Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus
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.
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. Wikipedia notes Roald Hoffmann (born Roald Safran; July 18, 1937) is an American theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus, at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York.
Hoffmann was born in Złoczów, Poland (now Ukraine), to a Jewish family, and was named in honor of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. His parents were Clara (Rosen), a teacher, and Hillel Safran, a civil engineer. After Germany invaded Poland and occupied the town, his family was placed in a labor camp where his father, who was familiar with much of the local infrastructure, was a valued prisoner. As the situation grew more dangerous, with prisoners being transferred to liquidation camps, the family bribed guards to allow an escape and arranged with a Ukrainian neighbor named Mikola Dyuk for Hoffman, his mother, two uncles and an aunt to hide in the attic and a storeroom of the local schoolhouse, where they remained for eighteen months, from January 1943 to June 1944, while Hoffman was aged 5 to 7.
His father remained at the labor camp, but was able to occasionally visit, until he was tortured and killed by the Germans for his involvement in a plot to arm the camp prisoners. When she received the news, his mother attempted to contain her sorrow by writing down her feelings in a notebook her husband had been using to take notes on a relativity textbook he had been reading. While in hiding his mother kept Hoffman entertained by teaching him to read and having him memorize geography from textbooks stored in the attic, then quizzing him on it. He referred to the experience as having been enveloped in a cocoon of love.
Hoffman visited Zolochiv with his adult son (by then a parent of a five-year-old) in 2006 and found that the attic where he had hidden was still intact, but the storeroom had been incorporated, ironically enough, into a chemistry classroom. In 2009, a monument to Holocaust victims was built in Zolochiv on Hoffmann’s initiative.
His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 107th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.
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)
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), Antony Flew (1923-2010), 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-), John R. Cole (1942-), Wolf Roder, Susan Blackmore (1951-), Christopher C. French (1956-) Walter R. Rowe, Thomas Gilovich (1954-), Paul Quincey, Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-), Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn Branch, Geoff Harcourt (1931-) Noam Chomsky (1928-), Dudley R. Herschbach (1932-), and Ray T. Cragun (1976-).
QUOTE OF DR. HOFFMANN FROM THE VIDEO ABOVE:
I think this is a human creation because the other part of observing the variety religious experiences that has ever risen in this world out there is that they all take different formats and that convinces me there is no God.
CSICOP experts commented 15 years ago on a lie-detector’s ability to detect one’s repressed belief in God!!!!
In the book, THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. Sagan writes:
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal is an organization of scientists, academics, magicians, and others dedicated to skeptical scrutiny of emerging or full-blown pseudo-sciences. It was founded by the University of Buffalo philosopher Paul Kurtz in 1976. I’ve been affiliated with it since its beginning. Its acronym, CSICOP, is pronounced sci-cop C as if it’s an organization of scientists performing a police function CSICOP publishes a bimonthly periodical called The Skeptical Inquirer. On the day it arrives, I take it home from the office and pore through its pages, wondering what new misunderstandings will be revealed (p. 299).
Back in the late 1990’s I corresponded with many scholars from CSICOP concerning the lie-detector’s ability to detect one’s repressed belief in God. I have a good friend Rev Sherwood Haisty Jr. who is a street preacher who preaches on the Santa Monica Promenade in California and during the Q/A sessions he does have lots of atheists that enjoy their time at the mic. When this happens he always quotes Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). Then he tells the atheist that the atheist already knows that God exists but he has been suppressing that knowledge in unrighteousness. This usually infuriates the atheist.
Rev Haisty draws some large crowds at times and was thinking about setting up a lie detector test and see if atheists actually secretly believe in God. He discussed this project with me since he knew that I had done a lot of research on the idea about 20 years ago.
Nelson Price in THE EMMANUEL FACTOR (1987) tells the story about Brown Trucking Company in Georgia who used to give polygraph tests to their job applicants. However, in part of the test the operator asked, “Do you believe in God?” In every instance when a professing atheist answered “No,” the test showed the person to be lying. My pastor Adrian Rogers used to tell this same story to illustrate Romans 1:19 and it was his conclusion that “there is no such thing anywhere on earth as a true atheist. If a man says he doesn’t believe in God, then he is lying. God has put his moral consciousness into every man’s heart, and a man has to try to kick his conscience to death to say he doesn’t believe in God.”
It is true that polygraph tests for use in hiring were banned by Congress in 1988. Mr and Mrs Claude Brown on Aug 25, 1994 wrote me a letter confirming that over 15,000 applicants previous to 1988 had taken the polygraph test and EVERY TIME SOMEONE SAID THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, THE MACHINE SAID THEY WERE LYING.
It had been difficult to catch up to the Browns. I had heard about them from Dr. Rogers’ sermon but I did not have enough information to locate them. Dr. Rogers referred me to Dr. Nelson Price and Dr. Price’s office told me that Claude Brown lived in Atlanta. After writing letters to all 9 of the entries for Claude Brown in the Atlanta telephone book, I finally got in touch with the Browns.
Adrian Rogers also pointed out that the Bible does not recognize the theoretical atheist. Psalms 14:1: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Dr Rogers notes, “The fool is treating God like he would treat food he did not desire in a cafeteria line. ‘No broccoli for me!’ ” In other words, the fool just doesn’t want God in his life and is a practical atheist, but not a theoretical atheist. Charles Ryrie in the The Ryrie Study Bible came to the same conclusion on this verse.
Here are the conclusions of the experts I wrote in the secular world concerning the lie detector test and it’s ability to get at the truth:
Professor Frank Horvath of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University has testified before Congress concerning the validity of the polygraph machine. He has stated on numerous occasions that “the evidence from those who have actually been affected by polygraph testing in the workplace is quite contrary to what has been expressed by critics. I give this evidence greater weight than I give to the most of the comments of critics” (letter to me dated October 6, 1994).
There was no better organization suited to investigate this claim concerning the lie detector test than the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This organization changed their name to the Committe for Skeptical Inquiry in 2006. This organization includes anyone who wants to help debunk the whole ever-expanding gamut of misleading, outlandish, and fraudulent claims made in the name of science.
I read The Skeptical Review(publication of CSICOP) for several years during the 90’s and I would write letters to these scientists about taking this project on and putting it to the test. Below are some of their responses (15 to 20 years old now):
1st Observation: Religious culture of USA could have influenced polygraph test results.
ANTONY FLEW (formerly of Reading University in England, now deceased, in a letter to me dated 8-11-96) noted, “For all the evidence so far available seems to be of people from a culture in which people are either directly brought up to believe in the existence of God or at least are strongly even if only unconsciously influenced by those who do. Even if everyone from such a culture revealed unconscious belief, it would not really begin to show that — as Descartes maintained— the idea of God is so to speak the Creator’s trademark, stamped on human souls by their Creator at their creation.”
2nd Observation: Polygraph Machines do not work. JOHN R. COLE, anthropologist, editor, National Center for Science Education, Dr. WOLF RODER, professor of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Dr. SUSAN BLACKMORE,Dept of Psychology, University of the West of England, Dr. CHRISTOPHER C. FRENCH, Psychology Dept, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Dr.WALTER F. ROWE, The George Washington University, Dept of Forensic Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
3rd Observation: The sample size probably was not large enough to apply statistical inference. (These gentlemen made the following assertion before I received the letter back from Claude Brown that revealed that the sample size was over 15,000.) JOHN GEOHEGAN, Chairman of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, Dr. WOLF RODER, and Dr WALTER F. ROWE (in a letter dated July 12, 1994) stated, “The polygraph operator for Brown Trucking Company has probably examined only a few hundred or a few thousand job applicants. I would surmise that only a very small number of these were actually atheists. It seems a statistically insignificant (and distinctly nonrandom) sampling of the 5 billion human beings currently inhabiting the earth. Dr. Nelson Price also seems to be impugning the integrity of anyone who claims to be an atheist in a rather underhanded fashion.”
I grew up as an atheist. I thought that the reason I didn’t believe was the lack of evidence that I could see or touch. I kept asking God to show me a sign if He was really there. He didn’t. Despite nine months of searching, I was just as alienated from God as I had ever been.
I remember the shock it was when God revealed to me that what I thought was the obstacle wasn’t the obstacle at all! The obstacle was pride and hardness of heart. It wasn’t a head problem; it was a heart problem. I had to come to the place where I was willing to let God be God over my life. Was I willing to confess (i.e. admit) that Jesus is Lord?
Years ago Adrian Rogers counseled with a NASA scientist and his severely depressed wife. The wife pointed to her husband and said, “My problem is him.” She went on to explain that her husband was a drinker, a liar, and an adulterer. Dr. Rogers asked the man if he were a Christian. “No!” the man laughed. “I’m an atheist.”
“Really?” Dr. Rogers replied. “That means you’re someone who knows that God does not exist.”
“That’s right,” said the man.
“Would it be fair to say that you don’t know all there is to know in the universe?”
“Would it be generous to say you know half of all there is to know?”
“Wouldn’t it be possible that God’s existence might be in the half you don’t know?”
“Okay, but I don’t think He exists.”
“Well then, you’re not an atheist; you’re an agnostic. You’re a doubter.”
“Yes, and I’m a big one.”
“It doesn’t matter what size you are. I want to know what kind you are.”
“What kinds are there?”
“There are honest doubters and dishonest doubters. An honest doubter is willing to search out the truth and live by the results; a dishonest doubter doesn’t want to know the truth. He can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.”
“I want to know the truth.”
“Would you like to prove that God exists?”
“It can’t be done.”
“It can be done. You’ve just been in the wrong laboratory. Jesus said, ‘If any man’s will is to do His will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority’ (John 7:17). I suggest you read one chapter of the book of John each day, but before you do, pray something like this, ‘God, I don’t know if You’re there, I don’t know if the Bible is true, I don’t know if Jesus is Your Son. But if You show me that You are there, that the Bible is true, and that Jesus is Your Son, then I will follow You. My will is to do your will.”
The man agreed. About three weeks later he returned to Dr. Rogers’s office and invited Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord.
A man might be convinced that he’s being very sincere in his search for God, but until he humbles himself, he will never find Him.
— Jamie Lash
Dr. Hoffmann strikes me as a brilliant man who just can’t bring himself to put faith in the scriptures. I understand that scientists like him want evidence for what they believe. My reaction is very simple: THERE IS GOOD AND SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT SHOWS THE HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE. Then I look at the Old Testament prophecies and I am amazed at the prophecies that have been fulfilled in history, and also many of the historical details in the Bible have been confirmed by archaeology too. One of the most amazing is the prediction that the Jews would be brought back and settle in Jerusalem again. Another prophecy in Psalms 22 describes messiah dying on a cross almost 1000 years before the Romans came up with this type of punishment.
I sent Dr. Hoffmann a letter that included many scriptures from the Old Testament that showed that the prophets predicted the Jews would be brought back from all over the world to rebirth the country of Israel again.
Is this good evidence to show there is a God behind it all?
First, isn’t it worth noting that the Old Testament predicted that the Jews would regather from all over the world and form a new reborn nation of Israel. Second, it was also predicted that the nation of Israel would become a stumbling block to the whole world. Third, it was predicted that the Hebrew language would be used again as the Jews first language even though we know in 1948 that Hebrew at that time was a dead language!!!Fourth, it was predicted that the Jews would never again be removed from their land.
Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicle, of Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8. Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets. 10. Cyrus Cylinder, 11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E., 12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription, 13. The Pilate Inscription, 14. Caiaphas Ossuary, 14 B Pontius Pilate Part 2, 14c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,
Archaeology keeps on confirming the Bible’s accuracy over and over again!!!
The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt)
By: Eric Metaxas|Published: April 3, 2014 12:30 AM
Speaking of facts, in the LATEST ISSUE of BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW, Lawrence Mykytiuk of Purduedaily_commentary_04_03_14 asks and answers the question “HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THE HEBREW BIBLE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED ARCHAEOLOGICALLY?’
The conservative answer is AT LEAST FIFTY.
The most famous of these is KING DAVID who, until relatively recently was believed by many scholars to either be a “shadowy, perhaps mythical ancestor” or a “literary creation of later biblical authors and editors.”
All of this changed, however, in 1993 when archaeologists found a stele dating from the ninth century B.C., commissioned by the king of Damascus with the inscription “House of David.” The issue of David’s historicity was laid to rest.
In addition to David, archeologists have been able to independently corroborate the existence of kings such as Hezekiah. The water tunnel he used during the Assyrian siege, described in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, has been discovered in Jerusalem.
Confirmation isn’t limited to those described as doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. Eight of the northern kingdom’s kings—including the notorious Ahab and Jeroboam II, whose reign was denounced by Hosea and Amos—have been verified archaeologically.
Nor is independent corroboration limited to the kings of Judah and Israel. The existence of numerous pagan kings mentioned in the Bible has been verified by archeologists. Some of them, such as Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Cyrus the Great of Persia, are prominent figures in world history.
Others are not. Second Kings and Isaiah both mention Adrammelech, the son and murderer of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The Bible tells us he then fled and never took over as king. Cuneiform inscriptions confirm the biblical tale.
Even the Iron Age equivalents of middle-level bureaucrats mentioned in Scripture have been independently verified.
Make no bones about it: The Bible is easily the most verified book of antiquity—and not just its historical figures, but the copies of the manuscripts themselves. It’s not even close. For instance, the oldest surviving copies of works we have by Herodotus, Plato and even Homer only date back to the early middle ages—some 800 and 1,300 hundred years after they were written.
In contrast, as Frederick Kenyon of the British Museum put it, “the interval … between the dates of the original composition [of the New Testament] and the earliest extant evidence [is] so small as to be in fact negligible.”
The Bible and Science – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt)
In a recent blog post I offered three reasons why people typically reject a truth claim. Sometimes folks simply have rational doubts based on the evidence, some people have doubts that are purely emotional, and others deny the truth for volitional reasons. Until the age of thirty-five, I rejected the claims of Christianity (and theism in general). As an atheist, I adamantly identified myself in the first category of skeptics: I was a rational objector. When asked about my resistance, I repeatedly told people it was based on the lack of convincing evidence for Christianity and an abundance of evidence supporting naturalistic processes (like evolution). After examining the evidence and changing my mind, I revisited my prior opposition and realized much of my resistance was simply a matter of volition. At some point I had to ask myself, “Am I rejecting this because there isn’t enough evidence, or because I don’t want there to be enough evidence?”
After writing the post related to rational, emotional and volitional objections, I received the following note from an atheist who comments occasionally:
“I would place myself firmly in your first category, Jim: I’m not convinced by Christianity because I don’t see evidence for it. But I would not say it’s because I lack information – it’s rather that I have too much information, especially information about how the real world works. Your placing yourself in the third category, that of volitionally rejecting God, is telling. Almost all the Christians I know who were once atheists place themselves either here or in the second category, rejecting God because they hate Him. And almost all the atheists I know fit into the first, rational category. I would almost be tempted to say that you were never a ‘true’ atheist. It seems also to be a widespread belief among Christians that most of us atheist are god-haters or self-lovers. I guess that fits in with numerous Scriptural verses, but it doesn’t reflect reality on the ground in my experience.”
I immediately recognized the words of this atheist reader. They are my words, spoken many years before I became a Christian. All the atheists I knew (virtually all my friends at the time) identified themselves in the first category as rational objectors. I’ll bet Antony Flew, the famous British philosopher and atheist, would also have identified himself in this camp prior to becoming a theist. I don’t knowanyone who was once an atheist who would ever have identified themselves as anything other than a rational objector. This really shouldn’t surprise us.
Looking back at my own life as a young man who spent nine years in the university (prior to returning for seven more), I now recognize a simple truth: The more I thought I knew, the less teachable I became. My educational self-confidence led to a form of self-reliance in many aspects of my life, including the foundational worldview I constructed along the way. My “rational” resistance to theism was deeply tainted by my desire to be the author of my own worldview (rather than the acceptor of someone else’s). I don’t think this is all that uncommon for people who think they know something. That’s why virtually every skeptic identifies himself as a rational resistor, and I think this is also why those who consider themselves educated often reject any theistic worldview that requires them to submit their authority.
Theistic claims are unlike virtually any other claim we might consider. Every day we weigh the evidence related to all kinds of important decisions. Which car would be the best for my family? What school should I attend? Which career path is best suited to my skill set? We evaluate the evidence and options without thinking much about the role volition and emotion are playing. But make no mistake about it, our wills and emotions are always at work, even when we would deny this is the case. Our decisions related to theistic claims are far more critical than other decisions we might make. As C.S. Lewis wrote in God in the Dock, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Even before we begin to examine the evidence related to Christianity, we understand the implications of any future decision. If we reject Christianity (or theism broadly), we get to continue living as the ruling authority of our own lives. If we accept, we must submit to a much greater authority. Our decision related to God’s existence has a deep impact on every other decision we make going forward. This decision related to theism is foundational in a way unlike any other. It’s foolish to think this plays no part in how we might consider the question in the first place.
Our wills and desires are often deeply connected to the rational resistance we offer prior to submitting to the truth of theism. I would never have admitted to any volitional resistance as an atheist, and it shouldn’t surprise us when other atheists also deny this to be the case. Volitional resistance to Christianity often masquerades as rational opposition.
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