Tag Archives: Roald Hoffmann (1937-)

The test vote on codifying same-sex marriage is scheduled for Wednesday and will need 60 votes to clear a filibuster

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Schumer tees up vote to codify same-sex marriage

The test vote on codifying same-sex marriage is scheduled for Wednesday and will need 60 votes to clear a filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is teeing up a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would codify same-sex marriage into federal law, which will need at least 10 Republican votes.

The bill has bipartisan support and after a procedural vote scheduled Wednesday, the legislation is likely to pass later this week, or after Thanksgiving recess. The bill needs 60 votes to clear a filibuster, which is it likely to get.

“I want to be clear that passing this bill is not at all a theoretical exercise, but rather it is as real as it gets,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said from the senate floor Monday evening.

Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Virginia, hold up signs as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Virginia, hold up signs as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

 REPUBLICAN SENATORS PREDICT MCCONNELL HAS BACKING TO REMAIN PARTY LEADER

“When the Supreme Court overturned Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that other rights—like the right to marriage equality enshrined in Obergefell—could come next,” he continued.

The top senate Democrat added that he opted to forgo bringing the bill to a vote back in September at the urging of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and said he “agreed to wait, because we were given an assurance that enough votes would materialize after the election.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 WALKER HAULS IN $11 MILLION SINCE START OF GEORGIA RUNOFF CAMPAIGN; GOES UP WITH FIRST AD

Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a joint statement Monday saying that through “bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs, while upholding our view that marriage embodies the highest ideals of love, devotion, and family.”

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Schumer added that, “because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance.”

"Because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the Respect for Marriage Act. 

“Because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the Respect for Marriage Act.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FIRST ON FOX NEW: RNC SENDING TROOPS TO GEORGIA FOR RUNOFF CAMPAIGN

“I hope – for the sake of tens of millions of Americans – that at least 10 Republicans will vote with us to protect marriage equality into law soon The rights and dignity of millions of Americans depends on it.” he added.

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Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident‘ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage

Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks during a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee in November 2017.

(CNN)The bipartisan group working on legislation to codify same-sex marriage has the votes needed for the bill to pass and is urging leadership to put it on the floor for a vote as soon as possible, multiple sources told CNN.

The bipartisan group, which includes GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said in a statement Monday that they “look forward to this legislation coming to the floor.”

“Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality,” the senators said in the statement. “We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday took procedural steps related to the same-sex marriage bill, setting up the first test vote for Wednesday.

“I’m going to set up the first procedural vote on legislation that will codify marriage equality into law. Members should expect the first vote on Wednesday,” he said.

“No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love and passing this bill would secure much needed safeguards into federal law,” Schumer said.

In early September, Schumer vowed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in “the coming weeks.”

“The Senate will hold a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act in the coming weeks, so that no American is discriminated against because of whom they love,” he said, adding that he hopes enough GOP senators join Democrats in support of passage.

But the bill’s supporters said in September that more time was needed to negotiate the issue with Republicans — and sought to delay any vote in the Senate until after the November midterm elections, which Schumer agreed to.

The bill will need at least 10 GOP Senate votes to overcome a filibuster and advance the legislation toward final passage.

This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.

The New Gay Marriage Bill

Does America need a law to protect same sex marriage?

This week, Roger Severino, Heritage’s Vice President of Domestic Policy and The Anderlik Fellow, breaks down the so called “Respect for Marriage Act.”

Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I’m Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.

Cordero: This summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress introduced the Respect For Marriage Act.

Speaker 2: As abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers continue to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the House is voting on a bill to protect marriage equality, out of fear the conservative high court could revisit other landmark decisions.

Speaker 3: It simply says each state will recognize the other state’s marriages and not deny a person the right to marry based on race, gender, sexual orientation.

Cordero: The legislation passed the House with the support of 47 Republicans. It now moves to the Senate where it would need just 10 Republican votes to pass.

Cordero: Final passage would mean states are no longer allowed to define and recognize marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Instead, they would be forced to recognize any union between two individuals, regardless of sex, as marriage. So does our country need a law to protect same-sex marriage? Did the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson threaten same-sex marriage? What about the Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman? What would this bill mean for them?

Cordero: Today, Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president of domestic policy and The Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow, explains after this short break.

>>> Five days a week, two-episode formats, one mission, to deliver the news you care about and analysis on the biggest issues facing America. The Daily Signal Podcast brings you two episodes every day in the same podcast feed. Each morning, catch interviews with policy makers, leading experts and conservative activists as we discuss some of the greatest challenges facing our country and offer solutions for a brighter future. And every weekday at 5:00 PM we bring you the top news of the day. These are the headlines you care about. Subscribe to the Daily Signal Podcast wherever you get your podcast, so you never miss out on our morning interviews or evening news.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for joining us today.

Roger Severino: Thank you for having me.

Cordero: My first question is, does the country need a national law guaranteeing the right to gay marriage? Didn’t the Supreme Court already rule on this in Obergefell? And so what makes this different?

Severino: You’re right to point out that Obergefell is what’s governing today, and that’s not really going to be changing. I don’t see a scenario where the question presented there will be presented again anywhere in the near or intermediate future. So, what is left? Why is it that the liberals in Congress are pushing this to try to codify a version of same-sex marriage in federal law when all the rights and benefits that came from the Obergefell decision are required to be extended to same-sex couples? Nothing would change on the ground. So what’s left?

Severino: Well, to put salt on a wound and to target people of faith who disagree, there’s still a sizeable number of people in this country who believed the same thing that Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did just not so long ago, good number of years. But they believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. And those views deserve to be treated with respect. They come from honorable premises and they reflect the truth about marriage, which there has to be space for people to continue to express those beliefs, especially those of faith. And what this bill is designed to do is to tar such people as being unfit to be in polite society and out of the public square.

Cordero: Why is Congress taking this up now? Just to back up a little bit, what prompted this?

Severino: The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs dealt with abortion. And the abortion precedents are based on a foundation of sand, using substantive due process, which is a legal concept that’s not really found in the Constitution. Which liberal activist judges over the decades have used in all sorts of areas, including same-sex marriage, to invent new rights that are not actually in the Constitution.

Severino: So when Dobbs said abortion is one of these invented rights, we’re returning to the actual text of the Constitution, the majority went out of its way to say it was just limited to the question of abortion and human life. It’s a very unique circumstance. Justice Thomas, who’s an amazing jurist, wrote separately to say that we should reevaluate every case that was built on the invention of substantive due process, which included the same-sex marriage decision. Substantive due process is not the only source of rights under the Constitution, but it’s the one that’s been abused the most by the left. And it should be revisited.

Severino: That does not mean that there’s any vehicle that would come back and say, people who are currently in same-sex marriages, their benefits are at risk. That’s nonsense. So taking a very theoretical statement from one Justice on the court, the left has run with it to try to call some sort of alarmism about marriage and push this wedge issue for political purposes. Again, the practical effect if this becomes law, will have nothing to do with the benefits of same-sex couples. It’ll have everything to do with excluding people of faith from their tax-exempt statuses for houses of worship, from adoption agencies that believe that the best most conducive place for a child in placement would be with a married mother and father, and for those who contract or receive grants from the government who want to live according to the beliefs with respect to marriage. Those are the groups who are going to be targeted. And this law would actually create this bludgeon, which is a private right of action, which means individuals could sue on their own in federal court to hound these groups. And that’s really the object of this stunt.

Cordero: So to be clear, there’s no risk currently present that legally married same-sex couples could lose any of their benefits or legal status?

Severino: Absolutely. There’s no risk that they would lose any benefit. The federal government adopted and adapted to the Obergefell decision. All the state’s governments did. That’s now the status quo. That would not change by this law. And I see no case coming forward that would change that either. So this is really targeted at exclusion for political purposes.

Cordero: Yes. If the bill passes, it’s just an assurance to the left.

Severino: No, it’s not. Assurance is not needed. That’s the thing. What it is a weapon for the left that will be used to go after people of faith. And this how it works. When you have an established national policy endorsed by Congress through the representatives, that carries a tremendous amount of weight for all sorts of other areas, especially when we’re talking about civil rights laws.

Severino: We had a case from the ’80s with respect to tax-exempt status for a violator of a civil rights law. They were deemed not to be a charity, and they lost their tax exempt status. And the Supreme Court said, because there’s an established national policy against that type of discrimination that you lose your tax-exempt status and there’s no recourse. That same tool will be deployed against people who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, which is very different than other types of beliefs that are protected by statutory anti-discrimination laws.

Severino: This is a view, again, that’s based on love of what is the best most conducive way for human flourishing in raising children and supporting the institution that has been proven most effective at that. And that is having the mother and father together in an enduring lifelong commitment so that they’re there for any children that their union conceives.

Cordero: All right. So, where does the legislation stand now? Are there Republicans who actually want to vote for this?

Severino: There were some Republicans that voted for it in the House. And it passed the House, which caught a lot of folks in the marriage movement a bit flatfooted. We have been fighting most recently over the definition of what is a man and what is a woman, with the transgender ideology in sports, in medicine, intimate facilities, et cetera. But the left was very crafty. They latched onto the pretext of what happened in the Dobbs decision to say that somehow same-sex marriage benefits are at risk when they are not, and pushed a vote on this bill to codify same-sex marriage in about 27 hours from Introduction to vote, which gave few … It was a sneak attack move and caught a lot of people by surprise. People did not think through the ramifications, and some people voted for who I think now regret it in the House.

Severino: In the Senate, there’s been some more time to actually present the arguments that nothing’s done on the ground, none of these benefits are at risk. What this is targeting people of faith and putting a big target on their backs. And now we’ve seen the tide shift. What they thought was going to be a quick walk through the Senate has been stymied. People have been asking hard questions. And if the Democrats in Congress thought that there was a way to get a majority vote for this bill, they would’ve very likely done it before the elections because this is really a political ploy, is what it is. They don’t have that, and that is very comforting for the marriage movement. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. There’s still the possibility of some action during the lame duck because the sponsors, Baldwin and Collins, have said they’re going to push for it after the election.

Severino: That’s a sign of weakness. If they could have moved it, they would’ve moved it before the election. There’s a risk that in lame duck, when people are heading out the door, they will violate some of their campaign promises. Many folks were elected on a platform supporting marriage, and they may be tempted on the way out to try to get in the good graces of the cocktail circuit and violate their promises. They should not do that. People should keep to the right policies.

Severino: The right policy here is that the last word from Congress, it should be left undisturbed. And Obergefell handles already the issues of benefits for same-sex couples which are not at risk. So Congress should not go out of its way to slap people of faith, and especially not when Congress is going out the door in a lame duck session.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for sitting down with me to break down this important issue. We’d love to have you back on, but hopefully Congress drops this and we don’t have to.

Severino: Hopefully they will.

Cordero: Thank you for listening. And as always, if you loved this episode or found it helpful, we would love you forever if you shared it with a friend or on social media. It’s the best way to grow our audience. Tim is up next week. We’ll see you then.

Heritage Explains is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation. It is produced by Michelle Corderoand Tim Doescher, with editing by John Popp.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

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

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

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

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

__

Horace Barlow pictured below:

_____________

I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident’ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage A CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE!!!!

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Bipartisan Senate group says they are ‘confident‘ they have the votes necessary to codify same-sex marriage

Sen. Tammy Baldwin speaks during a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee in November 2017.

(CNN)The bipartisan group working on legislation to codify same-sex marriage has the votes needed for the bill to pass and is urging leadership to put it on the floor for a vote as soon as possible, multiple sources told CNN.

The bipartisan group, which includes GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, said in a statement Monday that they “look forward to this legislation coming to the floor.”

“Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality,” the senators said in the statement. “We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday took procedural steps related to the same-sex marriage bill, setting up the first test vote for Wednesday.

“I’m going to set up the first procedural vote on legislation that will codify marriage equality into law. Members should expect the first vote on Wednesday,” he said.

“No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love and passing this bill would secure much needed safeguards into federal law,” Schumer said.

In early September, Schumer vowed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in “the coming weeks.”

“The Senate will hold a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act in the coming weeks, so that no American is discriminated against because of whom they love,” he said, adding that he hopes enough GOP senators join Democrats in support of passage.

But the bill’s supporters said in September that more time was needed to negotiate the issue with Republicans — and sought to delay any vote in the Senate until after the November midterm elections, which Schumer agreed to.

The bill will need at least 10 GOP Senate votes to overcome a filibuster and advance the legislation toward final passage.

This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.

The New Gay Marriage Bill

Does America need a law to protect same sex marriage?

This week, Roger Severino, Heritage’s Vice President of Domestic Policy and The Anderlik Fellow, breaks down the so called “Respect for Marriage Act.”

Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I’m Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.

Cordero: This summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress introduced the Respect For Marriage Act.

Speaker 2: As abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers continue to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the House is voting on a bill to protect marriage equality, out of fear the conservative high court could revisit other landmark decisions.

Speaker 3: It simply says each state will recognize the other state’s marriages and not deny a person the right to marry based on race, gender, sexual orientation.

Cordero: The legislation passed the House with the support of 47 Republicans. It now moves to the Senate where it would need just 10 Republican votes to pass.

Cordero: Final passage would mean states are no longer allowed to define and recognize marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Instead, they would be forced to recognize any union between two individuals, regardless of sex, as marriage. So does our country need a law to protect same-sex marriage? Did the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson threaten same-sex marriage? What about the Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman? What would this bill mean for them?

Cordero: Today, Roger Severino, Heritage’s vice president of domestic policy and The Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow, explains after this short break.

>>> Five days a week, two-episode formats, one mission, to deliver the news you care about and analysis on the biggest issues facing America. The Daily Signal Podcast brings you two episodes every day in the same podcast feed. Each morning, catch interviews with policy makers, leading experts and conservative activists as we discuss some of the greatest challenges facing our country and offer solutions for a brighter future. And every weekday at 5:00 PM we bring you the top news of the day. These are the headlines you care about. Subscribe to the Daily Signal Podcast wherever you get your podcast, so you never miss out on our morning interviews or evening news.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for joining us today.

Roger Severino: Thank you for having me.

Cordero: My first question is, does the country need a national law guaranteeing the right to gay marriage? Didn’t the Supreme Court already rule on this in Obergefell? And so what makes this different?

Severino: You’re right to point out that Obergefell is what’s governing today, and that’s not really going to be changing. I don’t see a scenario where the question presented there will be presented again anywhere in the near or intermediate future. So, what is left? Why is it that the liberals in Congress are pushing this to try to codify a version of same-sex marriage in federal law when all the rights and benefits that came from the Obergefell decision are required to be extended to same-sex couples? Nothing would change on the ground. So what’s left?

Severino: Well, to put salt on a wound and to target people of faith who disagree, there’s still a sizeable number of people in this country who believed the same thing that Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did just not so long ago, good number of years. But they believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. And those views deserve to be treated with respect. They come from honorable premises and they reflect the truth about marriage, which there has to be space for people to continue to express those beliefs, especially those of faith. And what this bill is designed to do is to tar such people as being unfit to be in polite society and out of the public square.

Cordero: Why is Congress taking this up now? Just to back up a little bit, what prompted this?

Severino: The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs dealt with abortion. And the abortion precedents are based on a foundation of sand, using substantive due process, which is a legal concept that’s not really found in the Constitution. Which liberal activist judges over the decades have used in all sorts of areas, including same-sex marriage, to invent new rights that are not actually in the Constitution.

Severino: So when Dobbs said abortion is one of these invented rights, we’re returning to the actual text of the Constitution, the majority went out of its way to say it was just limited to the question of abortion and human life. It’s a very unique circumstance. Justice Thomas, who’s an amazing jurist, wrote separately to say that we should reevaluate every case that was built on the invention of substantive due process, which included the same-sex marriage decision. Substantive due process is not the only source of rights under the Constitution, but it’s the one that’s been abused the most by the left. And it should be revisited.

Severino: That does not mean that there’s any vehicle that would come back and say, people who are currently in same-sex marriages, their benefits are at risk. That’s nonsense. So taking a very theoretical statement from one Justice on the court, the left has run with it to try to call some sort of alarmism about marriage and push this wedge issue for political purposes. Again, the practical effect if this becomes law, will have nothing to do with the benefits of same-sex couples. It’ll have everything to do with excluding people of faith from their tax-exempt statuses for houses of worship, from adoption agencies that believe that the best most conducive place for a child in placement would be with a married mother and father, and for those who contract or receive grants from the government who want to live according to the beliefs with respect to marriage. Those are the groups who are going to be targeted. And this law would actually create this bludgeon, which is a private right of action, which means individuals could sue on their own in federal court to hound these groups. And that’s really the object of this stunt.

Cordero: So to be clear, there’s no risk currently present that legally married same-sex couples could lose any of their benefits or legal status?

Severino: Absolutely. There’s no risk that they would lose any benefit. The federal government adopted and adapted to the Obergefell decision. All the state’s governments did. That’s now the status quo. That would not change by this law. And I see no case coming forward that would change that either. So this is really targeted at exclusion for political purposes.

Cordero: Yes. If the bill passes, it’s just an assurance to the left.

Severino: No, it’s not. Assurance is not needed. That’s the thing. What it is a weapon for the left that will be used to go after people of faith. And this how it works. When you have an established national policy endorsed by Congress through the representatives, that carries a tremendous amount of weight for all sorts of other areas, especially when we’re talking about civil rights laws.

Severino: We had a case from the ’80s with respect to tax-exempt status for a violator of a civil rights law. They were deemed not to be a charity, and they lost their tax exempt status. And the Supreme Court said, because there’s an established national policy against that type of discrimination that you lose your tax-exempt status and there’s no recourse. That same tool will be deployed against people who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, which is very different than other types of beliefs that are protected by statutory anti-discrimination laws.

Severino: This is a view, again, that’s based on love of what is the best most conducive way for human flourishing in raising children and supporting the institution that has been proven most effective at that. And that is having the mother and father together in an enduring lifelong commitment so that they’re there for any children that their union conceives.

Cordero: All right. So, where does the legislation stand now? Are there Republicans who actually want to vote for this?

Severino: There were some Republicans that voted for it in the House. And it passed the House, which caught a lot of folks in the marriage movement a bit flatfooted. We have been fighting most recently over the definition of what is a man and what is a woman, with the transgender ideology in sports, in medicine, intimate facilities, et cetera. But the left was very crafty. They latched onto the pretext of what happened in the Dobbs decision to say that somehow same-sex marriage benefits are at risk when they are not, and pushed a vote on this bill to codify same-sex marriage in about 27 hours from Introduction to vote, which gave few … It was a sneak attack move and caught a lot of people by surprise. People did not think through the ramifications, and some people voted for who I think now regret it in the House.

Severino: In the Senate, there’s been some more time to actually present the arguments that nothing’s done on the ground, none of these benefits are at risk. What this is targeting people of faith and putting a big target on their backs. And now we’ve seen the tide shift. What they thought was going to be a quick walk through the Senate has been stymied. People have been asking hard questions. And if the Democrats in Congress thought that there was a way to get a majority vote for this bill, they would’ve very likely done it before the elections because this is really a political ploy, is what it is. They don’t have that, and that is very comforting for the marriage movement. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. There’s still the possibility of some action during the lame duck because the sponsors, Baldwin and Collins, have said they’re going to push for it after the election.

Severino: That’s a sign of weakness. If they could have moved it, they would’ve moved it before the election. There’s a risk that in lame duck, when people are heading out the door, they will violate some of their campaign promises. Many folks were elected on a platform supporting marriage, and they may be tempted on the way out to try to get in the good graces of the cocktail circuit and violate their promises. They should not do that. People should keep to the right policies.

Severino: The right policy here is that the last word from Congress, it should be left undisturbed. And Obergefell handles already the issues of benefits for same-sex couples which are not at risk. So Congress should not go out of its way to slap people of faith, and especially not when Congress is going out the door in a lame duck session.

Cordero: Roger, thank you so much for sitting down with me to break down this important issue. We’d love to have you back on, but hopefully Congress drops this and we don’t have to.

Severino: Hopefully they will.

Cordero: Thank you for listening. And as always, if you loved this episode or found it helpful, we would love you forever if you shared it with a friend or on social media. It’s the best way to grow our audience. Tim is up next week. We’ll see you then.

Heritage Explains is brought to you by more than half a million members of The Heritage Foundation. It is produced by Michelle Corderoand Tim Doescher, with editing by John Popp.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

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

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

—-

November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

—-

Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

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

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

__

Horace Barlow pictured below:

_____________

I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

_______________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

______________________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My correspondence with George Wald and Antony Flew!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_________________

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These Senators Defended Marriage in 2015. What’s Changed?

________________

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured marching during the 2022 New York City Pride March on June 26 in New York City, is looking for 10 Republicans to endorse a national same-sex marriage bill. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court delivered its blow to marriage in 2015, burning down three dozen state laws and tearing up 50 million ballots, the GOP’s reaction was straightforward. Outrage. With a handful of exceptions, the response that echoed across the two coasts was a collective “How dare they?

As far as Republicans were concerned, what the five justices did on that June day was a betrayal of the people, our system of government, and the pillar that’s upheld society since the beginning of time. “It’s an injustice,” they railed.

Now, seven years later, they finally have a chance to prove it. The question is: will they?

Keep in mind that when the Supreme Court redefined marriage for America in 2015, we became only the 23rd country out of 195 to do so, and only one of seven to have it imposed on us by a court. Still today, there are only 33 countries that have gone down this path of redefining marriage.

But as time has gone on, Republicans seem to have gotten increasingly comfortable letting the court decide an issue they argued was rightly theirs. That shock was driven home Tuesday when 47 House members walked away from the party’s principles and platform to cast a vote for same-sex marriage. The list included a surprising number of our movement’s friends, men and women we never mistook as anything but conservative.

Now, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., smelling blood in the water, is eager to drive an even deeper wedge—insisting he’ll move forward with his own vote if he can find 10 Republicans foolish enough to endorse it.

Twenty-four hours later, at least four Republicans have taken the bait, walking into a political trap that could very well eat into the margins the GOP needs in November. To no one’s surprise, liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). But the real bombshells started dropping Wednesday, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible “yes”es.

Just as astounding, only nine Republicans have jumped to marriage’s defense: Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., who spoke to Punchbowl News, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

A whopping 37, many of them pro-family stalwarts, are either “undecided” or unresponsive, CNN reports. It’s an eerie silence from dozens of Republicans, who—just seven years ago—left zero doubt about where they stood.

Then-Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.:“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is—a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I have always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and I will continue to work to ensure our religious beliefs are protected and people of faith are not punished for their beliefs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “I’m disappointed in this decision. My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.: “West Virginia’s greatest strength is our people. Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends, and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.: “The Court is overriding the will of the people of Montana and numerous other states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa: “Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage is a sacred institution. Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent. Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “Today, five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square, imposing the views of five unelected judges on a country that is still in the midst of making up its mind about marriage. That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth.”

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I disagree with the court’s ruling. Regardless of one’s personal view on this issue, the American people, through the democratic process, should be able to determine the meaning of this bedrock institution in our society.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.: “I believe in old-fashioned, traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this.”

Former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah: “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.: “Today’s ruling is a blow to state’s rights. I believe states have a constitutional role in setting their own policy on marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and traditional families play an important role in the fabric of our society.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and dad. The Supreme Court once again overstepped its constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states. As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.: “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.: “The court has issued its opinion, but on this particular issue, I do not agree with its conclusion. I support traditional marriage.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Today, the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. Understandably, many people will celebrate this decision. While I disagree with it, I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s ruling as the law of the land.”

What’s changed? Certainly not the significance of marriage—or the Constitution. Not the party’s platform or the role of states’ rights. If anything’s changed, it’s the ferocious war being waged against our children’s innocence, religious freedom, parents, and human biology.

What’s changed is that we have a Republican Party willing to go to the mat for sports but seemingly unwilling to stand up for an institution whose redefinition has ignited a firestorm of persecution in America—the same redefinition that’s at the bitter root so many evils we’re fighting today in school classrooms, public libraries, our daughters’ locker rooms.

Seven years from now, will we be saying that those issues don’t matter? That the world has “moved on?” That we know someone who’s transgender, and the only way we can love them is to hand society over to their delusions?

If Republicans want to stick their finger in the cultural winds to decide where they stand on timeless truths, then they are throwing away everything the American people have come to respect about today’s party—their courage, their common sense, their conviction.

Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion.

They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.

Originally published by The Washington Stand.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

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

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

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

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

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Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

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On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

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Horace Barlow pictured below:

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I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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BRAVO RICHARD DAWKINS!!!! Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

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Richard Dawkins tweeted on 7/20/2022: The other excellent article by Jerry Coyne today. Some anthropologists want to stop identifying the sex of ancient skulls because we don’t know how they self-identified!

Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

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

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

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

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

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Horace Barlow pictured below:

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I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________

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

After Life 2 – Man identifies as an 8 year old girl

A.F. Branco for Jan 12, 2022

4:20 am 4/10/21

In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.

Discuss.

4/12/21 12:46pm

I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .

Richard Dawkins … ‘Attempts at clarification inadequate,’ says AHA.Show captionBooks

Richard Dawkins loses ‘humanist of the year’ title over trans comments

American Humanist Association criticises academic for comments about identity using ‘the guise of scientific discourse’, and withdraws its 1996 honourAlison FloodTue 20 Apr 2021 08.56 EDT

The American Humanist Association has withdrawn its humanist of the year award from Richard Dawkins, 25 years after he received the honour, criticising the academic and author for “demean[ing] marginalised groups” using “the guise of scientific discourse”.

The AHA honoured Dawkins, whose books include The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, in 1996 for his “significant contributions” in communicating scientific concepts to the public. On Monday, it announced that it was withdrawing the award, referring to a tweet sent by Dawkins earlier this month, in which he compared trans people to Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman for years.

“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black,” wrote Dawkins on Twitter. “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Dawkins later responded to criticism, writing: “I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

Among his critics was Alison Gill, vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists and a trans woman. She said Dawkins’ comments reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives. She said: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”

In 2015, Dawkins also wrote: “Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her “she” out of courtesy.”

In a statement from its board, the AHA said that Dawkins had “over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalised groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values”.

The evolutionary biologist’s latest comment, the board said, “implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient”, while his “subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity”.

“Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award,” said the organisation.

The Guardian has reached out to Dawkins for comment.

Last year, the author JK Rowling returned an award given to her by the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, after its president, Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, criticised her views on transgender issues. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience,” said Rowling in a statement at the time.

Tribute to Horace Barlow

Steven Dakin @StevenDakin

Elegant & important psychophysics from @TheKwonLab. Retinal ganglion cell dysfunction (not death) limits contrast sensitivity in glaucoma. Sidenote: credit to late/great Horace Barlow for the equivalent noise paradigm.

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November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019

Dr. Horace Barlow, Cambridge CB3 9AX, England
Dear Dr. Barlow,

I have enjoyed reading the book OUTGROWING GOD by your friend Richard Dawkins, and he certainly has much respect for you great grandfather Charles Darwin. However, he has not studied the Bible as extensively as Darwin did because many of Dawkins’ criticisms of the Bible don’t seem to be valid. For instance, on page 53 he states:

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Barlow you have an advantage of 150 years over your great grandfather and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

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

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

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

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 cottontail lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Thought provoking article below:

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Magazine
Main Menu · Search ·Current Issue ·Contact ·Archives ·Centennial ·Letters to the Editor ·FAQs

The author as publicist. Darwin, above, wrote to influential scientists worldwide, begging their attention to his new book. This is from his letter to Asa Gray. The photograph of Darwin is by his son, William Erasmus Darwin, and was sent to Asa Gray in 1861. It, and Darwin’s letter, are in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Of the several thousand letters that charles darwin wrote during his lifetime, few were more important than one he sent on September 5, 1857, to Harvard botanist Asa Gray. Darwin wrote in his semi-legible scrawl: “I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species….I ask you not to mention my doctrine.” Asa Gray thus became the first person in North America to learn about Darwin’s ideas on natural selection.

Darwin revealed his theory to the general public two years later in his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Its publication prompted fierce debate in this country. On one side arose Gray, Darwin’s friend and supporter, a taciturn man best known as a cataloguer and collector of plants. In opposition stood Gray’s Harvard colleague Louis Agassiz, a charming, brilliant lecturer and the most popular scientist in the land. Harvard thus became the most important battleground in the initial American engagement with natural selection.

~~~

Asa Gray was Fisher professor of natural history at Harvard from 1842 till 1873. Although he was originally trained as a medical doctor, his passion was plants. His reputation as a taxonomist helped him establish one of America’s premier collections of dried plants, which contained material from collectors who had traveled in the United States and around the world. By the early 1860s, his personal herbarium totaled almost 200,000 specimens.

Gray and Darwin’s epistolary relationship began in 1855, when Darwin wrote Gray. As usual with Darwin, he was humble, and he wanted information. The Englishman asked the American about alpine plants in the United States and their relationship to plants in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, Gray used his vast collection to provide much-needed information on two topics essential to Darwin’s theory–the distribution of plants, and variation in wild, non-domesticated species.

Gray in 1865. His copy of Origin, with marginalia, is in the Gray Herbarium. ARCHIVES AT THE GRAY HERBARIUM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Despite Gray’s world renown as a botanist, his colleague Louis Agassiz, professor of zoology and geology, commanded most of the scientific attention in Cambridge. Respected by scientists and liked by the general public, Agassiz was also friends with the Boston literati, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Of Swiss origin, Agassiz had made his mark in science in 1840 with his best-known book, Études sur les glaciers. In it he proposed the then-unorthodox theory that great glaciers had once covered and carved northern Europe.

Agassiz first came to this country in 1846, to present a series of lectures in Boston. As many as 5,000 people a night attended his talks on subjects as diverse as fossil fishes, the Ice Age, and embryology. In 1847, Harvard wooed him away from Europe. The most important North American scientific periodical of the day, the American Journal of Science, reported, “Every scientific man in America will be rejoiced to hear so unexpected a piece of news.” In the following years, Agassiz continued to make science accessible to the public through lectures, books, and articles.

~~~

On November 11, 1859, Darwin began the arduous task of gaining support for the imminent publication of Origin of Species. (Not that sales mattered to him financially; he was independently wealthy. Nevertheless, he would receive two-thirds of the net profit!) Like any modern author, he asked his publisher, John Murray of London, to send presentation copies to potential reviewers.

He also wrote personal notes to 11 of the most important scientists of the day. The majority of these letters acknowledged that the recipient would not support Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In one letter he wrote: “How savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!!” But Darwin also tried to push the veracity of his theory by writing later in the same letter, “I am fully convinced that you will become year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.”

Two of Darwin’s November 11 letters crossed the Atlantic to Harvard. One went to Asa Gray and the other to Louis Agassiz. The letters are now preserved in the Gray Herbarium Library and the Houghton Library.

Agassiz’s letter is short, only three sentences. Darwin knew that Agassiz would not agree with his theory. He wrote: “As the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ so widely from yours,…I hope that you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusion, for having earnestly endeavored to arrive at the truth.” Agassiz did not reply to Darwin, who did not send him another letter until 1868.

In contrast, the letter to Gray (at top right) covers almost two full pages. Again Darwin is humble, and seeks out Gray’s approval, but he is also proud of the book. “If ever you do read it, & can screw out the time to send me…however short a note…I should be extremely grateful,” he writes. In a postscript Darwin adds “…I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.”

Agassiz, about 1861, and a page from his copy, at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. ERNST MAYR LIBRARY OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Agassiz and Gray received their copies of Origin in late December. Gray peppered the margins of the small green book with “Yes,” “Well put,” and numerous exclamation points. He clearly approved of Darwin’s overall tone and reasoning. On the other hand, Agassiz’s marginalia range from “This is truly monstrous” to “The mistake of Darwin…” to “A sentence likely to mislead!”– notes that he elaborated on later in his more formal criticism of Darwin and his theory.

Professionally, the two men generally kept their comments about each other’s reaction to Darwin’s theory on a high level. Personally, they remained distant, indulging in a few caustic remarks to friends. On January 5, 1860, for example, Gray wrote a detailed letter about the American response to Origin of Species to the English botanist Joseph Hooker. In describing his own feelings, Gray wrote: “It is crammed full of most interesting matter–thoroughly digested–well expressed–close, cogent; and taken as a system it makes out a better case than I had supposed possible.” Several paragraphs later he described a much different response from Agassiz: “…when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor–very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.”

~~~

Agassiz launched his public attack on Darwin at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston’s most important learned society. He told the group gathered on January 10, 1860, that modern species and fossil species had no genetic relationship. This tenet was central to the theory of special creationism, which held that God had created each and every species in its current location. Species did not change through time, but they did become extinct. Great catastrophes, like floods or the glaciers described by Agassiz in Études, had periodically destroyed life on earth. The fossil record indicated at least 48 successive periods of change, according to Agassiz.

He clarified his position a month later and condemned one of Darwin’s pivotal themes–variation within species. America’s foremost zoologist denied the “existence of varieties, properly so called, in the animal kingdom.” Instead, Agassiz viewed variation within species as merely a stage of growth or a cycle of development. God had created the species; therefore they were immutable. In addition to this line of attack, Agassiz categorically rejected Darwin’s use of domesticated animals as an example of change over time.

By mid summer Agassiz had clearly defined his position: he stood resolutely on the side of special creationism and against Darwin. Agassiz realized that some would question his statements, but knew that “after mature examination of the facts they would be generally received.” In July 1860, he concluded his review of Origin of Species in the American Journal of Science by writing, “I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its methods, and mischievous in its tendency.”

Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin’s ideas on variation within plants and animals were “general, and even universal.” He supported the English naturalist’s use of domesticated animals as examples, and believed that Darwin’s various associations of facts “[seem] fair and natural.”

Although Gray vigorously defended Darwin and natural selection in this review, in a three-part series in the Atlantic Monthly, and throughout the springtime debates at Boston’s learned societies, he, like Agassiz, maintained a link between a supreme power and natural selection. Gray did not support Agassiz’s brand of special creationism, but did believe “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines” by the hands of a creator. Natural selection occurred, but God played some not clearly defined role in the process.

Darwin never supported these statements on the role of a higher power. He wrote Gray: “I grieve to say that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as a result of Design.”

Darwin did, however, realize the importance of Gray’s thesis in the developing battle between religion and science. (The bishop of Oxford popularized this debate in June 1860 by asking Darwin’s main supporter in England, Thomas Huxley, “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?”) With Darwin’s assistance, Gray’s Atlantic pieces, which contained his most cogent explanations for natural selection and Design, reached England as a small pamphlet bearing the Darwin-suggested motto, “Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.”

Despite Gray’s strong religious feelings, he was at heart a scientist. Unlike Agassiz, he could separate his faith and his science. Gray ultimately concluded that “The work [Origin] is a scientific one…and by its science it must stand or fall.”

~~~

For Gray, 1860 was the most important year of the Darwinian debate. He would continue occasionally to write and speak out on the subject, but never as vigorously as during the first eight months of the decade. The controversy had taken him away from his beloved plants. He returned to his work of identifying and cataloguing, and to the next edition of his and John Torrey’s Manual of Botany. In 1864 he donated his library and plant specimens to Harvard; they became the nucleus of the Gray Herbarium. He continued to correspond with Darwin, whose work began to address many botanical problems, including carnivorous plants. They remained friends until Darwin died in 1882.

As a committed anti-evolutionist, Agassiz continued to oppose Darwin for the rest of his career. He presented three lecture courses and published 21 articles and three books between 1861 and 1866 extolling special creationism. None of these, however, were in professional or scientific journals. Despite his growing popularity with the general public, Agassiz’s influence in the scientific debate over evolution faded. When he died, in 1873, he was one of the last, and certainly the most important, of the scientists who subscribed to special creationism.

Ironically, Agassiz is one of the main reasons that Harvard remains a center for evolutionary studies. The worldwide scope of the animal and fossil collections at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, which Agassiz established and directed, combined with the specimens housed in the Gray Herbarium, facilitate ongoing research into questions of natural selection and speciation. In spite of their differences, both Gray and Agassiz shared a profound respect for the scientific method. Their rigorous examination of plants and animals laid the groundwork for the eventual acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


Freelance writer David B. Williams likes to explore the historical as well as the natural parts of natural history. His “Lessons in Stone,” a geological tour of Harvard buildings, appeared in the November-December 1997 issue.

__

Horace Barlow pictured below:

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I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

________________

His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

______________________

Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! PART 160 Part FF (It was my privilege to correspond with Charles Darwin’s grandson, the eminent professor Dr. Horace Barlow, Neuroscience, Cambridge, December 8, 1921-July 5, 2020) In my 32nd letter on 4-18-20 quoted H.J. Blackham on where humanism leads “On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit…”

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Tribute to Horace Barlow

Manuel Spitschan @mspitschan

Had the honour and pleasure of speaking at the Craik Club today at @CambPsych, where I got to meet Horace Barlow and John Mollon.

——

April 18, 2020

Dr. Horace Barlow,  Cambridge CB3 9AX, England

Dear Dr. Barlow,

As you know I have been writing you since 2015 and I was so thrilled to get a detailed letter back from you in November of 2017 that answered several of the questions that I have asked you about Charles Darwin’s views. In many of the letters I have written to you have referred also to Solomon and his words in the last book he wrote which was ECCLESIASTES. Well, Ricky Gervais has written and starred in a film series on Netflix called AFTER LIFE that reminds me of a modern day Solomon looking in vain for the meaning in life UNDER THE SUN in the fictional town Tambury which is really filmed in London.

Today I got to ask a question to Ricky and he took time to answer me and I thought you would enjoy some of my open letter to Ricky which I published today:

I have been a big fan of yours for 20 years now and I have taken an interest especially in your philosophical views concerning atheism and your attacks on Christianity, and since 2016 I have written you 9 letters basically concerning the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of nihilism. Then I ran across your series AFTER LIFE and Tony reminded me so much of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes and the nihilism that Solomon embraced.

Today, Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask you on your Twitter Live broadcast “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark you answer my question with the following comments:


Not, I mean he [Tony] dabbles with it [nihilism] but a lot of this stuff is like he is being provocative and he is trying to sort of hurt people. No, It is difficult to say. I don’t. The one thing he wants he can’t have so he is angry. He has to compromise. He had the perfect marriage and he doesn’t know how to act or feel anymore. He is confused. He is in pain. He is ill. He is probably ill you know. If you are not right in your [mind] then you are ill, and you can’t just step out of it. You know. You even know you are not normal or well, but what can you do? You don’t feel good. That will do. Did we get serious then? That won’t happen again!

It seems to me that you would classify Tony as angry and confused but not a nihilist. You are the writer so you should know, but let me ask you if you can philosophically back up the view that Tony is not living the life of a nihilist (one who does think there are no rules for his life and no purpose for his life and no basis for morality).

As a member of the British Humanist Association you are familiar with the view of optimistic humanism. Let me share some views on that:

Paul Kurtz – (writer of Humanist Manifesto 2 in 1973 and Dr. Kurtz was a very kind gentleman who took time to correspond with me.)

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“The universe is neutral, indifferent to man’s existential yearnings. But we instinctively discover life, experience its throb, its excitement, its attraction. Life is here to be lived, enjoyed, suffered, and endured…Again–one cannot ‘prove’ this normative principle to everyone’s satisfaction. Living beings tend instinctively to maintain themselves and to reproduce beyond ultimate justification. It is a brute fact of our contingent natures; It is an instinctive desire to live.”

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J.P. Moreland – “2 Objections to optimistic humanism: #1 There is no rational justification for choosing it over nihilism. As far as rationality is concerned, it has nothing to offer over nihilism. Therefore, optimistic humanism suffers from some of the same objections we raised against nihilism. Kurtz himself admits that the ultimate values of humanism are incapable of rational justification!!!!!!  #2 Optimistic Humanism really answers the question of the meaning of life in the negative, just as nihilism does. For the optimistic humanist life has no objective value or purpose; It offers only subjective satisfaction, one should think long and hard before embracing such a horrible view. If there is a decent case that life has objective value and purpose, then such a case should be given as good a hearing as possible.

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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

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The humanist 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). Francis Schaeffer comments concerning Blackham’s assertion, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”

The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.”

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Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher) notes Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“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 us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. T

But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.” (That is NIHILISM!!!!)

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…

2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

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I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16).

I first starting studying Ecclesiastes in 1976 when I heard Adrian Rogers give a sermon on the nihilism of King Solomon. These facts in Ecclesiastes inspired the author of the song DUST IN THE WIND. Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

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I remember a visit in 1976 that Adrian Rogers made to our Junior High Chapel service at EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, and it was that day that I personally began a lifelong interest in King Solomon’s life, and his search for satisfaction as pictured in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

(Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope in back)

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Solomon was searching for meaning and satisfaction in life in what Rogers called the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into Learning (1:16-18), Laughter, Ladies, Luxuries, and Liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and Labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

(Edward John Poynter Painting  below of Solomon)

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Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

After hearing the sermon by Adrian Rogers in 1976, I took a special interest in the Book of Ecclesiastes and then the next year I bought the album POINT OF KNOW RETURN by the group rock group KANSAS. On that album was the song “Dust in the Wind”  and it rose to #6 on the charts in 1978. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of KANSAS become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

(That is the same reason I am excited about Ricky’s series AFTER LIFE!!!)

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Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. I was hoping the members of KANSAS would keep looking for something more than just material pursuits UNDER THE SUN.

Livgren wrote:

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

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

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

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

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, cell ph 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@gmail.com

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(END OF LETTER TO DR BARLOW)

I found Dr. Barlow to be a true gentleman and he was very kind to take the time to answer the questions that I submitted to him. In the upcoming months I will take time once a week to pay tribute to his life and reveal our correspondence. In the first week I noted:

 Today I am posting my first letter to him in February of 2015 which discussed Charles Darwin lamenting his loss of aesthetic tastes which he blamed on Darwin’s own dedication to the study of evolution. In a later return letter, Dr. Barlow agreed that Darwin did in fact lose his aesthetic tastes at the end of his life.

In the second week I look at the views of Michael Polanyi and share the comments of Francis Schaeffer concerning Polanyi’s views.

In the third week, I look at the life of Brandon Burlsworth in the November 28, 2016 letter and the movie GREATER and the problem of evil which Charles Darwin definitely had a problem with once his daughter died.

On the 4th letter to Dr. Barlow looks at Darwin’s admission that he at times thinks that creation appears to look like the expression of a mind. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words in 1968 sermon at this link.

My Fifth Letter concerning Charles Darwin’s views on MORAL MOTIONS Which was mailed on March 1, 2017. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning moral motions in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

6th letter on May 1, 2017 in which Charles Darwin’s hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would show that Christ existed! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning the possible manuscript finds in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link  

7th letter on Darwin discussing DETERMINISM  dated 7-1-17 . Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning determinism in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

8th letter responds to Dr. Barlow’s letter to me concerning  Francis Schaeffer discussing Darwin’s own words concerning chance in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

9th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 1-2-18 and included Charles Darwin’s comments on William Paley. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning William Paley in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

10th letter in response to 11-22-17 letter I received from Professor Horace Barlow was mailed on 2-2-18 and includes Darwin’s comments asking for archaeological evidence for the Bible! Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning His desire to see archaeological evidence supporting the Bible’s accuracy  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

11th letterI mailed on 3-2-18  in response to 11-22-17 letter from Barlow that asserted: It is also sometimes asked whether chance, even together with selection, can define a “MORAL CODE,” which the religiously inclined say is defined by their God. I think the answer is “Yes, it certainly can…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning A MORAL CODE in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

12th letter on March 26, 2018 breaks down song DUST IN THE WIND “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

In 13th letter I respond to Barlow’s November 22, 2017 letter and assertion “He {Darwin} clearly did not lose his sense of the VALUE of TRUTH, and of the importance of FOREVER SEARCHING it out.”

In 14th letter to Dr. Barlow on 10-2-18, I assert: “Let me demonstrate how the Bible’s view of the origin of life fits better with the evidence we have from archaeology than that of gradual evolution.”

In 15th letter in November 2, 2018 to Dr. Barlow I quote his relative Randal Keynes Who in the Richard Dawkins special “The Genius of Darwin” makes this point concerning Darwin, “he was, at different times, enormously confident in it,
and at other times, he was utterly uncertain.”
In 16th Letter on 12-2-18 to Dr. Barlow I respond to his letter that stated, If I am pressed to say whether I think belief in God helps people to make wise and beneficial decisions I am bound to say (and I fear this will cause you pain) “No, it is often very disastrous, leading to violence, death and vile behaviour…Muslim terrorists…violence within the Christian church itself”
17th letter sent on January 2, 2019 shows the great advantage we have over Charles Darwin when examining the archaeological record concerning the accuracy of the Bible
In the 18th letter I respond to the comment by Charles Darwin: “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive….The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words on his loss of aesthetic tastes  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 19th letter on 2-2-19  I discuss Steven Weinberg’s words,  But if language is to be of any use to us, we ought to try to preserve the meanings of words, and “God” historically has not meant the laws of nature. It has meant an interested personality.

In the 20th letter on 3-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s comment, “At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep [#1] inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons...Formerly I was led by feelings such as those…to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that [#2] whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. [#3] But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his former belief in God in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 21st letter on May 15, 2019 to Dr Barlow I discuss the writings of Francis Schaeffer who passed away the 35 years earlier on May 15, 1985. Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words at length in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In the 22nd letter I respond to Charles Darwin’s words, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe…will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words about hell  in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In 23rd postcard sent on 7-2-19 I asked Dr Barlow if he was a humanist. Sir Julian Huxley, founder of the American Humanist Association noted, “I use the word ‘humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being.”

In my 24th letter on 8-2-19 I quote Jerry  Bergman who noted Jean Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. A founding father of the modern American scientific establishment, Agassiz was also a lifelong opponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Agassiz “ruled in professorial majesty at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.”

In my 25th letter on 9-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s assertion,  “This argument would be a valid one if all men of ALL RACES had the SAME INWARD CONVICTION of the existence of one God; but we know that this is very far from being the case.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 26th letter on 10-2-19 I quoted Bertrand Russell’s daughter’s statement, “I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul  there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it”

In my 27th letter on 11-2-19 I disproved Richard Dawkins’ assertion, “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham.” Furthermore, I gave more evidence indicating the Bible is historically accurate. 

In my 28th letter on 12-2-19 I respond to Charles Darwin’s statement, “I am glad you were at the Messiah, it is the one thing that I should like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except Science. It sometimes makes me hate Science.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning MORAL MOTIONS in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 29th letter on 12-25-19 I responded to Charles Darwin’s statement, “I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dullthat it nauseated me…. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness…” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his loss of aesthetic tastes in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 30th letter on 2-2-20 I quote Dustin Shramek who asserted, “Without God the universe is the result of a cosmic accident, a chance explosion. There is no reason for which it exist. As for man, he is a freak of nature–a blind product of matter plus time plus chance. Man is just a lump of slime that evolved into rationality. There is no more purpose in life for the human race than for a species of insect; for both are the result of the blind interaction of chance and necessity.”

IIn my 31st letter on 3-18-20 I quote Francis Schaeffer who noted, “Darwin is saying that he gave up the New Testament because it was connected to the Old Testament. He gave up the Old Testament because it conflicted with his own theory. Did he have a real answer himself and the answer is no. At the end of his life we see that he is dehumanized by his position and on the other side we see that he never comes to the place of intellectual satisfaction for himself that his answers were sufficient.” Francis Schaeffer discusses Darwin’s own words concerning his loss of his Christian faith in Schaeffer’s 1968 sermon at this link.

In my 32nd letter on 4-18-20 quoted H.J. Blackham on where humanism leads 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

Horace Barlow pictured below:

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I hope to respond to all of them. Wikipedia notes Horace Basil Barlow FRS was a British visual neuroscientist.

Barlow was the son of the civil servant Sir Alan Barlow and his wife Lady Nora (née Darwin), and thus the great-grandson of Charles Darwin (see Darwin — Wedgwood family). He earned an M.D. at Harvard University in 1946.

In 1953 Barlow discovered that the frog brain has neurons which fire in response to specific visual stimuli. This was a precursor to the work of Hubel and Wiesel on visual receptive fields in the visual cortex. He has made a long study of visual inhibition, the process whereby a neuron firing in response to one group of retinal cells can inhibit the firing of another neuron; this allows perception of relative contrast.

In 1961 Barlow wrote a seminal article where he asked what the computational aims of the visual system are. He concluded that one of the main aims of visual processing is the reduction of redundancy. While the brightnesses of neighbouring points in images are usually very similar, the retina reduces this redundancy. His work thus was central to the field of statistics of natural scenes that relates the statistics of images of real world scenes to the properties of the nervous system.

Barlow and his co-workers also did substantial work in the field of factorial codes. The goal was to encode images with statistically redundant components or pixels such that the code components are statistically independent. Such codes are hard to find but highly useful for purposes of image classification etc.

Barlow was a fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1969 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1993.[1] He received the 1993 Australia Prize for his research into the mechanisms of visual perception and the 2009 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

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His comments can be found on the 3rd video and the 128th clip in this series. Below the videos you will find his words.

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 1

Published on Jun 18, 2014

Interviewed and filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 5 March 2012

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Interview of Horace Barlow – part 2

Horace Barlow’s quote taken from interview with Alan Macfarlane:

HAS RELIGION EVER BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU? No, it is not important to me. Saying you don’t believe in God is a very foolish thing to say as it doesn’t explain why so many people talk about it, there has got to be more to it than that; also I think one has to respect what some godly people say and some of the things they do; I wish one could make more sense of it but I don’t think the godly people have done a very good job; I was never baptized or confirmed so have never been a practitioner, and I don’t miss it; DO YOU THINK THAT SCIENCE HAS DIS-PROVEN RELIGION AS DAWKINS ARGUES? I think it [science] provides some hope of acting rationally to handle the social and political problems we have to deal with on a personal level and one a worldwide level. Religion is a way of perpetuating a way of thought that might have otherwise been lost, and I imagine that is fine.   

Dr. Barlow’s only three solid claims in this response to Alan Macfarlane is that science is #1 the best help today with our social problems,(which is in the original clip), #2 Saying you don’t believe in God (position of atheism) is foolish, and #3 we need an explanation for why so many people talk about [God.]

My response to #1 is to look at how the secular humanists have messed up so many things in the past and I include Barlow’s personal family friend Margaret Mead in that. My responses to #2 and #3 were both covered in my earlier response to Roald Hoffmann

(Roald Hoffmann is a Nobel Prize winner who I have had the honor of corresponding with in the past. Pictured below)

Image result for Roald Hoffmann.

(This July 1933 photo shows [left to right] anthropologist Gregory Bateson with Margaret Mead)

Image result for margaret mead husband

Horace Barlow’s words  from interview conducted by Alan Macfarlane:

I don’t ever remember going to Bateson’s house in Granchester as a child; William Bateson’s wife was a friend of my mother’s; when Gregory Bateson was out in Bali he met Margaret Mead; Beatrice Bateson, his mother, felt she was too old to go out and inspect her so she sent my mother instead; she flew off in an Imperial Airlines plane and we saw her off from Hendon; that must have been 1937-8; my mother got on very well with Margaret Mead – she was not altogether convinced by her, but very impressed by her breadth of knowledge and energy; she came and stayed with us many times; I was even more sceptical than my mother and thought she was a very impressive person; Gregory was born 1904 and my mother, in 1886, so there was quite a big age difference between them; I never got on close intellectual terms with Gregory even though we were to some extent interested in the same sort of thing, both in cybernetics and psychology, and his ideas were always interesting; however, my model of a scientist was taken from my mother and not from Gregory; my mother was interested in genetics and the paper for which she was famous was on the reproductive system in plants like cowslips; my mother reasoned like a scientist whereas Gregory was a guru – he liked to think things out for himself; he obviously influenced many others too; I saw him once or twice when I went to Berkeley

Postscript:

I was sad to see that Jon Stewart is stepping down from the DAILY SHOW so I wanted to include one of the best clips I have ever seen on his show and it is a short debate between the brilliant scientists  Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and then he threw in a nutball in for laughs,  Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist). Dembski gives several great examples of design and it reminded me of many of the words of Darwin show above in my letter to Horace Barlow.

William Dembski on The Jon Stewart Show

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010

Wednesday September 14, 2005 – Jon Stewart’s “Evolution, Schmevolution” segment with panelists Edward J. Larson (an evolutionist), William A. Dembski (an Intelligent Design Proponent), and Ellie Crystal (a metaphysical theorist).

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