Tag Archives: Horace Barlow

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.

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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
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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Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Carl Sagan versus RC Sproul

At the end of this post is a message by RC Sproul in which he discusses Sagan. Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below: I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)jh68

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ This is a review I did a few years ago. THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASGhttp://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog______________________________________ I was really enjoyed this review of Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot.” Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. […]

Atheists confronted: How I confronted Carl Sagan the year before he died jh47

In today’s news you will read about Kirk Cameron taking on the atheist Stephen Hawking over some recent assertions he made concerning the existence of heaven. Back in December of 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan about a year before his untimely death. Sarah Anne Hughes in her article,”Kirk Cameron criticizes […]

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.——————

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
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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In today’s news you will read about Kirk Cameron taking on the atheist Stephen Hawking over some recent assertions he made concerning the existence of heaven. Back in December of 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan about a year before his untimely death. Sarah Anne Hughes in her article,”Kirk Cameron criticizes […]

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! (Pausing to look at the life of Colin Blakemore) Part 169RR

As a humanist Dr. Blakemore did not see humans as specially created by God and unique from animals. Take a look at this response below:
Colin Blakemore – How are Humans Unique?

Humanists UK patron Professor Richard Dawkins remembered Colin by saying:

‘I’m not in the same field of biology as Colin Blakemore but any biologist couldn’t help respecting him as a neuroscientist of immense distinction. He arrived in Oxford as something of a golden boy, Waynflete Professor in the footsteps of Sherrington at the remarkably young age of 35. At Oxford I knew him socially as a connoisseur of the arts, and as a generous host, together with his wife Andrée, who tragically died recently. He was my goto authority on visual physiology, always ready with friendly answers to my naïve questions. When he saw me after I suffered a mild stroke in 2016 he startled me by asking, without preamble but with a disarming smile and a forthright directness that I found endearing, ”How’s your brain?”

‘Helped by a sharp wit, and a boyish charm which never left him, he was a brilliant communicator of science, highly articulate but never intimidating as some fluent speakers can be. He was a man of strong principle, as was shown by his brave public support of Sir Tim Hunt when that Nobel laureate was traduced. It was in the same spirit of loyalty to decency and truth that Colin was a lifelong humanist and staunch supporter of Humanists UK.’

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

I am grieved to hear of the death of Colin Blakemore (1 June 1944 – 27 June 2022) who was a British neurobiologist, specialising in vision and the development of the brain, who is Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy in theSchool of Advanced Study, University of London and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. I knew him primarily as a spokesman for humanist ideas.

Sir Colin Blakemore, FRS, FMedSci, HonFRCP, HonFRSM, FRSB, FBPhS (1 June 1944 – 27 June 2022) was a British neurobiologist, specialising in vision and the development of the brain. He was Yeung Kin Man Professor of Neuroscience and Senior Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study, City University of Hong Kong. He was a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and a past Chief Executive of the British Medical Research Council (MRC).[4][5][6] He was best known to the public as a communicator of science but also as the target of a long-running animal rights campaign. According to The Observer, he was both “one of the most powerful scientists in the UK” and “a hate figure for the animal rights movement”.[7]

Colin Blakemore
Blakemore.jpg

Blakemore in 2012

In  the first video below in the 5th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Below is my response to Dr. Blakemore’s quote:

April 13, 2016

Professor Colin Blakemore, Institute of Philosophy, University of London,

Dear Professor Blakemore,

In the You Tube video “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1),” you asserted::

I believe that I am the sum total of all the causal influences on me at the moment and that is not a trivial issue. If it [weren’t] true we would have to abandon everything that we believe about the causal universe, about one event causing another, by all events having antecedent causes. And say that human beings are set aside from the rest of the physical world and yet we know we’re made up of the bits and stuff that the rest of the world is made up of. All the molecules in you were once upon a time were in a star somewhere and they’ve ended up in you by chance. So why not believe that we could also give an account of how those molecules working inside them produce their actions and produce this curious impression that we have of the sense of self and choice as if there’s this kind of helmsmen inside there really deciding absolutely what they’re going to do irrespective of what the world tells them.

You are a humanist and a proponent of determinism.    First, does your view of secular humanism and science have a way to come up with optimism and values while embracing the materialistic naturalistic view? Second, you are a defender of DETERMINISM in your statement above.

Let me start with your views on humanism.  I know that you are active in the  BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION. H. J. Blackham was the founder of the BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION and he asserted:

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

On John Ankerberg’s show in 1986 there was a debate between  Dr. Paul Kurtz, and Dr. Norman Geisler and when part of the above quote was read, Dr. Kurtz responded:

I think you may be quoting Blackham out of context because I’ve heard Blackham speak, and read much of what he said, but Blackham has argued continuously that life is full of meaning;

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Harold J. Blackham (1903-2009)

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984)

With that in mind I wanted to ask you what  does the BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION have to offer in the area of meaning and values? Francis Schaeffer two months before he died said if he was talking to a gentleman he was sitting next to on an airplane about Christ he wouldn’t start off quoting Bible verses. Schaeffer asserted:

I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a totally silent universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

According to the Humanist worldview Jacques Monod the universe is silent about values and therefore his good friend Woody Allendemonstrated this very fact so well in his 1989 movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. In other words, if we can’t get our values from the Bible then  the answer is MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!!!!

I CHALLENGE YOU TO TAKE 90 MINUTES AND WATCH THE MOVIE “CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS” AND THEN ANSWER THE QUESTION: “What reason is there that Judah should not have his mistress eliminated if there is no God and afterlife of judgment and rewards?”

King Solomon closed the Book of Ecclesiastes (Richard Dawkins’ favorite Book of the Bible) with these words, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with[d] every secret thing, whether good or evil.” With that in mind I have enclosed a short booklet called THIS WAS YOUR LIFE!

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

This quote at the beginning of this letter from you made me think of you when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters because of what Darwin said the phrase MAN MUST DO HIS DUTY. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

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

I am sure you will excuse my writing at length, when I tell you that I have long been much out of health, and am now staying away from my home for rest.It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…….Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment of the many able men who have fully believed in God; but here again I see how poor an argument this is. The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect;but man can do his duty.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

What he is saying is that at this point I have no answer. You find Darwin already in a modern hell. On his own position ruling out an answer but yet not being able to live without an answer.  What he (Darwin) is saying is that at this point I have no answer, but the interesting thing is he puts a semicolon after that and then says, “but man can do his duty.” Darwin understands, he is a brilliant man,  what he has said undercuts all duty and all morals. So he adds as a faith sentence, “but man can do his duty.” It doesn’t fit really, but he adds it because he sees that he must say this because otherwise what happens to man? You can switch on further down the road and Darwin would be appalled to see where his own position has been taken, through Freud and Deterministic psychology. Modern Man has a dilemma because the word “duty” doesn’t have a meaning anymore. (Determinism: The doctrine that human action is not free, but results from such causes as psychological and chemical makeup which render free-will an illusion.)

You will remember the thing I have quoted to you about Richard Speck and the psychologists who would stand in the evolutionary stream of Freud. Let me read to you from Newsweek September 25, 1967, a review of the book by Marvin Ziporyn BORN TO RAISE HELL interestingly enough printed by Groth Press, which is this psychologist’s analysis of Richard Speck in Chicago who killed these nurses in Chicago. It runs like this:

Ziporyn who lost his post at Chicago for publishing his work with Speck, diagnosed his patient as a man unable to control himself as a result of his own medical and emotional past. You weren’t any more responsible for what you did than a man is responsible for sneezing. he said to Speck at one point.  That is Zoporyn’s biggest problem which is convincing Speck there is no difference in a sneeze and eight murders. Ziporyn admits he is a strict determinist and he is an adherent to Freud’s dictum that biology is destiny. He advocates rehabilitation. Determinists strive to change or regulate conditions rather than men but to avoid such tragedies as Richard Speck the scope of change it requires staggers the imagination.

The bigger dilemma is that man disappears. Who is hurt? The eight nurses are hurt, including their pain, terror and their sexual violation and it becomes nothing, zero in this type of analysis. Society has a terrible problem because there is no right and wrong in society, and that will deal with Darwin’s words “but man can do his duty” because those who take Darwin’s theory and extend it have eradicated the possibility of the word “duty.” …Darwin I think senses this but he doesn’t know how to handle it.

In Chapter 7, “THE MAN WITHOUT THE BIBLE,” of the book DEATH IN THE CITY, Schaeffer writes concerning Richard Speck and “Determinism”: 

This view raises three serious questions. First of all, what about the nurses who were killed, some of them in a very violent fashion? These must then be written off. With this kind of explanation they become zero. Second, what about society? Society and the problems of ordering it also are written off. In such a situation, order in society is merely like a big machine dealing on a machine level with little machines. Third, what about Speck himself? The psychologist’s explanation does the most harm to him, for as a man he disappears. He simply becomes a flow of consciousness. He, too, becomes a zero.

In our generation there is a constant tendency to explain sin lightly and think that such an explanation is more humanitarian. But it is not. It decreases the importance and significance of man. Consequently, we can be glad for the sake of man that the Bible’s explanation is so emphatic.
Paul repeats it in verse 25: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature [that which has been created] rather than the Creator.” This is the second of the three repetitions.

Paul was thinking of the gods of silver and stone and also the worship of the universe or any part of it. He says men have made such gods rather than worshipping the living God. Even on the basis of what they know themselves to be, they should have known better. Isaiah said 700 years before, ‘Aren’t you silly to make gods that are less than yourself. You must carry them; they don’t carry you. Now isn’t it silly to make an integration point that is less than you yourself are.’ Paul used precisely the same argument on Mars Hill. Men who refuse to bow before God take the facts concerning the universe and man, push these facts through their own presuppositional grid, fail to carry their thinking to a reasonable conclusion, and so are faced with an overwhelming lie. Idols of stone are obvious lies because they are less than man, but so are non-Christian presuppositions such as the idea of the total uniformity of natural cause and effect in a closed system, the final explanation of the impersonal plus time plus chance, which ultimately makes man only a machine.

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Below is the larger biblical passage of scripture that Schaeffer was referring to in Chapter 7, “THE MAN WITHOUT THE BIBLE,” of the book DEATH IN THE CITY:

Romans 1:18-32New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Unbelief and Its Consequences

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 becausethat which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

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Why is determinism dangerous? Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? tells why it is dangerous:

Modern determinists have not presented only abstract theories.  Rather, there have been two practical results.  First, and most important, as their ideas about what people are have been increasingly accepted, people consciously or unconsciously have opened themselves to being treated as machines and treating other people as machines.  Second, each theory of determinism has carried with it a method of manipulation.  So even though many — even most — people may reject the concept that man is totally a product of psychological, sociological, or chemical conditioning, manipulation by these methods is still very much a live possibility.  In fact, these techniques are all at the disposal of of authoritation states, and they are in some degree already being used.

Paul Chopan has rightly noted:

Naturalism takes for granted the following tenets:

  • Nature is all there is.
  • All reality is comprised of or rooted in matter.
  • There is no supernatural—no Creator, no miracles, no souls,
    no angels, no life after death.
  • Science becomes the only (or best) means of knowledge.

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What is the answer to the problem of DETERMINISM? It is found in the Biblical view that the Bible is true and there was a place named THE GARDEN OF EDEN and the fact that God did create this world and it was not created by impersonal chance plus time. 

Francis A. Schaeffer on Human Free WillTHE GOD WHO IS THERE, (DOWNERS GROVE, IL: INTERVARSITY PRESS, 1968), P 131.

The historic Christian position is that man’s dilemma has a moral cause. God, being nondetermined, created man as a nondetermined person. This is a difficult idea for anyone thinking in twentieth-century terms because most twentieth-century thinking sees man as determined. He is determined either by chemical factors, as the Marquis de Sade held and Francis Crick is trying to prove, or by psychological factors, as Freud and others have suggested, or by sociological factors, such as B.F. Skinner holds. In these cases, or as a result of a fusion of them, man is considered to be programmed. If this is the case, then man is not the tremendous thing the Bible says he is, made in the image of God as a personality who can make a free first choice. Because God created a true universe outside of himself (or as an extension of his essence), there is a true history which exists, man as created in God’s image is therefore a significant man in a significant history, who can choose to obey the commandments of God and love him, or revolt against him.

THE CRUX OF THE ISSUE IS DID MAN HAVE A CHOICE AND IS MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CHOICES?

REMEMBER THAT GREAT PASSAGE FROM ROMANS CHAPTER ONE THAT I QUOTED EARLIER IN THIS LETTER AND DARWIN’S WORDS IN THE APRIL 2, 1873 LETTER TO  Doedes, N. D.?

Darwin noted, It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide……”

Franicis Schaeffer observed: 

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept… You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with, what I would call two things in the real world. The universe and it’s form and I usually quote Jean Paul Sartre here, and Sartre says the basic philosophic problem is that something is there rather than nothing is there and I then I add at the point the very thing that Darwin feels and that is it isn’t a bare universe that is out there, it is an universe in a specific form. I always bring in Einstein and the uniformity of the form of the universe and that it is constructed as a well formulated word puzzle or you have Carl Gustav Jung who says two things cut across a man’s will that he can not truly be autonomous, the external world and what Carl Gustav Jung would call his “collected unconsciousness.” It is the thing that churns up out of man, the mannishness of man. Darwin understood way back here this is a real problem. So he says “the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous  universe,” part one, the real world, the external universe, and part two “with our conscious selves arose through chance” and then he goes on and says this is not “an argument of real value.” 

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

________________________

Can you still look at God’s beautiful creation and say that it just appears to be the work of an intellect? If so then you like Darwin  can say, “I am like a man who has become colour-blind.”

_______________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jacques Monod (1910-1976), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1965)

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS was written and directed by Woody Allen

Judah has his mistress eliminated through his brother’s underworld connections

Anjelica Huston

Colin Blakemore pictured below:

Charles Darwin pictured below:

 :

Richard Speck

Ladies Richard Speck murdered below:

Kerry Livgren, author of the song DUST IN THE WIND seen below:

The group KANSAS BELOW:

_

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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

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

Continue reading

30 Years in Making, Museum Dedicated to Victims of Communism Opens in Washington

30 Years in Making, Museum Dedicated to Victims of Communism Opens in Washington

A new museum dedicated to the victims of communism worldwide was dedicated on Wednesday in Washington. Pictured: A Cambodian woman on Aug. 6, 2014, examines some of the thousands of skulls on display in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, of those killed during the 1970s “Killing Fields”-era by Pol Pot’s communist regime. (Photo: Omar Havana/Getty Images)

Remember these two numbers: 100 million and 1.5 billion.

Those were the two numbers emphasized at the dedication on Wednesday of the new Victims of Communism Museum in Washington, D.C., which I was privileged to attend along with my family.

An estimated 100 million is the number of human beings slaughtered, massacred, and killed by Marxist, communist regimes in the past 100 years, from the Soviet Union to Red China to Castro’s Cuba. And 1.5 billion is the number of people still suffering under oppressive, tyrannical communist regimes today.

The museum has been more than 30 years in the making, starting with an idea from Anne Edwards, the wife of Lee Edwards, the prolific author, historian, biographer, and scholar at The Heritage Foundation who was the driving force behind the creation of the museum.

Andrew Bremberg, president of the Victims of Communism Museum, speaks at its dedication on Wednesday. (Photo: Hans von Spakovsky/The Heritage Foundation)

Lee Edwards, the chairman emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, received the foundation’s annual Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom at the grand opening for all of the work he has done, not only to bring the museum to fruition, but to help the victims of communism all over the world. The man at the podium is Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president of the Victims of Communism Museum.

The attendees at the dedication were not the usual Washington crowd.  The museum was full of individuals and families who not only fought against those murderous regimes, but helped lead the opposition. It included Wang Dan and Jianli Yang, who were student leaders in Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the Chinese army brutally killed more than 2,000 peaceful protesters who wanted democracy and freedom in China.

A lone demonstrator stares down a column of tanks June 5, 1989, at the entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on the day after Chinese troops fired on pro-democracy students who had been protesting there since April 15. (Photo: CNN/Getty Images)

There are artifacts from that protest in the museum, including some of the handmade freedom flags of the students.

There were also families of the freedom fighters who staged the first revolt against the Soviet Union in 1956 in Hungary, when NATO and the Allies simply stood by, ignoring their pleas for help as Russian tanks crushed the rebellion and ruthlessly arrested and killed everyone involved.

As I watched a video of the fighting in the streets of Budapest that’s in the museum, all I could think about was what a difference it would have made if those Hungarian patriots had been equipped with Javelin missiles and had destroyed the Soviet tank armadas the way the Ukrainians are doing today.

My own father was a White Russian officer who fought the Bolsheviks in the Russian civil war.

In addition to remarks by Bremberg and Elizabeth Spalding, the president and a director, respectively, of the new museum, there were also speeches by Szabolcs Takacs, the Hungarian ambassador to the U.S., and professor Piotr Glinski, the deputy prime minister of Poland.

The presentations by the ambassador and the deputy prime minister were especially poignant, because they spoke from experience and know vividly and personally the evils of that vicious, deadly ideology. And that is exactly what communism is—an evil—as Glinski said repeatedly, contrary to the ignorant beliefs of the Marxist fools who inhabit too many of our academic institutions today.

Some of the most moving artifacts in the museum are a series of paintings that I first wrote aboutmore than a decade ago, and which finally have a home where they can be permanently displayed.

The Victims of Communism Museum is dedicated to the estimated 100 million people killed by the murderous ideology in the past century, as well as to the 1.5 billion others still living under its jackboot. (Photo: Hans von Spakovsky/The Heritage Foundation)

In 1953, a Ukrainian painter, Nikolai Getman, was released from the Soviet gulag, where he had spent eight years for being present at a meeting where someone had drawn a caricature of Josef Stalin.

The paintings were smuggled out of Russia in 1997 because Getman was afraid the post-Soviet Russian government would destroy them to hide a past it pretends never existed.

The paintings are haunting. They are the only visual counterpart to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writings, which exposed this terrible system of mass imprisonment that Robert Conquest has rightly called “unexampled coldblooded inhumanity.”

The only difference between the Holocaust and the gulag is that the Soviet communists never got around to using gas to kill their prisoners—just old-fashioned bullets, beatings, starvation, and literally working them to death.

Getman’s stark paintings cover everything from the transportation of prisoners to the camps in unheated trucks and ships to the horrible and almost unspeakable living conditions in the gulag.

We see the routine brutality with which prisoners were treated. The fragile existence they led is captured in Getman’s paintings, which represent an enormous accomplishment, considering that all of the scenes were painted from memory.

One painting shows the despairing faces of a group of men taken from their barracks in the middle of the night and executed by the NKVD (the forerunner of the KGB), the secret police organization that ran the entire gulag system.

These kinds of executions occurred constantly and for no apparent reason. All of the prisoners knew that if you were taken out of your barracks in the middle of the night, you never came back.

And that’s happening today in places such as China, where the communist government has set up a gulag-type concentration camp system for the Uyghurs. There are millions of current victims being repressed, tortured, and killed in a country that big American companies, such as Nike and Apple, routinely do business in with no concern.

Raising money for the museum has been a long, hard task.  Yet countries like Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia all contributed money to help establish this very important museum. And as I noted, there were speakers at the dedication ceremony from some of those countries.

Who was absent, and who hasn’t contributed a single cent? The U.S. government and the current administration. Representatives of the country that has been the leader of the free world, which led the fight against communist dictatorships starting with the hot war in Korea and during the 40 years of the Cold War, were nowhere to be seen on Wednesday.

The Victims of Communism Museum has long been needed. And every student in every college and university who thinks Marxism, communism, and socialism (which is just communism under another name) is a wonderful idea should pay a visit to this museum to understand what that evil ideology has imposed on the world.

So, remember: 100 million and 1.5 billion. We not only have a lot to remember; we still have a lot to do to bring the flame of liberty to the enslaved people of the world.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

__

Today I am not going to attack this quote above from Russell. I have done that enough in the past. Today I am going to look at Russell’s notes on communism and also examine his personal meeting with Lenin. Lenin just laughed when Lenin said that it was the plan for the poor peasants to hang the peasants that were a little better well off. This comment caught Russell off guard. Russell had already noted that Lenin was a “great man.” However, this embracing of violence caught Russell by surprise.

Then I will look at an examination of communism by Francis Schaeffer who will tell us why Communism ALWAYS fails to give the freedoms that it says it will and why so many young people are caught up in its idealistic promises.

“Why I am Not a Communist”
by Betrand Russell

“I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.”

      I n relation to any political doctrine there are two questions to be asked: (1) Are its theoretical tenets true? (2) Is its practical policy likely to increase human happiness? For my part, I think the theoretical tenets of Communism are false, and I think its practical maxims are such as to produce an immeasurable increase of human misery.

      The theoretical doctrines of Communism are for the most part derived from Marx. My objections to Marx are of two sorts: one, that he was muddle-headed; and the other, that his thinking was almost entirely inspired by hatred. The doctrine of surplus value, which is supposed to demonstrate the exploitation of wage-earners under capitalism, is arrived at: (a) by surreptitiously accepting Malthus’s doctrine of population, which Marx and all his disciples explicitly repudiate; (b) by applying Ricardo’s theory of value to wages, but not to the prices of manufactured articles. He is entirely satisfied with the result, not because it is in accordance with the facts or because it is logically coherent, but because it is calculated to rouse fury in wage-earners. Marx’s doctrine that all historical events have been motivated by class conflicts is a rash and untrue extension to world history of certain features prominent in England and France a hundred years ago. His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology. His theoretical errors, however, would not have mattered so much but for the fact that, like Tertullian and Carlyle, his chief desire was to see his enemies punished, and he cared little what happened to his friends in the process.

      Marx’s doctrine was bad enough, but the developments which it underwent under Lenin and Stalin made it much worse. Marx had taught that there would be a revolutionary transitional period following the victory of the proletariat in a civil war and that during this period the proletariat, in accordance with the usual practice after a civil war, would deprive its vanquished enemies of political power. This period was to be that of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It should not be forgotten that in Marx’s prophetic vision the victory of the proletariat was to come after it had grown to be the vast majority of the population. The dictatorship of the proletariat therefore as conceived by Marx was not essentially anti-democratic. In the Russia of 1917, however, the proletariat was a small percentage of the population, the great majority being peasants. it was decreed that the Bolshevik party was the class-conscious part of the proletariat, and that a small committee of its leaders was the class-conscious part of the Bolshevik party. The dictatorship of the proletariat thus came to be the dictatorship of a small committee, and ultimately of one man – Stalin. As the sole class-conscious proletarian, Stalin condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation and millions of others to forced labour in concentration camps. He even went so far as to decree that the laws of heredity are henceforth to be different from what they used to be, and that the germ-plasm is to obey Soviet decrees but that that reactionary priest Mendel. I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.

      I have always disagreed with Marx. My first hostile criticism of him was published in 1896. But my objections to modern Communism go deeper than my objections to Marx. It is the abandonment of democracy that I find particularly disastrous. A minority resting its powers upon the activities of secret police is bound to be cruel, oppressive and obscuarantist. The dangers of the irresponsible power cane to be generally recognized during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but those who have forgotten all that was painfully learnt during the days of absolute monarchy, and have gone back to what was worst in the middle ages under the curious delusion that they were in the vanguard of progress.

      There are signs that in course of time the Russian régime will become more liberal. But, although this is possible, it is very far from certain. In the meantime, all those who value not only art and science but a sufficiency of bread and freedom from the fear that a careless word by their children to a schoolteacher may condemn them to forced labour in a Siberian wilderness, must do what lies in their power to preserve in their own countries a less servile and more prosperous manner of life.

      There are those who, oppressed by the evils of Communism, are led to the conclusion that the only effective way to combat these evils is by means of a world war. I think this a mistake. At one time such a policy might have been possible, but now war has become so terrible and Communism has become so powerful that no one can tell what would be left after a world war, and whatever might be left would probably be at least as bad as present -day Communism. This forecast does not depend upon the inevitable effects of mass destruction by means of hydrogen and cobalt bombs and perhaps of ingeniously propagated plagues. The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. In most of the countries of Asia, there is abject poverty which the West ought to alleviate as far as it lies in its power to do so. There is also a great bitterness which was caused by the centuries of European insolent domination in Asia. This ought to be dealt with by a combination of patient tact with dramatic announcements renouncing such relics of white domination as survive in Asia. Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred.

from Portraits from Memory published in 1956

http://skepticva.org/excerpt-Lenin.html

Bertrand Russell on Lenin

excerpted from
LENIN, TROTSKY AND GORKY

itself an excerpt from
“The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism” By Bertrand Russell.

Webmaster’s note

The last paragraph (especially) shows that Russell’s atheism has nothing in common with Marxist-Leninism. It refutes the idea that the USSR is a lesson against the rejection of religion, because it had exactly the faults that mar any dogmatic belief.

Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour’s conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well. An interpreter was present, but his services were scarcely required. Lenin’s room is very bare; it contains a big desk, some maps on the walls, two book-cases, and one comfortable chair for visitors in addition to two or three hard chairs. It is obvious that he has no love of luxury or even comfort. He is very friendly, and apparently simple, entirely without a trace of hauteur.

If one met him without knowing who he was, one would not guess that he is possessed of great power or even that he is in any way eminent. I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of self-seeking, an embodied theory.

The MATERIALIST conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding, I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat.

When I suggested that whatever is possible in England can be achieved without bloodshed, he waved aside the suggestion as fantastic. I got little impression of knowledge or psychological imagination as regards Great Britain. Indeed the whole tendency of Marxianism is against psychological imagination, since it attributes everything in politics to purely  MATERIAL causes.

I asked him next whether he thought it possible to establish Communism firmly and fully in a country containing such a large majority of peasants. He admitted that it was difficult, and laughed over the exchange the peasant is compelled to make, of food for paper; the worthlessness of Russian paper struck him as comic. But he said—what is no doubt true—that things will right themselves when there are goods to offer to the peasant. For this he looks partly to electrification in industry, which, he says, is a technical necessity in Russia, but will take ten years to complete. He spoke with enthusiasm, as they all do, of the great scheme for generating electrical power by means of peat. Of course he looks to the raising of the blockade as the only radical cure; but he was not very hopeful of this being achieved thoroughly or permanently except through revolutions in other countries. Peace between Bolshevik Russia and capitalist countries, he said, must always be insecure; the Entente might be led by weariness and mutual dissensions to conclude peace, but he felt convinced that the peace would be of brief duration. I found in him, as in almost all leading Communists, much less eagerness than existed in our delegation for peace and the raising of the blockade. He believes that nothing of real value can be achieved except through world revolution and the abolition of capitalism; I felt that he regarded the resumption of trade with capitalist countries as a mere palliative of doubtful value.

He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the Government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing. He spoke as though the dictatorship over the peasant would have to continue a long time, because of the peasant’s desire for free trade. He said he knew from statistics (what I can well believe) that the peasants have had more to eat these last two years than they ever had before, “and yet they are against us,” he added a little wistfully. I asked him what to reply to critics who say that in the country he has merely created peasant proprietorship, not Communism; he replied that that is not quite the truth, but he did not say what the truth is.

The last question I asked him was whether resumption of trade with capitalist countries, if it took place, would not create centres of capitalist influence, and make the preservation of Communism more difficult? It had seemed to me that the more ardent Communists might well dread commercial intercourse with the outer world, as leading to an infiltration of heresy, and making the rigidity of the present system almost impossible. I wished to know whether he had such a feeling. He admitted that trade would create difficulties, but said they would be less than those of the war. He said that two years ago neither he nor his colleagues thought they could survive against the hostility of the world. He attributes their survival to the jealousies and divergent interests of the different capitalist nations; also to the power of Bolshevik propaganda. He said the Germans had laughed when the Bolsheviks proposed to combat guns with leaflets, but that the event had proved the leaflets quite as powerful. I do not think he recognizes that the Labour and Socialist parties have had any part in the matter. He does not seem to know that the attitude of British Labour has done a great deal to make a first-class war against Russia impossible, since it has confined the Government to what could be done in a hole-and-corner way, and denied without a too blatant mendacity.

I think if I had met him without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel, which takes the place of the Christian martyr’s hopes of Paradise, except that it is less egotistical. He has as little love of liberty as the Christians who suffered under Diocletian, and retaliated when they acquired power. Perhaps love of liberty is incompatible with whole-hearted belief in a panacea for all human ills. If so, I cannot but rejoice in the sceptical temper of the Western world.

I went to Russia a Communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not as to Communism in itself, but as to the wisdom of holding a creed so firmly that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.

Almanac: Bertrand Russell on Lenin’s sense of humor

INK BOTTLE“When I met Lenin, I had much less impression of a great man than I had expected; my most vivid impressions were of Mongolian cruelty and bigotry. When I put a question to him about socialism in agriculture, he explained with glee how he had incited the poorer peasants against the richer ones, ‘and they soon hanged them from the nearest tree—ha! ha! ha!’ His guffaw at the thought of those massacred made my blood run cold.”

Bertrand Russell, “Eminent Men I Have Known” (courtesy of Richard Brookhiser)

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Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. “True Communism has never been tried” is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.
Tony Bartolucci noted that Schaeffer has correctly pointed out:
Hope in Marxism-Leninism is a leap in the area of nonreason. From the Russian Revolution until 1959 a total of 66 million prisoners died. This was deemed acceptable to the leaders because internal security was to be gained at any cost. The ends justified the means. The materialism of Marxism gives no basis for human dignity or rights. These hold to their philosophy against all reason and close their eyes to the oppression of the system.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

WHY DOES THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM CATCH THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY IDEALISTIC YOUNG PEOPLE? The reason is very simple. 

In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc but these terms are just borrowed from the New Testament. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer notes:

At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. At first it was politically neither left nor right, but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. Then soon the Free Speech Movement became the Dirty Speech Movement, in which freedom was seen as shouting four-letter words into a mike.  Soon after, it became the platform for the political New Left which followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist teaching of the “Frankfurt School,” along with...Jurgen Habermas (1929-). 

Herbert Marcuse, “Liberation from the Affluent Society” (1967)

Brannon Howse talks some about the Frankfurt School in some of his publications too. 

During the 1960’s many young people were turning to the New Left fueled by Marcuse and Habermas but something happened to slow many young people’s enthusiasm for that movement.

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

Francis Schaeffer mentioned the 1970 bombing in his film series “How should we then live?” and I wanted to give some more history on it. Schaeffer asserted:

In the United States the New Left also slowly ground down,losing favor because of the excesses of the bombings, especially in the bombing of the University of Wisconsin lab in 1970, where a graduate student was killed. This was not the last bomb that was or will be planted in the United States. Hard-core groups of radicals still remain and are active, and could become more active, but the violence which the New Left produced as its natural heritage (as it also had in Europe) caused the majority of young people in the United States no longer to see it as a hope. So some young people began in 1964 to challenge the false values of personal peace and affluence, and we must admire them for this. Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values.  In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had comes to stand supreme. And now, for the majority of the young people, after the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.

After the turmoil of the sixties, many people thought that it was so much the better when the universities quieted down in the early seventies. I could have wept. The young people had been right in their analysis, though wrong in their solutions. How much worse when many gave up hope and simply accepted the same values as their parents–personal peace and affluence. (How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210

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Sunday, August 28th, 2011, 11:11pm

Aug. 24 marked the 41st anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Four men planned the bomb at the height of the student protests over the Vietnam War. Back then, current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was one of the leaders of those student protests in the capitol city. This weekend, Soglin recalled the unrest felt by UW-Madison students.

“The anti-war movement adopted a lot of its tactics and strategies from the civil rights movement which was about ten years older,” said Soglin. “It was one of picketing, demonstration, and passive resistance.”

The four men who planned the bombing focused on the Army Mathematics Research Center housed in Sterling Hall because it was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and therefore, worked on weapons technology. Karl Armstrong was one of the four men and he recently spoke with CBS News in his first television interview detailing the moments right before the bomb was set off.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Should we go ahead? Are we gonna do this?’ I think I made a comment to him about something like, ‘Now, I know what war is about,'” remembered Armstrong. “And I told him to light it.”

The bomb killed one researcher and father of three, 33-year-old Robert Fassnacht, although Armstrong maintains they planned the attack thinking no one would get hurt. The four men heard about the death as they were in their getaway car after the bomb went off.

“I felt good about doing the bombing, the bombing per se, but not taking someone’s life,” recalled Armstrong.

The researcher’s wife told CBS News that she harbors no ill will toward Armstrong and the other bombers. Three of the four men were captured and served time in prison. Armstrong served eight years of a 23-year sentence.

The fourth man, Leo Burt, was last seen in the fall of 1970 in Ontario and is to this day, still wanted by the FBI, with a $150,000 reward for his capture.

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Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

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Today I am not going to attack this quote above from Russell. I have done that enough in the past. Today I am going to look at Russell’s notes on communism and also examine his personal meeting with Lenin. Lenin just laughed when Lenin said that it was the plan for the poor peasants to hang the peasants that were a little better well off. This comment caught Russell off guard. Russell had already noted that Lenin was a “great man.” However, this embracing of violence caught Russell by surprise.

Then I will look at an examination of communism by Francis Schaeffer who will tell us why Communism ALWAYS fails to give the freedoms that it says it will and why so many young people are caught up in its idealistic promises.

“Why I am Not a Communist”
by Betrand Russell

“I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.”

      I n relation to any political doctrine there are two questions to be asked: (1) Are its theoretical tenets true? (2) Is its practical policy likely to increase human happiness? For my part, I think the theoretical tenets of Communism are false, and I think its practical maxims are such as to produce an immeasurable increase of human misery.

      The theoretical doctrines of Communism are for the most part derived from Marx. My objections to Marx are of two sorts: one, that he was muddle-headed; and the other, that his thinking was almost entirely inspired by hatred. The doctrine of surplus value, which is supposed to demonstrate the exploitation of wage-earners under capitalism, is arrived at: (a) by surreptitiously accepting Malthus’s doctrine of population, which Marx and all his disciples explicitly repudiate; (b) by applying Ricardo’s theory of value to wages, but not to the prices of manufactured articles. He is entirely satisfied with the result, not because it is in accordance with the facts or because it is logically coherent, but because it is calculated to rouse fury in wage-earners. Marx’s doctrine that all historical events have been motivated by class conflicts is a rash and untrue extension to world history of certain features prominent in England and France a hundred years ago. His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology. His theoretical errors, however, would not have mattered so much but for the fact that, like Tertullian and Carlyle, his chief desire was to see his enemies punished, and he cared little what happened to his friends in the process.

      Marx’s doctrine was bad enough, but the developments which it underwent under Lenin and Stalin made it much worse. Marx had taught that there would be a revolutionary transitional period following the victory of the proletariat in a civil war and that during this period the proletariat, in accordance with the usual practice after a civil war, would deprive its vanquished enemies of political power. This period was to be that of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It should not be forgotten that in Marx’s prophetic vision the victory of the proletariat was to come after it had grown to be the vast majority of the population. The dictatorship of the proletariat therefore as conceived by Marx was not essentially anti-democratic. In the Russia of 1917, however, the proletariat was a small percentage of the population, the great majority being peasants. it was decreed that the Bolshevik party was the class-conscious part of the proletariat, and that a small committee of its leaders was the class-conscious part of the Bolshevik party. The dictatorship of the proletariat thus came to be the dictatorship of a small committee, and ultimately of one man – Stalin. As the sole class-conscious proletarian, Stalin condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation and millions of others to forced labour in concentration camps. He even went so far as to decree that the laws of heredity are henceforth to be different from what they used to be, and that the germ-plasm is to obey Soviet decrees but that that reactionary priest Mendel. I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.

      I have always disagreed with Marx. My first hostile criticism of him was published in 1896. But my objections to modern Communism go deeper than my objections to Marx. It is the abandonment of democracy that I find particularly disastrous. A minority resting its powers upon the activities of secret police is bound to be cruel, oppressive and obscuarantist. The dangers of the irresponsible power cane to be generally recognized during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but those who have forgotten all that was painfully learnt during the days of absolute monarchy, and have gone back to what was worst in the middle ages under the curious delusion that they were in the vanguard of progress.

      There are signs that in course of time the Russian régime will become more liberal. But, although this is possible, it is very far from certain. In the meantime, all those who value not only art and science but a sufficiency of bread and freedom from the fear that a careless word by their children to a schoolteacher may condemn them to forced labour in a Siberian wilderness, must do what lies in their power to preserve in their own countries a less servile and more prosperous manner of life.

      There are those who, oppressed by the evils of Communism, are led to the conclusion that the only effective way to combat these evils is by means of a world war. I think this a mistake. At one time such a policy might have been possible, but now war has become so terrible and Communism has become so powerful that no one can tell what would be left after a world war, and whatever might be left would probably be at least as bad as present -day Communism. This forecast does not depend upon the inevitable effects of mass destruction by means of hydrogen and cobalt bombs and perhaps of ingeniously propagated plagues. The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. In most of the countries of Asia, there is abject poverty which the West ought to alleviate as far as it lies in its power to do so. There is also a great bitterness which was caused by the centuries of European insolent domination in Asia. This ought to be dealt with by a combination of patient tact with dramatic announcements renouncing such relics of white domination as survive in Asia. Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred.

from Portraits from Memory published in 1956

http://skepticva.org/excerpt-Lenin.html

Bertrand Russell on Lenin

excerpted from
LENIN, TROTSKY AND GORKY

itself an excerpt from
“The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism” By Bertrand Russell.

Webmaster’s note

The last paragraph (especially) shows that Russell’s atheism has nothing in common with Marxist-Leninism. It refutes the idea that the USSR is a lesson against the rejection of religion, because it had exactly the faults that mar any dogmatic belief.

Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour’s conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well. An interpreter was present, but his services were scarcely required. Lenin’s room is very bare; it contains a big desk, some maps on the walls, two book-cases, and one comfortable chair for visitors in addition to two or three hard chairs. It is obvious that he has no love of luxury or even comfort. He is very friendly, and apparently simple, entirely without a trace of hauteur.

If one met him without knowing who he was, one would not guess that he is possessed of great power or even that he is in any way eminent. I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of self-seeking, an embodied theory.

The MATERIALIST conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding, I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat.

When I suggested that whatever is possible in England can be achieved without bloodshed, he waved aside the suggestion as fantastic. I got little impression of knowledge or psychological imagination as regards Great Britain. Indeed the whole tendency of Marxianism is against psychological imagination, since it attributes everything in politics to purely  MATERIAL causes.

I asked him next whether he thought it possible to establish Communism firmly and fully in a country containing such a large majority of peasants. He admitted that it was difficult, and laughed over the exchange the peasant is compelled to make, of food for paper; the worthlessness of Russian paper struck him as comic. But he said—what is no doubt true—that things will right themselves when there are goods to offer to the peasant. For this he looks partly to electrification in industry, which, he says, is a technical necessity in Russia, but will take ten years to complete. He spoke with enthusiasm, as they all do, of the great scheme for generating electrical power by means of peat. Of course he looks to the raising of the blockade as the only radical cure; but he was not very hopeful of this being achieved thoroughly or permanently except through revolutions in other countries. Peace between Bolshevik Russia and capitalist countries, he said, must always be insecure; the Entente might be led by weariness and mutual dissensions to conclude peace, but he felt convinced that the peace would be of brief duration. I found in him, as in almost all leading Communists, much less eagerness than existed in our delegation for peace and the raising of the blockade. He believes that nothing of real value can be achieved except through world revolution and the abolition of capitalism; I felt that he regarded the resumption of trade with capitalist countries as a mere palliative of doubtful value.

He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the Government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing. He spoke as though the dictatorship over the peasant would have to continue a long time, because of the peasant’s desire for free trade. He said he knew from statistics (what I can well believe) that the peasants have had more to eat these last two years than they ever had before, “and yet they are against us,” he added a little wistfully. I asked him what to reply to critics who say that in the country he has merely created peasant proprietorship, not Communism; he replied that that is not quite the truth, but he did not say what the truth is.

 

The last question I asked him was whether resumption of trade with capitalist countries, if it took place, would not create centres of capitalist influence, and make the preservation of Communism more difficult? It had seemed to me that the more ardent Communists might well dread commercial intercourse with the outer world, as leading to an infiltration of heresy, and making the rigidity of the present system almost impossible. I wished to know whether he had such a feeling. He admitted that trade would create difficulties, but said they would be less than those of the war. He said that two years ago neither he nor his colleagues thought they could survive against the hostility of the world. He attributes their survival to the jealousies and divergent interests of the different capitalist nations; also to the power of Bolshevik propaganda. He said the Germans had laughed when the Bolsheviks proposed to combat guns with leaflets, but that the event had proved the leaflets quite as powerful. I do not think he recognizes that the Labour and Socialist parties have had any part in the matter. He does not seem to know that the attitude of British Labour has done a great deal to make a first-class war against Russia impossible, since it has confined the Government to what could be done in a hole-and-corner way, and denied without a too blatant mendacity.

I think if I had met him without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel, which takes the place of the Christian martyr’s hopes of Paradise, except that it is less egotistical. He has as little love of liberty as the Christians who suffered under Diocletian, and retaliated when they acquired power. Perhaps love of liberty is incompatible with whole-hearted belief in a panacea for all human ills. If so, I cannot but rejoice in the sceptical temper of the Western world.

I went to Russia a Communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not as to Communism in itself, but as to the wisdom of holding a creed so firmly that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.

Almanac: Bertrand Russell on Lenin’s sense of humor

INK BOTTLE“When I met Lenin, I had much less impression of a great man than I had expected; my most vivid impressions were of Mongolian cruelty and bigotry. When I put a question to him about socialism in agriculture, he explained with glee how he had incited the poorer peasants against the richer ones, ‘and they soon hanged them from the nearest tree—ha! ha! ha!’ His guffaw at the thought of those massacred made my blood run cold.”

Bertrand Russell, “Eminent Men I Have Known” (courtesy of Richard Brookhiser)

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Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. “True Communism has never been tried” is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.
Tony Bartolucci noted that Schaeffer has correctly pointed out:
Hope in Marxism-Leninism is a leap in the area of nonreason. From the Russian Revolution until 1959 a total of 66 million prisoners died. This was deemed acceptable to the leaders because internal security was to be gained at any cost. The ends justified the means. The materialism of Marxism gives no basis for human dignity or rights. These hold to their philosophy against all reason and close their eyes to the oppression of the system.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

WHY DOES THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM CATCH THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY IDEALISTIC YOUNG PEOPLE? The reason is very simple. 

In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc but these terms are just borrowed from the New Testament. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer notes:

At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. At first it was politically neither left nor right, but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. Then soon the Free Speech Movement became the Dirty Speech Movement, in which freedom was seen as shouting four-letter words into a mike.  Soon after, it became the platform for the political New Left which followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist teaching of the “Frankfurt School,” along with...Jurgen Habermas (1929-). 

Herbert Marcuse, “Liberation from the Affluent Society” (1967)

Brannon Howse talks some about the Frankfurt School in some of his publications too. 

During the 1960’s many young people were turning to the New Left fueled by Marcuse and Habermas but something happened to slow many young people’s enthusiasm for that movement.

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

Francis Schaeffer mentioned the 1970 bombing in his film series “How should we then live?” and I wanted to give some more history on it. Schaeffer asserted:

In the United States the New Left also slowly ground down,losing favor because of the excesses of the bombings, especially in the bombing of the University of Wisconsin lab in 1970, where a graduate student was killed. This was not the last bomb that was or will be planted in the United States. Hard-core groups of radicals still remain and are active, and could become more active, but the violence which the New Left produced as its natural heritage (as it also had in Europe) caused the majority of young people in the United States no longer to see it as a hope. So some young people began in 1964 to challenge the false values of personal peace and affluence, and we must admire them for this. Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values.  In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had comes to stand supreme. And now, for the majority of the young people, after the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.

After the turmoil of the sixties, many people thought that it was so much the better when the universities quieted down in the early seventies. I could have wept. The young people had been right in their analysis, though wrong in their solutions. How much worse when many gave up hope and simply accepted the same values as their parents–personal peace and affluence. (How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210

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Sunday, August 28th, 2011, 11:11pm

Aug. 24 marked the 41st anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Four men planned the bomb at the height of the student protests over the Vietnam War. Back then, current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was one of the leaders of those student protests in the capitol city. This weekend, Soglin recalled the unrest felt by UW-Madison students.

“The anti-war movement adopted a lot of its tactics and strategies from the civil rights movement which was about ten years older,” said Soglin. “It was one of picketing, demonstration, and passive resistance.”

The four men who planned the bombing focused on the Army Mathematics Research Center housed in Sterling Hall because it was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and therefore, worked on weapons technology. Karl Armstrong was one of the four men and he recently spoke with CBS News in his first television interview detailing the moments right before the bomb was set off.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Should we go ahead? Are we gonna do this?’ I think I made a comment to him about something like, ‘Now, I know what war is about,'” remembered Armstrong. “And I told him to light it.”

The bomb killed one researcher and father of three, 33-year-old Robert Fassnacht, although Armstrong maintains they planned the attack thinking no one would get hurt. The four men heard about the death as they were in their getaway car after the bomb went off.

“I felt good about doing the bombing, the bombing per se, but not taking someone’s life,” recalled Armstrong.

The researcher’s wife told CBS News that she harbors no ill will toward Armstrong and the other bombers. Three of the four men were captured and served time in prison. Armstrong served eight years of a 23-year sentence.

The fourth man, Leo Burt, was last seen in the fall of 1970 in Ontario and is to this day, still wanted by the FBI, with a $150,000 reward for his capture.

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

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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
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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In today’s news you will read about Kirk Cameron taking on the atheist Stephen Hawking over some recent assertions he made concerning the existence of heaven. Back in December of 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan about a year before his untimely death. Sarah Anne Hughes in her article,”Kirk Cameron criticizes […]

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I took Dr. E.O. Wilson’s advice and read his book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE which I consider my favorite especially because the meaning of life and the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES has always been my favorite subject matter to study! (Dr. Wilson will be missed!)

photo by Tad Fettig ⓒ

Dr. Steven Pinker said of the late  E.O.Wilson today:

Sad indeed. A great scientist and a lovely man (I’m still grateful for a letter of encouragement he wrote to me early in my career, before we were colleagues). We disagreed about some things, but it didn’t affect his generosity and willingness to engage.

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I was introduced to the works of Edward O. Wilson in the 1970’s because Francis Schaeffer quoted him several times. That led me to read many of his books and I started to correspond with him in 2014 and I received my last email from him in 2018.

I took Dr. Wilson’s advice and read his book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE which I consider my favorite especially because the meaning of life and the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES has always been my favorite subject matter to study.

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Professor and Curator of Entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University Edward O Wilson

Image result for museum harvard Edward O. wilson Museum of Comparative Zoology

Passing out CD’s at Harvard on 8-27-17! (Below is the statue of John Harvard near where the student tours began)

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I had the unique opportunity to spend a large portion of 8-27-17 visiting the Harvard campus. I was glad to get the opportunity to actually tag along with several tours of the campus conducted by current students for the parents of incoming freshmen and their children. This led to opportunities to pass out CD’s and this paperwork you see below concerning my past correspondence with famous atheists (many of them Harvard professors of the past and present).

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George Wald Nobel Prize Winner from HARVARD

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald of HARVARD  was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on EVOLUTION.  Both men listened to the messages then wrote me back twice each.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured above.

I think that Antony Flew may have pondered this quote from George Wald of HARVARD which was in Adrian Rogers’ sermon BECAUSE Flew referred to this SAME quote in his last book!!!!

Dr. George Wald of HARVARD:

“When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility…Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossiblespontaneous generationarising to evolution.” – Scientific American, August, 1954.

Adrian Rogers said the lack of an  answer for the  origin of life was a big reason Rogers rejected evolution.  Rogers noted, “Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.”

I actually had the chance to correspond with George Wald twice before his death. He wrote me two letters and in the first one he suggested that he was just using hyperbole when he made the assertion that is quoted by Dr. Rogers. He also suggested the religion of Buddhism although he said he was not a Buddhist himself, but he thought that would be closest to the truth which he thought was atheism. This does seem to contradict what Flew says of Wald’s views in the 1990’s. Flew contended concerning Wald:

In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life: ‘the stuff of which physical reality is constructed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life…’ 

In my letters to both Wald and Flew in the 1990’s I demonstrated that  there is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Fortunately some modern philosophers and scientists are starting to wake up and realize that materialistic chance evolution was not responsible for the origin of the universe but it was started by a Divine Mind. In fact, Antony Flew, who was probably the most famous atheist of the 20th century, took time to read several letters I sent him the 1990’s which included much material from Francis Schaeffer. Flew listened to several cassette tapes I sent him from Adrian Rogers and then in 2004 he reversed his view that this world came about through evolution and he left his atheism behind and  became a theist.  I still have several of the letters that Dr. Flew wrote back to me and I will be posting them later on my blog at some point. One of the letters I got back in 1994 said specifically that he enjoyed listening to whole cassette tape.

 Notice the quote in Antony Flew’s book, THERE IS A GOD: The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”

Here are some excerpts from the book “THERE IS A GOD: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” by Anthony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese (Harper One, 2007). This book is available for about €10 on http://www.amazon.co.uk.

Here is a taster of what the book contains:

Chapter 4 “A pilgrimage of reason”

“The leaders of science over the last hundred years, along with some of today’s most influential scientists, have built a philosophically compelling vision of a rational universe that sprang from a divine mind” (Anthony Flew). One could say that this vision was prompted by a response to three big questions – (a)How did the laws of nature come to be? (b)How did life as a phenomenon originate from non-life? (c)How did the universe, by which we mean all that is physical, come into existence?

Chapter 5 “Who wrote the laws of nature?”

The important point is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and “tied together”. Einstein spoke of them as “reason incarnate”. The question we should ask is how nature came packaged in this fashion.

We can put the issue this way: (a)Where do the laws of physics come from? (b)Why is it that we have these laws instead of some other set? (c)How is it that we have a set of laws that drives featureless gases to life, consciousness and intelligence?

Chapter 6 “Did the universe know that we were coming?”

“The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense knew we were coming” (Physicist Freeman Dyson).

Image result for Freeman Dyson

In other words, the laws of nature seem to have been crafted and fine-tuned so as to move the universe towards the emergence and sustenance of life.

Chapter 7 “How did life go live?”

How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and “coded chemistry”? How can self-reproduction arise by natural means from a material base? Why does living matter possess an inherent goal or end-centered organisation that is nowhere present in the matter that preceded it? “Life is more than just complex chemical reactions. The cell is also an information-storing, processing and replicating system. We need to explain the origin of this information, and the way in which the information processing machinery came to exist”. (Paul Davies, physicist and cosmologist)

(Paul Davies pictured below)

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The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”

Chapter 8 “Did something come from nothing?”

Here, Flew notes how modern cosmology has placed the need to explain the universe center stage again.

“No matter how you describe the universe – as having existed for ever, or as having originated from a point outside space-time, or else in space but not in time, or as starting off so quantum-fuzzily that there was no definite point at which it started, or as having a total energy that is zero – the people who see a problem in the sheer existence of Something Rather Than Nothing will be little inclined to agree that the problem has been solved” (John Leslie).

(Dr. John Leslie seen below)

Image result for John Leslie scientist

In other words, “the universe is something that begs an explanation” (Richard Swinburne.)

THREE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED WHILE CORRESPONDING WITH ATHEISTS SINCE 1992!!!

I have learned several things about atheists in the last 20 years while I have been corresponding with them. First, they know in their hearts that God exists and they can’t live as if God doesn’t exist, but they will still search in some way in their life for a greater meaning. Second, many atheists will take time out of their busy lives to examine the evidence that I present to them. Third, there is hope that they will change their views.

Let’s go over again a few points I made at the first of this post.  My first point is backed up by  Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). I have discussed this many times on my blog and even have interacted with many atheists from CSICOP in the past. (I first heard this from my pastor Adrian Rogers back in the 1980’s.)

My second point is that many atheists will take the time to consider the evidence that I have presented to them and will respond. The late Adrian Rogers was my pastor at Bellevue Baptist when I grew up and I sent his sermon on evolution and another on the accuracy of the Bible to many atheists to listen to and many of them did. I also sent many of the arguments from Francis Schaeffer also.

(Above:Adrian Rogers visiting with President Reagan)
Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are   Francisco J. Ayala (1934-),
Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-2017),   Glenn BranchMatt Cartmill (1943-) , Bette Chambers (1930-), Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Noam Chomsky (1928-  ), Ray T. Cragun (1976-), Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Daniel Dennett (1942- ), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Milton Fingerman (1928-), Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Douglas J. Futuyma (1942- ),
Sol Gordon (1923-2008),  Geoff Harcourt (1931-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Gerald Holton (1922-),  John Hospers (1918-2011), Thomas H. Jukes (1906-1999), Kenneth Kitchen (1932- ), Christof Koch (1956-  ), Melvin Konner (1946- ), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Harry Kroto (1939-),  Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Michael Martin (1932-2015),  Marty E. Martin (1928-), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Ernest Mayr (1904-2005),  Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010), Kevin Padian (1951-), Steven Pinker, (1954-  ), Martin Rees (1942-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-),   Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), John J. Shea (1969-), Quentin Skinner (1940- ), Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Elliott Sober (1948-), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) ,  Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996),  Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Edwin M. Yamauchi (1937- ), George Wald (1906-1997),  Edward O. Wilson (1929-), Donald  J. Wiseman (1918-2010),  Lewis Wolpert (1929), Bryant G. Wood (1940- ).
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Image result for carl sagan
Third, there is hope that an atheist will reconsider his or her position after examining more evidence. Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan.  I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? You may have noticed in the news a few years that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.Antony Flew wrote me back several times and in the  June 1, 1994 letter he  commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” I later sent him Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution too.  
Image result for bellevue baptist church memphis tn

 The ironic thing is back in 2008 I visited the Bellevue Baptist Book Store and bought the book There Is A God – How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, by Antony Flew, and it is in this same store that I bought the message by Adrian Rogers in 1994 that I sent to Antony Flew. Although Antony Flew did not make a public profession of faith he did admit that the evidence for God’s existence was overwhelming to him in the last decade of his life. His experience has been used in a powerful way to tell  others about Christ. Let me point out that while on airplane when I was reading this book a gentleman asked me about the book. I was glad to tell him the whole story about Adrian Rogers’ two messages that I sent to Dr. Flew and I gave him CD’s of the messages which I carry with me always. Then at McDonald’s at the Airport, a worker at McDonald’s asked me about the book and I gave him the same two messages from Adrian Rogers too. It reminds me of Psalm 43:3 which is printed on the front wall the entrance of Bellevue Baptist which says, “O send out thy light and thy truth.” That certainly has happened through the years.

 Image result for antony flew

The cassette tape I sent to these atheistic scientists and philosophers started off with the 3 minute song DUST IN THE WIND by the rock group KANSAS. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had in the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. Just 3 years later I turned on THE 700 Club on TV and saw the testimony of Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope as they had found what they were looking for by making Christ the Lord of their lives.

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By Bruce Pollock

In 1970, Kerry Livgren formed the first Kansas, an experimental rock band that was a cross between Frank Zappa and King Crimson, with horns.

This interview took place in May, 1984.

God

Before Kansas got signed you could sum up everything I’d written in two words: I’m searching. But from that point on you could sum it all up by saying: I’ve found. What changed was my world view. I went from one of existential despair to one of joy and peace. I write about God almost exclusively at this point. Basically it’s always been that way. And when that’s the subject, by definition, there are no limits to what you can say. If you look at my lyrics, even “Dust in the Wind” is a song about the transitory nature of our physical lives. That falls under the umbrella heading of God. If you find something fulfilling then you want to communicate it to other people. What could you write about, ultimately, that could be more interesting?

Image result for kansas rock band

Lyrics of “Dust In The Wind” I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone, All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity, Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind, Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea, All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see, Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind, Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky, It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy, Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind…. Go to YOUTUBE and search for KANSAS 700 CLUB and you see the clip of Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren of Kansas telling about their faith journey. Let me also suggest these verses from the  Romans Road of Salvation: Romans 3:23 KJV “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”Romans 6:23 KJV “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 5:8 KJV “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 10:9 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”Romans 10:13 KJV “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”Romans 8:1 KJV “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”Romans 8:38-39 KJV “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Everette Hatcher, P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221-3416, everettehatcher@gmail.com cell ph 501-920-5733 Check out my blog at www.thedailyhatch.org (over 1 million views so far)

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Kansas – Carry on Wayward Son

Published on Feb 15, 2017

From Song facts website I got this story behind the song:

This was written by Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren. According to Livgren, the song was not written to express anything specifically religious, though it certainly expresses spiritual searching and other ideas.

Livgren became an evangelical Christian in 1980, and has said that his songwriting to that point was all about “searching.” Regarding this song, he explained: “I felt a profound urge to ‘Carry On’ and continue the search. I saw myself as the ‘Wayward Son,’ alienated from the ultimate reality, and yet striving to know it or him. The positive note at the end (‘Surely heaven waits for you’) seemed strange and premature, but I felt impelled to include it in the lyrics. It proved to be prophetic.”

Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I’m dreamin’, I can hear them say

Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don’t know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I’m like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say

Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son,
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no moreWriter/s: KERRY LIVGREN, KERRY A LIVGREN
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

What some evidence showing the Bible is historically accurate?

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Adrian Rogers: How You Can Be Certain the Bible Is the Word of God [#172…

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Adrian Rogers: Evolution Fact or Fiction (#1914)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 165 C Sir Bertrand Russell Optimistic Humanism possible? Russell says NO!!!

Bertrand dogmatically states that OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM IS NOT POSSIBLE in his work A FREE MAN’S WORSHIP. “A Free Man’s Worship” (first published as “The Free Man’s Worship” in Dec. 1903) is perhaps Bertrand Russell’s best known and most reprinted essay.  Here are his exact words:

Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins–all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

Bertrand Russellin full Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell of Kingston Russell, Viscount Amberley of Amberley and of Ardsalla (born May 18, 1872, Trelleck, MonmouthshireWales—died Feb. 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth), British philosopher, logician, and social reformer, founding figure in the analytic movement in Anglo-American philosophy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Russell’s contributions to logicepistemology, and the philosophy of mathematics established him as one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century. To the general public, however, he was best known as a campaigner for peace and as a popular writer on social, political, and moral subjects. During a long, productive, and often turbulent life, he published more than 70 books and about 2,000 articles, married four times, became involved in innumerable public controversies, and was honoured and reviled in almost equal measure throughout the world. Russell’s article on the philosophical consequences of relativity appeared in the 13th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

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

(Bertrand Russell pictured below)

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

(George Wald pictured below)

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

Charles Darwin pictured below:

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Recently I read this book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892.Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. It included this quote from Charles Darwin:

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

Francis Schaeffer commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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

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

Here below is the song DUST IN THE WIND performed by the rock group KANSAS and was written by Kerry Ligren in 1978. I challenge anyone to  read these words of that song given below and refute the idea that accepting naturalistic evolution with the exclusion of God must lead to the nihilistic message of the song!

DUST IN THE WIND:

I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone

All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea

All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy

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Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Music video by Kansas performing Dust In The Wind. (c) 2004 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

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Francis Schaeffer notes that Russell’s mechanistic worldview does not allow for a personal God that created us and that means there is no other conclusion other than nihilism. It seems at one point Russell did embrace nihilism when he asserted:

(Bertrand Russell when he was younger made this comment below)

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That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; …that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Bertrand Russell

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The British humanist H. J. Blackham (1903-2009) put it very plainly: On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

Harold John Blackham (1903 – 2009) was founder of British Humanist Association (pictured below)

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H.J.Blackham pictured in 1974 below:

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In the 1986 debate on the John Ankerberg show between Paul Kurtz (1925-2012) and Norman Geisler, Kurtz reacted to the point Blackham was making by asserting:

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I think you may be quoting Blackham out of context because I’ve heard Blackham speak, and read much of what he said, but Blackham has argued continuously that life is full of meaning; that there are points. The fact that one doesn’t believe in God does not deaden the appetite or the lust for living. On the contrary; great artists and scientists and poets and writers have affirmed the opposite.

I read the book FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Paul Kurtz and I had the opportunity to correspond with him but I still reject his view that optimistic humanism can withstand the view of nihilism if one accepts there is no God. Christian philosopher R.C. Sproul put it best:

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Nihilism has two traditional enemies–Theism and Naive Humanism. The theist contradicts the nihilist because the existence of God guarantees that ultimate meaning and significance of personal life and history. Naive Humanism is considered naive by the nihilist because it rhapsodizes–with no rational foundation–the dignity and significance of human life. The humanist declares that man is a cosmic accident whose origin was fortuitous and entrenched in meaningless insignificance. Yet in between the humanist mindlessly crusades for, defends, and celebrates the chimera of human dignity…Herein is the dilemma: Nihilism declares that nothing really matters ultimately…In my judgment, no philosophical treatise has ever surpassed or equaled the penetrating analysis of the ultimate question of meaning versus vanity that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

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Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look in Ecclesiastes at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

Kerry Livgren is the writer of the song “Dust in the Wind” and he said concerning that song in 1981 and then in 2006:

 1981: “When I wrote “Dust in the Wind” I was  writing about a yearning emptiness that I felt which millions of people identified with because the song was very popular.” 2006:“Dust In the Wind” was certainly the most well-known song, and the message was out of Ecclesiastes. I never ceased to be amazed at how the message resonates with people, from the time it came out through now. The message is true and we have to deal with it, plus the melody is memorable and very powerful. It disturbs me that there’s only part of the [Christian] story told in that song. It’s about someone yearning for some solution, but if you look at the entire body of my work, there’s a solution to the dilemma.”

Ecclesiastes reasons that chance and time have determined the past and will determine the future (9:11-13), and power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced(4:1). Is that how you see the world? Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment.”

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

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Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

(part 2 ten minutes)

There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

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Francis Schaeffer on pages 178 to 179 of volume 1 THE GOD WHO IS THERE asserted:

I do not believe that there is a leap of faith needed; there are good and sufficient reasons to know why Christianity is true–and more than that, that is the Bible’s insistence. The Bible’s emphasis is that there are good and sufficient reasons to know Christianity is true, so much so that we are disobedient and guilty if we do not believe it.

The Christian system (what is taught in the whole Bible) is a unity of thought. Christianity is not just a lot of bits and pieces–there is a beginning and an end, a whole system of truth, and this system is the only system that will stand up to all the questions that are presented to us as we face the reality of existence. Some of the other systems answer some of the questions but leave others unanswered. I believe it is only Christianity that gives the answers to all the crucial questions.

What are those questions? The questions are those which are presented to us as we face the reality of existence. God shuts us up to reality. We cannot escape the reality of what is, no matter what we say we believe or think.

This reality of which I speak falls into two parts: the fact that the universe truly exists and it has form, and then what I would call the “mannishness” of man–which is my own term for meaning that man is unique. People have certain qualities that must be explained.

God has shut up all people to these things, and I always like to go back to the statement of Jean-Paul Sartre, though he had no answer for his own statement, and that is that the basic philosophic question is that something is there. Things do exist, and this demands an explanation for their existence. I would then go beyond Sartre’s statement to one by Albert Einstein. Einstein said that the most amazing thing about the universe is that we can know something truly about it.In other words, it has a form that is comprehensible, even though we cannot exhaust it. And then I would say beyond that–no matter what people say they are, they are what they are, that is, man is unique as made in the image of God. Any system of thought, to be taken seriously, has to at least try to explain these two great phenomena of the universe and man. In other words, we are talking about objective truth related to reality and not just something within our own heads.

Now I would like to add a corollary to this: in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, and especially the extensive notes of the fifth chapter, there is a third thing and that is the way the Bible measures up to history. Once we say that, this is very exciting. It is very exciting because other religions are not founded in history, they are “out there” somewhere, or you can think of them as inside of your own head–whichever way you are looking at it. On the other hand, the Bible claims to be rooted in history. Whether we are considering the history of the Old Testament, whether we are considering the history of Christ, including the resurrection, or Paul’s journeys, it is insisted on as real history. So now we have three interwoven parts. Usually I have dealt with the twentieth-century person, but the third is also there. We have to face the reality of the universe and its having an existence and having a form. We have to face the reality in the uniqueness of man. We are able to discuss the fact that the Bible is rooted in history.

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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

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Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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