Category Archives: Biblical Archaeology

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 132 Alan Dundes, folklorist, University of California, Berkeley, “There were all these books about apparent contradictions in the Bible… books and books of these things…and that gave me all the evidence I needed”

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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

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,

Alan Dundes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alan Dundes with a wooden Norwegian statue of a tale called “Squeezing the Stone”

Alan Dundes (September 8, 1934 – March 30, 2005)[1] was a folklorist at the University of California, Berkeley. His work was said to have been central to establishing the study of folklore as an academic discipline.[citation needed]He wrote 12 books, both academic and popular, and edited or co-wrote two dozen more.[2] One of his most notable articles was called “Seeing is Believing” in which he indicated that Americans value the sense of sight more than the other senses.

He introduced the concept “allomotif” (coined in an analogy with “allomorph“, to complement the concept of “motifeme” (cf. “morpheme“) introduced by Kenneth L. Pike) as concept to be used in the analysis of the structures of folktales in terms of motifs identified in them.[3][4]

Career[edit]

Dundes attended Yale University, where he studied English[1] and met his wife Carolyn. Sure that he would be drafted upon completion of his studies, Dundes joined the ROTC and trained to become a naval communications officer. When it turned out that the ship he was to be posted to, stationed in the Bay of Naples, already had a communications officer, Dundes asked what else that ship might need, not wanting to give up such a choice assignment. He then spent two years maintaining artillery guns on a ship in the Mediterranean. Upon completion of his service, Dundes attended Indiana University to pursue a Ph.D in folklore. At Indiana, he studied under the father of American Folklore, Richard Dorson.[1] He quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the field of folkloristics. He completed his degree very quickly and went on to a teaching position at the University of Kansas where he stayed for only a year before being offered a position in the University of California, Berkeley anthropology department teaching folklore. Dundes held this position for 42 years, until his death in 2005.

Teaching methods[edit]

Alan Dundes was an engaging lecturer, his Introduction to Folklore course attracting many students. In this course, students were introduced to the many various forms of folklore, from myth, legend, and folktale to proverbs and riddles to jokes, games, and folkspeech (slang), to folk belief and foodways. The final project for this course required that each student collect, identify, and analyze 40 items of folklore. All of this material (about 500,000 items) is housed and cataloged in the Berkeley Folklore Archives. Dundes also taught undergraduate courses in American folklore, and psychoanalytic approaches to folklore (his favorite approach) in addition to graduate seminars on the history of folkloristics, from an international perspective, and the history and progression of folklore theory.

Dundes was also a great supporter of the New Student Orientation Program at UC Berkeley (CalSO). He frequently gave the opening address during summer orientation programs, whetting students’ appetites about the type of instruction they might receive at the University. These addresses were littered with jokes and stories which were a trademark of Dundes’ lectures in his popular anthropology class and were a favorite of both in-coming students and the orientation staff alike.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

Strongly opinionated, Dundes was not at all averse to the controversy that his theories often generated. He dealt frequently with folklore as an expression of unconscious desires and anxieties and was of the opinion that if people reacted strongly to what he had to say, he had probably hit a nerve and was probably on to something. Some of his more controversial work involved examining the New Testament and the Qur’an as folklore.[5] However, of all his articles, the one that earned him death threats was “Into the Endzone for a Touchdown”, an exploration of the homoerotic subtext inherent in the terminology and rituals surrounding American football.[6] In 1980, Dundes was invited to give the presidential address at the American Folklore Society annual meeting.[7] His presentation, later published as a monograph titled “Life is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder”, uses folkspeech, customs, material culture, and so forth seeking to demonstrate an anal-erotic fixation of German national character.[6] Reaction to this paper was incredibly strong[6] and because of it, Dundes declined to attend the AFS annual meeting for the next 20 years.[citation needed] When he finally did attend again, in 2004, he again gave a plenary address, this time taking his fellow folklorists to task for being weak on theory. In his opinion, the presentation of data, no matter how thorough, is useless without the development and application of theory to that data. It is not enough to simply collect, one must do something with what one has collected.[8] In 2012, linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch credited Dundes with having given rise to a still prevalent “stereotype about Germany as a culture enamored with excretion”, but called his monograph “unstructured, poorly argued and flimsily sourced” and “methodologically flawed because he only looked for evidence supporting his theory, and not – as even a folklorist should – for evidence against his theory”.[9]

Endowment of a professorship[edit]

Dundes fiercely defended the importance of the discipline of folkloristics throughout his career. Towards the end of his life, he received an envelope containing a check from a former student, which he asked his wife to open. She read the figure out as $1,000. In fact, the check was for $1,000,000. This money allowed Dundes to endow the university with a Distinguished Professorship in Folkloristics, thereby ensuring that upon his retirement folklore would not be abandoned in the department.[10]

The former student and benefactor wished to remain anonymous. Apparently he or she called the university prior to the donation to find out if Dundes was still teaching, or as Dundes told it, “to see if I was still alive.” The student mentioned that he or she intended to send a check, but Dundes said he was not sure the student would follow through.

The check was made out to the university, Dundes said, but with instructions that he could use it in any manner he saw fit.

“I could just take all my students to Fiji and have one hell of a party,” he said.

The professor instead decided to invest it in the study of folklore. The money funds a Distinguished Professorship of Folkloristics and helps fund the university’s folklore archives and provides grants for folklore students.[11]

Interview by Flemming[edit]

Shortly before his death, Dundes was interviewed by filmmaker Brian Flemming for his documentary, The God Who Wasn’t There. He prominently recounted Lord Raglan’s 22-point scale from his 1936 book The Hero, in which he ranks figures possessing similar divine attributions.[12] An extended interview[13] is on the DVD version of the documentary.

 

 The God Who Wasn’t There

 

Published on Jan 8, 2014

http://www.amazon.com/The-God-Who-Was…
Video uploaded for educational purposes protected by S.107 of the U.S.C.

Former fundamentalist Christian Brian Flemming places the core concepts of his former religion under the microscope in a documentary that attempts to do for religion what Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me did for the fast-food industry. In his bold quest to seek answers to the difficult questions that few are willing to pose, Flemming is joined by Deconstructing Jesus author Robert M. Price, renowned historian Richard Carrier, and The End of Faith author Sam Harris.

From the ignorance of many contemporary Christians as to the origin of their religion to the striking similarities between Jesus Christ and the deities worshipped by ancient pagan cults and the Christian obsession with blood and violence, this faith-shaking documentary explores the many mysteries of the Christian faith as never before.

This documentary argues the “mythicist” case in the historical Jesus debate. This position says that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t a real person but a fiction based on Jewish scriptures and mystery religions of the Roman Empire. It doesn’t make sense to talk about a “real” Jesus — there

________________

Death[edit]

Dundes collapsed and died while giving a graduate seminar.[2]

Influence[edit]

Before the term folkloristics can be fully understood, it is necessary to understand that the terms folk and lore are defined in many different ways. While some use the word folk to mean only peasants or remote cultures, the folklorist Alan Dundes (1934–2005) of the University of California at Berkeley calls this definition a “misguided and narrow concept of the folk as the illiterate in a literate society” (Devolutionary Premise, 13).

Dundes is often credited with the promotion of folkloristics as a term denoting a specific field of academic study and applies instead what he calls a “modern” flexible social definition for folk: two or more persons who have any trait in common and express their shared identity through traditions. Dundes explains this point best in his essay, The Devolutionary Premise in Folklore Theory (1969):

“A folk or peasant society is but one example of a ‘folk’ in the folkloristic sense. Any group of people sharing a common linking factor, e.g., an urban group such as a labor union, can and does have folklore. ‘Folk’ is a flexible concept which can refer to a nation as in American folklore or to a single family. The critical issue in defining ‘folk’ is: what groups in fact have traditions?” (emphasis in the original, see footnote 34, 13)

With this expanded social definition of folk, a wider view of the material considered to be folklore also emerged that includes, as William Wilson points out, “things people make with words (verbal lore), things they make with their hands (material lore), and things they make with their actions (customary lore)” (2006, 85).

Another implication of this broader defining of the term folk, according to Dundes, is that folkloristic work is interpretative and scientific rather than descriptive or devoted solely to folklore preservation. In the 1978 collection of his academic work, Essays in Folkloristics, Dundes declares in his preface, “Folkloristics is the scientific study of folklore just as linguistics is the scientific study of language. [. . .] It implies a rigorous intellectual discipline with some attempt to apply theory and method to the materials of folklore” (vii). In other words, Dundes advocates the use of folkloristics as the preferred term for the academic discipline devoted to the study of folklore.

According to Dundes, folkloristic work will probably continue to be important in the future. Dundes writes, “folklore is a universal: there has always been folklore and in all likelihood there will always be folklore. As long as humans interact and in the course of so doing employ traditional forms of communication, folklorists will continue to have golden opportunities to study folklore” (Devolutionary Premise, 19). According to folklorist William A. Wilson, “the study of folklore, therefore, is not just a pleasant pastime useful primarily for whiling away idle moments. Rather, it is centrally and crucially important in our attempts to understand our own behavior and that of our fellow human beings” (2006, 203).

Works[edit]

In  the second video below in the 56th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

_________________________________

 

Alan Dundes comment in the You Tube film series Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2): 

“I found the best evidence for my own research was going to Christian bookstores. There were all these books about apparent contradictions in the Bible, seeming inconsistencies, books and books of these things…and that gave me all the evidence I needed….They were my research assistants, these people who were trying to reconcile…”

MY RESPONSE:

Alan Dundes was keen  on pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible as compared to actual history and the BOOK OF DANIEL has been a prime target. However, I have found that many of the critics have had to backtrack some on some key issues. Take a look below:

 

Farrell Till has asserted that reputable Bible scholars believe that the book of Daniel was not written by an individual named Daniel during the sixth century B.C. (TSR, Vol 4.3, p. 12). These scholars hold that the writer lived in the time of the Maccabees, and his “purpose was to give his countrymen reason to believe that centuries earlier a prophet of Yahweh had foreseen the rise of the Seleucid Empire and had predicted the triumph of the Maccabean struggle for independence against Antiochus Epiphanes” (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3). William Sierichs, Jr. also takes this position in his article, “Daniel in the Historians’ Den” (TSR, Vol. 7.4, p.8). Sierichs comments, “Daniel can’t get Babylonian history straight, but he does pretty well by the Hellenistic era. Obviously, whoever wrote the book was a very solid citizen of the 2nd century B.C.E., whose `prophecies’ were wholly retroactive.”

Both Till and Sierichs have been influenced by biblical scholars who have embraced the higher critical views of the 1800’s. However, most people have overlooked the fact that these same scholars have made several admissions which are damaging to their Maccabean thesis.

The first admission concerns the conservative’s view that Rome is the fourth kingdom identified in Daniel’s prophecy. Till states the critic’s logic: “A flaw in this interpretation is the obvious fact that the writer of Daniel considered the median and Persian kingdoms to be separate empires, because he had the Neo-Babylonian empire falling to `Darius the Mede’ (5:30-31). This is historically inaccurate (just one of many historical inaccuracies in the book of Daniel), because reliable records of the time indicate that Cyrus the Great captured Babylon and ended the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. Nevertheless, the writer of Daniel told of a reign under “Darius the Mede: that preceded the reign of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great (6:28; 10:1). So if the writer believed that the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to the Medes and then the Medes fell to the Persians, then the fourth kingdom in Daniel’s interpretation would have been Alexander’s Hellenistic empire” (TSR, Vol. 4.3, p. 12).

Notice that Till bases his conclusion on the “obvious fact that the writer of Daniel considered the Median and Persian kingdoms to be separate empires….” However, the famous Bible critic, Dr. Samuel Driver, admitted, “In the book of Daniel the `Medes and Persians’ are, it is true, sometimes represented as united (Daniel 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15, cf. 8:20)” (The Book of Daniel: Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Cambridge: University Press, 1900, p. 29). Conservative scholar Stephen Miller comments: “Such an admission seems fatal to Driver’s position, for if the author was aware at one point that the two nations were united into one empire, he certainly would not have construed them as separate both physically and chronologically elsewhere in the same book” (Daniel: The New American Commentary, Nashville, TN, Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994, p. 95).

Moreover, in Daniel 5:28, the word peres has the same consonants (only the consonants were written in ancient Aramaic and Hebrew scripts) as the Aramaic term translated “Persians” and likely was a paronomasia (a word play) hinting that the division of the kingdom would be accomplished by the Persian armies. Bible critic Norman W. Porteous admits this hints at “the victory of Persia over Babylon” (Daniel, The Old Testament Library, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965, p. 81). Furthermore, the Bible critic John A. Montgomery agrees (“A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel,” International Critical Commentary, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1979, p. 263).

Arthur Jeffrey claims the author assumed from his reading of Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 13:17; 21:2, and Jeremiah 51:11, 28) that the Medes conquered Babylon before the Persians (Arthur Jeffrey, “The Book of Daniel,” Interpreter’s Bible, Nashville: Abingdon, 1956, p. 434). However, Isaiah 21:2 blows this theory out of the water, because it speaks of Elam and Media as the joint-conquerors of Babylon. The critic H. H. Rowley admits: “This was doubtless written after Cyrus, king of Anshan, in southwest Elam, had brought the rest of Elam under his sway, when to the Hebrew observer it appeared likely that these two powers might unite in the destruction of Babylon. And since Elam is mentioned first, it is possible that the passage dates from a time after the absorption of Media by Cyrus” (H. H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel, 1935; reprint, Cardiff: University of Wales, 1964, p. 58).

Till correctly notes that the writer of Daniel had “Darius the Mede” conquering Babylon, but nowhere does the writer state that Darius was “the king of the Medes” or the “king of Media.” Dr. Robert H. Pfeiffer of Harvard University admitted the author of Daniel was “a very learned man” and “a sage” (Robert H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948, p. 757), but Pfeiffer must have assumed that this “sage” had never read 2 Chronicles 36:20 where it is said that the Jews were servants to Nebuchadnezzar “and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia.” Clearly this indicates that the Persian reign came immediately after the Babylonian reign.

The second admission concerns the madness of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter four. William Sierichs, Jr., states that “the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity may be a reference to a bout of insanity or lengthy depression in Nabonidus, who apparently was very unpopular in Babylon…” (TSR, Vol. 7.4, p. 8). This is the position held by many modern critical scholars today. Conservatives prefer a different explanation. Stephen Miller comments: “Some scholars have deemed this chapter primarily a fictional account, likely derived from the same source as the so-called `prayer of Nabonidus’ (4QPrBab), an Aramaic fragment discovered at Qumran in 1952 (D. N. Freedman, “The Prayer of Nabonidus,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Vol. 145, 1957, pp. 31-32). Though affinities exist between Daniel 4 and the “Prayer of Nabonidus,” they are far outweighed by the differences (e.g., name of the king, nature of the illness, and location). It seems reasonable to categorize the Nabonidus story as a distorted version or a later application of the biblical narrative” (p. 145).

Nevertheless, the critics insist there is no hint in the historical record that indicates it was Nebuchadnezzar with this strange case of madness that resulted in a seven-year absence. R. H. Pfeiffer called Daniel chapter four an “unhistorical tale,” and “a confused reminiscence of the years when Nabonidus spent at Tema in Arabia” (p. 758). Norman W. Porteous states, “indeed there is no record of Nebuchadnezzar’s having had leave of absence from his royal duties on account of insanity” (p. 70). However, later on the same page Porteous admits that fellow Bible critics Bevan, Montgomery, Bentzen, and Jeffrey have recorded such a story. Abydenus’s account is preserved by Eusebius (Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41.1) and is reproduced by John A. Montgomery (p. 221).

Abydenus says that in the last days of Nebuchadnezzar, the king was “possessed by some god or other” while in his palace, and announced the coming of a Persian mule (i.e., Cyrus), who would bring the people into slavery. Then says Abydenus, “He, when he had uttered this prediction, immediately disappeared” (Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41.1). Surely Porteous is wrong to admit the existence of this story by the historian Abydenus, and at the same time insist that “there is no record of Nebuchadnezzar’s having had leave of absence from his royal duties…”

The third and fourth admissions concern linguistic arguments. Farrell Till asserts: “Bible fundamentalists like to think that Daniel was written in the sixth century B. C., shortly after the events that the book closes with during the reign of Cyrus the Great, who had conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. Few reputable Bible scholars, however, would fix the date that early, because the book exhibits signs of a much later authorship. Scholars cite the writer’s obvious confusion about political events of the time that a contemporary would have surely been familiar with, the linguistic style (especially the section written in Aramaic), and other factors too numerous to discuss in detail as evidence that the book was written at the extreme end of the Old Testament period (no sooner than the second century)” (TSR, Vol. 4.3, p. 13).

Dr. Samuel Driver also made much of the Aramaic of the Book of Daniel. he stated, “The Aramaic of Daniel (which is all but identical with that of Ezra) is a Western Aramaic dialect, of the type spoken in and about Palestine” (p. 59 of the introduction of Driver’s commentary on Daniel), and he went on to suggest that archaeology had confirmed this. However, Jeffrey admits that the Aramaic in the Book of Daniel “cannot be pressed as evidence for a particular date, for it is that type of Aramaic which grew up for official use in the chancelleries and came to be widely used in the ancient Near East” (p. 349). Jeffrey cites more recent discoveries of fifth-century Aramaic texts that totally discredit Driver’s view (Franz Rosenthal, Die Aramaistische Forschung, [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1939] pp. 66-71).

Till has highly recommended Jeffrey’s work on Daniel (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3, and Vol 7.4, p. 8). According to Till, Jeffrey’s material “gives a detailed analysis of the Book of Daniel to show, first of all, that it was not written by its namesake who allegedly lived in Babylon during the captivity, but by an unknown author during the time of the Seleucid Empire, which arose from the partitioning of Alexander’s kingdom after his death” (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3). Does Jeffrey’s work accomplish this feat? Let’s look at a couple of popular arguments that he uses.

The fourth admission by the critics concerns the term “Chaldeans.” Jeffrey argues: “The use of the word kasdim (Chaldeans), not in the proper ethnic sense which it has, for example, in Jeremiah, but to mean a caste of wise men, points to a time when the word was commonly used for a class of priestly astrologers, diviners, or magicians, a sense the word has in the pages of Strabo or Diodorus Siculus, who wrote in the first century B.C. (p. 349).

Dr. Driver agrees that the argument concerning the use of the term “Chaldeans” is very convincing. So much that he places it first in the list of his three strongest arguments that show that the book of Daniel was composed in Palestine “during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes” (pp. 47-56 of the Introduction).

How strong is this argument? On page 12 of Driver’s commentary, Driver himself takes exceptions to some of the assertions made by Jeffrey. Driver admits that in Daniel 5:30, and 9:1 the author of the book of Daniel did use the ethnic sense of the word “Chaldeans.” Then on the same page Driver admits this term “Chaldeans” is found “in Herodotus (Herodotus, Histories, 1.181-183, c. 440 B.C.), and is common afterwards in the classical writers” (p. 12). Furthermore, Driver also admits that evidence indicates that such a group of wise men as pictured in the book of Daniel did exist as a group as early as 2000 B.C. (p. 14).

Francis Schaeffer summarized Driver’s argument: “Remember this is his first strong argument. he is going to take the book of Daniel and throw away its historical date on the basis of these `so-called’ strong arguments. Now we have defined this question in regard to the term “Chaldeans.” The writer knew the ethnic sense. This group did exist from a long time before. About 90 years later everybody acknowledges that the word was used in this sense to the wise men. And so he is going to throw away the book of Daniel and its dating and all that it means on the basis that this specific group of wise men, who were well known from long before and afterwards, were not called this term in this 90-year span (530 B.C. to 440 B.C.). Now, once you word it this way, it doesn’t look so strong” (Francis Schaeffer’s five part series, Dr. Driver’s Criticism of the Book of Daniel, tape #2).

Is it any wonder that the bible critic J.J. Collins admits that the author’s use of the term “Chaldeans” cannot be used to date his material (Daniel, Hermeneia, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994, pp. 137-138). In fact, Jeffrey makes a similar error in his commentary on Daniel 10:1. He states: “Cyrus is here called `king of Persia.’ This may be merely a statement of fact, for he was king of Persia, but if it is meant as an official title, it is an anachronism in the mouth of Daniel. The title ‘king of Persia’, was Hellenistic usage and not the usage of the Achaemenid kings at this time” (p. 500).

Jeffrey overlooked the fact that Robert Dick Wilson contradicted this view expressly with what he found in the tablets of the Persian period (Robert Dick Wilson, “The Title `King of Persia’ in the Scriptures,” The Princeton Theological Review, Vol. 15, 1917, pp. 90-145). Wilson commented: “It is evident therefore, that there are thirty-eight distinct extra-biblical instances of the use of this title from 545 to about 400 B.C.; and that these instances are found in twenty different works by nineteen different persons (p. 100).”

This argument of Jeffrey’s is completely put to flight concerning Daniel 10:1. It shows how much many of these scholars continue to repeat the same old arguments. No doubt, Jeffrey had read this argument in Driver’s commentary (p. 152), but he had failed to read the refutation provided by Wilson seventeen years later. I must admit that I have just repeated the arguments of others on occasion without taking a closer look at both sides of the argument…. there are two other issues in chapter 5 that I will press, and they both concern Belshazzar. In the article “Daniel in the Historians’ Den,” William Sierichs, Jr., states that Belshazzar was not the “son” of Nebuchadnezzar, and “Belshazzar was not the ruler as the Book of Daniel claims, and he was never king” (TSR, Vol. 7.4, p. 8).

These are two of the most common arguments used against the book of Daniel, but even the radical critic, Dr. Philip R. Davies has admitted that both are “weak arguments” (Philip R. Davies, Daniel, Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985, p. 31). He stated: “Critical commentaries, especially around the turn of the century, made much of the fact that Belshazzar was neither a son of Nebuchadnezzar, nor king of Babylon. This is still sometimes repeated as a charge against the historicity of Daniel, and resisted by conservative scholars. But it has been clear since 1924 (J.A. Montgomery, Daniel, International Critical Commentary, Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1927, pp. 66-67) that although Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, Belshazzar was effectively ruling Babylon. In this respect, then, Daniel is correct. The literal meaning of son should not be pressed” (pp. 30-31).

I call Davies a radical critic because he refuses to accept the archaeological evidence that indicates that king David existed (Philip R. Davies, “`House of David’ built on Sand,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1994, pp. 54-55), and more recently he suggested that Hezekiah’s tunnel was not dug by Hezekiah’s men when the Bible claims, but was constructed centuries later. However, several eminent archaeologists put this reinterpretation to rest (“Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1997, pp. 41-50). For Davies to concede anything, it must really be self-evident. Therefore, I put forth his admissions as especially meaningful. Furthermore, Davies does not accept the same view that Till and Sierichs do concerning the date of the authorship of the first six chapters of Daniel.

In the 19th century the consensus among Bible critics was that all of the chapters of Daniel were written in Palestine during the 2nd century B.C. However, in the 20th century most of the critics admit the first six chapters could have been written as early as the 6th century B.C. in Babylon. Philip R. Davies comments, “According to nearly every modern commentator, the tales of chapter 1-6 are originally products of a Jewish community in a Gentile environment” (Philip R. Davies, “Eschatology in the Book of Daniel,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Vol. 17, 1980, p. 33).

Could it be that the archaeological, linguistic, and historical evidence concerning Daniel will lead next century’s critics to consider the traditional theological view? This reminds me of an amazing quote from the astronomer Dr. Robert Jastrow: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries” (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, New York: Warner Books, 1978, p. 111).

(Everette Hatcher III, P. O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221)

 I have been amazed at the prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled in history. John MacArthur went through every detail of the prophecy concerning Tyre and how history shows the Bible prophecy was correct. There is evidence out there if anyone is interested in investigating!!!
The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt)

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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 )

  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 […]

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

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

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

_______________ The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 5 (This video discusses Stg. Pepper’s creation I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 48 “BLOW UP” by Michelangelo Antonioni makes Philosophic Statement (Feature on artist Nancy Holt)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Adrian Rogers, “IF A MAN HAS COMMITTED A CAPITAL CRIME AND HE KNOWS THAT HE IS GOING TO DIE FOR THAT CRIME, IT MAY BRING HIM TO REPENTANCE” Exhibit #1 Kenneth D. WIlliams of Grady Arkansas

 

Adrian Rogers: Does a Loving God Believe in Capital Punishment? [#2183] (Audio)

Kenneth D. Williams was executed at 11:05 pm in Grady, Arkansas on April 27, 2017. In this post I want to take a short look at Adrian Rogers’ sermon THE BIBLE AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT and then look at the life of Kenneth D. Williams and a close look at the peace that passeth all understanding that is available to anyone who puts their faith in Christ.

Image result for kenneth d. williams

(Kenneth D. Williams in 2017 pictured below)

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Adrian Rogers on Capital Punishment

Image result for young adrian rogers

There are four reasons why capital punishment is necessary.

FIRST, to obey God. (Genesis 9:6).

SECOND, to protect society. Romans 12:9 says, “Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.” Much today is called LOVE but has no resemblance to TRUE LOVE. Because God loves us, He doesn’t want us raped or murdered and He has put something in place to stop it. Softness to the criminal is cruelty to the community.

THIRD, for the good of the criminals.

The death penalty should also be practiced for the welfare of the criminals….When the principle of restraint is taken away, you have not served the criminal. You have been cruel to him because he does not realize the judgment that should come to him. The death sentence in a sense is a kindness to him because it reminds him that there is a God of justice that he must face.

IF A MAN HAS COMMITTED A CAPITAL CRIME AND HE KNOWS THAT HE IS GOING TO DIE FOR THAT CRIME, IT MAY BRING HIM TO REPENTANCE.

Many of those who are executed go into the chamber saying that they have repented and have accepted Christ as their personal savior. They know that in a short while they are going to face almighty God.

The Bible says that the government’s authority is there for good and there should be terror in the hearts and minds of evil doers. If we transgress, we ought to be afraid.

Romans 13:3, “For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil.”

FOURTH, another reason for the death penalty is because of the justice of God. God is a holy God. There is sin and retribution.

The death of Jesus was capital punishment. Our sin deserved death, and He took our death for us. Jesus actually bore the wrath of God against sin on the cross.

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Let us see if what Adrian Rogers said has any validity in  the experience here in Arkansas. 

I googled the name Kenneth D. Williams and found this article,Arkansas death row inmate says he killed a fourth person,” June 15, 2005:

An inmate sentenced to death for a killing committed during a 1999 escape from a sentence for an earlier slaying has confessed to yet another killing in a letter to the editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial.

Along with a man killed in a traffic accident in Missouri during inmate Kenneth D. Williams’ 1999 escape, the slaying to which he has now confessed would make him responsible for the deaths of four people.

Williams, 26, says in a 512-page letter to the newspaper that he shot and killed Jerrell Jenkins, 36, of Pine Bluff on Dec. 13, 1998, the same day that he fatally shot Dominique Hurd, a cheerleader at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Police had listed Jenkins’ death as unsolved.

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“I take full responsibility for my actions and whatever consequences my peers see fit,” Williams wrote.

Williams said he was a born-again Christian and wanted to confess his sins.

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On April 27, 2017 Kenneth D. Williams was executed and according to the article, KENNETH WILLIAMS EXECUTED THURSDAY AT CUMMINS,” b

Death row inmate Kenneth Williams of Pine Bluff was executed Thursday night at the Cummins Unit for the 1999 murder of Grady resident Cecil Boren.

Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m.

Williams was responsible for the deaths of four people in total and was sentenced to life in prison after he kidnapped and fatally shot 19-year-old University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student Dominique Hurd in 1998. He was sentenced to death after escaping the Department of Correction’s Cummins Unit in 1999 and murdering Boren, 57, a former assistant warden at the unit.

Williams was captured only after causing a fatal auto collision with water-delivery driver Michael Greenwood, 24, in southern Missouri. In 2005 letter to the Commercial, Williams admitted to murdering Jerrell Jenkins, 36, in Pine Bluff on the same day he killed Hurd.

Greenwood’s widow and daughter bought plane tickets for Williams’ daughter and granddaughter to visit the prison before his scheduled execution.

According to an email distributed to the news media Thursday, Williams contacted freelance journalist Deborah Robinson on Thursday afternoon and provided an 1,808-word statement titled “Last Words.”

Williams credited the mother of Hurd and the daughter of Michael Greenwood with planting the seed so he could become a born-again Christian.

“I have been forever changed, forever grateful because of ‘Extreme Grace Unmerited,’” he wrote. “Amen.”

The Rev. Dewitt Hill, pastor of First Trinity Church of God in Pine Bluff, said he received a letter from Williams on Wednesday. In the letter, Williams wrote that he felt the execution was not going to happen, according to Hill, but if it did he was at peace. Williams wrote that he felt he was able to convert “most of the people on death row to God,” Hill said, adding that Williams had become a “student” of the Bible.

Boren’s niece, Terri Grimes, who attended Williams’ trial for the killing of her uncle, said she saw little remorse in him during that time.

“When I looked into his eyes during the trial, they were empty like he didn’t have a soul,” she told the Warren Eagle-Democrat. When I looked at them (his eyes) during the clemency hearings, they looked different.”

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Lastly I read today this article,Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: ‘Finger Lickin’ Good Fried Chicken’.” Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 4:48 PM: 

EXTREME GRACE UNMERITED! (Final Communication)

On the eve of my scheduled April 27th execution, the Light burned brighter than I’ve ever Known it to! Only once before did it blind me so. It first happened in 1999. I was the twenty year old defendant in a capital murder case where the death penalty was rolled out against me. Mrs. Williams (No relation to me), the mother of the late 19-year-old Dominique Hurd, whom I senselessly murdered, took the stand having suffered great loss, and she shared these words, “I forgive Kenneth Williams. My daughter, Dominique ‘Nikki’ Hurd, was a forgiven person.” She said, ”I do not wish for him to be put to death. His death won’t bring my daughter back.” She went on to say, ”I pray that before Kenneth Williams leaves this world he will give his heart to Jesus.” On the other hand, yet not without understanding, the father of Dominique was full of indignation. He wanted me to feel his pain. Pain was my Language. It was my thing. But what I couldn’t comprehend; what could not be reconciled in my mind, was this woman’s pure act of grace, Love, mercy, and forgiveness. For someone who had taken away her child from her in the worst of ways.

The light shined into the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5

Image result for dominique hurd arkansas Kayla Greenwood

  • LIFELONG BOND: Kayla Greenwood (right) and Jasmine Johnson at Arkansas prison Wednesday for Johnson’s meeting with her father, Death Row inmate Kenneth Williams.

That marvelous light that shined forth that day out of Mrs. Williams acted as a planted seed into the soil of my life. Years later it would yield something special and God-bred. And when I could not think such a greater act of kindness, Love, and forgiveness could be expressed, I stood corrected. Thanks to Kayla Greenwood. She’s the daughter of the late Michael Greenwood, a man whose death I caused. His daughter, Kayla Greenwood, was just a child when her father was taken in a car wreck caused by me after I escaped prison. I was serving a life without sentence for killing Dominique. After 17 years of imprisonment and being on death row for also killing Cecil Boren during my escape, away from my own now 21-year-old daughter and never having seen before granddaughter, my death sentence finally had an April 27th date. A wish that burned within me was to see again my child and grandchild, possibly for the final time; first and last time. It had been over 17 years since I last saw my four-year-old child.

PRISON MEETING: Kenneth Williams with his daughter Jasmine Johnson and granddaughter. - DEATH PENALTY ACTION/TWITTER

  • DEATH PENALTY ACTION/TWITTER
  • PRISON MEETING: Kenneth Williams with his daughter Jasmine Johnson and granddaughter

The word got out about my desire. The last person(s) I would have ever thought it possible answered my call. Kayla Greenwood, the daughter of the late Michael Greenwood, and her family reached out to prison officials. Kayla said, “I would like to speak with him on good terms and put closure between us and let him know my family and I forgive him. I would also like to pay for his daughter and granddaughter to go see him and want to figure out how I can get in contact with her to make it happen. I am not looking for anything else but closure and giving his daughter and granddaughter a chance I don’t get because I know how important it is.” Not only had this family forgiven me, which would have been going the extra mile, but within a short period of time they paid and arranged for my baby and grand babe to come to Arkansas from the West Coast to visit with me, which included picking them up from the airport and driving them to the prison over 40 miles away. We had the most amazing and heart-felt visit that left a former cold-blooded killer in tears of gratitude. Had officials permitted it, Kayla and I would have met with no objections from me. My heart has never known a greater deal of respect and admiration for another human being than for Kayla and her family, and Mrs. Williams, the mother of Dominique Hurd. I will also include my daughter Jasmine and son Marqevion for forgiving me for my abandonment and any shame I may have brought upon them because of my wrongs. If tomorrow be my last day here on earth, then Mrs. Williams’ prayer she made at my trial that I GIVE MY LIFE TO JESUS before I leave this world, would be answered. I have been forever changed, forever grateful because of ”Extreme Grace Unmerited.” Amen.

Min. Kenneth D. Williams
Arkansas Death Row
Death Watch

Adrian Rogers: The Simplicity of Salvation [#2221] (Audio)

The Simplicity of Salvation

Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Do you want to know how to be saved? Or want to know how you can tell others how to be saved? Then, let’s look at Romans 10:1-10:

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down from above: 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

The Righteousness That God Rejects
When a person tries to be righteous by keeping the Ten Commandments or by doing good deeds, God rejects that. Why would God do that? Because God is holy and man is sinful at his best. The best that we can do is not enough.

We don’t have what it takes to keep the Ten Commandments in our own strength. If you’re hanging over a fire by a chain of ten links and nine of them are forged steel and one of them is made of paper, how safe are you?

That’s the reason the Bible says if we should keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, we are guilty of all. God demands perfection and we just can’t supply it. Salvation is not a reward for the righteous; it is a gift for the guilty. Salvation is not a goal to be achieved; it is a gift to be received.


The Righteousness That God Reveals

Romans 1:17 says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The only righteousness that is acceptable to God is a gift of faith through His Son Jesus Christ.

You believe in who He says He is — the God made flesh who died and rose again for you to be reconciled to God. Then, you repent of your sins and confess Christ as Lord of your life.

If Jesus is not the Lord of your life, then He is not your Savior. Salvation is not a cafeteria line where we say, “Well, I believe I’ll have a little Savior today, but no Lordship. Thank you.” No! Jesus is Lord.

The Righteousness That God Requires
The only righteousness that God will accept is sinless perfection. And that was accomplished through His Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:21 says, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Do you know what it means to believe and confess that Jesus is Lord? It literally means that you agree with God. In this context, it also means that you will tell others about this confession. And that means you will not be ashamed. There are only two ways to be saved: If you live a sinless life (which no one has done, except Jesus) or you ask the Jesus to take the payment of your sin for you (which He did on the cross), and accept His righteousness on your behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Adrian Rogers – Simplicity of Salvation (1 4)

 

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Adrian Rogers: How to Be Saved and Know It [#1726] (Audio)

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER AND ADRIAN ROGERS ARE MY TWO SPIRITUAL HEROES BECAUSE THEY DEFENDED THE ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE!

Francis Schaeffer I remember like yesterday hearing my pastor Adrian Rogers in 1979 going through the amazing fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of the city of Tyre. In 1980 in my senior year (taught by Mark Brink) at Evangelical Christian High School, I watched the film series by Francis Schaeffer called WHATEVER HAPPENED […]

Evidence can be found in Archaeology that supports the historical accuracy of the Bible and here are some links posted here at www.thedailyhatch.org

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5) The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy. _________________________- Many people have questioned the accuracy of the Bible, but I […]

“Truth Tuesday” Is the Bible accurate or not?

Is the Bible true truth as Francis Schaeffer contended? Is It Biblically Proper to Seek Evidence for Creation? by John D. Morris, Ph.D. The Institute for Creation Research has become known for its attention to research. It’s important to recognize that we don’t try to “prove the Bible.” The Bible doesn’t need our help. Whether […]

 

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 127 C.J. van Rijsbergen, Dept of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, “Martin Rees said, ‘I am a non-believing Christian.’ I thought yeah that is exactly quite close to what I am. In other words, I understand and I accept the culture that we have has come out of Christianity, but just because I accept it and go along with it and admire it actually, doesn’t mean to say that I have to also believe in God”  

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif 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,

C. J. van Rijsbergen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cornelis Joost van Rijsbergen
C J van Rijsbergen.jpg

C. J. “Keith” van Rijsbergen
Born 1943
Rotterdam
Fields Information Retrieval
Institutions Monash University, University of Glasgow
Alma mater University of Western Australia,University of Cambridge

C. J. “Keith” van Rijsbergen FREng[1] (Cornelis Joost van Rijsbergen) (born 1943) is a professor of computer science and the leader of the Glasgow Information Retrieval Group based at the University of Glasgow. He is one of the founders of modern Information Retrieval and the author of the seminal monograph Information Retrieval and of the textbook The Geometry of Information Retrieval.

He was born in Rotterdam, and educated in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Namibia and Australia. His first degree is in mathematics from the University of Western Australia, and in 1972 he completed a PhD in computer science at the University of Cambridge. He spent three years lecturing in information retrieval and artificial intelligence at Monash University before returning to Cambridge to hold a Royal Society Information Research Fellowship. In 1980 he was appointed to the chair of computer science at University College Dublin; from there he moved in 1986 to Glasgow University. In 2003 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2004 he was awarded the Tony Kent Strix award. In 2004 he was appointed a Fellow[2] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[3] In 2006, he was awarded the Gerard Salton Award for Quantum haystacks. Since 2007 he has been Chairman of the Scientific Board of the Information Retrieval Facility.

In  the third video below in the 110th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of computer scientist Keith van Rijsbergen, pt. 1

Uploaded on Feb 9, 2010

An interview of the computer scientist Keith van Rijsbergen talking about his life and work; one of the pioneers of p

Interview of the computer scientist, Keith van Rijsbergen, pt. 2

Uploaded on Feb 9, 2010

An interview of the computer scientist Keith van Rijsbergen talking about his life and work; one of the pioneers of probabalistic searching. Interviewed by Alan Macfarlane in July 2009. For a higher quality, downlloadable version, with a summary, please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com

Below is the letter to him and I respond to his quote:

March 13, 2015

Prof. C.J. van Rijsbergen, c/o Dept of Computing Science, University of Glasgow,

Dear Dr. C.J. van Rijsbergen,

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

I really enjoyed listening to your interview by Alan Macfarlane. Dr. Macfarlane has done so many wonderful in-depth interviews and yours with him was very good too. I noticed that you were educated under Fred Hoyle at Cambridge and that you also were interested in Dostoyevsky at one time.

I have written several times in the past about  Dostoyevsky and have many posts about his works. William Lane Craig in his article, “The Absurdity of Life without God,” wrote:

Another apologetic based on the human predicament may be found in the magnificent novels of the great nineteenth-century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881). (May I add that I think the obsession of contemporary evangelicals with the writings of authors like C. S. Lewis to the neglect of writers like Dostoyevsky is a great shame? Dostoyevsky is a far, far grander writer.) The problem that tortured Dostoyevsky was the problem of evil: how can a good and loving God exist when the world is filled with so much suffering and evil? Dostoyevsky presented this problem in his works so persuasively, so poignantly, that certain passages of his, notably “The Grand Inquisitor” section from his Brothers Karamazov, are often reprinted in anthologies as classic statements of the problem of evil. As a result, some people are under the impression that Dostoyevsky was himself an atheist and that the viewpoint of the Grand Inquisitor is his own.

Actually, he sought to carry through a two-pronged defense of theism in the face of the problem of evil. Positively, he argued that innocent suffering may perfect character and bring one into a closer relation with God. Negatively, he tried to show that if the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in complete moral relativism, so that no act, regardless how dreadful or heinous, can be condemned by the atheist. To live consistently with such a view of life is unthinkable and impossible. Hence, atheism is destructive of life and ends logically in suicide.

Dostoyevsky’s magnificent novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov powerfully illustrate these themes. In the former a young atheist, convinced of moral relativism, brutally murders an old woman. Though he knows that on his presuppositions he should not feel guilty, nevertheless he is consumed with guilt until he confesses his crime and gives his life to God. The latter novel is the story of four brothers, one of whom murders their father because his atheist brother Ivan had told him that moral absolutes do not exist. Unable to live with the consequences of his own philosophical system, Ivan suffers a mental collapse. The remaining two brothers, one of whom is unjustly accused of the parricide and the other a young Russian orthodox priest, find in what they suffer the perfection of their character and a nearness to God.

Dostoyevsky recognizes that his response to atheism constitutes no positive proof of Christianity. Indeed, he rejects that there could be such. Men demand of Christ that he furnish them “bread and circuses,” but he refuses to do so. The decision to follow Christ must be made in loneliness and anxiety. Each person must face for himself the anguish of a world without God and in the solitude of his own heart give himself to God in faith….Finally, let’s look at the problem of purpose in life. Unable to live in an impersonal universe in which everything is the product of blind chance, atheists sometimes begin to ascribe personality and motives to the physical processes themselves. It is a bizarre way of speaking and represents a leap from the lower to the upper story. For example, the brilliant Russian physicists Zeldovich and Novikov, in contemplating the properties of the universe, ask, why did “Nature” choose to create this sort of universe instead of another? “Nature” has obviously become a sort of God-substitute, filling the role and function of God. Francis Crick halfway through his book The Origin of the Genetic Code begins to spell nature with a capital N and elsewhere speaks of natural selection as being “clever” and as “thinking” of what it will do. Sir Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer, attributes to the universe itself the qualities of God. For Carl Sagan the “Cosmos,” which he always spelled with a capital letter, obviously fills the role of a God-substitute. Though these men profess not to believe in God, they smuggle in a God-substitute through the back door because they cannot bear to live in a universe in which everything is the chance result of impersonal forces…Modern man no longer has any right to that support, since he rejects God. But in order to live purposefully, he makes a leap of faith to affirm a reason for living. 

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Here are a couple of more quotes from  -Sir Fred Hoyle, atheist, and a prominent astrophysicist of the 20th century.

“If you stir up simple nonorganic molecules like water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen cyanide with almost any form of intense energy … some of the molecules reassemble themselves into amino acids … demonstrated … byStanley Miller and Harold Urey. The … building blocks of proteins can therefore be produced by natural means. But this is far from proving that life could have evolved in this way. No one has shown that the correct arrangements of amino acids, like the orderings in enzymes, can be produced by this method. …. A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.” (Hoyle, F., “The Intelligent Universe,” Michael Joseph: London, 1983, pp.18-19).

“If one proceeds directly…in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterialists (life forms) with their amazing measure of order must be the outcome of intelligent design.”

Recently I noticed this comment by you:

Martin Rees said, “I am a non-believing Christian.” I thought yeah that is exactly quite close to what I am. In other words, I understand and I accept the culture that we have has come out of Christianity, but just because I accept it and go along with it and admire it actually, doesn’t mean to say that I have to also believe in God.  

Just like Charles Darwin you have come out this Christian culture and this exact quote made me think of you when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters because of what Darwin said on this same issue of intelligent design. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

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

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

Francis Schaeffer noted:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer commented:

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

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

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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

Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Francis Schaeffer observed:

Can you feel this man? He is in real agony. You can feel the whole of modern man in this tension with Darwin. My mind can’t accept that ultimate of chance, that the universe is a result of chance. He has said 3 or 4 times now that he can’t accept that it all happened by chance and then he will write someone else and say something different. How does he say this (about the mind of a monkey) and then put forth this grand theory? Wrong theory I feel but great just the same. Grand in the same way as when I look at many of the paintings today and I differ with their message but you must say the mark of the mannishness of man are one those paintings titanic-ally even though the message is wrong and this is the same with Darwin.  But how can he say you can’t think, you come from a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s conviction, so how can you trust me? Trust me here, but not there is what Darwin is saying. In other words it is very selective. 

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

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

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

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

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

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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

ADRIAN ROGERS NOTED IN HIS SERMON “The Cradle that Rocked the World“:

Sir Fred Hoyle, at the British Academy of Science—a leading mathematician, a leading astronomer—shook up a lot of people in the scientific community, when he said this—listen: “We must now admit to ourselves that the probability of life arising by chance, by evolution, is the same probability as throwing six on a die 5 million consecutive times.” Now, get a die, and begin to throw it; and, if you can throw six, it’ll land on six 5 million times in a row—that’s the probability that life could arise by spontaneous generation. He went on to say—this is Sir Fred Hoyle: “Let us be scientifically honest with ourselves. The probability of having life arise to greater and greater complexity in organization by chance is the same probability of having a tornado tear through a junkyard and form a 747 on the other end.” What is this great scientist saying? That random and impersonal chance does not create complexity in design— that’s what he’s saying.

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

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

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

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

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

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Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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Sitting COURT SIDE at college basketball game tonight reminded me of a sermon I heard on Easter at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH LITTLE ROCK!!!

Tonight I got to see  the Arkansas State Red Wolves at University of Arkansas Little Rock Trojans basketball game COURT SIDE. It an unique situation because we got the red carpet treatment with the concessions being delivered to our seats and the errant passes landing in our lap. Then when I got home I noticed Luke and I on the news. You can see us below on the right.  Luke has on  his red Razorback sweater and shorts and I am wearing my blue shirt behind the UALR player (white jersey) on the right side of the screen.

I told Luke, “It took me 55 years to get a seat COURT SIDE!” He responded, “Well, it took me 10 years.”

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This experience tonight reminded me of a sermon I heard on Easter.

 

On  Easter 2016 and at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard delivered the message THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING based on I Corinthians chapter 15 and I wanted to share a portion of that sermon with you today:

Image result for brandon barnard fellowship bible church

This day is the day that changes everything. The resurrection changes everything and that is why we are gathered here today to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ because it changes everything. HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED A LIFE CHANGING MOMENT? Have you ever had something unexpected happen in your world that really changed the whole experience for you?

Recently I took my son Caleb on a getaway weekend. It was a Father/Son Manhood weekend for us, one of the milestones we do here at Fellowship Bible Church.

We decided to go to San Antonio and a San Antonio Spurs game. It was the  same weekend that Star Wars was coming out. So I booked a hotel down at the River Walk. We fly down and went to Star Wars during the day and that evening we had trouble buying tickets to the San Antonio Spurs game but we dropped $200 on some seats pretty high up in the area.

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After taking selfies we go to the concession stand and as we are approaching the counter and all of a sudden a guy comes out of no where and says, “Hey, is it just you and your son tonite?”

I responded, “Yet it is.” He said, “How would you like to sit  COURT-SIDE?”

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My son’s eyes got as big as bowling balls. This guy says,  “My brother and his wife and I have season tickets and he is not going to be here tonite and if you want to sit court-side these tickets are yours. Merry Christmas.”

I was speechless. We follow this guy to our court-side seats.  We went from near the roof to court-side. My son Caleb was giving Hi-Fives to the LA Clipper players. It is a good seat when you have to tell the ref to move.

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My wife and Dad and everyone else is texting me, “We see you on TV every time down the court!” At one point the basketball comes out of bounds and I catch it and my son and I are [freaking out.]

The fans behind us tell us that with these tickets you get free access to the buffet and we could eat and drink all we wanted.

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At one point I looked down at the tickets they gave us and I saw the price and it was $1650 each ticket. My son Caleb said, “I don’t want this day to end!!”

We were blown away. It was a game changer. I was blown away that someone would give us that kind of opportunity.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it changed everything for us that evening.

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Today we are talking about something way bigger. Eternal life is at stake. Eternal destiny is on the line. Some of you are going to be blown away by the opportunity before you this Easter morning because the resurrection of Jesus Christ stands at the very heart of Christianity. If what we we are gathered here to celebrate did not happen then people need to pity us as believers.  They need to feel sorry for you and me more than anyone on earth because we have set our hopes firmly on a lie.

But if the resurrection really did happen, then we need to repent and we need to believe in Jesus and we need to rejoice that we have hope in this life and the life to come.

Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 13-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

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Do you believe in an afterlife or not? Would you agree that if the Bible is correct in regards to history then Jesus did rise from the grave? Let’s take a closer look at evidence concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

Many people  highly respected Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and he co-authored with Francis Schaeffer the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Below is a piece of evidence from that book.

 

 

Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Francis Schaeffer pictured above

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TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

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In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

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We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.

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Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 123 Will Provine, Evolution defender and debater Part A (Featured artist is Desmond Morris )

I was sad to learn of Dr. Provine’s death. William Ball “Will” Provine (February 19, 1942 – September 1, 2015) He grew up an evangelical in Tennessee which is the state that I grew up in, but when confronted by evolution he gave up his former beliefs in the Bible and embraced his new secular […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard, paleontologist, “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”

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Ken Edwards, Leicester, Genetics Dept, “As a biologist, having lived through Darwinism and the DNA revolution, it is now so clear to me that EVOLUTION and natural selection is a perfectly adequate explanation for the diversity of living form that we have; they clearly all share the same kind of information system and metabolic system; I don’t see any need to invoke a GOD who is active…but I may be wrong”

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments […]

“Truth Tuesday” Evolutionary dogma with the biblical message are doomed to undermine faith

The Scientific Age Published on Jul 24, 2012 Dr. Schaeffer’s sweeping epic on the rise and decline of Western thought and Culture Francis Schaeffer rightly noted, “These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis in content and also in their natural results….It is not just that they happen to bring forth different results, […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Robert Foley  is a British anthropologist, archaeologist, and academic, specializing in human evolution: “I go to Chapel but technically I am an agnostic in the Huxley sense, that one cannot be absolutely certain, but for all practical purposes I am an atheist”

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 Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto I have attempted to respond to all of […]

SCHAEFFER SUNDAY Review of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?   by Kevin Rhyne THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE

  ___________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below:   _________ ______________ ___________ 프란시스 쉐퍼 – 그러면 우리는 어떻게 살 것인가 introduction (Episode 1) How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer The clip above is from episode 9 THE AGE OF PERSONAL PEACE […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 93 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part B) Astrid Kirchherr is featured Photographer

In 1967 the Beatles had honored Stockhausen by putting his photo on the cover of their Sergeant Pepper [sic] album. When John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, Stockhausen said in a telephone interview: “Lennon often used to phone me. He was particularly fond of my Hymnen and Gesang der Jünglinge, and got many things […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 92 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part A) Featured photographer is John Loengard

Have you ever had the chance to contrast the music of Bach with that of the song Revolution 9 by the Beatles? Francis Schaeffer pointed out, “Bach as a Christian believed that there was resolution for the individual and for history. As the music that came out of the Biblical teaching of the Reformation was […]

“Truth Tuesday” Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on the “Absurdity of Life without God!!” Part 11(Conversation between Evolutionist Michael Ruse and William Lane Craig)

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicle, of 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, 8. Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 9A Verification of places in Gospel of John […]

“Truth Tuesday” Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on the “Absurdity of Life without God!!” Part 10 (Evolution’s time and chance impersonal universe is purposeless, but the alternative is God)

_________________ Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicle, of 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, 8. Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 9A Verification of places in Gospel of […]

________

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Daniel Dennett, Philosophy, Tufts University, “God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science”

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark BalaguerMahzarin Banaji Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerSean Carroll, Patricia ChurchlandPaul Churchland, Aaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Jared DiamondFrank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnAlan Dundes, Christian de Duve, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Sir Raymond FirthRobert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca Goldstein, A.C.GraylingDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyLisa Jardine, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanChristof Koch, Masatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane,  Rudolph A. Marcus, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul Perlmutter, Max PerutzHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongQuentin SkinnerRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

 

Daniel Dennett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett 2.jpg
Born Daniel Clement Dennett III
March 28, 1942 (age 74)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B.)
Hertford College, Oxford (D.Phil.)
Awards Jean Nicod Prize (2001)
Era 20th/21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of biology
Philosophy of science
Cognitive science
Free will
Notable ideas
Heterophenomenology
Intentional stance
Intuition pump
Multiple Drafts Model
Greedy reductionism
Cartesian theater
Signature
Daniel Dennett signature.svg

Daniel Clement Dennett III (born March 28, 1942)[1][2] is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.[3]

He is currently[when?] the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Dennett is an atheist and secularist, a member of the Secular Coalition for America advisory board,[4] and a member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. Dennett is referred to as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism“, along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.[5]

Dennett is a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal.[6]

Early life[edit]

Dennett was born on March 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Ruth Marjorie (née Leck) and Daniel Clement Dennett, Jr.[7][8] Dennett spent part of his childhood in Lebanon, where, during World War II, his father was a covert counter-intelligence agent with the Office of Strategic Services posing as a cultural attaché to the American Embassy in Beirut.[9] When he was five, his mother took him back to Massachusetts after his father died in an unexplained plane crash.[10] Dennett’s sister is the investigative journalist Charlotte Dennett.[9] Dennett says that he was first introduced to the notion of philosophy while attending summer camp at age 11, when a camp counselor said to him, “You know what you are, Daniel? You’re a philosopher.”[11]

Dennett graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1959, and spent one year at Wesleyan University before receiving his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Harvard University in 1963. At Harvard University he was a student of W. V. Quine. In 1965, he received his Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he studied under Gilbert Ryle and was a member of Christ Church college.

Dennett in 2008

Dennett describes himself as “an autodidact—or, more properly, the beneficiary of hundreds of hours of informal tutorials on all the fields that interest me, from some of the world’s leading scientists”.[12]

He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.[13] He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.[14] He was named 2004 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.[15]

In February 2010, he was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.[16]

In 2012, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize, an annual award for a person who has made an exceptional contribution to European culture, society or social science, “for his ability to translate the cultural significance of science and technology to a broad audience.”[17]

Free will[edit]

While he is a confirmed compatibilist on free will, in “On Giving Libertarians What They Say They Want”—Chapter 15 of his 1978 book Brainstorms,[18] Dennett articulated the case for a two-stage model of decision making in contrast to libertarian views.

The model of decision making I am proposing has the following feature: when we are faced with an important decision, a consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined, produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent’s final decision.[19]

While other philosophers have developed two-stage models, including William James, Henri Poincaré, Arthur Holly Compton, and Henry Margenau, Dennett defends this model for the following reasons:

  1. First … The intelligent selection, rejection, and weighing of the considerations that do occur to the subject is a matter of intelligence making the difference.
  2. Second, I think it installs indeterminism in the right place for the libertarian, if there is a right place at all.
  3. Third … from the point of view of biological engineering, it is just more efficient and in the end more rational that decision making should occur in this way.
  4. A fourth observation in favor of the model is that it permits moral education to make a difference, without making all of the difference.
  5. Fifth—and I think this is perhaps the most important thing to be said in favor of this model—it provides some account of our important intuition that we are the authors of our moral decisions.
  6. Finally, the model I propose points to the multiplicity of decisions that encircle our moral decisions and suggests that in many cases our ultimate decision as to which way to act is less important phenomenologically as a contributor to our sense of free will than the prior decisions affecting our deliberation process itself: the decision, for instance, not to consider any further, to terminate deliberation; or the decision to ignore certain lines of inquiry.

These prior and subsidiary decisions contribute, I think, to our sense of ourselves as responsible free agents, roughly in the following way: I am faced with an important decision to make, and after a certain amount of deliberation, I say to myself: “That’s enough. I’ve considered this matter enough and now I’m going to act,” in the full knowledge that I could have considered further, in the full knowledge that the eventualities may prove that I decided in error, but with the acceptance of responsibility in any case.[20]

Leading libertarian philosophers such as Robert Kane have rejected Dennett’s model, specifically that random chance is directly involved in a decision, on the basis that they believe this eliminates the agent’s motives and reasons, character and values, and feelings and desires. They claim that, if chance is the primary cause of decisions, then agents cannot be liable for resultant actions. Kane says:

[As Dennett admits,] a causal indeterminist view of this deliberative kind does not give us everything libertarians have wanted from free will. For [the agent] does not have complete control over what chance images and other thoughts enter his mind or influence his deliberation. They simply come as they please. [The agent] does have some control after the chance considerations have occurred.

But then there is no more chance involved. What happens from then on, how he reacts, is determined by desires and beliefs he already has. So it appears that he does not have control in the libertarian sense of what happens after the chance considerations occur as well. Libertarians require more than this for full responsibility and free will.[21]

Evolutionary debate[edit]

Much of Dennett’s work since the 1990s has been concerned with fleshing out his previous ideas by addressing the same topics from an evolutionary standpoint, from what distinguishes human minds from animal minds (Kinds of Minds), to how free will is compatible with a naturalist view of the world (Freedom Evolves).

Dennett sees evolution by natural selection as an algorithmic process (though he spells out that algorithms as simple as long division often incorporate a significant degree of randomness).[24] This idea is in conflict with the evolutionary philosophy of paleontologistStephen Jay Gould, who preferred to stress the “pluralism” of evolution (i.e., its dependence on many crucial factors, of which natural selection is only one).

Dennett’s views on evolution are identified as being strongly adaptationist, in line with his theory of the intentional stance, and the evolutionary views of biologist Richard Dawkins. In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dennett showed himself even more willing than Dawkins to defend adaptationism in print, devoting an entire chapter to a criticism of the ideas of Gould. This stems from Gould’s long-running public debate with E. O. Wilson and other evolutionary biologists over human sociobiology and its descendant evolutionary psychology, which Gould and Richard Lewontin opposed, but which Dennett advocated, together with Dawkins and Steven Pinker.[25] Strong disagreements have been launched against Dennett from Gould and his supporters, who allege that Dennett overstated his claims and misrepresented Gould’s to reinforce what Gould describes as Dennett’s “Darwinian fundamentalism”.[26]

Dennett’s theories have had a significant influence on the work of evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller.

An account of religion and morality[edit]

In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dennett writes that evolution can account for the origin of morality. He rejects the idea of the naturalistic fallacy as the idea that ethics is in some free-floating realm, writing that the fallacy is to rush from facts to values.

In his 2006 book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Dennett attempts to account for religious belief naturalistically, explaining possible evolutionary reasons for the phenomenon of religious adherence. In this book he declares himself to be “a bright“, and defends the term.

He has been doing research into clerics who are secretly atheists and how they rationalize their works. He found what he called a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” conspiracy because believers did not want to hear of loss of faith. That made unbelieving preachers feel isolated but they did not want to lose their jobs and sometimes their church-supplied lodgings and generally consoled themselves that they were doing good in their pastoral roles by providing comfort and required ritual.[27] The research, with Linda LaScola, was further extended to include other denominations and non-Christian clerics.[28]

Other philosophical views[edit]

He has also written about and advocated the notion of memetics as a philosophically useful tool, most recently in his “Brains, Computers, and Minds”, a three-part presentation through Harvard’s MBB 2009 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dennett has been critical of postmodernism, having said:

Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.[29]

Dennett adopted and somewhat redefined the term “deepity”, originally coined by Miriam Weizenbaum[30] (daughter of computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum). Dennett used “deepity” for a statement that is apparently profound, but is actually trivial on one level and meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has two (or more) meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound and would be important if true, but is actually false or meaningless. Examples are “Que sera sera!”, “Beauty is only skin deep!”, “The power of intention can transform your life.”[31] The term has been cited many times.

Personal life[edit]

Dennett married Susan Bell in 1962.[32] They live in North Andover, Massachusetts, and have a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.[33] He is an avid sailor.[34]

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]

In  the first video below in the 49th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

January 12, 2017

Dear Dr. Dennett,

I know how busy you are so I am going to make this as short as possible.

I know that you are good friends with Richard Dawkins and I have noticed how many times he quotes you in his books.  It just so happens that I have just got finishing reading back to back his books, The God DelusionAn Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, and Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science. I also recently enjoyed watching you on Jonathan Miller’s BBC program Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief.  Francis Schaeffer used to quote Jonathan Miller back in the 1960’s during his teachings at L ‘Abri.

Today I wanted respond to an assertion you made in the very popular You Tube series, 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1):

God is definitely beyond the verification process of science. God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science.  The classic adaptation of religion is to create this gulf so that science can’t get anywhere near God. That is true, but science can understand that very fact.

Let me give 4 short responses.

 

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. Back on July 8, 2014 I mailed you a letter that went into this further and the interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector and there was a proposition I made to the FELLOWS of CSICOP concerning that in the 1990’s and I assume you were one of the individuals I contacted back then. I was very honored that many of the them replied (including Antony Flew and Carl Sagan).

SECOND, let me recommend a book  by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, called Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists.

THIRD, John Piippo responds to your assertion by quoting Alvin Plantinga. As you know  Plantinga wants to show that there is no good reason to think Christian belief is unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted unless it can be shown that Christian beliefs are false.

John Piippo in his article 50 Renowned Academics (Atheists) Speaking About God – A Review, (August 05, 2011) noted:

  1. Daniel Dennett (philosophy)

God cannot be scientifically verified. The God of theism is “protected from disproof” because it is defined as “beyond science.” This is an interesting point, and one that can be responded to. See, e.g., Plantinga, who takes the discussion into the arena of “properly basic beliefs.

FOURTH,  there is plenty of evidence from archaeology showing the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. You stated, “God is definitely beyond the verification process of science.” However, what about the events in the Bible which claim to be the works of God? Can they be tested by a examination of the historical and archaeological records?  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.,

I have also responded to your statement today in a more lengthy way on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org in the post RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Daniel Dennett, Philosophy, Tufts University, “God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science.” I hope you take time to take a look. By the way this series was started because your friend HARRY KROTO is the one who referred me to the You Tube video series that featured your quote!!!

Thank you again  for your time.

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

PS: Today I checked out of the library your book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, and two years ago I read  Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), and just year I listened to the audio book  On The Origin Of The Species (Charles/Francis Darwin) Narrated by Professor. Richard Dawkins, Ph.D., So I trying to try and understand your point of view too.

Darwin age 30
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin in midlife
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin close to the end of his life

Daniel C. Dennett,
Tufts University
Medford, MA

July 8, 2014

Dear Dr. Dennett,

Recently I read these words that were attributed to you, “There are two ways of looking at the source of meaning there’s the old-fashioned way, which is the trickle-down theory of meaning. Our lives can’t have meaning unless we’re the lesser products of something even more meaningful than we are…The other way of looking at it is the bubble-up theory of meaning, which is that the universe starts off without meaning and there really is no point to it, but it’s possible for life to evolve and it does. We eventually show up–and we are meaning-makers and we care…”

Solomon took a long look at finding meaning in life “under the sun” in the Book of Ecclesiastes without God and he found that it was impossible to be a “meaning-maker” without God in the picture. More on that later.

I noticed that you are on the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and that prompted me to send this material to you today.

A couple of months ago I mailed you a letter that contained correspondence I had with Antony Flew and Carl Sagan and I also included some of the material I had sent them from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer. Did you have a chance to listen to the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? CD yet? I also wanted to let know some more about about Francis Schaeffer. Ronald Reagan said of Francis Schaeffer, “He will long be remembered as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century, with a childlike faith and a profound compassion toward others. It can rarely be said of an individual that his life touched many others and affected them for the better; it will be said of Francis Schaeffer that his life touched millions of souls and brought them to the truth of their creator.”

Thirty years ago the christian philosopher and author Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) died and on the 10th anniversary of his passing in 1994 I wrote a number of the top evolutionists, humanists and atheistic scholars in the world and sent them a story about Francis Schaeffer in 1930 when he left agnosticism and embraced Christianity. I also sent them  a cassette tape with the title “Four intellectual bridges evolutionists can’t cross” by Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) and some of the top  scholars who corresponded with me since that time include Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), (Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), and Michael Martin (1932-).

The truth is that I am an evangelical Christian and I have enjoyed developing relationships with skeptics and humanists over the years. Back in 1996 I took my two sons who were 8  and 10 yrs old back then to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey and we had dinner one night with Herbert A. Tonne, who was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. The Late Professor John George who has written books for Prometheus Press was my good friend during the last 10 years of his life. (I still miss him today.) We often ate together and were constantly talking on the phone and writing letters to one another.

It is a funny story how I met Dr. George. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.

In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma political science department and coauthor (with Paul Boller Jr.) of the book THEY NEVER SAID IT! set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A LIFE OF WASHINGTON by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.

After reading THEY NEVER SAID IT! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, responded by providing me with their “unconfirmed  quote” list which contained a dozen quotes widely used by the religious right.

Sadly some of the top leaders of my own religious right have failed to take my encouragement to stop using these quotes and they have either claimed that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive or they defended their own method of research and claimed the secondary sources were adequate.

I have enclosed that same CD by Adrian Rogers that I sent 20 years ago although the second half does include a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

In the first 3 minutes of the CD is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” In the letter 20 years ago I gave some of the key points Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

I later learned this book of Ecclesiastes was Richard Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible. 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.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. 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.” No wonder Ecclesiastes is Richard Dawkins’ favorite book of the Bible! 

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. (E.O.Wilson has marveled at Solomon’s scientific knowledge of ants that was only discovered in the 1800’s.) Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

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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You are an atheist and you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

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.

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).

_____________________________________

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.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes 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.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Now on to the other topic I wanted to discuss with you today. I wanted to write you today for one reason. IS THERE A GOOD CHANCE THAT DEEP DOWN IN YOUR CONSCIENCE  you have repressed the belief in your heart that God does exist and IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THIS DEEP BELIEF OF YOURS CAN BE SHOWN THROUGH A LIE-DETECTOR? (Back in the late 1990’s I had the opportunity to correspond with over a dozen members of CSICOP on just this very issue.)

I have a good friend who is a street preacher who preaches on the Santa Monica Promenade in California and during the Q/A sessions he does have lots of atheists that enjoy their time at the mic. When this happens he  always quotes Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). Then he  tells the atheist that the atheist already knows that God exists but he has been suppressing that knowledge in unrighteousness. This usually infuriates the atheist.

My friend draws some large crowds at times and was thinking about setting up a lie detector test and see if atheists actually secretly believe in God. He discussed this project with me since he knew that I had done a lot of research on the idea about 20 years ago.

Nelson Price in THE EMMANUEL FACTOR (1987) tells the story about Brown Trucking Company in Georgia who used to give polygraph tests to their job applicants. However, in part of the test the operator asked, “Do you believe in God?” In every instance when a professing atheist answered “No,” the test showed the person to be lying. My pastor Adrian Rogers used to tell this same story to illustrate Romans 1:19 and it was his conclusion that “there is no such thing anywhere on earth as a true atheist. If a man says he doesn’t believe in God, then he is lying. God has put his moral consciousness into every man’s heart, and a man has to try to kick his conscience to death to say he doesn’t believe in God.”

It is true that polygraph tests for use in hiring were banned by Congress in 1988.  Mr and Mrs Claude Brown on Aug 25, 1994  wrote me a letter confirming that over 15,000 applicants previous to 1988 had taken the polygraph test and EVERYTIME SOMEONE SAID THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, THE MACHINE SAID THEY WERE LYING.

It had been difficult to catch up to the Browns. I had heard about them from Dr. Rogers’ sermon but I did not have enough information to locate them. Dr. Rogers referred me to Dr. Nelson Price and Dr. Price’s office told me that Claude Brown lived in Atlanta. After writing letters to all 9 of the entries for Claude Brown in the Atlanta telephone book, I finally got in touch with the Browns.

Adrian Rogers also pointed out that the Bible does not recognize the theoretical atheist.  Psalms 14:1: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Dr Rogers notes, “The fool is treating God like he would treat food he did not desire in a cafeteria line. ‘No broccoli for me!’ ” In other words, the fool just doesn’t want God in his life and is a practical atheist, but not a theoretical atheist. Charles Ryrie in the The Ryrie Study Bible came to the same conclusion on this verse.

Here are the conclusions of the experts I wrote in the secular world concerning the lie detector test and it’s ability to get at the truth:

Professor Frank Horvath of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University has testified before Congress concerning the validity of the polygraph machine. He has stated on numerous occasions that “the evidence from those who have actually been affected by polygraph testing in the workplace is quite contrary to what has been expressed by critics. I give this evidence greater weight than I give to the most of the comments of critics” (letter to me dated October 6, 1994).

There was no better organization suited to investigate this claim concerning the lie detector test than the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This organization changed their name to the Committe for Skeptical Inquiry in 2006. This organization includes anyone who wants to help debunk the whole ever-expanding gamut of misleading, outlandish, and fraudulent claims made in the name of science. I AM WRITING YOU TODAY BECAUSE YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CSICOP.

I read The Skeptical Review(publication of CSICOP) for several years during the 90’s and I would write letters to these scientists about taking this project on and putting it to the test.  Below are some of  their responses (15 to 20 years old now):

1st Observation: Religious culture of USA could have influenced polygraph test results.
ANTONY FLEW  (formerly of Reading University in England, now deceased, in a letter to me dated 8-11-96) noted, “For all the evidence so far available seems to be of people from a culture in which people are either directly brought up to believe in the existence of God or at least are strongly even if only unconsciously influenced by those who do. Even if everyone from such a culture revealed unconscious belief, it would not really begin to show that — as Descartes maintained— the idea of God is so to speak the Creator’s trademark, stamped on human souls by their Creator at their creation.”

2nd Observation: Polygraph Machines do not work. JOHN R. COLE, anthropologist, editor, National Center for Science Education, Dr. WOLF RODER, professor of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Dr. SUSAN BLACKMORE,Dept of Psychology, University of the West of England, Dr. CHRISTOPHER C. FRENCH, Psychology Dept, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Dr.WALTER F. ROWE, The George Washington University, Dept of Forensic Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

3rd Observation: The sample size probably was not large enough to apply statistical inference. (These gentlemen made the following assertion before I received the letter back from Claude Brown that revealed that the sample size was over 15,000.) JOHN GEOHEGAN, Chairman of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, Dr. WOLF RODER, and Dr WALTER F. ROWE (in a letter dated July 12, 1994) stated, “The polygraph operator for Brown Trucking Company has probably examined only a few hundred or a few thousand job applicants. I would surmise that only a very small number of these were actually atheists. It seems a statistically insignificant (and distinctly nonrandom) sampling of the 5 billion human beings currently inhabiting the earth. Dr. Nelson Price also seems to be impugning the integrity of anyone who claims to be an atheist in a rather underhanded fashion.”

4th Observation: The question (Do you believe in God?)  was out of place and it surprised the applicants. THOMAS GILOVICH, psychologist, Cornell Univ., Dr. ZEN FAULKES, professor of Biology, University of Victoria (Canada), ROBERT CRAIG, Head of Indiana Skeptics Organization, Dr. WALTER ROWE, 
 
5th Observation: Proof that everyone believes in God’s existence does not prove that God does in fact exist. PAUL QUINCEY, Nathional Physical Laboratory,(England), Dr. CLAUDIO BENSKI, Schneider Electric, CFEPP, (France),
6th Observation: Both the courts and Congress recognize that lie-detectors don’t work and that is why they were banned in 1988.  (Governments and the military still use them.)
Dr WALTER ROWE, KATHLEEN M. DILLION, professor of Psychology, Western New England College.
7th Observation:This information concerning Claude Brown’s claim has been passed on to us via a tv preacher and eveybody knows that they are untrustworthy– look at their history. WOLF RODER.
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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.”
Gene Emery, science writer for Providence Journal-Bulletin is a past winner of the CSICOP “Responsibility in Journalism Award” and he had the best suggestion of all when he suggested, “Actually, if you want to make a good case about whether Romans 1:19 is true, arrange to have a polygraph operator (preferably an atheist or agnostic) brought to the next CSICOP meeting. (I’m not a member of CSICOP, by the way, so I can’t give you an official invitation or anything.) If none of the folks at that meeting can convince the machine that they truly believe in God, maybe there is, in fact, an innate willingness to believe in God.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTIONS TO ADD TO THESE 7 OBSERVATIONS THAT I GOT 15 YEARS AGO? Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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BBC The Atheism Tapes – Daniel Dennett

 

Summary of Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology

W.K. Clifford once said that “it is wrong always and everywhere to believe something on insufficient evidence.” This is the heart of evidentialsim or theological rationalism. And it is precisely this view that Alvin Plantinga (AP) challenges with his reformed epistemology which develops a model of “warranted Christian belief”. He has two projects: one public and one Christian.

Public Project – Plantinga first distinguishes between de facto objections (aimed at showing the Christian faith to be false) and de jure objections (those aimed at undermining Christian belief even if true). Even though these can be distinguished, AP thinks argues that in the cases of Christian theistic belief there is no de jure objection independent of a de facto objection.

de jure to Theistic belief – According to the evidentialist, even if it is true that God exists, one is unjustified and irrational for believing this apart from evidence. Only beliefs that are properly basic (those that are self-evident or incorrigible) or inferred from properly basic beliefs do not require evidence. But AP wants to ask why belief in God can’t be a properly basic belief? For he sees no good reason to exclude this possibility. First, there are other things we believe without evidence that we seem entirely justified in doing so without appealing to evidence (i.e., the world is older than five minutes). Second, what evidence is there that only propositions that are self evident and incorrigible are properly basic? The theory fails its own test. So there is no reason to exclude the possibility of belief in God being Properly Basic.

AP argues that Christians are not only within their epistemic rights (Justification) in believing God exists, but also that they can know (Warranted) apart from evidence. The key to Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology is warrant, “the property which turns mere true belief into knowledge when possessed in sufficient degree.” Justification, on AP’s view, is fairly easy to come by—it’s warrant that is important for knowledge. AP appropriates Calvin’s Sensus Divinitatis (or sense of the divine) in order describe the appropriate circumstances / faculty that form the belief that God exists in people. It is within this context that he offers his four criteria for warrant: 1) the cognitive faculties of the person are functioning properly 2) the cognitive environment is appropriate 3) the purpose of the epistemic faculty is aimed at producing true beliefs. 4) the objective probability of a beliefs being true is high. According to AP then, belief in God is properly basic with respect to warrant if God exists. But then the issue of God’s existence is no longer epistemic, but metaphysical or theological (enter arguments from Natural Theology). There is then no de jure objection to theistic belief.

de jure to Christianity – What about to specifically Christian Theism? AP expands his model to include the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Due to humanity’s fall into sin, there have been disastrous cognitive and affective consequences. So if Christianity is true then belief in it is warranted in the same way mentioned above because belief is produced by the H.S.

Great Pumpkin Objectionsthe strongest objection to the public project is that it leads to radical relativism. For example, why could Linus’s belief in the Great Pumpkin not be properly basic for him? AP grants that Linus could be justified in his belief, but so what? He is still being lied to—so he possesses no warrant. Moreover, if Christian epistemologists can have belief in God be properly basic for them, then why not voodoo epistemologists? Again, AP will concede that they can within their epistemic rights (justified), but not warranted. So the Son of the Great Pumpkin Objection Fails. At most, all these objections show is that there is no de jure objection to theistic belief in general (e.g., Muslims). That will have to be settled dependent on how successful de facto arguments are against specific religious beliefs.

The Christian Projectwhile AP’s public project has been successful, his Christian project might need some modification. AP only offers thin evidence here, and his suggestion that if the Christian God exists, then he would want us to know him and would have provided a way for that to occur isn’t a statement that a Christian evidentialist would disagree with. So more insight from Scripture and experience is needed in order to explicate a Christian model of warranted Christian belief. Since the Sensus Divinitatis and the testimony of the H.S. are experientially indistinguishable, we ought to use the testimony of the H.S. (Rom. 8:16) because of Scripture. Also, the H.S. being described as a cognitive faculty outside of people that forms belief in them is off base. Rather, the H.S. is better seen as a form of testimony that provides the appropriate circumstances for a properly basic belief to be formed.

Overall, Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology is a helpful (and many think successful) theory of explaining warranted Christian belief.

For more, see Warranted Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga (Oxford University Press).

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist, “There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.” (Post includes portion of my 5-15-94 letter to him)

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Christian de Duve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christian de Duve
Christian de Duve.tif

de Duve lecturing on the origin of the eukaryotic cell in October 2012
Born Christian René Marie Joseph de Duve
2 October 1917
Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain
Died 4 May 2013 (aged 95)
Grez-Doiceau, Belgium
Residence Belgium
Citizenship Belgian
Nationality Belgium
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege
  • Catholic University of Leuven
Known for Cell organelles
Notable awards
Spouse Janine Herman (m. 1943; d. 2008)
Children
  • Two sons, two daughters:
  • Thierry de Duve
  • Alain de Duve
  • Anne de Duve
  • Françoise de Duve

Dutch Queen Beatrix meets 5 Nobel Prize winners: Paul Berg, Christian de Duve, Steven Weinberg, Manfred Eigen, Nicolaas Bloembergen (1983)

Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve (2 October 1917 – 4 May 2013) was a Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist.[2][3] He made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade (“for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell”).[4] In addition to peroxisome and lysosome, he invented the scientific names such as autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in a single occasion.[5][6][7][8][9]

A son of Belgian refugees during the First World War, de Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain.[10] His family returned to Belgium in 1920. He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, and studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven. Upon earning his MD in 1941, he joined research in chemistry, working on insulin and its role in diabetes mellitus. His thesis earned him the highest university degree agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (equivalent to PhD) in 1945. With his work on the purification of penicillin, he obtained an MSc degree in 1946. He went for further training under (later Nobel Prize winners) Hugo Theorell at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Carl and Gerti Cori at the Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of medicine at Leuven in 1947. In 1960 he was invited to the Rockfeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). With mutual arrangement with Leuven, he became professor in both universities from 1962, dividing his time between Leuven and New York. He became emeritus professor of Leuven university in 1985, and of Rockefeller in 1988.

De Duve was decorated with Viscount in 1989 by King Baudouin of Belgium. He was also a recipient of Francqui Prize, Gairdner Foundation International Award, Heineken Prize, and E. B. Wilson Medal. In 1974 he founded the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, eventually renamed the de Duve Institute in 2005. He was the founding President of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science.[11]

He died on 4 May (Saturday) 2013 by self-induced euthanasia in the presence of all of his children.[12]

Early life and education[edit]

De Duve was born of a shopkeeper Alphonse de Duve and wife Madeleine Pungs in the village of Thames Ditton, near London. His parents fled Belgium at the outbreak of the First World War. After the war in 1920, at age three, he and his family returned to Belgium. He was a precocious boy, always the best student (primus perpetuus as he recalled) in school, except for one year when he was pronounced “out of competition” to give chance to other students.[2] He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, before studying at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1934.[13] He wanted to specialize in endocrinology and joined the laboratory of the Belgian physiologist Joseph P. Bouckaert. During his last year at medical school in 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium. He was drafted to the Belgian army, and posted in southern France as medical officer. There, he was almost immediately taken as prisoner of war by Germans. But fortunate of his ability to speak fluent German and Flemish, he outwitted his captors and escaped back to Belgium. (The adventure he later described as “more comical than heroic”.)[14] He immediately continued his medical course, and obtained his MD in 1941 from Leuven. His primary research was on insulin and its role in glucose metabolism. He made an initial discovery that a commercial preparation of insulin was contaminated with another pancreatic hormone, the insulin antagonist glucagon. However, laboratory supplies at Leuven were in shortage, he therefore enrolled in a programme to earn a degree in chemistry at the Cancer Institute. His research on insulin was summed up in a 400-page book titled Glucose, Insuline et Diabète (Glucose, Insulin and Diabetes) published in 1945, simultaneously in Brussels and Paris. The book was condensed into a technical dissertation which earned him the most advanced degree at the university level agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (an equivalent of a doctorate – he called it “a sort of glorified Ph.D.”) in 1945.[14] His thesis was followed by a number of scientific publications.[15] He subsequently obtained MSc in chemistry in 1946, for which he worked on the purification of penicillin.[16][17] To enhance his skill in biochemistry, he trained in the laboratory of Hugo Theorell (who later won The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1955) at the Nobel Medical Institute in Stockholm for 18 months during 1946-1947. In 1947 he received a financial assistance as Rockefeller Foundation fellow and worked for six months with Carl and Gerti Cori‘s at Washington University in St. Louis (the husband and wife were joint winners of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947).[18]

Career and research[edit]

In March 1947 de Duve joined the faculty of the medical school of the Catholic University of Leuven teaching physiological chemistry. In 1951 he became full professor. In 1960 Detlev Bronk, the then president of the Rockfeller Institute (what is now Rockefeller University) of New York City, met him at Brussels and offered him professorship and a laboratory. The rector of Leuven, afraid of entirely losing de Duve, made a compromise over dinner that de Duve would still be under part-time appointment with a relief from teaching and conducting examinations. The rector and Bronk made an agreement which would intilally last for five years. The official implementation was in 1962, and de Duve simultaneously headed the research laboratories at Leuven and at Rockefeller University, dividing his time between New York and Leuven.[19] In 1969 the Leuven university was split into two separate universities. He joined the French-speaking side of Université catholique de Louvain. He took emeritus status at Université catholique de Louvain in 1985 and at Rockefeller in 1988, though he continued to conduct research. Among other subjects, he studied the distribution of enzymes in rat liver cells using rate-zonal centrifugation. His work on cell fractionation provided an insight into the function of cell structures. He specialized in subcellular biochemistry and cell biology and discovered new cell organelles.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Personal life[edit]

De Duve was brought up as a Roman Catholic. In his later years he tended towards agnosticism, if not strict atheism.[67][68] However, de Duve also thought that “Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

De Duve married Janine Herman on 30 September 1943. Together they had had two sons, Thierry and Alain, and two daughters, Anne and Françoise. Janine died in 2008, aged 86.[16]

Death[edit]

De Duve died on 4 May 2013, at his home in Nethen, Belgium, at the age of 95. He decided to end his life by legal euthanasia, performed by two doctors before his four children. He had been long suffering from cancer and atrial fibrillation, and his health problems were exacerbated by a recent fall in his home. He is survived by two sons and two daughters; two brothers, Pierre and Daniel; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.[73][74][75]

De Duve was cremated as he had willed, and his ashes were distributed among family members and friends.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

De Duve won the Francqui Prize for Biological and Medical Sciences in 1960, and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974. King Baudouin of Belgium honoured him to Viscount in 1989.[16] He was the recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award in 1967, and the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1973 from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1975. He won the Harden Medal of the Biochemical Society of Great Britain in 1978; the Theobald Smith Award from the Albany Medical College in 1981; the Jimenez Diaz Award in 1985; the Innovators of Biochemistry Award from Medical College of Virginia in 1986; and the E. B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology in 1989.[76] He was also a member of the Royal Academies of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Arts, and of Literature of Belgium; the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the French National Academy of Medicine; the Academy of Sciences of Paris; the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina; the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1988.[1] In addition, he received honorary doctorates from eighteen universities around the world.[18]

Legacy[edit]

De Duve founded a multidisciplinary biomedical research institute at Université catholique de Louvain in 1974, called the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP), and later renamed “de Duve Institute.”[77] He remained its president until 1991. On his 80th birthday in 1997 it was renamed the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology. In 2005 it was further contracted to simply the de Duve Institute.[78]

De Duve was one of the founding members of the Belgian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, established on 15 September 1951.[79]

De Duve is remembered as an inventor of important scientific terminology. He coined the word lysosome in 1955, peroxisome in 1966, and autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in one instance at the Ciba Foundation Symposium on Lysosomes held in London during 12–14 February 1963, while he, “was in a word-coining mood.”[21][80]

De Duve’s life, including his work resulting in a Nobel Prize, and his passion for biology is the subject of a documentary film Portrait of a Nobel Prize: Christian de Duve (Portrait de Nobel : Christian de Duve), directed by Aurélie Wijnants. It was first aired on Eurochannel in 2012.[81]

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In  the third video below in the 144th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

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Quote from Christian de Duve in the film series “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)” and my response below ( Original interview was in 2005 and was conducted by Harry Kroto at the annual Lindau meeting):

Of course, I fully agree with you and I think with most of my fellow scientists. There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.   And so obviously as a scientist and being brought up as a Catholic I could not safely continue accepting the teaching of the church. 

Let me make two observations here.

FIRST, I think a person needs to take time examine the historical accuracy of the Bible. If the Bible is true then history and historical records should have something to say about that.

Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 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.,

SECOND, if there is no lasting meaning to life then CHANCE RULES. Let me discuss that a little more below.

Christian de Duve was very critical of Creationism!!!

Chrisian de Duve was a very sharp critic of creationism even though he grew up in a family that who were committed Catholics. In the Wikipedia article cited above we read these words:

“Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

I do want to salute him for at least taking a careful look and seeing that there were clearly two different paths we can take philosophically. We can either realize that the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Or we have to say that it is all by CHANCE. Below are the words of Christian de Duve: 

“The answer of modern molecular biology to this much-debated question is categorical: chance, and chance alone, did it all, from primeval soup to man, with only natural selection to sift its effects. This affirmation now rests on overwhelming factual evidence.”

A Guided Tour Of The Living Cell, Volume Two, Page 357
Scientific American Library, 1984

Portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Christian de Duve

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr.Christian de Duve  was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

Evolution Fact of Fiction Adrian Rogers (same message I put on cassette tape back in 1994)

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Theory of Evolution Destroyed!!

 

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

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.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. 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.”

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

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.

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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Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. 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 and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  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.

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 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.  Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!!  Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist, Cal Tech, “I can’t believe the special stories that have been made up… because they seem to be be too simple, too local, too provincial”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark BalaguerMahzarin Banaji Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerSean Carroll, Patricia ChurchlandPaul Churchland, Aaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Jared DiamondFrank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnAlan Dundes, Christian de Duve, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Sir Raymond FirthRobert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca Goldstein, A.C.GraylingDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyLisa Jardine, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanChristof Koch, Masatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane,  Rudolph A. Marcus, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul Perlmutter, Max PerutzHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongQuentin SkinnerRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Richard Feynman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Feynman” redirects here. For other uses, see Feynman (disambiguation).
Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman Nobel.jpg
Born Richard Phillips Feynman
May 11, 1918
Queens, New York, U.S.
Died February 15, 1988 (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, Altadena, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Cornell University
California Institute of Technology
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Thesis The Principle of Least Action in Quantum Mechanics (1942)
Doctoral advisor John Archibald Wheeler
Doctoral students
Other notable students
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Arline Greenbaum (m. 1941; d. 1945)
Mary Louise Bell (m. 1952–56)
Gweneth Howarth (m. 1960)
Children Carl Feynman
Michelle Feynman
Signature

Richard Phillips Feynman (/ˈfnmən/; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin’ichirō Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.

Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.[1]

He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II and became known to a wide public in the 1980s as a member of the Rogers Commission, the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. He held the Richard C. Tolmanprofessorship in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

Feynman was a keen popularizer of physics through both books and lectures, including a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and the three-volume publication of his undergraduate lectures, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Feynman also became known through his semi-autobiographical books Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? and books written about him, such as Tuva or Bust! and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick.

Early life[edit]

Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918, in Queens, New York City,[2] to Lucille née Phillips, a homemaker, and Melville Arthur Feynman, a sales manager,[3] originally from Minsk in Belarus,[4] in those days part of the Russian Empire; both were Ashkenazi Jews.[5] They were not religious, and by his youth, Feynman described himself as an “avowed atheist“.[6] He also stated “To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory”, and adding, “at thirteen I was not only converted to other religious views, but I also stopped believing that the Jewish people are in any way ‘the chosen people‘.”[7] Later in his life, during a visit to the Jewish Theological Seminary, he encountered the Talmud for the first time and remarked that it contained a medieval kind of reasoning and was a wonderful book.[8]

Like Albert Einstein and Edward Teller, Feynman was a late talker, and by his third birthday had yet to utter a single word. He retained a Brooklyn accent as an adult.[9][10] That accent was thick enough to be perceived as an affectation or exaggeration[11][12] – so much so that his good friends Wolfgang Pauli and Hans Bethe once commented that Feynman spoke like a “bum”.[11] The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking, and who was always ready to teach Feynman something new. From his mother, he gained the sense of humor that he had throughout his life. As a child, he had a talent for engineering, maintained an experimental laboratory in his home, and delighted in repairing radios. When he was in grade school, he created a home burglar alarm system while his parents were out for the day running errands.[13]

When Richard was five years old, his mother gave birth to a younger brother, Henry Philips, who died at four weeks of age on February 25, 1924.[14] Four years later, Richard’s sister Joan was born, and the family moved to Far Rockaway, Queens.[3] Though separated by nine years, Joan and Richard were close, as they both shared a natural curiosity about the world. Their mother thought that women did not have the cranial capacity to comprehend such things. Despite their mother’s disapproval of Joan’s desire to study astronomy, Richard encouraged his sister to explore the universe. Joan eventually became an astrophysicist specializing in interactions between the Earth and the solar wind.[15]

Manhattan Project[edit]

Feynman’s Los Alamos ID badge

In 1941, with World War II raging in Europe but the United States not yet at war, Feynman spent the summer working on ballistics problems at the Frankford Arsenal in Pennsylvania.[43][44] After the attack on Pearl Harbor had brought the United States into the war, Feynman was recruited by Robert R. Wilson, who was working on means to produce enriched uranium for use in an atomic bomb, as part of what would become the Manhattan Project.[45][46] Wilson’s team at Princeton was working on a device called an isotron, which would electromagnetically separate uranium-235 from uranium-238. This was done in a quite different manner from that used by the calutron that was under development by a team under Wilson’s former mentor, Ernest O. Lawrence, at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California. On paper, the isotron was many times as efficient as the calutron, but Feynman and Paul Olum struggled to determine whether or not it was practical. Ultimately, on Lawrence’s recommendation, the isotron project was abandoned.[47]

At this juncture, in early 1943, Robert Oppenheimer was establishing the Los Alamos Laboratory, a secret laboratory on a remote mesa in New Mexico where atomic bombs would be designed and built. An offer was made to the Princeton team to be redeployed there. “Like a bunch of professional soldiers,” Wilson later recalled, “we signed up, en masse, to go to Los Alamos.”[48] Like many other young physicists, Feynman soon fell under the spell of the charismatic Oppenheimer, who telephoned Feynman long distance from Chicago to inform him that he had found a sanatorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Arline. They were among the first to depart for New Mexico, leaving on a train on March 28, 1943. The railroad supplied Arline with a wheelchair, and Feynman paid extra for a private room for her.[49]

At Los Alamos, Feynman was assigned to Hans Bethe’s Theoretical (T) Division,[50] and impressed Bethe enough to be made a group leader.[51] He and Bethe developed the Bethe–Feynman formula for calculating the yield of a fission bomb, which built upon previous work by Robert Serber.[52] As a junior physicist, he was not central to the project. He administered the computation group of human computers in the theoretical division. With Stanley Frankel and Nicholas Metropolis, he assisted in establishing a system for using IBM punched cards for computation.[53] He invented a new method of computing logarithms that he later used on the Connection Machine.[54][55]Other work at Los Alamos included calculating neutron equations for the Los Alamos “Water Boiler”, a small nuclear reactor, to measure how close an assembly of fissile material was to criticality.[56]

On completing this work, Feynman was sent to the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the Manhattan Project had its uranium enrichment facilities. He aided the engineers there in devising safety procedures for material storage so that criticality accidents could be avoided, especially when enriched uranium came into contact with water, which acted as a neutron moderator. He insisted on giving the rank and file a lecture on nuclear physics so that they would realize the dangers.[57] He explained that while any amount of unenriched uranium could be safely stored, the enriched uranium had to be carefully handled. He developed a series of safety recommendations for the various grades of enrichments.[58] He was told that if the people at Oak Ridge gave him any difficulty with his proposals, he was to inform them that Los Alamos “could not be responsible for their safety otherwise”.[59]

At the 1946 colloquium on the Super at the Los Alamos Laboratory. Feynman is in the second row, fourth from the left, next to Robert Oppenheimer

Returning to Los Alamos, Feynman was put in charge of the group responsible for the theoretical work and calculations on the proposed uranium hydride bomb, which ultimately proved to be infeasible.[51][60] He was sought out by physicist Niels Bohr for one-on-one discussions. He later discovered the reason: most of the other physicists were too much in awe of Bohr to argue with him. Feynman had no such inhibitions, vigorously pointing out anything he considered to be flawed in Bohr’s thinking. He said he felt as much respect for Bohr as anyone else, but once anyone got him talking about physics, he would become so focused he forgot about social niceties. Perhaps because of this, Bohr never warmed to Feynman.[61][62]

Due to the top secret nature of the work, the Los Alamos Laboratory was isolated. Feynman indulged his curiosity by discovering the combination locks on cabinets and desks used to secure papers. He found that people tended to leave their safes unlocked, or leave them on the factory settings, or write the combinations down, or use easily guessable combinations like dates.[63] Feynman played jokes on colleagues. In one case he found the combination to a locked filing cabinet by trying the numbers he thought a physicist would use (it proved to be 27–18–28 after the base of natural logarithms, e = 2.71828…), and found that the three filing cabinets where a colleague kept a set of atomic bomb research notes all had the same combination. He left a series of notes in the cabinets as a prank, which initially spooked his colleague, Frederic de Hoffmann, into thinking a spy or saboteur had gained access to atomic bomb secrets.[64]

Feynman’s salary was $380 a month, about half what he needed to cover his modest living expenses and Arline’s medical bills. The rest came from her $3,300 in savings.[65] On weekends, Feynman drove to Albuquerque to see his ailing wife in a car borrowed from his good friend Klaus Fuchs.[66][67] Asked who at Los Alamos was most likely to be a spy, Fuchs speculated that Feynman, with his safe cracking and frequent trips to Albuquerque, was the most likely candidate.[66] When Fuchs confessed to being a spy for the Soviet Union in 1950, this would be seen in a different light.[68] The FBI would compile a bulky file on Feynman.[69]

Feynman (center) with Robert Oppenheimer (viewer’s right, next to Feynman) at a Los Alamos Laboratory social function during the Manhattan Project

Feynman was working in the computing room when he was informed that Arline was dying. He borrowed Fuchs’ car and drove to Albuquerque where he sat with her for hours until she died on June 16, 1945.[70] He immersed himself in work on the project and was present at the Trinity nuclear test. Feynman claimed to be the only person to see the explosion without the very dark glasses or welder’s lenses provided, reasoning that it was safe to look through a truck windshield, as it would screen out the harmful ultraviolet radiation. On witnessing the blast, Feynman ducked towards the floor of his truck because of the immense brightness of the explosion, where he saw a temporary “purple splotch” afterimage of the event.[71]

Cornell[edit]

Feynman nominally held an appointment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an assistant professor of physics, but was on unpaid leave during his involvement in the Manhattan project.[72] In 1945, he received a letter from Dean Mark Ingraham of the College of Letters and Science requesting his return to the university to teach in the coming academic year. His appointment was not extended when he did not commit to returning. In a talk given there several years later, Feynman quipped, “It’s great to be back at the only university that ever had the good sense to fire me.”[73]

As early as 30 October 1943, Bethe had written to the chairman of the physics department of his university, Cornell, to recommend that Feynman be hired. On 28 February 1944, this was endorsed by Robert Bacher,[74] also from Cornell,[75] and one of the most senior scientists at Los Alamos.[76] This led to an offer being made in August 1944, which Feynman accepted. Oppenheimer had also hoped to recruit Feynman to the University of California, but the head of the physics department, Raymond T. Birge was reluctant. Eventually, he made Feynman an offer in May 1945, but Feynman turned it down. Cornell did, however, match its salary offer of $3,900 per annum.[74] Feynman became one of the first of the Los Alamos Laboratory’s group leader to depart, leaving for Ithaca, New York, in October 1945.[77]

Since Feynman was no longer working at the Los Alamos Laboratory, he was no longer exempt from the draft and was called up by the Army in the fall of 1946. He avoided this by faking mental illness, and the Army gave him a 4-F exemption on mental grounds.[78][79] This may not have been an incorrect assessment; his father died suddenly on 8 October 1946, and Feynman suffered from depression.[80] On October 17, 1946, he wrote a letter to Arline, expressing his deep love and heartbreak. This letter was sealed and only opened after his death. “Please excuse my not mailing this,” the letter concluded, “but I don’t know your new address.”[81]

Unable to focus on research problems, Feynman began tackling physics problems, not for utility, but for self-satisfaction.[80] One of these involved analyzing the physics of a twirling, nutating disk as it is moving through the air, inspired by an incident in the cafeteria at Cornell when someone tossed a dinner plate in the air.[82] He read the work of Sir William Rowan Hamilton on quaternions, and attempted unsuccessfully to use them to formulate a relativistic theory of electrons. His work during this period, which used equations of rotation to express various spinning speeds, ultimately proved important to his Nobel Prize–winning work, yet because he felt burned out and had turned his attention to less immediately practical problems, he was surprised by the offers of professorships from other renowned universities, including the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley.[80]

Feynman diagram of electron/positron annihilation

Feynman was not the only frustrated theoretical physicist in the early post-war years. Quantum electrodynamics suffered from infinite integrals in perturbation theory. These were clear mathematical flaws in the theory, which Feynman and Wheeler had unsuccessfully attempted to work around.[83] “Theoreticians”, noted Murray Gell-Mann, “were in disgrace.”[84] In June 1947, leading American physicists met at the Shelter Island Conference. For Feynman, it was his “first big conference with big men … I had never gone to one like this one in peacetime.”[85] The problems plaguing quantum electrodynamics were discussed, but the theoreticians were completely overshadowed by the achievements of the experimentalists, who reported the discovery of the Lamb shift, the measurement of the magnetic moment of the electron, and Robert Marshak‘s two-meson hypothesis.[86]

Bethe took the lead from the work of Hans Kramers, and derived a renormalized non-relativistic quantum equation for the Lamb shift. The next step was to create a relativistic version. Feynman thought that he could do this, but when he went back to Bethe with his solution, it did not converge.[87] Feynman carefully worked through the problem again, applying the path integral formulation that he had used in his thesis. Like Bethe, he made the integral finite by applying a cut-off term. The result corresponded to Bethe’s version.[88][89] Feynman presented his work to his peers at the Pocono Conference in 1948. It did not go well. Julian Schwinger gave a long presentation of his work in quantum electrodynamics, and Feynman then offered his version, titled “Alternative Formulation of Quantum Electrodynamics”. The unfamiliar Feynman diagrams, used for the first time, puzzled the audience. Feynman failed to get his point across, and Paul Dirac, Edward Teller and Niels Bohr all raised objections.[90][91]

To Freeman Dyson, one thing at least was clear: Sin’ichirō Tomonaga, Schwinger and Feynman understood what they were talking about even if no one else did, but had not published anything. Moreover, he was convinced that Feynman’s formulation was easier to understand, and ultimately managed to convince Oppenheimer that this was the case.[92] Dyson published a paper in 1949, which added new rules to Feynman’s that told how to implement renormalization.[93] Feynman was prompted to publish his ideas in the Physical Review in a series of papers over three years.[94] His 1948 papers on “A Relativistic Cut-Off for Classical Electrodynamics” attempted to explain what he had been unable to get across at Pocono.[95] His 1949 paper on “The Theory of Positrons” addressed the Schrödinger equation and Dirac Equation, and introduced what is now called the Feynman propagator.[96] Finally, in papers on the “Mathematical Formulation of the Quantum Theory of Electromagnetic Interaction” in 1950 and “An Operator Calculus Having Applications in Quantum Electrodynamics” in 1951, he developed the mathematical basis of his ideas, derived familiar formulae and advanced new ones.[97]

While papers by others initially cited Schwinger, papers citing Feynman and employing Feynman diagrams appeared in 1950, and soon became prevalent.[98] Students learned and used the powerful new tool that Feynman had created. Eventually, computer programs were written to compute Feynman diagrams, providing a tool of unprecedented power. It is possible to write such programs because the Feynman diagrams constitute a formal language with a formal grammar. Marc Kac provided the formal proofs of the summation under history, showing that the parabolic partial differential equation can be reexpressed as a sum under different histories (that is, an expectation operator), what is now known as the Feynman–Kac formula, the use of which extends beyond physics to many applications of stochastic processes.[99] To Schwinger, the Feynman diagram was “pedagogy, not physics”.[100]

By 1949, Feynman was becoming restless at Cornell. He never settled into a particular house or apartment, living in guest houses or student residences, or with married friends “until these arrangements became sexually volatile”.[101] He liked to date undergraduates, hire prostitutes, and sleep with the wives of friends.[102] He was not fond of Ithaca’s cold winter weather, and pined for a warmer climate.[103] Above all, at Cornell he was always in the shadow of Hans Bethe.[101] Feynman did, however, look back favorably on the Telluride House, where he resided for a large period of his Cornell career. In an interview he described the House as “a group of boys that [sic] have been specially selected because of their scholarship, because of their cleverness or whatever it is, to be given free board and lodging and so on, because of their brains”. He enjoyed the house’s convenience and said that “it’s there that I did the fundamental work” for which he won the Nobel Prize.[104][105]

Caltech years[edit]

Personal and political life[edit]

Feynman spent several weeks in Rio de Janeiro in July 1949,[106] and brought back a woman called Clotilde from Copacabana who lived with him in Ithaca for a time. In addition to the cold weather, there was also the Cold War. The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, generating anti-communist hysteria.[107] Fuchs was arrested as a Soviet spy in 1950, and the FBI questioned Bethe about Feynman’s loyalty.[108] Physicist David Bohm was arrested on December 4, 1950,[109] and emigrated to Brazil in October 1951.[110] A girlfriend told Feynman that he should consider moving to South America.[107] He had a sabbatical coming for 1951–52,[111] and elected to spend it in Brazil, where he gave courses at the Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas. In Brazil, Feynman was particularly impressed with the Samba music, and learned to play a metal percussion instrument, the frigideira.[112] He was an enthusiastic amateur player of bongo drums and often played them in the pit orchestra in musicals.[113] He spent time in Rio with his good friend Bohm, but Bohm could not convince Feynman to take up investigating Bohm’s ideas on physics.[114]

Feynman did not return to Cornell. Bacher, who had been instrumental in bringing Feynman to Cornell, had lured him to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Part of the deal was that he could spend his first year on sabbatical in Brazil.[115][101] He had become smitten by Mary Louise Bell, a platinum blonde from Neodesha, Kansas. They had met in a cafeteria in Cornell, where she had studied the history of Mexican art and textiles. She later followed him to Caltech, where he gave a lecture. While he was in Brazil, she had taught classes on the history of furniture and interiors at Michigan State University. He proposed to her by mail from Rio de Janeiro, and they married in Boise, Idaho, on June 28, 1952, shortly after he returned. They frequently quarrelled and she was frightened by his violent temper. Their politics were different; although he registered and voted as a Republican, she was more conservative, and her opinion on the 1954 Oppenheimer security hearing (“Where there’s smoke there’s fire”) offended him. They separated on May 20, 1956. An interlocutory decree of divorce was entered on June 19, 1956, on the grounds of “extreme cruelty”. The divorce became final on May 5, 1958.[116][117]

In the wake of the 1957 Sputnik crisis, the U.S. government’s interest in science rose for a time. Feynman was considered for a seat on the President’s Science Advisory Committee, but was not appointed. At this time the FBI interviewed a woman close to Feynman, possibly Mary Lou, who sent a written statement to J. Edgar Hoover on August 8, 1958:

I do not know—but I believe that Richard Feynman is either a Communist or very strongly pro-Communist—and as such as [sic] a very definite security risk. This man is, in my opinion, an extremely complex and dangerous person, a very dangerous person to have in a position of public trust … In matters of intrigue Richard Feynman is, I believe immensely clever—indeed a genius—and he is, I further believe, completely ruthless, unhampered by morals, ethics, or religion—and will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve his ends.[117]

The government did, however, send Feynman to Geneva for the September 1958 Atoms for Peace Conference. On the beach on Lake Geneva, he met Gweneth Howarth, who was from Ripponden, Yorkshire, and working in Switzerland as an au pair. Feynman’s love life had been turbulent since his divorce; his previous girlfriend had walked off with his Albert Einstein Award medal, and, on the advice of an earlier girlfriend, had feigned pregnancy and blackmailed him into paying for an abortion, then used the money to buy furniture. When Feynman found that Howarth was being paid only $25 a month, he offered her $20 a week to be his live-in maid. That this sort of behavior was illegal was not overlooked; Feynman had a friend, Matthew Sands, act as her sponsor. Howarth pointed out that she already had two boyfriends, but eventually decided to take Feynman up on his offer, and arrived in Altadena, California, in June 1959. She made a point of dating other men but Feynman proposed in the spring of 1960. They were married on September 24, 1960, at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. They had a son, Carl, in 1962, and adopted a daughter, Michelle, in 1968.[118][119] Besides their home in Altadena, they had a beach house in Baja California, purchased with the money from Feynman’s Nobel Prize.[120]

Feynman tried LSD during his professorship at Caltech.[121][122] He also tried marijuana and ketamine experiences at John Lilly‘s famed sensory deprivation tanks, as a way of studying consciousness.[121][123] He gave up alcohol when he began to show vague, early signs of alcoholism, as he did not want to do anything that could damage his brain.[122]

Physics[edit]

At Caltech, Feynman investigated the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, where helium seems to display a complete lack of viscosity when flowing. Feynman provided a quantum-mechanical explanation for the Soviet physicist Lev D. Landau’s theory of superfluidity.[124] Applying the Schrödinger equation to the question showed that the superfluid was displaying quantum mechanical behavior observable on a macroscopic scale. This helped with the problem of superconductivity, but the solution eluded Feynman.[125] It was solved with the BCS theory of superconductivity, proposed by John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, and John Robert Schrieffer.[124]

Richard Feynman at the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1984.

With Murray Gell-Mann, Feynman developed a model of weak decay, which showed that the current coupling in the process is a combination of vector and axial currents (an example of weak decay is the decay of a neutron into an electron, a proton, and an antineutrino). Although E. C. George Sudarshan and Robert Marshak developed the theory nearly simultaneously, Feynman’s collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann was seen as seminal because the weak interaction was neatly described by the vector and axial currents. It thus combined the 1933 beta decay theory of Enrico Fermi with an explanation of parity violation.[126]

From his diagrams of a small number of particles interacting in spacetime, Feynman could then model all of physics in terms of the spins of those particles and the range of coupling of the fundamental forces. Feynman attempted an explanation of the strong interactions governing nucleons scattering called the parton model. The parton model emerged as a complement to the quark model developed by Gell-Mann. The relationship between the two models was murky; Gell-Mann referred to Feynman’s partons derisively as “put-ons”. In the mid-1960s, physicists believed that quarks were just a bookkeeping device for symmetry numbers, not real particles; the statistics of the Omega-minus particle, if it were interpreted as three identical strange quarks bound together, seemed impossible if quarks were real.[127][128]

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory deep inelastic scattering experiments of the late 1960s showed that nucleons (protons and neutrons) contained point-like particles that scattered electrons. It was natural to identify these with quarks, but Feynman’s parton model attempted to interpret the experimental data in a way that did not introduce additional hypotheses. For example, the data showed that some 45% of the energy momentum was carried by electrically neutral particles in the nucleon. These electrically neutral particles are now seen to be the gluons that carry the forces between the quarks, and their three-valued color quantum number solves the Omega-minus problem. Feynman did not dispute the quark model; for example, when the fifth quark was discovered in 1977, Feynman immediately pointed out to his students that the discovery implied the existence of a sixth quark, which was discovered in the decade after his death.[127][129]

After the success of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman turned to quantum gravity. By analogy with the photon, which has spin 1, he investigated the consequences of a free massless spin 2 field, and derived the Einstein field equation of general relativity, but little more. The computational device that Feynman discovered then for gravity, “ghosts”, which are “particles” in the interior of his diagrams that have the “wrong” connection between spin and statistics, have proved invaluable in explaining the quantum particle behavior of the Yang–Mills theories, for example, quantum chromodynamics and the electro-weak theory.[130] He did work on all four of the forces of nature: electromagnetic, the weak force, the strong force and gravity. John and Mary Gribbin say in their book on Feynman: “Nobody else has made such influential contributions to the investigation of all four of the interactions”.[131]

Partly as a way to bring publicity to progress in physics, Feynman offered $1,000 prizes for two of his challenges in nanotechnology; one was claimed by William McLellan and the other by Tom Newman.[132] He was also one of the first scientists to conceive the possibility of quantum computers.[133][134] In 1984–86, he developed a variational method for the approximate calculation of path integrals, which has led to a powerful method of converting divergent perturbation expansions into convergent strong-coupling expansions (variational perturbation theory) and, as a consequence, to the most accurate determination[135] of critical exponents measured in satellite experiments.[136]

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman[edit]

In the 1960s, Feynman began thinking of writing an autobiography, and he began granting interviews to historians. In the 1980s, working with Ralph Leighton (Robert Leighton’s son), he recorded chapters on audio tape that Robert transcribed. The book was published in 1985 as Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and became a best-seller. The publication of the book brought a new wave of protest about Feynman’s attitude toward women. There had been protests over his alleged sexism in 1968, and again in 1972. It did not help that Jenijoy La Belle, who had been hired as Caltech’s first female professor in 1969, was refused tenure in 1974. She filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled against Caltech in 1977, adding that she had been paid less than male colleagues. La Belle finally received tenure in 1979. Many of Feynman’s colleagues were surprised that he took her side. He had gotten to know her, and both liked and admired her.[146][147]

Gell-Mann was upset by Feyman’s account in the book of the weak interaction work, and threatened to sue, resulting in a correction being inserted in later editions.[148] This incident was just the latest provocation in a decades-long bad feeling between the two scientists. Gell-Mann often expressed frustration at the attention Feynman received;[149] he remarked: “[Feynman] was a great scientist, but he spent a great deal of his effort generating anecdotes about himself.”[150] He noted that Feynman’s eccentricities included a refusal to brush his teeth, which he advised others not to do on national television, despite dentists showing him scientific studies that supported the practice.[150]

Challenger disaster[edit]

Feynman played an important role on the Presidential Rogers Commission, which investigated the Challenger disaster. During a televised hearing, Feynman demonstrated that the material used in the shuttle’s O-rings became less resilient in cold weather by compressing a sample of the material in a clamp and immersing it in ice-cold water.[151] The commission ultimately determined that the disaster was caused by the primary O-ring not properly sealing in unusually cold weather at Cape Canaveral.[152]

Feynman devoted the latter half of his book What Do You Care What Other People Think? to his experience on the Rogers Commission, straying from his usual convention of brief, light-hearted anecdotes to deliver an extended and sober narrative. Feynman’s account reveals a disconnect between NASA‘s engineers and executives that was far more striking than he expected. His interviews of NASA’s high-ranking managers revealed startling misunderstandings of elementary concepts. For instance, NASA managers claimed that there was a 1 in 100,000 chance of a catastrophic failure aboard the shuttle, but Feynman discovered that NASA’s own engineers estimated the chance of a catastrophe at closer to 1 in 200. He concluded that NASA management’s estimate of the reliability of the space shuttle was unrealistic, and he was particularly angered that NASA used it to recruit Christa McAuliffe into the Teacher-in-Space program. He warned in his appendix to the commission’s report (which was included only after he threatened not to sign the report), “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”[153]

Recognition and awards[edit]

The first public recognition of Feynman’s work came in 1954, when Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) notified him that he had won the Albert Einstein Award, which was worth $15,000 and came with a gold medal. Because of Strauss’ actions in stripping Oppenheimer of his security clearance, Feynman was reluctant to accept the award, but Isidor Isaac Rabi cautioned him: “You should never turn a man’s generosity as a sword against him. Any virtue that a man has, even if he has many vices, should not be used as a tool against him.”[154] This was followed by the AEC’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in 1962.[155] In 1965, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Schwinger and Tomonaga “for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles”.[156] He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1965,[2][157] and received the Oersted Medal in 1972,[158] and the National Medal of Science in 1979.[159] He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, but ultimately resigned and is no longer listed by them.[160]

Death[edit]

In 1978 Feynman sought medical treatment for abdominal pains, and was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Surgeons removed a tumor the size of a football that had crushed his kidney and spleen. Further operations were performed in October 1986 and October 1987.[161] He was again hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center on February 3, 1988. A ruptured duodenal ulcer caused kidney failure, and he declined to undergo the dialysis that might have prolonged his life for a few months. Watched over by his wife Gweneth, sister Joan, and cousin Frances Lewine, he died on February 15, 1988.[162]

When the end was near, Feynman asked Danny Hillis why he was so sad. He replied that he thought Feynman was going to die soon. Feynman said that that sometimes bothered him, too, adding, when you get to be as old as he was, and have told so many stories to so many people, even when he was dead he wouldn’t be completely gone.[163]

Near the end of his life, Feynman attempted to visit the Russian land of Tuva, a dream thwarted by Cold War bureaucratic issues – the letter from the Soviet government authorizing the trip was not received until the day after he died. His daughter Michelle later undertook the journey.[164] His burial was at Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum in Altadena.[165] His last words were: “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”[164]

Films and plays[edit]

  • Infinity, a movie both directed by and starring Matthew Broderick as Feynman, depicting his love affair with his first wife and ending with the Trinity test. 1996.
  • Parnell, Peter (2002) “QED” Applause Books, ISBN 978-1-55783-592-5, (play).
  • Whittell, Crispin (2006) “Clever Dick” Oberon Books, (play)
  • “The Quest for Tannu Tuva”, with Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton. 1987, BBC Horizon and PBS Nova (entitled “Last Journey of a Genius”).
  • “No Ordinary Genius” A two-part documentary about Feynman’s life and work, with contributions from colleagues, friends and family. 1993, BBC Horizon and PBS Nova (a one-hour version, under the title “The Best Mind Since Einstein”) (2 × 50-minute films)
  • The Challenger (2013) A BBC Two factual drama starring William Hurt, tells the story of American Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman’s determination to reveal the truth behind the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster.
  • The Fantastic Mr Feynman. One hour documentary. 2013, BBC TV.

External links[edit]

In  the first video below in the 3rd clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

John Piippo in his article 50 Renowned Academics (Atheists) Speaking About God – A Review, (August 05, 2011) concerning Feynam’s quote (which is in bold).

  1. Richard Feynman (physics)
  1. “I can’t believe the special stories that have been made up… because they seem to be be too simple, too local, too provincial.” I think this is a good objection, one to be taken seriously. I don’t, of course, think it is adequate to claim that the Jesus story has been “made up.” We need to bring in historical studies here. The Jesus-claim is that it is a story rooted in historical events. Historiographical research contains its own unique set of problems, especially as regards the matter of “evidence.”

Let me give 4 short responses.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. The interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector and there was a proposition I made to the FELLOWS of CSICOP concerning that in the 1990’s.  I was very honored that many of the them replied (including Antony Flew and Carl Sagan).

SECOND, let me recommend a book  by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, called Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists.

THIRD,  there is plenty of evidence from archaeology showing the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. What about the events in the Bible which claim to be the works of God? Can they be tested by a examination of the historical and archaeological records?  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.,

FOURTH, sending someone to the world like Christ in the form of a human was too “provincial” according to Feynam, but let us examine Carl Sagan’s same criticism and compare it to his own book CONTACT:

Carl Sagan had to live  in the world that God made with the conscience that God gave him. This created a tension. As you know the movie CONTACT was written by Carl Sagan and it was about Dr. Arroway’s SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI) program and her desire to make contact with aliens and ask them questions. It is my view that Sagan should have examined more closely  the accuracy of the Bible and it’s fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament in particular before chasing after aliens from other planets for answers. Sagan himself had written,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995).

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky. However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie CONTACT?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Francis Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists.

In several of my letters to Sagan I quoted this passage below:

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.(A)

18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

__________________________________________

Can a man  or a woman find lasting meaning without God? Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of Ecclesiastes. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has 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.”

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

_______________

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

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 and that “all was meaningless.” 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.

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 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 Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

____________

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________

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Sir Raymond Firth, Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics, “Religion [is] an essentially human product” (Includes a portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Dr. Firth)

_________

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Raymond Firth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Raymond Firth
Professor Sir Raymond Firth, c1965.jpg
Born 25 March 1901
Auckland,
New Zealand
Died 22 February 2002 (aged 100)
London,
England
Fields Ethnologist
Academic advisors Bronisław Malinowski
Doctoral students Edmund Leach

Sir Raymond William Firth, CNZM, FBA (25 March 1901 – 22 February 2002) was an ethnologist from New Zealand. As a result of Firth’s ethnographic work, actual behaviour of societies (social organization) is separated from the idealized rules of behaviour within the particular society (social structure). He was a long serving Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics, and is considered to have singlehandedly created a form of British economic anthropology.[1]

Early life and academic career[edit]

Firth was born to Wesley and Marie Firth in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1901. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School, and then at Auckland University College, where he graduated in economics in 1921.[2] He took his MA there in 1922, and a diploma in social science in 1923.[3] In 1924 he began his doctoral research at the London School of Economics. Originally intending to complete a thesis in economics, a chance meeting with the eminent social anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski led to him to alter his field of study to ‘blending economic and anthropological theory with Pacific ethnography’.[2] It was possibly during this period in England that he worked as research assistant to Sir James G Frazer, author of The Golden Bough.[4] Firth’s doctoral thesis was published in 1929 as Primitive Economics of the New Zealand Māori.

After receiving his PhD in 1927 Firth returned to the southern hemisphere to take up a position at the University of Sydney, although he did not start teaching immediately as a research opportunity presented itself. In 1928 he first visited Tikopia, the southernmost of the Solomon Islands, to study the untouched Polynesian society there, resistant to outside influences and still with its pagan religion and undeveloped economy.[2] This was the beginning of a long relationship with the 1200 people of the remote four mile long island, and resulted in ten books and numerous articles written over many years. The first of these, We the Tikopia: A Sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia was published in 1936 and seventy years on is still used as a basis for many university courses about Oceania.[5]

In 1930 he started teaching at the University of Sydney. On the departure for Chicago of Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, Firth succeeded him as acting Professor. He also took over from Radcliffe-Brown as acting editor of the journal Oceania, and as acting director of the Anthropology Research Committee of the Australian National Research Committee.

After 18 months he returned to the London School of Economics in 1933 to take up a lectureship, and was appointed Reader in 1935. Together with his wife Rosemary Firth, also to become a distinguished anthropologist, he undertook fieldwork in Kelantan and Terengganu in Malaya in 1939-1940.[6] During the Second World War Firth worked for British naval intelligence, primarily writing and editing the four volumes of the Naval Intelligence Division Geographical Handbook Series that concerned the Pacific Islands.[7] During this period Firth was based in Cambridge, where the LSE had its wartime home.

Firth succeeded Malinowski as Professor of Social Anthropology at LSE in 1944, and he remained at the School for the next 24 years.[2] In the late 1940s he was a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the then-fledgling Australian National University, along with Sir Howard Florey (co-developer of medicinal penicillin), Sir Mark Oliphant (a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project), and Sir Keith Hancock (Chichele Professor of Economic History at Oxford). Firth was particularly focused on the creation of the university’s School of Pacific Studies.[8]

He returned to Tikopia on research visits several times, although as travel and fieldwork requirements became more burdensome he focused on family and kinship relationships in working- and middle-class London.[6]Firth left LSE in 1968, when he took up a year’s appointment as Professor of Pacific Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi. There followed visiting professorships at British Columbia (1969), Cornell (1970), Chicago (1970-1), the Graduate School of the City University of New York (1971) and UC Davis (1974). The second festschrift published in his honour described him as ‘perhaps the greatest living teacher of anthropology today’.[3]

After retiring from teaching work, Firth continued with his research interests, and right up until his hundredth year he was producing articles. He died in London a few weeks before his 101st birthday: his father had lived to 104.

Personal life[edit]

Firth married Rosemary Firth (née Upcott) in 1936 and she died in 2001; they had one son, Hugh, who was born in 1946. He was raised a Methodist then later became a humanist and an atheist, a decision influenced by his anthropological studies.[9][10] He was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.[11]

  •  Sir Raymond Firth)

Papers[edit]

Sir Raymond Firth’s papers are held at the London School of Economics – including his photographic collection

 ____

In  the second video below in the 54th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

Sir Raymond Firth:

I think that religion has always been one of my interests, looking at it as an essentially human product…

I would like to give 3 responses to the above assertion made by Dr. Firth.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. I go into this further in a June 17, 2014 letter I wrote to Harry Kroto (which is below). The interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector.

SECOND, let me recommend a book  by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, called Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists. I have included a review of it later in this post.

THIRD, Solomon showed very clearly in the Book of Ecclesiastes that without God in the picture when one looks at life UNDER THE SUN the only conclusions one can reach is that life is meaningless and there is no satisfaction anywhere. Firth’s close friend H.J.Blackham who founded the BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION where Firth belonged as a member has eloquently stated:

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).

Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009)

___

In fact, I sent Dr. Firth I sheet of quotes on May 15, 1994 that included that quote above from his friend H.J. Blackham but I never received a return letter from him. I have included a portion of that letter that I sent to Dr. Firth at the end of this post. Here is another section from that letter:

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

______________________

Harry Kroto, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry, c/o Florida State

June 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Kroto,

I noticed that you are on the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and that prompted me to send this material to you today.

A couple of months ago I mailed you a letter that contained correspondence I had with Antony Flew and Carl Sagan and I also included some of the material I had sent them from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer. Did you have a chance to listen to the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? CD yet? I also wanted to let know some more about about Francis Schaeffer. Ronald Reagan said of Francis Schaeffer, “He will long be remembered as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century, with a childlike faith and a profound compassion toward others. It can rarely be said of an individual that his life touched many others and affected them for the better; it will be said of Francis Schaeffer that his life touched millions of souls and brought them to the truth of their creator.”

Thirty years ago the christian philosopher and author Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) died and on the 10th anniversary of his passing in 1994 I wrote a number of the top evolutionists, humanists and atheistic scholars in the world and sent them a story about Francis Schaeffer in 1930 when he left agnosticism and embraced Christianity. I also sent them  a cassette tape with the title “Four intellectual bridges evolutionists can’t cross” by Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) and some of the top  scholars who corresponded with me since that time include Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), (Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), and Michael Martin (1932-).

Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above. 

The truth is that I am an evangelical Christian and I have enjoyed developing relationships with skeptics and humanists over the years. Back in 1996 I took my two sons who were 8  and 10 yrs old back then to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey and we had dinner one night with Herbert A. Tonne, who was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. The Late Professor John George who has written books for Prometheus Press was my good friend during the last 10 years of his life. (I still miss him today.) We often ate together and were constantly talking on the phone and writing letters to one another.

It is a funny story how I met Dr. George. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.

In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma political science department and coauthor (with Paul Boller Jr.) of the book THEY NEVER SAID IT! set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A LIFE OF WASHINGTON by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

After reading THEY NEVER SAID IT! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, responded by providing me with their “unconfirmed  quote” list which contained a dozen quotes widely used by the religious right.

Sadly some of the top leaders of my own religious right have failed to take my encouragement to stop using these quotes and they have either claimed that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive or they defended their own method of research and claimed the secondary sources were adequate.

I have enclosed that same CD by Adrian Rogers that I sent 20 years ago although the second half does include a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

In the first 3 minutes of the CD is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” In the letter 20 years ago I gave some of the key points Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

I later learned this book of Ecclesiastes was Richard Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible. 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.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. 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.” No wonder Ecclesiastes is Richard Dawkins’ favorite book of the Bible! 

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. (E.O.Wilson has marveled at Solomon’s scientific knowledge of ants that was only discovered in the 1800’s.) Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)

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.

You are an atheist and you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

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.

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).

Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009)

_____________________________________

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.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes 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.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Now on to the other topic I wanted to discuss with you today. I wanted to write you today for one reason. IS THERE A GOOD CHANCE THAT DEEP DOWN IN YOUR CONSCIENCE  you have repressed the belief in your heart that God does exist and IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THIS DEEP BELIEF OF YOURS CAN BE SHOWN THROUGH A LIE-DETECTOR? (Back in the late 1990’s I had the opportunity to correspond with over a dozen members of CSICOP on just this very issue.)

I have a good friend who is a street preacher who preaches on the Santa Monica Promenade in California and during the Q/A sessions he does have lots of atheists that enjoy their time at the mic. When this happens he  always quotes Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). Then he  tells the atheist that the atheist already knows that God exists but he has been suppressing that knowledge in unrighteousness. This usually infuriates the atheist.

My friend draws some large crowds at times and was thinking about setting up a lie detector test and see if atheists actually secretly believe in God. He discussed this project with me since he knew that I had done a lot of research on the idea about 20 years ago.

Nelson Price in THE EMMANUEL FACTOR (1987) tells the story about Brown Trucking Company in Georgia who used to give polygraph tests to their job applicants. However, in part of the test the operator asked, “Do you believe in God?” In every instance when a professing atheist answered “No,” the test showed the person to be lying. My pastor Adrian Rogers used to tell this same story to illustrate Romans 1:19 and it was his conclusion that “there is no such thing anywhere on earth as a true atheist. If a man says he doesn’t believe in God, then he is lying. God has put his moral consciousness into every man’s heart, and a man has to try to kick his conscience to death to say he doesn’t believe in God.”

(Adrian Rogers at White House)

It is true that polygraph tests for use in hiring were banned by Congress in 1988.  Mr and Mrs Claude Brown on Aug 25, 1994  wrote me a letter confirming that over 15,000 applicants previous to 1988 had taken the polygraph test and EVERY-TIME SOMEONE SAID THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, THE MACHINE SAID THEY WERE LYING.

It had been difficult to catch up to the Browns. I had heard about them from Dr. Rogers’ sermon but I did not have enough information to locate them. Dr. Rogers referred me to Dr. Nelson Price and Dr. Price’s office told me that Claude Brown lived in Atlanta. After writing letters to all 9 of the entries for Claude Brown in the Atlanta telephone book, I finally got in touch with the Browns.

Adrian Rogers also pointed out that the Bible does not recognize the theoretical atheist.  Psalms 14:1: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Dr Rogers notes, “The fool is treating God like he would treat food he did not desire in a cafeteria line. ‘No broccoli for me!’ ” In other words, the fool just doesn’t want God in his life and is a practical atheist, but not a theoretical atheist. Charles Ryrie in the The Ryrie Study Bible came to the same conclusion on this verse.

Here are the conclusions of the experts I wrote in the secular world concerning the lie detector test and it’s ability to get at the truth:

Professor Frank Horvath of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University has testified before Congress concerning the validity of the polygraph machine. He has stated on numerous occasions that “the evidence from those who have actually been affected by polygraph testing in the workplace is quite contrary to what has been expressed by critics. I give this evidence greater weight than I give to the most of the comments of critics” (letter to me dated October 6, 1994).

There was no better organization suited to investigate this claim concerning the lie detector test than the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This organization changed their name to the Committe for Skeptical Inquiry in 2006. This organization includes anyone who wants to help debunk the whole ever-expanding gamut of misleading, outlandish, and fraudulent claims made in the name of science. I AM WRITING YOU TODAY BECAUSE YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CSICOP.

I read The Skeptical Review(publication of CSICOP) for several years during the 90’s and I would write letters to these scientists about taking this project on and putting it to the test.  Below are some of  their responses (15 to 20 years old now):

1st Observation: Religious culture of USA could have influenced polygraph test results.
ANTONY FLEW  (formerly of Reading University in England, now deceased, in a letter to me dated 8-11-96) noted, “For all the evidence so far available seems to be of people from a culture in which people are either directly brought up to believe in the existence of God or at least are strongly even if only unconsciously influenced by those who do. Even if everyone from such a culture revealed unconscious belief, it would not really begin to show that — as Descartes maintained— the idea of God is so to speak the Creator’s trademark, stamped on human souls by their Creator at their creation.”

2nd Observation: Polygraph Machines do not work. JOHN R. COLE, anthropologist, editor, National Center for Science Education, Dr. WOLF RODER, professor of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Dr. SUSAN BLACKMORE,Dept of Psychology, University of the West of England, Dr. CHRISTOPHER C. FRENCH, Psychology Dept, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Dr.WALTER F. ROWE, The George Washington University, Dept of Forensic Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

3rd Observation: The sample size probably was not large enough to apply statistical inference. (These gentlemen made the following assertion before I received the letter back from Claude Brown that revealed that the sample size was over 15,000.) JOHN GEOHEGAN, Chairman of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, Dr. WOLF RODER, and Dr WALTER F. ROWE (in a letter dated July 12, 1994) stated, “The polygraph operator for Brown Trucking Company has probably examined only a few hundred or a few thousand job applicants. I would surmise that only a very small number of these were actually atheists. It seems a statistically insignificant (and distinctly nonrandom) sampling of the 5 billion human beings currently inhabiting the earth. Dr. Nelson Price also seems to be impugning the integrity of anyone who claims to be an atheist in a rather underhanded fashion.”

4th Observation: The question (Do you believe in God?)  was out of place and it surprised the applicants. THOMAS GILOVICH, psychologist, Cornell Univ., Dr. ZEN FAULKES, professor of Biology, University of Victoria (Canada), ROBERT CRAIG, Head of Indiana Skeptics Organization, Dr. WALTER ROWE, 
 
5th Observation: Proof that everyone believes in God’s existence does not prove that God does in fact exist. PAUL QUINCEY, Nathional Physical Laboratory,(England), Dr. CLAUDIO BENSKI, Schneider Electric, CFEPP, (France),
6th Observation: Both the courts and Congress recognize that lie-detectors don’t work and that is why they were banned in 1988.  (Governments and the military still use them.)
Dr WALTER ROWE, KATHLEEN M. DILLION, professor of Psychology, Western New England College.
7th Observation:This information concerning Claude Brown’s claim has been passed on to us via a tv preacher and eveybody knows that they are untrustworthy– look at their history. WOLF RODER.
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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.”
Gene Emery, science writer for Providence Journal-Bulletin is a past winner of the CSICOP “Responsibility in Journalism Award” and he had the best suggestion of all when he suggested, “Actually, if you want to make a good case about whether Romans 1:19 is true, arrange to have a polygraph operator (preferably an atheist or agnostic) brought to the next CSICOP meeting. (I’m not a member of CSICOP, by the way, so I can’t give you an official invitation or anything.) If none of the folks at that meeting can convince the machine that they truly believe in God, maybe there is, in fact, an innate willingness to believe in God.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTIONS TO ADD TO THESE 7 OBSERVATIONS THAT I GOT 15 YEARS AGO? Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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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 May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to Dr. Raymond Firth since he was a very prominent British humanist and  here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

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.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. 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.”

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

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.

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. 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 and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  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.

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 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.  Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Book Review: Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists

One of the brashest challenges that religious truth has experienced over the past several decades is the remarkable rise of the pugnacious New Atheists. Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, new generation Christian apologists, have undertaken the task of contesting this anti-theistic upsurge. And in Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists the authors have pulled together a wide range of research that powerfully critiques the arguments from the combative non-theists.

Worldviews are in dispute: Christian theism vs. modern atheism. There are powerful and compelling arguments for the existence of God, but one wouldn’t know it if one only read the works of Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins. They assert numerous fallacious and deceptive arguments as they often erect the frailest of straw men in order to push them down with the greatest of rhetorical ease.

You would think that atheism is a forceful challenger to Christianity. But McDowell and Morrow argue that the New Atheism, as aggressive as it is, does not provide the evidential or philosophical truth. The more important consideration, they advocate, is what worldview has the preeminent rational arguments and historical facts on its side.
They proceed to make the case that Christian theism, categorically, provides the finest evidence and makes the most sense.

The authors deal with the scientific and philosophical challenges to Christian theism in a reasoned and respectful manner.
In Is God Just a Human Invention? topics include:

  • The relationship between reason and faith
  • A defense of miracles
  • The origin of the cosmos
  • The reality of soul/body dualism
  • Flaws in Darwinian thought
  • The biblical view of slavery and genocide
  • The remarkable rise and impact of a new generation of Christian philosophers
  • The exclusivity of Jesus Christ
  • And much more.

The apologists begin with an examination and refutation of the atheist accusation that “faith … is belief without supportive evidence” (atheist Victor Stenger, p. 19). “The idea that faith is opposed to reason permeates the writings of the New Atheists.” This allegation is erroneous inasmuch as Christianity doesn’t value blind faith and irrationality since biblical faith is “belief in the light of the evidence” (pp. 19-21). They make it clear that Christianity is not to be lumped together with irrational religions because it “values the role of the mind which includes the proper use of reasoning and argumentation” (p. 22).  A list of supporting quotes by Christian thinkers across time is posited as one of many helpful tools within this essay. The reader then learns that all men, even atheists, have faith in their daily lives. One trusts the unfamiliar pilot of a plane one boards; one has faith that the electrician properly wires your house; one trusts the cook at the restaurant where one eats, etc. (p. 24). Thus religious followers are not the only people with faith; all men have faith in things they have not seen, often this faith is not based on evidence. Moreover, atheists have blind faith in the idea that the universe “came into existence from nothing,” that life emerged from non-life, and the mind arose from mere matter (p. 25).

This section ends with brief expositions of the classic proofs for God’s existence presented in a clear and persuasive manner, but too diminutive to be useful standing alone (p. 28-29, the remainder of the book supplements and defends their claims nicely).

The writers in the next chapter tackle the alleged conflict between science and religion. “There is no inherent conflict between Christianity and science” (although there is antagonism at times), since most of the early pioneering scientists were theists. Furthermore, the universe was created by God; Galileo’s new theories (he remained a theist) were not handled wisely, but the skeptics exaggerate the conflict; and naturalism fails to supply the underlying ontological (the nature of matter) and epistemic (ground for knowledge) resources required and presupposed by science. Naturalism is defined by Dawkins as the view that nothing exists “beyond the natural, physical world” (p. 37).  The problem is naturalism “ultimately undermines any basis for confidence” in nature’s order and the powers of reason (p. 37). Likewise, naturalism leads to skepticism regarding our senses and rational notions forasmuch as men are mere products of blind evolutionary processes. Thus, under a naturalistic worldview, there’s no reason to trust our reason or our senses; they were merely the result of blind Darwinian accidents.

If the mind has developed through blind, irrational, and material processes of Darwinian evolution, then why should we trust it at all? Why should we believe that the human brain—outcome of an accidental process—actually puts us in touch with reality? Science cannot be used as an answer to this question, because science itself relies upon these very assumptions (p. 39).

The section ends with a very succinct essay by John W. Montgomery that presses the truth that Christianity has the necessary explanatory power required for science and intelligibility; what’s more, it alone offers a Saving Redeemer. This essay would make a fine pamphlet to print as a witnessing tract (pp. 42-43).

Chapter Three offers a defense of miracles as the authors challenge many assumptions and proposed methodology posited by naturalists who oppose the possibility of miracles; after all, “if a transcendent God exists, then it seems eminently possible that He has acted in the universe” (p. 46). So combating the faulty presuppositions of the naturalist is an important aspect of an evenhanded defense of miracles. The authors rest their case for miracles on all the cumulative evidence for God’s existence: Cosmological, Design, and Moral arguments as well as the evidence for the human soul and Christ’s Resurrection. Thus there is a large amount of compelling evidence for God and God has the ability to perform miracles, and miracles “seem quite probable” (p. 46).

The chapter proceeds to directly contest Hume’s case against miracles. First they counter Hume’s underlying ideas because many of the New Atheists employ Hume’s longstanding arguments. The authors expose Hume’s circular reasoning:

Hume presumes to know the uniformity of human experience prior to considering the evidence. To assert that uniform experience counts against miracles is to assume that all miracle claims are false. But how can he make such a claim before examining the facts? Well, he simply assumes it (pp. 47-48).

Since vicious circular arguments are fallacious, this part of Hume’s case fails before it can get off the ground.

Second they successfully attack Hume’s theory that one should never believe the improbable. If one must view all life this way, one can never see anyone win the lottery or draw a royal flush since it’s very improbable (p. 48).  But we observe royal flush winners even though it is very improbable that one can hold such a hand. Under Hume’s critique of miracles, one “would not be justified in believing” that improbable winning hands occur. “But surely it is perfectly reasonable to believe that an improbable event can occasionally occur” (p. 48). Thus Hume’s improbability critique against miracles misses the mark.

The rest of the chapter delivers some credible counters vis-à-vis the remainder of Hume’s case against supernatural marvels, including a concise defense of the majestic miracle of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (pp. 47-54).

The New Atheists boldly claim that miracles are impossible. Yet, as we have seen, this denial is not based on any scientific or historical evidence, but rather comes out of a philosophical commitment to naturalism (p. 54).

The subsequent chapter focuses on Darwinian evolution as anti-Darwinian quotes from non-theistic and theistic scientists are brought to bear upon this highly favored theory. Added to this is the case of Intelligent Design. Rational design of biological life is the case since many pursuits of truth seek evidence for design (or information) as evidence for the agency of intelligence; this includes SETI research, forensic science, and archeological examination (p. 59). If it’s a suitable scientific tool in those cases, it can be in the analysis of biological design.

Additionally, Morrow and McDowell highlight the distinction between macroevolution (changes from one species into another different species) and microevolution (small changes within a kind) as a way to clarify the dispute between Divine creation and Darwinian evolution:

If you’ve only read the New Atheists, then you may think evolution is the only game in town.  … But that is not the whole story. When examined closely, their most compelling examples turn out to be (at best) evidence for microevolution. Not only is the evidence for Darwinian evolution lacking, compelling evidence for design can be found from the tiniest cell to the origin and structure of the universe (p. 67).

The Kalam argument comes next. They define it via William Lane Craig:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (p. 74).

A lucid exposition defending the argument follows as they discuss the Big Bang theory, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and some of Stephen Hawking’s ideas (they didn’t interact with Hawking’s latest theory: one aspect of his new view is that nothing could have created everything, Hawking: The Grand Design, 2010).

The volume adds essays about how life began (pp. 71-82) and the Fine Tuning argument (everything is just right for life, pp. 95-107) as they stack up their imposing cumulative case for Christian theism.

Chapter eight contends that a purely material reality cannot produce consciousness.1They argue for an immaterial aspect of the mind using:

  • The New Atheists’ words against them
  • Documented Near Death Experiences
  • Intention and free choice
  • The need of an enduring personhood over time (a person is more than the sum of one’s physical parts)2
  • Mental states which “cannot be described in physical terms” (“how much a thought weighs, or how long your beliefs could be stretched out,” pp. 109-115).

It’s difficult to see how a mind could arise from nonmind through the purposeless, material, mindless process of evolution. It’s much easier to see how a Conscious Mind could produce the human consciousness (p. 116).

McDowell and Morrow go on to rebut various atheistic notions such as: theism is a mere product of wishful thinking, Dawkins’ Meme theory, and blind natural selection (Chapter 9). Thus it is “reasonable to conclude that God exists” which means that it is “also possible to infer that the reason so many humans have desires for and beliefs in the divine points to God’s desire to be known” (p. 129).

The authors then defend Christianity against the unfair charge that it is dangerous as they expose the massive death toll that political atheism racked up by atheists Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.  These anti-theistic leaders murdered tens of millions of innocent people (pp. 135-147).

The next section gives a brief but suitable explanation of Old Testament ethics by means of the employment of context, proper hermeneutical applications, and cultural veracities to make their case. Moreover, they press the moral truths that Jesus lived out (accepting the needy, healing, and His vicarious atonement) and commanded (turn the other cheek, give, seek peace, love, and forgive) as the most profound moral standard ever offered (pp. 148-155). Additionally they provide fine essays concerning the doctrine of eternal punishment, God’s command to go to war, and the appropriate view of sexual morality (pp. 159-196). They add: “True freedom is found not in throwing off Christian morality, but in embracing it wholeheartedly” p. 194).

The succeeding portion seeks to demonstrate that atheism lacks the ontic grounding for objective moral truths. Atheists can know what is moral (epistemic explanation); they can know right from wrong. Nonetheless, atheism lacks an objective and perfect ontic ground to issue objective moral commandments as well as the means to hold all moral lawbreakers to an account.

“In the theistic view, objective moral laws are grounded in the reality of a Moral Lawgiver. So what grounds morality in a world without God? (p. 198).” Without theism nothing has the ontic stature to ground objective moral truths.

Their chapter regarding the most perplexing problem: Why does an all-good and omnipotent God allow evil (theodicy) and suffering? This segment is short but convincing. Still, the authors know that the problem of evil has no easy solution when it comes to real pain.

They rightly profess: “According to the Bible, a day will come when every broken heart will be mended, every illness healed. God will set the world right. Death will not have the final word—Jesus Christ made certain of that” (p. 219).

Chapter seventeen is a fascinating look at the innumerable things modern men take for granted that resulted from the application of the Christian worldview or its extension and influence. This includes charity, hospitals, orphanages, rights for infants and women, and the ending of culturally mandated abuse of people across the globe. Hence, Christianity has been and continues to be good for the world: “Christianity has been a force for good in the past, continues to be so today, and will be tomorrow as long as Christians pay close attention to the teaching and example of Jesus” (p. 233).

As they cross home plate the two apologists forward a critique of the dreamt up religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; in contrast to this puerile invention, they offer a superb apologia for the wonder of Christ. At that juncture they bless the reader with their personal testimonies (pp. 237-264).

Is God Just a Human Invention? is loaded with exceptional quotes from Christian and non-Christian thinkers. Additionally, the book furnishes very short essays at the back of each chapter from various erudite Christian scholars that augment the thesis of what was advanced by the authors.

This volume combines simplicity and applicability without forfeiting precision. The authors lead the reader into the full girth of the many contemporary discussions concerning the defense of Christianity. They offer several of the leading arguments for Christian theism while toppling some of the most belligerent of the objections promoted by the New Atheists. They have written, with abundant care, to attain a thoroughness that is not often established in popular books. The wisdom and excellence with which each chapter is written makes this a crucial volume for the budding apologist’s library.


Apologetics 315 Book Reviewer Mike A. Robinson is an avid reader and reviewer; he has authored 14 books using leading-edge apologetics that make an impact on average people. More of his work can be found at http://theLordGodExists.com.


  1.  The atheist who maintains that only the physical world exists is claiming that nothing spiritual or nonmaterial exists; this includes an enduring immaterial soul. Without an ongoing immaterial apsect of personhood, after seven years, everyone is a different person. So the atheist cannot account for personal identity. By his standard of a physical-only world, everyone is a different person after seven years because every physical atom has been swapped for new ones. If we consist of only physical matter, and are devoid of a nonmaterial soul, under the atheist physical-only view, after our bodily atoms were completely exchanged for new ones, we would be different people. The atheist, under his worldview, is not married to the woman he married nine years ago. They are totally different physically, due to the complete exchange of bodily atoms after seven years. If he has a child over the age of seven, by the atheist’s standard, the kid is not the same child that was born to them. Therefore, if he wanted to be consistent in his worldview, he should throw away all his baby pictures and their wedding album. The atheist husband still hugs his wife without being unfaithful to her, since people have souls. He will still take his kid to the park and buy him a balloon. But he will not buy the unknown kid who is next to him a balloon. The atheist knows that his child is the same child who was born to him years before because he has an enduring immaterial soul. Can the information in one’s DNA be the basis for personal identity? No, since twins have the same DNA but they are two different individuals (http://thelordgodexists.com/2011/05/enduring-personal-identity-presupposes-god-part-i/).
  2. For more on the “problem of enduring personal identity” see: Keith Ward: More Than Matter, pp. 64-80; J.P. Moreland: Scaling the Secular City, pp. 88-89; and for a Thomistic view see: Edward Feser: The Last Superstition, pp. 203-208).

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!!  Alan Dundes, folklorist, University of California, Berkeley, “There were all these books about apparent contradictions in the Bible… books and books of these things…and that gave me all the evidence I needed”

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Arif 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,

Alan Dundes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alan Dundes with a wooden Norwegian statue of a tale called “Squeezing the Stone”

Alan Dundes (September 8, 1934 – March 30, 2005)[1] was a folklorist at the University of California, Berkeley. His work was said to have been central to establishing the study of folklore as an academic discipline.[citation needed]He wrote 12 books, both academic and popular, and edited or co-wrote two dozen more.[2] One of his most notable articles was called “Seeing is Believing” in which he indicated that Americans value the sense of sight more than the other senses.

He introduced the concept “allomotif” (coined in an analogy with “allomorph“, to complement the concept of “motifeme” (cf. “morpheme“) introduced by Kenneth L. Pike) as concept to be used in the analysis of the structures of folktales in terms of motifs identified in them.[3][4]

Career[edit]

Dundes attended Yale University, where he studied English[1] and met his wife Carolyn. Sure that he would be drafted upon completion of his studies, Dundes joined the ROTC and trained to become a naval communications officer. When it turned out that the ship he was to be posted to, stationed in the Bay of Naples, already had a communications officer, Dundes asked what else that ship might need, not wanting to give up such a choice assignment. He then spent two years maintaining artillery guns on a ship in the Mediterranean. Upon completion of his service, Dundes attended Indiana University to pursue a Ph.D in folklore. At Indiana, he studied under the father of American Folklore, Richard Dorson.[1] He quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the field of folkloristics. He completed his degree very quickly and went on to a teaching position at the University of Kansas where he stayed for only a year before being offered a position in the University of California, Berkeley anthropology department teaching folklore. Dundes held this position for 42 years, until his death in 2005.

Teaching methods[edit]

Alan Dundes was an engaging lecturer, his Introduction to Folklore course attracting many students. In this course, students were introduced to the many various forms of folklore, from myth, legend, and folktale to proverbs and riddles to jokes, games, and folkspeech (slang), to folk belief and foodways. The final project for this course required that each student collect, identify, and analyze 40 items of folklore. All of this material (about 500,000 items) is housed and cataloged in the Berkeley Folklore Archives. Dundes also taught undergraduate courses in American folklore, and psychoanalytic approaches to folklore (his favorite approach) in addition to graduate seminars on the history of folkloristics, from an international perspective, and the history and progression of folklore theory.

Dundes was also a great supporter of the New Student Orientation Program at UC Berkeley (CalSO). He frequently gave the opening address during summer orientation programs, whetting students’ appetites about the type of instruction they might receive at the University. These addresses were littered with jokes and stories which were a trademark of Dundes’ lectures in his popular anthropology class and were a favorite of both in-coming students and the orientation staff alike.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

Strongly opinionated, Dundes was not at all averse to the controversy that his theories often generated. He dealt frequently with folklore as an expression of unconscious desires and anxieties and was of the opinion that if people reacted strongly to what he had to say, he had probably hit a nerve and was probably on to something. Some of his more controversial work involved examining the New Testament and the Qur’an as folklore.[5] However, of all his articles, the one that earned him death threats was “Into the Endzone for a Touchdown”, an exploration of the homoerotic subtext inherent in the terminology and rituals surrounding American football.[6] In 1980, Dundes was invited to give the presidential address at the American Folklore Society annual meeting.[7] His presentation, later published as a monograph titled “Life is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder”, uses folkspeech, customs, material culture, and so forth seeking to demonstrate an anal-erotic fixation of German national character.[6] Reaction to this paper was incredibly strong[6] and because of it, Dundes declined to attend the AFS annual meeting for the next 20 years.[citation needed] When he finally did attend again, in 2004, he again gave a plenary address, this time taking his fellow folklorists to task for being weak on theory. In his opinion, the presentation of data, no matter how thorough, is useless without the development and application of theory to that data. It is not enough to simply collect, one must do something with what one has collected.[8] In 2012, linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch credited Dundes with having given rise to a still prevalent “stereotype about Germany as a culture enamored with excretion”, but called his monograph “unstructured, poorly argued and flimsily sourced” and “methodologically flawed because he only looked for evidence supporting his theory, and not – as even a folklorist should – for evidence against his theory”.[9]

Endowment of a professorship[edit]

Dundes fiercely defended the importance of the discipline of folkloristics throughout his career. Towards the end of his life, he received an envelope containing a check from a former student, which he asked his wife to open. She read the figure out as $1,000. In fact, the check was for $1,000,000. This money allowed Dundes to endow the university with a Distinguished Professorship in Folkloristics, thereby ensuring that upon his retirement folklore would not be abandoned in the department.[10]

The former student and benefactor wished to remain anonymous. Apparently he or she called the university prior to the donation to find out if Dundes was still teaching, or as Dundes told it, “to see if I was still alive.” The student mentioned that he or she intended to send a check, but Dundes said he was not sure the student would follow through.

The check was made out to the university, Dundes said, but with instructions that he could use it in any manner he saw fit.

“I could just take all my students to Fiji and have one hell of a party,” he said.

The professor instead decided to invest it in the study of folklore. The money funds a Distinguished Professorship of Folkloristics and helps fund the university’s folklore archives and provides grants for folklore students.[11]

Interview by Flemming[edit]

Shortly before his death, Dundes was interviewed by filmmaker Brian Flemming for his documentary, The God Who Wasn’t There. He prominently recounted Lord Raglan’s 22-point scale from his 1936 book The Hero, in which he ranks figures possessing similar divine attributions.[12] An extended interview[13] is on the DVD version of the documentary.

 The God Who Wasn’t There

 

Published on Jan 8, 2014

http://www.amazon.com/The-God-Who-Was…
Video uploaded for educational purposes protected by S.107 of the U.S.C.

Former fundamentalist Christian Brian Flemming places the core concepts of his former religion under the microscope in a documentary that attempts to do for religion what Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me did for the fast-food industry. In his bold quest to seek answers to the difficult questions that few are willing to pose, Flemming is joined by Deconstructing Jesus author Robert M. Price, renowned historian Richard Carrier, and The End of Faith author Sam Harris.

From the ignorance of many contemporary Christians as to the origin of their religion to the striking similarities between Jesus Christ and the deities worshipped by ancient pagan cults and the Christian obsession with blood and violence, this faith-shaking documentary explores the many mysteries of the Christian faith as never before.

This documentary argues the “mythicist” case in the historical Jesus debate. This position says that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t a real person but a fiction based on Jewish scriptures and mystery religions of the Roman Empire. It doesn’t make sense to talk about a “real” Jesus — there

________________

Death[edit]

Dundes collapsed and died while giving a graduate seminar.[2]

Influence[edit]

Before the term folkloristics can be fully understood, it is necessary to understand that the terms folk and lore are defined in many different ways. While some use the word folk to mean only peasants or remote cultures, the folklorist Alan Dundes (1934–2005) of the University of California at Berkeley calls this definition a “misguided and narrow concept of the folk as the illiterate in a literate society” (Devolutionary Premise, 13).

Dundes is often credited with the promotion of folkloristics as a term denoting a specific field of academic study and applies instead what he calls a “modern” flexible social definition for folk: two or more persons who have any trait in common and express their shared identity through traditions. Dundes explains this point best in his essay, The Devolutionary Premise in Folklore Theory (1969):

“A folk or peasant society is but one example of a ‘folk’ in the folkloristic sense. Any group of people sharing a common linking factor, e.g., an urban group such as a labor union, can and does have folklore. ‘Folk’ is a flexible concept which can refer to a nation as in American folklore or to a single family. The critical issue in defining ‘folk’ is: what groups in fact have traditions?” (emphasis in the original, see footnote 34, 13)

With this expanded social definition of folk, a wider view of the material considered to be folklore also emerged that includes, as William Wilson points out, “things people make with words (verbal lore), things they make with their hands (material lore), and things they make with their actions (customary lore)” (2006, 85).

Another implication of this broader defining of the term folk, according to Dundes, is that folkloristic work is interpretative and scientific rather than descriptive or devoted solely to folklore preservation. In the 1978 collection of his academic work, Essays in Folkloristics, Dundes declares in his preface, “Folkloristics is the scientific study of folklore just as linguistics is the scientific study of language. [. . .] It implies a rigorous intellectual discipline with some attempt to apply theory and method to the materials of folklore” (vii). In other words, Dundes advocates the use of folkloristics as the preferred term for the academic discipline devoted to the study of folklore.

According to Dundes, folkloristic work will probably continue to be important in the future. Dundes writes, “folklore is a universal: there has always been folklore and in all likelihood there will always be folklore. As long as humans interact and in the course of so doing employ traditional forms of communication, folklorists will continue to have golden opportunities to study folklore” (Devolutionary Premise, 19). According to folklorist William A. Wilson, “the study of folklore, therefore, is not just a pleasant pastime useful primarily for whiling away idle moments. Rather, it is centrally and crucially important in our attempts to understand our own behavior and that of our fellow human beings” (2006, 203).

Works[edit]

In  the second video below in the 56th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

_________________________________

Alan Dundes comment in the You Tube film series Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2): 

“I found the best evidence for my own research was going to Christian bookstores. There were all these books about apparent contradictions in the Bible, seeming inconsistencies, books and books of these things…and that gave me all the evidence I needed….They were my research assistants, these people who were trying to reconcile…”

MY RESPONSE:

Alan Dundes was keen  on pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible as compared to actual history and the BOOK OF DANIEL has been a prime target. However, I have found that many of the critics have had to backtrack some on some key issues. Take a look below:

 

Farrell Till has asserted that reputable Bible scholars believe that the book of Daniel was not written by an individual named Daniel during the sixth century B.C. (TSR, Vol 4.3, p. 12). These scholars hold that the writer lived in the time of the Maccabees, and his “purpose was to give his countrymen reason to believe that centuries earlier a prophet of Yahweh had foreseen the rise of the Seleucid Empire and had predicted the triumph of the Maccabean struggle for independence against Antiochus Epiphanes” (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3). William Sierichs, Jr. also takes this position in his article, “Daniel in the Historians’ Den” (TSR, Vol. 7.4, p.8). Sierichs comments, “Daniel can’t get Babylonian history straight, but he does pretty well by the Hellenistic era. Obviously, whoever wrote the book was a very solid citizen of the 2nd century B.C.E., whose `prophecies’ were wholly retroactive.”

Both Till and Sierichs have been influenced by biblical scholars who have embraced the higher critical views of the 1800’s. However, most people have overlooked the fact that these same scholars have made several admissions which are damaging to their Maccabean thesis.

The first admission concerns the conservative’s view that Rome is the fourth kingdom identified in Daniel’s prophecy. Till states the critic’s logic: “A flaw in this interpretation is the obvious fact that the writer of Daniel considered the median and Persian kingdoms to be separate empires, because he had the Neo-Babylonian empire falling to `Darius the Mede’ (5:30-31). This is historically inaccurate (just one of many historical inaccuracies in the book of Daniel), because reliable records of the time indicate that Cyrus the Great captured Babylon and ended the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. Nevertheless, the writer of Daniel told of a reign under “Darius the Mede: that preceded the reign of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great (6:28; 10:1). So if the writer believed that the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to the Medes and then the Medes fell to the Persians, then the fourth kingdom in Daniel’s interpretation would have been Alexander’s Hellenistic empire” (TSR, Vol. 4.3, p. 12).

Notice that Till bases his conclusion on the “obvious fact that the writer of Daniel considered the Median and Persian kingdoms to be separate empires….” However, the famous Bible critic, Dr. Samuel Driver, admitted, “In the book of Daniel the `Medes and Persians’ are, it is true, sometimes represented as united (Daniel 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15, cf. 8:20)” (The Book of Daniel: Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Cambridge: University Press, 1900, p. 29). Conservative scholar Stephen Miller comments: “Such an admission seems fatal to Driver’s position, for if the author was aware at one point that the two nations were united into one empire, he certainly would not have construed them as separate both physically and chronologically elsewhere in the same book” (Daniel: The New American Commentary, Nashville, TN, Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994, p. 95).

Moreover, in Daniel 5:28, the word peres has the same consonants (only the consonants were written in ancient Aramaic and Hebrew scripts) as the Aramaic term translated “Persians” and likely was a paronomasia (a word play) hinting that the division of the kingdom would be accomplished by the Persian armies. Bible critic Norman W. Porteous admits this hints at “the victory of Persia over Babylon” (Daniel, The Old Testament Library, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965, p. 81). Furthermore, the Bible critic John A. Montgomery agrees (“A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel,” International Critical Commentary, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1979, p. 263).

Arthur Jeffrey claims the author assumed from his reading of Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 13:17; 21:2, and Jeremiah 51:11, 28) that the Medes conquered Babylon before the Persians (Arthur Jeffrey, “The Book of Daniel,” Interpreter’s Bible, Nashville: Abingdon, 1956, p. 434). However, Isaiah 21:2 blows this theory out of the water, because it speaks of Elam and Media as the joint-conquerors of Babylon. The critic H. H. Rowley admits: “This was doubtless written after Cyrus, king of Anshan, in southwest Elam, had brought the rest of Elam under his sway, when to the Hebrew observer it appeared likely that these two powers might unite in the destruction of Babylon. And since Elam is mentioned first, it is possible that the passage dates from a time after the absorption of Media by Cyrus” (H. H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel, 1935; reprint, Cardiff: University of Wales, 1964, p. 58).

Till correctly notes that the writer of Daniel had “Darius the Mede” conquering Babylon, but nowhere does the writer state that Darius was “the king of the Medes” or the “king of Media.” Dr. Robert H. Pfeiffer of Harvard University admitted the author of Daniel was “a very learned man” and “a sage” (Robert H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948, p. 757), but Pfeiffer must have assumed that this “sage” had never read 2 Chronicles 36:20 where it is said that the Jews were servants to Nebuchadnezzar “and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia.” Clearly this indicates that the Persian reign came immediately after the Babylonian reign.

The second admission concerns the madness of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter four. William Sierichs, Jr., states that “the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity may be a reference to a bout of insanity or lengthy depression in Nabonidus, who apparently was very unpopular in Babylon…” (TSR, Vol. 7.4, p. 8). This is the position held by many modern critical scholars today. Conservatives prefer a different explanation. Stephen Miller comments: “Some scholars have deemed this chapter primarily a fictional account, likely derived from the same source as the so-called `prayer of Nabonidus’ (4QPrBab), an Aramaic fragment discovered at Qumran in 1952 (D. N. Freedman, “The Prayer of Nabonidus,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Vol. 145, 1957, pp. 31-32). Though affinities exist between Daniel 4 and the “Prayer of Nabonidus,” they are far outweighed by the differences (e.g., name of the king, nature of the illness, and location). It seems reasonable to categorize the Nabonidus story as a distorted version or a later application of the biblical narrative” (p. 145).

Nevertheless, the critics insist there is no hint in the historical record that indicates it was Nebuchadnezzar with this strange case of madness that resulted in a seven-year absence. R. H. Pfeiffer called Daniel chapter four an “unhistorical tale,” and “a confused reminiscence of the years when Nabonidus spent at Tema in Arabia” (p. 758). Norman W. Porteous states, “indeed there is no record of Nebuchadnezzar’s having had leave of absence from his royal duties on account of insanity” (p. 70). However, later on the same page Porteous admits that fellow Bible critics Bevan, Montgomery, Bentzen, and Jeffrey have recorded such a story. Abydenus’s account is preserved by Eusebius (Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41.1) and is reproduced by John A. Montgomery (p. 221).

Abydenus says that in the last days of Nebuchadnezzar, the king was “possessed by some god or other” while in his palace, and announced the coming of a Persian mule (i.e., Cyrus), who would bring the people into slavery. Then says Abydenus, “He, when he had uttered this prediction, immediately disappeared” (Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41.1). Surely Porteous is wrong to admit the existence of this story by the historian Abydenus, and at the same time insist that “there is no record of Nebuchadnezzar’s having had leave of absence from his royal duties…”

The third and fourth admissions concern linguistic arguments. Farrell Till asserts: “Bible fundamentalists like to think that Daniel was written in the sixth century B. C., shortly after the events that the book closes with during the reign of Cyrus the Great, who had conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. Few reputable Bible scholars, however, would fix the date that early, because the book exhibits signs of a much later authorship. Scholars cite the writer’s obvious confusion about political events of the time that a contemporary would have surely been familiar with, the linguistic style (especially the section written in Aramaic), and other factors too numerous to discuss in detail as evidence that the book was written at the extreme end of the Old Testament period (no sooner than the second century)” (TSR, Vol. 4.3, p. 13).

Dr. Samuel Driver also made much of the Aramaic of the Book of Daniel. he stated, “The Aramaic of Daniel (which is all but identical with that of Ezra) is a Western Aramaic dialect, of the type spoken in and about Palestine” (p. 59 of the introduction of Driver’s commentary on Daniel), and he went on to suggest that archaeology had confirmed this. However, Jeffrey admits that the Aramaic in the Book of Daniel “cannot be pressed as evidence for a particular date, for it is that type of Aramaic which grew up for official use in the chancelleries and came to be widely used in the ancient Near East” (p. 349). Jeffrey cites more recent discoveries of fifth-century Aramaic texts that totally discredit Driver’s view (Franz Rosenthal, Die Aramaistische Forschung, [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1939] pp. 66-71).

Till has highly recommended Jeffrey’s work on Daniel (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3, and Vol 7.4, p. 8). According to Till, Jeffrey’s material “gives a detailed analysis of the Book of Daniel to show, first of all, that it was not written by its namesake who allegedly lived in Babylon during the captivity, but by an unknown author during the time of the Seleucid Empire, which arose from the partitioning of Alexander’s kingdom after his death” (TSR, Vol. 7.3, p. 3). Does Jeffrey’s work accomplish this feat? Let’s look at a couple of popular arguments that he uses.

The fourth admission by the critics concerns the term “Chaldeans.” Jeffrey argues: “The use of the word kasdim (Chaldeans), not in the proper ethnic sense which it has, for example, in Jeremiah, but to mean a caste of wise men, points to a time when the word was commonly used for a class of priestly astrologers, diviners, or magicians, a sense the word has in the pages of Strabo or Diodorus Siculus, who wrote in the first century B.C. (p. 349).

Dr. Driver agrees that the argument concerning the use of the term “Chaldeans” is very convincing. So much that he places it first in the list of his three strongest arguments that show that the book of Daniel was composed in Palestine “during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes” (pp. 47-56 of the Introduction).