Tag Archives: Lewis Wolpert

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! The best tribute I have read on the life of John Raymond Smythies

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John Raymond Smythies on January 28, 2019 in La Jolla, CA, and this tribute below is the best I have read.

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Well into his 80’s, John decided to join the world-famous neuroscience team lead by Dr. Ramachandran, in California and remained active until a few months before his demise in January this year. A tribute by Prof. Ashoka, exclusively in Different Truths. 

I have always harboured the belief that psychiatry over the years has lost a large part of its sheen because of its reluctance to encompass the entire scope of the discipline. Many if not most of its dimensions are completely ignored in the training process, which suffocates the specialty to a large extent.

One of the foremost pioneers to challenge this status quo was John Raymond Smythies. As he had deviated from the mainstream, he is not as widely known as his contribution merits.

John was born in Nainital where his father was a philatelist in 1922. His more than fluent Hindi had its provenance to his various interactions with his playmates and father’s colleagues with whom he retained lifelong contact. Following his relocation to the United Kingdom, he completed his medical training in Cambridge and then worked with the Royal Navy in Bermuda, which is where he developed an interest in psychiatry.

But he was very clear that he did not wish to step into his discipline unless he had what he regarded as ‘proper grounding.’ He therefore decided to train as a neuroscientist under the Nobel Laureate, Sir John Eccles. While still a neuroscience researcher, he appreciated the philosophico-anthropological contribution to the understanding of mental health and developed a deep friendship with Aldous Huxley. He then moved to the United States where he formally trained and obtained a masters’ in philosophy and submitted his dissertation to the University of Cambridge, which earned him an M.D.

Only then did he consider himself ready to undergo psychiatric training at the Maudsley Hospital under Sir Aubrey Lewis. He then felt he needed some grounding in biochemistry and worked with John Osmond for two years before taking up a clinical assignment. He spent 12 years in Edinburgh at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (where I trained).

His orientation quite frequently put him at odds with his colleagues, but he persisted, nevertheless. He noticed that mescaline could produce schizophrenia like symptoms and published a hypothesis that came to be the first biological explanation for schizophrenia and was popularised as ‘transmethylation hypothesis’. This created quite a lot of excitement in those days. But he firmly believed that in order to fully comprehend schizophrenia, one needed a philosophical orientation along with a neurobiological.

He moved to Alabama to take up an endowed chair in psychiatry and remained there for over 20 years continuing with his neurobiological-philosophical research in psychiatric disorders. He was an absolute delight to listen to and a regular at both neuroscience and philosophical conclaves. Well into his 80’s, he decided to join the world-famous neuroscience team lead by Dr. Ramachandran, in California, and remained active until a few months before his demise in January this year.

Somehow the sad news took its time to reach me. There are many, me included, who looked to him for inspiration and were always rewarded with effusive hospitality over meals at his place, where he lived with his Italian wife.

I mourn the passing away of a pioneer. We shall not see the likes of him again!

©Prof. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad

Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad is a physician /psychiatrist holding doctorates in pharmacology, history and philosophy plus a higher doctorate. He is also a qualified barrister and geneticist. He is a regular columnist in several newspapers, has published over 100 books and has been described by the Cambridge News as the ‘most educationally qualified in the world’.

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,

In  the second video below in the 95th clip in this series are his words but today I just wanted to pause and look at this life. 

Quote from Dr. John Raymond Smythies

I would like to describe how mescaline works. These hallucination drugs have a very specific action in two ways. Number 1 they produce fantastic visual hallucinations. These are described by the people who have them (most of them are down to earth scientists such as MacDonald Critchley) as being more beautiful than anything they have ever seen in normal art. Some of these people have the sort of experience as union with God, mystical experiences and so on.

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 155 Sir John Bertrand Gurdon, biologist, 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “I am actually agnostic on the grounds of I don’t know; there is no scientific proof either way”

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,

John Gurdon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir
John Gurdon
FRS FMedSci
John Gurdon Cambridge 2012.JPG
Born John Bertrand Gurdon
2 October 1933 (age 83)
Dippenhall, Surrey, England
Citizenship British
Nationality English
Fields Biology and Developmental Biology
Institutions University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
California Institute of Technology
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Thesis Nuclear transplantation in Xenopus (1960)
Doctoral advisor Michael Fischberg[1]
Doctoral students Douglas A. Melton
Vincent Pasque
Known for Nuclear transfercloning
Notable awards William Bate Hardy Prize (1984)
Royal Medal (1985)
International Prize for Biology(1987)
Wolf Prize in Medicine (1989)
Edwin Grant Conklin Medal (2001)
Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2009)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2012)
Website
www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaff/gurdon.htm

Sir John Bertrand Gurdon FRS FMedSci (born 2 October 1933), is an English developmental biologist. He is best known for his pioneering research in nuclear transplantation[2][3][4] and cloning.[1][5][6][7] He was awarded the Lasker Award in 2009. In 2012, he and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells.[8]

Early days[edit]

Gurdon attended Edgeborough and then Eton College, where he ranked last out of the 250 boys in his year group at biology, and was in the bottom set in every other science subject. A schoolmaster wrote a report stating “I believe he has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous.”[9][10][11] Gurdon explains it is the only document he ever framed; Gurdon also told a reporter “When you have problems like an experiment doesn’t work, which often happens, it’s nice to remind yourself that perhaps after all you are not so good at this job and the schoolmaster may have been right.”[12]

Gurdon went to Christ Church, Oxford, to study classics but switched to zoology. For his DPhil degree he studied nuclear transplantation in a frog species of the genus Xenopus[13][14] with Michael Fischberg at Oxford. Following postdoctoral work at Caltech,[15] he returned to England and his early posts were at the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford (1962–71).

Gurdon has spent much of his research career at the University of Cambridge, first at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (1971–83) and then at the Department of Zoology (1983–present). In 1989, he was a founding member of the Wellcome/CRC Institute for Cell Biology and Cancer (later Wellcome/CR UK) in Cambridge, and was its Chair until 2001. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics 1991–1995, and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, from 1995 to 2002.

Research[edit]

File:Xenopus-Nucleocytoplasmic-Hybrid.ogv

A video from an open-access article co-authored by Gurdon:[16] Animalview of different embryos developing in Xenopus laevis eggs: a diploidlaevis x laevis is shown on the top, cleaving and entering gastrulationabout 50 min earlier than haploid [laevis] x laevis(middle) and [laevis] x tropicalis cybrid (bottom) embryos.

Nuclear transfer[edit]

In 1958, Gurdon, then at the University of Oxford, successfully cloned a frog using intact nuclei from the somatic cells of a Xenopus tadpole.[17][18] This work was an important extension of work of Briggs and King in 1952 on transplanting nuclei from embryonic blastula cells[19] and the successful induction of polyploidy in the sticklebackGasterosteus aculatus, in 1956 by Har Swarup reported in Nature.[20] At that time he could not conclusively show that the transplanted nuclei derived from a fully differentiated cell. This was finally shown in 1975 by a group working at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland.[21] They transplanted a nucleus from an antibody-producing lymphocyte (proof that it was fully differentiated) into an enucleated egg and obtained living tadpoles.

Gurdon’s experiments captured the attention of the scientific community and the tools and techniques he developed for nuclear transfer are still used today. The term clone[22] (from the ancient Greek word κλών (klōn, “twig”)) had already been in use since the beginning of the 20th century in reference to plants. In 1963 the British biologist J. B. S. Haldane, in describing Gurdon’s results, became one of the first to use the word “clone” in reference to animals.

Messenger RNA expression[edit]

Gurdon and colleagues also pioneered the use of Xenopus (genus of highly aquatic frog) eggs and oocytes to translate microinjected messenger RNA molecules,[23] a technique which has been widely used to identify the proteins encoded and to study their function.

Recent research[edit]

Gurdon’s recent research has focused on analysing intercellular signalling factors involved in cell differentiation, and on elucidating the mechanisms involved in reprogramming the nucleus in transplantation experiments, including the role of histone variants,[24][25] and demethylation of the transplanted DNA.[26]

Politics and religion[edit]

Gurdon has stated that he is politically “middle of the road”, and religiously agnostic because “there is no scientific proof either way”. During his tenure as Master of Magdalene College, Gurdon created some controversy when he suggested that fellows should occasionally be allowed to deliver “an address on anything they would like to talk about” in college chapel services.[27] In an interview with EWTN.com, Gurdon reports that “I’m what you might call liberal minded. I’m not a Roman Catholic. I’m a Christian, of the Church of England.” [28]

Honours and awards[edit]

Gurdon was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1971, and was knighted in 1995. In 2004, the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Institute for Cell Biology and Cancer was renamed the Gurdon Institute[29] in his honour. He has also received numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees.[15] In 2005, he was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Association of Anatomists. He was awarded the 2009 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research award and in 2014 delivered the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians.[30]

Nobel Prize[edit]

In 2012 Gurdon was awarded, jointly with Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent.[31] His Nobel Lecture was called “The Egg and the Nucleus: A Battle for Supremacy”.

In  the first video below in the 13th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Sir John Gurdon, part 1

Interview of Sir John Gurdon, part 2

Uploaded on Dec 15, 2008
Below is a portion of a letter I wrote to Professor Gurdon:

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

in terms of religious views I would say I am actually agnostic on the grounds of I don’t know; there is no scientific proof either way

Here is the fuller QUOTE taken from your interview with Alan MacFarlane:

I have respect for people who put a lot into life and contribute; on religion, my father took us to church every Sunday morning; I support the church; in terms of religious views I would say I am agnostic on the grounds of I don’t know; there is no scientific proof either way; I support the ethics of the Church of England; I am anti-Roman Catholic as I think they should  let people decide for themselves on contraception; I find myself giving lectures to theology students from time to time; this happened because when Master of Magdalene College I thought the sermons were boring; I suggested to the Chaplain at Magdalene that he occasionally asked Fellows to give an address on anything they would like to talk about; the letter was not responded to but the Bishop of Coventry, Simon Barrington-Ward, came back to Magdalene and I mentioned the idea to him; he thought it a good idea and I was asked to give an address; I chose to  take as a theme that you should not be prevented from trying to relieve human suffering by your religious views; rather controversial, and the Chaplain didn’t like it at all,  (by this time I was Master of the College), he got preferment at Windsor and decided  that it was interesting and invited me to give it to the theology students in Windsor Castle; I did so and he was very supportive; we disagree on a number of things but I continue do it; these are priests in service who come for revision classes, sent by their Bishop; after the talk I get them to vote; the first time they voted against the line I was taking; the Chaplain suggested that the next time we have a secret vote and then it came out in favour; I like talking on to what extent religion should interfere in the relief of suffering; a classic case is cystic fibrosis and should you get rid of embryos that are going to have it by in vitro-fertilization, and avoid enormous suffering; as Master of Magdalene never found any difficulty in presiding in Chapel; I don’t think an agnostic position is inappropriate; I support what the church does very strongly, but the fact that I can’t prove what we believe is a good reason to be called agnostic; Richard Dawkins’ views are rather too aggressive but make him good as a television presenter; he was a graduate student shortly after me and worked underTinbergen; he does interest people in science and that is good though I wouldn’t agree with his views on religion (he knew Richard Dawkins as a graduate student) 

One of my favorite messages by Adrian Rogers is called  “WHO IS JESUS?”and he goes through the Old Testament and looks at the scriptures that describe the Messiah.  I want to encourage you to listen to this audio message which I will send to anyone anywhere anytime. I have given thousands of these CD’s away over the years that contain this message and they all contain the following story from Adrian Rogers.  Here is how the story goes:

Years ago Adrian Rogers counseled with a NASA scientist and his severely depressed wife. The wife pointed to her husband and said, “My problem is him.” She went on to explain that her husband was a drinker, a liar, and an adulterer. Dr. Rogers asked the man if he were a Christian. “No!” the man laughed. “I’m an atheist.”

“Really?” Dr. Rogers replied. “That means you’re someone who knows that God does not exist.”

“That’s right,” said the man.

“Would it be fair to say that you don’t know all there is to know in the universe?”

“Of course.”

“Would it be generous to say you know half of all there is to know?”

“Yes.”

“Wouldn’t it be possible that God’s existence might be in the half you don’t know?”

“Okay, but I don’t think He exists.”

“Well then, you’re not an atheist; you’re an agnostic. You’re a doubter.”

“Yes, and I’m a big one.”

“It doesn’t matter what size you are. I want to know what kind you are.”

“What kinds are there?”

“There are honest doubters and dishonest doubters. An honest doubter is willing to search out the truth and live by the results; a dishonest doubter doesn’t want to know the truth. He can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.”

“I want to know the truth.”

“Would you like to prove that God exists?”

“It can’t be done.”

“It can be done. You’ve just been in the wrong laboratory. Jesus said, ‘If any man’s will is to do His will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority’ (John 7:17). I suggest you read one chapter of the book of John each day, but before you do, pray something like this, ‘God, I don’t know if You’re there, I don’t know if the Bible is true, I don’t know if Jesus is Your Son. But if You show me that You are there, that the Bible is true, and that Jesus is Your Son, then I will follow You. My will is to do your will.”

The man agreed. About three weeks later he returned to Dr. Rogers’s office and invited Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord.

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By your own statement you are an agnostic. The only question left is if you really want to know or not. A while back on  Easter we had a special service at our church, Fellowship Bible Church or Little Rock, Arkansas. On that day I heard a song that I wanted to discuss with you.  It is  called MAN OF SORROWS and it can be found on You Tube Man Of Sorrows – Hillsong Live (2013 Album Glorious Ruins) Worship Song with Lyrics and here are the lyrics:

“Man Of Sorrows”

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Sent of heaven God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He’s risen from the grave

We sang that song at our Easter service.

On Easter morning March 27, 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard delivered the message THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING based on I Corinthians chapter 15 and I wanted to share a portion of that sermon with you today.

This day is the day that changes everything. The resurrection changes everything and that is why we are gathered here today to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ because it changes everything.

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

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

Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth.

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

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

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

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

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If Christ hasn’t been raised then these facts are true:

  1. PREACHING AND FAITH ARE IN VAIN.
  2. WE ARE FALSE WITNESSES
  3. WE ARE STILL IN OUR SINS.
  4. THOSE WHO DIED IN FAITH ARE STILL DEAD
  5. WE ARE TO BE PITIED MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

Verse 20 says, “but Christ has been raised!!! Therefore, these things are true:

  1. Our faith is significant, valuable and eternal.
  2. we are truth tellers!!
  3. we are forgiven of our sins.
  4. death is not our final stop.
  5. don’t pity us but join us in believing in Jesus Christ.

You said above that you are an agnostic. However, would you agree that if the Bible is correct in regards to history then Jesus did rise from the grave? Let’s take a closer look at evidence concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

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

Francis Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984[1])  and his wife Edith  (November 3, 1914 – March 30, 2013)

C. Everett Koop, MD (October 14, 1916 – February 25, 2013) 13th Surgeon General of the United States

  

 

 

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Two things should be mentioned about the time of Moses in Old Testament history.

First, consider the archaeological evidence that relates to the period. True, it is not of the same explicitness that we have found, say, in relation to the existence of Ahab or Jehu or Jehoiakim. We have no inscription from Egypt which refers to Moses being taken out of the bulrushes and removed from the waterproof basket his mother had made him. But this does not mean that the Book of Exodus is a fictitious account, as some critics has suggested. Some say it is simply an idealized reading-back into history by the Jews under the later monarchy. There is not a reason why these “books of Moses,” as they are called, should not be treated as history, just as we have been forced to treat the Books of Kings and Chronicles dating 500 years later.

There is ample evidence about the building projects of the Egyptian kings, and the evidence we have fits well with Exodus. There are scenes of brick-making (for example, Theban Tomb 100 of Rekhmire). Contemporary parchments and papyri tell of production targets which had to be met. One speaks of a satisfied official report of his men as “making their quota of bricks daily” (Papyrus Anastasi III vso, p.3, in the British Museum. Also Louvre Leather Roll in the Louvre, Paris, col ii, mentions quotes of bricks and “taskmasters”). Actual bricks found show signs of straw which had to be mixed in with the clay, just as Exodus says. This matter of bricks and straw is further affirmed by the record that one despairing official complained, “There are no men to make bricks nor straw in my area.”

We know from contemporary discoveries that Semites were found at all levels of Egypt’s cosmopolitan society. (Brooklyn Museum, New York, no. 35, 1446. Papyrus Brooklyn). There is nothing strange therefore about Joseph’s becoming so important in the pharaoh’s court.

The store cities of Pithom and Raamses (Rameses) mentioned in Exodus 1:11 are well known in Egyptian inscriptions. Raamses was actually in the east-Delta capital, Pi-Ramses (near Goshen), where the Israelites would have had ample experience of agriculture. Thus, the references to agriculture found in the law of Moses would not have been strange to the Israelites even though they were in the desert at the time the law was given. Certainly there is no reason to say, as some critics do, that these sections on agriculture were an indication of a reading-back from a latter period when the Jews were settled in Canaan.

The form of the covenant made at Sinai has remarkable parallels with the covenant forms of other people at that time. (On covenants and parties to a treaty, the Louvre; and Treaty Tablet from Boghaz Koi (i.e., Hittite) in Turkey, Museum of Archaeology in Istanbul.) The covenant form at Sinai resembles just as the forms of letter writings of the first century after Christ (the types of introductions and greetings) are reflected in the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, it is not surprising to find the covenant form of the second millennium before Christ reflected in what occurred at Mount Sinai. God has always spoken to people within the culture of their time, which does not mean that God’s communication is limited by that culture. It is God’s communication but within the forms appropriate to the time.

The Pentateuch tells us that Moses led the Israelites up the east side of the Dead Sea after their long stay in the desert. There they encountered the hostile kingdom of Moab. We have firsthand evidence for the existence of this kingdom of Moab–contrary to what has been said by critical scholars who have denied the existence of Moab at this time. It can be found in a war scene from a temple at Luxor (Al Uqsor). This commemorates a victory by Ramses II over the Moabite nation at Batora (Luxor Temple, Egypt).

Also the definite presence of the Israelites in west Palestine (Canaan) no later than the end of the thirteenth century B.C. is attested by a victory stela of Pharaoh Merenptah (son and successor of Ramses II) to commemorate his victory over Libya (Israel Stela, Cairo Museum, no. 34025). In it he mentions his previous success in Canaan against Aschalon, Gize, Yenom, and Israel; hence there can be no doubt the nation of Israel was in existence at the latest by this time of approximately 1220 B.C. This is not to say it could not have been earlier, but it cannot be later than this date.

Christ came and laid his life down to die for our sins and there is evidence that indicates the Bible is true!!!!! Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10). Again, historians and New Testament writers confirm the fulfillment: Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross, and his extraordinarily quick death eliminated the need for the usual breaking of bones. A spear was thrust into his side to verify that he was, indeed, dead.

Psalm 22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.

For the choir director; upon [a]Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.

22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
[b]Far from my deliverance are the words of my [c]groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but [d]I have no rest.
But I am a worm and not a man,

A reproach of men and despised by the people.
7 All who see me [g]sneer at me;
They [h]separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
[i]Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

12 Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within [l]me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me [m]in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
[n]A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
[o]They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.

Francis Schaeffer ended HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 7 with these words:

When we think of Christ of course we think of his substitutionary death upon the cross when he who claimed to be God died in a substitutionary way and as such his death had infinite value and as we accept  that gift raising the empty hands of faith with no humanistic elements we have that which is real life and that is being in relationship to the infinite personal God who is there and being in a personal relationship to Him. But Christ brings life in another way that is not as often clearly thought about perhaps. He connects himself with what the Bible teaches in his teaching and as such he is a prophet as well as a savior. It is upon the basis of what he taught  and the Bible teaches because he himself wraps these together that we have life instead of death in the sense of having some knowledge that is more than men can have from himself, beginning from himself alone. Both of these elements are the place where Christ gives us life.  

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.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 153a Sir Bertrand Russell and the Cosmological Argument

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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

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Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/AP

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

 

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

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This is a fine review I got off the internet:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2005

Why I’m not Bertrand Russell

Along with Hume’s attack on natural theology, Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, Why I am not a Christian, has probably been the most successful piece of popular atheology. And its influence continues up until our own day. So it is worth our while going back over this essay to weigh its logical merits, or the lack thereof.

I. Cosmological Argument

His attack on the cosmological proof is a strawman argument. He starts out by saying that the category of causality isn’t what it used to be. I assume that this is a then-fashionable allusion to quantum mechanics. To begin with, this is a very counterintuitive theory, the interpretation of which remains highly controversial and quite resistant to a realist construction. But even if we accepted that theory, it only applies at the subatomic level.

He misstates the cosmological argument as saying that everything has a cause: ego, God must also have a cause. But the cosmological argument doesn’t say that every thing has a cause; rather, it says that every event has a cause. Everything that comes into being or passes out of being has a cause. That’s the premise.

The remainder of his denials consists in bare assertions without any argumentation to back them up. Conversely, he doesn’t bother to engage the detailed arguments offered by philosophers and scientists and theologians against the eternity of the world or the spontaneous origin of life on earth.

He then claims that to suppose otherwise betrays a poverty of imagination. But doesn’t that ignore a rather important distinction between reality and imagination? There are a number of versions of the cosmological argument. He engages none of them.

II. Nomological Argument

His attack on the nomological proof is fallacious. As he frames the issue, if God had a reason for legislating nature in one way rather than another, then that reason legislates God’s own action. But this formulation falters on an equivocation of terms. Whether we define a law of nature as a statistical mean or the inevitable effect of meeting certain necessary and sufficient physical conditions, that is not the same as a reason. A reason is a mental, and not an extramental entity, and so it doesn’t imply something outside and anterior to the agent—something which thereby constrains the agent. There is no dualism between a reason and a faculty for reason. Reasons inhere in the mind of a personal agent.

On the face of it, it is also a false analogy to equate physical causality with statistical probabilities—like a game of chance. The whole point is that certain natural phenomena are generally predicable in a way that a throw of the dice is not.

Moreover, it would be possible to predict the throw of the dice if we knew all the variables in advance. I’m not saying that that applies to everything (e.g., the weather). But his chosen illustration is really subversive of his point.

III. Teleological Argument

His attack on the teleological proof is another strawman argument. First of all, he identifies the teleological argument with the anthropic principle. But while that is one version of the teleological proof, the evidence of teleology doesn’t depend on this anthropocentric orientation. A universe just like ours, but without intelligent life, or life of any kind, would still be subject to the design argument. So his statement of the principle is a considerable overgeneralization.

He then comes up with flippant illustrations about white-tailed rabbits and glasses that no serious Christian apologist would ever offer or entertain. And his appeal to the Darwinian alternative invites the same criticism.

To begin with, evolution is another quite controversial theory. But even if we waive that issue, it is very difficult to eliminate teleological categories from the theory of evolution (e.g., natural selection). Darwinists are constantly concocting Just-So stories to explain the survival value of a given adaptation.”

Russell doesn’t bother to ask any of the hard questions. How did the organism survive before it had “grown to be suitable to” its environment? Why is it that an organism should have this in-built adaptability to begin with? It sounds suspiciously like preadaptation. And before we account for the survival of various life-forms, we must account for the origin of life itself.

There is, however, an even deeper and more trying irony. In order to enthrone natural selection by dethroning nature’s God, the Darwinist must covertly assume a God’s-eye view of the proceedings. Natural selection is blind to the survival value of adaptive strategies. Only an intelligent observer can appreciate this problem-solving strategy. Thus the naturalist must step outside of nature and look back at nature with a godlike detachment. A hidden homunculus is always peering over the shoulder of the blind watchmaker.

Russell’s appeal to seemingly dysteleological features disregards the distinction between ends and means. Natural or moral evils may be a means to a higher good. Moreover, to brand the world as “defective” presupposes an ideal standard of reference. And this, once again, assumes a standpoint superior to nature. Something is only defective if it falls short of the mark. So Russell must resort to goal-oriented norms to eliminate teleology from nature. Seems like an exercise in self-rebuttal.

IV. Moral Argument

His attack on the moral argument is a variation on his critique of the nomological argument. If the former traded on an equivocation between law and reason, the latter plays on an equivocation between divine goodness and divine fiat. If God commands something because it’s good, then this “fiat” is logically anterior to God himself. There is considerable confusion in this objection.

To begin with, the first party may well have a different reason for prescribing or prohibiting certain behavior on the part of the second party than the second party has for compliance. If I tell my four-year-old not to cross the street on his own, my reason is not his reason. His reason is that I told me so, and I told him so for his own safety. But that is hard a reason for me not to cross the street.

It is not enough to ask, Did God will it because it is good? The question must be broken down. What is the “it”? Good for whom? Good for what? God didn’t will things for his own good. And, in the nature of the case, natural goods are relative goods. What is good for one natural kind is not necessarily good for another. It is not merely God’s command that makes something right or wrong, but his command in conjunction with his creation. His commands are suited to the nature of his creatures, and he has suited his creatures to the nature of his commands.

Hovering in the background of Russell’s discussion is the Euthyphro dilemma. But this dilemma is generated by two Platonic assumptions: (i) goodness is an impersonal universal; (ii) goodness is a generic universal, of which any given good is only a rough approximation. But according to Scripture, goodness is a personal attribute of God. In addition, the Euthyphro dilemma is structurally similar to the Third Man argument. But according, again, to Scripture, creatures to not merely approximate the decree, but exactly answer to the decree down to the very last detail.

The logic of Russell’s backtracking objection would apply, not only to God, but man. It would entail that no agent could ever have a reason for what he does, because, in that event, he has too many reasons, for he cannot have a reason without having a reason for the reason for the reason. By that logic, Russell didn’t have a reason for writing his essay, seeing as every reason demands another reason, ad infinitum.

But, as I said before, what a reason assumes is not another reason, but a faculty for reason. A reason assumes a reasoner—no more, no less. Russell is substituting a verbal paradox for a serious argument. Reasons don’t exist outside the mind.

To say it’s quite doubtful that Christ ever existed is irresponsible even coming from an unbeliever. First of all, there is extrabiblical evidence for Christ (e.g., Tacitus; Josephus; the Talmud). Moreover, we have 27 primary sources dating from the 1C (=the NT) that witness to the historicity of Christ. Russell cites the example of Socrates. Yet we only have three witnesses to the historicity of Socrates (Plato; Xenophon; Aristophanes).

Perhaps Russell would object that the NT is a biased source. Why is a disciple of Christ unreliable, but a disciple of Socrates is not?

V. Christology

Russell says that Jesus was mistaken in his timetable for the Second Coming. Russell is referring to such verses as Mt 10:23; 16:28; 24:34 (cf. Rev 1:1,7). Because Russell was not a student of Scripture, he engages in simplistic prooftexting by lifting isolated verses out of context. Regarding the “imminent” return of Christ, a few things need to be said:
(i) According to Scripture, the kingdom of God doesn’t come all at once. It has a past, present and future dimension. The OT theocracy was an instance of God’s kingdom on earth (e.g., Exod 19:6), but localized in time and space. The first advent of Christ was another instance of God’s kingdom on earth (e.g., Mt 12:28-29). This advances the OT vision, but is still limited in time and space. And there is, finally, a global and lasting advent of the kingdom of God in the Second Coming of Christ the King.
(ii) The prophecies of Christ (Mt 10:23; 16:28; 24:34; Rev 1:1,7) pick up from where the prophecies of Daniel left off (Dan 2:28-30,44-45; 7:13-14). It is important remember that Daniel was a seer. Visionary revelation is not a chronicle or photograph of the future, and Russell commits a level-confusion when he equates a visionary sequence with a historical sequence. Events imminent within a vision are not necessarily imminent in real time and space. Such visions envision a public event, but they do not assume a one-to-one correspondence between promise and fulfillment.
(iii) To attribute false prophecies to Christ logically commits you to the early dating of the Gospels, for no writer would invent or report prophecies which falsified his own case. But that would bring the Gospels back down to the lifetime of the eyewitnesses.

He belittles the cursing of the fig tree (cf. Mt 21:18-19). Because Russell doesn’t know his way around the OT, he is ignorant of the fact that a fig tree is a type of divine judgment on apostate Israel (e.g. Jer 8:13; Hos 9:10,16-17; Joel 1:7,12; Mic 7:1).

Russell’s aristocratic heart also goes out to the sorry fate of the Gadarene swine. His advocacy swine rights is touching, and I trust that his Lordship’s high principles hindered him from forming any excessive familiarity with a plate of pork-links. When, however, Russell shows more sympathy for the swine than the demoniac, one feels that a certain sense of moral disproportion has invaded his ethical system.

But Russell is just warming up for his ringing denunciation of hell. It is hard to know how to respond because Russell offers so little by way of argument. One can only rebut a reason. But a couple of comments are in order:
(i) It is counterintuitive, to say the least, to say that God is unjust in punishing the unjust. Isn’t that what a just God is supposed to do? Wouldn’t we think him unjust for not punishing the unjust?

To be sure, some critics would object to the duration of hell or the standard of judgment. But there’s no obligation to parry objections which Russell never raises or elaborates.
(ii) If Russell doesn’t like Christian ethics, what is his alternative? Is secular ethics possible? In his debate with Fr. Copleston, Russell could never bring himself to condemn the Holocaust. (Cf. F. Copleston, Memoirs [Sheed & Ward, 1993], 136-37.) So how is he in any position to be so judgmental about Christian ethics? How can Russell be such a moralizing moral relativist?

He then makes the perfectly ridiculous and patently false statement that the doctrine of hell put cruelty into the world. Really? What about the Assyrians—to take just one of many examples?

He also draws a causal connection between faith and persecution. But this correlation is very cloudy. The Wars of Religion took place, not during the Middle Ages, but the Enlightenment. The witch-craze took place, not during the Middle Ages, but the Enlightenment. And isn’t the time past due for the humanist community to give an accounting of all the atrocities committed under its watch, viz., Baathism, Jacobinism, Maoism, Nazism, Stalinism, Roe v. Wade, the Khmer Rouge, &c. The body count racked up by secular ideologies is quite unrivalled in human history.

VI. Freudian Critique

He then resorts to a psychogenic explanation of faith. It’s all based on fear, period. But it never seems to have occurred to Russell that a reductive analysis cut both ways. For psychogenic explanations may be as applied easily to unbelief as to belief. By his own admission, Russell’s formative years were steeped in the literature of infidelity (e.g. Carlyle, Comte, Gibbon, Ibsen, McTaggart, Mill, and Shelley). If Russell had any capacity for self-criticism, it would occur to him that such exposure at an impressionable age was a highly prejudicial influence on his receptivity to the Gospel. And his emotionally-starved upbringing fits a familiar profile among many famous infidels. (Cf. O. Guinness, Long Journey Home [Doubleday, 2001]; P. Vitz, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism [Spence, 1999].)

In any event, psychogenic explanations of the faith commit the genetic fallacy. Even if someone’s faith amounts to make-believe or wishful thinking, that sort of subjective analysis completely fails to address the issue of objective (e.g., historical) evidence for the faith.

Russell then rounds out with a little pep-talk to rally the troops. But Russell has done nothing to lay a foundation for this dutiful optimism, and the track record of secular regimes augurs ill for the cause.

 

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

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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!!!

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell as a child.

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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On Russell’s ‘Why I Am Not A Christian’

Emanuel Rutten

I In 1927 Russell delivered a famous lecture to the National Secular Society in which he explains why he is not a Christian [1]. His lecture is divided in two parts. In the first part he explains why he does not believe in God, and in the second part he explains why he does not think that Christ was the best and wisest of man. In this paper I shall first evaluate the reasons Russell gives for refuting the claim that there is a God. After that I assess Russell’s reasons for rejecting the claim that Christ was the best and wisest of man.

II Regarding the first claim, the existence of God, Russell considers five arguments: the firstcause argument, the natural-law argument, the argument from design, the moral argument and the argument for the remedying of injustice.

Let us start with the first-cause argument. Russell states that the first-cause argument “does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have […]”. Now, this might be the case for Russell’s own time, during which logical positivism triumphed, but since the collapse of logical positivism in the second part of the 20th Century the dialectical situation has changed dramatically. Philosophy has witnessed a total rehabilitation of the concept of causality. As Koons points out: “[…] Russell announced the demise of the concept of causality […]. Subsequent developments in science and analytic philosophy have not supported Russell’s contention. Far from withering away, the notions of cause and effect have never held a more central position.

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The notion of causality is absolutely central to recent philosophical work in semantics, the philosophy of mind and intentionality, epistemology, and philosophy of science. […] Attempts to explain away causation or to replace it with some purely statistical regularity (whether or not supplemented by some kind of psychologistic decoration) have proved to be catastrophic failures” [2].

Secondly, Russell maintains that “[…] you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity”. Now, to say that the first cause argument “cannot have any validity” is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. For, it is surely intuitively reasonable to hold that the whole of reality is ultimately grounded in some absolute origin. Maintaining that there must be some ‘metaphysical ultimate’ from which all that exists eventually originates is definitely not just some irrational belief. Indeed, “The cosmos sinks into the abyss of nothingness, unless, beyond this infinite chain of contingencies, something supports it” (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A622/B550).

So, why does Russell think that the idea that there must be some first cause has no validity at all? He writes: “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so there cannot be any validity in that argument”. Now, this dilemma is false. The first horn of the dilemma is avoided by making a distinction, properly grounded in modern formal ontology, between contingently existing and necessarily existing objects. One might then say that all contingent objects have a cause, but from this it does not follow at all that all necessary objects must have a cause as well. Moreover, the Leibnizian version of the first cause argument clearly shows that the first cause of the universe, entailed by the premises of the argument, is a proper example of a necessarily existing object, not a continent one. Further, the second horn of the dilemma is avoided by providing a clear and adequate definition of the universe. By definition, the universe is the sum of all contingent objects, and therefore the universe must be contingent as well, and thus caused.

Russell however also says that “there is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause”. Well, it seems to me that the idea that the universe could have come

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into being entirely uncaused, without any reason whatsoever, from literally nothing at all, is wholly against our most basic intuitions. Surely, it is more than reasonable to hold that from nothing nothing comes: being cannot originate from non-being. So, to suddenly appeal to this option in order to avoid a cause of the universe seems desperate.

But then Russell points out: “There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all”. However, since the development and general acceptance of the Big Bang theory in the 20th Century it has become the proper scientific view that the universe began to exist some finite time ago, contra a beginningless universe. It would be quite unreasonable, not to say irrational, nowadays to simply ignore the Big Bang theory.

The second argument for the existence of God that Russell discusses is the so-called naturallaw argument. Following Russell, the argument seems to be that the origin of the fundamental laws of nature need a lawgiver, and that lawgiver would be God. Now, I do not think this is a good argument at all, since, on the Aristotelian view, the natural laws are properly understood as being grounded in the properties of the world’s fundamental objects, which brings us back again to the existence of those objects and properties on which we can apply a cogent contemporary first-cause argument. So, I shall not further discuss Russell’s rejection of the natural-law argument.

The third argument considered by Russell is the well-known argument from design. Now here Russell solely attacks the biological argument from design, which derives God from the irreducible or specified complexity of organic life forms. Now, I take it that Darwin’s evolution theory, which I entirely accept, clearly shows that this argument is wholly untenable. For, according to the Darwinian theory of evolution, complex life forms developed gradually over time through natural selection.

However, in the second part of the 20th century a cosmological design argument arose due to the totally unexpected discovery that our universe appears to be ‘fine-tuned’. The fine-tuning of our universe is the observation that the intelligent life permitting universe we inhabit is extremely unlikely from a statistical point of view. If the value of one of the cosmological constants as discovered by physics would have been only inappreciably different, then our

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universe would have evolved into a universe that does not permit intelligent life. Thus we live on a razors edge. It is so incomprehensibly improbable that our universe is intelligent-lifepermitting that it would be unreasonable to explain this state of affairs by a mere appeal to change. Hence, some other rational explanation for the fine-tuning is needed, and the explanation that the values of the cosmological constants are in some sense necessary is totally unsupported as well. Therefore, the phenomenon of the fine-tuning of the universe, provides, contrary to the phenomenon of complex biological life forms, adequate support for theism over naturalism. So, in this respect Russell’s comments on the design argument are simply out-of-date.

The moral argument for the existence of God, following Russell’s lecture, is that “there would be no right or wrong unless God existed”. In a sense this is indeed obvious, since, on naturalism, reality just consists of matter, energy, time and space. So, on the naturalistic view, there simply is no ontological candidate whatsoever to ground objective moral values. Therefore, if God does not exist, naturalism would be true, and morality would be just a matter of subjective, personal opinion. On naturalism, if somebody would say that torturing an innocent young child merely for fun is wrong, one could always rebut by simply saying: ‘Who says so? That’s just your own personal subjective opinion, and I happen to have quite another one’.

Now, Russell tries to refute the moral argument by an appeal to Euthyphro’s dilemma. Is something right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right? According to Russell both horns of this dilemma are problematic for theism. Since, either God could command things we take to be obviously evil, or God is not the ultimate sovereign, since good and evil would be external to God himself. But, again, this dilemma is false. As Koukl points out: “There are not two options, but three. The Christian rejects the first option, that morality is an arbitrary function of God’s power. And he rejects the second option, that God is responsible to a higher law. There is no law over God. The third option is that an objective standard exists (this avoids the first horn of the dilemma). However, the standard is not external to God, but internal (avoiding the second horn).

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Morality is grounded in the immutable character of God […]. Could God simply decree that torturing babies was moral? “No”, the Christian answers, “God would never do that”. It’s not a matter of command. It’s a matter of character. So the Christian avoids the dilemma entirely. Morality is not anterior to God – logically prior to Him – as Bertrand Russell suggests, but rooted in his nature” [3].

The fifth, and final argument, that Russell considers is the so-called argument for the remedying of injustice. The argument would be that the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world: “[I]f you are going to have justice in the universe as a whole you have to suppose a future life to redress the balance of life here on earth. So they say that there must be a God, and there must be Heaven and Hell, in order that in the long run there may be justice”. Now, Russell objects to this argument by holding that “this world is a fair sample, and if there is injustice here the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also”. This objection however entirely fails, since it begs the question against theism. Surely, on naturalism, it would be correct to say that, most likely, there is injustice in other natural worlds as well. But, that is not the point of the argument. For the argument is that, if you are going to have justice in reality as a whole, then there must be some realm outside our natural world to redress the balance of earthly life. Hence, to attack this argument, Russell would have to argue that its premise is untenable, which he does not do in his lecture.

Further, I personally think that, under naturalism, there is in fact no reason at all to think that, ultimately, justice for humanity will prevail. But, I take it that, under theism, this premise is quite tenable (See [4]).

III Let us now continue with the second part of Russell’s lecture, in which he attempts to show that one cannot grant superlative wisdom and superlative goodness of Christ.

Russell starts by saying: “I think that there are a good many points upon which I agree with

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Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians so. I do not know that I could go with Him all the way, but I could go with Him much further than most professing Christians can.”. Russell provides examples of teachings of Christ that he endorses, all from the Gospel of Matthew: “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” and “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.

Russell readily admits that these are all very good, even excellent, principles. Yet, he points out that many Christians do not live up to them. Now, I surely agree that these maxims are not much practised, neither by Christians nor non-Christians, but that does of course nothing at all to show that Christ himself is in any sense less great or good. I take this to be a quite selfevident point.

Subsequently Russell contends that “[h]istorically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him”. Now, this statement has become entirely outdated. During the second half of the 20th century biblical historians started to realize themselves that historical skepticism towards Jesus is in fact unwarranted. As a result many critical scholars began a new quest of the historical Jesus. And nowadays, the vast majority of biblical scholars hold that Jesus of Nazareth did in fact exist. Moreover, most contemporary critical historians agree on many aspects of Jesus’ biography, such as being regarded as eschatological prophet and autonomous ethical teacher, telling original parables, many about the coming Kingdom of God, being baptized by John the Baptist, and being crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. In fact, even the historicity of Jesus’ tomb found empty after the crucifixion is now argued for [5]. In any case, Jesus is nowadays undeniably considered as being a part of recorded history. If we today would doubt whether Jesus ever existed, we could as well start doubting the historicity of many other well-known historical figures.

In his lecture Russell further points out that Jesus cannot be that wise, since “he certainly thought that His second coming would occur […] before the death of all the people who were

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living at that time”. To substantiate this claim Russell cites two statements of Jesus from Matthew: “You will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” and “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”. Now, these statements were uttered by Jesus before the crucifixion, and thus, for all we know, Jesus speaks here about the upcoming appearances of Jesus to the disciples (and others) after the resurrection.

The last tangible argument of Russell1 against the superlative goodness of Chris is that “Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment”. Now, I agree that this argument has some force. However, in the beginning of his lecture Russell admits that the belief in eternal punishment is not essential to Christianity, for he states: “I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell”. I entirely agree with Russell on this point, and therefore I do not take this last argument as being a real problem for Christianity at all.

Nevertheless, if God exists, and if there is an afterlife, and if some monstrous evils are infinite, then it seems to me that it is not entirely inconceivable to think that wickedly performing such evils could result in being separated from God forever after death, or in not receiving eternal life. And, more importantly, if this would be the case, it would still do nothing to show that Jesus has pleasure in this, or that Jesus does not passionately desire every single human to be saved. In short, it does nothing to disprove Jesus’ goodness.

Literature 1. Why I Am Not A Christian, lecture to the National Secular Society (http://bit.ly/2Fho), B. Russell 2. A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, American Philosophical Quarterly (slightly different online version: http://bit.ly/jLuCKY), R. Koons 3. Euthyphro’s Dilemma, Stand to Reason (http://bit.ly/hVK5Ll), G. Koukl 1 Russell concludes his lecture with some further remarks, such as that religion is based primarily and mainly on fear, that people who have held to Christianity have been for the most part extremely wicked, that Christianity is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world, and so forth. I take these remarks not to be serious objections, and thus I shall not spend time to refute them.

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4. Does the existence of a good omnipotent God imply the existence of supernatural post mortem human states? (http://bit.ly/iYv4Sl), E. Rutten 5. Historical Jesus (http://bit.ly/5I7dtJ), Wikipedia

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 EEE Sir Bertrand Russell attacks the Natural Law argument and the Argument from Design!

_

Image result for bertrand russell

 

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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.

_

I got this excellent interview off the internet.

A Critical Response to Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian
By Warren Rachele
admin@worshipcraft.com

Bertrand Russell’s essay Why I Am Not a Christian is a popular touch-point for the community of Atheist writers and thinkers. It is a source of quotations as well as offering a comforting substantiation of their shared beliefs. Some portray the writing as definitive in nature while others comment happily on the enjoyment they find in rereading it from time to time. Lord Russell’s life and philosophy are extolled for the commitment to reason that they exhibit and there is little doubt that one is expected to read this volume [of the same name] of essays in this light; that this is as well-reasoned commentary on the deceitful and harmful nature of religious belief and activity that is almost beyond the reach of contrary argument.
Having not read Russell in any form since my undergraduate days, I endeavored to read Why I Am Not from a neutral perspective. As a Christian and a theologically lettered man, this was not an easy view to take since it was obviously quite contrary to my worldview. As I read I took copious notes so that the structure of the philosopher’s arguments could take shape and I would be able to determine if, from the evidence that he would present in favor of his positions, his conclusions were true or subject to challenge. If one were to summarize the main conclusion that Russell is arguing in favor of, it is this: people believe in religion and God strictly out of emotion rather than reason. As a further subtext, the pre-eminent emotion that Lord Russell makes accountable for this belief is fear. Perhaps as closing statement meant to encourage the reader to similarly proclaim themselves to be free thinkers prepared to stare down the reality of the world around us, Russell issues this challenge in the final paragraph,
‚We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world—its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God

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is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men.‛ (pg 23)
I. What is a Christian?
Russell begins his essay by stressing the importance of defining terms and by declaring what he means by a Christian. There are two standards which must be met in order for him to refer to a person as a follower of Christ. One, that person must have a belief in God and in immortality and on this point, he is quite adamant. I concur, Christianity without God and the notion of eternal life is something else altogether beyond even ecumenical charity and must be given some other label. Second, Russell states that a person must have some kind of belief about Jesus Christ (emphasis mine.) It is here that the careful reader begins to see that the unassailable arguments that they have been led to expect may be more couched and nuanced than originally thought. If one must have some thought about Christ, what is the spectrum of permissible thought? Can one accept some essential doctrinal point but not others? What is couched in this adjective?
Russell answers these questions with this requirement, ‚you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men.‛ (pg. 4) Immediately, the reader should pull up short and demand correction of this proposal for the minimum standard of membership. The divinity of Christ in all sects and doctrinal statements is non-negotiable. One cannot simply accept Jesus as just ‘the best and brightest’ minus his essential nature as God. As C.S. Lewis cleverly argued, this is not an option that has been left to you. We must conclude then that the logician has spoken his categorization to life and that he is not going to successfully argue against Christianity but rather, against his personal notion of Christianity. In other words, Russell is not basing his denial of Christianity on the God and Jesus Christ of the Christian church but rather, a Christ of his own making. He clarifies this with the following sentences,
‚Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have tell you two different things: first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness.‛ (pp 4-5)
I am left to wonder at this very early stage of the essay whether or not it is fruitful to continue. Russell is not basing the fundamental arguments that support his conclusion

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on fact but rather, on his incorrect assertions (assumptions?) about what makes one a Christian. If I consider this false ‘christian’ that he portrays a straw man, all that follows will simply knock down that creation rather than present a valid, reasoned argument with evidence that can be evaluated independently of the essay. I suppose that I must now be prepared to read further prepared to confront additional falsehoods and unwarranted liberties with the essentials of Christian belief.
The Existence of God Having created a false Christ on which to build his arguments, Russell addresses the validity of belief in his first requirement: that one must believe in the existence of God. Though he alludes to a large number of possible arguments for God’s existence, he narrows his discussion to five. He attributes these to the Catholic Church and her desire to utilize them as support for the proposition that the existence of God can be proven by reason alone. He begins by addressing the Argument from First Cause. Midway through the single paragraph he devotes to it however, he simply dismisses the concept as unworthy of consideration saying ‚you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity.‛ (pg. 6) Russell alludes to John Stuart Mills and a statement Mills made as formative of his thinking when he read ‘My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question ‘Who made God?’’. Russell further states,
‚There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without first cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed.‛ (pg. 7)
I imagine, given the date of this essay in 1927, that we should not be too harsh in our assessment of Russell’s ability to confirm this statement since the science that points to the creation of the world at a specific point in time was just becoming available to him (Einstein 1916, Hubble 1927). What it should cause us to evaluate however, is his confidence in his conclusions given the possibility that additional information may come to light at some future point which affect the plausibility of his arguments? Pascal might have something to say to this.
With the preponderance of evidence pointing to a universe with a distinct beginning any proper consideration must come to a position on the first cause of this beginning. The universe cannot have been self caused as that would require something to pre-exist

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outside of itself prior to its creative act. To simply state that ‚there is no reason why the world could not have come into being without first cause‛ without defending this assertion is an inadequate argument against the notion of the Prime Mover. As I consider the careless foundation upon which Russell begins to build the remainder of his arguments I’m hesitant to place any confidence in a construction this rickety.
The Atheist will point to this argument as an example of ad-hoc reasoning as the question of who created God creates an apparent dilemma for the first cause discussion. The nuance of the Law of Causality that is often overlooked by the atheistic contingent in proposing this ‘chicken and egg’ question is that the principle states that everything that comes to be needs a cause. God does not come to be nor was He created. He is and always was – an eternal being. Is this a ‘just so’ story that cannot be supported? In examining the requirements that scientists would demand of a Prime Mover, we find this brief schedule:
 The First Cause must be self-existent, eternal, and immaterial (because He/It creates time, space, and material and the First Cause must be outside of time, space, and matter.)  The First Cause must be powerful beyond comprehension to be able to create ex nihilo.  The First Cause must possess extraordinary intelligence in order to design a universe with such precision and complexity.  The First Cause must be personal in order to make the choice (impersonal forces such as the wind do not make choices) to create the universe out of nothing.
Such a First Cause precisely matches the characteristics that Christians attribute to God. Shall we follow Russell’s lead and simply dismiss this as coincidence?
The next two arguments that Russell wants to dispense with are the Natural Law argument and the Argument from Design. In addressing both of these, the philosopher takes a similar approach along the lines of this, things are the way they are because that’s the way they are. Well then, it’s settled isn’t it? I don’t think that Russell is intentionally so casually dismissive of these positions but that’s the tone that his words convey. I will credit the brevity of his approach to the fact that this essay is sourced from a lecture that Russell delivered to an audience (The National Secular Society) that

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was favorably predisposed to his positions and his assumption may have been that they were already familiar with arguments and quite possibly in agreement with them.
While I am willing to overlook the paucity of evidence in support of his positions, I am unwilling to so easily dismiss the false dilemma that he creates in order to put aside God’s omnipotence and omniscience and their role in the Argument from Design. Russell issues the belittling challenge to believers in Design by saying ‚it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years.‛ (pg 10) In an attempt to drive the stake further into the heart of the Design argument, Russell asks that we assumes the role of Creator and asks if you, given the same twin powers, would create a world that contains nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists. The answer that a person would give will depend on whom you ask. The free-will racist will certainly answer yes to the creation of the Klan while I would personally answer no. Why does he resort to such an outlandish argument when his own reason should have been sufficient to put the proposition of a Designer to rest? Russell’s failure to address the theological at all (a very common tactic as we shall see) is troubling. He fails to offer and dispute the idea that the original creation was in a state of perfection and then filled with creatures in possession of free will. That the created choose for ill instead of good is the risk that an omnipotent and omniscient God was willing to take in order for love to be present rather than simply basking in the worship of a planet full of automatons.
I shall not address the section on the Moral Arguments for Deity since Russell himself obviously thought them unworthy, describing the whole mess as ‚one stage further in what I shall call the intellectual descent that the Theists have made in their argumentations.‛ (pg. 11) To follow this, the speaker then amuses himself with the final of the five arguments that he attempts to prove false and that is the belief of the Theists (why has he dropped the Christian label?) that ‚the existence of God is required in order to bring justice into the world.‛ It may be the way in which he forms the sentence but the very presence of injustice seems to run contrary to what he states as a Christian belief. To Russell, heaven and hell are strictly functional. One is to serve as reward and the other as punishment so that there can be eschatological justice. Without God and his final destinations, there can be no justice. On the face of the argument and our own experience we can see that this is incorrect. Justice and injustice certainly cohabitate this

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plane of existence; wrongs are righted and penalties meted out while at the same time, injustices are seen to continue to exist. Again, the free will nature of God’s creatures is not in sight, only the failure of the heavenly Jailer to instantly address wrongs is.
Russell concludes this set of arguments with two additional reasons that he concludes people believe in God. First, they are taught from infancy to do so and second, people who believe in God have an innate desire for a ‘big brother’ God who will lurk about and watch over them. If I have followed the construction of the essay thus far, Russell has attempted to knock down a handful of the standard arguments for the existence of God and, rather than show how his dismissal of these arguments supports his overall conclusions, he then offers two non sequiturs instead. How this makes his case I am at a loss to explain. To critique the essay to this point is difficult as the philosopher has given nothing in the way evidence for his belief in the correctness of his positions. Shall I propose counter arguments and provide evidence in the face of his dismissive tenor?
At the midpoint of his essay, Russell seems to have done little but affirm the assertion that he makes about people subscribing to their religious worldviews out of emotion. This certainly seems to be the case with his faith in the Atheistic worldview. The few arguments that he addressed have simply been dismissed in the most cursory fashion because he feels that they are undeserving of support. Would the Christian be allowed similar liberty? To say that one believes in God and, when asked to give a reason, to simply say that any position to the contrary is silly and beneath address would be to open oneself up to ridicule and scorn. I am led to consider what fear drives the Atheist to such argumentative tactics. Is it that something inside of them continually rehearses thoughts of doubts contrary to their ‘settled’ positions?
Is Christ the Best and the Brightest?
After this insubstantial beginning, Russell turns his attention to Christ and his second standard of Christianity, Jesus’ divinity and His status as a wise man. We must make note that the author does not address the divinity of Jesus directly. His aim is to undermine any possible consideration of this issue by focusing the discussion on the quality of Christ’s character. If Russell can successfully argue that the character of Jesus in not up to the perfect goodness of God, the divinity question need not even be brought into the dialog. Logically this conclusion makes sense. The trouble we encounter in this essay is that Russell approaches the discussion in a fallacious and

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deceptive manner which causes us to question any trust we might develop in his positions.
Russell presents a quartet of bible verses in which he makes an interesting argument against Christians and therefore, Christianity. It goes like this; if Christians do not live up to each jot and title of Christ’s words then there must be some defect in the character of the Christ himself. (As an aside, Russell gleefully finds himself agreeing with Christ more than Christians do. To what end he makes this statement we can only guess. If forced to come to a conclusion, I would surmise that it is for differentiation purposes.) Let us examine each of the verses in turn to determine how they reflect on the Lord’s character. It is important to note that hermeneutical principles appear to be foreign to Russell as he plucks individual verses out of their context and then expects fealty to the literal reading of the sentence(s). Any Christian that did this would be admonished by the larger community of believers but it appears that there may be a different standard for Atheist use of the scriptures.
“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29) Russell asserts that not many Christians accept this verse as demonstrated by their behavior. His example of asking whether or not the Prime Minister would allow himself to be beaten in respect of Christ’s maxim demonstrates an inferior (or purposely deceptive) interpretation of the verse in its context. I defer to D.A. Carson for an explanation of the fallacy of this approach,
‚…we must agree that absolutizing any text, without due respect for the context and flow of the argument, as well as for other things Jesus says elsewhere, is bound to lead to distortion and misrepresentation of what Jesus means.‛ ( Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, pg 54)
Jesus is speaking in the larger passage of 5:38-42 of personal self-sacrifice. The Greek text describes a strike on the cheek commonly associate with an insult rather than grave bodily danger, something not conveyed in its English translation. Jesus is stating here that the Christian is to not retaliate for insults. He is not proposing that the Christian subject themself to injury without ever putting up an effort at self preservation. To conclude otherwise is a disingenuous utilization of Christ’s words. Russell also pulls another verse from this passage as evidence of Christian hypocrisy; “Give to the one

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who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) Jesus directs our charity to poor but this would be unreasonably generalized to include all people who demand something of us. Cross referencing this verse against the whole of scripture finds no further support for Russell’s use of the verse.
In the second example, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37), Russell again resorts to his literalist tendency. By his logic, a Christian who is a Judge by profession is guilty of hypocrisy. Again, we must turn back to the scriptures and the context to determine if Jesus indeed voices a prohibition against Christians sitting on the bench. Jesus is addressing the practice of being critical of others (not jurisprudence) while you yourself are guilty of the same or worse. Had Russell bothered to consider the next verse regarding the speck in the eye of another contrasting with the plank in your own he might have been clearer in his interpretation. I wonder if he would have also been favorably disposed to ramming a stick into his eye before looking to the faults of another.
Finally, Russell restrains his criticism only to note that there is little obedience to Christ’s maxim “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Luke 18:22) This verse comes from a longer conversation that Jesus is having at the behest of a man who has come to be known as the Rich Young Ruler. Proper reading would first lead us to the conclusion that Jesus is not making a general application of principle, contra Russell’s use of the verse. More importantly, Jesus is not commending an asceticism as the philosopher would like to propose (in order to criticize the Christ). Jesus perceives that in the case of the Ruler, his wealth would be an impediment to deeper relationship with God. In our modern world, Jesus might point that our playing of video games, possession of collector cars, or a devotion to reading might threaten to overwhelm the primacy of our relationship with God. He would recommend to us that we dispense with these activities or possessions as well.
Has Russell succeeded in commenting on the character of Christ? His interpretation of the evidence of Christian lives not being aligned to his interpretation of a selection of biblical verses certainly fails to comment on the wisdom or character of Christ. He has engaged in the worst sort of biblical abridgement, conveniently ignoring both general

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context and the immediate verses which serve to clarify the appropriate meaning of the verse in question. It is difficult to state Russell’s reason for doing so and to declare to know his heart would be unfair. I will say that, in no way has Russell impugned the character of Christ through the evidence he has utilized.
Having stated how much he likes the maxims previously discussed, Russell then proposes to give evidence of the deficient teaching of Jesus. He prefaces the list with a quick, derisive statement of doubt as to whether or not Jesus ever existed but given the evidence in support of His existence, I will not address that proposition here. The core charge against the wisdom of Jesus centers for Russell around the statements that Jesus made regarding the imminence of His return and the reality that it did not occur. Christians are mindful that Jesus said that no one knows the hour of future events (Matthew 24:32), including Jesus himself. Russell then demands an accuracy of Jesus which He did not demand of himself. He offers a selection of verses in which Jesus says that various events will not transpire prior to his return (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 6:34; Luke 9:27). Again, context provides us with the clear meaning of Jesus’ words and we discover, unsurprisingly that Russell again demands a literalist interpretation that favors his disdain of Christ’s wisdom. For example, in Matthew 10:23, Jesus says ‚When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.‛ Does Jesus propose a specific deadline for His return? Certainly not in this verse as it refers to the incomplete nature of the Jewish mission, understandable in Matthew who tends to focus on the obstinacy of Israel. Perhaps Russell would have been better off to reserve his judgment of Christ’s wisdom (based on his flawed reading) in light of his earlier appreciation for Jesus’ maxims in the Sermon on the Mount.
In his final attempt to diminish the person and character of Christ, Russell turns to presenting his argument in support of a defect in the moral character of Jesus. He roots this evaluation solely in Christ’s belief in Hell. Why this was not an issue with God (the Father) earlier in the essay is not mentioned. Russell makes this interesting statement,
‚I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.‛ (pg. 17)
This belief, combined with a supposedly ‚vindictive fury against these people who would not listen to His preaching‛ combine for Russell to bring Christ’s morality into

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question. As evidence of this assertion, Russell points to Jesus saying ‚You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?‛ (Matthew 23:33) This verse is yet another example of a single verse being pulled from its larger context because it has the right combination of words to make the philosopher’s point. In the whole of chapter 23, Jesus is condemning the leaders of Israel because their intransigence has led their people astray. This is not an example of Jesus being personally insulted. The leaders of Israel had been given the Law and the Prophets and in the mind of Jesus, they had no excuse for their continued disobedience other than their own stubborn hearts. Condemnation is a consequence of decision, not a capricious punishment by Jesus.
The author rehearses a further litany of disconnected instances which support Jesus’ lack of morality: putting the demons into the swine, cursing the fig tree, encouraging the amputation of the hand that steals and leads you into sin. Properly handled, none of these verses even comes within a hair of evidencing the immorality of Christ. Russell would like the reader to accept these vignettes at face value but what he ends up doing is putting his own lack of ethics on display. To have the ability to read and research the theology and biblical context of the verses that he abuses for his own ends and to not do it appears to make one purposely ignorant. To further use this mishandling of scripture to mislead others into believing a false worldview is an example of the type of leadership that led Jesus to issue such vehement epithets. Russell failed to see the irony.
Conclusion Bertrand Russell is described as a fine logician and philosopher. His essay, which became the title of a collection of related pieces, Why I Am Not a Christian makes his case based on two premises:
P1 The Existence of God is Dispute
P2 Christ is not the wisest and best man
C Christianity is false and therefore I am not a Christian
Unfortunately, this essay provides supporting evidence for neither of these premises, and because of this the conclusion proposed cannot be evaluated as true. Given the minimal research that would be necessary to properly place the bible verses in their proper context and to address the supporting arguments against God’s existence, one

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must wonder why a more honest treatment was not given. I understand why the Atheists are so enamored with the essay. It is quotable and the gravitas of the senior philosopher lends it an air of unassailability. On the other hand, the unethical approach that omits rather than substantiates leads me to question the intention of the author. I suppose I will be able to make a better judgment after digging further into the other essays contained in this volume. More damaging than my lack of confidence is that he has established a baseline which the current Atheist writers have elected to follow in the breezy style with which they toss arguments of eternal importance around.

END OF REVIEW

________________________

Francis Schaeffer below:

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

_

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

 

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

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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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

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

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

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

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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 […]

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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)

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Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry Kroto__

Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/APImage result for harry kroto nobel prize __Image result for harry krotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,_In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

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

Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian
-A Response
Michael Stone
4/5/2003

C.S. Lewis, in his work, A Grief Observed, writes, “Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I
think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The
notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.”1
When facing the question of whether or not there is a God, and if so, what does that mean for mankind,
can the answer really be that simple? For quandaries such as this, and in the face of skepticism,
“waiting for heaven” might not suffice for a solution. Perhaps a number of of the problems that some
people have in relation to the existence of God truly do lie within their own notions of how this world
was formed, or how life and creation are sustained, but for many Lewis’ answer requires far too much
faith, and far too little reality.
For there to be a definitive answer, there is a logical requirement that there be a pre-existing
problem. As for noted author and philosopher Bertrand Russell, the problem seems to be easily defined
with one word: religion. Seemingly never at a loss for words or desire to defend his positions, Russell
has left us with a wealth of essays and information, including a collection of his essays, entitled, Why I
Am Not a Christian, written to correct what he thinks is the misguided seeking of religious men. Quite
simply he surmises that there is no need to believe that any religion is true, and most certainly “heaven”
will not solve our problems. On the contrary, he seems to think that this faith in heaven only causes
more problems.

Before going any further, I want to make it clear that I am undeniably and unashamedly a
follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord. With that being said, though, as hard as I tried to categorize Bertrand Russell as a fool and a representative of the absurd, I just could not do it. I certainly would not stand
and affirm the truth of his claims in their entirety; nonetheless he makes some interesting points. With
this in mind, I would not classify him as a “friend of the faith”, but rather, as a useful critic to aid in the
examination, strengthening, and sustaining of our Christian faith.

In an effort to better illustrate his apologies of atheism, I would like to take a closer examination
of a two part editorial written by Russell and published in the Stockholm newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, in
1954, entitled, “Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?” Never one for optimism, he begins, “Mankind is in
mortal peril, and fear now, as in the past, is inclining men to seek refuge in God.”2
Immediately, one
can see the background logic that underlies Russell’s thinking. In his opinion, in times both past and
present, men seek God out of fear alone. This assertion seems to dismiss the testimonies of those men
and women, like C.S. Lewis, who claim to have been converted by the joy found in God. If fear is the
only road to God, how can one account for those who claim, not merely to serve or even worship God,
but to actually be enraptured with love and adoration, as illustrated in the Christian metaphor of “the
bride of Christ”. This Biblical thought of Christ as a lover of his bride surely cannot be born of fear.
Rather, it seems to be indicative of love, which stands in opposition to fear. This is not to say that
Russell’s point should be dismissed, though. Can we as Christians deny our tendency to prey on the
fears of those who are not of the faith? I could not possibly count the number of times that I have heard
youth pastors use phrases such as, “What if your bus crashes on the way home from camp?”, or “If at
this moment you are having doubts you might not really be saved”, or describe in vivid detail the pains
and horrors of hell, all in an effort to preempt the invitation at the end of a worship service. In many
Christian-circles we generally dismiss such tactics as appropriate means employed in an effort to “save
some”3
, but indeed we do use fear in much of our evangelism. And why not? Even Russell admits its effectiveness, but does that translate to the goodness of that approach? We will return to this question in
a moment.
The main argument that Russell sets out to combat is the popular notion of the day (and perhaps
equally as popular among evangelicals today), “that if the world returned to Christianity, our worldwide
problems would be solved.” He wrote further, “I believe this to be a complete delusion born of terror.
And I think this to be a dangerous delusion because it misleads men whose thinking might otherwise be
fruitful and thus stands in the way of a valid solution.”4
Though these thoughts were penned in a
different era in history, and arguably they were written of a different world, still they are no less
important in our world today. We live in a time where wars are inevitable and always around the corner.
In the face of terrorism worldwide and weapons, the likes of which no one in history has ever seen,
people are crying out for an answer. On this point, I must agree with Russell. For example, on
November 26, 2001, Barna Research Group released some figures on Americans’ religious feelings after
September 11th. “Not surprisingly, there was a significant upturn in people’s concern about the future. In August of that year, 73% of adults said they were concerned about the future; by November, that figure
had increased to 82%.”5
According to Barna, immediately following the attacks, this concern for the
future manifested itself in increased church attendance and exploration of different areas of faith and
religion. The lasting effects of this increased religious interest is still uncertain, but the point seems
justified, that fear causes humans to seek God. But I cannot as easily concede that such seeking is not a
valid solution. I do not think that we can dismiss the benefits of seeking God on account of questionable
reasons for such searching. Let us, therefore, look further into what Russell has to say, examine his
arguments, and find if we can logically deduce that hope justifiably can be found in God, or if religion is
merely an empty answer to an unanswerable question.

What one might call his experiment is quite simple. He seeks to answer the question of whether
or not societies can practice “a sufficient modicum of morality if they are not helped by dogmatic
religion.”6
He begins with the two divisions of moral rules: that there are those, which have no basis
except in a religious creed; and those, which have an obvious social utility.7
Let us begin with religiousmorality.
He writes “that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who
reject religious dogmas than those who accept them…especially to the virtue of truthfulness or
intellectual integrity.”8
A scathing indictment to be sure, but is it accurate? In many ways Christians are
under a microscope. For example, instances of pedophilia are always detestable in our society, but how
much louder a public and media outcry when it involves a Catholic priest or a Baptist pastor. Why not?
As professing Christians we make claims of morality, so perhaps it is simply more noticeable when we
act contrary to our claims than it is when a person outside of a faith in God acts immorally. As for
intellectual integrity, Russell defines it as “the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the
evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive.”9
Isn’t it possible that in a
zealous attempt to claim all things under the Lordship of Christ that many of us have overstepped the bounds of our limited knowledge? As an example, we can use the many hundreds of Christians
throughout history who have made claims of knowing the date of Christ’s Second Coming, only to be
thus far disproved. In reality, scripture gives signs of His coming, but there are no dates or specific
times. Any attempt to pinpoint a time with any accuracy is only guesswork. Why have seemingly so
few been willing to swallow their pride in the face of uncertainty and concede that they do not know the
answer to the question, and withheld final judgment on the issue until further evidence might be found?

The remainder of his arguments center on the latter of his division of morality, what we will call
“societal-morality”. This type of morality exists out of a mutual desire on the part of citizens within a
culture to live prosperous lives. This can be undermined, however, by a vice like theft. Obviously, a
society where every person steals is disruptive for everyone. The ideal environment would be a
community in which everyone was honest except one’s self. This inherent egocentrism, if left
unhindered, would lead to chaos. Hence, the solution is found in social institutions that keep humans in
check. These institutions are necessary “if the interest of the individual is to be reconciled with that of
the community.”10 In Russell’s view, these institutions generated societal-morality, and this is where
organized religion has historically begun. He continues, “If people can be persuaded that there is a God
who will punish theft, even when the police fail, it would seem likely that this belief would promote
honesty.” He adds further, “Given a population that already believes in God, it will readily believe that
God has prohibited theft.”11 Unashamedly, Russell denigrates the role of religion as a mere carbon copy
of preexisting ideals placed under the heading of all-knowing God. Obviously earthly judges cannot
catch and punish every immoral act, but an omniscient God can see and punish all wrongful acts, if not
now, then surely in the eternal realm. This assumed-Deity forces those who wish to serve their own
purposes that are contrary to the good of the society into submission to an ultimate authority, which in
the end amounts only to their own fears.

Russell does not completely discount the validity or effectiveness of this strategy in the past,
because it undoubtedly led to conduct that was beneficial to the society at large. In the long run, though,
he believes the effects of such thinking are detrimental. “Now”, he says, “such good as may be done by
imputing theological origin to morals is inextricably bound up with such grave evils that the good becomes insignificant in comparison.”12 You see, in his opinion, God’s hold upon people’s moral lives
has been loosened. No longer are people concerned primarily with heavenly retribution, they are far
more afraid of earthly punishment, as if “Hell is neither so certain nor so hot as it used to be.”13 Perhaps
this stems from the rise of governments and legal systems, which gives the appearance of retribution for
wrongs, and thereby leaving no need for a Heavenly judge. Perhaps it is equally the fault of Christians,
who have so abused the doctrine of salvation-by-grace that God has been reduced to a powerless,
kindly-old-grandfather, incapable of wrath or vengeance, and always waiting for his children to come
back to him. This emptying of God’s supremacy has seemingly turned the Almighty from being the
gracious father of the prodigal son who rejoices at his child’s returning to the family, and more into an
old man gravelling at the feet of his wayward son, begging him to grace the family with his presence.
For whatever reason, I would have to agree that the cross is continually being emptied of its power,
while through advancements of all kinds, this present world’s power is being strengthened with every
passing year.

This leads to a common defense employed by many Christians when faced with the prospect of
defending their faith. One might conclude that surely Christianity does no harm, regardless of any lack
of good that it produces. Russell says that the problem is, “that as soon as men incline to doubt received
theology it comes to be supported by odious and harmful means.”14 What he means by this is,
historically, Christians will not let “sleeping dogs lie”. Christianity, by its evangelical nature will adopt
numerous methods in order to persuade those who do not believe. Consequently, “the young must be
preserved from hearing the arguments…which the authorities dislike.”15 This censorship of opposing
ideas leads to generations of Christians reared inside a proverbial bubble, unable to intelligently respond to arguments made against their faith. Russell concedes that religion when believed on the basis of its
truthfulness is understandably defended, and even adds that such defense is respectable, but he “can only
feel profound moral reprobation for those who say that religion ought to be believed because it is useful,
and that to ask whether it is true is a waste of time.”16 He is here attacking those Christians who
evangelize only on the basis of Christianity’s benefits towards humanity and not on its truth-merits.
It is with great sadness that I am forced by the bounds of logic to agree with Russell. This forces
me, as a Christian man seeking to further both my intellectual and spiritual development, to face the fact
that in many ways our Christian culture conditions followers of Christ to “just believe” when in the face
of doubt or controversy. This has led far too many people into a neglect of actual truth, and into a blind
obedience to a faith that they have no training in or any interest in pursuing further. It seems that it is far
easier to follow a faith without questioning it than to diligently seek after truth.

The culmination of Russell’s first article is the comparing of Christianity with Communism. I
know, in a Christian society, where historically church attendance has been the norm, and especially at
Dallas Baptist University, where Christianity is heralded to be the greatest of all goods, such a claim is
absurd, but I would submit that his argument has some merit. As he puts it, Christian apologists would
like to “regard Communism as something very different from Christianity…(but) The evils of
Communism are the same as those that existed in Christianity during the Ages of Faith.”17 How so, one
might ask? Through cruelties, damage to intellectual and moral life, and the falsifying of history,
Christians have historically, in Russell’s view, engaged in activities that are no less evil than the grave
evils of Communism that Christians have touted so boldly. “The Communist, like the Christian,
believes that his doctrine is essential to salvation, and it is this belief which makes salvation possible for him.”18 Since they are both central to salvation and one’s very existence, they cannot cohabitate.
Scientists, according to Russell, are nothing like this. He seems to imply a background logic that is
superior to that of the Christian and Communist alike. This scientific-logic suggests humility and a
general concession that scientists’ assertions are only theories, and that two scientists can agree to
disagree until the appearance of further proof. Once more proof is available, those in scientific circles
are inclined to back down and give way to the newly proven truth. Not so among Christendom, though.
“When two theologians differ, since there are no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing but
mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.”19 In one reductionist-swoop, Russell absolutely
dismisses Theology in favor of the more exact disciplines that constitute real scientific endeavors.

Russell, like many others before and after him, implies that there is nothing truthful or useful in
Theology, and it should be viewed as subjective fancy, not suitable for the wise or learned. I will be the
first to admit that many a Christian has earned us this reputation, with the over-personalization of God.
Simply by our incessant preempting of our every whim with, “God told me…”, or by insisting that
ancient texts of scripture spoke new meaning, unseen by anyone except oneself, and therefore must be
straight from the lips of God. These ideas, among others, have justifiably tarnished the Christian’s claim
of absolute truth and of Theology as a valid science. In his book The Idea of a University, John Henry
Newman addresses skeptics of the validity of Theology in this way, “How can we investigate any part of
any order of Knowledge, and stop short of that which enters into every order? All true principles run
over with it, all phenomena converge to it; it is truly the First and Last.”20 What we are left with is two
opposing arguments, but both sides jump to the conclusion that the burden of proof lies within the other.
Atheist Kai Nielsen admits, “To show that an argument is invalid or unsound is not to show that the
conclusion of the argument is false…All the proofs of God’s existence may fail, but it still may be the

case that God exists.”21 Paul Copan, a Christian, explains further, “Absence of evidence is not at all the
same as evidence of absence, which some atheists fail to see.”22 Neither side, in the absence of
verifiable proof, therefore, can dismiss the other.
In the second part of his article, Russell turns his attention to University of Cambridge’s Modern
History Professor, Herbert Butterfield. His destroying of Butterfield’s arguments is harsh and thorough,
but he ends this section with a summary of Butterfield’s remarks,
It would be a good thing if people loved their neighbors, but they do not show much inclination
to do so; Christ said they ought to, and if they believe that Christ was God, they are more likely
to pay attention to his teaching on this point than if he were not; therefore, men who wish people
to love their neighbors will try to persuade them that Christ was God.23
Russell’s disgust with Butterfield is that he is a vocal example of the false-dogma that people employ
only to add weight to their arguments, all in an effort to cause a desired effect within society. Theology,
in other words, is nothing more than the “mere embodiment of superstitious taboos”24 We are once again
at a place where we must examine the “selling points” of our faith. Are we pitching a God whose only
goal is to cause morality and good behavior among His followers, or are those outward manifestations of
morality merely byproducts of a transformed life, resulting from the hope, joy, and love found in our
Creator.

So what indeed does the world need? In Russell’s opinion, “What the world needs is
reasonableness, tolerance, and a realization of the interdependence of the parts of the human
family…and not to return to obscurantist myths.”25 What Russell fails to note, and perhaps to his eternal
20 John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University, 29 21 4
Kai Nielsen. Reason and Practice (1971), 143-44. 22 Paul Copan. “The Presumptuousness of Atheism” (2003) 23 Russell, 201 24 Russell, 201 25 Russell, 204

detriment, is that the teachings of Christianity as found in the Bible, a book he dismisses as copied
works of un-credited original thinkers, embody these very same principles. What can be more
reasonable than the wise teachings found in Proverbs, which herald patience, self-control,
morality…etc? As for tolerance, during his ministry on Earth Jesus discriminated against no one.
Whether through His kind treatment of the woman at the well, His healing of the sick and disabled, or
His prayers of forgiveness for those who were in the act of killing Him, Christ has left us such a clear
picture of tolerance for all people. As for the interdependence of the human family, there is no shortage
of passages and examples of the value of the family within the kingdom of God. Maybe no greater
example is given than that of the church. God instituted his church to rely on one another, and to share
in the glory of Christ and of life together.
In conclusion, I find what Russell has to say interesting and thought provoking, and have used
his writings as a tool to sharpen my own faith in God. At the same time, I feel remorse for his soul,
because it seems to me that in the absence of true Biblical knowledge or a willing heart to seek truth in
God, he settled for the oft believed “obscurantist myths” of atheism. I pray that we will step away from
Russell’s essay, not converted to faithlessness, as he might have desired, but convicted by our own
actions that if unchanged might help to produce other such skeptics.

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:Image result for francis schaefferFrancis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

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

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

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

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

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8Black 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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Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

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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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 YY Lady Katherine Tait discusses her father Sir Bertrand Russell

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell as a child.

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.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

“My Father, Bertrand Russell”

Lady Katherine Tait was the only daughter of late Bertrand Russell. She wrote a biography about her dad. Here are a few of her personal observations:

“He never gave his whole heart to anyone, though he tried. ‘My most profound feelings have remained always solitary and have found in human things no companionship,’ he wrote. ‘The sea, the stars, the night wind in waste places, mean more to me than even the human beings I love best, and I am conscious that human affection is to me at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God’,” My Father, Bertrand Russell (HBJ 1975), 46-47.

“My father’s scientific optimism was strong and he hoped tha we would share it, together with his dispassionate ability to see both sides of a question. But these things are not easy to combine; fair-mindedness puzzled our wills and muddled our hopes, and left us unable to strike out boldly against any enemy, public or private. For it was always possible the enemy was right. My father dealt with this problem by a sort of intellectual conjuring trick: when he wanted to be indignant over evil, he temporarily put away objectivity in some other compartment of his mind. We never managed to learn the trick, and I think he was a little disappointed by our hesitations, not realizing that he had taught them to us himself,” ibid. 92.

“In practice, at Beacon Hill, ‘making up our own minds’ usually meant agreeing with my father, because he knew so much more and could argue so much better; also because we heard ‘the other side’ only from people who disagreed with it. There was never a cogent presentation of the Christian faith, for instance, from someone who really believed in it,” ibid. 94.

“My parents’ marriage was founded on these principles…They believed it would be easy to live without jealousy, but it turned out that the new morality was no easier and no more natural than the ideal of rigorous lifelong monogamy it was intended to replace. Calling jealousy deplorable had not freed them from it…It took my father a long time to acknowledge that he was expecting too much of human nature. ‘Anybody else could have told me this in advance,’ he wrote later, ‘but I was blinded by theory’,” ibid. 102-103.

“We had imagined our parents to be superior in every way to the conventional: our parents would never quarrel sordidly over conjugal rights or the way to bring up children; they were far too generous and intelligent. Yet there they were, not only doing these things, but even trying to involve us in their disagreements. It was sickening. The only solution was inward withdrawal, my father’s old tactic. It was at that time that I came to regard progress, like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, as a myth of childhood, and I have never since believed in any utopian project of any kind,’ ibid. 125.

“Though I would no more prefer the extinction of humanity to the victory of world communism than my father would have, I have never regarded the mere existence of humanity as good in itself, and I can contemplate without panic a world devoid of human beings. (Unwittingly, my father was responsible for this callous point of view, having taught us that mankind was no more than an accident of evolution.)” ibid. 178.

“In Grandmother Russell’s religion, the only form of Christianity my father knew well, the life of this world was no more than a gloomy testing ground for future bliss. All hope, all joy were centered on the life after death and were to be achieved only be unceasing warfare against evil in oneself and others. My father threw this morbid belief out the window, but he was never able to obliterate the emotional pattern with which it had stamped him. All the yearnings of his powerful nature were directed to the future, to a golden age to come, if not in heaven, then on earth,” ibid. 183.

“In his many anti-Christian writings, my father attacked over and over again the cowardice of religious people who could not face life without the comfort of their irrational beliefs. He recommended instead ‘the stark joy’ to be found in ‘the unflinching perception of our true place in the world,’ the same proud passion I had offered my Harvard friend in our discussion in the library. Christians were mocked for imagining that man is important in the vast scheme of the universe, even the high point of all creation—and yet my father thought man and his preservation the most important thing in the world, and he lived in hopes of a better life to come. He was by temperament a profoundly religious man, a sort of passionate moralist who would have been a saint in a more believing age,” ibid. 184.

“I believe myself that his whole life was a search for 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 it in. He wrote of it in letters during the First World War, and once h said that human affection was to him ‘at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God.’ After the war, finding his life more satisfying, he stopped talking that way; nostalgia for religion was quite absent from our home. Nevertheless, I picked up the yearning from him, together with his ghostlike feeling of not belonging, of having no home in this world,” ibid. 184-185.

“The religion my parents had grown up with was a dry morality without grace, a series of impossible demands that left them defeated and depressed. They escaped from it joyfully into a free life that affirmed their own goodness and expected their children’s. And yet they passed on to us the same impossible demands from which they had suffered—no, not exactly the same, for they allowed us to masturbate and talk about sex—but they still expected perfect honesty and kindness and all the rest, without showing us how it was to be done. Consequently, we in our turn were loaded down with inescapable and, to us, inexplicable guilt. The doctrine of original sin gave to me, when I came to understand it, the same sense of intoxicating liberation my father had received from sexual emancipation. It was normal for me to be bad, and I need not feel ashamed,” ibid. 187-188.

“For me, the belief in forgiveness and grace was like sunshine after long days of rain. No matter what I did, not matter how low I fell, God would be there to forgive, to pick me up and set me on my feet again. Though I could not earn his love, neither could I lose it,” ibid. 188.

“He seized on the follies, which are many, and labeled them official religion, while claiming that Christians have never taken seriously the good parts of Christ’s teaching. But he never dealt with it seriously either. When he wanted to attack religion, he sought out its most egregious errors and held them up to ridicule, while avoiding serious discussion of the basis message I found so liberating…I found no message in his books but failure and despair (for me)…the world was not what he hoped it might be, and neither was I, nor could I believe that men would ever become the intelligent paragons of his imagination,” ibid. 188.

“As I went deeper and deeper into religion, however, I found it ever more satisfying. I wished I could convince my father that it added to all I had learned from him and took very little away. I didn’t find it a denial of life, a brier patch of restrictions, but a joyful affirmation. ‘I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly,’ said Jesus. All that I lost was my anxiety—and the option, perhaps, of sleeping with many men, which I had no desire to exercise. I was already so bound by the exacting moral code my father had taught me that I saw no new restrictions in Christianity, merely the possibility of living with those I already had,” ibid. 189.

“I would have liked to convince my father that I had found what he had been looking for, the ineffable something he had longed for all his life. I would have liked to persuade him that the search for God does not have to be vain. But it was hopeless. He had known too many blind Christians, bleak moralists who sucked the joy from life and persecuted their opponents; he would never have been able to see the truth they were hiding,” ibid. 189.

“Of course there was a failure of communication. Even from that blissful holiday I came away feeling dissatisfied, though mostly with myself. I wanted to tell him about God, to share with him the happy certainty I had discovered…But we sat at tea around the fire, the four of us, making conversation about the state of the world, and I could never break through to real talk. Too shy, too selfish, too subservient, too proud, always a follower of the tone set by others, I sat and allowed myself to be cut off from him by the small talk I had never mastered. It was only as we said good-bye that emotion broke through for a moment and I hugged him with demonstrative affection. But he was old and fragile, almost ninety; he needed to be held in tender hands, like old porcelain, and treasured for what he was. Too late for storms of emotion, too late to stand up and justify myself against him, defending my values by attacking his. Adolescent rebellion is absurd in middle age, if not cruel, and adolescent emotion is not much better. There seemed no solution but to look at each other with love as we drifted apart on our separate rafts of belief,” ibid. 196.

“I drove on to school and went on with life in a world without my father. I had told myself often: he is so old, so deaf, so cut off from me, it’s as though he were dead already; it won’t be too bad when it happens. But it was too bad, and it left me with a numb ache for a long time: now I can never tell him this, never ask him that, never straighten out old confusions,” ibid. 201-202.

Related posts:

 

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 XX Bertrand Russell: Playboy Interview March 1963 on the possibility of nuclear war

 

Sir Bertrand Russell

Image result for bertrand russell
644 × 362Images may be subject to copyright

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/AP

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

 

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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._

 

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Francis Schaeffer noted that Bertrand Russell was obsessed with the possibility that nuclear war may destroy the human race and for Russell that is the only value left that was worth anything. You can see from this extensive interview further below from 1965 that subject keeps coming up.

Schaeffer noted:

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. 

Image result for bertrand russell
510 × 308Images may be subject to copyright

 

05-09-2009, 08:02 AM

Bertrand Russell: Playboy Interview

March 1963

If the long and stormy life of Bertrand Arthur William Russell can be said to possess any unifying thread, it is an enduring attitude of passionate skepticism, a lifelong refusal to accept any truth as immutable, any law as infallible or any faith as sacred. During the nine decades of his dedication to dissent, the erudite Earl Russell, a member of the House of Lords, has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in recognition of his pioneering research in mathematical philosophy and symbolic logic and honored with Britain’s distinguished Order of Merit for service to his country. But he has also been reviled as an enemy of religion and the flag; jailed for his ring-leadership of passively nonviolent demonstrations against nuclear armament; and variously extolled and execrated for his contentious convictions on free love, women’s suffrage, sex education, pacifism and preventive war.

As the London Times wrote last May on the occasion of Lord Russell’s 90th birthday, “For everyone who grasps even the outline of his contribution to mathematical logic, 10,000 wear the little button that he wears.” The button is the badge of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a militantly antimilitary movement of which he is the combative champion. As spiritual leader of the famed Committee of 100, a ban-the-bomb group that commands widespread popular support in Britain, he has also earned international eminence—and a brief prison term for civil disobedience—as the most articulate agitator for the controversial cause of unilateral disarmament. In October 1957, he published an open appeal to the great powers for a cessation of nuclear testing which won worldwide headlines when both Nikita Khrushchev and John Foster Dulles responded with public reassurance. Russell unexpectedly became an active intermediary between East and West at a critical moment during the recent Cuban crisis when Premier Khrushchev, in a personal reply to a cabled appeal from Russell, gave the first public indication of his intention to avoid rash action in responding to the American arms blockade.

After a conversation with Russell four decades before this momentous intervention, T.S. Eliot described how “his dry and passionate talk devoured the afternoon.” And so it did early this winter in a three-hour interview with Playboy at his secluded home in the mountains of North Wales. The venerable philosopher discussed his fears and hopes for the world with the luminous lucidity that inspired one reporter to write, “He is all flame and no ash. He has a brain that burns when you come near it.” Puffing determinedly on a blackened briar, cleaving the air with energetic gestures and pounding his chair arm periodically with an emphatic fist—his deeply creased, hawklike visage animated with intense conviction beneath the familiar shock of unruly white hair—he spoke with ominous eloquence and a final ray of hope of the nightmare of atomic annihilation that has haunted his waking thoughts and commandeered his considerable energies since the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok. In October 1961—after a decade of mounting personal outcry against the unabating arms race—Russell warned his uneasy listeners at a ban-the-bomb rally in London’s Trafalgar Square that they would be lucky if any of them were alive in a year’s time. That year has passed, and nuclear holocaust has not yet overtaken us. We began our interview by reminding Lord Russell of this prophetic miscalculation.

PLAYBOY: Inasmuch as the world has successfully survived the year since your Trafalgar Square address, Lord Russell, would you care to revise your estimate of the likelihood of an atomic war? 
RUSSELL: I said at Trafalgar Square that we would need luck as things were, and we have been extremely lucky so far. But I don’t see any reason to be optimistic. I still feel that the human race may well become extinct before the end of the present century. Speaking as a mathematician, I should say that the odds are about three to one against survival. The risk of war by accident—an unintended war triggered by an explosive situation such as that in Cuba—remains and indeed grows greater all the time. For every day we continue to live, remain able to act, we must be profoundly grateful.

PLAYBOY: In a scathing reference to President Kennedy, Premier Khrushchev and Prime Minister Macmillan, you said in 1961 that “they are the wickedest people who have ever lived in the history of man, and it is our duty to do what we can against them.” Did you actually mean to say that Kennedy, Khrushchev and Macmillan are the worst of a gallery of villains which includes Hitler and Attila? 
RUSSELL: That was an arithmetical statement. Just as it is a wicked thing for one man to murder another, it is ten times as wicked to murder ten others, and 1,000,000 times more wicked to be responsible for the death of 1,000,000 men. No man in history has ever had the chance to murder on such a scale. In the past there have been long and bitter wars that caused appalling destruction, but at the end there were still people who could build again. Today we face the prospect of total obliteration in a single day. If mankind is to survive at all, intelligent people must learn to think and act in a less provocative manner than in former times.

PLAYBOY: Did not the avoidance of nuclear war over Cuba last October reassure you about the prudence and restraint of both Kennedy and Khrushchev? 
RUSSELL: There are signs that the politicians are beginning to realize the implications of the power they wield. But they have not fully assimilated them. So much seems to depend on very personal factors with politicians—even on what they have had for breakfast and whether they have indigestion when they have to make some important decision. What I am saying is this: When two great powers disagree about anything—it doesn’t matter what—they must find a way to settle it somehow by arbitration or by negotiation, not by war or threat of war. We know only too well that if you threaten someone with war and he doesn’t give way, then you may find yourself committed either to war or to backing down—and that choice has almost always been resolved by war. The Berlin crisis is a case in point. Here the Russians have been somewhat aggressive. They are trying to secure a change in the status of West Berlin by what amounts to threats of war. In the case of the Cuban crisis, on the other hand, Khrushchev has shown himself to be less belligerent than Kennedy, and in effect, at a crucial moment last October, was responsible for avoiding a war of nuclear devastation. Full credit must be given to him for this. He acted with great restraint in a crisis of the first magnitude. I hope it may presage similar responses should the Berlin question reach a comparable peak of crisis. The essential thing to understand is that no conceivable solution to any problem is worse than a nuclear war. It is necessary to realize before it is too late that any act—whatever its motive or rationale—is to be considered wicked if the consequence is an atomic holocaust.

PLAYBOY: What do you believe was the effect of your own personal intervention with Khrushchev—via your much publicized cable appealing for Russian prudence in responding to the American blockade of Cuba? 
RUSSELL: He carried out the promise he made in the letter replying to my cable — the promise to do nothing rash that would risk conflict. Within hours of my communication, 12 Soviet ships had turned back from their Cuban destination and Khrushchev had stopped further shipment. This left Cuba illegally blockaded in violation of international law. I believe that if a blockade is defensible when applied to Cuba, then the precedent can be applied also to Berlin and even to Britain, which is an advanced American nuclear base. America should remember the War of 1812 when the United States would not tolerate a British blockade. This is the very heart of what I have been saying for years: If nuclear bases are intolerable in Cuba, then they are intolerable anywhere in the world. Nuclear bases threaten the survival of mankind and the Cuban crisis has shown us how very close we are to annihilation.

PLAYBOY: Do you think the Russian position on Berlin may bring us closer still? 
RUSSELL: I can’t tell. There are all these different possibilities. There is intended war, resorted to when one side really thinks it can win. That is the least likely cause in this case. Then there is escalation—a little war growing into a big one. There is also threat and counterthreat, where each side hopes the other will give way—a course inevitably bringing such dangerous factors as prestige and national pride into play. But what is most likely in Berlin or elsewhere is simply war by misinterpretation. You may get a meteor or something like that showing up on a radar screen, and someone will press the button. There is no time to consider. It could so easily happen, in a day, in a moment….

PLAYBOY: Can you make any estimate of the destructive consequences of such a disastrous “misinterpretation”? 
RUSSELL: This is a question for experts, though all experts are biased. For an uninformed person such as me, it is very difficult to make any precise forecast. But I could give you a minimum estimate. I believe you must generally estimate that, at the very least, the price of nuclear war would be that half the population of both America and Russia, plus the whole of the population of Western Europe and Britain, would be wiped out.

PLAYBOY: You are the outspoken advocate of unilateral disarmament for Britain. Is this cause, as some critics have asserted, simply a means whereby Britain can escape the destruction of nuclear war through neutrality? 
RUSSELL: By no means. I regard it as a means to rid Britain of a very awkward commitment. Authorities feel that Britain adds absolutely nothing to the military strength of America, that America would be better off without us. I agree. It would not weaken NATO one atom. What I want to see is a concerted attempt by the neutral nations to achieve an accommodation between East and West. The influence of the neutrals would be immensely strengthened if Britain were one of them. We have a very long political experience. With the exception of the Scandinavian countries, we are perhaps more sensible politically than others. We could play a very great part. But I don’t see much chance that we shall. In any case, I do not advocate unilateralism solely for Britain; I see it as a step toward wider disarmament. Fear is very much a part of the incentive for armaments. If the fear were removed, each side would be more reasonable. I think that if the West were to voluntarily divest itself of nuclear weapons as a token of its peaceful intentions, this would greatly impress the Russians. They would then feel that they had nothing to fear and that they could enormously reduce their own expenditure on armaments. They would spend their money on consumer goods instead.

PLAYBOY: Does your disarmament plan involve also the abandonment of conventional weapons? 
RUSSELL: We should not interfere with conventional weapons unless there is general nuclear disarmament. We would then discard all but a very small number of conventional weapons.

PLAYBOY: It has been said by some political observers that this eventuality will remain entirely academic as long as the U.S. continues to insist on inspection without disarmament, and the U.S.S.R. on disarmament without inspection. Would you agree or disagree with this appraisal? 
RUSSELL: It does rather look that way. One side says that America is to blame for the stalemate and the other says Russia is responsible. You get the same sort of explanation in both countries. That, roughly speaking, has been the excuse for not reaching agreement. But I think the true explanation lies deeper than that. Neither side wants agreement, and they have to have something plausible to disagree about. You must realize that in both countries there are political and military factions—lobbies, if you like—which exert powerful pressure for extremist policies. On both sides they consist of people with interests in armaments and all the apparatus of preparation for war. There are military commanders in power on both sides, and their vested interest is in exercising that power. In fact, military people carry much more weight in the making of policy than does public opinion.

PLAYBOY: Would you say, then, considering this climate of opinion within, as well as between Russia and America, that there is any realistic hope of drafting a global disarmament plan which would be acceptable to both sides? 
RUSSELL: No, not at present. There is no possibility of attaining or sustaining general disarmament until East-West tension has lessened.

PLAYBOY: In 1957 you wrote in The New Statesman, the liberal British journal, an appeal to Premier Khrushchev and then-President Eisenhower for just such a lessening of world tension, to which both the Russian leader and John Foster Dulles responded with public reassurances. Six years have elapsed since then without a noticeable decline in global strife and division. At this critical moment in the cold war, would you care to make another such appeal—perhaps suggesting specific ways in which relations can be improved—to Khrushchev and President Kennedy? 
RUSSELL: If I were to make another such appeal, I would have to begin by repeating what I said in 1957. I should say simply to both men: “You seem anxious to destroy the world, to create vast misery and total destruction. All this preparation for war is childish—and suicidal. If you could only begin to tolerate each other, you would be perfectly happy.” I would go on to suggest that the overridingly urgent necessity is to come to an agreement. This is far more important than the precise form the agreement takes. Last summer, I sent a message to Moscow in which I expressed the wish that in all negotiations between East and West, the negotiator for the Communists should begin by saying that the universal victory of capitalism would be less disastrous than nuclear war. At the same time, the Western spokesman should start by admitting that the universal victory of communism would be preferable to the destruction of mankind. In a speech last July, Khrushchev singled out this suggestion and said that he entirely agreed. I was rather pleased. I would suggest further that the likelihood of war could be lessened immeasurably if both sides would place a great deal more emphasis on the ghastly destructiveness of war. At present, the major organs of publicity in both East and West are inclined to make the public believe that nuclear war wouldn’t really be so terrible after all. That is why I am opposed to Civil Defense preparations. They are diabolical inventions calculated to tell lies and to deceive. Everyone who knows anything knows that. People may think themselves safe in their deep shelters—but they will roast. Governments must be made to give up the habit of lying in order to persuade people to die quietly. Thirdly, I would strongly recommend an agreement on both sides not to teach that the other side is wicked. For Americans, communism is the Devil; for the Russians, capitalism is the Devil. The truth is that neither is wickeder than the other. They are both wicked.

PLAYBOY: Do you see no difference between the moral positions of America and Russia?
RUSSELL: No. They both have abominable systems. I am inclined to prefer the American system, but only because it is more allied with what I am used to. If I had been born a Russian, probably I should prefer the Russian system.

 

PLAYBOY: Have your views changed since you returned from a trip to Russia in 1920 to write one of the earliest and sharpest criticisms of the Soviet regime? 
RUSSELL: I still take exactly the same view. Up to the time of Stalin’s death, it was really quite horrible. Since then, I think, things have not been quite so bad—though I still don’t care for the Soviet system at all. I just don’t happen to like the American system either. The Americans tell you they stand for freedom: What they mean is that you must be quite willing to perish in order to be free in hell. In Russia, they punish you if you espouse capitalism. In America, they punish you if you espouse communism. What is the difference? But it is not worthwhile for us to go into the question of whether Russia or America has the better system. There are merits and demerits on both sides. The only important matter is to find some way of compromise between them, which will avoid war. At present, each has an entirely melodramatic conception of the other, and I think that the Russian government, in particular, encourages this view by not allowing Russian tourists to visit other countries except in small, organized groups. The same applies to Western visitors in Russia. This is a great pity. But there also seems to be some kind of fear in the West that if you get to know Communists, you will begin to admire them and finally be won over by them. Not a bit of it. There is simply no other way to achieve on each side an understanding of the real nature of the other. I would suggest—finally, in my appeal—that both Kennedy and Khrushchev consider the merits of a plan whereby the neutral nations would appoint a small, permanent body, well-informed on world affairs, which would investigate every dispute—such as Berlin, India or Cuba—and give an objective opinion on how it should be settled without favoritism to either side. Each settlement proposed, of course, would have to be, as far as possible, one that will be acceptable to the public in the countries concerned. Perhaps it could then develop into a permanent organization composed of three different groups: East, West and neutral. It seems to me that whichever side was more reasonable would win the support of the neutrals. Something of this sort has got to develop if we hope to reduce the deadly danger of war. Such a three-pronged body could be a step toward truly effective world government. But of course, that won’t be for a long time. At first, it would be merely advisory. After a century of advice, it might begin to acquire a measure of authority.

PLAYBOY: Do you consider it possible to strive for these same aims without waiting a century—by relying on the UN? 
RUSSELL: It can’t be done through the UN as it is now, because the UN does not embrace China. Its exclusion is a colossal stupidity. The veto also is an absurdity. Some nations, moreover, are very much more powerful and more populous than others—and you cannot invest a little nation with the same weight as a big nation. What you will have to do is divide the world into regions. You might, for example, have North America as one group, Europe as another, Russia as a third, China as a fourth and so on. You would have to work it out with a view to making it more or less equally balanced in population. And the various regions ought to be so constituted that their internal relations would be foremost in importance, and their relations to the outer world secondary in importance. I would leave each region complete autonomy for its own affairs. The world government would become involved only when there were contests or disputes with other regions. We shall not long survive without some such system.

PLAYBOY: On a personal level, why have you chosen to adopt a policy of civil disobedience as a means of promoting the cause of peace? 
RUSSELL: Purely to get attention. All the major organs of publicity are against us. It was extremely difficult to get any attention at all until we resorted to it. I have no views in principle, either for or against civil disobedience. It has always been practiced at different times and places. With me, it is purely a practical question of whether to do it or not, a method of propaganda.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel that the authorities have the moral right to prosecute and imprison those involved in such non-violent demonstrations for peace—as they have done to you? 
RUSSELL: I have no right to complain about being punished for breaking the law. I complain only if I am not permitted to break it. I recognize that if you go outside the law you cannot complain if it is made a little awkward for you, but it ought to be possible to do so. If I suddenly took it into my head that I wanted to assassinate the Queen, then I should expect to be punished. You do that sort of thing with full foreknowledge of the consequences.

PLAYBOY: You were recently threatened with expulsion from the Labor Party for urging Western representatives to attend a Moscow “peace” conference and state their views. Aren’t such occasions always turned to their own advantage by the Communists? 
RUSSELL: On the contrary. Members of the Committee of 100 went to Moscow last summer and presented their point of view very effectively indeed. They got publicity both inside and outside of Russia. Many Americans have asked me why I don’t preach my ideas to the Russians as well as to the West, and the answer is that I do. Certainly the Russians disagree with much of what I say, but I have found it just as easy—or as difficult—to get publicity for my views in the Soviet press as in the English press. The question I wondered about was whether they had bowdlerized what I said. I have taken the trouble to get translations of what they printed and found that they have been completely faithful. They have not altered a scrap.

PLAYBOY: In addition to disseminating your views personally on both sides of the Iron Curtain, you were the initiator of a series of peace conferences, of which the first was held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, between groups of scientists from East and West. What positive results do you feel have emerged from these symposia? 
RUSSELL: They have made a contribution toward informed opinion. For one thing, as a result, the test-ban negotiations came closer to success than they would otherwise have done. But the Pugwash meetings have not accomplished as much as one might have hoped. There was a lack of effective publicity. The public won’t listen to informed opinion. They want uninformed opinion.

PLAYBOY: In 1916, you were fined £100 by the Lord Mayor of London for circulating a pacifistic leaflet, which the law deemed “likely to prejudice the recruiting and discipline of His Majesty’s Forces.” Your intention, you said then, “was to procure, if possible, a change in the law, or failing that, to secure a change in administration.” Does the same intention motivate your current antiwar activities? 
RUSSELL: Yes. Then, of course, I was defending the rights of conscientious objectors in World War I. I do not wholly share their views, but I felt, and still feel, that one should respect their convictions. They believe what I do not believe—that it is wicked to take part in any war, however righteous the cause. I supported the war against Hitler, and have become a pacifist today largely because of the destructiveness of nuclear warfare.

PLAYBOY: Speaking of this destructiveness in psychological terms, you have said that Kennedy, Khrushchev, Macmillan and other world leaders “are driven irrationally into policies which may effectively end human life on this planet.” If their judgment is so irrational, Lord Russell, what is the point of your attempts to dissuade them on rational grounds from precipitating war? 
RUSSELL: Even less is to be gained, I think, by the West’s continuing campaign to remake the East in its own image, and by the East’s unrelenting efforts to do the same with the West. The change—an attitude of mutual concession in an atmosphere of mutual understanding—has got to come from within each country, from within each individual. It is to this end that I persist in my appeal. When I made such an appeal to Khrushchev last October, the Cuban situation had changed the world situation very much for the worse, and I felt it necessary to make a last effort. His response was more than I could have hoped for. He showed himself willing to act cautiously in very difficult circumstances. I will continue to maintain communication with him for the purpose of facilitating a settlement.

PLAYBOY: Even if a nuclear conflict is avoided, either through disarmament or a continuing balance of power, Khrushchev has made it clear that future “peaceful coexistence” will entail a continuing nonviolent struggle on the ideological front and an intensified campaign of economic competition, which he predicts will eventually “bury” us. What posture do you feel the West should adopt in combating this threat? 
RUSSELL: Neither of these conflicting interests will be arbitrated equitably and amicably until we have a truly representative and authoritative world government. In the absence of one, it will be a tug-of-war, a question of who is stronger. A continued program of economic and educational aid to underdeveloped countries, meanwhile, would be a significant means of strengthening the Western position. It would be better, of course, if such aid were given cooperatively by both sides, but I don’t think that this is practical politics at the moment. In either case, it should be given not on cold war grounds, but simply because these people need help.

PLAYBOY: Do you share the apprehension of leading sociologists and economists concerning the implications of unchecked population growth in such overcrowded and underproductive areas as Africa, China, India and parts of Latin America? 
RUSSELL: The population problem has, in my opinion, been rather exaggerated. It can be solved by adequate birth control, and I don’t think that Catholic objections will prevent the increasingly widespread use and acceptance of contraceptives. After all, Roman Catholics represent only a small segment of the world’s population. India and China are the really big problem areas, and both are inclined to favor birth control.

PLAYBOY: Do you agree with many historians and social scientists who foresee that the next century will witness “an inexorable economic and societal evolution,” as one commentator has expressed it, “from the tradition of individual enterprise to the psychology of mass man?” 
RUSSELL: Societies comprised of small farmers, merchants and artisans will soon be anachronistic. Almost everybody is already part of something big. If we are to preserve individual liberty in this new world of huge firms and institutions, we must begin thinking in different terms from the tenets of classical liberalism. We will be able to deal with the “curse of bigness,” as Justice Brandeis called it, only by democratizing industry. I would like, for example, to see rules providing for the popular election of directors and managers in each industry. The important thing is to ensure the limitation and equitable division of power. At present economic power is too much concentrated in the hands of a few big men who control the lives of others to an undesirable degree. The Russians—in fact, socialists of all countries—make the cardinal error of believing that if you have a democratic state running industry, then it automatically follows that the industries themselves will be democratic. But to put state officials in place of capitalist officials changes nothing; they are still men, still wielding the same power. Unless state officials are made responsible to all us underlings, nothing will ever be achieved by nationalization.

PLAYBOY: So far we have been talking mainly of the issues which have preoccupied you during the last half-dozen years. But your life’s work has encompassed a multitude of causes. Which of them has mattered most to you? 
RUSSELL: Though they have mattered differently at different times, the question of international peace certainly transcends any I have ever been concerned with or any issue that previously excited me. But I have derived great satisfaction from many of my interests—matters of the mind more than anything else. Mathematical logic has been the source of perhaps my deepest intellectual gratification. It has given me very great pleasure to feel, in an important field of human knowledge, that I may have made some lasting contribution to man’s understanding of things that were once beyond his grasp, but which can now be comprehended and manipulated. I am also pleased with the aftermath of my campaign for women’s suffrage and my efforts to secure a more enlightened sexual morality and behavior. They have gone almost as well as I would have liked them to go. When I was young, one talked to a woman in a different language than when talking to a man. There was a cultivated unreality in intercourse between men and women, which I thought was very bad indeed. Today things are utterly different. Young people don’t realize how much change there has been. But we still need much more freedom and frankness in sexual instruction. Another matter to which I have always attached great importance in education is that schools ought not to teach nationalism. Every school, with hardly any exception, has as one of its objects the deception of children. They teach them patriotism, to salute the flag. But the flag is a murder symbol, and the state is a pirate ship, a gang of murderers who have come together. When they salute the flag, they salute the symbol of bloody murder. All this is perfectly clear, valid psychology.

PLAYBOY: On the occasion of your 90th birthday, Lord Russell, you said, “In old age, one becomes aware of what has, and of what has not been achieved.” Did you mean this observation to apply to the fruits of your own efforts in behalf of the various causes you’ve espoused? 
RUSSELL: Let me reply this way. Contrary to the customary pattern, I have gradually become more and more of a rebel as I have grown older. Since boyhood, my life has been devoted to two different objectives, which for a long time remained separate. It’s only in comparatively recent years that they have come together. One has been to discover whether anything could actually be known; this was a matter of philosophical inquiry. The other has been to do whatever I could to help create a happier world. I cannot claim that what I have written, said and done about social and political problems has had any great importance. It is easy to have an immense effect if you dogmatically preach a precise gospel such as communism. But I do not believe that mankind needs anything dogmatic. I think it essential to teach a certain hesitancy about dogma. Whatever you believe, you must have reservations. You must envisage the possibility that you may be wrong. I want to see individuals retain the kind of personal flexibility and initiative that they ought to have. This means that they cannot, and must not, be forced into a rigid mold. In my lifetime, freedom—which once seemed to be gaining ground—has come to be regarded as weakness. When I was young, I thought the battle for tolerance had been won. But more recently we have reverted back to the intolerance of the great religious wars. And when I was young, I set out with the belief that love—free and courageous love—could conquer the world. I perhaps thought that the road to a free and happy world would be shorter than it has turned out to be.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel now that this dream of a free and happy world was perhaps little more than the kind of utopian vision which has always inspired man in youth—and so often disenchanted him in maturity? 
RUSSELL: It is something more. There is not anything to stop it from coming to pass except our own silliness—a silliness forced upon us by an education that teaches us that our country is vastly better than any other, and that in all respects it is always in the right. It would not be difficult to build a peaceful world if people really wanted it. It is certainly worthwhile to live and act and do what one can to bring it about. I haven’t changed my earlier views in that respect. I still believe exactly what I said when I was 80, when people were asking me much the same question. I have lived in the pursuit of a vision, both personal and social. Personal, to care for what is noble, for what is beautiful, for what is gentle, to allow moments of insight to impart wisdom in mundane times. Social, to envision in imagination, an attainable society in which the individual can grow freely, in which hate and greed and envy will die because there is nothing to nourish them. These things I still believe. So you can see that the world, for all its horrors, has left me unshaken.

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS PART 149 WW Sir Bertrand Russell once said if atheism was true we’d have no choice but to build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair” and that ties in well with other modern secular philosophers!!!

 

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 GG Sir Bertrand Russell

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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HAVE WE KILLED GOD? ATHEISM & WHAT IT MEANS FOR US.

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Bertrand Russell once said that if atheism was true we’d have no choice but to build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair” (1).

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There is little more the atheist can do but to face the absurdity of existence and to live bravely in the face of it. It is this existence that the atheist philosopher Albert Camus referred to as “nausea.” Camus struggled deeply with the idea of the absurdity of life and of human existence, an existence that forces us to live within an uncaring, indifferent world. A colleague of Camus, a philosopher by the name Jean Paul Sartre, discovered that “If God does not exist… man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon, either within or outside himself” (2). Equally as depressive was the French biochemist Jacques Monod who in his book Chance and Necessity wrote that man has finally come to a place where he “knows he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe” (3).

One can’t elucidate what this means without mentioning the German nihilist and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche saw that when man killed God, so man killed himself too. In his work, The Gay Science, he famously penned that “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” (4).

Now, obviously he did not believe God actually died, not to mention that the God of classical theism cannot die. Rather, for Nietzsche, God had never existed, and thus it was only our idea of God that had died, specifically the Christian version which he contended had “become unbelievable” (5). For Nietzsche the implications were severe; God’s death wasn’t a particularly good thing. Not only did it suggest that the universe wasn’t made with us in mind as once believed, but it also presented a challenge to our moral assumptions (which he referred to as “our entire European morality”). How, having removed God and the transcendent standard that is grounded within in, are we now to hold to a system of values in the absence of a divine order? Nietzsche contended that without God we had to reject our belief in an objective and universal moral law that is binding upon all people. With this rejection the western world’s foundation for morality had finally collapsed into a smoldering heap. But Nietzsche saw that many would fail to come to terms with God’s death given the fact of our human nature that longs for meaning, “God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown” (6).

However, in the face of all of this, it is no secret that many atheists fail to live consistently with their atheism. Such atheists will often loudly and proudly denounce the superstition that is religious belief and belief in God. Today we have science, so who needs God? Science has done away with God so any rational minded person should adopt atheism. But no matter how loud she is, this atheist has failed to grasp the severity of all this.

Who, for example, is happy at the prospect of obliteration at death, and that whatever one has achieved in life, whether that is personal achievement or the helping of others, ultimately comes to nothing? Atheism demands that we come to terms with this, and like the universe, which itself will come to an end, so will human life. If the universe has no ultimate meaning, there is no reason to suppose that our lives have any meaning and value within it. At most then our belief that human beings are valuable and capable of living meaningful lives is an illusion merely fobbed off onto us due to sociobiological conditioning. What person is able to live with such a reality on a daily basis? What does the atheist doctor say to his patient on his or her deathbed? What does atheist mother tell her daughter when she begins asking these big philosophical, existential questions?

On such a view, human beings have no more value than any other animal. The only difference between the dog and the human is that the human can come to know and comprehend the meaninglessness of his own existence, the lives of those of whom he “loves” (love being nothing more than dopamine and norepinephrine chemicals within his brain), and the pointlessness of the universe itself. If this is true then the poor hound seemed to get the luckier draw in this life. According to the late atheist William Provine, “No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there any absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life” (7).

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer provided an excellent examination of this inconsistency. According to Schaeffer, modern man lives in a two-story house (8). On the bottom level is the finite world without God where life and existence is absurd. The upper level, however, is where value and purpose exist. Schaeffer said that modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. However, modern man cannot live happily in such an absurd world. Modern man therefore has to repeatedly make leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. He is thus fully inconsistent when he makes this leap, one that he can’t help but make. He grabs for something that he believes does not exist, hence man cannot live consistently and happily with his atheism.

This reminds me of Michael Shermer, a passionate atheist and the founder of The Skeptics Society. In his book he shares a sad anecdote from his college days when his girlfriend was in a car accident, an accident that paralyzed her for life. In that moment of desperation he prayed to God, begging God to heal her. But when his prayer went unanswered he turned his back on Christian belief fully (9). I feel incredibly sorry for Shermer and for anyone who has suffered so tragically; I am quite certain that there are good number of former Christians who left the faith over such things. But, on atheism, that is the brutal reality of existence. What happens, just happens, and it doesn’t matter how we get hurt.

As insensitive as it might sound (I feel there is no other way to put it), a car crash leaving a girlfriend paralyzed for life is simply, on atheism, a collision of atoms smashing into each other at high velocity. On a worldview where God does not exist, and in a universe that cares nothing for us, this is just the way things are no matter how much our hearts and minds tell us the contrary. Thus, if atheism is true no matter how much we beg for a miracle, for a sign, for anything, there is no God on the other end of the line to hear us. We are trapped on a rock that is no more than “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” as Carl Sagan once remarked (10).

At the end we can see why the question of God’s existence is no trivial one. And what conclusion we come to concerning this question will shape us, undoubtedly. But, as Nietzsche, believed, have we killed God?

May it not be so.

References.

1. Russell, B. 1903. The Free Man’s WorshipAvailable.

2. Paul Sartre, J. The Rebel. p.75.

3. Monod, J. 1971. Chance and necessity: an essay on the natural philosophy of modern biology. p. 180.

4. Nietzsche, F. 1882. The Gay Science. p. 125.

5. Nietzsche, F. 1882. Ibid, p. 343.

6. Nietzsche, F. 1882. Ibid. p. 108.

7. Provine, W. 1988. Scientists, Face it! Science and Religion are Incompatible.Available.

8. Burson, S. & Walls, J. 2009. C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century… p. 96.

9. Miller, A. 2012. Book Review: The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer. Available.

10. Sagan, C. 1994. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Nihilism, like atheism and even humanism, seem to stir up both fear and exhilaration, i.e., fear of death, and exhilaration at relying on one’s own discoveries and making one’s own choices in life. I think Christianity stirs up both fear and exhilaration too with its notion of being saved or damned. Certainly many Christians fear for their souls and those of their loved ones and the souls of everyone on earth for that matter, and that viewing one’s self as part of a divine comedy as Dante did, is exhilarating. On the other hand, many Christians also seem to retain a fear not simply of hell, but of death as nothingness, and mourn just as greatly as atheists do when someone they love has died. The thought of anyone becoming a nihilist, including themselves, i.e., accepting that death is the end, also seems to strike a note of fear into Christians. Though ancient Hebrews apparently were able to accept that everyone who died, even the prophets, simply went to the same place as the animals, i.e., Sheol, the shadow land of eternal death, never to return.

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Excellent article. I do think that if you do not think there is a God then you must consider that the words in the song DUST IN THE WIND are correct and our lives do not have a lasting meaning, but are as dust in the wind.
I started studying the Book of Ecclesiastes in 1976 when Adrian Rogers came to my school and preached a message on it. Just two years later I heard the song DUST IN THE WIND, and I told my friends at church that the author of that song had reached the conclusion that no material thing UNDER THE SUN can satisfy the deep longings of his soul. You must look above the sun, and that is what Solomon does in the last chapter.

Twenty-nine times in the earlier portion of the book he mentions this phrase UNDER THE SUN. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘UNDER THE SUN.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.”

Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

The lyrics from 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.”

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

Now let me respond to my good friend Ed Babinski’s comments concerning the Jews’ beliefs in the Old Testament concerning the afterlife. It just so happens that a couple of days ago of my nephew asked me this very question. After looking it over the last few days, it seems that there are many scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of the afterlife (see Is 26:19; Jb 19:25ff; Dn 12:2; Ez 37:12; Hos 13:14; 1 Sm 2:6, among many others.)

Related posts:

 

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 UU Sir Bertrand Russell, Lenin’s meeting with Russell and WHY Communism fails EVERYTIME!!!!!

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

______________________

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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