 to 101 have been about the Beatles with more to come. In fact, if you google the words FRANCIS SCHAEFFER BEATLES you the first 10 items that pop up will be links to my blog posts on Thursdays about the Beatles and what Francis Schaeffer had to say about them. 

Let me give you a taste of post #67 FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 64 THE BEATLES (Part P The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s song SHE’S LEAVING HOME according to Schaeffer!!!!) (Featured artist Stuart Sutcliffe) 

Melanie Coe ran away from home in 1967 when she was 15. Paul McCartney read about her in the papers and wrote ‘She’s Leaving Home’ for Sgt.Pepper’s. Melanie didn’t know Paul’s song was about her, but actually, the two did meet earlier, when Paul was the judge and Melanie a contestant in Ready Steady Go!

The subtitles are produced live for The One Show, so some seconds late and with a few mistakes.

Melanie at 17 in the picture that made the front pages in 1967 and inspired the Beatles.

Melanie’s first moment of fame, receiving a prize from Paul McCartney for miming to Brenda Lee on Ready Steady Go! in 1963

Melanie in 2008

She’s Leaving Home
The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper’s

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her hankerchief
Quietly turing the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free.
She (We gave her most of our lives)
is leaving (Sacraficed most of our lives)
home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years. Bye, bye
Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband
Daddy our baby’s gone.
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly
How could she do this to me.
She (We never though of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years. Bye, bye
Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the motor trade.
She What did we do that was wrong
Is having We didn’t know it was wrong
Fun Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years. Bye, Bye
She’s leaving home bye bye

Why is she leaving home? Francis Schaeffer noted on pages  15-17 in volume 4 of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF FRANCIS SCHAEFFER from the original book “The Church at the end of the 20th Century”  the reason she left and it was because of the bankruptcy of the materialistic views of her parents. Schaeffer points that for many years there was one message that the  media was promoting and that was since we now believe in the “UNIFORMITY OF NATURAL CAUSES IN A CLOSED SYSTEM we are left with only the impersonal plus time plus chance.” Schaeffer continued:What is taught is that there is no final truth,  no meaning, no absolutes, that it is only that we have not found truth and meaning, but that they do not exist. The student and the common man may not be able to analyze it, but day after day, day after day, they are being battered by this concept.  We have now had several generations exposed to this and we must not be blind to the fact that it is being excepted increasingly.In contrast, this way of thinking has not had as much influence on the middle class. Many of these keep thinking in the old way as a memory of the time before the Christian base was lost in this post-Christian world. However,  the majority in the middle-class have no real basis for their values since so many have given up the Christian viewpoint. They just function on the “memory.” This is why so many young people have felt that the middle class is ugly. They feel middle-class people are plastic,  ugly and plastic because they try to tell others what to do on the basis of their own values but with no ground for those values.They  have no base and they have no clear categories for their choices of right and wrong. Their choices tend to turn on what is for their material benefit. Take for example the fact faculty members who cheered when the student revolt struck against the administration  and who immediately began to howl when the students started to burn up faculty manuscripts. They have no categories to say this is right and that is wrong. Many such people still hang on to their old values by memory but they have no base for them at all. A few years ago John Gardner head of the urban coalition spoke in Washington to a group of student leaders. His topic was on restoring values in our culture. When he finished there was a dead silence then finally one man from Harvard stood up and in a moment of brilliance asked, “Sir upon what base do you build your values?” I have never felt more sorry for anybody in my life. He simply looked down and said, “I do not know.” I had spoken that same day about what I was writing in the first part of this book. It was almost too good an illustration of my lecture. Here was a man appealing to the young people for a return to values but he is offering nothing to build on.  man who was trying to tell his hearers not to drop out and yet giving no reason why they should not. Functioning only on a dim memory, these are the parents who have turned off their children when their children ask why and how. When their children crying out, “Yours is a plastic culture.” They are silent. We had the response so beautifully stated in the 1960s in the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s song “She is leaving home.”  “We gave her everything money could buy.” This is the only answer many parents can give.They are bothered about what they read in the newspapers concerning the way the country and the culture are going. When they read of the pornographic plays, see pornographic films on TV, they are distressed. They have a vague unhappiness about it, feel threatened by all of it and yet have no base upon which to found their judgments. And tragically such people are everywhere. They constitute the largest body in our culture-northern Europe, Britain, and also in America and other countries as well. They are a majority-what is called for a time the “silent majority”–but they are weak as water. They are people who like the old ways because they are pleasant memories, because they give what to them is a comfortable way to live but they have no basis for their values. Education for example is excepted and pressed upon their children as the only thinkable thing to pursue. Success  is starting the child at the earliest possible age and then within the least possible years he is obtaining a Masters or PhD degree. Yet if the child asks why?, the only answers are first because it gives social status and then because statistics show that if you have a university or college education you will make more money. There is no base for real values are even the why of a real education. ________ When you think about the song SHE’S LEAVING HOME, you must come to the conclusion that the Beatles knew exactly what was going through the young person’s mind in the 1960’s. No wonder in the video THE AGE OF NON-REASON (which is on You Tube under the title HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? EPISODE 7)  Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”

Actually the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

______________

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MUSIC MONDAY Rebecca St James

May 23, 2016 – 12:13 am

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MUSIC MONDAY “Foster the People” Cubbie Fink married to Rebecca St. James who is one of my favorite Christian singers!!!

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MUSIC MONDAY ‘Apple gave me advice’: Coldplay’s Chris Martin turned to 11-year-old daughter for words of wisdom ahead of Superbowl 50 By DAILYMAIL.COM REPORTER PUBLISHED: 00:58 EST, 2 February 2016

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MUSIC MONDAY Chris Martin, Lead Singer of Coldplay: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know Published 3:44 pm EDT, February 7, 2016

May 2, 2016 – 1:05 am

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 14

April 25, 2016 – 12:57 am

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 13

April 18, 2016 – 12:56 am

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 12

April 11, 2016 – 1:30 am

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MUSIC MONDAY Christian Rock Pioneer Larry Norman’s Songs Part 11

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The most extensive interview Milton Friedman ever gave on his economic views

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I had the district privilege to correspond with Milton Friedman and I have read about every book he has ever written and watched almost every interview he has ever given and it is my conclusion that this interview below from REASON MAGAZINE was the most extensive. I don’t agree with everything that has come out of Milton’s mouth, but I must say that he changed my outlook on life.  Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher were two of my heroes and I know that you can learn a great deal from their lives and their economic philosophies. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were both were influenced by Milton Friedman. I suggest checking out these episodes 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.

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Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman reminisces about his career as an economist and his lifetime “avocation” as a spokesman for freedom.

Brian Doherty from the June 1995 issue – view article in the Digital Edition

Milton Friedman needs little introduction. His career as one of the world’s preeminent economists and advocates of freedom has won him many accolades, best-selling books, and a Nobel Prize.

It has also brought him much satisfaction. Now, in what he is acutely conscious are probably the last years of his life, he and his wife and longtime writing partner Rose Friedman are working on their memoirs.

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I met Friedman in January in his elegant high-rise San Francisco condo, with an absorbing view of both the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. His study is filled, but not cluttered, with his own books and economics reference works. While some Great Men in his position in life might refuse nuisances like interviewers entirely, Friedman is friendly and mostly forthcoming, speaking with the slow assurance of a lifelong professor and teacher very comfortable with explaining things. He welcomed me cordially but with a distinct set of limits, both in time and in subject matter. He has a large project to finish, and not much time to finish it in; and he refuses to psychoanalyze himself, largely avoids indulging in discussion of personalities, and wants to save some stories for his memoirs.

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Friedman is used to discussing policy, but except for his assessment of the new Congress’s potential, we wandered far afield into reminiscence; assessment of his intellectual development; and his thoughts on the history, significance, and successes of the intellectual movement for freedom that he has served so staunchly.

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Reason: You’ve long advocated many of the ideas the new Congress is pushing, such as balanced budget amendments and flat taxes. Do you think Congress will make your dreams come true?

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Milton Friedman: I’m skeptical. The talk is good. But I expected so much out of the Reagan administration and was disappointed. I’m a great admirer of Ronald Reagan himself, and I suspect he would have gotten much more done if it hadn’t been for the Cold War and the problem of Nicaragua and El Salvador.

But nonetheless, there’s no doubt that while he talked about cutting down the size of government, he did not succeed. He did slow it down—you’ve got to give him credit for some achievements. But not the massive reduction that he hoped for and planned for. That makes me hesitant now.

Congress wants to talk in this direction. Would they really want to move in that direction? The most important reform would be term limits, six-year limits. Because from an economic point of view, one of the worst features of our system is that you have a new tax law every year or every two years. However bad the tax law is, if you didn’t change it for five years it would do less harm. Why do you keep changing it? Because that’s the most effective way to raise campaign funds. Lobbyists will pay you to put loopholes in; they will pay you to take them out.

If you can get a flat tax with no exemptions or deductions—the Armey plan I suppose would be fine—its main advantage would not be the greater equity of a flat tax or less interference in private incentives. It would be to end this business of changing the whole tax system every few years and keeping prosperous these hordes of tax lawyers.

Reason: You were involved in the development of the withholding tax when you were doing tax work for the government in 1941–43?

Friedman: I was an employee at the Treasury Department. We were in a wartime situation. How do you raise the enormous amount of taxes you need for wartime? We were all in favor of cutting inflation. I wasn’t as sophisticated about how to do it then as I would be now, but there’s no doubt that one of the ways to avoid inflation was to finance as large a fraction of current spending with tax money as possible.

In World War I, a very small fraction of the total war expenditure was financed by taxes, so we had a doubling of prices during the war and after the war. At the outbreak of World War II, the Treasury was determined not to make the same mistake again.

You could not do that during wartime or peacetime without withholding. And so people at the Treasury tax research department, where I was working, investigated various methods of withholding. I was one of the small technical group that worked on developing it.

One of the major opponents of the idea was the IRS. Because every organization knows that the only way you can do anything is the way they’ve always been doing it. This was something new, and they kept telling us how impossible it was. It was a very interesting and very challenging intellectual task. I played a significant role, no question about it, in introducing withholding. I think it’s a great mistake for peacetime, but in 1941–43, all of us were concentrating on the war.

I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.

Reason: You’ve also had some history of advising candidates and presidents. How did you get involved in the Goldwater campaign?

Friedman: Through Bill Baroody at the American Enterprise Institute. The American Enterprise Institute was originally the American Enterprise Association, and had established a board of academic advisers to advise them on their publications. I had been a member of that I think since its inception, and Baroody arranged sometime in the early ’60s a number of dinners at his house at which Goldwater was present. Baroody was the brain trust for Goldwater. I was also at some of those dinners, so I got to meet Goldwater. And then when the campaign came along, Baroody asked me to serve as economic adviser. I didn’t go on the campaign trail. I sat at home and wrote memos.

Reason: Were you impressed with Goldwater’s acumen?

Friedman: It depends on what you mean by acumen. There’s no doubt whatsoever that he’s a man of principle and strong character. His IQ is perfectly reasonable but it’s not outstanding among the various politicians I’ve met, and that shows why IQ is not a good measure. The highest IQ was Richard Nixon’s and he was a terrible president

While I was never a governmental official, I was a member of an economic advisory group that Nixon appointed of which Arthur Burns was chairman. I saw Nixon from time to time when he was president, until he imposed price controls. I saw him only once after that.

Reason: Did you stop giving him advice?

Friedman: I kept giving him advice from Newsweek, but not personally.

Reason: Do you have a clear memory of how your political philosophy formed? Was it any specific teacher you encountered, book you read, or experience?

Friedman: I’m sure it was a combination of all of those. I was exposed as an undergraduate at Rutgers to two very strong influences: Homer Jones, who was a student of Frank Knight’s from Chicago, and Arthur Burns. They both had a considerable influence on me as an undergraduate in my thinking and my writing.

But it would be hard to say what philosophy that left me with. One of the things I regretted all my life is that when I graduated from Rutgers and came home, I wrote out a statement of my beliefs. I put that away in a drawer somewhere in my mother’s home and I’ve never been able to find the damn thing! I’d love to have it! So I can’t really tell you what I believed at that time.

But obviously my ideas were not very well formed. I was an innocent youngster and what I was impressed by, of course, was the Great Depression, and the belief that somehow or another there ought to be something that can prevent any such thing from happening.

Thanks to Homer, I was offered a scholarship at the University of Chicago and I went to Chicago and studied with Frank Knight, Jacob Viner, Henry Schultz, and so on. The atmosphere in Chicago in 1932 was very lively and active and encouraging. Of course, I got a very good grounding in economic theory and statistics as well.

Next year, I managed to get a fellowship to Columbia. I spent a year at Columbia mainly to study with Harold Hotelling, who was a mathematical economist and statistician.

Then I went back to Chicago for one year and was a research assistant to Henry Schultz. There were a group of students in Chicago who were very, very important. George Stigler, Allen Wallis, Rose Director, and myself. We ate almost every lunch and dinner together. We spent all the time discussing economics, both economic theory and economic policy. And we were very close for the rest of our lives. George died about two years ago. Allen, I’m glad to say, is still alive.

In the 1930s, both Rose and I at separate times went to Washington and worked on the New Deal, but we were technical statisticians and economists, not anything that had any policy role.

Throughout my career, I spent most of my time on technical economics. This policy stuff has been a strict avocation. If you really want to engage in policy activity, don’t make that your vocation. Make it your avocation. Get a job. Get a secure base of income. Otherwise, you’re going to get corrupted and destroyed. How are you going to get support? You’re only going to get support from people who are ideologically motivated. And you’re not going to be as free as you think you’re going to be.

One of the most important things in my career is that I always had a major vocation which was not policy. I don’t regard what I’ve done in the field of monetary policy as on the same level as what I’ve done about trying to get rid of the draft or legalizing drugs. One is a technical byproduct of scientific work, and so that’s the only sense in which my vocation has affected my policy. But by having a good firm position in the academic world, I was perfectly free to be my own person in the world of policy. I didn’t have to worry about losing my job. I didn’t have to worry about being persecuted.

I think you’ll make a mistake if you’re going to spend your life as a policy wonk. I’ve seen some of my students who have done this. And some of them are fine, and some of them, especially those who have gone to Washington and stayed, are not.

Reason: How did you come to enter the world of policy writing?

Friedman: What really got me started in policy and what led to Capitalism and Freedom was, in an indirect way, the Mont Pelerin Society. The first Mont Pelerin Society meeting was in 1947 in Switzerland. Hayek arranged it. It was his idea.

Mont Pelerin was the first time that I came into contact with people like Hayek, Lionel Robbins, and the European contingent of that time. That widened my perspective about issues and policy.

The Mont Pelerin Society was people who were deeply concerned about issues. It was people with whom you shared a basic common belief, who at home were isolated. Its great contribution was that it provided a week when people like that could get together and open their hearts and minds and not have to worry about whether somebody was going to stick a knife in their back—especially for people in countries where they were isolated.

The reason the Society ever happened was that Hayek had written The Road to Serfdom, which attracted the attention of the Volker Foundation, and it was the Volker Foundation that financed the American participation in the Mont Pelerin Society. A Swiss group financed the Swiss and European participation.

In the middle ’50s, the Volker Foundation undertook a program of summer institutes for junior academics who were favorably inclined toward a free-market point of view or were interested in such issues. Capitalism and Freedom was based on a series of lectures that I gave at one of those seminars. Those seminars forced me to systematize my thoughts and present them in a coherent way. And they also provided a very good audience because the people who were there were lively, outspoken, didn’t hesitate to criticize. It was a very good audience. There was a lot of free time as well for discussions outside of the formal seminar. And I learned a great deal, not only from the students who were there, but also the fellow lecturers.

And then my wife, Rose, took the transcribed tapes of the lectures and reworked them and that’s what became Capitalism and Freedom.

Reason: Did you have any hesitation about publishing that book?

Friedman: None whatsoever. Why should I have had any hesitation? Remember, I was a tenured professor.

Another thing that helped form my policy orientation was when Hayek came to Chicago in 1950. He attracted quite a number of very able students, Sam Peltzman, Ron Hamowy, Ralph Raico, Shirley Letwin. There were quite a group of them. Hayek drew very high quality people. I was an adviser to their New Individualist Review and contributed articles to it. They were a very lively group that had organized discussion sessions and so on, which was part of the atmosphere.

I was persuaded at that time in the early 1960s that we were on the verge of developing a strong libertarian movement. These were libertarians, all of them, though Hayek would not have labeled himself a libertarian. As you know, he always avoided the termconservative, too. He would call himself an Old Whig. The others would have called themselves libertarians.

That’s how I was able to develop my own ideas. What shaped them was the interaction with all these other people at lunches and dinners and lectures.

Ayn Rand was receiving increasing attention at that time. I believed a big upsurge in the libertarian philosophy and views was pending. And to some extent it was. You had the Randian group, and the Murray Rothbard group. But the developing libertarian movement was repressed by the Vietnam War and what it led to. You’ve only got room for one big movement at a time.

Reason: Why do you think you had more initial success as a public proselytizer—you had a regular column inNewsweek—than other prominent libertarians?

Friedman: I really don’t know how to answer that. I was basically trained in economic science. I was interested in the history of thought and where it came from. I thought I was going back to some fundamentals rather than creating anything new. Ayn Rand had no use for the past. She was going to invent the world anew. She was an utterly intolerant and dogmatic person who did a great deal of good. But I could never feel comfortable with her. I don’t mean with her personally—I never met her personally. I’m only talking about her writings.

Rothbard was a very different character. I had some contact with Murray early on, but very little contact with him overall. That’s primarily because I deliberately kept from getting involved in the Libertarian Party affairs; partly because I always thought Murray, like Rand, was a cult builder, and a dogmatist. Partly because whenever he’s had the chance he’s been nasty to me and my work. I don’t mind that but I didn’t have to mix with him. And so there is no ideological reason why I kept separate from him, really a personal reason.

Reason: In seeing yourself as harkening back to 19th-century liberalism, you never became a system-builder like Rand or Rothbard….

Friedman: Exactly. I’d rather use the term liberal than libertarian.

Reason: I see you occasionally use the word libertarian.

Friedman: Oh, I do.

Reason: As a concession to accepted usage?

Friedman: That’s right. Because now liberal is so misinterpreted. So I am a Republican with a capital “r” and a libertarian with a small “l.” I have a party membership as a Republican, not because they have any principles, but because that’s the way I am the most useful and have most influence. My philosophy is clearly libertarian.

However, libertarian is not a self-defining term. There are many varieties of libertarians. There’s a zero-government libertarian, an anarchist. There’s a limited-government libertarianism. They share a lot in terms of their fundamental values. If you trace them to their ultimate roots, they are different. It doesn’t matter in practice, because we both want to work in the same direction.

I would like to be a zero-government libertarian.

Reason: Why aren’t you?

Friedman: Because I don’t think it’s a feasible social structure. I look over history, and outside of perhaps Iceland, where else can you find any historical examples of that kind of a system developing?

Reason: One could argue the same thing about minimal-state libertarianism: that historically it seems to not be stable.

Friedman: I agree. I wrote an article once arguing that a free society is an unstable equilibrium. Fundamentally, I’m of the opinion that it is. Though we want to try to keep that unstable equilibrium as long as we can! The United States from 1780 to 1929 is not a bad example of a limited-government libertarianism that lasted for a long time.

Reason: Is feeling like part of a larger movement important to you? Would you have been able to do the work you did had you not felt part of a community of like-minded scholars?

Friedman: I’ve been very fortunate in being part of two communities of scholars: the community of economists on the one hand, and the community of libertarians on the other. And that combination has been very productive so far as I’m concerned, but I can’t really tell you why. One thing is that it’s very hard for somebody on his own to be sure that he’s thought of all the angles. Discussion among people helps an enormous amount. And particularly able, good people.

If you have a person isolated in an environment unfriendly to his ideas and thoughts, he tends to turn bitter and self-directed. But the same person with three or four other people around—it doesn’t have to be a lot of people—will be in a wholly different position since he will receive support from the others.

You remind me of one incident where in a sense the two worlds interacted. Back in the 1960s, my daughter was an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr, and I was invited by Haverford, I think it was, to spend three days giving talks on mathematical economics. Absolutely no policy involved, pure mathematical economics. And because my daughter was at Bryn Mawr, I agreed.

After I had agreed, they asked if I would also be willing to give a chapel talk on political matters. I said sure and I gave a title, something having to do with freedom. Then I discovered that chapel at Haverford was compulsory. I wrote to the president and said that I was very much disturbed at giving a talk on freedom to a compulsory audience.

When it was time to go to the chapel, I asked the president, “How do they count attendance?” And he said, “At the beginning of the hour there are people going around in the balcony and looking down. Everybody has an assigned seat, and they count.”

When I got up to talk, I spoke up to the people in the balcony and said that those who were counting attendance, please let me know when they’re through because I don’t like the idea of speaking about freedom to a compulsory audience. I’m going to sit down and give the people who want to leave the chance to leave. And I did. Now, the students hadn’t really thought that I was going to do it and when I did, about one or two people got up to leave and the rest of them booed them because obviously, I was talking on their level. As a result, I’ve seldom had a student audience who were so completely on my side as that group, even though the political atmosphere at Haverford was very much to the left. That’s one of the greatest coups I’ve ever had as a public speaker.

Reason: Do you think you’ve become more radically libertarian in your political views over the years?

Friedman: The difference between me and people like Murray Rothbard is that, though I want to know what my ideal is, I think I also have to be willing to discuss changes that are less than ideal so long as they point me in that direction. So while I’d like to abolish the Fed, I’ve written many pages on how the Fed, if it does exist, should be run.

Murray used to berate me for my stand on education vouchers. I would like to see the government out of the education business entirely. In that area, I have become more extreme, not because of any change of philosophy, but because of a change in my knowledge of the factual situation and history.

I used to argue that I could justify compulsory schooling on the ground of external effects. But then I discovered from work that E.G. West and others did, that before compulsory schooling something over 90 percent of people got schooled. The big distinction you have to make is between marginal benefit and average benefit. The marginal benefit from having 91 percent of people in school rather than 90 percent does not justify making it compulsory. But if in the absence of compulsory education, only 50 percent would be literate, then I can regard it as appropriate.

Some issues are open and shut. Tariffs, property rights. No, not property rights, because you have to define property rights. But education is not open and shut. In Capitalism and Freedom we came out on the side of favoring compulsory schooling and in Free To Choose we came out against it. So I have become more radical in that sense. Murray used to call me a statist because I was willing to have government money involved. But I see the voucher as a step in moving away from a government system to a private system. Now maybe I’m wrong, maybe it wouldn’t have that effect, but that’s the reason I favor it.

Reason: Would you agree with the proposition that you have been the most successful and important proselytizer for libertarianism?

Friedman: I don’t think that I’ve had the most influence. I think the most influential person was Hayek. The effect of The Road to Serfdom was really critical. In another area, Bill Buckley has certainly been very important on national policy.

Buckley’s not a libertarian. But he’s also not a socialist. And if you look at the political scene, his National Review has had a tremendous influence in providing a base for collaboration between the libertarians on the one side and the free-market conservatives on the other. That was epitomized in its most obvious form by Frank Meyer when he was with National Review. They’ve helped that coalition to form and hold together and have influence; Bill Buckley played an enormously important role.

I might have more public influence than ideologues like Rand or Murray Rothbard, the libertarians in that strict sense. And I believe that the reason is because they have been so intolerant.

Reason: You wrote an essay in Liberty about the intolerance of Rand and Ludwig von Mises. You say you never met Rand….

Friedman: I was never to my knowledge in the same place as she was; I was in Chicago, she was in New York. I’m sure if I had been in New York, I would have met her. It was not because of any objection on my part. I think she was a fascinating woman and had a great influence. As I always have said, she had an extremely good influence on all those who did not become Randians. But if they became Randians, they were hopeless.

Reason: But you knew Mises personally. Did you see the intolerance that you find in his method also in his personal behavior?

Friedman: No question. The story I remember best happened at the initial Mont Pelerin meeting when he got up and said, “You’re all a bunch of socialists.” We were discussing the distribution of income, and whether you should have progressive income taxes. Some of the people there were expressing the view that there could be a justification for it.

Another occasion which is equally telling: Fritz Machlup was a student of Mises’s, one of his most faithful disciples. At one of the Mont Pelerin meetings, Fritz gave a talk in which I think he questioned the idea of a gold standard; he came out in favor of floating exchange rates. Mises was so mad he wouldn’t speak to him for three years. Some people had to come around and bring them together again. It’s hard to understand; you can get some understanding of it by taking into account how people like Mises were persecuted in their lives.

Reason: You don’t link yourself openly to certain aspects of the libertarian political movement….

Friedman: Well, you have to be more specific. Being very specific, I have not wanted to join the Libertarian Party simply because I have accumulated good working relationships with people in the Republican Party, and I think I can be more effective by being a Republican. That’s the only reason. There are no other cases in which I have had any problem with the libertarian movement.

Reason: You certainly have a respectability and presence that most people and organizations labeled libertarian don’t have….

Friedman: That’s because of one thing only: I won the Nobel Prize. What, are you kidding yourself?

Reason: Your status preceded your winning the Nobel.

Friedman: I did have some of it, yes. It’s because I have a firm root in something other than ideology. Because I was firmly based in a scientific academic discipline. I wasn’t simply a preacher or an ideologue or an unconnected philosopher.

But I think the libertarian movement is doing fine. I think that REASON magazine has been remarkably good; it has been very effective. It takes many kinds of people to make a movement. And one of the most important things are publications. In any activity you have manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers; and all three are essential and necessary. There are only a relatively small number of manufacturers of ideas. But there can be a very large number of wholesalers and retailers.

As I look around me I’m impressed by the fact that there’s increasing attention paid to libertarian ideas. If you look at the picture now, compared with 30 years ago, there’s no comparison. Now you’ve got much more. As far as journals are concerned, then we had the Foundation for Economic Education’s Freeman; for a while we had the New Individualist Review in Chicago, but that was about it. Bill Buckley established National Review, which is in a different corner.

(Page 6 of 7)

But look at the situation today. You have REASON magazine, you have Liberty magazine. You’ve got all of this stuff that spouts out from the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a half dozen other think tanks. In fact, I think there are too damn many think tanks now.

Reason: Why do you say there are too many?

Friedman: You don’t have the talent for it.

Reason: Do you consider yourself in the libertarian mainstream on foreign policy issues?

Friedman: I don’t believe that the libertarian philosophy dictates a foreign policy. In particular I don’t think you can derive isolationism from libertarianism. I’m anti-interventionist, but I’m not an isolationist. I don’t believe we ought to go without armaments. I’m sure we spend more money on armaments than we need to; that’s a different question.

I don’t believe that you can derive from libertarian views the notion that a nation has to bare itself to the outside without defense, or that a strong volunteer force would arise and defend the nation.

Reason: What did you think about the Gulf War?

Friedman: I always had misgivings about the Gulf War, but I never came to a firm decision. It was more nearly justified than other recent foreign interventions, and yet I was persuaded that the major argument used to support it was fallacious.

After all, if Iraq took over the oil, it would have to do something with it. If they don’t want to eat it, they’d have to sell it. I don’t think the price of oil would have been much affected. The more important consideration was the balance of power with Iran and Iraq. I have mixed feelings about that war; I wouldn’t be willing to write a brief on either side.

Reason: What would you regard as your most important accomplishment?

Friedman: It depends on what you mean. I wrote an essay on methodology in 1953. It was published in my book Essays on Positive Economics. I had been working on it for years before that, so it goes way back to the middle ’40s. It started to generate a lot of comments, but I decided I would rather do economics than talk about how economics are done. So I made a distinct point of not replying to any criticism of that essay. And I think that’s why it’s so commented on.

That methodology article has probably been reprinted more often and referred to more often than anything else I’ve written, though I would by no means regard it as the most important thing I’ve ever done.

In terms of sheer technical quality there’s no doubt in my mind that the best thing I ever did was The Theory of the Consumption Function which, from a scientific point of view, is a carry on from the methodology article. I regard the theory of the consumption function as a demonstration of applying the methodology I explained there. But also it has a neatness about it and a specific theorem which has generated an enormous amount of work since then. When things like that originally come out, the status quo says, “Oh, that’s a bunch of nonsense, we can’t possibly work with that,” but give it time. And by now it’s part of conventional economics.

In the realm of policy, I regard eliminating the draft as my most important accomplishment.

Reason: Have you retired from economics?

Friedman: Well, not from economics, but from that kind of work. There’s been a tremendous advance in specialization in economics, particularly in the econometrics area. I was just looking at recent working papers published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. These are clearly built on work of mine, going back to the 1970s. But there’s been a new development in econometrics that I haven’t kept up with. The techniques they’ve adopted here are all different from ours. I’m not an expert in them anymore; I really couldn’t deal with this material on the level on which they are dealing with it, although I can understand the thrust of what they’re doing.

I’m not making any pretense of trying to do any more basic, fundamental economics work. I believe that almost all important contributions of a scientist are made in the first 10 years after he enters the discipline. Not the first 10 years of his professional life; he may shift from one discipline to another. And I’ve been impressed as I’ve been going over my memoirs, that my basic contributions all have their roots in the early years of my work. I was reading over some preliminary professional papers in the 1950s, and I could see there the whole future of the next 30 years of work that I did; it was all outlined in there.

You add things to it, you change it, but the fundamental ideas come early. The 1940s–’60s was when I did my most important economic work, even though it wasn’t all published then.

(Page 7 of 7)

Reason: I read an article recently in the Washington Monthly that repeated all the silly ideas about inflation that you’ve been fighting your whole career. Are battles like this ever won?

Friedman: No. All battles are perpetual. You go back in the literature of economics, and you’ll find the same kind of silly statements 100 years ago, 200 years ago. And you’ll find the same sensible statements the other way.

Reason: Are those kind of mistakes still made among professional economists?

Friedman: If you look at the views of the profession as a whole, no. There’s a great deal of agreement among economists, contrary to what people may think. You won’t find much difference of opinion on the proposition that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs. You won’t find much difference of opinion on the desirability of free trade. And you won’t find any difference of opinion on the idea that you cannot have inflation without monetary expansion. There’s no doubt that there’s very widespread agreement about those simple ideas.

Reason: How do you make that consensus spread to the general public?

Friedman: You just have to keep on trying to do it. There’s no short cut. There’s no way in which you’re going to end the discussion, because new generations arise; every group has the same crazy ideas. I get a great many letters from people who think that the way to solve budget problems and fiscal problems is to simply print money and pay off the debt. And there’s almost no way of making those people realize just what a bunch of nonsense that is.

I’m inclined to think that there’s no field so rife with cranks as currency and money, but I’m sure there are other fields that are just as bad. I’m just ignorant of them.


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Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

What were the main proposals of Milton Friedman?

February 21, 2013 – 1:01 am

Stearns Speaks on House Floor in Support of Balanced Budget Amendment Uploaded by RepCliffStearns on Nov 18, 2011 Speaking on House floor in support of Balanced Budget Resolution, 11/18/2011 ___________ Below are some of the main proposals of Milton Friedman. I highly respected his work. David J. Theroux said this about Milton Friedman’s view concerning […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton FriedmanPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (1)

Defending Milton Friedman

July 31, 2012 – 6:45 am

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]



FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman on Phil Donahue Show

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Milton Friedman

Biography: 

Click here to see the Hoover project showcasing the works of Milton and Rose Friedman.

Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science, was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006. He passed away on Nov. 16, 2006. (Link to obituary.) He was also the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976, and a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year.

He was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are (with Rose D. Friedman) Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Bright Promises, Dismal Performance (Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1983), which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; (with Rose D. Friedman) Free to Choose (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), which complements a ten-part television series of the same name shown over the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network in early 1980; and (with Rose D. Friedman) Tyranny of the Status Quo (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), which complements a three-part television series of the same name, shown over PBS in early 1984.

He was a member of the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force and the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. He was a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board (a group of experts from outside the government named in 1981 by President Reagan).

Friedman was also active in public affairs, serving as an informal economic adviser to Senator Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1964, to Richard Nixon in his successful 1968 campaign, to President Nixon subsequently, and to Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign.

He has published many books and articles, most notably A Theory of the Consumption Function, The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays, and (with A. J. Schwartz) A Monetary History of the United States, Monetary Statistics of the United States, and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom.

He was a past president of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association, and the Mont Pelerin Society and was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded honorary degrees by universities in the United States, Japan, Israel, and Guatemala, as well as the Grand Cordon of the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in 1986.

Friedman received a B.A. in 1932 from Rutgers University, an M.A. in 1933 from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1946 from Columbia University.

Two Lucky People, his and Rose D. Friedman’s memoirs, was published in 1998 by the University of Chicago Press.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EwaLys3Zak

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“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

June 21, 2012 – 7:39 am

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5 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 […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Tagged arnold schwarzenegger. | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 3 of 7)

December 30, 2011 – 12:12 am

Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside is the largest horde of gold in the world. Because the world was on a gold standard in 1929, these vaults, where the U.S. gold was stored, […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (Part 16) (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 2 of 7)

December 23, 2011 – 12:07 am

  George Eccles: Well, then we called all our employees together. And we told them to be at the bank at their place at 8:00 a.m. and just act as if nothing was happening, just have a smile on their face, if they could, and me too. And we have four savings windows and we […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1of 7)

December 16, 2011 – 12:04 am

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1 FREE TO CHOOSE: Anatomy of Crisis Friedman Delancy Street in New York’s lower east side, hardly one of the city’s best known sites, yet what happened in this street nearly 50 years ago continues to effect all of us today. […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

November 18, 2011 – 7:08 am

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 3 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: If it […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Vouchers | Tagged economic market.educational marketprivate universitiesstate collegesvalue of education | Edit | Comments (0)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

November 11, 2011 – 12:50 am

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 2 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Groups of concerned parents and teachers decided to do something about it. They used private funds to take over empty stores and they […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Vouchers | Edit | Comments (1)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

November 4, 2011 – 12:01 am

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 1 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Friedman: These youngsters are beginning another day at one of America’s public schools, Hyde Park High School in Boston. What happens when […]

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

September 30, 2011 – 7:46 am

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Tagged containment devicesequality of outcomeoil spillyoutube | Edit | Comments (0)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

September 30, 2011 – 7:41 am

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Tagged equality of outcomemenuhin schoolnew millionairesworld war ii | Edit | Comments (0)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

September 20, 2011 – 11:58 am

 Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan Liberals like President Obama (and John Brummett) want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in John BrummettMilton FriedmanRonald Reagan | Tagged dr friedmanequality of opportunityequality of outcomefreedom advocatespersonal freedom. | Edit | Comments (0)

Milton Friedman Friday: (“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 3 of 7)

September 23, 2011 – 12:11 am

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 3 OF 7 Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside […]

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Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 2 of 7)

September 16, 2011 – 12:10 am

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Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7)

September 9, 2011 – 12:09 am

Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7) Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave Abstract: Since the Depression years of the 1930s, there has been almost continuous expansion of governmental efforts to provide for people’s welfare. First, there was a tremendous expansion of public works. The Social Security Act […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 3 of 7)

February 17, 2012 – 12:12 am

  _________________________   Pt3  Nowadays there’s a considerable amount of traffic at this border. People cross a little more freely than they use to. Many people from Hong Kong trade in China and the market has helped bring the two countries closer together, but the barriers between them are still very real. On this side […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current EventsMilton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

February 10, 2012 – 12:09 am

  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 […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current EventsMilton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

February 3, 2012 – 12:07 am

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

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“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton FriedmanPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (1)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 248 Aldous Huxley and the rock band Jefferson Airplane (Featured artist is Rashid Johnson)


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In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

The man who followed on from that point was English–Aldous Huxley (1894-1963). He proposed drugs as a solution. We should, he said, give healthy people drugs and they can then find truth inside their own heads. All that was left for Aldous Huxley and those who followed him was truth inside a person’s own head. With Huxley’s idea, what began with the existential philosophers – man’s individual subjectivity attempting to give order as well as meaning, in contrast to order being shaped by what is objective or external to oneself – came to its logical conclusion. Truth is in one’s own head. The ideal of objective truth was gone.

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This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?,

Consider, too, the threat in the entire Middle East from the power of Assyria. In 853 B.C. King Shalmaneser III of Assyria came west from the region of the Euphrates River, only to be successfully repulsed by a determined alliance of all the states in that area of the Battle of Qarqar. Shalmaneser’s record gives details of the alliance. In these he includes Ahab, who he tells us put 2000 chariots and 10,000 infantry into the battle. However, after Ahab’s death, Samaria was no longer strong enough to retain control, and Moab under King Mesha declared its independence, as II Kings 3:4,5 makes clear:

Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

The famous Moabite (Mesha) Stone, now in the Louvre, bears an inscription which testifies to Mesha’s reality and of his success in throwing off the yoke of Israel. This is an inscribed black basalt stela, about four feet high, two feet wide, and several inches thick.

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Ahab’s line did not last long and was brutally overthrown by a man called Jehu. As one walks toward the Assyrian section in the British Museum, one of the first exhibits to be seen is the famous Black Obelisk. This stands about six feet high and was discovered at Nimrud (Calah) near the Assyrian capital at Nineveh. It describes how King Shalmeneser III compelled Jehu to submit to his authority and to pay him tribute. Here one can see a representation of the kneeling figure of either Jehu or his envoy before the Assyrian king. The inscription tells of Jehu’s submission: “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king and purukhti fruits.”

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Jehu is referred to by the Assyrian records as a son of Omri, not because he was literally his son, but because he was on the throne which had been occupied previously by the house of Omri. This event took place about 841 B.C.

Putting them all together, these archaeological records show not only the existence historically of the people and events recorded in the Bible but the great accuracy of the details involved.


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Featured artist is Rashid Johnson

Rashid Johnson

Rashid Johnson was born in 1977 in Chicago, Illinois, and lives and works in New York. Johnson, who got his start as a photographer, works across media—including video, sculpture, painting, and installation—using a wide variety of materials to address issues of African American identity and history.

Invested in the artistic practices of both conceptualism and abstraction, his influences include literary figures such as Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright as well as artists such as Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, and Alma Thomas. Johnson’s installations frequently include shea butter and black soap, materials that were present throughout his childhood and that carry a particular significance within Afrocentric communities.

For Johnson’s 2015 Anxious Men exhibition at the Drawing Center he took a more direct political approach than in the past, while returning to the portraiture that initiated his art practice.

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 53 THE BEATLES (Part E, Stg. Pepper’s and John Lennon’s search in 1967 for truth was through drugs, money, laughter, etc & similar to King Solomon’s, LOTS OF PICTURES OF JOHN AND CYNTHIA) (Feature on artist Yoko Ono)

The John Lennon and the Beatles really were on a long search for meaning and fulfillment in their lives  just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon looked into learning (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). He fount that without God in the picture all […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

__________________   Beatles 1966 Last interview I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

_______________ The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 5 (This video discusses Stg. Pepper’s creation I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 48 “BLOW UP” by Michelangelo Antonioni makes Philosophic Statement (Feature on artist Nancy Holt)

_______________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: _____________________ I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” How Should […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 47 Woody Allen and Professor Levy and the death of “Optimistic Humanism” from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Plus Charles Darwin’s comments too!!! (Feature on artist Rodney Graham)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 ___________________________________ Today I will answer the simple question: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? This question has been around for a long time and you can go back to the 19th century and read this same […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

____________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: __________ Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years 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 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL] ___________ _______________ How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer 10 Worldview and Truth Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 Francis Schaeffer […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 44 The Book of Genesis (Featured artist is Trey McCarley )

___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY Top 50 Woody Allen Movies

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I think CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS should be higher on the list.

Top 50 Woody Allen Movies

by nimdude | created – 11 months ago | updated – 2 months ago | Public

According to me of courseRefine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven’t rated, etcSort by: 
 List Order Popularity Alphabetical IMDb Rating Number of Votes Release Date Runtime Date Added       View: 
  50 titles

Stardust Memories

1. Stardust Memories (1980)

PG | 89 min | Comedy, Drama 7.4  Rate

While attending a retrospective of his work, a filmmaker recalls his life and his loves: the inspirations for his films.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenCharlotte RamplingJessica HarperMarie-Christine Barrault

Votes: 19,138 | Gross: $10.39MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

I adore the Felliniesqueness . Retrospective dreamlike style made me swoon. Director directing a movie about director directing movies. Not only that, but also directory trying to find meaning in his art. “Ozymandias Melancholia”. I’m sold. Beautiful. 10/10

The Purple Rose of Cairo

2. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

PG | 82 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance 7.7  Rate 75 Metascore

In New Jersey in 1935, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia FarrowJeff DanielsDanny AielloIrving Metzman

Votes: 42,147 | Gross: $10.63MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

The main characters love for movies and using movies as an escape from reality is what made this movie shine for me. The adorable characters and story do a huge job in elevating this movie to masterpiece proportions. 9.9/10

Midnight in Paris

3. Midnight in Paris (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance 7.7  Rate 81 Metascore

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Owen WilsonRachel McAdamsKathy Bates,Kurt Fuller

Votes: 348,603 | Gross: $56.82MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Wow! One of the best ideas for a story I’ve heard in a while. Adore the nostalgia factor, love Owen, love the story. The music is perfection in and of itself. A modern masterpiece 9.8/10

Manhattan

4. Manhattan (1979)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 8  Rate 83 Metascore

The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend’s mistress.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonMariel HemingwayMichael Murphy

Votes: 119,446 | Gross: $45.70MWatch Now 
From $0.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Beautiful, gorgeous, nostalgic. A love letter to the city Woody grew up in. The cinematography, acting and the script are stellar. Woody Allen at his finest. 9.8/10

Annie Hall

5. Annie Hall (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance 8  Rate 92 Metascore

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonTony Roberts,Carol Kane

Votes: 232,403 | Gross: $39.20MWatch Now 
From $0.99 (HD) on Prime Video

The most Woody that Woody can get. Best romantic comedy ever made. The sheer individuality and originality of the characters is enough for this movie to become an instant classic. 9.8/10

Hannah and Her Sisters

6. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama 7.9  Rate 90 Metascore

Between two Thanksgivings two years apart, Hannah’s husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her hypochondriac ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her sister Holly.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia FarrowDianne WiestMichael Caine,Barbara Hershey

Votes: 60,503 | Gross: $40.08MWatch Now 
From $0.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Amazingly written story and realistically written characters. Probably writing – wise the most quality Allen film. 9.7/10

Radio Days

7. Radio Days (1987)

PG | 88 min | Comedy 7.6  Rate 74 Metascore

A nostalgic look at radio’s golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia FarrowDianne WiestMike StarrPaul Herman

Votes: 28,176 | Gross: $14.79MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Pure biographic nostalgia. Funny, sweet and just a pleasure to watch. 9.6/10

Love and Death

8. Love and Death (1975)

PG | 85 min | Comedy, War 7.8  Rate 89 Metascore

In czarist Russia, a neurotic soldier and his distant cousin formulate a plot to assassinate Napoleon.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonGeorges Adet,Frank Adu

Votes: 32,209Watch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

The most humorous Allen movie I have seen. Had a sort of Python feel to it. Made me laugh constantly. Slapstick at its finest mixed with Allen’s usual fears and revelations. 9.5/10

Zelig

9. Zelig (1983)

PG | 79 min | Comedy 7.8  Rate

“Documentary” about a man who can look and act like whoever he’s around, and meets various famous people.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMia FarrowPatrick HorganJohn Buckwalter

Votes: 36,489 | Gross: $11.80MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Woody Allen critiquing people without a personality. The documentary style and the humor in the film make this movie his most unique. 9.6/10

Deconstructing Harry

10. Deconstructing Harry (1997)

R | 96 min | Comedy 7.4  Rate 61 Metascore

Suffering from writer’s block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenJudy DavisJulia Louis-Dreyfus,Stephanie Roth Haberle

Votes: 39,322 | Gross: $10.57MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Insanely meta, raunchy, and clever. Woody Allen writes about characters that resemble him and those characters write characters that resemble the characters that Woody Allen wrote. I’ll say nothing further. 9.4/10

Play It Again, Sam

11. Play It Again, Sam (1972)

PG | 85 min | Comedy, Romance 7.7  Rate

A neurotic film critic obsessed with the movie Casablanca (1942) attempts to get over his wife leaving him by dating again with the help of a married couple and his illusory idol, Humphrey Bogart.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonTony Roberts,Jerry Lacy

Votes: 22,539Watch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Not directed by Allen, but his writing and his “acting” are pitch perfect in this film. Hilarious and also a career best performance by Allen. 9.4/10

Husbands and Wives

12. Husbands and Wives (1992)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 7.6  Rate

When their best friends announce that they’re separating, a professor and his wife discover the faults in their own marriage.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMia FarrowSydney Pollack,Judy Davis

Votes: 24,555 | Gross: $10.56MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Woody’s take on marriage with realistic conversations. Very very quality. 9.3/10

Manhattan Murder Mystery

13. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Mystery 7.4  Rate

A middle-aged couple suspects foul play when their neighbor’s wife suddenly drops dead.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonJerry AdlerLynn Cohen

Votes: 33,207 | Gross: $11.29MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Great story, great twists, funny Woody, ditsy Keaton. Highly enjoyable. 9.1/10

Match Point

14. Match Point (2005)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller 7.6  Rate 72 Metascore

At a turning point in his life, a former tennis pro falls for an actress who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Scarlett JohanssonJonathan Rhys Meyers,Emily MortimerMatthew Goode

Votes: 187,817 | Gross: $23.09MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Intense and way more serious than other Allen films. Still quality and quite thrilling. 9.0/10

Another Woman

15. Another Woman (1988)

PG | 81 min | Drama 7.4  Rate

Facing a mid-life crisis, a woman rents an apartment next to a psychiatrist’s office to write a new book, only to become drawn to the plight of a pregnant woman seeking that doctor’s help.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Gena RowlandsMia FarrowIan HolmBlythe Danner

Votes: 11,595 | Gross: $1.56MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Fantastic Bergmanesque drama. Practically perfect writing and definitely perfect performances. 9.0/10

Crimes and Misdemeanors

16. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama 8  Rate 77 Metascore

An ophthalmologist’s mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Martin LandauWoody AllenBill Bernstein,Claire Bloom

Votes: 49,216 | Gross: $18.25MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Another great story, more quality writing and great acting. 9.0/10

Irrational Man

17. Irrational Man (2015)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama 6.6  Rate 53 Metascore

A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Joaquin PhoenixEmma StoneParker Posey,Joe Stapleton

Votes: 48,658 | Gross: $4.03MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Interesting story, brilliant performances, realistic dialogue. Intriguing premise and of course, the always perfect Emma Stone 9.0

Take the Money and Run

18. Take the Money and Run (1969)

M | 85 min | Comedy, Crime 7.3  Rate 67 Metascore

The life and times of Virgil Starkwell, inept bank robber.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenJanet MargolinMarcel Hillaire,Jacquelyn Hyde

Votes: 25,678On Disc 
at Amazon

Fantastic slapstic, the start of it all. 9.0

Blue Jasmine

19. Blue Jasmine (2013)

PG-13 | 98 min | Drama 7.3  Rate 78 Metascore

A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love…

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Cate BlanchettAlec BaldwinPeter SarsgaardSally Hawkins

Votes: 175,811 | Gross: $33.41MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Blanchett’s career-best performance, witty writing, stellar casting and all around quality 8.9

Broadway Danny Rose

20. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

PG | 84 min | Comedy 7.5  Rate 80 Metascore

In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMia FarrowNick Apollo Forte,Sandy Baron

Votes: 21,422 | Gross: $10.60MOn Disc 
at Amazon

A quaint comedy with a gangster theme that works way too well, almost didn’t recognize Mia in the film 8.8

Bullets Over Broadway

21. Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Crime 7.5  Rate

In New York in 1928, a struggling playwright is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: John CusackDianne WiestJennifer Tilly,Chazz Palminteri

Votes: 32,705 | Gross: $13.38MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Cusack is perfectly cast as the Woody role, another gangster story that moves the story forward, full of artsy intellectualism 8.6

Sleeper

22. Sleeper (1973)

PG | 89 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi 7.3  Rate 77 Metascore

A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenDiane KeatonJohn BeckMary Gregory

Votes: 37,120On Disc 
at Amazon

The Woody Allen movie that surprised me the most, its Blade Runner mixed with everything Woody – Hilarious 8.4

Magic in the Moonlight

23. Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance 6.6  Rate 54 Metascore

A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Colin FirthEmma StoneMarcia Gay Harden,Hamish Linklater

Votes: 57,801 | Gross: $10.51MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

This movie is very underrated. It isn’t perfect but it has everything that makes a good movie. Emma and Colin work well as the awkward huge age difference couple backed up by a fantastically cute “magical” story 8.2

The Front

24. The Front (1976)

PG | 95 min | Drama 7.4  Rate

In 1953, a cashier poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: Woody AllenZero MostelHerschel Bernardi,Michael Murphy

Votes: 7,310Watch Now 
From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Not directed or written by Woody but I’ll still included. Underrated. Very good story, great acting and fun writing. 8.2

New York Stories

25. New York Stories (1989)

PG | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 6.4  Rate

A middle-aged artist obsessed with his pretty young assistant, a precocious 12 year old living in a hotel, and a neurotic lawyer with a possessive mother make up three Gotham tales.

Directors: Woody AllenFrancis Ford CoppolaMartin Scorsese | Stars:Woody AllenNick NolteRosanna ArquetteMarvin Chatinover

Votes: 15,444 | Gross: $10.76MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Woody – 8.2, Scorsese – 8.0, Coppola – 5.2 Woody’s story is absolutely hilarious.

Interiors

26. Interiors (1978)

PG | 92 min | Drama 7.5  Rate 67 Metascore

Three sisters find their lives spinning out of control in the wake of their parents’ sudden, unexpected divorce.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Diane KeatonGeraldine PageKristin Griffith,Mary Beth Hurt

Votes: 16,353Watch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Dark and gritty Woody. Not what I’m used to but the take on a broken family was done really well and it went way deeper than I thought it would. Keaton was, as always, phenomenal. 8.1

Melinda and Melinda

27. Melinda and Melinda (2004)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 6.5  Rate 54 Metascore

Two alternating stories, one comedy and the other tragedy, about Melinda’s attempts to straighten out her life.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Will FerrellVinessa ShawChiwetel Ejiofor,Wallace Shawn

Votes: 29,484 | Gross: $3.83MWatch Now 
From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

The way this story is formed made it all the better. Comedians think about stuff. Wonderful 8.0

Alice

28. Alice (1990)

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Romance 6.6  Rate 67 Metascore

A spoiled Manhattan housewife re-evaluates her life after visiting a Chinatown healer.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia FarrowWilliam HurtJoe MantegnaJune Squibb

Votes: 12,082 | Gross: $7.33MWatch Now 
With Prime Video + 1 more

Mia being Mia (according to Woody). Its just a story about a woman trying to figure her life out and why her life isn’t what she thought it would be plus some weird ass plants 8.0

Mighty Aphrodite

29. Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance 7.1  Rate 59 Metascore

When he discovers his adopted son is a genius, a New York sportswriter seeks out the boy’s birth mother: a ditzy porn star and prostitute.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMira SorvinoPamela BlairRene Ceballos

Votes: 35,255 | Gross: $6.70MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Woody loves adding ancient themes into stories where you wouldn’t expect ancient themes to be added. Very fun with great acting 8.0

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

30. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Romance 7.1  Rate 70 Metascore

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Rebecca HallScarlett JohanssonJavier BardemChristopher Evan Welch

Votes: 223,690 | Gross: $23.22MWatch Now 
From $6.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Full of sensuality and the idea of “artistic love”. Pretentious in the most Woody Allen way (which is a positive) 8.0

Sweet and Lowdown

31. Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music 7.3  Rate 70 Metascore

In the 1930s, jazz guitarist Emmet Ray idolizes Django Reinhardt, faces gangsters and falls in love with a mute woman.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Sean PennSamantha MortonWoody Allen,Ben Duncan

Votes: 30,181 | Gross: $4.20MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Never in my life would I expect Sean Penn to do a great Woody Allen. In my eyes its a story of a tough guy softening up because of a woman and finding his purpose in her. 8.0

Anything Else

32. Anything Else (2003)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Romance 6.4  Rate 43 Metascore

Jerry Falk learns a lesson the hard way when he falls head over heels in love with a beautiful but flighty girl, Amanda.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenJason BiggsChristina Ricci,Danny DeVito

Votes: 27,837 | Gross: $3.20MWatch Now 
From $0.99 (HD) on Prime Video

Underrated. Biggs isn’t perfect but he’s does his best and it works out. Woody for me steals the show acting wise (even though he is the same as always he works very well here). The movie is funny as hell and pay attention to Devito 7.9

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

33. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 6.3  Rate 51 Metascore

Sally’s parents’ marriage breaks up when her father undergoes a mid-life crisis and impulsively weds a prostitute. Meanwhile, Sally’s own marriage also begins to disintegrate.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Anthony HopkinsNaomi WattsJosh Brolin,Gemma Jones

Votes: 41,081 | Gross: $3.25MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

What is Josh Brolin doing in a Woody Allen movie. Well he did whatever he did very well. Typical story of people loving people who are with other people… and a writer trying to write. Anthony Hopkins… I’ve said enough 7.8

To Rome with Love

34. To Rome with Love (2012)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Music, Romance 6.3  Rate 54 Metascore

The lives of some visitors and residents of Rome and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenPenélope CruzJesse Eisenberg,Ellen Page

Votes: 78,154 | Gross: $16.69MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

The IMDB rating doesn’t do this movie justice. The opera singer story alone is funny as hell let alone the rest of the movie. Ellen page was a bit miscast in this movie cause Juno just cannot let me escape my vision of her. Doesn’t really focus on Rome as much as Midnight in Paris focuses on Paris. Its just … a few stories in Rome and they’re great 7.8

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask

35. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)

R | 88 min | Comedy 6.8  Rate 66 Metascore

Seven stories are trying to answer the question: what is sex? Or maybe they are not trying.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenGene WilderLouise Lasser,John Carradine

Votes: 35,188Watch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

I could imagine being 17 in the year 72 and this being the ultimate summer comedy – would have a better rating but some of the sketches just weren’t that funny. The final sketch is just hilarious though. 7.7

September

36. September (1987)

PG | 83 min | Drama 6.6  Rate

At a summer house in Vermont, neighbor Howard falls in love with Lane, who’s in a relationship with Peter, who’s falling for Stephanie, who’s married with children.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Elaine StritchDenholm ElliottMia Farrow,Dianne Wiest

Votes: 8,221 | Gross: $0.49MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Can’t say too much about this movie cause it is kind of not at all Woody Allen like except for the adultery. Great acting and great story confined to a house. Very interesting 7.7

Café Society

37. Café Society (2016)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 6.6  Rate 64 Metascore

In the 1930s, a Bronx native moves to Hollywood and falls in love with a young woman who is seeing a married man.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Jesse EisenbergKristen StewartSteve CarellBlake Lively

Votes: 59,941 | Gross: $11.10MWatch Now 
With Prime Video + 1 more

The most colorful of his films, another sort of gangster story interwoven with trying to break out into the film business in early 1930’s. Steward was unusually charming and Eisenberg was Eisenberg but the movie as a whole worked well 7.7

Small Time Crooks

38. Small Time Crooks (2000)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Crime 6.7  Rate 69 Metascore

A loser of a crook and his wife strike it rich when a botched bank job’s cover business becomes a spectacular success.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenTracey UllmanHugh Grant,Carolyn Saxon

Votes: 34,253 | Gross: $17.07MOn Disc 
at Amazon

A funny movie about the fact that being rich carries its own mentality with it. The movie is pretty funny with a few problems that hold it back 7.7

Cassandra's Dream

39. Cassandra’s Dream (2007)

PG-13 | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Romance 6.7  Rate 49 Metascore

The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes. When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go badly and the two become enemies.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Colin FarrellEwan McGregorHayley Atwell,Peter-Hugo Daly

Votes: 47,588 | Gross: $0.97MWatch Now 
From $6.99 (SD) on Prime Video

A very interesting story with great acting but boring film-making. Its similar to Match Point in a way. The film-making is simple, slow and elegant but in Match Point it brings out the Dostoevsky – like story. Here it is just makes it tedious but still the story and performances make up for the rest as much as they can 7.6

Everyone Says I Love You

40. Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance 6.8  Rate

A New York girl sets her father up with a beautiful woman in a troubled marriage while her stepsister gets engaged.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenGoldie HawnJulia Roberts,Edward Norton

Votes: 33,109 | Gross: $9.71MOn Disc 
at Amazon

A low budget Woody Allen musical with a Woody Allen story. I don’t believe you can make a brilliant musical without a higher budget for surreal musical segments and scenes. It’s still funny as hell, great acting and the songs fit in some cases. (Woody isn’t a great singer to be honest) 7.6

Wonder Wheel

41. Wonder Wheel (2017)

PG-13 | 101 min | Drama 6.2  Rate 45 Metascore

On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator, his beleaguered wife, and the visitor who turns their lives upside-down.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Justin TimberlakeJuno TempleRobert C. KirkKate Winslet

Votes: 17,761 | Gross: $1.40MWatch Now 
With Prime Video + 1 more

A very typical Woody, gangster story but with the addition of a near perfect Kate Winslet performance. The rest of the cast is commendable as well 7.5

Celebrity

42. Celebrity (1998)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama 6.3  Rate 41 Metascore

The fortunes of a husband and wife differ drastically after they divorce.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Kenneth BranaghJudy DavisLeonardo DiCaprioGreg Mottola

Votes: 22,531 | Gross: $5.03MOn Disc 
at Amazon

Poor editing made this movie less impactful than it could have been. Branagh gave a great Woody performance and there were a lot of laughs in the film. It does jump a bit too much making it hard to follow but its still quite worth the watch. 7.4

Scoop

43. Scoop (2006)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery 6.7  Rate 48 Metascore

An American journalism student in London scoops a big story, and begins an affair with an aristocrat as the incident unfurls.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Scarlett JohanssonHugh JackmanJim Dunk,Robert Bathurst

Votes: 75,023 | Gross: $10.53MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

This movie is torn apart too much and its really not that bad at all. Fun story, fine acting and I actually liked the postmortem deus ex machina puppet that pushes the story forward. Its a different type of storytelling 7.4

Shadows and Fog

44. Shadows and Fog (1991)

PG-13 | 85 min | Comedy 6.7  Rate

With a serial strangler on the loose, a bookkeeper wanders around town searching for the vigilante group intent on catching the killer.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMia FarrowMichael KirbyDavid Ogden Stiers

Votes: 14,807 | Gross: $2.74MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

This is the weirdest Woody movie (filming and cinematography wise). Still the performances are great (Woody in particular does a good job, and Malkovich) 7.4

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

45. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982)

PG | 88 min | Comedy 6.7  Rate 51 Metascore

A wacky inventor and his wife invite two other couples for a weekend party at a romantic summer house in the 1900s countryside.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenMia FarrowJosé FerrerJulie Hagerty

Votes: 16,861 | Gross: $9.08MOn Disc 
at Amazon

This movie disappointed me in a few ways. There were quite a bit of jokes that fell flat for me and quite a few scenes that were boring. The movie did do comedy well though and it is still better than most modern comedies. There are quite a lot of jokes that work too and when they work they work. 7.4

Hollywood Ending

46. Hollywood Ending (2002)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Romance 6.6  Rate 46 Metascore

A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenTéa LeoniBob DorianIvan Martin

Votes: 24,101 | Gross: $4.84MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

This movie is… fine. Just fine. There are highs and lows. The highs are high and the lows are quite low. The highs make the movie very watchable and a pleasure to watch. 7.3

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

47. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery 6.8  Rate 52 Metascore

An insurance investigator and an efficency expert who hate each other are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist with a jade scorpion into stealing jewels.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Greg StebnerWoody AllenJohn Tormey,John Schuck

Votes: 35,323 | Gross: $7.50MOn Disc 
at Amazon

For now the most typical cliché Woody Allen movie. I didn’t like it too much but it had its funny moments. The whole concept of the scorpion in the movie lost me a bit towards the middle when it became the main plot device 6.9

What's Up, Tiger Lily?

48. What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

PG | 80 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime 6  Rate 63 Metascore

In Woody Allen‘s directorial debut, he took the Japanese action film Key of Keys (1965) and re-dubbed it, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe.

Directors: Woody AllenSenkichi Taniguchi | Stars: Woody AllenThe Lovin’ SpoonfulFrank BuxtonLen Maxwell

Votes: 8,534On Disc 
at Amazon

Its goofy and makes no sense, but its funny. I guess it sort of paved the way for Woody’s cinematic comedy career. 6.7

Bananas

49. Bananas (1971)

PG-13 | 82 min | Comedy 7.1  Rate 67 Metascore

When a bumbling New Yorker is dumped by his activist girlfriend, he travels to a tiny Latin American nation and becomes involved in its latest rebellion.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody AllenLouise LasserCarlos Montalbán,Nati Abascal

Votes: 31,248Watch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Woody tried to do something with this film and in my eyes he didn’t succeed the way he could have. For me, this is a watered down version of Love and Death (the far superior, slapstick based comedy). Again the movie is a mixed bag for me but the lows outweigh the highs. When Woody tries too hard to make strong political comments he looses me a bit as a fan during the runtime of the movie 6.7

Whatever Works

50. Whatever Works (2009)

PG-13 | 93 min | Comedy, Romance 7.2  Rate 45 Metascore

A middle-aged, misanthropic divorcée from New York City surprisingly enters a fulfilling, Pygmalion-type relationship with a much younger, unsophisticated Southern girl.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Evan Rachel WoodLarry DavidHenry Cavill,Adam Brooks

Votes: 66,110 | Gross: $5.31MWatch Now 
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

The most political Woody movie I’ve seen and my least favorite. The heavily left leaning movie is the physical embodiment of its own main character, which in my eyes is the more bitter and lout alter ego to Woody himself. Not very well performed and an even worse message. This is the only Woody movie for now that I’d advise people to skip 6.0


DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS

By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Evangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

Access this on the web at www.excelstillmore.com/html/beinformed/article1.shtml .(Originally published in December 2003 edition of Excel Magazine)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 FFF Sir Bertrand Russell and first-cause argument

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Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell as a child.

Image result for bertrand russell

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.

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On Russell’s ‘Why I Am Not A Christian’

Emanuel Rutten

I In 1927 Russell delivered a famous lecture to the National Secular Society in which he explains why he is not a Christian [1]. His lecture is divided in two parts. In the first part he explains why he does not believe in God, and in the second part he explains why he does not think that Christ was the best and wisest of man. In this paper I shall first evaluate the reasons Russell gives for refuting the claim that there is a God. After that I assess Russell’s reasons for rejecting the claim that Christ was the best and wisest of man.

II Regarding the first claim, the existence of God, Russell considers five arguments: the firstcause argument, the natural-law argument, the argument from design, the moral argument and the argument for the remedying of injustice.

Let us start with the first-cause argument. Russell states that the first-cause argument “does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have […]”. Now, this might be the case for Russell’s own time, during which logical positivism triumphed, but since the collapse of logical positivism in the second part of the 20th Century the dialectical situation has changed dramatically. Philosophy has witnessed a total rehabilitation of the concept of causality. As Koons points out: “[…] Russell announced the demise of the concept of causality […]. Subsequent developments in science and analytic philosophy have not supported Russell’s contention. Far from withering away, the notions of cause and effect have never held a more central position.

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The notion of causality is absolutely central to recent philosophical work in semantics, the philosophy of mind and intentionality, epistemology, and philosophy of science. […] Attempts to explain away causation or to replace it with some purely statistical regularity (whether or not supplemented by some kind of psychologistic decoration) have proved to be catastrophic failures” [2].

Secondly, Russell maintains that “[…] you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity”. Now, to say that the first cause argument “cannot have any validity” is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. For, it is surely intuitively reasonable to hold that the whole of reality is ultimately grounded in some absolute origin. Maintaining that there must be some ‘metaphysical ultimate’ from which all that exists eventually originates is definitely not just some irrational belief. Indeed, “The cosmos sinks into the abyss of nothingness, unless, beyond this infinite chain of contingencies, something supports it” (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A622/B550).

So, why does Russell think that the idea that there must be some first cause has no validity at all? He writes: “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so there cannot be any validity in that argument”. Now, this dilemma is false. The first horn of the dilemma is avoided by making a distinction, properly grounded in modern formal ontology, between contingently existing and necessarily existing objects. One might then say that all contingent objects have a cause, but from this it does not follow at all that all necessary objects must have a cause as well. Moreover, the Leibnizian version of the first cause argument clearly shows that the first cause of the universe, entailed by the premises of the argument, is a proper example of a necessarily existing object, not a continent one. Further, the second horn of the dilemma is avoided by providing a clear and adequate definition of the universe. By definition, the universe is the sum of all contingent objects, and therefore the universe must be contingent as well, and thus caused.

Russell however also says that “there is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause”. Well, it seems to me that the idea that the universe could have come

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into being entirely uncaused, without any reason whatsoever, from literally nothing at all, is wholly against our most basic intuitions. Surely, it is more than reasonable to hold that from nothing nothing comes: being cannot originate from non-being. So, to suddenly appeal to this option in order to avoid a cause of the universe seems desperate.

But then Russell points out: “There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all”. However, since the development and general acceptance of the Big Bang theory in the 20th Century it has become the proper scientific view that the universe began to exist some finite time ago, contra a beginningless universe. It would be quite unreasonable, not to say irrational, nowadays to simply ignore the Big Bang theory.

The second argument for the existence of God that Russell discusses is the so-called naturallaw argument. Following Russell, the argument seems to be that the origin of the fundamental laws of nature need a lawgiver, and that lawgiver would be God. Now, I do not think this is a good argument at all, since, on the Aristotelian view, the natural laws are properly understood as being grounded in the properties of the world’s fundamental objects, which brings us back again to the existence of those objects and properties on which we can apply a cogent contemporary first-cause argument. So, I shall not further discuss Russell’s rejection of the natural-law argument.

The third argument considered by Russell is the well-known argument from design. Now here Russell solely attacks the biological argument from design, which derives God from the irreducible or specified complexity of organic life forms. Now, I take it that Darwin’s evolution theory, which I entirely accept, clearly shows that this argument is wholly untenable. For, according to the Darwinian theory of evolution, complex life forms developed gradually over time through natural selection.

However, in the second part of the 20th century a cosmological design argument arose due to the totally unexpected discovery that our universe appears to be ‘fine-tuned’. The fine-tuning of our universe is the observation that the intelligent life permitting universe we inhabit is extremely unlikely from a statistical point of view. If the value of one of the cosmological constants as discovered by physics would have been only inappreciably different, then our

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universe would have evolved into a universe that does not permit intelligent life. Thus we live on a razors edge. It is so incomprehensibly improbable that our universe is intelligent-lifepermitting that it would be unreasonable to explain this state of affairs by a mere appeal to change. Hence, some other rational explanation for the fine-tuning is needed, and the explanation that the values of the cosmological constants are in some sense necessary is totally unsupported as well. Therefore, the phenomenon of the fine-tuning of the universe, provides, contrary to the phenomenon of complex biological life forms, adequate support for theism over naturalism. So, in this respect Russell’s comments on the design argument are simply out-of-date.

The moral argument for the existence of God, following Russell’s lecture, is that “there would be no right or wrong unless God existed”. In a sense this is indeed obvious, since, on naturalism, reality just consists of matter, energy, time and space. So, on the naturalistic view, there simply is no ontological candidate whatsoever to ground objective moral values. Therefore, if God does not exist, naturalism would be true, and morality would be just a matter of subjective, personal opinion. On naturalism, if somebody would say that torturing an innocent young child merely for fun is wrong, one could always rebut by simply saying: ‘Who says so? That’s just your own personal subjective opinion, and I happen to have quite another one’.

Now, Russell tries to refute the moral argument by an appeal to Euthyphro’s dilemma. Is something right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right? According to Russell both horns of this dilemma are problematic for theism. Since, either God could command things we take to be obviously evil, or God is not the ultimate sovereign, since good and evil would be external to God himself. But, again, this dilemma is false. As Koukl points out: “There are not two options, but three. The Christian rejects the first option, that morality is an arbitrary function of God’s power. And he rejects the second option, that God is responsible to a higher law. There is no law over God. The third option is that an objective standard exists (this avoids the first horn of the dilemma). However, the standard is not external to God, but internal (avoiding the second horn).

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Morality is grounded in the immutable character of God […]. Could God simply decree that torturing babies was moral? “No”, the Christian answers, “God would never do that”. It’s not a matter of command. It’s a matter of character. So the Christian avoids the dilemma entirely. Morality is not anterior to God – logically prior to Him – as Bertrand Russell suggests, but rooted in his nature” [3].

The fifth, and final argument, that Russell considers is the so-called argument for the remedying of injustice. The argument would be that the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world: “[I]f you are going to have justice in the universe as a whole you have to suppose a future life to redress the balance of life here on earth. So they say that there must be a God, and there must be Heaven and Hell, in order that in the long run there may be justice”. Now, Russell objects to this argument by holding that “this world is a fair sample, and if there is injustice here the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also”. This objection however entirely fails, since it begs the question against theism. Surely, on naturalism, it would be correct to say that, most likely, there is injustice in other natural worlds as well. But, that is not the point of the argument. For the argument is that, if you are going to have justice in reality as a whole, then there must be some realm outside our natural world to redress the balance of earthly life. Hence, to attack this argument, Russell would have to argue that its premise is untenable, which he does not do in his lecture.

Further, I personally think that, under naturalism, there is in fact no reason at all to think that, ultimately, justice for humanity will prevail. But, I take it that, under theism, this premise is quite tenable (See [4]).

III Let us now continue with the second part of Russell’s lecture, in which he attempts to show that one cannot grant superlative wisdom and superlative goodness of Christ.

Russell starts by saying: “I think that there are a good many points upon which I agree with

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Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians so. I do not know that I could go with Him all the way, but I could go with Him much further than most professing Christians can.”. Russell provides examples of teachings of Christ that he endorses, all from the Gospel of Matthew: “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” and “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.

Russell readily admits that these are all very good, even excellent, principles. Yet, he points out that many Christians do not live up to them. Now, I surely agree that these maxims are not much practised, neither by Christians nor non-Christians, but that does of course nothing at all to show that Christ himself is in any sense less great or good. I take this to be a quite selfevident point.

Subsequently Russell contends that “[h]istorically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him”. Now, this statement has become entirely outdated. During the second half of the 20th century biblical historians started to realize themselves that historical skepticism towards Jesus is in fact unwarranted. As a result many critical scholars began a new quest of the historical Jesus. And nowadays, the vast majority of biblical scholars hold that Jesus of Nazareth did in fact exist. Moreover, most contemporary critical historians agree on many aspects of Jesus’ biography, such as being regarded as eschatological prophet and autonomous ethical teacher, telling original parables, many about the coming Kingdom of God, being baptized by John the Baptist, and being crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. In fact, even the historicity of Jesus’ tomb found empty after the crucifixion is now argued for [5]. In any case, Jesus is nowadays undeniably considered as being a part of recorded history. If we today would doubt whether Jesus ever existed, we could as well start doubting the historicity of many other well-known historical figures.

In his lecture Russell further points out that Jesus cannot be that wise, since “he certainly thought that His second coming would occur […] before the death of all the people who were

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living at that time”. To substantiate this claim Russell cites two statements of Jesus from Matthew: “You will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” and “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”. Now, these statements were uttered by Jesus before the crucifixion, and thus, for all we know, Jesus speaks here about the upcoming appearances of Jesus to the disciples (and others) after the resurrection.

The last tangible argument of Russell1 against the superlative goodness of Chris is that “Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment”. Now, I agree that this argument has some force. However, in the beginning of his lecture Russell admits that the belief in eternal punishment is not essential to Christianity, for he states: “I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell”. I entirely agree with Russell on this point, and therefore I do not take this last argument as being a real problem for Christianity at all.

Nevertheless, if God exists, and if there is an afterlife, and if some monstrous evils are infinite, then it seems to me that it is not entirely inconceivable to think that wickedly performing such evils could result in being separated from God forever after death, or in not receiving eternal life. And, more importantly, if this would be the case, it would still do nothing to show that Jesus has pleasure in this, or that Jesus does not passionately desire every single human to be saved. In short, it does nothing to disprove Jesus’ goodness.

Literature 1. Why I Am Not A Christian, lecture to the National Secular Society (http://bit.ly/2Fho), B. Russell 2. A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, American Philosophical Quarterly (slightly different online version: http://bit.ly/jLuCKY), R. Koons 3. Euthyphro’s Dilemma, Stand to Reason (http://bit.ly/hVK5Ll), G. Koukl 1 Russell concludes his lecture with some further remarks, such as that religion is based primarily and mainly on fear, that people who have held to Christianity have been for the most part extremely wicked, that Christianity is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world, and so forth. I take these remarks not to be serious objections, and thus I shall not spend time to refute them.

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4. Does the existence of a good omnipotent God imply the existence of supernatural post mortem human states? (http://bit.ly/iYv4Sl), E. Rutten 5. Historical Jesus (http://bit.ly/5I7dtJ), Wikipedia

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