RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell.

(Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley)

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 AhmedHaroon Ahmed,Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick Bateson,Patricia 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 ReesAlison Richard,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  C.J. van RijsbergenAlexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

39. Sir Harold Kroto – Beyond Belief 2008

At the 14:35 mark in the above video Harry Kroto said, “As Bertrand Russell and really of course anytime I read anything [of his] I think it is fantastic and he said this about INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY:

I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive.
Bertrand Russell, “Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?” (1954)

To Harry Kroto, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry, c/o Florida State Univ,

6-26-14

Just the other day I sent you the CD called “Dust in the Wind, Darwin and Disbelief.” I know you may not have time to listen to the CD but on the first 2 1/2 minutes of that CD is the hit song “Dust in the Wind” by the rock group KANSAS and was written by Kerry Livgren in 1978. Would you be kind enough 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! Or maybe you agree with Richard Dawkins and other scholars below?

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

_________________________________

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

______________

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).

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 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. 

________________

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.”

END OF LETTER NUMBER 3

(Kerry Livgren)

In 2006 in the publication CROSSWALK Livgren noted:

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.

 

Sir Harold W. Kroto

Francis Eppes Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Sir Harold “Harry” W. Kroto, one of the co-recipients of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, now teaches at FSU. Dr. Kroto is a Francis Eppes Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Kroto gives a highly popular series of public lectures, visiting area schools to promote science education and has taught a graduate class on interstellar chemistry. He comes to FSU from the University of Sussex in England, where he taught for 37 years.

Kroto said his move to FSU allows him to “not only open up some new research avenues” but “also maintain the considerable momentum that (his research has) built up over the past 10 years in my international educational outreach work.” Dr. Kroto, through the Vega Trust website, aims to create a broadcast platform for the science, engineering and technology (SET) communities, so enabling them to communicate on all aspects of their fields of expertise using the exciting new TV and Internet opportunities.

An ardent advocate for science education, Kroto devotes much of his time and energy to promoting careers in science among young people. “He’ll be a very visible guy” on campus, said Alan G. Marshall, a professor of chemistry, in an interview with Chemical & Engineering News. “The plan is for him to give at least one lecture to every freshman at Florida State during their career, so they’ll get a chance to see him.”

Kroto’s Nobel Prize was based on his co-discovery of buckminsterfullerene, a form of pure carbon better known as “buckyballs.” The extraordinary molecule consists of 60 carbon atoms arranged as a spheroid, in a pattern exactly matching the stitching on soccer balls. The configuration reminded Kroto of the geodesic domes designed by the late inventor/architect Buckminster Fuller, hence the name “buckminsterfullerines.”

Kroto is the second Nobelist (with J. Robert Schrieffer of the National Magnetic Field Laboratory) now serving on the FSU faculty. Others to serve at FSU were Konrad Bloch, human sciences; James Buchanan, economics; Paul Dirac, physics; and Robert Sanderson Mulliken, chemical physics.

In 2001, Kroto won the Royal Society’s prestigious Michael Faraday Award. The award is given annually to a scientist who has done the most to further public communication of science, engineering or technology in the United Kingdom.

Sir Harry Kroto (1939–2016)

Harry KrotoThe British Humanist Association (BHA) reacted with sadness this weekend to news that its patron of many years, Professor Sir Harry Kroto, had died.

Harry began life in Cambridge in 1939, the child of German refugees fleeing the horrors of war. He spent his childhood further north, in Bolton, before deciding to study chemistry at the University of Sheffield, in 1961. By the 1990s, Harry was a distinguished chemist whose work had won him international recognition. In 1996, he was given a knighthood, and later that year he also won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his role in the discovery of C60 Buckminsterfullerene, a new form of carbon.

Harry was an ardent supporter of the humanist cause, and he dedicated a great deal of effort to campaigns to see a secular state in Britain. As a patron of the BHA, he supported numerous campaigns for a fairer society, particularly in education. He was a robust critic of ‘faith’ schools in particular, which he saw as corrosive to community cohesion and inimical to the aims of education.

In 2011, Harry helped to launch the BHA’s successful ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign. In 2014, Harry was among the famous names who called out the Prime Minister for his divisive ‘Christian country’ rhetoric, and later wrote to the Department for Education in the midst of the Birmingham schools controversy to call for a review of the place of religion in schools. Outside education, he also championed ethical causes such as the right to die, and was among those figures urging the Scottish Parliament to legalise assisted dying in 2015.

Discussing his reasons for supporting the BHA, Harry said:

‘I fully support the aims of the Association and am happy to do what I can to further them as I feel they focus on some of the serious issues that confront us now and will continue to confront us in the 21st century.

‘In these disturbing times in which the political leaders of the USA, UK, and Germany (Blair, Bush and Merkel) as well as countless organisations, using massive financial resources, strive to drag us all back towards the mind-set in which the Dark Ages were mired, the Champions of the Enlightenment are the freethinking Humanists. The challenge is however to maintain our democratic secular values, firmly set in doubt and rational argument, but still remain tolerant and steadfast in interactions with those who seek to undermine these values.’

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:

‘Harry Kroto was someone who helped to change the face of science, but here at the BHA we knew him as a friend, and as someone who brought laughter and inspiration to our trustees and staff, with whom he was in regular contact. Harry Kroto’s legacy is one which will stand the test of time and I am confident that future generations will be able to look back on him as one of the greats, and as a standard-bearer for the values of the Enlightenment. We will all miss him dearly.’

Notes

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

The BHA has well over 150 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The BHA’s President is the writer and comedian Shappi Khorsandi, who is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor A C Grayling, and Polly Toynbee. For a full list of patrons, see https://humanism.org.uk/about/our-people/patrons.

dadnmeinboat jpg

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(With his son Stephen in Joshua Tree)

DSC00653

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(Marg Kroto with two sons Stephen and David)

Marg and Steve and David

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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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ I […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 64 Arif Ahmed Cambridge, “There are other examples in life where committing oneself means staking your life like flying on a plane to France tomorrow…These are precisely not cases where you should make a leap in the absence of evidence!”

__ 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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: I have […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 63 Robert M. Price “The burden of proof is on the person who says that there was [a historical Jesus]”

  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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ I […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 62 Dr.Yujin Nagasawa of Birmingham “…why we don’t live in this kind of environment where we are not tempted to perform morally wrong?”

  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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ Yujin […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist, Johns Hopkins University. ” Irrational thinking of any kind is very dangerous”

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ I have […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! David Friend, Physics Dept, Cambridge, “If you believe that the truth lies in strange scrolls dug up from somewhere or another written by someone then there is no logical counter to that”

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ I have […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! John Searle, Phil Dept, Berkeley, “I think religion is here to stay because it does satisfy [our] needs, but intellectually I don’t think you can justify it!”

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto: ______________ I have […]

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