FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 467 My Correspondence with Edward O.Wilson from 1994 to 2021 E.O.WILSON’S 5/30/14 letter to me! My 9/24/15 Letter quotes E.O.Wilson “Hope and wish for otherwise as we will, there is no evidence of an external grace shinning down upon us, no demonstrable destiny or purpose assigned us, no second life vouchsafed us for the end of the present one“ FEATURED ARTIST IS FRANZ MARC

E. O. Wilson | The Meaning of Human Existence

E.O. Wilson: Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence

The Social Conquest of Earth | Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson The Meaning of Human Existence Audiobook

Professor E.O. Wilson in his office, at a table in front of a bookshelf, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Harvard University Professor E.O. Wilson in his office at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. USACredit: Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty.

Francis A. Schaeffer
Founder of the L’Abri community

C. Everett Koop, 1980s.jpg

Francis Schaeffer mentioned Edward O. Wilson in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? co-authored by C.Everett Koop on pages 289-291 (ft note 6 0n page 504). That was when I was first introduced to Dr. Wilson’s work. Wikipedia notes, Edward Osborne Wilson (June 10, 1929 – December 26, 2021) was an American biologistnaturalist, and writer. His specialty was myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he was called the world’s leading expert,[3][4] and he was nicknamed Ant Man.[5][6][7][8]

I was honored to correspond with Dr. Wilson from 1994 to 2021!!

Here is what Dr. Wilson wrote on May 30, 2014:

Dear Mr. Hatcher,

Thank you for the correspondence and personal commentary you recently sent me. I’d like to join the colloquy, and can think of no better way than to refer you to my most recent books, THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH (2013) and TGE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE (October 2014).

With warm regards,

Edward O.Wilson


Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Museum of Comparative Zoology Faculty Emeritus
Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus c/o Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

September 24, 2015

Dear Dr. Wilson,

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote you last and you were so kind to write me back and recommend reading your book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE. I took you up on your advice and I really enjoyed the book. I marked up it with my yellow highlighter and wrote down many notes too. Instead of going through all those notes I just wanted to pick out what I thought was probably the most important passage and comment on that.

On page 173 you made 4 points:

(1) We were created not by a supernatural intelligence but by chance and necessity as one species out of millions of species in Earth’s biosphere.

(2) Hope and wish for otherwise as we will, there is no evidence of an external grace shinning down upon us, no demonstrable destiny or purpose assigned us, no second life vouchsafed us for the end of the present one.

(3) We are, it seems, completely alone. And that is my opinion is a very good thing. It means we are completely free….

(4) They empower us to address with more confidence the greatest goal of all time, the unity of the human race.


Let me respond to #2 first. Is “there is no evidence of an external grace shinning down upon us, no demonstrable destiny?”  Dr. Wilson, do you agree that if I could demonstrate through historical evidence that the Bible is true then that would qualify as evidence that is demonstrable and maybe you could return to the faith you were brought up in Alabama so many years ago?

Do you want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times.  Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,


Your point #3 is that since we are alone that “is a very good thing. It means we are completely free.” Are you saying that you find the idea of being created by the personal God of the Bible unacceptable merely on philosophical grounds or do you prefer to think of not being responsible to a creator God?  In the article, WHY ACADEMICS EMBRACE EVOLUTION,” on 2-12-09 Marylou Barry assembled these quotes from evolutionists:

… Not because it can be proved by LOGICALLY COHERENT EVIDENCE to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible,” wrote the late D.M.S. Watson, chair of evolution at the University of London.

“… Materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door,” wrote Richard Lewontin, former professor of genetics at Harvard University.

“We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom,” the late author Aldous Huxley.

“I want atheism to be true,” New York University philosophy professor Thomas Nagel elaborated, “and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is not God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”


Your point #4 is that “our greatest goal of all time, (should be) the unity of the human race.” WHY DOES THE UNITY OF THE HUMAN RACE EVEN MATTER ULTIMATELY? If your assumptions about the meaningless of the universe are true then let me respond first with the words of Woody Allenfollowed by Bertrand Russell:

  • With no God, our true situation is hopeless. Why? Because “nothing does last.” “The sun will burn out.” “The universe is falling apart.” “At some point there won’t be anything at all.”
  • Your stuff, your little creations, are not going to last.
  • When you die, not only will there be no “you,” but no one or nothing is going to care (relatively speaking, in a massive sense).

Philosopher-atheist Bertrand Russell, in his famous “A Free Man’s Worship,” concluded the same things. (See “Bertrand Russell – A Free Man’s Worship & the Logic of Atheism”)
Russell wrote:

“Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”


Your point #1 is “We were created not by a supernatural intelligence but by chance and necessity as one species out of millions of species in Earth’s biosphere.”

I have thought long and hard on how to respond to that and basically I have concluded that I would like to send you a CD concerning a  very interesting article by Michael Polanyi, LIFE TRANSCENDING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, in the magazine CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS, August 21, 1967. This CD is a 1968 talk by Francis Schaeffer based on this article. Polanyi’s son John actually won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This article by Michael Polanyi concerns Francis Crick and James Watson and their discovery of DNA in 1953. Polanyi noted:

Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions harnessing the laws of in
animate nature, being themselves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry. Further controlling principles of life may be represented as a hierarchy of boundary conditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and responsibility.

LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE A CD COPY OF THIS TALK.  It includes references to not only (YOUR GOOD FRIEND) James D. Watson, and Francis Crick but also Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Schrodinger, J.S. Haldane (his son was the famous J.B.S. Haldane)Peter Medawar, and Barry Commoner. I WONDER IF YOU EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN ACROSS THESE MEN (BESIDES WATSON) OR ANY OF THEIR FORMER STUDENTS?

Below is a portion of the transcript from the CD and Michael Polanyi’s words are in italics while Francis Schaeffer’s words are not:

During the past 15 years, I have worked on these questions, achieving gradually stages of the argument presented in this paper. These are:

  1. Machines are not formed by physical and chemical equilibration. 
  2. The functional terms needed for characterizing a machine cannot for defined in terms of physics and chemistry. 

3. No physical chemical topography will tell us that we have a machine before us and what its functions are. 

In other words, if you only know the chemicals and the physics you don’t know if you have a machine. It may just be junk. So nobody in the world could tell if it was a machine from merely the “physical chemical-topography.” You have to look at the machineness of the machine to say it is a machine. You could take an automobile and smash it into a small piece of metal with a giant press and it would have the same properties of the automobile, but the automobile would have disappeared. The automobile-ness of the automobile is something else than the physical chemical-topography.

4. Such a topography can completely identify one particular specimen of a machine, but can tell us nothing about a class of machines. 

5. And if we are asked how the same solid system can be subject to control by two independent principles, the answer is: The boundary conditions of the system are free of control by physics and can be controlled therefore by nonphysical, purely technical, principles. 

In other words you have to explain the engineering by something other than merely physical principles and of course it is. You can’t explain the watchness of the watch merely by this. You can explain it on the basis of engineering principles in which the human mind conceives of a use for the machine and produces the machine. But notice where Polanyi is and that is in our argument of a need of personality in the universethough Polanyi doesn’t draw this final conclusion, though I thought that is the only explanation.

If you look at the watch a man has made it for the purpose of telling time. When you see the automobile a man has made it for the purpose of locomotion and the explanation of the difference is not in the chemical and physical properties but in the personality of a man to make these two different machines for two different purposes out of the same material. So what you are left here is the need of personality in the universe.

Turn next to living things. Of the points that apply to machines the first point fails to apply to living beings. For it is not obviously clear that living things are not formed by mere physical-chemical equilibration. 

I would say “it is not obviously clear” but you don’t have any explanation. Polanyi is left without an argument of origin just as much as Crick and Watson at this point. Simply because Polanyi hasn’t taken the next logical step from his own argument. I’m sure if the apostle Paul was standing here talking to Polanyi he would cheer as against Crick and Watson and then he would say to Polanyi, “Why do you hold the truth in unrighteousness. Why don’t you carry it to it’s logical conclusion?” But never-mind in the argument with Crick and Madawar Polanyi’s argument cuts just as deeply even though he doesn’t take it to its logical conclusion.

And at this point, strangely enough, the discovery of DNA, which is so widely thought to prove that life is mere chemistry, provides the missing link for proving the contrary. 

When Crick and Watson turned up DNA they said now we have the winning piece but in reality Polanyi tips his hat and says no, thank you very much you have provided me the winning piece.

The theory of Crick and Watson, that four alternative substituents lining a DNA chain convey an amount of information approximating that of the total number of such possible configurations, amounts to saying that the particular alignment present in a DNA molecule is not determined by chemical forces.  

The fact that it is an information chain just shows that the chemical and physical properties of the DNA molecule chain does not explain it, because all these other factors Polanyi has mentioned enter in.

And the additional theory, that the information of a DNA molecule is embodied in the morphology of the corresponding offspring, assures us of the fact that this morphology is not the product of a chemical equililbration, but is designed by other than chemical forces. This is the step that my present paper adds to my earlier arguments. 

And you notice what he does here and it is intriguing. Polanyi uses the words “is designed by.” As soon as you do that you enter the note of personality. It is the same kind of thing as people suddenly slipping over and speaking of “nature producing” and nature doing this. In other words, personifying nature. This is another form of what I would call semantic mysticism. By using the words “designed by,” even though he hasn’t come to the conclusion of it all, of the personal beginning, yet nevertheless, the interesting thing is he is using personalized language. So in reality you have Polanyi himself with his great brain slipping over to semantic mysticism to remove the pressure on himself because “designed by” relates it to the engineering principle of the man making a machine, but who designed nature? This is left as a complete vacuum in Polanyi’s argument.

Turning back in the article and you will see Polanyi has done this a couple of times at important points. Back on page 57 we find Polanyi saying “They do not come into being by physical-chemical equilibration, but are shaped by man. They are shaped and designed for a specific purpose.” He is talking about the making of a machine and he right of course. You look at a watch and you know a man has made this watch in distinction to making the automobile with the same chemical and physical properties.

So that in reality if you are going to use “designed by” it carries back to the mentality that it is true when you look at the watch then why should you stop when you look at the total?

Again on page 64 he uses this type of terminology when he speaks of chance: “The question is whether or not the logical range of random mutations includes the formation of novel principles not definable in terms of physics and chemistry. It seems very unlikely that it does include it.” 

In other words, he says chance can’t. Then we come back to this thing on the computer by Murray Eden of MIT and it brings us back to the first lecture on CHANCE AND EVOLUTION in this series of two lectures and to Darwin himself who said, can I really believe that chance produced this? To the end of his life he kept on saying I can’t really accept it. I really can’t live with it even though it’s in my system and theory of evolution. Then Polanyi comes all around here and when he is done what he leaves you with is “designed by” and it is a semantic mysticism because who is doing the designing in this system? Who starts the whole thing if you can’t explain it by chemical and physical properties and chance?

If you can’t accept the impersonal plus time plus chance as producing it then what you are left with is a beginning with personality, just as you look at the watchness of the watch.

Polanyi has completely smashed Crick and Watson’s argument concerning DNA, but it still leaves Polanyi without a satisfactory answer and for that you would have to come to the Christian answer.


I really think that many of the Bible lessons you learned as a child are still with you today. I noted that you opened up your book with these words:

With our own eyes we can see through the dark glass, fulfilling Paul’s prophecy, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” …Let’s talk about that, let us reason together.

You know that besides quoting Paul from the New Testament you also quoted Isaiah 1:18. Here is that complete verse:

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

Let me thank you again for taking the time to read my last letter and respond to it. That was very gracious of you. I did not only enjoy your book but I recently was intrigued by the points you made on  your TED TALK. By the way John Polanyi (Michael’s son) also gave a TED TALK. I hope to see you again on CHARLIE ROSE SHOW. He does the best interviews!!!!


Everette Hatcher,

P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221, United States, cell ph 501-920-5733everettehatcher@gmail.com


Franz Marc - 1880-1916

FRANZ MARC (1880-1916)

After Kandinsky, the great figure of the Expressionist group “The Blue Rider” and one of the most important expressionist painters ever. He died at the height of his artistic powers, when his use of color was even anticipating the later abstraction.

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