Harry KrotoYou are a chemist but your first love is graphic design. Is there common ground?

There are very similar processes involved. In science we seek to discover the patterns that underpin the way the universe works and take great delight when we uncover them. For me one of the most satisfying revelations is the fact that the simple number sequence 1, 3, 5… which maps on to (1×2), (1×2 + 3×2), (1×2 + 3×2 + 5×2)… leads us to the periodic table whose rows consist of 2, 8, 18… elements. Thus the numeric sequence 1, 3, 5… underpins the whole of chemistry and biology, and thus all of life. I get a similar sort of cathartic satisfaction when I create an effective drawing or a clever logo.

You won a Nobel for the discovery of Buckminsterfullerenes. What are they?

C60 Buckminsterfullerene (aka “Buckyball”) is a closed cage pure carbon molecule in which the atoms are arranged in the 12 pentagon/20 hexagon soccerball pattern. It is the first member of a vast family of such stable cages. Its importance lies in its spontaneous self-assembly from a chaotic carbon atom plasma, which opened our eyes to the fundamental forces controlling self-assembly on a nanoscale. The fact that they were discovered in an experiment to simulate the conditions in red giant stars suggested to me that this molecule must exist in space. This was confirmed in July this year and it seems – amazingly – that there may be as much as one per cent of the interstellar carbon budget locked up in the form of C60. I named it after Buckminster Fuller because his geodesic domes were a crucial clue in conjecturing what the structure might be.

Why does science matter?

For me science is first and foremost the philosophical construct that the human race has developed to determine, as reliably as possible, what might be true, can be true and more importantly cannot be true. It requires of course infinite doubt and evidence to have any reasonable degree of certainty. Science is about Truth with a capital T, but whether or not it is involved in how we should behave is not obvious. I believe that humanity is our (the human race’s) greatest single achievement and I do not give the credit for the development of this wonderful attribute to any outside (mystical) entity. Indeed anyone who looks at nature with a discerning eye sees that there is precious little humanity to be seen in the way that the world works. How anyone can believe that an ALL-POWERFUL ENTITY, with even an iota of humanitarian sensitivity, could have created a living system that is so blatantly, intrinsically CANNIBALISTIC is beyond my belief.

What do you believe?

I am well aware that for many people belief in a mystical entity which cares about them is a crucial factor in their lives – perhaps even a life-saving one. There is an amazing gentleman, in Tallahassee where I live, who on his release after wrongful imprisonment for 25 years in a Florida jail said, “I thank God for this day.” Belief in a God enabled him to remain a remarkably decent human being in terrible circumstances. But it was science, i.e. DNA fingerprinting developed by Alec Jeffries at Leicester University, that got him out! I see religion as the Achilles heel of the human race and the major impediment to rational thinking. A moment’s clear thinking indicates that essentially no religion can be true. I am pretty hardline when it comes to criticising the ludicrous socio-political influence wielded by the vast global Church/Mosque/Synagogue/Temple conglomerate. It is the biggest business on the planet, bringing in untold funding from hordes of gullible people, many of them extremely poor. It is by far the biggest confidence trick of all time.

Your lecture is about the threats to science education. What threats? [Kroto gave the 2010 Bernal Lecture on Science and Society at Birkbeck College, London on 28 October]

The teaching of “How what is True can be recognised” should surely be the first and foremost aim of education and thus the dual doubt-based evidence-required assessment approach of science is the primary thing that should be taught. Faith-based schooling is obviously antagonistic to this and it is intellectually irresponsible and ethically invidious that the Government is using taxpayers’ money to create more faith schools. Those that claim that there is no conflict between science and religion are intellectually blind to the intrinsic orthogonality of these mutually opposed human constructs. There are a few scientists (not many good ones) who do not see a problem and it seems to me they suffer from some form of intellectual schizophrenia.

Harry Kroto is Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996. He has set up two influential science education organisations: Vega and Geoset

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Dr. Kroto asserted:

How anyone can believe that an ALL-POWERFUL ENTITY, with even an iota of humanitarian sensitivity, could have created a living system that is so blatantly, intrinsically CANNIBALISTIC is beyond my belief.

The answer to this is that we are now living in a fallen world. Genesis chapter 3 tells us that man rebelled against God and that the result was this fallen world. Many people in this series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAK ABOUT GOD have mentioned this same issue. I have already responded to the problem of evil and suffering with my earlier responses to Rebecca Goldstein, David Attenborough, Alan Dershowitz, and Shelly Kagan. Below is the quote from Jonathan Perry and then my response to him:

Since the age of about 15 or 16 I have been an agnostic. In later years I converted from being an agnostic to a somewhat dogmatic atheist. I think my personal attitudes to religion were actually hardened by doing the Banaras Study (about death)…. A lot of the ideas that were underlying what people were saying were really rather deeply disturbing and frankly personally unpleasant. You would meet a man whose son had died in some tragic circumstances and the Priest would be going on about the fruits of Karma and so on. I found this personally unattractive. 

Interview with Jonathan Parry, Part 1

Interview with Jonathan Parry, Part 2

Professor Jonathan Perry below:

Below is a letter I wrote recently to Dr. Parry:

(pictured below during interview with Alan MacFarlane:

February 15, 2015

Dear Dr. Parry,

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Here is a quote I ran across recently from you in your wonderful in depth interview with Alan Macfarlane :

Since the age of about 15 or 16 I have been an agnostic. In later years I converted from being an agnostic to a somewhat dogmatic atheist. I think my personal attitudes to religion were actually hardened by doing the Banaras Study (about death)…. A lot of the ideas that were underlying what people were saying were really rather deeply disturbing and frankly personally unpleasant. You would meet a man whose son had died in some tragic circumstances and the Priest would be going on about the fruits of Karma and so on. I found this personally unattractive. 

On February 15, 2015 at our church service at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock, Arkansas, our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard told the story of my good friends Roger and Terrie Cheuvront  and the tragic death of their 19 year daughter Danaea on April 15, 2007 in a traffic accident. Just like you I was at the Funeral Home when the minister came in that very day, but unlike you I found the words of the pastor as a great comfort. The sermon on 2-15-15 was about the time that Jesus wept at sight of his friend Lazarus’ tomb, and this 11th chapter of John had comforted Terrie Cheuvront because she knew that Jesus had felt the same pain that we have and he will eventually raise us too from the dead and her daughter Danaea is even now in heaven with Christ.

Rev Barnard actually read these words from Terri at our service: “God never intended us to experience sin and death, but sin brought about this consequence. I could be mad at death and all that it meant but the amazing thing was when I realized God’s plan then God took the anger and replaced it with His grace. It made me realize at a deeper level what God had truly done for me on the cross. He conquered sin and death for me. What amazing glorious hope he gives us. We live because He lives. Yes I am separated from my daughter now but there will be a glorious reunion.”

Let me make three points concerning the problem of evil and suffering. First, the problem of evil and suffering hit this world in a big way because of Adam and what happened in Genesis Chapter 3. Second, if there is no God then there is no way to distinguish good from evil and there will be no ultimate punishment for Hitler and Josef Mengele. (By the way Mengele never faced punishment and lived his long life out in peace.) Third. Christ came and suffered and will destroy all evil from this world eventually forever.

CHARLES DARWIN ALSO SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF EVIL AND SUFFERING. When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“I am sure you will excuse my writing at length, when I tell you that I have long been much out of health, and am now staying away from my home for rest. It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…....Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

This of course is a valid problem. The only answer to the problem of evil is the biblical answer of the fall. Darwin has a problem because he never had a high view of revelation, so he doesn’t have the answer any more than the liberal theologian has the answer. If you don’t have a space-time fall then you don’t have an answer to suffering. If you have a very, very significant man at the beginning, Darwin did not have that, but if you had a very significant, wonderful man at the beginning and can change history then the fall is the possible answer that can be given to Darwin’s 2nd argument.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father (Franicis Darwin’s father Charles) gives the history of his religious views:—

But passing over the endless beautiful adaptations which we everywhere meet with, it may be asked how can the generally beneficent arrangement of the world be accounted for? Some writers indeed are so much impressed with the amount of suffering in the world, that they doubt, if we look to all sentient beings, whether there is more of misery or of happiness; whether the world as a whole is a good or a bad one. According to my judgment happiness decidedly prevails, though this would be very difficult to prove.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

We come now to a funny situation where Darwin is arguing there is more happiness than sorry in the world. In this I think he is right. What he is saying if you could have a balance of 51% of happiness then it would open the door to thinking God is good, but I would never argue this way because it is not 51% of happiness versus 49% of unhappiness in the universe but how could a good God make unhappiness at all. The answer is in the [space time fall in Genesis].

Darwin continued:

If the truth of this conclusion be granted, it harmonizes well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection. If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree, they would neglect to propagate their kind; but we have no reason to believe that this has ever, or at least often occurred. Some other considerations, moreover, lead to the belief that all sentient begins have been formed so as to enjoy, as a general rule, happiness. Every one who believes, as I do, that all the corporeal and mental organs (excepting those which are neither advantageous nor disadvantageous to the possessor) of all beings have been developed through natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, together with use or habit, will admit that these organs have been formed so that their possessors may compete successfully with other beings, and thus increase in number.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying here is that from his own view he needs to hold that suffering is less than happiness otherwise what would drive the creatures on toward natural selection. The Christian of course does not have this problem. The Christian says everything is in agony because the whole has been thrown out of joint and there has been an reordering of the universe because of the fall. We don’t have to find such a balance as he was grappling with here.

From Darwin’s section on religion:

The sum of such pleasures as these, which are habitual or frequently recurrent, give, as I can hardly doubt, to most sentient beings an excess of happiness over misery, although many occasionally suffer much. Such suffering is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action, but tends only to render each species as successful as possible in the battle for life with other species, in wonderfully complex and changing circumstances.  That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Some have attempted to explain this with reference to man by imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and they often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent First Cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.

Francis Schaeffer :

He has to argue this otherwise what drove the creatures on. He has to have a 51% or 52% happiness. Then he says what does this do to God. We would answer if there is no space time fall it makes God if He exists the devil, on the other hand with a space time fall you have another answer.

WITHOUT THE VIEW THAT THE GARDEN OF EDEN EXISTED OR IN THE EXISTENCE OF HEAVEN THEN YOUR ANALYSIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT IS PROBABLE. FURTHERMORE,  IF WE WERE NOT CREATED BY GOD THEN WE HAVE NO HOPE FOR OUR ETERNAL FUTURES.  I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “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.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

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 You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The 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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

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

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

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Adrian Rogers on Darwinism