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world view which prevails in the modern scientific community, and for his concept that a creator God is an outdated “geocentrist conceit” concocted by our less enlightened forefathers and foisted upon the human culture, I felt a review and rebuttal of his new book was in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

——

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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_________

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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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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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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.

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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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The test vote on codifying same-sex marriage is scheduled for Wednesday and will need 60 votes to clear a filibuster

_______

Schumer tees up vote to codify same-sex marriage

The test vote on codifying same-sex marriage is scheduled for Wednesday and will need 60 votes to clear a filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is teeing up a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would codify same-sex marriage into federal law, which will need at least 10 Republican votes.

The bill has bipartisan support and after a procedural vote scheduled Wednesday, the legislation is likely to pass later this week, or after Thanksgiving recess. The bill needs 60 votes to clear a filibuster, which is it likely to get.

“I want to be clear that passing this bill is not at all a theoretical exercise, but rather it is as real as it gets,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said from the senate floor Monday evening.

Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Virginia, hold up signs as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Virginia, hold up signs as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

 REPUBLICAN SENATORS PREDICT MCCONNELL HAS BACKING TO REMAIN PARTY LEADER

“When the Supreme Court overturned Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that other rights—like the right to marriage equality enshrined in Obergefell—could come next,” he continued.

The top senate Democrat added that he opted to forgo bringing the bill to a vote back in September at the urging of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and said he “agreed to wait, because we were given an assurance that enough votes would materialize after the election.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 WALKER HAULS IN $11 MILLION SINCE START OF GEORGIA RUNOFF CAMPAIGN; GOES UP WITH FIRST AD

Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a joint statement Monday saying that through “bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs, while upholding our view that marriage embodies the highest ideals of love, devotion, and family.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

Schumer added that, “because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance.”

"Because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the Respect for Marriage Act. 

“Because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the Respect for Marriage Act.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FIRST ON FOX NEW: RNC SENDING TROOPS TO GEORGIA FOR RUNOFF CAMPAIGN

“I hope – for the sake of tens of millions of Americans – that at least 10 Republicans will vote with us to protect marriage equality into law soon The rights and dignity of millions of Americans depends on it.” he added.

_________

—-

Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident‘ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage

Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks during a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee in November 2017.

(CNN)The bipartisan group working on legislation to codify same-sex marriage has the votes needed for the bill to pass and is urging leadership to put it on the floor for a vote as soon as possible, multiple sources told CNN.

The bipartisan group, which includes GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said in a statement Monday that they “look forward to this legislation coming to the floor.”

“Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality,” the senators said in the statement. “We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday took procedural steps related to the same-sex marriage bill, setting up the first test vote for Wednesday.

“I’m going to set up the first procedural vote on legislation that will codify marriage equality into law. Members should expect the first vote on Wednesday,” he said.

“No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love and passing this bill would secure much needed safeguards into federal law,” Schumer said.

In early September, Schumer vowed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in “the coming weeks.”

“The Senate will hold a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act in the coming weeks, so that no American is discriminated against because of whom they love,” he said, adding that he hopes enough GOP senators join Democrats in support of passage.

But the bill’s supporters said in September that more time was needed to negotiate the issue with Republicans — and sought to delay any vote in the Senate until after the November midterm elections, which Schumer agreed to.

The bill will need at least 10 GOP Senate votes to overcome a filibuster and advance the legislation toward final passage.

This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.

The New Gay Marriage Bill

Does America need a law to protect same sex marriage?

This week, Roger Severino, Heritage’s Vice President of Domestic Policy and The Anderlik Fellow, breaks down the so called “Respect for Marriage Act.”

Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I’m Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.

Cordero: This summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress introduced the Respect For Marriage Act.

Speaker 2: As abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers continue to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the House is voting on a bill to protect marriage equality, out of fear the conservative high court could revisit other landmark decisions.

Speaker 3: It simply says each state will recognize the other state’s marriages and not deny a person the right to marry based on race, gender, sexual orientation.

Cordero: The legislation passed the House with the support of 47 Republicans. It now moves to the Senate where it would need just 10 Republican votes to pass.

Cordero: Final passage would mean states are no longer allowed to define and recognize marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Instead, they would be forced to recognize any union between two individuals, regardless of sex, as marriage. So does our country need a law to protect same-sex marriage? Did the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson threaten same-sex marriage? What about the Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman? What would this bill mean for them?

Cordero: Today, Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president of domestic policy and The Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow, explains after this short break.

>>> Five days a week, two-episode formats, one mission, to deliver the news you care about and analysis on the biggest issues facing America. The Daily Signal Podcast brings you two episodes every day in the same podcast feed. Each morning, catch interviews with policy makers, leading experts and conservative activists as we discuss some of the greatest challenges facing our country and offer solutions for a brighter future. And every weekday at 5:00 PM we bring you the top news of the day. These are the headlines you care about. Subscribe to the Daily Signal Podcast wherever you get your podcast, so you never miss out on our morning interviews or evening news.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for joining us today.

Roger Severino: Thank you for having me.

Cordero: My first question is, does the country need a national law guaranteeing the right to gay marriage? Didn’t the Supreme Court already rule on this in Obergefell? And so what makes this different?

Severino: You’re right to point out that Obergefell is what’s governing today, and that’s not really going to be changing. I don’t see a scenario where the question presented there will be presented again anywhere in the near or intermediate future. So, what is left? Why is it that the liberals in Congress are pushing this to try to codify a version of same-sex marriage in federal law when all the rights and benefits that came from the Obergefell decision are required to be extended to same-sex couples? Nothing would change on the ground. So what’s left?

Severino: Well, to put salt on a wound and to target people of faith who disagree, there’s still a sizeable number of people in this country who believed the same thing that Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did just not so long ago, good number of years. But they believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. And those views deserve to be treated with respect. They come from honorable premises and they reflect the truth about marriage, which there has to be space for people to continue to express those beliefs, especially those of faith. And what this bill is designed to do is to tar such people as being unfit to be in polite society and out of the public square.

Cordero: Why is Congress taking this up now? Just to back up a little bit, what prompted this?

Severino: The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs dealt with abortion. And the abortion precedents are based on a foundation of sand, using substantive due process, which is a legal concept that’s not really found in the Constitution. Which liberal activist judges over the decades have used in all sorts of areas, including same-sex marriage, to invent new rights that are not actually in the Constitution.

Severino: So when Dobbs said abortion is one of these invented rights, we’re returning to the actual text of the Constitution, the majority went out of its way to say it was just limited to the question of abortion and human life. It’s a very unique circumstance. Justice Thomas, who’s an amazing jurist, wrote separately to say that we should reevaluate every case that was built on the invention of substantive due process, which included the same-sex marriage decision. Substantive due process is not the only source of rights under the Constitution, but it’s the one that’s been abused the most by the left. And it should be revisited.

Severino: That does not mean that there’s any vehicle that would come back and say, people who are currently in same-sex marriages, their benefits are at risk. That’s nonsense. So taking a very theoretical statement from one Justice on the court, the left has run with it to try to call some sort of alarmism about marriage and push this wedge issue for political purposes. Again, the practical effect if this becomes law, will have nothing to do with the benefits of same-sex couples. It’ll have everything to do with excluding people of faith from their tax-exempt statuses for houses of worship, from adoption agencies that believe that the best most conducive place for a child in placement would be with a married mother and father, and for those who contract or receive grants from the government who want to live according to the beliefs with respect to marriage. Those are the groups who are going to be targeted. And this law would actually create this bludgeon, which is a private right of action, which means individuals could sue on their own in federal court to hound these groups. And that’s really the object of this stunt.

Cordero: So to be clear, there’s no risk currently present that legally married same-sex couples could lose any of their benefits or legal status?

Severino: Absolutely. There’s no risk that they would lose any benefit. The federal government adopted and adapted to the Obergefell decision. All the state’s governments did. That’s now the status quo. That would not change by this law. And I see no case coming forward that would change that either. So this is really targeted at exclusion for political purposes.

Cordero: Yes. If the bill passes, it’s just an assurance to the left.

Severino: No, it’s not. Assurance is not needed. That’s the thing. What it is a weapon for the left that will be used to go after people of faith. And this how it works. When you have an established national policy endorsed by Congress through the representatives, that carries a tremendous amount of weight for all sorts of other areas, especially when we’re talking about civil rights laws.

Severino: We had a case from the ’80s with respect to tax-exempt status for a violator of a civil rights law. They were deemed not to be a charity, and they lost their tax exempt status. And the Supreme Court said, because there’s an established national policy against that type of discrimination that you lose your tax-exempt status and there’s no recourse. That same tool will be deployed against people who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, which is very different than other types of beliefs that are protected by statutory anti-discrimination laws.

Severino: This is a view, again, that’s based on love of what is the best most conducive way for human flourishing in raising children and supporting the institution that has been proven most effective at that. And that is having the mother and father together in an enduring lifelong commitment so that they’re there for any children that their union conceives.

Cordero: All right. So, where does the legislation stand now? Are there Republicans who actually want to vote for this?

Severino: There were some Republicans that voted for it in the House. And it passed the House, which caught a lot of folks in the marriage movement a bit flatfooted. We have been fighting most recently over the definition of what is a man and what is a woman, with the transgender ideology in sports, in medicine, intimate facilities, et cetera. But the left was very crafty. They latched onto the pretext of what happened in the Dobbs decision to say that somehow same-sex marriage benefits are at risk when they are not, and pushed a vote on this bill to codify same-sex marriage in about 27 hours from Introduction to vote, which gave few … It was a sneak attack move and caught a lot of people by surprise. People did not think through the ramifications, and some people voted for who I think now regret it in the House.

Severino: In the Senate, there’s been some more time to actually present the arguments that nothing’s done on the ground, none of these benefits are at risk. What this is targeting people of faith and putting a big target on their backs. And now we’ve seen the tide shift. What they thought was going to be a quick walk through the Senate has been stymied. People have been asking hard questions. And if the Democrats in Congress thought that there was a way to get a majority vote for this bill, they would’ve very likely done it before the elections because this is really a political ploy, is what it is. They don’t have that, and that is very comforting for the marriage movement. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. There’s still the possibility of some action during the lame duck because the sponsors, Baldwin and Collins, have said they’re going to push for it after the election.

Severino: That’s a sign of weakness. If they could have moved it, they would’ve moved it before the election. There’s a risk that in lame duck, when people are heading out the door, they will violate some of their campaign promises. Many folks were elected on a platform supporting marriage, and they may be tempted on the way out to try to get in the good graces of the cocktail circuit and violate their promises. They should not do that. People should keep to the right policies.

Severino: The right policy here is that the last word from Congress, it should be left undisturbed. And Obergefell handles already the issues of benefits for same-sex couples which are not at risk. So Congress should not go out of its way to slap people of faith, and especially not when Congress is going out the door in a lame duck session.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for sitting down with me to break down this important issue. We’d love to have you back on, but hopefully Congress drops this and we don’t have to.

Severino: Hopefully they will.

Cordero: Thank you for listening. And as always, if you loved this episode or found it helpful, we would love you forever if you shared it with a friend or on social media. It’s the best way to grow our audience. Tim is up next week. We’ll see you then.

Heritage Explains is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation. It is produced by Michelle Corderoand Tim Doescher, with editing by John Popp.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

Made for Comedy Ricky Gervais has 50 year old plumber choose to identify as a 8 year old girl (Plus HUMANIST award taken away from Richard Dawkins)

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

—-

November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

—-

Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

__

Horace Barlow pictured below:

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I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “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.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th 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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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

______________________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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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)

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

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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 )

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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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Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident’ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage A CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE!!!!

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Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident‘ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage

Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks during a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee in November 2017.

(CNN)The bipartisan group working on legislation to codify same-sex marriage has the votes needed for the bill to pass and is urging leadership to put it on the floor for a vote as soon as possible, multiple sources told CNN.

The bipartisan group, which includes GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said in a statement Monday that they “look forward to this legislation coming to the floor.”

“Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality,” the senators said in the statement. “We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday took procedural steps related to the same-sex marriage bill, setting up the first test vote for Wednesday.

“I’m going to set up the first procedural vote on legislation that will codify marriage equality into law. Members should expect the first vote on Wednesday,” he said.

“No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love and passing this bill would secure much needed safeguards into federal law,” Schumer said.

In early September, Schumer vowed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in “the coming weeks.”

“The Senate will hold a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act in the coming weeks, so that no American is discriminated against because of whom they love,” he said, adding that he hopes enough GOP senators join Democrats in support of passage.

But the bill’s supporters said in September that more time was needed to negotiate the issue with Republicans — and sought to delay any vote in the Senate until after the November midterm elections, which Schumer agreed to.

The bill will need at least 10 GOP Senate votes to overcome a filibuster and advance the legislation toward final passage.

This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.

The New Gay Marriage Bill

Does America need a law to protect same sex marriage?

This week, Roger Severino, Heritage’s Vice President of Domestic Policy and The Anderlik Fellow, breaks down the so called “Respect for Marriage Act.”

Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I’m Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.

Cordero: This summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress introduced the Respect For Marriage Act.

Speaker 2: As abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers continue to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the House is voting on a bill to protect marriage equality, out of fear the conservative high court could revisit other landmark decisions.

Speaker 3: It simply says each state will recognize the other state’s marriages and not deny a person the right to marry based on race, gender, sexual orientation.

Cordero: The legislation passed the House with the support of 47 Republicans. It now moves to the Senate where it would need just 10 Republican votes to pass.

Cordero: Final passage would mean states are no longer allowed to define and recognize marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Instead, they would be forced to recognize any union between two individuals, regardless of sex, as marriage. So does our country need a law to protect same-sex marriage? Did the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson threaten same-sex marriage? What about the Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman? What would this bill mean for them?

Cordero: Today, Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president of domestic policy and The Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow, explains after this short break.

>>> Five days a week, two-episode formats, one mission, to deliver the news you care about and analysis on the biggest issues facing America. The Daily Signal Podcast brings you two episodes every day in the same podcast feed. Each morning, catch interviews with policy makers, leading experts and conservative activists as we discuss some of the greatest challenges facing our country and offer solutions for a brighter future. And every weekday at 5:00 PM we bring you the top news of the day. These are the headlines you care about. Subscribe to the Daily Signal Podcast wherever you get your podcast, so you never miss out on our morning interviews or evening news.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for joining us today.

Roger Severino: Thank you for having me.

Cordero: My first question is, does the country need a national law guaranteeing the right to gay marriage? Didn’t the Supreme Court already rule on this in Obergefell? And so what makes this different?

Severino: You’re right to point out that Obergefell is what’s governing today, and that’s not really going to be changing. I don’t see a scenario where the question presented there will be presented again anywhere in the near or intermediate future. So, what is left? Why is it that the liberals in Congress are pushing this to try to codify a version of same-sex marriage in federal law when all the rights and benefits that came from the Obergefell decision are required to be extended to same-sex couples? Nothing would change on the ground. So what’s left?

Severino: Well, to put salt on a wound and to target people of faith who disagree, there’s still a sizeable number of people in this country who believed the same thing that Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did just not so long ago, good number of years. But they believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. And those views deserve to be treated with respect. They come from honorable premises and they reflect the truth about marriage, which there has to be space for people to continue to express those beliefs, especially those of faith. And what this bill is designed to do is to tar such people as being unfit to be in polite society and out of the public square.

Cordero: Why is Congress taking this up now? Just to back up a little bit, what prompted this?

Severino: The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs dealt with abortion. And the abortion precedents are based on a foundation of sand, using substantive due process, which is a legal concept that’s not really found in the Constitution. Which liberal activist judges over the decades have used in all sorts of areas, including same-sex marriage, to invent new rights that are not actually in the Constitution.

Severino: So when Dobbs said abortion is one of these invented rights, we’re returning to the actual text of the Constitution, the majority went out of its way to say it was just limited to the question of abortion and human life. It’s a very unique circumstance. Justice Thomas, who’s an amazing jurist, wrote separately to say that we should reevaluate every case that was built on the invention of substantive due process, which included the same-sex marriage decision. Substantive due process is not the only source of rights under the Constitution, but it’s the one that’s been abused the most by the left. And it should be revisited.

Severino: That does not mean that there’s any vehicle that would come back and say, people who are currently in same-sex marriages, their benefits are at risk. That’s nonsense. So taking a very theoretical statement from one Justice on the court, the left has run with it to try to call some sort of alarmism about marriage and push this wedge issue for political purposes. Again, the practical effect if this becomes law, will have nothing to do with the benefits of same-sex couples. It’ll have everything to do with excluding people of faith from their tax-exempt statuses for houses of worship, from adoption agencies that believe that the best most conducive place for a child in placement would be with a married mother and father, and for those who contract or receive grants from the government who want to live according to the beliefs with respect to marriage. Those are the groups who are going to be targeted. And this law would actually create this bludgeon, which is a private right of action, which means individuals could sue on their own in federal court to hound these groups. And that’s really the object of this stunt.

Cordero: So to be clear, there’s no risk currently present that legally married same-sex couples could lose any of their benefits or legal status?

Severino: Absolutely. There’s no risk that they would lose any benefit. The federal government adopted and adapted to the Obergefell decision. All the state’s governments did. That’s now the status quo. That would not change by this law. And I see no case coming forward that would change that either. So this is really targeted at exclusion for political purposes.

Cordero: Yes. If the bill passes, it’s just an assurance to the left.

Severino: No, it’s not. Assurance is not needed. That’s the thing. What it is a weapon for the left that will be used to go after people of faith. And this how it works. When you have an established national policy endorsed by Congress through the representatives, that carries a tremendous amount of weight for all sorts of other areas, especially when we’re talking about civil rights laws.

Severino: We had a case from the ’80s with respect to tax-exempt status for a violator of a civil rights law. They were deemed not to be a charity, and they lost their tax exempt status. And the Supreme Court said, because there’s an established national policy against that type of discrimination that you lose your tax-exempt status and there’s no recourse. That same tool will be deployed against people who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, which is very different than other types of beliefs that are protected by statutory anti-discrimination laws.

Severino: This is a view, again, that’s based on love of what is the best most conducive way for human flourishing in raising children and supporting the institution that has been proven most effective at that. And that is having the mother and father together in an enduring lifelong commitment so that they’re there for any children that their union conceives.

Cordero: All right. So, where does the legislation stand now? Are there Republicans who actually want to vote for this?

Severino: There were some Republicans that voted for it in the House. And it passed the House, which caught a lot of folks in the marriage movement a bit flatfooted. We have been fighting most recently over the definition of what is a man and what is a woman, with the transgender ideology in sports, in medicine, intimate facilities, et cetera. But the left was very crafty. They latched onto the pretext of what happened in the Dobbs decision to say that somehow same-sex marriage benefits are at risk when they are not, and pushed a vote on this bill to codify same-sex marriage in about 27 hours from Introduction to vote, which gave few … It was a sneak attack move and caught a lot of people by surprise. People did not think through the ramifications, and some people voted for who I think now regret it in the House.

Severino: In the Senate, there’s been some more time to actually present the arguments that nothing’s done on the ground, none of these benefits are at risk. What this is targeting people of faith and putting a big target on their backs. And now we’ve seen the tide shift. What they thought was going to be a quick walk through the Senate has been stymied. People have been asking hard questions. And if the Democrats in Congress thought that there was a way to get a majority vote for this bill, they would’ve very likely done it before the elections because this is really a political ploy, is what it is. They don’t have that, and that is very comforting for the marriage movement. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. There’s still the possibility of some action during the lame duck because the sponsors, Baldwin and Collins, have said they’re going to push for it after the election.

Severino: That’s a sign of weakness. If they could have moved it, they would’ve moved it before the election. There’s a risk that in lame duck, when people are heading out the door, they will violate some of their campaign promises. Many folks were elected on a platform supporting marriage, and they may be tempted on the way out to try to get in the good graces of the cocktail circuit and violate their promises. They should not do that. People should keep to the right policies.

Severino: The right policy here is that the last word from Congress, it should be left undisturbed. And Obergefell handles already the issues of benefits for same-sex couples which are not at risk. So Congress should not go out of its way to slap people of faith, and especially not when Congress is going out the door in a lame duck session.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for sitting down with me to break down this important issue. We’d love to have you back on, but hopefully Congress drops this and we don’t have to.

Severino: Hopefully they will.

Cordero: Thank you for listening. And as always, if you loved this episode or found it helpful, we would love you forever if you shared it with a friend or on social media. It’s the best way to grow our audience. Tim is up next week. We’ll see you then.

Heritage Explains is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation. It is produced by Michelle Corderoand Tim Doescher, with editing by John Popp.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

Made for Comedy Ricky Gervais has 50 year old plumber choose to identify as a 8 year old girl (Plus HUMANIST award taken away from Richard Dawkins)

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
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The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

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Horace Barlow pictured below:

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I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “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.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th 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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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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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

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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)

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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)

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Dan Mitchell article The Hidden Cost of China’s Statism

The Hidden Cost of China’s Statism

I wrote many years ago that China did not have a “tiger economy.”

Indeed, I subsequently pointed out that China’s growth is not impressive when compared to East Asian nations that did enjoy rapid growth.

My goal was to convince people that the U.S. should not cite China to justify bad ideas such as industrial policy.

But there’s now evidence that I was understating my argument.

Check out this tweet about how the Chinese government has exaggerated the nation’s economic output.

The above tweet comes from a fascinating article in the Economist that analyzes how authoritarian governments can’t be trusted to report accurate economic data.

It turns out that China is one of the worst offenders.

Dictators are often seen as ruthless but effective. Official gdp figures support this view. Since 2002 average reported economic growth in autocracies has been twice as fast as in democracies. But…dictators’ economic stewardship may not be as effective as they claim. New research finds that autocrats greatly overstate their countries’ economic growth. …The data showed that dictators’ reported gdp tended to grow much faster than satellite images of their countries would suggest. …cumulative gdp growth between 2002 and 2021 in countries “not free” is nearly cut in half: from 147% to 76%. …In a related study Jeremy Wallace, a researcher, found misreporting by Chinese provinces, too. As he notes, a leaked American diplomatic cable from 2007 revealed the view of Li Keqiang, the prime minister, then a provincial party secretary. He had said, with a smile, that gdp figures were “for reference only”

Here’s a more detailed version of the above image.

The gray circle near the top right is what the Chinese government is telling the world. The red circle much lower on the graph shows the real performance of the Chinese economy based on satellite data.

This data is bad news for the Chinese people. And it’s an indictment of President Xi, who is pushing China in the wrong direction – toward more statismand more government control.

So I’m not surprised that the geese with the golden eggs are escaping.

But I continue to be amazed that some of the fools in Washington want to copy bad Chinese policy.

New Museum Bears Witness to Communism’s Horrors, Honors Its Victims

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Dan Mitchell: Based on Sunday’s election in Italy, the nation’s next Prime Minister almost certainly will be Giorgia Meloni, which has some worried that Italy is returning to the “far right” fascism of Benito Mussolini. From an economic perspective, though, it would be more accurate to say that Mussolini is “far left.”

Fascism, Socialism, and Mussolini

Based on Sunday’s election in Italy, the nation’s next Prime Minister almost certainly will be Giorgia Meloni, which has some worried that Italy is returning to the “far right” fascism of Benito Mussolini.

From an economic perspective, though, it would be more accurate to say that Mussolini is “far left.”

Or to say that he is a collectivist, which puts him in the same camp as socialists and communists.

In an article for the Independent Institute, Angelo Codevilla discussed how Mussolini began his career as a socialist activist, but ultimately was forced out of the party because of his nationalist views..

He was active in socialist circles, both Italian and international, giving speeches to workers and helping to organize strikes… He got to know Vladimir Lenin… Benito became a full-time socialist activist…as editor of its socialist newspaper. …he supported himself writing essays and editing a journal called Lotta di classe—class struggle…In 1911 the party entrusted the 28-year-old with editorship of its flagship publication, Avanti!. …He had become Italian socialism’s brightest star. …In…1914…he committed socialist heresy by writing that class struggle is a bad idea because the nation is more important than social class. He called his few scattered followers fasci, bundles, of individuals. …Hence he labeled the movement “Fasci Rivoluzionari d’Azione Internazionalista” and its members “Fascisti.” …the party expelled him.

In other words, Mussolini was part of the conflict between “national socialism” and “international socialism.”

Both versions of socialism favored big government, but they differed in how they viewed the nation state.

And this conflict, driven in part by the events of World War I, led Mussolini to develop fascism as a distinct strain of statism.

…continuing to call himself a socialist and propagandizing his evolving blend of nationalism and socialism…Mussolini shifted to building fascism into a party. …Hegel, following Napoleon, had made patriotic worship of the scientifically administered, progressive state the political essence of modernity. Mussolini’s vision of Italy followed from that. “The bureaucracy is the state,” he said. …Mussolini explained, …The state personifies the country, and disciplines its several elements to its service. “Soon, we will be the state.”

And he was right, at least in the sense that he and his fascists soon took over the government.

In the 1921 elections, Mussolini’s Fascists had gained only .04% of the vote. But chaos reigned in the streets because of socialist, Communist, and anarchist mobs, as well as because of the perhaps 40,000 fascist squadristi (the Blackshirts) who fought them. …Mussolini organized the descent of some 30,000 squadristi on Rome to demand he be named prime minister. …the king appointed Mussolini to head a government with almost no fascists. But…Mussolini gradually dispossessed the rest. …Fascist Italy was the first country in which the elected legislature gave up its essential powers to the executive…thus establishing the modern administrative state. …Socioeconomic organization was fascism’s defining feature. Only employers’ and employees’ organizations approved by the government were allowed. …No longer would corporations be responsible to owners.

Mussolini’s fascism was different than traditional socialism in that the goal was to have the government control the economy, but not to have government take over “the means of production.”

Both approaches were very hostile to free markets, of course.

I’ll close with some excerpts about Italian fascism and FDR’s failed New Deal.

After Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration in 1933, Mussolini’s enthusiasm for likening the New Deal to fascism’s political-economic order… he made clear that “the spirit of [FDR’s program] resembles fascism’s since, having recognized that the state is responsible for the people’s economic well-being, it no longer allows economic forces to run according to their own nature.” …Fascists rejoiced that FDR had forsaken liberal for corporativist principles… It could hardly have been otherwise since the essence of the National Industrial Recovery Act—the involuntary inclusion of all participants in categories of economic activity and their subjection to government-dictated prices, wages, and working conditions—was at least as detailed as those in fascism’s corporate law.

Since I’ve written about how the New Deal (and much of modern leftism) is based on fascist economics, I obviously agree.

But I’ve also explained that it’s better to refer to such policies as corporatist or interventionist since fascism nowadays also implies support for some of Hitler’s lunatic ideas about race and conquest.

P.S. The main message of today’s column is that it’s silly to label Mussolini (and his political heirs) as being on the far right. But it’s also true that Mussolini’s nationalist approach to statism is different than the ideas advocated by Marx (and his political heirs).

Dissecting and explaining these differences is why I think the left-right ideological spectrum should be replaced by this triangle.

By the way, the top of the triangle could say “Classical Liberalism,” but I used “Libertarian” so American readers would easily understand.

P.P.S. There’s a “Political Compass Test” that does a good job of determining one’s philosophical orientation, but it completely botches where Mussolini belongs.

New Museum Bears Witness to Communism’s Horrors, Honors Its Victims

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These Senators Defended Marriage in 2015. What’s Changed?

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

Made for Comedy Ricky Gervais has 50 year old plumber choose to identify as a 8 year old girl (Plus HUMANIST award taken away from Richard Dawkins)

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

—-

November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

—-

Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

__

Horace Barlow pictured below:

_____________

I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “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.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th 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)

_______________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

______________________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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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)

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

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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)

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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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BRAVO RICHARD DAWKINS!!!! Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

Made for Comedy Ricky Gervais has 50 year old plumber choose to identify as a 8 year old girl (Plus HUMANIST award taken away from Richard Dawkins)

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.—————