Tag Archives: Max Tegmark

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 121 Jared Diamond, UCLA, Geography Dept, “So explanation I would suggest is an early function, maybe one of the original functions of religion”

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

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Jared Diamond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jared Diamond
Jared diamond.jpg
Born Jared Mason Diamond
September 10, 1937 (age 77)
Boston, Massachusetts
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Fields Physiology, biophysics,ornithology, environmentalism,history, ecology, geography,evolutionary biology andanthropology
Institutions University of California, Los Angeles
Alma mater
Thesis Concentrating activity of the gall-bladder (1961)
Notable awards

Jared Diamond in London, February 2013

Jared Mason Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American scientist and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee (1991), Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997, awarded aPulitzer Prize), Collapse (2005) and The World Until Yesterday (2012). Originally trained in physiology, Diamond’s work is known for drawing from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology. As of 2013, he is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles.[1][2] He has been described as “America’s best-known geographer“.[3]

In  the third video below in the 125th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

QUOTE:

In short, explanation is a function of religion which I think was maximized in early religions in tribal societies which has decreased and even disappeared in recent times in some societies. So explanation I would suggest is an early function, maybe one of the original functions of  religion.

Basically I don’t see this as a groundbreaking statement. It is my view that God created the world and Romans 1 tells us that everyone knows in their heart that God exists. Below is a letter I wrote to Dr. Diamond and I did mention in passing his quotation.

April 7, 2015

Dr. Jared Diamond, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles,

Dear Dr. Diamond,

I saw you on the program CLOSER TO TRUTH and  that is what me started reading your material. Let me start off by saying that this is not the first time that I have written you. Earlier I shared several letters of correspondence I had with Carl Sagan, and Antony Flew. Both men were strong believers in evolution as you are today. Instead of talking to you about their views today I wanted to discuss the views of you and Charles Darwin. 

TWO THINGS MADE ME THINK OF YOU RECENTLY. On April 5, 2015 at the Fellowship Bible Church Easter morning service in Little Rock, Arkansas our pastor Mark Henry described DOUBTING THOMAS and that description made me think of you.  Moreover, your skeptical view towards  Christianity reminds me of CHARLES DARWIN’S growing doubts throughout his life on these same theological issues such as skepticism in reaction to the claims of the Bible!!!

I’m an evangelical Christian and you are a secularist but I am sure we can both agree with the apostle Paul when he said in First Corinthians 15 that if Christ did not rise from the dead then Christians are to be most pited!!!! I attended Easter services this week and this issue came up and Mark Henry asserted that there is plenty of evidence that indicates that the Bible is historically accurate. Did you know that CHARLES DARWIN thought about this very subject quite a lot?

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

I saw this QUOTE from you on You Tube:

In short, explanation is a function of religion which I think was maximized in early religions in tribal societies which has decreased and even disappeared in recent times in some societies. So explanation I would suggest is an early function, maybe one of the original functions of  religion. 

Quotes like this indicate to me that you are a DOUBTING THOMAS type. YOU MAY FIND IT INTERESTING THAT CHARLES DARWIN WAS ALSO INTERESTED IN THE HISTORICAL ASPECT OF THE BIBLE. When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, I also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

Charles Darwin observed:

“But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty. I think he didn’t want to come to the position where his accepted presuppositions were driving him. He didn’t want to give it up, just as an older man he understood where it would lead and “man can do his duty.” Instinctively this of brains understood where this whole thing was going to eventually go…

SINCE CHARLES DARWIN’S DEATH WE NOW HAVE LOTS OF HISTORICAL RECORDS AND MUCH EVIDENCE FROM THE FIELD OF ARCHAEOLOGY THAT SHOW THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.

**************TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER THIS EVIDENCE BELOW********************

I  have been amazed at the prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled in history, and also many of the historical details in the Bible have been confirmed by archaeology too. One of the most amazing is the prediction that the Jews would be brought back and settle in Jerusalem again. Another prophecy in Psalms 22 describes the Messiah dying on a cross  almost 1000 years before the Romans came up with this type of punishment.

Many times it has been alleged that the author of the Book of Daniel was from a later period but how did a later author know these 5 HISTORICAL FACTS? How did he know [1] that Belshazzar was ruling during the last few years of the Babylonian Empire when the name “Belshazzar” was lost to history until 1853 when it was uncovered in the monuments? [2] The author also knew that the Babylonians executed individuals by casting them into fire, and that the Persians threw the condemned to the lions. [3] He knew  the practice in the 6th Century was to mention first the Medes, then the Persians and not the other way around. [4] Plus he knew the laws made by Persian kings could not be revoked and [5] he knew that in the sixth century B.C., Susa was in the province of Elam (Dan. 8:2). Of course, the Book of Daniel (2:37-42) clearly predicted the rise of the 4 world empires in the correct order of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

One of the top 10 posts on my blog on this next subject concerning Tyre.   John MacArthur went through every detail of the prophecy concerning Tyre and how history shows the Bible prophecy was correct.  Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague.

HOW CAN ANYONE SAY THAT THIS FOLLOWING PROPHECY CONCERNING TYRE IS “TOO VAGUE?”

Below is an outline from a sermon from Dr. John MacArthur

Photo of John MacArthur

________________

John MacArthur on the amazing fulfilled prophecy on Tyre and how it was fulfilled by historical events.

LESSON

I. BIBLICAL PROPHECY CONCERNING TYRE (Ezekiel 26:1–28:19)

A. The Forecast

1. The specifics

a) That King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would destroy the mainland city of Tyre (26:7-8).

b) That many nations would rise up against Tyre. These nations would come like waves of the sea, one after another (26:3- 4).

c) That Tyre will be made like a flat rock (26:4, 14).

d) That fisherman will dry their nets there (26:5, 14).

e) That the rubble of the city would be cast into the sea (26:12).

f) That Tyre would never be rebuilt (26:14).

2. The setting

Tyre was a great city. It was one of the largest and most powerful cities of Phoenicia, which is modern day Lebanon.

It was well fortified. A great wall protected the city from land attacks while their world-renowned fleet protected them from attack by sea.

Tyre was a flourishing city during the time when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land. King Hiram, who began his reign during the rule of David, offered David cedars from Tyre to build his palace. He also loaned David his artisans to craft parts of the great palace (1 Chron. 14:1). Hiram also helped Solomon build the Temple by floating cedars down the shoreline to be picked up and hauled to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 2:16). So Tyre was a great city, and both David and Solomon looked to it for aid.

B. The Fulfillment

1. The prophetic call

a) To Nebuchadnezzar

Not long after the prophecy given by Ezekiel, Nebuchadnezzar did exactly what had been predicted–he laid siege against the city in 585 B.C. For thirteen years Nebuchadnezzar cut off the flow of supplies into the city. In 537 B.C. he finally succeeded in breaking the gates down, but found the city almost empty.

During the thirteen-year siege, the people of Tyre moved all their possessions by ship to an island one-half mile offshore. So Nebuchadnezzar gained no plunder (Ezek. 29:17- 20). Although he destroyed the mainland city (Ezek. 26:8), the new city offshore continued to flourish for 250 years. The prophecy of Ezekiel 26:12–“they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water”–remained unfulfilled.

b) To Alexander the Great

At age twenty-two, Alexander the Great came east conquering the known world with an army of between thirty and forty thousand men. Having defeated the Persians under Darius III, Alexander was on the march toward Egypt.

(1) The dilemma

Alexander arrived in the Phoenician territory and demanded that the cities open their gates to him. The citizens of Tyre refused, feeling they were secure on their island with their superior fleet.

(2) The decision

Realizing he did not have a fleet that could match Tyre’s, Alexander decided to build a causeway to the island using the ruins from the mainland city. It was about two hundred feet wide. The prophet said that the city would be thrown into the water, and that’s exactly what happened.

(3) The details

Arrian, a Greek historian, wrote about the overthrow of Tyre and how it was accomplished (The Campaigns of Alexander [New York: Penquin, 1958], pp. 132-43). The fortification of Tyre resembled Alcatraz. The city sat offshore like a rock with walls that came down to the edge of the water. Alexander set out to build the only means to approach the city–a land peninsula. Soldiers started pitching rubble into the water, leveling it off as they went so they could march on it. The water got deeper as they approached the island, and to make their task even more difficult, the people of Tyre bombarded them with missiles.

Werner Keller in The Bible as History tells us that to safeguard the operation, Alexander built mobile shields called “tortoises” (New York: Bantam, 1956], p. 361). Knowing that when they reached the city they would have to scale the walls, Alexander built “Hele-poleis,” which were mobile siege towers 160 foot high. The idea was to roll these structures across the causeway and push them up against the walls. A drawbridge on the front of the towers enabled the soldiers to march across the top of the walls and into the city.

Alexander’s men were under constant attack from people within the city and from the Tyrian navy. Realizing that he needed ships to defend his flanks, Alexander returned to the cities he had conquered and demanded their assistance. That fulfilled the prophecy that God “will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth its waves to come up” (Ezek. 26:3).

(4) The destruction

Alexander’s plan succeeded. Eight thousand people were slain and thirty thousand were sold into slavery. It took Alexander seven months to conquer Tyre. The causeway he built can be seen to this day.

2. The prophetic result

How did Ezekiel know all those things would happen? The only explanation is he expressed the mind of God. Historian Philip Myers said, “Alexander the Great reduced it [Tyre] to ruins (332 B.C.). She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site … is now as bare as the top of a rock–a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry” (General History for Colleges and High Schools [Boston: Ginn and Co., 1889], p. 55). That fulfills the prophecies of Ezekiel 26:4-5, 14. The island city was repopulated, later to be destroyed by the Moslems in A.D. 1281. However, God said the mainland city would never be rebuilt–and it never has. Jerusalem has been rebuilt many times but Tyre will never be rebuilt because a prophet in Babylon said twenty-five centuries ago, “Thou shalt be built no more” (Ezek. 26:14).

___________________

ANY HISTORIAN CAN HAVE ACCESS TO ALL OF THESE RECORDS. WHY NOT TAKE A FEW MOMENTS AND CHECK OUT THESE FACTS YOURSELF? As a secularist you believe that it is sad indeed that millions of Christians are hoping for heaven but no heaven is waiting for them. Paul took a close look at this issue too:

I Corinthians 15 asserts:

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

I sent you a CD that starts off with the song DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist, “There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.” (Post includes portion of my 5-15-94 letter to him)(Featured artist is Lisa Blas)

____

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Origin, Evolution, and the Future of Life on Earth

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Ultimate Reality of Christian de Duve

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The Origin, Evolution & Future of Life (H1150) – Full Video

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Christian de Duve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christian de Duve
Christian de Duve.tif

de Duve lecturing on the origin of the eukaryotic cell in October 2012
Born Christian René Marie Joseph de Duve
2 October 1917
Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain
Died 4 May 2013 (aged 95)
Grez-Doiceau, Belgium
Residence Belgium
Citizenship Belgian
Nationality Belgium
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege
  • Catholic University of Leuven
Known for Cell organelles
Notable awards
Spouse Janine Herman (m. 1943; d. 2008)
Children
  • Two sons, two daughters:
  • Thierry de Duve
  • Alain de Duve
  • Anne de Duve
  • Françoise de Duve

Dutch Queen Beatrix meets 5 Nobel Prize winners: Paul Berg, Christian de Duve, Steven Weinberg, Manfred Eigen, Nicolaas Bloembergen (1983)

Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve (2 October 1917 – 4 May 2013) was a Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist.[2][3] He made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade (“for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell”).[4] In addition to peroxisome and lysosome, he invented the scientific names such as autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in a single occasion.[5][6][7][8][9]

A son of Belgian refugees during the First World War, de Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain.[10] His family returned to Belgium in 1920. He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, and studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven. Upon earning his MD in 1941, he joined research in chemistry, working on insulin and its role in diabetes mellitus. His thesis earned him the highest university degree agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (equivalent to PhD) in 1945. With his work on the purification of penicillin, he obtained an MSc degree in 1946. He went for further training under (later Nobel Prize winners) Hugo Theorell at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Carl and Gerti Cori at the Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of medicine at Leuven in 1947. In 1960 he was invited to the Rockfeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). With mutual arrangement with Leuven, he became professor in both universities from 1962, dividing his time between Leuven and New York. He became emeritus professor of Leuven university in 1985, and of Rockefeller in 1988.

De Duve was decorated with Viscount in 1989 by King Baudouin of Belgium. He was also a recipient of Francqui Prize, Gairdner Foundation International Award, Heineken Prize, and E. B. Wilson Medal. In 1974 he founded the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, eventually renamed the de Duve Institute in 2005. He was the founding President of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science.[11]

He died on 4 May (Saturday) 2013 by self-induced euthanasia in the presence of all of his children.[12]

Early life and education[edit]

De Duve was born of a shopkeeper Alphonse de Duve and wife Madeleine Pungs in the village of Thames Ditton, near London. His parents fled Belgium at the outbreak of the First World War. After the war in 1920, at age three, he and his family returned to Belgium. He was a precocious boy, always the best student (primus perpetuus as he recalled) in school, except for one year when he was pronounced “out of competition” to give chance to other students.[2] He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, before studying at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1934.[13] He wanted to specialize in endocrinology and joined the laboratory of the Belgian physiologist Joseph P. Bouckaert. During his last year at medical school in 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium. He was drafted to the Belgian army, and posted in southern France as medical officer. There, he was almost immediately taken as prisoner of war by Germans. But fortunate of his ability to speak fluent German and Flemish, he outwitted his captors and escaped back to Belgium. (The adventure he later described as “more comical than heroic”.)[14] He immediately continued his medical course, and obtained his MD in 1941 from Leuven. His primary research was on insulin and its role in glucose metabolism. He made an initial discovery that a commercial preparation of insulin was contaminated with another pancreatic hormone, the insulin antagonist glucagon. However, laboratory supplies at Leuven were in shortage, he therefore enrolled in a programme to earn a degree in chemistry at the Cancer Institute. His research on insulin was summed up in a 400-page book titled Glucose, Insuline et Diabète (Glucose, Insulin and Diabetes) published in 1945, simultaneously in Brussels and Paris. The book was condensed into a technical dissertation which earned him the most advanced degree at the university level agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (an equivalent of a doctorate – he called it “a sort of glorified Ph.D.”) in 1945.[14] His thesis was followed by a number of scientific publications.[15] He subsequently obtained MSc in chemistry in 1946, for which he worked on the purification of penicillin.[16][17] To enhance his skill in biochemistry, he trained in the laboratory of Hugo Theorell (who later won The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1955) at the Nobel Medical Institute in Stockholm for 18 months during 1946-1947. In 1947 he received a financial assistance as Rockefeller Foundation fellow and worked for six months with Carl and Gerti Cori‘s at Washington University in St. Louis (the husband and wife were joint winners of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947).[18]

Career and research[edit]

In March 1947 de Duve joined the faculty of the medical school of the Catholic University of Leuven teaching physiological chemistry. In 1951 he became full professor. In 1960 Detlev Bronk, the then president of the Rockfeller Institute (what is now Rockefeller University) of New York City, met him at Brussels and offered him professorship and a laboratory. The rector of Leuven, afraid of entirely losing de Duve, made a compromise over dinner that de Duve would still be under part-time appointment with a relief from teaching and conducting examinations. The rector and Bronk made an agreement which would intilally last for five years. The official implementation was in 1962, and de Duve simultaneously headed the research laboratories at Leuven and at Rockefeller University, dividing his time between New York and Leuven.[19] In 1969 the Leuven university was split into two separate universities. He joined the French-speaking side of Université catholique de Louvain. He took emeritus status at Université catholique de Louvain in 1985 and at Rockefeller in 1988, though he continued to conduct research. Among other subjects, he studied the distribution of enzymes in rat liver cells using rate-zonal centrifugation. His work on cell fractionation provided an insight into the function of cell structures. He specialized in subcellular biochemistry and cell biology and discovered new cell organelles.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Personal life[edit]

De Duve was brought up as a Roman Catholic. In his later years he tended towards agnosticism, if not strict atheism.[67][68] However, de Duve also thought that “Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

De Duve married Janine Herman on 30 September 1943. Together they had had two sons, Thierry and Alain, and two daughters, Anne and Françoise. Janine died in 2008, aged 86.[16]

Death[edit]

De Duve died on 4 May 2013, at his home in Nethen, Belgium, at the age of 95. He decided to end his life by legal euthanasia, performed by two doctors before his four children. He had been long suffering from cancer and atrial fibrillation, and his health problems were exacerbated by a recent fall in his home. He is survived by two sons and two daughters; two brothers, Pierre and Daniel; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.[73][74][75]

De Duve was cremated as he had willed, and his ashes were distributed among family members and friends.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

De Duve won the Francqui Prize for Biological and Medical Sciences in 1960, and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974. King Baudouin of Belgium honoured him to Viscount in 1989.[16] He was the recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award in 1967, and the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1973 from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1975. He won the Harden Medal of the Biochemical Society of Great Britain in 1978; the Theobald Smith Award from the Albany Medical College in 1981; the Jimenez Diaz Award in 1985; the Innovators of Biochemistry Award from Medical College of Virginia in 1986; and the E. B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology in 1989.[76] He was also a member of the Royal Academies of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Arts, and of Literature of Belgium; the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the French National Academy of Medicine; the Academy of Sciences of Paris; the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina; the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1988.[1] In addition, he received honorary doctorates from eighteen universities around the world.[18]

Legacy[edit]

De Duve founded a multidisciplinary biomedical research institute at Université catholique de Louvain in 1974, called the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP), and later renamed “de Duve Institute.”[77] He remained its president until 1991. On his 80th birthday in 1997 it was renamed the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology. In 2005 it was further contracted to simply the de Duve Institute.[78]

De Duve was one of the founding members of the Belgian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, established on 15 September 1951.[79]

De Duve is remembered as an inventor of important scientific terminology. He coined the word lysosome in 1955, peroxisome in 1966, and autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in one instance at the Ciba Foundation Symposium on Lysosomes held in London during 12–14 February 1963, while he, “was in a word-coining mood.”[21][80]

De Duve’s life, including his work resulting in a Nobel Prize, and his passion for biology is the subject of a documentary film Portrait of a Nobel Prize: Christian de Duve (Portrait de Nobel : Christian de Duve), directed by Aurélie Wijnants. It was first aired on Eurochannel in 2012.[81]

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In  the third video below in the 144th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

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Quote from Christian de Duve in the film series “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)” and my response below ( Original interview was in 2005 and was conducted by Harry Kroto at the annual Lindau meeting):

Of course, I fully agree with you and I think with most of my fellow scientists. There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.   And so obviously as a scientist and being brought up as a Catholic I could not safely continue accepting the teaching of the church. 

Let me make two observations here.

FIRST, I think a person needs to take time examine the historical accuracy of the Bible. If the Bible is true then history and historical records should have something to say about that.

Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 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.,

SECOND, if there is no lasting meaning to life then CHANCE RULES. Let me discuss that a little more below.

Christian de Duve was very critical of Creationism!!!

Chrisian de Duve was a very sharp critic of creationism even though he grew up in a family that who were committed Catholics. In the Wikipedia article cited above we read these words:

“Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

I do want to salute him for at least taking a careful look and seeing that there were clearly two different paths we can take philosophically. We can either realize that the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Or we have to say that it is all by CHANCE. Below are the words of Christian de Duve: 

“The answer of modern molecular biology to this much-debated question is categorical: chance, and chance alone, did it all, from primeval soup to man, with only natural selection to sift its effects. This affirmation now rests on overwhelming factual evidence.”

A Guided Tour Of The Living Cell, Volume Two, Page 357
Scientific American Library, 1984

Portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Christian de Duve

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr.Christian de Duve  was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

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

 

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

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

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

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

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

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

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

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

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

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Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

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

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

Evergreen Art Lecture Series – Lisa Blas

Featured artist today is Lisa Blas

 

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 Regarding Territories and Bodies / Lisa Blas Installation view Salve Regina Art Gallery Catholic University of America Washington, DC 2009

Regarding Territories and Bodies / Lisa Blas
Installation view
Salve Regina Art Gallery
Catholic University of America
Washington, DC
2009

LISA BLAS

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM | BY JANUARY 31, 2011

Most people who know me understand that I can be rather impatient when it comes to waiting. The anticipation of visiting friend and colleague  Lisa Blas in her new home and studio in Brussels, Belgium certainly challenged this not so virtuous quality of mine. I planned the trip around visits with friends and relatives in nearby Antwerp and The Hague. The triangulation of these three cities of family and friends seemed a perfect reason to make a post-holiday season jaunt across the pond from Washington D.C.

Lisa is a multi-media artist and former Washingtonian who taught at The Corcoran College of Art and Design for many years.  She moved to Belgium in January 2010 to join her fiancé who is an art historian.  Since moving to Belgium, Lisa has taught at Tourcoing, France as a visiting artist and currently is an artist-in-residence in Ors, France.

After getting slightly lost on that rainy afternoon, I finally arrived one hour late to Lisa’s art deco building on the west side of Brussels. Feet sore with a new camera in hand (after having my original equipment stolen the day before in an Antwerp elevator) I made my way up the winding staircase and emerged into her light filled apartment — walls lined with books, plants and art. I was greeted with a much needed glass of water and a comfy chair. After showing me around her place, we shortly left her apartment and walked up to another floor to one of the smallest studios I have ever been in — measuring not more than eight feet square. It previously had been a storage space and was recently emptied and converted into a private studio for Lisa. A large window and a balcony helped to make the space seem bigger than its jewel box size. And it was jewel like. Her new collage work looked like constellations on the wall as it reflected back onto a thin mirror hanging exactly opposite from it. Shards of tiny cut colored geometric shapes deliberately placed on each page created abstract compositions dancing over tiles of paper. A playground lay below and faint voices of children playing could be heard. For a moment I felt mesmerized.

Lisa’s previous work that I was familiar with was based on a journey she began in 2003 throughout the United States where she examined archives from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century  “that point to the American sensibility in all its complexities and nuances.” This research became the source of a solo show titled “Meet Me At the Mason Dixon” in 2008.  She had paintings, photographs and installation that were specific to the lands she traversed and the social history they embodied.

She states: “Traveling engenders activities of documentation and collection. It is akin to plein air observation that is later brought back to the studio for assembly. Such travels have convinced me of the relevance of the nineteenth century for our present-day experience. When I set to work with materials, I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s idea: ‘For every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably’ ”.

Lisa recently travelled to India and Brazil, but most significantly this past spring to Los Angeles, where she attended her father’s funeral. It is this experience of her father passing that has inspired her recent collage work that lines the walls of her intimate studio as well as the large table in her dining room. She talks about how these little triangular shards (in the collages) originate from a photography project five years earlier.

At that time, Lisa began collecting Hallmark sympathy cards, folded them into airplane like shapes and photographed them as ephemeral, sculptural objects. These images began as a study of the form and language of mass culture, especially as they relate to expressions of grief—perhaps the most difficult emotion to articulate.  Since her father’s death, these images have now taken on another level of complexity and meaning. In the collages, she begins by looking for specific colored paper and card stock that arrives in the mail. She then cuts this material into varying shapes, echoing the Hallmark cards and literally composes them onto music composition paper.

She discussed three exhibitions she had recently seen of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Fred Sandback and Henri Matisse that have fueled her current practice. Elaborating more on the Matisse exhibition in Chicago she visited last year called “Matisse: Radical Invention 1913 -1917” Lisa reflects, “As the exhibition focused on the time period of World War I (another coincidence), his experimentation with new forms of picture construction, and their unfinished quality, had a great impact on me. This interstitial, and perhaps restless period in his life as a painter seems to echo our contemporary moment in many ways. In speaking about his painting The Moroccans, Matisse reportedly said ‘…that everything that did not contribute to the balance and rhythm of [this work], had to be eliminated…as you would prune a tree’.”

I imagine Lisa quietly working at her table and in her yellow studio cutting delicate shapes to create these soundless compositions that resonate with so much personal meaning. The transformation she has made from focusing on travel that is physical and external, to a journey that is internal and now manifest in a form of a highly controlled cultural abstraction is a process of pruning I will continue to follow.

A solo exhibition of her work will be at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania opening late August 2011 to coincide with the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War. This exhibit is being curated by Shannon Egan.

You can see Lisa’s work in other upcoming group shows here in the U.S. at the Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, and this summer at Addison Ripley Fine Art in Washington D.C.

For more information visit her website at www.lisablas.com

Related posts:

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Part 118 Max Perutz, Cambridge, molecular biologist, “I don’t think we should upset those people who [believe in religion] , who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people”

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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

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

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

Max Perutz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Max Perutz
Max Perutz.jpg

Perutz in 1962, age 52
Born Max Ferdinand Perutz
19 May 1914
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 February 2002 (aged 87)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire,England
Nationality British
Fields Molecular biology,Crystallography
Institutions University of Cambridge,Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Alma mater University of Vienna
Peterhouse, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor J.D. Bernal
Doctoral students Francis Crick; John Keith Moffat
Known for Heme-containing proteins
Notable awards
Spouse Gisela Clara Peiser (m. 1942; 2 children)

Max Ferdinand Perutz OM CH CBE FRS (19 May 1914 – 6 February 2002)[1] was an Austrian-born British molecular biologist, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin. He went on to win the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971 and the Copley Medal in 1979. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962–79) The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, fourteen of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes. Perutz’s contributions to molecular biology in Cambridge are documented in The History of the University of Cambridge: Volume 4 (1870 to 1990) published by the Cambridge University Press in 1992.

Early life[edit]

Perutz was born in Vienna, the son of Adele “Dely” (Goldschmidt) and Hugo Perutz, a textile manufacturer.[2][3] His parents were Jewish by ancestry, but had baptized Perutz in the Catholic religion.[4][5][6] Although Perutz rejected religion and was an atheist in his later years, he was against offending others for their religious beliefs.[7][8]

Career[edit]

His parents hoped that he would become a lawyer, but he became interested in chemistry while at school. Overcoming his parents’ objections he enrolled as a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Vienna and completed his degree in 1936. Made aware by lecturer Fritz von Wessely of the advances being undertaken at the University of Cambridge into biochemistry by a team led by Gowland Hopkins, he asked Professor Marks who was soon to visit Cambridge to make inquiries to Hopkins about whether there would be a place for him. However Marks forgot. However he had visited J.D. Bernal, who was looking for a research student to assist him with studies into X-ray crystallography.[9] Perutz was dismayed as he knew nothing about the subject. Marks countered by saying that he would soon learn. Bernal accepted him as a research student in his crystallography research group at Cavendish Laboratory. His father had deposited ₤500 with his London agent to support him. He learnt quickly. Bernal encouraged him to use the X-ray diffraction method to study the structure of proteins. As protein crystals were difficult to obtain he used horse haemoglobin crystals, and began his doctoral thesis on its structure. Haemoglobin was a subject which was to occupy him for most of his professional career. He completed his PhD. under William Lawrence Bragg.

Rejected by Kings and St John’s colleges he applied to and became a member of Peterhouse, on the basis that it served the best food. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse in 1962. He took a keen interest in the Junior Members, and was a regular and popular speaker at the Kelvin Club, the College’s scientific society.

World War 2[edit]

When Hitler took over Austria in 1938 Perutz’s parents managed to escape to Switzerland, but lost all of their money. As a result, Perutz lost their financial support. With his ability to ski, experience in mountaineering since childhood and his knowledge of crystals Perutz was accepted as a member of a three-man team to study the conversion of snow into ice in Swiss glaciers in the summer of 1938. His resulting article for the Proceedings of the Royal Society made him known as an expert on glaciers.[10]

Lawrence Bragg who was head of the Professor of Experimental Physics at Cavendish, thought that Perutz’s research into haemoglobin had promise and encouraged him to apply for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to continue his research. The application was accepted in January 1939 and with the money Perutz was able to bring his parents from Switzerland in March 1939 to England.[10]

On the outbreak of World War II Perutz was rounded up along with other persons of German or Austrian background, and sent to Newfoundland (on orders from Winston Churchill).[11] After being interned for several months he returned to Cambridge. Because of his previous research into the changes in the arrangement of the crystals in the different layers of a glacier before the War he was asked for advice on whether if a battalion of commandos were landed in Norway, could they be hidden in shelters under glaciers. His knowledge on the subject of ice then lead to him in 1942 being recruited for Project Habakkuk. This was a secret project to build an ice platform in mid-Atlantic, which could be used to refuel aircraft. To that end he investigated the recently invented mixture of ice and woodpulp known as pykrete. He carried out early experiments on pykrete in a secret location underneath Smithfield Meat Market in the City of London.

Establishment of the Molecular Biology Unit[edit]

After the War he returned briefly to glaciology. He demonstrated how glaciers flow.[12][13][14][15][16]

In 1947 Perutz, with the support of Professor Bragg was successful in obtaining support from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to undertake research into the molecular structure of biological systems. This financial support allowed him to establish the Molecular Biology Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory.[17] Perutz’s new unit attracted researchers who realized that the field of molecular biology had great promise, among them was Francis Crick in 1949 and James D. Watson in 1951.

In 1953 Perutz showed that diffracted X-rays from protein crystals could be phased by comparing the patterns from crystals of the protein with and without heavy atoms attached. In 1959 he employed this method to determine the molecular structure of the protein hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.[citation needed] This work resulted in his sharing with John Kendrew the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Nowadays the molecular structures of several thousand proteins are determined by X-ray crystallography every year.

After 1959, Perutz and his colleagues went on to determine the structure of oxy- and deoxy- hemoglobin at high resolution. As a result, in 1970, he was at last able to suggest how it works as a molecular machine: how it switches between its deoxygenated and its oxygenated states, in turn triggering the uptake of oxygen and then its release to the muscles and other organs. Further work over the next two decades refined and corroborated the proposed mechanism. In addition Perutz studied the structural changes in a number of hemoglobin diseases and how these might affect oxygen binding. He hoped that the molecule could be made to function as a drug receptor and that it would be possible to inhibit or reverse the genetic errors such as those that occur in sickle cell anemia. A further interest was the variation of the hemoglobin molecule from species to species to suit differing habitats and patterns of behavior. In his final years Perutz turned to the study of changes in protein structures implicated in Huntington and other neurodegenerative diseases. He demonstrated that the onset of Huntington disease is related to the number of glutamine repeats as they bind to form what he called a polar zipper.[18]

DNA structure and Rosalind Franklin[edit]

Perutz with his wife Gisela at the 1962 Nobel ball

During the early 1950s, while Watson and Crick were determining the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), they made use of unpublished X-ray diffraction images taken by Rosalind Franklin, shown at meetings and shared with them by Maurice Wilkins, and of Franklin’s preliminary account of her detailed analysis of the X-ray images included in an unpublished 1952 progress report for the King’s College laboratory of Sir John Randall. Randall and others eventually criticized the manner in which Perutz gave a copy of this report to Watson and Crick.

It is debatable whether Watson and Crick should have been granted access to Franklin’s results without her knowledge or permission, and before she had a chance to publish a detailed analysis of the content of her unpublished progress report. It is also not clear how important the content of that report had been for Watson and Crick’s modeling. In an effort to clarify this issue, Perutz later published the report, arguing that it included nothing that Franklin had not said in a talk she gave in late 1951, which Watson had attended. Perutz also added that the report was addressed to an MRC committee created in order to “establish contact between the different groups of people working for the Council”. Randall’s and Perutz’s labs were both funded by the MRC.

The author[edit]

In his later years, Perutz was a regular reviewer/essayist for The New York Review of Books on biomedical subjects. Many of these essays are reprinted in his 1998 book I wish I had made you angry earlier.[19] In August 1985 The New Yorker also published his account tiled “That Was the War: Enemy Alien” of his experiences as an internee during World War 2. Perutz’s flair for writing was a late development. His relative Leo Perutz, a distinguished writer, told Max when he was a boy that he would never be a writer, an unwarranted judgement, as demonstrated by Perutz’s remarkable letters written as an undergraduate. They are published in What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz. Perutz was delighted to win the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science in 1997.

The scientist-citizen[edit]

Perutz attacked the theories of philosophers Sir Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn and biologist Richard Dawkins in a lecture given at Cambridge on ‘Living Molecules’ in 1994. He criticised Popper’s notion that science progresses through a process of hypothesis formation and refutation, saying that hypotheses are not necessarily the basis of scientific research and, in molecular biology at least, they are not necessarily subject to revision either. For Perutz, Kuhn’s notion that science advances in paradigm shifts that are subject to social and cultural pressures is an unfair representation of modern science.

These criticisms extended to scientists who attack religion, in particular to Richard Dawkins. Statements which offend religious faith were for Perutz tactless and simply damage the reputation of science. They are of quite a different order to criticism of the demonstrably false theory of creationism. He concluded that “even if we do not believe in God, we should try to live as though we did.”[20]

Within days of the 11 September attacks in 2001, Perutz wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appealing to him not to respond with military force: “I am alarmed by the American cries for vengeance and concerned that President Bush’s retaliation will lead to the death of thousands more innocent people, driving us into a world of escalating terror and counter-terror. I do hope that you can use your restraining influence to prevent this happening.”[21]

Honours and awards[edit]

Perutz was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1954.[1] In addition to the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962, which he shared with John Kendrew for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin, Max Perutz received a number of other important honours: he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963, received the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1967, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971, appointed a Companion of Honour in 1975, received the Copley Medal in 1979 and the Order of Merit in 1988.

Perutz was made a Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 1964, received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna (1965) and received the Wilhelm Exner Medal in 1967.[22]

Lectures[edit]

In 1980 he was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Chicken, the Egg and the Molecules.

Personal life[edit]

In 1942, Perutz married Gisela Clara Mathilde Peiser (1915-2005), a medical photographer. They had two children, Vivien (b. 1944), an art historian; and Robin (b. 1949), a professor of Chemistry at the University of York. Gisela was a refugee from Germany (she was a Protestant whose own father had been born Jewish).[23]

He was cremated on 12 February 2002 at Cambridge Crematorium (Cambridgeshire) and his ashes interred with his parents Hugo Perutz and Dely Perutz in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.[24] His wife was cremated on 28 December 2005 and her ashes were interred in the same grave.

Books by Max Perutz[edit]

  • 1962. Proteins and Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. Amsterdam and London. Elsevier
  • 1989. Is Science Necessary? Essays on science and scientists. London. Barrie and Jenkins. ISBN 0-7126-2123-7
  • 1990. Mechanisms of Cooperativity and Allosteric Regulation in Proteins. Cambridge. Cambridge University PressISBN 0-521-38648-9
  • 1992. Protein Structure : New Approaches to Disease and Therapy. New York. Freeman (ISBN 0-7167-7021-0)
  • 1997. Science is Not a Quiet Life : Unravelling the Atomic Mechanism of Haemoglobin. Singapore. World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-3057-5
  • 2002. I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier.Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-674-0
  • 2009. What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz edited by Vivien Perutz. Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-864-5

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In  the second video below in the 77th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

Max Perutz asserted:   “….we should fight creationism and when asked say we don’t believe in religion. I don’t think we should upset those people who do, who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people.”

 

Sometimes people like Max Perutz get mad at people like Richard Dawkins but I see where Dawkins is coming from because he feels strongly about what he feels is the truth.

Let me respond with three points.

FIRST, Christ commands us Christians to tell everyone about the gospel because there is a day of Judgment coming.

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Revelation 14:6-7: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’”

My former pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, Adrian Rogers in his sermon A PLACE CALLED HELL noted:

The late, great Dr. Robert G. Lee, who was the pastor of this church, said this, and I wrote it down, he said, ”I know some people call the preacher who stands squarely upon the teaching of Christ and his apostles narrow, harsh, cruel.” then he said, ”as to being narrow, I have no desire to any broader than was Jesus. As to being cruel, is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is a man to be called cruel who declares the whole counsel of God and points out to men their danger? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people to the fact that the house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from the rattlesnake in the coil? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadliness of disease and tell them which medicine to take?” and then dr. Lee said this; he said, ”I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than to be called kind for being cruel.”

The cruelest thing a man could do would be to fail to warn people about what the bible has to say about hell. To speak sneeringly, disparagingly about a preacher who believes in hell, to ridicule a preacher who warns of hell would be the same as to ridicule a doctor who warns of cancer. It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is a fact. And I’m going to tell you, dear friend, that the idea of hell is ridiculed today. And, I know why it is ridiculed today, because people don’t like the idea and they try to laugh it away. You can laugh your way into hell, but you can’t laugh your way out once you’re there.

SECOND, the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted and a person can investigate some evidence that the Bible is accurate at this link.

THIRD, without God in the picture everything is permitted. Woody Allen demonstrated this brilliantly in his 1989 film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. I bring this up because I read this below:

  • “All is lawful.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “Viper will eat viper, and it would serve them both right!”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral; everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Scientists may not believe in God, but they should be taught why they ought to behave as if they did.”(9)

Max Perutz, with a Nobel prize in chemistry, made this statement several years ago in response to critical remarks about Cambridge University establishing a Lectureship in Theology and Natural Science. Richard Dawkins, outspoken biologist and atheist, could barely contain himself in an editorial letter about the same lectureship: “The achievements of theologians don’t do anything, don’t affect anything, don’t achieve anything. What makes you think that ‘theology’ is a subject at all?”(10)

Julian Huxley evidently agreed with Perutz because Huxley also wrote, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” Woody Allen addressed the same point in his movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and I have written this same subject over and over and over  again on this blog.

Francis Schaeffer’s comments on Huxley’s quote:

Relieving the Tension in the West

In  both the East and the West, however, there are attempts to relieve the tension of seeming to be nothing, while in fact being something very real – a person in a real world which has a definite form. On the materialist side, Sir Julian Huxley (1887-1975) has clarified the dilemma by acknowledging, though he was an atheist, that somehow or other – against all that one might expect – a person functions better if he acts as though God exists. “So,” the argument goes, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” As observed by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) in The Wild Duck: “Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.” In other words, according to Huxley, you can function properly only if you live your whole life upon a lie. You act as if God exists, which to the materialist is false. At first this sounds like a feasible solution for relieving the tension produced by a materialist world-view. However, a moment’s reflection shows what a terrible solution it is. You will find no deeper despair than this for a sensitive person. This is no optimistic, happy, reasonable, brilliant answer. It is darkness and death.
Another way the tension is relieved is through the theory of evolution, the idea that by chance there is an increasing advance. People are given an impression of progress – up from the primeval slime and the amoeba, up through the evolutionary chain, with life developing by chance from the simple carbon molecule to the complex, right up to the pinnacle, mankind.
This is not the place to discuss evolutionary theory, but it surprises us how readily people accept it, even on the scientific side, as if it had no problems. There are problems, even if these are not commonly realized or discussed.89 The primary point we are interested in, however, is not evolution itself but the illusion of “progress” which has been granted by it. By chance, this amazing complexity called “man” has been generated out of the slime. So, of course, there is progress! By this argument people are led into imagining that the whole of reality does have purpose even if, as we have said, there is no way that it really can have purpose within the humanistic world-view.
Evolution makes men and women feel superior and at the top of the pile, but in the materialistic framework, the whole of reality is meaningless; the concept of “higher” means nothing. Even if, within the humanist world-view, people are more complex than plants and animals, both “higher” and “lower” have no meanings. We are left with everything being sad and absurd.
Thus, the concept of progress is an illusion. Only some form of mystical jump will allow us to accept that personality comes from impersonality.90 No one has offered to explain, let alone demonstrate it to be feasible, how the impersonal plus time plus chance can give personality. We are distracted by a flourish of words – and, lo, personality has appeared out of a hat.
Imagine a universe made up of only liquids and solids, one containing no free gases. A fish is swimming in this universe. This fish, quite naturally, is conformed to its environment so that it is able to exist quite happily. Let us suppose, then, that by blind chance (as the evolutionists would have us believe) this fish developed lungs as it continued swimming in this universe without any gases. The fish would no longer be able to function and to fulfill its position as a fish. Would it then be “higher” or “lower” in its new state with lungs? Obviously it would be lower, for it would drown.
In the same way, if a person has been kicked up from the impersonal by chance, those things that make him a person – hope of purpose and significance, love, notions of morality and rationality and beauty – are ultimately unfulfillable and are thus meaningless. In such a situation, is man higher or lower? Mankind would then be the lowest creature on the scale, the least conforming to what reality is. Thus we see how hopeless is the illusion of meaning or purpose as derived from evolutionary thought.

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Why Woody Allen’s movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS blows Perutz and Huxley comments out of the water!!!

DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Evangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?

(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

 

 

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

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On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr. Max Perutz was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

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

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

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

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

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

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

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

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

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

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

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

Related posts:

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Part 117 Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physics professor at California Institute of Technology, “Darwin to a good extent undercut “DESIGN ARGUMENT]”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Sean M. Carroll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the biologist, see Sean B. Carroll.
Sean M. Carroll
Seanmcarroll2.jpg

Sean Carroll
Born 5 October 1966 (age 50)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Residence Los Angeles, California
Citizenship United States
Nationality American
Fields Physics, cosmology, astrophysics, general relativity
Institutions California Institute of Technology
Alma mater
Thesis Cosmological Consequences of Topological and Geometric Phenomena in Field Theories (1993)
Doctoral advisor George B. Field
Doctoral students Ignacy Sawicki, Eugene Lim, Mark Hoffman, Jennifer Chen, Heywood Tam, Lotty Ackerman, Kimberly Boddy
Known for Dark electromagnetism
Influences Albert Einstein, Ludwig Boltzmann, Richard Feynman
Notable awards Andrew Gemant Award (2014)
Spouse Jennifer Ouellette
Website
www.preposterousuniverse.com

Sean Michael Carroll (/ˈkærəl/; born 5 October 1966) is a cosmologist and physics professor specializing in dark energy and general relativity. He is a research professor in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology.[1] He has been a contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance, and has published in scientific journals and magazines such as Nature, The New York Times, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist.

He has appeared on the History Channel’s The Universe, Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Carroll is the author of Spacetime And Geometry, a graduate-level textbook in general relativity, and has also recorded lectures for The Great Courses on cosmology, the physics of time, and the Higgs boson.[2] He is also the author of three popular books: one on the arrow of time entitled From Eternity to Here, one on the Higgs boson entitled The Particle at the End of the Universe, and one on science and philosophy entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.

 

Career

Carroll received his PhD in astronomy and astrophysics in 1993 from Harvard University, where his advisor was George B. Field. His dissertation‘s title is “Cosmological Consequences of Topological and Geometric Phenomena in Field Theories“. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago until 2006 when he was denied tenure.[3] He is now a research professor at Caltech.

His most-cited work, “Is Cosmic Speed-Up Due To New Gravitational Physics?”, was written with Vikram Duvvuri, Mark Trodden, and Michael Turner. With over 1,000 citations, it helped pioneer the study of f(R) gravity in cosmology.[4]

In 2010, Carroll was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society, for “contributions to a wide variety of subjects in cosmology, relativity, and quantum field theory, especially ideas for cosmic acceleration, as well as contributions to undergraduate, graduate, and public science education”.[5] In 2014 he was awarded the Andrew Gemant Award, a prize given by the American Institute of Physics for “significant contributions to the cultural, artistic or humanistic dimension of physics.”[6] In 2015 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.[7]

Personal life

Carroll is married to Jennifer Ouellette, a science writer and the former director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange.[8]

Research

Carroll has worked on a number of topics in theoretical cosmology, field theory, and gravitation theory. His research papers include models of, and experimental constraints on, violations of Lorentz invariance; the appearance of closed timelike curves in general relativity; varieties of topological defects in field theory; and cosmological dynamics of extra spacetime dimensions. In recent years he has written extensively on models of dark energy and its interactions with ordinary matter and dark matter, as well as modifications of general relativity in cosmology.

Carroll has also worked on the arrow of time problem. He and Jennifer Chen posit that the Big Bang is not a unique occurrence as a result of all of the matter and energy in the universe originating in a singularity at the beginning of time, but rather one of many cosmic inflation events resulting from quantum fluctuations of vacuum energy in a cold De Sitter space. Carroll and Chen claim that the universe is infinitely old, but never reaches thermodynamic equilibrium as entropy increases continuously without limit due to the decreasing matter and energy density attributable to recurrent cosmic inflation. They assert that the universe is “statistically time-symmetric” insofar as it contains equal progressions of time “both forward and backward”.[9][10][11] Some of his work has been on violations of fundamental symmetries, the physics of dark energy, modifications of general relativity, and the arrow of time. Recently he started focusing on issues at the foundations of cosmology, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and complexity.

Views on religion

Carroll is an atheist. He turned down an invitation to speak at a conference sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, on the grounds that he did not want to appear to be supporting a reconciliation between science and religion.[12] In 2004, he and Shadi Bartsch taught an undergraduate course title at the University of Chicago on the history of atheism. In 2012 he organized the workshop “Moving Naturalism Forward”, which brought together scientists and philosophers to discuss issues associated with a naturalistic worldview. His article, “Does the Universe Need God?” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity develops the claim that science no longer needs to posit a divine being to explain the existence of the universe. The article generated significant attention when it was discussed on The Huffington Post.[13] His 2016 book The big picture on the origins of life meaning and the universe itself develops the philosophy of poetic naturalism.

Carroll occasionally takes part in formal debates or discussions with theists. In 2012, Carroll teamed up with Michael Shermer to debate with Ian Hutchinson of MIT and author Dinesh D’Souza at Caltech in an event titled “The Great Debate: Has Science Refuted Religion?”[14] In 2014, Carroll debated with Christian apologist William Lane Craig as part of the Greer-Heard Forum in New Orleans. The topic for the debate was “The Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology”. Carroll received an “Emperor Has No Clothes” award at the Freedom From Religion Foundation Annual National Convention in October 2014.[15]

 

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In  the second video below in the 81st clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

Below is the letter I wrote to Dr. Carroll with the quote from him and my response to it.

Image result for charles darwin
Darwin age 30
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin in midlife

_________

December 25, 2016

Dr. Sean M. Carroll, Pasadena ,

Dear Dr. Carroll,

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

Recently I noticed this comment by you Dr Carroll from the popular You Tube video ANOTHER 50 RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD (Part 2): 

Aristotle would tell you things like if you have an object and you want it to be in motion. You have to keep pushing it because if you stop, it stops. And Aristotle was right. It stopped if I stopped pushing it.

Physicists like to make fun of Aristotle these days but he was right in the context he was talking about.  So if you believe about fundamental stuff in the world, motion only exists when something is pushing it, then you can imagine that these kinds of arguments make sense that the fact that we see things moving in the universe despite the fact the motion requires a mover makes you believe that there must be some prime mover out there behind the whole thing. Then comes along Galileo and Newton and they saw actually if you think about it carefully the natural status for objects is uniform motion. Its just because of friction dissipation and other annoying features of the world that we see things stop

At a fundamental level things want to keep moving and unless you act upon them they will remain in uniform motion.This notion conservation of momentum completely underminded the sort of metaphysical reasoning behind the arguments for the first cause and prime-mover and things like that , and you can actually see the impact on the theological literature,  once they invented Newtonian mechanics, arguments for the existence of God changed their focus from prime-movers, first cause arguments from contingency to the argument from design. They started inventing machines and they said, “It looks like a machine and maybe there is a machinist and so forth.” Then Darwin to a good extent undercut that argument and we are still living in the aftermath of that.

These words of yours made me think about Darwin’s own words which I want to discuss with you in this letter:

They started inventing machines and they said, “It looks like a machine and maybe there is a machinist and so forth.” Then Darwin to a good extent undercut that argument and we are still living in the aftermath of that.

I thought of you recently when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters because of what Darwin said on this same issue of intelligent design. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. Earlier I had sent you  CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism. If you don’t have the CD let me know and I will be glad to send you another one.

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

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am aware that if we admit a First Cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came, and how it arose.”

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying is if you say there is a first cause, then the mind says, “Where did this come from?” I think this is a bit old fashioned, with some of the modern thinkers, this would not have carry as much weight today as it did when Darwin expressed it. Jean Paul Sartre said it as well as anyone could possibly say it. The philosophic problem is that something is there and not nothing being there. No one has the luxury of beginning with nothing. Nobody I have ever read has put forth that everything came from nothing. I have never met such a person in all my reading,or all my discussion. If you are going to begin with nothing being there, it has to be nothing nothing, and it can’t be something nothing. When someone says they believe nothing is there, in reality they have already built in something there. The only question is do you begin with an impersonal something or a personal something. All human thought is shut up to these two possibilities. Either you begin with an impersonal and then have Darwin’s own dilemma which impersonal plus chance, now he didn’t bring in the amount of time that modern man would though. Modern man has brought in huge amounts of time into the equation as though that would make a difference because I have said many times that time can’t make a qualitative difference but only a quantitative difference. The dilemma is it is either God or chance. Now you find this intriguing thing in Darwin’s own situation, he can’t understand how chance could have produced these two great factors of the universe and its form and the mannishness of man.

From Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), pp. 307 to 313.

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species, and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

On the basis of his reason he has to say there must be an intelligent mind, someone analogous to man. You couldn’t describe the God of the Bible better. That is man is made in God’s image  and therefore, you know a great deal about God when you know something about man. What he is really saying here is that everything in my experience tells me it must be so, and my mind demands it is so. Not just these feelings he talked about earlier but his MIND demands it is so, but now how does he counter this? How does he escape this? Here is how he does it!!!

Charles Darwin went on to observe:  —can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

So he says my mind can only come to one conclusion, and that is there is a mind behind it all. However, the doubt comes because his mind has come from the lowest form of earthworm, so how can I trust my mind. But this is a joker isn’t it?  Then how can you trust his mind to support such a theory as this? He proved too much. The fact that Darwin found it necessary to take such an escape shows the tremendous weight of Romans 1, that the only escape he can make is to say how can I trust my mind when I come from the lowest animal the earthworm? Obviously think of the grandeur of his concept, I don’t think it is true, but the grandeur of his concept, so what you find is that Darwin is presenting something here that is wrong I feel, but it is not nothing. It is a tremendously grand concept that he has put forward. So he is accepting the dictates of his mind to put forth a grand concept which he later can’t accept in this basic area with his reason, but he rejects what he could accept with his reason on this escape. It really doesn’t make sense. This is a tremendous demonstration of the weakness of his own position.

Darwin also noted, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

What a stupid reply and I didn’t say wicked. It just seems to me that here is 2 plus 2 equals 36 at this particular place.

Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William 3 July 1881

Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Francis Schaeffer observed:

Can you feel this man? He is in real agony. You can feel the whole of modern man in this tension with Darwin. My mind can’t accept that ultimate of chance, that the universe is a result of chance. He has said 3 or 4 times now that he can’t accept that it all happened by chance and then he will write someone else and say something different. How does he say this (about the mind of a monkey) and then put forth this grand theory? Wrong theory I feel but great just the same. Grand in the same way as when I look at many of the paintings today and I differ with their message but you must say the mark of the mannishness of man are one those paintings titanic-ally even though the message is wrong and this is the same with Darwin.  But how can he say you can’t think, you come from a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s conviction, so how can you trust me? Trust me here, but not there is what Darwin is saying. In other words it is very selective. 

Now we are down to the last year of Darwin’s life.

* The Duke of Argyll (Good Words, April 1885, p. 244) has recorded a few words on this subject, spoken by my father in the last year of his life. “. . . in the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms,and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature—I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin’s answer. He looked at me very hard and said, ‘Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,’ and he shook his head vaguely, adding, ‘it seems to go away.'”

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

And this is the great Darwin, and it makes you cry inside. This is the great Darwin and he ends as a man in total tension.

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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Darwin close to the end of his life
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Francis Schaeffer pictured above

________________________

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

_______________________________________

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

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Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope on 700 Club

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Kerry Livgren of Kansas is on left in picture and Dave Hope is on the right

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

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

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

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

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

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and you can google them: 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.

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

Related posts:

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

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

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Part 116 Sir Raymond Firth, Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics, “Religion [is] an essentially human product” (Includes a portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Dr. Firth)

_________

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

 

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

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

Raymond Firth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Raymond Firth
Professor Sir Raymond Firth, c1965.jpg
Born 25 March 1901
Auckland,
New Zealand
Died 22 February 2002 (aged 100)
London,
England
Fields Ethnologist
Academic advisors Bronisław Malinowski
Doctoral students Edmund Leach

Sir Raymond William Firth, CNZM, FBA (25 March 1901 – 22 February 2002) was an ethnologist from New Zealand. As a result of Firth’s ethnographic work, actual behaviour of societies (social organization) is separated from the idealized rules of behaviour within the particular society (social structure). He was a long serving Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics, and is considered to have singlehandedly created a form of British economic anthropology.[1]

Early life and academic career[edit]

Firth was born to Wesley and Marie Firth in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1901. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School, and then at Auckland University College, where he graduated in economics in 1921.[2] He took his MA there in 1922, and a diploma in social science in 1923.[3] In 1924 he began his doctoral research at the London School of Economics. Originally intending to complete a thesis in economics, a chance meeting with the eminent social anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski led to him to alter his field of study to ‘blending economic and anthropological theory with Pacific ethnography’.[2] It was possibly during this period in England that he worked as research assistant to Sir James G Frazer, author of The Golden Bough.[4] Firth’s doctoral thesis was published in 1929 as Primitive Economics of the New Zealand Māori.

After receiving his PhD in 1927 Firth returned to the southern hemisphere to take up a position at the University of Sydney, although he did not start teaching immediately as a research opportunity presented itself. In 1928 he first visited Tikopia, the southernmost of the Solomon Islands, to study the untouched Polynesian society there, resistant to outside influences and still with its pagan religion and undeveloped economy.[2] This was the beginning of a long relationship with the 1200 people of the remote four mile long island, and resulted in ten books and numerous articles written over many years. The first of these, We the Tikopia: A Sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia was published in 1936 and seventy years on is still used as a basis for many university courses about Oceania.[5]

In 1930 he started teaching at the University of Sydney. On the departure for Chicago of Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, Firth succeeded him as acting Professor. He also took over from Radcliffe-Brown as acting editor of the journal Oceania, and as acting director of the Anthropology Research Committee of the Australian National Research Committee.

After 18 months he returned to the London School of Economics in 1933 to take up a lectureship, and was appointed Reader in 1935. Together with his wife Rosemary Firth, also to become a distinguished anthropologist, he undertook fieldwork in Kelantan and Terengganu in Malaya in 1939-1940.[6] During the Second World War Firth worked for British naval intelligence, primarily writing and editing the four volumes of the Naval Intelligence Division Geographical Handbook Series that concerned the Pacific Islands.[7] During this period Firth was based in Cambridge, where the LSE had its wartime home.

Firth succeeded Malinowski as Professor of Social Anthropology at LSE in 1944, and he remained at the School for the next 24 years.[2] In the late 1940s he was a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the then-fledgling Australian National University, along with Sir Howard Florey (co-developer of medicinal penicillin), Sir Mark Oliphant (a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project), and Sir Keith Hancock (Chichele Professor of Economic History at Oxford). Firth was particularly focused on the creation of the university’s School of Pacific Studies.[8]

He returned to Tikopia on research visits several times, although as travel and fieldwork requirements became more burdensome he focused on family and kinship relationships in working- and middle-class London.[6]Firth left LSE in 1968, when he took up a year’s appointment as Professor of Pacific Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi. There followed visiting professorships at British Columbia (1969), Cornell (1970), Chicago (1970-1), the Graduate School of the City University of New York (1971) and UC Davis (1974). The second festschrift published in his honour described him as ‘perhaps the greatest living teacher of anthropology today’.[3]

After retiring from teaching work, Firth continued with his research interests, and right up until his hundredth year he was producing articles. He died in London a few weeks before his 101st birthday: his father had lived to 104.

Personal life[edit]

Firth married Rosemary Firth (née Upcott) in 1936 and she died in 2001; they had one son, Hugh, who was born in 1946. He was raised a Methodist then later became a humanist and an atheist, a decision influenced by his anthropological studies.[9][10] He was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.[11]

  •  Sir Raymond Firth)

Papers[edit]

Sir Raymond Firth’s papers are held at the London School of Economics – including his photographic collection

 ____

In  the second video below in the 54th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

Sir Raymond Firth:

I think that religion has always been one of my interests, looking at it as an essentially human product…

I would like to give 3 responses to the above assertion made by Dr. Firth.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. I go into this further in a June 17, 2014 letter I wrote to Harry Kroto (which is below). The interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector.

SECOND, let me recommend a book  by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, called Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists. I have included a review of it later in this post.

THIRD, Solomon showed very clearly in the Book of Ecclesiastes that without God in the picture when one looks at life UNDER THE SUN the only conclusions one can reach is that life is meaningless and there is no satisfaction anywhere. Firth’s close friend H.J.Blackham who founded the BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION where Firth belonged as a member has eloquently stated:

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

Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009)

Image result for h.j. blackham british humanist

___

In fact, I sent Dr. Firth I sheet of quotes on May 15, 1994 that included that quote above from his friend H.J. Blackham but I never received a return letter from him. I have included a portion of that letter that I sent to Dr. Firth at the end of this post. Here is another section from that letter:

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

______________________

Harry Kroto, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry, c/o Florida State

June 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Kroto,

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

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

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

Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above. 

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

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

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

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)

Image result for e.o.wilson

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Adrian Rogers at White House)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to Dr. Raymond Firth since he was a very prominent British humanist and  here is a portion of that letter below:

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

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

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

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

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

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

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

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

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

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

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Book Review: Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists

One of the brashest challenges that religious truth has experienced over the past several decades is the remarkable rise of the pugnacious New Atheists. Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, new generation Christian apologists, have undertaken the task of contesting this anti-theistic upsurge. And in Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists the authors have pulled together a wide range of research that powerfully critiques the arguments from the combative non-theists.

Worldviews are in dispute: Christian theism vs. modern atheism. There are powerful and compelling arguments for the existence of God, but one wouldn’t know it if one only read the works of Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins. They assert numerous fallacious and deceptive arguments as they often erect the frailest of straw men in order to push them down with the greatest of rhetorical ease.

You would think that atheism is a forceful challenger to Christianity. But McDowell and Morrow argue that the New Atheism, as aggressive as it is, does not provide the evidential or philosophical truth. The more important consideration, they advocate, is what worldview has the preeminent rational arguments and historical facts on its side.
They proceed to make the case that Christian theism, categorically, provides the finest evidence and makes the most sense.

The authors deal with the scientific and philosophical challenges to Christian theism in a reasoned and respectful manner.
In Is God Just a Human Invention? topics include:

  • The relationship between reason and faith
  • A defense of miracles
  • The origin of the cosmos
  • The reality of soul/body dualism
  • Flaws in Darwinian thought
  • The biblical view of slavery and genocide
  • The remarkable rise and impact of a new generation of Christian philosophers
  • The exclusivity of Jesus Christ
  • And much more.

The apologists begin with an examination and refutation of the atheist accusation that “faith … is belief without supportive evidence” (atheist Victor Stenger, p. 19). “The idea that faith is opposed to reason permeates the writings of the New Atheists.” This allegation is erroneous inasmuch as Christianity doesn’t value blind faith and irrationality since biblical faith is “belief in the light of the evidence” (pp. 19-21). They make it clear that Christianity is not to be lumped together with irrational religions because it “values the role of the mind which includes the proper use of reasoning and argumentation” (p. 22).  A list of supporting quotes by Christian thinkers across time is posited as one of many helpful tools within this essay. The reader then learns that all men, even atheists, have faith in their daily lives. One trusts the unfamiliar pilot of a plane one boards; one has faith that the electrician properly wires your house; one trusts the cook at the restaurant where one eats, etc. (p. 24). Thus religious followers are not the only people with faith; all men have faith in things they have not seen, often this faith is not based on evidence. Moreover, atheists have blind faith in the idea that the universe “came into existence from nothing,” that life emerged from non-life, and the mind arose from mere matter (p. 25).

This section ends with brief expositions of the classic proofs for God’s existence presented in a clear and persuasive manner, but too diminutive to be useful standing alone (p. 28-29, the remainder of the book supplements and defends their claims nicely).

The writers in the next chapter tackle the alleged conflict between science and religion. “There is no inherent conflict between Christianity and science” (although there is antagonism at times), since most of the early pioneering scientists were theists. Furthermore, the universe was created by God; Galileo’s new theories (he remained a theist) were not handled wisely, but the skeptics exaggerate the conflict; and naturalism fails to supply the underlying ontological (the nature of matter) and epistemic (ground for knowledge) resources required and presupposed by science. Naturalism is defined by Dawkins as the view that nothing exists “beyond the natural, physical world” (p. 37).  The problem is naturalism “ultimately undermines any basis for confidence” in nature’s order and the powers of reason (p. 37). Likewise, naturalism leads to skepticism regarding our senses and rational notions forasmuch as men are mere products of blind evolutionary processes. Thus, under a naturalistic worldview, there’s no reason to trust our reason or our senses; they were merely the result of blind Darwinian accidents.

If the mind has developed through blind, irrational, and material processes of Darwinian evolution, then why should we trust it at all? Why should we believe that the human brain—outcome of an accidental process—actually puts us in touch with reality? Science cannot be used as an answer to this question, because science itself relies upon these very assumptions (p. 39).

The section ends with a very succinct essay by John W. Montgomery that presses the truth that Christianity has the necessary explanatory power required for science and intelligibility; what’s more, it alone offers a Saving Redeemer. This essay would make a fine pamphlet to print as a witnessing tract (pp. 42-43).

Chapter Three offers a defense of miracles as the authors challenge many assumptions and proposed methodology posited by naturalists who oppose the possibility of miracles; after all, “if a transcendent God exists, then it seems eminently possible that He has acted in the universe” (p. 46). So combating the faulty presuppositions of the naturalist is an important aspect of an evenhanded defense of miracles. The authors rest their case for miracles on all the cumulative evidence for God’s existence: Cosmological, Design, and Moral arguments as well as the evidence for the human soul and Christ’s Resurrection. Thus there is a large amount of compelling evidence for God and God has the ability to perform miracles, and miracles “seem quite probable” (p. 46).

The chapter proceeds to directly contest Hume’s case against miracles. First they counter Hume’s underlying ideas because many of the New Atheists employ Hume’s longstanding arguments. The authors expose Hume’s circular reasoning:

Hume presumes to know the uniformity of human experience prior to considering the evidence. To assert that uniform experience counts against miracles is to assume that all miracle claims are false. But how can he make such a claim before examining the facts? Well, he simply assumes it (pp. 47-48).

Since vicious circular arguments are fallacious, this part of Hume’s case fails before it can get off the ground.

Second they successfully attack Hume’s theory that one should never believe the improbable. If one must view all life this way, one can never see anyone win the lottery or draw a royal flush since it’s very improbable (p. 48).  But we observe royal flush winners even though it is very improbable that one can hold such a hand. Under Hume’s critique of miracles, one “would not be justified in believing” that improbable winning hands occur. “But surely it is perfectly reasonable to believe that an improbable event can occasionally occur” (p. 48). Thus Hume’s improbability critique against miracles misses the mark.

The rest of the chapter delivers some credible counters vis-à-vis the remainder of Hume’s case against supernatural marvels, including a concise defense of the majestic miracle of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (pp. 47-54).

The New Atheists boldly claim that miracles are impossible. Yet, as we have seen, this denial is not based on any scientific or historical evidence, but rather comes out of a philosophical commitment to naturalism (p. 54).

The subsequent chapter focuses on Darwinian evolution as anti-Darwinian quotes from non-theistic and theistic scientists are brought to bear upon this highly favored theory. Added to this is the case of Intelligent Design. Rational design of biological life is the case since many pursuits of truth seek evidence for design (or information) as evidence for the agency of intelligence; this includes SETI research, forensic science, and archeological examination (p. 59). If it’s a suitable scientific tool in those cases, it can be in the analysis of biological design.

Additionally, Morrow and McDowell highlight the distinction between macroevolution (changes from one species into another different species) and microevolution (small changes within a kind) as a way to clarify the dispute between Divine creation and Darwinian evolution:

If you’ve only read the New Atheists, then you may think evolution is the only game in town.  … But that is not the whole story. When examined closely, their most compelling examples turn out to be (at best) evidence for microevolution. Not only is the evidence for Darwinian evolution lacking, compelling evidence for design can be found from the tiniest cell to the origin and structure of the universe (p. 67).

The Kalam argument comes next. They define it via William Lane Craig:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (p. 74).

A lucid exposition defending the argument follows as they discuss the Big Bang theory, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and some of Stephen Hawking’s ideas (they didn’t interact with Hawking’s latest theory: one aspect of his new view is that nothing could have created everything, Hawking: The Grand Design, 2010).

The volume adds essays about how life began (pp. 71-82) and the Fine Tuning argument (everything is just right for life, pp. 95-107) as they stack up their imposing cumulative case for Christian theism.

Chapter eight contends that a purely material reality cannot produce consciousness.1They argue for an immaterial aspect of the mind using:

  • The New Atheists’ words against them
  • Documented Near Death Experiences
  • Intention and free choice
  • The need of an enduring personhood over time (a person is more than the sum of one’s physical parts)2
  • Mental states which “cannot be described in physical terms” (“how much a thought weighs, or how long your beliefs could be stretched out,” pp. 109-115).

It’s difficult to see how a mind could arise from nonmind through the purposeless, material, mindless process of evolution. It’s much easier to see how a Conscious Mind could produce the human consciousness (p. 116).

McDowell and Morrow go on to rebut various atheistic notions such as: theism is a mere product of wishful thinking, Dawkins’ Meme theory, and blind natural selection (Chapter 9). Thus it is “reasonable to conclude that God exists” which means that it is “also possible to infer that the reason so many humans have desires for and beliefs in the divine points to God’s desire to be known” (p. 129).

The authors then defend Christianity against the unfair charge that it is dangerous as they expose the massive death toll that political atheism racked up by atheists Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.  These anti-theistic leaders murdered tens of millions of innocent people (pp. 135-147).

The next section gives a brief but suitable explanation of Old Testament ethics by means of the employment of context, proper hermeneutical applications, and cultural veracities to make their case. Moreover, they press the moral truths that Jesus lived out (accepting the needy, healing, and His vicarious atonement) and commanded (turn the other cheek, give, seek peace, love, and forgive) as the most profound moral standard ever offered (pp. 148-155). Additionally they provide fine essays concerning the doctrine of eternal punishment, God’s command to go to war, and the appropriate view of sexual morality (pp. 159-196). They add: “True freedom is found not in throwing off Christian morality, but in embracing it wholeheartedly” p. 194).

The succeeding portion seeks to demonstrate that atheism lacks the ontic grounding for objective moral truths. Atheists can know what is moral (epistemic explanation); they can know right from wrong. Nonetheless, atheism lacks an objective and perfect ontic ground to issue objective moral commandments as well as the means to hold all moral lawbreakers to an account.

“In the theistic view, objective moral laws are grounded in the reality of a Moral Lawgiver. So what grounds morality in a world without God? (p. 198).” Without theism nothing has the ontic stature to ground objective moral truths.

Their chapter regarding the most perplexing problem: Why does an all-good and omnipotent God allow evil (theodicy) and suffering? This segment is short but convincing. Still, the authors know that the problem of evil has no easy solution when it comes to real pain.

They rightly profess: “According to the Bible, a day will come when every broken heart will be mended, every illness healed. God will set the world right. Death will not have the final word—Jesus Christ made certain of that” (p. 219).

Chapter seventeen is a fascinating look at the innumerable things modern men take for granted that resulted from the application of the Christian worldview or its extension and influence. This includes charity, hospitals, orphanages, rights for infants and women, and the ending of culturally mandated abuse of people across the globe. Hence, Christianity has been and continues to be good for the world: “Christianity has been a force for good in the past, continues to be so today, and will be tomorrow as long as Christians pay close attention to the teaching and example of Jesus” (p. 233).

As they cross home plate the two apologists forward a critique of the dreamt up religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; in contrast to this puerile invention, they offer a superb apologia for the wonder of Christ. At that juncture they bless the reader with their personal testimonies (pp. 237-264).

Is God Just a Human Invention? is loaded with exceptional quotes from Christian and non-Christian thinkers. Additionally, the book furnishes very short essays at the back of each chapter from various erudite Christian scholars that augment the thesis of what was advanced by the authors.

This volume combines simplicity and applicability without forfeiting precision. The authors lead the reader into the full girth of the many contemporary discussions concerning the defense of Christianity. They offer several of the leading arguments for Christian theism while toppling some of the most belligerent of the objections promoted by the New Atheists. They have written, with abundant care, to attain a thoroughness that is not often established in popular books. The wisdom and excellence with which each chapter is written makes this a crucial volume for the budding apologist’s library.


Apologetics 315 Book Reviewer Mike A. Robinson is an avid reader and reviewer; he has authored 14 books using leading-edge apologetics that make an impact on average people. More of his work can be found at http://theLordGodExists.com.


  1.  The atheist who maintains that only the physical world exists is claiming that nothing spiritual or nonmaterial exists; this includes an enduring immaterial soul. Without an ongoing immaterial apsect of personhood, after seven years, everyone is a different person. So the atheist cannot account for personal identity. By his standard of a physical-only world, everyone is a different person after seven years because every physical atom has been swapped for new ones. If we consist of only physical matter, and are devoid of a nonmaterial soul, under the atheist physical-only view, after our bodily atoms were completely exchanged for new ones, we would be different people. The atheist, under his worldview, is not married to the woman he married nine years ago. They are totally different physically, due to the complete exchange of bodily atoms after seven years. If he has a child over the age of seven, by the atheist’s standard, the kid is not the same child that was born to them. Therefore, if he wanted to be consistent in his worldview, he should throw away all his baby pictures and their wedding album. The atheist husband still hugs his wife without being unfaithful to her, since people have souls. He will still take his kid to the park and buy him a balloon. But he will not buy the unknown kid who is next to him a balloon. The atheist knows that his child is the same child who was born to him years before because he has an enduring immaterial soul. Can the information in one’s DNA be the basis for personal identity? No, since twins have the same DNA but they are two different individuals (http://thelordgodexists.com/2011/05/enduring-personal-identity-presupposes-god-part-i/).
  2. For more on the “problem of enduring personal identity” see: Keith Ward: More Than Matter, pp. 64-80; J.P. Moreland: Scaling the Secular City, pp. 88-89; and for a Thomistic view see: Edward Feser: The Last Superstition, pp. 203-208).

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!!  Robert Coleman Richardson, physicist, Cornell, “I do not believe in an anthropomorphic GOD, somebody that’s a MAN and somehow or other made things”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Robert Coleman Richardson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Coleman Richardson
Robert Coleman Richardson.jpg
Born June 26, 1937
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Died February 19, 2013 (aged 75)
Ithaca, New York, U.S.
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions Cornell University
Alma mater Virginia Tech (B.S., M.S.)
Duke University (Ph.D.)
Doctoral advisor Horst Meyer
Known for Discovering superfluidity in helium-3
Notable awards Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1970)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1996)

Robert Coleman Richardson (June 26, 1937 – February 19, 2013)[1] was an American experimental physicist whose area of research included sub-millikelvin temperature studies of helium-3. Richardson, along with David Lee, as senior researchers, and then graduate student Douglas Osheroff, shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics for their 1972 discovery of the property of superfluidity in helium-3 atoms in the Cornell University Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics.[2][3][4]

Richardson was born in Washington D.C. He went to high school at Washington-Lee in Arlington, Virginia. He later described Washington-Lee’s biology and physics courses as “very old-fashioned” for the time. “The idea of ‘advanced placement’ had not yet been invented,” he wrote in his Nobel Prize autobiography. He took his first calculus course when he was a sophomore in college.[5]

Richardson attended Virginia Tech and received a B.S. in 1958 and a M.S. in 1960. He received his PhD from Duke University in 1965.

At the time of his death, he was the Floyd Newman Professor of Physics at Cornell University, although he no longer operated a laboratory. From 1998 to 2007 he served as Cornell’s vice provost for research, and from 2007 to 2009 was senior science adviser to the president and provost. His past experimental work focused on using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to study the quantum properties of liquids and solids at extremely low temperatures.

Richardson was an Eagle Scout, and mentioned the Scouting activities of his youth in the biography he submitted to the Nobel Foundation at the time of his award.[1] Richardson was an atheist.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Biography on the Nobel Foundation website
  2. Jump up^ Osheroff, DD; RC Richardson; DM Lee (1972). “Evidence for a New Phase of Solid He3”. Physical Review Letters. 28 (14): 885–888. Bibcode:1972PhRvL..28..885O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.28.885.
  3. Jump up^ Osheroff, DD; WJ Gully; RC Richardson; DM Lee (1972). “New Magnetic Phenomena in Liquid He3 below 3mK”. Physical Review Letters. 29 (14): 920–923. Bibcode:1972PhRvL..29..920O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.29.920.
  4. Jump up^ “The Nobel Prize in Physics 1996”. The Nobel Prize in Physics. Nobel Foundation. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  5. Jump up^ Chang, Kenneth. (2013, February 22). Robert C. Richardson, 75, Laureate in Physics, Dies. The New York Times, p B14.
  6. Jump up^ J. (2011). 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1). Retrieved September 04, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s47ArcQL-XQBut, I do not believe in an anthropomorphic god…”

External links[edit]

_

In  the first video below in the 2nd clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Robert Coleman Richardson Quote: 

I do not believe in an anthropomorphic GOD, somebody that’s a MAN and somehow or other made things. And to answer the question about the afterlife. All I can say is that it would be great, but I have no conviction that there is an afterlife. 

Let me start off by saying that I don’t believe an anthropomorphic God, and the vast majority of Christians don’t hold this view either while the Mormons do. I read a great article on this in the Christian Research Institute article,Recognizing and Interpreting Anthropomorphic Language,” by  Ron Rhodes. 

John Piippo seemed to agree with me on this point, and in his article 50 Renowned Academics (Atheists) Speaking About God – A Review, (August 05, 2011) he noted:

  1. Robert Coleman Richardson (physics)
  1. “I do not believe in an anthropomorphic “God,” somebody that’s a “man” and somehow or other made things.” Well I don’t believe in an “anthropomorphic God” either. All Coleman gives us is a personal credo which even theists can affirm. So this little confessional adds no weight to the discussion.

My former pastor Adrian Rogers talks about who Jesus actually was in this short article below:

Who Is This Man Called Jesus?

Many believe Christ to be a savior, but not THE Savior. These skeptics put Jesus in the same class with Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Ghandi, and others. But Jesus was unique. He was God in human flesh — 100% God and 100% man.

John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven. There is no other way. You must trust that He is Lord and surrender your life to Him completely. Is that true with you? Have you surrendered yourself completely to the Savior Jesus and made Him Lord of your life?

I have been asked, “Do you believe that a Jew without Jesus is lost?” I say, “I believe that one of my own dear children is lost without Jesus Christ.” It isn’t a matter of whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile. It’s not a matter of race, or face, or place — it’s a matter of grace. People are saved or lost according to what they do with the Son of God.

I’m going to tell you how you can know for sure that Jesus Christ is Who He said He is. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. You must decide.

Jesus walked upon this earth. He was born and He died. How do we know this? We know it for three reasons.

The Personal Witness Of The Saints
Acts 10:39-41 says, “And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.”

Over 500 people saw Jesus after His death and most of these died because of their belief. Let me say, a man may live for a lie, but would he die for one?

The Prophetic Witness Of The Scriptures
Acts 10:43 says, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” When the writer says “all the prophets,” he is talking about the prophets from Genesis to Malachi (remember, the New Testament hadn’t been written yet).

In Genesis 3, we read about the One who will bruise the head of the serpent. In Genesis 12, He is going to come from the seed of Abraham. In Genesis 22, we read about the sacrifice of Isaac on the very mountain where Jesus was later crucified! The entire book of Leviticus is filled with pictures of blood-atoning sacrifices for sin. You’ll read about the prophetic crucifixion of Jesus in Psalm 22. In Micah 5:2, it is told clearly that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is: there is but one plan of salvation in all the Bible and that is through the blood-atoning sacrifice of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.


The Powerful Witness Of The Spirit

The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and says, “Amen. It is written. It is truth.” I thank God that I don’t have to try and talk you into believing Jesus. If there’s anything I can talk you into, there’s someone who can talk you right out of it!

1 John 5:9-11 says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

I want you to have a “know-so” salvation, not a “hope-so.” Do you know that if you died tonight that you would go to heaven? Notice I didn’t say, “Do you hope that if you died tonight that you would go to heaven.” Repent and believe today so you can have a “know-so” salvation!

___________________________

Many people question the fact that God would send Jesus to come see us. Richard Feynam said sending someone to the world like Christ in the form of a human was too “provincial,” but let us examine Carl Sagan’s same criticism and compare it to what actually happened in Sagan’s film CONTACT: 

Carl Sagan had to live  in the world that God made with the conscience that God gave him. This created a tension. As you know the movie CONTACT was written by Carl Sagan and it was about Dr. Arroway’s SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI) program and her desire to make contact with aliens and ask them questions. It is my view that Sagan should have examined more closely  the accuracy of the Bible and it’s fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament in particular before chasing after aliens from other planets for answers. Sagan himself had written,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995).

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky. However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie CONTACT?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Francis Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists.

In several of my letters to Sagan I quoted this passage below:

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.(A)

18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

__________________________________________

Can a man  or a woman find lasting meaning without God? Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of Ecclesiastes. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.”

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

_______________

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this post we are going to see that through the years  humanist thought has encouraged artists like Michelangelo to think that the future was extremely bright versus the place today where many artist who hold the humanist and secular worldview are very pessimistic.   In contrast to Michelangelo’s DAVID when humanist man thought he […]

Was Antony Flew the most prominent atheist of the 20th century?

_________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

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

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

 

Daniel Dennett

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

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

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

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

Early life[edit]

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

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

Dennett in 2008

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

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

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

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

Free will[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evolutionary debate[edit]

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

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

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

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

An account of religion and morality[edit]

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

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

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

Other philosophical views[edit]

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

Dennett has been critical of postmodernism, having said:

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

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

Personal life[edit]

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

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

January 12, 2017

Dear Dr. Dennett,

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

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

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

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

Let me give 4 short responses.

 

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

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

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

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

  1. Daniel Dennett (philosophy)

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

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

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

Thank you again  for your time.

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

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

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

Daniel C. Dennett,
Tufts University
Medford, MA

July 8, 2014

Dear Dr. Dennett,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BBC The Atheism Tapes – Daniel Dennett

 

Summary of Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist, “There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.” (Post includes portion of my 5-15-94 letter to him)

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Christian de Duve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christian de Duve
Christian de Duve.tif

de Duve lecturing on the origin of the eukaryotic cell in October 2012
Born Christian René Marie Joseph de Duve
2 October 1917
Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain
Died 4 May 2013 (aged 95)
Grez-Doiceau, Belgium
Residence Belgium
Citizenship Belgian
Nationality Belgium
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege
  • Catholic University of Leuven
Known for Cell organelles
Notable awards
Spouse Janine Herman (m. 1943; d. 2008)
Children
  • Two sons, two daughters:
  • Thierry de Duve
  • Alain de Duve
  • Anne de Duve
  • Françoise de Duve

Dutch Queen Beatrix meets 5 Nobel Prize winners: Paul Berg, Christian de Duve, Steven Weinberg, Manfred Eigen, Nicolaas Bloembergen (1983)

Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve (2 October 1917 – 4 May 2013) was a Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist.[2][3] He made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade (“for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell”).[4] In addition to peroxisome and lysosome, he invented the scientific names such as autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in a single occasion.[5][6][7][8][9]

A son of Belgian refugees during the First World War, de Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain.[10] His family returned to Belgium in 1920. He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, and studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven. Upon earning his MD in 1941, he joined research in chemistry, working on insulin and its role in diabetes mellitus. His thesis earned him the highest university degree agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (equivalent to PhD) in 1945. With his work on the purification of penicillin, he obtained an MSc degree in 1946. He went for further training under (later Nobel Prize winners) Hugo Theorell at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Carl and Gerti Cori at the Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of medicine at Leuven in 1947. In 1960 he was invited to the Rockfeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). With mutual arrangement with Leuven, he became professor in both universities from 1962, dividing his time between Leuven and New York. He became emeritus professor of Leuven university in 1985, and of Rockefeller in 1988.

De Duve was decorated with Viscount in 1989 by King Baudouin of Belgium. He was also a recipient of Francqui Prize, Gairdner Foundation International Award, Heineken Prize, and E. B. Wilson Medal. In 1974 he founded the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, eventually renamed the de Duve Institute in 2005. He was the founding President of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science.[11]

He died on 4 May (Saturday) 2013 by self-induced euthanasia in the presence of all of his children.[12]

Early life and education[edit]

De Duve was born of a shopkeeper Alphonse de Duve and wife Madeleine Pungs in the village of Thames Ditton, near London. His parents fled Belgium at the outbreak of the First World War. After the war in 1920, at age three, he and his family returned to Belgium. He was a precocious boy, always the best student (primus perpetuus as he recalled) in school, except for one year when he was pronounced “out of competition” to give chance to other students.[2] He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, before studying at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1934.[13] He wanted to specialize in endocrinology and joined the laboratory of the Belgian physiologist Joseph P. Bouckaert. During his last year at medical school in 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium. He was drafted to the Belgian army, and posted in southern France as medical officer. There, he was almost immediately taken as prisoner of war by Germans. But fortunate of his ability to speak fluent German and Flemish, he outwitted his captors and escaped back to Belgium. (The adventure he later described as “more comical than heroic”.)[14] He immediately continued his medical course, and obtained his MD in 1941 from Leuven. His primary research was on insulin and its role in glucose metabolism. He made an initial discovery that a commercial preparation of insulin was contaminated with another pancreatic hormone, the insulin antagonist glucagon. However, laboratory supplies at Leuven were in shortage, he therefore enrolled in a programme to earn a degree in chemistry at the Cancer Institute. His research on insulin was summed up in a 400-page book titled Glucose, Insuline et Diabète (Glucose, Insulin and Diabetes) published in 1945, simultaneously in Brussels and Paris. The book was condensed into a technical dissertation which earned him the most advanced degree at the university level agrégation de l’enseignement supérieur (an equivalent of a doctorate – he called it “a sort of glorified Ph.D.”) in 1945.[14] His thesis was followed by a number of scientific publications.[15] He subsequently obtained MSc in chemistry in 1946, for which he worked on the purification of penicillin.[16][17] To enhance his skill in biochemistry, he trained in the laboratory of Hugo Theorell (who later won The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1955) at the Nobel Medical Institute in Stockholm for 18 months during 1946-1947. In 1947 he received a financial assistance as Rockefeller Foundation fellow and worked for six months with Carl and Gerti Cori‘s at Washington University in St. Louis (the husband and wife were joint winners of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947).[18]

Career and research[edit]

In March 1947 de Duve joined the faculty of the medical school of the Catholic University of Leuven teaching physiological chemistry. In 1951 he became full professor. In 1960 Detlev Bronk, the then president of the Rockfeller Institute (what is now Rockefeller University) of New York City, met him at Brussels and offered him professorship and a laboratory. The rector of Leuven, afraid of entirely losing de Duve, made a compromise over dinner that de Duve would still be under part-time appointment with a relief from teaching and conducting examinations. The rector and Bronk made an agreement which would intilally last for five years. The official implementation was in 1962, and de Duve simultaneously headed the research laboratories at Leuven and at Rockefeller University, dividing his time between New York and Leuven.[19] In 1969 the Leuven university was split into two separate universities. He joined the French-speaking side of Université catholique de Louvain. He took emeritus status at Université catholique de Louvain in 1985 and at Rockefeller in 1988, though he continued to conduct research. Among other subjects, he studied the distribution of enzymes in rat liver cells using rate-zonal centrifugation. His work on cell fractionation provided an insight into the function of cell structures. He specialized in subcellular biochemistry and cell biology and discovered new cell organelles.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Personal life[edit]

De Duve was brought up as a Roman Catholic. In his later years he tended towards agnosticism, if not strict atheism.[67][68] However, de Duve also thought that “Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

De Duve married Janine Herman on 30 September 1943. Together they had had two sons, Thierry and Alain, and two daughters, Anne and Françoise. Janine died in 2008, aged 86.[16]

Death[edit]

De Duve died on 4 May 2013, at his home in Nethen, Belgium, at the age of 95. He decided to end his life by legal euthanasia, performed by two doctors before his four children. He had been long suffering from cancer and atrial fibrillation, and his health problems were exacerbated by a recent fall in his home. He is survived by two sons and two daughters; two brothers, Pierre and Daniel; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.[73][74][75]

De Duve was cremated as he had willed, and his ashes were distributed among family members and friends.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

De Duve won the Francqui Prize for Biological and Medical Sciences in 1960, and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974. King Baudouin of Belgium honoured him to Viscount in 1989.[16] He was the recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award in 1967, and the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1973 from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1975. He won the Harden Medal of the Biochemical Society of Great Britain in 1978; the Theobald Smith Award from the Albany Medical College in 1981; the Jimenez Diaz Award in 1985; the Innovators of Biochemistry Award from Medical College of Virginia in 1986; and the E. B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology in 1989.[76] He was also a member of the Royal Academies of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Arts, and of Literature of Belgium; the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the French National Academy of Medicine; the Academy of Sciences of Paris; the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina; the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1988.[1] In addition, he received honorary doctorates from eighteen universities around the world.[18]

Legacy[edit]

De Duve founded a multidisciplinary biomedical research institute at Université catholique de Louvain in 1974, called the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP), and later renamed “de Duve Institute.”[77] He remained its president until 1991. On his 80th birthday in 1997 it was renamed the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology. In 2005 it was further contracted to simply the de Duve Institute.[78]

De Duve was one of the founding members of the Belgian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, established on 15 September 1951.[79]

De Duve is remembered as an inventor of important scientific terminology. He coined the word lysosome in 1955, peroxisome in 1966, and autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in one instance at the Ciba Foundation Symposium on Lysosomes held in London during 12–14 February 1963, while he, “was in a word-coining mood.”[21][80]

De Duve’s life, including his work resulting in a Nobel Prize, and his passion for biology is the subject of a documentary film Portrait of a Nobel Prize: Christian de Duve (Portrait de Nobel : Christian de Duve), directed by Aurélie Wijnants. It was first aired on Eurochannel in 2012.[81]

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In  the third video below in the 144th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

____

Quote from Christian de Duve in the film series “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)” and my response below ( Original interview was in 2005 and was conducted by Harry Kroto at the annual Lindau meeting):

Of course, I fully agree with you and I think with most of my fellow scientists. There is a complete disassociation between the dogma and belief and the way we scientists approach the search for truth.   And so obviously as a scientist and being brought up as a Catholic I could not safely continue accepting the teaching of the church. 

Let me make two observations here.

FIRST, I think a person needs to take time examine the historical accuracy of the Bible. If the Bible is true then history and historical records should have something to say about that.

Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 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.,

SECOND, if there is no lasting meaning to life then CHANCE RULES. Let me discuss that a little more below.

Christian de Duve was very critical of Creationism!!!

Chrisian de Duve was a very sharp critic of creationism even though he grew up in a family that who were committed Catholics. In the Wikipedia article cited above we read these words:

“Most biologists, today, tend to see life and mind as cosmic imperatives, written into the very fabric of the universe, rather than as extraordinarily improbable products of chance.[69] “It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death,” he explicitly said to a Belgian newspaper Le Soir just a month before his death, “but I’m not afraid of what comes after, because I’m not a believer.”[70][71] He strongly supported biological evolution as a fact, and dismissive of creation science and intelligent design, as explicitly stated in his last book, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity. He was among the seventy-eight Nobel laureates in science to endorse the effort to repeal Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.[72]

I do want to salute him for at least taking a careful look and seeing that there were clearly two different paths we can take philosophically. We can either realize that the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Or we have to say that it is all by CHANCE. Below are the words of Christian de Duve: 

“The answer of modern molecular biology to this much-debated question is categorical: chance, and chance alone, did it all, from primeval soup to man, with only natural selection to sift its effects. This affirmation now rests on overwhelming factual evidence.”

A Guided Tour Of The Living Cell, Volume Two, Page 357
Scientific American Library, 1984

Portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Christian de Duve

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr.Christian de Duve  was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

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

 

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

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

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

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

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

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

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

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

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

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Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

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

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

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