Tag Archives: Caroline Humphrey

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 5 Carl Sagan Wish Carl Sagan had met Bernard Nathanson because Dr. Nathanson’s was A Life Transformed by Truth

Carl Sagan, in full Carl Edward Sagan, (born November 9, 1934, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died December 20, 1996, Seattle, Washington), American astronomer and science writer. A popular and influential figure in the United States, he was controversial in scientific, political, and religious circles for his views on extraterrestrial intelligence, nuclear weapons, and religion. Sagan wrote the article “life” for the 1970 printing of the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1929–73).

Sagan attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics in 1955 and 1956, respectively, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. From 1960 to 1962 he was a fellow in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1962 to 1968 he worked at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. His early work focused on the physical conditions of the planets, especially the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter. During that time he became interested in the possibility of lifebeyond Earth and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a controversial research field he did much to advance. For example, building on earlier work by American chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, he demonstrated that amino acids and nucleic acids—the building blocks of life—could be produced by exposing a mixture of simple chemicals to ultraviolet radiation. Some scientists criticized Sagan’s work, arguing that it was unreasonable to use resources for SETI, a fantasy project that was almost certainly doomed to failure.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The Bible has fulfilled prophecy in it, and 53 historical notable people in the Bible have been confirmed through archaeological evidence! Also there is compelling evidence that the Bible contains sound medical principles that clearly predate their more recent discovery by thousands of years

Carl Sagan stated, “So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?”

Newsweek answered the question life begins long ago (see below).

Image result for carl sagan humanist of the year 1982

Carl Sagan was the Humanist of the year in 1981.

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, in our seminars for Whatever Happened to the Human Race, often said that (speaking for himself), “When I graduated from medical school, the idea was ‘how can I save this life?’ But for a great number of the medical students now, it’s not, ‘How can I save this life?’, but ‘Should I save this life?’”

Believe me, it’s everywhere. It isn’t just abortion. It’s infanticide. It’s allowing the babies to starve to death after they are born. If they do not come up to some doctor’s concept of a quality of life worth living. I’ll just say in passing — and never forget it – it takes about 15 days, often, for these babies to starve to death. And I’d say something else that we haven’t stressed enough. In abortion itself, there is no abortion method that is not painful to the child — just as painful that month before birth as the baby you see a month after birth in one of these cribs down here that I passed — just as painful…

The January 11 Newsweek has an article about the baby in the womb. The first 5 or 6 pages are marvelous. If you haven’t seen it, you should see if you can get that issue. It’s January 11 and about the first 5 or 6 pages show conclusively what every biologist has known all along, and that is that human life begins at conception. There is no other time for human life to begin, except at conception. Monkey life begins at conception. Donkey life begins at conception. And human life begins at conception. Biologically, there is no discussion — never should have been — from a scientific viewpoint. I am not speaking of religion now. And this 5 or 6 pages very carefully goes into the fact that human life begins at conception. But you flip the page and there is this big black headline, “But is it a person?” And I’ll read the last sentence, “The problem is not determining when actual human life begins, but when the value of that life begins to out weigh other considerations, such as the health or even the happiness of the mother.”

We are not just talking about the health of the mother (it’s a propaganda line), or even the happiness of the mother. Listen! Spell that out! It means that the mother, FOR HER OWN HENDONISTIC HAPPINESS — selfish happiness — can take human life by her choice, by law. Do you understand what I have said? By law, on the basis of her individual choice of what makes her happy. She can take what has been declared to be, in the first five pages [of the article], without any question, human life. In other words, they acknowledge that human life is there, but it is an open question as to whether it is not right to kill that human life if it makes the mother happy.

And basically that is no different than Stalin, Mao, or Hitler, killing who they killed for what they conceived to be the good of society. There is absolutely no line between the two statements — no absolute line, whatsoever. One follows along: Once that it is acknowledged that it is human life that is involved (and as I said, this issue of Newsweek shows conclusively that it is) the acceptance of death of human life in babies born or unborn, opens the door to the arbitrary taking of any human life. From then on, it’s purely arbitrary.

I understand many humanists support financially NARAL. Did you know that the founder of NARAL left the abortion business because as technology advanced he discovered that the unborn baby experienced pain?  Here is a little more about Dr. Bernard Nathanson:

Bernard Nathanson: A Life Transformed by Truth

by  Robert P. George

In 1985, Nathanson employed the new fetal imaging technology to produce a documentary film, “The Silent Scream,” which energized the pro-life movement and threw the pro-choice side onto the defensive by showing in graphic detail the killing of a twelve-week-old fetus in a suction abortion. Nathanson used the footage to describe the facts of fetal development and to make the case for the humanity and dignity of the child in the womb. At one point, viewers see the child draw back from the surgical instrument and open his mouth: “This,” Nathanson says in the narration, “is the silent scream of a child threatened imminently with extinction.”

Publicity for “The Silent Scream” was provided by no less a figure than President Ronald Reagan, who showed the film in the White House and touted it in speeches. Like Nathanson, Reagan, who had signed one of the first abortion-legalization bills when he was Governor of California, was a zealous convert to the pro-life cause. During his term as president, Reagan wrote and published a powerful pro-life book entitled Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation—a book that Nathanson praised for telling the truth about the life of the child in the womb and the injustice of abortion.

My last question to you today is WHAT ABOUT UNBORN WOMAN’S RIGHTS? Don’t little baby girls who are just months away from being born have the right to life? This letter has been about politics but the spiritual answers your heart is seeking can be  found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.  Without the Bible then we are left with Schaeffer’s final conclusion,“If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.”

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

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______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

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__________________   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 […]

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_______________ 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 […]

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_______________ 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 […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 4 Carl Sagan Review by LARRY VARDIMAN of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Larry Vardiman noted, ”Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to briefly talk with him during a break in presentations at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I introduced myself and found him very cordial but extremely animated and energetic in attempting to convince me that the Bible is not a valid source of truth and that science has proven it wrong”

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

BY LARRY VARDIMAN, PH.D.  *   |

THURSDAY, JUNE 01, 1995

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On December 6, 1994, Carl Sagan, author of Cosmos, well-known astronomer and speaker, appeared before the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco to introduce his new book, Pale Blue Dot.1

Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to briefly talk with him during a break in presentations at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I introduced myself and found him very cordial but extremely animated and energetic in attempting to convince me that the Bible is not a valid source of truth and that science has proven it wrong.

I was puzzled at his enthusiasm until I purchased and read his book. In it he presents the case that the earth and man are not at the center of the universe or God’s attention. In fact, he stresses that science has disproved the Bible and that man is an insignificant species on a remote planet whirling through the vast reaches of space. He suggests space exploration and colonization as a vision for developing anew meaning in life to replace that given historically by religion.

Since Carl Sagan is such an effective spokesman for the naturalistic world view which prevails in the modern scientific community, and for his concept that a creator God is an outdated “geocentrist conceit” concocted by our less enlightened forefathers and foisted upon the human culture, I felt a review and rebuttal of his new book was in order.REVIEW

At the heart of Dr. Sagan’s argument for a universe without a creator is the progressive disillusionment he believes science has handed those who believe in religion. This he calls “The Great Demotions.” He suggests that observation of the night-time sky by our ancestors led to a misplaced sense of importance of man:

And if the lights in the sky rise and set around us, isn’t it evident that we’re at the center of the Universe? These celestial bodies—so clearly reveals that we are special. The Universe seems designed for human beings. It’s difficult to contemplate these circumstances without experiencing stirrings of pride and reassurance. The entire Universe, made for us! We must really be something.

This satisfying demonstration of our importance, buttressed by daily observations of the heavens, made the geocentrist conceit a transcultural truth—taught in the schools, built into the language, part and parcel of great literature and sacred scripture. Dissenters were discouraged, sometimes with torture and death. It is no wonder that for the vast bulk of human history, no one questioned it.

Over the past 300 years, Sagan says, science began to strip away this “geocentrist conceit” starting with Copernicus’ finding that the earth revolved around the sun rather than the sun around the earth. Next it was determined that our earth is only one of a myriad of worlds, the sun is only one of our galaxy, and our galaxy is only one of a myriad of galaxies in the universe. Apparently, there is nothing special about our position in the universe. Einstein’s theory of relativity then discredited the view held by Newton and all other great classical physicists that the velocity of the earth in space constituted a “privileged frame of reference.” Next, the age of the solar system was calculated to be about 4.5 billion years old and the universe about 15 billion. The final demotion was the conclusion by Darwin that man is not a special creation but, rather, evolved in the primordial ooze from simple, single-celled organisms. Man is simply the end-product in a long chain of evolutionary change.

These “great demotions” lead to the conclusion that there is no meaning or purpose in our existence. Sagan bemoans this loss of meaning by lampooning the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden:

There was a particular tree of which we were not to partake, a tree of knowledge. Knowledge and understanding and wisdom were forbidden to us in this story. We were to be kept ignorant. But we couldn’t help ourselves. We were starving forknowledge—created hungry, you might say. This was the origin of all our troubles. In particular, it is why we no longer live in a garden: We found out too much. So long as we were incurious and obedient, I imagine, we could console ourselves with our importance and centrality, and tell ourselves that we were the reason the Universe was made. As we began to indulge our curiosity, though, to explore, to learn how the Universe really is, we expelled ourselves from Eden. Angels with a flaming sword were set as sentries at the gates of Paradise to bar our return. The gardeners became exiles and wanderers. Occasionally we mourn that lost world, but that, it seems to me, is maudlin and sentimental. We could not happily have remained ignorant forever.

Sagan admits several times in his book that “there is in this Universe much of what seems to be design.” Yet, he can not bring himself to attribute this design to a Designer. He does go so far as to say in one place that, “Maybe there is one [a designer] hiding, maddeningly unwilling to be revealed.” However, he finally concludes that the evidence does not require a Designer. He also admits that without a Designer there is no purpose and without purpose man cannot survive. Sagan has been building a justification for the remainder of his book. He now states in egotistical terms his agenda for the human race:

The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal. On behalf of Earthlife, I urge that, with full knowledge of our limitations, we vastly increase our knowledge of the Solar System and then begin to settle other worlds.

REBUTTAL

The crux of Sagan’s arguments is the validity of his “great demotions.” Has science shown the Bible to be untrue and that the earth and man are insignificant random combinations of molecules near a remote star in a vast, uncaring universe? I do not believe that the sun revolves around the earth. However, I strongly hold to the view that man is at the center of God’s care and concern, if not very near the center of His creation.

The Bible nowhere says that the sun revolves around the earth. It simply uses the common everyday reference system we are all familiar with when referring to the motions of the sun. References to sunrise and sunset appear in the newspaper each day, and there is no difficulty in understanding their meaning. Similar terms are used in surveying, nautical navigation, even orbital mechanics. They communicate information just as does the Bible.

In the covenant with Abraham God implied that there is a myriad of stars in the universe. He said, “look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them….”Sagan believes some of these stars may have planets circling them with life on them. However, Sagan recently admitted in a radio interview that after 25 years of searching for intelligent life, he has been unable to find evidence of life anywhere else in the universe. (Sagan has stated that he would even be happy to find stupid life.) He went so far as to say, “there must be something unique about the earth.” Einstein’s theories of relativity and the great ages of our solar system and universe both have yet to be proven. If relativity can be shown to be true, some believe the effect could possibly explain the apparent great times of light traveling from distant stars.2

The theory of evolution is the greatest house of cards of all. It flies in the face of the well-founded Second Law of Thermodynamics, cannot be supported by the fossil record, violates common sense in the development of complex systems, and could not even occur in 15 billion years.

These “great demotions” then are the result of misapplying faulty theories rather than validating God’s statements in Scripture regarding our position and purpose.

God has declared our standing as follows:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

It is evident from only these few selected Scripture passages that God created the universe and cares for us to the point of providing His own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. In our finiteness we don’t fully understand an infinite God, but how dare we arrogantly deny such a God.REACTIONS

Dr. Sagan is an excellent writer and public speaker. He has a very engaging writing style and dares to discuss controversial issues. His Cosmos series and book sold more copies than any science book ever written in English. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing. However, he is wrong. Carl Sagan is blinded to the evidence that God exists and created man as His special object of love and concern.

This point of view among so many scientists today is described in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Dr. Sagan has rejected out of hand the evidences he has clearly seen for design in the universe. Although he has expressed a reluctant need to find a Designer, he has given up on the search and has constructed his own “Tower of Babel.”

A recurrent theme throughout the book is his allegorizing of the Biblical account and an assumption that it is a transcription of man’s uninformed experiences. No place is given to the possibility that Scripture is inspired by the Creator. Dr. Sagan’s goal in Pale Blue Dot is to substitute his “creation myth” and purpose for “Earthlife” for the creation account and dominion mandate found in Genesis. Sagan even raises the specter of “becoming like the Most High.” I fear for men who would place themselves in such opposition to God and His Word.CONCLUSIONS

Because of the kinship I feel toward scientists like Carl Sagan, I am saddened greatly by their actions. Scientists have the greatest opportunities of all to see the evidence of God’s marvelous provision for man in His creation. Those who can’t see God’s hand in the universe around them should be encouraged to ask God to reveal Himself to them. God is not hiding. He is waiting for us to see Him. Please pray for Carl Sagan and others like him who, in their conceit declare, “There is no God!” (Psalm 14:1).REFERENCES 

1. C. Sagan. Pale Blue Dot (Random House, 1994), 429 pp.
2. R. Humphries. Starlight and Time (Master Books, 1994), 133 pp.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them.
Carl Sagan. Credit: NASA

Carl Edward Sagan (/ˈsɡən/; SAY-gən; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space, the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the hypothesis, accepted since, that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to, and calculated using, the greenhouse effect.[3]

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. Biblical Archaeology is Silencing the critics! Significantly, even liberal theologians, secular academics, and critics generally cannot deny that archaeology has confirmed thebiblical record at many points. Rationalistic detractors of the Bible can attack it all day long, but they cannot dispute archaeological facts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 3 Carl Sagan noted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan) Adrian Rogers v Carl Sagan concerning infanticide!!!

Carl Sagan Planetary Society cropped.png

Sagan in 1980
Born
Carl Edward Sagan

November 9, 1934

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died December 20, 1996(aged 62)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Resting place Lake View Cemetery (Ithaca, New York)
Alma mater University of Chicago
(BA, BS, MS, PhD)
Known for
Spouse(s)

(m. 1957; div. 1965)​

(m. 1968; div. 1981)​

(m. 1981)​

Children 5, including Sasha, Dorion and Nick
Awards Klumpke-Roberts Award(1974)
NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal(1977)
Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1978)
Oersted Medal (1990)
Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science (1993)
National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal (1994)

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true.In 1838 American biblical scholar Edward Robinson shook up the archaeological world by discovering Hezekiah’s Tunnel mentioned in the Bible. There is meaning in life available to anyone who will put their faith in Christ, and peace can’t be found in a Guru. Why not take a few minutes and just read the short chapter of Psalms 22 that was written hundreds of years before the Romans even invented the practice of Crucifixion. 1000 years BC the Jews had the practice of stoning people but we read in this chapter a graphic description of Christ dying on the cross.

The last few posts have dealt with material from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer.

Carl Sagan asserted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality.” I would go one step further. A morality that is based on selfishness will take us further down the road to infanticide.

Adrian Rogers observed:

Pro-choice is rooted in selfishness. Pro-choice advocates want you to beliece that abortion is really an act of mercy. But the truth is that 97% of the abortions in America are convenience abortions.

The following fictional letter suggests what could well lie in the logical outcome of a policy of eliminating unwanted people.

January 22, 2023

Dear Mom:

Can you believe it is already the year 2023? I’m still writing ’22 on everything! It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in the first grade and celebrating the change to a new century.

I know we really haven’t chatted since Christmas, Mom, and I’m sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news to share with you, and I really didn’t want to call and talk face to face.

But before I get to that, let me report that Ted’s had a big promotion, and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in all those crazy hours-you know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling to pay the bills.

Little Timmy’s been okay at Kindergarten, although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about the day care center either. So what can we do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden on us at this time in our lives.

Ted and I have talked this through, and we have finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made the same choice and are really better off today.

Our pastor is supportive of our choice. He pointed out the family is a system, and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. The pastor told us to be prayerful and to consider all the factors as to what is right to make our family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the choice really is ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part is easy.

Don’t get me wrong, Mom-I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he heard Ted and me talking about it the other night. I turned and saw him standing at the bottom of the stairs in his PJ’s with his little teddy bear that you gave him under his arm-and his eyes were sort of welled up with tears.

Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart, but I honestly believe this is better for Timmy too. It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves.

And please, Mom, don’t give me the kind of grief that grandma gave you over your abortions. It’s the same thing, you know. There’s really no difference.

We’ve told Timmy he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say the termination procedure is painless. I guess it’s just as well that you haven’t seen that much of little Timmy lately. Please give my love to Dad.

Your daughter,

—-

Pure fiction, yes. But I wonder if the time is not coming coming.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

Carl Sagan pictured below:

_________

Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

Image result for carl sagan ann

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Section 9 Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

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Carl Sagan states in the above article, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” and this is challenged by Francis Schaeffer’s assertion, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H Revell Company, 1976), p. 224. 

It really comes down to your basis for morality and secular humanists like Sagan only have relativistic value systems that change constantly.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Carl Sagan Part 1  “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan)

Carl Sagan, in full Carl Edward Sagan, (born November 9, 1934, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died December 20, 1996, Seattle, Washington), American astronomer and science writer. A popular and influential figure in the United States, he was controversial in scientific, political, and religious circles for his views on extraterrestrial intelligence, nuclear weapons, and religion. Sagan wrote the article “life” for the 1970 printing of the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1929–73).

Sagan attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics in 1955 and 1956, respectively, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. From 1960 to 1962 he was a fellow in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1962 to 1968 he worked at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. His early work focused on the physical conditions of the planets, especially the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter. During that time he became interested in the possibility of lifebeyond Earth and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a controversial research field he did much to advance. For example, building on earlier work by American chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, he demonstrated that amino acids and nucleic acids—the building blocks of life—could be produced by exposing a mixture of simple chemicals to ultraviolet radiation. Some scientists criticized Sagan’s work, arguing that it was unreasonable to use resources for SETI, a fantasy project that was almost certainly doomed to failure.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The Bible has fulfilled prophecy in it, and 53 historical notable people in the Bible have been confirmed through archaeological evidence! Also there is compelling evidence that the Bible contains sound medical principles that clearly predate their more recent discovery by thousands of years

Carl Sagan asserted, “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life”

Francis Schaeffer refutes this with his teaching on Genesis 3!!

In the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, the 4th chapter is called THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY and it includes these words below:

The Personal Origin of Man
The Scriptures tell us that the universe exists and has form and meaning because it was created purposefully by a personal Creator. This being the case, we see that, as we are personal, we are not something strange and out of line with an otherwise impersonal universe. Since we are made in the image of God, we are in line with God. There is continuity, in other words, between ourselves, though finite, and the infinite Creator who stands behind the universe as its Creator and its final source of meaning.
Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible gives an account of man’s origin as a finite person make in God’s image, that is, like God. We see then how man can have personality and dignity and value. Our uniqueness is guaranteed, something which is impossible in the materialistic system. If there is no qualitative distinction between man and other organic life (animals or plants), why should we feel greater concern over the death of a human being than over the death of a laboratory rat? Is man in the end any higher?
Though this is the logical end of the materialistic system, men and women still usually in practice assume that people have some real value. All the way back to the dawn of our investigations in history, we find that man is still man. Wherever we turn, to the caves of the Pyrenees, to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, and even further back to Neanderthal man’s burying his dead in flower petals, it makes no difference: men everywhere show by their art and their accomplishments that they have been and have considered themselves to be unique. They were unique, and people today are unique. What is wrong is a world-view which fails to explain that uniqueness. All people are unique because they are made in the image of God.
The Bible tells us also, however, that man is flawed. We see this to be the case both within ourselves and in our societies throughout the world. People are noble and people are cruel; people have heights of moral achievement and depths of moral depravity.
But this is not simply an enigma, nor is it explained in terms of “the animal in man.” The Bible explains how man is flawed, without destroying the uniqueness and dignity of man. Man is evil and experiences the results of evil, not because man is non-man but because man is fallen and thus is abnormal.
This is the significance of the third chapter of Genesis. Some time after the original Creation (we do not know how long), man rebelled against God. Being made in the image of God as persons, Adam and Eve were able to make real choices. They had true creativity, not just in the area we call “art” but also in the area of choice. And they used this choice to turn from God as their true integration point. Their ability to choose would have been equally validated if they had chosen not to turn away from God, as their true integration point, but instead they used their choice to try to make themselves autonomous. In doing this, they were acting against the moral absolute of the universe, namely, God’s character – and thus evil among people was born.
The Fall brought not only moral evil but also the abnormality of(1) each person divided from himself or herself; (2) people divided from other people; (3) mankind divided from nature; and (4) nature divided from nature. This was the consequence of the choice made by Adam and Eve some time after the Creation. It was not any original deformity that made them choose in this way. God had not made them robots, and so they had real choice. It is man, therefore, and not God, who is responsible for evil.
We have to keep pointing out, because the idea is strange to a society by which the Bible has been neglected or distorted, that Christianity does not begin with a statement of Christ as Savior. That comes later in its proper setting. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created….” Christianity begins with the personal and infinite God who is the Creator. It goes on to show that man is made in God’s image but then tells us that man is now fallen. It is the rebellion of man that has made the world abnormal. So there is a broken line as we look back to the creation of man by God. A chasm stands there near the beginning, the chasm which is the Fall, the choice to go against God and His Word.
What follows from this is that not everything that happens in the world is “natural.” Unlike modern materialistic thought on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Christianity does not see everything in history as equally “normal.” Because of the abnormality brought about by man, not everything which occurs in history should be there. Thus, not all that history brings forth is right just because it happens, and not all personal drives and motives are equally good. Here, then, is a marked difference between Christianity and almost all other philosophies. Most other philosophies do not have the concept of a present abnormality. Therefore, they hold that everything now is normal; things are now as they always have been.
By contrast, Christians do not see things as if they always have been this way. This is of immense importance in understanding evil in the world. It is possible for Christians to speak of things as absolutely wrong, for they are not original in human society. They are derived from the Fall; they are in that sense “abnormal.” It also means we can stand against what is wrong and cruel without standing against God, for He did not make the world as it now is.
This understanding of the chasm between what mankind and history are now and what they could have been – and should have been, from the way they were made – gives us a real moral framework for life, one which is compatible with our nature and aspirations. So there are “rules for life,’ like the signs on cliff tops which read: DANGER – KEEP OUT. The signs are there to help, not hinder us. God has put them there because to live in this way, according to His rules, is the way for both safety and fulfillment. The God who made us and knows what is for our best good is the same God who gives us His commands. When we break these, it is not only wrong, it is also not for our best good; it is not for our fulfillment as unique persons made in the image of God….

The Importance of Genesis
So the Bible is the key to understanding the universe and its form and the mannishness of man. Without this key our observations are out of perspective; we do not know what we are looking at. This being the case, our conclusions about what we are seeing can be massively in error.
Unless we are told about our beginnings, we cannot make sense of our present history. And secular study is incapable of doing that. This is not to say that the study of history and science is irrelevant or useless, but when secular study is finished, the most important questions are left unanswered. It can tell us much of patterns and statistics, but not the reason or meaning or significance of it all. Twentieth-century people know something exists, but have no way of saying what that something amounts to.
This is where the early chapters of Genesis are so important. These chapters give the history that comes before anything that secular historians have been able to ascertain, and it is this presecular history which gives meaning to mankind’s present history.
Some people mistakenly believe that one can “spiritualize” away the history of the first chapters of Genesis and that this will make no difference. They argue that these chapters are not history but something like parables. This type of thinking depreciates the factual content, which gives information about history and the cosmos. Those who do this sometimes imagine that doing this makes little or no difference. But it changes everything. For these chapters tell us the why (the significance and meaning) of all the subsequent history which historians can know through their investigations. These chapters tell us also the why of our own personal history.
For this reason we can say that in this sense the early chapters of Genesis are more important than anything else we could have. They are the very foundation on which all knowledge rests. So we learn from them that before the creation of the universe, the infinite-personal God existed and that He created the universe (the space-time continuum) by choice, out of nothing. The Creation was not without a cause.
The infinite-personal God was its cause. He chose to create, He willed to create, and “it was” – it came into being.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.
Revelation 4:11

As we have seen already, we learn also about the fact that man was made “in the image of God,” a person, and that then there was a space-time Fall.
All the information given by the Bible flows out of the information given in the early chapters of Genesis. If we are to understand the world as it is and ourselves as we are, we must know the flow of history given in these chapters. Take this away and the flow of history is lost.Take this away and even the death of Christ has no meaning.
So the Bible tells us who we are and who other people are. It tells us how people are differentiated from all other things. We do not need to be confused, as is much of modern mankind, about people’s distinction from both animal life and the complicated machines of the second half of the twentieth century. Suddenly people have unique value, and we can understand how it is that each of us is different as a person.
Furthermore, we can see that all people are similarly to be distinguished from non-man and that therefore we ourselves must look on others as having great value. Anyone who kills a person is not killing just another member of the same biological species, but one of overwhelming value, one made in the image, the likeness, of God.
Any person, no matter who he or she is – a stranger or a friend, a fellow-believer or someone who is still in rebellion against God, anyone of any age, before or after birth – any and every person is made after the likeness of God.
Each man, woman, and child is of great value, not for some ulterior motive such as self-gratification or wealth or power or a sex object or “the good of society” or the maintenance of the gene pool – but simply because of his or her origin.
This flow of history that springs from Genesis has implications for every aspect of our lives. Each of us stands in the flow of history. We know our origin – a lineage more ancient than the Queen of England’s or the Pilgrim Fathers’. As we look at ourselves in the flow of space-time reality, we see our origin in Adam and Eve, and we know that God has created every human being in His own image.

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

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Francis Schaeffer when he was a young pastor in St. Louis pictured above.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.

Carl Sagan pictured below:

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Francis Schaeffer

I mentioned earlier that I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan. In his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

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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 )

______________   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 […]

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

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 2 Carl Sagan: Ken Ham notes in 1989: Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

Were You There?

BY KENNETH HAM   |

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 01, 1989

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cartoon

What a science lesson God had for Job! God was teaching Job the philosophy of science, a lesson everyone needs to learn.

I like to paraphrase the verse this way: “Were you there, Job, when I made the earth? Did you see Me do it, Job? Did you observe how it happened, Job? Were you there to see Me create the world, Job?”

Millions of people in today’s world are taught that the earth and the entire universe resulted from the Big Bang, a cosmic explosion which occurred up to twenty billion years ago involving all the matter and energy in the universe. In most instances in public education, this is taught as if it were fact, and the gullible public, by and large, just accepts it as so. Yet there is no scientific proof for the Big Bang theory. It is just a story, based on the speculations of scientists–fallible human beings who do not know everything and who were not there to see it happen.

Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

The other important fact God was teaching Job was that only God knows everything (has all information–all evidence). No human being has all the information. In fact, compared to what God knows, we fallible human beings know next to nothing. Follow through the words to Job in Chapter 38: “Who shut up the sea? . . .Hast thou commanded the morning? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Where is the way where light dwelleth? Knowest thou it?…. Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?….. Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?….

Can’st thou send lightings”?. . . .

We need to take the points God was teaching Job and apply them to the way theories of origins are taught to our children. When they are told that the universe and life evolved over billions of years, they need to ask two basic questions: “What observer saw all this happen? What scientist has all the information (all the evidence) who can therefore scientifically prove that evolution happened?” The answer? According to evolutionary theories, there were no observers to these long ago events, and there is no human being who knows everything! Evolution is not a scientific theory; it is a belief based on the words of sinful, fallible humans who have a small, finite amount of information. Thus when it comes to connecting the past to the present to try and explain how the world came into existence, scientists could be totally wrong. In fact, evolutionary theories themselves “evolve,” as these scientists keep finding information that causes them to change their ideas. The most that can be said is that some of the evidence can be interpreted along the lines of the Big Bang scenario, but that is certainly not the only interpretation possible, nor is it the best interpretation possible.

The Bible teaches plainly concerning Jesus Christ, the One “who created all things” (Colossians 1 :16), “in Him… are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). The Creator God, who has always been there, “”changeth not,” and knows all things (has infinite knowledge). The only way we could ever come to the right conclusions about anything is by starting with the word (knowledge) of the One who knows everything, and build all our thinking, in every area, upon that basis.

It is interesting to note that God’s Word, in II Peter 3, gives us the prophecy that in the last days people will deliberately choose not to believe that God created the world (described in Genesis 1:1-8) or believe that He sent a worldwide Flood as a judgment against sinful men (Genesis, Chapters 6-9) and that He will come back to judge the world a final time, with fire.

Sadly, the prophecy of people deliberately choosing not to believe God’s Word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. The majority of people today believe the universe started with a big bang. Next the galaxies and later the sun formed, and the earth finally came into existence covered with “fire” (a hot molten blob)—exactly opposite of what the Bible says. They are taught there never was a worldwide Flood—exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches. They are often taught that the earth will die of the cold because of the earth’s freezing over when the sun runs out of energy—exactly the opposite of what God’s Word teaches us.

We need to ask ourselves this question: “Where do we put our faith and trust? In the words of scientists who don’t know everything, who were not there? Or in the Word of God—the God who does know everything—and who was there?

At the Institute for Creation Research, our highly qualified and experienced scientists study the scientific data regarding origins, and claim their research shows that the evidence from the universe fits perfectly with what the Word of God says, and not well at all with the evolutionary theories of men!

Carl Sagan’s Big Bang theory is WRONG! How do we know that for sure? Because God was there—Carl Sagan wasn’t! God knows everything—Carl Sagan doesn’t! This world did NOThave a fiery start from a big bang, but it surely will have a fiery end with a big bang, for “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

What hope is there then? “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

What should we do about it? “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:14).

We can also be diligent in telling others about the truth of creation, man’s rebellion, the need of salvation, and warning them of the coming Big Bang!cartoon

DID YOU KNOW. . .

that the evidence for the Big Bang theory is missing?

MISSING ORIGIN–Where did matter come from?

MISSING FUSE–What ignited it?

MISSING STAR FORMATION–An explosion won’t produce planets, stars, or galaxies.

MISSING ANTIMATTER–There’s not much found.

MISSING TIME–Evidence indicates the earth is young.

MISSING MASS–There’s not enough.

MISSING LIFE–Life has never been found outside the earth.

MISSING NEUTRINOS–Where are they?

THE BIG BANG THEORY IS WRONG!

For further information, see Astronomy and the Bible by Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, available from ICR.

File:Who's Out There (1973).ogv

File:Who's Out There (1973).ogvPlay media

Sagan is one of those discussing the likelihood of life on other planets in Who’s Out There? (1973), an award-winning NASA documentary film by Robert Drew.

From People For Life.com

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
The following address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

What we have, and take so poorly for granted, is unique. It was brought forth by a specific world view and that specific world view was the Judeo-Christian world view especially as it was refined in the Reformation, putting the authority indeed at a central point — not in the Church and the state and the Word of God, but rather the Word of God alone. All the benefits which we know — I would repeat — which we have taken so easily and so much for granted, are unique. They have been grounded on the certain world view that there was a Creator there to give inalienable rights. And this other view over here, which has become increasingly dominant, of the material-energy final world view (shaped by pure chance) never would have, could not, has, no basis of values, in order to give such a balance of freedom…It is the same with the television programs. Public television gives us many things that many of us like culturally, but is also completely committed to a propaganda position that the last reality is only material / energy shaped by pure chance. Clark’s Civilization, Brunowski, The Ascent of Man, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos — they all say it. There is only one final view of reality that’s possible and that is that the final reality is material or energy shaped by pure chance.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

<a style="font-style:normal;font-variant-caps:normal;font-weight:normal;letter-spacing:normal;orphans:auto;text-indent:0;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;widows:auto;word-spacing:0;box-sizing:border-box;background-color:transparent;color:#c01823;text-decoration:none;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-size:13px;font-family:Lato, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;vertical-align:baseline;transition:color 0.2s linear, background 0.1s linear, border-color 0.1s linear;text-align:left;-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%;" title="Remember when Carl Sagan trashed Star Wars on late-night TV?” href=”https://lithub.com/remember-when-carl-sagan-trashed-star-wars-on-late-night-tv/”&gt;

Carl Sagan

nitially an associate professor at Harvard, Sagan later moved to Cornell where he would spend the majority of his career as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences. Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.[5] He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain, Pale Blue Dot and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos, has been seen by at least 500 million people in 60 countries.[6] The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the 1985 science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items,[7] are archived at The Library of Congress.[8]

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of SciencesPublic Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The accuracy of the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology over and over in the past and one of the amazing finds was in 1948 when the Dead Sea Scrolls had copies from every Old Testament Book except Esther! One of the most powerful recent discoveries involved the bones of the high priest Caiaphas who questioned Christ in 30 AD.

Related posts:

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 )

______________   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 […]

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

  The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA Uploaded on Nov 29, 2010 The Beatles in a press conference after their Return from the USA. The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 159 Z Daniel Dennett, Philosophy, Tufts University, "God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science"

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Daniel Dennett

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

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

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

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

Early life[edit]

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

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

Dennett in 2008

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

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

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

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

Free will[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evolutionary debate[edit]

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

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

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

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

An account of religion and morality[edit]

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

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

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

Other philosophical views[edit]

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

Dennett has been critical of postmodernism, having said:

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

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

Personal life[edit]

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

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

January 12, 2017

Dear Dr. Dennett,

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

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

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

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

Let me give 4 short responses.

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

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

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

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

  1. Daniel Dennett (philosophy)

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

FOURTH,  there is plenty of evidence from archaeology showing the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. You stated, “God is definitely beyond the verification process of science.” However, what about the events in the Bible which claim to be the works of God? Can they be tested by a examination of the historical and archaeological records?  Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,

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

Thank you again  for your time.

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

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

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

Daniel C. Dennett,
Tufts University
Medford, MA

July 8, 2014

Dear Dr. Dennett,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I later learned this book of Ecclesiastes was Richard Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible. Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” No wonder Ecclesiastes is Richard Dawkins’ favorite book of the Bible! 

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

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

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

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

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

_______________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4th Observation: The question (Do you believe in God?)  was out of place and it surprised the applicants. THOMAS GILOVICH, psychologist, Cornell Univ., Dr. ZEN FAULKES, professor of Biology, University of Victoria (Canada), ROBERT CRAIG, Head of Indiana Skeptics Organization, Dr. WALTER ROWE, 
 
5th Observation: Proof that everyone believes in God’s existence does not prove that God does in fact exist. PAUL QUINCEY, Nathional Physical Laboratory,(England), Dr. CLAUDIO BENSKI, Schneider Electric, CFEPP, (France),
6th Observation: Both the courts and Congress recognize that lie-detectors don’t work and that is why they were banned in 1988.  (Governments and the military still use them.)
Dr WALTER ROWE, KATHLEEN M. DILLION, professor of Psychology, Western New England College.
7th Observation:This information concerning Claude Brown’s claim has been passed on to us via a tv preacher and eveybody knows that they are untrustworthy– look at their history. WOLF RODER.
______________
Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”
Gene Emery, science writer for Providence Journal-Bulletin is a past winner of the CSICOP “Responsibility in Journalism Award” and he had the best suggestion of all when he suggested, “Actually, if you want to make a good case about whether Romans 1:19 is true, arrange to have a polygraph operator (preferably an atheist or agnostic) brought to the next CSICOP meeting. (I’m not a member of CSICOP, by the way, so I can’t give you an official invitation or anything.) If none of the folks at that meeting can convince the machine that they truly believe in God, maybe there is, in fact, an innate willingness to believe in God.”

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

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

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BBC The Atheism Tapes – Daniel Dennett

 

Summary of Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 147 Massimo Pigliucci, Philosophy, CUNY-City College, “[Reason] is opposed of course to FAITH”

 

 

Harry Kroto pictured below:

_________________

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

_____________

Massimo Pigliucci

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Massimo Pigliucci
Massimo Pigliucci.jpg
Born January 16, 1964 (age 53)
MonroviaLiberia
Alma mater
School Scientific skepticismsecular humanismStoicism
Main interests
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of pseudoscience
Relationship between science and religion
Demarcation problem

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964)[1] is Professor of Philosophy at CUNYCity College,[2] formerly co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast,[3] and formerly the editor in chief for the online magazine Scientia Salon.[4] He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience[5][6] and creationism,[7] and an advocate for secularism[8], science education[9] and modern Stoicism.

Biography[edit]

Pigliucci was born in Monrovia, Liberia and raised in Rome, Italy.[1] He has a doctorate in genetics from the University of FerraraItaly, a PhD in biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee.[10] He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[1]

Pigliucci was formerly a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. He explored phenotypic plasticitygenotype-environment interactions, natural selection, and the constraints imposed on natural selection by the genetic and developmental makeup of organisms.[11] In 1997, while working at the University of Tennessee, Pigliucci received the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize,[12] awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution[1] to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. As a philosopher, Pigliucci is interested in the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion.[10] He is a proponent of the extended evolutionary synthesis.[13]

Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer on topics such as climate change denialintelligent designpseudoscience, and philosophy.[14] He has also written for Philosophy Now and maintains a blog called “Rationally Speaking”.[15] He has debated “deniers of evolution” (young-earth creationists and intelligent design proponents), including young earth creationists Duane Gish and Kent Hovind and intelligent design proponents William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, on many occasions.[16][17][18][19]

Michael ShermerJulia Galef and Massimo Pigliucci record live at NECSS 2013

Critical thinking and scepticism[edit]

While Pigliucci is an atheist himself,[20] he does not believe that science necessarily demands atheism because of two distinctions: the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and the distinction between value judgements and matters of fact. He believes that many scientists and science educators fail to appreciate these differences.[9] Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge).[21] In a discussion of his book Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life, Pigliucci told Skepticality podcast host Derek Colanduno, “Aristotle was the first ancient thinker to really take seriously the idea that you need both empirical facts, you need an evidence-based approach to the world and you need to be able to reflect on the meaning of those facts… If you want answers to moral questions then you don’t ask the neurobiologist, you don’t ask the evolutionary biologist, you ask the philosopher.”[22]

Pigliucci describes the mission of skeptics, referencing Carl Sagan‘s Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark saying “What skeptics are about is to keep that candle lit and spread it as much as possible”.[23] Pigliucci serves on the board of NYC Skeptics and on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.[8]

In 2001, he debated William Lane Craig over the existence of God.[24]

Massimo Pigliucci criticised the newspaper article by Pope Francis entitled, “An open dialogue with non-believers”. Pigliucci viewed the article as a monologue rather than a dialogue and, in a response personally addressed to Pope Francis, wrote that the Pope only offered non-believers “a reaffirmation of entirely unsubstantiated fantasies about God and his Son…followed by a confusion between the concept of love and truth, the whole peppered by a significant amount of historical revisionism and downright denial of the ugliest facets of your Church (and you will notice that I haven’t even brought up the pedophilia stuff!).”[25]

Rationally Speaking[edit]

In August 2000 Massimo started with a monthly internet column called Rationally Speaking. In August 2005, the column became a blog,[26] where he wrote posts until March 2014.[27] Since 1 February 2010, he co-hosted the bi-weekly Rationally Speaking podcast together with Julia Galef, whom he first met at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, held in September 2009.[28] The podcast is produced by the New York City Skeptics. He left the podcast in 2015 to pursue other interests.[29] In 2010, Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained on the show his justification for spending large amounts of government money on space programs. He eventually printed the transcript of his performance as a guest on the show in his book Space Chronicles as a full chapter covering eight pages.[30] Another episode in which Tyson explained his position on the label “atheism” received attention on NPR.[31]

His comments can be found on the 2nd  video and the 57th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

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)

________

From Everette Hatcher, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock , AR 72221

Dear  Professor MASSIMO PIGLICUCCI,

I have really enjoyed watching your debate with William Lane Craig on You Tube  and your discussion with Daniel Dennett on the limits of science. I have had the pleasure of both corresponding with Professor Dennett and reading his book DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA earlier this year.

I noticed that you graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Although I have never personally been a Tennessee fan, I was told by my grandfather that a cousin of his was a kicker for the Vols. My grandfather grew up in Franklin, Tennessee with his brothers and sister. They used to get up at 2 am on Saturdays and travel to Knoxville by 1pm for the kickoff. My grandfather attended the University of Tennessee in 1921-23 until his money ran out. My grandfather told me he was relatives with Buck Hatcher who was a star player for the Vols.

Sure enough Buck Hatcher did play for the Vols and he kicked a 53 yard field goal on Nov 13, 1920 to set a record.  Later my grandfather’s brother Mack had the “Mack Hatcher Memorial Highway” named after him. He was a Gideon and often helped those who needed help in his Williamson County. (A Gideon is one who gives out Bibles). He stood six foot eleven and his sister Sara Lou was six foot four.

In the You Tube series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD I found the following quote from you:

Reason of course can be defined in a variety of ways, but these are pretty good approximations. Cause is a explanation or justification for an event. You have a reason to believe. There was a reason I got up from my and went to the refrigerator and got a beer because I was THIRSTY. That is a REASON.  

The Power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments by the course of logic is what we are talking about in this context. This is opposed of course to FAITH, which is the COMPLETE trust or confidence in someone or something. Notice the emphasis on COMPLETE for some belief in God or doctrine of religion based on SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION rather than truth. That is the interesting premise here. SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION, what the heck is SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION? How do people spiritually apprehend things? I can talk about how people LOGICALLY or RATIONALLY think about things, but it is hard to get my mind wrapped around the idea of spiritual apprehension. I suspect because there is no such thing as spiritual apprehension.

__

 

Let me respond with to your assertion that faith is totally opposed to logic with these writings below by Francis Schaeffer:

Image result for francis schaeffer

What is Faith?

Posted on July 29, 2012by 

What is faith?  Faith is often characterized as blind belief just because we want it to be true.  It’s sometimes thought to be belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.  But is that really what Biblical faith is like or is it a strawman argument that’s easily knocked down to make a point errantly?

Francis Schaeffer presents this story about faith:

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock, and suddenly the fog rolls in. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide, “Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?” The guide would say that you might make it until the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason tosupport his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said, “You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices.  I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and it he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the adequate and sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

Schaeffer’s story captures the idea that faith is not blind.  It is based on reason, logic, information, but lives in a situation where a gap exists.  Faith bridges the gap by trusting in someone or something in a better position than yourself.  In this story, faith was put in the knowledge of the man who grew up in the Alps.  It was a rational, tested faith based on questioning the man’s knowledge, but it was still faith because the ledge below couldn’t be seen, touched or definitively known.  This idea that faith is well informed and not irrational is the first point to keep in mind.

The second point is about the object of faith.  When you walk across ice, your trust is put in the ice to hold your weight.  Ice is the object of your faith.  If your trust is misplaced, you’ll quickly be wet, cold and in significant danger.  It wouldn’t have mattered whether you have a little faith in the ice or trust it fully.  The strength of the object of faith is what counts.  It the story it was the knowledge of the guide in the fog.

Christian faith captures both of these ideas.  First, God provides evidence of Himself in creation, in prophecy, in archeology, in Scripture’s consistency across 40+ authors and in the life of Jesus.  He doesn’t leave us without witness or guidance.  Second, He then requires us to make Jesus the object of our faith.  Jesus’ sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are what matter.  As Paul said, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17). Putting trust in the Creator of the universe rather than our own feeble attempts to be good doesn’t seem like much of a stretch when you look at the history of mankind’s failures an our own individual struggles.  We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God and must put our faith in Jesus’ work to wash our sin away so we can enter God’s presence.

__________

The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Please consider taking time to read Isaiah chapter 53 and if you have any interest then watch the You Tube clip “The Biography of the King” by Adrian Rogers which discusses that chapter in depth.

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.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(This material below is under footnote #94)

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

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

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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

________

 

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

 

Image result for British Museum in the Lachish Room

_____________

 

 

_

The Assyrian king Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair on a low mound. There is a tent behind him. His commander-in-chief stands before him (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Assyrian soldiers (the king’s bodyguards) wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the king. One prostrates and another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy. Most likely, they were later beheaded. The king obviously had been watching the battle and its victorious aftermath. Neo-Assyrian Period, 700-692 BCE. From Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), panels 11-13, Room XXXVI of the southwest palace; the heartland of the Assyrian Empire.The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

The finale scene! The Assyrian King Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair. His commander-in-chief stands before the King (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Four high "soldiers" stand behind their leader; they wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the King. One prostrates, another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy to save their lives. Most likely, they were beheaded later on. The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 41 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Featured artist is Marina Abramović)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 40 Timothy Leary (Featured artist is Margaret Keane)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 39 Tom Wolfe (Featured artist is Richard Serra)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 38 Woody Allen and Albert Camus “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” (Feature on artist Hamish Fulton Photographer )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 37 Mahatma Gandhi and “Relieving the Tension in the East” (Feature on artist Luc Tuymans)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 36 Julian Huxley:”God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” (Feature on artist Barry McGee)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

 

_______

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 146, David Sloan Wilson, Dept of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University, “Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason”

 

___________

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

 

David Sloan Wilson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Sloan Wilson
David-sloan-wilson-leaning.png
Born 1949
Residence Norwalk, Connecticut[1]
Fields Evolutionary BiologyAnthropology
Institutions Harvard University
University of Washington
University of the Witwatersrand
University of California, Davis
Michigan State University
Binghamton University
Alma mater University of Rochester (B.A.)
Michigan State University(Ph.D.)
Doctoral students Jonathan Gottschall[2]
Known for Darwin’s Cathedral
Evolution for Everyone
Influenced Jonathan Haidt[citation needed]

David Sloan Wilson (born 1949) is an American evolutionary biologist and a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is a son of the author Sloan Wilson.

Academic career[edit]

Wilson graduated with a B.A. with high honors in 1971 from the University of Rochester. He then completed his Ph.D. in 1975 from Michigan State University. He then worked as a Research Fellow in the Biological Laboratories at Harvard University from 1974-1975. He then held a dual position as a Research Associate in Zoology at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Washington from 1975 to 1976. After this he was a Senior Research Officer at the South African National Research Institute for the Mathematical Sciences from 1976 to 1977.

Wilson moved back to the United States and held an Assistant Professorship in the Division of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Davis, from 1977 to 1980. He then served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor at the Kellogg Biological Station and Department of Zoology of Michigan State University from 1980 to 1988. Wilson was then promoted to full Professor of Biological Sciences at the State University of New York, Binghamton, in 1988. He was then given a joint appointment as Professor of Anthropology in 2001.

Wilson started the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program at Binghamton University to provide a program that unifies diverse disciplines under the theory of evolution. Students in the program take evolution-themed courses in a variety of disciplines including biology, anthropology, psychology, bioengineering, philosophy, religion and the psychology of religion. There is also a required course called “Current Topics in Evolutionary Studies”, where students attend weekly seminars with a discussion followed afterward. SUNY New Paltz has started a similar program.

Research[edit]

Wilson is a prominent proponent of the concept of group selection (also known as multi-level selection) in evolution. He and Elliott Sober proposed a framework called multilevel selection theory, which incorporates the more orthodox approach of gene-level selection and individual selection, in their book Unto Others. This framework argues that while genes serve as the means by which organisms’ designs are transmitted across generations, individuals and groups are vehicles for those genes and both are arenas for genes to act on. Indeed, genes themselves can be affected by selection, not just because of their effects on the design of their vehicle (the organism) but also because of their effect on the functioning of the DNA on which they reside. Hence the notion of multilevel selection. Wilson has also coined the concept of a trait-group, a group of organisms linked not permanently as a group but having a shared fate due to interactions that they have.

Publications[edit]

  • Unto Others (1998) co-edited with Elliott Sober. (Proposition of a framework called multilevel selection theory, which incorporates the more orthodox approach of gene-level selection and individual selection).
  • Darwin’s Cathedral (2002) (Religion as a multi-level adaptation).
  • Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology (2006) co-edited with E. O. Wilson
  • Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (2007)
  • The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time (2011)
  • Pathological Altruism (2011) co-edited with Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, and Guruprasad Madhavan.
  • Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others (2015)
  • The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) co-edited with Jonathan Gottschall

Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral proposes that religion is a multi-level adaptation, a product of cultural evolution developed through a process of multi-level selection for more cooperative and cohesive groups. His book Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives attempts to give an introduction to evolution for a broad audience, detailing the various ways in which evolution can be applied to everyday affairs. There is also a class at Binghamton University that is called “Evolution for Everyone”, and students are required to read the book as part of the class.

Wilson’s latest book for a general audience is The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, published in August 2011. Wilson also co-edited Pathological Altruism published by Oxford University Press in November 2011 with Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, and Guruprasad Madhavan.

Wilson and his co-author E. O. Wilson have become well known[citation needed] for the quote, “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary”. This quotation appeared in their paper, “Rethinking the Theoretical Foundation of Sociobiology”.

Wilson is a blogger for the ScienceBlogs,[3] where he extensively discusses and defends both the theory of evolution and his multilevel selection model.

 

In  the second video below in the 85th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

_________________________________

Below is the letter I wrote to respond to his quote:

 

March 1, 2017

 

Dr. David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Departments of Biology and Anthropology,  Binghamton University, State University of New York, 4400 Vestal Parkway East, Binghamton, NY 13902,

Dear Dr. Wilson,

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

david sloan wilson  QUOTE

Those who believed in reason and science in the 19th century were deists and not atheists. That we were going to use reason to discover about the creator. Deists were marked with a profound optimism that science and reason could improve the human condition. That was true of the 19th century but not now. What happened was deism morphed into atheism and atheism treats God as an unnecessary hypothesis. Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason. If you are going to use science and reason now you are going to be an atheist and not a deist.

You noted, “Profound optimism has been replaced by profound pessimism about our capacity to make the world a better place through reason.” Evidently you are saying that EVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM like the variety that was talked about in the 19th century has been given up for pessimism. Charles Darwin in his autobiography was touting the same idea that you are addressing. 

When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat abbreviated, from a part of CHARLES DARWIN’S Autobiography, written in 1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious views:—

“Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is,”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER COMMENTED:

Now you have now the birth of Julian Huxley’s evolutionary optimistic humanism already stated by Darwin. Darwin now has a theory that man is going to be better. If you had lived at 1860 or 1890 and you said to Darwin, “By 1970 will man be better?” He certainly would have the hope that man would be better as Julian Huxley does today. Of course, I wonder what he would say if he lived in our day and saw what has been made of his own views in the direction of (the mass murder) Richard Speck (and deterministic thinking of today’s philosophers). I wonder what he would say. So you have the factor, already the dilemma in Darwin that I pointed out in Julian Huxley and that is evolutionary optimistic humanism rests always on tomorrow. You never have an argument from the present or the past for evolutionary optimistic humanism.

You can have evolutionary nihilism on the basis of the present and the past. Every time you have someone bringing in evolutionary optimistic humanism it is always based on what is going to be produced tomorrow. When is it coming? The years pass and is it coming? Arthur Koestler doesn’t think it is coming. He sees lots of problems here and puts forth for another solution.

In Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography he noted:

“…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and increased biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or with many of the modern philosophers, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space and that is the end of the plot. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin, “You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.

____________

These words of Darwin ring in my ear, “…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress…” . Schaeffer rightly noted, “Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men.” IN OTHER WORDS ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND.  I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

________

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 53 THE BEATLES (Part E, Stg. Pepper’s and John Lennon’s search in 1967 for truth was through drugs, money, laughter, etc & similar to King Solomon’s, LOTS OF PICTURES OF JOHN AND CYNTHIA) (Feature on artist Yoko Ono)

The John Lennon and the Beatles really were on a long search for meaning and fulfillment in their lives  just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon looked into learning (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). He fount that without God in the picture all […]

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 )

______________   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 […]

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

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

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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)

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Massimo Pigliucci, Philosophy, CUNY-City College, “[Reason] is opposed of course to FAITH”

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Harry Kroto pictured below:

_________________

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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Massimo Pigliucci

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Massimo Pigliucci
Massimo Pigliucci.jpg
Born January 16, 1964 (age 53)
MonroviaLiberia
Alma mater
School Scientific skepticismsecular humanismStoicism
Main interests
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of pseudoscience
Relationship between science and religion
Demarcation problem

Massimo Pigliucci (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmassimo piʎˈʎuttʃi]; born January 16, 1964)[1] is Professor of Philosophy at CUNYCity College,[2] formerly co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast,[3] and formerly the editor in chief for the online magazine Scientia Salon.[4] He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience[5][6] and creationism,[7] and an advocate for secularism[8], science education[9] and modern Stoicism.

Biography[edit]

Pigliucci was born in Monrovia, Liberia and raised in Rome, Italy.[1] He has a doctorate in genetics from the University of FerraraItaly, a PhD in biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee.[10] He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[1]

Pigliucci was formerly a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. He explored phenotypic plasticitygenotype-environment interactions, natural selection, and the constraints imposed on natural selection by the genetic and developmental makeup of organisms.[11] In 1997, while working at the University of Tennessee, Pigliucci received the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize,[12] awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution[1] to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. As a philosopher, Pigliucci is interested in the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion.[10] He is a proponent of the extended evolutionary synthesis.[13]

Pigliucci writes regularly for Skeptical Inquirer on topics such as climate change denialintelligent designpseudoscience, and philosophy.[14] He has also written for Philosophy Now and maintains a blog called “Rationally Speaking”.[15] He has debated “deniers of evolution” (young-earth creationists and intelligent design proponents), including young earth creationists Duane Gish and Kent Hovind and intelligent design proponents William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, on many occasions.[16][17][18][19]

Michael ShermerJulia Galef and Massimo Pigliucci record live at NECSS 2013

Critical thinking and scepticism[edit]

While Pigliucci is an atheist himself,[20] he does not believe that science necessarily demands atheism because of two distinctions: the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, and the distinction between value judgements and matters of fact. He believes that many scientists and science educators fail to appreciate these differences.[9] Pigliucci has criticized New Atheist writers for embracing what he considers to be scientism (although he largely excludes philosopher Daniel Dennett from this charge).[21] In a discussion of his book Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life, Pigliucci told Skepticality podcast host Derek Colanduno, “Aristotle was the first ancient thinker to really take seriously the idea that you need both empirical facts, you need an evidence-based approach to the world and you need to be able to reflect on the meaning of those facts… If you want answers to moral questions then you don’t ask the neurobiologist, you don’t ask the evolutionary biologist, you ask the philosopher.”[22]

Pigliucci describes the mission of skeptics, referencing Carl Sagan‘s Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark saying “What skeptics are about is to keep that candle lit and spread it as much as possible”.[23] Pigliucci serves on the board of NYC Skeptics and on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.[8]

In 2001, he debated William Lane Craig over the existence of God.[24]

Massimo Pigliucci criticised the newspaper article by Pope Francis entitled, “An open dialogue with non-believers”. Pigliucci viewed the article as a monologue rather than a dialogue and, in a response personally addressed to Pope Francis, wrote that the Pope only offered non-believers “a reaffirmation of entirely unsubstantiated fantasies about God and his Son…followed by a confusion between the concept of love and truth, the whole peppered by a significant amount of historical revisionism and downright denial of the ugliest facets of your Church (and you will notice that I haven’t even brought up the pedophilia stuff!).”[25]

Rationally Speaking[edit]

In August 2000 Massimo started with a monthly internet column called Rationally Speaking. In August 2005, the column became a blog,[26] where he wrote posts until March 2014.[27] Since 1 February 2010, he co-hosted the bi-weekly Rationally Speaking podcast together with Julia Galef, whom he first met at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, held in September 2009.[28] The podcast is produced by the New York City Skeptics. He left the podcast in 2015 to pursue other interests.[29] In 2010, Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained on the show his justification for spending large amounts of government money on space programs. He eventually printed the transcript of his performance as a guest on the show in his book Space Chronicles as a full chapter covering eight pages.[30] Another episode in which Tyson explained his position on the label “atheism” received attention on NPR.[31]

His comments can be found on the 2nd  video and the 57th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

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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From Everette Hatcher, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock , AR 72221

Dear  Professor MASSIMO PIGLICUCCI,

I have really enjoyed watching your debate with William Lane Craig on You Tube  and your discussion with Daniel Dennett on the limits of science. I have had the pleasure of both corresponding with Professor Dennett and reading his book DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA earlier this year.

I noticed that you graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Although I have never personally been a Tennessee fan, I was told by my grandfather that a cousin of his was a kicker for the Vols. My grandfather grew up in Franklin, Tennessee with his brothers and sister. They used to get up at 2 am on Saturdays and travel to Knoxville by 1pm for the kickoff. My grandfather attended the University of Tennessee in 1921-23 until his money ran out. My grandfather told me he was relatives with Buck Hatcher who was a star player for the Vols.

Sure enough Buck Hatcher did play for the Vols and he kicked a 53 yard field goal on Nov 13, 1920 to set a record.  Later my grandfather’s brother Mack had the “Mack Hatcher Memorial Highway” named after him. He was a Gideon and often helped those who needed help in his Williamson County. (A Gideon is one who gives out Bibles). He stood six foot eleven and his sister Sara Lou was six foot four.

In the You Tube series RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD I found the following quote from you:

Reason of course can be defined in a variety of ways, but these are pretty good approximations. Cause is a explanation or justification for an event. You have a reason to believe. There was a reason I got up from my and went to the refrigerator and got a beer because I was THIRSTY. That is a REASON.  

The Power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments by the course of logic is what we are talking about in this context. This is opposed of course to FAITH, which is the COMPLETE trust or confidence in someone or something. Notice the emphasis on COMPLETE for some belief in God or doctrine of religion based on SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION rather than truth. That is the interesting premise here. SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION, what the heck is SPIRITUAL APPREHENSION? How do people spiritually apprehend things? I can talk about how people LOGICALLY or RATIONALLY think about things, but it is hard to get my mind wrapped around the idea of spiritual apprehension. I suspect because there is no such thing as spiritual apprehension.

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Let me respond with to your assertion that faith is totally opposed to logic with these writings below by Francis Schaeffer:

Image result for francis schaeffer

What is Faith?

Posted on July 29, 2012by 

What is faith?  Faith is often characterized as blind belief just because we want it to be true.  It’s sometimes thought to be belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.  But is that really what Biblical faith is like or is it a strawman argument that’s easily knocked down to make a point errantly?

Francis Schaeffer presents this story about faith:

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock, and suddenly the fog rolls in. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide, “Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?” The guide would say that you might make it until the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason tosupport his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said, “You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices.  I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and it he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the adequate and sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

Schaeffer’s story captures the idea that faith is not blind.  It is based on reason, logic, information, but lives in a situation where a gap exists.  Faith bridges the gap by trusting in someone or something in a better position than yourself.  In this story, faith was put in the knowledge of the man who grew up in the Alps.  It was a rational, tested faith based on questioning the man’s knowledge, but it was still faith because the ledge below couldn’t be seen, touched or definitively known.  This idea that faith is well informed and not irrational is the first point to keep in mind.

The second point is about the object of faith.  When you walk across ice, your trust is put in the ice to hold your weight.  Ice is the object of your faith.  If your trust is misplaced, you’ll quickly be wet, cold and in significant danger.  It wouldn’t have mattered whether you have a little faith in the ice or trust it fully.  The strength of the object of faith is what counts.  It the story it was the knowledge of the guide in the fog.

Christian faith captures both of these ideas.  First, God provides evidence of Himself in creation, in prophecy, in archeology, in Scripture’s consistency across 40+ authors and in the life of Jesus.  He doesn’t leave us without witness or guidance.  Second, He then requires us to make Jesus the object of our faith.  Jesus’ sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection are what matter.  As Paul said, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17). Putting trust in the Creator of the universe rather than our own feeble attempts to be good doesn’t seem like much of a stretch when you look at the history of mankind’s failures an our own individual struggles.  We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God and must put our faith in Jesus’ work to wash our sin away so we can enter God’s presence.

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The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Please consider taking time to read Isaiah chapter 53 and if you have any interest then watch the You Tube clip “The Biography of the King” by Adrian Rogers which discusses that chapter in depth.

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.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(This material below is under footnote #94)

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

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

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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

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

 

Image result for British Museum in the Lachish Room

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The Assyrian king Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair on a low mound. There is a tent behind him. His commander-in-chief stands before him (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Assyrian soldiers (the king’s bodyguards) wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the king. One prostrates and another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy. Most likely, they were later beheaded. The king obviously had been watching the battle and its victorious aftermath. Neo-Assyrian Period, 700-692 BCE. From Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), panels 11-13, Room XXXVI of the southwest palace; the heartland of the Assyrian Empire.The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

The finale scene! The Assyrian King Sennacherib sits on his luxurious chair. His commander-in-chief stands before the King (in a very close proximity) and greets him after conquering the city of Lachish. Four high "soldiers" stand behind their leader; they wear their exquisite military uniform and carry their weapons. Prisoners from Lachish are being reviewed and presented to the King. One prostrates, another two kneel; they seem to ask for mercy to save their lives. Most likely, they were beheaded later on. The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 41 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Featured artist is Marina Abramović)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 40 Timothy Leary (Featured artist is Margaret Keane)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 39 Tom Wolfe (Featured artist is Richard Serra)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 38 Woody Allen and Albert Camus “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” (Feature on artist Hamish Fulton Photographer )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 37 Mahatma Gandhi and “Relieving the Tension in the East” (Feature on artist Luc Tuymans)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 36 Julian Huxley:”God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” (Feature on artist Barry McGee)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 35 Robert M. Pirsig (Feature on artist Kerry James Marshall)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Feature on artist Shahzia Sikander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 33 Aldous Huxley (Feature on artist Matthew Barney )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 32 Steven Weinberg and Woody Allen and “The Meaningless of All Things” (Feature on photographer Martin Karplus )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 31 David Hume and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist William Pope L. )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 30 Rene Descartes and “How do we know we know?” (Feature on artist Olafur Eliasson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 29 W.H. Thorpe and “The Search for an Adequate World-View: A Question of Method” (Feature on artist Jeff Koons)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 28 Woody Allen and “The Mannishness of Man” (Feature on artist Ryan Gander)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 17 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part C (Feature on artist David Hockney plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 15 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ Part A (Feature on artist Robert Indiana plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 14 David Friedrich Strauss (Feature on artist Roni Horn )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 13 Jacob Bronowski and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ellen Gallagher )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 11 Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 2: THE MIDDLES AGES (Feature on artist Tony Oursler )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 10 David Douglas Duncan (Feature on artist Georges Rouault )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 9 Jasper Johns (Feature on artist Cai Guo-Qiang )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 8 “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais (Feature on artist Richard Tuttle and his return to the faith of his youth)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 7 Jean Paul Sartre (Feature on artist David Hooker )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 6 The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 (Feature on artist Makoto Fujimura)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 5 John Cage (Feature on artist Gerhard Richter)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 4 ( Schaeffer and H.R. Rookmaaker worked together well!!! (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part B )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 2 “A look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso” (Feature on artist Peter Howson)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 1 HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “The Roman Age” (Feature on artist Tracey Emin)

 

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 145, Dan Brown, Dept of Chemistry, Kings College, Cambridge, Are you a chapel goer now? “I am entirely atheistic and have always have been!”

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Harry Kroto pictured below:

_________________

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

_____________

 

Interview of Dan Brown, 2008

Uploaded on Jan 6, 2009

An interview with the chemist and important researcher on RNA, Dan Brown, in January 2008 by Alan Macfarlane. For a higher quality, downloadable, version with a detailed summary, please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com

All revenues to World Oral Literature Project

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Dan Brown

It is with great regret that we announce the death of Dr Daniel Brown FRS. He died yesterday (Tuesday 24 April), aged 89.

Dan was born in Giffnock, Renfrewshire in 1923 and studied for his PhD at Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of King’s in 1953 and remained here until his death.

He was a University Lecturer in Chemistry 1957-1975, and Vice-Provost of the college 1974-1981.

Dan was an eminent chemist, who was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1982.

 

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His comments can be found on the 2nd  video and the 88th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

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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Dan Brown interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 10th January 2008

 

Quote from Dan Brown

Are you a chapel goer now? I am entirely atheistic and have always have been!

As a man of science Dan Brown needed evidence. I wish he had a chance in the past to examine this evidence below.

 

 

I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-),  and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

 ____________

Does it seem logical that God inspired men to write the Books in the Bible and that those books would be correct in what they say?  Why not consider the evidence?

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

___________

 

Archaeology and the Old Testament

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

A man wearing a leather vest and a broad-rimmed hat wraps a ripped piece of cloth around an old bone, sets it on fire, and uses it as a torch to see his way through ancient tunnels filled with bones, rats, bugs, and buried treasure. Close behind him lurks the dastardly villain, ready to pounce on the treasure after the hero has done all the planning and dangerous work. We have seen this scenario, or others similar to it, time and again in movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy. And although we understand that Hollywood exaggerates and dramatizes the situation, it still remains a fact that finding ancient artifacts excites both young and old alike. Finding things left by people of the past is exciting because a little window of their lives is opened to us. When we find an arrowhead, we are reminded that Indians used bows and arrows to hunt and fight. Discovering a piece of pottery tells us something about the lives of ancient cultures. Every tiny artifact gives the modern person a more complete view of life in the past.

Because of the intrinsic value of archaeology, many have turned to it in order to try to answer certain questions about the past. One of the questions most often asked is, “Did the things recorded in the Bible really happen?” Truth be told, archaeology cannot always answer that question. Nothing material remains from Elijah’s ascension into heaven, and no physical artifacts exist to show that Christ actually walked on water. Therefore, if we ask archaeology to “prove” that the entire Bible is true or false, we are faced with the fact that archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the Bible’s validity. However, even though it cannot conclusively prove the Bible’s veracity in every instance, archaeology can provide important pieces of the past that consistently verify the Bible’s historical and factual accuracy. This month’s Reason and Revelation article is designed to bring to light a small fraction of the significant archaeological finds that have been instrumental in corroborating the biblical text of the Old Testament.

HEZEKIAH AND SENNACHERIB

When Hezekiah assumed the throne of Judah, he did so under extremely distressing conditions. His father Ahaz had turned to the gods of Damascus, cut into pieces the articles within the house of Jehovah, and shut the doors of the temple of the Lord. In addition, he created high places “in every single city” where he sacrificed, and offered incense to other gods (2 Chronicles 28:22-27). The people of Judah followed Ahaz, and as a result, the Bible records that “the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:19).

Upon this troubled throne, King Hezekiah began to rule at the youthful age of just twenty-five. He reigned for twenty-nine years, and the inspired text declares that he “did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done” (2 Chronicles 29:2). Among other reforms, Hezekiah reopened the temple, reestablished the observance of the Passover, and appointed the priests to receive tithes and administer their proper duties in the temple. After completing these reforms, Scripture states that “Sennacherib, king of Assyria entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself ” (2 Chronicles 32:1).

It is here that we turn to the secular record of history to discover that the powerful nation Assyria, under the reign of King Sargon II, had subdued many regions in and around Palestine. Upon Sargon’s death, revolt broke out within the Assyrian empire. Sennacherib, the new Assyrian king, was determined to maintain a firm grasp on his vassal states, which meant that he would be forced to invade the cities of Judah if Hezekiah continued to defy Assyria’s might (Hoerth, 1998, pp. 341-352). Knowing that Sennacherib would not sit by idly and watch his empire crumble, King Hezekiah began to make preparations for the upcoming invasion. One of the preparations he made was to stop the water from the springs that ran outside of Jerusalem, and to redirect the water into the city by way of a tunnel. Second Kings 20:20 records the construction of the tunnel with these words: “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah—all his might, and how he made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city—are they not written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Judah?”

Hezekiah's Tunnel
Inside view of Hezekiah’s tunnel, displaying the thick limestone through which workers had to dig. Credit: Todd Bolen (www.BiblePlaces.com).

The biblical text from 2 Chronicles 32:30 further substantiates the tunnel construction with this comment: “This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David.” The tunnel—known today as “Hezekiah’s tunnel”—stands as one of the paramount archaeological attestations to the biblical text. Carved through solid limestone, the tunnel meanders in an S-shape under the city of Jerusalem for a length of approximately 1,800 feet. In 1880, two boys swimming at the site discovered an inscription (about 20 feet from the exit) that provided exacting details regarding how the tunnel had been constructed:

…And this was the account of the breakthrough. While the laborers were still working with their picks, each toward the other, and while there were still three cubits to be broken through, the voice of each was heard calling to the other, because there was a crack (or split or overlap) in the rock from the south to the north. And at the moment of the breakthrough, the laborers struck each toward the other, pick against pick. Then water flowed from the spring to the pool for 1,200 cubits. And the height of the rock above the heads of the laborers was 100 cubits (Price, 1997, p. 267).

Of the inscription, John Laughlin wrote that it is “one of the most important, as well as famous, inscriptions ever found in Judah” (2000, p. 145). Incidentally, since the length of the tunnel was about 1,800 feet, and the inscription marked the tunnel at “1,200 cubits,” archaeologists have a good indication that the cubit was about one-and-a-half feet at the time of Hezekiah (Free and Vos, 1992, p. 182). Dug in order to keep a steady supply of water pumping into Jerusalem during Sennacherib’s anticipated siege, Hezekiah’s tunnel stands as a strong witness to the accuracy of the biblical historical record of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Siloam Insciption
The Siloam inscription commemorates the excavation of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

In addition to Hezekiah’s tunnel, other amazingly detailed archaeological evidence provides an outstanding record of some of the events as they unfolded between Hezekiah and Sennacherib. Much of the information we have comes from the well-known Taylor Prism. This fascinating, six-sided clay artifact stands about 15 inches tall, and was found in Nineveh in 1830 by British colonel R. Taylor. Thus, it is known as the “Taylor Prism” (Price, pp. 272-273). The prism contains six columns covered by over 500 lines of writing, and was purchased in the winter of 1919-1920 by J.H. Breasted for the Oriental Institute in Chicago (Hanson, 2002).

Part of the text on the Taylor Prism has Sennacherib’s account of what happened in his military tour of Judah.

As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) by means of well-stamped (earth)ramps, and battering-rams brought (thus) near (to the walls) (combined with) the attack by foot soldiers, (using) mines, breeches as well as sapper work. I drove out (of them) 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered (them) booty. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork in order to molest those who were leaving his city’s gate (Pritchard, 1958a, p. 200).

At least two facts of monumental significance reside in Sennacherib’s statement. First, Sennacherib’s attack on the outlying cities of Judah finds a direct parallel in 2 Chronicles 32:1: “Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities….” The most noteworthy fortified city that the Assyrian despot besieged and captured was the city of Lachish. Second, Sennacherib never mentions that he captured Jerusalem.

Lachish Under Siege

Assyrians attacking the Jewish town of Lachish
Assyrians attack the Jewish fortified town of Lachish. Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh. British Museum, London. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

When we turn to the biblical account of Sennacherib’s Palestinian invasion in 2 Kings 18, we learn that he had advanced against “all the fortified cities of Judah” (vs. 14). At one of those cities, Lachish, King Hezekiah sent tribute money in an attempt to assuage the Assyrian’s wrath. The text states: “Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, ‘I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay’ ” (vs. 14). Of Lachish, Sennacherib demanded 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, which Hezekiah promptly paid. Not satisfied, however, the Assyrian ruler “sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh from Lachish, with a great army against Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah” (vs. 17) in an attempt to frighten the denizens of Jerusalem into surrender. The effort failed, “so the Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish” (19:8). From the biblical record, then, we discover very scant information about the battle at Lachish—only that Sennacherib was there, laid siege to the city (2 Chronicles 32:9), and moved on to Libnah upon the completion of his siege.

From Sennacherib’s historical files, however, we get a much more complete account of the events surrounding Lachish. The Assyrian monarch considered his victory at Lachish of such import that he dedicated an entire wall (nearly seventy linear feet) of his palace in Nineveh to carved reliefs depicting the event (Hoerth, p. 350). In the mid-1840s, renowned English archaeologist Henry Layard began extensive excavations in the ruins of ancient Nineveh. He published his initial finds in an 1849 best-selling volume titled Nineveh and Its Remains, and in three subsequent volumes: The Monuments of Nineveh (1849), Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Characters (1851), and Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh (1853) [see Moorey, 1991, pp. 7-12 for more about Layard’s work]. Since Layard’s early discoveries, archaeologists have located and identified thousands of artifacts from at least three different palaces. The remains of ancient Nineveh are located in two mounds on opposite banks of the Hawsar River. One of the mounds, known as Kouyunjik Tepe, contained the remains of the palaces of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. The other mound, Nebi Younis, held the relics of the palace of Sennacherib. These palaces were built on raised platforms about 75 feet high (Negev and Gibson, 2001, p. 369).

One of the most outstanding artifacts found among the ruins of Nineveh was the wall relief depicting Sennacherib’s defeat of the city of Lachish. Ephraim Stern offered an excellent description of the events pictured in the relief:

The main scene shows the attack on the gate wall of Lachish. The protruding city gate is presented in minute detail, with its crenellations and its special reinforcement by a superstructure of warriors’ shields. The battering rams were moved over specially constructed ramps covered with wooden logs. They were “prefabricated,” four-wheeled, turreted machines. The scene vividly shows frenzied fighting of both attacker and defender in the final stage of battle (2001, 2:5).

Assyrians impaling Jewish prisoners
Assyrian warriors shown impaling Jewish prisoners. Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib. British Museum, London. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

Stern also discussed the flaming firebrands that the defenders of Lachish launched at their attackers, the long-handled, ladle-like instruments used to dowse the front of the battering rams when they were set on fire, slingmen, archers, and assault troops with spears. One of the most striking features of the relief is the depiction of the tortures inflicted on the inhabitants of the Lachish. Several prisoners are pictured impaled on poles, while women and children from the city are led past the victims (Stern, 2:5-6). The epigraph that accompanied the relief read: “Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a nimedu– throne and passed in review the booty (taken) from Lachish (La-ki-su)” [Pritchard, 1958a, p. 201, parenthetical item in orig.].

Of further interest is the fact that archaeological digs at the city of Lachish bear out the details of Sennacherib’s wall relief. Extensive archaeological digs at Lachish from 1935 to 1938 by the British, and again from 1973 to 1987 under Israeli archaeologist David Ussishkin and others, have revealed a treasure trove of artifacts, each of which fits the events depicted by Sennacherib. Concerning the Assyrian siege of Lachish, William Dever noted:

The evidence of it is all there: the enormous sloping siege ramp thrown up against the city walls south of the gate; the double line of defense walls, upslope and downslope; the iron-shod Assyrian battering rams that breached the city wall at its highest point; the massive destruction within the fallen city…. Virtually all the details of the Assyrian reliefs have been confirmed by archaeology…. Also brought to light by the excavators were the double city walls; the complex siege ramp, embedded with hundreds of iron arrowheads and stone ballistae; the counter-ramp inside the city; the destroyed gate, covered by up to 6 ft. of destruction debris; huge boulders from the city wall, burned almost to lime and fallen far down the slope… (2001, pp. 168-169).

The Assyrian monarch’s siege of Lachish is documented by the biblical text, and the destruction of the city is corroborated by the massive carving dedicated to the event in Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, as well as the actual artifacts found in stratum III at Lachish.

Jerusalem Stands Strong

Of special interest in Sennacherib’s description of his Palestinian conquest is the fact that he never mentioned seizing the city of Jerusalem. On the Taylor Prism, we find the writings about his conquest of 46 outlying cities, in addition to “walled forts” and “countless small villages.” In fact, we even read that Hezekiah was shut up in Jerusalem as a prisoner “like a bird in a cage.” It also is recorded that Hezekiah sent more tribute to Sennacherib at the end of the campaign (Pritchard, 1958a, pp. 200-201). What is not recorded, however, is any list of booty that was taken from the capital city of Judah. Nor is an inventory of prisoners given in the text of the Taylor Prism. Indeed, one would think that if the city of Lachish deserved so much attention from the Assyrian dictator, then the capital city of Judah would deserve even more.

What we find, however, is complete silence as to the capture of the city. What happened to the vast, conquering army to cause it to buckle at the very point of total victory? Hershel Shanks, author of Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography, wrote: “…although we don’t know for sure what broke the siege, we do know that the Israelites managed to hold out” (1995, p. 84).

The biblical text, however, offers the answer to this historical enigma. Due to Hezekiah’s faithfulness to the Lord, Jehovah offered His divine assistance to the Judean King. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet was sent to Hezekiah with a message of hope. Isaiah informed Hezekiah that God would stop Sennacherib from entering the city, because Hezekiah prayed to the Lord for assistance. In Isaiah 37:36, the text states: “Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.” Sennacherib could not boast of his victory over the city of Jerusalem—because there was no victory! The Lord had delivered the city out of his hand. In addition, as Dever observed: “Finally, Assyrian records note that Sennacherib did die subsequently at the hands of assassins, his own sons…” (2001, p. 171). Luckenbill records the actual inscription from Esarhaddon’s chronicles that describe the event:

In the month Nisanu, on a favorable day, complying with their exalted command, I made my joyful entrance into the royal palace, an awesome place, wherein abides the fate of kings. A firm determination fell upon my brothers. They forsook the gods and turned to their deeds of violence plotting evil. …To gain the kingship they slew Sennacherib, their father (Luckenbill, 1989, 2:200-201).

These events and artifacts surrounding Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Lachish, and Jerusalem give us an amazing glimpse into the tumultuous relationship between Judah and her neighbors. These facts also provide an excellent example of how archaeology substantiates the biblical account.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BULLAE

The ancient Israelites used several different media to record their information. Among the most popular were scrolls of papyrus and leather. When a scribe had completed writing his information on a scroll, he often would roll the papyrus or leather into a cylinder shape and tie it securely with a string. In order to seal the string even more securely, and to denote the author or sender of the scroll, a bead of soft clay (or soft wax or soft metal) was placed over the string of the scroll. With some type of stamping device, the clay was pressed firmly to the scroll, leaving an inscription in the clay (King and Stager, 2001, p. 307). These clay seals are known as bullae (the plural form of the word bulla). Over the many years of archaeological excavations, hundreds of these bullae have been discovered. TheArchaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land provides an extensive list of bullae that have been unearthed: 50 in Samaria during the 1930s; 17 at Lachish in 1966; 51 in Jerusalem in digs conducted by Yigal Shiloh; 128 in 1962 found in the Wadi ed-Daliyeh Cave and a large cache of 2,000 bullae found in 1998 at Tel Kadesh (Negev and Gibson, 2001, pp. 93-94).

Examples of Bullae
On the left, a bulla with Hebrew writing in a slightly oval impression. On the right, a stamp seal with the name of the owner or scribe. Credit: The Schøyen Collection MS 1912 and MS 5160/1.

Most of the bullae that have been discovered are small, oval, clay stamps that contain the name of the person responsible for the document that was sealed (and occasionally the father of that person), the title or office of the sealer, and/or a picture of an animal or some other artistic rendering. One of the most interesting things about the bullae that have been discovered is the fact that certain names found among the clay seals correspond with biblical references. For instance, from 1978 to 1985, Yigal Shiloh did extensive digging in the city of Jerusalem. In 1982, in a building in Area G of Jerusalem, he discovered a cache of 51 bullae. Because of these clay inscriptions, the building is known in archaeological circles as the “House of Bullae.” This building was burned during the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.Unfortunately, the intense heat of the fires burned all the leather and papyrus scrolls. Yet, even though it destroyed the scrolls, the same fire baked the clay bullae hard and preserved them for posterity (King and Stager, p. 307).

One interesting bulla, and probably the most famous, is connected to the scribe of Jeremiah—Baruch. Hershel Shanks, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, gave a detailed account of a landmark cache of over 250 bullae. In October 1975, the first four bullae were purchased by an antiquities dealer in east Jerusalem. The dealer took these bullae to Nahman Avigad, a leading Israeli expert on ancient seals at Hebrew University. More and more bullae came across Avigad’s desk that fit with the others. On more than one occasion, a fragment from one collection would fit with a corresponding fragment from another dealer’s collection. Ultimately, Yoav Sasson, a Jerusalem collector, came to acquire about 200 of the bullae, and Reuben Hecht obtained 49 pieces (Shanks, 1987, pp. 58-65).

The names on two of these bullae have captivated the archaeological world for several decades now. On one of the bulla, the name “Berekhyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe,” is clearly impressed. Shanks wrote concerning this inscription: “The common suffix –yahu in ancient Hebrew names, especially in Judah, is a form of Yahweh. Baruch means “the blessed.” Berekhyahu means “blessed of Yahweh.” An equivalent form to –yahu is –yah, traditionally rendered as “-iah” in our English translations. Neriah is actually Neri-yah or Neriyahu. Eighty of the 132 names represented in the hoard (many names appear more than once on the 250 bullae) include the theophoric element –yahu (1987, p. 61). Shanks (along with the general consensus of archaeological scholars) concluded that the bulla belonged to Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 36:4, the text reads: “Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah….” The name on the bulla corresponds well with the name in Jeremiah. Concerning the bulla, Hoerth wrote: “This lump of clay…used to close a papyrus document, was sealed by none other than ‘Baruch son of Neriah’ (Jer. 36:4). Baruch’s name here carries a suffix abbreviation for God, indicating that his full name meant ‘blessed of God’ ” (1998, p. 364).

To multiply the evidence that this inscription was indeed the Baruch of Jeremiah fame, another of the inscriptions from a bulla in the cache documented the title “Yerahme’el, son of the king.” This name corresponds to King Jehoiakim’s son “who was sent on the unsuccessful mission to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah” (Shanks, 1987, p. 61). Indeed, the biblical text so states: “And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son…to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them” (Jeremiah 36:26). In commenting on the bulla, Amihai Mazar, who is among the most noted of archaeologists, stated in regard to Jerahmeel the king’s son: “We presume [he] was Jehoiakim’s son sent to arrest Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:26)” [1992, pp. 519-520]. [As a side note, the Hebrew letter yod is represented by Y and J, which often are used interchangeably in the English transliteration of Hebrew names—a fact that can be seen easily in the Hebrew name for God, which is written variously as Yahweh or Jehovah.] Another bulla in the hoard contained the title “Elishama, servant of the king.” And in Jeremiah 36:12, the text mentioned a certain “Elishama the scribe.” While professor Avigad thinks it would be a dubious connection, since he believes the biblical text would not drop the title “servant of the king” (because of its prestige), Shanks commented: “I would not reject the identification so easily” (1987, p. 62).

One of the names inscribed on a bulla was the Hebrew name “Gemaryahu [Gemariah] the son of Shaphan.” Price noted: “This name, which appears a few times in the book of Jeremiah, was the name of the scribe who served in the court of King Jehoiakim” (1998, p. 235). Jeremiah 36:10 records that Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, read from the words of the prophet “in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe….” It also is interesting to note that Gemariah was a scribe, which would have put him in precisely the position to produce bullae. Also among the collection from the “House of Bullae” was a bulla that was sealed with the name “Azaryahu son of Hilqiyahu”—a name that easily corresponds with Azariah son of Hilkiah found in 1 Chronicles 9:10-11 (Laughlin, 2000, p. 153).

We have then, among this phenomenal cache of bullae (which dates to the time of the events in the book of Jeremiah), two names and titles that correspond almost identically to Baruch, the son of Neriah, plus Jerahmeel, the son of Jehoiakim, and a third, Elishama, whose name appears in Jeremiah 36. What, then, does this prove? While it is the case that several men in ancient Israel could be named Baruch or Jerahmeel, it becomes almost absurd to suggest that these bullae just happen “coincidentally” to correspond so well to the biblical text. Such evidence points overwhelming to the accuracy of the biblical text and its historical verifiability. At the very least, such finds demonstrate these biblical names to be authentic for the time period. [As an added note of interest on the Baruch bulla, Shanks wrote a follow-up article in Biblical Archaeological Review in 1996, in which he discussed another bulla with Baruch’s title on it that also contains a fingerprint—possibly of the scribe himself. This bulla is in the private collection of a well-known collector named Shlomo Maussaieff (Shanks, 1996, pp. 36-38).]

THE MOABITE STONE

Another important archaeological find verifying the historicity of the biblical account is known as the Moabite Stone. It is true that writing about a rock that was discovered almost 150 years ago certainly would not fit in a current “in the news” section. In fact, so much has been written about this stone since 1868 that very few new articles pertaining to it have come to light. But the real truth of the matter is that, even though it was discovered more than a century ago, many people do not even know it exists, and thus need to be reminded of its importance.

The Moabite StoneThe find is known as the Moabite Stone, or the Mesha Inscription, since it was written by Mesha, King of Moab. A missionary named F.A. Klein first discovered the stone in August of 1868 (Edersheim, n.d., p. 109). When he initially saw the black basalt stone, it measured approximately 3.5 feet high and 2 feet wide. Upon learning of Klein’s adventure, a French scholar by the name of Clermont-Ganneau located the antiquated piece of rock, and copied eight lines from the stone. He then had an impression (known as a “squeeze”) made of the writing on its surface. A squeeze is made by placing a soggy piece of paper over the inscription, which then retains the form of the inscription when it dries (Pritchard, 1958b, p. 105). From that point, the details surrounding the stone are not quite as clear. Apparently (for reasons unknown), the Arabs who were in possession of the stone decided to shatter it. [Some have suggested that they thought the stone was a religious talisman of some sort, or that they could get more money selling the stone in pieces. However, LeMaire claims that these reasons are “apocryphal,” and suggests that the Arabs broke it because they hated the Ottomans, who were attempting to purchase the stone (1994, p. 34).] By heating it in fire and then pouring cold water on it, they succeeded in breaking the stone into several pieces. The pieces ended up being scattered, but eventually about two-thirds of the original stone ended up being relocated, and currently reside at the Louvre in Paris (Jacobs and McCurdy, 2002).

The written inscription on the stone provides a piece of outstanding evidence that verifies the Bible’s accuracy. Mesha, had the stone cut in c. 850 B.C. to relate his numerous conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel. In the over 30-line text (composed of approximately 260 words), Mesha mentioned that Omri was the king of Israel who had oppressed Moab, but then Mesha says he “saw his desire upon” Omri’s son and upon “his house.” Mesha wrote:

I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-[…], king of Moab, the Dibonite—my father (had) reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father,—(who) made this high place for Chemosh in Qarhoh […] because he saved me from all the kings and caused me to triumph over all my adversaries. As for Omri, king of Israel, he humbled Moab many years (lit., days), for Chemosh was angry at his land. And his son followed him and he also said, “I will humble Moab.” In my time he spoke (thus), but I have triumphed over him and over his house, while Israel hath perished forever (Pritchard, 1958a, p. 209).

The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. While the references to the Israelite kings are quite notable in and of themselves, Pritchard has pointed out that this reference to Yahweh is one of the few that have been found outside of Palestine proper (1958b, p. 106).

Another important feature of the Moabite stone is the fact that it “gave the solution to a question that had gone unanswered for centuries.” The biblical record chronicles the Moabite subjugation under King David and King Solomon, and how the Moabites broke free at the beginning of the divided kingdom. However, the Bible also mentions (2 Kings 3:4) that Ahab was receiving tribute from Moab. As Alfred Hoerth has remarked: “Nowhere does the Bible state how or when Moab was reclaimed, for Ahab to be receiving such tribute. The Moabite Stone provides that information, telling, as it does, of Omri’s conquest from the Moabite point of view” (1998, p. 310).

From the end of the quoted portion of the Mesha Inscription (“while Israel hath perished forever”), it is obvious that Mesha exaggerated the efficacy of his conquest—a common practice among ancient kings. Pritchard noted that historians agree that “the Moabite chroniclers tended generally, and quite understandably, to ignore their own losses and setbacks” (1958b, p. 106). Free and Vos document the works of John D. Davies and S.L. Caiger, which offer a harmonization of the Moabite text with the biblical record. Davies, formerly of the Princeton University Seminary, accurately observed: “Mesha is in no wise contradicting, but only unintentionally supplementing the Hebrew account” (as quoted in Free and Vos, 1992, p. 161).

As a further point of interest, French scholar André LeMaire, in an extensive article in Biblical Archaeology Review, “identified the reading of the name David in a formerly unreadable line, ‘House of D…,’ on the Mesha Stele (or Moabite Stone)” [Price, 1997, p. 171; see also LeMaire, 1994, pp. 30-37]. Whether or not this identification is accurate, has yet to be verified by scholarly consensus. Even liberal scholars Finkelstein and Silberman, however, acknowledged LaMaire’s identification, along with the Tel Dan inscription documenting the House of David, and concluded: “Thus, the house of David was known throughout the region; this clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem” (2001, p. 129).

Taken as a whole, the Moabite stone remains one of the most impressive pieces of evidence verifying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. And, although this find has been around almost 150 years, it “still speaks” to us today (Hebrews 11:4).

Cyrus Cylinder

THE CYRUS CYLINDER

Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born(Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

In 1879, Hormoz Rasam found a small clay cylinder (about nine inches long, and now residing in the British Museum) in the ancient city of Babylon. Upon the clay cylinder, King Cyrus had inscribed, among other things, his victory over the city of Babylon and his policy toward the nations he had captured, as well as his policy toward their various gods and religions. Price recorded a translation of a segment of the cuneiform text found on the cylinder:

…I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus has brought into Babylon to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their [former] chapels, the places which made them happy. May all the gods who I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for long life for me and may they recommend me…to Marduk, my lord, may they say thus: Cyrus, the king who worships you and Cambyses, his son, […] all of them I settled in a peaceful place (pp. 251-252).

The policy, often hailed as Cyrus’ declaration of human rights, coincides with the biblical account of the ruler’s actions, in which Cyrus decreed that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and that all the exiled Israelites who wished to join in the venture had his permission and blessing to do so (Ezra 1:1-11). The little nine-inch-long clay cylinder stands as impressive testimony—along with several other archaeological finds—to the historical accuracy of the biblical text.

CONCLUSION

The archaeological evidence presented in this article that confirms biblical history is, in truth, only a tiny fraction of the evidence that could be amassed along these lines. In fact, volumes of hundreds of pages each have been produced on such matters, and with every new find comes additional information that will fill archaeology texts for decades to come. The more we uncover the past, the more we discover the truth that the Bible is the most trustworthy, historically accurate document ever produced. As the poet John Greenleaf Whittier once wrote:

We search the world for truth; we cull the good, the pure, the beautiful, from all the old flower fields of the soul; and, weary seekers of the best, we come back laden from our quest, to find that all the sages said is in the Book our mothers read.

REFERENCES

Dever, William (2001), What did the Bible Writers Know and When did They Know It? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Edersheim, Albert (no date), The Bible History—Old Testament, Book VI (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Silberman (2001), The Bible Unearthed (New York: Simon & Schuster).

Free, Joseph P. and Howard F. Vos (1992), Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Hanson, K.C. (2002), Sennacherib Prism, [On-line], URL: http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/meso/sennprism1.html.

Hoerth, Alfred J. (1998), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Jacobs, Joseph and J. Frederick McCurdy (2002), “Moabite Stone,” Jewish Encyclopedia.com,[On-line], URL: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=680&letter=M.

King, Philip J. and Lawrence E. Stager (2001), Life in Biblical Israel (in the Library of Ancient Israelseries), ed. Douglas A. Knight (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press).

Laughlin, John C.H. (2000), Archaeology and the Bible (New York: Routledge).

LeMaire, André (1994), “House of David Restored in Moabite Inscription,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[3]:30-37, May/June.

Luckenbill, Daniel D. (1989), Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon (London: Histories and Mysteries of Man Ltd.).

Mazar, Amihai (1992), Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (New York: Doubleday).

Moorey, P.R.S. (1991), A Century of Biblical Archaeology (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press).

Negev, Avraham and Shimon Gibson (2001), Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (New York: Continuum).

Price, Randall (1997), The Stones Cry Out (Eugene, OR: Harvest House).

Pritchard, James B., ed. (1958a), The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Pritchard, James B. (1958b), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Shanks, Hershel (1987), “Jeremiah’s Scribe and Confidant Speaks from a Hoard of Clay Bullae,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 13[5]:58-65, September/October.

Shanks, Hershel (1995), Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography (New York: Random House).

Shanks, Hershel (1996), “Fingerprint of Jeremiah’s Scribe,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 22[2]:36-38, March/April.

Stern, Ephraim (2001), Archaeology and the Land of the Bible: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732-332 B.C.E.) (New York: Doubleday).

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The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Please consider taking time to read Isaiah chapter 53 and if you have any interest then watch the You Tube clip “The Biography of the King” by Adrian Rogers which discusses that chapter in depth.

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.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(This material below is under footnote #94)

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

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

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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

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

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