Monthly Archives: June 2017

My Brother Brandon AUG 26 2016 By MARTY BURLSWORTH

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Greater: Official Trailer – Old #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harrison, Arkansas, is about as small town as it gets.

There are about 11,000 people in town and one unspoken rule: If it’s Friday night, you’re going to the Harrison High football game. And the only thing bigger than high school football in Harrison — or anywhere else in Arkansas — is Razorback football.

Arkansas doesn’t have a pro football team — I don’t even know if a pro team could survive here. But almost every boy growing up in the state wants to be a Razorback. That’s the dream.

It was my dream, too, and I sure worked hard at it. But I didn’t have that natural talent. Not like my younger brother Brandon. Boy, did he have the size and did he have the skills.

I was 16 years older than Brandon, so I was already out of the house, married and raising my own boys by the time he was of any age. But I’d do anything for that kid. Of course, he was my brother and you do anything for family, but things were a little tougher for him. Our parents divorced when Brandon was just two years old. On top of that, Dad had trouble with drinking and wasn’t really in our lives when Brandon was a little boy. So I did whatever I could to be there for Brandon.

If it meant bringing a basket of baseballs to the park so he could work on his hitting and pitching, I wanted to be there.

If it meant going over to Mom’s house to help him with homework, I wanted to be there.

There’s no explanation for it. He was my brother and I just wanted everything for him.  I’d do anything I could for him.

So when Brandon got it in his mind that he was going to be a Razorback, I was all in.

See, Brandon started out a little scrawny. He spent his first season of high school football as a sophomore on the sidelines. I don’t even think he played one game. But that summer Brandon had two things going for him: His work ethic and, luckily, a pretty big growth spurt.

“Dang, Marty, what have you been feedin’ that boy?”

His high school coaches couldn’t believe his size when he came back for his junior season. By that point he was about six-foot-two, over 200 pounds and still growing. And he just dominated on the field — didn’t matter if he was on defense or offense. He played on both sides of the ball and would just blow the field up. He’d be all over the line, right off the snap. Opposing teams made game plans just to handle Brandon. He was that good.

Almost every boy growing up in the state wants to be a Razorback. That’s the dream.

He spent as many days as he could in the weight room getting stronger. And it paid off. By his senior year, Brandon was an all-conference and all-state player and played in the state’s All-Star Game. But as good as he was, Brandon was also a late bloomer  — he was only 17 his senior year — and he was still a little undersized for college ball. He wasn’t as tall or as heavy as D-I colleges wanted him to be.

But Arkansas was the dream. And if Brandon was doing whatever he could on the field, then I sure as heck would do whatever I could to help get my brother there.

So I started calling coaches and seeing where he could play. And the first call I made was to the recruiting coordinator at Arkansas. He took my call, but I couldn’t tell just how interested he was.

“Sure, bring him on up for a game,” he said.

So Mom, Brandon and I piled into my minivan and we drove over to Fayetteville. We’d been to a couple of Razorbacks games before, and Brandon had seen the stadium and sat in the stands. But this was on a different level. We watched the game from this conference room at the top of the stadium. It had this outdoor patio that you could stand on and look down on the field. As Brandon and I were standing out there, the offensive linemen came out, running on the field with their helmets on. And boy, was he soaking it in. So was I.

“That looks good, doesn’t it?” I said.

“I like that,” he responded.

At that moment, we both felt so close to his dream coming true — something that wasn’t even a possibility for a boy who had been sitting on the sidelines just two years ago.

But I knew we still needed a scholarship.

I don’t how many times I’d call to check in. Coach, ya need anything? I’d sit every week with the newspaper. I go straight to the sports and see if any scholarships were offered. I kept track of how many might be left for Brandon. O.K., they gave one to that boy, that’s 12 so far. We may still get one.

In the end, Brandon got invited to be a walk-on. It was disappointing, but Brandon wanted to go to Arkansas more than anything and, well, he didn’t want any regrets. And I didn’t want him to always be wondering what could have been. It was the Razorbacks. This was the dream.

A couple of weeks before Brandon left for school, one of the Arkansas coaches called me.

“We want Brandon here, but if he can’t handle it I can see what I can do to get him to a smaller school,” he said. “I want him here, but he’ll know and we’ll know.”

“Coach, don’t worry about it. He won’t be going down.”

Brandon belonged on that field, and he knew it. He was a Razorback.

“Well, that’s good,” he said, sort of laughing. “I know he’s working hard, but he’ll know and we’ll know.”

“Coach, mark it down. He’s not going down.”

Brandon belonged on that field, and he knew it. He was a Razorback. Some of his teammates have since told me how red his face would be during practice, how hard he went, how he never gave up.

Brandon didn’t dress the first two games of his freshman season, but we found out that he’d be on the field for the third. We were going to Fayetteville for the game and I called him early in the week to tell him where our seats would be.

“So you just walk down this side of the stadium, O.K.? And I’ll get a photo of you in your uniform. It’ll be real cool.”

And then he walked out and there it was: BURLSWORTH.

I was so proud.

After the season, over the holidays, we got a call. The school was going to give Brandon a scholarship.

For the next three years, Brandon started for the Razorbacks. And for the next three years, every Friday at 5:30 p.m., I’d close up the photography studio I owned in Harrison, pick up my mom, and my wife and kids, and drive to Brandon’s football games. Whether it was in Fayetteville, or in Knoxville or Tuscaloosa, we had an unspoken rule: We were going to Brandon’s games. We probably put 30,000 miles on my minivan each season. We drove it to death. I had about 212,000 miles on it by the time I got rid of it.

One weekend when I was driving with Brandon to campus — I think maybe it was his junior year — a thought crossed my mind.

“Man, you might get to play at the next level.”

“Ah, I don’t know, I just gotta focus on this season.”

Brandon was so single-minded, so focused. He didn’t take one summer off the entire time he was at Arkansas. Other boys would go home after school got out in May and stay there until camp started in late July. But Brandon would stay on campus, working — painting the stadium, setting up dorms, things like that — and taking classes. So by his fourth year at Arkansas, he was already finishing his masters degree.

By the time he was a senior, we both knew that if we wanted to keep playing football he was going to have to enter the NFL draft. I tried bringing it up to him again.

“You know, Brandon, you could think about entering the draft. You’ll have all your coursework done and can graduate at the end of the year anyway.”

“Yeah,” he said with a smile. “I’ve kind of been planning it that way.”

And would you believe, all these NFL agents started flying into Harrison wanting to sign Brandon. He asked me to help him, but there’s all this certification that goes into being an agent. I wasn’t sure. But this was my brother. So before he started his senior year, I started working on getting my certification. And that spring, the Burls boys found themselves in Indianapolis at the combine.

As we walked by one of the pro shops, we joked to each other.

“Should we get some Colts gear?”

“Yeah, let’s go buy some Colts stuff.”

When we got back home to Harrison, the day of the draft was just filled with anxiety. We didn’t expect Brandon to go real high, and we had been told that he wouldn’t. Still, with each pick, even in the first round, you get more and more nervous. People were swinging by all day. And I remembered to do what other agents had advised me to do, I kept multiple lines open. I kept gaming out who was left.

“Has he been picked yet?”

“No!”

Finally, in the third round Brandon answered the phone and gave us the thumbs-up. Then we looked to the TV: Brandon’s picture came up on the screen and they were calling his name from the podium.

And would you believe it, it was the Indianapolis Colts who took him. We suddenly needed that gear, because we would be rooting for the Colts.

The next week, Brandon flew to Indianapolis for minicamp. He called to check in a couple of times. “Now, if you find yourself at that Colts shop,” I told him, “You make sure and get us some gear this time.”

Brandon Burlsworth, NFL player. The struggles that he had gone through to get where he was were over. He could finally reap the rewards of everything he put into the game — all the training, all the schooling, all the dedication, all the hard work. I was high as a kite.

Mom and I picked him up at the airport when he came home. I was just so proud of him. In a few weeks he’d be heading back. And I couldn’t wait to be right there with him. We planned to move out to Indianapolis with him.

But before all that, Brandon made one last trip to Fayetteville to visit with his Razorbacks teammates. He was determined to drive home the same day so he could attend evening church service with the family.

Faith. Family. Football.

That’s the order of things for us.

Every week, Brandon made the drive home. Faith and family — they meant everything to Brandon. And every week he was right on time with his little white Subaru parked in Mom’s driveway. So when he was two hours late that evening, Mom started to get worried.

She called me just before six o’clock, with panic and worry in her voice.

“He should’ve been home by now.”

“I’m sure he just got stuck in traffic, or maybe ran out of gas. He’ll show up and everything will be fine.”

I didn’t mean to dismiss Mom’s concerns, but I just figured there was some sort of reason or explanation. But as it got later in the evening and Mom got more and more worked up, I hopped into my own car to head over and see if we could find out what had happened.

 Mom called me just before six o’clock, with panic and worry in her voice. “He should’ve been home by now.”

When I turned on to the street behind Mom’s house, I could see her driveway through this little opening between houses. And I could see a little white car parked in her driveway.

I let out a little sigh of relief. Brandon was home.

But as I turned the next corner onto Mom’s street and pulled up to her house, I got a good look at the car.

It wasn’t Brandon’s white Subaru.

It was a police car.

One of my sons, who was in my car with me, started asking what was wrong, what had happened. I opened the door to Mom’s house and she was in a state.

Brandon, the officer told us, had collided head-on with a semi. He died instantly.

***

If it’s difficult to describe the love for a brother, it’s impossible to explain the loss of a brother.

I wanted everything for Brandon, and within a few moments, it had all been taken away. Less than two weeks before, I had watched as Brandon stood on the front lawn of Mom’s house and gave interviews to local TV crews about getting picked in the NFL draft. Now, I was taking calls from the same stations about Brandon’s death.

That’s what it’s all about: What you do while you were here.

We still don’t really know what happened that afternoon. I don’t think anyone was at fault. It was just one of those things — when it’s time, it’s time. And it was Brandon’s time.

To this day, people tell me where they were when they heard the news. It was a terrible day for Harrison, it was a terrible day for the state. We had to have the funeral at the high school gym. There just wasn’t enough space anywhere else. Two buses of Razorbacks players arrived. It seemed as if the whole town was there to support Brandon and who he was and what he meant to everybody.

That’s what it’s all about: What you do while you were here.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BETH HALL/AP IMAGES

 

And Brandon did a lot in his 22 years.

I can only hope I did as much as I could to help him.

Brandon wanted to do more, though. After the draft, he spoke to me a lot about helping other kids in Harrison. Brandon knew what it was like to be doubted, to be told you weren’t good enough. He said he wanted to hold football camps and bring kids to his NFL games. So a few months after his death, we started the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, where we do all of that and more.

I think Brandon would be proud of the work we’re doing in his name. He may be gone, but I still want to do whatever I can to keep his dreams going, to keep his legacy going.

There’s never a day where I don’t think about Brandon. Whether I’m driving around town, past the baseball park where we used to play catch, past the Razorbacks signs on front lawns, I feel his presence.

I never used to worry before Brandon died. But now that my own boys are older, if they’re even ten minutes late, I get a little concerned and think that maybe they’re in trouble, maybe something went wrong.

And when it’s Friday night here in Harrison and the whole town is at the football game, I think about Brandon.

And I know…I feel him here with me.

***

Greater, a film depicting the life and tragic death of Brandon Burlsworth will be released in theaters on August 26th. Locations and showtimes are available on www.greaterthemovie.com.

Brandon Burlsworth

Uploaded on Aug 31, 2011

Brandon was a walk on turned All American at the University of Arkansas. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and 11 days later was tragically killed in a car accident. The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was founded in his name and has several programs: The Burls Kids program takes underprivileged children to all Arkansas Razorback and Indianapolis Colts home games. The BBF in partnership with Walmart provides eye care to 14,000 pre-K thru 12th grade students whose working families are trying, but still cannot afford extras like eye care and do not qualify for state funded programs. We hold football camps each year in Harrison and Little Rock and we have several football scholarship and awards including the Burlsworth Trophy, a national award given out to the most outstanding Division One college football player who began his career as a walk-on.

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ADVICE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP:

Free to Choose Part 4: From Cradle to Grave Featuring Milton Friedman

 

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Volume 1: Power of the Market Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Anatomy of a Crisis
Volume 4: From Cradle to Grave
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Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 168 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part B (Featured artist is Michelle Mackey )

 

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All (Backing Track – Early Take)

George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’ – Original Audio

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? gives us some insight into a possible answer to that question WHY WAS DRUG-TAKING AND EASTERN RELIGIONS SO POPULAR IN THE 1960’s IN USA?

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 nonrational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religion is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of nonreason 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. 

An article calledHoly Wars” was based on Francis Schaeffer’s writings primarily and it noted:

Then came the Beatles. John Lennon had declared that his group was more popular than Jesus. But they weren’t willing to stop there. They sought to supplant the true God with everything false. After the rock icons returned from India they brought with them not only the music of the Hindu guru Ravi Shankar, but also his religion as taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They were so impressed with that guru’s Transcendental Meditation woo woo that they just had to convert the whole Western World to it. The counterculturalists took it all in, hook line and sinker.

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All – Lyrics

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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013

Awaiting on You All

On the way home from work one afternoon I listened to the George Harrison song Awaiting on You All that I had copied along with other songs by this artist from his album All Things Must Pass. Hearing this song after so many years (it was on a CD that I had lost and just found again) was an interesting experience, and as often happens when you unearth some part of your past and compare it with your present, I heard it almost with fresh ears. I am not the same person that I was then. I was in my twenties when I followed George Harrison both musically and spiritually. Though the Eastern religious views he espoused most of his public life were similar to mine at that age, it didn’t take long for me to outgrow them. ‘Outgrow’ is not exactly the right word, though. I didn’t really outgrow them. You could say I traded them in, new lamps for old. I never struck a better deal.

Still, listening to the song I was amazed just how spot on he was in much of what he was saying. I can still relate to almost all of it. I don’t think that either of us, George or I, was aware of the fuzzy thinking that made us combine devotion and belief in Krishna and Jesus without noticing the two aren’t the same. I’m not talking about doctrinal or religious differences. Hinduism and Christianity are distinct religions, granted, but anyone who believes in God knows, ‘God is God. There is no thing you can compare to God. God is God.’ We tend to believe that at best other religions are wrong in the details but right in the big picture. This may be true, but no one can say so without denying his faith community. In youth, I think we were bored with dogmatic strongholds, and wanted the freedom to meet God on our terms, not according to those of our ancestors. How little did we understand that ‘the ancestors in stone armor calling for loyalty untrue’ seeking ‘to make a zigzag of the arrow’s flight’ were doing no such thing.

No, they knew that the shortest path between two points is rarely a straight line, though arrows may fly to their mark, being projectiles aimed at a target. Unfortunately people are not projectiles, and our destination is not really a target, no matter how much we wish we could hit the bullseye. We are beings fashioned in the Divine image and likeness. We live in more than three, more even than four, dimensions, and the paths we tread cannot be traced, planned or prophesied by mortal logic or the magic of music. They are no more than mere beginnings, our thoughts and feelings, before we bump into the aweful reality which we glibly like to call ‘God.’ Meet Him on our terms? Hardly possible, unless He allows it, and only as a sign that He is there, hidden behind our wall, waiting for us to…
No, that is also just what we glibly like to think, as George Harrison sings in his song…

You don’t need no love in
You don’t need no bed pan
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
To see the mess that you’re in
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been polluted so long
Now here’s a way for you to get clean

By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see…

You don’t need no passport

And you don’t need no visas
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus
If you open up your heart
You’ll see he’s right there
Always was and will be
He’ll relieve you of your cares

You don’t need no church house
And you don’t need no Temple
You don’t need no rosary beads or them books to read
To see that you have fallen
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been kept down so long
Someone’s thinking that we’re all green

… The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free

I purposely left out the stanza about the pope owning controlling interest in General Motors and not being qualified to quote us anything but the Stock Exchange. This is childish talk and hatchets all the good things he has to say. This, I find, is true of youthful thinkers in every generation. It’s true of otherwise noble and idealistic youth today. It was true of me as a Vietnam War draft resister. We ‘let the cat out of the bag’ about ourselves when we pounce on anyone, especially an authority figure we don’t approve of, and show that, however pure we think our motives, however lofty our ideals, we’re still no better than the fallen heroes we no longer believe in. What George Harrison says in this song I still agree with. Where I have a problem, is what he proposes as a solution to the mess we find ourselves in. As much as I enjoyed chanting Hare Krishna, it didn’t save me, or the world, and it never will.

But the rest is, amazingly, true, as I have found out in the intervening years. The words about Jesus are almost straight out of the Bible. The words about churches and temples, the same. Somebody went to Sunday School as a child. Yes, you’re right. I did.
I know that for sure, and guess what? It stuck. What started out as an incomprehensible religious upbringing somehow became comprehensible when it finally collided with what I was made for.

Yes, my parachute failed to open, and the earth received my bruised and broken body. I was alive for just a moment, just long enough for me to realize I was about to die. Then His gentle hands slipped under my head and shoulders as He lifted me up from what should have been my grave. He had already been there, aeons before I came to birth or leapt to my unintended death. No, this did not literally happen. I’ve never used a parachute. But His hands are real.

Awaiting on You All, a great song,
but He is waiting only from our point of view.
On His side, we are either already with Him, or without Him.

__

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Featured Artist: Michelle Mackey

By

Editor

01/03/2013Posted in: Featured Artist, Painters

'Fence Climber'. Oil on Canvas. 36"x36".

‘Fence Climber’. 2005. Oil on Canvas. 36″x36″.

Michelle Mackey is a painter who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Dallas, TX.  She has exhibited extensively in both of those locations, as well as other places inside of and outside of the United States.  In 1999, she received an MFA from Pratt Institute.  Her work has been featured in several publications, including The Christian Century and New American Paintings.

A variety of everday textures, surfaces and structures make up the visual repository from which Mackey’s paintings emerge.  She describes her process in this way:

The story of my process is embedded in layers of paint (layers of choices) visible on the canvas: a trail of past decisions shutting off certain paths to allow other possibilities. I’m searching, tweaking, scratching, both my mind and the image on the canvas, to uncover what I am really seeing and the process of how I see. On my microcosmic-level, I am looking into a larger system beyond the individual. I do not believe in chance or events without purpose, so I do feel that my search will reveal certain truths or aspects of a larger truth.

How do you paint a memory?  Memory is a constant theme in Mackey’s work.  We all have some idea of what it might mean to paint from our memories, but Mackey’s paintings are more like the memories themselves.

Like a memory, one peers into the amorphous forms that haunt her canvases, and one has the sense of staring backward into time.  These images are often vague and nebulous, and they tantalize us with the distance between what could be and what really is. Her 2011 Black Series (see Intermezzo below) is an excellent example.  Although these paintings are bare and monotone, Mackey achieves a remarkable sense of depth and ambiguity.  Forms emerge and disappear.  Mackey gives us representation with one hand, while she simultaneously takes it away with the other.

Like a memory, viewing one of Mackey’s paintings can be spatially disorienting.  Her collages of textures, surfaces and structures do not obey the laws of the physical universe.  One texture bleeds into another.  What appears, at first glance, to be up may on a second viewing strike us as upside down.  In Fashion Awards (below), the lines and structures that appear are actually old blueprints for television-show scenery.  These plans, which no longer serve any function, are so covered that spatial orientation and dimension is difficult to decipher.  They are the remains of a television image; a memory of a memory.

Like a memory, Mackey’s paintings are layered.  Our deepest memories are colored and warped by the passage of time.   What they mean to us change and shift along with us.  A painting like Blue Spring (below) is suggestive of process of layering that builds up over time.  Although much is covered, there is very little in this painting that seems dispensable.

Memories form an essential component of our sense of identity.  Who we believe our selves to be, and what we believe ourselves to be capable of becoming, is inextricably connected to our own memories and the memories that have been handed down to us.  For many of us, these memories bear the dead weight of regret and failure, and they tell us that history will only ever repeat itself.  Mackey’s process suggests, to the contrary, that we are free to explore our memories and that we are graciously and mysteriously free to imagine new ways of relating to our memories.

Memory is really only one aspect of a very rich body of work.  If you would like to learn more about Mackey’s work, I encourage you to visit her website.  There, you can view online galleries, an artist statement, video of her painting process and more.

'Intermezzo'. Acrylic and Enamel on Resin Coated Panel. 47"x47".

‘Intermezzo’. 2011. Acrylic and Enamel on Resin Coated Panel. 47″x47″.

'Fashion Awards'. 2009. Acrylic and Pencil on Paper, Mounted on Panel. 9.5"x11".

‘Fashion Awards’. 2009. Acrylic and Pencil on Paper, Mounted on Panel. 9.5″x11″.

'Blue Spring'. 2003. Oil on Linen. 24"x24".

‘Blue Spring’. 2003. Oil on Linen. 24″x24″.

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WOODY WEDNESDAY Reviews of past Woody Allen Movies PART 6

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Match Point – Trailer (Ponto Final) – Woody Allen

Reviews of past Woody Allen Movies



Match Point (2005)
124 min., rated R.
Grade: B + 

Although there’s no universal truth for the last time Woody Allen made a great picture (his last five or so were enjoyable if not great), “Match Point” marks Allen’s true comeback and full-hearted accomplishment. It’s uncharted territory, meaning it’s not a comedy and he leaves his beloved New York for a literal change of scenery in London. And it’s his longest work to date. 

Sure, this dramatic film still opens classically with the same white fonted credits over black, but it’s all scratchy opera records rather than the old jazz standards. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, not asked to mimic Allen’s fumbly neurosis, plays Chris, a slick Dublin-born fellow who comes to London to work as a club tennis pro. He meets rich good chap Tom (Matthew Goode) and is quickly taken into the high-society family fold that he’s soon in a relationship with Chris’s sweet sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Chris’s attention is instantly absorbed by Nola (Scarlett Johansson), a flirtatious starving actress from Colorado, also Tom’s fiancee. Eventually, he’s welcomed into the father’s business firm, flourishes, and marries Chloe. But when Tom unexpectedly dumps Nola, Chris decides to have his cake and eat it too, as he embarks on a secret affair with Nola and things just get complicated from there. 

Bubbling through “Match Point,” as voiced by Meyers’ Chris, is a metaphor of luck over morality that’s first represented visually by a tennis ball hitting the net. The coolly deliberate story starts with its class distinctions, then has some beats as an adultery drama, and changes gears into a high-stakes thriller but in plausible fashion. Allen covers some of the same themes and philosophies—infidelity, lust, obsession, morality—from his previous work, especially his “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as he evokes Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and Hitchcock albeit with subtlety and without clichés. The ending is not mechanical either but more of a meditation on crime, chance, and fate. 

Meyers brings the right kind of surface charm and outward composure to the increasingly immoral Chris whose consequences of his actions turn out lucky, not great. Johansson is absolutely enticing and seductive with her throaty, come-hither sex appeal as Nola, although her character becomes more of a nag even after a crucial plot development. Meyers and Johansson smolder on screen together. Mortimer is lovely but her Chloe is so damn naïve and passive-aggressive even when she’s pushy about having a baby (her character and a key scene recall Mia Farrow’s Hannah in “Hannah and Her Sisters”). 

Most unlike any other film the auteur has made, “Match Point” is sexy, smart, serious-minded, and Allen’s most confident, elegantly shot filmmaking in a while. The man’s 70 and this is his 36th feature film, if you’re keeping track, and that’s not just from years of hard luck. 


Scoop (2006)
96 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: B 

“Minor Allen” was nothing new before last year’s “Match Point,” Woody Allen’s most original and Hitchcockian piece of work in a good while, but now the auteur is back to his trifling tricks. No matter, Allen’s follow-up “Scoop,” also set in London, is light, beguiling good fun. 

Sondra (a likable Scarlett Johansson), a Brooklyn journalism student visiting the Big Ben city, gets handpicked to go on stage by magician Sid Waterman (Allen). Inside a box, she comes across the spirit of famous reporter Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) who hands his scoop over to Sondra—he knows the identity of the Tarot Card Killer. She decides to go undercover, and together Sondra and Sid contrive to meet the suspect, Peter Lyman (a suave, charming Hugh Jackman), at a private club pool (she’s posing as an aspiring actress and Sid is her father). But of course, Sondra begins to fall hard for Peter even if he’s a murderer. 

The droopy-eyed Allen is really beginning to look his age (70) on screen, last appearing three years ago in “Anything Else,” but his one-liners still pop (“I was born into the Hebrew persuasion, but when I got older I converted to narcissism” or “I never gain an ounce, because my anxiety acts like aerobics so I get the exercise.”). His bug-eyed expression behind the wheel of a European smart car is hilarious. Johansson, still a cutie behind those mousy Mia Farrow glasses and night-time retainer, is a good foil for Allen, like the next Diane Keaton. Thankfully, Allen’s more of a father figure than a love interest for her, but trying her hand at fostering the Jewish kvetch’s mannered-neurotic shtick, the leading lady is not much of a bumbler. McShane, first shown on a ship guided by the Grim Reaper (a nod to Allen’s Love and Death?), is mostly a plot device for the film. 

Music by Peter Tchaikovsky and Johann Strauss Jr., as well as “In the Hall Of The Mountain King,” add to the lark-ish charm. 

A slight effort, borrowing a bit from “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” and “Small Time Crooks,” and the whodunit mystery isn’t really worth solving, but “Scoop” is a silly charmer that simply wins you over. 


Cassandra’s Dream (2007)
108 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: C 

Oh, how far the great Woody Allen has fallen. On the British heels of “Match Point” and “Scoop” now comes “Cassandra’s Dream,” an ineffectively weighty thriller about money, class, family, and murder, and it seems the filmmaker’s stuck this time in London without a passport. 

Allen’s fresh new players Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell play two Cockney blue-collar brothers who dream of striking it rich and having a boat to call their own. Terry (Farrell) is a gambling mechanic in a steadily happy relationship and Ian (McGregor) is a would-be entrepreneur who pawns himself off as a rich tycoon to earn the fancy of a self-obsessed actress (newcomer Hayley Atwell). When both run into financial ruins, they ask for help from their well-off Uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson). He agrees to assist them but on one condition: whack a colleague who could put Howard away for life. 

McGregor’s Ian is too much of a whiner when it comes to the romance but he becomes more confident than Terry and oddly keeps his cool after the deed is done. Farrell gives the more interesting performance of the two, feeling his head spinning and the sweaty apprehension and then the post-murder guilt. Together, their brotherly chemistry feels relaxed, and their British accents maybe too relaxed. Wilkinson, as usual, is amusingly persuasive in his limited screen time. 

Allen’s reworking a lot of the same morality themes he did in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point,” but the writer-director doesn’t get away with murder here. You wish there was more giddyup in the story and pacing, and less bombast in Philip Glass’s musical score, and this time, Allen’s dialogue has more exposition than it does wit. The leading up to the murder is staged like darkly humorous, mischievous Hitchcock and decidedly bloodless, the right touch by Allen’s pan-left, but the film’s abrupt ending is Greek tragedy or just an ironic shaggy-dog joke. 

Said “Match Point” still wasn’t just a fluke, but the “earlier, funnier ones” are looking real good right about now, as “Cassandra’s Dream” is anything but a dream, especially for Woodyphiles.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 134 Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard, paleontologist, “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration”

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, 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 DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter 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 TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

I really starting following the work of Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge when I happened to watch the program DID DARWIN GET IT WRONG? on the show NOVA in 1981 on PBS. I was so taken with the show that I ordered the transcript.  In this show the scientists attacked the evolution of the horse exhibit in the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The funny thing is the next day in college my professor brought up that very exhibit as proof of evolution and I was able to correct him and later provided him with the transcript of the program. Below are a few quotes from that program.

“It is, indeed, a very curious state of affairs, I think, that paleontologists have been insisting that their record is consistent with slow, steady, gradual evolution where I think that privately, they’ve known for over a hundred years that such is not the case. …It’s the only reason why they can correlate rocks with their fossils, for instance. …They’ve ignored the question completely.” (Eldredge, Niles, “Did Darwin Get It Wrong?” Nova (November 1, 1981), 22 p. 6.)

Refuting the Neo-Darwinian Faith

Posted by on July 17, 2008 in Apologetics, Articles/Essays, Neo-Darwinism, Old School Presbyterian churches | 0 comments

While I was on vacation last week my daughter and I went into NYC and one of the places we visited was the Museum of Natural History. As we were walking around, I couldn’t help but reflect that if Neo-Darwinians set out to self-consciously build a Neo-Darwinian Cathedral, it would be the Museum of Natural History.

Everywhere you looked the displays and exhibits put evolution and materialism front and center. It was almost as though the curators wanted to make absolutely sure that anyone entering into the building might have a chance to take in the materialist gospel – “from nothing, came everything, and to nothing, everything shall return.” This was glaringly apparent in displays like “The Hall of Human Origins” which supposedly traces

“the remarkable history of human evolution from our earliest ancestors millions of years ago to modern Homo sapiens.”

and the Hayden planetarium, which rather than giving us a view of the majesty of the universe as it is, instead takes visitors on a fantasy-land ride through the universe as the Neo-Darwinian faithful believe it was built (or more correctly, randomly assembled):

“The bottom half of the Hayden Sphere houses the Big Bang, where visitors will be transported to the beginning of time and space, experiencing a dramatic, multisensory re-creation of the first moments of the universe. From here, visitors continue on an awe-inspiring journey that chronicles the evolution of the universe by following the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway — a sloping walkway that takes them through 13 billion years of cosmic evolution.”

Even a display on the amazing history of the horse couldn’t help but highlight the supposed evolution of the horse from other creatures.

But what is never pointed out to the visitor are the gaps, the guesses, the blind-leaps, and the overwhelming mass of data that contradicts the totally outdated assumptions of the Neo-Darwinians. In short, the museum doesn’t let on that what it is really doing is pedaling a self-contradictory and increasingly intolerant faith. The Neo-Darwinians and the forces behind this God denying movement (Romans 1:18-32, Eph. 6:11) have a vested interest in not doing so. But pastors, elders, and parents have a responsibility to the lambs that Christ has entrusted to expose Neo-Darwinianism for what it is, because Neo-Darwinianism is not science, but a false faith that is as resistant to questioning and critique as the Roman church in the middle-ages ever was. The purpose of this post, therefore, is merely to point out a few of the more glaring errors in the Neo-Darwinian matrix and then recommend some good resources so that OSP pastors and elders might equip their congregations and be informed themselves.

First, lets deal with the theory of “phyletic gradualism.” Whether or not you know what that is, you can’t go into the American Museum of Natural History without seeing it in chart after chart of supposed chains that indicate how a presently living species developed from another earlier species. Usually, the chains are drawn by making connections between fossil animals that have similar features. A few species are found that resemble another species and then there are speculations that this is an “ancestor.” Scientifically, this is the equivalent of finding a Camaro in the junk yard at one level in a stack, and a Corvette beneath it and speculating that the Camaro developed from the Corvette based on functional similarities between the two.

If evolution were working according to the traditional hypothesis referred to as “phyletic gradualism”presupposed by Darwin, we would see an easily discernable pattern of chains in the fossil beds, as species clearly “mutated” into other species. This however is not what we find, and even evolutionary paleontologists are aware of it. For instance, the following quotes are from Niles Eldredge and Stephen J. Gould, both paleontologists and supporters of evolution:

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of changeover millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” (Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate, 1996)

“It is, indeed, a very curious state of affairs, I think, that paleontologists have been insisting that their record is consistent with slow, steady, gradual evolution where I think that privately, they’ve known for over a hundred years that such is not the case.” (Eldredge, “Did Darwin Get It Wrong?” Nova 11/1/81))

“Paleontologists have paid an enormous price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study. …The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change I usually limited and directionless. 2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’” (Gould, The Panda’s Thumb, 1980)

“Most families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors.” (Eldredge, Macro-Evolutionary Dynamics: Species, Niches, and Adaptive Peaks, 1989)

Then there is the famous Cambrian Explosion, or what some scientists call “the Biological Big Bang”, that would be the death knell of phyletic gradualism if Neo-Darwinianism rested on data and not blind faith:

“The “Cambrian explosion” refers to the geologically sudden appearance of many new animal body plans about 530 million years ago. At this time, at least nineteen, and perhaps as many as thirty-five phyla of forty total (Meyer et al. 2003), made their first appearance on earth within a narrow five- to ten-million-year window of geologic time (Bowring et al. 1993, 1998a:1, 1998b:40; Kerr 1993; Monastersky 1993; Aris-Brosou & Yang 2003). Many new subphyla, between 32 and 48 of 56 total (Meyer et al. 2003), and classes of animals also arose at this time with representatives of these new higher taxa manifesting significant morphological innovations. The Cambrian explosion thus marked a major episode of morphogenesis in which many new and disparate organismal forms arose in a geologically brief period of time.

To say that the fauna of the Cambrian period appeared in a geologically sudden manner also implies the absence of clear transitional intermediate forms connecting Cambrian animals with simpler pre-Cambrian forms. And, indeed, in almost all cases, the Cambrian animals have no clear morphological antecedents in earlier Vendian or Precambrian fauna (Miklos 1993, Erwin et al. 1997:132, Steiner & Reitner 2001, Conway Morris 2003b:510, Valentine et al. 2003:519-520). Further, several recent discoveries and analyses suggest that these morphological gaps may not be merely an artifact of incomplete sampling of the fossil record (Foote 1997, Foote et al. 1999, Benton & Ayala 2003, Meyer et al. 2003), suggesting that the fossil record is at least approximately reliable (Conway Morris 2003b:505).” (Meyer, PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON, 117(2):213-239. 2004, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories”)

What paleontologists like Gould and Eldredge have have realized is that rather than showing a gradual progress of one species to another, the fossil record shows not the development, but the existence of complex biological structures with no record of earlier “transitional” structures.

“Stepping way back and looking at too broad a scale, one might discern some sort of progress in life’s history. …But the pattern dissolves upon close inspection. Most structural complexity entered in a grand burst at the Cambrian explosion, and the history of Phanerozoic life since then has largely been a tale of endless variation upon a set Bauplane. We may discern a few ‘vectors’ of directional change – thickening and ornamentation of shells…–but these are scarcely the stuff of progress in its usual sense.” (Gould, “The Paradox of the First Tier: an Agenda for Paleobiology,” Paleobiology, 1985)

Regarding why Neo-Darwinians are so tied to theories that are actually disproved by the evidence, Gould (who was himself an anti-theist) noted in his famous essay “Darwinian Fundamentalism” the distressing fact that Neo-Darwinianism had been transformed from a Scientific theory into the new unshakable faith of the present age. He and his colleagues criticized the willingness of educational establishments to continue teaching portions of Darwinian evolution that had long since been scrapped, as well as their unwillingness to embrace modern theories such as the “wonderful monster” concept of change via simultaneous rapid mutations (Punctuated Equilibrium). In fact, although he held creationists in utter contempt, he too was embarassed by the tendency of text-book publishers to print pictures of hypothetical “transitional life forms” that no fossil evidence has ever uncovered and which are biologically untenable.

For instance, Gould and many other paleontologists were only too well aware that a structure in-between an arm and a wing that was actually neither, made for a life-form that even under the concept of “survival of the fitest” would be “deleted.” As most modern paleontologists point out, we have fossil arms and we have fossil wings, we have fossil arms and fossil flippers, but no transitional forms in between. They’ve generally given up on searching for biologically untenable “links” and because design and creation are immediately ruled out (materialism is after all the ruling philosophy in the academy) as possibilities, they have generated a series of increasingly bizarre and unlikely theories such as punctuated equilibrium which speculates that at some point a lizard gave birth to a bird, and said bird found another similar mutant and the bird species began. At some point you have to step back and scratch your head and say, “and we Christians are the kooks because we believe God made birds and lizards?”

So the fossil record far from proving Neo-Darwinianism actually does the opposite. Darwinians always assumed they would find “transitional life forms” showing the development of one species into another. They haven’t, and in fact, recent digs particularly in the Cambrian strata in China are showing that the classic Darwinian tree, which went from a single common ancestor to an increasing diversity of life is actually upside-down. As we’ve mentioned there was a sudden “explosion” of life in the Cambrian period, and much less diversity afterwards, in other words, there are fewer and fewer lifeforms as one goes up the tree, not more and more. The fossil record tells us that species became extinct, but it doesn’t tell us new ones evolved from the existing ones. All the assumptions, taken on faith, by Darwinian scientists in the 19th century have failed to pan out in the fossil record.

But even more damaging to the Neo-Darwinian faith are the advances in DNA research and Biochemistry, areas that Darwin had no knowledge of and which are proving antithetical to his theories. The discoveries in these fields are showing to the chagrin of Darwinians that there is no natural mechanism for ADDING information to the DNA sequence that would allow, for instance, for a change of species. What this means is that while we can tinker with DNA in a lab, “nature” simply doesn’t have a mechanism for changing DNA in the way that would allow for Flatworms to become Field Mice. It simply can’t be done, and it doesn’t matter how much time or mutation one posits.

Proteins are made up of long complex chains of organic chemicals called “amino acids”, various proteins are brought together to form structures within cells each of which has a highly complex role to play – they are in essence the “engines” of the cell, the composition of these amino acid chains is determined by the information contained in DNA. It is the DNA code that instructs the cellular machines that put together the Amino acid chains in what order they are to go. Nothing in Darwin’s theory can account for the creation of the information in DNA or, most importantly, how amino acids were assembled in the correct order to form proteins prior to the creation of DNA. Proteins cannot precede the DNA necessary to construct them and inorganic chemicals cannot create information.

Also, natural selection cannot occur without the driving force of life and death and thus “genetic favoritism” and gradual change. What this means is that prior to the existence of life-forms Neo-Darwinianism lacks an engine to drive it. Natural selection actually presumes the existence of at least cellular life-forms before it can operate. So it cannot explain the combination of organic chemicals or even their creation.

Thus the “Deus Ex Machina” that powers Neo-Darwinian theory, natural selection, cannot account for the formation of life from non-life or the formation of actual information. Which means that while Genesis 1-2 can account for the creation of life, Neo-Darwinianism cannot.

Obviously this is only a very brief sketch of the information out there, and I present it merely to hopefully whet your appetite for your own studies. The following are a few links which I hope will be of value to you as you train-up your own flock, there are many more I could list, but this should be enough to get you started.

The Mythical Horse Series

Horse evolution prominently appears in textbooks as a supreme example of the evolution of one body style into another. All students remember the “horse series” sketches, tracing the development of a small browser named Hyracotherium (formerly known as Eohippus) with four toes on the front feet and three on the rear, into the large one-toed horse of today. Intermediate steps included the three-toed Mesohippus, a modified horse with one toe touching the ground; the one-toed Merychippus; Pliohippus, also with only one toe; and finally our modern horse, Equus, who along the way had acquired high-crowned molars and other adaptations.

Of course, modern horses exist in great variety, with many unusual adaptations that allow them to cope with widely varied environments. Numerous species are recognized, almost all of which are known to hybridize. Obviously, there is a great deal of latitude in horse characteristics. Furthermore, various strains can be bred to accentuate one trait, such as the tiny horses about as large as a dog. Horses display a great deal of adaptability.

Early evolutionary theories hypothesized progress in a direct line from one type to another, and fossils were displayed within that framework. In recent decades, this view of directed evolution has been generally disavowed, and no particular form is now considered to have been the goal of “non-directed” mutation and natural selection. Once free to examine the data without this “directed” overprint, evolutionary scientists were quick to recognize that changes among horses had been abundant, extensive, and unpredictable.

There are some things to note, however. During the same time period that some of the descendants of Hyracotheriumsupposedly developed into full-blown horses and elephants and other mammals, others persisted unchanged. It seems that evolution does not always change things–often it leaves them alone. Selection pressures that acted so strongly to produce major modifications in some life forms left others in stasis. Their fossils are found in the same strata intervals, so they must have lived in the same environment. Evolution apparently does not apply across the board. If a theory can accommodate any possibility, it is a weak concept indeed.

It is now acknowledged that horse evolution as recorded in the fossils follows no recognizable pattern, and that the evolutionary “tree” looks more like a multi-branching “bush.” The successive forms indicating straight-line evolution appear only in textbooks; they do not appear in the fossils. Sometimes fossils of different types that supposedly lived at different times appear together in the same strata layer. In Oregon, the three-toed grazer Neohipparion (very much like Merychippus) has been found with Pliohippus. In the Great Basin area, Pliohippus has been found with the three-toed Hipparion throughout the timeframe supposedly represented. Evolutionary scientists freely admit this situation–and to their credit often attempt to correct the misconceptions–but still the horse series appears in the textbooks.

Any three fossils can be placed in a line and an evolutionary story can be told about the transformation of one into the other. And a different story could be told if the fossils were arranged in a different order.

It is interesting to note that Hyracotherium was so named because its specimens looked similar to the hyrax. This little “rock badger” can be seen alive in many zoos, complete with an interpretive sign listing its varied evolutionary antecedents. It looks very, very different from a horse, but most of its reputed predecessors could possibly be true variants of the horse. If you took the tiny three-toed ones out of the line-up, then the fossils would fit the creation picture, showing variety within a created kind.

* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Morris, J. 2008. The Mythical Horse Series. Acts & Facts. 37 (9): 13.

Stephen Jay Gould

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the paleontologist and science writer. For the science fiction writer, see Steven Gould. For the 19th century businessman, see Jay Gould.
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould 2015, portrait (unknown date).jpg
Born September 10, 1941
Queens, New York, United States
Died May 20, 2002 (aged 60)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Nationality American
Fields Paleontology, Evolutionary biology,
History of Science
Institutions Harvard University,
American Museum of Natural History,
New York University
Alma mater Antioch College (BA),
University of Leeds,
Columbia University (PhD)
Thesis Pleistocene and Recent History
of the Subgenus Poecilozonites
(Poecilozonites) (Gastropoda: Pulmonata)
in Bermuda:
An Evolutionary Microcosm
 (1967)
Doctoral advisor R. L. Batten
J. Imbrie
Norman D. Newell
Known for Punctuated equilibrium, Non-overlapping magisteria
Notable awards Linnean Society of London‘s
Darwin–Wallace Medal (2008)
Paleontological Society Medal (2002)
Sue Tyler Friedman Medal (1989)
Charles Schuchert Award (1975)
Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science (twice – 1983, 1990)
MacArthur Fellowship
National Book Award
National Book Critics Circle Award
Spouse Deborah Lee (1965–1995; divorced; 2 children)
Rhonda Roland Shearer (1995–2002; his death; 2 stepchildren)
Signature

Stephen Jay Gould (/ɡld/; September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation.[1] Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1996 Gould was also hired as the Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University, where he divided his time teaching there and at Harvard.

Gould’s most significant contribution to evolutionary biology was the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which he developed with Niles Eldredge in 1972.[2] The theory proposes that most evolution is characterized by long periods of evolutionary stability, which is infrequently punctuated by swift periods of branching evolution. The theory was contrasted against phyletic gradualism, the popular idea that evolutionary change is marked by a pattern of smooth and continuous change in the fossil record.[3]

Most of Gould’s empirical research was based on the land snail genera Poecilozonites and Cerion. He also contributed to evolutionary developmental biology, and has received wide praise for his book Ontogeny and Phylogeny. In evolutionary theory he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, andevolutionary psychology. He campaigned against creationism and proposed that science and religion should be considered two distinct fields (or “magisteria“) whose authorities do not overlap.[4]

Gould was known by the general public mainly from his 300 popular essays in the magazine Natural History,[5] and his books written for both the specialist and non-specialist. In April 2000, the US Library of Congress named him a “Living Legend“.[6]

Marriage and family[edit]

Gould married artist Deborah Lee on October 3, 1965.[19] Gould met Lee while they were students together at Antioch College.[8] They had two sons, Jesse and Ethan, and were married for 30 years.[20] His second marriage in 1995 was to artist and sculptor Rhonda Roland Shearer.[19]

In  the third video below in the 147th 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)

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QUOTE by Stephen Jay Gould

“Whatever happened to the idea that we are a higher being put on the earth for a higher purpose and we are at the top of the evolutionary ladder?”

Defined by whom? If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet. I have been here 3 1/2 billion years. There is more of me than there is of you. There is no way you can nuke me into oblivion. You humans can nuke yourselves  and I will be here till the sun explodes and you won’t. The only difference is that as a bacteria I wouldn’t have the consciousness to imagine that but I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration. I wouldn’t place any bets on consciousness assuring our long survival on this planet.   

Consciousness is a big deal and it goes against the Dr. Gould’s argument here. The Bible says that humans were put here for a reason and that we were created in the image of God.  Let me respond further by using the Fine Tuning Argument from Antony Flew. 

The Fine Tuning Argument for the Existence of God from Antony Flew!

Imagine entering a hotel room on your next vacation. The CD player on the bedside table is softly playing a track from your favorite recording. The framed print over the bed is identical to the image that hangs over the fireplace at home. The room is scented with your favorite fragrance…You step over to the minibar, open the door, and stare in wonder at the contents. Your favorite beverage. Your favorite cookies and candy. Even the brand of bottled water you prefer…You notice the book on the desk: it’s the latest volume by your favorite author…

Chances are, with each new discovery about your hospitable new environment, you would be less inclined to think it has all a mere coincidence, right? You might wonder how the hotel managers acquired such detailed information about you. You might marvel at their meticulous preparation. You might even double-check what all this is going to cost you. But you would certainly be inclined to believe that someone knew you were coming.      There Is A God  (2007)  p.113-4

I have more articles posted on my blog about the last few years of Antony Flew’s life than any other website in the world probably. The reason is very simple. I had the opportunity to correspond with Antony Flew back in the middle 90’s and he said that he had the opportunity to listen to several of the cassette tapes that I sent him with messages from Adrian Rogers and he also responded to several of the points I put in my letters that I got from Francis Schaeffer’s materials. The ironic thing was that I purchased the sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? originally from the Bellevue Baptist Church Bookstore in 1992 and in the same bookstore in 2008 I bought the book THERE IS A GOD by Antony Flew. Back in 1993 I decided to contact some of the top secular thinkers of our time and I got my initial list of individuals from those scholars that were mentioned in the works of both Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers. Schaeffer had quoted Flew in his book ESCAPE FROM REASON. It was my opinion after reviewing the evidence that Antony Flew was the most influential atheistic philosopher of the 20th century.

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to Stephen Jay Gould 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.  

Evolution Fact of Fiction Adrian Rogers (same message I put on cassette tape back in 1994)

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Theory of Evolution Destroyed!!

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.

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).

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.

__

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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This might interest you that good friend in Little Rock Craig Carney had an uncle named  Warren Carney and Warren was born in 1917 and he was the last living witness of the Scopes Monkey trial but he died in June of 2015. His father took him to the trial every day since they lived in Dayton and it was the biggest happening in the town’s history. Also I attended the funeral of Dr. Robert G. Lee (1886-1978) at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis and he is the minister who presided over William Jennings Bryan’s funeral in 1925. I have posted Dr. Lee’s most famous sermonPAYDAY SOME DAY on this blog and it continues to get lots of views everyday.

(William Jennings Bryan)

(Dr. Robert G. Lee )

_______________________________

Judge William Ray Overton, circa 1960s.

http://www.discovery.org/f/121

The Arkansas Decision on Creation-Science

On January 5, 1982, Judge William R. Overton of the District Court in Little Rock handed down a decision holding that the Arkansas Act for Balanced Treatment of Creation-Science and Evolution-Science violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, academic freedom, and due process, in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education. The judge is one of more than 400 U.S. District Court judges, and another federal or state judge can reject Overton’s reasoning and reach an opposite result.

At the trial from December 7-17, 1981, many well-qualified creationist scientists appeared as expert witnesses. They gave outstanding scientific testimony, but the defense was not adequately prepared and did not do adequate questioning. (Neither ICR nor attorneys Bird and Whitehead were involved in the trial or discovery.) The news media grossly distorted their testimony. Part I of this article is a summary by Dr. Duane Gish, who was present during the trial, of the actual testimony given. Part II is a brief of the judge’s decision.

John Scopes:

I. WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED AT THE TRIAL
By Duane T. Gish, Ph.D.

The plaintiff’s first witnesses consisted of a group of theologians, philosophers and historians. Included were Father Francis Bruce Vawter, Prof. of Religious Studies, De Paul University, Chicago, Dr. George Marsden, Prof. of History, Calvin College, Grand Rapids; Rev. Kenneth Hicks, Methodist bishop, Little Rock; Dr. Langdon Gilkey, Prof. of Theology, School of Divinity, University of Chicago; Dr. Michael Ruse, Prof. of Philosophy, University of Guelph, Ontario; and Dr. Dorothy Nelkin, Prof. of Sociology, Cornell University, New York.

The testimony of this group of witnesses was directed towards linking creation science with Biblical Christianity. Marsden claimed that the Arkansas law gave this view preferential treatment. In cross-examination Nelkin admitted that evolution is based on an a priori assumption of no creator.

During cross-examination it was established that Ruse had published an article in which he had stated that Dr. Stephen Jay Gould (slated to be one of the plaintiff’s star witnesses) could not be a scientist because he was a Marxist. Ruse accused creationists of quoting out of context but then later quoted a portion of Gish’s book Evolution: The Fossils Say No flagrantly out of context.

The plaintiffs’ next group of witnesses included four scientists: Dr. Francisco Ayala, Prof. of Biology, University of California Davis; Dr. G. Brent Dalrymple, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California; Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, Prof. of Geology, Harvard University; and Dr. Harold J. Morowitz, Prof. of Biophysics, Yale University. The purpose of this group of witnesses was to argue that creation had no scientific validity, and to describe evidence from science supporting evolution theory. Ayala cited evidence from molecular biology, Dalrymple cited radiometric dating, and Gould described evidence from geology and paleontology. Morowitz attacked the creationist’s use of the Second Law of Thermodynamics as evidence against evolution.

The plaintiffs’ final list of witnesses included several educators, who all claimed they could not implement the Arkansas law. Dr. William V. Mayer, Director of the Biological Science Curriculum Study, made the astounding statement that presenting an alternative interpretation of origins would confuse students and so should be avoided! All of the witnesses had apparently been coached by the ACLU staff of lawyers to maintain that they knew of no scientific evidence to support creation and that creation science was altogether religious.

The State’s first defense witness was Dr. Norman Geisler (Ph.D. in philosophy, Loyola U., Chicago), Prof. of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary. To many, Geisler’s brilliant testimony destroyed much of the plaintiffs’ case. Citing much historical evidence, he established that belief in a creator does not necessarily involve religious worship or commitment, that the source of inspiration for a belief or proposition is independent of the evidence used to support the proposition, and that belief in creation is a logical inference based on valid evidence. In an attempt to discredit Geisler’s testimony, the ACLU lawyer quoted Geisler’s published belief that UFO’s were under the control of Satan. In most of the media this was headlined in order to mute the effect of Geisler’s testimony. Dr. Larry Parker, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Georgia State U., maintained that teaching the two models of origins would give students a valid choice, teaching them how to think rather than what to think.

The scientist witnesses for the state included Dr. W. Scot Morrow, Prof. of Biochemistry, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC; Dr. Donald Chittick, a chemist engaged in biomass to energy conversion; Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, a mathematician-astronomer and Professor and Head of Department of Applied Mathematics, University College, Cardiff, Wales; Robert Gentry, a physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratories; Dr. Wayne Frair, Prof. of Biology, The King’s College; Dr. Margaret Heider, Ph.D. in botany; Dr. Ariel Roth, Prof. of Biology, Geoscience Research Institute; and Dr. Harold Coffin, Prof. of Geology, Geoscience Research Institute.

Dr. Morrow, although an evolutionist and an agnostic, maintained that creationists actually look at more data than do evolutionists and that an inquiry approach involving multiple working hypotheses was a superior teaching method.

Dr. Wickramasinghe, one of England’s foremost scientists, also spoke for Sir Fred Hoyle, famous British astronomer with whom he has co-authored several books. Although both have long been identified as atheists, Wickramasinghe testified that they had concluded through a study of information science that the probability of an evolutionary origin of life was essentially zero—no greater than the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard would assemble a Boeing 747! They also now disavow the Big Bang theory and the idea of biological evolution via mutations, both of which involve degradation of information. Prof. Wickramasinghe chided evolutionists for their arrogance and intolerance of creationist views.

Excellent testimony was given by zoologist Frair (taxonomic studies supporting creation), botanist Heider (botanical studies supporting separate origin of major plant groups), chemist Chittick (evidence for catastrophism and a young age), physicist Gentry (evidence from radiohaloes supporting a recent rapid creation), biologist Roth (studies on rapid coral growth), and geologist Coffin (paleontological evidence for creation and catastrophism).

From his decision it is obvious that Judge Overton (as well as most of the news media) completely ignored the scientific evidence presented by the defense witnesses while accepting without question evidence offered by the plaintiffs’ witnesses. Many remarks made by Judge Overton during the trial revealed his bias against the creationist side.

II. A BRIEF STATEMENT ON THE ARKANSAS DECISION
By John W. Whitehead, J.D.

The Arkansas district court gave a constitutionally erroneous and factually inaccurate opinion in McLean u. Arkansas Board of Education, No. 81-322 (E.D. Ark. Jan. 5, 1982). It is regrettable that the Arkansas defense did not adequately present or adequately support the strong constitutional arguments that could have been made in favor of balanced treatment of creation-science and evolution-science.

A. No Violation of Separation of Church & State. Teaching creation-science along with evolution-science does not violate separation of church and state. Creation-science can be presented solely in terms of scientific evidence and related inferences and without any religious concepts. The primary effect and purpose are to teach all of the scientific evidence on the subject of origins. See generally Bird, “Freedom of Religion and Science Instruction in Public Schools,” 87 Yale Law Journal 515,554-70 (1978); Bird, “Freedom from Establishment and Unneutrality in Public School Instruction,” 1979 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 125, 165-74.

B. Constitutional Errors. (1) The Arkansas court is incorrect in stating that creation-science is Genesis (pp. 17, 19). Creation-science consists of scientific discussion rather than biblical discussion or concepts. Reference in public schools to a creator and consistency of public school curriculum with religion is permitted by the establishment clause under all U.S. Supreme Court precedents. (2) The court is also incorrect in saying “that creation science has no scientific merit or educational value as science” (pp. 32, 28). Examples of positive evidence are the abrupt appearance of complex life in the fossil record and the systematic gaps between fossil types. (3) The Arkansas court is incorrect in defining science as limited to “natural law,” and in contending that creation-science is not “explanatory,” “testable,” “tentative,” or “falsifiable” (p. 22). The scientific method cannot exclude evidence, and true science cannot define evidence away, on the basis of bias against the supranatural. Creation-science is as explanatory, testable, tentative, and falsifiable as evolution-science. (4) The opinion is incorrect in arguing that “[t]he two model approach of the creationists is simply a contrived dualism which has no scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose” (p. 20). That there are only two basic scientific explanations of origins is acknowledged by many evolutionist scientists, is required by logical analysis (the universe either always existed or was created, life either evolved or was created, etc.), and is strongly supported by educational research. (5) It is incorrect in stating that a balanced treatment requirement violates the academic freedom of students on the ground that teachers who despise creation-science will refuse to teach evolution-science and thereby will deprive students of “the cornerstone of modern biology” (p. 35). Presentation of all the scientific evidence on origins obviously expands rather than restricts students’ academic freedom, and any deprivation results from teachers’ choice rather than from a balanced treatment requirement. These constitutional issues will be discussed more fully in a forthcoming Impact article, and are treated exhaustively in the above legal articles.

C. Factual Inaccuracies. The Arkansas opinion also contains numerous factual errors, of which the following are only examples. (1) Paul Ellwanger in supporting model legislation was not “motivated by … desire to see the Biblical version of creation taught in the public schools” (p. 13), which he opposes, but instead to see all of the scientific evidence on origins taught. (2) “Creation from nothing … and subsequent destruction of the world by flood” is not “unique to Genesis” “among the many creation epics in human history” (P. 17), but in fact appears in most of them. (3) A “relatively recent inception” of the world and life does not mean “between 6,000 and 20,000 years because of the genealogy of the Old Testament” (p. 24), to which it has no relation, but a comparatively young age as opposed to the equally unspecific and variable old ages assumed by evolutionists.

III. THE LOUISIANA LITIGATION OVER CREATION-SCIENCE

The constitutionality of balanced treatment of creation-science and evolution-science is also being litigated in the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in Keith v. Louisiana Department of Education (No. 81989B, filed Dec. 2, 1981). This lawsuit to declare the Louisiana Balanced Treatment Act constitutional was filed by Louisiana legislators, science professors, science teachers, and religious spokesmen (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Agnostic) who are represented by attorneys Bird and Whitehead as special assistant attorneys general for Louisiana.

We are optimistic that the Louisiana lawsuit will result in a judicial opinion that public school instruction in creation-science is constitutional, directly contrary to the Arkansas decision, because it involves a different statute, new and different arguments and support, different expert witnesses, new and different scientific evidence, a different legislative purpose, and an adequate defense. Inquiries can be directed to the Creation Science Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 78312, Shreveport, LA 71107. (318) 226-9784.

Cite this article: Duane Gish, Ph.D. 1982. The Arkansas Decision on Creation-Science. Acts & Facts. 11 (3).

Evolution: The Changing Scene

Prof. Derek Ager of the University at Swansea, Wales, in Proc. Geol. Assoc. Vol. 87, p. 132 (1976) has stated

“It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student, from Trueman’s Ostrea/Gryphea to Carruther’s Raphrentis delanouei, have now been ‘debunked.’ Similarly, my own experience of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.”

This admission by Prof. Ager (no friend of creationists) fits in very well with the title of this article—a significant part of the changing scene in evolutionary circles is the changing attitude of evolutionists concerning the fossil record—more and more are now admitting that the missing links are still missing, that they have little or no evidence for gradual change in the fossil record.

In his article in Natural History 86:22 (1977) entitled “The Return of Hopeful Monsters,” Stephen J. Gould, leading spokesman for evolutionists in the U.S. today, said that

“The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change…. “

“All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.”

From an article published in Paleobiology, Vol. 3 (1977) by S.J. Gould and Niles Eldredge we find the following on p. 147:

“At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the ‘official’ position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Baupläne are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count).” In his review of Steven Stanley’s bookMacroevolution by D.S. Woodruff (Science 208:716 (1980)), Woodruff says (I believe he is quoting Stanley):

“But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition.”

The clatter has become so loud that even the popular press has picked it up. Newsweek in an article entitled “Is Man a Subtle Accident?” published Nov. 3, 1980, stated

“The missing link between man and the apes, whose absence has comforted religious fundamentalists since the days of Darwin, is merely the most glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures …. The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated.”

Some evolutionists have come to realize that the fossil record is so bad relative to evolution theory that they want to avoid it entirely as support for evolution. Mark Ridley, a British evolutionist, tells us in his article published in New Scientist 90:832 (1981) that

“No real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.”

One might immediately wonder, then, where does Ridley believe we find all the marvelous evidence for the “fact of evolution?” Why, from the “observed evolution of species, from biogeography, and from the hierarchical structure of taxonomy,” Ridley tells us. He apparently disagrees with his fellow evolutionist and the most distinguished of all French zoologists, Pierre Grasse´ , who states in his book Evolution of Living Organisms (English translation, Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 4):

“Naturalists must remember that the process of evolution is revealed only through fossil forms. A knowledge of paleontology is, therefore, a prerequisite; only paleontology can provide them with the evidence of evolution and reveal its course or mechanisms. Neither the examination of present beings, nor imagination, nor theories can serve as a substitute for paleontological documents.”

What Grasse´ says in his book is that biology offers us no help in our attempt to understand the mechanism of evolution. He says that evolution is a mystery about which little is, and perhaps can be, known. He says certainly mutations and natural selection cannot possibly provide that mechanism.

Many others in more recent times, in view of the growing knowledge that the fossil record produces no evidence for gradual change and that the gaps in the fossil record, particularly at the level of the higher categories, are systematic and almost always large, are now abandoning the neo-Darwinian theory of slow gradual change. Gould has said that as a general principle, neo-Darwinism is dead, although it is still textbook orthodoxy.

In his comments on a new mechanism for evolution postulated by Edward Wiley and Daniel Brooks, Roger Lewin (Science 217:1239-1240, 1982) says,

“Natural selection, a central feature of neo-Darwinism, is allowed for in Brooks and Wiley’s theory, but only as a minor influence. ‘It can affect survivorship’ says Brooks. ‘It can weed out some of the complexity and so slow down the information decay that results in speciation. It may have a stabilizing effect, but it does not promote speciation. It is not a creative force as many people have suggested.”‘

Let me point out first of all that all of this sounds familiar—it is the source that is astounding. The view just stated is precisely what has been said by creationists ever since Edward Blyth in 1830. Natural selection is a stabilizing force. It is not a creative force, the driving mechanism of evolution, which has been responsible for the conversion of one organism into another, all the way from amoeba to man. But now, notice who is saying this—evolutionists!

Even more, they are saying that natural selection is not only not the mechanism for evolution, it actually retards the evolutionary process. They say that natural selection slows down the information decay that results in speciation. That statement is absolutely astounding on two points.

First of all, their admission that natural selection not only is not the mechanism of evolution but actually acts contrary to evolution is most revealing. Secondly, that speciation, and thus evolution, occurs by the decay of information. Now that is really startling! We creationists have long pressed the point that the random processes supposedly at work in evolution cannot possibly account for the origin of new information required for increase in complexity and the generation of new functions and organs required by evolution. Evolutionists have, on the contrary, insisted that this was possible.

Now Wiley and Brooks are claiming that all of us were wrong, both creationists and evolutionists. Evolution, from the primordial single-celled organisms to the millions of present-day organisms, including man with his 30 trillion cells of over 200 varieties, including a three-pound human brain with twelve billion brain cells and 120 trillion connections, is the result of the decay of information!

Whatever anyone might think of that theory, certainly we can all recognize that they are rejecting Darwinism. As I have said earlier, many others are doing the same. Science Digest (Sept.-Oct. 1980, p. 55) had an article entitled “Was Darwin Wrong.?” The British Broadcasting Company produced a television program a year or two ago entitled “Did Darwin Get It Wrong?” Stephen J. Gould, Niles Eldredge, Steven Stanley and others have abandoned neo-Darwinism for what they call “punctuated equilibrium.” They suggest that what we see in the fossil record is that species abruptly appear, fully-formed. They remain virtually unchanged for the duration of their existence, up to ten million years or even more, and they then abruptly disappear and are replaced by other species that also abruptly appear fully formed with no evidence of transitional forms.

They suggest that the evolutionary transitions occur somewhere out in an isolated area on the periphery of the main population and that the transitions occur very rapidly in small populations. The change is so rapid and the numbers are so small, we are told, that there are no opportunities for fossilization of the transitional forms.

Let me point out, first of all, that this notion of punctuated equilibrium is no mechanism at all. It is simply a new scenario. They are saying that since we don’t find transitional forms, evolution could not have occurred slowly and gradually, so obviously, then, it must have occurred rapidly. How and why evolution occurs so rapidly, no one knows. As a matter of fact, the idea that multiplied millions of rapid bursts of evolution have occurred is contrary to the science of modern genetics. The genetic apparatus of a lizard, for example, is totally devoted to producing another lizard. The idea that by some random evolutionary process the genetic apparatus of a lizard could be rapidly reorganized to produce something really significantly different is clearly contrary to everything we know. Evolutionists simply have no mechanism for evolution.

Secondly, the notion of punctuated equilibrium doesn’t solve the really serious problem evolutionists have with the fossil record. In fact, it doesn’t even address that problem. The idea of punctuated equilibrium was invented to explain the lack of transitional forms between species. But that is not the real problem. The really serious problem is the absence of transitional forms between the higher categories, that is, between families, orders, classes and phyla. The total absence, for example, of transitional forms between invertebrates and the fishes, a vast gulf supposedly spanning 100 million years. We have no transitional forms between basic morphological designs, or what creationists call the created kinds.

Evolutionists find themselves in a most embarrassing position today. They can find neither the transitional forms in the fossil record that their theory demands nor can they find a mechanism to explain how the evolutionary process supposedly occurred. I am reminded of what Owl said in the Pogo comic strip. He said, “If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs for breakfast—if we had some eggs!”

Certainly we are witnessing a changing scene in evolutionary circles today. They are finally admitting that the fossil record shows little or no evidence for gradual change (which is precisely what we must predict on the basis of creation). Many are now rejecting Darwinism and are suggesting radical new theories concerning the evolutionary process. But, almost all chorus in unison—evolution is a fact!

Isn’t that amazing! One hundred and twenty-years after Darwin the missing links are still missing, and that wonderful, marvelous Darwinian mechanism that was responsible for swinging the majority of scientists over to evolution is now becoming rapidly discredited. Yet, somehow, we are told, everyone knows that evolution is a fact! Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, said in a talk he gave at the American Museum of Natural History, November 5, 1981, that he now realizes that in accepting evolution he had moved from science into faith. In a recent BBC program Dr. Patterson stated that all we really have of the evolutionary phylogenetic tree are the tips of the branches. All else—the filling in of the trunk and of the branches—is simply story telling of one kind or another.

*Dr. Duane T. Gish is Vice President of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Duane Gish, Ph.D. 1984. Evolution: The Changing Scene. Acts & Facts. 13 (10).

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MUSIC MONDAY Commenting on George Harrison’s religious song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part 2

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George Harrison – Awaiting On You All (Backing Track – Early Take)

George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’ – Original Audio

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? gives us some insight into a possible answer to that question WHY WAS DRUG-TAKING AND EASTERN RELIGIONS SO POPULAR IN THE 1960’s IN USA?

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 nonrational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religion is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of nonreason 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. 

An article calledHoly Wars” was based on Francis Schaeffer’s writings primarily and it noted:

Then came the Beatles. John Lennon had declared that his group was more popular than Jesus. But they weren’t willing to stop there. They sought to supplant the true God with everything false. After the rock icons returned from India they brought with them not only the music of the Hindu guru Ravi Shankar, but also his religion as taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They were so impressed with that guru’s Transcendental Meditation woo woo that they just had to convert the whole Western World to it. The counterculturalists took it all in, hook line and sinker.

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All – Lyrics

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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013

Awaiting on You All

On the way home from work one afternoon I listened to the George Harrison song Awaiting on You All that I had copied along with other songs by this artist from his album All Things Must Pass. Hearing this song after so many years (it was on a CD that I had lost and just found again) was an interesting experience, and as often happens when you unearth some part of your past and compare it with your present, I heard it almost with fresh ears. I am not the same person that I was then. I was in my twenties when I followed George Harrison both musically and spiritually. Though the Eastern religious views he espoused most of his public life were similar to mine at that age, it didn’t take long for me to outgrow them. ‘Outgrow’ is not exactly the right word, though. I didn’t really outgrow them. You could say I traded them in, new lamps for old. I never struck a better deal.

Still, listening to the song I was amazed just how spot on he was in much of what he was saying. I can still relate to almost all of it. I don’t think that either of us, George or I, was aware of the fuzzy thinking that made us combine devotion and belief in Krishna and Jesus without noticing the two aren’t the same. I’m not talking about doctrinal or religious differences. Hinduism and Christianity are distinct religions, granted, but anyone who believes in God knows, ‘God is God. There is no thing you can compare to God. God is God.’ We tend to believe that at best other religions are wrong in the details but right in the big picture. This may be true, but no one can say so without denying his faith community. In youth, I think we were bored with dogmatic strongholds, and wanted the freedom to meet God on our terms, not according to those of our ancestors. How little did we understand that ‘the ancestors in stone armor calling for loyalty untrue’ seeking ‘to make a zigzag of the arrow’s flight’ were doing no such thing.

No, they knew that the shortest path between two points is rarely a straight line, though arrows may fly to their mark, being projectiles aimed at a target. Unfortunately people are not projectiles, and our destination is not really a target, no matter how much we wish we could hit the bullseye. We are beings fashioned in the Divine image and likeness. We live in more than three, more even than four, dimensions, and the paths we tread cannot be traced, planned or prophesied by mortal logic or the magic of music. They are no more than mere beginnings, our thoughts and feelings, before we bump into the aweful reality which we glibly like to call ‘God.’ Meet Him on our terms? Hardly possible, unless He allows it, and only as a sign that He is there, hidden behind our wall, waiting for us to…
No, that is also just what we glibly like to think, as George Harrison sings in his song…

You don’t need no love in
You don’t need no bed pan
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
To see the mess that you’re in
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been polluted so long
Now here’s a way for you to get clean

By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see…

You don’t need no passport

And you don’t need no visas
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus
If you open up your heart
You’ll see he’s right there
Always was and will be
He’ll relieve you of your cares

You don’t need no church house
And you don’t need no Temple
You don’t need no rosary beads or them books to read
To see that you have fallen
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been kept down so long
Someone’s thinking that we’re all green

… The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free

I purposely left out the stanza about the pope owning controlling interest in General Motors and not being qualified to quote us anything but the Stock Exchange. This is childish talk and hatchets all the good things he has to say. This, I find, is true of youthful thinkers in every generation. It’s true of otherwise noble and idealistic youth today. It was true of me as a Vietnam War draft resister. We ‘let the cat out of the bag’ about ourselves when we pounce on anyone, especially an authority figure we don’t approve of, and show that, however pure we think our motives, however lofty our ideals, we’re still no better than the fallen heroes we no longer believe in. What George Harrison says in this song I still agree with. Where I have a problem, is what he proposes as a solution to the mess we find ourselves in. As much as I enjoyed chanting Hare Krishna, it didn’t save me, or the world, and it never will.

But the rest is, amazingly, true, as I have found out in the intervening years. The words about Jesus are almost straight out of the Bible. The words about churches and temples, the same. Somebody went to Sunday School as a child. Yes, you’re right. I did.
I know that for sure, and guess what? It stuck. What started out as an incomprehensible religious upbringing somehow became comprehensible when it finally collided with what I was made for.

Yes, my parachute failed to open, and the earth received my bruised and broken body. I was alive for just a moment, just long enough for me to realize I was about to die. Then His gentle hands slipped under my head and shoulders as He lifted me up from what should have been my grave. He had already been there, aeons before I came to birth or leapt to my unintended death. No, this did not literally happen. I’ve never used a parachute. But His hands are real.

Awaiting on You All, a great song,
but He is waiting only from our point of view.
On His side, we are either already with Him, or without Him.

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 167 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU Part A (Artist featured is Paul Martin)

George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’ – Original Audio

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All – Lyrics

 

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You don’t need no love in
You don’t need no bed pan
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
The see the mess that you’re in
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been polluted so long
Now here’s a way for you to get clean
By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
Chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
You don’t need no passport
And you don’t need no visas
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus
If you open up your heart
You’ll see he’s right there
Always was and will be
He’ll relieve you of your cares
By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord… Full lyrics on Google Play Music
In contrast to Biblical Christianity, Eastern Mysticism does not believe in a personal God but instead some pantheistic God that is not personal.

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (page 191 Vol 5) asserted:

But this finally brings them to the place where the word GOD merely becomes the word GOD, and no certain content can be put into it. In this many of the established theologians are in the same position as George Harrison (1943-) (the former Beatles guitarist) when he wrote MY SWEET LORD (1970). Many people thought he had come to Christianity. But listen to the words in the background: “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna.” Krishna is one Hindu name for God. This song expressed  no content, just a feeling of religious experience. To Harrison, the words were equal: Christ or Krishna. Actually, neither the word used nor its content was of importance. 

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Below is the blogger LAYMAN’S BIBLE

“Awaiting on You All”

What does George Harrison have in common with Paul of Tarsus?  Oddly enough, a similar message.  I used to really love rock and roll, but due to my transformation through Christ I haven’t really been able to appreciate it on the same level as I used to.  Recently I tried to listen to one of my formerly favorite bands, but realized that almost 90% of their songs offended my new belief system to such an extent that they were rendered pretty much unlistenable because I found myself arguing with the singer in my head the whole time.  However, the Holy Spirit knows me well.  One day, while I was commuting to work and listening to an audio Bible of Romans, my mind was suddenly taken over by a song I hadn’t heard in years.  The song was “Awaiting on You All” by George Harrison.  Right away I tried to push it aside because George was a follower of eastern mysticism, and much of his work was influenced by that.  However, I couldn’t shake the song, and instead the Holy Spirit started overlaying the lyrics with what I was listening to in Romans and…it lined up…surprisingly well.  If you don’t want your mind poisoned by rock and roll lyrics, I understand; so turn back now and read another article or something.  But if you’re curious to see what the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart through something already ingrained in my mind, then read on and see that God can indeed speak to us through unexpected means.

Alright, since this topic is based around lyrics, let’s mix up the format a little and examine said lyrics carefully while still not trying to break them up too much.

Awaiting on You All (George Harrison)

George Harrison

You don’t need no love in,
You don’t need no bed pan.
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
To see the mess that you’re in.
If you open up your heart,
You’ll know what I mean.
We’ve been polluted so long,
Now here’s a way for you to get clean.

For people who don’t know some of the background behind the opening, the lyrics can be a little difficult to understand.  Fellow former Beatles member John Lennon had protested against war by staying in bed with his wife for several days.  He called this protest a “love in.”  Clearly, if you’re stuck in bed for days on end, you’ll need a bed pan.  So there’s the background.  Alright, anyway, this lines up with the beginning of Romans 10.  Paul writes,

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.  For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (Romans 10:1-3).

Paul notes in his opening of the chapter that the Israelites’ hearts are in the right place in trying to bring goodness to the world.  However, they are in error because they are trying to do so without God.  In the same way, George criticizes John’s “love in” protest because although he’s doing something with a good mindset, he’s going about it in the wrong way; “You don’t need a love in or a bed pan or anything like that.”  Rather, Paul reminds us that “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).  By completing the Law, Jesus made it so that there is no longer a need for works in order to achieve a relationship with God.  Our goodness doesn’t bring us closer to God; rather his righteousness covers us and helps us to become better people.  Therefore, the Israelites, though shining in works, lacked the most important element in their lives, which was a relationship to Jesus Christ.  In the song, George goes on to say that “You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope to see the mess that you’re in.”  Paul conveys exactly this message as he continues on in Romans 10:6-8,

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say?  “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that things are messed up, both outside and in our lives.  We don’t need to search the heavens to realize it, nor do we need to look closely at the ground to realize it.  Between the Holy Spirit tugging at our hearts, the devil accusing us, and the news reports on the TV, we all know things are messed up outside and at home.  And stuff being messed up isn’t anything new.  George says, “We’ve been polluted so long,” but Paul comes right out and says that things on earth have been messed up since the beginning,

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world.  But sin is not taken into account when there is not law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come (Romans 5:12-14).

Ever since Adam disobeyed God, sin and death have been in the world, messing things up through a great number of ways.  How are we ever to get clean after being polluted by death and sin for such a long time?  Paul writes,

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:17-19).

Since we were hopelessly lost through the sin of Adam and all of our personal sins, we were separated from God and ultimately doomed.  However, the Lord provided a way for us to be made clean through his son, Jesus Christ.

Alright, now we start to wander into heretical territory.

By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
Chanting the name of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.

The chorus is the only part of the song that isn’t entirely on par with Paul’s teachings.  However, even while being off, George isn’t too far off of probably the most important message in all of Romans.  Mr. Harrison says that to be cleaned of the filth of the world we should chant the names of the “lord.”  Now for George this was part of his meditation, to literally chant the names of his god.  However, for us, we have one God in three parts, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Paul tells us that through the name of Jesus we can find salvation from our sins,

…That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).

Awaiting on You All (Paul)

Paul of Tarsus

If you’re wondering if I’m cutting something out with the ellipsis, I’m not.  The NIV Bible puts verse 8 (which we read earlier) and verse 9 as one sentence separated by a colon.  Anyway, Paul tells us that the only way to salvation is to confess the name of Jesus as Lord while believing it in your heart.  So the vocal aspect is important to our salvation.  Another note is that George tells us that we should open up our hearts (he says it in the first verse), and that’s exactly what Paul is preaching that we do.  We should open our hearts to Christ and his Holy Spirit and let them work in our lives as we profess our devotion to God.

Pretty cool how God can move a nonbeliever to do his work through art, isn’t it?  But that’s just the first verse, there’s more ahead.

You don’t need no passport,
And you don’t need no visas.
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus.
If you open up your heart,
You’ll see he’s right there.
Always was and will be,
He’ll relieve you of your cares.

By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
Chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free,
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.

Holy crap, Jesus shows up!  Before you start thinking that George was some sort of bastion of Christianity, take note that he was of the belief that Jesus, Buddha, and one of the Indian religious figures were all the same people and that a relationship with the Lord can be attained through any of these means- a popular but unscriptural (and dangerous) concept.  However, his personal beliefs aside, George did hit the message of salvation on the head.  Paul writes in Romans 10:12-13, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  No matter whom you are, where you’re from, or what your background is, the Lord’s arms are open to you to receive his forgiveness, grace, and to open a relationship with you.  This is all made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus on a cross oh so long ago.  “Wait, if it was long ago, how can I still be saved?”  George and Scripture both tell us that Jesus has always been, and always will be.  Check out Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Even Jesus, when confronted with his place in time by unbelievers explained that he has and always will be.  We read in John 8:58, “’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’”  Not only is Christ beyond the limits of time and his salvation unburdened by location, for those in Christ, Jesus is able to dwell within his believers.  Paul writes in Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  And so we find just as Paul and George told us, by calling on the name of Jesus we will be saved.

Truly I tell you, God is reaching out to everyone, every way that he can.  He knows that not everyone is going to come to church to listen to a pastor.  Therefore, the Lord works in other ways to get the message of Christ to people, in order to soften their hearts and prepare them for when they do hear the Gospel proper.  Paul reminds us in Romans 11:33,

Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
And his paths beyond tracing out!

As such, if you seek out God, you will find him.  Granted, his message isn’t everywhere (as I’ve already said, much of the music I used to listen to has been rendered unlistenable), but when you least expect it, Jesus shows up.

You don’t need no church house,
And you don’t need no temple.
You don’t need to rosary beats or those books to read
To see that you have fallen.
If you open up your heart,
You will know what I mean.
We’ve been kept down so long,
Someone’s thinking that we’re all green.

It doesn’t take listening to a pastor to know that our world is in trouble.  We can clearly see that what we have now doesn’t match up with our Almighty Creator.  Paul reminds us of this when he writes,

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

Everyone knows in their heart that there is a God.  People may doubt, and people may deny; but the truth is that at some point or another, all of us realize that existence isn’t without a creator.  It’s not a far jump from there to recognize that humanity with its wars, vices, slavery, and cruelty doesn’t really match up with whatever created the beautiful mountains, seas, and skies.  However, because we don’t like the idea of a perfect God that we have no control over, we’ve spent thousands of years rejecting him in favor of false Gods that we can see, touch, and throw away if need be.  Paul continues,

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles (Romans 1:21-23).

It’s gotten to the point now where we’re so apt to disassociate ourselves from God that we’ve hidden behind evolution and taught our children that they’re related to the lizards on the ground and the grass in the field because supposedly millions of years ago we all came from some lucky pond scum that gained life somehow.  And if we can’t differentiate ourselves from the greenery and the fauna that surround us, then what is to keep us from acting like animals?

Has this been mind-blowing so far?  If not, sorry.  I dunno, the Holy Spirit totally wowed me while he strung this together, even more so because I had only been able to remember the first verse at the time, and then as it turns out the rest of the song fits very well too.  Alright, the last bit of the song can get a little confusing, but let’s see what we can do with it.

And while the Pope owns 51% of General Motors,
And the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us.
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see,
By chanting the names of the lord and you’ll be free.

For his last verse, George Harrison takes a stab at the pope of his day.  Now I have no information as to the accuracy of this statement.  However, in Romans Paul reminds us that our religious leaders, even the Pope himself really don’t have a right to judge people.  Neither do you have a right to judge your neighbor (or to judge the Pope for that matter, George).  The Bible tells us in Romans 2:1-3,

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

Paul goes on to remind us that rather than condemn others for their conduct, we should follow God’s method.  He writes in Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?”  God’s goal is to bring us to freedom through Christ, and he does so through his love and grace even while we are in sin.  We too should look with mercy and kindness towards others even as they stumble along the path.  Pray for those in sin, don’t yell or throw rocks at them or something like that.

Awaiting on You All (Jesus)

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus says in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  By calling on the Lord Jesus, you will be set free from sin and death and enter into a relationship with Christ.  George Harrison wasn’t too far off in his song, “Awaiting on You All.”  Do you think that it is wrong to make a non-Christian’s song Christian?  Well, Paul has it covered, “We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We take every thought captive in order to subjugate it to Christ.  Heck, Paul even quoted a heathen poem and aimed it towards God when he was in Athens.  The Bible records Paul in Acts 17:28, “’For in him we live and move and have our being.’  As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”  For those of you already in Christ: hold tightly to him.  Hold on so tightly to Jesus that nothing in your life escapes the filter of the Holy Spirit, so that you can see God at work through all things.  And for those of you who have not yet accepted Jesus in your life, find your freedom through him today; for the Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see that by calling on the name of the Lord and you’ll be free.

 

 

 

 

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Featured artist is Paul Martin

Paul Martin “Through a Glass Darkly” @ Edinburgh Art Festival

Uploaded on Sep 1, 2009

Paul Martin combines layers and textures with exquisite mark making to create subtle and mysterious narratives. This new exhibition illustrates the continually evolving thought and practice of this remarkable contemporary figure.

Exhibition runs 21st August 3rd September.
http://www.edinburghartfestival.com

Film by Jane Roy © 2009

Featured Artist: Paul Martin

18/05/2012Posted in: Featured Artist, Painters, Printmakers

Paul Martin is a painter and printmaker based in Edinburgh. He studied art at the Birmingham School of Art (1969-71) and the Royal Academy (1971-73). His work has been exhibited internationally and has won several awards, including the Royal Academy Award for Printmaking (1973) and the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Award (1978).

Martin’s work typically includes the human figure, but, for one who studied traditional methods in life-drawing, his treating of the body subverts any expectations of naturalism that the viewer may entertain. Instead, Martin’s renderings of the human subject are often whimsical and playful, and they evoke a strong sense of mystery, and, if I may, sacramentality.

The reference to sacrament is, perhaps, not far off the mark when discussing Martin’s work. In a very interesting essay on Martin’s website, Brother Aiden Hart, who belongs to the same Greek Orthodox church that Martin attends, describes Martin’s paintings in terms of the icon and the Orthodox liturgy. Hart writes:

God dwelling in material creation: this is Paul Martin’s vision. Therefore, although his work rarely for use in a liturgical setting, it is always laden with presence. It is difficult to feel alone when looking at his paintings. They meditate rather than originate; this is a quality that they share with traditional icons. This mediatory aspect of Martin’s paintings is best understood in the light of the Orthodox church’s teaching on the material world – a teaching he has intuited in his early days as a painter.

Hart’s words are reminiscent of other Orthodox critiques of modernity, such as Alexander Schmeemann’s For the Life of the World. In this important book, Schmeemann criticizes the way that modern thinkers have come to regard the cosmos as an end in itself. He suggests, instead, that the whole world should be seen as a symbol pointing to God and as the place where God and humanity meet. Similarly, Martin’s work may be seen as an attempt to approach the material world as a sign that points beyond itself.

Many of Martin’s paintings allude to the biblical narrative and some in a very mature and complex way. Others draw more directly from the realm of human experience, and they encourage us to become alive to the mystery all around. I have included below several examples of Martin’s work, and I also encourage you to take a look at his website. In addition, please take a look at this proposal by Paul Martin for a project called Songs Without Words.

The Restorer, 2009. Encaustic, 197 x 166 x 6 cm.

Discussing Migration, 2009. Collaged Monoprint, 380 x 320 mm.

Lazarus, 2010. Oil and Encaustic on Panel, 122 x 95cm.

Black Cloud over a Written Landscape, 2009. Collaged Monoprint 1200 x 1200m

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WOODY WEDNESDAY Reviews of past Woody Allen Movies PART 5

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Hollywood Ending – Trailer

 


Hollywood Ending (2002)

112 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: C + 

Since the early ’80s, Woody Allen has written and directed a film every year. So as the trend of his latest work goes, “Hollywood Ending” is pleasant but uneven and rather weak Woody. 

Here, he stars as Val Waxman, a movie director in desperate need of a hit. His producer ex-wife Ellie (Téa Leoni) gives him a shot, thinking he’ll be perfect for the Manhattan-set script, “The City That Never Sleeps,” but Val is bitter about compromising with the studio head (Treat Williams) who stole his wife. Then when Val all of a sudden becomes blind, he lies about it and makes the picture anyway. 

The psychosomantic blindness situation makes “Hollywood Ending” a one-joke movie, although it is a funny joke, with plenty of sight gags and slapstick bits that hit. Like when an actor asks which prop gun he should use, Val answers with “that one.” Or when he pretends to admire the poster art for his movie, but he’s “looking” on the wrong side. A business student being hired as the translator for the Chinese direct of photography and as Val’s pair of eyes is also a nice touch. One glaring hole is that Val can’t even detect which direction people’s voices are coming from; don’t actors master this? 

Woody just doesn’t do enough with this slight premise, as the blindness ends up never becoming of much consequence and Val gets the girl, even after the film dailies are rendered incoherent. What more, the script runs out of steam with a half hour still to go. And since the filmmaker is back to playing the eccentric, fidgety persona he started with, his neurosis, kvetching, and stuttering delivery are becoming annoying at this point, as is his casting of much younger women (i.e. Tiffani Thiessen) who want to get into the frog prince’s pants. 

All that said, the film still has its fleeting pleasures: funny, well-timed Woody lines, hypocondria, those jazzy Bing Cosby tunes, and sharp insider jokes about agents and art directors (i.e. rebuilding a set rather than using the real Times Square). 

In Leoni, she’s a compatible foil for Allen to play off him comedically, but their romance is sterile. Also, Debra Messing has proven she has energy and comic timing, but here she’s wasted as Val’s dumb, questionably talented girlfriend. Mark Rydell, however, is funny as Val’s agent who never stops smiling, and George Hamilton is just right as a tanned studio flunky. 

This may be less than it should be but “Hollywood Ending” hopefully doesn’t mark the end of the Woodman. Maybe he just needs to take a year off to get re-energized, realize it’s quality over quantity, and write some sharper jokes. 


Anything Else (2003)
108 min., rated R.
Grade: C + 

When the standard white-on-black opening credits come on, cued to Billie Holiday, you get the reassurance that writer-director Woody Allen might be back in top form. In a way he is, but throughout most of “Anything Else,” he’s just coasting and recycling the wonderful “Annie Hall” from 26 years ago. That film had more wit, memorable lines, and more interesting characters, whereas this one’s a minor effort. 

Acerbic and hyper-neurotic Allen stars but fortunately steps out of the lead role, playing nebbish, articulate writer David Dobel, who takes Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs), a disciplined (and just as neurotic) aspiring nightclub-comic writer, under his wing. Allen passes the torch to Gentile Biggs, a younger version of his Jewish self who talks to the camera about his relationship with the most difficult woman on earth, Amanda (cat-eyed Christina Ricci). She tortures her boyfriend with her mood swings and insecurities, whining about how “fat” she is and complaining about their sex life. 

Like anything else Silent Generation’s Woody has written and directed, “Anything Else” is all about the dialogue, and the Generation X actors here are up to the task of the stuttering rhythm of the man’s smart, snappy dialogue without just sounding like marionettes. Allen doesn’t forget to give himself some gem one-liners (“You chose psychoanalysis over real life? Are you learning disabled?”). The men are more anxious and pathetic here than the women, but Jerry and Amanda are both such shrill and abrasive people that you want to slap them silly until they shut up. Notwithstanding a great speech in a restaurant, Danny DeVito is greatly underused as Jerry’s loser agent, but Stockard Channing does funny supporting work as Amanda’s alcoholic, pill-popping mother who comes to live with her and Jerry. (There’s a cocaine scene with Channing that calls back to “Annie Hall” as well.) 

Saying Allen repeats himself would be unfair, even if he gives us more observations on relationships and Allenisms about philosophy, sex, masturbation, religion, jazz music, and every and now then a good joke. Not to forget, New York (photographed by Allen’s new collaborator Darius Khondji) still has that beautifully warm glow. 

So despite the fine work by the actors and some verbal wit, “Anything Else” is more small time Woody. 


Melinda and Melinda (2004)
99 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: B –
 
Woody Allen’s return to form is more of a return to the same material and although executed with middling results, “Melinda and Melinda” is still a diverting piece of work from the Woodman. 

Is it comedy or tragedy? Is a funeral funny? You be the judge. As four friends chat over dinner get to talking about how stories can be funny or tragic, the two playwrights (Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn) take turns spinning the same yarn. Woody creates two versions of the same story about Melinda (Radha Mitchell), a draggled woman with baggage. In the tragic story, she drops in unannounced on a childhood friends’ dinner party of a Park Avenue couple (Chloe Sevigny, Jonny Lee Miller). Bored and high-strung, she expects to start her life anew. The lighter comic one finds the offbeat Melinda, having overdosed on pills, busting in on another dinner party of an out-of-work actor Hobie (Will Ferrell) and his indie-film director wife (Amanda Peet), who are in a passionless marriage. Josh Brolin co-stars as a charming, well-off dentist that gets set up with Melinda, while Hobie gets jealous. 

“Melinda and Melinda” has an interesting setup with parallels and opposites connecting both stories, somewhat treading water, but the tragic story is the least interesting of the two with too many self-involved characters. 

Mitchell is the reason to even see “M and M,” as she capably handles the rival tones and plays Melinda with more than one note. Ferrell wouldn’t be your first choice for Allen’s younger surrogate, but he’s a likably dim sadsack and nails more than less of the lines (“The Chilean sea bass lightly dusted with lime!”). Peet is also funny and natural for Allen’s style as Hobie’s all-work-no-foreplay wife, and Brooke Smith just right as a pregnant friend in the tragedy portion. 

“Melinda and Melinda” still has that old-fashioned Allen-y feel, and his written banter isn’t without wit and its tartly amusing moments. Some of the other actors don’t grow into Allen’s comic/intellectual verbal rhythm as well, coming off stilted that you can just feel the puppeteer pulling the strings. 

 

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