Category Archives: Francis Schaeffer

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 151e Sir Bertrand Russell: We may define “faith” as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence!

Image result for bertrand russellBertrand Russell as a child.Image result for bertrand russellWe may define “faith” as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence! These are the words Bertrand Russell. If Russell was here today I would say to him, “Bertie read on if you want some evidence!”On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

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

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning the IMPLICIT FAITH of Bertrand Russell:I was lecturing at the University of St. Andrews one night and someone put forth the question, “If Christianity is so clear and reasonable then why doesn’t Bertrand Russell then become a Christian? Is it because he hasn’t discovered theology?”It wasn’t a matter of studying theology that was involved but rather that he had too much faith. I was surrounded by humanists and you could hear the gasps. Bertrand Russell and faith; Isn’t this the man of reason? I pointed out that this is a man of high orthodoxy who will hold his IMPLICIT FAITH on the basis of his presuppositions no matter how many times he has to zig and zag because it doesn’t conform to the facts.You must understand what the term IMPLICIT FAITH  means. In the old Roman Catholic Church when someone who became a Roman Catholic they had to promise implicit faith. That meant that you not only had to believe everything that Roman Catholic Church taught then but also everything it would teach in the future. It seems to me this is the kind of faith that these people have in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and they have accepted it no matter what it leads them into. I think that these men are men of a high level of IMPLICIT FAITH in their own set of presuppositions. Paul said (in Romans Chapter One) they won’t carry it to it’s logical conclusion even though they hold a great deal of the truth and they have revolted and they have set up a series of universals in themselves which they won’t transgress no matter if they conform to the facts or not.Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is “the universe and it’s form.”Romans 1:18-20 Amplified Bible :18 For 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. 19 For 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. 20 For 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].We can actually see the two points makes playing themselves out in Bertrand Russell’s own life.Image result for bertrand russell[From a letter dated August 11, 1918 to Miss Rinder when Russell was 46]It is quite true what you say, that you have never expressed yourself—but who has, that has anything to express? The things one says are all unsuccessful attempts to say something else—something that perhaps by its very nature cannot be said. I know that I have struggled all my life to say something that I never shall learn how to say. And it is the same with you. It is so with all who spend their lives in the quest of something elusive, and yet omnipresent, and at once subtle and infinite. One seeks it in music, and the sea, and sunsets; at times I have seemed very near it in crowds when I have been feeling strongly what they were feeling; one seeks it in love above all. But if one lets oneself imagine one has found it, some cruel irony is sure to come and show one that it is not really found.
The outcome is that one is a ghost, floating through the world without any real contact. Even when one feels nearest to other people, something in one seems obstinately to belong to God and to refuse to enter into any earthly communion—at least that is how I should express it if I thought there was a God. It is odd isn’t it? I care 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 ghost, from some extra-mundane region, seems always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand the message. But it is from listening to the ghost that one comes to feel oneself a ghost. I feel I shall find the truth on my deathbed and be surrounded by people too stupid to understand—fussing about medicines instead of searching for wisdom. Love and imagination mingled; that seems the main thing so far.During Bertrand Russell’s lifetime (1872-1970) there lived another scholar who also doubted that the Bible was true and his name was Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939. Ramsay taught from 1885 to until his retirement in 1911 but he continued writing books.Wikipedia notes:In 1880 Ramsay received an Oxford studentship for travel and research in Greece. At Smyrna, he met Sir C. W. Wilson, then British consul-general in Anatolia, who advised him on inland areas suitable for exploration. Ramsay and Wilson made two long journeys during 1881-1882.He traveled widely in Asia Minor and rapidly became the recognized authority on all matters relating to the districts associated with St Paul’s missionary journeys and on Christianity in the early Roman Empire. Greece and Turkey remained the focus of Ramsay’s research for the remainder of his academic career. In 1883, he discovered the world’s oldest complete piece of music, the Seikilos epitaph. He was known for his expertise in the historic geographyand topography of Asia Minor and of its political, social, cultural, and religious history. He was Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1882.From 1885 to 1886 Ramsay held the newly created Lincoln and Merton professorship of classical archaeology and art at Oxford and became a fellow of Lincoln College (honorary fellow 1898). In 1886 Ramsay was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He remained affiliated with Aberdeen until his retirement in 1911. What information did William Ramsay find out about the accuracy of the Bible? Francis Schaeffer discusses Ramsay’s life below:

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.What is even more interesting is the way “liberal” modern scholars today deal with Ramsay’s discoveries and others like them. In the NEW TESTAMENT : THE HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION OF ITS PROBLEMS, the German scholar Werner G. Kummel made no reference at all to Ramsay. This provoked a protest from British and American scholars, whereupon in a subsequent edition Kummel responded. His response was revealing. He made it clear that it was his deliberate intention to leave Ramsay out of his work, since “Ramsay’s apologetic analysis of archaeology [in other words, relating it to the New Testament in a positive way] signified no methodologically essential advance for New Testament research.” This is a quite amazing assertion. Statements like these reveal the philosophic assumptions involved in much liberal scholarship.A modern classical scholar, A.N.Sherwin-White, says about the Book of Acts: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming…Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must not appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken this for granted.”When we consider the pages of the New Testament, therefore, we must remember what it is we are looking at. The New Testament writers themselves make abundantly clear that they are giving an account of objectively true events.(Under footnote #98)Acts is a fairly full account of Paul’s journeys, starting in Pisidian Antioch and ending in Rome itself. The record is quite evidently that of an eyewitness of the events, in part at least. Throughout, however, it is the report of a meticulous historian. The narrative in the Book of Acts takes us back behind the missionary journeys to Paul’s famous conversion on the Damascus Road, and back further through the Day of Pentecost to the time when Jesus finally left His disciples and ascended to be with the Father.But we must understand that the story begins earlier still, for Acts is quite explicitly the second part of a continuous narrative by the same author, Luke, which reaches back to the birth of Jesus.Luke 2:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while[c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.In the opening sentences of his Gospel, Luke states his reason for writing:Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things[a]accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those whofrom the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellentTheophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.In Luke and Acts, therefore, we have something which purports to be an adequate history, something which Theophilus (or anyone) can rely on as its pages are read. This is not the language of “myths and fables,” and archaeological discoveries serve only to confirm this.For example, it is now known that Luke’s references to the titles of officials encountered along the way are uniformly accurate. This was no mean achievement in those days, for they varied from place to place and from time to time in the same place. They were proconsuls in Corinth and Cyprus, asiarchs at Ephesus, politarches at Thessalonica, and protos or “first man” in Malta. Back in Palestine, Luke was careful to give Herod Antipas the correct title of tetrarch of Galilee. And so one. The details are precise.The mention of Pontius Pilate as Roman governor of Judea has been confirmed recently by an inscription discovered at Caesarea, which was the Roman capital of that part of the Roman Empire. Although Pilate’s existence has been well known for the past 2000 years by those who have read the Bible, now his governorship has been clearly attested outside the Bible.Image result for bertrand russell__

ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES THAT DEBUNKED FALSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE BIBLE

1. Tel Dan Stele (Discovery: 1993-1994)

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/meet-the-house-ofdavid-at-the-met/
13-by-16 inch c. 830 BC rock
What is clear is that the Aram-Damascene king Hazael brags of having killed 70 kings, including
of Israel and of the “House of David” (The round number, scholars agree, is probably
exaggerated, although Hazael did have a reputation for being ruthless and successful).
That the nation of Judah is referred to as the “House of David” is significant because it is the
only archaeological evidence of a historical David—a belief that had been hotly debated
prior to this discovery—thus substantiating part of the Biblical narrative.
1 Kings 19:15 (Hazael); 2 Kings 8:13 (Hazael)

2. Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene (Discovery: 1737)

http://formerthings.com/lysanias.htm
Archeologists found an inscription of the time of Jesus concerning Lysanias who was tetrarch of
Abila
Scholars at one time were skeptical of Luke being accurate in referring to Lysanius being
the tetrarch of Abilene around A. D. 27 when John the Baptist began his ministry. They could
only find one Lysanius in Roman records and he was the ruler of Chalcia fifty years
before the one Luke mentions.
However, the credibility of Luke’s gospel record continues to be reinforced by archeological
discoveries. An inscription was found on a temple from the time of Tiberius (the Roman emperor
from 14 – 37 AD), which named Lysanias as the Tetrach of Abila near Damascus, just as Luke
has written.
The temple inscription reads:
“For the salvation of the August lords and of all their household, Nymphaeus, freedman of Eagle
Lysanias tetrarch established this street and other things.”
The reference to August lords is a joint title given only to the emperor Tiberius (son of Augustus)
and his mother Livia (widow of Augustus). This reference establishes the date of the inscription
to between A.D. 14 and 29. The year 14 was the year of Tiberius’ accession and the year 29
was the year of Livia’s death.

3. Ebla archive (Discovery: 1974-1975)

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a008.html
Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place
names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name
critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the
Bible. The word tehom (“the deep”) in Genesis 1:2 was said to be a late word
demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. “Tehom” was part of the vocabulary at
Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses.

4. Hittites (City of Hattusa discovered 20th century)

http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/turkeyhattusa.htm
The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were
discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey.
The re-discovery of the city of Hattusa and a script referring to the ‘Great King’ of the Hittites has
led to confirmation that they were the fourth, great civilisation of ancient times.5. King Sargon (Discovery: 19th-20th century)http://www.cemml.colostate.edu/cultural/09476/iraq05-042.html
It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1,
because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered
in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded
on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at
Ashdod itself.6. Pool of Siloam (Discovered 2004)http://creation.com/focus-281#siloam
‘Scholars have said that there wasn’t a pool of Siloam and that John was using a
religious conceit’ (to illustrate a point) said James H. Charlesworth of Princeton Theological
Seminary. ‘Now we have found the pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was.’ A Gospel
that was thought to be ‘pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history’, he said.

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7. Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, Historical Accuracy of Luke-Acts (19th-20th century)

https://books.google.com/books?id=NC9VAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_su
mmary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://www.wayoflife.org/database/bibles_proof.html
William Ramsay, a Scottish archaeologist, went to Asia Minor with the expressed purpose of
proving the BIBLE was historically inaccurate. As he painstakingly poured over the ancient
artifacts and details, to his amazement he found that the BIBLE was accurate down to the
tiniest detail. The evidence was so convincing that Sir Ramsay himself became a Christian and
a great Biblical scholar.
“The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year
about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces,
the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where
Greece and Asia meet, and found it here. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond
any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided
always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of
justice.”
MORE ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES THAT
CONFIRM THE HISTORICAL RELIABILITY OF THE
BIBLEImage result for sir william ramsay archaeologist

8. Nebo-Sarsekim – chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar (Discovery: 19th century)

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/28/Nebo-Sarsekim-Found-in-BabylonianTablet.aspx
http://creation.com/new-archaeological-find-affirms-old-testament-historicity
Dr Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, said, ‘This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find.
If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A
throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means
that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.’
Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, made the discovery. The name on the tablet,
Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, seemed familiar and he recalled that Jeremiah 39:3 mentions ‘NeboSarsekim
a chief officer’ of Nebuchadnezzar who came into Jerusalem when Jerusalem was
besieged and conquered.

9. Sennacherib’s Campaign Against Judah

http://www.truth-that-matters.com/assyria.htm
http://www.bible-history.com/empires/prism.html
Campaign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Judah (2 Kings 18:13-16), as recorded on
the Taylor Prism
– “Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him,
and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took 46 of his strong fenced cities;
and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless
number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male
and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a
countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a
bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth
against the gates, so as to prevent escape… Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of
the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with
30 talents of gold and 300 talents of silver, and diverse treasures, a rich and immense
booty… All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government.”
– As recorded by Josephus, Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, book ten, verses 21-23 relate
an account by the Babylonian historian Berossus, in which Berossus claims a disease
befell an Assyrian army led by the Rabshakeh, and one hundred and eighty-five
thousand men were lost. Earlier in the book, the account of Herodotus is also
mentioned.
The differences in these accounts from the Biblical account is normal, considering the fact that
the Assyrian/Babylonian historians would try to paint a positive picture of this story, instead of
choosing to recognize the divine intrusion in favor of their enemies (Kingdom of Judah).
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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULUTURE Part 256 Review by Slim Jim : Art and the Bible: Two Essays by Francis A. Schaeffer (Featured artist is Brian Jungen)

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This is one of the books I recommended for this year’s Christian worldview and apologetics presents suggestion.

art-and-the-bible1

This is a good introduction to a Christian view on art. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover and for this work I would also add that neither should you judge a book by it’s size–the book turned out to be better than I expected. Francis Schaeffer delivers in this work that’s really two chapters/essay that lays the foundation for the development of a Christian view of art. In the first chapter, Schaeffer attempts to establish Biblically that art is a godly pursuit. He begins his case with the Lordship of Christ, in which Christ and God is in charge of every area of the Christian life including their creative pursuits. Acknowledging that some Christians invoke the Ten commandments of not having graven images as an objection towards art, Schaeffer has a beautiful and powerful presentation of the Biblical data that this cannot be what the prohibition means since the Bible has arts. Schaeffer surveys the Tabernacle, the Temple and Solomon’s temple for evidence that God approves of art and even biblically backs up a case for poetry, dance and drama. In chapter two, Schaeffer goes over ten principles concerning the direction of how Christians ought to pursue their venture with art and how to evaluate art. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated his four criteria of evaluating art: 1.) Technical abilities (artistic skills), 2.) validity (Schaeffer meant whether they are attempting to really show what the artist believed, or whether they have become mercenaries in their art), 3.) their worldview intellectual content and 4.) message’s relationship to the artistic vehicle. Delineating these four criteria proves to be helpful and can help us as Christians become more nuance when we say what we mean when we dislike a work of art and/or why we like it though not everything is good about it. Excellent work, I thoroughly recommend it.

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The Story of Francis and Edith Schaeffer and Swiss L’Abri

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

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Francis Schaeffer – How Should We Then Live – 03.The Renaissance

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HowShouldweThenLive Episode 6

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Featured artist is Brian Jungen

Brian Jungen

Brian Jungen was born in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada in 1970. He draws from his family’s ranching and hunting background, as well as his Dane-zaa heritage, when disassembling and recombining consumer goods into whimsical sculptures. Jungen transforms plastic chairs into whale skeletons, garbage bins into a giant turtle carapace, sewing tables into a basketball court, golf bags into towering totem poles, and collectible Nike Air Jordan shoes into objects resembling both the ceremonial masks of British Columbian coastal tribes and abstract modernist sculptures.

At once direct and disarming, Jungen’s sculptures are entirely familiar in their material and assembly and yet still trick the eye through complex and deft illusions. He has created many works involving animals, from habitats and playgrounds for household pets, to paintings and drums utilizing stretched and tanned hides—demonstrating an interdependence between people and other species as well as between aesthetic form and function. While exquisite for their craftsmanship and graphic use of pattern and color, Jungen’s works also contain subtle critiques of labor practices, global capitalism, and cultural stereotypes.

Brian Jungen attended Emily Carr College of Art + Design (BFA, 1992). Jungen’s awards and residencies include the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2010), Capp Street Project (2004), Sobey Art Award (2002), and The Banff Centre for the Arts residency (1998). Jungen has had major exhibitions at Hannover Kunstverein (2013); Bonner Kunstverein (2013); Art Gallery of Ontario (2013, 2011); Documenta (2012); Shanghai Biennial (2012); Smithsonian Institute—National Museum of the American Indian (2009); Sydney Biennale (2008); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2007); Lyon Biennial (2007); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2006); Tate Modern, London (2006); Vancouver Art Gallery (2006); New Museum, New York (2005); and the Vienna Secession (2003), among others. Brian Jungen lives and works in North Okanagan, BC, Canada.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 151d Sir Bertrand Russell placed absolute faith in the doctrine of uncertainty and he rejected the notion of absolute truth, except when it came to his firm belief in his doctrine of doubt!

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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Harry Kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell’s Greatest Paradox was His Faith

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, and social critic. He is recognized as one of the most important logicians of the 20th Century. He is also credited for showing that the naive set theory created by Georg Cantor leads to a contradiction. This is known as “Russell’s paradox.”

Seemingly unbeknownst to Russell however, his greatest paradox was actually his faith. He was a man who placed absolute faith in the doctrine of uncertainty. He rejected the notion of absolute truth, except when it came to his firm belief in his doctrine of doubt. Russell explained it this way: “In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Jesus, on the other hand, taught his disciples to always rest certain of His Word and His love for them. Russell taught people to reject any sense of certainty. He said, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” That worship of uncertainty was Russell’s undoing and his ultimate paradox.

On March 6, 1927, he delivered a lecture entitled, “Why I Am Not a Christian.” It is a revealing presentation which clearly shows the difference between the mind of natural man and the enlightened mind of a Christian believer. In this lecture, Russell accused religion of being “based primarily and mainly upon fear.” Not only was he mistaken on that account, but ironically he was the one actually basing his own philosophy on the fear of being wrong. He was terrified to place absolute trust in something because in his mind, it might eventually be proven false. That fear kept him bound in chains to his skepticism. This is where his longing for rationality made him irrational. He was the poster child for fear-based living. It consumed him. It enslaved him. And it motivated him to reject Christ.

Interestingly, Russell’s doubts led him to place tremendous confidence in his own intelligence. It is a very proud and misguided position. As the Scripture says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) For Russell, the world needs man much more than man needs God. In explaining why he was not a Christian, he said the world “needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.”

Christians trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Bertrand Russell trusted in his intelligence as his personal savior. The problem is that his savior cannot truly save. His savior is very weak when compared to God. His savior is limited to human reason and man’s understanding. There is a higher level of reason which man desperately needs to acquire. This higher level of sanctified reason is only reached after you trust Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and save your soul. Up until that point, man is basing his conclusions on a limited amount of information and an uninspired level of human reason. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

No wonder Russell, amidst all of his intelligence, never found any ultimate satisfaction in life. He repeatedly refused to humble himself before the Lord. Yet he found himself often trying to explain away the very God which he argued wasn’t needed or real. He had made a conscious decision during his teenage years to reject God and the Bible once and for all. From that period forward, it was obvious that Russell had an axe to grind with God. There was a chip on his shoulder and Jesus Christ was one of his favorite targets.

In fact, Russell went so far as to say: “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if he did we do not know anything about him.” It is astounding that a man with his intellect could be so ignorant regarding the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. That is how far into the realm of irrationality he was driven by his doctrine of uncertainty. It is truly mind-boggling.

His rejection of Christ was very much related to his denial of his own sinful condition. In his 1927 lecture he said, “When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings.”

Rather than it being an illuminated insight, Russell’s rejection of personal sin was his Achilles’ heel. He respected himself too much to bring himself to admit before God that he was a sinner and in need of salvation. In the end, his deep struggle was not really an intellectual one. It was a moral struggle. It was a moral refusal to admit fault, blame, sin, and the need for God to save him. Therefore, he resorted to trusting his own intelligence to save him not from sin, but from fear. Even then, Russell found that his savior could not deliver him from the very thing he dreaded the most.

By the end of his earthly journey, Russell’s savior left him no different than before. He was just as fearful, if not more so. If any rational person today wants to see where “self-respecting intelligence” ultimately leads, just examine Bertrand Russell. No real hope. No real peace. And absolutely no certainty. A mind is a beautiful thing to waste. And it sure makes a sorry excuse for a savior.

Bertrand Russell was a walking paradox. His life was a permanent contradiction. He ended up doing the very thing he was most afraid of doing, and he trusted in something which he should have known would fail him. His pride blinded him to the contradiction that was his life. It became an infinite loop. A mathematician of Russell’s caliber should have been able to recognize such a thing. This loop has continued for him beyond the grave. His worst fears have now been realized.

In fear he ran from fear. In fear he also ran from God. In so doing, Russell became locked in his own mental contradiction. He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get out of it. He lived and died without trusting in the One Person who could have delivered him from his paradoxical and misplaced faith. What a sad life and tragic end for a man who had so much human potential. If anyone could ever have been saved by logic alone, it was Bertrand Russell.

God said, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:19) Bertrand Russell experienced that frustration more than most. Unfortunately, his life’s message was seen as foolishness from the grandstand of heaven. The message of heaven is only understood by those who become humble before their Creator. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Bertrand Russell was too proud to allow himself to be “saved” from anything, least of all his sin before a holy God. He rejected that doctrine as being beneath his dignity and mental superiority. After all, he was Bertrand Russell. Even his four wives and many mistresses over the years seemed to do little if anything to ever make him feel personally guilty for any wrongdoing. He was too self-absorbed to sincerely love God or to truly love a woman. “He seemed detached in mind and body,” one mistress wrote, “but all the furies of hell raged in his eyes.”

With God out of the way, Russell felt free to explore relationships with many women without being burdened down by any absolute set of sexual ethics. His lustful romantic relationships were every bit as paradoxical as his faith in the doctrine of uncertainty. In fact, they fed off each other and fueled even more exploration and an unwillingness to make a lifetime commitment to one woman or to God’s one set of values. At the end of the day, the driving forces of his life were passionate sex with multiple partners and passionate uncertainty in multiple disciplines.

Bertrand Russell is a classic example of how radical skeptics come and go. Meanwhile, “God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalm 53:2) When will man wise up and recognize the limitations and contradictions of his own intelligence?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 151c Bertrand Russell’s  perfect unshakable implicit faith in an uniformity of natural causes in a closed system

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Bertrand Russell as a child.

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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

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning the IMPLICIT FAITH of Bertrand Russell:

I was lecturing at the University of St. Andrews one night and someone put forth the question, “If Christianity is so clear and reasonable then why doesn’t Bertrand Russell then become a Christian? Is it because he hasn’t discovered theology?”

It wasn’t a matter of studying theology that was involved but rather that he had too much faith. I was surrounded by humanists and you could hear the gasps. Bertrand Russell and faith; Isn’t this the man of reason? I pointed out that this is a man of high orthodoxy who will hold his IMPLICIT FAITH on the basis of his presuppositions no matter how many times he has to zig and zag because it doesn’t conform to the facts.

You must understand what the term IMPLICIT FAITH  means. In the old Roman Catholic Church when someone who became a Roman Catholic they had to promise implicit faith. That meant that you not only had to believe everything that Roman Catholic Church taught then but also everything it would teach in the future. It seems to me this is the kind of faith that these people have in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and they have accepted it no matter what it leads them into. 

I think that these men are men of a high level of IMPLICIT FAITH in their own set of presuppositions. Paul said (in Romans Chapter One) they won’t carry it to it’s logical conclusion even though they hold a great deal of the truth and they have revolted and they have set up a series of universals in themselves which they won’t transgress no matter if they conform to the facts or not.

Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is “the universe and it’s form.”

Romans 1:18-20 Amplified Bible :

18 For 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. 19 For 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. 20 For 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].

We can actually see the two points makes playing themselves out in Bertrand Russell’s own life.

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[From a letter dated August 11, 1918 to Miss Rinder when Russell was 46]

It is quite true what you say, that you have never expressed yourself—but who has, that has anything to express? The things one says are all unsuccessful attempts to say something else—something that perhaps by its very nature cannot be said. I know that I have struggled all my life to say something that I never shall learn how to say. And it is the same with you. It is so with all who spend their lives in the quest of something elusive, and yet omnipresent, and at once subtle and infinite. One seeks it in music, and the sea, and sunsets; at times I have seemed very near it in crowds when I have been feeling strongly what they were feeling; one seeks it in love above all. But if one lets oneself imagine one has found it, some cruel irony is sure to come and show one that it is not really found.
The outcome is that one is a ghost, floating through the world without any real contact. Even when one feels nearest to other people, something in one seems obstinately to belong to God and to refuse to enter into any earthly communion—at least that is how I should express it if I thought there was a God. It is odd isn’t it? I care 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 ghost, from some extra-mundane region, seems always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand the message. But it is from listening to the ghost that one comes to feel oneself a ghost. I feel I shall find the truth on my deathbed and be surrounded by people too stupid to understand—fussing about medicines instead of searching for wisdom. Love and imagination mingled; that seems the main thing so far.

During Bertrand Russell’s lifetime (1872-1970) there lived another scholar who also doubted that the Bible was true and his name was Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939. Ramsay taught from 1885 to until his retirement in 1911 but he continued writing books.

Wikipedia notes:

In 1880 Ramsay received an Oxford studentship for travel and research in Greece. At Smyrna, he met Sir C. W. Wilson, then British consul-general in Anatolia, who advised him on inland areas suitable for exploration. Ramsay and Wilson made two long journeys during 1881-1882.

He traveled widely in Asia Minor and rapidly became the recognized authority on all matters relating to the districts associated with St Paul’s missionary journeys and on Christianity in the early Roman Empire. Greece and Turkey remained the focus of Ramsay’s research for the remainder of his academic career. In 1883, he discovered the world’s oldest complete piece of music, the Seikilos epitaph. He was known for his expertise in the historic geographyand topography of Asia Minor and of its political, social, cultural, and religious history. He was Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1882.

From 1885 to 1886 Ramsay held the newly created Lincoln and Merton professorship of classical archaeology and art at Oxford and became a fellow of Lincoln College (honorary fellow 1898). In 1886 Ramsay was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He remained affiliated with Aberdeen until his retirement in 1911. 

What information did William Ramsay find out about the accuracy of the Bible? 

Francis Schaeffer discusses Ramsay’s life below:

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.

The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.

What is even more interesting is the way “liberal” modern scholars today deal with Ramsay’s discoveries and others like them. In the NEW TESTAMENT : THE HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION OF ITS PROBLEMS, the German scholar Werner G. Kummel made no reference at all to Ramsay. This provoked a protest from British and American scholars, whereupon in a subsequent edition Kummel responded. His response was revealing. He made it clear that it was his deliberate intention to leave Ramsay out of his work, since “Ramsay’s apologetic analysis of archaeology [in other words, relating it to the New Testament in a positive way] signified no methodologically essential advance for New Testament research.” This is a quite amazing assertion. Statements like these reveal the philosophic assumptions involved in much liberal scholarship.

A modern classical scholar, A.N.Sherwin-White, says about the Book of Acts: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming…Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must not appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken this for granted.”

When we consider the pages of the New Testament, therefore, we must remember what it is we are looking at. The New Testament writers themselves make abundantly clear that they are giving an account of objectively true events.

(Under footnote #98)

Acts is a fairly full account of Paul’s journeys, starting in Pisidian Antioch and ending in Rome itself. The record is quite evidently that of an eyewitness of the events, in part at least. Throughout, however, it is the report of a meticulous historian. The narrative in the Book of Acts takes us back behind the missionary journeys to Paul’s famous conversion on the Damascus Road, and back further through the Day of Pentecost to the time when Jesus finally left His disciples and ascended to be with the Father.

But we must understand that the story begins earlier still, for Acts is quite explicitly the second part of a continuous narrative by the same author, Luke, which reaches back to the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while[c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the opening sentences of his Gospel, Luke states his reason for writing:

Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things[a]accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those whofrom the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellentTheophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.

In Luke and Acts, therefore, we have something which purports to be an adequate history, something which Theophilus (or anyone) can rely on as its pages are read. This is not the language of “myths and fables,” and archaeological discoveries serve only to confirm this.

For example, it is now known that Luke’s references to the titles of officials encountered along the way are uniformly accurate. This was no mean achievement in those days, for they varied from place to place and from time to time in the same place. They were proconsuls in Corinth and Cyprus, asiarchs at Ephesus, politarches at Thessalonica, and protos or “first man” in Malta. Back in Palestine, Luke was careful to give Herod Antipas the correct title of tetrarch of Galilee. And so one. The details are precise.

The mention of Pontius Pilate as Roman governor of Judea has been confirmed recently by an inscription discovered at Caesarea, which was the Roman capital of that part of the Roman Empire. Although Pilate’s existence has been well known for the past 2000 years by those who have read the Bible, now his governorship has been clearly attested outside the Bible.

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Image result for sir william ramsay archaeologistLuke’s Accuracy 
Introduction: 
Luke was a physician and historian who authored the Gospel that bears his name and the book of Acts which is the story of the fledgling church. Together these two books make up close to one quarter of the New Testament. The fact that Luke was obviously an intelligent and educated man who wrote very eloquently in near classical Greek takes a back seat to whether or not he was an accurate historian. In other words, was Luke a credible witness to the events he wrote about.The fact that Luke was so meticulous about recording dates, names, titles, locations and other details, makes it relatively easy to check his facts. However, all too many times, scholars and critics pooh-poohed something Luke wrote, only to have him proved right by a subsequent archaeological discovery.Lysanius
For example, Luke was extremely precise about when John the Baptist’s ministry began…Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, ….  (Luke 3:1 NASB)Many critics scoffed at the idea that Lysanius was tetrarch of Abilene, because the only known Lysanius was ruler of Chalcis (a town on the island of Euboea in Greece) about 50-60 years earlier. However, the discovery of an inscriptions from Abila (northwest of Damascus) showed that an official named Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene between the years AD 14 and 29. Apparently there were two government officials with the same name.Sergius Paulus
Similarly, in Acts 13:7, Luke also said the proconsul was an intelligent man called Sergius Paulus. This was also rejected by critics, until an 1887 discovery of an inscription which said a Sergius Paulus was appointed as proconsul in A.D. 47.

Related posts:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 151b Sir Bertrand Russell “I do not believe in God and in immortality!” But Ecclesiastes 3:11 notes “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” 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.”

This issue of Ecclesiastes 3:11 playing out in people’s hearts is examined more in the earlier blog post dealing with my challenge to CSICOP entitled “RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part B (Kroto was a member of CSICOP).”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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Harry Kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was one of the most influential opponents of Christianity of this century. When he won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1950), he was characterized as one “who constantly figured as a defender of humanity and freedom of thought.” Actually, he was a militant defender of skepticism and a dedicated enemy of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Swedish Academy described him as “one of our times’ most brilliant spokesmen of rationality and humanity.”

On March 6, 1927, in London, Professor Russell delivered a lecture titled, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” which set forth the philosopher’s objections to the Christian faith. That speech was transcribed and has since been widely circulated throughout the world. What were the arguments he employed in defense of his criticisms? If the “most brilliant spokesman” of agnosticism in the modern world can be adequately answered, surely little attention will have to be given to those of lesser stature.

Russell’s objections to Christianity fell into two categories. First, if one claims to be a Christian he must believe in God and immortality. But, he said, “I do not believe in God and in immortality.”

Second, he declared that if one professes Christianity, he must believe that Christ was divine, or at least the best and wisest of men. But Russell said:

I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness (1957, 4-5).

We will not pause to ponder how Jesus could claim to be deity, not be, yet still be described as possessed of “moral goodness,” or how the British sage even arrived at a determination of what “goodness” is. We will just reflect upon his major objections.

The Existence of God

Russell gives several reasons why he rejected the concept of God. Actually, he responded to theistic arguments that have been advanced across the centuries.

Struggling with a First-Cause

Professor Russell repudiated the cause-and-effect argument because, he said, “if everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause” (Ibid., 6). He misstated the argument. We contend that every effect must have a cause. God is not an effect. Thus it is not necessary to postulate a cause for him.

Logic forces us to conclude that ultimately there was a Cause that was uncaused, or eternal. If something exists now, then something must have existed always, for something cannot come from nothing. Something does now exist; thus, something has existed always. That something is not matter, for matter is not eternal (as any physicist knows). Consequently, that eternal, uncaused Something must be non-material, and so, is the Cause of all material effects. The Bible identifies that eternal Cause/Mind as God (Psalm 90:2).

But Mr. Russell contended that there “is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed” (Ibid., 7). Neither of these positions is reasonable. The world could not have created itself because matter does not have that ability. If matter can create itself, there ought to be evidence that such is occurring. But the First Law of Thermodynamics indicates that matter is not being created; we must therefore conclude that matter cannot be self-caused.

Moreover, it is now almost universally acknowledged—as a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics—that the universe has not always existed. As Dr. Robert Jastrow, an agnostic, concedes: “[M]odern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe” (1977, 15).

Struggling with Design

Russell criticized the argument from design, though he had a very defective understanding of it. He described it like this. The world appears to have been “made just so that we can manage to live in it,” and if it was “ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design” (Ibid., 9). He ridiculed believers whom he claimed argue the case for design by suggesting that the rabbit was given a white tail so that the hunter can see better to shoot him. This is a gross misrepresentation of the design argument. It is much easier to set up a straw man and knock it down, than to deal responsibly with an argument.

The design argument simply says: where there is design, there must be a designer.This principle is not even denied by modern agnostics. Paul Ricci calls it “an analytically true statement” (1986, 190). If it can be shown that the universe is characterized by design, then it must have had a designer. An increasing number of scientists are intrigued by what has come to be known as the Anthropic Principle, i.e., the concept that the universe is characterized by numerous incredible “coincidences” which accommodate human existence (cf. Glynn 1996, 28ff). It appears that Someone planned the Cosmos for human habitation. Elsewhere we have demonstrated that even unbelievers have acknowledged design, as such is exhibited in the human body (see Jackson 1993).

Russell alleged, however, that the “defects,” that are apparent on our planet, argue against the notion of design. There were several flaws in his reasoning. First, one does not have to demonstrate design in everything to show that there is design in some things. Only an adequate case is necessary. Second, it is quite possible that genuine design is present in an object even though unrecognized. For years scientists saw no purpose in the human appendix; now its function is very well documented. Third, degeneration (cf. Romans 8:20ff) accounts for the lack of apparent design in some things. But even a watch that no longer functions still reveals the rudiments of design (see Some Atheistic Arguments Answered).

Struggling with Morality

The moral-law argument suggests that there is, in all men, a recognition of the existence of moral obligation, i.e., a sense of oughtness—an acknowledgment that there is a difference between right and wrong. This we call conscience. Conscience does not define morality (objective revelation—the Bible—is required for that), but it does testify that moral sensitivity exists in men (animals do not have it). This moral law implies a moral law-giver, which Scripture reveals as God.

Russell avoided confronting this argument head-on. He merely said that if the difference between right and wrong is due to God’s fiat, “then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong” (Ibid., 12). Frankly, that statement is meaningless. It does not state a sensible proposition—a logical truth. God’s directives regarding right and wrong are based upon his own eternal (Psalm 90:2), unchanging (Malachi 3:6), and holy (Isaiah 6:3) nature (cf. 1 Peter 1:15).

But note this. Russell declared: “I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not” (Ibid., 12).

How very convenient. The reason the philosopher was not interested in discussing the difference between right and wrong is obvious. Once you assert there is a difference, you are obligated to defend some standard by which your judgment is made. Russell had none, and so he decided to skirt the issue. He was not courageous enough to say, as did his atheistic colleague Jean Paul Sartre, that since there is no God, anything you want to do is permitted (Marsak 1961, 485).

When it came to dealing with his own children, however, Mr. Russell was quite concerned with the difference between right and wrong. His daughter, Katharine Tait, wrote that he taught his family that they ought to live unselfishly so as to make others happy, etc. Yet, all the while, he theoretically argued that there was “no rational ground for this view.” She said his arguments convinced neither her nor himself! (1975, 182,185).

Struggling with Injustice

Thoughtful people have frequently reflected upon the fact that there appears to be considerable injustice in the world. Good people suffer, and, as Job once expressed it, “the tents of robbers prosper” (12:6). This circumstance seems to make no sense. Even Russell called it “annoying” (Ibid., 13)—though why it should be, from the vantage point of his philosophy, it is difficult to say.

Reason would suggest, however, that if there is such a thing as justice, there must be a reckoning—a judgment where wrongs are made right—beyond this life. Mr. Russell rejected this longing of the human spirit. To him it was no different than opening a crate of oranges and finding rotten ones on top. Would one logically expect to find, he wondered, good oranges down below, just to establish a principle of justice? No, not at all. But what does that have to do with us? Human beings are not oranges! No spoiled orange ever felt enraged at some perceived sense of orange-injustice. We do not suppose that oranges even contemplate the problem.

Russell concluded, in fact, that injustice in the world constitutes a moral argument against the existence of deity? How so? If there is no moral standard, why even suggest that there is such a thing as injustice. The professor’s arguments against belief in God were invalid.

Part 2 of this series will address Russell’s criticisms of Christ.

REFERENCES
  • Glynn, Patrick. 1996. Beyond The Death of God. National Review, May 6.
  • Jackson, Wayne. 1993. The Human Body—Accident or Design?. Stockton, CA: Courier Publications.
  • Jastrow, Robert. 1977. Until The Sun Dies. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.
  • Marsak, Leonard, ed. 1961. French Philosophers from Decartes to Sartre. New York, NY: Meridian Books.
  • Ricci, Paul. 1986. Fundamentals of Critical Thinking. Lexington, MA: Ginn Press.
  • Russell, Bertrand. 1957. Why I Am Not a Christian and other essays on religion and related subjects. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Tait, Katharine. 1975. My Father Bertrand Russell. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Psalm 90:2; Romans 8:20; Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. “Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: July 7, 2018. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/10-bertrand-russell-and-christianity-part-1

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 151a Sir Bertrand Russell “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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Harry Kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell – Faith Bully

Faith Bully

Every generation has its favorite faith bullies and mine was Bertrand Russell. Russell was a British philosopher and logician. He was also one of the leading social critics of his time. He was born in 1872 and died in 1970 – my last full year as an atheist.

I read many of Russell’s books, articles and essays in the 1960s and early 70s. Some of my favorites were “Why I Am Not A Christian,” “Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” “A Free Man’s Worship,” and “Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?” I say “were” because I stopped agreeing with Russell 40 years ago. Mr. Russell was wrong and my goal as a free-thinking person is to be right.

Bertrand Russell used to say, “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” I understand the argument because I used it, but how does sitting at the bedside of a dying child prove there is no God? It doesn’t. What the question does is cause some people of faith to question God. Why would my God let an innocent child suffer and die? For people who do not believe, the question confirms what they think about faith in God. They view faith as silly, childish, infantile.

Faith bullies say things like that to attack the minds and hearts of people. Most people love children and the thought of a child dying is difficult to accept. We look at children with hope for their future. When a child dies, their future is cut short. So, if there is a God, why would He let a child die?

Why indeed! It was never God’s intention that children should die. It was never God’s intention that anyone would die. He Created the human race to live forever. So, who is to blame for the sad affairs of humanity that could see the death of a child? Let’s place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the living beings who caused this terrible thing – Satan, Adam and Eve. Satan deceived the first woman and her husband stood by and watched it happen. That’s who is to blame for the death of a child.

I realize that Russell would not agree with my defense because I believe in the God of the Bible. He didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe in the Words of the Bible. Russell was an unbeliever. But that does not change the facts about the existence of God and the reliability of Scripture. If one person sees a burning building and another says there is no building so there could be no fire, it doesn’t change the fact that a building is on fire and people’s lives are in danger. I am not deterred from Truth just because some people don’t believe it. Who is the fool? The person saying the building is on fire or the person standing in front of the burning building saying there is no building and no fire? The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.

Bertrand Russell said and wrote many other things during his lifetime to bully people of faith. He had a profound effect on people of my generation and the generation before, and he continues to impact the thinking of atheists and agnostics today. Because of that, we will revisit Russell’s words again, along with those who are following in his bullying footsteps.

Russell may be dead, but his lies are still being told. And whose lies are they? They come from the first liar – the father of lies – Satan. Remember what we learned about how Satan attacks. Bertrand Russell was just a man. It is the spiritual power behind Russell and those like him that we need to guard against.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

Faith Defense

Francis Schaeffer in his fine book about modern man ESCAPE FROM REASON  states,

“the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears. Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good.”(pg. 81)

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BANKRUPT WORLDVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everette Hatcher III



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Daniel Dennett and Stephen Jay Gould pictured together above

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

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Stephen Jay Gould, 1942-2002

By Paul Kurtz
Chairman, CSICOP

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

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

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

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

The Darwin Day Program 

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

No More NOMA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lawrence Krauss pictured above and Sean Carroll below

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

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Chomsky, Krauss, and me

Posted on March 15, 2006 by Sean Carroll

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

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

ON STEVEN JAY GOULD AND “NON-OVERLAPPING MAGISTERIA”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

Related posts:

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

March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged George HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyRaqib ShawRingo Starr | Edit | Comments (0)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bertrand Russell – “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

__

(Harry Kroto pictured below)

Image result for harry kroto

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Related posts:

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part F “Carl Sagan’s views on how God should try and contact us” includes film “The Basis for Human Dignity”

April 8, 2013 – 7:07 am

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

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

March 22, 2015 – 12:30 am

______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged Anna Margaret Rose FreemanGeorge HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyRingo StarrStg. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | EditComments (0)

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

March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged George HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyRaqib ShawRingo Starr | Edit | Comments (0)

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

March 12, 2015 – 12:16 am

__________________   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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged George HarrisonJohn LennonPaul MacCartneyPeter BlakeRingo Starr | Edit | Comments (1)

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

March 5, 2015 – 4:47 am

_______________ 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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged BeatlesMika Tajima | Edit|Comments (0)

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

February 26, 2015 – 4:57 am

_______________ 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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged Blow UpDavid Hemmings,Michelangelo AntonioniNancy HoltSarah Miles.Vanessa Redgrave | Edit |Comments (0)

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)

February 19, 2015 – 5:33 am

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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis SchaefferWoody Allen | Tagged alan aldaAnjelica Hustonmia farrowSam Waterston | Edit | Comments (0)

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

February 12, 2015 – 5:00 am

____________________________________ 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 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged Bertrand RussellFriedrich Nietzsche,H.G. Wellsjean paul sartreKai NielsenRichard TaylorRichard WurmbrandThomas Schütte | EditComments (0)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 249 Art Without Meaning — Francis Schaeffer on “The Red Virgin” (Feature on artist Joan Jonas)

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Fouquet Virgin and Child Steve Macias

Fouquet Virgin and Child

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Art Without Meaning — Francis Schaeffer on “The Red Virgin”

By Rick Pearcey • January 4, 2007, 11:19 AM

News outlets are reporting that an artist has portrayed actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary. The following analysis by philosopher-theologian Francis Schaeffer of Fouquet’s The Red Virgin provides background on the worldview dimension of this use of Marian imagery and on the modern problem of art divorced from meaning.

* Masaccio: “It is crucial to notice that with Masaccio [1401-1428?] and the others up to this point,” writes Schaeffer, “art could still have moved toward either a biblical or a nonbiblical concept of nature and the particulars (that is, the individual things, including the individual man). Up to this time it could have gone either way.”

* Nature’s Proper Place: “It was good that nature was given a proper place. And there could have continued an emphasis on real people in a real world which God has made — with the particulars, the individual things, important because God made the whole world. Masaccio . . . pictured Adam and Eve as the Bible portrays them — as real people in a real world. Or at this point humanism could take over, with its emphasis on things being autonomous.”

* Dilemma of Humanism: “Immediately after Masaccio, the die was cast and the movement went in this direction. Man made himself increasingly independent and autonomous, and with this came an increasing loss of anything which gave meaning, either to the individual things in the world or to man. With this we see the dilemma of humanism which is still with us today.”

* Fouquet’s Red Virgin: “This position and its dilemma is strikingly shown in a shift in art. In France, one sees this with Fouquet (c. 1416-1480) in his painting The Red Virgin (1450?).”

* King’s Mistress: “The world red refers to the overall color used in part of the picture. The girl was shown with one breast exposed, and everybody who knew the situation knew that this was a picture of the king’s mistress, Anges Sorel.”

* Not the Madonna: “Was this the Madonna about to feed her baby? No, the painting might be titled The Red Virgin, but the girl was the king’s mistress; and when one looked at the painting one could see what the king’s mistress’s breast looked like.”

* Mary as a Real Person: “Prior to this time, Mary was considered very high and holy. Earlier she was considered so much above normal people that she was painted as a symbol. When in the Renaissance Mary was painted as a real person, this was an advance over the representations of Mary in the earlier age, because the Bible tells us that Mary was a real girl and that the baby Jesus was a real baby.”

* Where Has All the Meaning Gone? “But now not only was the king’s mistress painted as Mary with all of the holiness removed, but the meaning, too, was being destroyed. As first it might have seemed that only the religious aspect was threatened. But, as we can see in retrospect, gradually the threat spread to all of knowledge and all of life.”

* Beyond Meaningless Mary: “All meaning to all individual things or particulars was removed. Things were being made autonomous, and there was nothing to which to related them or to give them meaning.”

Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, pp. 68-71; for a fuller statement on Christianity and art, see Schaeffer’s Art & The Bible

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Featured artist is Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York. A pioneer of performance and video art, Jonas works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, often collaborating with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational works that are equally at home in the museum gallery and on the theatrical stage. Drawing on mythic stories from various cultures, Jonas invests texts from the past with the politics of the present.

By wearing masks in some works, and drawing while performing on stage in others, she disrupts the conventions of theatrical storytelling to emphasize potent symbols and critical self-awareness. From masquerading in disguise before the camera to turning mirrors on the audience, she turns doubling and reflection into metaphors for the tenuous divide between subjective and objective vision, and the loss of fixed identities.

Joan Jonas received a BA from Mount Holyoke College (1958), attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1958-61), and received an MFA from Columbia University (1965). She is a professor emerita at MIT.

Among her many honors are awards from Anonymous Was A Woman (1998); the Rockefeller Foundation (1990); American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award for Video (1989); Guggenheim Foundation (1976); and the National Endowment for the Arts (1974). Jonas has had major exhibitions at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm (2013); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2013); Documenta (2002, 2013); Performa (2013); The Kitchen (2012); Bergen Kunsthall (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Venice Biennale (2009); Dia:Beacon (2006); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (2006); Jeu de Paume (2005); Renaissance Society (2004); Tate Modern (2004); Queens Museum of Art (2003); Taipei Biennial (2002); and Dia Center for the Arts (2000), among others. Joan Jonas lives and works in New York and Nova Scotia, Canada.

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

Image result for stephen jay gould richard dawkins
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The first portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Stephen Jay Gould and next week I will have the second part.

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

Image result for carl sagan

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

Image result for king solomon

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

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

Image result for douglas futuyma

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

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

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

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

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

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

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

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

Image result for stephen jay gould

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

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

Jun 10, 2002
BARRY PALEVITZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science Popularizer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creationism Wars

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

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

Pugnacious, or Obnoxious?

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

My Two Cents

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

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

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


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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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