Today we look at the second letter which is among the correspondence and Kroto’s involvement in CSICOP. Wikipedia notes:
The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), formerly known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), is a program within the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an Americannon-profit organization whose stated purpose is to “encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public.” CSI was founded in 1976 by Paul Kurtz to counter what he regarded as an uncritical acceptance of, and support for, paranormal claims by both the media and society in general. Its philosophical position is one of scientific skepticism. CSI’s fellows have included notable scientists, Nobel laureates, philosophers, psychologists, educators and authors. It is headquartered in Amherst, New York.
Sir Harry Kroto with his high school friend Sir Ian McKellan at the FSU National High Field Magnetic Lab on Tuesday, October 27, 2009. (Photo: Mike Ewen/Democrat)
It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of 76. He was a scientist of remarkable abilities and a man of great humor too. In this series I posted the Memorial by Richard Dawkins for Dr. Kroto and I also looked at Kroto’s membership in CSICOP and his admiration for Bertrand Russell and his 2 emails he sent to me on 9-18-14. Peter Coles, Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex gave an excellent tribute Dr. Kroto which I posted too.
I did not know Harry Kroto personally but I did have the opportunity to correspond with him in 2014. I sent him a letter in the spring and two in the summer and he responded with an email on 9-18-14 and I thanked him for responding in an email and then he emailed me again and even sent me a letter on 11-21-14. In that 11-21-14 letter he referred me to the You Tube film series Renowned Academics Speaking About God which has over 300,000 views on You Tube and that prompted me on 11-29-14 to start my blog series RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Below are the links to the posts I have already done on previous Tuesdays in this series:
Arif Ahmed, Haroon Ahmed,Sir David Attenborough, Mark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael Bate, Sir Patrick Bateson,Patricia Churchland, Aaron Ciechanover, Noam Chomsky,Alan Dershowitz, Hubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan Feuchtwang, David Friend, Riccardo Giacconi, Ivar Giaever , Roy Glauber, Rebecca Goldstein, David J. Gross, Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen F Gudeman, Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison, Hermann Hauser, Roald Hoffmann, Bruce Hood, Herbert Huppert, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve Jones, Shelly Kagan, Michio Kaku, Stuart Kauffman, Lawrence Krauss, Harry Kroto, George Lakoff, Elizabeth Loftus, Alan Macfarlane, Peter Millican, Marvin Minsky, Leonard Mlodinow, Yujin Nagasawa, Alva Noe, Douglas Osheroff, Jonathan Parry, Saul Perlmutter, Herman Philipse, Carolyn Porco, Robert M. Price, Lisa Randall, Lord Martin Rees, Alison Richard, Oliver Sacks, John Searle, Marcus du Sautoy, Simon Schaffer, J. L. Schellenberg, Lee Silver, Peter Singer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Ronald de Sousa, Victor Stenger, John Sulston, Barry Supple, Leonard Susskind, Raymond Tallis, Neil deGrasse Tyson, C.J. van Rijsbergen, Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, Frank Wilczek, Steven Weinberg, and Lewis Wolpert,
39. Sir Harold Kroto – Beyond Belief 2008
At the 10:50 mark in the above video Harry Kroto mentioned David Barton and in the letter below I mentioned to him my interaction with David Barton and his organization.
Harry Kroto, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry, c/o Florida State
June 17, 2014
Dear Dr. Kroto,
I noticed that you are on the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and that prompted me to send this material to you today.
A couple of months ago I mailed you a letter that contained correspondence I had with Antony Flew and Carl Sagan and I also included some of the material I had sent them from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer. Did you have a chance to listen to the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? CD yet? I also wanted to let know some more about about Francis Schaeffer. Ronald Reagan said of Francis Schaeffer, “He will long be remembered as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century, with a childlike faith and a profound compassion toward others. It can rarely be said of an individual that his life touched many others and affected them for the better; it will be said of Francis Schaeffer that his life touched millions of souls and brought them to the truth of their creator.”
Thirty years ago the christian philosopher and author Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) died and on the 10th anniversary of his passing in 1994 I wrote a number of the top evolutionists, humanists and atheistic scholars in the world and sent them a story about Francis Schaeffer in 1930 when he left agnosticism and embraced Christianity. I also sent them a cassette tape with the title “Four intellectual bridges evolutionists can’t cross” by Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) and some of the top scholars who corresponded with me since that time include 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), and Michael Martin (1932-).
Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above.
The truth is that I am an evangelical Christian and I have enjoyed developing relationships with skeptics and humanists over the years. Back in 1996 I took my two sons who were 8 and 10 yrs old back then to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey and we had dinner one night with Herbert A. Tonne, who was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. The Late Professor John George who has written books for Prometheus Press was my good friend during the last 10 years of his life. (I still miss him today.) We often ate together and were constantly talking on the phone and writing letters to one another.
It is a funny story how I met Dr. George. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.
In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma political science department and coauthor (with Paul Boller Jr.) of the book THEY NEVER SAID IT! set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.“ I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A LIFE OF WASHINGTON by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.
After reading THEY NEVER SAID IT! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, responded by providing me with their “unconfirmed quote” list which contained a dozen quotes widely used by the religious right.
Sadly some of the top leaders of my own religious right have failed to take my encouragement to stop using these quotes and they have either claimed that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive or they defended their own method of research and claimed the secondary sources were adequate.
I have enclosed that same CD by Adrian Rogers that I sent 20 years ago although the second half does include a story about Charles Darwin‘s journey from the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.
In the first 3 minutes of the CD is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” In the letter 20 years ago I gave some of the key points Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by looking into learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).
I later learned this book of Ecclesiastes was Richard Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible. 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.” No wonder Ecclesiastes is Richard Dawkins’ favorite book of the Bible!
Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. (E.O.Wilson has marveled at Solomon’s scientific knowledge of ants that was only discovered in the 1800’s.) Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.
(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)
Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.
(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)
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.
You are an atheist and you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.
FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future. (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)
These two verses below take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.
Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)
Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”
Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too. None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.
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.
“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).
Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009)
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.
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.”
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.
Now on to the other topic I wanted to discuss with you today. I wanted to write you today for one reason. IS THERE A GOOD CHANCE THAT DEEP DOWN IN YOUR CONSCIENCE you have repressed the belief in your heart that God does exist and IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THIS DEEP BELIEF OF YOURS CAN BE SHOWN THROUGH A LIE-DETECTOR? (Back in the late 1990’s I had the opportunity to correspond with over a dozen members of CSICOP on just this very issue.)
I have a good friend 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.
My friend 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.”
(Adrian Rogers at White House)
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 AM WRITING YOU TODAY BECAUSE YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CSICOP.
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.”
Sir Harry Kroto is first on the second row with Sir Ian McKellen is in the middle on the throne for the school production of Shakespeare’s Henry V
TRIBUTES have been paid to Bolton’s Nobel prize-winning scientist who has died at the age of 76.
Sir Harry Kroto, a Bolton School old boy, was awarded the 1996 chemistry Nobel prize, along with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley, for the discovery of Buckminsterfullerene molecule — known as bucky-balls — and was knighted the same year.
The discovery led to o the development of new materials and revolutionised civil engineering.
Mr Kroto was born in Cambridgeshire to parents who left Germany as refugees during the Second World War.
The family moved to Bolton, living in Arkwright Street.
Sir Harry won a scholarship to Bolton School. Actor, Sir Ian McKellen, was one one of his classmates and the two starred in school productions together.
Sir Harry regularly returned to his former school to inspire the next generation.
On the Nobel Prize website, Sir Harry wrote: “My parents had lost almost everything and we lived in a very poor part of Bolton.
“However, they did everything they could to get me the best education they could. As far as they were concerned this meant getting me into Bolton School, a school with exceptional facilities and teachers.”
Philip Britton, head of Bolton School boys’ division said: “Harry was a wonderful and warm person, a great intellect and had a strong focus on inspiring young people.
“My memories of him will be of the passion with which he spoke of how his own education at Bolton School has shaped his life and how committed he was that this chance be available for others. He was a genuine case of real social mobility.
“It is also hard to think we will not see him in the sports hall again, sitting among hundreds of primary school children, passing on his passion for Chemistry. I think it said a lot about him that he used his scientific fame to promote education, particularly using the internet to help educate those countries where formal education is hard to get.
“That passion for the subject, intellect, sense of social responsibility and enthusiasm sum up a great character and a great life.”
He concluded: “It may be some time before Bolton boasts another Nobel Prize winner – he has been an exceptional local figure.”
Dr Michael Yates, Head of Chemistry at the boys’ division, added: “Sir Harry was an inspirational communicator.
“He was selfless in his passion to enthuse the younger generation.
“He set a wonderful example to all people about having a broad range of interests – besides Science he was interested in graphic design and at School he acted, he played tennis and won Art prizes.
“I will always be grateful for the time he gave to us in Bolton.
“In 2008 we set up a science partnership funded by the Ogden Trust and Sir Harry launched it from Florida via the internet.
“He visited Bolton School in 2009 and 2010 when he gave presentations to over 500 local primary school pupils who had fun making his “bucky balls” and he also lectured secondary schools.
“He came again in 2014 and did the same.
“His energy was boundless.”
On Twitter, scientist and TV presenter, Brian Cox, said: “RIP Harry Kroto – brilliant scientist and a strong, passionate advocate for science as a vital part of our culture.”
He is survived by his wife Margaret and two sons, Stephen and David.
Here you see me just behind Ian McKellen coaching him in how to act in Henry V