RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! (Part 10 Dr. Stuart Kauffman, Evolutionary Optimistic Humanism, plus comments by Charles Darwin)

This is the fourth post I have done on Stuart Kaufman recently. The first post I did on Stuart Kauffman used the Fine Tuning Argument of Antony Flew against him among other things. In the second post, I put an article by Kauffman on the question Does science make belief in God obsolete?, and his article asserted, “No, but only if…” Then I posted right behind it a response by William D. Phillips. Phillips, a Nobel Laureate in physics, is a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute of the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In this article by Phillips he asserted, “Recently, the philosopher and long-time atheist Anthony Flew changed his mind and decided that, based on such evidence, he should believe in God.”

In the third post  Dr. William Wharton, Professor of Physics, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, reviewed Kauffman’s book  REINVENTING THE SACRED: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion, and he concluded, “What disturbs me most about this book is that Kauffman has a naive, faulty view of the God of the Bible. He subsequently hopes that he can get many fundamentalists to replace their personal Savior with a fully natural pantheistic god.”

Wikipedia noted about Kauffman:

Stuart Alan Kauffman (born September 28, 1939) is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth.

In 1971, Kauffman proposed the self-organized emergence of collectively autocatalytic sets of polymers, specifically peptides, for the origin of molecular reproduction.[1][2] Reproducing peptide, DNA, and RNA collectively autocatalytic sets have now been made experimentally.[3][4] He is best known for arguing that the complexity of biological systems and organisms might result as much from self-organization and far-from-equilibrium dynamics as from Darwinian natural selection, as well as for applying models of Boolean networks to simplified genetic circuits. His hypotheses stating that cell types are attractors of such networks, and that genetic regulatory networks are “critical”, have found experimental support.[5][6]

Kauffman graduated from Dartmouth in 1960, was awarded the BA (Hons) by Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) in 1963, and completed a medical degree (M.D.) at the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. After completing his residency in Emergency Medicine, he moved into developmental genetics of the fruitfly, holding appointments first at the University of Chicago, then at the University of Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1995, where he rose to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Kauffman held a MacArthur Fellowship, 1987–1992.

Kauffman rose to prominence through his association with the Santa Fe Institute (a non-profit research institute dedicated to the study of complex systems), where he was faculty in residence from 1986 to 1997, and through his work on models in various areas of biology. These included autocatalytic sets in origin of life research, gene regulatory networks in developmental biology, and fitness landscapes in evolutionary biology. Kauffman holds the founding broad biotechnology patents in combinatorial chemistry and applied molecular evolution.[7]

In today’s post I will be responding to the following quote by Dr. Kauffman:

“The response of this particular group to religious fundamentalism is to say “Look religion is really stupid!” I want to say it is too strong. I want to say we have to be careful. It can be too divisive. We need to be building bridges, not defending our own tribal turf. None of us believes in God, but we still have to create a spiritual space, a value space that can stretch across the globe and I hope we will reach out and try to do that.”

This is in my view what I call OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM  at work.Professor Kauffman says, “None of us believes in God, but we still have to create a spiritual space, a value space that can stretch across the globe…” Kauffman wants to try and put a positive spiritual spin on his secular humanist views.  Kaufffman like all others across the world still have a longing in their heart to have a relationship with God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (Amplified Bible) puts it this way:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Skeptics discount this but yet Kauffman realizes that many out there experience these feelings that tell them that God exists and that God wants to have a relationship with them. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR HOPE FOR THE SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOESN’T BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE. NEVERTHELESS KAUFFMAN USES TERMS SUCH AS VALUES AND SPIRITUAL SPACE EVEN THOUGH HE HAS NO BASIS FOR THOSE THINGS IN A SECULAR WORLDVIEW.

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Charles Darwin also tried to put a positive spin on his evolutionary views.  Darwin wrote, “Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is…” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Now you have now the birth of Julian Huxley’s evolutionary optimistic humanism already stated by Darwin. Darwin now has a theory that man is going to be better. If you had lived at 1860 or 1890 and you said to Darwin, “By 1970 will man be better?” He certainly would have the hope that man would be better as Julian Huxley does today. Of course, I wonder what he would say if he lived in our day and saw what has been made of his own views in the direction of (the mass murder) Richard Speck (and deterministic thinking of today’s philosophers). I wonder what he would say. So you have the factor, already the dilemma in Darwin that I pointed out in Julian Huxley and that is evolutionary optimistic humanism rests always on tomorrow. You never have an argument from the present or the past for evolutionary optimistic humanism.

You can have evolutionary nihilism on the basis of the present and the past. Every time you have someone bringing in evolutionary optimistic humanism it is always based on what is going to be produced tomorrow. When is it coming? The years pass and is it coming? Arthur Koestler doesn’t think it is coming. He sees lots of problems here and puts forth for another solution.

Darwin wrote, “…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or in many of the modern philosophies, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin, “You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.

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Dr. Kauffman reminds me of the humanist Professor Louis Levy from Woody Allen’s film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. Levy tries to grasp how humans can get a hold of meaning and values without God in the picture but he keeps coming up empty in his searches. Basically the question is this: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? Professor Levy’s conclusion can be seen in a clip from the documentary footage in which Levy states:But we must always remember that when we are born we need a great deal of love to persuade us to stay in life. Once we get that love, it usually lasts us. But the universe is a pretty cold place. It’s we who invest it with our feelings. And under certain conditions, we feel that the thing isn’t worth it anymore.”

I just don’t see how any secular humanist can be optimistic and avoid Professor Levy’s nihilism. First, let me tell you what prompted me to do this post today.

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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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. In  this third video below the 134th  clip is of the Dr. Stuart Kauffman and it is there that I got the quote I highlighted above and  I respond to it.

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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I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-),  and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

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Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1

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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?

Woody Allen’s Professor Levy represents the best of secular philosophy, but still is lacking in the end and Levy jumps out the window to end his life!!! Let’s look at some of his thought processes.

Professor Levy seen below:

Crimes e Pecados

Two worldviews are presented by Woody Allen in this film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and the first one is my view and that is the view that God exists and created the world with a moral structure for a purpose and the other one is there is no reason why things happen and there will be is no God there and the Hitlers of the world will never be punished.

Below is a portion of a short review of CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. Notice below especially the contrast between the worldview of the secularist Judah Rosenthal and the Rabbi Ben:

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1989)

PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES: Ethical objectism/relativism

CHARACTERS: Judah Rosenthal (ophthalmologist, adulterer), Jack Rosenthal (Judah’s mobster brother), Miriam Rosenthal (Judah’s wife), Dolores (Anjelica Huston, Judah’s mistress), Lester (Alan Alda, TV personality), Cliff Stern (Woody Allen, unsuccessful film director), Ben (Sam Waterston, Rabbi), Halley Reed (Mia Farrow, TV producer)

OTHER FILMS BY DIRECTOR WOODY ALLEN: Sleeper (1973), Annie Hall (1977), Hannah and her Sisters (1986), Bullets over Broadway (1994), Deconstructing Harry (1997), Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

SYNOPSIS: Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” intertwines two stories. The first involves Judah, a wealthy ophthalmologist and family man, who has had a several-year affair with Dolores. Dolores threatens to go public regarding the affair and Judah’s shady financial dealings unless Judah leaves his wife. Judah calls on his mobster brother to kill Dolores, which he does. The second storyline involves Cliff, a nerdy and unsuccessful documentary filmmaker, who is in an unhappy marriage. While working on a documentary about a TV personality named Lester, Cliff falls in love with Halley, a network producer. Halley rebuffs Cliff because he is married. When Cliff finally gets divorced, Halley has become engaged to Lester. Throughout both storylines discussions arise about God’s role in establishing ethical values, and whether the world would be valueless if God didn’t exist. Judah and Cliff meet up at the end of the film, and Judah presents an anonymous version of the murder – as though it might be a plot for a movie. It becomes clear that Judah got away with the murder, and suffered no long-term guilt. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, including best screenplay and best director…

According to the DVD commentary, Allen views his film as “revisiting the themes he examined 15 years earlier in the farce Love and Death, [and] ideas such as God, faith, and justice. ‘Existential subjects to me,’ says the filmmaker, ‘are still the only subjects worth dealing with.’”

Speaking to Judah, Rabbi Ben states the two key moral positions of the movie: “It’s a fundamental difference in the way we view the world. You see it as harsh and empty of values and pitiless. And I couldn’t go on living if I didn’t feel it with all my heart a moral structure, with real meaning, and forgiveness, and a higher power, otherwise there’s no basis to live.” [RABBI BEN HAS THE SAME WORLDVIEW THAT I DO]

Rabbi Ben tells Judah that “without the law it’s all darkness.” Judah retorts, “What good is the law if it prevents me from receiving justice? Is what she’s doing to me just? Is this what I deserve?” Judah’s situations is caused directly or indirectly by choices he’s made, even though he may not have understood at the time he made them their full implications for the future…

In Cliff’s documentary footage on Louis Levy, Levy states “Now the unique thing that happened to the early Israelites was that they conceived a God that cares. He cares, but at the same time he also demands that you behave morally. But here comes the paradox. What’s one of the first things that that God asks: that God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, his beloved son to him. In other words, in spite of millennia of efforts we have not succeeded to create a really and entirely loving image of God. This was beyond our capacity to imagine.”

In the documentary footage, Levy comments on the nature of love. “You will notice that what we are aiming at when we fall in love is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that when we fall in love we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand we ask of our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted on us. So that love contains in it a contradiction, the attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past.”

Visiting his childhood house, Judah imagines his family celebrating the Passover dinner. He asks what happens if a man kills. The image of his father answers, “then one way or another he’ll be punished.” “If he’s caught, Saul,” interjects an uncle. The father continues, “If he’s not caught that which originates from a black deed will blossom in a foul manner.” His aunt “And I say if he can do it and get away with it, and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he’s home free. Remember, history is written by the winners. And if the Nazis had won, future generations would understand the story of World War II quite differently.”

AFTER LEVY COMMITTED SUICIDE, Cliff reviewed a clip from the documentary footage in which Levy states:But we must always remember that when we are born we need a great deal of love to persuade us to stay in life. Once we get that love, it usually lasts us. But the universe is a pretty cold place. It’s we who invest it with our feelings. And under certain conditions, we feel that the thing isn’t worth it anymore.”

Hearing the news of Levy’s death, Halley says, “No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s got to be incomplete.”

Near the end of the film Judah explains his murder story as though it might be a plot to a movie. Cliff responds, “I would have him turn himself in. Then your movie assumes tragic proportions, because in the absence of a God he is forced to assume that responsibility himself. Then you have tragedy.”At the close of the movie, Levy has the final word in a voice over narration: “It is only we, with out capacity to love, that give meaning to an indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and find joy from simple things – from their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.”

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IS THERE SUCH A THING AS OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM? Halley sums it best up with these words from her secular point of view,“No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s got to be incomplete.”  She doesn’t have a satisfactory answer because she does not believe in God or an afterlife. Francis Schaeffer points out in the beginning of the episode “Age of Non-reason.”

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

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 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” , episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted,Schaefferwho always claimed to be an evangelist and not aphilosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplifiedintellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pillbecause Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art andculture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about thembecause they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!

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

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

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

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

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

Woody Allen directing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS seen below:

Scene from CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS below:

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crimes & misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2

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Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3

Uploaded on Sep 23, 2007

Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’
A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest.
By Anton Scamvougeras.

http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/
antons@mail.ubc.ca

woody allen on life

Woody Allen about meaning and truth of life on Earth

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Is a optimistic humanism possible?

Here below is the song DUST IN THE WIND performed by the rock group KANSAS and was written by Kerry Ligren in 1978. I challenge anyone to  read these words of that song given below and refute the idea that accepting naturalistic evolution with the exclusion of God must lead to the nihilistic message of the song!

DUST IN THE WIND:

I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone

All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea

All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy

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Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Music video by Kansas performing Dust In The Wind. (c) 2004 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

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Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. —Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer noted::

The vast majority of people believe there is a design or force in the universe; that it works outside the ordinary mechanics of cause and effect; that it is somehow responsible for both the visible and the moral order of the world. Modern biology has undermined this assumption…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… 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.  (William B. Provine, “The End of Ethics?” in HARD CHOICES ( a magazine companion to the television series HARD CHOICES, Seattle: KCTS-TV, channel 9, University of Washington, 1980, pp. 2-3).

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Take a look at this quote:

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 all the labors 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 debris 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. Bertrand Russell

The British humanist H. J. Blackham (1903-2009) put it very plainly: 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).

In the 1986 debate on the John Ankerberg show between Paul Kurtz (1925-2012) and Norman Geisler, Kurtz reacted to the point Blackham was making by asserting:

I think you may be quoting Blackham out of context because I’ve heard Blackham speak, and read much of what he said, but Blackham has argued continuously that life is full of meaning; that there are points. The fact that one doesn’t believe in God does not deaden the appetite or the lust for living. On the contrary; great artists and scientists and poets and writers have affirmed the opposite.

I read the book FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Paul Kurtz and I had the opportunity to correspond with him but I still reject his view that optimistic humanism can withstand the view of nihilism if one accepts there is no God. Christian philosopher R.C. Sproul put it best:

Nihilism has two traditional enemies–Theism and Naive Humanism. The theist contradicts the nihilist because the existence of God guarantees that ultimate meaning and significance of personal life and history. Naive Humanism is considered naive by the nihilist because it rhapsodizes–with no rational foundation–the dignity and significance of human life. The humanist declares that man is a cosmic accident whose origin was fortuitous and entrenched in meaningless insignificance. Yet in between the humanist mindlessly crusades for, defends, and celebrates the chimera of human dignity…Herein is the dilemma: Nihilism declares that nothing really matters ultimately…In my judgment, no philosophical treatise has ever surpassed or equaled the penetrating analysis of the ultimate question of meaning versus vanity that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

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Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look in Ecclesiastes 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.” 

Kerry Livgren is the writer of the song “Dust in the Wind” and he said concerning that song in 1981 and then in 2006:

 1981: “When I wrote “Dust in the Wind” I was  writing about a yearning emptiness that I felt which millions of people identified with because the song was very popular.” 2006:“Dust In the Wind” was certainly the most well-known song, and the message was out of Ecclesiastes. I never ceased to be amazed at how the message resonates with people, from the time it came out through now. The message is true and we have to deal with it, plus the melody is memorable and very powerful. It disturbs me that there’s only part of the [Christian] story told in that song. It’s about someone yearning for some solution, but if you look at the entire body of my work, there’s a solution to the dilemma.”

Ecclesiastes reasons that chance and time have determined the past and will determine the future (9:11-13), and power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced(4:1). Is that how you see the world? Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in 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.”

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

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

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Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

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

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

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