RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 162A PAUSING to look at the life of John Raymond Smythies (My 4-9-15 Letter to Dr. Smythies about Aldous Huxley and Carl Gustav Jung who were his friends)

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John Raymond Smythies on January 28, 2019 in La Jolla, CA,  and I wanted to spend time on several posts concentrating on him.

April 9, 2015

John Raymond Smythies, Center for Brain and Cognition,
La Jolla, CA 92093-0109

Dear Dr. Smythies,

I just can’t get over the fact that you knew Aldous Huxley and Carl Gustav Jung. These are two men that had major impacts on 20th century culture and thinking. I would love to know if you had any more stories to tell about these too intellectuals. I quote both of these men later in this letter.  Also did you ever get a chance to meet Bertrand Russell? 

As you can tell from reading this letter I am an evangelical Christian and I have made it a hobby of mine to correspond with scientists or academics like yourself over the last 25 years. Some of those who corresponded back with me have been  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-), John R. Cole  (1942-),   Wolf Roder,  Susan Blackmore (1951-),  Christopher C. French (1956-)  Walter R. Rowe Thomas Gilovich (1954-), Paul QuinceyHarry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Glenn BranchGeoff Harcourt (1931-) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-). I would consider it an honor to add you to this very distinguished list. 

I really enjoyed watching your comments You Tube from the 2007 BEYOND BELIEF CONFERENCE and that got me started reading your material.  I wanted to discuss the views of you and Charles Darwin. 

TWO THINGS MADE ME THINK OF YOU RECENTLY. On April 5, 2015 at the Fellowship Bible Church Easter morning service in Little Rock, Arkansas our pastor Mark Henry described DOUBTING THOMAS and that description made me think of you.  Moreover, your skeptical view towards  Christianity reminds me of CHARLES DARWIN’S growing doubts throughout his life on these same theological issues such as skepticism in reaction to the claims of the Bible!!!

I’m an evangelical Christian and you are a secularist but I am sure we can both agree with the apostle Paul when he said in First Corinthians 15 that if Christ did not rise from the dead then Christians are to be most pited!!!! I attended Easter services this week and this issue came up and Mark Henry asserted that there is plenty of evidence that indicates that the Bible is historically accurate. Did you know that CHARLES DARWIN thought about this very subject quite a lot?

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 manufacturers years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

In your article in 2008 “The Fight for the Truth” in the JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION you noted:

 Scientism leads to nihilism, with which Western culture, in its politics, art and literature, philosophy and everyday life, is currently awash… Richard Dawkins (2006) makes great play in his recent book The God Delusion of what he calls the appalling propensity of religious people to base their ideas on dogma rather than on the evidence. Well, many do, but this reads strange in a book bursting at the seams with its own dogmas, its uncritical acceptance of metaphysical theories such as Identity Theory, its refusal to take note of the relevant evidence from parapsychology, and its special pleading with regard to the views of Darwin and Wallace on genocide (see Smythies, 2007, for details). For example, Dawkins states that he knows that this life is the only life we have. How could he possibly know that? In these discussions I am reminded of some tadpoles in a muddy pond complaining that they cannot understand the special theory of relativity.

I think that you see from what I say later in this letter that I totally agree with your statement that “Scientism leads to Nihilism.” This is quite evident to me and many others also. Your next point was concerning the evidence that is out there that both religious people and atheists have to wrestle with. I think you will be surprised how much wrestled with this evidence and how he never really was at people with the idea that time and chance had created such a place as earth.

The fact that were associated with Aldous Huxley leads me to believe you are a DOUBTING THOMAS type. YOU MAY FIND IT INTERESTING THAT CHARLES DARWIN WAS ALSO INTERESTED IN THE HISTORICAL ASPECT OF THE BIBLE. 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.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am aware that if we admit a First Cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came, and how it arose.”

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying is if you say there is a first cause, then the mind says, “Where did this come from?” I think this is a bit old fashioned, with some of the modern thinkers, this would not have carry as much weight today as it did when Darwin expressed it. Jean Paul Sartre said it as well as anyone could possibly say it. The philosophic problem is that something is there and not nothing being there. No one has the luxury of beginning with nothing. Nobody I have ever read has put forth that everything came from nothing. I have never met such a person in all my reading,or all my discussion. If you are going to begin with nothing being there, it has to be nothing nothing, and it can’t be something nothing. When someone says they believe nothing is there, in reality they have already built in something there. The only question is do you begin with an impersonal something or a personal something. All human thought is shut up to these two possibilities. Either you begin with an impersonal and then have Darwin’s own dilemma which impersonal plus chance, now he didn’t bring in the amount of time that modern man would though. Modern man has brought in huge amounts of time into the equation as though that would make a difference because I have said many times that time can’t make a qualitative difference but only a quantitative difference. The dilemma is it is either God or chance. Now you find this intriguing thing in Darwin’s own situation, he can’t understand how chance could have produced these two great factors of the universe and its form and the mannishness of man.

From Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), pp. 307 to 313.

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species, and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

On the basis of his reason he has to say there must be an intelligent mind, someone analogous to man. You couldn’t describe the God of the Bible better. That is man is made in God’s image  and therefore, you know a great deal about God when you know something about man. What he is really saying here is that everything in my experience tells me it must be so, and my mind demands it is so. Not just these feelings he talked about earlier but his MIND demands it is so, but now how does he counter this? How does he escape this? Here is how he does it!!!

Charles Darwin went on to observe:  —can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

So he says my mind can only come to one conclusion, and that is there is a mind behind it all. However, the doubt comes because his mind has come from the lowest form of earthworm, so how can I trust my mind. But this is a joker isn’t it?  Then how can you trust his mind to support such a theory as this? He proved too much. The fact that Darwin found it necessary to take such an escape shows the tremendous weight of Romans 1, that the only escape he can make is to say how can I trust my mind when I come from the lowest animal the earthworm? Obviously think of the grandeur of his concept, I don’t think it is true, but the grandeur of his concept, so what you find is that Darwin is presenting something here that is wrong I feel, but it is not nothing. It is a tremendously grand concept that he has put forward. So he is accepting the dictates of his mind to put forth a grand concept which he later can’t accept in this basic area with his reason, but he rejects what he could accept with his reason on this escape. It really doesn’t make sense. This is a tremendous demonstration of the weakness of his own position.

Darwin also noted, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

What a stupid reply and I didn’t say wicked. It just seems to me that here is 2 plus 2 equals 36 at this particular place.

Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William 3 July 1881

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 observed:

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. 

Now we are down to the last year of Darwin’s life.

* The Duke of Argyll (Good Words, April 1885, p. 244) has recorded a few words on this subject, spoken by my father in the last year of his life. “. . . in the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms,and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature—I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin’s answer. He looked at me very hard and said, ‘Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,’ and he shook his head vaguely, adding, ‘it seems to go away.'”

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

And this is the great Darwin, and it makes you cry inside. This is the great Darwin and he ends as a man in total tension.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept and he is forced to leap into this, his own kind of Kierkegaardian leap, but he is forced to leap into this because of his presuppositions but when in reality the real world troubles him. He sees there is no third alternative. If you do not have the existence of God then you only have chance. In my own lectures I am constantly pointing out there are only two possibilities, either a personal God or this concept of the impersonal plus time plus chance and Darwin understood this . You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with, what I would call two things in the real world. The universe and it’s form and I usually quote Jean Paul Sartre here, and Sartre says the basic philosophic problem is that something is there rather than nothing is there and I then I add at the point the very thing that Darwin feels and that is it isn’t a bare universe that is out there, it is an universe in a specific form. I always bring in Einstein and the uniformity of the form of the universe and that it is constructed as a well formulated word puzzle or you have Carl Gustav Jung who says two things cut across a man’s will that he can not truly be autonomous, the external world and what Carl Gustav Jung would call his “collected unconsciousness.” It is the thing that churns up out of man, the mannishness of man. Darwin understood way back here this is a real problem. So he says “the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous  universe,” part one, the real world, the external universe, and part two “with our conscious selves arose through chance” and then he goes on and says this is not “an argument of real value.” This only thing he has to put in its place is his faith in his own theory.

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that 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; 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.

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic. These things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “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…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.


DO THESE WORDS OF DARWIN APPLY TO YOU TODAY? “I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” 

Adrian Rogers in his message on Darwinism on the CD I sent you noted:

One of the most important questions to face our generation is this: “Are human beings simply the product of millions of years of mindless, evolutionary mutations and adaptations, or are we the creation of an infinitely wise, powerful, and loving God?”

The answer to that question is critical. Why? Because it determines your attitude toward God in heaven and mankind on earth. The debate over human origin is one of the most critical issues of our times.

It’s hard to measure the enormous damage inflicted by Darwinian evolution, the teaching that life arose from a spontaneous spark in a pond of primordial ooze. The amazing thing is that influential scientists themselves are now denying Darwin’s theory as impossible. Yet its destructive effects remain.

For instance, if man is an accident of nature, then there is no fixed standard of right and wrong. So what the Bible calls sexual perversion is now a “lifestyle.” And a human life can be readily destroyed, whether in the womb or partially delivered.

Worst of all, evolution has helped destroy belief in God for millions. Denying biblical creation, evolutionists have “changed the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25).

Should we be surprised that euthanasia is gaining widespread acceptance in our society or that the tide of abortion cannot be turned?  Is it any wonder that sexual perversion is received as a valid alternative lifestyle? We have taught our children that they are just another species of animal – and they are finally beginning to act like animals! And our children and grandchildren are still being fed this lie today.


What is behind this whole idea of evolution? Why is it such an emotional issue?  Why can’t the world simply agree that there is no creation without a Creator, and out of nothing, nothing comes?

Humanist Aldous Huxley expressed the answer to those questions in his book, Ends and Means. Huxley said he and his contemporaries did not want government or morality. So they chose evolution in order to shut the mouths of those who believe in special creation.

For more than 100 years, the evolutionists have succeeded in convincing people that evolution is the only logical, scientific, and intelligent theory of human origin.

But this campaign has been carried out amid deceit and slight of hand on the part of many evolutionists. We’ve all seen the creative drawings of supposed ancestors of mankind, built on a few teeth or a piece of a skull. And the fossil hoaxes perpetrated over the last century are well known.

No wonder in his book Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth, the Swedish embryologist, Soren Lovtrup, suggests that he believes that some day Darwinism “will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science.”


1. The fossil record. Not only is the so-called missing link still missing, all of the transitional life forms so crucial to evolutionary theory are missing from the fossil record. There are thousands of missing links, not one!

2. The second law of thermodynamics. This law states that energy is winding down and that matter left to itself tends toward chaos and randomness, not greater organization and complexity. Evolution demands exactly the opposite process, which is observed nowhere in nature.

3. The origin of life. Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.


As a secularist you believe that it is sad indeed that millions of Christians are hoping for heaven but no heaven is waiting for them. Paul took a close look at this issue too. I Corinthians 15 asserts:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

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


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.

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.


Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

John Raymond Smythies

John Raymond Smythies (30 November 1922 – 28 January 2019) was a British neuropsychiatrist, neuroscientist and neurophilosopher.


Smythies was born on 30 November 1922 in Nainital, United Provinces, British India, where his father, Evelyn Arthur Smythies, a philatelist, was employed by the Department of Forests. His brother Bertram Evelyn (“Bill”) Smythies became an ornithologist. His cousins on the Smythies side include Yorick Smythies,[1] Richard Dawkins (a first cousin once removed)[2], Graham Greene and Christopher Isherwood.[citation needed]

In 1932 Smythies enrolled at Cheltenham College Junior School, transferred to Rugby School in 1936, and thence to Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1940 (18) and to University College Hospital, London in 1942 where he studied medicine (19). He graduated M.B., B.Chir. (Cantab) in 1945. After two years as a Surgeon-Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R. as ship’s doctor on H.M.S. Porlock Bay based in Bermuda, he completed his basic medical postgraduate training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, before selecting neuropsychiatry for a speciality. Two weeks into his first psychiatric residency at St. George’s Hospital, London (20), noting the close chemical relation between the psychotomimetic drug mescaline and the neurotransmitter catecholamines, he suggested that schizophrenia might be caused by some abnormality in catecholamine metabolism that produced a mescaline-like substance in the brain. In collaboration with the organic chemist John Harley-Mason and Humphry Osmond his psychiatric colleague at St. George’s, he developed this idea, into the first specific biochemical theory of schizophrenia—the transmethylation hypothesis (5).

Inspired by the fact that mescaline produces such remarkable effects on all human mental faculties and by the interdisciplinary work of Albert Schweitzer, in the same year Smythies decided to tackle the mind-brain problem in a systematic way i.e. by undertaking a rigorous training in neuroscience, experimental psychology and philosophy. So first he worked for one year as a resident in the EEG Department at the National Hospital, Queen Square, London (21). He then took an M.Sc. degree in neuroanatomy, philosophy and cultural anthropology with the neuroanatomist William C. Gibson at the University of British Columbia (22). The neuroanatomical research involved was a study of the synaptic structure in human cortex as revealed by silver staining and was awarded a post-graduate M.D degree by Cambridge (23). His teacher in philosophy was the distinguished American philosopher Avrum Stroll, who became a lifelong mentor and friend. This was followed during the tenure of a Nuffield Fellowship by six months with the Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles in neurophysiology and 18 months at the Psychological Laboratory in Cambridge with Oliver Zangwillstudying the stroboscopic patterns (the complex geometrical hallucinations induced by looking at a flickering light). This work has been extensively reviewed by John Geiger (24). Then Smythies worked a further two years in neuropharmacology with Harold E. Himwich in Galesburg, Illinois and with Hudson Hoagland at the Worcester Foundation, before returning to London where he completed his formal clinical psychiatric training with Sir Aubrey Lewis at the Maudsley Hospital (25). He then joined the Faculty of the University of Edinburgh for twelve years, first as senior lecturer then reader (26), before being invited to a personal chair at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, funded by the Ireland family, where he stayed for eighteen years (27).

In 1956 Smythies published his first book “Analysis of Perception” (28) on the mind-brain problem in which he presented a new theory — extended materialism — based on an analysis of fundamental flaws in the current orthodox theory (mind-brain identity) and previous work by Joseph Priestley, C.D. Broad, H.H. Price and Bertrand Russell. A second book “The Walls of Plato’s Cave” followed in 1994 (17) on the same topic. This book was reviewed by Robert Almader (29) who said: “This is certainly one of the four or five most arresting and compelling books written on the nature of consciousness, the mind-brain problem, and human personality.” The theory extends our concepts of consciousness and analyses possible geometrical and topological relations between phenomenal space and physical space linked to brane theory in physics. Recently the distinguished British physicist Bernard Carr (30), following a different line of research, has presented a very similar theory as the basis for a necessary new paradigm shift in cosmology. In 1998 wrote “Every person’s guide to Antioxidants” (37). Smythies gives an account of his work on synaptic plasticity in his book “The Dynamic Neuron” (2002) (8).

Smythies has served as president of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology from 1970 to 1974 (31), consultant to the World Health Organization from 1963 to 1968 (32), and editor of the International Review of Neurobiologyfrom 1958 to 1991. He was elected a member of the Athenaeum in 1968 (33). He has published over 200 scientific papers and 16 books.

He has made extensive contributions to knowledge in a number of fields including the neurochemistry of schizophrenia (5,6) and the neuropharmacology of psychedelic drugs (7); the functional neuroanatomyof synapses with particular regard to the role of synaptic plasticity, endocytosis and redox factors (8,9); the role in the brain of orthoquinone metabolites of catecholamines (10); the role of virtual reality mechanisms in visual perception (11) and, in particular, theories of brain-consciousness relations (12–17). Smythies has held positions as the Charles Byron Ireland Professor Emeritus of Psychiatric Research at the University of AlabamaMedical Center at Birmingham, visiting scholar at the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, and senior research fellow at the Institute of Neurology, University College London.

At the start of his book on the effects of mescaline, The Doors of Perception, the author Aldous Huxleycredits Smythies with having inspired him to take the substance.

For the last two decades of his life, Smythies worked with Professor Ramachandran’s Center for Brain and Cognition at UCSD, latterly on the function of the claustrum as well as the epigenetics of neurocomputation, exosomes and telocytes (37–54).

Personal life and deathEdit

On 2 December 1950 Smythies married Vanna Gattorno of Trieste, Italy. John and Vanna published their joint autobiography “Two Coins in the Fountain” in 2006 (34). Smythies is also the author of a book of poems entitled “Poems from the Edge of Time” (35), and a satirical play “The Trial of God” (36). He died in January 2019 at the age of 96.[3][4]


  1. ^ Smythies, J. R. (1994). “Alas, poor Yorick”. Nature. 371 (6497): 470. doi:10.1038/371470d0. ISSN 1476-4687. … my cousin Yorick Smythies …
  2. ^ Dawkins, Richard, 1941-. An Appetite For Wonder : The Making of a Scientist : A Memoir (PDF). London. p. 12. ISBN 9780552779050. OCLC 870425057. Olive and Evelyn’s eldest son, my father’s taciturn first cousin Bertram (‘Billy’) Smythies, was also in the forest service […] Bertram’s younger brother John Smythies departed from family tradition and became a distinguished neuroscientist and authority on schizophrenia and psychedelic drugs, living in California, where he is credited with inspiring Aldous Huxley to take mescaline and cleanse his ‘doors of perception’. […] Yorick Smythies, another first cousin of my father, was a devoted amanuensis of the philosopher Wittgenstein.
  3. ^ John Raymond Smythies, a Pioneer in Psychiatry, Passed Away – a Tribute
  4. ^ McGeoch, Paul D.; Ramachandran, V. S. (26 April 2019). “John Raymond Smythies”. BMJ. 365: l1873. doi:10.1136/bmj.l1873. ISSN 0959-8138.

1. Smythies J.R. Schizophrenia: Chemistry, Metabolism and Treatment. Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas, 1963.

2. Smythies J.R (with H.E. Himwich and S.S. Kety, editors) Amines and Schizophrenia. New York, Pergamon Press. 1966.

3. Smythies J.R. Biological Psychiatry. London, Heinemann, 1968. German edition, 1971.

4. Smythies J.R and Corbett L.C. Psychiatry for Students of Medicine. London, Heinemann, 1976. Spanish edition, 1984.

5. Smythies J.R & Osmond H. (1952) Schizophrenia. A New Approach. J Ment Sci., pp. 98, 309–316.

6. Smythies J. (Editor) Schizophrenia. A disorder of synaptic plasticity. Special volume (59) in The International Review of Neurobiology, San Diego, Elsevier, 2004.

7. Smythies J. R. “Hallucinogenic Drugs”, Chapter 18 in Modern Trends in Neurology, Dennis Williams, editor. 3rd edition. London, Butterworth, 1962.

8. Smythies J. R. The Dynamic Neuron. Cambridge MA., MIT Press, 2002.

9. Smythies J. The Neuromodulators. International Review of Neurobiology, San Diego, Elsevier, 2005.

10. Smythies J. R. The role of free radicals in the brain in health and disease in relation to synaptic plasticity. In: Free Radicals in Brain Pathophysiology. (G. Poli, E. Cadenas & L. Packer, eds.) New York, Dekker.

11. Smythies J. 2009, “Philosophy, perception, and neuroscience” Perception, pp. 38, 638–651.

12. Smythies J.R. Brain and Mind, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, editor and contributor of essay “The representative theory of perception”, 1965.

13. Smythies J. R. The Neurological Foundations of Psychiatry. Oxford, Blackwell. 1966.

14. Smythies J. Science and ESP. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

15. Smythies J.R. (with Arthur Koestler, editors). Beyond Reductionism. London, Macmillan, 1969.

16. Smythies J. Brain Mechanisms and Behaviour. Oxford, Blackwell, 1970. Japanese edition, 1973.

17. Smythies J. The Walls of Plato’s Cave. Aldershot, Avebury Press, 1994.

18. Records of Christs’s College, Cambridge.

19. Records of University College Hospital, London.

20. Records of St. George’s Hospital, London

21. Records of the National Hospital, Queen Square, London.

22. Records of the University of British Columbia.

23. Smythies J. R., Gibson W.C., & Purkis V.A. (1957) The distribution and morphology of boutons termineaux in the human cerebrum. J Comp Neur., pp. 108, 175.

24. Geiger, John. Chapel of Extreme Experience. Toronto, Gutter Press, 2002. pp. 27–45.

25. Records of the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London.

26. Records of the University of Edinburgh.

27. Records of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

28. Smythies, J. R. Analysis of Perception. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956.

29. Almader, R. (1997) Journal for Scientific Exploration, pp. 10, 314–318.

30. Carr, B. (2008) “Worlds apart?” Proc.Soc.Psychical Research, pp. 59, 1–96.

31. Records of the International Society for Neuropsychopharmacology.

32. Records of the World Health Organization.

33. Records of the Athanaenum Club, Pall Mall, London.

34. Smythies J. & Smythies V. Two Coins in the Fountain. (joint autobiography). (Booksurge) 2006.

35. Smythies J. Poems from the Edge of Time. Pulborough, Ellis, 2002.

36. Smythies J. The Trial of God. (satirical play) (Booksurge) 2006.

37. Smythies J. Every Person’s Guide to Antioxidants. Rutgers University Press 1998.

38. Smythies JR. The Dynamic Neuron. Cambridge MA. MIT Press, 2002.

39. Smythies, J., Edelstein, L., Ramachandran, V. The Claustrum: Structural, Functional and Clinical Neuroscience. San Diego. Academic Press (Elsevier). 2014.

40. Smythies J, Edelstein L, Ramachandran V. (2012) Hypotheses relating to the function of the claustrum. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 2012;6:53. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00053. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

41 Smythies J, Edelstein L. (2013) Transsynaptic modality codes in the brain: possible involvement of synchronized spike timing, microRNAs, exosomes and epigenetic processes. Frontiers in Intregrative Neuroscience. 2012;6:126. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00126. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

42. Smythies J. (2013) Schizophrenia: one coat of many colors. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 27 May 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00043.

43. Edelstein L, Smythies J. (2013) Spike dynamic and epigenetic malfunctions in epilepsy: a tale of two codes. Frontiers in Epilepsy: 27 May 2013. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2013.00063.

44. Smythies J. Edelstein L. (2013) Interactions between the spike code and the epigenetic codeduring information processing in the brain. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 8 July doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2013.00017

45. Smythies J, Edelstein L. (2013) Telocytes, exosomes, gap junctions and the cytoskeleton: the makings of a primitive nervous system? Front. Cell. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00278.

46. Smythies J, Edelstein L, Ramachandran V (2014). Hypotheses relating to the function of the claustrum II: instructional oscillations and dendritic integration. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 8:7. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2014.00007.

47. Smythies J, Edelstein L. (2013) Hypotheses concerning how Otx2 makes its incredible journey: a hitchhiker on the road to Rome. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 6, 55. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2013.00055. eCollection 2013.

48. Edelstein L, Fuxe K and Smythies J (2014). Life without glutamate: the epigenetic effects of glutamate deletion. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 7:14. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00014.

49. Smythies LE, Smythies JR. (2014) Exosomes in the gut. Front Immunol. 2014 Mar 17;5:104. eCollection 2014.

50. Edelstein L, Smythies J (2014). Epigenetic aspects of telocytes/cordocytes: jacks of all trades, masters of most. Front Cell. Neurosci. 8:32. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00032.

51. Edelstein L, Smythies J. (2014) The role of telocytes in morphogenetic bioelectrical signaling: once more unto the breach. Front Mol Neurosci. 2014 May 13;7:41. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00041. eCollection 2014.

52. Smythies J, Edelstein L. (2014) The desferrioxamine-prochlorperazine coma—clue to the role of dopamine-iron recycling in the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide in the brain. Front.Mol.Neurosci.

53. Smythies J, Edelstein L, Ramachandran V. (2014) Molecular mechanisms for the inheritance of acquired characteristics-exosomes, microRNA shuttling, fear and stress: Lamarck resurrected? Front. Genet. 2014 May 15;5:133. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00133. eCollection 2014.

54. Edelstein L, Smythies J. The role of epigenetic-related codes in neurocomputation: dynamic hardware in the brain. in Edelstein L, Smythies J, Noble D. (Editors) Epigenetic information-processing mechanisms in the brain. Phil.Trans.R.Soc.B. Theme Issue vol. 369, No. 1652, 26 September 2014.


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

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, 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,

In  the second video below in the 95th clip in this series are his words but today I just wanted to pause and look at this life. 

Quote from Dr. John Raymond Smythies

I would like to describe how mescaline works. These hallucination drugs have a very specific action in two ways. Number 1 they produce fantastic visual hallucinations. These are described by the people who have them (most of them are down to earth scientists such as MacDonald Critchley) as being more beautiful than anything they have ever seen in normal art. Some of these people have the sort of experience as union with God, mystical experiences and so on.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)


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