Monthly Archives: September 2017

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 181 Leo Alexander quote, “The first direct order for euthanasia was issued by Hitler on Sept. 1, 1939…” (Featured artist is Ray Johnson)

Francis Schaeffer pictured in his film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

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Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR


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The Devaluing of Life in America

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and Christian apologist Francis A. Schaeffer issue a stern warning concerning the devaluing of life in America. They quote Psychiatrist Leo Alexander, who served with the office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes in Nuremberg:

It started with the acceptance of the attitude basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived….   …. The first direct order for euthanasia was issued by Hitler on Sept. 1, 1939…. All state institutions were required to report on patients who had been ill for five years or more or who were unable to work, by filling out questionnaires giving name, race, marital status, nationality, next of kin, whether regularly visited and by whom, who bore the financial responsibility and so forth. The decision regarding which patients should be killed was made entirely on the basis of this brief information by expert consultants, most of whom were professors of psychiatry in the key universities. These consultants never saw the patients themselves.

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The Nazis set up an organization specifically for the killing of children, which they called, “Realm’s Committee for Scientific Approach to Severe Illness Due to Heredity and Constitution.” Children were transported to the killing centers by “The Charitable Transport Company for the Sick.” “The Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care” collected the cost of killing the children from the relatives, who did not know that they were paying to kill their own kinfolk. The cause of death was falsified on the death certificates. [Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, M.D., Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979), pp. 103-107].

Defence Counsel

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It hasn’t been too far back in the history of the United States, that black people were sold like cattle in our slave markets. For economic reasons, white society had classified them as “nonhuman.” The U S Supreme Court upheld this lie in its infamous Dred Scott Decision.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking as Rev. Jesse Jackson listens on.

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Jesse L. Jackson, in 1977, tied the prior treatment of blacks with our present treatment of the preborn:

You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned…. The Constitution called us three-fifths human and the whites further dehumanized us by calling us `n@$%#rs.’ It was part of the dehumanizing process…. These advocates taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder, they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human…. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified…. What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person and what kind of a society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually? It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind set with regard to the nature and the worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth. [Francis A. Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, M.D., Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979), p. 209.]

Twenty-five years after Rev. Jackson’s prediction, we have seen 45,000,000 preborn children killed for convenience and money. There is no telling how many newborns have been sedated and deliberately left to die of starvation.

For a former “insider” expose of the brutal and woman-exploiting abortion industry, read Carol Everett’s book, Blood Money (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Press Books, 1992). Her book tore at my heart. It spoke of how degenerate a part of the medical community had become. Carol Everett later found Christ and now ministers hope and healing.

The infamous pathologist Jack Kevorkian has grabbed headlines by murdering sick people. But, secretly in the hospitals, how many old and sick people have been “put to sleep” by other physicians simply by administering an overdose of medication, or by withholding needed medication?

I was touched, influenced and inspired by the ideas of Bill Bennett. See William J. Bennett, The De-Valuing of America—The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992).


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Leo Alexander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the Washington D.C. broadcaster and politician, see Leo Alexander (D.C. activist).

Dr. Leo Alexander (October 11, 1905 – July 20, 1985) was an American psychiatristneurologist, educator, and author, of Austrian-Jewish origin. He was a key medical advisor during the Nuremberg Trials. Alexander wrote part of the Nuremberg Code, which provides legal and ethical principles for scientific experiment on humans.




Born in ViennaAustria-Hungary, Alexander was the son of a physician. He graduated from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1929, interned in psychiatry at the University of Frankfurt, then emigrated to the United States in 1933. He taught at the medical schools of Harvard University and Duke University. During the war, he worked in Europe under United States Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson as an army medical investigator with the rank of Major. After the war, he was appointed chief medical advisor to Telford Taylor, the U.S. Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, and participated in the Nuremberg Trials in November 1946. He conceived the principles of the Nuremberg Code after observing and documenting German SS medical experiments at Dachau, and instances ofsterilization and euthanasia. Alexander later wrote that “science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship.”[1]

Later, he served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University Medical School, where he stayed for almost 30 years. As a consultant for the Boston Police Department, Alexander was instrumental in solving the Boston Strangler case.[2] He directed the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Boston State Hospital, where he researched multiple sclerosis and studied neuropathology. He arranged for the treatment of 40 German Nazi concentration camp victims who had been injected by Dr. Josef Mengele with a precursor to gas gangrene, and provided them with psychiatric therapy.[3] Alexander wrote several books on psychiatry and neuropathology, and coined the terms thanatology—defined as the study of death—and ktenology—the science of killing.[4]

Alexander died of cancer in 1985 in Weston, Massachusetts, survived by three children.


  1. Jump up^ Alexander, Leo (1949). “Medical Science under Dictatorship”. New England Journal of Medicine 241 (2): 39–47. doi:10.1056/NEJM194907142410201PMID 18153643.
  2. Jump up^ Gale, 2007.
  3. Jump up^ New York Times, 1985.
  4. Jump up^ Marrus, 1999.


  • Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2007. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
  • Kindwall, Josef A. (September 1949). “Doctors of Infamy (review)”. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 265: 190–191. doi:10.1177/000271624926500146JSTOR 1026587.
  • Marrus, Michael R. (1999). “The Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial in Historical Context”. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 73 (1): 106–123. doi:10.1353/bhm.1999.0037PMID 10189729.
  • “Dr. Leo Alexander, Psychiatrist, Fiance of Mrs. Anne”. New York Times. 1969-12-07. p. 106.
  • “Dr. Leo Alexander, 79; Nuremberg Trial Aide”. New York Times. 1985-07-24. p. B5.

External links[edit]

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The Indivisible Fight for Life

by Nat Hentoff. Presented at AUL Forum, 19 October 1986, Chicago. This article is part of no violence period.

I’ll begin by indicating how I became aware, very belatedly, of the “indivisibility of life.” I mention this fragment of autobiography only be cause I think it may be useful to those who are interested in bringing others like me – some people are not interested in making the ranks more heterogeneous, but others are, as I’ve been finding out – to a realization that the “slippery slope” is far more than a metaphor.

When I say “like me,” I suppose in some respects I’m regarded as a “liberal,” although I often stray from that category, and certainly a civil libertarian – though the ACLU and I are in profound disagreement on the matters of abortion, handicapped infants and euthanasia, because I think they have forsaken basic civil liberties in dealing with these issues. I’m considered a liberal except for that unaccountable heresy of recent years that has to do with pro-life matters.

It’s all the more unaccountable to a lot of people because I remain an atheist, a Jewish atheist. (That’s a special branch of the division.) I think the question I’m most often asked from both sides is, “How do you presume to have this kind of moral conception without a belief in God?” And the answer is, “It’s harder.” But it’s not impossible.

For me, this transformation started with the reporting I did on the Babies Doe. While covering the story, I came across a number of physicians, medical writers, staff people in Congress and some members of the House and Senate who were convinced that making it possible for a spina bifida or a Down syndrome infant to die was the equivalent of what they called a “late abortion.” And surely, they felt, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Now, I had not been thinking about abortion at all. I had not thought about it for years. I had what W. H. Auden called in another context a “rehearsed response.” You mentioned abortion and I would say, “Oh yeah, that’s a fundamental part of women’s liberation,” and that was the end of it.

But then I started hearing about “late abortion.” The simple “fact” that the infant had been born, proponents suggest, should not get in the way of mercifully saving him or her from a life hardly worth living. At the same time, the parents are saved from the financial and emotional burden of caring for an imperfect child.

And then I heard the head of the Reproductive Freedom Rights unit of the ACLU saying – this was at the same time as the Baby Jane Doe story was developing on Long Island – at a forum, “I don’t know what all this fuss is about. Dealing with these handicapped infants is really an extension of women’s reproductive freedom rights, women’s right to control their own bodies.”

That stopped me. It seemed to me we were not talking about Roe v. Wade. These infants were born. And having been born, as persons under the Constitution, they were entitled to at least the same rights as people on death row – due process, equal protection of the law. So for the first time, I began to pay attention to the “slippery slope” warnings of pro-lifers I read about or had seen on television. Because abortion had become legal and easily available, that argument ran – as you well know – infanticide would eventually become openly permissible, to be followed by euthanasia for infirm, expensive senior citizens.

And then in the New York Review of Books , I saw the respected, though not by me, Australian bio-ethicist Peter Singer boldly assert that the slope was not slippery at all, but rather a logical throughway once you got on to it. This is what he said – and I’ve heard this in variant forms from many, many people who consider themselves compassionate, concerned with the pow erless and all that.

Singer: “The pro-life groups were right about one thing, the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make much of a moral difference. We cannot coherently hold it is alright to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive. The solution, however,” said Singer, “is not to accept the pro-life view that the fetus is a human being with the same moral status as yours or mine. The solution is the very opposite, to abandon the idea that all human life is of equal worth.” Which, of course, the majority of the Court had already done in Roe v. Wade.

Recently, I was interviewing Dr. Norman Levinsky, Chief of Medicine of Boston University Medical Center and a medical ethicist. He is one of those rare medical ethicists who really is concerned with nurturing life, as contrasted with those of his peers who see death as a form of treatment. He told me that he is much disturbed by the extent to which medical decisions are made according to the patient’s age. He says there are those physicians who believe that life is worth less if you’re over 80 than if you’re 28.

LEO ALEXANDER pictured below:

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So this is capsulizing an incremental learning process. I was beginning to learn about the indivisibility of life. I began to interview people, to read, and I read Dr. Leo Alexander. Joe Stanton, who must be the greatest single resource of information, at least to beginners – and, I think, non-beginners – in this field, sent me a whole lot of stuff, including Dr. Leo Alexander’s piece in the New England Journal of Medicine in the 1940s. And then I thought of Dr. Alexander when I saw an April 1984 piece in theNew England Journal of Medicine by 10 physicians defending the withdrawal of food and water from certain “hopelessly ill” patients. And I found out that Dr. Alexander was still alive then but didn’t have much longer to live. And he said to Patrick Duff, who is a professor of philosophy at Clarke University and who testified in the Brophy case, about that article, “It is much like Germany in the 20s and 30s. The barriers against killing are coming down.”

Nearly two years later, as you know, the seven member judicial council of theAmerican Medical Association ruled unanimously that it is ethical for doctors to withhold “all means of life-prolonging medical treatment” in cluding food and water, if the patient is in a coma that is “beyond doubt irreversible” and “there are adequate safeguards to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis.” Now keep in mind “beyond doubt irreversible” and “adequate safeguards to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis.” Death, to begin with, may not be imminent for food and water to be stopped, according to the AMA.

Then Dr. Nancy Dickey, who is chairman of the council that made that ruling, noted that there is no medical definition of”adequate safeguards,” no checklist that doctors would have to fill out in each case. The decision would be up to each doctor.

Aside from the ethics of this, for the moment, I would point out that the New England Journal of Medicine, or at least the editor, Dr. Arnold Relman, said fairly recently that there are at least 40,000 incompetent physicians in the United States – incompetent or impaired. At least.

Back to Dr. Norman Levinsky. This is all part of this learning process. It is not a huge step, he said, from stopping the feeding to giving the patient a little more morphine to speed his end. I mean it is not a big step from passive to active euthanasia.

Well, in time, a rather short period of time, I became pro-life across the board, which led to certain social problems, starting at home. My wife’s most recurrent attack begins with, “You are creating social mischief,” and there are people at my paper who do not speak to me anymore. In most cases, that’s no loss.

And I began to find out, in a different way, how the stereotypes about pro-lifers work. When you’re one of them and you read about the stereotypes, you get a sort of different perspective.

There’s a magazine called the ProgressiveIt’s published in Madison, Wisconsin. It comes out of the progressive movement of Senator Lafolette, in the early part of this century. It is very liberal. Its staff, the last I knew, was without exception pro-abortion. But its editor is a rare editor in that he believes not only that his readers can stand opinions contrary to what they’d like to hear, but that it’s good for them. His name is Erwin Knoll and he published a long piece by Mary Meehan, who is one of my favorite authors, which pointed out that for the left, of all groups of society, not to understand that the most helpless members of this society are the preborn – a word that I picked up today, better than unborn – is strange, to say the least.

The article by Meehan produced an avalanche of letters. I have not seen such vitriol since Richard Nixon was president – and he deserved it. One of the infuriated readers said pro-life is only a code word representing the kind of neo-fascist, absolutist thinking that is the antithesis to the goals of the left. What, exactly, are the anti-abortionists for? School prayer, a strong national defense, the traditional family characterized by patriarchal dominance. And what are they against? School busing, homosexuals, divorce, sex education, the ERA, welfare, contraception and birth control. I read that over five or six times and none of those applied to me.

I began to wonder if Meehan and I were the only pro-life people who came from the left. Meehan has a long background in civil rights work. And by the way, she said in the piece, “It is out of characterfor the left to neglect the weak and helpless. The traditional mark of the left has been its protection of the underdog, the weak and the poor. The unborn child is the most helpless form of humanity, even more in need of protection than the poor tenant farmer or the mental patient. The basic instinct of the left is to aid those who cannot aid themselves. And that instinct is absolutely sound. It’s what keeps the human proposition going.”

I’ll give you a quick footnote on the Progressive. Erwin Knoll got a series of ads, tiny ads because they couldn’t pay very much even at the magazine’s rates, from a group called Feminists for Life or America – a group, by the way, that is anti-nuclear weapons and is also very pro-life in terms of being anti-abortion. And the ads ran. There is a group called the Funding Exchange which is made up of foundations which are put into operation and headed by the scions of the rich. These are children who are trying to atone for their parents’ rapaciousness by doing good. The children are liberals. The Funding Exchange was so horrified to see those three tiny ads that even though the Progressive is soundly pro-abortion, the Funding Exchange not only dropped the grant they had given the Progressive, but they made a point of telling Erwin Knoll that they were going to make sure that other foundations didn’t give them any money either. I’m always in trigued at how few people understand that free speech encompasses a little more than the speech you like.

Well eventually, in addition to Mary Meehan, I found that there were a number of other pro-lifers who also do not cherish the MX missile, William Bradford Reynolds, or Ronald Reagan. And one of them is Juli Loesch, who writes and speaks against both war and abortion. She is the founder of Pro-lifers for Survival, which describes itself as a network of women and men supporting alternatives to abortion and nuclear arms. She’s rather rare, I find in my limited experience, among combatants on all sides of this question because she is unfailingly lucid – and she has a good sense of humor. In an interview in the U.S. Catholic she said that combining her various pro-life preoccupations “was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. It’s great because you always have common ground with someone. For example, if you’re talking to pro-lifers you can always warmup the crowd, so to speak, by saying a lot of anti-abortion stuff. After you’ve got everybody celebrating the principles they all hold dear, you apply those principles to the nuclear arms issue. For instance, I’ll say ‘this nuclear radiation is going to destroy the unborn in the womb all over the world.’ And then I always lay a quote by the late Herman Kahn on them. He pointed out that about 100 million embryonic deaths would result from limited nuclear war. One hundred million embryonic deaths is of limited significance, he said, because human fecundity being what it is, the slight reduction in fecundity should not be a matter of serious concern even to individuals. Tell that to a pro-life group,” she says, “and their response will be, ‘That guy’s an abortionist.’ Well what he was was a nuclear strategist.”

I found other allies as a result of having been interviewed on National Public Radio as the curiosity of the month. Letters came in from around the country, most of them saying essentially what a woman from Illinois wrote:

“I feel as you do, that it is ethically, not to mention logically, inconsistent to oppose capital punishment and nuclear armament while supporting abortion and/or euthanasia.”

The most surprising letters were two from members of the boards of two state affiliates of the ACLU. Now I’m a former member of the national board and I was on the New York board for 17 years, and I well know the devotion of the vast number of the rank and file, let alone the leadership, to abortion. rights. So I was surprised to get these letters. One board member from Maryland said we had a board meeting where we approved with only one dissent (his) the decision of the national board to put the right to abortion at the top of its priorities – the top of its priorities. Forget the First Amendment and the Fourth, let Edwin Meese take care of those. There was no discussion, he said, of the relation of abortion to capital punishment.

The most interesting letter was from Barry Nakell, who is a law profes sor at the University of North Carolina. He is one of the founders of the affiliate of the ACLU there. And he gave me a copy of a speech he made in 1985 at the annual meeting in Chapel Hill of the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union. He reminded the members that the principle of respect for the dignity of life was the basis for the paramount issue on the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union agenda since its founding. That group was founded because of their opposition to capital punishment. Yet, he said, supporting Roe v. Wade, these civil libertarians were agreeing that the Constitution protects the right to take life. The situation is a little backward, Nakell told his brothers and sisters. In the classical position, the Constitu tion would be interpreted to protect the right to life, and pro-abortion advocates would be pressing to relax that constitutional guarantee. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court turned that position upside down and the ACLU went along, taking the decidedly odd civil libertarian position that some lives are less worthy of protection than other lives. I asked Nakell how his heresy had been received. Apparently they’re much more polite down there than they are in New York. “With civility,” he said. As a matter of fact, he added, there were several members of the board who had been troubled for some time, but it’s interesting, they didn’t quite want to come out and say they were worried about Roe v. Wade,that they were worried about abortion. But Nakell took the first step. He’s an optimist by temperament and he tells me he expects to make more progress. And then he told me about a bumper sticker he had seen recently in North Carolina- “Equal Rights for Unborn Women.”

For several years now I’ve been researching a profile of Cardinal O’Connor of New York, which will be a book eventually. And in the course of that I came across Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” concept. It’s a phrase he does not use any more because of internal political reasons. It is now called the “consistent ethic of life,” which is fine by me. I miss “seamless garment” though, because there’s a nice literary flavor to it. But I’ll accept “consistent ethic of life.” Bernardin said, in a speech at Fordham that has won him considerable plaudits and considerable dissonance, “[N]uclear war threatens life on a previously unimaginable scale. Abortion takes life daily on a horrendous scale. Public executions are fast becoming weekly events in the most advanced technological society in history, and euthanasia is now openly discussed and even advocated. Each of these assaults on life has its own meaning and morality. They cannot be collapsed into one problem, but they must be confronted as pieces of a larger pattern.”

That had a profound effect on me. It’s not new. As a matter of fact, Juli Loesch thought of it before he did, as did the people at The Catholic Worker who got it, of course, from Dorothy Day. And it goes further back into the centuries. But there was something about the way Bernardin put it that hit me very hard.

So I decided by now, because I was considered by some people to be a reliable pro-lifer, I decided to go out to Columbus, Ohio, where I had been asked to speak at the annual Right to Life convention. And, I thought, I’m going to bring them the word, if they haven’t heard it before from Cardinal Bernardin. At first they were delighted to see me, but that didn’t last very long. Jack Willke and Mrs. Willke were there, and they can attest to the fact that in some respects I’m lucky to be here. I pointed out that pro-lifers – maybe this is chutzpah, telling people who have been in this all their lives what you’ve discovered in 20 minutes – that pro-lifers ought to be opposing capital punishment and nuclear armament and the Reagan budget with its dedicated care for missiles as it cuts funds for the Women/Infant/Children Program that provides diet supplements and medical checkups for mothers in poverty. Surely, I said, they should not emulate the President in these matters – and here I stole a line from Congressman Barney Frank – they should not emulate the President in being pro-life only up to the moment of birth. Well the faces before me began to close, and from the middle and the back of the dining room there were shouts. I couldn’t make out the words, but they were not approving. As I went on, there were more shouts as well as growls and table-thumping of an insistence that indicated a tumbrel awaited outside. I finally ended my speech to a chorus of howls, and several of the diners rushed toward the dais. I did not remember ever intending to die for this cause, but as it turned out the attacks were all verbal. Most of the disappointed listeners, once they caught their breath, charitably ascribed my failure to understand the total unrelatedness of nuclear arms and abortion to my not yet having found God.

But I discovered in other places that I didn’t have to bring them the news of the consistent ethic of life. I talked at the Catholic church outside Stamford, Connecticut last week, and they – including the pastor – understood the “consistent ethic of life” agreat deal better than I did. So I see some real hope for my point of view.

There are a lot of people like me out there who are troubled by abortion. That should not stop them from joining at least one of the more possibly compatible groups, but it does. They are unwilling to join what they consider to be the forces of Reagan, Rambo and Rehnquist. But there are beginning to be pro-life forces that they can in conscience – they have consciences too – join. One of them is Pro-lifers for Survival, another is Feminists for Life of America. And there is something that just started that I find very interesting. It’s very small now. It’s the first consistent-ethic-of-life political action committee, and it’s called JustLife. The people who started it were some what dismayed that anti-abortionists like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart and other such household names were giving the impres sion that if Christ were in the Senate, he’d vote for Star Wars. The founders of JustLife thought that a new assembly of Christians – most of them, by the way, theologically conservative evangelicals and Catholics – ought, there fore, to start the political action committee.

What they aim to show is that there is another Christian perspective on these matters. JustLife is supporting candidates who advocate what it calls, again, a “consistent ethic of life.” A candidate does not have to be a Christian to get help from this PAC, but he or she does have to oppose abortion. Another requirement is a determination to end, rather than further institutionalize, the nuclear arms race. They’re against the MX missile. They’re against Star Wars. Now I think you see that the nuclear part of their program is mild. I’m a disciple of A. J. Muste. He was a Christian pacifist. The new PAC does not go so far as Muste or Dorothy Day. Instead, it urges verifiable multi-lateral disarmament. Everybody’s for that, except when you get to the negotiating table. One board member, Kathleen Hayes, who is managing editor of the Christian magazine, The Other Side, told the Catholic Register that she believes that unilateral disarmament is ultimately what the gospel would call us to. But the aim of JustLife is to pick up votes, and there’s a much more powerful gospel if you want to pick up votes, and that’s called deterrence.

The third basic criterion the candidate has to meet to get money from JustLife, is that he or she must recognize that there are actual poor people out there – not just freeloaders, as the Attorney General has suggested. Once the poor are seen as three dimensional, a JustLife candidate has to show that he or she would work to get them health care, housing and food. For as it was said, “Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be filled.” Distilling its tripartite credo in its first fundraising letter, JustLife em phasizes, “[W]e support an unborn child’s right to life. We also support that child’s right to adequate nutrition, housing, education and health care. We support that child’s right to live in a safe world.”

Now this political witness by Christians going contrary to the politics of most other pro-life groups – that is, those pro-life groups that have political agenda- is obviously well within the rights of free speech and assembly. Yet another interesting thing, and I find this dismaying, is that while a number of Catholic bishops agree with the thrust of JustLife – in fact one of them was originally on the board, and a consistent ethic of life is now an official position of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops as of last November – there are no Catholic bishops on the board of JustLife. The main reason is that there is a current lawsuit brought by Larry Lader, the pro-abortionist, challenging the tax-exempt status of the Catholic church on the charge that it has been engaged in political campaigning and in lobbying against abortion. Because of the length of that suit, its cost and its still uncertain outcome, the bishops are experiencing a chilling effect. And I’ve seen no editorials about that from people who would ordinarily be concerned with the First Amend ment.

Meanwhile, JustLife, having announced publicly its existence in June, has raised $45,000 from 1,300 contributors, expects to reach $60,000 by the end of the year and is gearing up for 1988. I’ll show you how it works in one state, because this could eventually happen elsewhere. In Nevada, the Pro-Family Coalition has endorsed Republican James Santini, but since Santini is against both the nuclear freeze and funding for poverty programs, JustLife is on the side of Congressman Harry Reid, who votes to fill the hungry, slim down the Pentagon and is also against abortion. They’re both against abortion, but only one, says JustLife, keeps on caring for life after birth. I would like to see this group grow, and other groups do the same thing or similar things. [Reid won in November.]

On Sunday October 25th, Cardinal O’Connor had a letter read at all masses at all parishes in the Archdiocese of New York. It was Respect Life Sunday. And this is how the letter began: “I am frightened and chilled by the continuing destruction of unborn human life, and now we are seeing precisely what we have been predicting all along. Once the victory seemed to be won on legalizing the killing of the unborn, attention was turned to the terminally ill. Now we are hearing a clamor thoughout the United States for legislation that will lift any regulations whatsoever in regard to sustaining the life of a terminally ill patient. Indeed the move is toward authorizing the deliberate speeding up of the deaths of vulnerable patients by starvation or dehydration. It all goes together. What is permitted today is often demanded tomorrow. If the current contempt for the unborn continues, in my judgment we will soon see required genetic screening programs, with public health authorities urging mothers to abort babies that may be born with defects. I’ve been reading that this summer the state of California has introduced a program which moves precisely in that direction. I plead with you to reflect with utmost urgency on what is happening. Do not think that your life, or your aging parents’ lives, or the lives of the handicapped, the cancerous, the so-called ‘useless,’ are secure if the proponents of euthanasia have their way.”

Finally, with that in mind, back in 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade, in the state of New York, the legislature, after much pressure, decided to decriminalize abortion and make it a good deal easier. At the time, a significant editorial was delivered on the local CBS station by Sherri Henry, who has since become a big-time talk show host. And she wrote then, “[A]bortion is no longer illegal in New York. It is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear. It is one sensible method of dealing with such problems as overpopulation, illegitimacy, and possible birth defects. It is one way of fighting the rising welfare rolls and the increasing number of child abuse cases.

Very simple. When there are no children, they can’t be abused. When there are no severely handicapped children or adults, we will all save money. When everyone in failing health has to die by a certain age, how much more aesthetic our society will be.

Most people will begin to understand the lethal logic of the abortionists, the advocates of euthanasia, and the AMA, if this logic is presented lucidly, persistently and on the basis of the indivisibility of all life. All life.


Artist featured today is Ray Johnson

Ray Johnson Doc – Brush and the Water Pt. 1

By: Franklin Bruno | Categories: Art, HiLo Heroes

RAY JOHNSON (1927–95) was several artists in one: a Black Mountain-trained painter whose early rejection of Abstract Expressionist purity was as deliberate as Rauschenberg’s, Johns’s, and Twombly’s (in whose fireplace Johnson burned his student work); a formal collagist who combined Joseph Cornell’s gift for lending personal and symbolic weight to scrap material with a Warholian eye for transformative Camp; the founder and distribution node of “The New York Correspondence [sometimes ‘Correspondance‘] School,” which helped initiate the genre of “mail art”; a performer whose koan-like “Nothings,” which might consist of little more than Johnson standing in a bank lobby chewing peanut-butter cups and silently reading Walt Whitman, contrasted starkly with the antic, multi-media “Happenings” of the ’60s and ’70s. An insider’s outsider, three decades of such activity made Johnson “the most famous unknown artist in New York,” as one review put it, but he withdrew from the art world and market in the ’80s and ’90s, working privately while underlining his absence with thousands of typed and Xeroxed mailings. (Prophetically, his self-isolation roughly coincided with the rise of the Internet.) On a Friday the 13th in 1995, he drove to Orient, Long Island, warned one or two intimates of a coming “mail event” by phone, and dropped himself off a country bridge like a letter into a slot, leaving his Sag Harbor home and studio as a series of carefully staged tableaux. Like this last, self-canceling gesture, each of Johnson’s works — many of which were initially aimed at a single postal recipient — connects to hundreds of others through visual and verbal puns and cultural allusions, but the man at their center and his ultimate intent remain unfathomable, as though meaning itself were a vast, networked conspiracy.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Louis Althusser.

READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).

Ray Johnson Doc – Brush and the Water Pt. 2

Ray Johnson (center right) in Josef Albers’ class at Black Mountain College, c. 1948


Uploaded on Sep 16, 2010


(Ray Johnson and Richard Lippold at Black Mountain College)

How to Draw a Bunny: The Ray Johnson Memorial Show (dvd extra feature)



“Tables of Contents:
Ray Johnson & Robert Warner: Bob Box Archive”

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
University of California, Berkeley
January 27-May 20, 2012
Lectures by:
Robert Warner, January 27
Dickran Tashjian, April 18

Ray Johnson has become a cult hero, in large part due to his posthumous film portrait, “How to Draw a Bunny.” During his life (1927-1995), he was known as, “the most famous unknown artist in New York.” Those of us who knew him when…when no one else did…we treasured him. We knew he was the real deal and an inspiration on how to conduct an artful life.

Purposely avoiding public recognition in life, Johnson knew the art world in detail, having attended Black Mountain College, trained by Josef Albers, befriended by John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Ruth Awawa, et al.

Johnson was generous in sharing his friendships with others. In the late 1970s, he introduced me to William Copley (aka Cply), a friend of Marcel Duchamp, who was recovering from burns in Key West, Florida, while I was there on vacation. Copley was a functionary for Duchamp, gathering needed materials for the master artist’s last work, “Etant Donnés,” which was created in secret. Copley was necessary in perpetuating the ruse that Duchamp had “quit making art.”

Ray Johnson

So too, did Johnson use Robert Warner to run his errands in New York City, while Johnson secluded himself in the North Shore Long Island suburb of Locust Valley. Mugged the same day Warhol was shot, Ray took himself out of the scene, making occasional forays into the city, but relying on others like Warner to perpetuate his artistic presence, by asking him, for instance, to carry out mysterious deliveries to Jasper Johns.

Sequestered from the scene, using a third parties to intervene in his “performances,” Johnson continued his traditions of “nothings,” or “non-happenings,” which he labeled many of his public performances. If “happenings” were created situations to elevate one above the happenstance of existence , “nothings” blended activity with everyday life…nothing special.

Johnson’s prime motivation was the aesthetic distribution of communication – not only through the postal system, with which he is associated as the Father of Mail Art – but by various mediums, including the telephone. Johnson persistent daytime telephone calls to Warner, caused Bob’s boss (an optician) to pull the plug on these workday performances. But by then, Bob had proved himself.

Johnson’s mailed works often included an “acid test.” They were freely given, but included calls for reciprocal response. Many of his mailings contained admonitions to “add and pass” or “add and return,” challenging the “purity quotient” of the receiver. Did the correspondent conform to instruction? Was the original photocopied first and then passed along? Was the admonition ignored? Bob Warner was subjected to a variety of these tasks, proving his trustworthiness.

Having earned his stripes, Warner was given fifteen cardboard boxes stuffed with received mail and scores of addressed but unsent envelopes. Warner was instructed to forward two of the boxes to another party. For years, Warner kept the remaining thirteen boxes unopened and intact. In 2010, Esopus Magazine, sponsored a project through their gallery affiliate, whereby Warner would open the boxes in public and inventory the works.

After the exhibition, the newly inventoried works traveled to Philadelphia, with Berkeley the third stop of the tour. It was recommended to the Berkeley Museum by Dickran Tasjanian, a professor emeritus from the University of California, Irvine, recently retired to the Bay Area. The author of Skyscraper Primitives: Dada and the American Avant-Garde, 1910-1925, and Boatload of Madman: Surrealism and the American Avant-Garde, 1920-1950,” the scholar, an acquaintance of Warner, was aptly suited to appreciate Johnson’s difficult fit into these previous avant-gardes.

Tasjanian’s admiration was made easier by his and Johnson’s mutual appreciation of Joseph Cornell. Tashjian also authored, Joseph Cornell: Gifts of Desire, and Johnson counted Cornell among his circle of friends. A critical remark that Ray found amusing and often circulated was, “Johnson is to the letter, what Cornell was to the box.”

Both Warner and Tasjanian conducted gallery talks – Warner at the opening of the exhibition, and Tasjanian during its course. Both talks were well attended and served to inform the curious. Spread out on thirteen tables, the contents of the thirteen boxes needed some clarification.

At first sight, the items appear to be piles of flotsam and jetsam, with no apparent relationship to one another. The collection was not selected by Johnson, but generated by the Mail Art network. In deciphering the accumulation, there are clues for the initiated. For instance – a collection of belts, which related to Johnson’s fascination with snakes (and penises), and were in all likelihood, remnants of his 1970s era, “Spam Belt Club.” Johnson would often include instructions to his correspondents to send objects to an unwitting third party- for example, “Send slips to Lucy Lippard.” In turn, Johnson would often be the recipient of his correspondents peccadillos.

The boxes also contained items returned and embellished by correspondents as requested by Johnson, including a Johnson exhibition poster altered and returned by Bay Area artist William Wiley.

Ray Johnson

Also on exhibition are several of Johnson’s more formal collages, composed of wood or compressed cardboard, often bearing images first found in his mailings. Rarely shown during his lifetime, these works have gained increased recognition through their exhibition by the Ray Johnson Estate, administered by the Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York.

Despite the elegance of the framed collages, and their obvious appeal to collectors, the true importance of Ray Johnson lies in his preoccupation with the distribution of the artwork, in the process of which, he established a worldwide network, which continues to uphold his practice of freely circulated works, stimulating long distance aesthetic communication, friendship, and community.

Written by John Held, Jr.

Interview between Ray Johnson and John Held, Jr. linked here 



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WOODY WEDNESDAY  Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 9

Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 1

The Best & The Rest: Every Woody Allen Film Ranked

This week, Woody Allen‘s 2016 title (for as we all know, there’s one each year), “Cafe Society,” starring Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Corey Stoll, Blake Lively and Anna Camp, opens after a warm reception as the opening film at the most recent Cannes Film Festival. You can read our take from Cannes here, or hang on to scroll through and see where it lands on the list below, but we thought this would be a good time to gussy up our previous sprawling two-part Allen retrospective, and because we’ve been a little harmonious around here of late and miss the sounds of sobbing and breaking crockery, to rank it.

READ MORE: The Best And The Rest: Every Stanley Kubrick Ranked

Weathering personal scandal and coming in and out of fashion like flares, Allen’s been at constant work as a director for five decades now, and “Cafe Society” marks his 47th theatrically-released feature. Which means we have a lot to get through, so let’s get straight to it, shall we? Here, ranked worst to best, are all of Woody Allen’s theatrical features —with any list this long, there’s bound to be massive disagreement, so remember, the comments section awaits your ire. Or your congratulations, on the slim chance you agree with all of it.

Everyone Says I Love You25. “Everyone Says I Love You” (1996)
Lush with the sensation of romance in exotic places, Allen’s modern-day musical (scored with lip-synched 1930s standards) occupies a curious place in his oeuvre, following a family of Giuliani-era Upper East Side New Yorkers in romantic crisis in New York, Venice and Paris. Love has them all tangled up, from impulsive engagements to old flames flaring up again, that are all backdropped against the brownstones and Central Park foliage of New York or the bridges and waterways of the film’s European locations. But amid a very amiable ensemble (Alan Alda, Goldie Hawn, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Natalie Portman, etc.) the film falters with Allen himself, who plays a single man who absconds to Venice to meet the girl of his dreams, played by Julia Roberts. The age discrepancy is glaringly unaddressed, and Roberts becomes one of the first casualties of Allen’s mid-period tendency to admire the beauty and vivacity of his younger female stars in lieu of giving them real notes to play. But the untrained and sometimes unsteady singing, which proved the most divisive element on release, might actually be our favorite part.

Radio Days24. “Radio Days” (1987)
Wedged somewhat awkwardly between one of Woody’s outright masterpieces and his run of explicitly ‘experimental’ fare, “Radio Days” often gets lost in the shuffle of the filmmaker’s busy period during the tail-end of the 1980s, but it merits revisiting as one of his most sophisticated, least ego-driven pictures. It engages in the stuff of romanticized autobiography (comparisons with Fellini’s “Amarcord” and Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” abound) without tipping over into self-aggrandizing neurotica. True, there isn’t much here we haven’t seen before — in being a homage to the long-defunct radio era, it mimics a lot of the concerns of “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” or “Broadway Danny Rose” without ever quite attaining those films’ level of wit and warmth. But it’s still a spritely ode to eccentricity, an aping of the foibles of family life during the ’30s and ’40s, and a work that straddles the divide between the bleaker impulses of his output (Dianne Wiest’s lonely spinster repping here) and the pithy New Yorker humor and self-mockery that are often otherwise the opposing poles of his filmography.

Match Point Official Trailer!

Match Point23. “Match Point” (2005)
Given any 47-odd list of films to rank, there are going to be disagreements, and one sticking point we can predict in advance is the relatively low placement of this enduringly popular London-set thriller. But we’re sticking to our guns. Scarlett Johansson, at the very beginning of a run that saw her move from sexpot ingenue to one of our very favorite working actresses, is sulkily luminous, but not given a huge amount to do bar “be a fantasy” and while it should be a good thing that there’s no direct Allen stand-in for once, instead we get an emotionally and psychologically vague Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and an empty-headed love affair that plays out against a London backdrop about as authentic as a series of postcards. Emily Mortimer and Matthew Goode are good value as the foils to the leads, but lacking the wit and snap that characterized the much, much better riff on the same themes that was “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Match Point” is not so much bad as slightly unnecessary, and dour in a way that feels uncharacteristic of even Allen’s most serious work.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 147 Massimo Pigliucci, Philosophy, CUNY-City College, “[Reason] is opposed of course to FAITH”



Harry Kroto pictured below:


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

…Please click on this URL

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

Harry Kroto


Massimo Pigliucci

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Massimo Pigliucci
Massimo Pigliucci.jpg
Born January 16, 1964 (age 53)
Alma mater
School Scientific skepticismsecular humanismStoicism
Main interests
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of pseudoscience
Relationship between science and religion
Demarcation problem

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964)[1] is Professor of Philosophy at CUNYCity College,[2] formerly co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast,[3] and formerly the editor in chief for the online magazine Scientia Salon.[4] He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience[5][6] and creationism,[7] and an advocate for secularism[8], science education[9] and modern Stoicism.


Pigliucci was born in Monrovia, Liberia and raised in Rome, Italy.[1] He has a doctorate in genetics from the University of FerraraItaly, a PhD in biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee.[10] He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[1]

Pigliucci was formerly a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. He explored phenotypic plasticitygenotype-environment interactions, natural selection, and the constraints imposed on natural selection by the genetic and developmental makeup of organisms.[11] In 1997, while working at the University of Tennessee, Pigliucci received the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize,[12] awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution[1] to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. As a philosopher, Pigliucci is interested in the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion.[10] He is a proponent of the extended evolutionary synthesis.[13]

Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer on topics such as climate change denialintelligent designpseudoscience, and philosophy.[14] He has also written for Philosophy Now and maintains a blog called “Rationally Speaking”.[15] He has debated “deniers of evolution” (young-earth creationists and intelligent design proponents), including young earth creationists Duane Gish and Kent Hovind and intelligent design proponents William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, on many occasions.[16][17][18][19]

Michael ShermerJulia Galef and Massimo Pigliucci record live at NECSS 2013

Critical thinking and scepticism[edit]

While Pigliucci is an atheist himself,[20] he does not believe that science necessarily demands atheism because of two distinctions: the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and the distinction between value judgements and matters of fact. He believes that many scientists and science educators fail to appreciate these differences.[9] Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge).[21] In a discussion of his book Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life, Pigliucci told Skepticality podcast host Derek Colanduno, “Aristotle was the first ancient thinker to really take seriously the idea that you need both empirical facts, you need an evidence-based approach to the world and you need to be able to reflect on the meaning of those facts… If you want answers to moral questions then you don’t ask the neurobiologist, you don’t ask the evolutionary biologist, you ask the philosopher.”[22]

Pigliucci describes the mission of skeptics, referencing Carl Sagan‘s Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark saying “What skeptics are about is to keep that candle lit and spread it as much as possible”.[23] Pigliucci serves on the board of NYC Skeptics and on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.[8]

In 2001, he debated William Lane Craig over the existence of God.[24]

Massimo Pigliucci criticised the newspaper article by Pope Francis entitled, “An open dialogue with non-believers”. Pigliucci viewed the article as a monologue rather than a dialogue and, in a response personally addressed to Pope Francis, wrote that the Pope only offered non-believers “a reaffirmation of entirely unsubstantiated fantasies about God and his Son…followed by a confusion between the concept of love and truth, the whole peppered by a significant amount of historical revisionism and downright denial of the ugliest facets of your Church (and you will notice that I haven’t even brought up the pedophilia stuff!).”[25]

Rationally Speaking[edit]

In August 2000 Massimo started with a monthly internet column called Rationally Speaking. In August 2005, the column became a blog,[26] where he wrote posts until March 2014.[27] Since 1 February 2010, he co-hosted the bi-weekly Rationally Speaking podcast together with Julia Galef, whom he first met at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, held in September 2009.[28] The podcast is produced by the New York City Skeptics. He left the podcast in 2015 to pursue other interests.[29] In 2010, Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained on the show his justification for spending large amounts of government money on space programs. He eventually printed the transcript of his performance as a guest on the show in his book Space Chronicles as a full chapter covering eight pages.[30] Another episode in which Tyson explained his position on the label “atheism” received attention on NPR.[31]

His comments can be found on the 2nd  video and the 57th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

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)


From Everette Hatcher,, P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock , AR 72221


I have really enjoyed watching your debate with William Lane Craig on You Tube  and your discussion with Daniel Dennett on the limits of science. I have had the pleasure of both corresponding with Professor Dennett and reading his book DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA earlier this year.

I noticed that you graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Although I have never personally been a Tennessee fan, I was told by my grandfather that a cousin of his was a kicker for the Vols. My grandfather grew up in Franklin, Tennessee with his brothers and sister. They used to get up at 2 am on Saturdays and travel to Knoxville by 1pm for the kickoff. My grandfather attended the University of Tennessee in 1921-23 until his money ran out. My grandfather told me he was relatives with Buck Hatcher who was a star player for the Vols.

Sure enough Buck Hatcher did play for the Vols and he kicked a 53 yard field goal on Nov 13, 1920 to set a record.  Later my grandfather’s brother Mack had the “Mack Hatcher Memorial Highway” named after him. He was a Gideon and often helped those who needed help in his Williamson County. (A Gideon is one who gives out Bibles). He stood six foot eleven and his sister Sara Lou was six foot four.

In the You Tube series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD I found the following quote from you:

Reason of course can be defined in a variety of ways, but these are pretty good approximations. Cause is a explanation or justification for an event. You have a reason to believe. There was a reason I got up from my and went to the refrigerator and got a beer because I was THIRSTY. That is a REASON.  

The Power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments by the course of logic is what we are talking about in this context. This is opposed of course to FAITH, which is the COMPLETE trust or confidence in someone or something. Notice the emphasis on COMPLETE for some belief in God or doctrine of religion based on SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION rather than truth. That is the interesting premise here. SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION, what the heck is SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION? How do people spiritually apprehend things? I can talk about how people LOGICALLY or RATIONALLY think about things, but it is hard to get my mind wrapped around the idea of spiritual apprehension. I suspect because there is no such thing as spiritual apprehension.



Let me respond with to your assertion that faith is totally opposed to logic with these writings below by Francis Schaeffer:

Image result for francis schaeffer

What is Faith?

Posted on July 29, 2012by 

What is faith?  Faith is often characterized as blind belief just because we want it to be true.  It’s sometimes thought to be belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.  But is that really what Biblical faith is like or is it a strawman argument that’s easily knocked down to make a point errantly?

Francis Schaeffer presents this story about faith:

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock, and suddenly the fog rolls in. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide, “Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?” The guide would say that you might make it until the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason tosupport his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said, “You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices.  I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and it he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the adequate and sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

Schaeffer’s story captures the idea that faith is not blind.  It is based on reason, logic, information, but lives in a situation where a gap exists.  Faith bridges the gap by trusting in someone or something in a better position than yourself.  In this story, faith was put in the knowledge of the man who grew up in the Alps.  It was a rational, tested faith based on questioning the man’s knowledge, but it was still faith because the ledge below couldn’t be seen, touched or definitively known.  This idea that faith is well informed and not irrational is the first point to keep in mind.

The second point is about the object of faith.  When you walk across ice, your trust is put in the ice to hold your weight.  Ice is the object of your faith.  If your trust is misplaced, you’ll quickly be wet, cold and in significant danger.  It wouldn’t have mattered whether you have a little faith in the ice or trust it fully.  The strength of the object of faith is what counts.  It the story it was the knowledge of the guide in the fog.

Christian faith captures both of these ideas.  First, God provides evidence of Himself in creation, in prophecy, in archeology, in Scripture’s consistency across 40+ authors and in the life of Jesus.  He doesn’t leave us without witness or guidance.  Second, He then requires us to make Jesus the object of our faith.  Jesus’ sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are what matter.  As Paul said, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17). Putting trust in the Creator of the universe rather than our own feeble attempts to be good doesn’t seem like much of a stretch when you look at the history of mankind’s failures an our own individual struggles.  We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God and must put our faith in Jesus’ work to wash our sin away so we can enter God’s presence.


The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Please consider taking time to read Isaiah chapter 53 and if you have any interest then watch the You Tube clip “The Biography of the King” by Adrian Rogers which discusses that chapter in depth.

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

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

Image result for francis schaeffer


In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

(This material below is under footnote #94)

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.



We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.


Image result for British Museum in the Lachish Room





The Assyrian king Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair on a low mound. There is a tent behind him. His commander-in-chief stands before him (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Assyrian soldiers (the king’s bodyguards) wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the king. One prostrates and another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy. Most likely, they were later beheaded. The king obviously had been watching the battle and its victorious aftermath. Neo-Assyrian Period, 700-692 BCE. From Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), panels 11-13, Room XXXVI of the southwest palace; the heartland of the Assyrian Empire.The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

The finale scene! The Assyrian King Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair. His commander-in-chief stands before the King (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Four high "soldiers" stand behind their leader; they wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the King. One prostrates, another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy to save their lives. Most likely, they were beheaded later on. The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

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MUSIC MONDAY Barry McGuire Eve of Destruction [1965]


Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction

Barry McGuire Eve of Destruction [1965]

Eve of Destruction (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Eve of Destruction”
Single by Barry McGuire
from the album Eve of Destruction
Released 1965
Format 7″
Recorded July 15, 1965
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:38
Label Dunhill (U.S.)
RCA (Canada)
Songwriter(s) P. F. Sloan
Producer(s) Lou Adler, P. F. Sloan, Steve Barri
Barry McGuire singles chronology
“Upon a Painted Ocean”
Eve of Destruction
“This Precious Time”

Eve of Destruction” is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964.[1] Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965 and released by Dunhill Records. The accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session players: P. F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector‘s “Wrecking Crew“) on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording “leaked” out to a DJ, who began playing it.[2] The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.

McGuire’s single hit #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1965.


The song had initially been presented to The Byrds as a Dylanesque potential single, but they rejected it. The Turtles, another LA group who often recorded The Byrds’ discarded or rejected material, recorded a version instead. Their version was issued as a track on their 1965 debut album It Ain’t Me Babe, shortly before McGuire’s version was cut; it was eventually released as a single and hit number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. The song was also recorded by Jan and Dean on their album Folk ‘n Roll in 1965, using the same backing track as the McGuire version, and by The Grass Roots on their first album Where Were You When I Needed You in 1966.

McGuire also mentioned that “Eve of Destruction” was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning (from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper), and he got a call from the record company at 7:00 the following Monday morning, telling him to turn on the radio—his song was playing.[3]

After becoming a born-again Christian, McGuire re-recorded “Eve of Destruction” as the lead track on his second contemporary Christian release: “Lighten Up”. McGuire updated the lyrics when he performed at a reunion of folksingers, with the line about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches replaced by the words “Columbine, Colorado“, referring to the student massacre of 1999. On March 12, 2008, McGuire appeared on the Australian music comedy/game show Spicks and Specks, performing an updated version of “Eve of Destruction”, with new lines such as “You’re old enough to kill/ you just started voting” and “…can live for ten years in space”. The reference to “Red China” was also removed, and in its place were the more generic “Now think of all the hate, still living inside us/ its never too late, to let love guide us”.


In the first week of its release, the single was at number 103 on the Billboard charts. By August 12, Dunhill released the LP, Nick Featuring Eve of Destruction. The LP reached its peak of number thirty-seven on the Billboard album chart during the week ending September 25. That same day the single went to number one on the chart, and repeated the feat on the Cashbox chart, where it had debuted at number thirty.[4] McGuire would never again break into the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100. It went to number one in Norway for two weeks.[5]

The American media helped popularize the song by using it as an example of everything that was wrong with the youth of that time.[6] The song also drew flak from conservatives. A group called The Spokesmen released a partial parody and answer record entitled “The Dawn of Correction”. A few months later, Green Beret medic Sgt. Barry Sadler released the patriotic “Ballad of the Green Berets“. Johnny Sea‘s spoken word recording, “Day For Decision”, was also a response to the song.

Due to its controversial lyrics, some American radio stations, “claiming it was an aid to the enemy in Vietnam”,[7] and Radio Scotland[8] banned the song.[9] It was placed on a “restricted list” by the BBC, and could not be played on “general entertainment programmes”.[10]


In the late 1970s, Los Angeles punk band The Dickies recorded a cover of “Eve of Destruction”.[11] New wave group Red Rockers covered the song in their 1984 album Schizoprenic Circus.[12] Johnny Thunders recorded it on his 1984 album Hurt Me[13] and also frequently covered the song in concert (a live version is included on his 2000 CD, Belfast Nights), while veteran Canadian punk outfit D.O.A. also covered the song on their 2004 album Live Free Or Die. Tiny Tim included a 23-minute cover of the song as the final track of his 1993 album Rock. The song has also been covered by Australian band Screaming Jets on their 1997 album World Gone Crazy. Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman released his cover version on a maxi-single CD in 2004.[14] Left-wing Christian punk band Crashdog also covered it on their album Cashists, Fascists, and Other Fungus. Post-Industrial psychedelic rock outfit Psychic TV released “Eve Of Destruction” as a limited edition single in the late 1980s. In 2003, the reggae singer Luciano recorded a version of the song. The band Bishop Allen also released a song titled “Eve of Destruction” on their 2003 album, Charm School, which takes its chorus from this song. The Cookeville, Tennessee, rock band MerseySide released a rocked up version in 2012 with the lyric “Think of all the hate there is in Al Qaeda”, with the Mayan Calendar as the cover. Irish singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy also covered the song on her 2011 album Alone, and often performs the song live with the lyrics altered to acknowledge more contemporary issues.

The Temptations‘ song “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” mentions the song title. The song was briefly featured on Stephen King‘s 1994 miniseries The Stand. With a burning Des Moines, Iowa as a backdrop, Larry Underwood sits atop the hood of a car, belting out the song to amuse himself until interrupted by another survivor of the superflu. It also appeared in The Simpsons episode GABF16, “The Girl Who Slept Too Little“, and was also featured in Michael Winterbottom‘s 1997 film Welcome to Sarajevo. A Joey Scarbury cover was played repeatedly in the original airing of The Greatest American Hero episode “Operation Spoil Sport” to encourage the hero to prevent an automated nuclear strike being triggered by a renegade U.S. general (the aliens who provided the hero’s super-powers commandeered his car radio and tuned it to stations playing the song). Due to copyright issues, the song does not appear in the DVD version of the episode. A French translation is used in the closing credits of Michael Moore‘s film Sicko. An Italian version, “Questo vecchio pazzo mondo” (“This old crazy world”), was recorded by Gino Santercole in 1967; a 1984 recording by Adriano Celentano was included in his album I miei americani (a collection of US hits translated into Italian). This song also makes an appearance in The Doors (directed by Oliver Stone), as the opening act performs it before The Doors take the stage in Miami.

Public Enemy covered the song on their 2007 How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul album.

The song is played during the fourth-season finale of The A-Team, “The Sound of Thunder,” when the team returns to Vietnam and flashbacks recall their tours of duty. The song is featured in the fourth level of the Vietnam War video game Men of Valor. While the song is playing, the main character’s lieutenant is dying of his wound on the battlefield.

The song, like many other popular songs of the day, gave its name to a gun truck used by United States Army Transportation Corps forces during the Vietnam War. The truck is on display at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum and is believed to be the only surviving example of a Vietnam era gun truck.[15]

“Eve of Destruction” is featured in the video game Mafia III, released October 7, 2016.

Lyrical references[edit]

  • “You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin'” refers to the fact that in the United States at that time men were subject to the draft at age 18, while at that time the minimum voting age (in all but four states) was still 21, before a Constitutional amendment changed it in July 1971.
  • “And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'” refers to The War over Water.
  • “If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away.” Refers to the threat of a nuclear war at any moment, and the damages that this would cause.
  • The song’s reference to Selma, Alabama pertains to where the Selma to Montgomery marches and “Bloody Sunday” had taken place in March 1965. (The version by Jan and Dean substitutes “Watts, California” in the lyrics, in apparent reference to the Watts Riots.)
  • “You may leave here for four days in space, but when you return it’s the same old place” refers to the June 1965 mission of Gemini 4, which lasted just over four days.
  • The lyric “The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace” refers to the November 1963 John F. Kennedy assassination and his funeral, which featured muffled drumming as the casket was slowly taken to Arlington National Cemetery.[6]


ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, famous for inventing nicknames for sports figures, and often bringing song titles into the play on words, dubbed slugger Mark McGuire as “Mark ‘Eve of Destruction’ McGuire”.

The indie rock group Bishop Allen performs a version of “Eve of Destruction” borrowing heavily from the original, but with an even more sharply apocalyptic theme. It includes the lyrics “And if this moment is gone in a flash/ And my hand in yours becomes ash in ash”, followed in the next verse by an imagining of rejection from Heaven: “Then we’ll have a dance, yeah a dance, on the head of a pin/ Then God will grin, and shoo us away”.

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ P.F. Sloan. “P.F. Sloan: In His Own Words — The Stories Behind the Songs”. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  2. Jump up^ Monday, 10 October 2005 4.24 p.m. NZ time Eve of… | barrymcguire’s Xanga Site – Weblog[permanent dead link]
  3. Jump up^ McGuire stated this on Spicks and Specks, Australian ABC TV shown on March 12, 2008.
  4. Jump up^ Barry McGuire. “Eve of Destruction”. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  5. Jump up^ “Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction”. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b P. F. Sloan (1999-02-19). “P. F. Sloan – Stories Behind The Songs”. The P. F. Sloan Website. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  7. Jump up^ Gilliland, John (1969). “Show 33 – Revolt of the Fat Angel: American musicians respond to the British invaders. [Part 1]” (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  8. Jump up^ Chapman, Robert;Selling the Sixties: The Pirates and Pop Music Radio; Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-07970-5
  9. Jump up^ Blecha, Peter; Taboo Tunes/A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs; Backbeat Books, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-792-7
  10. Jump up^ Unfit for Auntie’s airwaves: The artists censored by the BBC. The Independent.
  11. Jump up^ “The Dickies – Eve Of Destruction”. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  12. Jump up^ “Schizophrenic Circus”. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  13. Jump up^ “Johnny ThundersHurt Me”. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  14. Jump up^ “Eve Of Destruction”. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  15. Jump up^ “Gun Truck page”. U. S. Army Transportation Museum site. Retrieved 2008-03-05.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Help!” by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 25, 1965
Succeeded by
Hang on Sloopy” by The McCoys


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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman’s best quotes Part 5



Milton Friedman Quotes

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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
Volume 5: Created Equal
Volume 6: What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
Volume 8: Who Protects the Worker?
Volume 9: How to Cure Inflation
Volume 10: How to Stay Free

Updated 1990 Series:
Volume 1: The Power of the Market
Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Freedom & Prosperity
Volume 4: The Failure of Socialism
Volume 5: Created Equal



FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 180 Nat Hentoff, historian,atheist, pro-life advocate, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist (Featured artist is Kiki Smith )


Nat Hentoff like and Milton Friedman and John Hospers was a hero to Libertarians. Over the years I had the opportunity to correspond with some prominent Libertarians such as Friedman and Hospers. Friedman was very gracious, but Hospers was not. I sent a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers on Evolution to John Hospers in May of 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing and I promptly received a typed two page response from Dr. John Hospers. Dr. Hospers had both read my letter and all the inserts plus listened to the whole sermon and had some very angry responses. If you would like to hear the sermon from Adrian Rogers and read the transcript then refer to my earlier post at this link.  Earlier I posted the comments made by Hospers in his letter to me and you can access those posts by clicking on the links in the first few sentences of this post or you can just google “JOHN HOSPERS FRANCIS SCHAEFFER” or “JOHN HOSPERS ADRIAN ROGERS.”

Image result for john hospers francis schaeffer


Image result for nat hentoff milton friedman

Likewise I read a lot of material from Nat Hentoff and I wrote him several letters. Unfortunately I never got a letter in response. I did admire many things about his life and one of the things was his position on racial equality and that is what this post is about today.

Nat Hentoff on abortion

Published on Nov 5, 2016


This the last on my series on Nat Hentoff. He was a spokesman for racial equality at an early time. I grew up in Memphis and was a resident when MLK Jr. was unfortunately assassinated. Both Nat Hentoff and Francis Schaeffer  spoke out strongly against racial segregation. In today’s post I want to look at what they both stood for in this area of racial equality.

Francis Schaeffer: The Man and His Message
Jerram Barrs 

Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture and
Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute 


Francis Schaeffer never presented himself as an academic apologist, as a philosopher, as a theologian, or as a scholar. Instead, he spoke of himself as an evangelist and a pastor, and this truly is how he thought about the ministry that God had graciously given him.

Racial Equality 

This sense of the unique dignity of all human persons also filled Schaeffer with a deep passion for racial equality and reconciliation, both in his own personal life and in his teaching. We can readily see this in examples from his college days when, as a very young believer, he would walk across the fields from the college to teach a class of African-American children each Sunday afternoon; and when he regularly visited the African-American janitor from the college when he became ill—Schaeffer would go to the man’s home to read the Scriptures and to pray with him.

This valuing of all men and women showed too in the way people of all races were welcomed to the Schaeffers’ home at L’Abri in Switzerland. He was happy to take the wedding service of Interracial couples, despite, in the case of two special friends of ours, the anger of the white parents (a minister in Britain and his wife) at Schaeffer’s “aiding and abetting marriage between blacks and whites.” I well remember how disturbed some white Christians were by his words in Whatever Happened to the Human Race?—at his speaking with such passion about the injustice and wickedness of slavery and the slave trade. These views on race may have seemed, particularly at that time, unusual for someone of Schaeffer’s strongly conservative views about the Bible and about moral and social issues. But he never felt constrained by a “system,” whether it was some particular detail of a theological system that seemed imposed on Scripture rather than drawn from it,15 or a political system of thought that had undermined evangelical concern for those who were discriminated against or downtrodden.

Human Life 

This approach of always going back to biblical foundations enabled Schaeffer to have the freedom to think about subjects that were not normally matters of discussion or concern among evangelical Christians. This is true with regard to human life issues. He began to address the problems of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia long before most other evangelicals. The reason for this was his deep sense that human persons are made in the image of God and are therefore to be treasured by us.

Just two years before his death, Schaeffer said in a lecture entitled “Priorities”: “We must understand that human life stands at a unique place. Human life stands at a crucial place because there is an unbreakable link between the existence of the infinite personal God and the unique dignity, intrinsic dignity of people. If God does not exist and he has not made people in his own image, there is no basis for an intrinsic, unique dignity of human life.”13 For Schaeffer, his conviction that Scripture teaches that we are God’s image-bearers continually fed his passion to help alienated young people see that they had dignity and value, and also challenged him to speak up for the unborn, for the newborn, for the handicapped, and for the elderly.

© 2006 Jerram Barrs. This article originally appeared in the November 2006 edition of Reformation 21: The Online Magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is used by permission. For more information or permission to reprint, contact 

The Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America 

12330 Conway Road, Saint Louis, MO 63141 


L’Abri 1974 (England) – Sylvester & Simone Jacobs


Nat Hentoff Interview by Monk Rowe – 1/12/2007 – NYC

(This article originally had some offensive racial language [which Hentoff was quoting from other people] in it and I have attempted to replace all the objectionable words.)

Through the Racial Looking Glass

By Nat Hentoff

A Perceptive Report on the American Negro and His New Militancy for Uncompromising Equality

During a British concert last fall, Dizzy Gillespie dedicated a number to “Mother Africa”. Looking at the audience with a characteristically mocking smile, he added, “We’re going to take over the world, so you had better get used to it.”

The listeners chuckled, secure in their own freedom from prejudice and convinced that Dizzy was just clowning again. A few nights later, a group of British jazzmen held a private party in honor of Gillespie. Toward dawn, Dizzy burst into an impromptu lecture:

“You people had better just lie down and die. You’ve lost Africa and Asia, and now they are cutting out from white power everywhere. You’d better give up or learn how it fells being a minority.”

Dizzy was still laughing, but he wasn’t clowning. Gillespie is no racist in the sense of the bitter, separatist sects such as Elijah Muhammad’s Temples of Islam. He has led several integrated bands and has many nontoken white friends; but Dizzy’s irrressible race pride does symbolize partly the accelerating change in American Negroes’ attitudes towards whites-including white liberals-and toward themselves.

They are generating those “winds of social revolution” which labor leader A. Philip Randolph has warned the A.F.L. C.I.O., “are blowing on every institution on the country.” Some of the winds are reverse and destructive and represent ugly reverse racism-Crow Jim. Others are inchoate and so far are powered more by smoldering emotions than by specific programs. The strongest are those forces for immediate and final integration which are directed by varying techniques by such groups as the N.A.A.C.P., and the Congress of Racial Equality, and Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The one organic change which now applies to nearly all Negro adults—including the vast majority of the unorganized—has been underlined by James Baldwin: “The American Negro can no longer be, and will never be again, controlled by white America’s image of him.” The intensity and extent of the self-emancipation are revealed in comedian Dick Gregory’s explosion during a candid interview with Paul Krassner in The Realist:

“I’m so @#$%@ sick and tired of a white man telling us about us-he can’t. He tells us, `Wait, take your time.’ You can’t tell me to wait. You’re not black 24 hours a day… This is the right that the white man has been assuming for years-that he can assume to know more about us than we know about ourselves. And this is wrong. Because he don’t. He knows about us what we want him to know. He never follows us home… We are better qualified to write about the white man in this country than he’s damn-near qualified to write about us. Because he do things around us because he don’t count us that his best friends know anything about.”

The Negro maid has certainly observed more about her employers than they have realized. The employer, playwright Lorraine Hansberry adds, “doesn’t go to the maid’s house. You see, people get this all confused. They think the alienation is equal on both sides. It isn’t. We have been washing everybody’s underwear for 300 years. We know when yours is not clean.”

Beyond this sense of having a superior knowlege of the battleground, there is also the overwhelming realization among Negroes that even though they have intimately known white weaknesses, they have nonetheless allowed their own self-image to be imposed on them by the majority culture. There is an awakening insight that they need no longer be perpetually and pervasively on the defensive.

When Joe Louis first came to New York from Detroit, he stubbornly refused photographers’ requests that he pose eating watermelon. He was very fond of the fruit, but he told them he hated watermelon rather than help reinforce a national caricature. Noe Floyd Patterson can say to the press: “I used to think Jesus was a white man, but I can no longer accept that. He is either a Jesus of no color, or a Jesus with a skin of all colors.

On all fronts in the Negro revolution there is an angry wonder at the extent to which Negroes can be molded by whites. As a Nashville intellectual told Dr. C. Eric Lincoln was the latter was researching his book, The Black Muslims In America; “Negro children grow up, and they don’t know who in the hell they are. They aren’t white, and the whites reject them. But white is all they know about. And you talk about adjustment. It’s a wonder any of us survive.”

Many have survived by becoming hardened agsinst the white world and against themselves. Alison Burroughs-Cuney taught for a while in the Day Care Center in New York and a large majority of her pupils consisted of members of minority groups. In Freedomways: A Quarterly Review of the Negro Freedom Movement, she wrote:

“Most of these children sooner or later grow tough, as a matter of self-preservation; you expected it. But I was especially dismayed to note that Negro children often grew tougher… The other children were, in many cases, just as poor, and aggressive enough, but not with the bitterness of hopelessness and desperate impudence of the Negro children… (The Negro child) may display a boldness he doesn’t feel. He is just `loud,’ he will be heard, he will exist. His sensibilities are blunted, he cares for no one-not even himself-but he will survive by any means that he can. He swallows the false values of white society; he is brutalized and all too often he becomes delinquent.”

On occasion, a teacher is able to break through the fortifications, but a poignant index of the damage that has already been done is this conversation reported in a Life story on a slum school in New York. A white teacher has reached a small child. “`I love Miss Lemon,’ the little boy said. Another child taunted him. `She white, man, she white.’ Weeping, kicking, the boy said, `She’s no white lady, she colored, just like me… colored.”

At home too, there there has been a measure of whiteness. James Baldwin remembers, “One’s hair was always being attacked with hair brushes and combs and Vaseline; it was shameful to have `nappy’ hair. One’s legs and arms and face were were always being greased so that one would not look `ashy’ in the wintertime. One was always being mercilessly scrubbed and polished, as in the hope that a stain could thus be washed away. I hazard that the Negro children, of my generation, anyway, had an earlier more painful acquaintance with soap than any children anywhere.”

Whites have largely been ignorant about how many Negroes felt about themselves, nor have they been aware of the color caste system that has existed so long within the American Negro community. In Negro Digest, Dr. Lincoln has pointed out that “self-hatred and the rejection of the hated stereotype often exist sides by side.” In Atlanta, for example, where the Negro community has a long history of forthright struggle against descrimination, “in one prominent family of light-skinned Negroes, the mother sought to discourage an unacceptably dark-skinned college girl from calling on her near-blond daughter by playing “Deep Purple” on the piano whenever she put in an appearance. Sarah Vaughan recalls of her childhood: “I often wished I was of medium-brown skin color. I imagined people of that color were regarded more highly than I. To most persons who know me, I thought, I was just another little black girl for whom the future was just as dark as it was for thousands of others like me.”

The word of the new pride in being black has not yet reached most Negro children, but one illustration of the rapidly altering self-image among adults is the rebellion among Negro women against hair straighteners as more of them wear their hair in the close-cropped, “natural” African style. Writer Margaret Burroughs has complemented James Baldwin’s description of Negro boyhood: “The girl-child’s hair is washed, pressed curled or waved. At an early age, one is made aware of this temporary quality of transformation. One learns to guard against moisture of any type, perspiration or rain, for fear that the hair will go back. One develops a mind set against swimming, unless it’s just before one goes to the beauty parlor. I wonder how many Negro swimming champions have been lost to us because of this consideration. Perhaps now you understand the reason for my revolution and the reason why I am wearing my hair as God made it… We women who now wear our hair natural are being our own true selves. We have ceased to look for the key to unlock the spiral in our hair.

Singer Abbey Lincoln, another woman who has gone natural goes beyond Miss Burroughs and adds a different chauvinistic criterion for attractiveness: “I think that the black woman is the most beautiful and perfectly wonderful woman in the world.”

Similarly, there are Negro jass musicians who are now stating publicly what many-not all Negro jazzmen-have telling each other for decades. The bluntest is pianist Cecil Taylor: “The greatness of jazz occurs because it includes all the mores and folkways of Negros during the last 50 years. No, don’t tell me that living in the same environment is enough. You don’t have the same cultural difficulties I do. Even the best white players can only simulate a feeling of the American Negro.

The same dissonance is being sounded in Negro fiction. A character based on Charlie Parker says sharply in John Williams’ novel, NightSong: “Tell us about jazz and American art and how us Nword did it. Shooooot. This is my business. This is all I know,Man. Ain’t no spado critics. All the spade deejays they playin rock `n’ roll. Ain’t but a few spade joints that can pay my way…You white, it’s your world. You won’t let me make it in it and you can’t. Now ain’t that a bitch?”

One chronically enraged, nonfictional Negro jazz musician actaully began to plan a public assault on Al Hirt to dramatize what he meant by white “exploitation” of our music. A friend reminded him that Miles Davis and Errol Garner weren’t exactly starving, and that the kamikaze project was dropped. The musician is now conducting a private census of the booking offices and jazz-record companies to determine how many Negro executives and secretaries they employ. “You can’t call this crazy behavior,” he told his friend defiantly, and his friend admitted that indeed he could not.

Another musician has decided he will employ no more whites in his band and is totally resistant to the argument that he is thereby bigoted as he accuses most whites to be. His fixed position is an example of the distortion of values that has occasionally accompanied this surge of defiant self-appreciation among some Negroes. Another illustration was an editorial by James Hicks, editor of the New York Amsterdam News, one of the country’s leading Negro weeklies. When India invaded Goa and violated both the United Nations’ charter and Nehru’s own frequently proclaimed precepts of moral behavior among nations, Hicks could only see the event in terms of color: “For the first time in my more than 40 years of existence I have seen a black nation take something away from a white nation by force. And I’m glad.” The Amsterdam News, however, has been silent concerning a black leader, Nkrumah of Ghana, suppressing black opposition by force.

A major impetus to the spiraling pride of race among Negroes has, of course, been the swift emergenge into power of the independent African nations, and Hicks is far from alone in being uncritical of their admittedly complex transitional periods as they try to establish internal order. The fact, however, that those states do exist has had a profound effect on nearly all Negroes who recall their shame in childhood at seeing American movies about Africa.

Today the African political leader is a source of satifaction as well as of irony. A few months ago, Dizzy Gillespie went to a Northern Airport to meet a Nigerian diplomat. “You should see,” he told a friend, “the dignity and respect these Africans get-and they’re the same as me. In the crowd with them I was in the clique, and for the first time in my life I felt free. A lot of white people thought I was African, and man, they were “Tomming” me.

Among a small but vociferous group of American Negro militants, Africa has their primary allegiance. Insisting that Negroes will never be accorded full equality here, they have established such Afro-oriented political organizations as the New Alajo Party in New York’s Harlem. Its leader Ofuntola Oserjeman proclaims: “Our liberation must be complete. Every technique of slavery must be wiped out. We must begin with our so-called leaders. Support Africanizaton. Note to men: cut the brims off your hats, you will look like you should, and less like an imitation…Our names, our clothes, our clubs, our churches, our religion, our businesses, manners and customs-all must change.

Thes Negro Zionists however are fragmentized into splinter groups. Much more significant are the equally separatist but much larger and tightly organized Black Muslims who have grown into a number of 100,000 with at least 70 temples and missions in 27 states. Their numbers are drawn mostly from Negro poor and their credo has distilled the long dormant pain and hatred of these underground men. The muslims advocate strict social separation of the races; economic autonomy for the American Negro through his own businesses and banks, a separate educational system comcontrating on Negro history and Negro superiority; and eventually a political enclave of their own that will consist of several states to be paid to the Negro as an indemnity for slavery. In reacting against white stereotypes of the Negro, the Black Muslims create and savor their own caricatures of white men who, according to Elijah Muhammad are by nature “murderers and liars.”

Although the Muslims have made progress in setting up their own businesses and schools, the wild unreality of their ultimate political solution is bound to limit their membership, unless the whole American racial system becomes so irrational that the hundreds of thousands of American Negroes who now sympathize but do not join the Muslims finally feel that there is no longer any realistic hope for their ascent within the larger sociaety and choose Muhammad’s demonology in desperation.

“The Muslin movement,” James Baldwin warned, “has all the evidence on its side; unless one supposes that the ideal of black supremacy has virtues denied the idea of white supremacy, one cannot accect the conclusion that the Muslims draw from this evidence. On the other hand, it is quite impossible to argue with a Muslim concerning the actual state of the Negroes in this country; the truth, after all, is the truth.” Baldwin wrote in the New York Times magazine which is an indication that he sees raw truth, as he sees it, at least being disseminated among those who can add ne evidence before the Muslims grow appreciably more stronger.

One of the newer manifestations of Negro militancy is a string of committees, generally lead by young Negro intellectuals, and called such urgent names as “Freedom Now” or “On Guard for Freedom”. One in Atlanta is simply called the “Now-Nows”. They are based in most of the larger cities and while they have not yet fused into a nationally coordinated movement, they keep in contact. These actionists work as pressure groups to spur established Negro leaders into stronger positions and ocasionally they organize their own demenstrations against descrimination. They admit no whites because their goal is direction of the Negro masses and they contend they could not gain the respect and trust of the most frustrated Negroes if they themselves were integrated. A few have white wives and are finding this a problem. At one New York meeting of various Nationalist groups, Malcom X, the shrewd chief strategist for Elijah Muhammad, pointed at two leaders of the “On Guard for Freedom Committee” who are wedded to white girls and thundered, “No one involved in a mixed marriage can speak for Afro-Americans.”

These committees consider the Muslim movement politically ingenuous and regard the N.A.A.C.P. and the Urban League as too “assimilationist” and too slow. They disdain the philosphy of nonviolence that activates C.O.R.E. and and Martin Luther King’s legions. Their hero is Robert Williams, former N.A.A.C.P. chapter head in Monroe, North Carolina, who was removed from his position by that organization for arming Negroes in his city against white marauders. Williams is a bristling symbol to these young Negroes who feel as one has said, “We have no other cheeks to turn. We Afro-Americans will be heard by any means you make it necessary for us to use.”

Calvin Hicks, chairman of the board of the On Guard for Freedom Comittee in New York, laid it on the line before a mixed metting of liberals last fall. “We are,” he said, engaged in a rebellion against the black Uncle Toms and also against the white liberals and radicals for whom the Negro has existed as a social illustration not a person. And you,” he looked in earnest at the young members of the Young Peoples Socialist League, “will have to suffer because we cannot trust you any longer.”

For those American whites who would like to try to imagine themselves being Negro. columnist P.L. Prattis of the Negro Pittsburgh Courier has started the game for his side with a blunt message to the Negro: If we were to take our freedom as seriously as our white fellows take theirs, or the freedom of the West Berliners, wouldn’t all of us small-fry Negroes be able to tell the big ones like Martin Luther King and Roy Wilkins… We want our freedom now, or we’re going to make it mighty rough for somebody with those home-mades short range bombs we have stuck away in our cellars.

Prattis does not mean that there is actually a large, secret arsenal ready for a racial Armageddon. He is, however, verbalizing a fantasy that has occured to many Negroes and that might well occur to whites in a game of role reversal.

A major concern, therefore, of Negro leaders who want these wounds to heal and not to fester is that this bitterness, however thereputic, and cause new and deeper chasms. For this reason and for the sake of simple justice, even previouslyiously “moderate” Negroes are agreed that unless progress toward full equality is markedly accelerated, the Black Muslims and similar products of despair will continue to grow in strength.

Also potentially dangerous are these still unqualified, and unaffiliated and chronically unemployed Negroes who have become distrustful of all organized power groups, racist or integrationist. These pockets of hopeless rage are nor unaffected by change, and individuals among them can finally explode into violence. A few months ago, a white man was stabbed on the steps of a Brooklyn church. The murderer, a 29 year old Negro laborer told the police, “I killed him because I felt like it. I killed him because he was white. I don’t know why I did it. I want to save my race.”

The immediate cause of this man’s frustration-and that of millions of Negroes-is economic discrimination. Most whites do not fully realize the height of economic barriers. As of the 1960 cencus, the Negro population has grown to 18,871,831. In the past 20 years, it has increased 46.7 percent. Now 10.5 percent of the population. Negroes earn less than 5 percent of the nation’s income. Furthermore, the last decade has shown that that unemployment has never dropped below a 10 percent average as contrasted with an average of 5 percent for the total population.

The majority of Negro workers, prevented by the local employer predjudice and discriminatory Union rules from entering skilled vocations, perform not only the most menial, lowest paying work with the least seniority; but they are involved in precisely the type of job which is disappearing becasuse of automation. The result as labor write Michael Harringtom has observed in “Commonweal”, is that more and more Negroes over 40 “will cetainly never find another job as good, and will be condemned to job instability for the rest of their lives.”

The young Negro entering the labor market also finds the same obstacles—very often union made—toward learning a craft. Throughout the country, Negroes make up less than 2 percent of the apprentices an the various trade-union training programs for skilled jobs. “It’s almost easier,” says Gus Edwards of the Urban League,” for a colored kid to become a nuclear physicist than it is forhim to become a plumber.” The Ngro worker, in short, is caught in a circle of inadequacies. Prevented by union and employer predjudice from acquiring skills, he is indeed les qualified on the average for advanced employment opportunities when they do occur.

Realizing that rootless Negro youth and despariring older Negro workers make easy prey for the racist demagogues on street corners, Negro labor and civic leaders have hardened their stands and all agree that this is going to be a decade of unremitting, organized pressure for basic change. On New Year’s Day 1962, A. Philip Randolph who founded the Negro American Labor Council in1959 because the A.F.L. C.I.O. was not moving fast enough to democratize its affiliates, told a church audience in Harlem that that the Negro must organize for power because “there are no reserved seats.” The same audience was told by an executive member of the N.A.A.C.P. that political power must be accumulated along with economic force. “You may look free,” he told the New York Negroes, “but you are just as subordinated as we are in the South.”

This past January, President Kennedy sent a message to executive secretary Roy Wilkins of the N.A.A.C.P. to congratulate Wilkins on the occasion of a dinner held in the latter’s honor. Wilkins brushed off the President’s praise, telling Kennedy that the N.A.A.C.P. regarded his first year’s record on civil rights “Dissapointing” because Kennedy had made the basic error of approacing the problem by executive action alone instead of pressing for legislative redress. The Amsterdam News was esstatic in approval. “Show me,” wrote editor James Hicks, “the Negro leader who will stand up and give the President hell just 24 hours after the President has got through saying, `this is my kind of colored boy.’ ”

Representatives of the Kennedy Administration have tried to reason with the N.A.A.C.P., pointed out, among other things, the increase in Negro attorneys in the Justice Department in the past year from 10 to 50. One answer, impatient and sounding not too dissimilar from what a Black Muslim might say, came from Clarence Mitchell, director of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Washington Bureau: “The Republicans and the democrats don’t want to give us civil rights, but the big difference is that the democrats have more Negroes who can explain why we don’t need such rights.

The day of accomodating Negro leaders, men who are willing to accept partial gains for a promise of more to come, is nearly over. Among those tolling their end in the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, a Montgomery, Alabama minister and a close associate of Martin Luther King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “For too long,” Abernathy told a Nashville Rally of nonviolent demonstraters, “we have been invited downtown, the big Baptist preacher, the Methodist bischop, the Negro undertaker and one or two other Negroes. In a hotel, the Chamber of Commerce serves us tea and cookies and the Negroes have eaten all the cookies and drunk up all the tea and the white man said, `We wouldn’t mind giving you this integration if all Negroes were like you. But you are different from the rest. They leave the meeting with their chests stuck out, saying to themselves, `You know we are different from the rest of those Negroes.’ I get so sick and tired or traveling across the country and Negroes coming up to me and saying: `I am the only Negro on the City Council.’ You don’t have anything to boast about until you get five or six Negroes on the City Council. Then let me hear you boast. Here we don’t have but four Negro Congressman in the United States-and we boast about the only kind of this and the only other.”

The kind of Negro described by Abernathy is one on the defensive in Negro Communitities everywhere. His main bastion used to be in the south, but as an aftermath of the sit-ins and freedom-rides by Negroes of a new generation. The older gradualists are now changing. After hundreds of Negroes were imprisioned in Albany, Georgia, last winter during a demonstration, a wealthy Negro real estate man in that city told a Wall Street Journal reporter,

“This jailing was a wonderful thing. Before it happened, I guess we professional people were inclined to go along with the whites. We wanted to keep the masses pacified. We didn’t come in contact with the day-to-day segregation. The white people we meet were usually interested in selling us something, and we don’t use the buses or feel any economic pressure. It was easy to forget the lives most Negroes have to live.”

In Jackson, Mississippi, a Negro attorney added:

“When the freedom riders kept coming into Jackson, I thought that this was not the right method. But since the overall picture has developed, C.O.R.E. and the other young people have done more to advance the cause of civil rights in the state than anything in the last 25 years. Event the 1954 Supreme Court decision, great as it was, did not arouse the Negro community like this did.”

The prognosis for the immediate future is a diversity of uncompromising tactics. As one strategist in Tennessee puts it:

Racism will be eliminated when Afro-Americans make life inconvenient for anyone in our way. And I mean racism on both sides. If we-who want to be a fully participating part of American life-win, the Muslims and the disaffiliated intellectuals will be isolated. If we do not succeed quickly we’re all in for trouble.

One weapon which will be increasingly employed is the boycott. In the past 25 years, it has been used only intermittently in the North, but during the sitins, “selective buying campaigns” in the South startled both Negroes and whites by the extent of their effectiveness. In Savannah, one such boycott caused retail sales in some large stores to drop as much as 50 percent. Last year, some 400 Negro ministers in Philadelphia convinced at least one third of that cities 700,000 Negroes to join in a “selective patronage” program which forced a baking company, a major soft drink concern, and an oil and gas colossus to upgrade employment opportunities for Negroes.

So sensitive, in fact, is the Negroe community becoming to descriminations that a New York branch of the N.A.A.C.P. recently got into trouble with its membership for having a Cadillac as a door-prize for a fund raising campaign. Negro salesmen for other auto concerns complained that Cadillac’s employment policy excluded them. Other members-as in the case of Joe Louis and the watermelon- objected because, as one said, “Negroes have too long been identified with yearning for a Cadillac as a status symbol.” It was too late to send the car back, but the head of the chapter promised that the incident would not be repeated.

Concerted political action is also increasing. The Negro press is not letting the president forget that he received 80 percent of Negro votes cast in 1960. In city after city, candidates are being measured by more and more Negro voters in terms of their positions on immediate projects to expand Negro opportunities. Much credit for the narrow win of New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes over former Secretary of Labor James Mitchell is given to Phil Weightman, an insistent integrationist who organized a huge registation program for Hughes among New Jersey’s Negroes.

In the deep South, fears still keep many Negroes from registering, and apathy born of hopelessness holds down the number of voters in the North. Nonetheless, the percentage of Negro voters everywhere, who are being persuaded to vote by the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is inexorably rising. White politicians are increasingly conscious that Negroes can push them off the public payroll. In New York City, the local Republican organization was sorely distressed last summer at the lead paragraph in The Amsterdam News‘ report of a campaign dinner for a Republican candidate for Mayor: “If Governor Nelson Rockefeller State Attorney Louis Lefkowitz and other state and city Republican leaders expect to win this election they had better improve race relations… Not only did the GOP State Committee not have a single Negro on the program, but there wasn’t even a token Negro among 61 persons seated on the dais at dinner.

Nonsepartist Negro leaders are as intransigent in fighting for equal rights in education as they are in making their political weight felt. They are disturbed at the fact that after eight years of the Supreme Court ruling, only 7 percent of Negro pupils in the South are in mixed classes. While the border states are omitted, the figure drops to only 1 percent. They are equally angered by the less publicized phenomenon of “resegregation,” As whites move to the suburbs and leave neighborhodds into which Negroes are finally being admitted, newly desegregated schools quickly become nearly all-Negro in such cities as Washington, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Miami. There is now more segregation in the Baltimore and St. Louis area than before the Supreme Court decision in 1954.

As a result, there will be mounting campaigns for Federal open-housing laws and executive orders to that effect. The core of prejudice everywhere is lack of neighborhodd, day-to-day contact between races. Meanwhile, there is an increasingly fierce struggle against the extension of segregation-by-neighborhood to the schools and this fight is beginning to awaken many Northern whites to Negroes’ impatience with gradualism. The school board of New Rochelle of New York State has not yet fully recovered from the shock of a federal judge telling it that it had been operated a segregated school system through venerable “neighborhood policy” of allocating children to schools.

Court action has been started to abolish neighborhood boundary policies in the Chicago and Detroit areas and other cities are on the list. Leading many of these actions is New York attorney Paul Zuber who asserts: “The North must realize that the `New Negro’ that they have read about in the South is becoming everpresent in the North.” Zuber, too, is making use of the game of role reversal in his speeches. “If white people,” Zuber has stated “were compelled to live in a society where new legislation would determine whether or not their historical rights were going to be protected, new legislation would be first in order of every state.”

In view of this mood it is no surprise when Negro leaders united to condemn Dr. James Conant’s resistance to bursting through neighborhood boundary lines in schooling. Conant feels that it is more important to improve slum schools than to “effect token integration by transporting pupils across attendance lines.” The essence of the counterargument was given by Samuel Pierce, a Negro member of the New York City Board of Education: “If a Negro never gets an opportunity to associate or compet mentally with whites in the classroom when he is young, he may well grow up feeling inadequate, insecure and inferior, when he has to compete with whites later on in his life. The result will be that he will not, because of a psychological factor, be able to compete successfully. The obvious consequence will be a limitation on Negro progress and a retardation of the integration process.”

Another drive just starting is an insistence that textbooks be radically changed to omit distortions about the Negro and to cover more fully the richness and complexity of Afro-American achievments and of the pre-colonial civilization in Africa itself. In a Cleaveland high school that is 95 percent Negro, a pupil finally asked her history teacher last fall, “Sir, why do all these history books show us picking cotton, why I’ve never picked cotton in all my life.”

The inescapable point is that even if they wanted to-and they do not- Negro leaders cannot let up on the pressures they are applying in any of these areas because they in turn are being pushed. No Negro leader is immune to the charges of softness. A. Philip Randolph has singlehandedly forced George Meany to invite the once outlaw Negro American Labor Council to work with the A.F.L. C.I.O. in ending discrimination. Randolphe continues to dramatize the gulf between labor’s promises and results and will not let big labor rest. Yet a Negro Nationalist paper, The African News and Views, referred scornfully last November to the fact that Randolph’s Pullman Porters Union employs a white lawyer, a white auditor, and a white economist., and that it leases space from a white landlord in Harlem.

Nor is Martin Luther King safe from criticism from his own followers. In the past year, although King remains a very meaningful symbol to many college students in the “movement”, there have been sounds of dissatisfaction. King has been charged with lack of administrative ability and, more seriously, with a lack of fire. He concedes there is some truth to both accusations. A shy man, he would prefer a much more contemplative life than he is forced to lead, and he is more skilled in theology than in the tactics of social dislocation. “One of my weaknesses as a leader,” King has said, “is that I am too courteous and I’m not candid enough.”

In any case, King has no intention of withdrawing from the battle. His Southern Christian Leadership Conference is intensifying its projects to get Negroes registered in the South. C.O.R.E. is also expanding its activities, and there will be more waves of freedom rides. A newer force, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee represents the toughest cadre of nonviolent commandos in the South. Most of its basic staff of 16 are Negroes in college who have pledged to stay out of school for a year at least. They work in the rural vastness of Alabama Mississippi and Louisiana.

“Snick” as the committee is called, insists that its workers live among Negroes who are trying to register. “The people we deal with,” says one organizer, “are so afraid of retaliation that at first, many will not even talk about voting. The only way we can make progress with them-and we have-is to stay long enough, eat what they eat, live where they live, and thereby gain their confidence. Also, by being there, we act as a buffer and take upon ourselves much of the white anger which would otherwise fall on them.”

In addition to their role as the most militant Negroes in the South (except for the Muslims and other separtist groups) the egalitarians of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in yet another way. Unlike many middle-class Nofro students who have participated in sit-ins and freedom rides, Snick’s actionists are not certain they will be content when full integration is finally achieved. They join with the young Negro intellectuals in the North in questioning the essential value structure of American society.

Also looking beyond integration is James Bevel, who is in charge of a nonviolent group in Jackson. Mississippi. “If a nonviolent group will work in Missippi,” he says, “it will work anywhere. If it can eradicate segregation, it can eradicate any evil. I can see the possibility of a nonviolent movement uniting the students in India and in Russia, or China. I can even see a nonviolent group on a battle-field.”

Other Negroes, not nearly so sanguine as Bevel, about the practical potential of nonviolent action, nonetheless do agree that their own function will be to continue to question the foundations of American society. “The question is openly being raised,” says Lorraine Hansberry, “among all Negro intellectuals, among all politically conscious Negroes; Is it necessary to integrate oneself into a burning house?”

So far there has been minute recognition of this result of Negroes’ engagement in the struggle for their rights. Some young Negroes are evolving into a new role-a social critic not only of discrimination but of the total context of life in America. It is of this Negro that Professor Kenneth Clark speaks: “He cannot be content to demand integration and personal acceptance in a decaying moral structure. He cannot help his country gird itself for the arduous struggle before it by awillingness to share equality in a tottering social structure of moral hypocrisy, social insensitivity, personal despair and desperation. He must demand that the substance and strenght inherent in the democratic process be fulfilled rather than cynically abused and disparaged.”

The weight of evidence now indicates meanwhile that integration itself may be fully achieved in time to prevent the Black Muslims and other separatist groups from being more than a historical footnote to the period of catharsis among Negroes that preceded the final abolition of racial barriers in this country. The pressures are working.

The labor unions may also be forced to desegregate much sooner than most are willing to, as a result of unrelenting pressure from A. Philip Randolph and other critics within, and outside the labor force. Many employers have already shown a remarkably quick reaction to multiple pressures. In January, for one example the country’s 50 leading producers of defense weapons and heavy equipment-with a labor force of over 3,500,000-agreed not only to end discrimination on Government projects but in every area of work and in all units, subsidiaries and divisions of their corporations. Negro leaders complain that this agreement has so far been mainly on paper, but for those companies who lag, there will be increased economic pressure in the form of boycotts as well as inevitable legislation on local and national levels. In similar ways, the schools will be redesegregated by increasing abandonment of the policy whereby children attend only schools in their own neighborhood.

More and more Negroes are working through their distrust of whites to agreement with Martin Luther King, who said, “Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy.” Jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd for one, has dissassociated himself from those of his colleagues who are using jazz as a racist expression. He wrote to Down Beat: “I would like to speak solely from the standpoint of a human being-for once not from the standpoint of race-because you must remember that jazz was based on European harmony and melodic concepts…I think that, contrary to the views of other musicians, classical and otherwise, it is time we joined with all musicians to create music purely for the joy of creating it…”

Even the image of Santa Clause is beginning to change in so previously unlikely a place as Atlanta. Jet Magazine reported last Christmas, a Negro Santa Clause was hired for a white-owned record shop. “Although he is the forst Negro Santa Clause to appear anywhere in Atlanta, he registered surprise that white kids expressed neither shock nor resentment while Negro kids kept rubbing their eyes in disbelief.

There are many abrasions, awakenings and more serious wounds to come before the white man ceases to regard himself as Santa Clause and the Negro stops thinking of white as the Devil’s color. For many generations, pockets of hatred will remain among both whites and Negroes, but the strong likelihood is that major issues between the races in America will be resolved in some 10 to 20 years. Thereafter, the next stage of dissent in this country may well lead to some integrated minority demonstrating against all the rest of us, Negro and white, in an attempt to broaden and deepen social revolution.

Judging from the composition of many burgeoning peace groups, this stage has already begun. A Negro “freedom fighter” recently clipped an Associated Negro Press Bulletin which began: “The Defense Department made clear that it is against segregation in fallout shelters.” He grimaced, and said to a friend, “That’s where we go from here. I’ll be damned if I want to be integrated into oblivion.”

Article Reprinted from Playboy Magazine
Copyright ©Playboy 1962 by HMH Publishing Co., Inc.



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Featured artist is Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith: Printmaking | ART21 “Exclusive”

Published on Jul 26, 2013

Episode #184: Filmed in 2002 at the printmaking workshop Harlan & Weaver, artist Kiki Smith discusses the challenges and pleasures of printmaking. Shown working on a portrait titled “Two” (2002), Smith and the workshop’s master printers make numerous proofs and revisions until she is pleased with the image. Using ink on paper, Smith combines traditional and self-taught etching techniques in her attempts to represent the subtleties of human flesh.

Kiki Smith’s work explores the body as a receptacle for knowledge, belief, and storytelling. Her sculptures, drawings, and prints are often meditations on mortality, incorporating animals, domestic objects, and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales.

Learn more about the artist at:

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Eve Moros Ortega. Camera: Mead Hunt. Sound: Bill Wander. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Kiki Smith & Harlan & Weaver, New York. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

Image result for kiki smith artist

Kiki Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith 8229.jpg

Kiki Smith in 2013
Born January 18, 1954 (age 63)
Nuremberg, West Germany
Nationality American
Known for Printmaking, sculpture, drawing

‘My Blue Lake’, photogravure with lithograph by Kiki Smith, 1995, Wake Forest University Art Collections

Kiki Smith (born January 18, 1954) is a West German-born American artist[1] whose work has addressed the themes of sex, birth and regeneration. Her figurative work of the late 1980s and early 1990s confronted subjects such as AIDS, gender and race, while recent works have depicted the human condition in relationship to nature. Smith lives and works in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York City.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Smith’s father was artist Tony Smith and her mother was actress and opera singer Jane Lawrence.[3] Although Kiki’s work takes a very different form than that of her parents, early exposure to her father’s process of making geometric sculptures allowed her to experience formal craftsmanship firsthand. Her childhood experience in the Catholic Church, combined with a fascination of the human body, shaped her work conceptually.[4]

Smith moved from Germany to South Orange, New Jersey as an infant in 1955. She subsequently attended Columbia High School.[1] Later, she was enrolled at Hartford Art School in Connecticut for eighteen months from 1974-75. She then moved to New York City in 1976 and joined Collaborative Projects (Colab), an artist collective. The influence of this radical group’s use of unconventional materials can be in seen in her work.[5] For a short time in 1984, she studied to be an emergency medical technician and sculpted body parts, and by 1990, she began to craft human figures.[1]



Prompted by her father’s death in 1980 and by the AIDS death of her sister, the underground actress, Beatrice “Bebe” Smith in 1988, Smith began an ambitious investigation of mortality and the physicality of the human body. She has gone on to create works that explore a wide range of human organs; including sculptures of hearts, lungs, stomach, liver and spleen. Related to this was her work exploring bodily fluids, which also had social significance as responses to the Aids crisis (blood) and women’s rights (urine, menstrual blood, feces)[6]


Smith has experimented with a wide range of printmaking processes. Some of her earliest print works were screen-printed dresses, scarves and shirts, often with images of body parts. In association with Colab, Smith printed an array of posters in the early 1980s containing political statements or announcing Colab events. In 1988 she created “All Souls”,[7] a fifteen-foot screen-print work featuring repetitive images of a fetus, an image Smith found in a Japanese anatomy book. Smith printed the image in black ink on 36 attached sheets of handmade Thai paper.

MOMA and the Whitney Museum both have extensive collections of Smith’s prints. In the “Blue Prints” series, 1999, Kiki Smith experimented with the aquatint process. The “Virgin with Dove”[8] was achieved with an airbrushed aquatint, an acid resist that protects the copper plate. When printed, this technique results in a halo around the Virgin Mary and Holy Spirit.


“Mary Magdelene” (1994), a sculpture made of silicon bronze and forged steel, is an example of Smith’s non-traditional use of the female nude. The figure is without skin everywhere but her face, breasts and the area surrounding her navel. She wears a chain around her ankle; her face is relatively undetailed and is turned upwards. Smith has said that when making Mary Magdalene she was inspired by depictions of Mary Magdalene in Southern German sculpture, where she was depicted as a “wild woman”. Smith’s sculpture “Standing” (1998), featuring a female figure standing atop the trunk of a Eucalyptus tree, is a part of the Stuart Collection of public art on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.

In 2005, Smith’s installation, Homespun Tales won acclaim at the 51st Venice Biennale. “Lodestar”, Smith’s 2010 installation at the Pace Gallery, was an exhibition of free-standing stained glass works painted with life-size figures. In 2012, Smith showed a series of three 9 x 6 ft. Jacquard tapestries, published by Magnolia Editions, at the Neuberger Museum of Art.[9]

Kiki SmithRapture2001Bronze67-1/4 in. x 62 in. x 26-1/4 in.


After five years of development, Smith’s first permanent outdoor sculpture was installed in 1998 on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.[10]

In 2010, the Museum at Eldridge Street commissioned Smith and architect Deborah Gans to create a new monumental east window for the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, a National Historic Landmark located on New York’s Lower East Side.[11] This permanent commission marked the final significant component of the Museum’s 20-year restoration.[12]

For the Claire Tow Theater above the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Smith conceived Overture (2012), a little mobile made of cross-hatched planks and cast-bronze birds.[13]

Artist Books[edit]

She has created unique books, including: Fountainhead (1991); The Vitreous Body (2001); and Untitled (Book of Hours) (1986).


Smith collaborated with poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge to produce Endocrinology (1997), and Concordance (2006), and with author Lynne Tillman to create Madame Realism (1984).[14] She has worked with poet Anne Waldman on If I Could Say This With My Body, Would I. I Would.[15] Smith also collaborated on a performance featuring choreographer Douglas Dunn and Dancers, musicians Ha-Yang Kim, Daniel Carter, Ambrose Bye, and Devin Brahja Waldman, performed by and set to Anne Waldman’s poem Jaguar Harmonics.[16]


In 1982, Smith received her first solo exhibition, “Life Wants to Live”, at The Kitchen.[17] Since then, her work has been exhibited in nearly 150 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide and has been featured in hundreds of significant group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial, New York (1991, 1993, 2002); La Biennale di Firenze, Florence, Italy (1996-1997; 1998); and the Venice Biennale (1993, 1999, 2005, 2009).[12]

Past solo exhibitions have been held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (1996–97); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1996–97); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (1997–98); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (1998); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1998); Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (1999); St. Louis Art Museum (1999-2000); and the International Center for Photography (2001).[17]

In 1996, Smith exhibited in a group show at SITE Santa Fe, along with Kara Walker.[18]

In 2005, “the artist’s first full-scale American museum survey” titled Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005 debuted at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.[19] Then an expansion came to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where the show originated. At the Walker, Smith coauthored the catalogue raisonné with curator Siri Engberg.[20]

The exhibition traveled to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York,[21] and finally to La Coleccion Jumex in Ecatepec de Morelos outside Mexico City. In 2008, Smith gave Selections from Animal Skulls (1995) to the Walker in honor of Engberg.[22]

Smith will be participating in the 2017 Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva, May 13 – November 16, 2017.[23]


Smith’s work can be found in more than 30 public collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Bonner Kunstverein (Bonn, Germany); the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA); the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA); the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland); the Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel); the Speed Art Museum (Louisville, KY); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk, Denmark); the McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, TX); the Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); the Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); the New York Public Library; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Gallery (London, England); the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England); the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT); the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); and the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT).[17]


Smith’s many accolades also include the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award from Purchase College School of the Arts (2010),[24] Women in the Arts Award from the Brooklyn Museum (2009),[25] the 50th Edward MacDowell Medal (2009), the Medal Award from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2006), the Athena Award for Excellence in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (2006), the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2000), and Time Magazine’s “Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World” (2006). Smith was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2005.[12]

In 2012, she received the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts from Hillary Clinton. Pieces by Smith adorn consulates in Istanbul and Mumbai.[26] After being chosen speaker for the annual Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Lecture Series in Contemporary Sculpture and Criticism in 2013, Smith became the artist-in-residence for the University of North Texas Institute for the Advancement of the Arts in the 2013-14 academic year.[27]

In 2016, Smith was awarded the International Sculpture Center‘s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.


  • Adams, Laurie Schneider, Ed. A History of Western Art” Third Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2001.
  • Alan W. Moore and Marc Miller, eds., ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery (Collaborative Projects (Colab), NY, 1985).
  • Berland, Rosa JH. “Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005.” C Magazine: International Contemporary Art, 2007.


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Kiki Smith | American artist”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  2. Jump up^ Danielle Stein (October 2007), “The Glass Menagerie”, W; accessed April 1, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ Roberta Smith. “Jane Lawrence Smith, 90, Actress Associated With 1950’s Art Scene, Dies”,; accessed April 1, 2015.
  4. Jump up^ “Kiki Smith | Art21 | PBS”. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  5. Jump up^ “Kiki Smith Prints at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE)”. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  6. Jump up^ “Queen of Arts”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  7. Jump up^ Wendy Weitman; Kiki Smith; Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) (2003). Kiki Smith: Prints, Books & Things. The Museum of Modern Art. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-87070-583-0.
  8. Jump up^ Wendy Weitman; Kiki Smith; Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) (2003). Kiki Smith: Prints, Books & Things. The Museum of Modern Art. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-0-87070-583-0.
  9. Jump up^ “Visionary Sugar: Works by Kiki Smith at the Neuberger Museum.” Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  10. Jump up^ Leah Ollman (November 1, 1998), She Stands Expectation on Its Head Los Angeles Times; accessed April 1, 2015.
  11. Jump up^ Robin Pogrebin (November 23, 2009), Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans to Design Window for Eldridge Street Synagogue, New York Times; accessed April 1, 2015.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b c Kiki Smith: Lodestar, April 30–June 19, 2010,; accessed April 1, 2015.
  13. Jump up^ Michael Kimmelman (July 15, 2012), “A Glass Box That Nests Snugly on the Roof”,; accessed April 1, 2015.
  14. Jump up^
  15. Jump up^
  16. Jump up^
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b c Kiki Smith: Realms, March 14–April 27, 2002,; accessed April 1, 2015.
  18. Jump up^, Anagram, LLC -. “Conceal/Reveal – SITE Santa Fe”. SITE Santa Fe. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  19. Jump up^ “Whitney To Present Kiki Smith Retrospective, Traversing The Artist’s 25-Year Career” (PDF) (Press release). Whitney Museum of American Art. July 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  20. Jump up^ “Siri Engberg”. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  21. Jump up^ Mark Stevens (November 25, 2007), “The Way of All Flesh”,; accessed April 1, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ “Annual Report” (PDF). Walker Art Center. 2008. p. 55. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  23. Jump up^ “La Biennale di Venezia – Artists”. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  24. Jump up^ Kiki Smith Pace Gallery, New York.
  25. Jump up^ *“Kiki Smith wins Brooklyn Museum’s Women in the Arts Award”; accessed April 1, 2015.
  26. Jump up^ Mike Boehm (November 30, 2012), “Hillary Clinton will give five artists medals for embassy art”, Los Angeles Times; accessed April 1, 2015.
  27. Jump up^ Internationally renowned artist Kiki Smith to serve as IAA artist-in-residence at UNT for 2013-14 University of North Texas, September 27, 2013.

External links[edit]




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How Should We Then Live – Episode 8 – The Age of Fragmentation   I featured the artwork of Ellsworth Kelly on my blog both on November 23, 2015 and December 17, 2015. Also I mailed him a letter on November 23, 2015, but I never heard back from him.  Unfortunately he died on December […]

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WOODY WEDNESDAY  Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 8

Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 1

The Best & The Rest: Every Woody Allen Film Ranked

This week, Woody Allen‘s 2016 title (for as we all know, there’s one each year), “Cafe Society,” starring Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Corey Stoll, Blake Lively and Anna Camp, opens after a warm reception as the opening film at the most recent Cannes Film Festival. You can read our take from Cannes here, or hang on to scroll through and see where it lands on the list below, but we thought this would be a good time to gussy up our previous sprawling two-part Allen retrospective, and because we’ve been a little harmonious around here of late and miss the sounds of sobbing and breaking crockery, to rank it.

READ MORE: The Best And The Rest: Every Stanley Kubrick Ranked

Weathering personal scandal and coming in and out of fashion like flares, Allen’s been at constant work as a director for five decades now, and “Cafe Society” marks his 47th theatrically-released feature. Which means we have a lot to get through, so let’s get straight to it, shall we? Here, ranked worst to best, are all of Woody Allen’s theatrical features —with any list this long, there’s bound to be massive disagreement, so remember, the comments section awaits your ire. Or your congratulations, on the slim chance you agree with all of it.


another-woman-woody-allen-gene-hackman-gena-rowlands28. “Another Woman” (1988)
Allen’s late ’80s-early 90s period is his golden-brown period, insofar as it seems to be an autumnal detour (all of it done with DPs Sven Nykvist and Carlo DiPalmi), more dramatic and generally focusing on female protagonists in distress, with recurring themes of infidelity and unhappy marriage. This one, starring Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, Ian Holm, Blythe Danner and an underused but astonishingly great Gene Hackman falls a little too squarely into this camp. The small-scale picture (tellingly shot by Bergman regular Sven Nykvist) is indebted to “Wild Strawberries,” and centers on a woman (Rowlands) who begins to overhear the problems of a despondent woman (Farrow) as she talks to her psychiatrist neighbor. The conversations precipitate Rowlands to reflect on her past via dreamlike flashbacks which makes her realize how carelessly she alienated former friends and lovers. The two women’s stories do come full circle, but this small, polished well-performed portrait is most remarkable for the rounded, complex and not necessarily likeable, though wholly capable woman at its center.

Trailer Small Time Crooks -2000-




small-time-crooks-woody-allen27. “Small Time Crooks” (2000)
We’re so used to seeing Allen as a neurotic intellectual that it’s sometimes refreshing to see him playing at the other end of the spectrum, and his role in “Small Time Crooks” is one of a small cluster of fully-flung idiots. Riffing, at least in part, on Ealing crime comedies like “The Ladykillers” and “The Lavender Hill Mob,” Allen plays Ray, a jailbird who plans to rob a bank next to a bakery, only to discover that the cookies that his wife Frenchy (an excellent Tracey Ullman) has been selling as cover for the heist are far more lucrative. That, frankly, is a genius conceit and it deserves a better film than “Small Time Crooks” ever becomes — it’s an oddly structured piece, and the middle act, featuring Hugh Grant as a sleazy artist parodying the class system, is pretty weak. Despite its unevenness, though, it’s mostly an enjoyable, bouncy ride and in a rare acting appearance by the great Elaine May, it has one of the greatest, if briefest, supporting performances in the Allen canon.

_Mighty-Aphrodite-Woody-allen26. “Mighty Aphrodite” (1995)
Probably best remembered as being the movie that won Mira Sorvino a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award before she fell into oblivion “Mighty Aphrodite” remains one of the better movies from a not-exactly-fertile period for Allen. While the story is fairly typical Woody — he is a father looking to identify the biological mother of his adopted son, while stressing out about his marriage (to Helena Bonham Carter) — the setup is enlivened by another typical flourish: a Greek chorus narration (led by F. Murray Abraham), which sometimes even interacts with the characters. Featuring an excellent Michael Rapaport as a Brooklyn knucklehead, the performance by Sorvino, as the squeaky-voiced hooker with a heart of gold, is also better than it is on the page (though maybe not quite to an Oscar-worthy degree). There are sadly some icky story beats (Allen sleeps with Sorvino at one point), that somewhat spoil the goodheartedness and earnest energy elsewhere, but the chorus conceit that keeps Allen’s character honest (kind of) also thankfully keeps the film from becoming too much of a Greek tragedy.

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Hitchens v D’Souza Debate at University of Notre Dame – April 7th, 2010


#238 Debate – Christopher Hitchens vs Dinesh D’Souza – Is Religion the Problem – 2010

Published on Aug 27, 2016

University of Notre Dame – April 7th, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hitchens vs. D’Souza, Notre Dame University

  • Christopher Hitchens vs. Dinesh D’Souza: Is Religion the Problem?
  • April 7, 2010, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, United States

    [Introduction by moderator and Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Michael Rea]

    HITCHENS: Thank you professor, very generous introduction. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. My first duty, which is also a pleasure, is to thank the University of Notre Dame for inviting me onto its terrain. And Mr. O’Duffey, in particular, in an institution that’s also identified, I believe, with the great history and people of Ireland, for taking the revenge of arranging for English weather to greet me. Now, I could—I’ve been given fifteen minutes, which isn’t that much, but I could do it, in a way, in two, like this, as a proposition: When Getrude Stein was dying—some of you will know this story—she asked, as her last hour approached: “Well, what is the answer?” And when no one around her bed spoke she rephrased and said, “Well in that case, what is the question?” And I’m speaking tonight—we are speaking tonight—we’ve met tonight at an institution of higher learning, and the greatest obligation that you have is to keep an open mind and to realize that, in our present state, human society, we’re more and more overborn by how little we know, and how little we know about more and more, or, if you like, how much more we know, but how much less we know as we find out how much more and more there is to know. In these circumstances, which I believe to be undeniable, the only respectable intellectual position is one of doubt, skepticism, reservation and free—and I’d stress free and unfettered inquiry, in that lies, as it has always lain, our only hope. So you should beware always of those who say that these questions have already been decided. In particular, to those who’ll tell you that they’ve been decided by reservation—excuse me, by revelation, that there are a handed-down commandments and precepts that predate, in a sense, ourselves and that the answers are already available if only we could see them and that the obligation upon ourselves to debate ethical and moral and historical and other questions is thereby dissolved. It seems to me that is the one position—it’s what I call the faith position—that has to be discarded first. So, thank you for your attention and I’m done, except that it seems that I have a reputation for demagogy to live up to. When I come to a place like this I read the local paper (the Campus Observer, in this case) and I was sorry to see that Dinesh and I are not considered up to the standards of Father Richard McBrien, whose exacting standards, I dare say, are out of our reach. And I was also sorry to see myself and others represented in other papers, and in particular by a distinguished cleric in St. Peters on Good Friday, who made a speech through which His Holiness the Pope sat in silence, Father Cantalamessa, saying that people like myself are part of a pogrom, a persecution comparable only to that of the Jews with the church in mind. This is the first I’ve ever been accused of being part of a pogrom or a persecution, but as long as it’s going on I’ll also add that it’s the only pogrom that I’ve ever heard of that’s led by small, deaf and dumb children whose cries for justice have been ignored and while that is the definition of the pogrom I’ll continue to support it because I think it demonstrates very clearly the moral superiority of the secular concept of justice and law over Canon Law and religious law, with its sickly emphasis on self-exculpation in the guise of forgiveness and redemption. That’s not the only reason why religion is a problem: it’s a problem principally because it is man-made. Because, to an extent, it is true as the church used to preach when it had more confidence, that we are, in some sense, originally sinful and guilty. If you want to prove that, you only have to look at the many religions that people have constructed to see that they are indeed the product of an imperfectly-evolved primate species, about half a chromosome away from a chimpanzee, with a prefrontal lobe that’s too small, an adrenaline gland that’s too big and various other evolutionary deformities about which we’re finding out ever more; a species that is predatory, a man is a wolf to man, Homo-homini lupus, as has well been said, a species that’s very fearful of itself and others and of the natural order and, above all, very, very willing, despite its protestations of religious modesty, to be convinced that the operations of the cosmos and the universe are all operating with us in mind. Make up your mind whether you want to be modest or not, but don’t say that you were made out of dust, or if you’re a woman out of a bit of rib, or if you’re a Muslim out of a clot of blood and you’re an abject sinner, born into guilt but add, “Nonetheless, let’s cheer up: the whole universe it still designed with you in mind.” This is not modesty or humility, it’s a man-made false consolation, in my judgment, and it does great moral damage. It warps—it begins by warping what we might call our moral sense of proportion. I wish that was all that could be said, though I think that’s the most important thing. I ought to say why I think it ought to be credited and I ought to add that my colleagues Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett have been very generous in this respect. This debate would be uninteresting if religion was one-dimensional. Religion was our first attempt to make sense of our surroundings. It was our first attempt and cosmology, for example, to make sense of what goes on in the heavens. It was our first attempt and what I care about the most, the study of literature and literary criticism. It gave us texts to deliberate and even to debate about even if some of those texts were held to be the word of God and beyond review and beyond criticism, nonetheless the idea is introduced and it had never been introduced before. It’s our first attempt at health care, in one way. If you go to the shaman or the witchdoctor or you make the right propitiations, the right sacrifices and you really believe in it you do have a better chance of recovery. Everybody knows it’s a medical fact: morale is an ingredient in health and it was our first attempt at that, too. It was our first very bad attempt at human solidarity because it was tribe-based but nonetheless it taught that there were virtues in sticking together. And it was our first attempt, I would say, also—this is not an exhaustive list—at psychiatric care and dealing with the terrible loneliness of the human condition, at what happens when the individual spirit looks out, shivering, into the enormous void of the cosmos and contemplates its own extinction and deals with the awful fear of death. This was the first attempt to apply any balm to that awful question. But, as Charles Darwin says of our own evident kinship with lower mammals and lower forms of life, “We bear,” as he puts it in the Origins of Species, “We bear always the ineffaceable stamp of our lowly origin.” I’ll repeat it, “the ineffaceable stamp of our lowly origin.” Religion does the same thing. It quite clearly shows that it’s the first, the most primitive, the most crude, and the most deluded attempt to make sense. It is the worst attempt, but partly because it was the first. So the credit can be divided in that way. And the worst thing it did for us was to offer us certainty, to say, “These are truths that are unalterable; they’re handed down from on high; we only have to learn God’s will and how to obey it in order to free ourselves from these dilemmas.” That’s probably the worst advice of all. Heinrich Heine says that if you’re in a dark wood on a dark night and you don’t know where you are and that you’ve never been through this territory before you may be well advised to hire as a guide the local mad, blind old man who can feel his way through the forest because he can do something you can’t. But when the dawn breaks and the light comes, you would be silly if you continued to operate with this guide, this blind, mad old man, who was doing his best with the first attempt. To give you just two very contemporary examples: to have a germ theory of disease relieves you of the idea that plagues are punishments. That’s what the church used to preach, that plagues come because the Jews have poisoned the wells, as the church very often preached, or that the Jews even exist and are themselves a plague, as the church used to preach when it felt strong enough and also was morally weak enough and had such little evidence. You can free yourself from the idea that diseases are punishments or visitations. If you study plate tectonics you won’t do what the Archbishop of Haiti did the other day speaking to his sorrowing people after his predecessor had been buried in the ruins of the cathedral at Port-au-Prince along with a quarter of a million other unfortunate Haitians whose lives were miserable enough as it was, and to say, with the Cardinal Archbishop of New York standing right next to him that God had something to say to Haiti and this is the way he chose to say it. If you study plate tectonics and a few other things you will free yourself of this appalling burden from our superstitious, fearful, primate past. And I suggest, again, to an institution of higher learning, that’s a responsibility we all have to take on. If we reflect—some people say the great Stephen Jay Gould, who I admired very much, from whom we all learned a great deal about evolutionary biology, used to say, rather leniently I think, that, “Well, these are non-overlapping magisteria, the material world, the scientific world and the faith world.” I think “non-overlapping” is too soft. I think it’s more a question, increasingly, of it being a matter of incompatibility, or perhaps better to say, irreconcilability. Just if you reflect on a few things I’ll have time, I hope, to mention. My timer, by the way, isn’t running so I’m under your discipline, Professor. You’ll give me…

    MODERATOR: Four and a half minutes.

    HITCHENS: Very good. When we reflect that the rate of the expansion of our universe is increasing—it was thought until Hubble that we knew it was expanding but that surely Newton would teach us that the rate would diminish. No, the rate is increasing, the Big Bang is speeding up. We can see the end of it coming increasingly clearly. And while we wait for that we can see the galaxy of Andromeda moving nearer towards the collision that’s coming with us, you can see it in the night sky. This is the object of a design, you think? What kind of designer, in that case? To say that this must have an origin and now we know how it’s going to end, why ask why there’s something rather than nothing when you can see the nothingness coming only replaces the question. Faith is of no use in deciding it. And that’s on the macro level. From the macro to the micro: 99.8% of all species ever created, if you insist, on the face of this planet have already become extinct, leaving no descendants. I might add that of that number, three of four branches of our own family, Homo sapiens—branches of it, the Cromagnans, the Neanderthals, who were living with us until about 50,000 years ago, who had tools, who made art, who decorated graves, who clearly had a religion, who must have had a god, who must have abandoned them, who must have let them go, they’re no longer with us, we don’t know what their last cries were like. And our own species was down to about 10,000 in Africa before we finally got out of there, unforsaken this time or so far. To move from the macro, in other words, to the micro: our own solar system is only half way through it allotted span before it blows up and as Sir Martin Ryle, the great Astronomer Royal and Professor of Cosmology at Cambridge, and incidentally a believing Anglican says, “By the time there are creatures on the earth who look as the sun expires they will not be human. It will not be humans who see this happen if our planet lives that long. The creatures that watch it happen will be as far different from us as we are from amoebae and bacteria.” Faced with these amazing, overarching, titanic, I would say awe-inspiring facts—like the fact that ever since the Big Bang every single second a star the size of ours has blown up. While I’ve been talking, once every second a star the size of our sun has gone out—faced with these amazing, indisputable facts, can you be brought to believe that the main events in human history, the crucial ones, happened 3,000 to 2,000 years ago in illiterate, desert Arabia and Palestine? And that it was at that moment only that the heavens decided it was time to intervene and that by those interventions we can ask for salvation? Can you be brought to believe this? I stand before as someone who quite simply cannot and who refuses, furthermore, to be told that if I don’t believe it that I wouldn’t have any source for ethics or morality. Please don’t pile the insulting onto the irrational and tell me that if I don’t accept these sacrifices in the desert, I have no reason to tell right from wrong.

    MODERATOR: One minute.

    HITCHENS: One minute, good. Then I’ll have to prune and you’ll be the losers, but I’ll have a—there’s a rebuttal coming. Alright, look at the contemporary religious scene. I return to religion as well as faith and belief: Israeli settlers are stealing other people’s land in the hope of bringing on the Messiah and a terrible war. On the alternative side, as it thinks of itself, the Islamic jihadists are preparing a war without end, a faith-based war based on the repulsive tactic of suicide murder and all of these people that they have a divine warrant, a holy book, and the direct word of God on there side. We used to worry when I was young, what will happen when a maniac gets hold of a nuclear weapon? We’re about to discover what happens when that happens: the Islamic republic of Iran is about to get a nuclear weapon and by illegal means that flout every possible international law and treaty. Meanwhile in Russia, the authoritarian, chauvinistic, expansionist regime of Vladimir Putin is increasingly decked in clerical garb by the Russian orthodox church, with its traditional allegiance to czarism, serfdom and the rest of it and Dinesh would have to argue—I’ll close on this—Dinesh would have to argue that surely that’s better than there be a mass outbreak of secularism in Russia and Iran and Israel and Saudi Arabia and I would call that a reductio ad absurdum and I’ll leave you with it and I’ll be back. Thanks.

    REA: And now Dinesh D’Souza.

    D’SOUZA: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be here. It’s—wow, this is a beautiful auditorium, quite an event. I understand that tickets were very—I almost didn’t get in myself. I have been listening with some interest to Christopher Hitchens. Listening to him I feel a little bit like Winston Churchill during the Boer War. He said, “It is always exhilarating to be shot at without result.” And I say this because even if everything that Christopher Hitchens says is true, he has hardly demonstrated religion to be a very serious problem at all. He seems to say religion is built into human nature; it’s an evolutionary development; that man has been searching for explanations since he has set foot on the planet; religion supplied functional explanations; now, perhaps, we have better ones. Even if all this were true—I’m going to dispute and show it’s not true—but even if it were true, this would hardly be a damning indictment of religion. Science itself has developed in the same way: it’s been an explanation, it’s gotten better over time. But what I want to do is meet Christopher on his own ground. He says we should be doubters, and I’m going to be a doubter. He says we should be skeptics and I endorse that completely. In this debate at no time will I make any arguments that appeal to Revelation, Scripture, or Authority. I’ll make arguments based on reason alone. And I want to engage the argument on Hitchens’ own ground by—not by making the easy argument for the utility of religion (it’s good for us, it makes practical sense, it’s consoling, that’s all true) I’m going to actually make an argument for the truth of religion. And the argument I’m going to make—well, I call it the presuppositional argument but it’s an argument that requires a little bit of explanation. Imagine if you’re a detective and you approach a crime scene and all the evidence points to a suspect but it turns out he couldn’t have done it. Why? Because the body was dumped in one location and he was in a completely different location. And then it hits you as a detective, “Wait a minute, perhaps the guy had an accomplice.” Now, you don’t know that he did. But the assumption that he did suddenly makes sense of all the other facts that were previously mysterious. Suddenly you see how the crime was committed to its very detail. If this seems like a little bit of an unusual way to argue, I want to emphasize that this is precisely the way in which scientists argue when faced with new phenomena. For example, scientists looking at galaxies out there have noticed that the galaxies hang together and yet when you measure the amount of matter in them there’s not enough gravity to hold the galaxies together, they should be flying apart. And so scientists presuppose that there is some other form of matter (they call it dark matter) that must be there exercising a gravitational force so even though we can’t see the dark matter (it’s detectable by no instrument) it explains what we do see. The presupposition of dark matter clarifies the matter that is in front of us. Now what I’m going to try to do is adduce some puzzling facts about life and then ask whether the presupposition of God explains those facts—explains those facts better than any rival explanation. Christopher Hitchens has spent a lot of time telling us about evolution, and evolution as an effort to explain the presence of life on the planet. But of course evolution does not explain the presence of life on the planet. Darwin knew that. Evolution merely explains the transition between one life form and another. That’s very different from accounting for life itself. Consider, for example, the primordial cell. If you read Franklin Harold’s book The Way of the Cell (this is a biologist at University of Colorado in Boulder) he describes the cell as a kind of supercomputer. It is of a level of complexity—even Richard Dawkins, in his work, describes the cell as a kind of digital computer. Now the cell can’t have evolved because evolution presupposes the cell. Evolution requires a cell that already has the built-in capacity to reproduce itself. So how did we get a cell? The very idea that random molecules in a warm pond through a bolt of lightning assembled a cell would be akin to saying a bolt of lightning in a warm pond could assemble an automobile or a skyscraper. It’s preposterous. Richard Dawkins knows it’s preposterous and, therefore, when asked, “How did we get life originally?” he said, “Well, maybe Aliens brought it from another planet.” It’s ridiculous, but it’s, in a way, the best explanation he could come up with other than Intelligent Design. So there we go, we have the mystery of the cell. But evolution raises further puzzles because evolution depends upon a universe structured in a certain way. Evolution depends on a sun that’s eight light-minutes away. Evolution depends on the constants of nature. If I were to pick up a pen and drop it, it would fall at a known acceleration to the ground, gravity. The universe has a whole bunch of these constants, hundreds of them. Scientists have asked what if these constants, on which evolution depends, what if these constants were changed just a little bit? What if the speed of light were a little slower or a little faster? This question is addressed by Stephen Hawking in his book A Brief History of Time. He says that if you change these constants of nature at all (and he’s talking about the rate of expansion of the universe) he says if you change that, not 10% or 1%, but one part in a hundred thousandth millionth million, we would have no universe, we would have no life, not just Homo sapiens, no complex life would have evolved anywhere. In other words our very existence here is dependent upon the fine-tuning of a set of constants in nature. We’re not talking about just on earth, but the entire universe. This argument, that is sometimes called the anthropic principle of the fine-tuned universe, this has put modern atheism completely on the defensive. Why should the universe be structured in precisely this way and no other way? What is the best explanation? Is there an atheist explanation? I’d like to hear it. Let’s move on in thinking about evolution because evolution cannot explain the depth of human evil. What I mean by this is simply this: evolution presumes cruelty, evolution presumes harshness but it is a harshness tempered by necessity. Think of a lion: it wants to eat the antelope because it’s hungry. But have you ever heard of a lion that wants to wipe every antelope off of the face of the earth? No. So how do you explain this human evil that far outruns necessity and reaches depths that seem almost unfathomable. Evolution cannot account for rationality because evolution says we are programmed in the world to survive and reproduce. Our minds are organs of survival. They are not organs of truth. So if we believe in rationality we require something outside of evolution to account for that. Evolution can’t even account for morality. And this requires a little bit of explanation. So think of a couple of morals facts. And I’m not talking about heroic deeds of greatness, think of simple things: getting up to give your seat to an old lady in a bus; donating blood; there’s a famine in Haiti, you volunteer your time or you write a check. Now, if we are evolved primates who are programmed to survive and reproduce, why would we do these things? There’s a whole literature on this and basically, it comes down to this: the advocates of evolution say, “Well, evolution is a form of extended selfishness. If a mother jumps into a burning car to save her two children, that’s because she and her children have the same genes.” So what seems like an altruistic and noble deed is actually merely a cunning strategy on the part of the mom to make sure her genes make it into the next generation. (We’re not talking about her Levi’s, we’re talking about her genetic inheritance.) Or, evolution appeals to what can be called reciprocal advantage. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. A business man may be nice to a customer, not because he thinks he’s a great guy, but because he wants him to come into the store again. But these two common evolutionary strategies to explain morality don’t explain the three examples I gave at all. I’m in a bus, the old lady hobbles in. She’s not a relative, she isn’t grandma, so genetic kinship doesn’t come into it and neither does reciprocal advantage. I don’t say, “Well, you know, I think I’ll give her my seat because next week I want her seat.” No, you give up your seat because you’re a nice guy. You give up blood because you want to do a good thing. You donate your time to help strangers who are genetically unrelated to you and can’t reciprocate your favors. These are the simple facts of morality in the world and what is the evolutionary explanation for them? There is none, or if there is one, I would like to hear it. So in debating these issues very often it’s very easy to knock the burden of proof onto the theist and say, “You explain everything.” But no, in the world we’re not in a position where there’s only one explanation contending, there are rival explanations. There is a theist explanation (the God explanation) and there is a non-theist, or atheist explanation. We have to weigh the two against each other. My contention is that the atheist explanation flounders when confronted with all these facts: the complexity of the cell, the fine-tuning of the universe, the fact of morality, the depth of human evil, the reality of morality in the world. What about the God explanation? Seems obvious to me it does one heck of a lot better. Why do we have a cell that shows the structure of complexity? Because the cell has been intelligently design perhaps by an intelligent designer. Why does the universe show complexity and rationality? Well, those are the characteristics of the creator who made it that way. Why are there depths of human evil? Because our lives are a cosmic drama in which good and evil are in constant struggle (the Christian story). Why is there morality in the world? Why do we all feel, even when it works against our advantage, a moral law within us? Well that’s because there is a moral lawgiver who gave it to us. So when we put it all together, the presupposition of God—God is invisible, I concede that, we can’t see Him. But if we posit Him, all these mysterious facts—suddenly the lights come on. It provides an explanation—now, again, with any presuppositional argument there may be a better alternative explanation and so I put the ball into Christopher Hitchens’ court to say if you can explain these facts better than I can, I will happily, as a skeptic, concede to your point of view. GIve me a better explanation for these facts. I leave you with this thought: ultimately, we know that belief is good for us. If it was a primitive explanation of 3,000 years ago, why would it be the case that religion hasn’t disappeared 3,000 years ago? Why is it the case that we’re actually seeing religious revivals around the world? Why is the fact of religious experience—it’s almost as if you go to a village and 95% of those people in the village say, “We know this guy named Bill. Why? Because we interact with him, we relate to him, we have experience of him.” Five guys say, “We’ve never met Bill,” and three of them say, “There is no Bill. The other 95% are making him up.” Now, which is more likely? Is it likely that the 3% are right and the 95% are lying or hallucinating? Or, is it more likely that the 95% are right and the other 3% just don’t know the guy. When you look at the fact of religious experience in the world today, to simply write it off as a primitive explanation of why ancient man couldn’t explain the thunder seems idiotically unrelated to the fact that religion serves current needs and current wants. So religion is not the problem. God is not the problem. God is, in fact, the answer to the problem. Thank you.

    HITCHENS: I never hear Dinesh doing that without thinking what a wonderful Muslim he would make. You try telling a hundred people in Saudi Arabia that you don’t think the Prophet Mohammed really heard those voices. You’re going to be really outvoted. And yes, Dinesh, I have noticed there are religious revivals going on, pay a lot of attention to them. I don’t find them as welcome, perhaps, as you do. And on your detective hypothesis, don’t you think there’s something to be said for considering unfalsifiability when constructing a hypothesis? For example, Albert Einstein staked his reputation. He said, “If I’m wrong about this, then there will not be an eclipse at a certain time of day and month and year off the west coast of Africa and I will look a fool. But if I’m right there will be one,” and people [inaudible] gathered thinking, “He can’t be that smart,” and he was. Professor J. B. S. Haldane used to be asked, “Well, what would shake your faith in evolution?” This was when it was much more controversial than it is now and I’m impressed to find that Dinesh believes in Intelligent Design which really does require, I would think, a leap of faith, but there it is. Haldane said, “Well, show me rabbits’ bone in the Jurassic layer and I’ll give up.” Now can you think of any religious spokesman you’ve ever heard who would tell you in advance what would disprove their hypothesis? Of course you can’t, because it’s unfalsifiable. And we were all taught, weren’t we, by Professor Karl Popper, that unfalsifiability in a theory is a test not of its strength, but of its weakness. You can’t beat it. The Church used to say, “No, God didn’t allow evolution. Instead He hid the bones in the rocks to test our faith.” That didn’t work out too well. So now they say, “Ah, now they know about it, it proves how incredibly clever He was all along.” It’s an infinitely elastic airbag. And there’s no argument that I can bring or that anyone can bring against it, and that’s what should make you suspicious. Then a question for Dinesh (I know I’m supposed to be answering them as well as asking them, but it does intrigue me when I debate with religious people) he announced, I have his words, he was going to talk without reference to Revelation, Scripture, or Scriptural Authority. Now, why ask yourselves then—I’ll ask you, why is that? Why do I never come up against someone who says, “I’ll tell you why I’m religious: because I think that Jesus of Nazareth is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Him and if you’ll believe on this you’ll be given eternal life.” I’d be impressed if people would sometimes say that. Why do the religious people so often feel they must say, “No we don’t—well that’s all sort of metaphorical.” In what sense are they then religious? You’ll notice that Dinesh talked about the operations of the divine and the creator only in the observable natural order. That’s what used to be called the deist position. It was the position held by skeptics like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson by the end of the eighteenth century. It was as far as anyone could see before Darwin and before Einstein. There appeared to be evidence of design in the universe. But there was no evidence of divine intervention in it, very important point. The deist may say, and I would have to say, it cannot be disproved that there was a first cause and it was godly. That cannot be disproved, it can only be argued that there’s no evidence for it. But the deist, having established that position, if they have, has all their work still ahead of them to show there is a god who cares about us, even knows we exist, takes sides in our little tribal wars, cares who we sleep with and in what position, cares what we eat and on what day of the week, arbitrates matters of this kind. That’s the conceited, that’s the endless human wish to believe that we have parents who want to look out for us and help us not to grow up or get out of the way. And so it surprises me that there are no professions of real religious faith ever made on these occasions. Now, I suppose I should then say what my own method in this is, since I was challenged on that point. Take the two figures of Jesus of Nazareth and Socrates. I believe Jesus of Nazareth operates on the fringe of mythology and prehistory. I don’t think it’s absolutely certainly established there is such a person or that He made those pronouncements or that He was the son of God or the son of a virgin or any of these things. And I would likewise have to concede that we only know of the work of Socrates through secondhand sources, in the same way, second or thirdhand. Quite impressive ones in some cases, from Plato’s Apology, but it can’t be demonstrated to me that Socrates ever walked the streets of Athens.

    REA: That’s five minutes.

    HITCHENS: How many?

    REA. That’s five minutes.

    HITCHENS: That’s five. Just quickly then: if it could shown to a believing Christian the grave of Jesus opened and the body of him found and the resurrection disproved—if that could be archaeologically done for the sake of argument—it would presumably be a disaster for you. You’d have to think, “Then we’re alone. Then how are we going to know right from wrong? What can we do?” I maintain with Socrates that on the contrary, the moral problems and ethical problems and other dilemmas that we have would be exactly the same as they are: what are our duties to each other? How can we build the just city? How should we think? How can we face the possibility of our loneliness? How can we do right? These questions would remain exactly as they are and as they do. And so all that is necessary is to transcend the superstitious, transcend the mythical, and accept the responsibility, take it on ourselves that no one can do this for us. And I would hope that in a great university, that thought might carry the day. Thank you.

    D’SOUZA: Somewhat like the mosquito in the nudist colony I’m trying to decide where to begin. I might begin by noting that in my opening statement I offered a bit of a challenge to Christopher Hitchens. I mentioned anomalous features of the world as it is and of the evolutionary explanation and offered to him the chance to offer a rival theories that might do better than the God explanation. I just want to note that he has offered none. Instead, what he has offered is the idea that science is based on verifiability but religion not. This I think is, in fact, not true and he said no one’s ever given him an example of it and I’m about to give him two: the ancient Hebrews asserted (uniquely by the way, of all religions) that God made the universe out of nothing. Now, incidentally, the idea that God or gods made the universe is a very old idea, but in every other religion God or gods fashioned the universe out of some other stuff. God is a kind of carpenter, he took the stuff of the universe and He made life and He made man. But the Hebrews said, “No, there was nothing and then there was a universe.” And I want to suggest that modern science has proved this to be 100% correct. If you go to an introductory physics class at Notre Dame you will learn that, as a direct consequence of the Big Bang, not only did the universe have a beginning, not only did all the matter have a beginning, but space and time also has a beginning. In other words, first there was nothing, no space, no time, and then there was a universe with space and time. Suddenly the Christian concept of eternity, of a god being outside of space and time, which for centuries was scientifically unintelligible is now not only coherent, but riding along side the most cutting-edge discoveries in modern physics and modern astronomy. The ancient Hebrews in the Old Testament predicts the people of Israel, after being dispersed, would return; there would be, if you will, a reuniting of the state of Israel. Until the 1940s this was a possibility historically so preposterous that if someone had actually suggested it, they would meet with derisive laughter. And yet it has, in fact, happened, just as the Bible said it would. Now, these are not scientific theories. If you talk to the ancient Hebrews and say, “How do you know that there was nothing and there was a universe?” They didn’t do any scientific experiments. They basically said, “God told me.” But I’m saying that if you look at that as a prophecy or as a factual claim about the world, we now know 2,000 years later that it is, in its essence, correct. The reason that I can’t go on like this is because religion addresses different types of question than scientific questions. Here are three. Here we are, flung into the world. One question we have is, “What’s the purpose of our life?” or “Why are we here?” or “Where are we going? What happens to us after we die?” Here are the scientific answers to those three questions: “Don’t have a clue,” “Don’t have a clue,” and “Don’t have a clue.” We are no closer to answering those questions scientifically than we were since the time of the Babylonians. So what is wrong in looking to religion to supply explanations in a domain where science is utterly inert, inarticulate, and, in fact, mute? You can’t just say that if you understand the ballistics of plate tectonics, you understand purpose. It would be as if my dad took me on his knee and gave me a spanking and Christopher Hitchens goes, “Don’t think he’s angry with you only if you understood the ballistics of the cane, you would have a full explanation of what’s going on.” Or on the other hand if I put of pot of tea on the kettle and began to boil it, Hitchens can’t say that, “Well if I tell you about the”—if you say, “What’s going on here?” Well, the scientific explanation is that water, when heated, the molecules expand, the temperature rises. But there’s another explanation: Dinesh wants to have a cup of tea. So explanations work at more than one level. And finally Christopher asks, “Why argue this way?” Well we know about presenting the case the other way. In fact, you get it in church or you get it in synagogue or you get it every Sunday, the argument from the Bible, the argument from authority. I know it’s a useless argument to use in a secular setting especially when debating with an atheist. If I say I believe in Jesus because the Book of Matthew says this or the Gospel of Luke says that, he’s going to say, “Well, who cares what the Gospel of Luke says? I don’t accept the authority of the Bible to adjudicate the matter.” So we are at a state of culture….

    REA: That’s five minutes.

    D’SOUZA: …in which we have to use rational arguments if we are trying to communicate in secular venues. So here we are at a university. What could be more appropriate than to address these arguments in the vocabulary of reason? Christopher wants me to fling the Bible at him so that he can then claim the high ground of science and reason. What flummoxes him is when I use science and reason itself to torpedo his arguments. That’s when you get him going down on his knees and praying for some more quotations from Scripture. Thank you very much.

    REA [After explaining how they will take audience questions and after warning the audience to keep their questions pithy]: As I understand it, the basic argument that Christopher Hitchens is giving—I haven’t seen the text—but as I understand it the argument can be summed up roughly like this: religion gives explanations, science gives better explanations, our job is to go with the best explanations, so we ought to go in for science all the time and set religion aside as superstition. D’ Souza wants to address this on Hitchens’ turf, so I’m going to start by asking a question of D’Souza. It looked like your goal was to show that theistic explanations are in fact better than scientific explanations. As I saw it, what you in fact said showed that scientific explanations are often problematic, incomplete, and gappy, but I don’t think you showed that theistic explanations are better and just to pick a couple of examples: so, for example, you talked about the fine tuning argument, so here’s a case where maybe belief in God explains certain features of the universe better than atheistic theories would but of course one wonders if the world is superintended by a perfectly good god, whence the Holocaust, whence all manner of horrendous evil and suffering so all of the sudden it looks like the appeal to God to explain features of the universe, it’s not clear that theism’s winning. Take morality too, right? On the one hand, sure we maybe can understand where moral laws come from if there’s a divine lawgiver. On the other hand, Christianity has a doctrine of original sin, Christianity has other things that confound our moral intuitions, right? So, again, it’s not clear that theism wins.

    D’SOUZA: Wow, that’s a lot to chew on. Look, the standards that I’m appealing to are, in a way, very intuitive. We have currently a major scientific project to look for life on other planets. Now, truth of it is, if we were to get information that on, let’s say, the moon Europa, we found hieroglyphics, some interesting architectural structures, some apparent roving vehicles, this would settle the argument. Right away we would conclude (as long as we didn’t put them there) that there must be some other forms of life that have done that. If someone came along and said, “Molecules of sand assembled themselves into all this,” this would be an explanation, but a stupid one compared to the inference to intelligent design. So, in fact, the scientists say that even if we get radio signals in Morse Code that they would be adequate to predict intelligent life elsewhere. So, my point is let’s supply the reasonable standard. If we see a fine-tuned universe, what’s more likely, someone fine-tuned it, or it fine-tuned itself? Could the universe have created itself out of nothing? Is there some alternative explanation for the data at hand? No. So I’m simply saying let’s go with the best explanation. By the way my argument isn’t eternal. If twenty years from now you had a scientific explanation that was better, that said, “Hey, we figured it all out,” I would go with that. I would have to drop this argument. I’m saying that in the current mode of knowledge and thinking this is a successful explanation. You can’t change the subject and say, “Well, now explain the Holocaust.” That requires a different set of rebuttals. I would say the Holocaust is the product of free will. God didn’t do the Holocaust, Hitler did, the Nazis did. To try to deflect blame to God for human action voluntarily undertaken is to minimize the human capacity for evil. But whether or not that argument works, it has nothing to do with the design argument. And, finally, morality, very briefly: again, if evolution could adequately account for morality—let’s remember that the atheist premise is that we are evolved creatures in the world and that’s it. So evolution has to do a lot of work. It has to explain the human desire to give blood to strangers. If it can’t do that, then it fails as an adequate explanation for a very important form of human behavior, morality, that is seen in every culture known to man. It requires explanation. I have an alternative explanation: that in human beings there are two parts. We are evolutionary creatures in the world (that explains why we desire sex and we desire food to survive, to reproduce) but then I have this other thing inside of me, what Adam Smith calls the impartial spectator, and that’s another voice. And it’s in me but it’s not of me. In fact, it’s often stopping me from doing what I want to do. It’s blocking my self-interest. Where does that come from? How does evolution account for that? So I’m saying that the God hypothesis casts more light on that subject, the hypothesis of a moral lawgiver. In fact, even the hypothesis of a life to come, you may say a final court, in which our moral deeds will be adjudicated, explains why we act the way we do now. Otherwise, our own behavior is incomprehensible to us. That’s the strength of the presuppositional argument.

    REA: Do you want to comment on this or just take my question for you?

    HITCHENS: I think—well, both. I’ll stand up for your question and see if I can do both. But I know people are impatient to get to the next segment. Bring it on.

    REA: My question for you is very quick. Your argument seems to rest on the idea that religion is an explanatory enterprise and that the warrant for believing the doctrines of a particular religion comes from their explanatory value. Why would you think that?

    HITCHENS: Well, because of religion’s own very large claims. And because—something I didn’t have time to go into—because not all these religions can be simultaneously true. I mean, there are enormous numbers of competing religions, it’s another reason that it’s obvious to me that they’re man-made. It’s what you would expect if it was man-made: there’d be lots of religions with incompatible claims and theologies and that this would lead to further quarrelling. Either one of them is completely true, as the Roman Church used to say, it was the one true church, some of its members still do, or all of them are false, or all of them are true, which, of course, can’t be true. Now to Dinesh and the matter of anomalies and the question of ex nihilo: half the time when I debate it’s people saying nothing can come from nothing, you can’t get something from nothing, so since there is something, someone must have wanted there to be something (not I think a very impressive syllogism). I can’t do it all this evening, but it’s very easy for anyone to go and see Professor Lawrence Krauss deliver his brilliant lecture online called “A Whole Universe From Nothing” which explains to you how indeed you can get very large numbers of things from nothing with the proper understanding of quantum theory and then tonight Dinesh says, “Really there was nothing and the Hebrews were so clever that they knew that and therefore they must have been right about God as well.” This is ridiculous. The ancient Hebrews also thought that God made man and women out of nothing, or out of dust and clay, whereas we have an exact knowledge, or an increasingly exact knowledge of precisely the genetic materials in common with other creatures from which we were assembled. And then not content with that, he says biblical prophecy is true in respect to Palestine. This is an extraordinary thing and you were right to mention the Holocaust. If it’s true that God wanted the Jews to get back to Palestine, then it must have been true that he wanted their exile to be ended (the Galut as it’s known to Zionism, the exile, the wandering) and we know how that wandering was ended: by Christian Europe throwing living Jewish babies into furnaces. Well that must be part of the plan then, musn’t it? And some rabbis used to claim that, by the way. They used to claim that the Holocaust was punishment for exile. And then people started to desert the synagogue, so they shut up about it until the ’67 war. And then when the Israeli army got the Wailing Wall back they said, “Ah, we shouldn’t have spoken so quickly. Actually, this was what God always had in mind: the conquest by Jews of Palestinians.” Well you see how brilliantly that’s worked out. I don’t think it’s wise or moral or decent to try and detect the finger of God in human quarrels. I think the enterprise is futile and it incidentally shows the absurdity of all arguments from design. Thank you.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 1: Thank you both for coming tonight. I’m wondering if either or both of you can acknowledge—or rather I’d like to hear your feelings on the possibility of your thoughts and your theories on religion, or lack of a god being simply a product of your environment. Or to phrase another way: if you were born to a different family, in a different place, perhaps with a different skin color, Christopher, would you still be an atheist and Dinesh, would you still be (I’m assuming) Christian, a believer in religion, or could the roles be completely reversed and are your theories and thoughts based strictly on your upbringing?

    HITCHENS: Well, was it to me first? Well in that case I can start with a compliment to Dinesh because in one of his books he tells the story of asking his father in India, “Daddy, everyone around here seems to be Hindu, with quite a few Muslims. Why are we Christians?” And his father said, “Because, Dinesh, my lad, the Portuguese inquisition got to this part of India first,” which is, in fact, the full and complete explanation for that.

    D’SOUZA: Actually…

    HITCHENS: So, you can tell Dinesh is well brought up in this respect and he’s made the most of it. Obviously in my case, this does not apply because—I mean, obviously if you ask someone in Buffalo, “Why’d you go to the Roman Catholic church?” he’ll say, “Because my parents were from [Posnac].” It’s the overwhelmingly probable explanation. “Why’d you go to a Greek Orthodox church?” “My parents were born in Thessaloniki.” Of course this is true. But there are a lot of people who convert. In fact, quite a large number of Muslims on their way out of Islam embrace Christianity, which is a very risky thing to do. It must be something they care a lot about and I think one should take seriously. And there was relatively easy for me, being born in England and emigrating to America, to leave the Church of England behind. That, believe me, is no sweat. Our great religious poet—our great Christian poet George Herbert refers to the “sweet mediocrity of our native church.“ What do you get if you cross an Anglican with a Jehovah’s Witness? Someone who comes to door and bothers you for no particular reason. So, enough from me.

    D’SOUZA: Well, I think we have an environmental explanation for Christopher’s skepticism: he was raised in a religion that was based on the family values of Henry VIII. Enough said.

    HITCHENS: That’s right.

    D’SOUZA: Now, with regard to the Indian explanation, his explanation is true but incomplete. And here’s the point: my grandfather did say that to me and I began to read Indian history, and I realized that a handful of Portuguese missionaries, inquisitorial or not, would have a pretty hard time converting hundreds of thousands of people. And Indian historians who look at it have a better explanation: it’s called the caste system. See, if you were born into the Hindu caste system, and you were one of the guys on the lower rungs of the ladder, to put it somewhat bluntly, you were screwed. It didn’t matter what merit you had, you couldn’t rise up and neither could your children. So along come these greedy missionaries and maybe they had swords, but the truth of it is a lot of Indians were very eager to get out of the caste system. They didn’t need the swords. They rushed into the arms of the missionaries because they promised something that the Hindus couldn’t: universal brotherhood. It wasn’t always practiced, but even the idea of it, the principle of it was hugely appealing and that’s why there were mass conversions, not only to Christianity, but also to Islam, which makes a similar promise. So this is the historical landscape. A final point about this is that we’re committing here what could be called a genetic fallacy. We do it with religion, we can always can see the fallacy if we apply it to any other area. For example, it is very probable there are more people who believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution who come from Oxford, England than who come from Oxford, Mississippi. It’s probably equally true that there are more people who believe in Einstein’s theory of relativity who come from New York than who come from New Guinea. What does this say about whether Einstein’s theory is correct or no? Nothing. The origins of your ideas have no bearing on whether they’re true or not. So, wherever Christopher and I got our ideologies or our religious convictions, you should weigh our arguments on the merits. Thank you.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: Mr. D’Souza, you mentioned that you would only speak basically in secular terms, in terms of defending your faith without appealing to Revelation or anything of that sort. Do you feel that there is an advantage for the world population at large for religious people to be required to defend their faith in such a venue or do you feel that we would be better off if you had the luxury of only defending your faith within congregations of the faithful and without counterpart skeptics to demand that sort of intellectual line?

    D’SOUZA: I’ve argued that I think Christians need to learn to be bilingual. And by that I mean to speak, perhaps, two languages: a Christian language at home, or in church, and a more secular language in the public square. Not because we want to wear two faces, but because we want to make our arguments accessible to people who may not share our assumptions. And so, a lot of times if someone says, you know, “What do you think about gay marriage?” the Christian opens up to the Book of Leviticus not recognizing that the person he’s talking to does not recognize the authority of Leviticus to decide the matter. So it becomes a futile enterprise, two ships in the night. The only way to have debate is to meet on some common ground and in that sense, I think, in a democratic society the common ground of reason is a perfectly appropriate language for democratic discourse. So what we’re doing here is a secular, intellectual enterprise. If was speaking, as I sometimes do, in a megachurch or at a Catholic event, I might speak in a little different language but that’s because I’m speaking to an audience with different assumptions.


    REA: [Cutting off the next audience member to offer Hitchens a chance to respond] I’m sorry…

    HITCHENS: No, no, it was for Dinesh.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: I’m Ian from the Michiana Skeptics. My question is for Dinesh. (Christopher, you kind of addressed this already.) It’s on the issue of spontaneous generation. Dinesh, you used the analogy with the jet being spontaneously put together by a thunderstorm, you know, in a junkyard of sorts. I was wondering how you defend the argument that it’s more likely a creator did this when even though it’s unlikely that, say, you know, something would’ve randomly created a cell or a molecule over time. But still in the infinite expanse of things, in the vast amount of time that the universe has existed some miniscule probability that this could’ve all come about versus this blatant argument that it must have been this because it’s improbably and there is no real backing for the reverse argument. How do you, you know, how do you counteract this? And also, if you had have anything to add to this, Christopher?

    D’SOUZA: It is true that one can always, by rerigging the assumptions, create new probabilities. So for example, there are many physicists who have computed that if you look at all the particles of matter in the entire universe, the chance of them randomly assembling to a produce a cell is essentially zero. However, you can increase that probability by adding universes and there are many cosmologists who say, “Well, what if there are a thousand universes? Or an infinity of universes? Then, in the infinity of time”—that’s a problematic statement in itself—”but with an infinity of universes, an infinity of transactions, even improbable events do occur.” The problem with that is, you can call it not only a scandalous violation of Ockham’s razor, it’s essentially syllogistic promiscuity. Because what is the evidence that there is even one other universe other than our own? Empirically, none. You’re essentially making up universes to account for the anomalies of the universe we have. So, which is more likely? It’s almost as if the atheist who’s tried to abolish one invisible god has to fabricate an infinity of invisible universes. I mean, I’d like to believe that but frankly I don’t have that much faith.

    HITCHENS: The person violating the principle of William of Ockham here, I think though, Dinesh, is you. I mean, everyone remembers what Laplace said to Napoleon when he produced his—he was the greatest scientist of his day—his orrery, the solar system as viewed from the outside, never been done before in model form and the Emperor said, “Well, there doesn’t seem to be any God in this apparatus,” and Laplace said, “Well, Your Majesty, it happens to operate perfectly well without that assumption.” So it does. Dinesh asked earlier and I should have taken him up on it, isn’t it the case that the three questions where are we from? where are we going? and why are we here? there are three “nopes” from our side. That’s not true at all. It was incredible that he alleged it. To the question of where are we from, both in the macro and the micro term, where did we come from, the cosmological, the Big Bang and the micro, the unraveling of the human string of DNA and our kinship with other animals and indeed other forms of non-animal life. We are enormously to a greater extent well-informed about our origins and what we don’t know we don’t claim to know—very important. My admitting that I don’t know exactly how it began is not at all the same as Dinesh’s admission that he doesn’t know either because he feels he has to know, because if it’s not a matter of faith and not a matter of God he can’t say he believes in it a little bit, it must be a real belief to be genuine, and it must have some explanatory value. And he doesn’t hold it very strongly and it doesn’t explain anything for which we have better explanations. Likewise about where we’re going: we have a very good idea now of the time and the place, if you like—the time anyway when our universe and sun and indeed the cosmos will come to an end. Dinesh might say, “Well then if you look at the Bible it proves right all those who said the end of the world is at hand. There’s biblical authority, it just proves me right all along.” Yes, except that they said that by repenting you could prevent this outcome, which you cannot, ladies and gentlemen, ok? As to why are we here, good question, to which there’s so far no good answer and I suggest you keep the argument about that open and sharpen the questions and consider the infinite possible variety of answers and train your mind that way. Don’t say you already know why you’re here, that someone wants you to be here, that you’re fathered, that you’re protected, that it’s all part of a divine plan. You can’t know that and you shouldn’t say it. There.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 4: I want to get back to the basics of this debate and Professor D’Souza, you touched on this a little bit using the free will argument. I want to know ho you can reconcile your statement that belief is a good thing when so many lives have been lost due to the differing opinions of religious views.

    D’SOUZA: That is a—that is true, although historically greatly overstated. The Inquisition: when I was a student at Dartmouth, if you had asked me how many people were killed in the Inquisition, I would’ve said hundreds of thousands, maybe millions; horrible blot on Western history. Truth of it is, these things are carefully studied. Henry Kamen has a multi-volume study of the Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition was the worst and over 350 years the number of people killed in the Inquisition was fewer than 2,000. Now, 2,000 people, 350 years, it works out to about five guys a year, not normally considered a world historical crime. Now, is that 2,000 too many? Yes. But my point is that while the atheists are often crying crocodile tears over the crimes of religion—crimes that, by the way, often occurred 500 or 1,000 years ago—what about the vastly greater crimes of atheist regimes committed in our own lifetime in the last century and they’re still going on. If you take Hitler, Stalin, and Mao alone, the three of them, collectively in the space of a few decades killed close to 100 million people. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. What about Ceausescu, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot? Pol Pot, he’s a junior-league atheist. Normally you don’t even name the guy, but his Khmer Rouge regime in Indochina following the Vietnam War kills about two million in about three years. Two million. Even Bin Laden in his wildest dreams doesn’t even come close. So I’m all for looking at the historical record, but let’s look at it fairly and not blame religion for crimes when there are vastly greater and more recent crimes committed by atheist regimes. Let’s look at all sides of the ledger.

    HITCHENS: There’s a factual and a theoretical comment to be made on that. First, I think you’re flat our wrong on the Inquisition, not that the numbers game is crucial, but the Inquisition in the Americas caused Father Bartolomeo de las Casas to convene a great meeting at the University of Salamanca to consider whether the Christian world should ever have gone as conquistadors because the genocidal price paid by the people of old Columbia, pre-Columbia, was so high. Slavery, burning, torture—no one knows the numbers are but they’re horrifying. Second, the Thirty Years War has to be considered a war of religion and we don’t know how many were killed there either but the retarding of civilization was absolutely gigantic as well as the appalling harvest of innocent population. Third, at the beginning of the First World War (a clash of empires) all the leaders were, in a sense, theocrats. The Ottoman Empire was a theocracy by definition; Kaiser Wilhelm II was the head of the Protestant Church in Germany; the czar of Russia was the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia; the King Emperor of Britain, George V, was the head of the Church of England, as you say, rightly founded on the family values of Henry VIII. Civilization has not recovered from the retarding process of that war either. In fact, we never will get over what happened in that war, and those are wars of religion. Just to stay with the point of fact and on the secular, the allegation that the other killers are secular: of the first one you mentioned, Adolph Hitler, it has to be said that—I can almost give you the page reference of Mein Kampf, where he says that his desire to slaughter the Jews is because of his fealty to the work of the Lord. He regards it as a holy cause, that’s in Mein Kampf. Maybe he doesn’t have the authority to say that, but you can’t call him secular. On the belt buckle of every Nazi soldier it read, “Gott mit Uns”. Every single one of them, “God on our side” just as the confederacy had Deo Vindice as its official motto in the Civil War for slavery. It’s been calculated by the Catholic historian Paul Johnson that up to one-third of the SS were confessing Catholics. If you change the word “fascism” —if you take it out of the history of the 1930s, just remove it, pretend it doesn’t exist, call it a propaganda word, insert instead “extreme Christian right wing”, you don’t have to alter a thing about the spread of fascism from Portugal through Spain across to Croatia, to Slovakia where the head of the Nazi puppet regime was a priest in Holy Orders, Father Tiso. Vishy, Austria, you know the story, or if you don’t you should or anyone here who considers themselves a Catholic should know that. This is not, I’m sorry to say ladies and gentlemen, secularism. Of the others, I would actually say Pol Pot had a very extreme idea of the restoration of the old Buddhist authority known as the Angkor, but let me not quarrel too much. What was wrong with these heroic mass murderers? That they all thought they could bring about an ultimate history. They all thought that, with them, history would be consummated; history would, in fact, come to an end. They were Messianic. The whole problem to begin with is the idea that human beings can be perfected by force or by faith, or by conquest, or by inquisition. That can take an explicitly religious form or just another messianic form but it reinforces the point I began with: take nothing for certain, don’t believe in any absolutism, don’t believe in any totalitarianism, don’t ask for any supreme leader in the sky, or on earth for that way lies madness and torture and murder and always will.

    D’SOUZA: May I answer briefly, just given the nature of the topic? Let me say very briefly, first of all, las Casas was not protesting the work of the Inquisition, he was protesting the work of the conquistadors. There’s a big difference between the Spaniards who came for greed and gold and to take slaves and the church, which sent missionaries. The missionaries were on the side of the Indians and convened the debate at Salamanca at which the Pope decided that the Indians have souls and that the conquest should be stopped. Never in human history, by the way, has a ruler ordered a conquest stopped for moral reasons and it was the missionaries who made that argument. So, factually it is not true that the deaths of the Indians, most of which, by the way, were through malaria and other diseases to which they had no immunities, but it had nothing to do with the missionaries. It was driven by the greed of the conquistadors. The Thirty Years War: look at the history of the Thirty Years War and you’ll see—look at the alliances: if they broke down neatly in Catholic versus Protestant, you could say that it was a religious war, but they didn’t. Catholic France began to ally with the Protestants the moment that the Protestants began to lose. Right away you see the territorial wars over power and land are now being presented as wars of religion. Was World War I a religious war? That would make every war a religious war. World War II was a religious war. In other words, just because France is Catholic and England is Protestant doesn’t make it a religious war if they’re fighting over territory. Hitler: now here we have to be a little careful because in Mein Kampf

    HITCHENS: Yes, we do.

    D’SOUZA: …Hitler has a long section on propaganda in which he say do not be afraid to lie to make your case. There is a book edited by the distinguished historian Hugh Trevor-Roper called Hitler’s Table Talk. It gives detailed accounts assembled by Martin Bormann himself of Hitler’s views on a wide range of subjects. Hitler hated Christianity. He was not a religious believer. He might have been some sort of a teutonic pagan. He might have believed a weird form of ancient polytheism, but no recognizable form of monotheism and he detested Christianity.

    HITCHENS: Not so.

    D’SOUZA: And “doing the Lord’s work” was tactical: he wanted the support of the Bavarian Catholics and the Lutheran Protestants and so he invented what he called the Aryan Christ, the Christ who comes back to avenge himself on the Jews. The churches didn’t go for it, so this is a complex history, I’ve written about it myself. The bottom line of it is, my point isn’t that Hitler was an atheist…

    HITCHENS: Good.

    D’SOUZA: …but that the twentieth century saw secular regimes which tried to get rid of traditional religion and morality and establish a new man and a new utopia, the secular paradise and look what it brought us: an ocean of blood, a mountain of bodies. So for this reason I’m concluding that it is this effort to enforce secular utopia, and not religion, that is responsible for the mass murders of history.

    REA [To Hitchens]: You can reply quickly if you like and then we’ll go back to.

    HITCHENS: I’ll be very quick.

    REA: I’m going to let the questions go about eight minutes over time…

    HITCHENS: Oh good.

    REA: …because we started late and then we’ll wrap up.

    HITCHENS: No, I should be quick. In that case, Dinesh, you gracefully withdraw the allegation that National Socialism and fascism were secular or atheistic and I’m grateful for your generosity. Second, that people change sides in religious wars for opportunist reasons doesn’t particularly surprise me. You can spend a lot of time telling a Protestant in Northern Ireland, who has a picture of King William painted on the side of his house, that when King William fought the Battle of the Boyne, his ally was the Pope. The Protestant sort of knows this—the Ulster Protestant—but he doesn’t really believe it’s true; happens to be true. Of course it’s opportunistic. Why is it opportunistic? Because religion is man-made, as I began by saying. It’s what you would expect if religion was the creation of aggressive, fearful primates. It’s exactly what you would expect and the same would be true of its non-religious attempts to create paradise. Because it’s asking too much of people and it leads to fanaticism and torture and murder and war, so all you’ve succeeded in doing is replacing the question. No, there’s no teleology; no, there’s no eschatology; no, there’s no ultimate history; no, there’s no redemption; no, there are no supreme leaders here or anywhere else. Thank you.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: Thank you both for the though-provoking ideas you’ve presented. I have questions about the scientific things that you mentioned. One was sort of raised earlier. You mentioned the cell as this complex thing as if it is theorized that it arose spontaneously, and I may be out-of-date, but I remember reading theories at some points about more chemical molecules that began reproducing much before any actual cells and wouldn’t that be an explanation of earlier life? And the second one has to do with the perfectly tuned universe and whether the logic of saying that life exists that fits this perfectly tuned universe is an indication of that somehow divinely created fits with the idea that there’s evolution and that if the universe is tuned in a certain way that the only possibility of life with that tuning is life as it exists now and perhaps it would be presumptuous of us to say that if it were tuned differently there wouldn’t be some other way that different forms of life would have arisen.

    D’SOUZA: Let me address those points in sequence. With regard to the cell, Darwin speculated that it might have come about in a warm pond. In the 1950s there were some experiments that generated some amino acids and there was a lot of excitement thinking that there might be a way to recreate in the laboratory the ingredients of life. Those experiments haven’t gone anywhere but more importantly that in the real world wasn’t a laboratory. If you could recreate the ingredients in a laboratory using all the laboratory apparatus it doesn’t mean it happened. You have to show that it happened that way in nature. So, the point I’m simply saying is that based on current knowledge—and all arguments have to be based on what we know now. We’re all open to new ideas in the future. There is currently no good explanation. And all I’m saying is that in any other sphere of life—if I was walking down and I looked in an alley and I see a head rolling around, I conclude that somebody committed suicide or somebody killed someone. It’s a reasonable inference from the data. You could say, “Well, that’s a rather presumptuous conclusion. There might have been natural ways in which the head detached itself from&mdash there could be, but what’s the most plausible under the circumstances? Normally, when we see intelligent activity&mdash what is science but an effort to excavate intelligence out of nature? The reason we need Newton and Einstein is because intelligence is hidden in nature. E=mc2 doesn’t jump out at you. You got to test nature and pull it out. So if nature is an embodiment, a network of intelligent systems, isn’t the most reasonable explanation that intelligence put it there? If we need intelligence to get it out, how’d it get there in the first place? This seems to me nothing more than to be a direct inference from the facts. Now, I want to then say a word about Larry Krauss, who was mentioned earlier (the physicist, the universe coming out of nothing). There’s a lot of verbal jugglery that’s going into all of this. Imagine if I were to try to show the following: money comes out of nothing. Proof? All assets will be counted as “plus”; all liabilities will be counted as “minus”; the pluses and minus cancel out. We have money, but there’s a zero on the balance sheet. Money comes out of nothing. You would say this is a little bit slight-of-hand. Basically what’s going on today is what physicists like Krauss do is they identify all energy as positive but all gravitational energy as negative. They presume that the total amount of positive and negative energy cancels out and therefore the universe came out of nothing. It didn’t really come out of nothing, there’s a whole lot of energy there, but by defining one kind of energy as plus and another kind of energy as minus, presto, they cancel out and you’ve got&mdash so what I’m getting at here is that I want to show the acrobatics to which modern atheism has to go. This, by the way, is not science. Krauss is trying to make an atheist argument in an atheist venue drawing on science. But I’m saying look at the lengths to which the guy has to go to try to defy the normal operations of reason to tell us not only a molecule but an entire universe&mdash wow&mdash popped out of absolutely nothing. You can believe if it you want to, but it sure does take a lot of credulity.

    HITCHENS: I’ll try and be terse but&mdash First, I earnestly entreat you, ladies and gentlemen, to watch Professor Krauss’ lecture for yourself and not accept that [perdoded] version of it. On the nothing question as it touches on ourselves: as it happens, it’s rather more marvelous than almost anything in any holy book. All the elements from which we and our surroundings are made are from exploded stars, from the stars that blow up and die at the rate of one every second and have been doing that since the Big Bang. Isn’t it rather magical to think we’re all made out of stardust. “Never mind,” as Professor Krauss said, “never mind the martyrs, stars had to die so that we could live.” This is a very essential reflection to be having and it dwarfs the religious explanations. You didn’t notice Dinesh that the gentlemen asked at the end, “Couldn’t it have turned out another way?” which I think was possibly the crux of his question. I’d recommend another study to you. Professor Stephen Jay Gould, who I mentioned flaterringly earlier, despite my disagreement with him about the non-overlapping magisteria, did a marvelous paleontological book called The Burgess Shale. This is a half of mountain that has fallen away in the Canadian Rockies, revealing the whole interior core of a great mountain. So you—and you can read of, as if on a screen the—it’s more like a bush, actually, than a tree—all the little tendrils of evolution of reptiles, birds, plants and so on, as they sprout up, branch up, and so on. And many of stop, nothing happened to them. They were quite promising but they went nowhere. And it doesn’t go up like a tree, it goes all over the place like a bush. “Well,” says Professor Gould, “it’s one of the most unsettling vertiginous thoughts I’ve ever heard from a paleontologist. Suppose that we could—which, in a way we can, rewind this, as if onto a tape—get the Burgess Shale, get the outlines, rewind it, play it again. There’s absolutely no certainty it would come out the same way, that all those branches would go off and diverge and die out or flourish in the way in the way that they do—as they did. It’s completely governed by uncertainty.

    REA: Christopher, we…

    HITCHENS: Any number of conceivable outcomes up with which evolution could have come, it’s another version of our selfishness, our self-regard, I might say, our solipsism, that we cannot uneasily convince ourselves that all of this happened so that the Pope could condemn masturbation, say.

    D’SOUZA: A brief—if I could a very brief rebuttal: we’re now plumbing into the depths here a little bit. I do want to point out that Gould’s thesis (rewind the tape of life and it would come out differently) which is by now a few decades old, is challenged by the world’s leading expert on the Burgess Shale, Simon Conway Morris, a paleontologist in England and also by Christian de Duve, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, and their argument is no, thath essentially Gould had it wrong. Gould was guessing that every evolutionary pathway would cut very differently but the latest evidence is that that’s not so. Consider the evolution of the eye. For a long time, in a sense, 6,000-year creationists would say, “How could the eye evolve?” Turns out that the eye has evolved multiple times and it’s evolved in similar ways. That is telling us that evolution is not this random thicket, it tends to converge to solutions that are similar, even when faced with different kinds of organisms and different kinds of problems. So, I recommend to you not only Conway Morris and de Duve, but also a book called Rare Earth by a paleontologist Brownlee which basically looks at why we haven’t found life on other planets, Rare Earth. And the conclusion is that conditions for life to exist are so particular that it’s actually reasonable to expect that life exists only here, only on this planet. It seems almost incredible, but when you think about it it actually makes sense. Consider this: our life is completely dependent on the sun. The sun is eight…

    REA: This is more than brief.

    D’SOUZA: Oh, you’re right. I’m being carried away. So I’ll stop here and we’ll go to the next question.

    REA [to Hitchens]: Do you have a very brief reply?

    HITCHENS: It’s so nice that—and how much we’ve progressed. No one now argues against the evolution of the eye. Now the argument of the evolution of the eye is completely conceded, and then it’s used against Stephen Jay Gould. The thing to read there is Richard Dawkins’ chapter on the multiple evolutions of the eye including the fish who have four is to be found in Climbing to Mount Improbable to which I also recommend you. As for—I agree that it’s overwhelmingly likely that our planet is the only one that supports life. Certainly we know in our own little suburb of the solar system that all the other planets don’t support life. They’re either much too hot or much too cold as are large tracks of our planet and we have every reason to know now that we live on a climatic knife edge and in the meantime, our sun is preparing to blow up and become a red dwarf. I ask you, whose design is that?

    REA: We will take one more question. I’m going to ask each of our speakers to let their reply to this question also double as their closing remarks.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 6: Now I feel bad, it better be a good one.

    HITCHENS: Choose well.


    HITCHENS: Tread softly for you tread on our dreams.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER 6: My question is for Mr. Dinesh: You talked before about the improbability of a lot of things and given the improbability, the necessary meaning of certain things, so because it’s so—because of the improbability of life in some circumstances, because of the uniqueness of life here that this implies something. How would you respond to the thought that maybe there doesn’t have to be any meaning, that, say, as existentialists would say, there’s no inherent meaning, but we can create our own meaning, so, I guess my question is why must some inherent purpose or some trajectory? Why can’t things have just happened, albeit it very improbably?

    D’SOUZA: I think that you misunderstand my argument if it is an inference to meaning. I’m not saying, “We have improbable events, we’ve got to figure out some kind of meaning.” No, I’m making inference to a cause. David Hume, the great skeptic, said, “There is no event that occurs without a cause.” Now true, in the weird world of the quantum we can find exceptions to that rule but quantum effects cancel out when you come to macroscopic objects and whenever you hear someone say, “Consciousness? I really don’t know what that is but perhaps it’s a quantum thing,” he’s basically saying he doesn’t know. The quantum is invoked to explain things that are unexplained. Here’s my point, here’s the argument tightened up: everything that has a beginning, all material objects that have a beginning have a cause. The universe is a material object that has a beginning. The universe has a cause. The cause could be natural or supernatural. The cause cannot be natural, because nature can’t cause itself (unless Professor Krauss is right). Since the cause can’t be natural, it’s more believable that a supernatural being and moreover a supernatural being with a lot of power and a lot of knowledge, and a lot of concern for us because life is the outcome of this process. These are reasonable inferences to a cause. I mentioned earlier the three big questions. Christopher said science had provided answers and he restated all my three questions, so none of them were my original questions. So for example, when I said, “Where are we going?” my point was, what happens after we die? Is there life after death? We don’t know. The atheist doesn’t know, the believer doesn’t know. The atheist who says there isn’t, just like the believer who says there is, is making a leap of faith. Christopher avoided the question by changing it to “Will the universe come to an end? Will the sun blow up?” That wasn’t my point. My point is what comes—what happens to us after we die? That is unknown. Science has no insight on that question. And here’s a final thought: very often we use evolution as a catch-all explanation, but we don’t subject evolution to the critical scrutiny that we subject religion. For example, Christopher invoked earlier, and it’s been repeatedly invoked, Freud’s idea that we invent the afterlife because we want to live forever. We’re upset with life, we have suffering, we have death, we imagine another world that’s better, no suffering, no death: heaven. Now, the only problem with this is, first of all, is that religions not only posit heaven, they also posit hell. And if you’re going to make up another world to compensate for the difficulties of this one it’s very odd you would make up hell. Hell’s a lot worse than diabetes, or even death, because death is just turning off the computer. But there’s an evolutionary argument against this that has now discredited the Freudian explanation and what is that? Evolution says that we are creatures programmed to survive and reproduce. It is very costly for us to invent schemes that are not true and to invest costly resources, especially for primitive man, to give money to priests to build cathedrals and pyramids, to invest in the next life. Evolution ruthlessly punishes that kind of extravagance. And that’s why this Freudian theory, which was very fashionable 60 years ago has fallen into disrepute among scholars. It makes no evolutionary sense. So the bottom line I’m getting at here is, in a debate like this—I’ve been very pleased with this debate, I think it has been actually at a higher level than a lot of debates on this kind of a topic and even some of our debates. I think we’ve been able to raise it to another level. Ultimately I think I want to show that the believer’s position, no less than the atheist’s, is an attempt to grapple with the facts, to make sense of the data, to illuminate rationally the world that we live in. Faith is not a substitute for reason. Faith only kicks in when reason comes to an end. When there are explanations and they stop. I date my wife for three years, I then want to decide if I should propose. I put in reason, I try to see where it goes. But then I say, “What is life going to be with her for the next 50 years?” And there’s no way to know. I can say, “Well, I’m going to be an agnostic. I’m going to wait for the data to come in.” Well, if I do that, she’ll marry someone else so we’ll both be dead. The data will never be in. At some point, rational knowledge has to give way to practical action and faith is the bridge between limited, always limited human knowledge, and the inevitability and necessity of human action. That, ultimately, is something that knowledge can teach us. Thank you very much.

    HITCHENS: Well, if I’m not mistaken that was a “meaning of life” question though, wasn’t it? Whence forth meaning? Good, a good way of winding up, if you like.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER [From the back of the hall]: Forty-two!

    REA: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    HITCHENS: I missed something there. It went passed my bat. And slightly put me off my stroke as well, just a second. Where was I? Yes, meaning. But before I go to that, just a two things on Dinesh in his last remarks. I don’t think it can fairly be said in front of an audience like this that the refusal to take a faith-based position which has no evidence—in other words, a belief that there is an afterlife or a belief that there is a supreme being—if I say, “I don’t believe it because there’s no evidence for it,” it isn’t even casuistry to say that that is, on my part, a faith-based statement. It’s instead a refusal of faith and a refusal to use it as a method of reasoning. So, it’s not comparing like with like at all. Second, not just completely to defend Sigmund Freud, Dinesh is right in criticizing Freud’s Future of an Illusion to the extent that when people are subject to wish thinking, we might expect them to be purely hedonistic, only to want the best, to say, “Let’s imagine a comforting future while we are about it, is something that will cheer us all up.” As a matter of fact we’re not as nice as all that. We don’t want everyone going to hell—excuse me, we don’t want everyone going to heaven. As the old English sect used to say, “We are the pure and chosen few and all the rest are damned. There’s room enough in hell for you, we don’t want heaven crammed.” And the great existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre said that hell is other people, but actually what many people mean is hell is for other people and they have just a strong a wish thought that other people suffer eternally as they have the thought and the wish for themselves that they should be in paradise. You can see it very explicitly when you see other versions of the paradise myth like the Muslim one, or early Christian versions where part of the pleasure of being in heaven was knowing that other people were burning forever. And that’s what you’d expect from a predatory, fearful, partly-evolved, primate species that was making up a religious story about itself. It sounds exactly as you would expect it to do. Alright, well believing in none of that, in fact thinking it’s an evil and futile belief, people have the nerve to ask me, “Well, if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, what gives you life meaning?” Do you not detect a slight insult as well as a slight irrationality to that question? You mean I’d have much more meaning in my life if I thought that I would die and I’d be given one chance, or would have been given, while I was alive, one chance, that if I’d make a mistake, I’d be condemned eternally, that that was the kind of judge I’d be facing. And in the mean time, it would advisable to live my life in propitiation of this supernatural dictator. That would lend more meaning to my life, than my view counter to Pascal, contre Pascal, that if there’s any such church, I’ll be able to say, “At least I never faked belief in you in order to win your approbation, sir,” (or ma’am, as the case may be) and if you are as reported, you have detected my thoughts, and at least I wasn’t a hypocrite. Pascal says, “No, at least pretend you believe, it’s win-win.” This is corrupt reasoning. It’s the reasoning of the huckster and it lends no meaning to life at all. Still, why do I care? For example, why do I care? Why do I care about Rwanda? Why do care about my Iranian friends fighting theocracy? Why do I give up my own time to them? Well I’ll tell you why, and I say it, I suppose, at the risk of embarrassment: it gives me great pleasure to do so. I like to that I’m—since we only have one life to live that I can help people make it free as best I can and assist them in their real struggle for liberty, which in its most essential form is the struggle against theocracy, which is the original form that dictatorship and violation of human rights actually takes. I enjoy doing it and I enjoy the sort of people it makes me come in contact with. And I like giving blood. (Passively, I mean.) I don’t like spilling it but I don’t mind having it run off me in a pint because, strangely enough, it’s a pleasurable sensation. And you know that someone else is getting a pint of blood and you aren’t losing one because with a strong cup of tea or bloody Mary, you’ll get it back—or both, you’ll get it back. So it used to appeal to me in my old socialist days, it’s the perfect model for human solidarity. It’s in your interest to do it. Someone else benefits, you don’t lose and if like me you have a rare blood group, you hope that other people do the same thing so there’s enough blood when your own turn comes. And it’s an all-around agreeable experience and it’s not like being fearful of judgment. It’s much more meaningful than that. I think it’s often believed of people like myself there’s something joyless in our view. Where is the role in the atheist world, the unbelieving world, for the numinous or the ecstatic or the transcendent? Well, come on, those of us who can appreciate poetry and music and love and friendship and solidarity are not to be treated as if we have no imagination, as if we have no moral or emotional pulse, as if we don’t feel things at nightfall when music plays and friends are around, as if we don’t get great pleasure. When we meet, we don’t meet to repeat incantations we’ve had dinned into us since childhood. We don’t feel so insecure that we must incant and recite and go through routine and ritual. We meet to discuss our differences and to discuss the challenges to our world view…

    REA: Coming to a close.

    HITCHENS: …from people like Dinesh. We try and use the method of the Socratic dialogue even when its conclusions are unwelcome to ourselves and though, therefore I can’t recommend atheism as morally superior, I can say that at least it faces the consequences of its belief with a certain stoicism. We might wish for eternal life but we’re not going to award it to ourselves as a prize for work we haven’t yet done. So my closing recommendation is: why not try the stoical and Socratic life for yourself? Why not examine more close the tradition, the great tradition that we have, from Lucretius and Democritus that goes through Galileo, Spinoza, Voltaire, Einstein, Russell, and many others. A tradition, I think, much greater than the fearful and the propitiatory and the ritualistic. I’ve been enormously grateful for your kindness for having me here. I want to thank you again. Good night.

    REA: Thank you all for coming.



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”



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

…Please click on this URL

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
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.


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.


  • 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)


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,”


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.


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,,, 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

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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MUSIC MONDAY Vietnam War Protest Songs

Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction

Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix

Marvin Gaye ” What’s Going On ” Live 1972

Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

“Blowin’ in the Wind” – Bob Dylan | Vietnam War Montage

Edwin Starr – War (Original Video – 1969)

Uploaded on Dec 6, 2007

Original video of Edwin Starr singing his famous song: “War” [Original Music video from 1969]

Originally written under the Motown label, and first performed by The Temptations, “War” was later re-released as a single with Edwin Starr as vocals. This version is considered a more emotional version and has become the most popular protest song ever.


War, huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, oh hoh, oh
War huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again y’all
War, huh good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives

I said
War, huh good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War whoa Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Oh war, is an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest within the younger generation
Induction, then destruction who wants to die

War, good God, y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
War, uh huh, yeah, huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker

Oh, war has shattered many young man’s dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life it can only take it away, ooh

War, huh, good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again
War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Peace love and understanding tell me
Is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

War, huh, good God y’all
What is it good for?
You tell ’em, say it, say it, say it, say it
War, good Lord, huh
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it, nothing
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker

Best of 60s and 70s Music Songs | Vietnam War Music | Psychedelic Music | Hippie Music Mix

Published on Mar 16, 2017

Vietnam War Music
Vietnam War Music 1 Hour Mix
Vietnam War Music Playlist

Hey Guys ^^

My latest Vietnam War Mix is out. Enjoy 😀


__ Playlist __

00:01 The Bob Seger System – 2 + 2 =
02:48 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
05:11 The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for The Devil
11:30 The Animals – House of The Rising Sun
15:48 Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz
17:34 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
19:51 Johnny Wright – Hello Vietnam
22:57 The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black
26:40 Alice Cooper – Eighteen x ( muted )
29:32 The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin
33:54 Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild
37:07 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have you Ever seen The Rain (1x)
39:45 The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
44:17 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have you Ever seen The Rain (2x) Very Nice Song 😀
46:55 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Hello Mary Lou

Barry McGuire Eve of Destruction [1965]

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MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 6 Music Review: ‘Blue & Lonesome’ by the Rolling Stones By Gregory Katz | AP November 29

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 6 Rolling Stones – Just Like I Treat You   Music Review: ‘Blue & Lonesome’ by the Rolling Stones By Gregory Katz | AP November 29 The Rolling Stones, “Blue & Lonesome” (Interscope) It shouldn’t be a surprise, really, but still it’s a bit startling to hear just how well […]

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 5 Review: The Rolling Stones make blues magic on ‘Blue & Lonesome’ Maeve McDermott , USATODAY6:07 p.m. EST November 30, 2016

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 5 Rolling Stones – Everybody Knows About My Good Thing Review: The Rolling Stones make blues magic on ‘Blue & Lonesome’ Maeve McDermott , USATODAY6:07 p.m. EST November 30, 2016 (Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images) Before the Rolling Stones were rock icons, before its members turned into sex […]

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 4 Rolling Stones, ‘Blue & Lonesome’: Album Review By Michael Gallucci November 30, 2016 1:34 PM

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 4 Rolling Stones – Little Rain       Rolling Stones, ‘Blue & Lonesome’: Album Review By Michael Gallucci November 30, 2016 1:34 PM Read More: Rolling Stones, ‘Blue & Lonesome’: Album Review | The Rolling Stones were never really a thinking band. A shrewd one, for sure, […]

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 3 Rolling Stones – ‘Blue & Lonesome’ Review Barry Nicolson 12:52 pm – Dec 2, 2016

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 3 The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger chats about new album “Blue & Lonesome” on BBC Breakfast 02 Dec 2016 Rolling Stones – I Gotta Go     Rolling Stones – ‘Blue & Lonesome’ Review Barry Nicolson 12:52 pm – Dec 2, 2016 57shares The Stones sound their youngest […]

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 2 Review The Rolling Stones’ new blues album is an amplified death wheeze. And it rules

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 1 Review: The Rolling Stones Reinvigorate the Blues on ‘Blue and Lonesome’ Our take on rock legends’ first LP since 2005

MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones New Album Part 1 The Rolling Stones – Ride ‘Em On Down Published on Dec 1, 2016 Taken from Blue & Lonesome, the brand new album out now. Buy it at…. Directed by François Rousselet… Produced by Natalie Arnett Riff Raff Films Rolling Stones […]

MUSIC MONDAY Karen Carpenter’s tragic story

_____________ Carpenters Close To You Karen Carpenter’s tragic story Karen Carpenter’s velvet voice charmed millions in the 70s… but behind the wholesome image she was in turmoil. Desperate to look slim on stage – and above all desperate to please the domineering mother who preferred her brother – she became the first celebrity victim of […]

MUSIC MONDAY The Carpenters!!!

carpenters -We’ve Only Just Begun The Carpenters – Yesterday Once More (INCLUDES LYRICS) The Carpenters – There’s a kind of hush The Carpenters – Greatest Hits Related posts: MUSIC MONDAY Paul McCartney Mull Of Kintyre November 13, 2016 – 10:29 am Paul McCartney Mull Of Kintyre-Original Video-HQ Uploaded on Nov 25, 2011 Paul McCartney Mull Of […]