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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_________

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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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