Monthly Archives: January 2023

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 3 Carl Sagan noted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan) Adrian Rogers v Carl Sagan concerning infanticide!!!

Carl Sagan Planetary Society cropped.png

Sagan in 1980
Born
Carl Edward Sagan

November 9, 1934

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died December 20, 1996(aged 62)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Resting place Lake View Cemetery (Ithaca, New York)
Alma mater University of Chicago
(BA, BS, MS, PhD)
Known for
Spouse(s)

(m. 1957; div. 1965)​

(m. 1968; div. 1981)​

(m. 1981)​

Children 5, including Sasha, Dorion and Nick
Awards Klumpke-Roberts Award(1974)
NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal(1977)
Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1978)
Oersted Medal (1990)
Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science (1993)
National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal (1994)

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the 1st video below in the 45th 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)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true.In 1838 American biblical scholar Edward Robinson shook up the archaeological world by discovering Hezekiah’s Tunnel mentioned in the Bible. There is meaning in life available to anyone who will put their faith in Christ, and peace can’t be found in a Guru. Why not take a few minutes and just read the short chapter of Psalms 22 that was written hundreds of years before the Romans even invented the practice of Crucifixion. 1000 years BC the Jews had the practice of stoning people but we read in this chapter a graphic description of Christ dying on the cross.

The last few posts have dealt with material from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer.

Carl Sagan asserted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality.” I would go one step further. A morality that is based on selfishness will take us further down the road to infanticide.

Adrian Rogers observed:

Pro-choice is rooted in selfishness. Pro-choice advocates want you to beliece that abortion is really an act of mercy. But the truth is that 97% of the abortions in America are convenience abortions.

The following fictional letter suggests what could well lie in the logical outcome of a policy of eliminating unwanted people.

January 22, 2023

Dear Mom:

Can you believe it is already the year 2023? I’m still writing ’22 on everything! It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in the first grade and celebrating the change to a new century.

I know we really haven’t chatted since Christmas, Mom, and I’m sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news to share with you, and I really didn’t want to call and talk face to face.

But before I get to that, let me report that Ted’s had a big promotion, and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in all those crazy hours-you know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling to pay the bills.

Little Timmy’s been okay at Kindergarten, although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about the day care center either. So what can we do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden on us at this time in our lives.

Ted and I have talked this through, and we have finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made the same choice and are really better off today.

Our pastor is supportive of our choice. He pointed out the family is a system, and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. The pastor told us to be prayerful and to consider all the factors as to what is right to make our family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the choice really is ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part is easy.

Don’t get me wrong, Mom-I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he heard Ted and me talking about it the other night. I turned and saw him standing at the bottom of the stairs in his PJ’s with his little teddy bear that you gave him under his arm-and his eyes were sort of welled up with tears.

Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart, but I honestly believe this is better for Timmy too. It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves.

And please, Mom, don’t give me the kind of grief that grandma gave you over your abortions. It’s the same thing, you know. There’s really no difference.

We’ve told Timmy he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say the termination procedure is painless. I guess it’s just as well that you haven’t seen that much of little Timmy lately. Please give my love to Dad.

Your daughter,

—-

Pure fiction, yes. But I wonder if the time is not coming coming.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

Carl Sagan pictured below:

_________

Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

Image result for carl sagan ann

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Section 9 Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

——

Carl Sagan states in the above article, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” and this is challenged by Francis Schaeffer’s assertion, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H Revell Company, 1976), p. 224. 

It really comes down to your basis for morality and secular humanists like Sagan only have relativistic value systems that change constantly.

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Iowa and Utah Lead States on School Choice Progress in the New Year

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System – Failures in Educatio…

Milton Friedman – Educational Vouchers

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Iowa and Utah Lead States on School Choice Progress in the New Year

Jason Bedrick  @JasonBedrick / January 23, 2023

Iowa Utah School Choice

Iowa and Utah have made the first moves this year to give families greater say in their children’s education. Moreover, evidence is debunking opponents’ charges that choice harms rural students and homeschoolers. (Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)

COMMENTARY BY

Jason Bedrick@JasonBedrick

Jason Bedrick is a research fellow with The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy.

As America celebrates National School Choice Week, two states—Iowa and Utah—have made the first moves this year to empower families with a greater say in how their children are educated. Additionally, the evidence from states with robust school choice policies is debunking opponents’ charges that choice harms rural students and homeschoolers.

Last week, the education committees in both the Iowa House of Representatives and Iowa Senate advanced Gov. Kim Reynolds’ education choice bill, the Students First Act, which would make K-12 education savings accounts, or ESAs, available to all Iowa families.

With an ESA, a family that opted their child out of the public school system would be able to access the state’s portion of per-pupil spending on public schooling—about $7,600—to use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy, and more.

In an open letter, Reynolds emphasized that most Iowans will likely continue to choose district public schools for their children. But the governor noted, “For families who otherwise can’t afford a private school that may be a better fit for their children, [the Students First Act] makes new opportunities attainable.”

On Friday, the Utah House of Representatives passed the Utah Fits All Act by a vote of 54-20. The bill would create multiuse scholarships worth about $8,000 annually for all K-12 students. The scholarships would work similarly to an ESA, except without the ability to save unused funds for future expenses. The measure also included a pay increase for district schoolteachers.

“I believe that supporting education means supporting the best approach for educating each individual child and our state,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Candice Pierucci. “So this bill works to emphasize a focus on individualized student learning and finding ways to give parents additional tools and options for their kids’ education.”

Last year, Arizona became the first state to offer ESAs to every student. In 2021, West Virginiaenacted an ESA policy that’s open to all students switching out of a district school or entering kindergarten. Numerous other states are poisedthis year to follow their lead, including Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorialthis weekend, opponents of school choice are raising concerns about how these policies might affect rural school districts:

Public schools are sometimes the only option in rural areas and school choice will ruin them, the argument goes.

But as Corey DeAngelis recently wrote in these pages, rural districts have as much to gain from school choice as anywhere else. If public schools are truly the best, or the only, option, students won’t go elsewhere. A Heritage Foundation report recently documented that rural school districts haven’t suffered in Arizona, where school choice is flourishing.

(The Heritage Foundation is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.)

Indeed, not only have Arizona’s rural schools not shown signs of harm, they’ve actually improved considerably over the last two decades in Arizona’s robust school choice environment.

As described in the aforementioned Heritage report, from 2007 to 2019, Arizona rural students’ fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress increased by a combined 21 points while scores in rural schools nationally decreased by two points. In science, Arizona’s rural schools increased a combined 22 points while rural schools nationwide only increased by four points.


National Assessment of Educational Progress gains and declines for rural students, pre-pandemic.

On the most recent national assessment, post-pandemic, Arizona’s rural students were still up a combined nine points while rural students nationally dropped 17 points from 2007.


National Assessment of Educational Progress gains and declines for rural students, post-pandemic.

Others have raised concerns about the potential for education choice programs to lead to regulations on homeschooling. Government shekels, the argument goes, lead to government shackles. However, there are states with shackles but no shekels and others with shekels but no shackles.

All of the states that the Home School Legal Defense Association lists as “high regulation” when it comes to homeschoolers are states that lack an education savings account policy. Meanwhile, the states with the highest ESA participation—Arizona and Florida—are considered “low regulation” states by the association.

In weighing whether to support ESA policies, homeschoolers should examine how such policies have worked in states like Arizona that have had them for more than a decade. To that end, the Arizona-based think tank Goldwater Institute recently published an essay by Michael Clark, a homeschool dad whose family uses the ESA, about the experiences of homeschoolers in Arizona with the ESA.

Clark observed that the ESAs “have not encroached on homeschool freedoms,” but they have “provided life-changing services and resources for children with learning and developmental disabilities” and “encouraged educational entrepreneurship, leading to new and more affordable educational opportunities for all students, including homeschool students.”

The ESAs have also made it possible for many more families to educate their children at home, thereby strengthening the coalition of those willing to fight to protect homeschool autonomy.

Of course, the devil is in the details. It is crucial that education choice policies are well-crafted and ensure that homeschool autonomy is respected. Thus far, ESA policies have been designed to do just that.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

Censorship, School Libraries, Democracy, and Choice

A big advantage of living in a constitutional republicis that individual rights are protected from “tyranny of the majority.”

  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matterif 90 percent of voters support restrictions on free speech.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support gun confiscation.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support warrantless searches.

That being said, a constitutional republic is a democratic form of government. And if government is staying within proper boundaries, political decisions should be based on majority rule, as expressed through elections.

In some cases, that will lead to decisions I don’t like. For instance, the (tragic) 16th Amendment gives the federal government the authority to impose an income tax and voters repeatedly have elected politicians who have opted to exercise that authority.

Needless to say, I will continue my efforts to educate voters and lawmakers in hopes that eventually there will be majorities that choose a different approach. That’s how things should work in a properly functioning democracy.

But not everyone agrees.

report in the New York Times, authored by Elizabeth Harris and Alexandra Alter, discusses the controversy over which books should be in the libraries of government schools.

The Keller Independent School District, just outside of Dallas, passed a new rule in November: It banned books from its libraries that include the concept of gender fluidity. …recently, the issue has been supercharged by a rapidly growing and increasingly influential constellation of conservative groups.The organizations frequently describe themselves as defending parental rights. …“This is not about banning books, it’s about protecting the innocence of our children,” said Keith Flaugh, one of the founders of Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative group focused on education… The restrictions, said Emerson Sykes, a First Amendment litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union, infringe on students’ “right to access a broad range of material without political censorship.” …In Florida, parents who oppose book banning formed the Freedom to Read Project.

As indicated by the excerpt, some people are very sloppy with language.

If a school decides not to buy a certain book for its library, that is not a “book ban.” Censorship only exists when the government uses coercion to prevent people from buying books with their own money.

As I wrote earlier this year, “The fight is not over which books to ban. It’s about which books to buy.”

And this brings us back to the issue of democracy.

School libraries obviously don’t have the space or funds to stock every book ever published, so somebody has to make choices. And voters have the ultimate power to make those choices since they elect school boards.

I’ll close by noting that democracy does not please everyone. Left-leaning parents in Alabama probably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards,just like right-leaning parents in Vermont presumably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards.

And the same thing happens with other contentious issues, such as teaching critical race theory.

Which is why school choice is the best outcome. Then, regardless of ideology, parents can choose schools that have the curriculum (and books) that they think will be best for their children.

P.S. If you want to peruse a genuine example of censorship, click here.


More Academic Evidence for School Choice

Since teacher unions care more about lining their pockets and protecting their privileges rather than improving education, I’ll never feel any empathy for bosses like Randi Weingarten.

That being said, the past couple of years have been bad news for Ms Weingarten and her cronies.

Not only is school choice spreading – especially in states such as Arizona and West Virginia, but we also are getting more and more evidence that competition produces better results for schoolkids.

In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Professors David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart & Krzysztof Karbownikfound that school choice led to benefits even for kids who remained stuck in government schools.

They enjoyed better academic outcomes, which is somewhat surprising, but even I was pleasantly shocked to see improved behavioral outcomes as well.

School choice programs have been growing in the United States and worldwide over the past two decades, and thus there is considerable interest in how these policies affect students remaining in public schools. …the evidence on the effects of these programs as they scale up is virtually non-existent. Here, we investigate this question using data from the state of Florida where, over the course of our sample period, the voucher program participation increased nearly seven-fold.We find consistent evidence that as the program grows in size, students in public schools that faced higher competitive pressure levels see greater gains from the program expansion than do those in locations with less competitive pressure. Importantly, we find that these positive externalities extend to behavioral outcomes— absenteeism and suspensions—that have not been well-explored in prior literature on school choice from either voucher or charter programs. Our preferred competition measure, the Competitive Pressure Index, produces estimates implying that a 10 percent increase in the number of students participating in the voucher program increases test scores by 0.3 to 0.7 percent of a standard deviation and reduces behavioral problems by 0.6 to 0.9 percent. …Finally, we find that public school students who are most positively affected come from comparatively lower socioeconomic background, which is the set of students that schools should be most concerned about losing under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.

It’s good news that competition from the private sector produces better results in government schools.

But it’s great news that those from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately benefit when there is more school choice.

Wonkier readers will enjoy Figure A2, which shows the benefits to regular kids on the right and disadvantaged kids on the left.

Since the study looked at results in Florida, I’ll close by observing that Florida is ranked #1 for education freedom and ranked #3 for school choice.

P.S. Here’s a video explaining the benefits of school choice.

P.P.S. There’s international evidence from SwedenChileCanada, and the Netherlands, all of which shows superior results when competition replaces government education monopolies.

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Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg

Milton Friedman chose the emphasis on school choice and school vouchers as his greatest legacy and hopefully the Supreme Court will help that dream see a chance!

Educational Choice, the Supreme Court, and a Level Playing Field for Religious Schools

The case for school choice is very straightforward.

The good news is that there was a lot of pro-choice reform in 2021.

West Virginia adopted a statewide system that is based on parental choice. And many other states expanded choice-based programs.

But 2022 may be a good year as well. That’s because the Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down state laws that restrict choice by discriminating against religious schools.

Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice and Walter Womack of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference make the case for a level playing field in a column for the New York Times.

In 2002, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution allows school choice programs to include schools that provide religious instruction, so long as the voucher program also offers secular options. The question now before the court is whether a state may nevertheless exclude schools that provide religious instruction. The case, Carson v. Makin, …concerns Maine’s tuition assistance program. In that large and sparsely populated state, over half of the school districts have no public high schools. If a student lives in such a district, and it does not contract with another high school to educate its students, then the district must pay tuition for the student to attend the school of her or his parents’ choice. …But one type of school is off limits: a school that provides religious instruction. That may seem unconstitutional, and we argue that it is. Only last year, the Supreme Court, citing the free exercise clause of the Constitution, held that states cannot bar students in a school choice program from selecting religious schools when it allows them to choose other private schools. …The outcome will be enormously consequential for families in public schools that are failing them and will go a long way toward determining whether the most disadvantaged families can exercise the same control over the education of their children as wealthier citizens.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on this issue earlier this week.

Maine has one of the country’s oldest educational choice systems, a tuition program for students who live in areas that don’t run schools of their own. Instead these families get to pick a school, and public funds go toward enrollment. Religious schools are excluded, however, and on Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear from parents who have closely read the First Amendment.…Maine argues it isn’t denying funds based on the religious “status” of any school… The state claims, rather, that it is merely refusing to allocate money for a “religious use,” specifically, “an education designed to proselytize and inculcate children with a particular faith.” In practice, this distinction between “status” and “use” falls apart. Think about it: Maine is happy to fund tuition at an evangelical school, as long as nothing evangelical is taught. Hmmm. …A state can’t subsidize tuition only for private schools with government-approved values, and trying to define the product as “secular education” gives away the game. …America’s Founders knew what they were doing when they wrote the First Amendment to protect religious “free exercise.”

What does the other side say?

Rachel Laser, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, doesn’t want religious schools to be treated equally under school choice programs.

Here’s some of her column in the Washington Post.

…two sets of parents in Maine claim that the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom actually requires the state to fund religious education at private schools with taxpayer dollars — as a substitute for public education. This interpretation flips the meaning of religious freedom on its head and threatens both true religious freedom and public education.…The problem here is even bigger than public funds paying for praying, as wrong as that is. Unlike public schools, private religious schools often do not honor civil rights protections, especially for LGBTQ people, women, students with disabilities, religious minorities and the nonreligious. …If the court were to agree with the parents, it would also be rejecting the will of three-quarters of the states, which long ago enacted clauses in their state constitutions and passed statutes specifically prohibiting public funding of religious education. …It is up to parents and religious communities to educate their children in their faith. Publicly funded schools should never serve that purpose.

These arguments are not persuasive.

The fact that many state constitutions include so-called Blaine amendments actually undermines her argument since those provisions were motivated by a desire to discriminate against parochial schools that provided education to Catholic immigrants.

And it’s definitely not clear why school choice shouldn’t include religious schools that follow religious teachings, unless she also wants to argue that student grants and loans shouldn’t go to students at Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Liberty, and other religiously affiliated colleges.

The good news is that Ms. Laser’s arguments don’t seem to be winning. Based on this report from yesterday’s Washington Post, authored by Robert Barnes, there are reasons to believe the Justices will make the right decision.

Conservatives on the Supreme Court seemed…critical of a Maine tuition program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction. The case involves an unusual program in a small state that affects only a few thousand students. But it could have greater implications… The oral argument went on for nearly two hours and featured an array of hypotheticals. …But the session ended as most suspected it would, with the three liberal justices expressing support for Maine and the six conservatives skeptical that it protected religious parents from unconstitutional discrimination.

I can’t resist sharing this additional excerpt about President Biden deciding to side with teacher unions instead of students.

The Justice Department switched its position in the case after President Biden was inaugurated and now supports Maine.

But let’s not dwell on Biden’s hackery (especially since that’s a common affliction on the left).

Instead, let’s close with some uplifting thoughts about what might happen if we get a good decision from the Supreme Court when decisions are announced next year.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think we’re getting close to a tipping point. As more and more states and communities shift to choice, we will have more and more evidence that it’s a win-win for both families and taxpayers.

Which will lead to more choice programs, which will produce more helpful data.

Lather, rinse, repeat. No wonder the (hypocriticalteacher unionsare so desperate to stop progress.

P.S. There’s strong evidence for school choice from nations such as SwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

Free To Choose 1980 – Vol. 06 What’s Wrong with Our Schools? – Full Video
https://youtu.be/tA9jALkw9_Q



Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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March 16, 2012 – 12:25 am

  Michael Harrington:  If you don’t have the expertise, the knowledge technology today, you’re out of the debate. And I think that we have to democratize information and government as well as the economy and society. FRIEDMAN: I am sorry to say Michael Harrington’s solution is not a solution to it. He wants minority rule, I […] By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events, Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 6 of 7)

March 9, 2012 – 12:29 am

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 5 of 7)

March 2, 2012 – 12:26 am

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February 24, 2012 – 12:21 am

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February 17, 2012 – 12:12 am

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

February 10, 2012 – 12:09 am

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

February 3, 2012 – 12:07 am

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5

Debate on Milton Friedman’s cure for inflation

September 29, 2011 – 7:24 am

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“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

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What were the main proposals of Milton Friedman?

February 21, 2013 – 1:01 am

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“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

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Defending Milton Friedman

July 31, 2012 – 6:45 am

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

Dowell, 23, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, destruction or injury of personal property, and damage of property by graffiti. The Boston Police Department referred to the suspect as “Jared Dowell.” Democratic Leader Katherine Clark has spoken in the past about how one of her children is non-binary and she referred to Jared as her daughter Riley!!! John MacArthur noted a couple of years ago: “Now, all of a sudden, not only is this characteristic of our nation, but we now promote it. One of the parties, the Democratic Party, has now made Romans 1, the sins of Romans 1, their agenda. What God condemns, they affirm!”

TRANSGENDERISM SEEN BELOW

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

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House Democratic leader’s non-binary child arrested in anti-cop protest had ‘climate change’ nightmares

Riley Dowell, 23, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, destruction or injury of personal property and damage of property by graffiti

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark’s non-binary child, who was arrested in an anti-cop protestover the weekend, was the one the Massachusetts congresswoman previously said had nightmares about “climate change.”

Clark’s middle child, Riley Dowell, was arrestedSaturday evening for allegedly tagging a monument with anti-police slogans in spray paint and assaulting a law enforcement officer during the protest.

The House Democratic whip in December recalled Dowell “waking up with nightmares” over climate change.

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., in December recalled Riley Dowell "waking up with nightmares" over climate change.

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., in December recalled Riley Dowell “waking up with nightmares” over climate change.

“One of the biggest changes is going to be that we’re coming into this in the minority, but the commitment that we have had to the people of this country, to workers, to women, to the climate is going to continue on,” Clark said.

“And let me tell you what it means to me coming in as a different generation,” she continued. “I remember my middle child waking up with nightmares over concern around climate change. I’ve had my family at a movie theater, when the movie stopped, my children immediately felt there must be a shooter in the theater with us.”

“These are the type of experiences that we are going to bring as we continue to push to meet this moment of challenge for the American people with progress,” she added.

INCOMING DEM WHIP CLARK RECALLS CHILD ‘WAKING UP WITH NIGHTMARES’ OVER CLIMATE CHANGE

Dowell, 23, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, destruction or injury of personal property, and damage of property by graffiti.

The Boston Police Department referred to the suspect as “Jared Dowell.” Clark has spoken in the past about how one of her children is non-binary.

Officers were called to the Parkman Bandstand Monument in the Boston Common around 9:30 p.m. Saturday about a protest.

When officers arrived, they saw Dowell allegedly spray-painting “ACAB,” which stands for “All Cops Are Bastards,” and “NO COP CITY,” an apparent reference to a police training facility in the suburbs of Atlanta that has sparked protests after officers shot and killed a protester who allegedly opened fire on them, injuring one, earlier this week.

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark’s middle child, Riley Dowell, was arrested on Saturday evening for allegedly tagging a monument with anti-police slogans in spray paint and assaulting a law enforcement officer during the protest.

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark’s middle child, Riley Dowell, was arrested on Saturday evening for allegedly tagging a monument with anti-police slogans in spray paint and assaulting a law enforcement officer during the protest. (Getty Images)

While police arrested Dowell, a group of 20 protesters “began to surround officers while screaming profanities though megaphones on the public street causing traffic to come to a standstill,” according to police.

The protesters were “interfering with the arrest” and “an officer was hit in the face and could be seen bleeding from the nose and mouth.”

Clark addressed the arrest in a tweet posted Sunday.

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Dennett wearing a button-up shirt and a jacket

I was referred this fine article by Robyn E. Blumner in defense of her boss at the RICHARD DAWKINS FOUNDATION by a tweet by Daniel Dennett.
Richard Dawkins Cooper Union Shankbone.jpg

As an evangelical I have had the opportunity to correspond with more more secular humanists that have signed the Humanist Manifestos than any other evangelical alive (at least that has been one of my goals since reading Francis Schaeffer’s books and watching his films since 1979). Actually I just attended the retirement party held for my high school Bible teacher Mark Brink of EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL of Cordova, Tennessee on May 19th and he introduced me to the works of Francis Schaeffer and it was Schaeffer’s works that eventually help topple ROE v WADE!!! Ironically Mr Brink had a 49 year career that spanned 1973 to 2022 which was the same period that ROE v WADE survived!!!

Not everyone I have corresponded with is a secular humanist but  many are the top scientists and atheist thinkers of today and hold this same secular views. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  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), and Michael Martin (1932-).

Let me make a few points about this fine article below by the humanist Robyn E. Blumner. 

Robyn is trying to use common sense on people that “GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind.” Romans 1 states:

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are…inventors of evil,

I had the unique opportunity to discuss this very issue with Robert Lester Mondale and his wife Rosemary  on April 14, 1996 at his cabin in Fredricktown, Missouri , and my visit was very enjoyable and informative. Mr. Mondale had the distinction of being the only person to sign all three of the Humanist Manifestos in 1933, 1973 and 2003.

I asked if he knew John Dewey and he said he did not, but Dewey did contact him one time to ask him some questions about an article he had written, but Mondale could not recall anything else about that.

Mondale told me some stories about his neighbors and we got to talking about some of his church members when he was an Unitarian pastor. Once during the 1930’s he was told by one of his wealthier Jewish members that he shouldn’t continue to be critical of the Nazis. This member had just come back from Germany and according to him Hitler had done a great job of getting the economy moving and things were good.

Of course, just a few years later after World War II was over Mondale discovered on a second hand basis what exactly had happened over there when he visited with a Lutheran pastor friend who had just returned from Germany. This Lutheran preacher was one of the first to be allowed in after the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, and he told Mondale what level of devastation and destruction of  innocent lives went on inside these camps. As Mondale listened to his friend he could feel his own face turning pale.

I asked, “If those Nazis escaped to Brazil or Argentina and lived out their lives in peace would they face judgment after they died?”

Mondale responded, “I don’t think there is anything after death.”

I told Mr. Mondale that there is sense in me that says  justice will be given eventually and God will judge those Nazis even if they evade punishment here on earth. I did point out that in Ecclesiastes 4:1 Solomon did note that without God in the picture  the scales may not be balanced in this life and power could reign, but at the same time the Bible teaches that all  must face the ultimate Judge.

Then I asked him if he got to watch the O.J. Simpson trial and he said that he did and he thought that the prosecution had plenty of evidence too. Again I asked Mr. Mondale the same question concerning O.J. and he responded, “I don’t think there is a God that will intervene and I don’t believe in the afterlife.”

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, was on this very subject of the Nazis that Lester Mondale and I discussed on that day in 1996 at Mondale’s cabin in Missouri.  In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality.Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah’s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie and continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life. CAN A MATERIALIST OR A HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE GIVE JUDAH ONE REASON WHY HE SHOULDN’T HAVE HIS MISTRESS KILLED?

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

HOW CAN A REASONABLE SAY SUCH A THING AS THE HUMANIST Abigail Ann Martin? She has no standards but relative standards! That is where humanism finds itself in 2022!

Francis Schaeffer in the 3rd chapter of ESCALE FROM REASON tells us how our humanist society arrived there:

The twentieth- century pornographic writers all trace their origin to the Marquis de Sade (1740- 1814). The twentieth century now treats him as a very important man—he is no longer just a dirty writer. Twenty or thirty years or so ago, if anyone was found with one of his books in England he was liable to have difficulties with the law. Today, he has become a great name in drama, in philosophy, in literature. All the “black” (nihilistic) writers, the writers in revolt today, look back to de Sade. Why? Not only because he was a dirty writer, or even that he has taught them how to use sexual writing as a vehicle for philosophic ideas, but also because basically he was a chemical determinist. He understood the direction that things would have to take when man is included in the machinery. The conclusions he drew were these: if man is determined, then what is, is right. If all of life is only mechanism—if that is all there is—then morals really do not count. Morals become only a word for a sociological frame-work. Morals become a means of manipulation by society in the midst of the machine. The word “morals” by this time is only a semantic connotation word for non-morals. What is, is right.

This leads to the second step—man is stronger than woman. Nature has made him so. Therefore, the male has the right to do what he wishes to the female. The action for which they put de Sade in prison, both under the Monarchy and the Republic—taking a prostitute and beating her for his own pleasure—was by nature right. We get our word sadism from this. But it must not be forgotten that it is related to a philosophic concept. Sadism is not only pleasure in hurting somebody. It implies that what is, is right and what nature decrees in strength is totally right. Men like Sir Francis Crick today and even Freud, at his point of psychological determinism, are only saying what the Marquis de Sade has already told us—we are a part of the machine. But, if this is so, the Marquis de Sade’s formula is inescapable—what is, is right. We are watching our culture put into effect the fact that, when you tell men long enough that they are machines, it soon begins to show in their actions. You see it in our whole culture—in the theater of cruelty, in the violence in the streets, in the murders on the moors, in the death of man in art and life. These things, and many more like them, come quite naturally from the historical and philosophic flow which we are tracing

Identitarianism Is Incompatible with Humanism

Robyn E. Blumner

Identitarian: A person or ideology that espouses that group identity is the most important thing about a person, and that justice and power must be viewed primarily on the basis of group identity rather than individual merit. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

“The Affirmations of Humanism”: We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity and strive to work together for the common good of humanity. (Paul Kurtz, Free Inquiry, Spring 1987)

The humanist project is at a dangerous crossroads. I fear that our cohesion as fellow humanists is being torn apart by a strain of identitarianism that is making enemies of long-standing friends and opponents of natural allies.

Just at a time when it is essential for all of us to come together to work arm-in-arm against Christian Nationalism and the rise of religious privilege in law, humanism is facing a schism within its own movement. It is heartbreaking to watch and even more disheartening to know that the continued breach seems destined to grow.

The division has to do with a fundamental precept of humanism, that enriching human individuality and celebrating the individual is the basis upon which humanism is built. Humanism valorizes the individual—and with good reason; we are each the hero of our own story. Not only is one’s individual sovereignty more essential to the humanist project than one’s group affiliation, but fighting for individual freedom—which includes freedom of conscience, speech, and inquiry—is part of the writ-large agenda of humanism. It unleashes creativity and grants us the breathing space to be agents in our own lives.

Or at least that idea used to be at the core of humanism.

Today, there is a subpart of humanists, identitarians, who are suspicious of individuals and their freedoms. They do not want a free society if it means some people will use their freedom to express ideas with which they disagree. They see everything through a narrow affiliative lens of race, gender, ethnicity, or other demographic category and seek to shield groups that they see as marginalized by ostensible psychic harms inflicted by the speech of others.

This has given rise to a corrosive cultural environment awash in controversial speakers being shouted down on college campuses; even liberal professors and newspaper editors losing their jobs for tiny, one-off slights; the cancellation of great historical figures for being men of their time; and a range of outlandish claims of microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and other crimes against current orthodoxy.

It has pitted humanists who stand for foundational civil liberties principles such as free speech and equal protection under the law against others on the political Left who think individual freedoms should give way when they fail to serve the interests of select identity groups. The most important feature of the symbol of justice is not her sword or scales; it is her blindfold. Identitarians would pull it off so she could benefit certain groups over others.

Good people with humanist hearts have been pilloried if they don’t subscribe to every jot and tittle of the identitarian gospel. A prime example is the decision last year by the American Humanist Association (AHA) to retract its 1996 award to Richard Dawkins as Humanist of the Year. The man who has done more than anyone alive to advance evolutionary biology and the public’s understanding of that science, who has brought the light of atheism to millions of people, and whose vociferous opposition to Donald Trump and Brexit certainly must have burnished his liberal cred became radioactive because of one tweet on transgender issues that the AHA didn’t like.

Apparently decades of past good works are erased by 280 characters. Just poof. No wonder a New York Times poll1 recently found that 84 percent of adults say it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem that some Americans do not speak freely because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.

This is what identitarians have wrought. Rather than lifting up individuals and imbuing them with autonomy and all the extraordinary uniqueness that flows from it, identitarians would divide us all into racial,  ethnic,  and  gender-based groups and make that group affiliation our defining characteristic. This has the distorting effect of obliterating personal agency, rewarding group victimhood, and incentivizing competition to be seen as the most oppressed.

In addition to being inherently divisive, this is self-reinforcing defeatism. It results in extreme examples, such as a draft plan in California to deemphasize calculus as a response to persistent racial gaps in math achievement.2 Suddenly a subject as racially neutral as math has become a flashpoint for identitarians set on ensuring equality of outcomes for certain groups rather than the far-more just standard of equality of opportunity. In this freighted environment, reducing the need for rigor and eliminating challenging standards becomes a feasible solution. The notion of individual merit or recognition that some students are better at math than others becomes racially tinged and suspect.

Not only does the truth suffer under this assault on common sense, but we start to live in a Harrison Bergeron world where one’s natural skills are necessarily sacrificed on the altar of equality or, in today’s parlance, equity.

Of course, the identitarians’ focus is not just on racial issues. Gender divisions also play out on center stage. I was at a secular conference recently when a humanist leader expressed the view that if you don’t have a uterus, you have no business speaking about abortion.

Really? Only people with female reproductive organs should be heard on one of the most consequential issues of the day? Such a call, itself, is a form of lamentable sexism. And it seems purposely to ignore the fact that plenty of people with a uterus are actively opposed to the right to choose, while plenty of people without a uterus are among our greatest allies for abortion rights. Why should those of us who care about reproductive freedom cut fully half of all humanity from our roster of potential vocal supporters and activists?

As has been said by others perplexed and disturbed by such a narrow-minded view, you don’t have to be poor to have a valid opinion on ways to alleviate poverty. You don’t have to be a police officer to have a valid opinion on policing. And, similarly, you don’t have to be a woman to have a valid opinion on abortion rights.

If the Affirmation quoted at the beginning of this article that rejects “divisive parochial loyalties” based on facile group affiliations isn’t a rejection of identitarianism, I don’t know what is. In his 1968 essay “Humanism and the Freedom of the Individual,” Kurtz stated bluntly:

Any humanism that does not cherish the individual, I am prepared to argue, is neither humanistic nor humanitarian. … Any humanism worthy of the name should be concerned with the preservation of the individual personality with all of its unique idiosyncrasies and peculiarities. We need a society in which the full and free development of every individual is the ruling principle. The existence of individual freedom thus is an essential condition for the social good and a necessary end of humanitarianism.

The individual is the most important unit in humanism. When our individuality is stripped away so we can be fitted into prescribed identity groups instead, something essential to the humanist project is lost. Those pushing for this conception of society are misconstruing humanism, diminishing human potential and self-actualization, and driving a wedge between good people everywhere.

Notes

1. The New York Times/Siena College Research Institute February 9–22, 2022 1,507 United States Residents Age 18+. Available online at https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/free-speech-poll-nyt-and-siena-college/ef971d5e78e1d2f9/full.pdf.

Jacey Fortin, “California Tries to Close the Gap in Math, but Sets Off a Backlash,” New York Times, November 4, 2021. Available online at https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/04/us/california-math-curriculum-guidelines.html.

Robyn E. Blumner

Robyn E. Blumner is the CEO of the Center for Inquiry and the executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason &, Science. She was a nationally syndicated columnist and editorial writer for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) for sixteen years.

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER LGBTQ+ SCHISM

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Francis Schaeffer.jpg

Francis Schaeffer later in this blog post discusses what the unbelievers in Romans 1 were rejecting, but first John MacArthur discusses what the unbelievers in the Democratic Party today are affirming and how these same activities were condemned 2000 years ago in Romans 1.

Christians Cannot And MUST Not Vote Democrat – John MacArthur

A Democrat witness testifying before the HouseJudiciary Committee on abortion rights Thursday declared that men can get pregnant and have abortions. This reminds of Romans chapter 1 and also John MacArthur’s commentary on the 2022 Agenda of the Democratic Party:

25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…26 For this reason (M)GOD GAVE THEM OVER  to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are…inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Here is what John MacArthur had to say:

Now, all of a sudden, not only is this characteristic of our nation, but we now promote it. One of the parties, the Democratic Party, has now made Romans 1, the sins of Romans 1, their agenda. What God condemns, they affirm.

I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, “Why are you getting political?”

Romans 1 is not politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live….it’s about iniquity and judgment. And why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is–sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin.

Dem witness tells House committee men can get pregnant, have abortions

‘I believe that everyone can identify for themselves,’ Aimee Arrambide tells House Judiciary Committee

Aimee Arrambide, the executive director of the abortion rights nonprofit Avow Texas, was asked by Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., to define what “a woman is,” to which she responded, “I believe that everyone can identify for themselves.”
“Do you believe that men can become pregnant and have abortions?” Bishop asked.

“Yes,” Arrambide replied.

The remarks from Arrambide followed a tense exchange between Bishop and Dr. Yashica Robinson, another Democrat witness, after he similarly asked her to define “woman.”

Aimee Arrambide testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on May 11, 2020.  (YouTube screenshot)

Aimee Arrambide testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on May 11, 2020.  (YouTube screenshot) (Screenshot/ House Committee on the Judiciary)

“Dr. Robinson, I noticed in your written testimony you said that you use she/her pronouns. You’re a medical doctor – what is a woman?” Bishop asked Robinson, an OBGYN and board member with Physicians for Reproductive Health.

“I think it’s important that we educate people like you about why we’re doing the things that we do,” Robinson responded. “And so the reason that I use she and her pronouns is because I understand that there are people who become pregnant that may not identify that way. And I think it is discriminatory to speak to people or to call them in such a way as they desire not to be called.”

“Are you going to answer my question? Can you answer the question, what’s a woman?” Bishop asked.

Donna Howard and Aimee Arrambide speaks at Making Virtual Storytelling and Activism Personal during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Donna Howard and Aimee Arrambide speaks at Making Virtual Storytelling and Activism Personal during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hubert Vestil/Getty Images for SXSW)

“I’m a woman, and I will ask you which pronouns do you use?” Robinson replied. “If you tell me that you use she and her pronouns … I’m going to respect you for how you want me to address you.”

“So you gave me an example of a woman, you say that you are a woman, can you tell me otherwise what a woman is?” Bishop asked.

“Yes, I’m telling you, I’m a woman,” Robinson responded.

“Is that as comprehensive a definition as you can give me?” Bishop asked.

“That’s as comprehensive a definition as I will give you today,” Robinson said. “Because I think that it’s important that we focus on what we’re here for, and it’s to talk about access to abortion.”

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“So you’re not interested in answering the question that I asked unless it’s part of a message you want to deliver…” Bishop fired back.

Wednesday’s hearing, titled, “Revoking your Rights,” addressed the threat to abortion rights after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion signaled the high court is poised to soon strike down Roe v. Wade.
John MacArthur explains God’s Wrath on unrighteousness from Romans Chapt…

First is what Romans says:

Romans 1:18-32

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Unbelief and Its Consequences

18 For (A)the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who (B)suppress the truth [a]in unrighteousness, 19 because (C)that which is known about God is evident [b]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For (D)since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, (E)being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [c]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became (F)futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 (G)Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and (H)exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [d]crawling creatures.

24 Therefore (I)God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be (J)dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [e]a (K)lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, (L)who is blessed [f]forever. Amen.

26 For this reason (M)God gave them over to (N)degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [g]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, (O)men with men committing [h]indecent acts and receiving in [i]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit [j]to acknowledge God any longer, (P)God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are (Q)gossips, 30 slanderers, [k](R)haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, (S)disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, (T)unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of (U)death, they not only do the same, but also (V)give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Here is what John MacArthur had to say:

Now, all of a sudden, not only is this characteristic of our nation, but we now promote it. One of the parties, the Democratic Party, has now made Romans 1, the sins of Romans 1, their agenda. What God condemns, they affirm. What God punishes, they exalt. Shocking, really. The Democratic Party has become the anti-God party, the sin-promoting party. By the way, there are seventy-two million registered Democrats in this country who have identified themselves with that party and maybe they need to rethink that identification.

I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, “Why are you getting political?”

Romans 1 is not politics. The Bible is not politics. This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live. It has nothing to do with politics. It’s not about personalities; it’s about iniquity and judgment. And why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is–sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin.

WHAT HAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY REJECTED? THE ANSWER IS THE GOD WHO HAS REVEALED HIM SELF THROUGH THE BOOK OF NATURE AND THE BOOK OF SCRIPTURE!

God Is There And He Is Not Silent
Psalm 19
Intro. 1) Francis Schaeffer lived from 1912-1984. He was one of the Christian
intellectual giants of the 20th century. He taught us that you could be a Christian and not abandon the mind. One of the books he wrote was entitled He Is There And He Is Not Silent. In that work he makes a crucial and thought provoking statement, “The infinite- personal God is there, but also he is not silent; that changes the whole world…He is there and is not a silent, nor far-off God.” (Works of F.S., Vol 1, 276).
2) God is there and He is not silent. In fact He has revealed Himself to us in 2 books: the book of nature and the book of Scripture. Francis Bacon, a 15th century scientist who is credited by many with developing the scientific method said it this way: “There are 2 books laid before us to study, to prevent us from falling into error: first the volume to the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the creation, which expresses His power.”
3) Psalm 19 addresses both of God’s books, the book of nature in vs 1-6 and the book of Scripture in vs. 7-14. Described as a wisdom Psalm, its beauty, poetry and splendor led C.S. Lewis to say, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world” (Reflections on the Psalms, 63).
Trans. God is there and He is not silent. How should we hear and listen to the God who talks?
I. Listen To God Speak Through Nature 19:1-6
God has revealed himself to ever rational human on the earth in two ways: 1) nature and 2) conscience. We call this natural or general revelation. In vs. 1-6 David addresses the wonder of nature and creation.

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 5 | Truth and History

Related posts:

John MacArthur on Romans 1 and the Democratic Party

First is what Romans says: Romans 1:18-32 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Unbelief and Its Consequences 18 For (A)the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who (B)suppress the truth [a]in unrighteousness, 19 because (C)that which is known about God is evident [b]within them; for God made it evident to […]

Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality (Selected Scriptures) John MacArthur

Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality (Selected Scriptures) John MacArthur Published on Sep 30, 2012 by JohnMacArthurGTY http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-448 What a privilege and joy it is to worship the Lord here at Grace Church. Patricia and I miss it when we’re not here. There’s no place like this. Our hearts are full to overflowing to be […]

John MacArthur: Fulfilled prophecy in the Bible? (Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of Tyre, video clips)

Prophecy–The Biblical Prophesy About Tyre.mp4 Uploaded by TruthIsLife7 on Dec 5, 2010 A short summary of the prophecy about Tyre and it’s precise fulfillment. Go to this link and watch the whole series for the amazing fulfillment from secular sources. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvt4mDZUefo ________________ John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled […]

Did God kill someone that I knew? What does I John 5:14-17 mean?

1 John 5:14-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 14 This is (A)the confidence which we have [a]before Him, that, (B)if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, (C)we know that we have the requests which we have asked from […]

MUSIC MONDAY Jireh || Elevation Worship || Maverick City Music || Chandler Moore

Jireh || Elevation Worship || Maverick City Music || Chandler Moore ||

Elevation Worship is a contemporary worship musiccollective from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The collective leads worship in weekend church services at Elevation Church, as well as performing concerts and tours around the United States. The collective has sold over 2.5 million albums in the United States.[4]

Elevation Worship
Elevation Worship.jpg

Elevation Worship performing in 2019
Background information
Origin Charlotte, North Carolina[1][2]
Genres Contemporary worship music[1][3]
Years active 2007–present
Labels Sony Music Nashville – Essential, Elevation Worship
Members
  • Chris Brown
  • Jonsal Barrientes
  • Jenna Barrientes
  • Tiffany Hudson
  • Isaiah Templeton
  • Davide Mutendji
Past members
  • Mack Brock
  • London Gatch
  • Matthews Ntlele
  • Anna Sailors Pinkham
  • Jane Williams
Website elevationworship.com

HistoryEdit

Elevation Worship began in 2007 at Elevation Churchin Charlotte, North Carolina.[1][3][5] The band released four independent albums prior to signing with Essential Records. The Sound was released in 2007 (under the name Elevation Church Live), We Are Alive in 2008, God With Us in 2009, and Kingdom Come in 2010.[3] Featuring the song “Give Me Faith”, Kingdom Come was the band’s first album to break through on the Billboard charts, reaching No. 5 on Heatseekers, No. 42 on Independent Albums and at No. 17 on the Christian Albums chart.[6][1]

The band released their debut studio album, For the Honor, under Sony Music Nashville‘s Essential Records label on November 21, 2011.[1][3] It saw chart success on Billboard magazine charts, including No. 1 on Heatseekers, No. 19 on the Christian Albums, and the Billboard 200 at No. 193.[1][7]

The band’s second album under the Essential label,[1][3] Nothing Is Wasted, was released on February 19, 2013. A deluxe edition of the album also included studio recordings of each song. It also saw chart success – reaching No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart and at No. 41 on the Billboard 200.[1][8][9][10]

Their seventh album, Only King Forever, was released on January 14, 2014, debuting at their highest charting position, No. 23 on the Billboard200[11] and featured guest vocalist Darlene Zschechfrom Hillsong Worship.

On August 1, 2014, the band recorded their eighth album, Wake Up the Wonder, live at the Spectrum in Charlotte. It was released on November 25 that same year. The album debuted at No. 58 on the Billboard 200 in its first week, as well as No. 1 on Billboards Christian Album chart.[12] On July 31, 2015, they held another live recording at Time Warner Cable Arena for their ninth album, Here as in Heaven, their first album released on their own label, Elevation Worship Records. It was released on February 5, 2016, and peaked No. 1 on US album charts.[1][8] Their tenth album, There Is a Cloud, was released on March 17, 2017, after being recorded at Elevation Ballantyne during the church’s revival, “Code Orange Revival”. After There is a Cloud, Elevation Worship released their first Spanish album, Lo Harás Otra Vez, on August 18, 2017. This album peaked at No. 2 on the US Latin album chart. On September 28, 2018, Elevation Worship released their eleventh live album, Hallelujah Here Below, which was nominated for the 2019 Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. On April 12, 2019, Elevation Worship released Paradoxology, which was a reimagined album with different takes on the songs from Hallelujah Here Below, like “Here Again”, “Echo”, and “Won’t Stop Now”. Paradoxologyincluded a single, “With You”.[13] Aleluya (En La Tierra) is Elevation Worship’s second album in Spanish and was released on July 19, 2019. It peaked at eight on US Latin Album Sales. At Midnight, their seventh EP, was released on August 30, 2019. Graves Into Gardens, the group’s twelfth album, was released on May 1, 2020. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian albums chart and No. 34 on the Billboard 200.[14] On April 30, 2021, Elevation Worship collaborated with Maverick City Music to release Old Church Basement. Old Church Basement debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart and No. 30 on Billboard 200.[15] Their live album, LION, released on March 4, 2022, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and No. 80 on the Billboard 200.[16]

They have previously toured with other contemporary worship or contemporary Christianacts including Hillsong Worship, Lauren Daigle, Bethel Music, Passion, Casting Crowns, Kari Jobe, and Cody Carnes.[17]

MembersEdit

Members include:[18][19]

  • Chris Brown
  • Jonsal Barrientes
  • Jenna Barrientes
  • Tiffany Hudson
  • Davide Mutendji

Past members

  • Mack Brock
  • London Gatch
  • Matthews Ntlele
  • Anna Sailors Pinkham
  • Jane Williams

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green.

Keith Green passed away on July 28th, 1982 almost 39 years ago to the day!!! I want to remember him with a series of posts!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Keith Green – (talks about) Jesus Commands Us To Go! (live)

Uploaded on May 26, 2008

Keith Green talks about “Jesus Commands Us To Go!” live at Jesus West Coast ’82

You can find more info on http://www.keithgreen.com

If you want to buy this DVD go to the online shop on his website.

And if you want to know more about this man and why he followed Jesus look at my profile for the video about his life.

______________________________________________________

You are called to go
Keith’s concerts were evangelistic and exhortational. He was the Lecrae of the 70’s. Here is what he has to say about the great commission:

“The world isn’t being won today because we’re not doing it. It’s our fault. This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth. And no where in the world is the gospel so plentiful as here in the United States. No where. And I don’t want to see us stand before God on that day ans say, ‘but God I didn’t hear you call me.’ Here is something for all you to chew on, you don’t need to hear a call, you’re already called. In fact, if you stay home from going into all nations you had better be able to say to God, ‘You called me to stay home God, I know that as a fact.'”

Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live)

Uploaded on May 26, 2008

Keith Green performing “Asleep In The Light” live at Jesus West Coast ’82

You can find more info on http://www.keithgreen.com

_________________________

Keith wasn’t messing around, watch his biography and see how he backed up what he said with his life:

The Keith Green Story (FULL)

Uploaded on May 14, 2009

Keith Green was an intense and radical man of God. He was taken from this Earth at a relatively young age. His legacy lives on through his music and his sermons. This video is about his life.

25 Things You Never Knew About Keith Green

Wayne and I were very close to Keith from 1978-1982. We both served on the leadership of Last Days Ministries, and have many wonderful memories of Keith and those developing years of Last Days Ministries. Here are some inside Keith-facts.

1. Did you know that Keith wore flip flopseverywhere he went?

2. Did you know that Keith always had to share his food with everyone, because if he liked it, he knew you would too? It was the Jewish mother in him.

3. Did you know Keith was a real family man? He couldn’t stand to be separated from Melody or his kids for long.

4. Did you know that Keith was very soul searchingand could be harder on himself then he was on others?

5. Did you know Keith would sometimes cut his own hair; and even played barber shop with some of the other brothers at the ministry?

6. Did you know that Keith was a real night owl? He often got his best revelation late at night and would commonly call people at 2-3am to share his fresh insights.

7. Did you know that Keith used to mow the grassin Texas on a big tractor as a way to relax and to clear his head?

8. Did you know that Keith invited so many family and friends to witness the birth of his children, that it nearly became a public event?

9. Did you know that he always had a team of people praying while he was in the studio? Along with his talent, there were hours and hours of intercession that went into each album.

10. Did you know that Keith had a deep love for people and would get really involved with people he was ministering to?

11. Did you know that Keith would read the bible in the bathroom and got some of his best revelation in there?

12. Did you know that he loved to play racket ball? He also played tennis and ping pong, and was very competitive.

13. Did you know he loved to try new things? He learned to milk a cow, drive a tractor and run a printing press.

14. Did you know that he loved to go to auctions, and was able to furnish our facilities in East Texas saving thousands of dollars?

15. Did you know Keith shaved his beard when we moved to East Texas from California, to avoid offending the locals.

16. Did you know that Keith could type faster with 2 fingers than most of us can with 10?

17. Did you know Keith was really close friends with the famous revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, and often went to him for counsel and advice?

18. Did you know he was the same off stage as he was on stage? With Keith, what you saw was who he was, he was genuine, sincere and real in all he did.

19 Did you know that Keith once drove the bus off the road in Hell’s Canyon, Utah leaving it dangling over a 2000 foot cliff? It took 2 bulldozers to lift it back onto the road.

20. Did you know Keith borrowed money on his house to sponsor the “So You Wanna Go back To Egypt”album so we could make them available to people for whatever they could afford?

21. Did you know Keith never received a salaryfrom the ministry?

22. Did you know that in spite of his success and popularity Keith lived a very simple life?

23. Did you know Keith loved to walk when he prayed? He could often be seen in an animated prayer walk going along the edge of our ministry property.

24. Did you know Keith led worship every Friday night at a prayer meeting led by Leonard Ravenhill near our ministry in East Texas?

25. Did you know Keith had a vision to do a restaurant that would offer food for whatever you could afford as a ministry outreach to the community?

Did you know Keith wasn’t perfect, but he held nothing back in serving Jesus and bringing others into God’s Kingdom.

Related posts:

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green.

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green. Sunday, May 5, 2013 You Are Celled To Go – Keith Green Keith Green – (talks about) Jesus Commands Us To Go! (live) Uploaded on May 26, 2008 Keith Green talks about “Jesus Commands Us To Go!” live at Jesus West Coast ’82 You can find […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 4)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 3)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 2)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 1)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green Story (Part 9)

Keith Green – Easter Song (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “Easter Song” live from The Daisy Club — LA (1982) ____________________________ Keith Green was a great song writer and performer.  Here is his story below: The Lord had taken Keith from concerts of 20 or less — to stadiums […]

Keith Green Story, includes my favorite song (Part 8)

Keith Green – Asleep In The Light Uploaded by keithyhuntington on Jul 23, 2006 keith green performing Asleep In The Light at Jesus West Coast 1982 __________________________ Keith Green was a great song writer and performer and the video clip above includes my favorite Keith Green song. Here is his story below: “I repent of […]

Keith Green Story (Part 7)

Keith Green – Your Love Broke Through Here is something I got off the internet and this website has lots of Keith’s great songs: Keith Green: His Music, Ministry, and Legacy My mom hung up the phone and broke into tears. She had just heard the news of Keith Green’s death. I was only ten […]

Keith Green Story (Part 6)

The Keith Green Story pt 7/7 I remember when I first Keith Green. He had a great impact on me. Below are some quotes on Keith: Quotes   “It’s time to quit playing church and start being the Church (Matt. 18:20)” — Keith Green, as quoted by Melody Green in the introduction to A Cry […]

Keith Green Story (Part 5)

The Keith Green Story pt 6/7 When I first heard Keith Green in 1978 it had a major impact on my life. Below is his story: LEGEND   Keith Green CBN.com – When musician Keith Green died in a plane crash on July 28, 1982, the world lost a special man whose heart was aflame […]

Dan Mitchell: “Prioritization” and Debt Limit Nonsense

DEBT LIMIT – A GUIDE TO AMERICAN FEDERAL DEBT MADE EASY.

“Prioritization” and Debt Limit Nonsense

Back in 2016, here’s what I said about the debt limitduring some congressional testimony (and I made very similar points in some 2013 testimony).

https://youtu.be/_n7t904DJjg

Near the end of my testimony (about 4:55) I discuss “prioritization,” which is what would happen if the debt limit is not raised and the Treasury Department has to decide which payments are made (and which payments are delayed).

I then pointed out that federal tax revenues in 2017 were expected to be 11 times greater than annual interest payments.

As such, there obviously would have been plenty of cash available to make interest payments, as well as to finance other economically or politically sensitive items (I assume, for instance, that Treasury would have prioritized monthly Social Security benefits as well).

Would this have been messy? Yes. Would it have been uncharted territory not covered by the law? Yes. But would it have been better than default, which would have caused turmoil in financial markets? Another yes.

Which now brings us to the present day. We’re now in another debt limit fight, so I decided to look at the most-recent data from the Congressional Budget Office to see whether the federal government will still have plenty of cash so that interest payments on the debt can be prioritized.

Lo and behold, annual tax revenue this fiscal year is going to be more than 11 times greater than annual interest payments. Just like in 2017.

In other words, we presumably can sleep easy. There’s plenty of money to pay interest on the debt.

There would only be a default if Joe Biden or Janet Yellen (the Treasury Secretary) deliberately chosenot to prioritize. And the odds of that happening presumably are way below 1 percent.

Some people may wonder why we should accept even that small risk? Why not simply increase the debt limit so that the odds of a default are 0 percent?

That’s a fair point, but it must be balanced by the recognition that the United States is on a path to long-run economic and fiscal chaos. So I can also understand why some lawmaker say the debt limit should only be raised if accompanied by some much-need spending restraint.

And, for those who care about real-world evidence, that’s what has happened in the past. Indeed, Brian Riedl notes that it’s the only plausible vehicle for altering the nation’s fiscal trajectory.

I’ll close by expressing pessimism that House Republicans will achieve anything in the current fight over the debt limit.

We won’t get something really good, like a spending cap. But I start with very low expectations, so I guess I’m happy that Republicans are at least pretending to care once again about excessive government spending.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step!

P.S. I partially disagree with Brian Riedl’s list. The 1990 Bush tax increase was not a “deficit-reduction law.” And it was post-1994 spending restraint that produced a balanced budget, not Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

P.P.S. Remember that debt is bad, but it should be viewed as a symptom. The underlying disease is excessive government spending.


JANUARY 10, 2023 10:05AM

Cut Spending to Stabilize Debt: A Debt Limit Plan for the New Congress

By Romina Boccia


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Following a massive bipartisan increase in emergency spending during the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to inflation reaching a 40‐​year high, the 118th Congress should shift fiscal gears. It’s time to cut deficit spending to spur economic growth and complement the deflationary actions of the Federal Reserve.

Federal debt is at economically damaging levels and growing at an unsustainable rate. Additional deficit spending threatens to make inflation worse and burden the economy by misallocating resources from higher‐​growth projects toward politically‐​directed spending. The 118th Congress has a key opportunity to adopt responsible, pro‐​growth fiscal policy that controls spending and stabilizes the debt.

Fiscal year (FY) 2022 ended with a $1.4 trillion deficit (how much Congress spent by borrowing) that consumed 5.5 percent of U.S. GDP. To put that in perspective: The first time ever the deficit exceeded $1 trillion was in 2009, when the U.S. was in the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Not that Congress can cure a global financial crisis by throwing money at it, but they did try. The next time deficitsexceeded $1 trillion we were in a 100‐​year pandemic and Congress tried to spend its way out of that, too. Now that the pandemic is over, why is it that trillion‐​dollar deficits go on for as far as the eye can see?

Members of Congress worked so well across the aisle together to increase spending, certainly they should have no problems working together again. Only this time, their charge should be to stabilize debt with a credible fiscal plan and legislation that enacts it. Such a plan should achieve a firm target, such as freezing debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) or achieving primary balance (balancing non‐​interest spending with revenues) before the end of the decade. Congress’s plan should be backed up with concrete policy proposals that score sufficient savings to achieve the fiscal target. 

How hard could this be? It’s not like bipartisanship only works in the context of increasing spending. Or does it? Recent spending increases benefited from horse trading of “your pet project for mine,” as evident by the return of earmarks—parochial spending that was banned for a decade due to frequent instances of waste and corruption. A recent Peterson Foundation poll identified that 9 out of 10 voters expect members of Congress to work together to reduce the federal debt. Constituents are about to find out if bipartisanship will also work when it comes to making tough choices.

The gross federal debt (including government trust fund debt for programs like Social Security) approached $31 trillion (120 percent of GDP), of which debt borrowed in credit markets reached $24.3 trillion (95 percent of GDP). Debt that’s this high, compared to the size of the economy, and growing from there, is bad. It hurts growth and makes a fiscal crisis more likely.

The fiscal outlook is yet worse. After adjusting the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, federal debt held by the public is projected to grow to 138 percent of GDP by 2032. Adjustments include higher‐​than‐​expected inflation and interest rates, new deficit spending in late 2022, slower‐​than‐​expected economic growth, and the likelihood that middle class tax cuts will be extended past 2025. See figure 1 for alternative projections, compared to a scenario assuming tax cuts will expire (don’t hold your breath), and CBO’s original projections. And even these debt growth scenarios could be too optimistic if there’s a major crisis or prolonged recession. So, let’s not make things even worse.

The federal debt limit specifies the maximum amount of government bonds that Treasury may issue. Treasury is projected to run up against this limit sometime in the summer or fall of 2023. When Congress confronts the federal debt limit this year, members should pair the inevitable increase in the debt limit with reforms that reduce spending and debt growth.

Yes, I said it: Congress will eventually increase the debt limit. But before doing so, they should change the course of future spending. Whether to increase the debt limit or not is the wrong question. Lawmakers should instead grapple with “How will we slow the growth in the debt and avoid a fiscal crisis?”. Effective policies will reform health care and old‐​age entitlements, the main drivers of rising debt.

Congress should also cut and cap discretionary spending for most government programs, including seizing such low‐​hanging fruit as eliminating parochial spending by restoring the earmark ban. With deficits in the trillions, just say no to that overpriced trolley extension in your downtown restoration plans that few people will ever ride. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars would be wasted, except for the giggles and maybe the cute Instagram reel.

What about tax increases? They’re mostly window dressing and could be more harmful than helpful. Spending reforms will be most effective in stabilizing the debt without undermining economic growth. That’s not just convenient theorizing on the part of this limited‐​government libertarian, but evident when reviewing relevant data from previous deficit consolidation efforts. 

A Heritage Foundation report distilling lessons from European austerity efforts, which I co‐​authored, illustrates that increasing taxes was less effective in reducing deficits than spending cuts, with tax increases further damaging the economy. The most successful fiscal adjustments, judged by their impact on deficits and economic growth, reformed social programs and reduced the size and compensation of the government workforce.

Another study by Andrew Biggs, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); and Kevin Hassett, a former scholar at AEI; and Matthew Jensen, then the founding director of the Open Source Policy Center, drew similar conclusions: 

“Spending‐​based fiscal adjustment accompanied by supply‐​side reforms‐​such as liberalization of the markets for labor, goods, and services; readjustments of public‐​sector size and pay; public pension reform; and other structural changes‐​tend to be less recessionary or even lead to positive economic growth.” 

Here are some commonsense benchmarks Congress should adopt before increasing the debt limit in 2023:

  • Adopt a credible fiscal plan that will control spending and debt growth, freezing debt as a percentage of GDP at a minimum, or better yet, aiming for primary budget balance (excluding interest costs) before the end of the decade.
  • Establish a bipartisan commission to reform major entitlement programs, especially Social Security and Medicare, including fast‐​tracking the commissions’ recommendations in Congress.
  • Reduce and cap discretionary spending, returning discretionary spending to pre‐​pandemic (FY 2019) levels and limiting the growth of new budget caps to no more than 2 percent annually.
  • Restore the earmark ban.

One more thing: in the event of a recession, Congress should avoid new stimulus spending. Fiscal stimulus in the form of new cash payments or enhanced unemployment benefits would represent the same demand‐​boosting subsidies the federal government pursued during the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to record‐​high inflation. So, that would not be helpful. 

Also, government spending today entails future costs from the likely displacement of higher‐​value private economic activity toward government‐​directed projects, a misallocation of capital, greater debt, reduced incentives to work and invest, and the prospect of higher future taxes that tamper investment. Any relief should thus focus on eliminating regulatory barriers to investing and hiring and relying on existing automatic stabilizers which will kick in without lawmakers pushing new emergency spending. This will enable the private sector to emerge from recession without additional deficit spending that would likely do more harm than it would help.

Now, let’s get to work!

This commentary presents a brief summary of my recent Cato policy brief “A Fiscal Agenda for the 118th Congress.” You can find the full piece here.

President Clinton Signing the Balanced Budget Bill (1997)

Newt Gingich Explains How He Balanced the Budget as Speaker of the House

Ronald Reagan Talks About Balancing the Budget on Johnny Carson’s Tonigh…

President Reagan’s Remarks on Balanced Budget Amendment on July 12, 1982

—-

February 11, 2021

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

The realignment Johnson foresaw ended up taking longer than he had expected. But steadily, year by year—through Vietnam, riots… and Nixon’s southern strategy; through busing, Roe v. Wade, urban crime, and white flight; through affirmative action, the Moral Majority, union busting, and Robert Bork; through assault weapons bans and the rise of NEWT GINGRICH …and the Clinton impeachment—America’s voters and their representatives became more and more polarized.

Page 607

As it so happened, the same mid-December week we announced the deal with McConnell, Bill Clinton joined me in the Oval Office dining room for a visit. Whatever tensions had existed between us during the campaign had largely dissipated by then, and I found it useful to hear the lessons he’d learned after suffering a similar midterm shellacking at the hands of Newt Gingrich in 1994. At some point, we got into the nitty-gritty of the tax agreement I’d just made, and Clinton couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.
     “You need to tell that to some of our friends,” I said, noting the blowback we were getting from certain Democratic circles.
     “If I have the chance, I will,” Clinton said.
     That gave me an idea. “How about you get the chance right now?” Before he could answer, I walked over to Katie’s desk and asked her to have the press team rustle up any correspondents who were in the building. Fifteen minutes later, Bill Clinton and I stepped into the White House briefing room.
     Explaining to the startled reporters that they might like to get some perspective on our tax deal from the person who’d overseen just about the best U.S. economy we’d experienced in recent history, I turned the podium over to Clinton. It didn’t take long for the former president to own the room, mustering all of his raspy-voiced, lip-biting Arkansas charm to make the case for our deal with McConnell. In fact, shortly after the impromptu press conference began, I realized I had another commitment to get to, but Clinton was clearly enjoying himself so much that I didn’t want to cut him off. Instead, I leaned into the microphone to say that I had to leave but that President Clinton could stick around. Later, I asked Gibbs how the whole thing had played.
     “The coverage was great,” Gibbs said. “Though a few of the talking heads said that you diminished yourself by giving Clinton the platform.”
     I wasn’t too worried about that. I knew that Clinton’s poll numbers were a whole lot higher than mine at the time, partly because the conservative press that had once vilified him now found it useful to offer him up as a contrast to me, the kind of reasonable, centrist Democrat, they said, that Republicans could work with. His endorsement would help us sell the deal to the broader public and tamp down any potential rebellion among congressional Democrats. It was an irony that I—like many modern leaders—eventually learned to live with: You never looked as smart as the ex-president did on the sidelines.

There are two main things that Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton teamed up on and accomplished and they were a balanced budget and welfare reform!

Kevin Williamson rightly noted:

“Reagan deficits” and “Clinton surpluses.” Presidents do not write the national budget, balanced or otherwise, nor do they create deficits or surpluses. Congress does that, by passing tax bills and appropriations bills. There were no Reagan deficits, nor were there Clinton surpluses: There were Tip O’Neill deficits and Newt Gingrich surpluses.

R PLUSMAGAZINEDECEMBER 31, 2011, ISSUE

How Speaker Newt Balanced the Budget

By KEVIN D. WILLIAMSONDecember 15, 2011 4:00 AM

And why President Newt would not

In the United States, our political discourse is extraordinarily democratic, and therefore extraordinarily stupid, and the immortality of certain myths — the Social Security “trust fund,” the impact of foreign-aid spending on the federal budget — makes it nearly impossible to discuss the fundamental facts of American government. Here are two phrases that should be struck from our political lexicon, their use designated an occasion for corporal punishment: “Reagan deficits” and “Clinton surpluses.” Presidents do not write the national budget, balanced or otherwise, nor do they create deficits or surpluses. Congress does that, by passing tax bills and appropriations bills. There were no Reagan deficits, nor were there Clinton surpluses: There were Tip O’Neill deficits and Newt Gingrich surpluses.

The governors in the Republican presidential field all can boast of having worked with legislatures to achieve balanced budgets. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman can boast of having done so in situations that replicate in miniature the national fiscal picture — locked-in spending outpacing tax revenues reduced by recession and subsequent slow growth — but with an important difference: Unlike the federal government, states and cities do not really have much choice but to balance their budgets. It is a lucky thing that this is so, and one that bears further consideration: Most of our states and cities operate under legal prohibitions against operating deficits, but the federal example suggests that restraints on borrowing are easily set aside, and many of our states and cities have excellent credit ratings that would enable them to borrow at attractive rates. The real constraint here seems to be an informal norm against states’ and cities’ borrowing to finance regular operating deficits, even though they do borrow large sums for capital projects.

No such norm prevails at the federal level, where balanced budgets or surpluses require a combination of sober fiscal realism and delicate bipartisan diplomacy. Newt Gingrich has many fine qualities, but he is not the most obvious man for the job when the job calls for realism and delicate bipartisan diplomacy, virtues with which the former Speaker is associated by no sentient political being. But the facts are not to be denied: Under a fiscal course set by Newt Gingrich and his Republican congressional allies, the United States reported a budget surplus of $69.3 billion in 1998 and of $125.6 billion in 1999. Gingrich resigned from the House that year, but it was the continuation of Gingrich’s policies that produced the subsequent surpluses of $236.2 billion in 2000 and $128.2 billion in 2001. But this is not a conservative success story, conventionally understood: Gingrich balanced the budget in no small part by knuckling under to Democratic demands, including relatively high taxes, and by helping to entrench the myth that our entitlement liabilities are only a kind of fiscal hypothesis, something that can be made to vanish into the fiduciary ether with a flourish of the magical wand of government accounting practices. While Speaker Gingrich does deserve some credit for the millennial budget surpluses, President Gingrich would be crucified for attempting to revisit the policies that produced them — and conservatives would drive in the nails.

The foremost contributor to the Gingrich surpluses was taxes, and the main contributor on that front was the payroll tax, receipts from which far exceeded payouts to Social Security and Medicare. Because such excess payroll-tax receipts are by law automatically spent on federal securities, they camouflage the true extent of federal indebtedness. Thus the fiscal paradox of the Gingrich surpluses: Even though the federal government reported hundreds of billions of dollars in budget surpluses, the total national debt continued to climb, by $113 billion in the surplus year of 1998, by $130 billion in 1999, by $18 billion in 2000, and by $133 billion in 2001. What happened was in fact a redistribution of federal liabilities from publicly held debt to intragovernmental debt in the form of securities held by the so-called trust funds that support the major entitlements according to the epic fiction that is the federal ledger. The debt held by the public in the form of Treasury bonds and notes went down, but intragovernmental debt went up by an amount that exceeded that reduction. This of course makes those Gingrich surpluses look less attractive in retrospect. More important, it points to the major fiscal challenge in the coming years, when the entitlement programs will be the major driver of federal deficits. Social Security already is in a permanent deficit, and, with some $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, Social Security and Medicare will prove impossible to sustain, especially with an aging population. If deficit hawks can take heart from anything, it is that the major Republican presidential contenders have credible plans for reforming Social Security and that most of them — the notable exception is Gingrich — have credible plans for reforming Medicare.

But the Gingrich surpluses were not accounting gimmickry only. There were real reforms, too — reforms that were enacted by and large over Republican objections, Gingrich’s in particular. Again, a very large role was played by taxes, specifically by the tax increases in the 1990 budget deal between Pres. George H. W. Bush and congressional Democrats, and the tax increase in the 1993 budget. The former so enraged Gingrich, who was at the time the minority whip, that he hung up on chief of staff John Sununu when Sununu called with the news. The latter helped to bring Republicans to the majority — every Republican had voted against it — and Gingrich to the speakership.

It also increased federal revenue substantially by steeply increasing the top tax rate (from 31 percent to 39.6 percent), inflicting new taxes on the middle class (raising the gasoline tax, for instance), raising the corporate-income tax, lifting the income cap on Medicare taxes, and increasing taxes on Social Security benefits, among other things. Conservatives, in thrall to something called Hauser’s Law — which is a law of economics in the same sense that Lady Gaga is a lady — argue that federal revenues always stay roughly the same regardless of tax rates, but this is demonstrably untrue. Federal tax receipts neared 21 percent of GDP in 2000, about one-sixth higher than their post-war average of 17.7 percent. The difference between 18 percent and 20 percent may not seem like very much, but when you are talking about a share of an economy equal to a quarter of the world’s economic output, the numbers are very large indeed. In fact, with the exception of World War II, there was not a year in American history in which federal spending broke 21 percent until 1975, when there began a long run of very high spending that ended with the Gingrich ascendancy in 1994. When Republicans won their landslide in 1994, federal spending was 21 percent of GDP; by 2000, it was down to 18.2 percent — a real reduction in federal spending relative to the size of the economy, if not in absolute terms. You may not remember 1994–2000 as a time of savage austerity measures: We had welfare reform, a reduction in military spending, and generally sensible restraint that endured until the peculiar economic ideas of Pres. George W. Bush and Rep. Tom DeLay went into effect, with the goal of reducing the putative budget surplus — to “return the surplus to the American people,” as DeLay put it — as though such surpluses were a permanent victory, and as though the real debt were not mounting in spite of them. If tax receipts today were comparable to the millennial levels, then the 2013 deficit would run about $418 billion; if we are collecting taxes at the current level, that deficit will be $1.4 trillion.

Conservatives are justified in balking at the idea that one in five dollars should be consumed by the parasitic class in Washington. But the lowest level of federal spending that Republicans have brought us in recent decades was 18.2 percent in 2001. Until such a time as there is evidence to the contrary, it probably is safe to think of 18.2 percent as a practical floor on federal spending, regardless of which party is in power. Perhaps some future Republican majority will do a better job of containing costs, but there is scant reason to think that likely: The most effective statutory constraint on federal spending, the so-called Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules, were undermined by Republicans, who chafed under the rules’ constraints when they desired to cut taxes without cutting spending.

This is a case, then, of picking our poison. Tax increases are undesirable for any number of reasons, some of them moral — if you go to bed with the devil, expect to wake up with a burning sensation — and some economic: Higher taxes may retard growth and certainly will cause massive amounts of capital to be reallocated from productive purposes to unproductive ones. Tax increases are a drag on growth, but so are endless substantial deficits. The best method of balancing the budget would be spending cuts, but there is no constituency in Congress, or in the country, for cuts of the requisite depth — and, in any case, those cuts would have real economic effects, too, though effects that probably would be less undesirable in the long run than entrenching the federal state at its current bloated level. The 2013 deficit will probably run right around $1 trillion; if Republicans are not prepared to cut $1 trillion in spending, then they should make their peace with tax increases — or make their peace with endless deficits, until such a time as the weight of them produces an avalanche that will destroy the economy of this country and seriously disrupt that of the rest of the world. Those are the choices.

Incidentally, except where noted, none of the deficit numbers above includes the mounting liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, which are the most significant fiscal threats as we move forward. Put simply, no balanced-budget program that fails to incorporate robust entitlement reform will prevent the eventual insolvency of the United States. But no entitlement-reform deal that neglects the rest of the deficit will prevent that outcome, either. The trick is to do both, and Newt Gingrich’s experience suggests that higher taxes — and let’s not use the euphemism “revenues” — probably will need to be a part of that picture.

Like higher taxes, bipartisanship is not a good on its own; given the perverse character of the contemporary Democratic party, it would be better to describe bipartisanship as a necessary evil. Faced with the master politician Bill Clinton, Gingrich had little choice but to cut relatively liberal deals, and contemporary Republicans will have little choice about doing so, either, regardless of what happens in 2012: A long-term solution, one that will stick, will require buy-in from both parties, and to proceed as though this were not the case is deeply unconservative, to the extent that wishful thinking is unconservative. The essential thing for Republicans to do is to identify and encourage the best deficit-reduction impulses that the Democrats harbor. (This may require the use of an advanced microscope.) The PAYGO rules, for example, were hated by congressional Republicans, because Democrats used them against unfunded, irresponsible tax cuts of the sort in which congressional Republicans specialize, and PAYGO finally was abandoned in 2002. Subsequently, the deficit more than doubled, from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2002 to 3.2 percent in 2008, then leaping to 10 percent of GDP in 2009. PAYGO was not perfect, but it is preferable to trillion-dollar deficits. Bipartisan compromise is not perfect, either, but it beats default and national impoverishment.

We are well past the point at which it is sufficient to achieve moral victories, ideological victories, or mere political victories. Political victories are a necessary but not a sufficient condition for achieving the business at hand, which is, to put it baldly, a matter of national survival. That fact already is beginning to sink in among Republican budget hawks: “Broad-based tax reform” is a Republican euphemism for tax increases, though it is not only a euphemism: It is important that our tax code be reformed along the most growth-oriented lines, those that minimize the distortion of economic decision-making, rather than along the class-warfare lines preferred by Pres. Barack Obama and his congressional allies. Phasing out the deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable giving, and the like would go a long way toward closing future deficits while removing destructive distortions from the tax code. It is even more critical that we enact similar reforms in the handout-ridden corporate tax code. A general policy of flattening and simplifying the tax regime — a model that has partisans in both parties — is greatly preferable to further politicizing the code with more brackets and more exemptions that encourage rent-seeking on a massive scale.

If Republicans find themselves in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House after 2012 — which seems to me the most likely outcome at this point — they will need to act quickly and decisively to pass a legislative program that reforms the major entitlements and brings spending and taxing into some kind of sensible alignment. But in order to balance the budget, a President Gingrich would almost certainly be obliged to accept policies that Speaker Gingrich opposed, and that most Republicans will continue to oppose — until, once again, they have no choice.

KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON is the roving correspondent for National Review and the author of BIG WHITE GHETTO: DEAD BROKE, STONE-COLD STUPID, AND HIGH ON RAGE IN THE DANK WOOLLY WILDS OF THE ‘REAL AMERICA.’


 I have praised over and over and over the 66 House Republicans that voted no on  raising the debt ceiling before. If they did not raise the debt ceiling then we would have a balanced budget instantly.  I agree that the Tea Party has made a difference and I have personally posted 49 posts on my blog on different Tea Party heroes of mine.

I have posted articles on my blog (www.thedailyhatch.org) about the balanced budget efforts of very prudent people like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 293) (Founding Fathers’ view on Christianity, Elbridge Gerry of MA)

April 10, 2013 – 7:02 am

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. There have […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding FathersPresident Obama | Edit |Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 5, John Hancock)

May 8, 2012 – 1:48 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 4, Elbridge Gerry)

May 7, 2012 – 1:46 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 3, Samuel Adams)

May 4, 2012 – 1:45 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 2, John Quincy Adams)

May 3, 2012 – 1:42 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 1, John Adams)

May 2, 2012 – 1:13 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

President Obama and the Founding Fathers

May 8, 2013 – 9:20 am

President Obama Speaks at The Ohio State University Commencement Ceremony Published on May 5, 2013 President Obama delivers the commencement address at The Ohio State University. May 5, 2013. You can learn a lot about what President Obama thinks the founding fathers were all about from his recent speech at Ohio State. May 7, 2013, […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (0)

Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the founding fathers and their belief in inalienable rights

December 5, 2012 – 12:38 am

Dr. C. Everett Koop with Bill Graham. Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit |Comments (1)

David Barton: In their words, did the Founding Fathers put their faith in Christ? (Part 4)

May 30, 2012 – 1:35 am

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – David Barton 4/6 There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Tagged governor of connecticutjohn witherspoonjonathan trumbull | Edit | Comments (1)

Were the founding fathers christian?

May 23, 2012 – 7:04 am

3 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton There were 55 gentlemen who put together the constitution and their church affliation is of public record. Greg Koukl notes: Members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping the political foundations of our nation, were […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

John Quincy Adams a founding father?

June 29, 2011 – 3:58 pm

I do  not think that John Quincy Adams was a founding father in the same sense that his  father was. However, I do think he was involved in the  early days of our government working with many of the founding fathers. Michele Bachmann got into another history-related tussle on ABC’s “Good  Morning America” today, standing […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part E “Moral absolutes and abortion” Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 5(includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

July 6, 2013 – 1:26 am

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Arkansas TimesFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit |Comments (0)

Article from Adrian Rogers, “Bring back the glory”

June 11, 2013 – 12:34 am

I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersFrancis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the possibility that minorities may be mistreated under 51% rule

June 9, 2013 – 1:21 am

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis ____________ The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

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Dan Mitchell article: The Continuing Failure of Government-Run Healthcare in the United Kingdom

The Continuing Failure of Government-Run Healthcare in the United Kingdom

I’m routinely critical of the many ways that government intervention has created an expensiveand inefficient health system in the United States.

But there are countries where government causes even greater problems. So when I want to feel good about America’s clunky healthcare system,I look at the mess across the ocean.

The United Kingdom has a socialist health system. And it’s real socialism, with government running the hospitals and employing the doctors and nurses.

And this produces predictably bad results.

I’ve shared numerous horror stories about that approach (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), but this report from David Parsley is so astounding that even some of my knee-jerk leftist friends may reconsider their support for big government.

Ukrainian refugees who travelled to the UK to escape the war are risking their lives by returning to their homeland to seek urgent medical treatments after giving up on the NHS. Due the NHS pressures and long waiting lists for procedures, Ukrainians living with families across the UK are taking the perilous trip back into a war zone where they are treated by doctors immediately despite Russian bombardments of their towns and cities.…Maiia Habruk escaped Kyiv last spring along with around five million fellow citizens and found a safe haven with a couple in south east London. But she returned to Ukraine in mid-December after failing to get the treatment she needed from her local hospital in Lewisham. …She decided the only way to get the treatment she believed she required was to make the 24-hour trip back to Ukraine, which includes a flight to Poland and a long and dangerous train journey to Kyiv. …Maiia, who witnessed almost daily bombing raids by the Russians while in Kyiv, knows three other Ukrainians in London who sought emergency health procedures back in their war-torn country due to the lack of availability of quick treatment from the NHS.

These people were engaging in cost-benefit analysis. They compared the risk of death, injury, or suffering from Russian bombs to the risk of death, injury, or suffering from languishing on a waiting list in the United Kingdom.

And they decided Russian bombs were the better option.

This disaster is attracting attention in other nations. The Wall Street Journal opined two days ago about the NHS.

The American left can’t seem to quit its desire for single-payer Medicare for All. So it’s worth noting that the United Kingdom, which already has a system resembling that socialist dream, is rethinking it amid another winter of healthcare misery. …Waiting times for ambulances for the most serious calls are getting longer, with the average response time reaching 10 minutes 57 seconds in December, compared to a target of seven.Once patients reach the emergency room, 35% now face waits above four hours… As of November, some 7.2 million patients have been referred for treatment but are waiting for it to start. Of those, 2.9 million have been waiting more than 18 weeks. The NHS considers itself a success if it starts treatment within that four-month window, which is the epitome of defining failure down. …Excess deaths in 2022 were the most since 1951, excluding the pandemic. …The U.S. suffers a chronic problem of healthcare financing but not of health-care delivery. Britain shows that with single-payer you end up with both. The U.K. also shows that single-payer’s biggest victims are low-income people who can’t afford to opt out.

Yet there are nonetheless American politicians who want to copy this failed system.

Allister Heath of the U.K.-based Telegraph has a grim assessment of his nation’s government-run system.

…the NHS is finished. It is broken beyond repair, ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands, and threatening the social fabric and economic performance of our nation. …this 75-year experiment in health socialism has failed appallingly, culminating in a surge in excess deaths, waiting lists that aren’t worthy of a civilised nation, inhumane strikes, intolerable delays for ambulances, explicit rationing…NHS spending is up 12 per cent in real terms since 2019-20; there are 13 per cent more doctors and 11 per cent more nurses, and yet the service delivered 5 per cent fewer treatments in the first nine months of 2022 than in the same period in 2019. …Its six pillars – that it is “free” at the point of use, the full state ownership of hospitals, its complete dependence on taxpayer funding, its supposed culture of altruism, its nature as a shared moral project uniting rich and poor, and its centrally planned workforce – are the very causes of its disintegration.

P.S. I can’t resist some closing comments about the politics of government-run health care.

The first story cited above includes these comments from left-of-center U.K. politicians.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told i “Vladimir Putin is dropping bombs on Ukrainian hospitals, yet patients are travelling back to Kyiv rather than face NHS waiting lists. …Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Daisy Cooper said: “It’s a damning indictment of the government’s record on the NHS that Ukrainian refugees are returning to a war-torn country to access health care.”

Accurate criticisms, to be sure. But both Labour and the Lib Dems simply want to dump more money in the system.

But the so-called Conservative Party does exactly the same thing, as the Wall Street Journal noted in its editorial.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021 pledged an additional £36 billion over three years for the NHS and related home and nursing-home care, funded by a payroll-tax increase. Mr. Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt followed in November with another £3.3 billion a year for the next two years.

And Allister Heath made a similar observation in his column.

The Cameron-May-Johnson survival strategy was to “neutralise” the NHS by refusing to contemplate difficult reforms, genuflecting endlessly at its altar, prioritising it in every Budget, greatly boosting its funding after Brexit and worshipping it hysterically during the lockdowns; yet, in the end, it was the NHS that neutralised the Tories. Small-state, high-growth Toryism is incompatible with an unreconstructed NHS, with its need for ever-higher taxes. How long will the Conservatives continue to lie to themselves about this?

This is a good opportunity to revisit my “what’s the alternative?” argument.

Self-styled right-of-center parties have to choose whether to become tax collectors for the welfare state or whether to push for entitlement reform. There’s no other alternative.

P.P.S. There is one group of people who are net winners from the U.K.’s government-run system.


Milton Friedman on Medical Care (Full Lecture)

Published on Feb 2, 2014

I have written about Obamacare over and over again on this blog. Dan Mitchell has shared many funny cartoons about Obamacare too. Milton Friedman has spoken out about government healthcare many times in the past and his film series FREE TO CHOOSE is on You Tube and I encourage you to watch it. It is clear that the federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation.

We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “The Anatomy of a Crisis” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 1/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 2/4

Winter 2001
Since the end of World War II, the provision of medical care in the United States and other advanced countries has displayed three major features: first, rapid advance in the science of medicine; second, large increases in spending, both in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars per person and the fraction of national income spent on medical care; and third, rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care, on the part of both consumers of medical care and physicians and other suppliers of medical care.

Rapid technological advance has occurred repeatedly since the industrial revolution – in agriculture, steam engine, railroad, telephone, electricity, automobile, radio, television, and, most recently, computers and telecommunication. The other two features seem unique to medicine. It is true that spending initially increased after nonmedical technical advances, but the fraction of national income spent did not increase dramatically after the initial phase of widespread acceptance. On the contrary, technological development lowered cost, so that the fraction of national income spent on food, transportation, communication, and much more has gone down, releasing resources to produce new products or services. Similarly, there seems no counterpart in these other areas to the rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care.

I. International comparison

These developments in medicine have been worldwide. By their very nature, scientific advances know no geographical boundaries. Data on spending are readily available for 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. In every one, medical spending has gone up both in inflation-adjusted dollars per person and as a fraction of national income. Data are available for both 1960 and 1997 for 21 countries. In 13, spending more than doubled as a fraction of gross domestic product. The smallest increase was 67 percent, the largest, 378 percent. In 1997, 16 of the 29 OECD countries spent between 7 percent and 9 percent of gross domestic product on medical care. The United States spent 14 percent, the highest of any OECD country. Germany was a distant second at 11 percent; Turkey was the lowest at 4 percent.

A key difference between medical care and the other technological revolutions is the role of government. In other technological revolutions, the initiative, financing, production, and distribution were primarily private, though government sometimes played a supporting or regulatory role. In medical care, government has come to play a leading role in financing, producing, and delivering medical service. Direct government spending on health exceeds 75 percent of total health spending for 15 OECD countries. The United States is next to the lowest of the 29 countries, at 46 percent. In addition, some governments indirectly subsidize medical care through favorable tax treatment. For the United States, such subsidization raises the fraction of health spending financed directly or indirectly by government to over 50 percent.

What are countries getting for the money they are spending on medical care? What is the relation between input and output? Spending on medical care provides a reasonably good measure of input, but, unfortunately, there is no remotely satisfactory objective measure of output. For the hospital segment, number of beds occupied may at first seem like an objective measure. However, improvements in medicine have included a reduction in the length of hospital stay required for various medical procedures or illnesses. So, fewer patient days may be a sign of greater, not lesser, output. The desired output of medical care is “good health.” But how can we quantify “good health,” and equally important, allow for the role that factors other than medical care – such as plentiful food, pure water, and protective clothing – play in producing “good health”?

The least objectionable measure I have been able to find is expected length of life at birth or at various later ages, though that too is a far from unambiguous measure of the output attributable to spending on medical care. The remarkable increase in life span in advanced countries during the past century reflects much more than spending on medical care proper. Moreover, it does not allow for changes in the quality of life-attempted measurement of which is still in its infancy.

Figure 1 (see Appendix) shows the relation in 1996 for the 29 OECD countries between the percentage of the gross domestic product spent on medical care and the expected length of life at birth for females.1 The relation is clearly positive, though very loose.2 The United States and Germany are clear outliers, ranking first and second in spending but twentieth and seventeenth in length of life. As another indication of looseness, nine countries spent between 7 and 8 percent of GDP on medicine. The group includes Japan, which has the highest expected length of life (83.6 years), and the Czech Republic, fourth from the bottom (77.3 years). Clearly, many factors other than spending on medical care affect expected length of life.

Exploring that relation more fully, however worthwhile a project, is not the purpose of this article, which is to examine the situation in the United States. I have presented the data on the OECD countries primarily to document the two (related?) respects in which the United States is an outlier: We spend a higher percentage of national income on medical care (and more per capita) than any other OECD country, and government finances a smaller fraction of that spending than all except Korea.

II. Why third-party payment?

Two simple observations are key to explaining both the high level of spending on medical care and the dissatisfaction with that spending. The first is that most payments to physicians or hospitals or other caregivers for medical care are made not by the patient but by a third party – an insurance company or employer or governmental body. The second is that nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely or as frugally as he spends his own. These statements apply equally to other OECD countries. They do not by themselves explain why the United States spends so much more than other countries.

No third party is involved when we shop at a supermarket. We pay the supermarket clerk directly. The same for gasoline for our car, clothes for our back, and so on down the line. Why, by contrast, are most medical payments made by third parties? The answer for the United States begins with the fact that medical-care expenditures are exempt from the income tax if, and only if, medical care is provided by the employer. If an employee pays directly for medical care, the expenditure comes out of the employee’s income after income tax. If the employer pays for the employee’s medical care, the expenditure is treated as a tax-deductible expense for the employer and is not included as part of the employee’s income subject to income tax. That strong incentive explains why most consumers get their medical care through their employer or their spouse’s or their parents’ employer. In the next place, the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 made the government a third-party payer for persons and medical care covered by those measures.

We have become so accustomed to employer-provided medical care that we regard it as part of the natural order. Yet it is thoroughly illogical. Why single out medical care? Food is more essential to life than medical care. Why not exempt the cost of food from taxes if provided by the employer? Why not return to the much-reviled company store when workers were in effect paid in kind rather than in cash?

The revival of the company store for medicine has less to do with logic than pure chance. It is a wonderful example of how one bad government policy leads to another. During World War II, the government financed much wartime spending by printing money while, at the same time, imposing wage and price controls. The resulting repressed inflation produced shortages of many goods and services, including labor. Firms competing to acquire labor at government-controlled wages started to offer medical care as a fringe benefit. That benefit proved particularly attractive to workers and spread rapidly.

Initially, employers did not report the value of a fringe benefit to the Internal Revenue Service as part of their workers’ wages. It took some time before the IRS realized what was going on. When it did, it issued regulations requiring employers to include the value of medical care as part of reported employees’ wages. By this time, workers had become accustomed to the tax exemption of that particular fringe benefit and made a big fuss. Congress responded by legislating that medical care provided by employers should be tax-exempt.

III. Effect of third-party payment on medical costs

The tax exemption of employer-provided medical care has two different effects, both of which raise health costs. First, it leads employees to rely on their employer, rather than themselves, to make arrangements for medical care. Yet employees are likely to do a better job of monitoring medical-care providers, because it is in their own interest, than is the employer or the insurance company or companies designated by the employer. Second, it leads employees to take a larger fraction of their total remuneration in the form of medical care than they would if spending on medical care had the same tax status as other expenditures.

If the tax exemption were removed, employees could bargain with their employers for a higher take-home pay in lieu of medical care and provide for their own medical care either by dealing directly with medical-care providers or by purchasing medical insurance. Removal of the tax exemption would enable governments to reduce the tax rate on income while raising the same total revenue. This hidden subsidy for medical care, currently more than $100 billion a year, is not included in reported figures on government health spending.

Extending the tax exemption to all medical care – as in the current limited provision for medical savings accounts and the proposals to make such accounts more widely available – would reduce reliance on third-party payment. But, by extending the hidden subsidy to all medical-care expenditures, it would increase the tendency of employees to take a larger portion of their remuneration in the form of medical care. (I will more fully discuss medical savings accounts in the conclusion.)

Enactment of Medicare and Medicaid provided a direct subsidy for medical care. The cost grew much more rapidly than originally estimated – as the cost of all handouts invariably do. Legislation cannot repeal the non-legislated law of demand and supply. The lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded; at a zero price, the quantity demanded becomes infinite. Some method of rationing must be substituted for price and that invariably means administrative rationing.

Figure 2 provides an estimate of the effect on medical costs of tax exemption and the subsequent enactment of Medicare and Medicaid. The top line in the chart is actual per capita spending on medical care expressed in constant 1992 prices, to allow for the effect of inflation. Spending multiplied more than 23-fold from 1919 to 1997, going from $155 per capita to $3,625. The bottom line shows what would have happened to per capita spending if it had continued to rise at the same rate as it did from 1919 to 1940 (3.1 percent per year). On that assumption, per capita spending would have risen to $1,751, instead of $3,625 by 1997, or less than half as much.3,4

To estimate the separate effects of tax exemption and of Medicare and Medicaid, the second line shows what would have happened to spending if, after Medicare and Medicaid were enacted, spending had continued to rise at the same rate as it did from 1946 to 1965 (4 percent per year). The segment between the two bottom lines shows the effect of tax exemption; the segment between the two top lines shows the effect of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid. According to these estimates, tax exemption accounts for 57 percent of the increase in cost; Medicare and Medicaid, 43 percent.

Figure 3 presents a different breakdown of the cost of medical care: between the part paid directly by the government and the part paid privately. As the figure shows, the government share has been growing over the whole period. Government’s share went from one-eighth of the total in 1919 to nearly a quarter in 1946 to a quarter in 1965 to nearly half in 1997. The rise in the government’s share has been accompanied by centralization of spending – from primarily by state and local governments to primarily by the federal government. We are headed toward completely socialized medicine and are already halfway there, if in addition to direct costs, we include indirect tax subsidies.

Expressed as a fraction of national income, spending on medical care went from 3 percent of the national income in 1919 to 4.5 percent in 1946, to 7 percent in 1965 to a mind-boggling 17 percent in 1997.5 No other country in the world approaches that level of spending as a fraction of national income no matter how its medical care is organized. The change in the role of medical care in the U.S. economy is truly breathtaking. To illustrate, in 1946, seven times as much was spent on food, beverages, and tobacco as on medical care; in 1996, 50 years later, more was spent on medical care than on food, beverages, and tobacco. In 1946, twice as much was spent on transportation as on medical care; in 1996, one-and-a-half times as much was spent on medical care as on transportation.

IV. The changing meaning of insurance

Employer financing of medical care has caused the term “insurance” to acquire a rather different meaning in medicine than in most other contexts. We generally rely on insurance to protect us against events that are highly unlikely to occur but involve large losses if they do occur – major catastrophes, not minor regularly recurring expenses. We insure our houses against loss from fire, not against the cost of having to cut the lawn. We insure our cars against liability to others or major damage, not against having to pay for gasoline. Yet in medicine, it has become common to rely on insurance to pay for regular medical examinations and often for prescriptions.

This is partly a question of the size of the deductible and the co-payment, but it goes beyond that. “Without medical insurance” and “without access to medical care” have come to be treated as nearly synonymous. Moreover, the states and the federal government have increasingly specified the coverage of insurance for medical care to a detail not common in other areas. The effect has been to raise the cost of insurance and to limit the options open to individuals. Many, if not most, of the “medically uninsured” are persons who for one reason or another do not have access to employer-provided medical care and are not willing to pay the cost of the only kinds of insurance contracts available to them.

If tax exemption for employer-provided medical care and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted, the insurance market for medical care would probably have developed as other insurance markets have. The typical form of medical insurance would have been catastrophic insurance – i.e., insurance with a very high deductible.

V. Bureaucratization and Gammon’s Law

Third-party payment has required the bureaucratization of medical care and, in the process, has changed the character of the relation between physicians or other caregivers and patients. A medical transaction is not simply between a caregiver and a patient; it has to be approved as “covered” by a bureaucrat and the appropriate payment authorized. The patient, the recipient of the medical care, has little or no incentive to be concerned about the cost – since it’s somebody else’s money. The caregiver has become, in effect, an employee of the insurance company or, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, the government. The patient is no longer the one, and the only one, the caregiver has to serve. An inescapable result is that the interest of the patient is often in direct conflict with the interest of the caregiver’s ultimate employer. That has been manifest in public dissatisfaction with the increasingly impersonal character of medical care.

Some years ago, the British physician Max Gammon, after an extensive study of the British system of socialized medicine, formulated what he called “the theory of bureaucratic displacement.” In Health and Security, he observed that in “a bureaucratic system … increase in expenditure will be matched by fall in production…. Such systems will act rather like ‘black holes,’ in the economic universe, simultaneously sucking in resources, and shrinking in terms of ’emitted production.'” Gammon’s observations for the British system have their exact parallel in the partly socialized U.S. medical system. Here too input has been going up sharply relative to output. This tendency can be documented particularly clearly for hospitals, thanks to the availability of high quality data for a long period.

Before 1940, output, as measured by number of patient days per 1,000 population (equal to the number of occupied beds per 1,000 population) and input, as measured by cost per 1,000 population, both rose (input somewhat more than output presumably because of the introduction of more sophisticated and expensive treatments). The number of occupied beds per resident of the United States rose from 1929 to 1940 at the rate of 2.4 percent per year; the cost of hospital care per resident, adjusted for inflation, at 5 percent per year; and the cost per patient day, adjusted for inflation, at 2 percent per year.

The situation changed drastically after the war, as Figure 4 and the top part of Table 1 show. From 1946 to 1996, the number of beds per 1,000 population fell by more than 60 percent; the fraction of beds occupied, by more than 20 percent. In sharp contrast, input skyrocketed. Hospital personnel per occupied bed multiplied nine-fold, and cost per patient day, adjusted for inflation, an astounding 40-fold, from $30 in 1946 to $1,200 in 1996 (at 1992 prices). A major engine of these changes was the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. A mild rise in input was turned into a meteoric rise; a mild fall in output, into a rapid decline. The 40-fold increase in the cost per patient day was converted into a 13-fold increase in hospital cost per resident of the United States by the sharp decline in output. Hospital days per person per year were cut by two-thirds, from three days in 1946 to an average of less than a day by 1996.

Taken by itself, the decline in hospital days is evidence of progress in medical science. A healthy population needs less hospitalization, and advances in science and medical technology have reduced the length of hospital stays and increased outpatient surgery. Progress in medical science may well explain most of the decline in output; it does not explain much, if any, of the rise in input per unit of output. True, medical machines have become more complex. However, in other areas where there has been great technical progress – whether it be agriculture or telephones or steel or automobiles or aviation or, most recently, computers and the Internet – progress has led to a reduction, not an increase, in cost per unit of output. Why is medicine an exception? Gammon’s law, not medical miracles, was clearly at work. The provision of medical care as an untaxed fringe benefit by employers, and then the federal government’s assumption of responsibility for hospital and medical care of the elderly and the poor, provided a fresh pool of money. And there was no shortage of takers. Growing costs, in turn, led to more regulation of hospitals and medical care, further increasing administrative costs, and leading to the bureaucratization that is so prominent a feature of medical care today.

Medicine is not the only area where this pattern has prevailed. Aside from defense and medicine, schooling is the only other major area of our society that is largely financed and administered by government, and here too Gammon’s law has clearly operated. Input per unit of output, however measured, has clearly been going up; output, especially if measured in terms of quality, has been going down, and dissatisfaction, as in medicine, is growing. The same may well be true also in defense. However, measuring output independently of input is even more baffling for defense than for medicine.

To return to medicine, hospital cost has risen as a percentage of total medical cost from 24 percent in 1946 to 32 percent half a century later. The cost of physician services is currently the second largest component of total medical cost. It too has risen sharply, though less sharply than hospital costs. In 1946, the cost of physician services exceeded the cost of hospital services. According to the estimates in Table 1, the cost of physician services has multiplied four-fold since 1946, the major rise coming after the adoption of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Figure 5 shows what has happened to the number of physicians and their income. The number almost doubled, and the income per physician almost tripled over the half-century from 1946 to 1996. Both reflect the increase in funds available to finance medical care and the third-party character of payment. The demand for physician services went up, and income had to go up to attract additional physicians. Paradoxically, the attempt by third-party payers – particularly the federal government – to keep costs down has been at least partly self-defeating, because it took the form of imposing onerous rules and regulations on physicians. The resultant bureaucratization of medical practice has made the practice of medicine less attractive as an occupation to most actual and potential physicians, which increased the necessary rise in incomes. It has also reduced their productivity.

VI. Medical-care output

So much for input. What about output? What have we gotten in return for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care?

I have already referred to one component of output – days of hospital care per person per year. That has gone down from three days in 1946 to less than one in 1996. Insofar as the reduction reflects the improvements in medicine, it clearly is a good thing. However, it also reflects the pressure to keep hospital stays short in order to keep down cost. That this is not a good thing is clear from protests by patients, widespread enough to have led Congress to mandate minimum stays for some medical procedures.

The output of the medical-care industry that we are interested in is its contribution to better health. How can we measure better health in a reasonably objective way that is not greatly influenced by other factors? For example, if medical care enables people to live longer and healthier lives, we might expect that the fraction of persons aged 65 to 70 who continue to work would go up. In fact, of course, the fraction has gone down drastically – thanks to higher incomes reinforced by financial incentives from Social Security. With the same “if” we might expect the fraction of the population classified as disabled to go down, but that fraction has gone up, again not for reasons of health but because of government social security programs. And so I have found with one initially plausible measure after another – all of them are too contaminated by other factors to reflect the output of the medical-care industry.

As noted earlier, the least bad measure that I have been able to come up with is length of life, though that too is seriously contaminated by other factors – improvements in diet, housing, clothing, and so on generated by greater affluence, better garbage collection and disposal, the provision of purer water, and other governmental public-health measures. Wars, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters have played a part. Even more important, the quality of life is as meaningful as the length of life. Perhaps the extensive research on aging currently underway will lead to a better measure than length of life.

Figures 6 and 7 present two different sets of data on expected length of life: Figure 6, expected length of life at birth; Figure 7, remaining length of life at age 65. Both cover the whole century, from 1900 to 1997, the last year for which I was able to get data. For Figure 6 the data are annual; for Figure 7, decennial until recent years. The two tell very different, but equally remarkable, stories.

Expected longevity went from 47 years in 1900 to 68 years in 1950, a truly remarkable rise that proceeded at a fairly steady rate, averaging four-tenths of a year per year. Public-health activities, such as those leading to cleaner water and air and better control of epidemics, played a major role in lengthening life, no doubt; but so too did improvements in medical practice and hospital care, particularly those leading to a sharp reduction in infant and maternal mortality. Whatever its source, the increase in longevity did not have any systematic relation to spending on medical care as a fraction of income. We have reasonably accurate data on spending only from 1929 on; crude data from 1919 on. Except for the deep depression years of 1932 and 1933, national health spending never exceeded 5 percent of national income, and from 1919 to 1948, varied between 3 and 5 percent, primarily as a result of wider swings in national income than in health spending.

The most striking feature of Figure 6 is the sharp slowdown in the increase in longevity after 1950. From 1950 on, longevity grew at less than half the rate that it grew from 1900 to 1950-averaging less than two-tenths of a year per year compared to the earlier four-tenths.6 In the first 50 years of the century, the life span increased by 21 years; in the next 47 years, by eight years. As in the first 50 years, the increase proceeded at a surprisingly steady pace. I have no good explanation for the shift from one trend to the other. I conjecture that it reflects the exhaustion by the end of World War II of the possibility of further major improvements from public-health activity. I leave it to scholars more knowledgeable about medicine than I to give a more satisfactory answer.

The later trend was accompanied, as the earlier one was not, by a major increase in spending as a fraction of national income. However, I attribute that increase in spending to the changes in the economic organization of medical care discussed earlier. I doubt that it is related as either cause or effect to the slowdown in the growth of longevity.

Data are much less readily available for longevity at age 65 than at birth, so I have resorted to the use of decennial estimates except for the most recent year. Figure 7 is almost the mirror image of Figure 6 – that is, the same picture reversed. Instead of first rising rapidly and then slowly, longevity at age 65 at first rose slowly and then rapidly. Until 1940, longevity rose at an average of only .025 years per year. Remaining years of life went from 12 – or to age 77 – in 1900 to 13 – or age 78 – in 1940. Then there was a sharp acceleration, and in the next 57 years, remaining years of life went up by an additional five years to 18 – or age 83, rising at the average rate of .085 years per year. Understandably, both the earlier and the later rates of growth in longevity at age 65 are much smaller than the comparable figures for longevity at birth. The remarkable phenomenon is the shift in trend around 1940, and the steadiness of the trend both before and after 1940.

Data for later years of life suggests that the steadiness of the trend in longevity at age 65 is not likely to continue. At these later ages, there has been a distinct slowing of increases in longevity since about 1980. At age 85, remaining years of life for females has not changed in the 17 years from 1980 to 1997. It was 6.4 years in both 1980 and 1997.7

What caused the change in the trend at age 65, and why was that change in the opposite direction from the change in the trend at birth, and why did it occur about 10 years earlier? Could it have been the emergence of penicillin and sulfa at around 1940 that explains the dating of the shift? No doubt many other advances in medicine, from the handling of blood pressure to the perfecting of open-heart surgery, the improved treatment of cancer, and the better understanding of diet were of special importance for preventing death at later ages. I am incompetent to judge these matters and their relative importance. But I have no doubt that one economic change also played an important role. That was the sharp improvement in the economic status of the elderly brought about by government transfer programs, notably Social Security. From being among the poorest groups in society, the elderly have become among the most affluent in the post-World War II period.

However interesting these speculations may be, they are a long way from providing an answer to the question with which we started this section, namely, “What have we gotten in return for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care?” The slowdown in the increase of longevity at birth started before tax exemption and Medicare had any effect on spending. Similarly, the acceleration in the increase in longevity at age 65 started 25 years before Medicare was enacted and showed no speedup thereafter. Perhaps better measures of the health of the population and various subgroups will show a relation to total spending. But on the evidence to date, it is hard to see that we have gotten much for that spending other than bureaucratization and widespread dissatisfaction with the economic organization of medical care.

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VII. The United States vs. other countries

Our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment no doubt explains the extraordinary rise in spending on medical care in the United States. However, other advanced countries also rely on third-party payment, many or most of them to an even greater extent than we do. What explains our higher level of spending?

I must confess that despite much thought and scouring of the literature, I have no satisfactory answer. One clue is my estimate that if the pre-World War II system had continued – that is, if tax exemption and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted – expenditures on medical care would have amounted to less than half its current level, which would have put us near the bottom of the OECD list rather than at the top.

In terms of holding down cost, one-payer directly administered government systems, such as exist in Canada and Great Britain, have a real advantage over our mixed system. As the direct purchaser of all or nearly all medical services, they are in a monopoly position in hiring physicians and can hold down their remuneration, so that physicians earn much less in those countries than in the United States. In addition, they can ration care more directly – at the cost of long waiting lists and much dissatisfaction.8

In addition, once the whole population is covered, there is little political incentive to increase spending on medical care. In an insightful analysis of political entrepreneurship, W. Allen Wallis noted that

one of the ways politicians compete for votes is by offering to have the government provide new services. For an offer of a new service to have substantial electoral impact, the service ordinarily must be one that a large number of voters is familiar with, and in fact already use. The most effective innovations for a political entrepreneur to offer, therefore, are those whose effect is to transfer from individuals to the government the costs of services which are already in existence, not to alter appreciably the amount of the service reaching the people.9

Medicare, Medicaid, the political stress on the “uninsured,” and the current political pressure for government financing of prescriptions all exemplify this phenomenon. Once the bulk of costs have been taken over by government, as they have in most of the other OECD countries, the political entrepreneur has no additional groups to attract, and attention turns to holding down costs.

An additional factor is the tax treatment of private expenditures on medical care. In most countries, any private expenditure comes out of after-tax income. It does in the United States also, unless the medical care is provided by the employer. For this reason, the bulk of medical care is provided through employers, and private expenditures on medical care are decidedly higher than they would be if medical care, like food, clothing, and other consumer goods, had to be financed out of post-tax income. It is consistent with this view that Germany, the country second to the United States in the fraction of income spent on medical care, has a system in which the employer plays a central role in the provision of medical care and in which, so far as I have been able to determine, half of the cost comes out of pre-tax income, half out of post-tax income.

Our mixed system has many advantages in accessibility and quality of medical care, but it has produced a higher level of cost than would result from either wholly individual choice or wholly collective choice.

VIII. Medical savings accounts and beyond

The high cost and inequitable character of our medical-care system is the direct result of our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment. A cure requires reversing course, reprivatizing medical care by eliminating most third-party payment, and restoring the role of insurance to providing protection against major medical catastrophes.

The ideal way to do that would be to reverse past actions: repeal the tax exemption of employer-provided medical care; terminate Medicare and Medicaid; deregulate most insurance; and restrict the role of the government, preferably state and local rather than federal, to financing care for the hard cases. However, the vested interests that have grown up around the existing system, and the tyranny of the status quo, clearly make that solution not feasible politically. Yet it is worth stating the ideal as a guide to judging whether proposed incremental changes are in the right direction.

Most changes made in the final decade of the twentieth century have been in the wrong direction. Despite rejection of the sweeping socialization of medicine proposed by Hillary Clinton, subsequent incremental changes have expanded the role of government, increased regulation of medical practice, and further constrained the terms of medical insurance, thereby raising its cost and increasing the fraction of individuals who choose or are forced to go without insurance.

There is one exception, which, though minor in current scope, is pregnant of future possibilities. The Kassebaum-Kennedy bill, passed in 1996 after lengthy and acrimonious debate, included a narrowly limited four-year pilot program authorizing medical savings accounts. A medical savings account enables individuals to deposit tax-free funds in an account usable only for medical expense, provided they have a high-deductible insurance policy that limits the maximum out-of-pocket expense. As noted earlier, it eliminates third-party payment except for major medical expenses and is thus a movement very much in the right direction. By extending tax exemption to all medical expenses whether paid by the employer or not, it eliminates the present bias in favor of employer-provided medical care. That too is a move in the right direction. However, the extension of tax exemption increases the bias in favor of medical care compared to other household expenditures. This effect would tend to increase the implicit government subsidy for medical care, which would be a step in the wrong direction.10 But, on balance, given how large a fraction of current medical expenditures are exempt, it seems likely that the net effect of widely available and flexible medical savings accounts would be very much in the right direction.

However, the current pilot program is neither widely available nor flexible. The act limits the number of medical savings accounts to no more than 750,000 policies, available only to the self-employed who are uninsured and employees at firms with 50 or fewer employees. Moreover, the act specifies the precise terms of the medical savings account and the associated insurance. Finally, at the end of four years (the year 2000) Congress will have to vote to continue or change the program. (Those who signed up in the first four years would be entitled to continue their accounts even if Congress terminates the program.) A number of representatives and senators have indicated their intention to introduce bills to extend and widen the availability of medical savings accounts.

Prior to this pilot project, a number of large companies (e.g., Quaker Oats, Forbes, Golden Rule Insurance Co.) had offered their employees the choice of a medical savings account instead of the usual low-deductible employer-provided insurance policy. In each case, the employer purchased a high-deductible major medical insurance policy for the employee and deposited a stated sum, generally about half of the deductible, in a medical savings account for the employee. That sum could be used by the employee for medical care. Any part not used during the year was the property of the employee and had to be included in taxable income. Despite this loss of tax exemption, this alternative has generally been very popular with both employers and employees. It has reduced costs for the employer and empowered the employee, eliminating much third-party payment.

Medical savings accounts offer one way to resolve the growing financial and administrative problems of Medicare and Medicaid. Each current participant could be given the alternative of continuing with present arrangements or receiving a high-deductible major medical insurance policy and a specified deposit in a medical savings account. New entrants would be required to accept the alternative. Many details would have to be worked out: the size of the deductible and the deposit in the medical savings account, the size of any co-payment, and whether additional medical spending would be tax-exempt. Yet it seems clear from private experience that a program along these lines would be less expensive and bureaucratic than the current system, and more satisfactory to the participants. In effect, it would be a way to voucherize Medicare and Medicaid. It would enable participants to spend their own money on themselves for routine medical care and medical problems, rather than having to go through HMOs and insurance companies, while at the same time providing protection against medical catastrophes.

An interesting and instructive experiment with medical savings accounts has recently taken place in South Africa, as explained by Shaun Matisonn of the National Center for Policy Analysis:

For most of the last decade [the nineties] – under the leadership of Nelson Mandela – South Africa enjoyed what was probably the freest market for health insurance anywhere in the world…. South Africa’s insurance regulations were and are sufficiently flexible to allow the type of innovation and experimentation that American law stifles…. The result has been remarkable…. In just five years, MSA plans captured half the market, proving that they are popular and meet consumer needs as well as or better than rival products. South Africa’s experience with MSAs shows that MSA holders save money, spending less on discretionary items in a way that does not increase the cost of inpatient care. Contrary to allegations by some critics, the South African experience also shows that MSAs attract individuals of all different ages and different degrees of health.

A more radical reform would, first, end both Medicare and Medicaid, at least for new entrants, and replace them by providing every family in the United States with catastrophic insurance – i.e., a major medical policy with a high deductible. Second, it would end tax exemption of employer-provided medical care. And third, it would remove the restrictive regulations that are now imposed on medical insurance – hard to justify with universal catastrophic insurance.

This reform would solve the problem of the currently medically uninsured, eliminate most of the bureaucratic structure, free medical practitioners from an increasingly heavy burden of paperwork and regulation, and lead many employers and employees to convert employer-provided medical care into a higher cash wage. The taxpayer would save money because total government costs would plummet. The family would be relieved of one of its major concerns – the possibility of being impoverished by a major medical catastrophe – and most could readily finance the remaining medical costs. Families would once again have an incentive to monitor the providers of medical care and to establish the kind of personal relations with them that were once customary. The demonstrated efficiency of private enterprise would have a chance to improve the quality and lower the cost of medical care. The first question asked of a patient entering a hospital might once again become “What’s wrong?” and not “What’s your insurance?”

While so radical a reform is almost surely not politically feasible at the moment, it may become so as dissatisfaction with the current arrangements continue to grow. And again, it gives a standard – if less than an ideal one – against which to judge incremental changes.


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Notes

1 Females only are included to remove one source of irrelevant difference among countries. In general, females tend to have a longer expected length of life than males, and countries differ in the ratio of males to females. The correlation of expected length of life with per capita spending on medical care in dollars is almost the same as with percent of GDP spent on medical care.

2 The correlation is partly spurious because percent spent tends to be positively correlated with real GDP, and real GDP is positively correlated with length of life for given percent spent. However, the partial correlation of percent spent with length of life is statistically significant and higher than the partial correlation of real GDP with length of life.

3 In an extensive study, the Rand Corporation compared the effect of different health-insurance plans, varying from one with no deductible and no co-payment – that is, free medical care – to one with 95 percent co-payment, very close to complete private responsibility. In his summary of the results, Joseph Newhouse concluded that, “had there been no MDE [maximum deductible expense], demand on the 95 percent coinsurance plan would have been a little over half as large as on the free care plan,” and an accompanying table gives 55 percent as the actual fraction.

The 1997 value of the extrapolated trend from 1919-1940 is 48 percent of on a completely independent set of data. See Joseph P. Newhouse, Free for All? Lessons from Rand Health Insurance Experiment (Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 458.

4 Had this been the total expenditure in 1996, the United States would have ranked twenty-first, rather than first, among the 29 OECD countries in fraction of income spent on medical care.

5 The figure of 14 percent referred to earlier was from OECD data; it referred to 1996 rather than 1997 and to percent of gross domestic product, not national income.

6 I have used data for the population as a whole, although data are also available by sex and race. There are minor differences between the sexes and between the races, but the broad picture is essentially the same for all, so I have not thought it worthwhile to present more detailed data, as I did in Input and Output in Medical Care (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1992).

7 I am indebted to James Fries, a leading expert on aging, for calling this phenomenon to my attention. The data cited are from Metropolitan Life Insurance Statistical Bulletin, Oct.-Dec., 1998.

8 See Cynthia Ramsay and Michael Walker, Critical Issues Bulletin: Waiting Your Turn, 7th edition (Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Fraser Institute, 1997).

9 W. Allen Wallis, An Overgoverned Society (Free Press, 1976), p. 256.

10 Whether medical savings accounts increase or decrease the government subsidy to medical care, including the hidden tax subsidy of tax exemption, depends on whether they raise or lower total medical expenditures exempted from tax. First-party payment works toward reducing such expenditures by giving consumers an incentive to economize and by reducing administrative costs. The availability of tax exemption to a wider class of medical expenses has the opposite effect. Such experience as we have with medical savings accounts or their equivalent suggests that the first effect is highly significant and is likely to overwhelm the second. However, this issue deserves more systematic investigation.

Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author (with Rose D. Friedman) of Two Lucky People (University of Chicago Press, 1998). He received the Nobel Prize for Economic Science in 1976.

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 3/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 4/4

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Dan Mitchell article: Long-Run Policy Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic, Part II

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Long-Run Policy Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic, Part II

In mid-2021, I wrote about long-run policy lessons from the coronavirus pandemic.

That column focused on insights from my five-part series (see here, here, here, here, and here) about the failure of big government.

More specifically, the CDC and FDA did a terrible job domestically and the WHO did a terrible job internationally.

By contrast, millions of lives were saved by the private sector.

But we also learned fiscal policy lessons in addition to public health lessons.

The most depressing fiscal lesson is that politicians love having any excuse to spend more money.

Though that’s hardly a surprise.

Now that we are in early-2023, are there more lessons to be learned? The answer is yes.

A new study by Professors Alex Tabarrok and Robert Tucker Omberg, published by the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, finds no relationship between supposed pandemic preparedness and health outcomes.

How effective were investments in pandemic preparation? We use a comprehensive and detailed measure of pandemic preparedness, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU), to measure which investments in pandemic preparedness reduced infections, deaths, excess deaths, or otherwise ameliorated or shortened the pandemic.We also look at whether values or attitudinal factors such as individualism, willingness to sacrifice, or trust in government—which might be considered a form of cultural pandemic preparedness—influenced the course of the pandemic. Our primary finding is that almost no form of pandemic preparedness helped to ameliorate or shorten the pandemic. Compared to other countries, the United States did not perform poorly because of cultural values such as individualism, collectivism, selfishness, or lack of trust. General state capacity, as opposed to specific pandemic investments, is one of the few factors which appears to improve pandemic performance.

The study is not free to access, but Professor Tabarrok cited it at Marginal Revolution and shared this chart comparing death rates in the (allegedly) best prepared nation and the least prepared nation.

The Omberg-Tabarrok study shows us that pre-pandemic government policies were ineffective.

What about government policies once the pandemic hit?

In a column for the Washington Times, Richard Rahn points out that heavy-handed government intervention also was ineffective.

Sweden had the lowest aggregate excess mortality percentages (2.79)… Sweden was unique in that it had the fewest “lockdown” requirements, while countries like the U.S., with substantial lockdowns, had much higher excess deaths. We also know that within the U.S., states with very onerous lockdown requirements, like New York, have total age-adjusted higher death rates than states like Florida with few lockdown requirements.The big mistake the CDC people (Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, etc.) made was to single-mindedly focus on potential deaths directly from COVID-19 while largely ignoring the potential deaths indirectly induced by the lockdowns. …Other studies support the evidence of health harm to people who have not yet died but are likely to have their lives shortened by the indirect effects of the lockdowns. …If the above-described mistakes had not been made, it is no overstatement to say that hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars could have been saved.

The information about Sweden is worth noting.

But the biggest lesson from Richard’s column is that politicians and bureaucrats failed to consider direct and indirect effects (a problem that is sadly commonwith government), so their cost-benefit analysis (to the extent they did any) was very flawed.

And we also need to learn that it is depressingly easy for governments to curtail liberty.

Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package Includes More Stimulus Checks, State Government Bailout, $15 Federal Minimum Wage

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 Sadly last night the Democrats won control of Senate!

2021 Democrats control Government but has our National Debt reached a Tipping Point?

Is America Approaching the Tipping Point of Too Much Debt?

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released updated budget projections. The most important numbers in that report show what’s happening with the overall fiscal burden of government – measured by both taxes and spending.

As you can see, there’s a big one-time spike in coronavirus-related spending this year. That’s not good news, but more worrisome is the the longer-run trend of government spending gradually climbing as a share of economic output (and the numbers are significantly worse if you look at CBO’s 30-year projection).

Most reporters and fiscal wonks overlooked the spending data, however, and instead focused on the CBO’s projection for government debt.

Since government spending is the problem and borrowing is merely a symptom of that problem, I think it’s a mistake to fixate on red ink.

That being said, Figure 3 from the CBO report shows that there’s also an upward-spike in federal debt.

And it is true (remember Greece) that high levels of debt can, by themselves, produce a crisis. This happens when investors suddenly stop buying government bonds because they think there’s a risk of default (which happens when a government is incapable or unwilling to make promised payments to lenders).

I think some nations are on the verge of having that kind of crisis, most notably Italy.

But what about the United States? Or Japan? And how’s the outlook for Europe’s welfare states?

In other words, what nations are approaching a tipping point?

A new study from the European Central Bank may help answer these questions. Authored by Pablo Burriel, Cristina Checherita-Westphal, Pascal Jacquinot, Matthias Schön, and Nikolai Stähler, it uses several economic models to measure the downside risks of excessive debt.

The 2009 global financial and economic crisis left a legacy of historically high levels of public debt in advanced economies, at a scale unseen during modern peace time. …The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a different type of shock that has dramatically affected global economic activity… Fiscal positions are projected to be strongly hit by the crisis…once the crisis is over and the recovery firmly sets in, keeping public debt at high levels over the medium term is a source of vulnerability… The main objective of this paper is to contribute to the stabilisation vs. sustainability debate in the euro area by reviewing through the lens of large scale DSGE models the economic risks associated with regimes of high public debt.

Here’s what they found, none of which should be a surprise.

…we evaluate the economic consequences of high public debt using simulations with three DSGE models… Our DSGE simulations also suggest that high-debt economies…can lose more output in a crisis…have less scope for counter-cyclical fiscal policy and…are adversely affected in terms of potential (long-term) output, with a significant impairment in case of large sovereign risk premia reaction and use of most distortionary type of taxation to finance the additional public debt burden in the future.

Here’s a useful chart from the study. It shows some sort of shock on the left (2008 financial crisis or coronavirus being obvious examples), which then produces a recession (lower GDP) and rising debt.

That outcome isn’t good for nations with “low” levels of debt, but it can be really bad for nations with “high” debt burdens because they have to deal with much higher interest payments, much bigger tax increases, and much bigger reductions in economic output.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the study actually gives us any way of determining which nations are near the tipping point. That’s because “low” and “high” are subjective. Japan has an enormous amount of debt, yet investors don’t think there’s any meaningful risk that Japan’s government will default, so it is a “low” debt nation for purposes of the above illustration.

By contrast, there’s a much lower level of debt in Argentina, but investors have almost no trust in that nation’s especially venal politicians, so it’s a “high” debt nation for purposes of this analysis.

The United States, in my humble opinion, is more like Japan. As I wrote last year, “We probably won’t even have a crisis in the next 10 years or 20 years.” And that’s still my view, even after all the spending and debt for coronavirus.

The study concludes with some common-sense advice about using spending restraint and pro-market reforms to create buffers (some people refer to this as “fiscal space“).

Overall, once the COVID-19 crisis is over and the economic recovery firmly re-established, further efforts to build fiscal buffers in good times and mitigate fiscal risks over the medium term are needed at the national level. Such efforts should be guided by risks to debt sustainability. High debt countries, in particular, should implement a mix of fiscal discipline and wide-ranging growth-enhancing reforms.

Needless to say, there’s an obvious and successful way of achieving this goal.

P.S. Here’s another chart from the ECB study that is worth sharing because it confirms that not all tax increases do the same amount of economic damage.

We see that consumption taxes (red line) are bad, but income taxes on workers (green line) are even worse.

And if the study included an estimate of what would happen if there were higher income taxes on saving and investment, there would be another line showing even more economic damage.

P.P.S. History shows that nations can reduce very large debt burdens if they follow my Golden Rule.

P.P.P.S. There’s a related study from the IMF that shows how excessive spending is a major warning sign that nations will be vulnerable to fiscal crisis.

Great article below from Daniel Mitchell!!

Positive Rights vs Negative Rights

Back in 2017, I compared the welfare state vision of “positive rights” with the classical liberal vision of “negative rights.”

To elaborate, here’s a video from Learn Liberty that compares these visions.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like the terms “positive rights” and “negative rights” for the simple reason that an uninformed person understandably might conclude that “positive” is good and “negative” is bad.

Needless to say, I don’t think it’s good for people to think they have a right to other people’s money.

That’s why I prefer Professor Skoble’s use of the terms “liberties” and “entitlements,” which we also find in this slide from Professor Imran Ahmad Sajid of the University of Pakistan.

As you might expect, there are plenty of politicians who try to buy votes with an agenda of “positive rights.” Bernie Sanders, for instance, constantly argued that people have a “right” to all sorts of goodies.

But he wasn’t the first to make the case for unlimited entitlements.

Franklin Roosevelt was one of America’s worst presidents, in part because his policies deepened and lengthened the Great Depression. But also because he pushed the idea that people have the right to get all sorts of taxpayer-financed handouts.

Let’s see what some other people have to say about this topic.

In his National Review column, Kevin Williamson looks at the logical fallacy of positive rights.

Positive rights run into some pretty obvious problems if you think about them for a minute, which is why so much of our political discourse is dedicated to moralistic thundering specifically designed to prevent such thinking. Consider, in the American context, the notion that health care is a right. Declaring a right in a scarce good such as health care is intellectually void, because moral declarations about rights do not change material facts.If you have five children and three apples and then declare that every child has a right to an apple of his own, then you have five children and three apples and some meaningless posturing — i.e., nothing in reality has changed, and you have added only rhetoric instead of adding apples. In the United States, we have so many doctors, so many hospitals and clinics, so many MRI machines, etc. This imposes real constraints on the provision of health care. If my doctor works 40 hours a week, does my right to health care mean that a judge can order him to work extra hours to accommodate my rights? For free? If I have a right to health care, how can a clinic or a physician charge me for exercising my right? If doctors and hospitals have rights of their own — for example, property rights in their labor and facilities — how is it that my rights supersede those rights?

And here’s what he says about “negative rights.”

A negative right is a right to not be constrained. The right to free speech, for example, implies only non-interference. The right to freedom of the press doesn’t mean the government has to give you a press. The good of negative freedom is, in the economic sense, not rivalrous — your exercise of free speech doesn’t leave less freedom of speech out there for others to enjoy

And Larry Reed opines on the issue for the Foundation for Economic Education.

America is a nation founded on the notion of rights. …Despite the centrality of rights in American history, it’s readily apparent todaythat Americans are of widely different views on what a right is, how many we have, where rights come from, or why we have any in the first place. …if you need something, does that mean you have a right to it? If I require a kidney, do I have a right to one of yours? Is a right something that can or should be granted or denied by majority vote?

He helpfully provides a list of negative rights (a.k.a., liberties).

And he argues that positive rights (a.k.a., entitlements) are not real rights.

The bottom line, he explains, is that so-called positive rights impose obligations on other people.

Indeed, they can only be provided by coercion.

The first list comprises what are often called both “natural rights” and “negative rights”—natural because they derive from our essential nature as unique, sensate individuals and negative because they don’t impose obligations on others beyond a commitment to not violate them. The items in the second are called “positive rights” because others must give them to you or be coerced into doing so if they decline. …while I believe neither you nor I have a right to any of those disparate things in the second list, I hasten to add that we certainly have the right to seek them, to create them, to receive them as gifts from willing benefactors, or to trade for them. We just don’t have a right to compel anyone to give them to us or pay for them.

There’s not much I can add to this issue, given the wisdom contained in the video and in the articles by Williamson and Reed.

So I’ll close with the should-be-obvious point that a system based on entitlements only works if there are enough people pulling the wagon to support all the people riding in the wagon.

But that kind of society contains the seeds of its own downfall(think Greece or Venezuela) because it subsidizes dependency and penalizes production.

Which means, as Margaret Thatcher warned us, that positive rights can’t be provided when politicians run out of other people’s money.

-_

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Since the passing of Milton Friedman who was my favorite economist, I have been reading the works of Daniel Mitchell and he quotes Milton Friedman a lot, and you can reach Dan’s website here.

Mitchell in February 2011.
Wikipedia noted concerning Dan:

Mitchell’s career as an economist began in the United States Senate, working for Oregon Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee. He also served on the transition team of President-Elect Bush and Vice President-Elect Quayle in 1988. In 1990, he began work at the Heritage Foundation. At Heritage, Mitchell worked on tax policy issues and began advocating for income tax reform.[1]

In 2007, Mitchell left the Heritage Foundation, and joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow. Mitchell continues to work in tax policy, and deals with issues such as the flat tax and international tax competition.[2]

In addition to his Cato Institute responsibilities, Mitchell co-founded the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an organization formed to protect international tax competition.[1]

January 29, 2020

President Biden, c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The FOUNDERS never intended the government to get into the welfare business!!!!

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruptionThe recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

______________________

One is the growing welfare state. I have posted an article below about what the welfare state is doing to England because we need to learn from their mistakes.

Welfare state may drag England down the tubes!!!!

I’ve shared this bit of political incorrect terrorism humor from England, as well asthis somewhat un-PC bit of tax humor.

But perhaps motivated by the scandal of giving welfare to terrorists, this new video is the most amusing thing I’ve seen from across the ocean.

I almost didn’t post this because it singles out immigrants from the developing world, but since I’ve shared horror stories from home-grown moochers in the U.K., as well as examples of scroungers from Europe who are robbing British taxpayers, I think I’ve covered all the bases.

But in the spirit of inclusiveness, here are other satirical videos worth sharing.

My all-time favorite video satire is from Iowahawk, featuring the Pelosimobile.

And I’ve always thought this left-wing attack against libertarianism is very funny.

And this Tim Hawkins video on the government Candyman is great, as isanother version of the song.

Speaking of Tim Hawkins, his home-schooling video is superb.

This spoof of the Chevy Volt also is extremely well done.

Last but not least, here are two brutal Obama teleprompter videos.

_____________

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Washington is lecturing us about eating too much when they are spending addicts!!!!

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Real Time with Bill Maher March 16 2012 – Alexandra Pelosi Interviews Welfare Recipients in NYC Published on Mar 18, 2012 by vclubscenedotcom Real Time with Bill Maher March 16 2012 – Alexandra Pelosi Interviews Welfare Recipients __________ President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I […]

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Dan Mitchell: Trump embraced huge tax increases by default. He told congressional Republicans to ignore America’s slow-motion crisis of entitlement spending.

Donald Trump Supports Massive Tax Increases on Middle-Class Americans

Copying some self-styled national conservatives, Donald Trump this week endorsed major tax increases on lower-income and middle-class Americans.

But he embraced huge tax increases in an indirect fashion.

  • He did not say “let’s adopt money-siphoning value-added taxes” like they have in Europe.
  • Nor did he say “let’s impose very high income tax rates on ordinary people” like they do in Europe.
  • And he didn’t say “let’s have much higher payroll tax rates” like they have in Europe.

Instead, Trump embraced huge tax increases by default. He told congressional Republicans to ignore America’s slow-motion crisis of entitlement spending.

For all intents and purposes, that is the same as embracing huge tax increases.

To be more specific, if you endorse European-style government spending, you are necessarily and unavoidably endorsing European-style tax policy.

And that’s what Trump did. Here are some excerpts from a report in the Hill by Brett Samuels.

Former President Trump on Friday urged Republicans in Congress not to cut “a single penny” from Medicare or Social Security…“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security…,” Trump said in a recorded video statement posted to Truth Social. …The former president’s message about protecting Social Security and Medicare is consistent with his previous comments on the issue as a candidate in 2016.

For what it’s worth, I’m not surprised at what Trump said.

He favored big government as a candidate in 2016and he expanded the burden of spending when he was President.

But some of us don’t want to surrender and doom the United States to European-style economic stagnation.

Which is why I’ve decided to take a sentence I wrote last month and turn it into the 15th Theorem of Government.

Here’s the bottom line: Genuine patriots recognize America has a problem and they have the courage to advocate reforms that will actually solve the problem.

It will be interesting to see how many Republicans fit that definition.

P.S. I’m not a never-Trumper or anti-Trumper. For instance, I praised his tax policy and said nice things about his record on regulation. But I’m loyal to ideas, not to people, so I don’t hesitate to criticize any politician who pushes ideas that are bad for America.

P.P.S. Here are the other 14 Theorems of Government.

  • The “First Theorem” explains how Washington really operates.
  • The “Second Theorem” explains why it is so important to block the creation of new programs.
  • The “Third Theorem” explains why centralized programs inevitably waste money.
  • The “Fourth Theorem” explains that good policy can be good politics.
  • The “Fifth Theorem” explains how good ideas on paper become bad ideas in reality.
  • The “Sixth Theorem” explains an under-appreciated benefit of a flat tax.
  • The “Seventh Theorem” explains how bigger governments are less competent.
  • The “Eighth Theorem” explains the motives of those who focus on inequality.
  • The “Ninth Theorem” explains how politics often trumps principles.
  • The “Tenth Theorem” explains how politicians manufacture/exploit crises.
  • The “Eleventh Theorem” explains why big business is often anti-free market.
  • The “Twelfth Theorem” explains you can’t have European-sized government without pillaging the middle class.
  • The “Thirteenth Theorem” explains that people are unwilling to pay for bloated government.
  • The “Fourteenth Theorem” explains how poor people are hurt by big government.

Open letter to President Obama (Part 522)

(Emailed to White House on 5-3-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

______________________

Welfare Can And Must Be Reformed

            Uploaded on Jun 29, 2010

If America does not get welfare reform under control, it will bankrupt America. But the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector has a five-step plan to reform welfare while protecting our most vulnerable.

__________________________

We got to get a hold on entitlement spending!!!

If America descends into Greek-style fiscal chaos, there’s no doubt that entitlement programs will be the main factor. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Disability are all fiscal train wrecks today, and the long-run outlook for these programs is frightful.

Just look at these numbers from the Bank for International Settlements and OECD to see how our fiscal future is bleaker than many of Europe’s welfare states.

If we don’t implement the right kind of entitlement reform, our children and grandchildren at some point will curse our memory.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about other parts of the budget, including the so-called discretionary programs that also have been getting bigger and bigger budgets over time.

That’s why I was a bit perturbed to read Veronique de Rugy’s piece in National Review Online, which implies that these programs are “shrinking” and being subject to a “Big Squeeze.”

…there is another number to look at in that budget. It’s the shrinking share of the budget consumed by discretionary spending (spending on things like defense and infrastructure) to make space for mandatory spending and interest. This is the Big Squeeze. …in FY 2014 mandatory spending plus interest will eat up 67 percent of the budget, leaving discretionary spending with 33 percent of the budget (down from 36 percent in FY 2012). Now by FY 2023, mandatory and interest spending will consume 77 percent of the total budget. Discretionary spending will be left with 23 percent of the budget.

But all that’s really happening here is that entitlement outlays are growing faster than discretionary spending.

Here’s some data from the Historical Tables of the Budget, showing what is happening to spending for both defense discretionary and domestic discretionary. And these are inflation-adjusted numbers, so the we’re looking at genuine increases in spending.

Discretionary Spending FY62-14

As you can see, defense outlays have climbed by about $100 billion over the past 50 years, while outlays for domestic discretionary programs have more than tripled.

If that’s a “Big Squeeze,” I’m hoping that my household budget experiences a similar degree of “shrinking”!

To be fair, Veronique obviously understands these numbers and is simply making the point that politicians presumably should have an incentive to restrain entitlement programs so they have more leeway to also buy votes with discretionary spending.

But I’d hate to think that an uninformed reader would jump to the wrong conclusion and decide we need more discretionary spending.

Particularly since the federal government shouldn’t be spending even one penny for many of the programs and department that are part of the domestic discretionary category. Should there be a federal Department of Transportation? A federal Department of Housing and Urban Development? A federal Department of Agriculture?

No, NO, and Hell NO. I could continue, but you get the idea.

The burden of federal government spending in the United States is far too high and it should be reduced. That includes discretionary spending and entitlement spending.

P.S. Since I don’t want to get on Veronique’s bad side, let me take this opportunity to call attention to her good work on properly defining austerity,. And if you watch her testimony to a congressional committee, it’s also quite obvious that she also understands that the real problem is bloated and wasteful government spending.

P.P.S. For those who don’t have the misfortune of following the federal budget, “entitlements” are programs that are “permanently appropriated,” which simply means that spending automatically changes in response to factors such as eligibility rules, demographic shifts, inflation, and program expansions. Sometimes these programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc) are referred to as “mandatory spending.”

The other big part of the budget is “discretionary spending” or “appropriations.” These are programs funded by annual spending bills from the Appropriations Committees, often divided into the two big categories of “defense discretionary” and “nondefense discretionary.”

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Carl Sagan Part 1  “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan)

Carl Sagan, in full Carl Edward Sagan, (born November 9, 1934, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died December 20, 1996, Seattle, Washington), American astronomer and science writer. A popular and influential figure in the United States, he was controversial in scientific, political, and religious circles for his views on extraterrestrial intelligence, nuclear weapons, and religion. Sagan wrote the article “life” for the 1970 printing of the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1929–73).

Sagan attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics in 1955 and 1956, respectively, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. From 1960 to 1962 he was a fellow in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1962 to 1968 he worked at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. His early work focused on the physical conditions of the planets, especially the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter. During that time he became interested in the possibility of lifebeyond Earth and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a controversial research field he did much to advance. For example, building on earlier work by American chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, he demonstrated that amino acids and nucleic acids—the building blocks of life—could be produced by exposing a mixture of simple chemicals to ultraviolet radiation. Some scientists criticized Sagan’s work, arguing that it was unreasonable to use resources for SETI, a fantasy project that was almost certainly doomed to failure.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the 1st video below in the 45th 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)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The Bible has fulfilled prophecy in it, and 53 historical notable people in the Bible have been confirmed through archaeological evidence! Also there is compelling evidence that the Bible contains sound medical principles that clearly predate their more recent discovery by thousands of years

Carl Sagan asserted, “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life”

Francis Schaeffer refutes this with his teaching on Genesis 3!!

In the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, the 4th chapter is called THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY and it includes these words below:

The Personal Origin of Man
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 continuity, in other words, between ourselves, though finite, and the infinite Creator who stands behind the universe as its Creator and its final source of meaning.
Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible gives an account of man’s origin as a finite person make in God’s image, that is, like God. We see then how man can have personality and dignity and value. Our uniqueness is guaranteed, something which is impossible in the materialistic system. If there is no qualitative distinction between man and other organic life (animals or plants), why should we feel greater concern over the death of a human being than over the death of a laboratory rat? Is man in the end any higher?
Though this is the logical end of the materialistic system, men and women still usually in practice assume that people have some real value. All the way back to the dawn of our investigations in history, we find that man is still man. Wherever we turn, to the caves of the Pyrenees, to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, and even further back to Neanderthal man’s burying his dead in flower petals, it makes no difference: men everywhere show by their art and their accomplishments that they have been and have considered themselves to be unique. They were unique, and people today are unique. What is wrong is a world-view which fails to explain that uniqueness. All people are unique because they are made in the image of God.
The Bible tells us also, however, that man is flawed. We see this to be the case both within ourselves and in our societies throughout the world. People are noble and people are cruel; people have heights of moral achievement and depths of moral depravity.
But this is not simply an enigma, nor is it explained in terms of “the animal in man.” The Bible explains how man is flawed, without destroying the uniqueness and dignity of man. Man is evil and experiences the results of evil, not because man is non-man but because man is fallen and thus is abnormal.
This is the significance of the third chapter of Genesis. Some time after the original Creation (we do not know how long), man rebelled against God. Being made in the image of God as persons, Adam and Eve were able to make real choices. They had true creativity, not just in the area we call “art” but also in the area of choice. And they used this choice to turn from God as their true integration point. Their ability to choose would have been equally validated if they had chosen not to turn away from God, as their true integration point, but instead they used their choice to try to make themselves autonomous. In doing this, they were acting against the moral absolute of the universe, namely, God’s character – and thus evil among people was born.
The Fall brought not only moral evil but also the abnormality of(1) each person divided from himself or herself; (2) people divided from other people; (3) mankind divided from nature; and (4) nature divided from nature. This was the consequence of the choice made by Adam and Eve some time after the Creation. It was not any original deformity that made them choose in this way. God had not made them robots, and so they had real choice. It is man, therefore, and not God, who is responsible for evil.
We have to keep pointing out, because the idea is strange to a society by which the Bible has been neglected or distorted, that Christianity does not begin with a statement of Christ as Savior. That comes later in its proper setting. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created….” Christianity begins with the personal and infinite God who is the Creator. It goes on to show that man is made in God’s image but then tells us that man is now fallen. It is the rebellion of man that has made the world abnormal. So there is a broken line as we look back to the creation of man by God. A chasm stands there near the beginning, the chasm which is the Fall, the choice to go against God and His Word.
What follows from this is that not everything that happens in the world is “natural.” Unlike modern materialistic thought on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Christianity does not see everything in history as equally “normal.” Because of the abnormality brought about by man, not everything which occurs in history should be there. Thus, not all that history brings forth is right just because it happens, and not all personal drives and motives are equally good. Here, then, is a marked difference between Christianity and almost all other philosophies. Most other philosophies do not have the concept of a present abnormality. Therefore, they hold that everything now is normal; things are now as they always have been.
By contrast, Christians do not see things as if they always have been this way. This is of immense importance in understanding evil in the world. It is possible for Christians to speak of things as absolutely wrong, for they are not original in human society. They are derived from the Fall; they are in that sense “abnormal.” It also means we can stand against what is wrong and cruel without standing against God, for He did not make the world as it now is.
This understanding of the chasm between what mankind and history are now and what they could have been – and should have been, from the way they were made – gives us a real moral framework for life, one which is compatible with our nature and aspirations. So there are “rules for life,’ like the signs on cliff tops which read: DANGER – KEEP OUT. The signs are there to help, not hinder us. God has put them there because to live in this way, according to His rules, is the way for both safety and fulfillment. The God who made us and knows what is for our best good is the same God who gives us His commands. When we break these, it is not only wrong, it is also not for our best good; it is not for our fulfillment as unique persons made in the image of God….

The Importance of Genesis
So the Bible is the key to understanding the universe and its form and the mannishness of man. Without this key our observations are out of perspective; we do not know what we are looking at. This being the case, our conclusions about what we are seeing can be massively in error.
Unless we are told about our beginnings, we cannot make sense of our present history. And secular study is incapable of doing that. This is not to say that the study of history and science is irrelevant or useless, but when secular study is finished, the most important questions are left unanswered. It can tell us much of patterns and statistics, but not the reason or meaning or significance of it all. Twentieth-century people know something exists, but have no way of saying what that something amounts to.
This is where the early chapters of Genesis are so important. These chapters give the history that comes before anything that secular historians have been able to ascertain, and it is this presecular history which gives meaning to mankind’s present history.
Some people mistakenly believe that one can “spiritualize” away the history of the first chapters of Genesis and that this will make no difference. They argue that these chapters are not history but something like parables. This type of thinking depreciates the factual content, which gives information about history and the cosmos. Those who do this sometimes imagine that doing this makes little or no difference. But it changes everything. For these chapters tell us the why (the significance and meaning) of all the subsequent history which historians can know through their investigations. These chapters tell us also the why of our own personal history.
For this reason we can say that in this sense the early chapters of Genesis are more important than anything else we could have. They are the very foundation on which all knowledge rests. So we learn from them that before the creation of the universe, the infinite-personal God existed and that He created the universe (the space-time continuum) by choice, out of nothing. The Creation was not without a cause.
The infinite-personal God was its cause. He chose to create, He willed to create, and “it was” – it came into being.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.
Revelation 4:11

As we have seen already, we learn also about the fact that man was made “in the image of God,” a person, and that then there was a space-time Fall.
All the information given by the Bible flows out of the information given in the early chapters of Genesis. If we are to understand the world as it is and ourselves as we are, we must know the flow of history given in these chapters. Take this away and the flow of history is lost.Take this away and even the death of Christ has no meaning.
So the Bible tells us who we are and who other people are. It tells us how people are differentiated from all other things. We do not need to be confused, as is much of modern mankind, about people’s distinction from both animal life and the complicated machines of the second half of the twentieth century. Suddenly people have unique value, and we can understand how it is that each of us is different as a person.
Furthermore, we can see that all people are similarly to be distinguished from non-man and that therefore we ourselves must look on others as having great value. Anyone who kills a person is not killing just another member of the same biological species, but one of overwhelming value, one made in the image, the likeness, of God.
Any person, no matter who he or she is – a stranger or a friend, a fellow-believer or someone who is still in rebellion against God, anyone of any age, before or after birth – any and every person is made after the likeness of God.
Each man, woman, and child is of great value, not for some ulterior motive such as self-gratification or wealth or power or a sex object or “the good of society” or the maintenance of the gene pool – but simply because of his or her origin.
This flow of history that springs from Genesis has implications for every aspect of our lives. Each of us stands in the flow of history. We know our origin – a lineage more ancient than the Queen of England’s or the Pilgrim Fathers’. As we look at ourselves in the flow of space-time reality, we see our origin in Adam and Eve, and we know that God has created every human being in His own image.

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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:

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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Francis Schaeffer when he was a young pastor in St. Louis pictured above.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.

Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer

I mentioned earlier that I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan. In his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 2 Carl Sagan: Ken Ham notes in 1989: Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

Were You There?

BY KENNETH HAM   |

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 01, 1989

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What a science lesson God had for Job! God was teaching Job the philosophy of science, a lesson everyone needs to learn.

I like to paraphrase the verse this way: “Were you there, Job, when I made the earth? Did you see Me do it, Job? Did you observe how it happened, Job? Were you there to see Me create the world, Job?”

Millions of people in today’s world are taught that the earth and the entire universe resulted from the Big Bang, a cosmic explosion which occurred up to twenty billion years ago involving all the matter and energy in the universe. In most instances in public education, this is taught as if it were fact, and the gullible public, by and large, just accepts it as so. Yet there is no scientific proof for the Big Bang theory. It is just a story, based on the speculations of scientists–fallible human beings who do not know everything and who were not there to see it happen.

Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

The other important fact God was teaching Job was that only God knows everything (has all information–all evidence). No human being has all the information. In fact, compared to what God knows, we fallible human beings know next to nothing. Follow through the words to Job in Chapter 38: “Who shut up the sea? . . .Hast thou commanded the morning? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Where is the way where light dwelleth? Knowest thou it?…. Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?….. Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?….

Can’st thou send lightings”?. . . .

We need to take the points God was teaching Job and apply them to the way theories of origins are taught to our children. When they are told that the universe and life evolved over billions of years, they need to ask two basic questions: “What observer saw all this happen? What scientist has all the information (all the evidence) who can therefore scientifically prove that evolution happened?” The answer? According to evolutionary theories, there were no observers to these long ago events, and there is no human being who knows everything! Evolution is not a scientific theory; it is a belief based on the words of sinful, fallible humans who have a small, finite amount of information. Thus when it comes to connecting the past to the present to try and explain how the world came into existence, scientists could be totally wrong. In fact, evolutionary theories themselves “evolve,” as these scientists keep finding information that causes them to change their ideas. The most that can be said is that some of the evidence can be interpreted along the lines of the Big Bang scenario, but that is certainly not the only interpretation possible, nor is it the best interpretation possible.

The Bible teaches plainly concerning Jesus Christ, the One “who created all things” (Colossians 1 :16), “in Him… are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). The Creator God, who has always been there, “”changeth not,” and knows all things (has infinite knowledge). The only way we could ever come to the right conclusions about anything is by starting with the word (knowledge) of the One who knows everything, and build all our thinking, in every area, upon that basis.

It is interesting to note that God’s Word, in II Peter 3, gives us the prophecy that in the last days people will deliberately choose not to believe that God created the world (described in Genesis 1:1-8) or believe that He sent a worldwide Flood as a judgment against sinful men (Genesis, Chapters 6-9) and that He will come back to judge the world a final time, with fire.

Sadly, the prophecy of people deliberately choosing not to believe God’s Word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. The majority of people today believe the universe started with a big bang. Next the galaxies and later the sun formed, and the earth finally came into existence covered with “fire” (a hot molten blob)—exactly opposite of what the Bible says. They are taught there never was a worldwide Flood—exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches. They are often taught that the earth will die of the cold because of the earth’s freezing over when the sun runs out of energy—exactly the opposite of what God’s Word teaches us.

We need to ask ourselves this question: “Where do we put our faith and trust? In the words of scientists who don’t know everything, who were not there? Or in the Word of God—the God who does know everything—and who was there?

At the Institute for Creation Research, our highly qualified and experienced scientists study the scientific data regarding origins, and claim their research shows that the evidence from the universe fits perfectly with what the Word of God says, and not well at all with the evolutionary theories of men!

Carl Sagan’s Big Bang theory is WRONG! How do we know that for sure? Because God was there—Carl Sagan wasn’t! God knows everything—Carl Sagan doesn’t! This world did NOThave a fiery start from a big bang, but it surely will have a fiery end with a big bang, for “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

What hope is there then? “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

What should we do about it? “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:14).

We can also be diligent in telling others about the truth of creation, man’s rebellion, the need of salvation, and warning them of the coming Big Bang!cartoon

DID YOU KNOW. . .

that the evidence for the Big Bang theory is missing?

MISSING ORIGIN–Where did matter come from?

MISSING FUSE–What ignited it?

MISSING STAR FORMATION–An explosion won’t produce planets, stars, or galaxies.

MISSING ANTIMATTER–There’s not much found.

MISSING TIME–Evidence indicates the earth is young.

MISSING MASS–There’s not enough.

MISSING LIFE–Life has never been found outside the earth.

MISSING NEUTRINOS–Where are they?

THE BIG BANG THEORY IS WRONG!

For further information, see Astronomy and the Bible by Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, available from ICR.

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File:Who's Out There (1973).ogvPlay media

Sagan is one of those discussing the likelihood of life on other planets in Who’s Out There? (1973), an award-winning NASA documentary film by Robert Drew.

From People For Life.com

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
The following address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

What we have, and take so poorly for granted, is unique. It was brought forth by a specific world view and that specific world view was the Judeo-Christian world view especially as it was refined in the Reformation, putting the authority indeed at a central point — not in the Church and the state and the Word of God, but rather the Word of God alone. All the benefits which we know — I would repeat — which we have taken so easily and so much for granted, are unique. They have been grounded on the certain world view that there was a Creator there to give inalienable rights. And this other view over here, which has become increasingly dominant, of the material-energy final world view (shaped by pure chance) never would have, could not, has, no basis of values, in order to give such a balance of freedom…It is the same with the television programs. Public television gives us many things that many of us like culturally, but is also completely committed to a propaganda position that the last reality is only material / energy shaped by pure chance. Clark’s Civilization, Brunowski, The Ascent of Man, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos — they all say it. There is only one final view of reality that’s possible and that is that the final reality is material or energy shaped by pure chance.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

<a style="font-style:normal;font-variant-caps:normal;font-weight:normal;letter-spacing:normal;orphans:auto;text-indent:0;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;widows:auto;word-spacing:0;box-sizing:border-box;background-color:transparent;color:#c01823;text-decoration:none;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-size:13px;font-family:Lato, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;vertical-align:baseline;transition:color 0.2s linear, background 0.1s linear, border-color 0.1s linear;text-align:left;-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%;" title="Remember when Carl Sagan trashed Star Wars on late-night TV?” href=”https://lithub.com/remember-when-carl-sagan-trashed-star-wars-on-late-night-tv/”&gt;

Carl Sagan

nitially an associate professor at Harvard, Sagan later moved to Cornell where he would spend the majority of his career as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences. Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.[5] He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain, Pale Blue Dot and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos, has been seen by at least 500 million people in 60 countries.[6] The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the 1985 science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items,[7] are archived at The Library of Congress.[8]

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of SciencesPublic Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

In  the 1st video below in the 45th 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)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The accuracy of the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology over and over in the past and one of the amazing finds was in 1948 when the Dead Sea Scrolls had copies from every Old Testament Book except Esther! One of the most powerful recent discoveries involved the bones of the high priest Caiaphas who questioned Christ in 30 AD.

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

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  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]

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__________________   Beatles 1966 Last interview I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this […]

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_______________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: _____________________ I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” How Should […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 47 Woody Allen and Professor Levy and the death of “Optimistic Humanism” from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Plus Charles Darwin’s comments too!!! (Feature on artist Rodney Graham)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 ___________________________________ Today I will answer the simple question: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? This question has been around for a long time and you can go back to the 19th century and read this same […]

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____________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: __________ Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”, episode 8 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL] ___________ _______________ How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer 10 Worldview and Truth Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 Francis Schaeffer […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 44 The Book of Genesis (Featured artist is Trey McCarley )

___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]

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