Tag Archives: Riccardo Giacconi

Dan Mitchell article The Hidden Cost of China’s Statism

The Hidden Cost of China’s Statism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

Fascism, Socialism, and Mussolini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

Humanists UK patron Professor Richard Dawkins remembered Colin by saying:

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

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

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

Colin Blakemore
Blakemore.jpg

Blakemore in 2012

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

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

April 13, 2016

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

Dear Professor Blakemore,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Harold J. Blackham (1903-2009)

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________

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

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

Unbelief and Its Consequences

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

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

Paul Chopan has rightly noted:

Naturalism takes for granted the following tenets:

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

__________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

Franicis Schaeffer observed: 

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

________________________

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

_______________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS was written and directed by Woody Allen

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

Anjelica Huston

Colin Blakemore pictured below:

Charles Darwin pictured below:

 :

Richard Speck

Ladies Richard Speck murdered below:

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

The group KANSAS BELOW:

_

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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 […]

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

Remember these two numbers: 100 million and 1.5 billion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

__

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

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

“Why I am Not a Communist”
by Betrand Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from Portraits from Memory published in 1956

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

Bertrand Russell on Lenin

excerpted from
LENIN, TROTSKY AND GORKY

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

Webmaster’s note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almanac: Bertrand Russell on Lenin’s sense of humor

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

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

_

_

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

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

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

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

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

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

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

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

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

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer notes:

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

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

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

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

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

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

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

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

______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 168 Sir Bertrand Russell, Lenin’s meeting with Russell and WHY Communism fails EVERYTIME!!!!!

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

__

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

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

“Why I am Not a Communist”
by Betrand Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from Portraits from Memory published in 1956

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

Bertrand Russell on Lenin

excerpted from
LENIN, TROTSKY AND GORKY

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

Webmaster’s note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Almanac: Bertrand Russell on Lenin’s sense of humor

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

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

_

 

 

_

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

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

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

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

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

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

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

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

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

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer notes:

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

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

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

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

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

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

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

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

______________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo by Tad Fettig ⓒ

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

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

__

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

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

_

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

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

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

Image result for john harvard

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

Image result for george wald

George Wald Nobel Prize Winner from HARVARD

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

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer pictured above.

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

Dr. George Wald of HARVARD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a taster of what the book contains:

Chapter 4 “A pilgrimage of reason”

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

Chapter 5 “Who wrote the laws of nature?”

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

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

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

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

Image result for Freeman Dyson

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

Chapter 7 “How did life go live?”

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

(Paul Davies pictured below)

Image result for Paul Davies

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

Chapter 8 “Did something come from nothing?”

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

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

(Dr. John Leslie seen below)

Image result for John Leslie scientist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Image result for antony flew

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

Image result for kerry livgren 700 club

By Bruce Pollock

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

This interview took place in May, 1984.

God

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

Image result for kansas rock band

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

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

_

___

__

Kansas – Carry on Wayward Son

Published on Feb 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What some evidence showing the Bible is historically accurate?

_____

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

_

Adrian Rogers: Evolution Fact or Fiction (#1914)

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 […]

____________

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

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

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

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Image result for bertrand russell

__

 

______

___

_______

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

(Bertrand Russell pictured below)

Image result for bertrand russell

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

(George Wald pictured below)

Image result for george wald

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

Charles Darwin pictured below:

_____

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

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

Francis Schaeffer commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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

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

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

DUST IN THE WIND:

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

All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity

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

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________________

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

_________________________________

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

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

Image result for bertrand russell

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

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

Image result for H.J. Blackham

H.J.Blackham pictured in 1974 below:

Image result for H.J. Blackham

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

Image result for paul kurtz norman geisler

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

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

Image result for r.c sproul

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

________________

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

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

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

__________

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

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

(part 2 ten minutes)

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

_

Image result for francis schaeffer

__

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

____

Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 165 B Sir Bertrand Russell The ‘Insufficient Evidence’ objection can be traced back to Bertrand Russell. Asked what he would say if he found himself standing before God on the judgement day being asked, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me?,’ Russell replied: ‘I’d say, “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”

 

 

 

Image result for bertrand russell

__

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

_

Bertrand Russell

 Birthday: 
 Birthplace: 
 Star Sign: 
 Profession: 
 Died: 

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

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

 Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

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

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

Read Biography of:   Elon Musk

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

 

Image result for bertrand russell

__

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


(Paul Kurtz)

Image result for paul kurtz

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

Image result for Lewis Wolpert

(Lewis Wolpert pictured above)

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

Problems with the Presumption of Atheism

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Popular Objection to Theism

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

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

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

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

Image result for Kai Nielsen

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

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

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

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

Questioning the Demand for Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the essence of Craig’s case:

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

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

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

Wolpert’s Question-Begging Obscurantism

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

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

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

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

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

Wolpert and the Origin of Life

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Recommended Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[4] ibid, p. 17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[20] ibid, p. 59.

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

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

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

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

[25] ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[33] ibid, p. 51.

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

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

[36] ibid, p. 129.

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

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

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

[42] ibid, p. 17.

[43] ibid.

[44] ibid.

[45] ibid, p. 18.

[46] ibid, p. 17.

[47] ibid, p. 16.

[48] ibid, p. 18.

[49] ibid

Image result for bertrand russell

___

Image result for francis schaeffer

__

Image result for francis schaeffer

__

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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

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

____

 

Related posts:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 165 Sir Bertrand Russell “I do not believe in God and in immortality!” But Ecclesiastes 3:11 notes “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” 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.”

This issue of Ecclesiastes 3:11 playing out in people’s hearts is examined more in the earlier blog post dealing with my challenge to CSICOP entitled “RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part B (Kroto was a member of CSICOP).”

Image result for bertrand russell
1589 × 1960Images may be subject to copyrightLearn More
Image result for bertrand russell
200 × 255Images may be subject to copyrightLearn More

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

__

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto
538 × 379Images may be subject to copyrightLearn More

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

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

_

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

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

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

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

Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was one of the most influential opponents of Christianity of this century. When he won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1950), he was characterized as one “who constantly figured as a defender of humanity and freedom of thought.” Actually, he was a militant defender of skepticism and a dedicated enemy of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Swedish Academy described him as “one of our times’ most brilliant spokesmen of rationality and humanity.”

On March 6, 1927, in London, Professor Russell delivered a lecture titled, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” which set forth the philosopher’s objections to the Christian faith. That speech was transcribed and has since been widely circulated throughout the world. What were the arguments he employed in defense of his criticisms? If the “most brilliant spokesman” of agnosticism in the modern world can be adequately answered, surely little attention will have to be given to those of lesser stature.

Russell’s objections to Christianity fell into two categories. First, if one claims to be a Christian he must believe in God and immortality. But, he said, “I do not believe in God and in immortality.”

Second, he declared that if one professes Christianity, he must believe that Christ was divine, or at least the best and wisest of men. But Russell said:

I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness (1957, 4-5).

We will not pause to ponder how Jesus could claim to be deity, not be, yet still be described as possessed of “moral goodness,” or how the British sage even arrived at a determination of what “goodness” is. We will just reflect upon his major objections.

The Existence of God

Russell gives several reasons why he rejected the concept of God. Actually, he responded to theistic arguments that have been advanced across the centuries.

Struggling with a First-Cause

Professor Russell repudiated the cause-and-effect argument because, he said, “if everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause” (Ibid., 6). He misstated the argument. We contend that every effect must have a cause. God is not an effect. Thus it is not necessary to postulate a cause for him.

Logic forces us to conclude that ultimately there was a Cause that was uncaused, or eternal. If something exists now, then something must have existed always, for something cannot come from nothing. Something does now exist; thus, something has existed always. That something is not matter, for matter is not eternal (as any physicist knows). Consequently, that eternal, uncaused Something must be non-material, and so, is the Cause of all material effects. The Bible identifies that eternal Cause/Mind as God (Psalm 90:2).

But Mr. Russell contended that there “is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed” (Ibid., 7). Neither of these positions is reasonable. The world could not have created itself because matter does not have that ability. If matter can create itself, there ought to be evidence that such is occurring. But the First Law of Thermodynamics indicates that matter is not being created; we must therefore conclude that matter cannot be self-caused.

Moreover, it is now almost universally acknowledged—as a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics—that the universe has not always existed. As Dr. Robert Jastrow, an agnostic, concedes: “[M]odern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe” (1977, 15).

Struggling with Design

Russell criticized the argument from design, though he had a very defective understanding of it. He described it like this. The world appears to have been “made just so that we can manage to live in it,” and if it was “ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design” (Ibid., 9). He ridiculed believers whom he claimed argue the case for design by suggesting that the rabbit was given a white tail so that the hunter can see better to shoot him. This is a gross misrepresentation of the design argument. It is much easier to set up a straw man and knock it down, than to deal responsibly with an argument.

The design argument simply says: where there is design, there must be a designer.This principle is not even denied by modern agnostics. Paul Ricci calls it “an analytically true statement” (1986, 190). If it can be shown that the universe is characterized by design, then it must have had a designer. An increasing number of scientists are intrigued by what has come to be known as the Anthropic Principle, i.e., the concept that the universe is characterized by numerous incredible “coincidences” which accommodate human existence (cf. Glynn 1996, 28ff). It appears that Someone planned the Cosmos for human habitation. Elsewhere we have demonstrated that even unbelievers have acknowledged design, as such is exhibited in the human body (see Jackson 1993).

Russell alleged, however, that the “defects,” that are apparent on our planet, argue against the notion of design. There were several flaws in his reasoning. First, one does not have to demonstrate design in everything to show that there is design in some things. Only an adequate case is necessary. Second, it is quite possible that genuine design is present in an object even though unrecognized. For years scientists saw no purpose in the human appendix; now its function is very well documented. Third, degeneration (cf. Romans 8:20ff) accounts for the lack of apparent design in some things. But even a watch that no longer functions still reveals the rudiments of design (see Some Atheistic Arguments Answered).

Struggling with Morality

The moral-law argument suggests that there is, in all men, a recognition of the existence of moral obligation, i.e., a sense of oughtness—an acknowledgment that there is a difference between right and wrong. This we call conscience. Conscience does not define morality (objective revelation—the Bible—is required for that), but it does testify that moral sensitivity exists in men (animals do not have it). This moral law implies a moral law-giver, which Scripture reveals as God.

Russell avoided confronting this argument head-on. He merely said that if the difference between right and wrong is due to God’s fiat, “then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong” (Ibid., 12). Frankly, that statement is meaningless. It does not state a sensible proposition—a logical truth. God’s directives regarding right and wrong are based upon his own eternal (Psalm 90:2), unchanging (Malachi 3:6), and holy (Isaiah 6:3) nature (cf. 1 Peter 1:15).

But note this. Russell declared: “I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not” (Ibid., 12).

How very convenient. The reason the philosopher was not interested in discussing the difference between right and wrong is obvious. Once you assert there is a difference, you are obligated to defend some standard by which your judgment is made. Russell had none, and so he decided to skirt the issue. He was not courageous enough to say, as did his atheistic colleague Jean Paul Sartre, that since there is no God, anything you want to do is permitted (Marsak 1961, 485).

When it came to dealing with his own children, however, Mr. Russell was quite concerned with the difference between right and wrong. His daughter, Katharine Tait, wrote that he taught his family that they ought to live unselfishly so as to make others happy, etc. Yet, all the while, he theoretically argued that there was “no rational ground for this view.” She said his arguments convinced neither her nor himself! (1975, 182,185).

Struggling with Injustice

Thoughtful people have frequently reflected upon the fact that there appears to be considerable injustice in the world. Good people suffer, and, as Job once expressed it, “the tents of robbers prosper” (12:6). This circumstance seems to make no sense. Even Russell called it “annoying” (Ibid., 13)—though why it should be, from the vantage point of his philosophy, it is difficult to say.

Reason would suggest, however, that if there is such a thing as justice, there must be a reckoning—a judgment where wrongs are made right—beyond this life. Mr. Russell rejected this longing of the human spirit. To him it was no different than opening a crate of oranges and finding rotten ones on top. Would one logically expect to find, he wondered, good oranges down below, just to establish a principle of justice? No, not at all. But what does that have to do with us? Human beings are not oranges! No spoiled orange ever felt enraged at some perceived sense of orange-injustice. We do not suppose that oranges even contemplate the problem.

Russell concluded, in fact, that injustice in the world constitutes a moral argument against the existence of deity? How so? If there is no moral standard, why even suggest that there is such a thing as injustice. The professor’s arguments against belief in God were invalid.

Part 2 of this series will address Russell’s criticisms of Christ.

REFERENCES
  • Glynn, Patrick. 1996. Beyond The Death of God. National Review, May 6.
  • Jackson, Wayne. 1993. The Human Body—Accident or Design?. Stockton, CA: Courier Publications.
  • Jastrow, Robert. 1977. Until The Sun Dies. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.
  • Marsak, Leonard, ed. 1961. French Philosophers from Decartes to Sartre. New York, NY: Meridian Books.
  • Ricci, Paul. 1986. Fundamentals of Critical Thinking. Lexington, MA: Ginn Press.
  • Russell, Bertrand. 1957. Why I Am Not a Christian and other essays on religion and related subjects. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Tait, Katharine. 1975. My Father Bertrand Russell. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
Psalm 90:2; Romans 8:20; Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. “Bertrand Russell and Christianity, Part 1.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: July 7, 2018. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/10-bertrand-russell-and-christianity-part-1

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

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

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

_

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

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

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

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

____

Related posts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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