FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 125 Will Provine, Killer of the myth of Optimistic Humanism Part C (Featured artist is Gabby Zapata )

I actually tried to contact Dr. Provine twice and I sent him a link to a post I had done about him. Sadly he passed away last year. Will Provine did not believe in free will and he still believed it was possible to find a meaning for our short lives but ultimately there is no lasting meaning for anyone. That is why I wrote him and  emailed him because I wanted to encourage him to return to the faith of his parents  and of his youth. Below an evangelical named Denyse O’Leary comments on his friend Will Provine’s life and he states some of Provine’s nihilistic views. Below that I take it a step further and discuss why so many people turn to drugs when they come to the same conclusions that Provine did.

On the bottom of this post you will find two excellent articles on the outstanding artist Gabby Zapata who I featuring this  week.

William Provine, RIP: Noble in His Honesty

Evolution News & Views September 3, 2015 2:17 PM | 

William_B._Provine,_HSS_2008.jpg

William B. Provine, the Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences at Cornell University, has died of cancer at the age of 73. Notwithstanding obvious and profound differences of opinion with us about science and what the evidence suggests about the origins and meaning of life, Dr. Provine was a courageous and clear-sighted interlocutor.

We admired him because, first, he was an interlocutor, with the daring to stand up and debate leading proponents of the theory of intelligent design including Phillip Johnson and Stephen Meyer. That is a measure of character and it is unfortunately rare among defenders of orthodox evolutionary theory.

Second and no less important, unlike many evolutionary spokesmen, he was willing to forthrightly articulate the philosophical implications of Darwinian theory. He said that “belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people” and “one can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”

If life really did arise through a brute, purposeless, undirected, unplanned, and purely material process, a series of accidents, that lends support to a nihilistic worldview. In Provine’s perspective, it positively demands it.

Yet there was a kind of jauntiness to his despair. He said in a 1994 debate with Phil Johnson at Stanford University:

When you die, you’re not going to be surprised, because you’re going to be completely dead. Now if I find myself aware after I’m dead, I’m going to be really surprised! But at least I’m going to go to hell, where I won’t have all of those grinning preachers from Sunday morning listening.

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. What an unintelligible idea.

Christian humanism has a great deal going for it. It’s warm and kindly in many ways. That’s the good part. The bad part is that you have to suspend your rational mind. That part is really nasty. Atheistic humanism has the advantage of fitting natural minds trying to understand the world, but the disadvantage of very little cultural heritage — and that’s a real problem.

So the question is, can atheistic humanism offer us very much? Sure. It can give you intellectual satisfaction. I’m a heck of a lot more intellectually satisfied now that I don’t have to cling to the fairy tale that I believed when I was a kid. Life may have no ultimate meaning, but I sure think it can have lots of proximate meaning. Free will is not hard to give up, because it’s a horribly destructive idea to our society. Free will is what we use as an excuse to treat people like pieces of crap when they do something wrong in our society. We say to the person, “you did something wrong out of your free will, and therefore we have the justification for revenge all over your behind.” We put people in prison, turning them into lousier individuals than they ever were. This horrible system is based upon this idea of free will.

Since we know that we are not going to live after we die, there is no reward for suffering in this world. You live and you die. I’ve seen bumper stickers (very sexist ones, actually) that say “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” Well, whatever life is, you’re going to die. So if you’re going to make things better for yourself or for those you care about, you had better become an activist while you’re still alive.

Finally, there is no reason whatsoever that ethics can’t be robust, even if there is no ultimate foundations for ethics. If you’re an atheist and know you’re going to die, what really counts is friendship — and that’s why I value Phil’s friendship so much.

No God, no free will, no real foundation for ethics. That about nails it. Such truth-telling is a nightmare for apologists who sell evolution to the general populace by denying its ultimate significance for the picture of man and his place in the universe.

You can read many moving tributes at his Facebook page, including from his wife, Gail Provine, who evokes his sweetness and gentleness: “Will, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

We respected Dr. Provine for his virtues. We too will miss him. We wish to convey our sympathies and condolences to Mrs. Provine, his friends, students, and colleagues.

H/t: Denyse O’Leary.

Image credit: Ragesoss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Denyse O’Leary summed up Dr. Provine very well with these words, “No God, no free will, no real foundation for ethics. That about nails it. Such truth-telling is a nightmare for apologists who sell evolution to the general populace by denying its ultimate significance for the picture of man and his place in the universe.”

Have you ever wondered why so many people turn to drugs?

“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings…” Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984). We take a look today at how the Beatles were featured in Schaeffer’s film.

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small

On You Tube you can plug in HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE EPISODE 7 SMALL and watch the film that runs 28:35: 

The history of the nonchristian Philosophers up until the 18th century went like this:
Here is a circle which stands for what the unified and true knowledge of the universe is. The next man would say “No,” and cross out the circle. He then would say “Here is the circle.” Then the next man would say “No,”and cross out that circle. Then he would make his circle and the next man would cross it out and make his circle. This continued through the centuries. They never found the circle, but they optimistically thought someone would beginning with man himself and on the basis of man’s reasoning alone.
Then the endless rows of circles through the and the crossing out were broken and a drastic shift came because the humanist ideal had failed. Humanist man gave up his optimism for pessimism. He gave up the hope of an unified answer and this makes modern man who he is….Humanist man beginning only from himself has concluded that he is only a machine. Humanist man has no place for a personal God, but there is also no place for man’s significance as man and no place for love, no place for freedom.

Man is only a machine, but the men who hold this position could not and can not live like machines. If they could then modern man would not have his tensions either in his intellectual position or in his life, but he can’t. So they must leap away from reason to try to find something that gives meaning to their lives, to life itself, even though to do so they deny their reason.

Once this is done any type of thing could be put there. Because in the area of nonreason, reason gives no basis for a choice. This is the hallmark of modern man. How did it happen? It happened because proud humanist man, though he was finite, insisted in beginning only from himself and only from what he could learn and not from other knowledge, he did not succeed. Perhaps the best known of existentialist philosophers was Jean Paul Sartre. He used to spend much of his time here in Paris at the Les Deux Magots.

Sartre’s position is in the area of reason everything is absurd, but one can authenticate himself, that is give validity to his existence by an act of the will. WithSartre’s position one could equally help an old woman across the street or run her down.

Reason was not involved, and there was nothing to show the direction this authentication by an act of the will should take. But Sartre himself could live consistently with his own position. At a certain point he signed the Algerian Manifesto which declared that the Algerian war was a dirty war. This action meant that man could use his reason to decide that some things were right and some things were wrong and so he destroyed his own system.

Karl Jaspers, German  existentialist, tended to have the greatest impact on the thought and life form which followed existential thought.  According to him we may have some huge experience which gives us the hope that perhaps there is a meaning to life even though our reason tells us that life is absurd. He calls this a final experience. Martin Heidegger, was another  existential philosopher who said the answer was in the area of nonreason. The German philosopher said there is something he called “Angst,” a general feeling of anxiety one feels in the universe, this feeling, this mood of anxiety revealed existence and this imposes on us a call for decision out of  this mood comes meaning to life and to choice even against one’s reason, meaning which rests on nothing more than this vague feeling of anxiety so nebulous it doesn’t have a specific object. As Martin Heidegger grew older this view became too weak for him so he changed his position.

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

Existentialism as a form of philosophy has all but disappeared but more and more people are thinking this way even if they don’t know the name Existentialism. To them reason leads to pessimism so they try to find an answer in something totally separated from reason.

Aldous Huxley the English philosopher and writer proposed drugs as a solution. We should, he said, give healthy people drugs and they can then find truth inside their own heads. All that was left for Aldous Huxley and those who followed him was truth inside a person’s own head. With Huxley’s idea, what began with the existential philosophers – man’s individual subjectivity attempting to give order as well as meaning, in contrast to order being shaped by what is objective or external to oneself – came to its logical conclusion. Truth is in one’s own head. The ideal of objective truth was gone.

Aldous Huxley featured on cover of Beatles’ album SGT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND

The drug culture and the mentality that went with it had it’s own vehicle that crossed the frontiers of the world which were otherwise almost impassible by other means of communication. This record,  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings. Later came psychedelic rock an attempt to find this experience without drugs. The younger people and the older ones tried drug taking but then turned to the eastern religions. Both drugs and the eastern religions seek truth inside one’s own head, a negation of reason. The central reason of the popularity of eastern religions in the west is a hope for a non-rational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religions is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of non-reason could put anything up there and the heart of the eastern religions  is a denial of reason just exactly as the idealistic drug taking was. So the turning to the eastern religions today fits exactly into the modern existential  methodology, the existential thinking of modern man, of trying to find some optimistic hope in the area of nonreason when he has given up hope on a humanistic basis of finding any kind of unifying answer to life, any meaning to life in the answer of reason.

Beatles in India

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Gabby Zapata

What is your name and your current occupation?
Gabby Zapata, Production Artist at Disney Interactive in Glendale, California.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
I was a chocolatier/ ice cream scooper at a local ice cream shop for 3.5 years during school!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
Coming out of school, I went to Digital Domain to work on their first film in Animation. Digital Domain specialized in VFX and we were creating a 3D feature film called “The Legend of Tembo”.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? 
I was born and raised mostly in California, but prior to that I lived in different parts of the states including Mexico due to my Dad’s job. After graduating high school, I moved to Florida to attend Ringling College of Art and Design for Computer Animation. I was picked up right before graduation at Digital Domain and then after a year and a half of working there, the company went under and we all got laid off (300+ of us) and a month later, I got picked up by Disney Interactive in California.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job? 
A typical day consists of looking at your tasks, checking in with the supervisors, and most importantly enjoying what you do!
What part of your job do you like best? Why? 
Being able to express creative freedom because as an artist, it’s important to be able to share and contribute without feeling shy about it.
What part of your job do you like least? Why? 
I don’t have anything that I dislike. I’m living my childhood dream!What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?

Macs and Cintiqs. Ever since I used a Cintiq at work, it has improved my work tremendously simply because it takes the concept of drawing on paper to digital form.
 
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?  
Nothing really, but every now and then you get the jitters thinking if you’re doing okay, is your work up to par, or things like that. But communication is key to everything.
 
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Being in the industry, it’s hard not to! At Digital Domain, I was grateful enough to be working with Aaron Blaise who was the director of the film and who was an animator for Lion King, Mulan, Pocahontas, Brother Bear just to mention a few. Aaron was taught under Glen Keane so it was a huge honor for me to work closely with Aaron. Most of the crew at Digital Domain came from Disney Florida so it was amazing to be able to work with them! There’s been many more and I cannot be more thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been getting.

Describe a tough situation you had in life. 

Last year 2012, was pretty tough. I went through a lot of personal things and then being laid off from Digital Domain topped it. A week prior to being laid off, my roommates and I had just recently moved into a new house. Packing, unpacking, and packing up again with the span of a month was really rough and emotionally draining. There are still many people that are struggling to find jobs and I am grateful that I was able to be picked up by Disney a month later it happened. But I am a strong believer in things happen for a reason and I take it as a new experience for what’s next to come in life.
 
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have something in mind, but not set in stone yet as I am trying to get a new computer to get me started on what I want to achieve this year. What that is exactly, not sure yet 🙂
 
 
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I was in a depressing state last year and I needed something to keep me distracted so, I picked up cooking and baking. I learned a lot from Food Network and now, I like to make fancy foods for that matter. My greatest accomplishment was a soufflé!
 
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? 
Just keep swimming and keep moving forward. Both quotes taken from animation, but they are 100% true. There’s going to be hurdles along the way and you need to get a strong grip because it’s going to be one heck of a roller coaster. Don’t give up if you get turned down, there’s many studios out there and it’s a matter of being persistent about it and you’ll do great! 🙂

Gabby Zapata- “Bubbles”

MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012

Artist Profile #20: Gabby Zapata

Gabby Zapata is a wonderful illustrator from right here is San Francisco.

She recently graduated from Ringling and works for Digital Domain as a visual development artist.
I love how her illustrations and characters have such a delightful whimsy about them —
and her technique of making the background light absorb the scene
adds such a great sense of atmosphere.
So simple!

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