My Jan 10, 1996 Response Letter to Carl Sagan Part 3 (The struggle both Carl Sagan and Charles Darwin had because they couldn’t accept deep down that we were the products of chance!)

This post is the third in a series and the first and second deal with my response letter of January 10, 1996 to Carl Sagan and this post quotes from the letter and makes some conclusions about both Carl Sagan and Charles Darwin’s common views.

Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Image result for carl sagan

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Lynn Alexander married Carl Sagan when she was 19 years old. The happy couple at their wedding. Dorion Sagan, their first son, was born two years later

Image result for carl sagan first wife

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968. 

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Charles Darwin and Carl Sagan both could not accept that humans are not special and just a product of chance. They philosophically believed that we are the result of chance but Charles Darwin and Carl Sagan had to live  in the world that God made with the conscience that God gave them. This created a tension. As you know the movie CONTACT was written by Carl Sagan and it was about Dr. Arroway’s SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI) program and her desire to make contact with aliens and ask them questions. It is my view that Sagan should have examined more closely  the accuracy of the Bible and it’s fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament in particular before chasing after aliens from other planets for answers. Sagan himself had written,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995).

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky. However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie CONTACT?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

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Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Francis Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists.

Now let us look at Charles Darwin, and let me start by quoting Francis Schaeffer from his talk In the spring of 1968 which centered on Charles Darwin’s autobiography:

Darwin in his autobiography  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, 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. Darwin never came to a place of satisfaction. You have philosophically ONLY TWO possible beginnings. The first would be a PERSONAL beginning and the other would be an IMPERSONEL beginning plus time plus CHANCE. There is no other possible alternative except the alternative that everything comes out of nothing and that has to be a total nothing and that has to be a total nothing without mass, energy or motion existing. No one holds this last view because it is unthinkable. Darwin understood this and therefore until his death he was uncomfortable with the idea of CHANCE producing the biological variation. 

Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William 3 July 1881 (letter written less than a year before Darwin’s death and less than 40 years before your birth, Dr Barlow):

Nevertheless you have EXPRESSED MY INWARD CONVICTION, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is NOT THE RESULT OF CHANCE.* But THEN with me the HORRID DOUBT ALWAYS ARISES whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Francis Schaeffer comments:

Can you feel this man? He is in real agony. You can feel the whole of modern man in this tension with Darwin. My mind can’t accept that ultimate of chance, that the universe is a result of chance. He has said 3 or 4 times now that he can’t accept that it all happened by chance and then he will write someone else and say something different. How does he say this (about the mind of a monkey) and then put forth this grand theory? Wrong theory I feel but great just the same. Grand in the same way as when I look at many of the paintings today and I differ with their message but you must say the mark of the mannishness of man are one those paintings titanic-ally even though the message is wrong and this is the same with Darwin.  But how can he say you can’t think, you come from a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s conviction, so how can you trust me? Trust me here, but not there is what Darwin is saying. In other words it is very selective. 

Evidently Darwin was telling his friends that he was an agnostic and that he did not think that God had anything to do with it but it was all left to the hands of chance. Is that the way you are reading this?

What two pieces of evidence did Darwin wrestle with?

(Charles Darwin)

If you want evidence then you will only be given the same evidence that Charles Darwin had. I am going to quote 2 passages, and they both have a common message. That message has 3 points: 1) The conscience tells us of God’s existence. 2) Creatioon tells us the same. 3) If we reject both of those then God will eventually remove conviction from our hearts. 

Don’t hold this against me, but I got this first passage out of the current issue of CREATION MAGAZINE:

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…(Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, D. Appleton and Co., New York, 1911, Vol. a, page 29).

Romans 1:18-21 Amplified Bible:

18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is [#1] evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, [#2] being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 21 For even though [a]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [b]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their [#3] foolish heart was darkened.

Charles Darwin became an agnostic because he chose to reject the two pieces of evidence God gave him. Take a minute and read the enclosed letter to the editor of THE HUMANIST MAGAZINE. Where did our conscience come from if not from God? In your book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS you quote Darwin’s wife warning him of the dangers of scientism on page 47. Wouldn’t it be wise to heed her advice????

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Darwin and Sagan both realized just like modern man that humanism leads to meaningless. Francis Schaeffer in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? makes these points below concerning this:

Section 3 The humanist base leads to meaningless

An overwhelming number of modern thinkers agree that seeing the universe and man from a humanist base leads to meaningless, both for the universe and for man—not just mankind in general but for each of us as individuals. Professor Steven Weinberg wrote these words in his book THE FIRST 3 MINUTES: A MODERN VIEW OF THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE while he was looking down from an airplane:

  • It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning. … It is very hard to realize that this is all just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe. It is even harder to realise that this present universe has evolved from an unspeakably unfamiliar early condition, and faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat. The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
    • (1993), Epilogue, p. 154

When Weinberg says that the universe seems more “comprehensible,” he is, of course, referring to our greater understanding of the physical universe through the advance of science. But it is an understanding, notice, within a materialistic framework, which considers the universe solely in terms of physics and chemistry—-simply machinery.

If everything “faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat,” all things are meaningless.

Section 4 Tension results when you have an inadequate worldview

The greatest dilemma for those who hold an inadequate worldview is that it is impossible to live consistently within it. The playwright Samuel Beckett can “say” that words do not communicate anything—and that everything, including language, is absurd—yet he must use words to write his plays, even plays about meaninglessness. The list of contradictions can be extended endlessly. The truth is that everyone who rejects the Biblical worldview must live in a state of tension between ideas about reality and reality itself. If a person believes that everything is only matter or energy and carries this through consistently, meaning dies, morality dies, love dies, hope dies. Yet! The individual does love, does hope, does act on the basis of right and wrong. This is what we mean when we say that everyone is caught , regardless of his worldview, simply by the way things are.

Section 5 The Bible is God’s revealed truth and it tells us about our origin.

The scriptures tell us that the universe exists and has form and meaning because it was created purposefully by a personal creator. This being the case, we see that, as we are personal, we are not something strange and out of line with an otherwise impersonal universe. Since we are made in the image of God, we are in line with God. There is a continuity, in other words, between ourselves, though finite, and the infinite creator who stands behind the universe as its final source of meaning. Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible shows how man has personality and dignity and value. Our uniqueness is guaranteed, something which is impossible in the materialistic system!!!!!!

(Francis Schaeffer pictured)

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