Category Archives: Atheists Confronted

Francis Schaeffer died 35 years ago today (May 15, 1984) Here is one of my favorite posts inspired by him!! Some Experiences I have had since a sermon I heard by Adrian Rogers in 1976 on Ecclesiastes!!!

Adrian Rogers (1931-2005), was pastor of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis where I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

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I have been interested in studying the Book of Ecclesiastes since I heard a message by Adrian Rogers on it in 1976 at my Junior High Chapel Service at school. Today I will review some of the experiences I have had that came from my study of the book since that day in 1976.

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On May 15, 1984 Francis Schaeffer passed away. I had read his books and seen his films all through the 1970’s and 1980’s and they had impacted my life in a big way and give me what he would have called a Christian Worldview. Both Schaeffer and my former pastor, Adrian Rogers were fond of discussing the works of skeptics such as Carl Sagan and Nobel Prize winner George Wald. I took a lead from them and started reading books by skeptics and then writing them to discuss their works. In those letters I would use stories and quotes from Francis Schaeffer. Also I would include a cassette tape of a Rogers’ sermon on Evolution, Creationism and Romans 1, and one by my pastor at the time, Bill Elliff on Romans 1 and Charles Darwin. However, I started the cassette tape off with the 3 minute song DUST IN THE WIND by the group KANSAS because it was my view that if this life is all we have then we are all “DUST IN THE WIND.”

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(George Wald above and Carl Sagan below)

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(Bill Elliff of Summit Church North Little Rock, Arkansas seen below)

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Adrian Rogers: Evolution Fact or Fiction (#1914)

On May 15, 1994 (the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing), I  sent out hundreds of these letters that I have described to leading skeptics on the subjects of Evolution, Ecclesiastes, and the ultimate meaning of our lives without God in the picture.
I got a lot of responses back dated the first week of June of 1994. Professor John Hospers (1918-2011), former close friend of the novelist Ayn Rand,  wrote me back on June 2, 1994 after listening to the audio cassette tape “Dust, Darwin and Disbelief.” The late Dr. Hospers thought the idea that there is no  lasting meaning to our lives as the song DUST IN THE WIND was fine with him, and he did not see how adding God into the equation would add any additional meaning to our lives:

Our lives can have profound meaning thru various activities and relationships; why do they have to be eternal? Why is it so uncomfortable for you to realize that all things pass?  They are none the less real and noble because they are temporary. In another couple of thousand years. the earth will undergo another ice age; in another 6 billion years the sun will be extinguished and life on earth no longer possible. 

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These facts inspired the author of the song DUST IN THE WIND. Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

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I remember a visit in 1976 that Adrian Rogers made to our Junior High Chapel service at EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, and it was that day that I personally began a lifelong interest in King Solomon’s life, and his search for satisfaction as pictured in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

(Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope in back)

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Solomon was searching for meaning and satisfaction in life in what Rogers called the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into Learning (1:16-18), Laughter, Ladies, Luxuries, and Liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and Labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

(Edward John Poynter Painting  below of Solomon)

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Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

After hearing the sermon by Adrian Rogers in 1976, I took a special interest in the Book of Ecclesiastes and then the next year I bought the album POINT OF KNOW RETURN by the group rock group KANSAS. On that album was the song “Dust in the Wind”  and it rose to #6 on the charts in 1978. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of KANSAS become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. I was hoping the members of KANSAS would keep looking for something more than just material pursuits UNDER THE SUN.

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of KANSAS became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life. FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “UNDER the sun.” Notice this phrase UNDER THE SUN since it appears about 30 times in Ecclesiastes. Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.”

The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Even though this  phrase is used over and over in Ecclesiastes, Solomon omits the phrase in the 12th and final chapter of Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes 12 he looks ABOVE the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

(Adrian Rogers below)

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Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 1

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Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 2

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Related posts:

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 5 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part D, A LOOK AT T.S. Eliot’s DESPAIR AND THEN HIS SOLUTION)

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gil Pender ponders the advice he gets from his literary heroes from the 1920’s. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and many modern artists, poets, and philosophers have agreed. In the 1920’s T.S.Eliot and his  house guest Bertrand Russell were two of […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 4 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part C, IS THE ANSWER TO FINDING SATISFACTION FOUND IN WINE, WOMEN AND SONG?)

Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald left the prohibitionist America for wet Paris in the 1920’s and they both drank a lot. WINE, WOMEN AND SONG  was their motto and I am afraid ultimately wine got the best of Fitzgerald and shortened his career. Woody Allen pictures this culture in the first few clips in the […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 3 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part B, THE SURREALISTS Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel try to break out of cycle!!!)

In the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen the best scene of the movie is when Gil Pender encounters the SURREALISTS!!!  This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 2 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part A, When was the greatest time to live in Paris? 1920’s or La Belle Époque [1873-1914] )

In the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen is really looking at one main question through the pursuits of his main character GIL PENDER. That question is WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT? This is the second post I have […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 1 MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT)

I am starting a series of posts called ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” The quote from the title is actually taken from the film MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT where Stanley derides the belief that life has meaning, saying it’s instead “nasty, brutish, and short. Is that Hobbes? I would have […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 153a Sir Bertrand Russell and the Cosmological Argument

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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

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Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/AP

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

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In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true._

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This is a fine review I got off the internet:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2005

Why I’m not Bertrand Russell

Along with Hume’s attack on natural theology, Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, Why I am not a Christian, has probably been the most successful piece of popular atheology. And its influence continues up until our own day. So it is worth our while going back over this essay to weigh its logical merits, or the lack thereof.

I. Cosmological Argument

His attack on the cosmological proof is a strawman argument. He starts out by saying that the category of causality isn’t what it used to be. I assume that this is a then-fashionable allusion to quantum mechanics. To begin with, this is a very counterintuitive theory, the interpretation of which remains highly controversial and quite resistant to a realist construction. But even if we accepted that theory, it only applies at the subatomic level.

He misstates the cosmological argument as saying that everything has a cause: ego, God must also have a cause. But the cosmological argument doesn’t say that every thing has a cause; rather, it says that every event has a cause. Everything that comes into being or passes out of being has a cause. That’s the premise.

The remainder of his denials consists in bare assertions without any argumentation to back them up. Conversely, he doesn’t bother to engage the detailed arguments offered by philosophers and scientists and theologians against the eternity of the world or the spontaneous origin of life on earth.

He then claims that to suppose otherwise betrays a poverty of imagination. But doesn’t that ignore a rather important distinction between reality and imagination? There are a number of versions of the cosmological argument. He engages none of them.

II. Nomological Argument

His attack on the nomological proof is fallacious. As he frames the issue, if God had a reason for legislating nature in one way rather than another, then that reason legislates God’s own action. But this formulation falters on an equivocation of terms. Whether we define a law of nature as a statistical mean or the inevitable effect of meeting certain necessary and sufficient physical conditions, that is not the same as a reason. A reason is a mental, and not an extramental entity, and so it doesn’t imply something outside and anterior to the agent—something which thereby constrains the agent. There is no dualism between a reason and a faculty for reason. Reasons inhere in the mind of a personal agent.

On the face of it, it is also a false analogy to equate physical causality with statistical probabilities—like a game of chance. The whole point is that certain natural phenomena are generally predicable in a way that a throw of the dice is not.

Moreover, it would be possible to predict the throw of the dice if we knew all the variables in advance. I’m not saying that that applies to everything (e.g., the weather). But his chosen illustration is really subversive of his point.

III. Teleological Argument

His attack on the teleological proof is another strawman argument. First of all, he identifies the teleological argument with the anthropic principle. But while that is one version of the teleological proof, the evidence of teleology doesn’t depend on this anthropocentric orientation. A universe just like ours, but without intelligent life, or life of any kind, would still be subject to the design argument. So his statement of the principle is a considerable overgeneralization.

He then comes up with flippant illustrations about white-tailed rabbits and glasses that no serious Christian apologist would ever offer or entertain. And his appeal to the Darwinian alternative invites the same criticism.

To begin with, evolution is another quite controversial theory. But even if we waive that issue, it is very difficult to eliminate teleological categories from the theory of evolution (e.g., natural selection). Darwinists are constantly concocting Just-So stories to explain the survival value of a given adaptation.”

Russell doesn’t bother to ask any of the hard questions. How did the organism survive before it had “grown to be suitable to” its environment? Why is it that an organism should have this in-built adaptability to begin with? It sounds suspiciously like preadaptation. And before we account for the survival of various life-forms, we must account for the origin of life itself.

There is, however, an even deeper and more trying irony. In order to enthrone natural selection by dethroning nature’s God, the Darwinist must covertly assume a God’s-eye view of the proceedings. Natural selection is blind to the survival value of adaptive strategies. Only an intelligent observer can appreciate this problem-solving strategy. Thus the naturalist must step outside of nature and look back at nature with a godlike detachment. A hidden homunculus is always peering over the shoulder of the blind watchmaker.

Russell’s appeal to seemingly dysteleological features disregards the distinction between ends and means. Natural or moral evils may be a means to a higher good. Moreover, to brand the world as “defective” presupposes an ideal standard of reference. And this, once again, assumes a standpoint superior to nature. Something is only defective if it falls short of the mark. So Russell must resort to goal-oriented norms to eliminate teleology from nature. Seems like an exercise in self-rebuttal.

IV. Moral Argument

His attack on the moral argument is a variation on his critique of the nomological argument. If the former traded on an equivocation between law and reason, the latter plays on an equivocation between divine goodness and divine fiat. If God commands something because it’s good, then this “fiat” is logically anterior to God himself. There is considerable confusion in this objection.

To begin with, the first party may well have a different reason for prescribing or prohibiting certain behavior on the part of the second party than the second party has for compliance. If I tell my four-year-old not to cross the street on his own, my reason is not his reason. His reason is that I told me so, and I told him so for his own safety. But that is hard a reason for me not to cross the street.

It is not enough to ask, Did God will it because it is good? The question must be broken down. What is the “it”? Good for whom? Good for what? God didn’t will things for his own good. And, in the nature of the case, natural goods are relative goods. What is good for one natural kind is not necessarily good for another. It is not merely God’s command that makes something right or wrong, but his command in conjunction with his creation. His commands are suited to the nature of his creatures, and he has suited his creatures to the nature of his commands.

Hovering in the background of Russell’s discussion is the Euthyphro dilemma. But this dilemma is generated by two Platonic assumptions: (i) goodness is an impersonal universal; (ii) goodness is a generic universal, of which any given good is only a rough approximation. But according to Scripture, goodness is a personal attribute of God. In addition, the Euthyphro dilemma is structurally similar to the Third Man argument. But according, again, to Scripture, creatures to not merely approximate the decree, but exactly answer to the decree down to the very last detail.

The logic of Russell’s backtracking objection would apply, not only to God, but man. It would entail that no agent could ever have a reason for what he does, because, in that event, he has too many reasons, for he cannot have a reason without having a reason for the reason for the reason. By that logic, Russell didn’t have a reason for writing his essay, seeing as every reason demands another reason, ad infinitum.

But, as I said before, what a reason assumes is not another reason, but a faculty for reason. A reason assumes a reasoner—no more, no less. Russell is substituting a verbal paradox for a serious argument. Reasons don’t exist outside the mind.

To say it’s quite doubtful that Christ ever existed is irresponsible even coming from an unbeliever. First of all, there is extrabiblical evidence for Christ (e.g., Tacitus; Josephus; the Talmud). Moreover, we have 27 primary sources dating from the 1C (=the NT) that witness to the historicity of Christ. Russell cites the example of Socrates. Yet we only have three witnesses to the historicity of Socrates (Plato; Xenophon; Aristophanes).

Perhaps Russell would object that the NT is a biased source. Why is a disciple of Christ unreliable, but a disciple of Socrates is not?

V. Christology

Russell says that Jesus was mistaken in his timetable for the Second Coming. Russell is referring to such verses as Mt 10:23; 16:28; 24:34 (cf. Rev 1:1,7). Because Russell was not a student of Scripture, he engages in simplistic prooftexting by lifting isolated verses out of context. Regarding the “imminent” return of Christ, a few things need to be said:
(i) According to Scripture, the kingdom of God doesn’t come all at once. It has a past, present and future dimension. The OT theocracy was an instance of God’s kingdom on earth (e.g., Exod 19:6), but localized in time and space. The first advent of Christ was another instance of God’s kingdom on earth (e.g., Mt 12:28-29). This advances the OT vision, but is still limited in time and space. And there is, finally, a global and lasting advent of the kingdom of God in the Second Coming of Christ the King.
(ii) The prophecies of Christ (Mt 10:23; 16:28; 24:34; Rev 1:1,7) pick up from where the prophecies of Daniel left off (Dan 2:28-30,44-45; 7:13-14). It is important remember that Daniel was a seer. Visionary revelation is not a chronicle or photograph of the future, and Russell commits a level-confusion when he equates a visionary sequence with a historical sequence. Events imminent within a vision are not necessarily imminent in real time and space. Such visions envision a public event, but they do not assume a one-to-one correspondence between promise and fulfillment.
(iii) To attribute false prophecies to Christ logically commits you to the early dating of the Gospels, for no writer would invent or report prophecies which falsified his own case. But that would bring the Gospels back down to the lifetime of the eyewitnesses.

He belittles the cursing of the fig tree (cf. Mt 21:18-19). Because Russell doesn’t know his way around the OT, he is ignorant of the fact that a fig tree is a type of divine judgment on apostate Israel (e.g. Jer 8:13; Hos 9:10,16-17; Joel 1:7,12; Mic 7:1).

Russell’s aristocratic heart also goes out to the sorry fate of the Gadarene swine. His advocacy swine rights is touching, and I trust that his Lordship’s high principles hindered him from forming any excessive familiarity with a plate of pork-links. When, however, Russell shows more sympathy for the swine than the demoniac, one feels that a certain sense of moral disproportion has invaded his ethical system.

But Russell is just warming up for his ringing denunciation of hell. It is hard to know how to respond because Russell offers so little by way of argument. One can only rebut a reason. But a couple of comments are in order:
(i) It is counterintuitive, to say the least, to say that God is unjust in punishing the unjust. Isn’t that what a just God is supposed to do? Wouldn’t we think him unjust for not punishing the unjust?

To be sure, some critics would object to the duration of hell or the standard of judgment. But there’s no obligation to parry objections which Russell never raises or elaborates.
(ii) If Russell doesn’t like Christian ethics, what is his alternative? Is secular ethics possible? In his debate with Fr. Copleston, Russell could never bring himself to condemn the Holocaust. (Cf. F. Copleston, Memoirs [Sheed & Ward, 1993], 136-37.) So how is he in any position to be so judgmental about Christian ethics? How can Russell be such a moralizing moral relativist?

He then makes the perfectly ridiculous and patently false statement that the doctrine of hell put cruelty into the world. Really? What about the Assyrians—to take just one of many examples?

He also draws a causal connection between faith and persecution. But this correlation is very cloudy. The Wars of Religion took place, not during the Middle Ages, but the Enlightenment. The witch-craze took place, not during the Middle Ages, but the Enlightenment. And isn’t the time past due for the humanist community to give an accounting of all the atrocities committed under its watch, viz., Baathism, Jacobinism, Maoism, Nazism, Stalinism, Roe v. Wade, the Khmer Rouge, &c. The body count racked up by secular ideologies is quite unrivalled in human history.

VI. Freudian Critique

He then resorts to a psychogenic explanation of faith. It’s all based on fear, period. But it never seems to have occurred to Russell that a reductive analysis cut both ways. For psychogenic explanations may be as applied easily to unbelief as to belief. By his own admission, Russell’s formative years were steeped in the literature of infidelity (e.g. Carlyle, Comte, Gibbon, Ibsen, McTaggart, Mill, and Shelley). If Russell had any capacity for self-criticism, it would occur to him that such exposure at an impressionable age was a highly prejudicial influence on his receptivity to the Gospel. And his emotionally-starved upbringing fits a familiar profile among many famous infidels. (Cf. O. Guinness, Long Journey Home [Doubleday, 2001]; P. Vitz, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism [Spence, 1999].)

In any event, psychogenic explanations of the faith commit the genetic fallacy. Even if someone’s faith amounts to make-believe or wishful thinking, that sort of subjective analysis completely fails to address the issue of objective (e.g., historical) evidence for the faith.

Russell then rounds out with a little pep-talk to rally the troops. But Russell has done nothing to lay a foundation for this dutiful optimism, and the track record of secular regimes augurs ill for the cause.

 

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:

In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. 

Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. 

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

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Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

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. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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Related posts:

 

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 150 My May 15, 1994 letter to Stephen Jay Gould (Part D) Sean Carroll “Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) might be the worst idea Stephen Jay Gould ever had” (It appears that atheists and theists do agree with Carroll on NOMA)

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This is the fourth part of the letter to Stephen Jay Gould, but the third part was posted last week on my blog.

The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.”

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SECTION 3 A Study in the Book of Ecclesiastes done by Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher). Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. Take a look at this quote by Mike Malone: “Knowing God is the deepest longing of the human heart. It is knowledge so high and lofty that it transcends language, which can never exhaust the glorious reality of God. The wise man would take you by the hand and lead you to the fountain, where you may drink to your heart’s content, never tasting enough, yet never failing to be satisfied.” But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.”

B) Do great works of men bring satisfaction?Ecclesiastes 2:4-6, 18-20: Then I tried to find fulfillment by inaugurating a great public works program: homes, vineyards, gardens, parks, and orchards for myself, and reservoirs to hold the water to irrigate my plantations.And I am disgusted about this—that I must leave the fruits of all my hard work to others. 19 And who can tell whether my son will be a wise man or a fool? And yet all I have will be given to him—how discouraging! So I turned in despair from hard work as the answer to my search for satisfaction.C) Does pleasure give lasting satisfaction?

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…
2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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 Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

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 I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16). How do you want your life to go the next million years? The humanist world view has no answer (see H. J. Blackham earlier quote). Ecclesiastes2:15-16: 15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.(Also refer to the lyrics of the song DUST IN THE WIND by the group KANSAS).Can you refute any of the conclusions of Solomon? Will you ridicule this material. In 1988 in the September-October of the HUMANIST MAGAZINE a 3 page article was devoted to cutting Schaeffer down to size, but even in that article which was called FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: A LOOK AT ONE OF THE FOREMOST FIGURES IN THE CRUSADE AGAINST HUMANISM the writer gave Schaeffer his due by saying “Schaeffer’s books are not the typical hodge-podge of newspaper headlines and obscure  Biblical prophecies, as in Hal Lindsey’s books. Schaeffer demonstrates a familiarity with the major theologians and some understanding of philosophy, art and literature. His books are clearly in a different league from the typical evangelical Christian reading matter…:” Why did I write about the meaning of life in this letter addressed to you?????? The answer is very simple: You have a spiritual need that must be met, and only Christ can meet it!!!! In the introduction of the book A SHATTERED VISAGE, Ravi Zacharias said this “The most telling aspect of the afternoon I spoke to a group of scientists at the Bell Lab in Holmdel, NJ was the nature of the questions that were raised following the address. None had to do with the technical or scientific expertise that the audience represented. They all had to do with the heart searching questions of men and women in pursuit of meaning of life. I have found these same questions asked time and time again in a variety of settings. After the intellectual that comes to the fore.” Ecclesiastes 3:11b “God has planted eternity in the hearts of men.” 

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Charles Spurgeon “The soul is insatiable till it finds the savoir.”I want to finish with a prediction: There is coming a time in your life that the most important thing to you will be to get your prayer answered by God. When I was ridden in a hospital many years ago I was told that I may not live. My thoughts turned to spiritual things. Does it take a tragic situation for you to wake up? I will pray that you see the humanistic worldview for what it is, and that you would honestly pursue the Bible. Thank you for your time

Finally I have enclosed a copy of my letter published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Newspaper on April 22, 1994:

A BANKRUPT WORLDVIEW

Brian Bolton, the ordained humanist minister, asserted that humanism deserves out respect in his March 27 article. Does it really?

Humanism is the belief that we are limited to human life standing alone between birth and death. There is no belief in God and the afterlife. Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at this humanistic world view in the Book of Ecclesiastes when he limited himself to examining life “under the sun.”

Humanists will tell you that the world evolved, and just as time and chance have determined the human race’s past, it will also determine the human race’s future. Ecclesiastes says, “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

Solomon saw that the humanistic world view was bankrupt because without God in the picture man’s future was left up to time and chance.

When I play with my two children, they constantly are saying, “Daddy, watch me!” Their hearts long for my personal attention just as my heart longs for a daily personal relationship with a God who cares about me.

Why respect a religion like humanism that hands your future over to time and chance instead of a God who created you for a purpose? Humanism tells you that you are just a face in the crowd, and 1 million years from now it will be as though you never existed. Is Bolton a naive humanist who has avoided this conclusion?

Everette Hatcher III



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Daniel Dennett and Stephen Jay Gould pictured together above

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Paul Kurtz who I had the pleasure of corresponding with discusses the life of Stephen Jay Gould below.

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Stephen Jay Gould, 1942-2002

By Paul Kurtz
Chairman, CSICOP

Skeptical inquirers deeply regret the passing of Stephen Jay Gould. He played a unique role in the public square, for he was an eloquent exponent of the scientific outlook. His prolific writings and brilliant lectures at Harvard and universities far and wide on evolutionary paleontology and biology and his forthright criticisms of creationism cast him as a powerful defender of science. At a time when pseudoscientific and fringe claims continue to grow, there are all too few scientists willing to enter into the fray.

Gould’s death leaves a void; and it dramatizes anew how important it is to have popularizers of science. This role was played by Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, CSICOP Fellows of the past. We need to encourage today new and daring defenders of science, gadflies in the name of critical inquiry; interpreters able to extend the public’s understanding of science and its methods. All too few scientists and scholars today are willing to venture beyond their specialties in order to communicate with a wider audience.

Gould offered his own often controversial theories on how evolution occurred—such as his punctuated equilibrium hypothesis—and he suffered criticisms as a result. A veteran polemicist, he stood his ground in many debates with scientific colleagues. Throughout, he demonstrated that science grows by constant questioning, and peer review.

Stephen Jay Gould was a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a recipient of its highest “In Praise of Reason” award. He was a frequent speaker at our conferences. He will be sorely missed.

The Darwin Day Program 

The Big Bad Wolf, Theism and the Foundations of Intelligent Design – Page 2

No More NOMA

“I do have one thing in common with the creationists. Like me… they will have no truck with NOMA and its separate magisteria.” – Richard Dawkins 18

Dawkins asserts in the Preface of The God Delusion that: “‘the God Hypothesis’ is a scientific hypothesis about the universe, which should be analysed as sceptically as any other” 19 (including, presumably, Darwinian macro-evolution). He later affirms, in broader terms, that:

The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question, even if it is not in practice – or not yet – a decided one… The methods we should use to settle the matter, in the unlikely event that relevant evidence ever became available, would be purely and entirely scientific methods. 20

Dawkins and intelligent design theorists are in full agreement upon this latter point.

Dawkins defines science as simply: “the honest and systematic endeavour to find out the truth about the real world.” 21 As design theorist Jay W. Richards states: “Methodological naturalism… contradicts the true spirit of science, which is to seek the truth about the natural world, no holds barred.” 22 Dawkins appears to use “science” as a term of endearment extending to any critical investigation of the “real world” to which empirical data has relevance, although as a metaphysical naturalist he assumes that the “real world” is describable in exclusively naturalistic terms. While ID theorists are careful not to allow a priori assumptions to pre-determine the conclusions science reaches, and have followed the lead of David Hume in distinguishing between conclusions that scientific arguments can and cannot support without philosophical extension, Dawkins is not so careful. Bearing these qualifications in mind, the design theorist (especially the theistic design theorist) can welcome Dawkins’ affirmation that: “the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other… God’s existence or non-existence is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice.” 23

In claiming that ID is a scientific theory Dawkins flatly contradicts many critics – including physicist Lawrence Krauss, microbiologist Carl Woese and philosopher Robert Pennock – who argue that intelligent design theory is not a scientific hypothesis. In his Kitmiller v. Doveropinion, Judge John E. Jones III wrote of “the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science.” 24 Dawkins disagrees. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “Intelligent design… falls outside the realm of science.” 25 Dawkins disagrees. Austin Cline argues that: “Intelligent Design isn’t a part of science.” 26 Dawkins disagrees.

A basic assumption of ID is that an intelligent agent is capable of acting in such a way as to impress empirically detectable evidence of design upon physical reality (this assumption underlies the day-to-day work of many scientists, including archaeologists, cryptographers, forensic scientists, paranormal researchers, conductors of double-blind prayer studies and those engaged in the search for extra-terrestrial life). A world in which God both exists and acts in such an empirically detectable way is therefore empirically distinguishable from a world in which he does not. Dawkins has no truck with: “the erroneous notion that the existence or non-existence of God is an untouchable question, forever beyond the reach of science… Either he exists or he doesn’t. It is a scientific question; one day we may know the answer, and meanwhile we can say something pretty strong about the probability.”27

Dawkins rejects Stephen Jay Gould’s theory of “non-overlapping magesteria” (or NOMA) that:

The net, or magisterium of science covers the empirical realm… The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap… To cite the old clichés, science gets the age of rocks, and religion the rock of ages; science studies how the heavens go, religion how to go to heaven. 28

Dawkins considers this an act of “bending over backwards to positively supine lengths” 29 to avoid any possibility of conflict (or dialogue) between science and religion. In order to stand any chance of mounting an attack on religion with the sword of science, Dawkins first has to cut through the shield of NOMA. The dialogue negating suggestion that science is about “how” while religion is about “why” actually contains a grain of truth (religion does deal with questions of meaning with which science does not and cannot deal), but is too simplistic. As Dawkins says of NOMA: “This sounds terrific – right up until you give it a moment’s thought.” 30 He dramatizes the point by imagining:

that forensic archaeologists unearthed DNA evidence to show that Jesus really did lack a biological father. Can you imagine religious apologists shrugging their shoulders and saying anything remotely like the following? “Who cares? Scientific evidence is completely irrelevant to theological questions. Wrong magisterium! We”re concerned only with ultimate questions and with moral values. Neither DNA nor any other scientific evidence could ever have any bearing on the matter, one way or the other.” The very idea is a joke. 31

Real world religions make real world claims that therefore intersect with the fields of inquiry handled by science. 32 As philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer argues:

it’s inherent in the Christian faith to make claims about the real world. According to the Bible, God has revealed himself in time and space, and so Christianity – for good or ill – is going to intersect some of the factual claims of history and science. There’s either going to be conflict or agreement. To make NOMA work, its advocates have to water down science or faith, or both. Certainly Gould did – he said religion was just a matter of ethical teaching, comfort, or metaphysical beliefs about meaning. But Christianity certainly claims to be more than that. 33   

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Lawrence Krauss pictured above and Sean Carroll below

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Lawrence Krauss pictured above with Richard Dawkins and below with Noam Chomsky

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Chomsky, Krauss, and me

Posted on March 15, 2006 by Sean Carroll

Science & Theology News was looking for some famous and charismatic scientists to respond to an interview with Noam Chomsky on various issues touching on science and religion. They were able to get Lawrence Krauss to agree, but then they ran out of ideas and ended up asking me. So you have some of the deepest questions we face about meaning and the universe, addressed by someone recently voted the world’s top intellectual, with responses by the author of The Physics of Star Trek and an assistant professor with a blog. What a great world!

You will notice that most of my answering comments are short and sweet. You can take this as evidence that I know how to pack a tremendous rhetorical punch into just a handful of words, or that I was in a hurry as the deadline was approaching. But sometimes I do go on a bit when a nerve is struck, such as this discussion on whether science and religion ever overlap in their respective spheres of interest.

ON STEVEN JAY GOULD AND “NON-OVERLAPPING MAGISTERIA”

CHOMSKY: Steve Gould [was] a friend. But I don’t quite agree with him [that science-and-religion are “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”]. Science and religion are just incommensurable. I mean, religion tells you, ‘Here’s what you ought to believe.’ Judaism’s a little different, because it’s not really a religion of belief, it’s a religion of practice. If I’d asked my grandfather, who was an ultra-orthodox Jew from Eastern Europe. ‘Do you believe in God?’ he would have looked at me with a blank stare, wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. And what you do is you carry out the practices. Of course, you say ‘I believe in this and that,’ but that’s not the core of the religion. The core of the religion is just the practices you carry out. And yes, there is a system of belief behind it somewhere, but it’s not intended to be a picture of the world. It’s just a framework in which you carry out practices that are supposed to be appropriate.

KRAUSS: Science and religion are incommensurate, and religion is largely about practice rather than explanation. But religion is different than theology, and as the Catholic Church has learned over the years, any sensible theology must be in accord with the results of science.

CARROLL: Non-overlapping magisteria might be the worst idea Stephen Jay Gould ever had. It’s certainly a surprising claim at first glance: religion has many different aspects to it, but one of them is indisputably a set of statements about how the universe works at a deep level, typically featuring the existence of a powerful supernatural Creator. “How the universe works” is something squarely in the domain of science. There is, therefore, quite a bit of overlap: science is quite capable of making judgments about whether our world follows a rigid set of laws or is occasionally influenced by supernatural forces. Gould’s idea only makes sense because what he really means by “religion” is “moral philosophy.” While that’s an important aspect of religion, it’s not the only one; I would argue that the warrant for religion’s ethical claims are based on its view of the universe, without which we wouldn’t recognize it as religion.

I was going to say that these guys might be famous, but do they have their own blogs? No! Except, of course, Lawrence was our very first guest-blogger, so that counts for something. And, I remembered, Noam Chomsky actually does have a blog. A funny one that consists of answers to occasional interview questions asked by someone from Z magazine, but I suppose it counts. Man, everybody has a blog these days.

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

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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Stephen Jay Gould is the scholar I will look at today. In  the third video below in the 147th clip in this series are his words “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration” and I have responded directly to this quote in any earlier post.

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)

Related posts:

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am

  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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged George HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyRaqib ShawRingo Starr | Edit | Comments (0)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 150 My May 15, 1994 letter to Stephen Jay Gould (Part B)

This is the second portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Stephen Jay Gould and last week I posted the first portion and next week I will post the third portion.

SECTION #1 Evolution is discussed by these scholars: H.G.Wells, Antony Flew, Neal Gillespie, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Joseph McCabe, Louis Russell, Leo Hickey, Francis Crick, Michael Ruse, Norman D. Newell, Robert C. Cowen, Jeremy Rifkin, Francis Schaeffer, H.J.Blackham, Paul Churchland, J.W.Burrow, Douglas Futuyma, William Provine, and Bertrand Russell!!!!______________________ I am trying in this letter to show that the following statements are true and can not be refuted logically.1. Theistic evolution is not rational.2. Evolution has been considered a fact by the vast majority of leading scholars worldwide for many years now.3. There  has been a drift from belief to agnosticism caused by science in recent years.4. The vast majority of leading scientists today do not consider creationism scientific.5. There are philosophical implications of Darwinism.——————
1. Theistic evolution is not rational.http://creation.mobi/hg-wells-evolution-and-the-gospelH G Wells

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‘If all the animals and man had been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there had been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no fall, then the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which the current teaching based Christian emotion and morality, collapsed like a house of cards.’—-Antony Flew

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It is obviously impossible to square any evolutionary account of the origin of the species with a substantially literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis.—-
2.Evolution has been considered a fact by the vast majority of leading scholars worldwide for many years now.—-
Humanist Manifesto II (1973): Science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.—Neal Gillespie
Darwin’s rejection of special creation was part of the transformation of biology into a positive science, one committed to thoroughly naturalistic explanations based on material causes and the uniformity of nature…——Carl Sagan

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Evolution is fact, not a theory—-Lee Dembart of the Los Angeles Times commenting on the book by Richard Dawkins called “The Blind Watchmaker”:The book cuts through the nonsense about the origin of life and leaves it for dead….He demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution is the only possible explanation for the world we see around us. In this work Dawkins refutes the argument that the complexity of life cannot be random, this implying a designer or creator.—-
Joseph McCabe in a debate with George Mccready Price:
Something over 50 years ago a great man of science launched the doctrine of evolution upon the world. Generation by generation , decade by decade, scientific men have fought out that issue. I say that there is not an university professor in the world today who does not emphatically endorse the doctrine of evolution ….100 years ago, in the days of Lamarck and Darwin, men looked across that broad river and there was nothing between (man and ape)….Now we men of the Stone Age carrying us nearer to the ape; the pilot down man, and one or two others, going as far again in the direction of the ape.—-Louis S Russell, director, Royal Ontario Museum, It’s completely false to say that there’s a lacking of transitional forms. We have plenty of them —-more than sometimes we can deal with.—-Leo Hickey, former director, Yale Peabody Museum, There are myriad transitional forms. There’s really no problem finding them.—-

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Francis Crick: The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is, in fact, to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.—-
3. There has been a drift from belief to agnosticism caused by science in recent years———————-
Dr Huston Smith: One reason education undoes belief (in God) is it’s teaching of evolution; Darwin’s own drift from orthodoxy to agnosticism was symptomatic.—-Asa Gray (1810-1888), a Harvard professor of botony was a supporter of theistic evolution. He tried to persuade Darwin to adopt the  position of  theistic evolution. Darwin quickly struck down Gray’s  argument, “The view that each variation has been providentially arranged seems to me to make natural selection entirely superfluous, and indeed takes the whole case of the appearance of new species out of the range of science. ——Michael Denton “ today it is perhaps the Darwinian view of nature more than any other that is responsible for the agnostic and sceptical outlook of the twentieth century…(It is) a theory that literally changed the world.”

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Vincent Sarich in a debate with Mr Gish said, “As far as I am concerned it was not God that created man, but quite clearly and obviously man that in ultimate example of his overwhelming pride created an omnipotent God in his own idealized image of himself and in doing so thought to make himself all powerful and independent of any laws but those of his own making.”—-4. Leading scientists worldwide today do not believe creationism is scientific.Michael Ruse – “And, I learnt what a hollow sham modern day creationism really is : crude, dogmatic, biblical literal-ism masquerading as  genuine science.”
Norman D. Newell
 – “Finally I should like to define the word science, and explain why scientific creationism cannot be included in its definition. Science is characterized by the willingness of an investigator to follow evidence wherever it leads.”Robert C. Cowen – It is this many-faceted on-going science story that should be told in public school biology courses. Creationists want those courses to include the possibility of – and the “scientific” evidence for – a creator as well. There is no such “scientific” evidence. The concept of a supernatural creator is inherently religious. It has no place in a science class.

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Jeremy Rifkin – “Evolutionary theory has been enshrined as the centerpiece of our educational system, and elaborate walls have been erected around it to protect it from unnecessary abuse.”5.There are philosophical implications of Darwinism.Francis Schaeffer in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? co-authored by C. Everett Koop in 1979 said this, “Humanism: 1. Rejects the doctrine of creation. 2. Therefore rejects the idea that there is anything stable or ‘given’ about human nature. 3. Sees human nature as part of a long, unfolding process of development in which everything is changing. 4. Casts around for some solution to the problem of despair that this determinist-evolutionist vision induces…

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The humanist H. J. Blackham has expressed this with a dramatic illustration: On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967). Mr. Schaeffer comments, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”Paul Churchland – “The important point about the standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all of its features are the wholly physical outcome of a purely physical process. If this is the correct account of our origin, then there seems neither need nor room to fit any nonphysical substances or properties into our theoretical accounts of ourselves. We are creatures of matter.”J.W.Burrow – “Nature, according to Darwin, was the product of blind chance and a blind struggle, and man a lonely, intelligent mutation, scrambling with the brutes for his sustenance. To some the sense of loss was irrevocable; It was as if an umbilical cord had been cut, and men found themselves part of a cold passionless universe.”

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Douglas Futuyma –  “Whether people are explicitly religious or not they tend to imagine that humans are in some sense the center of the universe. And what evolution does is to remove humans from the center of the universe. We are just one product of a very long historical process that has given rise to an enormous amount of organisms, and we are just one of them. So in one sense there is nothing special about us.”William B. Provine in “The End of Ethics?” article in HARD CHOICES (a magazine companion to the television series HARD CHOICES) wrote:Even though it is often asserted that science is fully compatible with our Judeo-Christian tradition, in fact it is not… To be sure, even in antiquity, the mechanistic view of life–that chance was responsible for the shape of the world– had a few adherents. But belief in overarching order was dominant; it can be seen as easily in such scientists as Newton, Harvey, and Einstein as in the theologians Augustine, Luther, and Tillich. But beginning with Darwin, biology has undermined that tradition. Darwin in effect asserted that all living organisms had been created by a combination of chance and necessity–natural selection.In the twentieth century, this view of life has been reinforced by a whole series of discoveries…Mind is the only remaining frontier, but it would be shortsighted to doubt that it can, one day, be duplicated in the form of thinking robots or analyzed in terms of the chemistry and electricity of the brain. The extreme mechanic view of life, which every new discovery in biology tends to confirm, has certain implications. First, God has no role in the physical world…Second, except for the laws of probability and cause and effect, there is no organizing principle in the world, and no purpose. 

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Bertrand Russell – “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 débris 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.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

World-renowned, popularising palaeontologist who, controversially, revised Darwin’s theories and took a political stand on science
 

Profesor Stephen Jay Gould, who has died of cancer aged 60, was an unlikely figure to have been canonised in his lifetime by the US Congress, which named him as one of America’s “living legends”.

A palaeontologist, he was based for most of his life at the museum of comparative zoology (MCZ) at Harvard, where, since 1982, he had been Alexander Agassiz professor of zoology. But he was best known to the public through his unbroken sequence of 300 monthly essays in Natural History magazine, which began in 1974 and ended only last year; they were republished in a seemingly unending stream of books, translated into dozens of languages and bought by their hundreds of thousands.

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A stylish writer, Gould characterised each essay by deriving a seemingly abstruse point in natural history or palaeontology via a sideways look at a novel, a building, or, often, a reference to his lifelong enthusiasm for baseball. He once illuminated the peculiar evolutionary phenomenon in which more recently evolved species within a family group steadily decrease in size by comparing it to how the manufacturers of Hershey bars avoided price rises by making the bars smaller while keeping the costs the same.

As a scientific essayist, Gould’s only peers were “Darwin’s bulldog”, Thomas Huxley, in the 19th century and JBS Haldane in the 1930s and 40s. The comparison with Haldane is apt in two further ways; both made fundamental contributions to evolutionary theory, and both were politically engaged both within science and in the broader political arena. Gould’s critique of the pseudoscience of claims concerning the inheritance of intelligence, developed in one of his best-known books, The Mismeasure Of Man (1981), became a major source for anti-racist campaigners.

But Gould was no mere word-spinner; as a major public intellectual and powerful public speaker, he could be seen at demonstrations and on picket lines, especially during the 1960s and 70s. This was the birth of what became known as the radical science movement (Science for the People), initially in response to the Vietnam war. The movement, and Gould along with it, later became embroiled in the cultural fights that raged around the publication, in 1975, of EO Wilson’s Sociobiology, the forerunner to today’s evolutionary psychology, and seen by many as offering a scientific validation for social inequalities in class, gender and race.

Some saw this as a specifically Harvard-based battle, as Gould occupied the MCZ basement and his colleague, and sometimes co-author, Richard Lewontin, the first floor – with Wilson sandwiched between them on the ground floor. Wilson became distinctly uneasy when entering the elevator in case he might have to confront Gould, Lewontin or any of their student supporters.

However, for Gould the issues were never just about politics, but also about a different view of the mechanisms and processes of evolution, a view that reached its clearest expression in his last and greatest book, The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory – at more than 1,400 pages, the greatest in every sense – which was published only last month.

This is the most comprehensive statement of Gould’s Darwinian revisionism, a revisionism that began in graduate school when he and fellow student Niles Eldredge developed their critique of one of Darwin’s central theses, that of gradual evolutionary change. To the concern of his many friends and supporters, who had argued that speciation was likely to occur by abrupt transitions, Darwin had insisted that “nature does not make leaps”.

Gould and Eldredge re-addressed this question, pointing out that the fossil record was one of millions of years of stasis, punctuated by relatively brief periods of rapid change – hence punctuated equilibrium. To Gould’s fury, as a loyal child of Darwin, the theory was misappropriated by creationists, whom he attacked with characteristic vigour. However, in one of his most recent books, Rocks Of Ages (1999), he attempted to come to terms with a religion more reconciled to science, reversing the proposition of rendering unto Caesar by allowing religion its independent domain.

But punctuated equilibrium made many traditional evolutionists unhappy too; they saw it as evidence of Gould’s alleged Marxism – revolution rather than evolution.

Orthodox biologists also tended to resent the insouciance with which Gould upstaged them. Lecturing at the Royal Society, in London in the 1970s, he treated the assembled grandees to an account of the architecture of the San Marco cathedral, in Venice, in order to make the point that many seemingly adaptive features of an organism are, in fact, the byproducts of more fundamental structural constraints. The mosaic-filled spaces (spandrels) between the arches on which the dome stands may look as if they were planned, but they are merely space-fillers, albeit ones put to artistic and religious use.

Many features of an organism (its phenotype) may also be structural spandrels, others may be “exaptations” – another term coined by Gould, with Elizabeth Vrba, to describe features arising in one context but subsequently put to a different use. Feathers, originally evolved as a heat regulatory device among the reptilian ancestors of today’s birds, are a good example. But to evolutionists, who believed every feature of an organism was honed by what Darwin called “nature’s continuous scrutiny”, this claim, and the style in which it was delivered, was heretical.

The intellectual’s development from radical young Turk to mature senior academic is traditionally that from iconoclasm to conventional wisdom. Not so Steve Gould. The Structure Of Evolutionary Theory is a robust and formidable defence of his key contributions to Darwinian revisionism. Evolution is not a la carte, but structurally constrained; not all phenotypic features are adaptive, but may instead be spandrels or exaptations – or even contingent accidents, like the asteroid collision believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, thus making space for mammals and ultimately humans.

Wind the tape of history back, Gould insists, allow it to free-run forward again, and it is, in the highest degree, unlikely that the same species will evolve. Chance is crucial, and there is nothing inherently progressive about evolution – no drive to perfection, complexity or intelligent life.

Above all, he argues, natural selection works at many levels. Because genetics has come to dominate much of the life sciences, for many biologists organisms have become almost irrelevant, save as instruments serving the purposes of their genes – splendidly encapsulated in Richard Dawkins’ famous description of humans as “lumbering robots” – the gene’s way of making copies of itself. Evolution itself has come to be defined as a change in gene frequency in a population.

By contrast, Gould argues for a hierarchical view; that evolution works on genes, genomes, cell lineages and, especially, on species. Ignoring speciation, he says, is like playing Hamlet without the prince. This is the central theoretical issue underlying all the polemics that characterise what have come to be known as the “Darwin wars”, pitting Gould against Dawkins as his principal adversary, although in reality – and to the chagrin of creationists – both are children of Darwin, and agree on far more than they disagree.

Cutting-edge researchers are often ignorant of their own science’s history. Perhaps it was because he was a palaeontologist that Gould returned so often in his writing to the history of his own subject. His was not the sort of whiggish, anecdotal approach by which senior scientists tend to ossify the progression from past obscurity to present clarity, but a deeper attempt to understand the twists and turns of theory and evidence, which ensure that even our present-day knowledge is provisional, and like life itself, historically constrained.

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Born in Queens, New York, and educated through the city’s superb public school system, Gould trained as a geologist at Antioch College, Ohio, took a doctorate in palaeontology at Columbia University, New York, in 1967, and spent a brief period at Leeds University before moving to Harvard.

In 1982, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, rumoured to have been precipitated by the asbestos lining of the specimen cabinets in the MCZ basement. The disease has a median survival time of eight months; as Gould later wrote, he was committed to being one of those who survived long enough to help show that statistic medians are not means, after all. The 20 years before cancer finally caught up with him were packed with more than most public intellectuals and scientists can hope to achieve in a lifetime, and a small galaxy of prizes.

He was married twice, and is survived by his former wife Deborah, their sons Jesse and Ethan, his second wife Rhonda, and his stepchildren, Jade and London.

Steve Jones writes: The world of snail genetics has lost its leading light. Not, perhaps, how most obituarists will celebrate him, but true nevertheless. Gould was, like Darwin, a working scientist; an accumulator of facts, in his case about the snails, live or fossilised, of the Bahamas. However, and again like Darwin, he became most celebrated not for his own research, but for his interpretation of the facts gathered by others.

Evolutionists have the bitter feeling that theirs is the only science left in which it is possible to become famous just for having an opinion. Their field (or at least the public’s image of it) is filled with people with strongly-held views who have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, whether in a rainforest or a laboratory. Gould was not like that. He may not have spent five years on the Beagle, but he passed many uncomfortable summers kicking through bushes or scraping away at lumps of rock.

Whatever its merits, his famous theory of punctuated equilibrium – evolution by jerks, as its critics called it; Gould responded with taunts about evolution by creeps – gave the then slothful post-Darwinian giant a kick, just when and where it needed it. Biology was forced to remind itself that many evolutionary questions had been forgotten, and entered an era of intense debate.

In the view of most (but not all) in the field, the answer was refreshingly conventional: Darwin was, in the end, right, and the problems raised by Gould could be solved without toppling the great Victorian from his ped- estal. Gould, needless to say, did not agree.

Scientifically, he was – in the eyes of us “creeps” at least – a failure, but a heroic one, in the sense that Columbus failed to find India. In science, failures can be heroes, too – think of Newton after relativity; and to the public, Gould was the hero. He fought the creationists, joked about baseball, and wrote some of the finest of all science essays. Although sometimes visited by the curse of orotundity, he kept it up to the end.

The last time I met him, we talked snails, and now that the chance to do so again has gone, it is time to summarise his life. To most people, he was punctuationist, populariser or polemicist; to biologists, he earned that most rare and coveted title, that of his great predecessor, Darwin: naturalist.

· Stephen Jay Gould, palaeontologist, born September 10 1941; died May 20 2002

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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

__

(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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Stephen Jay Gould is the scholar I will look at today. In  the third video below in the 147th clip in this series are his words “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration” and I have responded directly to this quote in any earlier post.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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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 )

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______________   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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged Anna Margaret Rose FreemanGeorge HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyRingo StarrStg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | EditComments (0)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 150 My May 15, 1994 letter to Stephen Jay Gould (Part A)

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The first portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Stephen Jay Gould and next week I will have the second part.

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I mailed the following letter to Stephen Jay Gould.

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Could you take 3 minutes and attempt to refute the nihilistic message of the song (DUST IN THE WIND) which appears at the beginning of the enclosed tape? Back in 1980 I watched the series COSMOS and on May 5, 1994 I again sat down to watch it again. In this letter today I will tell you of 3 GENTLEMEN who contemplated the world around them. The first one is an evolutionist by the name of Carl Sagan. Mr. Sagan is what I would call a humanist full of optimism.

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The second man also sought to contemplate the world around him and this man was King Solomon of Israel. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon limits himself to the question of human life lived “under the sun” between birth and death and what answers this would give (that is exactly what Mr. Sagan has done in COSMOS).It is this belief that life is only between birth and death that eventually causes Solomon to embrace nihilism. In the first few words of Ecclesiastes he observes the continual cycles of the earth and makes some very interesting conclusions”…to search for understanding about everything in the universe.”

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The third man I want to mention is Francis Schaeffer who I believe was the greatest Christian philosopher of the 20th century. However, when he was a young agnostic many years ago he also had an experience similar to King Solomon’s when he contemplated the world and universe around him.contemplated the world and the universe around him.CARL SAGAN:”Our contemplations of the Cosmos stir us. There is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory of falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.”KING SOLOMON: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11;3:18-19 (Living Bible): 2 In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. 3-7 For what does a man get for all his hard work?Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.[b] The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere.* The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . .everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!—-What Solomon said ties into this following statement by evolutionist Douglas Futuyma – “Whether people are explicitly religious or not they tend to imagine that humans are in some sense the center of the universe. And what evolution does is to remove humans from the center of the universe. We are just one product of a very long historical process that has given rise to an enormous amount of organisms, and we are just one of them. So in one sense there is nothing special about us.”

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———-FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

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Solomon died 3000 years ago and Francis Schaeffer passed away on May 15, 1984  exactly 10 years ago.I firmly believe Solomon was correct when he said in Ecclesiastes 7:2 “It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and it is a good thing to think about it while there is time.”Suppose that you to learn that you only had just one year to live—the number of your days would be 365. What would you do with the precious few days that remained to you? With death stalking you, you would have little interest in trivial subjects and would instead be concerned with essentials. I know that is what I did when I was bed ridden in a hospital in Memphis at age 15. I was told that I may not live. My thoughts turned to spiritual things. Thank you for your time.Sincerely,Everette Hatcher III, P.O. Box 23426, Little Rock, AR 72221TIME MAGAZINE May 28, 1984:DIED, Francis Schaeffer, 72. Christian theologian and a leading scholar of evangelical Protestantism; of cancer; in Rochester, Minn. Schaeffer, a Philadelphia-born Presbyterian, and his wife in 1955 founded L’Abri (French for ‘the shelter’), a chalet in the Swiss Alps known among students and intellectuals for a reasoned rather than emotional approach to religious counseling. His 23 philosophical books include the bestseller How Should We Then Live? (1976).” (January 30, 1912-May 15, 1985)

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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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

__

(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman PhilipseCarolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

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Love Him or Hate Him, Stephen Jay Gould Made a Difference

I never met Stephen Jay Gould, though I did attend a lecture he gave two years ago. Still, that hour explained many of the opinions I’d heard of him: love, hate, joy, envy, and respect. Like a lot of people who make a difference, Gould was a study in contrasts. You also had to wonder whether he ran according to a different clock than the rest of us. The campy cliché 24/7 didn’t apply to Gould—he could not have fit so much in a 24-hour day and a 60-year life. Gould was first and forem

Jun 10, 2002
BARRY PALEVITZ

1I never met Stephen Jay Gould, though I did attend a lecture he gave two years ago. Still, that hour explained many of the opinions I’d heard of him: love, hate, joy, envy, and respect. Like a lot of people who make a difference, Gould was a study in contrasts. You also had to wonder whether he ran according to a different clock than the rest of us. The campy cliché 24/7 didn’t apply to Gould—he could not have fit so much in a 24-hour day and a 60-year life.

Gould was first and foremost a scientist. His immediate research area, the evolution of land snails, might seem quaint to some, but his impact transcended those bounds. Most scientists, and others as well, knew him as a bold thinker and synthesizer unafraid to ruffle feathers, particularly with his Punctuated Equilibrium hypothesis. Together with Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History, Gould tried to explain why species suddenly change in the fossil record. The jumps were real rather than illusory, they argued, and not the product of poor preservation of intermediate forms. Searching for such forms was pointless because they don’t exist. Instead, much of evolution is characterized by static periods in which organisms don’t change, interspersed with rapid speciation events.

Published in 1972, the hypothesis pitted Gould against gradualists adhering to traditional Darwinian explanations. It may seem more like a molehill than a mountain now, but at the time debate over the idea was pretty heated. “It was shocking in ’72,” says evolutionary ecologist Massimo Pigliucci of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “It sparked a lot of papers,” and that’s why “it was one of the most important papers of the 20th century,” he concludes.

Whether change happens gradually or in fits depends on what you define as fast in geological terms. We now know that species can dramatically adapt to environmental changes in just a few years. Male guppies rapidly resume bright coloration for sexual display once predation pressure disappears and standing out is advantageous. By virtue of molecular genetics and developmental biology, we also know that one or a few mutations in major regulatory genes generate major changes in body form. It works in plants as well as animals—just one inactivated gene changes a bilaterally symmetrical flower into a radial one.

In a way, Gould prefaced such advances. You also see Gould’s insight on evolution and development in his books, The Panda’s Thumb and Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Pigliucci considers the latter Gould’s “most important contribution. It was one of those books that changes a field.” With Elizabeth Vrba, Gould coined the term exaptation to explain how evolution reuses parts and processes to invent new ones.

Like a lot of people who shake things up, Gould had his detractors, including evolutionary adaptationists and gradualists. Still, while “there are good reasons to question some of his contributions, several of my colleagues went overboard,” admits Pigliucci.

Just last March, Gould summed up what he’d learned about evolution—and synthesized still more—in The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Despite flaws, Gould’s 1,433-page tome is “a magnificent summary of a quarter century of influential thinking and a major publishing event in evolutionary biology,” concluded Mark Ridley in a New York Times review.

Science Popularizer

Gould had another, very public side. Along with Carl Sagan, he was one of the 20th century’s leading spokespeople and popularizers of science. While Sagan often made The Johnny Carson Show his venue, Gould reached young people in cartoon form on The Simpsons. Over the course of 28 years, he authored 300 essays in Natural History, with assorted forays into Discover and elsewhere. Unlike Sagan, Gould made it into the National Academy of Sciences despite his public persona. “I was inspired by his popular writings,” says Pigliucci, who does his own share of communicating with the public about evolution. “How many scientists bother to do that stuff?”

Gould had many strengths as a writer, but what garnered so many fans was his impeccable prose and incredible mix of metaphor, baseball, art, and literature. In a forthcoming analysis of Gould’s 300 Natural History essays in the journal Social Studies of Science, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, documented 53 mentions of the Bible, 21 of Gilbert and Sullivan (a Gould favorite), 19 of Shakespeare, and eight of Alexander Pope. He also found 16 Latin phrases, nine in French, six in German, and one in Italian. Adds Shermer, “73% contain a significant historical element.” It’s no surprise that Gould was as much a favorite on the humanities side of American campuses as in science labs.

Gould’s writing was anthologized for freshmen English courses, notes Hugh Ruppersburg, professor of English and associate dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia in Athens. “His essays … were excellent examples of nonfiction prose.” Ruppersburg thinks Gould was better than science writers who aren’t professional scientists. “There was something about the way he expressed concepts that made it clear he learned them himself,” he says.

One of the people who anthologized Gould’s work is Penn State English professor John Selzer. “He was a very gifted individual, cosmopolitan in his allusions and metaphors—a lot of fun to read,” he says. Selzer picked Spandrels of San Marco, coauthored by Gould and Harvard colleague Richard Lewontin, as a prime example. Another reason Selzer thinks Gould was a hit in the humanities was his “strong argumentative edge and a real sense of voice” in taking sides on issues such as sociobiology.

Opinions are split, however, on how good a writer Gould really was, at least later in life. Pigliucci won’t argue about Gould’s early work, but thinks his writing style became “baroque.” There were so many metaphors and diversions, it was hard to follow where he was going. At one point in Gould’s Rocks of Ages, which elaborated on his nonoverlapping magisteria argument for distinguishing science and religion, I almost screamed, “No!” after reading what seemed like the hundredth use of the word exegesis.

From my point of view, Gould was at his best in explaining the history, philosophy, and methods of science to a public that, despite his best efforts, is still woefully ignorant of the subjects. “Half the book was history,” marvels Pigliucci of Ontogeny and Phylogeny. “Scientists have a stupid tendency to ignore history,” he says, but not Gould. Maybe his training in paleontology made history an obvious tool. Opines Shermer, “As a historian and philosopher of science, Gould was intensely interested in the interaction between individual scientists and their cultures.”

Creationism Wars

Perhaps nowhere save human cloning does science conflict with culture as does evolution with fundamentalist religion. Gould “was a public scientist,” says Barbara Forrest, a historian at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond who studies creationism. Forrest appreciated Gould’s willingness to stand up for evolution in public school science curricula. Unlike many of his evolutionist colleagues, Gould thought the battle worth fighting. He even testified in the famous McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education case. Federal judge William Overton in part used Gould’s testimony in 1982 to outlaw equal time for so-called scientific creationism in Arkansas schools. It wasn’t easy for Gould, whose words and ideas were often misrepresented by creationists. “He was prone to comments that can easily be extracted from text and taken to mean exactly the opposite of what he meant,” says Elizabeth Craig of Kansas Citizens for Science.

When creationism mutated into its latest incarnation, ‘intelligent design theory,’ about 10 years ago, Gould again pitched in, for example, with his book Rocks of Ages and a Time magazine commentary on the Kansas School Board decision to remove evolution from state science standards. Michigan State University philosopher Robert Pennock used two of Gould’s essays in a recent, mammoth point-counterpoint analysis of intelligent design. Says Forrest, “A person as important in science as he was thought it worthwhile to get involved. He lent his reputation to get the attention of the media. He did what I wish more scientists would do.”

Pugnacious, or Obnoxious?

Gould was a fascinating, complex character who had weaknesses as well as strengths, including a reputation for arrogance. Many scientists still resent the rough treatment Gould and Lewontin gave soft-spoken biologist E.O. Wilson, father of the sociobiology field, back in the 1970s. The word around Harvard Yard, at least among some students, was that Gould was arrogant. Still, his classes filled. In a touching letter to the New York Times on May 22, a student in Gould’s history of life class paid tribute, calling Gould’s teaching: “a tour de force that Harvard students may not see the likes of any time soon.”

My Two Cents

Will Rogers once said of an American president, “He puts his pants on one leg at a time,” meaning he’s only human. The question is, do we hold Gould’s personal failings so important that they distort the sum of his life in science and society? The answer is no. When all is said and done, Gould made a big difference. With the death of Carl Sagan in 1996, and now Stephen Jay Gould, science is much the poorer, given that so many of its practitioners shy away from making their work accessible to the public.

On the bright side, for the first time, more than 50% of Americans agree that humans evolved from simpler animals, according to a recent National Science Board survey. We still have great science popularizers, such as E.O. Wilson and Jared Diamond. And more have come out of the ivory closet, witness testimony and articles about biotechnology and cloning. Still, we’ll miss YOU, Steve.Barry A. Palevitz (palevitz@dogwood.botany.uga.edu) is a contributing editor.

1986: The internationally-acclaimed artist, Robert Rauschenberg, with paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould during the American Academy of Achievement’s 25th-anniversary Summit at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia; 1987: Awards Council member Dr. Stephen Jay Gould presents the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award to Dr. Jane Goodall at the Banquet of the Golden Plate gala ceremonies in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Stephen Jay Gould is the scholar I will look at today. In  the third video below in the 147th clip in this series are his words “If I were  a bacteria I would be quite satisfied that I was dominating the planet…I don’t know why consciousness should be seen as any state of higher being especially if you use the evolutionist primary criterion of success measured by duration” and I have responded directly to this quote in any earlier post.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Stephen Jay Gould (/ɡuːld/; September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologistevolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read authors of popular science of his generation.[1] Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1996, Gould was hired as the Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University, where he divided his time teaching there and at Harvard.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

(This is the reason I put the 3 minute song DUST IN THE WIND at the beginning of the audio cassette tape I sent to these atheists on May 15, 1994!!!)

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

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Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

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Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 2

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 FFF Sir Bertrand Russell and first-cause argument

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Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell as a child.

Image result for bertrand russell

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

Image result for harry kroto

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.

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On Russell’s ‘Why I Am Not A Christian’

Emanuel Rutten

I In 1927 Russell delivered a famous lecture to the National Secular Society in which he explains why he is not a Christian [1]. His lecture is divided in two parts. In the first part he explains why he does not believe in God, and in the second part he explains why he does not think that Christ was the best and wisest of man. In this paper I shall first evaluate the reasons Russell gives for refuting the claim that there is a God. After that I assess Russell’s reasons for rejecting the claim that Christ was the best and wisest of man.

II Regarding the first claim, the existence of God, Russell considers five arguments: the firstcause argument, the natural-law argument, the argument from design, the moral argument and the argument for the remedying of injustice.

Let us start with the first-cause argument. Russell states that the first-cause argument “does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have […]”. Now, this might be the case for Russell’s own time, during which logical positivism triumphed, but since the collapse of logical positivism in the second part of the 20th Century the dialectical situation has changed dramatically. Philosophy has witnessed a total rehabilitation of the concept of causality. As Koons points out: “[…] Russell announced the demise of the concept of causality […]. Subsequent developments in science and analytic philosophy have not supported Russell’s contention. Far from withering away, the notions of cause and effect have never held a more central position.

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The notion of causality is absolutely central to recent philosophical work in semantics, the philosophy of mind and intentionality, epistemology, and philosophy of science. […] Attempts to explain away causation or to replace it with some purely statistical regularity (whether or not supplemented by some kind of psychologistic decoration) have proved to be catastrophic failures” [2].

Secondly, Russell maintains that “[…] you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity”. Now, to say that the first cause argument “cannot have any validity” is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. For, it is surely intuitively reasonable to hold that the whole of reality is ultimately grounded in some absolute origin. Maintaining that there must be some ‘metaphysical ultimate’ from which all that exists eventually originates is definitely not just some irrational belief. Indeed, “The cosmos sinks into the abyss of nothingness, unless, beyond this infinite chain of contingencies, something supports it” (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A622/B550).

So, why does Russell think that the idea that there must be some first cause has no validity at all? He writes: “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so there cannot be any validity in that argument”. Now, this dilemma is false. The first horn of the dilemma is avoided by making a distinction, properly grounded in modern formal ontology, between contingently existing and necessarily existing objects. One might then say that all contingent objects have a cause, but from this it does not follow at all that all necessary objects must have a cause as well. Moreover, the Leibnizian version of the first cause argument clearly shows that the first cause of the universe, entailed by the premises of the argument, is a proper example of a necessarily existing object, not a continent one. Further, the second horn of the dilemma is avoided by providing a clear and adequate definition of the universe. By definition, the universe is the sum of all contingent objects, and therefore the universe must be contingent as well, and thus caused.

Russell however also says that “there is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause”. Well, it seems to me that the idea that the universe could have come

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into being entirely uncaused, without any reason whatsoever, from literally nothing at all, is wholly against our most basic intuitions. Surely, it is more than reasonable to hold that from nothing nothing comes: being cannot originate from non-being. So, to suddenly appeal to this option in order to avoid a cause of the universe seems desperate.

But then Russell points out: “There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all”. However, since the development and general acceptance of the Big Bang theory in the 20th Century it has become the proper scientific view that the universe began to exist some finite time ago, contra a beginningless universe. It would be quite unreasonable, not to say irrational, nowadays to simply ignore the Big Bang theory.

The second argument for the existence of God that Russell discusses is the so-called naturallaw argument. Following Russell, the argument seems to be that the origin of the fundamental laws of nature need a lawgiver, and that lawgiver would be God. Now, I do not think this is a good argument at all, since, on the Aristotelian view, the natural laws are properly understood as being grounded in the properties of the world’s fundamental objects, which brings us back again to the existence of those objects and properties on which we can apply a cogent contemporary first-cause argument. So, I shall not further discuss Russell’s rejection of the natural-law argument.

The third argument considered by Russell is the well-known argument from design. Now here Russell solely attacks the biological argument from design, which derives God from the irreducible or specified complexity of organic life forms. Now, I take it that Darwin’s evolution theory, which I entirely accept, clearly shows that this argument is wholly untenable. For, according to the Darwinian theory of evolution, complex life forms developed gradually over time through natural selection.

However, in the second part of the 20th century a cosmological design argument arose due to the totally unexpected discovery that our universe appears to be ‘fine-tuned’. The fine-tuning of our universe is the observation that the intelligent life permitting universe we inhabit is extremely unlikely from a statistical point of view. If the value of one of the cosmological constants as discovered by physics would have been only inappreciably different, then our

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universe would have evolved into a universe that does not permit intelligent life. Thus we live on a razors edge. It is so incomprehensibly improbable that our universe is intelligent-lifepermitting that it would be unreasonable to explain this state of affairs by a mere appeal to change. Hence, some other rational explanation for the fine-tuning is needed, and the explanation that the values of the cosmological constants are in some sense necessary is totally unsupported as well. Therefore, the phenomenon of the fine-tuning of the universe, provides, contrary to the phenomenon of complex biological life forms, adequate support for theism over naturalism. So, in this respect Russell’s comments on the design argument are simply out-of-date.

The moral argument for the existence of God, following Russell’s lecture, is that “there would be no right or wrong unless God existed”. In a sense this is indeed obvious, since, on naturalism, reality just consists of matter, energy, time and space. So, on the naturalistic view, there simply is no ontological candidate whatsoever to ground objective moral values. Therefore, if God does not exist, naturalism would be true, and morality would be just a matter of subjective, personal opinion. On naturalism, if somebody would say that torturing an innocent young child merely for fun is wrong, one could always rebut by simply saying: ‘Who says so? That’s just your own personal subjective opinion, and I happen to have quite another one’.

Now, Russell tries to refute the moral argument by an appeal to Euthyphro’s dilemma. Is something right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right? According to Russell both horns of this dilemma are problematic for theism. Since, either God could command things we take to be obviously evil, or God is not the ultimate sovereign, since good and evil would be external to God himself. But, again, this dilemma is false. As Koukl points out: “There are not two options, but three. The Christian rejects the first option, that morality is an arbitrary function of God’s power. And he rejects the second option, that God is responsible to a higher law. There is no law over God. The third option is that an objective standard exists (this avoids the first horn of the dilemma). However, the standard is not external to God, but internal (avoiding the second horn).

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Morality is grounded in the immutable character of God […]. Could God simply decree that torturing babies was moral? “No”, the Christian answers, “God would never do that”. It’s not a matter of command. It’s a matter of character. So the Christian avoids the dilemma entirely. Morality is not anterior to God – logically prior to Him – as Bertrand Russell suggests, but rooted in his nature” [3].

The fifth, and final argument, that Russell considers is the so-called argument for the remedying of injustice. The argument would be that the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world: “[I]f you are going to have justice in the universe as a whole you have to suppose a future life to redress the balance of life here on earth. So they say that there must be a God, and there must be Heaven and Hell, in order that in the long run there may be justice”. Now, Russell objects to this argument by holding that “this world is a fair sample, and if there is injustice here the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also”. This objection however entirely fails, since it begs the question against theism. Surely, on naturalism, it would be correct to say that, most likely, there is injustice in other natural worlds as well. But, that is not the point of the argument. For the argument is that, if you are going to have justice in reality as a whole, then there must be some realm outside our natural world to redress the balance of earthly life. Hence, to attack this argument, Russell would have to argue that its premise is untenable, which he does not do in his lecture.

Further, I personally think that, under naturalism, there is in fact no reason at all to think that, ultimately, justice for humanity will prevail. But, I take it that, under theism, this premise is quite tenable (See [4]).

III Let us now continue with the second part of Russell’s lecture, in which he attempts to show that one cannot grant superlative wisdom and superlative goodness of Christ.

Russell starts by saying: “I think that there are a good many points upon which I agree with

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Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians so. I do not know that I could go with Him all the way, but I could go with Him much further than most professing Christians can.”. Russell provides examples of teachings of Christ that he endorses, all from the Gospel of Matthew: “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” and “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.

Russell readily admits that these are all very good, even excellent, principles. Yet, he points out that many Christians do not live up to them. Now, I surely agree that these maxims are not much practised, neither by Christians nor non-Christians, but that does of course nothing at all to show that Christ himself is in any sense less great or good. I take this to be a quite selfevident point.

Subsequently Russell contends that “[h]istorically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him”. Now, this statement has become entirely outdated. During the second half of the 20th century biblical historians started to realize themselves that historical skepticism towards Jesus is in fact unwarranted. As a result many critical scholars began a new quest of the historical Jesus. And nowadays, the vast majority of biblical scholars hold that Jesus of Nazareth did in fact exist. Moreover, most contemporary critical historians agree on many aspects of Jesus’ biography, such as being regarded as eschatological prophet and autonomous ethical teacher, telling original parables, many about the coming Kingdom of God, being baptized by John the Baptist, and being crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. In fact, even the historicity of Jesus’ tomb found empty after the crucifixion is now argued for [5]. In any case, Jesus is nowadays undeniably considered as being a part of recorded history. If we today would doubt whether Jesus ever existed, we could as well start doubting the historicity of many other well-known historical figures.

In his lecture Russell further points out that Jesus cannot be that wise, since “he certainly thought that His second coming would occur […] before the death of all the people who were

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living at that time”. To substantiate this claim Russell cites two statements of Jesus from Matthew: “You will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” and “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”. Now, these statements were uttered by Jesus before the crucifixion, and thus, for all we know, Jesus speaks here about the upcoming appearances of Jesus to the disciples (and others) after the resurrection.

The last tangible argument of Russell1 against the superlative goodness of Chris is that “Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment”. Now, I agree that this argument has some force. However, in the beginning of his lecture Russell admits that the belief in eternal punishment is not essential to Christianity, for he states: “I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell”. I entirely agree with Russell on this point, and therefore I do not take this last argument as being a real problem for Christianity at all.

Nevertheless, if God exists, and if there is an afterlife, and if some monstrous evils are infinite, then it seems to me that it is not entirely inconceivable to think that wickedly performing such evils could result in being separated from God forever after death, or in not receiving eternal life. And, more importantly, if this would be the case, it would still do nothing to show that Jesus has pleasure in this, or that Jesus does not passionately desire every single human to be saved. In short, it does nothing to disprove Jesus’ goodness.

Literature 1. Why I Am Not A Christian, lecture to the National Secular Society (http://bit.ly/2Fho), B. Russell 2. A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, American Philosophical Quarterly (slightly different online version: http://bit.ly/jLuCKY), R. Koons 3. Euthyphro’s Dilemma, Stand to Reason (http://bit.ly/hVK5Ll), G. Koukl 1 Russell concludes his lecture with some further remarks, such as that religion is based primarily and mainly on fear, that people who have held to Christianity have been for the most part extremely wicked, that Christianity is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world, and so forth. I take these remarks not to be serious objections, and thus I shall not spend time to refute them.

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4. Does the existence of a good omnipotent God imply the existence of supernatural post mortem human states? (http://bit.ly/iYv4Sl), E. Rutten 5. Historical Jesus (http://bit.ly/5I7dtJ), Wikipedia

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Image result for bertrand russell

 

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Image result for bertrand russell

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

Image result for harry kroto

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.

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I got this excellent interview off the internet.

A Critical Response to Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian
By Warren Rachele
admin@worshipcraft.com

Bertrand Russell’s essay Why I Am Not a Christian is a popular touch-point for the community of Atheist writers and thinkers. It is a source of quotations as well as offering a comforting substantiation of their shared beliefs. Some portray the writing as definitive in nature while others comment happily on the enjoyment they find in rereading it from time to time. Lord Russell’s life and philosophy are extolled for the commitment to reason that they exhibit and there is little doubt that one is expected to read this volume [of the same name] of essays in this light; that this is as well-reasoned commentary on the deceitful and harmful nature of religious belief and activity that is almost beyond the reach of contrary argument.
Having not read Russell in any form since my undergraduate days, I endeavored to read Why I Am Not from a neutral perspective. As a Christian and a theologically lettered man, this was not an easy view to take since it was obviously quite contrary to my worldview. As I read I took copious notes so that the structure of the philosopher’s arguments could take shape and I would be able to determine if, from the evidence that he would present in favor of his positions, his conclusions were true or subject to challenge. If one were to summarize the main conclusion that Russell is arguing in favor of, it is this: people believe in religion and God strictly out of emotion rather than reason. As a further subtext, the pre-eminent emotion that Lord Russell makes accountable for this belief is fear. Perhaps as closing statement meant to encourage the reader to similarly proclaim themselves to be free thinkers prepared to stare down the reality of the world around us, Russell issues this challenge in the final paragraph,
‚We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world—its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God

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is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men.‛ (pg 23)
I. What is a Christian?
Russell begins his essay by stressing the importance of defining terms and by declaring what he means by a Christian. There are two standards which must be met in order for him to refer to a person as a follower of Christ. One, that person must have a belief in God and in immortality and on this point, he is quite adamant. I concur, Christianity without God and the notion of eternal life is something else altogether beyond even ecumenical charity and must be given some other label. Second, Russell states that a person must have some kind of belief about Jesus Christ (emphasis mine.) It is here that the careful reader begins to see that the unassailable arguments that they have been led to expect may be more couched and nuanced than originally thought. If one must have some thought about Christ, what is the spectrum of permissible thought? Can one accept some essential doctrinal point but not others? What is couched in this adjective?
Russell answers these questions with this requirement, ‚you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men.‛ (pg. 4) Immediately, the reader should pull up short and demand correction of this proposal for the minimum standard of membership. The divinity of Christ in all sects and doctrinal statements is non-negotiable. One cannot simply accept Jesus as just ‘the best and brightest’ minus his essential nature as God. As C.S. Lewis cleverly argued, this is not an option that has been left to you. We must conclude then that the logician has spoken his categorization to life and that he is not going to successfully argue against Christianity but rather, against his personal notion of Christianity. In other words, Russell is not basing his denial of Christianity on the God and Jesus Christ of the Christian church but rather, a Christ of his own making. He clarifies this with the following sentences,
‚Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have tell you two different things: first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness.‛ (pp 4-5)
I am left to wonder at this very early stage of the essay whether or not it is fruitful to continue. Russell is not basing the fundamental arguments that support his conclusion

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on fact but rather, on his incorrect assertions (assumptions?) about what makes one a Christian. If I consider this false ‘christian’ that he portrays a straw man, all that follows will simply knock down that creation rather than present a valid, reasoned argument with evidence that can be evaluated independently of the essay. I suppose that I must now be prepared to read further prepared to confront additional falsehoods and unwarranted liberties with the essentials of Christian belief.
The Existence of God Having created a false Christ on which to build his arguments, Russell addresses the validity of belief in his first requirement: that one must believe in the existence of God. Though he alludes to a large number of possible arguments for God’s existence, he narrows his discussion to five. He attributes these to the Catholic Church and her desire to utilize them as support for the proposition that the existence of God can be proven by reason alone. He begins by addressing the Argument from First Cause. Midway through the single paragraph he devotes to it however, he simply dismisses the concept as unworthy of consideration saying ‚you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity.‛ (pg. 6) Russell alludes to John Stuart Mills and a statement Mills made as formative of his thinking when he read ‘My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question ‘Who made God?’’. Russell further states,
‚There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without first cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed.‛ (pg. 7)
I imagine, given the date of this essay in 1927, that we should not be too harsh in our assessment of Russell’s ability to confirm this statement since the science that points to the creation of the world at a specific point in time was just becoming available to him (Einstein 1916, Hubble 1927). What it should cause us to evaluate however, is his confidence in his conclusions given the possibility that additional information may come to light at some future point which affect the plausibility of his arguments? Pascal might have something to say to this.
With the preponderance of evidence pointing to a universe with a distinct beginning any proper consideration must come to a position on the first cause of this beginning. The universe cannot have been self caused as that would require something to pre-exist

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outside of itself prior to its creative act. To simply state that ‚there is no reason why the world could not have come into being without first cause‛ without defending this assertion is an inadequate argument against the notion of the Prime Mover. As I consider the careless foundation upon which Russell begins to build the remainder of his arguments I’m hesitant to place any confidence in a construction this rickety.
The Atheist will point to this argument as an example of ad-hoc reasoning as the question of who created God creates an apparent dilemma for the first cause discussion. The nuance of the Law of Causality that is often overlooked by the atheistic contingent in proposing this ‘chicken and egg’ question is that the principle states that everything that comes to be needs a cause. God does not come to be nor was He created. He is and always was – an eternal being. Is this a ‘just so’ story that cannot be supported? In examining the requirements that scientists would demand of a Prime Mover, we find this brief schedule:
 The First Cause must be self-existent, eternal, and immaterial (because He/It creates time, space, and material and the First Cause must be outside of time, space, and matter.)  The First Cause must be powerful beyond comprehension to be able to create ex nihilo.  The First Cause must possess extraordinary intelligence in order to design a universe with such precision and complexity.  The First Cause must be personal in order to make the choice (impersonal forces such as the wind do not make choices) to create the universe out of nothing.
Such a First Cause precisely matches the characteristics that Christians attribute to God. Shall we follow Russell’s lead and simply dismiss this as coincidence?
The next two arguments that Russell wants to dispense with are the Natural Law argument and the Argument from Design. In addressing both of these, the philosopher takes a similar approach along the lines of this, things are the way they are because that’s the way they are. Well then, it’s settled isn’t it? I don’t think that Russell is intentionally so casually dismissive of these positions but that’s the tone that his words convey. I will credit the brevity of his approach to the fact that this essay is sourced from a lecture that Russell delivered to an audience (The National Secular Society) that

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was favorably predisposed to his positions and his assumption may have been that they were already familiar with arguments and quite possibly in agreement with them.
While I am willing to overlook the paucity of evidence in support of his positions, I am unwilling to so easily dismiss the false dilemma that he creates in order to put aside God’s omnipotence and omniscience and their role in the Argument from Design. Russell issues the belittling challenge to believers in Design by saying ‚it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years.‛ (pg 10) In an attempt to drive the stake further into the heart of the Design argument, Russell asks that we assumes the role of Creator and asks if you, given the same twin powers, would create a world that contains nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists. The answer that a person would give will depend on whom you ask. The free-will racist will certainly answer yes to the creation of the Klan while I would personally answer no. Why does he resort to such an outlandish argument when his own reason should have been sufficient to put the proposition of a Designer to rest? Russell’s failure to address the theological at all (a very common tactic as we shall see) is troubling. He fails to offer and dispute the idea that the original creation was in a state of perfection and then filled with creatures in possession of free will. That the created choose for ill instead of good is the risk that an omnipotent and omniscient God was willing to take in order for love to be present rather than simply basking in the worship of a planet full of automatons.
I shall not address the section on the Moral Arguments for Deity since Russell himself obviously thought them unworthy, describing the whole mess as ‚one stage further in what I shall call the intellectual descent that the Theists have made in their argumentations.‛ (pg. 11) To follow this, the speaker then amuses himself with the final of the five arguments that he attempts to prove false and that is the belief of the Theists (why has he dropped the Christian label?) that ‚the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world.‛ It may be the way in which he forms the sentence but the very presence of injustice seems to run contrary to what he states as a Christian belief. To Russell, heaven and hell are strictly functional. One is to serve as reward and the other as punishment so that there can be eschatological justice. Without God and his final destinations, there can be no justice. On the face of the argument and our own experience we can see that this is incorrect. Justice and injustice certainly cohabitate this

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plane of existence; wrongs are righted and penalties meted out while at the same time, injustices are seen to continue to exist. Again, the free will nature of God’s creatures is not in sight, only the failure of the heavenly Jailer to instantly address wrongs is.
Russell concludes this set of arguments with two additional reasons that he concludes people believe in God. First, they are taught from infancy to do so and second, people who believe in God have an innate desire for a ‘big brother’ God who will lurk about and watch over them. If I have followed the construction of the essay thus far, Russell has attempted to knock down a handful of the standard arguments for the existence of God and, rather than show how his dismissal of these arguments supports his overall conclusions, he then offers two non sequiturs instead. How this makes his case I am at a loss to explain. To critique the essay to this point is difficult as the philosopher has given nothing in the way evidence for his belief in the correctness of his positions. Shall I propose counter arguments and provide evidence in the face of his dismissive tenor?
At the midpoint of his essay, Russell seems to have done little but affirm the assertion that he makes about people subscribing to their religious worldviews out of emotion. This certainly seems to be the case with his faith in the Atheistic worldview. The few arguments that he addressed have simply been dismissed in the most cursory fashion because he feels that they are undeserving of support. Would the Christian be allowed similar liberty? To say that one believes in God and, when asked to give a reason, to simply say that any position to the contrary is silly and beneath address would be to open oneself up to ridicule and scorn. I am led to consider what fear drives the Atheist to such argumentative tactics. Is it that something inside of them continually rehearses thoughts of doubts contrary to their ‘settled’ positions?
Is Christ the Best and the Brightest?
After this insubstantial beginning, Russell turns his attention to Christ and his second standard of Christianity, Jesus’ divinity and His status as a wise man. We must make note that the author does not address the divinity of Jesus directly. His aim is to undermine any possible consideration of this issue by focusing the discussion on the quality of Christ’s character. If Russell can successfully argue that the character of Jesus in not up to the perfect goodness of God, the divinity question need not even be brought into the dialog. Logically this conclusion makes sense. The trouble we encounter in this essay is that Russell approaches the discussion in a fallacious and

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deceptive manner which causes us to question any trust we might develop in his positions.
Russell presents a quartet of bible verses in which he makes an interesting argument against Christians and therefore, Christianity. It goes like this; if Christians do not live up to each jot and title of Christ’s words then there must be some defect in the character of the Christ himself. (As an aside, Russell gleefully finds himself agreeing with Christ more than Christians do. To what end he makes this statement we can only guess. If forced to come to a conclusion, I would surmise that it is for differentiation purposes.) Let us examine each of the verses in turn to determine how they reflect on the Lord’s character. It is important to note that hermeneutical principles appear to be foreign to Russell as he plucks individual verses out of their context and then expects fealty to the literal reading of the sentence(s). Any Christian that did this would be admonished by the larger community of believers but it appears that there may be a different standard for Atheist use of the scriptures.
“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29) Russell asserts that not many Christians accept this verse as demonstrated by their behavior. His example of asking whether or not the Prime Minister would allow himself to be beaten in respect of Christ’s maxim demonstrates an inferior (or purposely deceptive) interpretation of the verse in its context. I defer to D.A. Carson for an explanation of the fallacy of this approach,
‚…we must agree that absolutizing any text, without due respect for the context and flow of the argument, as well as for other things Jesus says elsewhere, is bound to lead to distortion and misrepresentation of what Jesus means.‛ ( Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, pg 54)
Jesus is speaking in the larger passage of 5:38-42 of personal self-sacrifice. The Greek text describes a strike on the cheek commonly associate with an insult rather than grave bodily danger, something not conveyed in its English translation. Jesus is stating here that the Christian is to not retaliate for insults. He is not proposing that the Christian subject themself to injury without ever putting up an effort at self preservation. To conclude otherwise is a disingenuous utilization of Christ’s words. Russell also pulls another verse from this passage as evidence of Christian hypocrisy; “Give to the one

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who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) Jesus directs our charity to poor but this would be unreasonably generalized to include all people who demand something of us. Cross referencing this verse against the whole of scripture finds no further support for Russell’s use of the verse.
In the second example, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37), Russell again resorts to his literalist tendency. By his logic, a Christian who is a Judge by profession is guilty of hypocrisy. Again, we must turn back to the scriptures and the context to determine if Jesus indeed voices a prohibition against Christians sitting on the bench. Jesus is addressing the practice of being critical of others (not jurisprudence) while you yourself are guilty of the same or worse. Had Russell bothered to consider the next verse regarding the speck in the eye of another contrasting with the plank in your own he might have been clearer in his interpretation. I wonder if he would have also been favorably disposed to ramming a stick into his eye before looking to the faults of another.
Finally, Russell restrains his criticism only to note that there is little obedience to Christ’s maxim “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Luke 18:22) This verse comes from a longer conversation that Jesus is having at the behest of a man who has come to be known as the Rich Young Ruler. Proper reading would first lead us to the conclusion that Jesus is not making a general application of principle, contra Russell’s use of the verse. More importantly, Jesus is not commending an asceticism as the philosopher would like to propose (in order to criticize the Christ). Jesus perceives that in the case of the Ruler, his wealth would be an impediment to deeper relationship with God. In our modern world, Jesus might point that our playing of video games, possession of collector cars, or a devotion to reading might threaten to overwhelm the primacy of our relationship with God. He would recommend to us that we dispense with these activities or possessions as well.
Has Russell succeeded in commenting on the character of Christ? His interpretation of the evidence of Christian lives not being aligned to his interpretation of a selection of biblical verses certainly fails to comment on the wisdom or character of Christ. He has engaged in the worst sort of biblical abridgement, conveniently ignoring both general

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context and the immediate verses which serve to clarify the appropriate meaning of the verse in question. It is difficult to state Russell’s reason for doing so and to declare to know his heart would be unfair. I will say that, in no way has Russell impugned the character of Christ through the evidence he has utilized.
Having stated how much he likes the maxims previously discussed, Russell then proposes to give evidence of the deficient teaching of Jesus. He prefaces the list with a quick, derisive statement of doubt as to whether or not Jesus ever existed but given the evidence in support of His existence, I will not address that proposition here. The core charge against the wisdom of Jesus centers for Russell around the statements that Jesus made regarding the imminence of His return and the reality that it did not occur. Christians are mindful that Jesus said that no one knows the hour of future events (Matthew 24:32), including Jesus himself. Russell then demands an accuracy of Jesus which He did not demand of himself. He offers a selection of verses in which Jesus says that various events will not transpire prior to his return (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 6:34; Luke 9:27). Again, context provides us with the clear meaning of Jesus’ words and we discover, unsurprisingly that Russell again demands a literalist interpretation that favors his disdain of Christ’s wisdom. For example, in Matthew 10:23, Jesus says ‚When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.‛ Does Jesus propose a specific deadline for His return? Certainly not in this verse as it refers to the incomplete nature of the Jewish mission, understandable in Matthew who tends to focus on the obstinacy of Israel. Perhaps Russell would have been better off to reserve his judgment of Christ’s wisdom (based on his flawed reading) in light of his earlier appreciation for Jesus’ maxims in the Sermon on the Mount.
In his final attempt to diminish the person and character of Christ, Russell turns to presenting his argument in support of a defect in the moral character of Jesus. He roots this evaluation solely in Christ’s belief in Hell. Why this was not an issue with God (the Father) earlier in the essay is not mentioned. Russell makes this interesting statement,
‚I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.‛ (pg. 17)
This belief, combined with a supposedly ‚vindictive fury against these people who would not listen to His preaching‛ combine for Russell to bring Christ’s morality into

Page 10

question. As evidence of this assertion, Russell points to Jesus saying ‚You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?‛ (Matthew 23:33) This verse is yet another example of a single verse being pulled from its larger context because it has the right combination of words to make the philosopher’s point. In the whole of chapter 23, Jesus is condemning the leaders of Israel because their intransigence has led their people astray. This is not an example of Jesus being personally insulted. The leaders of Israel had been given the Law and the Prophets and in the mind of Jesus, they had no excuse for their continued disobedience other than their own stubborn hearts. Condemnation is a consequence of decision, not a capricious punishment by Jesus.
The author rehearses a further litany of disconnected instances which support Jesus’ lack of morality: putting the demons into the swine, cursing the fig tree, encouraging the amputation of the hand that steals and leads you into sin. Properly handled, none of these verses even comes within a hair of evidencing the immorality of Christ. Russell would like the reader to accept these vignettes at face value but what he ends up doing is putting his own lack of ethics on display. To have the ability to read and research the theology and biblical context of the verses that he abuses for his own ends and to not do it appears to make one purposely ignorant. To further use this mishandling of scripture to mislead others into believing a false worldview is an example of the type of leadership that led Jesus to issue such vehement epithets. Russell failed to see the irony.
Conclusion Bertrand Russell is described as a fine logician and philosopher. His essay, which became the title of a collection of related pieces, Why I Am Not a Christian makes his case based on two premises:
P1 The Existence of God is Dispute
P2 Christ is not the wisest and best man
C Christianity is false and therefore I am not a Christian
Unfortunately, this essay provides supporting evidence for neither of these premises, and because of this the conclusion proposed cannot be evaluated as true. Given the minimal research that would be necessary to properly place the bible verses in their proper context and to address the supporting arguments against God’s existence, one

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must wonder why a more honest treatment was not given. I understand why the Atheists are so enamored with the essay. It is quotable and the gravitas of the senior philosopher lends it an air of unassailability. On the other hand, the unethical approach that omits rather than substantiates leads me to question the intention of the author. I suppose I will be able to make a better judgment after digging further into the other essays contained in this volume. More damaging than my lack of confidence is that he has established a baseline which the current Atheist writers have elected to follow in the breezy style with which they toss arguments of eternal importance around.

END OF REVIEW

________________________

Francis Schaeffer below:

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:

In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. 

Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. 

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

_

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

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. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Related posts:

 

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 CCC Sir Bertrand Russell “Mankind is in mortal peril, and fear now, as in the past, is inclining men to seek refuge in God.”

Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry Kroto__

Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/APImage result for harry kroto nobel prize __Image result for harry krotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,_In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

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)

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true._

Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian
-A Response
Michael Stone
4/5/2003

C.S. Lewis, in his work, A Grief Observed, writes, “Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I
think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The
notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.”1
When facing the question of whether or not there is a God, and if so, what does that mean for mankind,
can the answer really be that simple? For quandaries such as this, and in the face of skepticism,
“waiting for heaven” might not suffice for a solution. Perhaps a number of of the problems that some
people have in relation to the existence of God truly do lie within their own notions of how this world
was formed, or how life and creation are sustained, but for many Lewis’ answer requires far too much
faith, and far too little reality.
For there to be a definitive answer, there is a logical requirement that there be a pre-existing
problem. As for noted author and philosopher Bertrand Russell, the problem seems to be easily defined
with one word: religion. Seemingly never at a loss for words or desire to defend his positions, Russell
has left us with a wealth of essays and information, including a collection of his essays, entitled, Why I
Am Not a Christian, written to correct what he thinks is the misguided seeking of religious men. Quite
simply he surmises that there is no need to believe that any religion is true, and most certainly “heaven”
will not solve our problems. On the contrary, he seems to think that this faith in heaven only causes
more problems.

Before going any further, I want to make it clear that I am undeniably and unashamedly a
follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord. With that being said, though, as hard as I tried to categorize Bertrand Russell as a fool and a representative of the absurd, I just could not do it. I certainly would not stand
and affirm the truth of his claims in their entirety; nonetheless he makes some interesting points. With
this in mind, I would not classify him as a “friend of the faith”, but rather, as a useful critic to aid in the
examination, strengthening, and sustaining of our Christian faith.

In an effort to better illustrate his apologies of atheism, I would like to take a closer examination
of a two part editorial written by Russell and published in the Stockholm newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, in
1954, entitled, “Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?” Never one for optimism, he begins, “Mankind is in
mortal peril, and fear now, as in the past, is inclining men to seek refuge in God.”2
Immediately, one
can see the background logic that underlies Russell’s thinking. In his opinion, in times both past and
present, men seek God out of fear alone. This assertion seems to dismiss the testimonies of those men
and women, like C.S. Lewis, who claim to have been converted by the joy found in God. If fear is the
only road to God, how can one account for those who claim, not merely to serve or even worship God,
but to actually be enraptured with love and adoration, as illustrated in the Christian metaphor of “the
bride of Christ”. This Biblical thought of Christ as a lover of his bride surely cannot be born of fear.
Rather, it seems to be indicative of love, which stands in opposition to fear. This is not to say that
Russell’s point should be dismissed, though. Can we as Christians deny our tendency to prey on the
fears of those who are not of the faith? I could not possibly count the number of times that I have heard
youth pastors use phrases such as, “What if your bus crashes on the way home from camp?”, or “If at
this moment you are having doubts you might not really be saved”, or describe in vivid detail the pains
and horrors of hell, all in an effort to preempt the invitation at the end of a worship service. In many
Christian-circles we generally dismiss such tactics as appropriate means employed in an effort to “save
some”3
, but indeed we do use fear in much of our evangelism. And why not? Even Russell admits its effectiveness, but does that translate to the goodness of that approach? We will return to this question in
a moment.
The main argument that Russell sets out to combat is the popular notion of the day (and perhaps
equally as popular among evangelicals today), “that if the world returned to Christianity, our worldwide
problems would be solved.” He wrote further, “I believe this to be a complete delusion born of terror.
And I think this to be a dangerous delusion because it misleads men whose thinking might otherwise be
fruitful and thus stands in the way of a valid solution.”4
Though these thoughts were penned in a
different era in history, and arguably they were written of a different world, still they are no less
important in our world today. We live in a time where wars are inevitable and always around the corner.
In the face of terrorism worldwide and weapons, the likes of which no one in history has ever seen,
people are crying out for an answer. On this point, I must agree with Russell. For example, on
November 26, 2001, Barna Research Group released some figures on Americans’ religious feelings after
September 11th. “Not surprisingly, there was a significant upturn in people’s concern about the future. In August of that year, 73% of adults said they were concerned about the future; by November, that figure
had increased to 82%.”5
According to Barna, immediately following the attacks, this concern for the
future manifested itself in increased church attendance and exploration of different areas of faith and
religion. The lasting effects of this increased religious interest is still uncertain, but the point seems
justified, that fear causes humans to seek God. But I cannot as easily concede that such seeking is not a
valid solution. I do not think that we can dismiss the benefits of seeking God on account of questionable
reasons for such searching. Let us, therefore, look further into what Russell has to say, examine his
arguments, and find if we can logically deduce that hope justifiably can be found in God, or if religion is
merely an empty answer to an unanswerable question.

What one might call his experiment is quite simple. He seeks to answer the question of whether
or not societies can practice “a sufficient modicum of morality if they are not helped by dogmatic
religion.”6
He begins with the two divisions of moral rules: that there are those, which have no basis
except in a religious creed; and those, which have an obvious social utility.7
Let us begin with religiousmorality.
He writes “that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who
reject religious dogmas than those who accept them…especially to the virtue of truthfulness or
intellectual integrity.”8
A scathing indictment to be sure, but is it accurate? In many ways Christians are
under a microscope. For example, instances of pedophilia are always detestable in our society, but how
much louder a public and media outcry when it involves a Catholic priest or a Baptist pastor. Why not?
As professing Christians we make claims of morality, so perhaps it is simply more noticeable when we
act contrary to our claims than it is when a person outside of a faith in God acts immorally. As for
intellectual integrity, Russell defines it as “the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the
evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive.”9
Isn’t it possible that in a
zealous attempt to claim all things under the Lordship of Christ that many of us have overstepped the bounds of our limited knowledge? As an example, we can use the many hundreds of Christians
throughout history who have made claims of knowing the date of Christ’s Second Coming, only to be
thus far disproved. In reality, scripture gives signs of His coming, but there are no dates or specific
times. Any attempt to pinpoint a time with any accuracy is only guesswork. Why have seemingly so
few been willing to swallow their pride in the face of uncertainty and concede that they do not know the
answer to the question, and withheld final judgment on the issue until further evidence might be found?

The remainder of his arguments center on the latter of his division of morality, what we will call
“societal-morality”. This type of morality exists out of a mutual desire on the part of citizens within a
culture to live prosperous lives. This can be undermined, however, by a vice like theft. Obviously, a
society where every person steals is disruptive for everyone. The ideal environment would be a
community in which everyone was honest except one’s self. This inherent egocentrism, if left
unhindered, would lead to chaos. Hence, the solution is found in social institutions that keep humans in
check. These institutions are necessary “if the interest of the individual is to be reconciled with that of
the community.”10 In Russell’s view, these institutions generated societal-morality, and this is where
organized religion has historically begun. He continues, “If people can be persuaded that there is a God
who will punish theft, even when the police fail, it would seem likely that this belief would promote
honesty.” He adds further, “Given a population that already believes in God, it will readily believe that
God has prohibited theft.”11 Unashamedly, Russell denigrates the role of religion as a mere carbon copy
of preexisting ideals placed under the heading of all-knowing God. Obviously earthly judges cannot
catch and punish every immoral act, but an omniscient God can see and punish all wrongful acts, if not
now, then surely in the eternal realm. This assumed-Deity forces those who wish to serve their own
purposes that are contrary to the good of the society into submission to an ultimate authority, which in
the end amounts only to their own fears.

Russell does not completely discount the validity or effectiveness of this strategy in the past,
because it undoubtedly led to conduct that was beneficial to the society at large. In the long run, though,
he believes the effects of such thinking are detrimental. “Now”, he says, “such good as may be done by
imputing theological origin to morals is inextricably bound up with such grave evils that the good becomes insignificant in comparison.”12 You see, in his opinion, God’s hold upon people’s moral lives
has been loosened. No longer are people concerned primarily with heavenly retribution, they are far
more afraid of earthly punishment, as if “Hell is neither so certain nor so hot as it used to be.”13 Perhaps
this stems from the rise of governments and legal systems, which gives the appearance of retribution for
wrongs, and thereby leaving no need for a Heavenly judge. Perhaps it is equally the fault of Christians,
who have so abused the doctrine of salvation-by-grace that God has been reduced to a powerless,
kindly-old-grandfather, incapable of wrath or vengeance, and always waiting for his children to come
back to him. This emptying of God’s supremacy has seemingly turned the Almighty from being the
gracious father of the prodigal son who rejoices at his child’s returning to the family, and more into an
old man gravelling at the feet of his wayward son, begging him to grace the family with his presence.
For whatever reason, I would have to agree that the cross is continually being emptied of its power,
while through advancements of all kinds, this present world’s power is being strengthened with every
passing year.

This leads to a common defense employed by many Christians when faced with the prospect of
defending their faith. One might conclude that surely Christianity does no harm, regardless of any lack
of good that it produces. Russell says that the problem is, “that as soon as men incline to doubt received
theology it comes to be supported by odious and harmful means.”14 What he means by this is,
historically, Christians will not let “sleeping dogs lie”. Christianity, by its evangelical nature will adopt
numerous methods in order to persuade those who do not believe. Consequently, “the young must be
preserved from hearing the arguments…which the authorities dislike.”15 This censorship of opposing
ideas leads to generations of Christians reared inside a proverbial bubble, unable to intelligently respond to arguments made against their faith. Russell concedes that religion when believed on the basis of its
truthfulness is understandably defended, and even adds that such defense is respectable, but he “can only
feel profound moral reprobation for those who say that religion ought to be believed because it is useful,
and that to ask whether it is true is a waste of time.”16 He is here attacking those Christians who
evangelize only on the basis of Christianity’s benefits towards humanity and not on its truth-merits.
It is with great sadness that I am forced by the bounds of logic to agree with Russell. This forces
me, as a Christian man seeking to further both my intellectual and spiritual development, to face the fact
that in many ways our Christian culture conditions followers of Christ to “just believe” when in the face
of doubt or controversy. This has led far too many people into a neglect of actual truth, and into a blind
obedience to a faith that they have no training in or any interest in pursuing further. It seems that it is far
easier to follow a faith without questioning it than to diligently seek after truth.

The culmination of Russell’s first article is the comparing of Christianity with Communism. I
know, in a Christian society, where historically church attendance has been the norm, and especially at
Dallas Baptist University, where Christianity is heralded to be the greatest of all goods, such a claim is
absurd, but I would submit that his argument has some merit. As he puts it, Christian apologists would
like to “regard Communism as something very different from Christianity…(but) The evils of
Communism are the same as those that existed in Christianity during the Ages of Faith.”17 How so, one
might ask? Through cruelties, damage to intellectual and moral life, and the falsifying of history,
Christians have historically, in Russell’s view, engaged in activities that are no less evil than the grave
evils of Communism that Christians have touted so boldly. “The Communist, like the Christian,
believes that his doctrine is essential to salvation, and it is this belief which makes salvation possible for him.”18 Since they are both central to salvation and one’s very existence, they cannot cohabitate.
Scientists, according to Russell, are nothing like this. He seems to imply a background logic that is
superior to that of the Christian and Communist alike. This scientific-logic suggests humility and a
general concession that scientists’ assertions are only theories, and that two scientists can agree to
disagree until the appearance of further proof. Once more proof is available, those in scientific circles
are inclined to back down and give way to the newly proven truth. Not so among Christendom, though.
“When two theologians differ, since there are no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing but
mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.”19 In one reductionist-swoop, Russell absolutely
dismisses Theology in favor of the more exact disciplines that constitute real scientific endeavors.

Russell, like many others before and after him, implies that there is nothing truthful or useful in
Theology, and it should be viewed as subjective fancy, not suitable for the wise or learned. I will be the
first to admit that many a Christian has earned us this reputation, with the over-personalization of God.
Simply by our incessant preempting of our every whim with, “God told me…”, or by insisting that
ancient texts of scripture spoke new meaning, unseen by anyone except oneself, and therefore must be
straight from the lips of God. These ideas, among others, have justifiably tarnished the Christian’s claim
of absolute truth and of Theology as a valid science. In his book The Idea of a University, John Henry
Newman addresses skeptics of the validity of Theology in this way, “How can we investigate any part of
any order of Knowledge, and stop short of that which enters into every order? All true principles run
over with it, all phenomena converge to it; it is truly the First and Last.”20 What we are left with is two
opposing arguments, but both sides jump to the conclusion that the burden of proof lies within the other.
Atheist Kai Nielsen admits, “To show that an argument is invalid or unsound is not to show that the
conclusion of the argument is false…All the proofs of God’s existence may fail, but it still may be the

case that God exists.”21 Paul Copan, a Christian, explains further, “Absence of evidence is not at all the
same as evidence of absence, which some atheists fail to see.”22 Neither side, in the absence of
verifiable proof, therefore, can dismiss the other.
In the second part of his article, Russell turns his attention to University of Cambridge’s Modern
History Professor, Herbert Butterfield. His destroying of Butterfield’s arguments is harsh and thorough,
but he ends this section with a summary of Butterfield’s remarks,
It would be a good thing if people loved their neighbors, but they do not show much inclination
to do so; Christ said they ought to, and if they believe that Christ was God, they are more likely
to pay attention to his teaching on this point than if he were not; therefore, men who wish people
to love their neighbors will try to persuade them that Christ was God.23
Russell’s disgust with Butterfield is that he is a vocal example of the false-dogma that people employ
only to add weight to their arguments, all in an effort to cause a desired effect within society. Theology,
in other words, is nothing more than the “mere embodiment of superstitious taboos”24 We are once again
at a place where we must examine the “selling points” of our faith. Are we pitching a God whose only
goal is to cause morality and good behavior among His followers, or are those outward manifestations of
morality merely byproducts of a transformed life, resulting from the hope, joy, and love found in our
Creator.

So what indeed does the world need? In Russell’s opinion, “What the world needs is
reasonableness, tolerance, and a realization of the interdependence of the parts of the human
family…and not to return to obscurantist myths.”25 What Russell fails to note, and perhaps to his eternal
20 John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University, 29 21 4
Kai Nielsen. Reason and Practice (1971), 143-44. 22 Paul Copan. “The Presumptuousness of Atheism” (2003) 23 Russell, 201 24 Russell, 201 25 Russell, 204

detriment, is that the teachings of Christianity as found in the Bible, a book he dismisses as copied
works of un-credited original thinkers, embody these very same principles. What can be more
reasonable than the wise teachings found in Proverbs, which herald patience, self-control,
morality…etc? As for tolerance, during his ministry on Earth Jesus discriminated against no one.
Whether through His kind treatment of the woman at the well, His healing of the sick and disabled, or
His prayers of forgiveness for those who were in the act of killing Him, Christ has left us such a clear
picture of tolerance for all people. As for the interdependence of the human family, there is no shortage
of passages and examples of the value of the family within the kingdom of God. Maybe no greater
example is given than that of the church. God instituted his church to rely on one another, and to share
in the glory of Christ and of life together.
In conclusion, I find what Russell has to say interesting and thought provoking, and have used
his writings as a tool to sharpen my own faith in God. At the same time, I feel remorse for his soul,
because it seems to me that in the absence of true Biblical knowledge or a willing heart to seek truth in
God, he settled for the oft believed “obscurantist myths” of atheism. I pray that we will step away from
Russell’s essay, not converted to faithlessness, as he might have desired, but convicted by our own
actions that if unchanged might help to produce other such skeptics.

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:Image result for francis schaefferFrancis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

_Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

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. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of 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.

____ Related posts:

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 YY Lady Katherine Tait discusses her father Sir Bertrand Russell

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell as a child.

Image result for bertrand russell

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

Image result for harry kroto

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

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)

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.

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Image result for bertrand russell

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

“My Father, Bertrand Russell”

Lady Katherine Tait was the only daughter of late Bertrand Russell. She wrote a biography about her dad. Here are a few of her personal observations:

“He never gave his whole heart to anyone, though he tried. ‘My most profound feelings have remained always solitary and have found in human things no companionship,’ he wrote. ‘The sea, the stars, the night wind in waste places, mean more to me than even the human beings I love best, and I am conscious that human affection is to me at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God’,” My Father, Bertrand Russell (HBJ 1975), 46-47.

“My father’s scientific optimism was strong and he hoped tha we would share it, together with his dispassionate ability to see both sides of a question. But these things are not easy to combine; fair-mindedness puzzled our wills and muddled our hopes, and left us unable to strike out boldly against any enemy, public or private. For it was always possible the enemy was right. My father dealt with this problem by a sort of intellectual conjuring trick: when he wanted to be indignant over evil, he temporarily put away objectivity in some other compartment of his mind. We never managed to learn the trick, and I think he was a little disappointed by our hesitations, not realizing that he had taught them to us himself,” ibid. 92.

“In practice, at Beacon Hill, ‘making up our own minds’ usually meant agreeing with my father, because he knew so much more and could argue so much better; also because we heard ‘the other side’ only from people who disagreed with it. There was never a cogent presentation of the Christian faith, for instance, from someone who really believed in it,” ibid. 94.

“My parents’ marriage was founded on these principles…They believed it would be easy to live without jealousy, but it turned out that the new morality was no easier and no more natural than the ideal of rigorous lifelong monogamy it was intended to replace. Calling jealousy deplorable had not freed them from it…It took my father a long time to acknowledge that he was expecting too much of human nature. ‘Anybody else could have told me this in advance,’ he wrote later, ‘but I was blinded by theory’,” ibid. 102-103.

“We had imagined our parents to be superior in every way to the conventional: our parents would never quarrel sordidly over conjugal rights or the way to bring up children; they were far too generous and intelligent. Yet there they were, not only doing these things, but even trying to involve us in their disagreements. It was sickening. The only solution was inward withdrawal, my father’s old tactic. It was at that time that I came to regard progress, like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, as a myth of childhood, and I have never since believed in any utopian project of any kind,’ ibid. 125.

“Though I would no more prefer the extinction of humanity to the victory of world communism than my father would have, I have never regarded the mere existence of humanity as good in itself, and I can contemplate without panic a world devoid of human beings. (Unwittingly, my father was responsible for this callous point of view, having taught us that mankind was no more than an accident of evolution.)” ibid. 178.

“In Grandmother Russell’s religion, the only form of Christianity my father knew well, the life of this world was no more than a gloomy testing ground for future bliss. All hope, all joy were centered on the life after death and were to be achieved only be unceasing warfare against evil in oneself and others. My father threw this morbid belief out the window, but he was never able to obliterate the emotional pattern with which it had stamped him. All the yearnings of his powerful nature were directed to the future, to a golden age to come, if not in heaven, then on earth,” ibid. 183.

“In his many anti-Christian writings, my father attacked over and over again the cowardice of religious people who could not face life without the comfort of their irrational beliefs. He recommended instead ‘the stark joy’ to be found in ‘the unflinching perception of our true place in the world,’ the same proud passion I had offered my Harvard friend in our discussion in the library. Christians were mocked for imagining that man is important in the vast scheme of the universe, even the high point of all creation—and yet my father thought man and his preservation the most important thing in the world, and he lived in hopes of a better life to come. He was by temperament a profoundly religious man, a sort of passionate moralist who would have been a saint in a more believing age,” ibid. 184.

“I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put it in. He wrote of it in letters during the First World War, and once h said that human affection was to him ‘at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God.’ After the war, finding his life more satisfying, he stopped talking that way; nostalgia for religion was quite absent from our home. Nevertheless, I picked up the yearning from him, together with his ghostlike feeling of not belonging, of having no home in this world,” ibid. 184-185.

“The religion my parents had grown up with was a dry morality without grace, a series of impossible demands that left them defeated and depressed. They escaped from it joyfully into a free life that affirmed their own goodness and expected their children’s. And yet they passed on to us the same impossible demands from which they had suffered—no, not exactly the same, for they allowed us to masturbate and talk about sex—but they still expected perfect honesty and kindness and all the rest, without showing us how it was to be done. Consequently, we in our turn were loaded down with inescapable and, to us, inexplicable guilt. The doctrine of original sin gave to me, when I came to understand it, the same sense of intoxicating liberation my father had received from sexual emancipation. It was normal for me to be bad, and I need not feel ashamed,” ibid. 187-188.

“For me, the belief in forgiveness and grace was like sunshine after long days of rain. No matter what I did, not matter how low I fell, God would be there to forgive, to pick me up and set me on my feet again. Though I could not earn his love, neither could I lose it,” ibid. 188.

“He seized on the follies, which are many, and labeled them official religion, while claiming that Christians have never taken seriously the good parts of Christ’s teaching. But he never dealt with it seriously either. When he wanted to attack religion, he sought out its most egregious errors and held them up to ridicule, while avoiding serious discussion of the basis message I found so liberating…I found no message in his books but failure and despair (for me)…the world was not what he hoped it might be, and neither was I, nor could I believe that men would ever become the intelligent paragons of his imagination,” ibid. 188.

“As I went deeper and deeper into religion, however, I found it ever more satisfying. I wished I could convince my father that it added to all I had learned from him and took very little away. I didn’t find it a denial of life, a brier patch of restrictions, but a joyful affirmation. ‘I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly,’ said Jesus. All that I lost was my anxiety—and the option, perhaps, of sleeping with many men, which I had no desire to exercise. I was already so bound by the exacting moral code my father had taught me that I saw no new restrictions in Christianity, merely the possibility of living with those I already had,” ibid. 189.

“I would have liked to convince my father that I had found what he had been looking for, the ineffable something he had longed for all his life. I would have liked to persuade him that the search for God does not have to be vain. But it was hopeless. He had known too many blind Christians, bleak moralists who sucked the joy from life and persecuted their opponents; he would never have been able to see the truth they were hiding,” ibid. 189.

“Of course there was a failure of communication. Even from that blissful holiday I came away feeling dissatisfied, though mostly with myself. I wanted to tell him about God, to share with him the happy certainty I had discovered…But we sat at tea around the fire, the four of us, making conversation about the state of the world, and I could never break through to real talk. Too shy, too selfish, too subservient, too proud, always a follower of the tone set by others, I sat and allowed myself to be cut off from him by the small talk I had never mastered. It was only as we said good-bye that emotion broke through for a moment and I hugged him with demonstrative affection. But he was old and fragile, almost ninety; he needed to be held in tender hands, like old porcelain, and treasured for what he was. Too late for storms of emotion, too late to stand up and justify myself against him, defending my values by attacking his. Adolescent rebellion is absurd in middle age, if not cruel, and adolescent emotion is not much better. There seemed no solution but to look at each other with love as we drifted apart on our separate rafts of belief,” ibid. 196.

“I drove on to school and went on with life in a world without my father. I had told myself often: he is so old, so deaf, so cut off from me, it’s as though he were dead already; it won’t be too bad when it happens. But it was too bad, and it left me with a numb ache for a long time: now I can never tell him this, never ask him that, never straighten out old confusions,” ibid. 201-202.

Related posts:

 

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 XX Bertrand Russell: Playboy Interview March 1963 on the possibility of nuclear war

 

Sir Bertrand Russell

Image result for bertrand russell
644 × 362Images may be subject to copyright

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

__

 

Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/AP

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

 

__

Image result for harry kroto

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

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

_

 

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true._

 

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Francis Schaeffer noted that Bertrand Russell was obsessed with the possibility that nuclear war may destroy the human race and for Russell that is the only value left that was worth anything. You can see from this extensive interview further below from 1965 that subject keeps coming up.

Schaeffer noted:

In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. 

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05-09-2009, 08:02 AM

Bertrand Russell: Playboy Interview

March 1963

If the long and stormy life of Bertrand Arthur William Russell can be said to possess any unifying thread, it is an enduring attitude of passionate skepticism, a lifelong refusal to accept any truth as immutable, any law as infallible or any faith as sacred. During the nine decades of his dedication to dissent, the erudite Earl Russell, a member of the House of Lords, has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in recognition of his pioneering research in mathematical philosophy and symbolic logic and honored with Britain’s distinguished Order of Merit for service to his country. But he has also been reviled as an enemy of religion and the flag; jailed for his ring-leadership of passively nonviolent demonstrations against nuclear armament; and variously extolled and execrated for his contentious convictions on free love, women’s suffrage, sex education, pacifism and preventive war.

As the London Times wrote last May on the occasion of Lord Russell’s 90th birthday, “For everyone who grasps even the outline of his contribution to mathematical logic, 10,000 wear the little button that he wears.” The button is the badge of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a militantly antimilitary movement of which he is the combative champion. As spiritual leader of the famed Committee of 100, a ban-the-bomb group that commands widespread popular support in Britain, he has also earned international eminence—and a brief prison term for civil disobedience—as the most articulate agitator for the controversial cause of unilateral disarmament. In October 1957, he published an open appeal to the great powers for a cessation of nuclear testing which won worldwide headlines when both Nikita Khrushchev and John Foster Dulles responded with public reassurance. Russell unexpectedly became an active intermediary between East and West at a critical moment during the recent Cuban crisis when Premier Khrushchev, in a personal reply to a cabled appeal from Russell, gave the first public indication of his intention to avoid rash action in responding to the American arms blockade.

After a conversation with Russell four decades before this momentous intervention, T.S. Eliot described how “his dry and passionate talk devoured the afternoon.” And so it did early this winter in a three-hour interview with Playboy at his secluded home in the mountains of North Wales. The venerable philosopher discussed his fears and hopes for the world with the luminous lucidity that inspired one reporter to write, “He is all flame and no ash. He has a brain that burns when you come near it.” Puffing determinedly on a blackened briar, cleaving the air with energetic gestures and pounding his chair arm periodically with an emphatic fist—his deeply creased, hawklike visage animated with intense conviction beneath the familiar shock of unruly white hair—he spoke with ominous eloquence and a final ray of hope of the nightmare of atomic annihilation that has haunted his waking thoughts and commandeered his considerable energies since the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok. In October 1961—after a decade of mounting personal outcry against the unabating arms race—Russell warned his uneasy listeners at a ban-the-bomb rally in London’s Trafalgar Square that they would be lucky if any of them were alive in a year’s time. That year has passed, and nuclear holocaust has not yet overtaken us. We began our interview by reminding Lord Russell of this prophetic miscalculation.

PLAYBOY: Inasmuch as the world has successfully survived the year since your Trafalgar Square address, Lord Russell, would you care to revise your estimate of the likelihood of an atomic war? 
RUSSELL: I said at Trafalgar Square that we would need luck as things were, and we have been extremely lucky so far. But I don’t see any reason to be optimistic. I still feel that the human race may well become extinct before the end of the present century. Speaking as a mathematician, I should say that the odds are about three to one against survival. The risk of war by accident—an unintended war triggered by an explosive situation such as that in Cuba—remains and indeed grows greater all the time. For every day we continue to live, remain able to act, we must be profoundly grateful.

PLAYBOY: In a scathing reference to President Kennedy, Premier Khrushchev and Prime Minister Macmillan, you said in 1961 that “they are the wickedest people who have ever lived in the history of man, and it is our duty to do what we can against them.” Did you actually mean to say that Kennedy, Khrushchev and Macmillan are the worst of a gallery of villains which includes Hitler and Attila? 
RUSSELL: That was an arithmetical statement. Just as it is a wicked thing for one man to murder another, it is ten times as wicked to murder ten others, and 1,000,000 times more wicked to be responsible for the death of 1,000,000 men. No man in history has ever had the chance to murder on such a scale. In the past there have been long and bitter wars that caused appalling destruction, but at the end there were still people who could build again. Today we face the prospect of total obliteration in a single day. If mankind is to survive at all, intelligent people must learn to think and act in a less provocative manner than in former times.

PLAYBOY: Did not the avoidance of nuclear war over Cuba last October reassure you about the prudence and restraint of both Kennedy and Khrushchev? 
RUSSELL: There are signs that the politicians are beginning to realize the implications of the power they wield. But they have not fully assimilated them. So much seems to depend on very personal factors with politicians—even on what they have had for breakfast and whether they have indigestion when they have to make some important decision. What I am saying is this: When two great powers disagree about anything—it doesn’t matter what—they must find a way to settle it somehow by arbitration or by negotiation, not by war or threat of war. We know only too well that if you threaten someone with war and he doesn’t give way, then you may find yourself committed either to war or to backing down—and that choice has almost always been resolved by war. The Berlin crisis is a case in point. Here the Russians have been somewhat aggressive. They are trying to secure a change in the status of West Berlin by what amounts to threats of war. In the case of the Cuban crisis, on the other hand, Khrushchev has shown himself to be less belligerent than Kennedy, and in effect, at a crucial moment last October, was responsible for avoiding a war of nuclear devastation. Full credit must be given to him for this. He acted with great restraint in a crisis of the first magnitude. I hope it may presage similar responses should the Berlin question reach a comparable peak of crisis. The essential thing to understand is that no conceivable solution to any problem is worse than a nuclear war. It is necessary to realize before it is too late that any act—whatever its motive or rationale—is to be considered wicked if the consequence is an atomic holocaust.

PLAYBOY: What do you believe was the effect of your own personal intervention with Khrushchev—via your much publicized cable appealing for Russian prudence in responding to the American blockade of Cuba? 
RUSSELL: He carried out the promise he made in the letter replying to my cable — the promise to do nothing rash that would risk conflict. Within hours of my communication, 12 Soviet ships had turned back from their Cuban destination and Khrushchev had stopped further shipment. This left Cuba illegally blockaded in violation of international law. I believe that if a blockade is defensible when applied to Cuba, then the precedent can be applied also to Berlin and even to Britain, which is an advanced American nuclear base. America should remember the War of 1812 when the United States would not tolerate a British blockade. This is the very heart of what I have been saying for years: If nuclear bases are intolerable in Cuba, then they are intolerable anywhere in the world. Nuclear bases threaten the survival of mankind and the Cuban crisis has shown us how very close we are to annihilation.

PLAYBOY: Do you think the Russian position on Berlin may bring us closer still? 
RUSSELL: I can’t tell. There are all these different possibilities. There is intended war, resorted to when one side really thinks it can win. That is the least likely cause in this case. Then there is escalation—a little war growing into a big one. There is also threat and counterthreat, where each side hopes the other will give way—a course inevitably bringing such dangerous factors as prestige and national pride into play. But what is most likely in Berlin or elsewhere is simply war by misinterpretation. You may get a meteor or something like that showing up on a radar screen, and someone will press the button. There is no time to consider. It could so easily happen, in a day, in a moment….

PLAYBOY: Can you make any estimate of the destructive consequences of such a disastrous “misinterpretation”? 
RUSSELL: This is a question for experts, though all experts are biased. For an uninformed person such as me, it is very difficult to make any precise forecast. But I could give you a minimum estimate. I believe you must generally estimate that, at the very least, the price of nuclear war would be that half the population of both America and Russia, plus the whole of the population of Western Europe and Britain, would be wiped out.

PLAYBOY: You are the outspoken advocate of unilateral disarmament for Britain. Is this cause, as some critics have asserted, simply a means whereby Britain can escape the destruction of nuclear war through neutrality? 
RUSSELL: By no means. I regard it as a means to rid Britain of a very awkward commitment. Authorities feel that Britain adds absolutely nothing to the military strength of America, that America would be better off without us. I agree. It would not weaken NATO one atom. What I want to see is a concerted attempt by the neutral nations to achieve an accommodation between East and West. The influence of the neutrals would be immensely strengthened if Britain were one of them. We have a very long political experience. With the exception of the Scandinavian countries, we are perhaps more sensible politically than others. We could play a very great part. But I don’t see much chance that we shall. In any case, I do not advocate unilateralism solely for Britain; I see it as a step toward wider disarmament. Fear is very much a part of the incentive for armaments. If the fear were removed, each side would be more reasonable. I think that if the West were to voluntarily divest itself of nuclear weapons as a token of its peaceful intentions, this would greatly impress the Russians. They would then feel that they had nothing to fear and that they could enormously reduce their own expenditure on armaments. They would spend their money on consumer goods instead.

PLAYBOY: Does your disarmament plan involve also the abandonment of conventional weapons? 
RUSSELL: We should not interfere with conventional weapons unless there is general nuclear disarmament. We would then discard all but a very small number of conventional weapons.

PLAYBOY: It has been said by some political observers that this eventuality will remain entirely academic as long as the U.S. continues to insist on inspection without disarmament, and the U.S.S.R. on disarmament without inspection. Would you agree or disagree with this appraisal? 
RUSSELL: It does rather look that way. One side says that America is to blame for the stalemate and the other says Russia is responsible. You get the same sort of explanation in both countries. That, roughly speaking, has been the excuse for not reaching agreement. But I think the true explanation lies deeper than that. Neither side wants agreement, and they have to have something plausible to disagree about. You must realize that in both countries there are political and military factions—lobbies, if you like—which exert powerful pressure for extremist policies. On both sides they consist of people with interests in armaments and all the apparatus of preparation for war. There are military commanders in power on both sides, and their vested interest is in exercising that power. In fact, military people carry much more weight in the making of policy than does public opinion.

PLAYBOY: Would you say, then, considering this climate of opinion within, as well as between Russia and America, that there is any realistic hope of drafting a global disarmament plan which would be acceptable to both sides? 
RUSSELL: No, not at present. There is no possibility of attaining or sustaining general disarmament until East-West tension has lessened.

PLAYBOY: In 1957 you wrote in The New Statesman, the liberal British journal, an appeal to Premier Khrushchev and then-President Eisenhower for just such a lessening of world tension, to which both the Russian leader and John Foster Dulles responded with public reassurances. Six years have elapsed since then without a noticeable decline in global strife and division. At this critical moment in the cold war, would you care to make another such appeal—perhaps suggesting specific ways in which relations can be improved—to Khrushchev and President Kennedy? 
RUSSELL: If I were to make another such appeal, I would have to begin by repeating what I said in 1957. I should say simply to both men: “You seem anxious to destroy the world, to create vast misery and total destruction. All this preparation for war is childish—and suicidal. If you could only begin to tolerate each other, you would be perfectly happy.” I would go on to suggest that the overridingly urgent necessity is to come to an agreement. This is far more important than the precise form the agreement takes. Last summer, I sent a message to Moscow in which I expressed the wish that in all negotiations between East and West, the negotiator for the Communists should begin by saying that the universal victory of capitalism would be less disastrous than nuclear war. At the same time, the Western spokesman should start by admitting that the universal victory of communism would be preferable to the destruction of mankind. In a speech last July, Khrushchev singled out this suggestion and said that he entirely agreed. I was rather pleased. I would suggest further that the likelihood of war could be lessened immeasurably if both sides would place a great deal more emphasis on the ghastly destructiveness of war. At present, the major organs of publicity in both East and West are inclined to make the public believe that nuclear war wouldn’t really be so terrible after all. That is why I am opposed to Civil Defense preparations. They are diabolical inventions calculated to tell lies and to deceive. Everyone who knows anything knows that. People may think themselves safe in their deep shelters—but they will roast. Governments must be made to give up the habit of lying in order to persuade people to die quietly. Thirdly, I would strongly recommend an agreement on both sides not to teach that the other side is wicked. For Americans, communism is the Devil; for the Russians, capitalism is the Devil. The truth is that neither is wickeder than the other. They are both wicked.

PLAYBOY: Do you see no difference between the moral positions of America and Russia?
RUSSELL: No. They both have abominable systems. I am inclined to prefer the American system, but only because it is more allied with what I am used to. If I had been born a Russian, probably I should prefer the Russian system.

 

PLAYBOY: Have your views changed since you returned from a trip to Russia in 1920 to write one of the earliest and sharpest criticisms of the Soviet regime? 
RUSSELL: I still take exactly the same view. Up to the time of Stalin’s death, it was really quite horrible. Since then, I think, things have not been quite so bad—though I still don’t care for the Soviet system at all. I just don’t happen to like the American system either. The Americans tell you they stand for freedom: What they mean is that you must be quite willing to perish in order to be free in hell. In Russia, they punish you if you espouse capitalism. In America, they punish you if you espouse communism. What is the difference? But it is not worthwhile for us to go into the question of whether Russia or America has the better system. There are merits and demerits on both sides. The only important matter is to find some way of compromise between them, which will avoid war. At present, each has an entirely melodramatic conception of the other, and I think that the Russian government, in particular, encourages this view by not allowing Russian tourists to visit other countries except in small, organized groups. The same applies to Western visitors in Russia. This is a great pity. But there also seems to be some kind of fear in the West that if you get to know Communists, you will begin to admire them and finally be won over by them. Not a bit of it. There is simply no other way to achieve on each side an understanding of the real nature of the other. I would suggest—finally, in my appeal—that both Kennedy and Khrushchev consider the merits of a plan whereby the neutral nations would appoint a small, permanent body, well-informed on world affairs, which would investigate every dispute—such as Berlin, India or Cuba—and give an objective opinion on how it should be settled without favoritism to either side. Each settlement proposed, of course, would have to be, as far as possible, one that will be acceptable to the public in the countries concerned. Perhaps it could then develop into a permanent organization composed of three different groups: East, West and neutral. It seems to me that whichever side was more reasonable would win the support of the neutrals. Something of this sort has got to develop if we hope to reduce the deadly danger of war. Such a three-pronged body could be a step toward truly effective world government. But of course, that won’t be for a long time. At first, it would be merely advisory. After a century of advice, it might begin to acquire a measure of authority.

PLAYBOY: Do you consider it possible to strive for these same aims without waiting a century—by relying on the UN? 
RUSSELL: It can’t be done through the UN as it is now, because the UN does not embrace China. Its exclusion is a colossal stupidity. The veto also is an absurdity. Some nations, moreover, are very much more powerful and more populous than others—and you cannot invest a little nation with the same weight as a big nation. What you will have to do is divide the world into regions. You might, for example, have North America as one group, Europe as another, Russia as a third, China as a fourth and so on. You would have to work it out with a view to making it more or less equally balanced in population. And the various regions ought to be so constituted that their internal relations would be foremost in importance, and their relations to the outer world secondary in importance. I would leave each region complete autonomy for its own affairs. The world government would become involved only when there were contests or disputes with other regions. We shall not long survive without some such system.

PLAYBOY: On a personal level, why have you chosen to adopt a policy of civil disobedience as a means of promoting the cause of peace? 
RUSSELL: Purely to get attention. All the major organs of publicity are against us. It was extremely difficult to get any attention at all until we resorted to it. I have no views in principle, either for or against civil disobedience. It has always been practiced at different times and places. With me, it is purely a practical question of whether to do it or not, a method of propaganda.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel that the authorities have the moral right to prosecute and imprison those involved in such non-violent demonstrations for peace—as they have done to you? 
RUSSELL: I have no right to complain about being punished for breaking the law. I complain only if I am not permitted to break it. I recognize that if you go outside the law you cannot complain if it is made a little awkward for you, but it ought to be possible to do so. If I suddenly took it into my head that I wanted to assassinate the Queen, then I should expect to be punished. You do that sort of thing with full foreknowledge of the consequences.

PLAYBOY: You were recently threatened with expulsion from the Labor Party for urging Western representatives to attend a Moscow “peace” conference and state their views. Aren’t such occasions always turned to their own advantage by the Communists? 
RUSSELL: On the contrary. Members of the Committee of 100 went to Moscow last summer and presented their point of view very effectively indeed. They got publicity both inside and outside of Russia. Many Americans have asked me why I don’t preach my ideas to the Russians as well as to the West, and the answer is that I do. Certainly the Russians disagree with much of what I say, but I have found it just as easy—or as difficult—to get publicity for my views in the Soviet press as in the English press. The question I wondered about was whether they had bowdlerized what I said. I have taken the trouble to get translations of what they printed and found that they have been completely faithful. They have not altered a scrap.

PLAYBOY: In addition to disseminating your views personally on both sides of the Iron Curtain, you were the initiator of a series of peace conferences, of which the first was held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, between groups of scientists from East and West. What positive results do you feel have emerged from these symposia? 
RUSSELL: They have made a contribution toward informed opinion. For one thing, as a result, the test-ban negotiations came closer to success than they would otherwise have done. But the Pugwash meetings have not accomplished as much as one might have hoped. There was a lack of effective publicity. The public won’t listen to informed opinion. They want uninformed opinion.

PLAYBOY: In 1916, you were fined £100 by the Lord Mayor of London for circulating a pacifistic leaflet, which the law deemed “likely to prejudice the recruiting and discipline of His Majesty’s Forces.” Your intention, you said then, “was to procure, if possible, a change in the law, or failing that, to secure a change in administration.” Does the same intention motivate your current antiwar activities? 
RUSSELL: Yes. Then, of course, I was defending the rights of conscientious objectors in World War I. I do not wholly share their views, but I felt, and still feel, that one should respect their convictions. They believe what I do not believe—that it is wicked to take part in any war, however righteous the cause. I supported the war against Hitler, and have become a pacifist today largely because of the destructiveness of nuclear warfare.

PLAYBOY: Speaking of this destructiveness in psychological terms, you have said that Kennedy, Khrushchev, Macmillan and other world leaders “are driven irrationally into policies which may effectively end human life on this planet.” If their judgment is so irrational, Lord Russell, what is the point of your attempts to dissuade them on rational grounds from precipitating war? 
RUSSELL: Even less is to be gained, I think, by the West’s continuing campaign to remake the East in its own image, and by the East’s unrelenting efforts to do the same with the West. The change—an attitude of mutual concession in an atmosphere of mutual understanding—has got to come from within each country, from within each individual. It is to this end that I persist in my appeal. When I made such an appeal to Khrushchev last October, the Cuban situation had changed the world situation very much for the worse, and I felt it necessary to make a last effort. His response was more than I could have hoped for. He showed himself willing to act cautiously in very difficult circumstances. I will continue to maintain communication with him for the purpose of facilitating a settlement.

PLAYBOY: Even if a nuclear conflict is avoided, either through disarmament or a continuing balance of power, Khrushchev has made it clear that future “peaceful coexistence” will entail a continuing nonviolent struggle on the ideological front and an intensified campaign of economic competition, which he predicts will eventually “bury” us. What posture do you feel the West should adopt in combating this threat? 
RUSSELL: Neither of these conflicting interests will be arbitrated equitably and amicably until we have a truly representative and authoritative world government. In the absence of one, it will be a tug-of-war, a question of who is stronger. A continued program of economic and educational aid to underdeveloped countries, meanwhile, would be a significant means of strengthening the Western position. It would be better, of course, if such aid were given cooperatively by both sides, but I don’t think that this is practical politics at the moment. In either case, it should be given not on cold war grounds, but simply because these people need help.

PLAYBOY: Do you share the apprehension of leading sociologists and economists concerning the implications of unchecked population growth in such overcrowded and underproductive areas as Africa, China, India and parts of Latin America? 
RUSSELL: The population problem has, in my opinion, been rather exaggerated. It can be solved by adequate birth control, and I don’t think that Catholic objections will prevent the increasingly widespread use and acceptance of contraceptives. After all, Roman Catholics represent only a small segment of the world’s population. India and China are the really big problem areas, and both are inclined to favor birth control.

PLAYBOY: Do you agree with many historians and social scientists who foresee that the next century will witness “an inexorable economic and societal evolution,” as one commentator has expressed it, “from the tradition of individual enterprise to the psychology of mass man?” 
RUSSELL: Societies comprised of small farmers, merchants and artisans will soon be anachronistic. Almost everybody is already part of something big. If we are to preserve individual liberty in this new world of huge firms and institutions, we must begin thinking in different terms from the tenets of classical liberalism. We will be able to deal with the “curse of bigness,” as Justice Brandeis called it, only by democratizing industry. I would like, for example, to see rules providing for the popular election of directors and managers in each industry. The important thing is to ensure the limitation and equitable division of power. At present economic power is too much concentrated in the hands of a few big men who control the lives of others to an undesirable degree. The Russians—in fact, socialists of all countries—make the cardinal error of believing that if you have a democratic state running industry, then it automatically follows that the industries themselves will be democratic. But to put state officials in place of capitalist officials changes nothing; they are still men, still wielding the same power. Unless state officials are made responsible to all us underlings, nothing will ever be achieved by nationalization.

PLAYBOY: So far we have been talking mainly of the issues which have preoccupied you during the last half-dozen years. But your life’s work has encompassed a multitude of causes. Which of them has mattered most to you? 
RUSSELL: Though they have mattered differently at different times, the question of international peace certainly transcends any I have ever been concerned with or any issue that previously excited me. But I have derived great satisfaction from many of my interests—matters of the mind more than anything else. Mathematical logic has been the source of perhaps my deepest intellectual gratification. It has given me very great pleasure to feel, in an important field of human knowledge, that I may have made some lasting contribution to man’s understanding of things that were once beyond his grasp, but which can now be comprehended and manipulated. I am also pleased with the aftermath of my campaign for women’s suffrage and my efforts to secure a more enlightened sexual morality and behavior. They have gone almost as well as I would have liked them to go. When I was young, one talked to a woman in a different language than when talking to a man. There was a cultivated unreality in intercourse between men and women, which I thought was very bad indeed. Today things are utterly different. Young people don’t realize how much change there has been. But we still need much more freedom and frankness in sexual instruction. Another matter to which I have always attached great importance in education is that schools ought not to teach nationalism. Every school, with hardly any exception, has as one of its objects the deception of children. They teach them patriotism, to salute the flag. But the flag is a murder symbol, and the state is a pirate ship, a gang of murderers who have come together. When they salute the flag, they salute the symbol of bloody murder. All this is perfectly clear, valid psychology.

PLAYBOY: On the occasion of your 90th birthday, Lord Russell, you said, “In old age, one becomes aware of what has, and of what has not been achieved.” Did you mean this observation to apply to the fruits of your own efforts in behalf of the various causes you’ve espoused? 
RUSSELL: Let me reply this way. Contrary to the customary pattern, I have gradually become more and more of a rebel as I have grown older. Since boyhood, my life has been devoted to two different objectives, which for a long time remained separate. It’s only in comparatively recent years that they have come together. One has been to discover whether anything could actually be known; this was a matter of philosophical inquiry. The other has been to do whatever I could to help create a happier world. I cannot claim that what I have written, said and done about social and political problems has had any great importance. It is easy to have an immense effect if you dogmatically preach a precise gospel such as communism. But I do not believe that mankind needs anything dogmatic. I think it essential to teach a certain hesitancy about dogma. Whatever you believe, you must have reservations. You must envisage the possibility that you may be wrong. I want to see individuals retain the kind of personal flexibility and initiative that they ought to have. This means that they cannot, and must not, be forced into a rigid mold. In my lifetime, freedom—which once seemed to be gaining ground—has come to be regarded as weakness. When I was young, I thought the battle for tolerance had been won. But more recently we have reverted back to the intolerance of the great religious wars. And when I was young, I set out with the belief that love—free and courageous love—could conquer the world. I perhaps thought that the road to a free and happy world would be shorter than it has turned out to be.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel now that this dream of a free and happy world was perhaps little more than the kind of utopian vision which has always inspired man in youth—and so often disenchanted him in maturity? 
RUSSELL: It is something more. There is not anything to stop it from coming to pass except our own silliness—a silliness forced upon us by an education that teaches us that our country is vastly better than any other, and that in all respects it is always in the right. It would not be difficult to build a peaceful world if people really wanted it. It is certainly worthwhile to live and act and do what one can to bring it about. I haven’t changed my earlier views in that respect. I still believe exactly what I said when I was 80, when people were asking me much the same question. I have lived in the pursuit of a vision, both personal and social. Personal, to care for what is noble, for what is beautiful, for what is gentle, to allow moments of insight to impart wisdom in mundane times. Social, to envision in imagination, an attainable society in which the individual can grow freely, in which hate and greed and envy will die because there is nothing to nourish them. These things I still believe. So you can see that the world, for all its horrors, has left me unshaken.

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:

In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. 

Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. 

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

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Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

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. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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