RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Max Perutz, Cambridge, molecular biologist, “I don’t think we should upset those people who [believe in religion] , who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people”

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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

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John Dunn, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyGareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin Banaji, Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  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 TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Max Perutz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Max Perutz
Max Perutz.jpg

Perutz in 1962, age 52
Born Max Ferdinand Perutz
19 May 1914
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 February 2002 (aged 87)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire,England
Nationality British
Fields Molecular biology,Crystallography
Institutions University of Cambridge,Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Alma mater University of Vienna
Peterhouse, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor J.D. Bernal
Doctoral students Francis Crick; John Keith Moffat
Known for Heme-containing proteins
Notable awards
Spouse Gisela Clara Peiser (m. 1942; 2 children)

Max Ferdinand Perutz OM CH CBE FRS (19 May 1914 – 6 February 2002)[1] was an Austrian-born British molecular biologist, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin. He went on to win the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971 and the Copley Medal in 1979. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962–79) The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, fourteen of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes. Perutz’s contributions to molecular biology in Cambridge are documented in The History of the University of Cambridge: Volume 4 (1870 to 1990) published by the Cambridge University Press in 1992.

Early life[edit]

Perutz was born in Vienna, the son of Adele “Dely” (Goldschmidt) and Hugo Perutz, a textile manufacturer.[2][3] His parents were Jewish by ancestry, but had baptized Perutz in the Catholic religion.[4][5][6] Although Perutz rejected religion and was an atheist in his later years, he was against offending others for their religious beliefs.[7][8]

Career[edit]

His parents hoped that he would become a lawyer, but he became interested in chemistry while at school. Overcoming his parents’ objections he enrolled as a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Vienna and completed his degree in 1936. Made aware by lecturer Fritz von Wessely of the advances being undertaken at the University of Cambridge into biochemistry by a team led by Gowland Hopkins, he asked Professor Marks who was soon to visit Cambridge to make inquiries to Hopkins about whether there would be a place for him. However Marks forgot. However he had visited J.D. Bernal, who was looking for a research student to assist him with studies into X-ray crystallography.[9] Perutz was dismayed as he knew nothing about the subject. Marks countered by saying that he would soon learn. Bernal accepted him as a research student in his crystallography research group at Cavendish Laboratory. His father had deposited ₤500 with his London agent to support him. He learnt quickly. Bernal encouraged him to use the X-ray diffraction method to study the structure of proteins. As protein crystals were difficult to obtain he used horse haemoglobin crystals, and began his doctoral thesis on its structure. Haemoglobin was a subject which was to occupy him for most of his professional career. He completed his PhD. under William Lawrence Bragg.

Rejected by Kings and St John’s colleges he applied to and became a member of Peterhouse, on the basis that it served the best food. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse in 1962. He took a keen interest in the Junior Members, and was a regular and popular speaker at the Kelvin Club, the College’s scientific society.

World War 2[edit]

When Hitler took over Austria in 1938 Perutz’s parents managed to escape to Switzerland, but lost all of their money. As a result, Perutz lost their financial support. With his ability to ski, experience in mountaineering since childhood and his knowledge of crystals Perutz was accepted as a member of a three-man team to study the conversion of snow into ice in Swiss glaciers in the summer of 1938. His resulting article for the Proceedings of the Royal Society made him known as an expert on glaciers.[10]

Lawrence Bragg who was head of the Professor of Experimental Physics at Cavendish, thought that Perutz’s research into haemoglobin had promise and encouraged him to apply for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to continue his research. The application was accepted in January 1939 and with the money Perutz was able to bring his parents from Switzerland in March 1939 to England.[10]

On the outbreak of World War II Perutz was rounded up along with other persons of German or Austrian background, and sent to Newfoundland (on orders from Winston Churchill).[11] After being interned for several months he returned to Cambridge. Because of his previous research into the changes in the arrangement of the crystals in the different layers of a glacier before the War he was asked for advice on whether if a battalion of commandos were landed in Norway, could they be hidden in shelters under glaciers. His knowledge on the subject of ice then lead to him in 1942 being recruited for Project Habakkuk. This was a secret project to build an ice platform in mid-Atlantic, which could be used to refuel aircraft. To that end he investigated the recently invented mixture of ice and woodpulp known as pykrete. He carried out early experiments on pykrete in a secret location underneath Smithfield Meat Market in the City of London.

Establishment of the Molecular Biology Unit[edit]

After the War he returned briefly to glaciology. He demonstrated how glaciers flow.[12][13][14][15][16]

In 1947 Perutz, with the support of Professor Bragg was successful in obtaining support from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to undertake research into the molecular structure of biological systems. This financial support allowed him to establish the Molecular Biology Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory.[17] Perutz’s new unit attracted researchers who realized that the field of molecular biology had great promise, among them was Francis Crick in 1949 and James D. Watson in 1951.

In 1953 Perutz showed that diffracted X-rays from protein crystals could be phased by comparing the patterns from crystals of the protein with and without heavy atoms attached. In 1959 he employed this method to determine the molecular structure of the protein hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.[citation needed] This work resulted in his sharing with John Kendrew the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Nowadays the molecular structures of several thousand proteins are determined by X-ray crystallography every year.

After 1959, Perutz and his colleagues went on to determine the structure of oxy- and deoxy- hemoglobin at high resolution. As a result, in 1970, he was at last able to suggest how it works as a molecular machine: how it switches between its deoxygenated and its oxygenated states, in turn triggering the uptake of oxygen and then its release to the muscles and other organs. Further work over the next two decades refined and corroborated the proposed mechanism. In addition Perutz studied the structural changes in a number of hemoglobin diseases and how these might affect oxygen binding. He hoped that the molecule could be made to function as a drug receptor and that it would be possible to inhibit or reverse the genetic errors such as those that occur in sickle cell anemia. A further interest was the variation of the hemoglobin molecule from species to species to suit differing habitats and patterns of behavior. In his final years Perutz turned to the study of changes in protein structures implicated in Huntington and other neurodegenerative diseases. He demonstrated that the onset of Huntington disease is related to the number of glutamine repeats as they bind to form what he called a polar zipper.[18]

DNA structure and Rosalind Franklin[edit]

Perutz with his wife Gisela at the 1962 Nobel ball

During the early 1950s, while Watson and Crick were determining the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), they made use of unpublished X-ray diffraction images taken by Rosalind Franklin, shown at meetings and shared with them by Maurice Wilkins, and of Franklin’s preliminary account of her detailed analysis of the X-ray images included in an unpublished 1952 progress report for the King’s College laboratory of Sir John Randall. Randall and others eventually criticized the manner in which Perutz gave a copy of this report to Watson and Crick.

It is debatable whether Watson and Crick should have been granted access to Franklin’s results without her knowledge or permission, and before she had a chance to publish a detailed analysis of the content of her unpublished progress report. It is also not clear how important the content of that report had been for Watson and Crick’s modeling. In an effort to clarify this issue, Perutz later published the report, arguing that it included nothing that Franklin had not said in a talk she gave in late 1951, which Watson had attended. Perutz also added that the report was addressed to an MRC committee created in order to “establish contact between the different groups of people working for the Council”. Randall’s and Perutz’s labs were both funded by the MRC.

The author[edit]

In his later years, Perutz was a regular reviewer/essayist for The New York Review of Books on biomedical subjects. Many of these essays are reprinted in his 1998 book I wish I had made you angry earlier.[19] In August 1985 The New Yorker also published his account tiled “That Was the War: Enemy Alien” of his experiences as an internee during World War 2. Perutz’s flair for writing was a late development. His relative Leo Perutz, a distinguished writer, told Max when he was a boy that he would never be a writer, an unwarranted judgement, as demonstrated by Perutz’s remarkable letters written as an undergraduate. They are published in What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz. Perutz was delighted to win the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science in 1997.

The scientist-citizen[edit]

Perutz attacked the theories of philosophers Sir Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn and biologist Richard Dawkins in a lecture given at Cambridge on ‘Living Molecules’ in 1994. He criticised Popper’s notion that science progresses through a process of hypothesis formation and refutation, saying that hypotheses are not necessarily the basis of scientific research and, in molecular biology at least, they are not necessarily subject to revision either. For Perutz, Kuhn’s notion that science advances in paradigm shifts that are subject to social and cultural pressures is an unfair representation of modern science.

These criticisms extended to scientists who attack religion, in particular to Richard Dawkins. Statements which offend religious faith were for Perutz tactless and simply damage the reputation of science. They are of quite a different order to criticism of the demonstrably false theory of creationism. He concluded that “even if we do not believe in God, we should try to live as though we did.”[20]

Within days of the 11 September attacks in 2001, Perutz wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appealing to him not to respond with military force: “I am alarmed by the American cries for vengeance and concerned that President Bush’s retaliation will lead to the death of thousands more innocent people, driving us into a world of escalating terror and counter-terror. I do hope that you can use your restraining influence to prevent this happening.”[21]

Honours and awards[edit]

Perutz was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1954.[1] In addition to the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962, which he shared with John Kendrew for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin, Max Perutz received a number of other important honours: he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963, received the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1967, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971, appointed a Companion of Honour in 1975, received the Copley Medal in 1979 and the Order of Merit in 1988.

Perutz was made a Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 1964, received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna (1965) and received the Wilhelm Exner Medal in 1967.[22]

Lectures[edit]

In 1980 he was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Chicken, the Egg and the Molecules.

Personal life[edit]

In 1942, Perutz married Gisela Clara Mathilde Peiser (1915-2005), a medical photographer. They had two children, Vivien (b. 1944), an art historian; and Robin (b. 1949), a professor of Chemistry at the University of York. Gisela was a refugee from Germany (she was a Protestant whose own father had been born Jewish).[23]

He was cremated on 12 February 2002 at Cambridge Crematorium (Cambridgeshire) and his ashes interred with his parents Hugo Perutz and Dely Perutz in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.[24] His wife was cremated on 28 December 2005 and her ashes were interred in the same grave.

Books by Max Perutz[edit]

  • 1962. Proteins and Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. Amsterdam and London. Elsevier
  • 1989. Is Science Necessary? Essays on science and scientists. London. Barrie and Jenkins. ISBN 0-7126-2123-7
  • 1990. Mechanisms of Cooperativity and Allosteric Regulation in Proteins. Cambridge. Cambridge University PressISBN 0-521-38648-9
  • 1992. Protein Structure : New Approaches to Disease and Therapy. New York. Freeman (ISBN 0-7167-7021-0)
  • 1997. Science is Not a Quiet Life : Unravelling the Atomic Mechanism of Haemoglobin. Singapore. World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-3057-5
  • 2002. I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier.Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-674-0
  • 2009. What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz edited by Vivien Perutz. Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-864-5

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In  the second video below in the 77th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

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)

________

Max Perutz asserted:   “….we should fight creationism and when asked say we don’t believe in religion. I don’t think we should upset those people who do, who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people.”

Sometimes people like Max Perutz get mad at people like Richard Dawkins but I see where Dawkins is coming from because he feels strongly about what he feels is the truth.

Let me respond with three points.

FIRST, Christ commands us Christians to tell everyone about the gospel because there is a day of Judgment coming.

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Revelation 14:6-7: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’”

My former pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, Adrian Rogers in his sermon A PLACE CALLED HELL noted:

The late, great Dr. Robert G. Lee, who was the pastor of this church, said this, and I wrote it down, he said, ”I know some people call the preacher who stands squarely upon the teaching of Christ and his apostles narrow, harsh, cruel.” then he said, ”as to being narrow, I have no desire to any broader than was Jesus. As to being cruel, is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is a man to be called cruel who declares the whole counsel of God and points out to men their danger? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people to the fact that the house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from the rattlesnake in the coil? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadliness of disease and tell them which medicine to take?” and then dr. Lee said this; he said, ”I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than to be called kind for being cruel.”

The cruelest thing a man could do would be to fail to warn people about what the bible has to say about hell. To speak sneeringly, disparagingly about a preacher who believes in hell, to ridicule a preacher who warns of hell would be the same as to ridicule a doctor who warns of cancer. It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is a fact. And I’m going to tell you, dear friend, that the idea of hell is ridiculed today. And, I know why it is ridiculed today, because people don’t like the idea and they try to laugh it away. You can laugh your way into hell, but you can’t laugh your way out once you’re there.

SECOND, 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 and a person can investigate some evidence that the Bible is accurate at this link.

THIRD, without God in the picture everything is permitted. Woody Allen demonstrated this brilliantly in his 1989 film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. I bring this up because I read this below:

  • “All is lawful.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “Viper will eat viper, and it would serve them both right!”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral; everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Scientists may not believe in God, but they should be taught why they ought to behave as if they did.”(9)

Max Perutz, with a Nobel prize in chemistry, made this statement several years ago in response to critical remarks about Cambridge University establishing a Lectureship in Theology and Natural Science. Richard Dawkins, outspoken biologist and atheist, could barely contain himself in an editorial letter about the same lectureship: “The achievements of theologians don’t do anything, don’t affect anything, don’t achieve anything. What makes you think that ‘theology’ is a subject at all?”(10)

Julian Huxley evidently agreed with Perutz because Huxley also wrote, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” Woody Allen addressed the same point in his movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and I have written this same subject over and over and over  again on this blog.

Francis Schaeffer’s comments on Huxley’s quote:

Relieving the Tension in the West

In  both the East and the West, however, there are attempts to relieve the tension of seeming to be nothing, while in fact being something very real – a person in a real world which has a definite form. On the materialist side, Sir Julian Huxley (1887-1975) has clarified the dilemma by acknowledging, though he was an atheist, that somehow or other – against all that one might expect – a person functions better if he acts as though God exists. “So,” the argument goes, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” As observed by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) in The Wild Duck: “Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.” In other words, according to Huxley, you can function properly only if you live your whole life upon a lie. You act as if God exists, which to the materialist is false. At first this sounds like a feasible solution for relieving the tension produced by a materialist world-view. However, a moment’s reflection shows what a terrible solution it is. You will find no deeper despair than this for a sensitive person. This is no optimistic, happy, reasonable, brilliant answer. It is darkness and death.
Another way the tension is relieved is through the theory of evolution, the idea that by chance there is an increasing advance. People are given an impression of progress – up from the primeval slime and the amoeba, up through the evolutionary chain, with life developing by chance from the simple carbon molecule to the complex, right up to the pinnacle, mankind.
This is not the place to discuss evolutionary theory, but it surprises us how readily people accept it, even on the scientific side, as if it had no problems. There are problems, even if these are not commonly realized or discussed.89 The primary point we are interested in, however, is not evolution itself but the illusion of “progress” which has been granted by it. By chance, this amazing complexity called “man” has been generated out of the slime. So, of course, there is progress! By this argument people are led into imagining that the whole of reality does have purpose even if, as we have said, there is no way that it really can have purpose within the humanistic world-view.
Evolution makes men and women feel superior and at the top of the pile, but in the materialistic framework, the whole of reality is meaningless; the concept of “higher” means nothing. Even if, within the humanist world-view, people are more complex than plants and animals, both “higher” and “lower” have no meanings. We are left with everything being sad and absurd.
Thus, the concept of progress is an illusion. Only some form of mystical jump will allow us to accept that personality comes from impersonality.90 No one has offered to explain, let alone demonstrate it to be feasible, how the impersonal plus time plus chance can give personality. We are distracted by a flourish of words – and, lo, personality has appeared out of a hat.
Imagine a universe made up of only liquids and solids, one containing no free gases. A fish is swimming in this universe. This fish, quite naturally, is conformed to its environment so that it is able to exist quite happily. Let us suppose, then, that by blind chance (as the evolutionists would have us believe) this fish developed lungs as it continued swimming in this universe without any gases. The fish would no longer be able to function and to fulfill its position as a fish. Would it then be “higher” or “lower” in its new state with lungs? Obviously it would be lower, for it would drown.
In the same way, if a person has been kicked up from the impersonal by chance, those things that make him a person – hope of purpose and significance, love, notions of morality and rationality and beauty – are ultimately unfulfillable and are thus meaningless. In such a situation, is man higher or lower? Mankind would then be the lowest creature on the scale, the least conforming to what reality is. Thus we see how hopeless is the illusion of meaning or purpose as derived from evolutionary thought.

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Why Woody Allen’s movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS blows Perutz and Huxley comments out of the water!!!

DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Evangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?

(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

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On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr. Max Perutz was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  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 cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some 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).

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.”

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.  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.

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.

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.

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “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.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, 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. 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 and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  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.

Livgren wrote, “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.”

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

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