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

 

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

Soren Andersson/AP

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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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Bertrand Russell

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Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, mathematician, logician, social activist, writer, critic, pacifist, and intellectual. He owned a huge fame for his works on analytical philosophy, mathematical logic, linguistics, anti-imperialism, human rights and so on. In the academic fields of mathematics and logic, he is famous for his great works including ‘Principia Mathematica’.

Bertrand Russell born on May 18, 1872, in Monmouthshire, UK. He got an influential and intellectual family by birth. His parents, Lord and Lady Amberly supported Birth control when many people thought it as blasphemous. Lord Amberly was an atheist, which influenced child Russell very much. Russell lost his parents at childhood. After that, his grandmother started to look after Russell and his two siblings; Frank and Rachel. Russell’s education started at home with the help of his brother, Frank and some tutors. Frank taught him euclidean geometry, which changed his life.

 Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

Russell went to Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1890. In 1895, he became wrangler and obtained a first class with distinction in philosophy. The college authority elected him as a fellow. After leaving college, he worked as an attache in the British embassy in France. Later he worked as an academician and lecturer in different Universities in Europe. He also America including Cambridge and Harvard.

Russell’s early works began with his affection on mathematics and logic. Although his outlook towards social and political theories led him to publish ‘German Social Democracy’. He wrote many articles on logic and foundation of mathematics, such as ‘An Essay on the foundations of Geometry’, ‘The Principles of Mathematics’, ‘An introduction to the Mathematical Philosophy’, ‘Mysticism and logic’, ‘Our Knowledge about External World’ and so on. His later works were on political and social activism, which led him to swim against the current of traditional belief systems. ‘Marriage and Morals’, ‘Why I am not a Christian’, ‘war crimes in Vietnam’, ‘Unarmed Victory’, ‘Religion and Science’, ‘Theory and Practice of Bolshevism in Russia’, ‘Problems of China’ are his renowned works. He also achieved Nobel prize in literature in 1950.

Read Biography of:   Elon Musk

Russell married four times. His first wife was Alys Pearsall Smith. Dora Russell, Patricia Spence, and Edith Finch Russell were his wives in his later part of life. Bertrand Russell died on February 2 in 1970. The present world still recognizes him as one of the greatest thinkers of the modern time.

Born: May 18, 1872, Trellech, United Kingdom
Died: February 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, United Kingdom
Influenced: Sidney Hook, Noam Chomsky, Isaac Asimov, More

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 View of Jesus Christ

From the first century up to the present day, the Sonship and divinity of Jesus have been attacked with amazingly and seemingly unending vigor and venom. One of the modern-day leaders in this attack against Christianity would certainly be Bertrand Russell, who was one of the most influential, and often outspoken, philosophers of the twentieth century. He was born in England in 1872 and continued to write and lecture in both Europe and the United States until not long before his death in 1970. His parents were freethinkers and close friends with John Stuart Mill, a pioneer in modern scientific thinking who devised rules for inductive scientific reasoning and was a leader of ethical utilitarianism (“Russell” 235). For the purposes of this article, Russell and his criticisms will be used as a model for skeptics in general. First, it will be succinctly shown that this discussion is still relevant and important as popular culture continues to disseminate false information concerning Christ and Christianity. Second, Russell’s arguments presented in Why I Am Not A Christian will be examined and then exposed as being untenable and false. Third, some basic proofs and evidences will be given in support of the claim that Jesus is divine.

Even while Jesus walked this Earth, many of His contemporaries refused to acknowledge the fact that He was divine. Consider, for example, the account of the blind man who was given his sight by Jesus (cf. John 9). The attitude displayed by the Pharisees is quite remarkable. For some, their first reaction upon hearing about the miracle was disbelief (John 9:16, 18). They had reached agreement that anyone confessing Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). Even after the man’s parents confirmed the fact that he was indeed born blind they still refused to believe. They even went so far at to attack his character as they claimed to “know” that Jesus was a sinner (John 9:24, 29).

The attitudes displayed by the Pharisees in the first century can be easily seen and readily recognized as attitudes that are popular today. Take for example the commotion stirred up by the book by Simcha Jacobovici and the subsequent film on the Discovery Channel by James Cameron. In The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence that Could Change History, the claim is made that a tomb in Jerusalem has been found that not only contains the bones of Jesus, but also proves that He was married and had children. If such were to be the case, Christianity would be a sham to be avoided. As evidence to the contrary is presented, showing the tomb to be a hoax, the scholars who appeared in the film are backing off of the strong comments they made (Habermas). Then there is Dan Brown and his best-seller The DaVinci Code. Among other claims, such as Christ being married to Mary Magdalene, it is asserted that the Council of Nicea in AD 325 was used to invent the reality that Jesus was divine. It is further stated that everyone knew Jesus was just a “great and powerful man” at this point and it took a vote by contemporaries of Constantine to “make” Jesus the Son of God (Brown 253). Though damage has been done, scores of books and papers have been written which clearly refute the erroneous claims made by Brown (cf. “Truth”).

Skeptics such as Brown and Jacobovici stand in a long line of those seeking to discredit the claims that Jesus was divine. Eighty years ago, Bertrand Russell mounted a head-on attack of the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus in his speech that was later published under the title, Why I Am Not A Christian. This lecture was delivered on March 6, 1927, at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society (Egner 585). This particular work has been highly influential since the day it was presented and continues to be so. Proof of its continued influence is found in the numerous websites that persist in lauding the efforts of Russell as they discuss the merits of his work. Typing, “Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian” on any internet search engine will literally return hundreds of thousands of hits. From research papers to personal blogs, this important work remains a serious topic for discussion and consideration.

The lecture/essay by the famous skeptic is divided into two parts: first, an attack against God and second, an attack against Jesus. Russell begins by giving his own definition of a Christian. He contends that to be a Christian one must believe in God and immortality and then also have some kind of belief about Christ (Egner 585). This two-part definition for a Christian leads Russell to say, “Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to 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” (586).

Discussion about the traditional arguments for the existence of God (cosmological, teleological, et. al.) and Russell’s attack on them is outside the scope of this article. Our task is limited to Jesus being the Christ. Specifically concerning Jesus, Russell attacks two things: His teaching and His moral character. It is easy to see how Russell, just like the Pharisees of John 9, has chosen to be blind to the evidence and available information. For example:

. . . I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here I may say that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. (qtd. in Egner 592)

It seems hard to believe that a man as intelligent as Russell, with all of his academic credentials and obvious ability to do research, would choose to be blind to the overwhelming facts. He believes the “historical question” is difficult to answer and that Christ probably never existed. What about the testimony of ancient writers who were antagonistic to the Christian faith such as Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Cerinthus, Celsus, Porphyry, Thallaus, and Josephus (just to name a few)? Each of these men, in different ways and for different reasons, all offer proof that Jesus was a real man and an historical figure. Often they were attempting to prove that Christ was not divine, but in so doing, proved that He was historical. How could Russell have missed such compelling evidence? Obviously, if he can be wrong about the historicity of Christ, he can be wrong about the divinity of Christ.

First, Russell attacks the wisdom and teaching of Christ. Russell contends that Jesus taught that the Second Coming would “occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time” (593). In fact, Jesus explicitly said that no one knew the time of His coming back (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7). Thus, it is contrary to His very teaching to understand Him as telling an audience when He would return.

By saying Jesus predicted He would return within forty years (one generation) indicates at least two major problems. One, Jesus was ignorant (not superlatively wise). Two, Jesus was a false teacher. Neither one of these ideas is compatible with the idea that Jesus was God on Earth (John 1:1, 14; Matthew 1:23; etc.). On the contrary, the Bible portrays Jesus as one who was omniscient by such statements as He, “needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). Even the Samaritan woman recognized His amazing knowledge when she proclaimed, “Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). And, being God on Earth, it would be impossible for Jesus to tell a lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

One major factor contributing to the misunderstanding is that Russell confuses the coming of  the kingdom (the church) with the second coming and judgment. Only a basic understanding of the Bible is needed to clearly see Russell’s blunder. Just prior to His death on the cross, Jesus stated that His kingdom, the church, would be established very soon. “And I also say to you that you art Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). To which He further stated, “And He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God present with power’” (Mark 9:1). These statements are completely and perfectly fulfilled on the first Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, “[P]raising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Thus Christ was predicting that the church would be established in the very near future, not when He would return.

To claim the Christ had a “defect” in his teaching is quite disturbing. Some Bible scholars have studied the available evidence and come to the conclusion that Jesus was unmatched and should be considered the greatest teacher of all time. Consider the thoughts of Thomas B. Warren who wrote that Jesus was the incomparable teacher because:
1. The circumstances of His teaching.
2. His perfect knowledge of the subject matter He taught.
3. He had perfect knowledge of the people whom He taught.
4. His methods were clear and concrete.
5. The overall purpose of His mission to the Earth.
6. He practiced perfectly what He taught.
7. His attitude toward truth.
8. The breadth of His vision.
9. No teacher could ever compare with Jesus in the moral standard He set out.
10. No teacher ever taught a message which could have as far-reaching effects for good as that taught by Jesus.
11. No one ever loved his students as Jesus loved His.
12. He spoke with incomparable authority. (108-13)

Warren concludes the section of Jesus as a teacher by saying, “Jesus was the incomparable teacher. This fact is compelling evidence in favor of the conclusion that He is the Son of the only true God. He was so marvelously unique as a teacher that He simply could not have been merely a human being. We are driven to the conclusion that He was Divine” (114).

Second, Russell attacks the morality and character of Christ. He says, “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell” (Egner 593). Does belief in hell constitute a moral defect? Note the comparison between Hell and the Jewish holocaust by Norman Geisler who said, “The fact that Jesus believed in hell does not make him any more inhumane than someone who believes in the Jewish holocaust. Certainly, if the holocaust happened, then it is not inhumane to believe in it. Likewise, if hell is real, then one is not inhumane for believing it is real. The question is one of truth, not of humanity” (679).

Russell feels that no humane individual can believe in everlasting punishment, but how can one who advocates moral relativity make such a claim? When the standard of authority is subjective in nature (feelings, emotions, majority, situations, et. al.) it is very easy to say, “I don’t see how such a thing as hell could be possible.” Subjectivity leads to inconsistency and Russell had an inconsistent view of sin. He denied its validity, reducing everything to the desirable or undesirable. Yet he seemed to have no doubt that belief in hell was really and truly cruel, unmerciful, and inhumane. Such are moral absolutist positions. If morality is merely the desirable or undesirable, then there are no real moral grounds to say anything is cruel or wrong. It is counter intuitive to say that God is unjust in punishing the unjust. Thus one can see that when the standard of authority comes from outside of your personal beliefs or feelings, the situation is much different. The basis for religious knowledge is stated as such: (1) If God exists, (2) The Bible is the inspired word of God, (3) The Bible teaches that there is a place of eternal life as well as a place of eternal punishment, then (4) I can know that there is a place of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 25:46; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; John 8:31-32; et al.).

R. C. Oliver has made note of the fact that both friends and enemies alike attested to the perfect moral character of Jesus: “The character of Jesus is revealed in the first four books of the New Testament by: (1) what he did, (2) what he said, and (3) what others said about him. And in all of this evidence not the least flaw can be found against him. Even the testimony by his enemies, by which they were hoping to show a fault, revealed instead a virtue, one example of which is their accusation that Jesus was ‘a friend of publicans and sinners’ (Luke 7:34)” (5).

A logical inconsistency arises from one saying about Jesus on the one hand, “I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness,” but on the other hand, “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character.” Can both statements be rationally made? It would appear to be illogical to say someone held a high degree of moral goodness if they claimed to be the Son of God when, in fact, they were not the Son of God. Jesus certainly made such claims (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:61-2). As Josh McDowell has written, “You cannot put him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice” (34). Echoing the thoughts of McDowell, Peter Kreeft has written:

Nearly every non-Christian who ever lived has believed that Jesus was neither God nor a bad man but just a good man. But just a good man is the one thing he could not possibly have been. If he was the God he claimed to be, then he was not just a good man but more than a man. And if he was not the God he claimed to be, then he was not a good man at all but a bad man. A man who claims to be God and is not cannot be called “a good man.” He is either insane (if he believes that he is God) or a blasphemous liar (if he does not believe he is God but claims that he is). (229)

Russell also accuses Jesus of being vindictive and intolerant (Egner 593). Did Christ simply wish for the punishment and destruction of any and all who would not listen to Him and accept His teaching? Yes, according to Russell. No, according to the Bible. “. ..God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Jesus specifically taught His followers not to be vindictive (Matthew 5:39, 44). What objective student of the Bible could describe the attitude displayed on the cross as vindictive? After a brutal beating and cruel mocking, Jesus still displayed amazing love and mercy from the cross. Notice the Scriptures say, “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots” (Luke 23:33-34). It broke Jesus’ heart when His audiences would refuse to hear the truth (Matthew 23:37; Mark 6:34). He wanted their loving obedience. He drew no pleasure from the punishment of others.

Russell further accuses Jesus of using fear tactics to force people into following him. Referring to Hell and the sin against the Holy Spirit, he said, “I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world” (qtd. in Egner 594). Is the person who warns the residents of a seacoast town that a hurricane is coming guilty of using fear tactics? The key lies in the truth of the statement. Fear can be perfectly rational if the thing to be feared is real. If hell is real, as Jesus says that it is
(Matthew 25:41), then the only loving and kind thing to do would be to warn others of its existence so that all who listen might avoid such a destination.

Almost in passing, Russell mentions the account of demons being cast into swine and that of Jesus cursing the fig tree as further evidence of character flaws (594). These biblical accounts are found in Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:27-34 and Matthew 21:18-20; Mark 11:12-22,
respectively. What is significant about these stories? Was Jesus unkind to animals? Was Jesus unkind to the tree and the environment? Of course not. As God, Jesus was sovereign over all life. He created it, and He had the right to take it (Deuteronomy 32:39; Job 1:21). The key is to look for the lesson being taught. The fig tree illustrates the fact that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah will lead to disaster. Casting the demons into the swine proved that Jesus was more powerful than Satan and his angels.

Finally, some basic proofs and evidences will be given in support of the claim that Jesus is Divine. If the particular characteristics of the person and work of Jesus Christ are such as to be beyond those of mere men, then Jesus is the Son of God and those like Russell will have been defeated. Such will be proven when it is shown that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, performed miracles, and was raised from the dead (Gardner 55-70).

First, Jesus uniquely fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

From Genesis through Malachi, the history of Jesus is foretold in minute detail. Bible critics who wish to disprove Christ’s deity must refute fulfilled prophecy. To accomplish this, one would have to contend that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies genuinely; rather, He only appeared to fulfill them. Yet with over 300 prophecies relating to Christ–none of which can be dismissed flippantly–this is an impossible task. (Thompson 254-55)

Just a few of the more notable fulfilled prophecies would be: the Messiah would be conceived of a virgin and called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23); He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2.1); would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60); would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15); and His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34, 37).

Second, Jesus proved He was the Son of God by the miracles He performed. This is exactly the point Peter was driving home to the Jewish audience in Acts 2:22, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” The evidence that Jesus authenticated His claim to being God by performing miracles can be demonstrated through six points: (1) the reliability of the New Testament, (2) the inclusion of historical details lends credibility, (3) Jewish leaders and Jesus’ opponents admitted He performed miracles, (4) antagonistic sources outside the Bible confirm Jesus’ miracles, (5) the miraculous resurrection is one of the best-attested events in the ancient world, and (6) alternative explanations fall short (Zacharias 89-93). Jim McGuiggan has suggested three positive reasons for holding that the miracles of Jesus Christ really happened: 1) the reputation of Jesus Christ, 2) the powerful testimony of history, and 3) the subsequent miracles of the apostolic group (63-73).

Third, Jesus proved He was the Son of God when He walked out of the tomb on the third day after He was nailed to the cross. John Stott points out that this event was both dateable and physical (46-8). In other words, it was testable. It was a dateable historical event and actually
involved the body of Jesus. In The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel records Craig’s affirmative case for the empty tomb:
1. The empty tomb is definitely implicit in the early tradition that is passed along by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, which is a very old and reliable source of historical information about Jesus.
2. The site of Jesus’ tomb was known to Christian and Jew alike.
3. We can tell from the language, grammar, and style that Mark got His empty tomb story from an earlier source.
4. The simplicity of the empty tomb story in Mark.
5. The unanimous testimony that the empty tomb was discovered by women argues for the authenticity of the story, because this would have been embarrassing for the disciples to admit and most certainly would have been covered up if this were a legend.
6. The earliest Jewish polemic presupposes the historicity of the empty tomb. (220-21)

Thus it has been shown that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, performed miracles, and was raised from the dead. Based upon the evidence, it is therefore clear that the particular characteristics of the person and work of Jesus Christ are such as to be beyond those of mere men. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God.

Whether it be the Pharisees, Dan Brown, or Bertrand Russell, one can see that from AD 30 to the present day, the divinity of Jesus has been attacked repeatedly. However, time and time again the biblical claims are vindicated. Jesus is always proven to be the Divine Son of God. Such is the case because we have the evidence upon which to build our faith and can be assured that Jesus is who He claimed to be (Hebrews 11:1; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 3:15). Shall we choose to be blind or shall we choose to see clearly (cf. John 9:35-39)?

 

Works Cited

Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code. New York: Anchor, 2003.

Egner, Robert E. and Lester E. Denonn, eds. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell. New York: Touchstone, 1961.

Gardner, Lynn. Christianity Stands True: A Common Sense Look at the Evidence. Joplin: College, 1994.

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999.

Habermas, Gary. “12 Major Problems for the ‘Jesus Tomb’ Theory.” GaryHabermas.com 20 June 207. Web. 19 April 2010.

Jacobovici, Simcha and Charles Pellegrino. The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence that Could Change History. San Francisco: Harper, 2007.

Kreeft, Peter. “Why I Believe Jesus is the Son of God.” Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Eds. Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.

McDowell, Josh. More Than A Carpenter. Wheaton: Living, 1985.

McDowell, Josh and Bart Larson. Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity. San Bernardino: Here’s Life, 1983.

McGuiggan, Jim. If God Came. Lubbock: Montex, 1980.

Oliver, R. C. “The Perfect Character of Christ.” The Spiritual Sword 1.3 (1970): 4-8.

“Russell, Bertrand Arthur William.” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 7. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

Stott, John R. W. The Authentic Jesus: The Certainty of Christ in a Skeptical World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1985.

Strobel, Lee. The Case For Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.

Thompson, Bert. Rock-Solid Faith: How to Build it. Montgomery: Apologetics Press, 2000.

Truth About DaVinci.com. 20 June 2007 < http://www.thetruthaboutdavinci.com/resources/&gt;.

Warren, Thomas B. Jesus: The Lamb Who Is a Lion. Jonesboro: National Christian, 1988.

Zacharias, Ravi and Norman Geisler, eds. Who Made God? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

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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. 

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 […]

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

 

 

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Seen below is William Faulkner and Bertrand Russell receiving Nobel Prize in 1950. My grandparents grew up in Oxford, Mississippi and knew William Faulkner. My grandfather, John Murphey, (born 1910) grew up in Oxford, Mississippi and knew both Johncy and “Bill” Faulkner. He told me that Bill was a very bashful shy man. Johncy was outgoing and would be very friendly and would love to stop and visit.

My grandfather was in the moving business and he had moved Johncy several times, but Johncy still had several outstanding bills. Then one day Johncy told my grandfather to take the bills to his brother and he would pay them in full. I don’t know the exact date, but my grandfather was told that Faulkner had got his first big check from a publisher and I am guessing that it was  in the early 1930’s.

Image result for bertrand russell nobel prize

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

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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,

About 

BERTRAND RUSSELL 

As a philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic and political activist, Bertrand Russell authored over 70 books and thousands of essays and letters addressing a myriad of topics. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, Russell was a fine literary stylist, one of the foremost logicians ever, and a gadfly for improving the lives of men and women.Born in 1872 into the British aristocracy and educated at Cambridge University, Russell gave away much of his inherited wealth. But in 1931 he inherited and kept an earldom. His multifaceted career centered on work as a philosophy professor, writer, and public lecturer.(Here is a detailed chronology of Russell’s life, an overview of his analytic philosophy, and a complete bibliography of all his publications.)

Russell was an author of diverse scope. His first books were German Social DemocracyAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, and A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. His last books were War Crimes in Vietnam and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Other noteworthy books include Principles of MathematicsPrincipia Mathematica (with A.N. Whitehead), Anti-Suffragist AnxietiesThe Problems of PhilosophyIntroduction to Mathematical PhilosophySceptical EssaysWhy I Am Not a Christian, and A History of Western Philosophy.

He was arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century and the greatest logician since Aristotle. Analytic philosophy, the dominant philosophy of the twentieth century, owes its existence more to Russell than to any other philosopher. And the system of logic developed by Russell and A.N. Whitehead, based on earlier work by Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, and Peano, broke logic out of its Aristotelian straitjacket. He was also one of the century’s leading public intellectuals and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

Russell was involved, often passionately, in numerous social and political controversies of his time. For example, he supported suffragists, free thought in religion and morals, and world government; he opposed World War I and the Vietnam War, nationalism, and political persecution. He was jailed in 1918 for anti-war views and in 1961 for his anti-nuclear weapons stance.

He was married 4 times and had 3 children. With Dora Russell, he founded the experimental Beacon Hill School. He knew or worked with many of the most prominent figures in late 19th and 20th century philosophy, mathematics, science, literature, and politics.

Active as a political and social critic until his end, Russell died in 1970 at the age of 97.

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._

EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS, EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE


EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS, EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE

Written by  on July 20, 2014

Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence

“Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”

That’s how renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell said he would answer God’s question, “Why didn’t you believe in me?” if ever he were to find himself before God on judgment day.

Russell was not the first, and certainly not the last, to make such a claim. Before him were the likes of David Hume and Pierre-Simon Laplace, who argued that the weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim—like the belief that Jesus rose from the dead, for example—must match the strangeness of the claim. Or as Carl Sagan famously restated, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

What Counts as Extraordinary?

Strictly speaking, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.’ Big claims require big proof. So far, so good.

But there are two problems with how that idea is sometimes misused. For some people, ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ is merely a way to dismiss the issue without further investigation. “I wouldn’t believe in Jesus unless he appeared to me personally, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!” Such people have no interest in examining an actual case for Jesus. They have already made up their minds beforehand, instead of letting the evidence speak for itself.

The other problem is that extraordinary things do happen in our world, which means that if we want to determine the truthfulness of an historical event, we cannot only consider the likelihood of the event itself. We must also consider the likelihood of the historical evidence surrounding the event being just as it is even if the event in question had never taken place. In other words, it may be that ‘extraordinary evidence’ for an extraordinary claim is found in a constellation of seemingly ordinary events that happened in such a way that an extraordinary event is the most plausible explanation. That’s a mouthful, but all we’re saying is this: the extraordinary claims of Christianity are backed up with several streams of evidence for which the only sensible explanation is that Jesus, in fact, rose from the dead (just as he said he would do).

The Extraordinary Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus

Not the Jewish Hope – Jews, as Jesus’ followers all were, did not believe in a resurrection in the middle of history, and they didn’t expect for their Messiah to be killed either. In fact, they held these beliefs so strongly that even though Jesus told them ahead of time that he would be killed and resurrected, they still didn’t believe him until after he returned from the grave! In other words, it’s highly unlikely that twelve people would change their minds about strongly held beliefs concerning the death of the Messiah and his resurrection in the middle of history, unless those things actually occurred and forced them to change their beliefs.

Not Just His Friends – Jesus did not live a secret life. His teachings and his miracles were all done in public in the presence of both friends and enemies. Similarly, Jesus was seen after his death by hundreds of people in different times and places. In fact, one man who had formerly made a name for himself by killing Jesus’ followers became a follower of Jesus upon encountering him after his resurrection. It may not take much to convince close friends, but it takes a mountain evidence to convince one’s enemies.

Not the Right Witnesses – If Jesus’ followers had wanted to make up a story about the resurrection of their Messiah, they picked the “wrong” people to be the first witnesses. The New Testament tells us the first people to see Jesus after he rose from the grave were women, whose testimonies in that society were not regarded. So, it’s more likely that Jesus did rise and first appear to a couple of women than it is to think that some men in a patriarchal society would have thought to make women the first eye-witnesses.

No Shrine in Sight – The tombs of famous Jewish figures, especially martyrs, almost always became shrines that were visited by their followers. But this did not happen with Jesus, as it did for the previous Messiah-claimants before him. The question we should ask is, “Why did all of those other tombs become shrines while Jesus’ tomb did not?” Instead of the people randomly snubbing Jesus’ tomb, it’s more likely that his tomb never became a shrine precisely because his body was no longer there.

No Turning Back – Of the eleven remaining disciples (Judas killed himself over the grief of what he had done), ten of them were killed for their refusal to recant their beliefs in Jesus, and the last was exiled to live on a remote island. When on trial, not one of these men said, “You know, this whole thing about Jesus is actually a lie. We took the body from the tomb, and made up a cool story. But now that you are threatening me with death, well, it’s time I come clean.” It’s highly unlikely that eleven men would independently refuse to recant their faith in Jesus, unless they were utterly certain that it was true.

Not the Right Day – For over one and a half thousand years, the Jewish people had worshipped God on the Sabbath, or Saturday, the seventh day of the week. But after the resurrection of Jesus, suddenly Jews began worshipping God on Sunday. What would make a deeply traditional culture shift their sacred day of worship? It would take something so remarkable, so significant, that they felt it was acceptable to change. That something was the resurrection of Jesus, which occurred on a Sunday.

When you put all of those together—(1) that the Messiah’s death and resurrection were not the Jewish expectation, (2) that Jesus’ followers were not just his friends but even former enemies, (3) that the first witnesses were women in a patriarchal society, (4) that Jesus’ tomb never became a shrine, as did the tombs of other martyrs, (5) that Jesus’ disciples all suffered and died for what they believed to be true, and (6) that thousands of Jews were convinced to switch their sacred day of worship from Saturday to Sunday—these semi-ordinary events combine to form a tapestry of extraordinary evidence.

Not a Problem of Evidence

When you consider the teachings of Jesus in light of the evidence for his resurrection, all signs point in the same direction. Jesus truly was who he claimed to be: the Son of God, the Lord of creation, the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world.

But why do some still not believe? If the evidence is so clear, how can anyone resist it?

We all have the same set of evidence, so it’s not that this person has more, thus they believe, while that person has less, so they don’t believe. No, the answer is found deep within our own hearts. So long as someone does not want Jesus to be who he claimed to be, they will continue to find an excuse to dismiss the evidence. In other words, there is enough evidence to convince those who are open to being convinced, but there will never be enough evidence to coerce someone who doesn’t want the gospel to be true.

Blaise Pascal, a brilliant Christian thinker in the 17th century, put it like this: “God so regulates the knowledge of himself that he has given indications of himself which are visible to those who seek him and not to those who do not seek him. There is enough light for those to see who desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.”

This seems unfair, but it’s actually just God giving people what they want. He says to those who are open to him, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) And Jesus adds, “Seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened, ask and it will be given you. For he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened, and to him who asks it shall be given.” (Matt. 7:7)

Meanwhile those who have already made up their mind, who are closed-minded and convinced in themselves, cannot be persuaded so long as they remain in that state. It’s not an evidence problem; it’s a desire problem. It’s not that there is no case for Jesus; it’s that they do not want any of it to be true. As atheist author Thomas Nagel confesses in his book, The Last Word, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God” (emphasis mine).

Ironic, isn’t it? An atheist author talks about what he wants to be true and what he hopes to be true, when usually it’s the religious folks who are accused of wishful thinking.

If you’re reading this and you’re not a convinced follower of Jesus, ask yourself: Are you open, truly open, to being wrong about Jesus? Have you considered the multiple streams of evidence that point to him? Are you honest enough to confess, like Thomas Nagel, that some part of you doesn’t want Jesus to be Lord? And finally, do you really think it’s wise to base on your life on what you want to be true, instead of giving the evidence a fair hearing?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But I think the evidence surrounding Jesus matches the claims about him, and he says to you now, “Seek and you will find.”


Doug Ponder is one of the founding pastors of Remnant Church in Richmond, VA, where he serves in many of the church’s teaching ministries. He has contributed to several published works and is the author of Rethink Marriage & Family. His interests include the intersection of theology, ethics, and the Christian life. Follow him on Twitter @dougponder.

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. 

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

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

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

Image result for sir william ramsay archaeologist

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

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

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

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

(Under footnote #98)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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 149X Sir Bertrand Russell

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Image result for bertrand russell

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Person(s) in Photograph: Bertrand Russell, Albert Schweitzer, unidentified persons

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

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Bertrand Russell, the 19th century British atheist philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate was once asked what he would say if he found himself standing before God on the judgement day and God asked him, “Why didn’t you believe in Me?” Bertrand, without blinking an eye blurted out this response: “I will look God in the eye and tell him that he did not give me enough evidence. Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!” What is interesting about Bertrand’s response is his sheer audacity to think that he can look God in the eyes. “God is like the sun,” G.K. Chesterton asserted, “You cannot look at it, but without it, you cannot look at anything else.”

Bertrand’s admittance that he chose the atheistic path because he couldn’t get enough evidence to the contrary is most unjustifiable and unfounded. My people have a maxim that challenges the tenets of this assertion. To wit: “One does not teach a child the nature of God.” Even people in the secular realm, without prior knowledge in scriptures know for sure that there is a God. Like other religions, their only shortcoming is the means by which they reach God. Jesus stated emphatically:“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Psalmist declares: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world”(Psalm 19 : 1 – 4, NLT). That is why the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit stated in no uncertain terms that, no single human being has an excuse for not knowing God: “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:18 – 20, NLT).

As a result, it can be stated unequivocally that, it is not the absence of evidence that is causing some to doubt the existence of God but rather the suppression of it. I am a lover of science (especially biology), though I did not read science in high school. I believe one’s study of science and other body of knowledge should not lead one to think that all the wonderful things one sees in the world just happened with a big bang. That man evolved from apes, or amoeba or some primordial slime. Our study of science and nature should rather hold us spellbound about the nature of God and deepen our reverence for God. The hymnist could not have expressed this sense of wonder any better:

There is, beyond the azure blue, a God, concealed from human sight,

He tinted skies with heav’nly hue and framed the worlds with His great might

There is a God, He is alive, in Him we live, and we survive;

From dust our God created man, He is our God, the great I AM.

A. W. Dicus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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

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 149W Sir Bertrand Russell

 

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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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,

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Bertrand Russell – Biographical

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born at Trelleck on 18th May, 1872. His parents were Viscount Amberley and Katherine, daughter of 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley. At the age of three he was left an orphan. His father had wished him to be brought up as an agnostic; to avoid this he was made a ward of Court, and brought up by his grandmother. Instead of being sent to school he was taught by governesses and tutors, and thus acquired a perfect knowledge of French and German. In 1890 he went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after being a very high Wrangler and obtaining a First Class with distinction in philosophy he was elected a fellow of his college in 1895. But he had already left Cambridge in the summer of 1894 and for some months was attaché at the British embassy at Paris.

In December 1894 he married Miss Alys Pearsall Smith. After spending some months in Berlin studying social democracy, they went to live near Haslemere, where he devoted his time to the study of philosophy. In 1900 he visited the Mathematical Congress at Paris. He was impressed with the ability of the Italian mathematician Peano and his pupils, and immediately studied Peano’s works. In 1903 he wrote his first important book, The Principles of Mathematics, and with his friend Dr. Alfred Whitehead proceeded to develop and extend the mathematical logic of Peano and Frege. From time to time he abandoned philosophy for politics. In 1910 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity College. After the first World War broke out, he took an active part in the No Conscription fellowship and was fined £ 100 as the author of a leaflet criticizing a sentence of two years on a conscientious objector. His college deprived him of his lectureship in 1916. He was offered a post at Harvard university, but was refused a passport. He intended to give a course of lectures (afterwards published in America as Political Ideals, 1918) but was prevented by the military authorities. In 1918 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a pacifistic article he had written in the Tribunal. His Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919) was written in prison. His Analysis of Mind (1921) was the outcome of some lectures he gave in London, which were organized by a few friends who got up a subscription for the purpose.

In 1920 Russell had paid a short visit to Russia to study the conditions of Bolshevism on the spot. In the autumn of the same year he went to China to lecture on philosophy at the Peking university. On his return in Sept. 1921, having been divorced by his first wife, he married Miss Dora Black. They lived for six years in Chelsea during the winter months and spent the summers near Lands End. In 1927 he and his wife started a school for young children, which they carried on until 1932. He succeeded to the earldom in 1931. He was divorced by his second wife in 1935 and the following year married Patricia Helen Spence. In 1938 he went to the United States and during the next years taught at many of the country’s leading universities. In 1940 he was involved in legal proceedings when his right to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York was questioned because of his views on morality. When his appointment to the college faculty was cancelled, he accepted a five-year contract as a lecturer for the Barnes foundation, Merion, Pa., but the cancellation of this contract was announced in Jan. 1943 by Albert C. Barnes, director of the foundation.

Russell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908, and re-elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1944. He was awarded the Sylvester medal of the Royal Society, 1934, the de Morgan medal of the London Mathematical Society in the same year, the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950.

In a paper “Logical Atomism” (Contemporary British Philosophy. Personal Statements, First series. Lond. 1924) Russell exposed his views on his philosophy, preceded by a few words on historical development.1

Principal publications
German Social Democracy, 1896
Foundations of Geometry, 1897
A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, 1900
Principles of Mathematics, vol. 1, 1903
Philosophical Essays, 1910
(with Dr. A. N. Whitehead) Principia mathematica, 3 vols, 1910-13
The Problems of Philosophy, 1912
Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1944
Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916
Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918
Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism, 1918
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 1919
The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920
The Analysis of Mind, 1921
The Problem of China, 1922
The ABC of Atoms, 1923
(with Dora Russell) The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation, 1923
Logical Atomism, 1924
The ABC of Relativity, 1925
On Education, 1926
The Analysis of Matter, 1927
An Outline of Philosophy, 1927
Sceptical Essays, 1928
Marriage and Morals, 1929
The Conquest of Happiness, 1930
The Freedom and Organisation 1814-1914, 1934
In Praise of Idleness, 1935
Which Way to Peace?, 1936
(with Patricia Russell editor of) The Amberley Papers, 2 vols, 1937
Power: a new Social Introduction to its Study, 1938
An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, 1941
History of Western Philosophy, 1946
Human Knowledge, its Scope and Limits, 1948
Authority and the Individual, 1949
Unpopular Essays, 1950

1) The matter for this sketch is taken from general English reference books.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1950, Editor Arne Holmberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1951

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.

For more updated biographical information, see:
Russell, Bertrand, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. (3 vols.) Allen & Unwin: London, 1967-1969.

Bertrand Russell died on February 2, 1970.

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._

Home » HistoryLibraryResourcesReviews » Lessons from Bertrand Russell – by way of his daughter

Lessons from Bertrand Russell – by way of his daughter

Among the pantheon of world-famous atheists of the 20th century we must admit two of the most intellectual were Anthony Flew and Bertrand Russell. Both were trained in philosophy from Britain’s best universities. Dr. Flew studied at Oxford while Russell was a Cambridge man. Flew renounced his atheism and Russell remained steadfast in his unbelief until his death in 1970. I don’t know much about Flew’s personal life but Russell produced an autobiography in 1975. His daughter, Katharine Tait, told her side of the story in her book, “My Father, Bertrand Russell”, also published in 1975.

It is to her story I’d like to turn. She seems to have a very mature understanding of her life with her father and his four wives. Though we tend to distort of our own past by selective memory, she realizes this tendency and balances her initial judgments with more balanced introspection.

I’ll not bore you with the details of their relationship and her memories of her father. Rather, I think you can gather from her thoughts how things went down. I am specifically interested in her recollections of how God played into (and out of) his and her life.

Bertrand Russell and his wife established the Beacon Hill School in 1927 and their two children, John and Katharine, were among its students. It was a progressive education fostered by Bertrand’s belief that children should be presented all the options of a subject and be left to determine their own minds about it. Stuffy textbooks were not to be found at Beacon Hill (the math text was the only exception).

She recalls, “Besides being difficult, the material was often controversial. My father did not intend his education to be propaganda; he always wanted us to consider both sides and then make up our minds… 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.”

Regarding her father’s four marriages, she offers:

Tongue in cheek, my father later claimed his four marriages as proof that he approved of the institution of marriage…All his life he sought perfection: perfect mathematical truth, perfect philosophical clarify, certainty of God’s existence, a perfect formula for society, a perfect woman to live with in a perfect human relationship. And although he never found them anywhere, he never stopped looking.”

Her thoughts on good and evil:

I believe that good and evil are essential to one another, that neither of them can exist alone and that there is envy, fear, anger, resentment, in every human heart, no matter how well brought up. My father did not believe this. Though these ugly things exited in our hearts, their existence was always denied in our family relations and they were left to fester like hidden wounds.”

Later, while in college at Radcliffe, she was asked by a fellow student about her thoughts on God. She remembers the incident and recalls:

One day I sat in he library talking to a handsome young man who was a fellow student in one of my German classes. ‘Don’t you believe in any kind of God?’ he asked, knowing who my father was. ‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t. It doesn’t seem to me necessary. ‘Then what is the point of living?’ ‘Well, I’ve been born now. I have little choice. Might as well go ahead and make the best of it.’ ‘That seems so bleak. How can you bear it?’ ‘Does it? Maybe. It’s just the way life is, the way the world happens to have developed. Not much use wishing it were otherwise.’ My godless world looked as desolate to him as a lifeless world would to me, but I was used to its impersonal freedom, never having known any other. At the same time, I was well aware that my existential despair was mere self-indulgence and that, God or no God, I would have to return someday to the humdrum world of doing good, helping individuals and mankind to the full extent of my rational benevolence, as I had been taught.”

On her marriage and nagging frustration with life’s big questions:

I was the fortunate wife of a promising young civil servant with two charming children. I had everything I wanted, yet I was not happy. What was wrong with me? In those years, the constant mental dialogue I carry on with my father took the form of reading The Conquest of Happiness,in the hope that it might help me.

The book promised a cure for ‘the ordinary day-to-day unhappiness from which most people in civilized countries suffer, and which is all the more unbearable because, having no obvious external cause, it appears inescapable.’ It seemed made to order for me, until I discovered that he considered puritan morals the cause of such unhappiness and their rejection its cure. What help was that to me, who had been brought up without this burden? How was I to explain or excuse my steady misery?…I must be a sad failure as a human being. Either that, or my father was mistaken… What could my father tell me about the purpose of living?… I read [my father’s] Sceptical Essays and Unpopular Essays, In Praise of Idleness and Marriage and Morals, but they all offered the same solutions: reason, progress, unselfishness, a wide historical perspective, expansiveness, generosity, enlightened self-interest. I had heard it all my life, and it filled me with despair.”

On her father’s religious upbringing…

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 by unceasing warfare against evil in oneself and others. My father threw this morbid belief out the window…

I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God, or, for those who prefer less personal terms, for absolute certainty…Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it…

The religion my parents had grown up in 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…

On her conversion to Christianity (Surprise, surprise!)

Before I started going to church, I had been running about the world, like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, looking for a way to escape the burden of my sin, and neither my father nor psychiatry had been able to help me…I remained ‘weary of earth and laden with my sin,’ just like my father in his youth.”

She and her husband began going to church and “as we went on going, Sunday by Sunday, I listened attentively to the hymns, the prayer book, the words of the Bible, even the sermons. As I listened, I began to think that what I heard made sense out of everything…And I found it easier to believe in a universe created by an eternal God than in one that had ‘just happened.’ For me, the belief in forgiveness and grace was like sunshine after long days of rain. No matter what I did, no 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. It was absolute, not conditional…

On her desire to share her faith with her father:

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…All I could do was trust him to God’s care, knowing that God loved him more than I did and would do what was best for him.”

Wow. Powerful stuff. No commentary needed. As Jesus said, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

For more of her story, you can find her book on Amazon.

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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. 

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

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

Now we should Now we should turn to one of the most spectacular of modern archaeological discoveries, Ebla. While digging on an extensive mound forty-four miles south of Aleppo in Syria in 1974/75, an Italian archaeological expedition came across another of the vast libraries to which we referred earlier. A small room within the palace suddenly yielded up a thousand tablets and fragments, while another not far away a further fourteen thousand. There lay row upon row, just where they had fallen from the burning wooden shelves when the palace was destroyed about 2250 B.C.

What secrets did these tablets reveal? Without wishing to seem unnecessarily repetitive, we can say immediately that Ebla represents yet another discovery from the ancient past which does not make it harder for us to believe the Bible, but quite the opposite. And remember, these tablets date from well before the time of Abraham. The implications of this discovery will not be exhausted by even the turn of this century. The translation and publication of such a vast number of tablets will take years and years. It is important to understand that the information we now have from Ebla does not bear directly upon the Bible. As far as has been discovered, there is no certain reference to individuals mentioned in the Bible, though many names are similar, for example, Ishmael, Israel, and so forth. Biblical place names like Megiddo, Hazor, Lachish are also referred to. What is clear, however, is that certain individuals outside the Bible who previously had been considered fictitious by the critical scholars, simply because of their antiquity, are now quite definitely historic characters.

For example, the Assyrian King Tudiya (approximately 2500 B.C.) had already been known from the Assyrian king list composed about 1000 B.C. His name appeared at the head of the list, but his reality was dismissed by many scholars as “free invention, or a corruption.”  In fact, he was very much a real king of Ebla. Thus, the genealogical tradition of the earlier parts of the Assyrian king list has been vindicated. It preserves faithfully, over a period of 1,500 years, the memory of real, early people who were Assyrian rulers. What we must learn from this is that when we find similar material in the Old Testament, such as the genealogical list in Genesis 7 or the patriarchal stories, we should be careful not to reject them out of hand, as the scholars have so often done. We must remember that these ancient cultures were just as capable of recording their histories as we are.

The most important aspect of the Ebla discoveries is undoubtedly their language. This has been found to be ancient West-Semitic language to which such languages as Hebrew, Canaanite, Ugaritic, Aramaic, and Moabite are related. Thus we have now, for the first time, the whole “tradition” of West-Semitic language stretching over 2,500 years–something which was previously true only of Egyptian and Akkadian, to which Babylonian and Assyrian belong.

Up until quite recently, therefore, this meant that scholars could argue that many words which appeared in the Hebrew Old Testament were what they called “late.” What they meant by this was that these words indicated a much later authorship than the time stated by the text itself. It would be as if one of us pretended to write a sixteenth-century  book using such modern words as AUTOMOBILE and COMPUTER. In the case of the Pentateuch, for example, this was one of the arguments which led some scholars to suggest that it was not Moses who wrote these books, as the Bible says, but anonymous scribes from approximately 1,000 years later. The discoveries at Ebla have shown that many of these words were not late, but very early. Here is yet another example of a claimed “scientific” approach that merely reflects the philosophical prejudices of the scholars involved.

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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 149V Sir Bertrand Russell

 

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Person(s) in Photograph: Bertrand Russell, Albert Schweitzer, unidentified persons

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

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Bertrand Russell

 Birthday: 
 Birthplace: 
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 Died: 

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, mathematician, logician, social activist, writer, critic, pacifist, and intellectual. He owned a huge fame for his works on analytical philosophy, mathematical logic, linguistics, anti-imperialism, human rights and so on. In the academic fields of mathematics and logic, he is famous for his great works including ‘Principia Mathematica’.

Bertrand Russell born on May 18, 1872, in Monmouthshire, UK. He got an influential and intellectual family by birth. His parents, Lord and Lady Amberly supported Birth control when many people thought it as blasphemous. Lord Amberly was an atheist, which influenced child Russell very much. Russell lost his parents at childhood. After that, his grandmother started to look after Russell and his two siblings; Frank and Rachel. Russell’s education started at home with the help of his brother, Frank and some tutors. Frank taught him euclidean geometry, which changed his life.

 Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

Russell went to Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1890. In 1895, he became wrangler and obtained a first class with distinction in philosophy. The college authority elected him as a fellow. After leaving college, he worked as an attache in the British embassy in France. Later he worked as an academician and lecturer in different Universities in Europe. He also America including Cambridge and Harvard.

Russell’s early works began with his affection on mathematics and logic. Although his outlook towards social and political theories led him to publish ‘German Social Democracy’. He wrote many articles on logic and foundation of mathematics, such as ‘An Essay on the foundations of Geometry’, ‘The Principles of Mathematics’, ‘An introduction to the Mathematical Philosophy’, ‘Mysticism and logic’, ‘Our Knowledge about External World’ and so on. His later works were on political and social activism, which led him to swim against the current of traditional belief systems. ‘Marriage and Morals’, ‘Why I am not a Christian’, ‘war crimes in Vietnam’, ‘Unarmed Victory’, ‘Religion and Science’, ‘Theory and Practice of Bolshevism in Russia’, ‘Problems of China’ are his renowned works. He also achieved Nobel prize in literature in 1950.

Read Biography of:   Elon Musk

Russell married four times. His first wife was Alys Pearsall Smith. Dora Russell, Patricia Spence, and Edith Finch Russell were his wives in his later part of life. Bertrand Russell died on February 2 in 1970. The present world still recognizes him as one of the greatest thinkers of the modern time.

Born: May 18, 1872, Trellech, United Kingdom
Died: February 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, United Kingdom
Influenced: Sidney Hook, Noam Chomsky, Isaac Asimov, More

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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THE BREAKDOWN IN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE

THEME: IF THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES, THEN THE PARTICULARS, THE INDIVIDUAL THINGS, HAVE NO MEANING.

What is meant by universal?  What is meant by particular? Examples?

Francis Schaeffer | This Bread Always

Francis Schaeffer | This Bread Always

Clear place we see this is in morals: “Who are you to be judge over us?”  If no universal giving meaning to marriage and sex, then each man defines marriage and sex according to what is right in his own eyes.

Why is that the result?

If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.

Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, p. 166). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

Schaeffer makes the point that it is not just morality that takes a hit without absolutes, meaning in existence itself, knowing that we know what we know, takes a hit without absolutes.

What were the characteristics of the non-Christian philosophers before the shift he describes in this chapter?

  1. Rationalists – man (though he is finite and limited) can begin from himself and gather enough particulars to make his own universals.
  2. Serious about reason – thought in terms of antithesis. A is A, and A is not non-A.
  3. Optimistic that man could find an absolute to give meaning starting with himself.

What were the shifts that came?

Shifts in science, shifts in philosophy and shift in theology.

SCIENCE

Move from the uniformity of natural causes in an open system to a uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  Everything within the cause-and-effect machine, including psychology and sociology.

Notice especially that the scientists who gave birth to the earlier great breakthroughs of science would not have accepted this concept. It arose not because of that which could be demonstrated by science, but because the scientists who took this new view had accepted a different philosophic base. The findings of science, as such, did not bring them to accept this view; rather, their world-view brought them to this place. They became naturalistic or materialistic in their presuppositions.

Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, p. 168). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

What is the effect of this presupposition?

Man becomes part of the machine.  Life is pointless and devoid of meaning.

In moving to a completely closed system, Schaeffer says that “man disappears”?  Why?

Everything is a part of the cosmic machine, including people. To say this another way: prior to the rise of modern modern science (that is, naturalistic science, or materialistic science), the laws of cause and effect were applied to physics, astronomy, and chemistry. Today the mechanical cause-and-effect perspective is applied equally to psychology and sociology.

Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, pp. 167–168). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

What does this totally mechanized system do to the concept of freedom of choice?

“Love dies, there is no place for love in a totally closed cause-and-effect system.”

How is this different from a worldview where God determines all things according to the counsel of His will?

 

The mechanized cause-and-effect world led to another principle called “survival of the fittest.”  What has been the logical conclusion of that concept?

Abortion of black babies.  Abortion of only the girls or the boys.  Social engineering is a more subtle gas chamber.  As is socialized medicine…

PHILOSOPHY

The trend was from optimism to pessimism.  Why?

Move from reason is king to feeling is king.  Happiness is the trutha…

You see the tension between “lower story” – reason leads to the closed system, but we can’t live that way.  So, gradual movement to the “upper story” – irrational “leap of faith” to give the basis for meaning without reason.

It became clear that those who held the rationalistic position on the sole basis of their own reason increasingly were forced to conclude that everything, including man, is a machine. But one could not hold simultaneously the concept of everything’s being a machine and the ideal of a person’s having freedom. Thus, the concept of a unified knowledge of what reality is (on the basis of reason alone)—which almost all previous thinkers had as their aspiration—was under great strain. By the time of Rousseau and his followers there was a tendency for the concepts (everything as a machine and man’s autonomous freedom) to split apart and go marching off in divergent directions.

Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, p. 177). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

There was discussion of making nature the moral basis, the idea of Natural Law.  What’s the problem with that?

Nature is both cruel and non-cruel.  “What is is right.”  Leads to Sadism.

What was Hegel’s solution to the tension?

Synthesis rather than antithesis.  Truth in both thesis and antithesis, so synthesize them.  Another contradiction in the new synthesis and whole process starts again.  Thus the universe and man’s understanding of it unfolds in a series of teachable moments.  “In short, the universe with its consciousness – man – evolves.”

Man is the consciousness of the universe?

Is this not the mentality of our day?  “Only the Sith deal in absolutes.”

Here, then, becomes the synthesis of the “upper story” and the “lower story”:

This equation of the impersonal plus time plus chance producing the total configuration of the universe and all that is in it, modern people hold by faith. And if one does in faith accept this, with what final value is he left? 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.

Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 5, pp. 181–182). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

The unifying principle is biological continuity of the human race.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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

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 149U Sir 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

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Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto (on right and  Reg Colin on left):

 

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

 

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,

About 

BERTRAND RUSSELL 

As a philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic and political activist, Bertrand Russell authored over 70 books and thousands of essays and letters addressing a myriad of topics. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, Russell was a fine literary stylist, one of the foremost logicians ever, and a gadfly for improving the lives of men and women.Born in 1872 into the British aristocracy and educated at Cambridge University, Russell gave away much of his inherited wealth. But in 1931 he inherited and kept an earldom. His multifaceted career centered on work as a philosophy professor, writer, and public lecturer.(Here is a detailed chronology of Russell’s life, an overview of his analytic philosophy, and a complete bibliography of all his publications.)

Russell was an author of diverse scope. His first books were German Social DemocracyAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, and A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. His last books were War Crimes in Vietnam and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Other noteworthy books include Principles of MathematicsPrincipia Mathematica (with A.N. Whitehead), Anti-Suffragist AnxietiesThe Problems of PhilosophyIntroduction to Mathematical PhilosophySceptical EssaysWhy I Am Not a Christian, and A History of Western Philosophy.

He was arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century and the greatest logician since Aristotle. Analytic philosophy, the dominant philosophy of the twentieth century, owes its existence more to Russell than to any other philosopher. And the system of logic developed by Russell and A.N. Whitehead, based on earlier work by Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, and Peano, broke logic out of its Aristotelian straitjacket. He was also one of the century’s leading public intellectuals and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

Russell was involved, often passionately, in numerous social and political controversies of his time. For example, he supported suffragists, free thought in religion and morals, and world government; he opposed World War I and the Vietnam War, nationalism, and political persecution. He was jailed in 1918 for anti-war views and in 1961 for his anti-nuclear weapons stance.

He was married 4 times and had 3 children. With Dora Russell, he founded the experimental Beacon Hill School. He knew or worked with many of the most prominent figures in late 19th and 20th century philosophy, mathematics, science, literature, and politics.

Active as a political and social critic until his end, Russell died in 1970 at the age of 97.

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._

How should we think about atheists who have no problem with atheism?

Yesterday my article “Do you have enough faith to be a theist? Or an atheist?” drew an interesting comment from a reader named Bilbo who reflected:

“At a very dark perod [sic] in my life, when I was angry at God for everything, I tried living as an atheist for a few years. The bleakness of a godless universe overwhelmed me. I realized that I could not live in such a world, and gave up my attempt at being an atheist. My hat is off to those of you hardy enough to do so.”

Bilbo’s comment reflects the experience of many. Indeed, that kind of experience serves as the basis for an existential argument for God’s existence. I discuss the existential argument for God’s existence in the aptly titled “In defense of existential arguments for belief in God” (which, interestingly enough, was prompted by Bilbo as well!) See also “The Existential Argument and Sam Harris’ Big Diamond.”

Even as theists like Bilbo attest that they were drawn to theism because they found atheism unlivable, atheists often retort that they have no problem with a godless universe. (To be sure, not all atheists are so cavalier about the loss. Some atheists grit their teeth and accept the loss of meaning in the manner of Bertrand Russell’s famous excerpt from “A Free Man’s Worship”:  “Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation be safely built.”)

But what can be said to the atheist who attests to having no problem whatsoever with the loss of objective meaning and the prospect of impending individual and collective annihilation?

In one sense, one might see this as a standoff of intuitions. And it may be that. But a theist like Bilbo is not obliged to interpret it in those terms. He might instead conclude that the atheist who attests to having no existential problem whatsoever with their worldview is simply failing to grasp certain facts that ought to cause them problems.

Imagine, for example, that your friend invites you over to his house. You walk in the door and are immediately overcome by the stench of raw sewage. “What’s that smell?” you say, doing your best to retain a nonchalant demeanor even as you barely suppress a gag. “Smell?” he replies, “I don’t smell anything.”

Can you imagine if he then suggested that because he doesn’t smell it, the problem must lie with you? That would be absurd. Similarly, when an atheist claims to have no problem with the existential predicament posed by her worldview, the theist is certainly within her rights to conclude that the atheist is simply failing to grapple with an objective loss in parallel to the man unable to grasp the foul smell.

(Bertrand Russell in 1916)

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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. 

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

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

We should take one last step back into the history of the Old Testament. In the previous note we looked first at the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to around 100 B.C. Then we went back to the period of the Late Monarchy and looked first at the siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and also at the last years of Judah down to about 600 B.C. Then we went further back to about 850 B.C., to Ahab and Jezebel, the ivory house, the Black Obelisk, the Moabite Stone and so on–then back again to about 950 B.C., to the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam and the campaign by Shishak, the Egyptian pharaoh.

This should have built up in our minds a vivid impression of the historic reliability of the biblical text, including even the seemingly obscure details such as the ration tablets in Babylon. We saw, in other words, not only that the Bible gives us a marvelous world view that ties in with the nature of reality and answers the basic problems which philosophers have asked down through the centuries, but also that the Bible is completely reliable, EVEN ON THE HISTORICAL LEVEL.

The previous notes looked back to the time of Moses and Joshua, the escape from Egypt, and the settlement in Canaan. Now we will go back further–back as far as Genesis 12, near the beginning of the Bible.

Do we find that the narrative fades away to a never-never land of myths and legends? By no means. For we have to remind ourselves that although Genesis 12 deals with events a long time ago from our moment of history (about 2000 B.C. or a bit later), the civilized world was already not just old but ancient when Abram/Abraham left “Ur of the Chaldeans” (see Genesis 11:31).

Ur itself was excavated some fifty years ago. In the British Museum, for example, one can see the magnificent contents of a royal burial chamber from Ur. This includes a gold headdress still in position about the head of a queen who died in Ur about 2500 B.C. It has also been possible to reconstruct from archaeological remains what the streets and buildings must have been like at the time.

Like Ur, the rest of the world of the patriarchs (that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was firm reality. Such places as Haran, where Abraham went first, have been discovered. So has Shechem from this time, with its Canaanite stone walls, which are still standing, and its temple.

Genesis 12:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they [b]set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the[c]oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your [d]descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord andcalled upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the[e]Negev.

Haran and Shechem may be unfamiliar names to us but the Negrev (or Negeb) is a name we have all read frequently in the news accounts of our own day. 

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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 149T Sir 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

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Image result for bertrand russell

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THE CHURCH AT THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY, by Francis Schaeffer (pages 83-84):

THE ATOMIC BOMB

Sixth, of course, is the pressure of the A-bomb. For a certain kind of person this builds up a titanic pressure. Because modern man has nobody in the universe but man.

(a young Bertrand Russell below)

Image result for bertrand russell

Sixth, of course, is the pressure of the A-bomb or the H-bomb. For a certain kind of person this builds up a titanic pressure. Why? Because modern man has nobody in the universe but man. There is no God, there are no angels. And scientifically so far there is no proof that there is any other conscious life anywhere in the universe except on the earth. The only value that is left to a man like Bertrand Russell is the biological continuity of the human race. As Charlie Chaplin put it, “I feel lonely.”

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Chaplin with Einstein below

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Modern man is lonely in a cosmic sense because as far as he is concerned, he is the only conscious observer. He has been thrown up by chance, and he is the only observer there is. If the hydrogen bombs drop in their total force and wipe out the human race, all that is left will be the universe, hard and cold, with nobody to look at it, nobody to observe it, nobody to see its beauty, nobody to see its order. There will be no one to see the blowing of a tree, hear the song of a bird, see the formation of a cloud or the rising of the sun. This is where modern man is living. And it is terrifying.What is the use? If the hydrogen bombs fall, the world is silent.

Think for a moment, if you will, what this would mean. Suppose you wrote the greatest sonnet that was ever written, and you put it on tape and  hooked it up to a machine that has the highest amplification that any machine has ever been able to give. Suppose you hooked this up to solar batteries so that it would play for 1,000 years. Suddenly, then, suppose the hydrogen bomb dropped.  There is no God, there are no angels, thee is no conscious intelligent life anywhere else in the universe and in all the galaxies that would be able to be conscious of the playing of the sonnet. What difference would it make if the sonnet played on in the unhearing, unheeding coldness of the galaxies even for 5,000 years? This is modern man’s pressure.

None of us want the bomb to fall, but do note that for modern man, what we have said above gives him a special terror.

Image result for atomic bomb

The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 rose some 11 mi (18 km) above the bomb’s hypocenter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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

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 149S Sir Bertrand Russell

 

 

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Image result for bertrand russell nobel prize

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,

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Bertrand Russell – Biographical

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born at Trelleck on 18th May, 1872. His parents were Viscount Amberley and Katherine, daughter of 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley. At the age of three he was left an orphan. His father had wished him to be brought up as an agnostic; to avoid this he was made a ward of Court, and brought up by his grandmother. Instead of being sent to school he was taught by governesses and tutors, and thus acquired a perfect knowledge of French and German. In 1890 he went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after being a very high Wrangler and obtaining a First Class with distinction in philosophy he was elected a fellow of his college in 1895. But he had already left Cambridge in the summer of 1894 and for some months was attaché at the British embassy at Paris.

In December 1894 he married Miss Alys Pearsall Smith. After spending some months in Berlin studying social democracy, they went to live near Haslemere, where he devoted his time to the study of philosophy. In 1900 he visited the Mathematical Congress at Paris. He was impressed with the ability of the Italian mathematician Peano and his pupils, and immediately studied Peano’s works. In 1903 he wrote his first important book, The Principles of Mathematics, and with his friend Dr. Alfred Whitehead proceeded to develop and extend the mathematical logic of Peano and Frege. From time to time he abandoned philosophy for politics. In 1910 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity College. After the first World War broke out, he took an active part in the No Conscription fellowship and was fined £ 100 as the author of a leaflet criticizing a sentence of two years on a conscientious objector. His college deprived him of his lectureship in 1916. He was offered a post at Harvard university, but was refused a passport. He intended to give a course of lectures (afterwards published in America as Political Ideals, 1918) but was prevented by the military authorities. In 1918 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a pacifistic article he had written in the Tribunal. His Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919) was written in prison. His Analysis of Mind (1921) was the outcome of some lectures he gave in London, which were organized by a few friends who got up a subscription for the purpose.

In 1920 Russell had paid a short visit to Russia to study the conditions of Bolshevism on the spot. In the autumn of the same year he went to China to lecture on philosophy at the Peking university. On his return in Sept. 1921, having been divorced by his first wife, he married Miss Dora Black. They lived for six years in Chelsea during the winter months and spent the summers near Lands End. In 1927 he and his wife started a school for young children, which they carried on until 1932. He succeeded to the earldom in 1931. He was divorced by his second wife in 1935 and the following year married Patricia Helen Spence. In 1938 he went to the United States and during the next years taught at many of the country’s leading universities. In 1940 he was involved in legal proceedings when his right to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York was questioned because of his views on morality. When his appointment to the college faculty was cancelled, he accepted a five-year contract as a lecturer for the Barnes foundation, Merion, Pa., but the cancellation of this contract was announced in Jan. 1943 by Albert C. Barnes, director of the foundation.

Russell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908, and re-elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1944. He was awarded the Sylvester medal of the Royal Society, 1934, the de Morgan medal of the London Mathematical Society in the same year, the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950.

In a paper “Logical Atomism” (Contemporary British Philosophy. Personal Statements, First series. Lond. 1924) Russell exposed his views on his philosophy, preceded by a few words on historical development.1

Principal publications
German Social Democracy, 1896
Foundations of Geometry, 1897
A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, 1900
Principles of Mathematics, vol. 1, 1903
Philosophical Essays, 1910
(with Dr. A. N. Whitehead) Principia mathematica, 3 vols, 1910-13
The Problems of Philosophy, 1912
Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1944
Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916
Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918
Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism, 1918
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 1919
The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920
The Analysis of Mind, 1921
The Problem of China, 1922
The ABC of Atoms, 1923
(with Dora Russell) The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation, 1923
Logical Atomism, 1924
The ABC of Relativity, 1925
On Education, 1926
The Analysis of Matter, 1927
An Outline of Philosophy, 1927
Sceptical Essays, 1928
Marriage and Morals, 1929
The Conquest of Happiness, 1930
The Freedom and Organisation 1814-1914, 1934
In Praise of Idleness, 1935
Which Way to Peace?, 1936
(with Patricia Russell editor of) The Amberley Papers, 2 vols, 1937
Power: a new Social Introduction to its Study, 1938
An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, 1941
History of Western Philosophy, 1946
Human Knowledge, its Scope and Limits, 1948
Authority and the Individual, 1949
Unpopular Essays, 1950

1) The matter for this sketch is taken from general English reference books.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1950, Editor Arne Holmberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1951

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.

For more updated biographical information, see:
Russell, Bertrand, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. (3 vols.) Allen & Unwin: London, 1967-1969.

Bertrand Russell died on February 2, 1970.

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._

Image result for bertrand russell nobel prize

ISSUES IN PERSPECTIVE
Dr. James P. Eckman, President Emeritus
Grace University, Omaha, Nebraska
October 1, 2016
Note to Evangelicals: “Let’s Start Talking About Our Theology, Not
Politics”
Although American civilization manifests a radical pluralism when it comes to worldview
choices, secularism is the preferred face of this culture. As a culture, we respect the right of a
person to choose, but we do not like to discuss the nature of those religious choices. Instead of
engaging in the implications and the consistency of a worldview choice, our culture prefers
silence. When worldview choices are discussed, it quickly drifts to politics, not theology. The
end result is that the public square in indeed naked (to use the late John Neuhaus’s words.) As
a Christian, I find all of this especially disturbing. My fellow evangelicals seem more prone to
talk about the virtues of Donald Trump than the uniqueness of the Christian worldview.
Columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. has noted this in a recent column when he observed the following:
• “Religion has been subsumed by politics.
• Many liberals have accepted the view that religion now lives almost entirely on the right
end of politics.
• The popular media tend to focus on the most extreme and outlandish examples of
religion rather than the more thoughtful kind.
• The quieter forms of religious expression—left, right and center—rarely win notice on
covers of magazines or anywhere else.”
The politicization of religion is obvious in our culture today, for, when it is discussed, rarely do
we talk about the nature of God or how to contemplate the Exodus or the Resurrection.
Immediately, we focus on culture war issues (e.g., abortion, same-sex marriage or whom you
will vote for as president). It is not that these matters are unimportant; they are important.
But the unintended result is the cultivation of superficiality and shallowness when it comes to
religious conviction. For some, the test of whether someone is really a Christian is that person’s
view on these culture war issues or on a particular candidate in the upcoming election. Dionne
quotes Berkeley historian, David Hollinger: “The absence of sustained, public scrutiny of
religious ideas in our time has created a vacuum filled with easy God talk.” For the secular wing
of American culture, genuine Christianity is the promotion of right-wing extremism or
conservative politics.

Consider two examples of how genuine, biblical Christianity is about more than conservative
politics:
1. One of the most famous atheists of the last two decades was Christopher Hitchens. He
died of esophageal cancer in 2011. Larry Taunton, of the Fixed Point Foundation and a
devout Christian intellectual, organizes debates between Christians and atheists. In 2010,
he organized a series of debates in various parts of America and, for some of these debates,
he actually drove Hitchens to these events. That means they had hours to talk and reflect
on their respective worldviews. In a recent book by Taunton, he summarizes details of
those drives. In one, Hitchens was reading from the Gospel of John out loud and asking
what was “the precise reason Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus.” He asked Taunton,
“where is grace in the Old Testament?,” which resulted in a discussion about God’s
covenant with Abraham. Taunton offers no evidence that Hitchens ever made a decision of
faith, but these long conversations between Hitchens and Taunton were not about politics
or culture war issues. They were about Jesus, His miracles and key theological ideas in
Scripture. Taunton demonstrated real affection for Hitchens as a man and a willingness to
engage him not at the level of the superficial but at a level that challenged Hitchens’s
worldview.
2. The other example gives focus to one of the most famous atheists of the 20th century—
Bertrand Russell. Along with A.N. Whitehead, Russell was the founder of analytic
philosophy. He stressed the absolute nature of impersonal, physical matter. There is no
God, only matter; He advocated for the eternality of the material universe. The result was a
bleak view of human life, its meaning and its purpose. Consider this extended quotation:
That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were
achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his
beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire,
no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life
beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the
inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to
extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of
man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of the
universe in ruins. . . . Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the
firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be
safely built (Why I Am Not a Christian, editor Paul Edwards [New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1957], p. 107).
There are several interesting observations about Russell’s “world which science built for our
belief.”
1. To Russell, humans are “accidental collocations of atoms.” Yet, Russell uses terms not
associated with accidents: “loves,” “beliefs,” “despair” and “soul.” These words do not
fit with his worldview. As John Piper argues, he borrows these terms from another
worldview. He is using language beyond physical matter, an odd thing for a materialist
to do.
2. Piper asks, did Russell live “his philosophy?” How did he talk to his three children about
their hurts, their pains, their sorrows, for after all his three children were merely “an
accidental collocation of atoms.” How did he talk with his three wives? Did he speak of
them or to them as “accidental collocations of atoms?” Could he, did he, tell them he
loved them? As a rabid materialist, what did love actually mean to him?
3. Russell’s self-annihilating worldview concludes that “only on the firm foundation of
unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” In other words,
the soul’s habitation is built upon nothing, for humanity can only look forward to
“extinction in the vast death of the solar system.”
The Bible affirms the reality of death, sorrow and despair, but it identifies the cause—sin. And
it identifies the solution to this cause, namely the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Easter Sunday is the triumph over the tragic, desperate, unfounded worldview of ardent secular
materialists such as Bertrand Russell. 1 Corinthians 15:17-20 makes the strong case for hope
not despair, for triumph not defeat and for a foundation that cannot be shaken:
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 in this
life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. . . . [ESV]
As we move forward in this confusing culture, we who love the Lord and love His Word, let’s
make a vow: Let’s covenant together to start talking more about what we believe than about
politics. Let’s start talking more about the sound doctrine that produces godly living than the
political culture. Let’s watch less Fox News and read more of the Bible. When someone asks
about our beliefs, let’s direct the conversation to Jesus, who He is and what He has done. Let’s
disassociate ourselves from the political illusion and embrace and proclaim Jesus as the solution
to the challenges of the human condition.
See E.J. Dionne, Jr., “A Secular Society Needs a Little Religion . . .” in the Omaha World Herald
(28 August 2016); Mark Oppenheimer’s article on Christopher Hitchens and Larry Taunton in
the New York Times (14 May 2016); and John Piper, “Strange Collocation” in World (24 October
2009), p. 46.

Bertrand Russell pictured above and 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. 

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

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

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.

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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 […]

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 149R Sir Bertrand Russell

 

 

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

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Bertrand Russell

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Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, mathematician, logician, social activist, writer, critic, pacifist, and intellectual. He owned a huge fame for his works on analytical philosophy, mathematical logic, linguistics, anti-imperialism, human rights and so on. In the academic fields of mathematics and logic, he is famous for his great works including ‘Principia Mathematica’.

Bertrand Russell born on May 18, 1872, in Monmouthshire, UK. He got an influential and intellectual family by birth. His parents, Lord and Lady Amberly supported Birth control when many people thought it as blasphemous. Lord Amberly was an atheist, which influenced child Russell very much. Russell lost his parents at childhood. After that, his grandmother started to look after Russell and his two siblings; Frank and Rachel. Russell’s education started at home with the help of his brother, Frank and some tutors. Frank taught him euclidean geometry, which changed his life.

 Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

Russell went to Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1890. In 1895, he became wrangler and obtained a first class with distinction in philosophy. The college authority elected him as a fellow. After leaving college, he worked as an attache in the British embassy in France. Later he worked as an academician and lecturer in different Universities in Europe. He also America including Cambridge and Harvard.

Russell’s early works began with his affection on mathematics and logic. Although his outlook towards social and political theories led him to publish ‘German Social Democracy’. He wrote many articles on logic and foundation of mathematics, such as ‘An Essay on the foundations of Geometry’, ‘The Principles of Mathematics’, ‘An introduction to the Mathematical Philosophy’, ‘Mysticism and logic’, ‘Our Knowledge about External World’ and so on. His later works were on political and social activism, which led him to swim against the current of traditional belief systems. ‘Marriage and Morals’, ‘Why I am not a Christian’, ‘war crimes in Vietnam’, ‘Unarmed Victory’, ‘Religion and Science’, ‘Theory and Practice of Bolshevism in Russia’, ‘Problems of China’ are his renowned works. He also achieved Nobel prize in literature in 1950.

Read Biography of:   Elon Musk

Russell married four times. His first wife was Alys Pearsall Smith. Dora Russell, Patricia Spence, and Edith Finch Russell were his wives in his later part of life. Bertrand Russell died on February 2 in 1970. The present world still recognizes him as one of the greatest thinkers of the modern time.

Born: May 18, 1872, Trellech, United Kingdom
Died: February 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, United Kingdom
Influenced: Sidney Hook, Noam Chomsky, Isaac Asimov, More

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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Lewis Wolpert’s Presumption of Atheism and the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ Objection to Belief in God


(Paul Kurtz)

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‘The secular humanist outlook… is committed to… scepticism of a theistic God… for it finds insufficient evidence…’ – Paul Kurtz[1]

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(Lewis Wolpert pictured above)

Cell biologist Lewis Wolpert has recently attained a measure of notoriety with the British public, primarily through the publication of his book Six Impossible Things Before BreakfastThe Evolutionary Origins of Belief (Faber, 2006) and through his participation in a public debate on the existence of God with Christian philosopher William Lane Craig; a debate held on 27th February 2007 at Westminster Central Hall in London, hosted by the well-known journalist John Humphrys and reported by him in a major article for the Daily Telegraph.[2] Professor Wolpert, who is a vice president of the British Humanist Association, admits that he ‘stopped believing in God when I was 15 or 16 because he didn’t give me what I asked for’[3]; but he has subsequently and repeatedly justified his atheism by asserting that: ‘There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God.’[4]

Problems with the Presumption of Atheism

Reliance upon the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection is a risky gambit for the atheist, for as philosopher William Rowe observes: ‘To fail to provide any arguments for the non-existence of God is… to virtually concede the debate to the person who at least gives some arguments, however weak, in behalf of the position that God exists.’[5] Atheism put forward on the basis that there is insufficient evidence for belief in God (and that in the absence of such evidence it is atheism that should be given the benefit of the doubt rather than theism or agnosticism) stands before the constant possibility that new evidence, or a better formulation and appreciation of old evidence, might turn up. Such atheism cannot afford to be dogmatic, for: ‘even if the theist could not muster good arguments for God’s existence, atheism still would not be shown to be true.’[6] As atheist philosopher 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.’[7]

According to Robert A. Harris: ‘a common sense look at the world, with all its beauty, apparent design, meaning, and vibrancy, would seem to predispose a neutral observer to presume that God exists unless good evidence for his non-existence could be brought to bear… The fact that materialists often struggle with this issue, working to explain away the design of the creation, for example, would seem to back up this claim.’[8] Nevertheless, British humanist Richard Norman asserts that: ‘the onus is on those who believe in a god to provide reasons for that belief. If they cannot come up with good reasons, then we should reject the belief.’[9] It was another British philosopher, Antony Flew (who recently became a theist[10]), who most famously urged that the ‘onus of proof must lie upon the theist’,[11] and that unless compelling reasons for God’s existence could be given there should be a ‘presumption of atheism.’ However, by ‘atheism’ Flew meant merely ‘non-theism’, a non-standard definition of ‘atheism’ that includes agnosticism but excludes atheism as commonly understood. The presumption of atheism is therefore not particularly interesting unless (as with Richard Norman explicitly and Lewis Wolpert implicitly) it really is the presumption of atheism rather than the presumption of agnosticism. However, the former is far harder to defend than the latter:

the ‘presumption of atheism’ demonstrates a rigging of the rules of philosophical debate in order to play into the hands of the atheist, who himself makes a truth claim. Alvin Plantinga correctly argues that the atheist does not treat the statements ‘God exists’ and ‘God does not exist’ in the same manner. The atheist assumes that if one has no evidence for God’s existence, then one is obligated to believe that God does not exist – whether or not one has evidence againstGod’s existence. What the atheist fails to see is that atheism is just as much a claim to know something (‘God does not exist’) as theism (‘God exists’). Therefore, the atheist’s denial of God’s existence needs just as much substantiation as does the theist’s claim; the atheist must give plausible reasons for rejecting God’s existence… in the absence of evidence for God’s existence, agnosticism, not atheism, is the logical presumption. Even if arguments for God’s existence do not persuade, atheism should not be presumed because atheism is not neutral; pure agnosticism is. Atheism is justified only if there is sufficient evidence against God’s existence.[12]

As Scott Shalkowski writes: ‘suffice it to say that if there were no evidence at all for belief in God, this would [at best] legitimize merely agnosticism unless there is evidence against the existence of God.’[13] Steven Lovell similarly points out that, to avoid a double standard, the atheist cannot use the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ argument alone, but must combine it with one or more of the other objections to belief:

Time and again I’ve heard people say that they don’t believe in God because they think there is insufficient evidence for His existence. If the person saying this is an atheist (one who thinks that God doesn’t exist, that ‘God exists’ is a false statement), then they imply that they do have enough evidence for their atheism. Clearly, if we reject belief in God due to (alleged) insufficient evidence, then we would be irrational to accept atheism, if the evidence for God’s non-existence were similarly insufficient. It would be a radical inconsistency. If theistic belief requires evidence, so must atheistic belief. If we have no evidence either way, then the logical conclusion would be agnosticism.[14]

There are, then, a number of serious problems with using the claim that there is insufficient evidence to justify belief in God to justify a default ‘presumption of atheism’ as Wolpert does.

A Popular Objection to Theism

Despite these problems, the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection to theism is widely used by contemporary atheists. A 1998 survey of 1,700 American skeptics conducted by Skeptics Society director Michael Shermer and MIT social scientist Frank Sulloway showed that 37.9% of non-theistic skeptics said they didn’t believe in God because there is no proof. The 2005 Dare to Engage Questionnaire, which surveyed nearly five hundred 15-18 years old students, found that among self-designated atheists (20% of respondents) who took the opportunity to give an explanation of their disbelief, the third most popular response (given by 13% of those giving a reason for their atheism) was that there is a pervasive lack of evidence for God.Image result for bertrand russell

The ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection can be traced back to Bertrand Russell. Asked what he would say if he found himself standing before God on the judgement day being asked, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me?,’ Russell replied: ‘I’d say, “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”’ Richard Dawkins says that in the same situation: ‘I’d quote Bertrand Russell: “Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence.”’[15] (There is an interesting difference in attitude on this point between Russell et alon the one hand, and H.L. Mencken on the other hand, who answered essentially the same question by saying: ‘If I do fetch up with the twelve apostles, I shall say, “Gentlemen, I was wrong”.’[16] In this context we should not shy away from the fact that atheists may – and note that I say may rather than will – fail to appreciate genuine evidence for theism due to non-rational factors. As Piers Benn acknowledges: ‘since some theistic religions teach that sin can impair our thinking, we risk begging the question against those religions if we assume that if we can see no good reason for believing them, then they are almost certainly false.’[17])

According to Richard Dawkins’ latest book, The God Delusion[18], if one examines natural theology: ‘the arguments turn out to be spectacularly weak.’[19] He actually goes so far as to say that: ‘there is no evidence in favour of the God Hypothesis.’[20]This is an astonishing claim for Dawkins to make, since he once defined biology as ‘the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.’[21] There is, then, according to Dawkins himself, at the very least, prima facie evidence for the God hypothesis. The Humanist Manifesto II, drafted by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, declares with more caution than Dawkins, or Wolpert, that: ‘We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural… theism… is an unproven and outmoded faith.’[22] (The term ‘outmoded’ here is a fine example of what C.S. Lewis called ‘chronological snobbery’.[23])Image result for richard dawkins

Taking a historical view on the same objection, Kai Nielson states that:

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Starting with the early Enlightenment figures, finding acute and more fully developed critiques in Hume and Kant, and carried through by their contemporary rational reconstructers (e.g., Mackie, and Martin), the various arguments for the existence of God have been so thoroughly refuted that few would try to defend them today and even those few who do, do so in increasingly attenuated forms.[24]

Professor Wolpert likewise praises David Hume’s scepticism, stating: ‘Hume is the only philosopher I take seriously…[25] However, such claims are surprisingly out of touch with the reality of contemporary practice in the philosophy of religion. What William Lane Craig calls ‘the obsolete, 18th century objections of Hume and Kant’[26] have received substantial replies from contemporary philosophers.[27] David Hume, in particular, is widely regarded as an over-rated thinker who inspires much unnecessary kow-towing.[28] According to James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis: ‘Natural theology is alive and well in contemporary philosophy; the supposed Humean refutation of the enterprise is a myth whose exposure is long overdue.’[29]

Many contemporary philosophers give their endorsement to the project of natural theology, and while individual arguments for God may often be defended in more rigorously cautious terms than was the norm in medieval scholasticism, today’s natural theology can hardly be called ‘attenuated’ when philosophers like Robert C. Koons are prepared to say that: ‘the evidence for theism has never been so clear and so strong as it is now.’[30]

However, questioning the claim that there is insufficient evidence for God’s existence is not the only way of responding to Wolpert’s ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection. Many philosophers question the assumption that it is necessarily irrational to believe in God in the absence of evidential justification. After all, there are plenty of other beliefs about reality that appear to be rational to hold in the complete absence of evidential justification (e.g. the belief that the world is not a computer simulation as in the film The Matrix), and the demand for evidence can neither be fulfilled ad infinitum (i.e. it is impossible to justify all our beliefs) nor be consistently applied to itself (what evidential justification is there for the belief that all beliefs must have evidential justification in order to be rational?).

Questioning the Demand for Evidence

‘A truth can come into the mind in two ways, namely as known in itself, and as known through another. What is known in itself is like a principle, and is perceived immediately by the mind….’ – Thomas Aquinas [31]

Sam Harris is another prominent atheist who, like Wolpert, condemns theists for adhering to a belief without any evidential basis: ‘While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society.’[32] Harris makes two mistakes in the space of this sentence. On the one hand, few theists would concede Harris’ assumption that their belief in God is predicated upon an absence of evidence. On the other hand, evidence is not always necessary for rational belief. Contra Harris, believing strongly without evidence is in fact considered a mark of rationality and common sense in many areas of life. For example, seriously doubting that the universe is older than five minutes old would rightly be considered a mark of madness or stupidity by most people; but the belief that the universe is older than this, rather than having been created five minutes ago complete with every empirical appearance of greater age (a belief held by Harris), must by the very nature of the case be accepted without evidential support. Hence ‘being rational’ and ‘having evidential support’ cannot be one and the same thing. It is all well and good to demand that people hold all their beliefs rationally(for example, we shouldn’t pick our beliefs at random and we shouldn’t hold them in the face of overwhelming counter-evidence), but there is little sense in demanding that people hold all their beliefs on the basis of evidence.

Harris writes that ‘An atheist is simply a person who believes that [theists] should be obliged to present evidence for [God’s] existence…’,[33] but the fact that the demand that every belief be justified with evidence is self-defeating (on the one hand, what is the evidence for this claim? On the other hand, how would one ever satisfy this demand?) means that the basic ‘not enough evidence’ argument deployed by Dawkins, Harris, Wolpert and other atheists is unsound because it is built upon a false premise. As philosopher John O’Leary-Hawthorne points out: ‘The basic argument from no evidence relies on the idea that in order to rationally believe something we need evidence for it. But from the perspective of many philosophers, the latter claim represents a gross oversimplification.’[34]

For example, we often find ourselves with perceptual beliefs (e.g. ‘I see a tree’) not because we have argued our way to the belief in question, but simply because our cognitive faculties lead us to hold that belief. Then again, I simply remember drinking coffee with friends yesterday; I don’t argue my way to the conclusion that I had coffee with friends yesterday based upon the available evidence. Despite the fact that my memory has proven unreliable on some occasions (something I only know through memory), there is no need for me to obtain independent evidence as to whether or not I drank coffee with friends yesterday in order for my belief in this matter to be rational, a belief that I am within my epistemic rights to accept as an item of knowledge on my part. The veridical nature of my memory in this matter is one of my ‘basic’ beliefs. Fundamental moral beliefs are likewise basic beliefs: ‘Somewhere in one’s moral reasoning one reaches a set of beliefs that are bearers of intrinsic value; they are not valued as a means to some other end or for some extrinsic reason. At this level one reaches one’s basic moral beliefs.’[35] There are in point of fact: ‘A whole host of other kinds of beliefs are also typically basic. There are, for example, elementary truths of logic… There are certain mathematical beliefs. And there are certain framework or fundamental beliefs such as belief in an external worldbelief in the self, etc. These are foundational beliefs that we typically reason from and not to…’[36] Indeed, the existence of some basic beliefs in our web of beliefs is an epistemic necessity, for as Roy Clouser points out:

it is impossible that the only beliefs we have the right to be certain about are the ones that we have proven… First, if everything needed to be proven, then the premises of every proof would also need to be proven. But if you need to prove the premises of every proof, you would then need a proof for your proof, and a proof for the proof of your proof, and so on – forever. Thus it makes no sense to demand that everything be proven because an infinite regress of proofs is impossible. So when the premises of an argument are themselves in need of proof, the series of arguments needed to prove its premises must eventually end with an argument whose premises are all ‘basic’, that is, not in need of proof… not all beliefs need proof, and proving anything depends on having beliefs that don’t need it… A second reason why not every belief needs proof is that the rules for drawing inferences correctly, the truths of logic and mathematics, cannot themselves have proofs because they are the very rules we must use in order to prove anything. If we were to use them to construct proofs of themselves, the proofs would already be assuming the truth of the very rules we were trying to prove! So proofs need belief in unproven rules as well as premises that we can know without proof…[37]

Without rejecting the claim that there are good arguments for belief in God, it can be cogently argued that belief in God can be rational without being based upon arguments for his existence. As Alan G. Padgett writes: ‘belief in God can be and often is perfectly legitimate and proper without any philosophical arguments. In other words, Christian faith does not depend upon the practice of philosophy (specifically natural theology) but rather upon more direct, immediate, and spiritual sources of the knowledge of God.’[38] Such ‘properly basic’ belief in God is not a matter of ‘blind faith’, since it is not the result of simply picking a belief out of the air and since it remains sensitive to the need to defend belief against evidential challenges.

William Lane Craig attempted to point out this defect in the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ argument to Professor Wolpert before their recent debate on the existence of God in London, but without success…

Craig vs. Wolpert – a mini-debate from Radio 4

In a mini debate between William Lane Craig and Lewis Wolpert held on BBC Radio 4 prior to their lengthier public encounter on the subject of God’s existence, Wolpert simply failed to understand Craig’s philosophical points about the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection. Having said that he thinks there is evidence for God (Craig mentions the Kalam cosmological argument, the moral argument and the fine tuning design argument), Craig challenged Wolpert’s assumption that one must have evidence for God in order to rationally believe in God. Craig points to the existence of so-called ‘properly basic beliefs’, that is, beliefs that are rational to hold but which are not justified on the basis of other beliefs. If there were no properly basic beliefs humans could not rationally believe anything, because we would have to have an infinite regress of evidence for all our beliefs, which is impossible. Despite having had this explained to him with the use of several analogies, Wolpert revealed that he just didn’t get the point by simply repeating the same ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection.

Far from incidentally, the same point about infinite regress and explanation came into play when Craig answered Wolpert’s use of the ‘Who designed the designer?’ objection to the design argument (an objection beloved by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion). Craig pointed out that for an explanation of some set of data to be rational, one need not have an explanation of the explanation – if one did have to do that then explanation would be impossible because to explain anything would invoke an infinite regress, in which case science would be impossible. Hence Wolpert’s use of the ‘explain that explanation’ demand is rather ironic!

Philosopher Tom Price has provided a concise summary of the public debate between Craig and Wolpert following their Radio 4 encounter, a debate which showed Wolpert failing to learn the lesson of his mini-debate with Craig:

Craig: God exists, here is the evidence.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist, there is no evidence.
Craig: God exists, here is the evidence.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist, who made God?
Craig: God does exist, he is an uncaused eternal being. Here is the evidence.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist. He hasn’t done anything in the last 2,000 years.
Craig: That’s chronological snobbery. You don’t tell the time with an argument, you don’t tell if an argument is true or false, of if evidence is good or bad with a watch.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist. We believe because we have a notion of cause and effect, this leads to toolmaking, and also to belief in God.
Craig: That’s the genetic fallacy. To confuse the origin of a belief with its truth or falsity. You need to deal with the arguments and evidence that I have presented.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist. There is no evidence. Who made God?
Craig: Here is the evidence. God is an uncaused being. God does exist.
Wolpert: God doesn’t exist. There is no evidence.
Craig: God does exist. Here is the evidence.[39]

Or as John Humphrys, who chaired the debate, reports:

you might assume that a debate between someone like Craig and someone like Wolpert – a Jew who lost his faith when he was 15 – would produce a riveting intellectual knockabout at least and a profound discussion of whether God is delusion or reality at best. Sadly it didn’t work out like that. They might as well have been talking in different languages.

Here’s the essence of Craig’s case:

  • God created the universe. The proof lies in the premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist; therefore it has a cause. It was brought into existence by something which is greater than (and beyond) it. And that something was a ‘personal being’.
  • God ‘fine tunes’ the universe… There is no other logical explanation for the way things operate.
  • Without God there can be no set of [objective] moral values.
  • The ‘historical facts’ of the life of Jesus prove the basis for Christianity.
  • God can be known and experienced [in a properly basic manner].

And here’s the essence of Wolpert’s rebuttal: its all bunkum. Every bit of it.[40]

Wolpert’s defence of atheism consisted of a few irrelevant, invalid arguments against the rationality of belief in God’s existence on the one hand (instances of chronological snobbery and the genetic fallacy respectively) and a total failure to interact with the purported evidence for God on the other hand, apparently on the grounds ‘that there is no evidence’ with which to interact! Given Craig’s use of the Kalam cosmological argument, it is interesting to note that Wolpert candidly admits he has no alternative explanation for the Big Bang: ‘And then, of course, there’s the whole problem of where the universe itself came from. And that is a great mystery. Big bang, big schmang! How did that all happen? I haven’t got a clue.’[41] How can someone who makes such repeated use of the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection fail so totally to even ‘deal with the argument and evidence’ presented by Craig? The answer to this question recently became clear in an interview between Wolpert and another Christian philosopher…

Wolpert’s Question-Begging Obscurantism

In the hands of Lewis Wolpert, the ‘insufficient evidence’ objection is not at all what it seems. Wolpert says that atheism is justified because: ‘There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God.’[42] However, this assertion amounts to a magician-worthy piece of misdirection, a philosophical slight-of-hand. Professor Keith Ward of Oxford University had the following revealing exchange with Wolpert concerning his ‘Insufficient Evidence’ justification in the course of an interview for the March 2007 edition of Third Way magazine:

Ward: What sort of evidence would count for you? Would it have to be scientific evidence of some sort?
Wolpet: Well, no… I think I read somewhere: If he turned the pond on Hamstead Heath into good champagne, it would be quite impressive…
Ward: A miracle would be sufficient?
Wolpert: But then you have to remember what David Hume said, that you wouldn’t believe in a reported miracle unless ‘the falsehood of [the] testimony would be more miraculous than the event which [it] relates.’
Ward: Its one of his worst arguments, in my view.
Wolpert: Hume is the only philosopher I take seriously. I’m big against philosophy…[43]

Wolpert justifies his atheism by complaining that there is no evidence for the existence of God. So what sort of evidence would he accept? Would he accept scientific evidence? On Humean grounds (grounds that are widely accepted by contemporary philosophers to be defunct), he would not. Later in the same interview Ward asked Wolpert whether (in principle) there could be evidence of providence in history? Wolpert replied that there ‘absolutely [could] not’[44] be any such evidence. Wolpert seems to include the evidence of religious experience among purported scientific evidence for God, because having provided a standard explanation of such experience in terms of evolutionary psychology (and despite admitting ‘I don’t have a good explanation, to be quite honest’[45] for why he himself has escaped the evolutionary pressure to believe), Wolpert feels that he can dismiss all such experiences as delusional (an unsurprising move for someone who is a self-confessed ‘reductionist and a materialist’[46]). If Wolpert rules out scientific evidence for theism, will he accept philosophical evidence? He will not, because he is ‘big against philosophy’ (although he will embrace a double standard in order to allow Hume into the fold, to shore it up against scientific evidence for deity).

Having excluded a priori the very possibility of there being any evidence for God it is perhaps unsurprising that Wolpert can find none, or that he would fail to engage with purported evidence for God offered to him by Professor Craig. What is surprising is that having excluded a priori the possibility of there being any evidence for God, Wolpert should shirk the task of showing why Craig’s evidence is insufficient (where exactly do Craig’s arguments for God go wrong? Do they have false premises? Do they have invalid logic? Wolpert does not say) whilst continuing to justify his atheism primarily by repeating that ‘the evidence for God is not very good from my point of view.’[47]

Wolpert’s complaint is ultimately not that there is insufficient evidence for theism. Rather it is that since the possibility of there being sound evidence for theism would require materialism to be false, and since materialism is true, there can’t possibly be any sound evidence for theism. In other words Wolpert doesn’t merely think that there isn’t any evidence for God, he thinks that there can’t be any evidence for God. These are significantly different claims, and so it is non-trivial when Wolpert substitutes one for the other. There would be nothing wrong with taking this approach if Wolpert provided arguments purporting to show that materialism is true (or at least that theism is false), if he was prepared to enter into philosophical debate concerning the soundness of those arguments, and if he was prepared to extend the same courtesy to the theistic arguments of academics like Craig or Ward. Unfortunately Wolpert does not appear to be interested in fulfilling any of these conditions. Wolpert simply repeats the mantra that there is no evidence for God. Like doubting Thomas Lewis Wolpert says ‘I will not believe unless I see’; but unlike Thomas he keeps his eyes resolutely shut.

Wolpert and the Origin of Life

For example, during his interview with Keith Ward, Wolpert commented that:

How the cell came about is just… Wow! It’s absolutely mind-blowing. It’s truly miraculous – almost in a religious sense. I think we understand quite a lot about evolution – although even in later evolution there are problems for which we don’t have good explanations – but the origin of life itself, the origin of the cell itself, that’s not solved at all.[48]

Having heard such an interesting admission of scientific ignorance Ward asked Wolpert whether he was happy to be described as a neo-Darwinian, and the following revealing exchange followed:

Wolpert: I’m afraid I would have to say that, yes.
Ward: So, even though you find it ‘miraculous’, you think we must account for the emergence of life purely in terms of random mutation and natural selection?
Wolpert: That’s the line we must pursue, yes.
Ward: Why ‘must’?
Wolpert: Because there really is no other way. Otherwise, you can only invoke God.[49]

In other words, Wolpert believes that the inherent capacities of the natural world (putting aside the cosmological question of why there is a natural world in the first place) must account for – and therefore must be capable of accounting for – both the origin and diverse nature of life on Earth because this conclusion is philosophically deduced (not because it is scientifically inferred) from the assumption that God could not possibly feature in the true account of these matters – presumably because, as a materialist, Wolpert believes that there is no God to feature in the true account of these matters. Once again Wolpert closes his eyes to the possibility of evidence pointing towards God’s existence by simply assuming that God does not exist! Once again, Wolpert’s use of the ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection to belief in God is exposed as a rhetorical façade hiding a circular argument.

Conclusion

‘I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord’ (1 Samuel 12:7)

Atheists, agnostics and theists alike should avoid Lewis Wolpert’s narrow-minded approach to the question of God’s existence, an approach that amounts to saying ‘My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the evidence.’ We all have our own personal default position on the subject of God’s existence, but we owe it to each-other and to ourselves (and perhaps we even owe it to God) to take the alternatives seriously enough to decry blind faith.

Recommended Resources

Paul Copan, ‘The Presumptuousness of Atheism’ @ www.rzim.org/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=3

William Lane Craig, ‘The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe’ @ www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html

William Lane Craig, ‘The Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle’ @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/teleo.htmlWilliam Lane Craig, ‘Review: The Design Inference’ @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/design.htmlWilliam Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality‘ @ www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html

William Lane Craig, ‘Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ’ @ www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html

John Gray, ‘Myths of Meaning: Breaking the Spell & Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast’ @ www.newstatesman.com/200603200044

John Humphrys, ‘The Return of God?’ @ www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/03/nrgod03.xml

Here is another eye-witness report of the Craig-Wolpert debate (The Peter Williams who has a comment on this page is not Peter S. Williams!)

Duncan McMillan, ‘Origins of Belief [a review of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast]’ @ www.union.ic.ac.uk/media/iscience/article_template_typ.php?articleid=108

Keith Ward & Lewis Wolpert, ‘The Hard Cell’, Third Way, March 2007

Peter S. Williams, ‘The Faith Based Dawkins’ @ www.bethinking.org/resource.php?ID=166

Peter S. Williams, ‘A Change of Mind for Antony Flew’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_antonyflew.htm

Peter S. Williams, ‘Design and the Humean Touchstone’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_humeantouchstone.htm

Peter S. Williams, ‘An Introduction to Intelligent Design Theory’ @ www.cis-centralsouth.org.uk/media/2006-intelligent-design/PeterWilliams.vbr.mp3

R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas (ed.’s), In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997)

James F. Sennett & Douglas Groothuis (ed.’s), In Defence of Natural TheologyA Post-Humean Assessment, (IVP, 2005)


[1] Paul Kurtz, ‘Creating Secular and Humanist Alternatives to Religion’ in Free Inquiry, August/September 2006, volume 26, no. 5, p. 7.

[3] Lewis Wolpert, ‘The Hard Cell’, Third Way, March 2007, p. 16.

[4] ibid, p. 17.

[5] William Rowe ‘Reflections on the Craig-Flew Debate’ in Stan W. Wallace (ed.), Does God ExistThe Craig-Flew Debate, (London: Ashgate, 2003), p. 70-71.

[6] Paul Copan, ‘The Presumptuousness of Atheism’ @ www.rzim.org/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=3

[7] Kai Nielsen, Reason and Practice, (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 143-44.

[8] Robert A. Harris, The Integration of Faith and LearningA Worldview Approach, (Eugene: Cascade, 2004), p. 83.

[9] Richard Norman, On Humanism, (Routledge, 2004), p. 16.

[10] cf.  Peter S. Williams, ‘A Change of Mind for Antony Flew’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_antonyflew.htm

[11] Antony Flew, The Presumption of Atheism, (London: Pemberton, 1976), p. 14.

[12] Copan, ‘The Presumptuousness of Atheism’ @ www.rzim.org/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=3

[13] Scott A. Shalkowski, ‘Atheological Apologetics’ in R. Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman (ed.’s), Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, (Oxford, 1992), p. 63.

[14] Steven Lovell, ‘Evidence and Atheism’ @ www.csl-philosophy.co.uk/

[15] Richard Dawkins, ‘Richard Dawkins: you Ask The Questions Special’, Independent, 5th December 2006 @ http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2037496.ece

[16] H.L. Mencken, quoted by Alistair Cooke in Clifton Fadiman (ed.), p. 123.

[17] Piers Benn, ‘Is Atheism A Faith Position?’, Think, issue thirteen, summer 2006, p. 27.

[18] On The God Delusion, cf: Terry Eagleton, ‘Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching’, London Review of Books Vol. 28 No. 20, 19 October 2006 @ www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html;

Jim Holt, ‘Beyond Belief’, New York Times @ www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/books/review/Holt.t.html?_r=1&8bu&emc=bu&oref=slogin;

Alister E. McGrath, ‘The Dawkins Delusion’ @ www.theosthinktank.co.uk/The_Dawkins_Delusion.aspx?ArticleID=50&PageID=47&RefPageID=11; ‘Is God a Delusion? Atheism and the Meaning of Life’ @ www.citychurchsf.org/openforum/Audio/OF_Alister_McGrath.mp3;

Thomas Nagel, ‘The Fear of Religion’, The New Republic Online @ www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20061023&s=nagel102306;

H. Allen Orr, ‘A Mission to Convert’, New York Review of Books @ www.nybooks.com/articles/19775;

Alvin Plantinga, ‘Review of The God Delusion’ @ www.home.no/knodt/ReviewGodDelusionPlantinga.doc;

Richard Swinburne, ‘Response to Richard Dawkins’s Criticisms in The God Delusion’ @ http://users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/framesetpdfs.shtml;

Peter S. Williams, ‘The Big Bad Wolf, Theism and the Foundations of Intelligent Design: A Review of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_goddelusionreview.htm & www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-10-t-000112.html;

‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Dawkins’ Failed Rebuttal of Natural Theology’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_goddelusionreview2.htm;

‘Peter S. Williams Discusses The God Delusion’ @ www.damaris.org/content/content.php?type=5&id=512;

The God Delusion Deconstructed – Southampton University’ @ www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~pjb304/SUCU_talks/eternity/2007-02-15-PeteWilliams-TheGodDelusionDeconstructed.mp3

[19] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, (London: Bantam Press, 2006), p. 2.

[20] ibid, p. 59.

[21] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, (Penguin, 1990), Preface, p. x.

[22] Paul Kurtz & Edwin H. Wilson, Humanist Manifesto II (1973) @

www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.php, my italics.

[24] Kai Nielson, ‘Naturalistic explanations of theistic belief’, A Companion to the Philosophy of Religion, p. 403.

[25] ibid.

[26] William Lane Craig, ‘The Evidence for Christianity’ @ www.bethinking.org/resource.php?ID=100&TopicID=&CategoryID

[27] On Kant, cf. Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics, (Baker, 1976)

[28] cf: R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas (ed.’s), In Defence of Miracles, (Apollos, 1997); James F. Sennett & Douglas Groothuis (ed.’s), In Defence of Natural TheologyA Post-Humean Assessment, (Downers Grove: IVP, 2005); Richard Swinburne, ‘The Argument from Design’ in R. Douglas Geivett & Brendan Sweetman (ed.’s), Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology, (Oxford University Press, 1992); Charles Taliaferro & Anders Hendrickson, ‘Hume’s Racism and His Case Against the Miraculous’, Philosophia Christi, Volume 4, Number 2, 2002; Peter S. Williams, ‘Design and the Humean Touchstone’ @ www.arn.org/docs/williams/pw_humeantouchstone.htm

[29] James F. Sennett & Douglas Groothuis, editors of In Defence of Natural TheologyA Post-Humean Assessment, (IVP, 2005), p. 15.

[30] Robert C. Koons, ‘Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict’, in Paul Copan & Paul K. Moser (ed.’s), The Rationality of Theism, (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 73.

[31] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, (Benzinger Brothers, 1911) Ia., Q84, a2, quoted in Louis P. Pojman, What Can We KnowAn Introduction to a Theory of Knowledge, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1995), p. 89.

[32] Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, (Bantam, 2007), p. 67.

[33] ibid, p. 51.

[34] John O’Leary-Hawthorne, ‘Arguments for Atheism’ in Michael J. Murray (ed.), Reason for the Hope Within, (Eerdmans, 1999), p. 124.

[35] Kelly James Clark, Return to Reason, (Eerdmans, 1998), p. 130.

[36] ibid, p. 129.

[37] Roy Clouser, Knowing with the heart, (IVP, 1999), p. 68-71.

[38] Alan G. Padgett, ‘The Relationship Between Theology and Philosophy’, James K. Beilby (ed.), For Faith and Clarity, (Baker, 2006), p. 39.

[41] Lewis Wolpert, ‘The Hard Cell’, Third Way, March 2007, p. 18.

[42] ibid, p. 17.

[43] ibid.

[44] ibid.

[45] ibid, p. 18.

[46] ibid, p. 17.

[47] ibid, p. 16.

[48] ibid, p. 18.

[49] ibid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

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Related posts:

 

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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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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149Q Sir 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

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Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Harry Kroto (on right and  Reg Colin on left):

Related image

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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,

About 

BERTRAND RUSSELL 

As a philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic and political activist, Bertrand Russell authored over 70 books and thousands of essays and letters addressing a myriad of topics. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, Russell was a fine literary stylist, one of the foremost logicians ever, and a gadfly for improving the lives of men and women.Born in 1872 into the British aristocracy and educated at Cambridge University, Russell gave away much of his inherited wealth. But in 1931 he inherited and kept an earldom. His multifaceted career centered on work as a philosophy professor, writer, and public lecturer.(Here is a detailed chronology of Russell’s life, an overview of his analytic philosophy, and a complete bibliography of all his publications.)

Russell was an author of diverse scope. His first books were German Social DemocracyAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, and A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. His last books were War Crimes in Vietnam and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Other noteworthy books include Principles of MathematicsPrincipia Mathematica (with A.N. Whitehead), Anti-Suffragist AnxietiesThe Problems of PhilosophyIntroduction to Mathematical PhilosophySceptical EssaysWhy I Am Not a Christian, and A History of Western Philosophy.

He was arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century and the greatest logician since Aristotle. Analytic philosophy, the dominant philosophy of the twentieth century, owes its existence more to Russell than to any other philosopher. And the system of logic developed by Russell and A.N. Whitehead, based on earlier work by Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, and Peano, broke logic out of its Aristotelian straitjacket. He was also one of the century’s leading public intellectuals and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

Russell was involved, often passionately, in numerous social and political controversies of his time. For example, he supported suffragists, free thought in religion and morals, and world government; he opposed World War I and the Vietnam War, nationalism, and political persecution. He was jailed in 1918 for anti-war views and in 1961 for his anti-nuclear weapons stance.

He was married 4 times and had 3 children. With Dora Russell, he founded the experimental Beacon Hill School. He knew or worked with many of the most prominent figures in late 19th and 20th century philosophy, mathematics, science, literature, and politics.

Active as a political and social critic until his end, Russell died in 1970 at the age of 97.

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._

In the light of an assured future

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In the light of an assured future‘For I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another’ (Job 19.25-27).

‘I believe that when I die I shall rot and nothing of my ego shall survive’ (Bertrand Russell).

The only characteristic these two well-known statements share is their expression of certainty. The nature of that certainty is, of course, in each case, massively different.

Bertrand Russell regarded death as the means by which both body and ego were extinguished forever. For him, this was not a matter of conjecture, but certainty. Theology was rejected as ‘a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we have ignorance’ (see his History of Western Philosophy). Life’s questions were to be addressed against the background of ‘the terror of cosmic loneliness’. In other words, no divine source of information exists which can reveal answers to mankind’s deepest questions, or offer certainty in an uncertain universe. Wisdom in this world is to be found within the realm of philosophy. Beyond that are merely the bleak certainties of a Creator-less universe and the finality of an unavoidable death of body, ego and all conscious existence: ‘….when I die I shall rot…’

Continuing influence

Of course, one of the remarkable things about Russell’s brand of humanistic philosophy is that it continues to shape the thinking of many people, notwithstanding his death over 40 years ago. We live in a world dominated by temporal preoccupations and the arrogance of human intellect, dismissive of God, divine revelation and matters of eternal destiny.

We just have to do our best to make sense of the world around us, in the cold certainty that there is nothing else to cling to. That is the basic point, according to this perspective.

Stark contrast

In stark contrast, however, stands the Book of Job, offering us certainty and hope amidst the many sufferings and uncertainties of this life. Indeed, the certainty and hope articulated in the verses above provide a model for Christian faith.

First, there is the certainty that ‘my Redeemer’ lives. Job’s Redeemer God is a living God and, in Christ, he supplies the way of redemption from sin for fallen mankind and conquers death. For the Christian, the resurrection is a foundation stone. This is clear from the logic of 1 Corinthians 15.17-19 (‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! …If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable’). Bertrand Russell would have regarded any notion of resurrection as pure fantasy, but for the Christian, his own resurrection is founded entirely upon the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection.

Second, there is the certainty of the future completion of God’s salvation plan with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Book of Job, this is prefigured in Job’s realisation that ‘…at the last he will stand upon the earth’. Job’s living Redeemer — the Christian’s Redeemer too — will one day present himself ‘upon the earth’ as Lord of all things and supreme judge, at the end of the present age.

Third, Job has assurance that physical death does not bring annihilation, but a transformed relationship with the living God: ‘…yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold, and not another’. Job’s relationship with his Redeemer is the basis of this assurance, enabling him to look beyond his own death to the remarkable prospect of seeing God face to face. Confidence of this kind also lies within the Christian’s grasp. ‘Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3.2). ‘They shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads’ (Revelation 22.4).

Our response?

These great truths do not simply form the bedrock of our future hope; they call for a response now. We should be spurred on in the Christian life, knowing that eternity can be embraced with confidence. The despair of Russell’s ‘cosmic loneliness’ is dispelled by the firm assurance of an everlasting relationship with the Lord. That should lead to a life of resolute Christian obedience in this world.

1 Corinthians 15 concludes with the following exhortation: ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord’. In other words, confident of the knowledge of an assured future, in which, like Job, the Christian will see his all-powerful, holy, Redeemer God face to face, the Christian should not waver or give up, but should persist in the Lord’s work, knowing that it is purposeful and will lead to the eventual privilege and glory of seeing the Lord.

Our world

We live in a world full of conflict and social unrest, family breakdown, economic uncertainty and moral and spiritual confusion. Indeed, these are the hallmarks of its fallen state. As biblical truth seems to be pushed ever further from our country’s understanding of itself, the Christian is called to stand firm and be steadfast in the work of the Lord, knowing that a certain future has been secured: ‘…yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold and not another’.

As evangelical Christians, we should pray that we are spurred on by these truths to live for Christ in opposition to the lies and emptiness of humanistic philosophy. We should also pray that the Church of England will once again be captivated by them too, for our nation’s sake.

James Crabtree, 
Chairman of the Church Society Council

This article was first published in Church Society’s CrossWay magazine, and is published with permission.

(This article was first published in the April 2012 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
www.e-n.org.uk 0845 225 0057)

 

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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. 

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

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

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

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

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3 That Changed The World – Boghazkoi Clay Tablets

Posted in Current AffairsHistoryIndiaMediapoliticsReligion by Anuraag Sanghi on December 25, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Votes

Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt. (Photograph by David S. Boyer, Courtesy – National Geographic). Click for larger photograph.

Ramesses-II goes to war

1301 BC. An Egyptian land army, numbering more than 20,000, (divided in 4 divisions), set out on a campaign, lead by Pharoah Ramesses-II of the XIX Dynasty.

Ramesses-II, lived for more than 90 years, was probably the Pharaoh at the time of Exodus of Hebrews under Moses.

Ramesses-II is known in history for the construction during his reign. Most notably, the Temple Of Abu Simbel, Temple Of Nefertari. How would Abu Simbel read in Sanskrit – ‘abu’ is elephant, ‘simba’ is sinh i.e. lion and ‘bal’ is strength.

Cause of War Of Kadesh

Of the two warring sides, one was the Egyptian Pharoah RamessesII (1279-1212 BCE). With a land army of 20,000, and a naval Egyptian force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement. Ramesses-II set out to punish a small kingdom. Of Hittites, for trying to lure the Amurrus, Egyptian vassals, to the Hittite side.

Bedouin Slaves Being Beaten – Battle Of Kadesh

A lesser known (to modern history) element, were the Hittites led by Muwutalli-II, who had cobbled an alliance of small kingdoms.

Both these kingdoms were interested in the Syria and Palestine areas through which trade was carried out with India. Syriac and Palestinian lands were controlled by the Amurru – who were Egyptian vassals. The Hittites were a liberalising element in the Middle East /West Asia and possibly the Amurrus had defected to protect their political identity.

The campaign

During the march, leading to the Kadesh battle, the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin “spies”. These “spies”, after being sufficiently beaten, “revealed” to the Pharoah important information – giving confidence to the Pharoah that the Hittites feared the approaching Egyptian army. The truth was the opposite.

Battle Of Kadesh

The Greatest Chariot Battle In History

What followed was a historic chariot battle.

The awaiting Hittites ambushed the Egyptian army. These spies, in fact, were Hittites – sent to misinform the Egyptians!! An estimated 2500 Hittite (Ramesses’ estimate) chariots saw action. For two days the battle of Kadesh raged. Fought on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria.

The Egyptian king was saved at the last minute by the appearance of his reserve troops.

The Historic Treaty

After this battle, the Egyptians and the Hittites sat down and wrote their versions of this battle – which makes it rather unique. One of the few times in ancient history, where we get both versions of the battle. Two copies of the treaty were made. One, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other, in Hittite-Akaddian, and both survived. Only one difference in both the copies – the Egyptian version (recorded on a silver plaque) states that the Hittite king who wanted peace. In the Hittite copy, it was Ramesses-II who sent emissaries.

Queen Nefertari (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett 1997, NGM, From Treasures of Egypt, 2003.).

The two queens – critical factor

Peace broke when the queens of Hatti and Egypt, Puduhepa and Nefertari, sent one another congratulatory gifts and letters. Over the next 15 years, they arrived at modus vivendi and drafted a peace treaty. Puduhepa continued to be an active diplomat, co-signatory to the treaty of  Ulmi-Teshub treaty.

This peace treaty is the first in recorded history. A replica of this peace pact, in cuneiform tablet, found at Hattusas, Boghazkoi, hangs above the Security Council Chamber, United Nations, in New York, – a demonstration to modern nations the power of peace through international treaties. At Boghazkoi other Hiitite treaties have been found.

Another Treaty

The second discovery in the West Asian history, is the Treaty between the Mitannis and Hittites. In 1450 BC, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites entered into a treaty with the Mitannis. The Mittanis of the Amarna Tablets fame were linked to the significant power in the region – Egypt. As already outlined, the Mittanis were the closely associated with the Egyptian Pharaohs by marriage. And the Mittanis were also Indo-Aryans.

What Is Special About This Treaty

In this treaty, Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna, The Ashwini twins were invoked to bless and witness the treaty. The Hittites who had become past masters at treaties did not invoke these Gods with any other kingdom – except the Mitannis. Hittites and Mitannis were Indo- Aryan kingdoms – in full presence, with their Vedic Gods and culture.

The Zannanzas Puzzle

The 3rd interesting link between the Mitannis and the Hittites was the Zannanzas affair. After the death of Tutankhamen, (The Boy King) the XVIIIth Dynasty of Egypt was without a ruler. Tutankhamen’s queen, Ankhesenamun, a princess of Mitanni descent, needed a husband to continue the dynasty and protect the throne. She sent some urgent missives to the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma – asking him to send his son, to her as a husband, and become the King Of Egypt. The suspicious Hittite king ignored the missive. A second missive followed – and then a young prince was sent to Thebes (the capital was moved from Amarna back to Thebes).

The young prince never reached Egypt. He was possibly killed en route. And Tutankhamen’s Queen? Never been heard of since then.

How Do We Know All This

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (now identified as the ancient city of Hattusas) in Cappadocia, 150-200 kms from Ankara, Turkey. The name of the Hittite city, Hattusas, is possibly derived from the Sanskrit word, hutashan, हुताशन meaning ‘”sacred sacrificial fire.”

He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest. A Czech cryptographer, born in Poland, working in Germany, Friedrich (or Bedrich) Hrozny, working in Germany cracked this code over the next 15 years – and that set off a furore amongst archaeologists.

What do the Boghaz koi tablets show

Deciphered cuneiform tablets show Hittite worship of Varuna, Mitra and Indra – Gods worshipped by Indo-Aryans. Rulers and Kings had names likes Shutruk (Shatrughna), Tushrutta meaning “of splendid chariots” (similar to Dashratha; Master of Ten Chariots) Rama-Sin (Assyrian Moon Good was Sin; in Hindi Ramachandra), Warad (Bharat). One of the Hittite allies against Ramesses II was Rimisharrinaa, रामशरण the King of Aleppo. (One of my grand uncles is also named as रामशरण – a common Indian name 4000 years later, 4000 kilometers apart).

These Hittites ruled immediately before and after Hammurabi – the much proclaimed western world’s first law giver. Hammurabi’s legal concepts of vengeful laws and retributive justice are the basis of laws in the 3 ‘desert religions.’

The Elam culture had a language which is similar to Dravidian languages. The Mitannite, Kikkuli, wrote on how to manage chariot horses. Egyptian king, Amenhotep I, married a Mittanite princesses. Elamites were founders of the first kingdom in the Iranian geography.

Some archaeologists await the discovery of tombs to establish the identity of kings. They may never find them. In Vedic cultures, there are no tombs – like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoluems. Vedic Indo Aryans cremate their dead. They do not build memorials or mausoluems.

Religious freedom

The Hittite kingdom came to be known as the “kingdom of thousands of gods.” Like the Mittani, the Hittites too, added the gods of the conquered people to their own list of gods – instead of imposing the Hittite religion on the conquered peoples.

Why does this sound familiar?

This is significant as the Western concept of slavery was to deprive the captured of their religions (for instance, The Wends and their religion). This is another display of slave reform by Indics 3000 years ago.

Valued 3000 years later

These inscriptions were held sacred by the locals, 3000 years later and William Wright, an European investigator, had difficulty in noting these inscriptions. In 1870 The Hittites were named, by William Wright and Oxford University linguist A. H. Saycebased on Biblical short references, as one of the tribes of Palestine in the first millennium BC. It was a “son of Heth—a Hittite—who sold the Prophet Abraham the land to bury his much-loved wife, Sarah”. Modern view is Hattusas-Hittites (Yazilikaya/Boghazkoi/Carchemish) have nothing to do with the Biblical Hittites.

The Boghazkoi tablets changed modern history. From a completely Greco-Roman (read Euro-centric) history, the pendulum had swung to the other end. Boghazkoi showed Indian presence in the thick of West Asia in the year 2000BC with their culture and technology. This has pushed Indian history back by at least by 2000 years – to 4000 BC.

The Amarna letters and the Boghazkoi tablets have given archaeological proof of the Indo Aryan spread. Earlier, theories were retro-fitted, based on Biblical dates (Max Mueller’s, (specialist in “Compartive Theology”); main aim – “save” Indian pagans; make them see “the light” of Christian belief), colonial propaganda (Max Mueller, though a German, was a British employee) and racism. Hazy systems like philology, linguistics, comparative linguistics were used to define history. Now hard archaeological proof shows something else. Written texts, deciphered and decrpyted give us a new theory.

These discoveries and their implications have been buried under a mound of silence. Although well known in academic circles, these discoveries have not been used to update popular history. In the next (and last instalment of this series) I will trace how DNA testing is the third major tool used to reveal history!

PS – One of the big hits in Japan is the manga comic series “Red River” by Chie Shinohara. The entire series is based on this interaction between the Hittites and The Egyptians. The Red River is a work of fiction – so it cannot be taken as history – but the intrigue, silence, drama obviously inspired the author.

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