RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 146, David Sloan Wilson, Dept of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University, “Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason”

 

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

 

David Sloan Wilson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Sloan Wilson
David-sloan-wilson-leaning.png
Born 1949
Residence Norwalk, Connecticut[1]
Fields Evolutionary BiologyAnthropology
Institutions Harvard University
University of Washington
University of the Witwatersrand
University of California, Davis
Michigan State University
Binghamton University
Alma mater University of Rochester (B.A.)
Michigan State University(Ph.D.)
Doctoral students Jonathan Gottschall[2]
Known for Darwin’s Cathedral
Evolution for Everyone
Influenced Jonathan Haidt[citation needed]

David Sloan Wilson (born 1949) is an American evolutionary biologist and a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is a son of the author Sloan Wilson.

Academic career[edit]

Wilson graduated with a B.A. with high honors in 1971 from the University of Rochester. He then completed his Ph.D. in 1975 from Michigan State University. He then worked as a Research Fellow in the Biological Laboratories at Harvard University from 1974-1975. He then held a dual position as a Research Associate in Zoology at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Washington from 1975 to 1976. After this he was a Senior Research Officer at the South African National Research Institute for the Mathematical Sciences from 1976 to 1977.

Wilson moved back to the United States and held an Assistant Professorship in the Division of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Davis, from 1977 to 1980. He then served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor at the Kellogg Biological Station and Department of Zoology of Michigan State University from 1980 to 1988. Wilson was then promoted to full Professor of Biological Sciences at the State University of New York, Binghamton, in 1988. He was then given a joint appointment as Professor of Anthropology in 2001.

Wilson started the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program at Binghamton University to provide a program that unifies diverse disciplines under the theory of evolution. Students in the program take evolution-themed courses in a variety of disciplines including biology, anthropology, psychology, bioengineering, philosophy, religion and the psychology of religion. There is also a required course called “Current Topics in Evolutionary Studies”, where students attend weekly seminars with a discussion followed afterward. SUNY New Paltz has started a similar program.

Research[edit]

Wilson is a prominent proponent of the concept of group selection (also known as multi-level selection) in evolution. He and Elliott Sober proposed a framework called multilevel selection theory, which incorporates the more orthodox approach of gene-level selection and individual selection, in their book Unto Others. This framework argues that while genes serve as the means by which organisms’ designs are transmitted across generations, individuals and groups are vehicles for those genes and both are arenas for genes to act on. Indeed, genes themselves can be affected by selection, not just because of their effects on the design of their vehicle (the organism) but also because of their effect on the functioning of the DNA on which they reside. Hence the notion of multilevel selection. Wilson has also coined the concept of a trait-group, a group of organisms linked not permanently as a group but having a shared fate due to interactions that they have.

Publications[edit]

  • Unto Others (1998) co-edited with Elliott Sober. (Proposition of a framework called multilevel selection theory, which incorporates the more orthodox approach of gene-level selection and individual selection).
  • Darwin’s Cathedral (2002) (Religion as a multi-level adaptation).
  • Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology (2006) co-edited with E. O. Wilson
  • Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (2007)
  • The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time (2011)
  • Pathological Altruism (2011) co-edited with Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, and Guruprasad Madhavan.
  • Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (2015)
  • The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) co-edited with Jonathan Gottschall

Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral proposes that religion is a multi-level adaptation, a product of cultural evolution developed through a process of multi-level selection for more cooperative and cohesive groups. His book Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives attempts to give an introduction to evolution for a broad audience, detailing the various ways in which evolution can be applied to everyday affairs. There is also a class at Binghamton University that is called “Evolution for Everyone”, and students are required to read the book as part of the class.

Wilson’s latest book for a general audience is The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, published in August 2011. Wilson also co-edited Pathological Altruism published by Oxford University Press in November 2011 with Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, and Guruprasad Madhavan.

Wilson and his co-author E. O. Wilson have become well known[citation needed] for the quote, “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary”. This quotation appeared in their paper, “Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology”.

Wilson is a blogger for the ScienceBlogs,[3] where he extensively discusses and defends both the theory of evolution and his multilevel selection model.

 

In  the second video below in the 85th 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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Below is the letter I wrote to respond to his quote:

 

March 1, 2017

 

Dr. David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Departments of Biology and Anthropology,  Binghamton University, State University of New York, 4400 Vestal Parkway East, Binghamton, NY 13902,

Dear Dr. Wilson,

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

david sloan wilson  QUOTE

Those who believed in reason and science in the 19th century were deists and not atheists. That we were going to use reason to discover about the creator. Deists were marked with a profound optimism that science and reason could improve the human condition. That was true of the 19th century but not now. What happened was deism morphed into atheism and atheism treats God as an unnecessary hypothesis. Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason. If you are going to use science and reason now you are going to be an atheist and not a deist.

You noted, “Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason.” Evidently you are saying that EVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM like the variety that was talked about in the 19th century has been given up for pessimism. Charles Darwin in his autobiography was touting the same idea that you are addressing. 

When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of CHARLES DARWIN’S Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—

“Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is,”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER COMMENTED:

Now you have now the birth of Julian Huxley’s evolutionary optimistic humanism already stated by Darwin. Darwin now has a theory that man is going to be better. If you had lived at 1860 or 1890 and you said to Darwin, “By 1970 will man be better?” He certainly would have the hope that man would be better as Julian Huxley does today. Of course, I wonder what he would say if he lived in our day and saw what has been made of his own views in the direction of (the mass murder) Richard Speck (and deterministic thinking of today’s philosophers). I wonder what he would say. So you have the factor, already the dilemma in Darwin that I pointed out in Julian Huxley and that is evolutionary optimistic humanism rests always on tomorrow. You never have an argument from the present or the past for evolutionary optimistic humanism.

You can have evolutionary nihilism on the basis of the present and the past. Every time you have someone bringing in evolutionary optimistic humanism it is always based on what is going to be produced tomorrow. When is it coming? The years pass and is it coming? Arthur Koestler doesn’t think it is coming. He sees lots of problems here and puts forth for another solution.

In Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography he noted:

“…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and increased biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or with many of the modern philosophers, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space and that is the end of the plot. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin, “You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.

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These words of Darwin ring in my ear, “…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress…” . Schaeffer rightly noted, “Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men.” IN OTHER WORDS ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND.  I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

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

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

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