Tag Archives: Saul Perlmutter

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 143, Bede Rundle, Philosophy Dept, Trinity College, Oxford, “God or any other supernatural agent doesn’t have what it takes to act upon physical things”

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Harry Kroto 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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Bede Rundle Why is There Something Rather than Nothing

 

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Image result for Bede Rundle

Philosopher in the tradition of Aristotle, Kant and Wittgenstein
Bede Rundle
Bede Rundle, left, taught at Trinity College, Oxford, for 40 years.

The New Zealand-born philosopher Bede Rundle, who has died aged 74, taught for 40 years at Trinity College, Oxford, and made substantial contributions to the philosophy of language, mind and action, to metaphysics and to philosophical theology. He defended the currently unpopular but correct view that philosophy is not, like science, a cognitive discipline building theories, but a critical enterprise of human self-reflection. In this he stood in the tradition of Aristotle, Kant and Wittgenstein and gave us a model of how to do philosophy.

Rundle thought in whole books, six of them over 37 years: meticulously crafted, rich in insights and packed with arguments. Grammar in Philosophy (1979), opening with, “Philosophy may begin with wonder, but it soon ends up in confusion”, is one of the most ambitious and important books in philosophy of language since Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. In it, Rundle attacks prevailing conceptions of key semantic concepts, such as meaning, truth, reference and necessity. His early specialisation was mathematical logic, which he taught for 10 years at Oxford. But under the influence of Wittgenstein’s writings, he came to think that to understand the nature and role of language in our lives, the abstract logical and linguistic frameworks pioneered by Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell and Noam Chomsky are less relevant than careful and detailed investigation of how language is employed by ordinary language speakers, including scientists.

Mind in Action (1997) sharply rejects the view of the mind as a machine, or as an entity “inside” our brains, contrary to what our neuroscientific and popular culture often makes us believe. He also showed that animals do not reason, that there is a sharp demarcation between humans and animals, and that we have a free will.

In the third of his most notable books, Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2004), which received considerable attention, Rundle tackled one of philosophy’s most important questions, formulated by Gottfried Leibniz in the 18th century, in a new way. Rundle contended that the question cannot be answered by science, but must receive a genuine philosophical treatment. He did so by addressing a famous argument in favour of the existence of God, presented by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.

Since this universe is contingent, that is to say it might not have existed, at some point it did not exist, and at a later point it came into existence. Since something can only begin to exist in relation to something else already existing (for instance, a football match can only start if the players are on the field), a non-contingent, necessary thing, God, must have existed for this universe to begin to exist. Had there been no necessary thing, God, there would be nothing now.

Unlike most recent philosophers, Rundle found some truth in this argument. In his version, we must indeed claim that if nothing had existed, nothing would exist now, in other words that it is impossible that nothing at all should have existed. For to say that there might have been nothing “then” (before the Big Bang) or “now” presupposes a temporal framework of reference, and thus space, motion and objects.

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However, this does not fully vindicate Aquinas, for “the only thing which would provide a setting into which our universe might make an entrée would be another universe”. There is no necessary entity, God, but some physical thing or other must have always necessarily existed.

If correct, this argument has dramatic consequences for most humans and their religious or scientific beliefs about the origin of the world, for it undermines the idea of an absolutely first event of the world, whether Creation or Big Bang. Rundle also casts doubt on the notion of divine agency and indeed the coherence of the notion of God.

He had a Catholic upbringing, but little sympathy for religion, or for scientists engaging in theological speculation. Earlier this year, he made his exasperation clear to me: “As if we don’t have clear answers to the questions ‘Where do we come from? Where do we go to?’ – from our mothers’ wombs and into the grave.”

Born in Wellington, he was educated there at St Patrick’s college and Victoria University. His interest in philosophy was sparked when, as a boy, he chanced across CEM Joad’s introduction to the subject in the local library. After gaining his first degree in 1959, he went to Magdalen College, Oxford. There he played tennis for the college with the lawyer Michael Beloff, and table tennis for the university. On completing his BPhil in 1961, he went to Queen’s College as a junior research fellow for two years before being elected to the Trinity fellowship. In 1968 he married his wife Ros, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

He held visiting professorships in the US, but turned down offers for chairs, preferring the tutorial system, whose recent decline he deplored. An unassuming and generous figure, he was very popular with his students. He took his role as a tutor for graduates just as seriously as that of being the senior common room wine steward.

He is survived by his wife and children.

Bernard Bede Rundle, philosopher, born 21 February 1937; died 24 September 2011

This article was amended on 1 November 2011. The original referred to Bede Rundle’s books as Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? This has been corrected to Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing.

 

 

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His comments can be found on the 2nd  video and the 58th 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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Quote:

God or any other supernatural agent doesn’t have what it takes to act upon physical things. That seems to me to be the underlying problem in all of us. We extend our talk of things we are familiar with to God forgetting how much it is based in familiar facts about the physical world, and we just suppose it is making sense. It looks similar language  when we take it to this different domain.

I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton (1922-),  and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

 

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Does it seem logical that God inspired men to write the Books in the Bible and that those books would be correct in what they say?  Why not consider the evidence?

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

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Archaeology and the Old Testament

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

A man wearing a leather vest and a broad-rimmed hat wraps a ripped piece of cloth around an old bone, sets it on fire, and uses it as a torch to see his way through ancient tunnels filled with bones, rats, bugs, and buried treasure. Close behind him lurks the dastardly villain, ready to pounce on the treasure after the hero has done all the planning and dangerous work. We have seen this scenario, or others similar to it, time and again in movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy. And although we understand that Hollywood exaggerates and dramatizes the situation, it still remains a fact that finding ancient artifacts excites both young and old alike. Finding things left by people of the past is exciting because a little window of their lives is opened to us. When we find an arrowhead, we are reminded that Indians used bows and arrows to hunt and fight. Discovering a piece of pottery tells us something about the lives of ancient cultures. Every tiny artifact gives the modern person a more complete view of life in the past.

Because of the intrinsic value of archaeology, many have turned to it in order to try to answer certain questions about the past. One of the questions most often asked is, “Did the things recorded in the Bible really happen?” Truth be told, archaeology cannot always answer that question. Nothing material remains from Elijah’s ascension into heaven, and no physical artifacts exist to show that Christ actually walked on water. Therefore, if we ask archaeology to “prove” that the entire Bible is true or false, we are faced with the fact that archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the Bible’s validity. However, even though it cannot conclusively prove the Bible’s veracity in every instance, archaeology can provide important pieces of the past that consistently verify the Bible’s historical and factual accuracy. This month’s Reason and Revelation article is designed to bring to light a small fraction of the significant archaeological finds that have been instrumental in corroborating the biblical text of the Old Testament.

HEZEKIAH AND SENNACHERIB

When Hezekiah assumed the throne of Judah, he did so under extremely distressing conditions. His father Ahaz had turned to the gods of Damascus, cut into pieces the articles within the house of Jehovah, and shut the doors of the temple of the Lord. In addition, he created high places “in every single city” where he sacrificed, and offered incense to other gods (2 Chronicles 28:22-27). The people of Judah followed Ahaz, and as a result, the Bible records that “the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:19).

Upon this troubled throne, King Hezekiah began to rule at the youthful age of just twenty-five. He reigned for twenty-nine years, and the inspired text declares that he “did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done” (2 Chronicles 29:2). Among other reforms, Hezekiah reopened the temple, reestablished the observance of the Passover, and appointed the priests to receive tithes and administer their proper duties in the temple. After completing these reforms, Scripture states that “Sennacherib, king of Assyria entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself ” (2 Chronicles 32:1).

It is here that we turn to the secular record of history to discover that the powerful nation Assyria, under the reign of King Sargon II, had subdued many regions in and around Palestine. Upon Sargon’s death, revolt broke out within the Assyrian empire. Sennacherib, the new Assyrian king, was determined to maintain a firm grasp on his vassal states, which meant that he would be forced to invade the cities of Judah if Hezekiah continued to defy Assyria’s might (Hoerth, 1998, pp. 341-352). Knowing that Sennacherib would not sit by idly and watch his empire crumble, King Hezekiah began to make preparations for the upcoming invasion. One of the preparations he made was to stop the water from the springs that ran outside of Jerusalem, and to redirect the water into the city by way of a tunnel. Second Kings 20:20 records the construction of the tunnel with these words: “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah—all his might, and how he made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city—are they not written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Judah?”

Hezekiah's Tunnel
Inside view of Hezekiah’s tunnel, displaying the thick limestone through which workers had to dig. Credit: Todd Bolen (www.BiblePlaces.com).

The biblical text from 2 Chronicles 32:30 further substantiates the tunnel construction with this comment: “This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David.” The tunnel—known today as “Hezekiah’s tunnel”—stands as one of the paramount archaeological attestations to the biblical text. Carved through solid limestone, the tunnel meanders in an S-shape under the city of Jerusalem for a length of approximately 1,800 feet. In 1880, two boys swimming at the site discovered an inscription (about 20 feet from the exit) that provided exacting details regarding how the tunnel had been constructed:

…And this was the account of the breakthrough. While the laborers were still working with their picks, each toward the other, and while there were still three cubits to be broken through, the voice of each was heard calling to the other, because there was a crack (or split or overlap) in the rock from the south to the north. And at the moment of the breakthrough, the laborers struck each toward the other, pick against pick. Then water flowed from the spring to the pool for 1,200 cubits. And the height of the rock above the heads of the laborers was 100 cubits (Price, 1997, p. 267).

Of the inscription, John Laughlin wrote that it is “one of the most important, as well as famous, inscriptions ever found in Judah” (2000, p. 145). Incidentally, since the length of the tunnel was about 1,800 feet, and the inscription marked the tunnel at “1,200 cubits,” archaeologists have a good indication that the cubit was about one-and-a-half feet at the time of Hezekiah (Free and Vos, 1992, p. 182). Dug in order to keep a steady supply of water pumping into Jerusalem during Sennacherib’s anticipated siege, Hezekiah’s tunnel stands as a strong witness to the accuracy of the biblical historical record of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Siloam Insciption
The Siloam inscription commemorates the excavation of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

In addition to Hezekiah’s tunnel, other amazingly detailed archaeological evidence provides an outstanding record of some of the events as they unfolded between Hezekiah and Sennacherib. Much of the information we have comes from the well-known Taylor Prism. This fascinating, six-sided clay artifact stands about 15 inches tall, and was found in Nineveh in 1830 by British colonel R. Taylor. Thus, it is known as the “Taylor Prism” (Price, pp. 272-273). The prism contains six columns covered by over 500 lines of writing, and was purchased in the winter of 1919-1920 by J.H. Breasted for the Oriental Institute in Chicago (Hanson, 2002).

Part of the text on the Taylor Prism has Sennacherib’s account of what happened in his military tour of Judah.

As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) by means of well-stamped (earth)ramps, and battering-rams brought (thus) near (to the walls) (combined with) the attack by foot soldiers, (using) mines, breeches as well as sapper work. I drove out (of them) 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered (them) booty. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork in order to molest those who were leaving his city’s gate (Pritchard, 1958a, p. 200).

At least two facts of monumental significance reside in Sennacherib’s statement. First, Sennacherib’s attack on the outlying cities of Judah finds a direct parallel in 2 Chronicles 32:1: “Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities….” The most noteworthy fortified city that the Assyrian despot besieged and captured was the city of Lachish. Second, Sennacherib never mentions that he captured Jerusalem.

Lachish Under Siege

Assyrians attacking the Jewish town of Lachish
Assyrians attack the Jewish fortified town of Lachish. Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh. British Museum, London. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

When we turn to the biblical account of Sennacherib’s Palestinian invasion in 2 Kings 18, we learn that he had advanced against “all the fortified cities of Judah” (vs. 14). At one of those cities, Lachish, King Hezekiah sent tribute money in an attempt to assuage the Assyrian’s wrath. The text states: “Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, ‘I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay’ ” (vs. 14). Of Lachish, Sennacherib demanded 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, which Hezekiah promptly paid. Not satisfied, however, the Assyrian ruler “sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh from Lachish, with a great army against Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah” (vs. 17) in an attempt to frighten the denizens of Jerusalem into surrender. The effort failed, “so the Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish” (19:8). From the biblical record, then, we discover very scant information about the battle at Lachish—only that Sennacherib was there, laid siege to the city (2 Chronicles 32:9), and moved on to Libnah upon the completion of his siege.

From Sennacherib’s historical files, however, we get a much more complete account of the events surrounding Lachish. The Assyrian monarch considered his victory at Lachish of such import that he dedicated an entire wall (nearly seventy linear feet) of his palace in Nineveh to carved reliefs depicting the event (Hoerth, p. 350). In the mid-1840s, renowned English archaeologist Henry Layard began extensive excavations in the ruins of ancient Nineveh. He published his initial finds in an 1849 best-selling volume titled Nineveh and Its Remains, and in three subsequent volumes: The Monuments of Nineveh (1849), Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Characters (1851), and Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh (1853) [see Moorey, 1991, pp. 7-12 for more about Layard’s work]. Since Layard’s early discoveries, archaeologists have located and identified thousands of artifacts from at least three different palaces. The remains of ancient Nineveh are located in two mounds on opposite banks of the Hawsar River. One of the mounds, known as Kouyunjik Tepe, contained the remains of the palaces of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. The other mound, Nebi Younis, held the relics of the palace of Sennacherib. These palaces were built on raised platforms about 75 feet high (Negev and Gibson, 2001, p. 369).

One of the most outstanding artifacts found among the ruins of Nineveh was the wall relief depicting Sennacherib’s defeat of the city of Lachish. Ephraim Stern offered an excellent description of the events pictured in the relief:

The main scene shows the attack on the gate wall of Lachish. The protruding city gate is presented in minute detail, with its crenellations and its special reinforcement by a superstructure of warriors’ shields. The battering rams were moved over specially constructed ramps covered with wooden logs. They were “prefabricated,” four-wheeled, turreted machines. The scene vividly shows frenzied fighting of both attacker and defender in the final stage of battle (2001, 2:5).

Assyrians impaling Jewish prisoners
Assyrian warriors shown impaling Jewish prisoners. Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib. British Museum, London. Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

Stern also discussed the flaming firebrands that the defenders of Lachish launched at their attackers, the long-handled, ladle-like instruments used to dowse the front of the battering rams when they were set on fire, slingmen, archers, and assault troops with spears. One of the most striking features of the relief is the depiction of the tortures inflicted on the inhabitants of the Lachish. Several prisoners are pictured impaled on poles, while women and children from the city are led past the victims (Stern, 2:5-6). The epigraph that accompanied the relief read: “Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a nimedu– throne and passed in review the booty (taken) from Lachish (La-ki-su)” [Pritchard, 1958a, p. 201, parenthetical item in orig.].

Of further interest is the fact that archaeological digs at the city of Lachish bear out the details of Sennacherib’s wall relief. Extensive archaeological digs at Lachish from 1935 to 1938 by the British, and again from 1973 to 1987 under Israeli archaeologist David Ussishkin and others, have revealed a treasure trove of artifacts, each of which fits the events depicted by Sennacherib. Concerning the Assyrian siege of Lachish, William Dever noted:

The evidence of it is all there: the enormous sloping siege ramp thrown up against the city walls south of the gate; the double line of defense walls, upslope and downslope; the iron-shod Assyrian battering rams that breached the city wall at its highest point; the massive destruction within the fallen city…. Virtually all the details of the Assyrian reliefs have been confirmed by archaeology…. Also brought to light by the excavators were the double city walls; the complex siege ramp, embedded with hundreds of iron arrowheads and stone ballistae; the counter-ramp inside the city; the destroyed gate, covered by up to 6 ft. of destruction debris; huge boulders from the city wall, burned almost to lime and fallen far down the slope… (2001, pp. 168-169).

The Assyrian monarch’s siege of Lachish is documented by the biblical text, and the destruction of the city is corroborated by the massive carving dedicated to the event in Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, as well as the actual artifacts found in stratum III at Lachish.

Jerusalem Stands Strong

Of special interest in Sennacherib’s description of his Palestinian conquest is the fact that he never mentioned seizing the city of Jerusalem. On the Taylor Prism, we find the writings about his conquest of 46 outlying cities, in addition to “walled forts” and “countless small villages.” In fact, we even read that Hezekiah was shut up in Jerusalem as a prisoner “like a bird in a cage.” It also is recorded that Hezekiah sent more tribute to Sennacherib at the end of the campaign (Pritchard, 1958a, pp. 200-201). What is not recorded, however, is any list of booty that was taken from the capital city of Judah. Nor is an inventory of prisoners given in the text of the Taylor Prism. Indeed, one would think that if the city of Lachish deserved so much attention from the Assyrian dictator, then the capital city of Judah would deserve even more.

What we find, however, is complete silence as to the capture of the city. What happened to the vast, conquering army to cause it to buckle at the very point of total victory? Hershel Shanks, author of Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography, wrote: “…although we don’t know for sure what broke the siege, we do know that the Israelites managed to hold out” (1995, p. 84).

The biblical text, however, offers the answer to this historical enigma. Due to Hezekiah’s faithfulness to the Lord, Jehovah offered His divine assistance to the Judean King. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet was sent to Hezekiah with a message of hope. Isaiah informed Hezekiah that God would stop Sennacherib from entering the city, because Hezekiah prayed to the Lord for assistance. In Isaiah 37:36, the text states: “Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.” Sennacherib could not boast of his victory over the city of Jerusalem—because there was no victory! The Lord had delivered the city out of his hand. In addition, as Dever observed: “Finally, Assyrian records note that Sennacherib did die subsequently at the hands of assassins, his own sons…” (2001, p. 171). Luckenbill records the actual inscription from Esarhaddon’s chronicles that describe the event:

In the month Nisanu, on a favorable day, complying with their exalted command, I made my joyful entrance into the royal palace, an awesome place, wherein abides the fate of kings. A firm determination fell upon my brothers. They forsook the gods and turned to their deeds of violence plotting evil. …To gain the kingship they slew Sennacherib, their father (Luckenbill, 1989, 2:200-201).

These events and artifacts surrounding Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Lachish, and Jerusalem give us an amazing glimpse into the tumultuous relationship between Judah and her neighbors. These facts also provide an excellent example of how archaeology substantiates the biblical account.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BULLAE

The ancient Israelites used several different media to record their information. Among the most popular were scrolls of papyrus and leather. When a scribe had completed writing his information on a scroll, he often would roll the papyrus or leather into a cylinder shape and tie it securely with a string. In order to seal the string even more securely, and to denote the author or sender of the scroll, a bead of soft clay (or soft wax or soft metal) was placed over the string of the scroll. With some type of stamping device, the clay was pressed firmly to the scroll, leaving an inscription in the clay (King and Stager, 2001, p. 307). These clay seals are known as bullae (the plural form of the word bulla). Over the many years of archaeological excavations, hundreds of these bullae have been discovered. TheArchaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land provides an extensive list of bullae that have been unearthed: 50 in Samaria during the 1930s; 17 at Lachish in 1966; 51 in Jerusalem in digs conducted by Yigal Shiloh; 128 in 1962 found in the Wadi ed-Daliyeh Cave and a large cache of 2,000 bullae found in 1998 at Tel Kadesh (Negev and Gibson, 2001, pp. 93-94).

Examples of Bullae
On the left, a bulla with Hebrew writing in a slightly oval impression. On the right, a stamp seal with the name of the owner or scribe. Credit: The Schøyen Collection MS 1912 and MS 5160/1.

Most of the bullae that have been discovered are small, oval, clay stamps that contain the name of the person responsible for the document that was sealed (and occasionally the father of that person), the title or office of the sealer, and/or a picture of an animal or some other artistic rendering. One of the most interesting things about the bullae that have been discovered is the fact that certain names found among the clay seals correspond with biblical references. For instance, from 1978 to 1985, Yigal Shiloh did extensive digging in the city of Jerusalem. In 1982, in a building in Area G of Jerusalem, he discovered a cache of 51 bullae. Because of these clay inscriptions, the building is known in archaeological circles as the “House of Bullae.” This building was burned during the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.Unfortunately, the intense heat of the fires burned all the leather and papyrus scrolls. Yet, even though it destroyed the scrolls, the same fire baked the clay bullae hard and preserved them for posterity (King and Stager, p. 307).

One interesting bulla, and probably the most famous, is connected to the scribe of Jeremiah—Baruch. Hershel Shanks, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, gave a detailed account of a landmark cache of over 250 bullae. In October 1975, the first four bullae were purchased by an antiquities dealer in east Jerusalem. The dealer took these bullae to Nahman Avigad, a leading Israeli expert on ancient seals at Hebrew University. More and more bullae came across Avigad’s desk that fit with the others. On more than one occasion, a fragment from one collection would fit with a corresponding fragment from another dealer’s collection. Ultimately, Yoav Sasson, a Jerusalem collector, came to acquire about 200 of the bullae, and Reuben Hecht obtained 49 pieces (Shanks, 1987, pp. 58-65).

The names on two of these bullae have captivated the archaeological world for several decades now. On one of the bulla, the name “Berekhyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe,” is clearly impressed. Shanks wrote concerning this inscription: “The common suffix –yahu in ancient Hebrew names, especially in Judah, is a form of Yahweh. Baruch means “the blessed.” Berekhyahu means “blessed of Yahweh.” An equivalent form to –yahu is –yah, traditionally rendered as “-iah” in our English translations. Neriah is actually Neri-yah or Neriyahu. Eighty of the 132 names represented in the hoard (many names appear more than once on the 250 bullae) include the theophoric element –yahu (1987, p. 61). Shanks (along with the general consensus of archaeological scholars) concluded that the bulla belonged to Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 36:4, the text reads: “Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah….” The name on the bulla corresponds well with the name in Jeremiah. Concerning the bulla, Hoerth wrote: “This lump of clay…used to close a papyrus document, was sealed by none other than ‘Baruch son of Neriah’ (Jer. 36:4). Baruch’s name here carries a suffix abbreviation for God, indicating that his full name meant ‘blessed of God’ ” (1998, p. 364).

To multiply the evidence that this inscription was indeed the Baruch of Jeremiah fame, another of the inscriptions from a bulla in the cache documented the title “Yerahme’el, son of the king.” This name corresponds to King Jehoiakim’s son “who was sent on the unsuccessful mission to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah” (Shanks, 1987, p. 61). Indeed, the biblical text so states: “And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son…to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them” (Jeremiah 36:26). In commenting on the bulla, Amihai Mazar, who is among the most noted of archaeologists, stated in regard to Jerahmeel the king’s son: “We presume [he] was Jehoiakim’s son sent to arrest Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:26)” [1992, pp. 519-520]. [As a side note, the Hebrew letter yod is represented by Y and J, which often are used interchangeably in the English transliteration of Hebrew names—a fact that can be seen easily in the Hebrew name for God, which is written variously as Yahweh or Jehovah.] Another bulla in the hoard contained the title “Elishama, servant of the king.” And in Jeremiah 36:12, the text mentioned a certain “Elishama the scribe.” While professor Avigad thinks it would be a dubious connection, since he believes the biblical text would not drop the title “servant of the king” (because of its prestige), Shanks commented: “I would not reject the identification so easily” (1987, p. 62).

One of the names inscribed on a bulla was the Hebrew name “Gemaryahu [Gemariah] the son of Shaphan.” Price noted: “This name, which appears a few times in the book of Jeremiah, was the name of the scribe who served in the court of King Jehoiakim” (1998, p. 235). Jeremiah 36:10 records that Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, read from the words of the prophet “in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe….” It also is interesting to note that Gemariah was a scribe, which would have put him in precisely the position to produce bullae. Also among the collection from the “House of Bullae” was a bulla that was sealed with the name “Azaryahu son of Hilqiyahu”—a name that easily corresponds with Azariah son of Hilkiah found in 1 Chronicles 9:10-11 (Laughlin, 2000, p. 153).

We have then, among this phenomenal cache of bullae (which dates to the time of the events in the book of Jeremiah), two names and titles that correspond almost identically to Baruch, the son of Neriah, plus Jerahmeel, the son of Jehoiakim, and a third, Elishama, whose name appears in Jeremiah 36. What, then, does this prove? While it is the case that several men in ancient Israel could be named Baruch or Jerahmeel, it becomes almost absurd to suggest that these bullae just happen “coincidentally” to correspond so well to the biblical text. Such evidence points overwhelming to the accuracy of the biblical text and its historical verifiability. At the very least, such finds demonstrate these biblical names to be authentic for the time period. [As an added note of interest on the Baruch bulla, Shanks wrote a follow-up article in Biblical Archaeological Review in 1996, in which he discussed another bulla with Baruch’s title on it that also contains a fingerprint—possibly of the scribe himself. This bulla is in the private collection of a well-known collector named Shlomo Maussaieff (Shanks, 1996, pp. 36-38).]

THE MOABITE STONE

Another important archaeological find verifying the historicity of the biblical account is known as the Moabite Stone. It is true that writing about a rock that was discovered almost 150 years ago certainly would not fit in a current “in the news” section. In fact, so much has been written about this stone since 1868 that very few new articles pertaining to it have come to light. But the real truth of the matter is that, even though it was discovered more than a century ago, many people do not even know it exists, and thus need to be reminded of its importance.

The Moabite StoneThe find is known as the Moabite Stone, or the Mesha Inscription, since it was written by Mesha, King of Moab. A missionary named F.A. Klein first discovered the stone in August of 1868 (Edersheim, n.d., p. 109). When he initially saw the black basalt stone, it measured approximately 3.5 feet high and 2 feet wide. Upon learning of Klein’s adventure, a French scholar by the name of Clermont-Ganneau located the antiquated piece of rock, and copied eight lines from the stone. He then had an impression (known as a “squeeze”) made of the writing on its surface. A squeeze is made by placing a soggy piece of paper over the inscription, which then retains the form of the inscription when it dries (Pritchard, 1958b, p. 105). From that point, the details surrounding the stone are not quite as clear. Apparently (for reasons unknown), the Arabs who were in possession of the stone decided to shatter it. [Some have suggested that they thought the stone was a religious talisman of some sort, or that they could get more money selling the stone in pieces. However, LeMaire claims that these reasons are “apocryphal,” and suggests that the Arabs broke it because they hated the Ottomans, who were attempting to purchase the stone (1994, p. 34).] By heating it in fire and then pouring cold water on it, they succeeded in breaking the stone into several pieces. The pieces ended up being scattered, but eventually about two-thirds of the original stone ended up being relocated, and currently reside at the Louvre in Paris (Jacobs and McCurdy, 2002).

The written inscription on the stone provides a piece of outstanding evidence that verifies the Bible’s accuracy. Mesha, had the stone cut in c. 850 B.C. to relate his numerous conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel. In the over 30-line text (composed of approximately 260 words), Mesha mentioned that Omri was the king of Israel who had oppressed Moab, but then Mesha says he “saw his desire upon” Omri’s son and upon “his house.” Mesha wrote:

I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-[…], king of Moab, the Dibonite—my father (had) reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father,—(who) made this high place for Chemosh in Qarhoh […] because he saved me from all the kings and caused me to triumph over all my adversaries. As for Omri, king of Israel, he humbled Moab many years (lit., days), for Chemosh was angry at his land. And his son followed him and he also said, “I will humble Moab.” In my time he spoke (thus), but I have triumphed over him and over his house, while Israel hath perished forever (Pritchard, 1958a, p. 209).

The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. While the references to the Israelite kings are quite notable in and of themselves, Pritchard has pointed out that this reference to Yahweh is one of the few that have been found outside of Palestine proper (1958b, p. 106).

Another important feature of the Moabite stone is the fact that it “gave the solution to a question that had gone unanswered for centuries.” The biblical record chronicles the Moabite subjugation under King David and King Solomon, and how the Moabites broke free at the beginning of the divided kingdom. However, the Bible also mentions (2 Kings 3:4) that Ahab was receiving tribute from Moab. As Alfred Hoerth has remarked: “Nowhere does the Bible state how or when Moab was reclaimed, for Ahab to be receiving such tribute. The Moabite Stone provides that information, telling, as it does, of Omri’s conquest from the Moabite point of view” (1998, p. 310).

From the end of the quoted portion of the Mesha Inscription (“while Israel hath perished forever”), it is obvious that Mesha exaggerated the efficacy of his conquest—a common practice among ancient kings. Pritchard noted that historians agree that “the Moabite chroniclers tended generally, and quite understandably, to ignore their own losses and setbacks” (1958b, p. 106). Free and Vos document the works of John D. Davies and S.L. Caiger, which offer a harmonization of the Moabite text with the biblical record. Davies, formerly of the Princeton University Seminary, accurately observed: “Mesha is in no wise contradicting, but only unintentionally supplementing the Hebrew account” (as quoted in Free and Vos, 1992, p. 161).

As a further point of interest, French scholar André LeMaire, in an extensive article in Biblical Archaeology Review, “identified the reading of the name David in a formerly unreadable line, ‘House of D…,’ on the Mesha Stele (or Moabite Stone)” [Price, 1997, p. 171; see also LeMaire, 1994, pp. 30-37]. Whether or not this identification is accurate, has yet to be verified by scholarly consensus. Even liberal scholars Finkelstein and Silberman, however, acknowledged LaMaire’s identification, along with the Tel Dan inscription documenting the House of David, and concluded: “Thus, the house of David was known throughout the region; this clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem” (2001, p. 129).

Taken as a whole, the Moabite stone remains one of the most impressive pieces of evidence verifying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. And, although this find has been around almost 150 years, it “still speaks” to us today (Hebrews 11:4).

Cyrus Cylinder

THE CYRUS CYLINDER

Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born(Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

In 1879, Hormoz Rasam found a small clay cylinder (about nine inches long, and now residing in the British Museum) in the ancient city of Babylon. Upon the clay cylinder, King Cyrus had inscribed, among other things, his victory over the city of Babylon and his policy toward the nations he had captured, as well as his policy toward their various gods and religions. Price recorded a translation of a segment of the cuneiform text found on the cylinder:

…I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus has brought into Babylon to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their [former] chapels, the places which made them happy. May all the gods who I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for long life for me and may they recommend me…to Marduk, my lord, may they say thus: Cyrus, the king who worships you and Cambyses, his son, […] all of them I settled in a peaceful place (pp. 251-252).

The policy, often hailed as Cyrus’ declaration of human rights, coincides with the biblical account of the ruler’s actions, in which Cyrus decreed that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and that all the exiled Israelites who wished to join in the venture had his permission and blessing to do so (Ezra 1:1-11). The little nine-inch-long clay cylinder stands as impressive testimony—along with several other archaeological finds—to the historical accuracy of the biblical text.

CONCLUSION

The archaeological evidence presented in this article that confirms biblical history is, in truth, only a tiny fraction of the evidence that could be amassed along these lines. In fact, volumes of hundreds of pages each have been produced on such matters, and with every new find comes additional information that will fill archaeology texts for decades to come. The more we uncover the past, the more we discover the truth that the Bible is the most trustworthy, historically accurate document ever produced. As the poet John Greenleaf Whittier once wrote:

We search the world for truth; we cull the good, the pure, the beautiful, from all the old flower fields of the soul; and, weary seekers of the best, we come back laden from our quest, to find that all the sages said is in the Book our mothers read.

REFERENCES

Dever, William (2001), What did the Bible Writers Know and When did They Know It? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Edersheim, Albert (no date), The Bible History—Old Testament, Book VI (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Silberman (2001), The Bible Unearthed (New York: Simon & Schuster).

Free, Joseph P. and Howard F. Vos (1992), Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Hanson, K.C. (2002), Sennacherib Prism, [On-line], URL: http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/meso/sennprism1.html.

Hoerth, Alfred J. (1998), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Jacobs, Joseph and J. Frederick McCurdy (2002), “Moabite Stone,” Jewish Encyclopedia.com,[On-line], URL: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=680&letter=M.

King, Philip J. and Lawrence E. Stager (2001), Life in Biblical Israel (in the Library of Ancient Israelseries), ed. Douglas A. Knight (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press).

Laughlin, John C.H. (2000), Archaeology and the Bible (New York: Routledge).

LeMaire, André (1994), “House of David Restored in Moabite Inscription,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[3]:30-37, May/June.

Luckenbill, Daniel D. (1989), Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon (London: Histories and Mysteries of Man Ltd.).

Mazar, Amihai (1992), Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (New York: Doubleday).

Moorey, P.R.S. (1991), A Century of Biblical Archaeology (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press).

Negev, Avraham and Shimon Gibson (2001), Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (New York: Continuum).

Price, Randall (1997), The Stones Cry Out (Eugene, OR: Harvest House).

Pritchard, James B., ed. (1958a), The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Pritchard, James B. (1958b), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Shanks, Hershel (1987), “Jeremiah’s Scribe and Confidant Speaks from a Hoard of Clay Bullae,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 13[5]:58-65, September/October.

Shanks, Hershel (1995), Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography (New York: Random House).

Shanks, Hershel (1996), “Fingerprint of Jeremiah’s Scribe,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 22[2]:36-38, March/April.

Stern, Ephraim (2001), Archaeology and the Land of the Bible: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732-332 B.C.E.) (New York: Doubleday).

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The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Please consider taking time to read Isaiah chapter 53 and if you have any interest then watch the You Tube clip “The Biography of the King” by Adrian Rogers which discusses that chapter in depth.

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

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

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

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.

(This material below is under footnote #94)

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

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We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 142 Bruce C. Murray, geophysicist, Cal Tech, “What does God mean….it means a rather human like figure who takes a personal interest in the destiny of humans…I think most scientists find that as too simplistic view of reality”

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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

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

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Bruce C. Murray

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bruce C. Murray
Bruce Murray.jpg
Born November 30, 1931
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died August 29, 2013 (aged 81)
Oceanside, California, U.S.
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater MIT – Ph.D. geology (1955)
Notable awards
Spouse Joan O’Brien
(divorced; 3 children)
Suzanne Moss
(2 children)

Seated on left with other Planetary Society Founders and enthusiasts in the 1970s.

PIA17587-MarsCuriosityRover-MurrayButtes-20131113.jpg

Bruce Churchill Murray (November 30, 1931 – August 29, 2013) was an American planetary scientist. He was a director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and co-founder of The Planetary Society.

Education and early life[edit]

Murray received his Ph.D. in geology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1955 and joined Standard Oil of California as a geologist. He served in the United States Air Force as a geophysicist[clarification needed], and the U.S. Civil Service[clarification needed] before joining California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1960.[2]

Main career[edit]

At Caltech, Murray became an associate professor in 1963, a full professor in 1969, and a professor emeritus in 2001. He would later become professor emeritus of planetary science and geology.

Murray began working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory(managed by/affiliated with Caltech) in 1960, and served as its director from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982.[3][4] He was an important force in promoting the recruitment and hiring of female engineers at the lab, where more women are employed today than any other NASA facility.[5] Murray became JPL’s director at a time when space exploration budgets were shrinking; among other achievements, he saved the Galileo mission to Jupiter from the budget axe.[5]

Murray worked out the geologic history of Mars using photographs taken by Mariner 4 in 1965; he worked with Bob Leighton to accomplish this task. He applied similar photographic analysis when he served as chief scientist of Mariner 10. As he took over management of JPL, he expressed reservations about the Viking lander program, pointing out that the biological experiments included with the spacecraft were not sufficient to accomplish their stated goals.[6]

With Carl Sagan and Louis Friedman, Murray founded The Planetary Society. He also served a term as its chair.

Personal life and death[edit]

Murray was twice married. With his first wife, Joan O’Brien, he had three children. Murray and O’Brien divorced in 1970. In 1971, Murray married Suzanne Murray, with whom he had two children.[2]

Murray’s cousin is former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.

Murray died at his home in Oceanside, California on August 29, 2013, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, aged 81.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Murray was the recipient of the 1997 Carl Sagan Memorial Award.

In 2004, Murray was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in Telluride, Colorado.

Asteroid 4957 Brucemurray is named after him.

On November 13, 2013, NASA announced the names of two features on Mars important to two active Mars exploration rovers in honor of Murray: “Murray Ridge”, an uplifted crater that the Opportunity rover is exploring; and “Murray Buttes”, an entryway the Curiosity rover will traverse on its way to Mount Sharp.[1]

In  the second video below in the 53rd clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

 

Bruce C. Murray QUOTE:

What does God mean and to some groups of people in the world it means a rather human like figure who takes a personal interest in the destiny of humans. Sometimes intervenes. In extreme cases wants human sacrifices and all the rest. I think most scientists find that as too simplistic view of reality. Plus we have seen how societies have grown into more sophisticated ones and they began to drop these kind of attitudes and have tried to develop ideas that dealt better with the realities we find now. So I think that is what influences scientific thinking.

Carl Sagan with the other founders of the Planetary Society (Bruce Murray pictured in blue shirt)

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_-

Let me start off by making some comments on the life of Bruce’s good friend Carl Sagan who also had some of the same goals as Bruce.

Image result for carl sagan young

Second, I wanted to point out some scientific evidence that caused Antony Flew to switch from an atheist (as you are now) to a theist.

Image result for antony flew there is a god

Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan. (I have enclosed some of those letters between us.) I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? (Message on You Tube is called HOW YOU CAN BE CERTAIN THE BIBLE IS TRUE.) You may have noticed in the news a few years ago that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Image result for francis schaeffer

You will notice in the enclosed letter from June 1, 1994 that Dr. Flew commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” It would be a great honor for me if you would take time and drop me a note and let me know what your reaction is to this same message.

On December 5, 1995, I got a letter back from Carl Sagan and I was very impressed that he took time to answer several of my questions and to respond to some of the points that I had made in my previous letters. I had been reading lots of his books and watching him on TV since 1980 and my writing today is a result of that correspondence. It is my conclusion that Carl Sagan died an unfulfilled man on December 20, 1996 with many of the big questions he had going unanswered.

Image result for carl sagan

Much of Carl Sagan’s aspirations and thoughts were revealed to a mass audience of movie goers just a few months after his death. The movie “CONTACT” with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey  is a fictional story written by Sagan  about the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI). Sagan visited the set while it was filming and it was released on July 11, 1997 after his unfortunate death.

The movie CONTACT got me thinking about Sagan’s life long hope to find a higher life form out in the universe and I was reminded of Dr. Donald E. Tarter of NASA who wrote me  in a letter a year or so earlier and stated, “I am not a theist. I simply and honestly do not know the answer to the great questions…This brings me to why I am interested in the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI)…Let me assure you, one of the first questions I would want to ask another intelligence if one were discovered is, DO YOU BELIEVE IN OR HAVE EVIDENCE OF A SUPREME INTELLIGENCE?”

Jim Fagan (Dr. Donald Tarter Video Interview)

Image result for carl sagan contact movie

Was Sagan ever satisfied with the answers he came up with in his life? It is my view that  true peace and satisfaction can come from a personal relationship with Christ and only in the Bible can we find absolute answers that touch this world we live in. The Apostle Paul was totally content when he wrote the book of Philippians from a jail in Rome right before he was beheaded (according to tradition). Paul observed, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). On March 11, 2012 my pastor Brandon Bernard at Fellowship Church Little Rock read that scripture and then commented:

Image result for Brandon Bernard at Fellowship Church Little Rock

Paul is reminding us that in every circumstance and in everything he has gone through that his satisfaction is found deeply in Christ. You think about this guy who is writing from prison. He is in this prison cell and it is a hardship in his life, but him of all people is saying that “I am writing to you but I am content and I am satisfied.” That is a statement you don’t hear from a lot of people these days… A lot of people are discontent and dissatisfied… Think about the poets from your generation or the generation before us. How about the deep theologians called “The Rolling Stones.” Remember them. They wrote this song “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And you know what they say after that phrase? “And I try and I try and I try.” I am not sure how deep most of their lyrics are, but they voice the cry of many people. “I can’t get no satisfaction and I try and I am trying and I am trying.”

Image result for rolling stones i can't get no satisfaction

What about one of those other poets by the name of Bono who wrote a song called, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It is interesting. “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It has a nice melody to it but there is probably a reason why it is so popular because there is a lot of people deep down in their soul feel like they haven’t found what they are looking for. It is true. What is so funny to me is that what is so desired is so elusive. 

(Bono with his band U 2 pictured below)

Image result for u 2 - i still haven't found what i'm looking for

Rice Broocks in his book GOD’S NOT DEAD noted:

Image result for Rice Broocks in his book GOD'S NOT DEAD

Astronomer Carl Sagan was a prolific writer and trustee of the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) founded in 1984 to scan the universe for any signs of life beyond earth. Sagan’s best-selling work COSMOS also became an award-winning television series explaining the wonders of the universe and exporting the belief not in an intelligent Creator but in potential intelligent aliens. He believed somehow that by knowing who they are, we would discover who we as humans really are. “The very thought of there being other beings different from all of us can have a very useful cohering role for the human species” (quoted from you tube clip “Carl Sagan appears on CBC to discuss the importance of SETI [Carl Sagan Archives]” at the 7 minute mark, Oct 1988 ). Sagan reasoning? If aliens could have contacted us, knowing how impossible it is for us to reach them, they would have the answers we seek to our ultimate questions. This thought process shows the desperate need we have as humans for answers to the great questions of our existence. Does life have any ultimate meaning and purpose? Do we as humans have any more value than the other animals? Is there a purpose to the universe, or more specifically, to our individual lives?

Image result for carl sagan cosmos

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

Image result for carl sagan demon haunted world

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

Image result for contact dr. arroway father beach

(That evening she [future Dr. Arroway] makes contact with a truck driver in Pensacola, Florida over her CB radio and she asks her Dad how far her radio can reach)

Image result for contact dr. arroway father

 

__

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Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special.

Image result for carl sagan shadows of forgotten ancestors

However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Image result for contact dr. arroway testifying

 

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

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

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

Bruce C. Murray QUOTE:

What does God mean and to some groups of people in the world it means a rather human like figure who takes a personal interest in the destiny of humans. Sometimes intervenes. In extreme cases wants human sacrifices and all the rest. I think most scientists find that as too simplistic view of reality. Plus we have seen how societies have grown into more sophisticated ones and they began to drop these kind of attitudes and have tried to develop ideas that dealt better with the realities we find now. So I think that is what influences scientific thinking.

My additional responses to  Dr. Murray’s quote:

 

I would like to give 4 additional responses to the above assertion made by Dr. Murray.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists.

SECOND, Dr. Murray’s good friend  Carl Sagan was a member of an organization called Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP),  and I presented them with an opportunity to examine the claim that that the claim of Romans 1 can be demonstrated by a lie-detector test. (As seen in the letter I wrote to Dr. Kroto a couple of years ago as seen below.) 

(Bruce Murray with Carl Sagan below)

Image result for carl sagan bruce murray

THIRD, if you are truly a scientist then you would want to look at the evidence  concerning the accuracy of the Bible. DOES THE BIBLE ERR IN THE AREA OF SCIENCE AND HISTORY? The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. Charles Darwin himself longed for evidence to come forward from the area of  Biblical Archaeology  but so much has  advanced  since Darwin wrote these words in the 19th century! Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and if you like you could just google these subjects: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription.13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

FOURTH, Carl Sagan’s claim that OPTIMISTIC HUMANISM is the way to go was falsified 3000 years ago. Solomon showed very clearly in the Book of Ecclesiastes that without God in the picture when one looks at life UNDER THE SUN the only conclusions one can reach is that life is meaningless and there is no satisfaction anywhere. This also can be seen in the letter below to Dr. Kroto.

_________

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

June 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Kroto,

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

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

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

Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above. 

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

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

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

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)

Image result for e.o.wilson

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Adrian Rogers at White House)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 141 Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry, Oxford, “…why should the thing have a purpose?”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Peter Atkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter William Atkins
Peter Atkins - EdSciFest 2014.jpg
Born 10 August 1940 (age 76)
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
Residence Oxford, England
Fields Physical chemistry
Institutions
Alma mater University of Leicester
Doctoral advisor MCR Symons
Doctoral students
Known for Academic level chemistry text books
Notable awards RSC Meldola Medal
Spouse
  • Judith Kearton (m. 1964; div. 1983)
  • Susan Greenfield (m. 1991; div. 2005)
  • Patricia-Jean Nobes (m. 2008)

Peter William Atkins FRSC (born 10 August 1940) is an English chemist and former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College. He is a prolific writer of popular chemistry textbooks, including Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics. Atkins is also the author of a number of popular science books, including Atkins’ Molecules, Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science and On Being.

Career[edit]

Atkins left school (Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham) at fifteen and took a job at Monsanto as a laboratory assistant. He studied for A-levels by himself and gained a place, following a last-minute interview, at the University of Leicester.

Atkins studied chemistry there, obtaining a BSc degree in chemistry, and a PhD degree in 1964 for research into electron spin resonance spectroscopy, and other aspects of theoretical chemistry. Atkins then took a postdoctoral position at UCLA as a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth fund.[1] He returned to Britain in 1965 as a fellow and tutor of Lincoln College, Oxford, and lecturer in physical chemistry (later, professor of physical chemistry). In 1969, he won the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s Meldola Medal. He retired in 2007, and since then has been a full-time author.[2]

He has honorary doctorates from the University of Utrecht, the University of Leicester (where he sits on the university Court), Mendeleev University in Moscow, and Kazan State Technological University.

He was a member of the Council of the Royal Institution and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was the founding chairman of IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education, and is a trustee of a variety of charities.

Atkins has lectured in quantum mechanics, quantum chemistry, and thermodynamics courses (up to graduate level) at the University of Oxford. He is a patron of the Oxford University Scientific Society.

Views on religion[edit]

Atkins is a well-known atheist.[3] He has written and spoken on issues of humanism, atheism, and the incompatibility of science and religion. According to Atkins, whereas religion scorns the power of human comprehension, science respects it.[4]

He was the first Senior Member of the Oxford University Secular Society, a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Reason Project, a US-based charitable foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The organisation is led by fellow atheist and author Sam Harris. Atkins has regularly participated in debates with theists such as Alister McGrath, Stephen C. Meyer, William Lane Craig,[5][6] Rabbi Shmuley Boteach,[7] and Richard Swinburne.

In December 2006, Atkins was featured in a UK television documentary on atheism called The Trouble with Atheism, presented by Rod Liddle. In that documentary Liddle asked Atkins: “Give me your views on the existence, or otherwise, of god”. Atkins replied: “Well it’s fairly straightforward: there isn’t one. And there’s no evidence for one, no reason to believe that there is one, and so I don’t believe that there is one. And I think that it is rather foolish that people do think that there is one”.[8]

Atkins is known for his use of astringent language in criticising religion: he appeared in the 2008 documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, in which he told interviewer Ben Stein that religion was “a fantasy”, and “completely empty of any explanatory content. It is also evil”.[9] He appeared on a television panel about science and religion with Richard Dawkins and Richard Swinburne. When the latter tried to explain the Holocaust as God’s way of giving Jews the opportunity to be brave and noble, Atkins growled: “May you rot in hell”.[10]

In 2007, Atkins’s position on religion was described by Colin Tudge in an article in The Guardian as being non-scientific. In the same article, Atkins was also described as being ‘more hardline than Richard Dawkins’, and of deliberately choosing to ignore Peter Medawar‘s famous adage that “Science is the art of the soluble”.[11]

Private life[edit]

Atkins married Judith Kearton in 1964 and they had one daughter, Juliet (born 1970). They divorced in 1983. In 1991, he married fellow scientist Susan Greenfield (later Baroness Greenfield). They divorced in 2005. In 2008, he married Patricia-Jean Nobes (née Brand).

Categories:

Quote from Dr. Atkins and my reaction to it today:

“I think a lot of theology is grappling with phantoms. So theologians have invented this almost self-consistent subject which has no contact with physical reality at all. And they invent all sorts of questions which they then taunt humanity with . One of them is cosmic purpose. They say ‘there must be a purpose; you and your science can’t explain it.’ And typical of theologians, they don’t respect the power of the human intellect anyway. And they infer that no one will ever understand it; it is ineffable; God’s purpose cannot be discerned. And of course that’s – those are fine words, but utterly meaningless–why should the thing have a purpose?” –Peter Atkins, world-reknowned Oxford professor of chemistry

 

In  the first video below in the 10th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them is in a letter that I wrote to him a couple of years ago. Today is May 28, 2017 and I want to make a few additional comments concerning his quote. 

I had a close friend and relative who passed away on April 7, 2017. My friend’s favorite sermon was called WHO IS JESUS? by Adrian Rogers and he gave hundreds of that CD copies away.  Let me share a little from that message but first let me give you some background information.

In 1979 I went  on a mission trip to Toronto and  then to Europe  with my good friend David Rogers. We were involved with the group  Operation Mobilization (OM). After the OM Mission Conference in Belgium,  David went to Austria and I went to England. In Manchester, England our group went to the homes of Muslims and Hindus and shared  the gospel.

Fast forward several years later, I  got involved in my family business, but David continued in  missions and  moved to Spain.

Image result for adrian rogers who is jesus?

Now the illustration from the sermon WHO IS JESUS? by Adrian Rogers:

The other day we called our son David in Madrid, Spain. Momma Bear is burning up our telephone and our bill is going to be big, talking to David and Kelly and little Jonathan. It is an amazing thing that in Memphis,  Tennessee when she picks up a phone  she eliminates everyone that doesn’t have a phone. And then when she dials the first digit that deals with the country Spain she eliminates all other countries. And then when she dials a couple more digits she eliminates all the other cities in Spain except Madrid. And then when she dials a couple more digits she eliminates a lot of people in a particular city in Spain. And then when she dials that last digit it eliminates every home except the very last home which belongs to our son David. 

That is amazing that there are billions of people in the world and  with a phone you can start closing the focus. My friend that is what the Old Testament does.

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

No wonder my friend chose the song YOURS WILL BE to be sung at his funeral. It blessed me tremendously today when I heard it sung. Look it up on You Tube “Yours will Be (The Only Name)”  by Big Daddy Weave:

Big Daddy Weave- The only name (Yours will be)

Image result for big daddy weave

Yours will be
The only name that matters to me
The only one whose favor I seek
The only name that matters to me

Yours will be
The friendship and affection I need
To feel my Father smiling on me
The only name that matters to me

And Yours is the name, the name that has saved me
Mercy and grace, the power that forgave me and Your love
Is all I’ve ever needed

When I wake up in the Land of Glory
With the saints I will tell my story
There will be one name that I proclaim, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, just that Name

The answer to find MEANING in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Just two days ago I attended a U2 concert in Dallas and I heard them sing the song I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR. That  song was perplexing to me because in the song they claim to be believers in Christ, but they are still looking for satisfaction and meaning to their lives outside of Christ.

(Bono spent the day with George W. Bush at his ranch earlier in the day on May 26, 2017 before doing the concert for us that evening in Dallas)

Image result for u 2 concert dallas 2017 george bush

(Brandon Barnard pictured below)

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This morning in his sermon, Brandon Barnard, one of our teaching pastors at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH noted concerning Hebrews 12:1-3:

We have to look to Jesus , the Founder and Perfecter of our faith. Jesus is the one who completes us. The problem is that many of us are looking to other things to give us joy, peace, hope, meaning and purpose in life. We are looking to relationships, leisure, hobbies and all these other places to fulfill us, but we should look to Jesus. 

 

U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Dallas 05.26.17) HD

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)

 

 

 

December 25, 2014

Professor Peter Atkins, University of Oxford,

Dear Dr. Atkins,

I saw your debate with William Lane Craig on you tube and I read the transcript too and felt like it was one of the most competitive debate of that sort that I have ever seen. I also recently ran across this quote from you:

“I think a lot of theology is grappling with phantoms. So theologians have invented this almost self-consistent subject which has no contact with physical reality at all. And they invent all sorts of questions which they then taunt humanity with . One of them is cosmic purpose. They say ‘there must be a purpose; you and your science can’t explain it.’ And typical of theologians, they don’t respect the power of the human intellect anyway. And they infer that no one will ever understand it; it is ineffable; God’s purpose cannot be discerned. And of course that’s – those are fine words, but utterly meaningless–why should the thing have a purpose?” –Peter Atkins, world-reknowned Oxford professor of chemistry

I wanted to reference later in this letter the Book of Ecclesiastes which has a lot to say about this subject.

I spent a whole summer in England in 1979 and it was a very interesting experience for several reasons. I was part of the organization OPERATION MOBILIZATION and we were an Christian Evangelical group that in that summer went to the homes of Muslims and Hindus and shared the gospel with them in the Manchester area. I also spent some time in  London and got to attend All Souls Church, Langham Place, and hear the famous John Stott preach and I got to meet Michael Baughen who was the pastor (or Rector as you would say in England) at the time.  Three noteworthy events during that time and one was attending a MANCHESTER UNITED soccer game. Secondly, I met several people who had recently visited with Cat Stevens and they told me he had recently converted to Islam and changed with name to Yusuf Islam. Cat Stevens had performed the song “Morning Has Broken” a few years earlier and it was one of my favorite songs. Thirdly, I got depressed in August because the sun only came out about 4 or 5 times that whole summer in England.

Billy Graham with John Stott:

Image result for John Stott

Cat Stevens pictured below:

Image result for Cat Stevens

SINCE YOU ARE INTO SOCCER (BRITISH FOOTBALL LIKE ALL BRITS ARE) THEN YOU MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH “EVERTON GOAL KEEPER TIM HOWARD?” He lives in Collierville, Tennessee in his off season time and my niece often sees him at the fitness club where they both belong. We are big fans of the sport. YOU NEED TO GET OUT AND SEE THAT MOVIE about Stephen Hawking called THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING because it was really good!!!

Image result for tim howard everton jersey

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Image result for the theory of everything

A great movie

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto  who I have been corresponding with 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

__________________________

There are 3 videos in this series and they have statements by 150 academics and scientists and I saw that you were featured in this film series. I have been responding to some of the statements concerning God and I plan on responding to what you have said on this issue too.

I have taken a look at the lives of many atheists and I still find that they have this longing from inside to find God. Let me present you with some evidence that God exists and also discuss some of these atheists that am talking about.

I wanted to write you today for two reasons. First, I wanted to make some observations about the life of Carl Sagan and I would love to hear your thoughts on his life too.

Image result for carl sagan young

Second, I wanted to point out some scientific evidence that caused Antony Flew to switch from an atheist (as you are now) to a theist.

Image result for antony flew there is a god

Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan. (I have enclosed some of those letters between us.) I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? (CD is enclosed also.) You may have noticed in the news a few years ago that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Image result for francis schaeffer

You will notice in the enclosed letter from June 1, 1994 that Dr. Flew commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” It would be a great honor for me if you would take time and drop me a note and let me know what your reaction is to this same message.

On December 5, 1995, I got a letter back from Carl Sagan and I was very impressed that he took time to answer several of my questions and to respond to some of the points that I had made in my previous letters. I had been reading lots of his books and watching him on TV since 1980 and my writing today is a result of that correspondence. It is my conclusion that Carl Sagan died an unfulfilled man on December 20, 1996 with many of the big questions he had going unanswered.

Image result for carl sagan

Much of Carl Sagan’s aspirations and thoughts were revealed to a mass audience of movie goers just a few months after his death. The movie “CONTACT” with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey  is a fictional story written by Sagan  about the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI). Sagan visited the set while it was filming and it was released on July 11, 1997 after his unfortunate death.

The movie CONTACT got me thinking about Sagan’s life long hope to find a higher life form out in the universe and I was reminded of Dr. Donald E. Tarter of NASA who wrote me  in a letter a year or so earlier and stated, “I am not a theist. I simply and honestly do not know the answer to the great questions…This brings me to why I am interested in the SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (SETI)…Let me assure you, one of the first questions I would want to ask another intelligence if one were discovered is, DO YOU BELIEVE IN OR HAVE EVIDENCE OF A SUPREME INTELLIGENCE?”

Jim Fagan (Dr. Donald Tarter Video Interview)

Image result for carl sagan contact movie

Was Sagan ever satisfied with the answers he came up with in his life? It is my view that  true peace and satisfaction can come from a personal relationship with Christ and only in the Bible can we find absolute answers that touch this world we live in. The Apostle Paul was totally content when he wrote the book of Philippians from a jail in Rome right before he was beheaded (according to tradition). Paul observed, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). On March 11, 2012 my pastor Brandon Bernard at Fellowship Church Little Rock read that scripture and then commented:

Image result for Brandon Bernard at Fellowship Church Little Rock

Paul is reminding us that in every circumstance and in everything he has gone through that his satisfaction is found deeply in Christ. You think about this guy who is writing from prison. He is in this prison cell and it is a hardship in his life, but him of all people is saying that “I am writing to you but I am content and I am satisfied.” That is a statement you don’t hear from a lot of people these days… A lot of people are discontent and dissatisfied… Think about the poets from your generation or the generation before us. How about the deep theologians called “The Rolling Stones.” Remember them. They wrote this song “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And you know what they say after that phrase? “And I try and I try and I try.” I am not sure how deep most of their lyrics are, but they voice the cry of many people. “I can’t get no satisfaction and I try and I am trying and I am trying.”

Image result for rolling stones i can't get no satisfaction

What about one of those other poets by the name of Bono who wrote a song called, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It is interesting. “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” It has a nice melody to it but there is probably a reason why it is so popular because there is a lot of people deep down in their soul feel like they haven’t found what they are looking for. It is true. What is so funny to me is that what is so desired is so elusive. 

(Bono with his band U 2 pictured below)

Image result for u 2 - i still haven't found what i'm looking for

Rice Broocks in his book GOD’S NOT DEAD noted:

Image result for Rice Broocks in his book GOD'S NOT DEAD

Astronomer Carl Sagan was a prolific writer and trustee of the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) founded in 1984 to scan the universe for any signs of life beyond earth. Sagan’s best-selling work COSMOS also became an award-winning television series explaining the wonders of the universe and exporting the belief not in an intelligent Creator but in potential intelligent aliens. He believed somehow that by knowing who they are, we would discover who we as humans really are. “The very thought of there being other beings different from all of us can have a very useful cohering role for the human species” (quoted from you tube clip “Carl Sagan appears on CBC to discuss the importance of SETI [Carl Sagan Archives]” at the 7 minute mark, Oct 1988 ). Sagan reasoning? If aliens could have contacted us, knowing how impossible it is for us to reach them, they would have the answers we seek to our ultimate questions. This thought process shows the desperate need we have as humans for answers to the great questions of our existence. Does life have any ultimate meaning and purpose? Do we as humans have any more value than the other animals? Is there a purpose to the universe, or more specifically, to our individual lives?

Image result for carl sagan cosmos

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

Image result for carl sagan demon haunted world

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

Image result for contact dr. arroway father beach

(That evening she (future Dr. Arroway)  makes contact with a truck driver in Pensacola, Florida over her CB radio and she asks her Dad how far her radio can reach)

Image result for contact dr. arroway father

 

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Related image

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book SHADOWS OF FORGOTTON ANCESTORS  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special.

Image result for carl sagan shadows of forgotten ancestors

However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie CONTACT when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Image result for contact dr. arroway testifying

 

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

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

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

(Ravi Zacharias pictured below)

Image result for Ravi Zacharias

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

Image result for king solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01TcHB8xcjc

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

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

#85 Debate – Peter Atkins vs William Lane Craig – The Evidence For The Existence Of God – 1998

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________________ … Kansas – Dust In The Wind “Live” HD Rolling Stones: “Satisfaction!” U2 Still Haven’t Found (with lyrics) __________________________________________________ On December 5, 1995, I got a letter back from Carl Sagan and I was very impressed that he took time to answer several of my questions and to respond to some of the points that […]

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John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 2

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Is there any evidence the Bible is true? Articles By PleaseConvinceMe Apologetics Radio The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy Jim Wallace A Simple Litmus Test There are many ways to verify the reliability of scripture from both internal evidences of transmission and agreement, to external confirmation through archeology and science. But perhaps the […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 140 Geoffrey Hawthorn, Cambridge, Professor of Politics, “I recognize religious feeling when I see it, and I am drawn to it and I want to hear about it”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Geoffrey Hawthorn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Geoffrey Hawthorn (28 February 1941 – 31 December 2015) was a British Emeritus Professor on International Politics and Social and Political Theory at the University of Cambridge and a well known author.[1][2]

Education[edit]

Hawthorn studied at Jesus College, Oxford (BA) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (MA).

Academic career[edit]

Hawthorn was a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex, 1964–1970. In 1970 he began a longstanding academic association with the University of Cambridge: lecturer in Sociology, 1970–1985; reader in Sociology and Politics, 1985–1998; professor of International Politics, 1998–2007; fellow, Churchill College, 1970–1976; fellow, Clare Hall since 1982. Visiting Professor of Sociology at Harvard University between 1973 and 1974 and between 1989 and 1990; visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, 1989–1990. As from 2007 he was an emeritus professor of International Politics and Social and Political Theory at the University of Cambridge. According to Stefan Collini in Hawthorn’s obituary at the The Guardian: “It is thanks to him more than to any other individual that Cambridge now boasts a flourishing Department of Politics and International Studies”. He was a member of the editorial board of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.[3][4][5][6]

Publications[edit]

  • The Sociology of Fertility, London, Collier-Macmillan, 1970
  • Enlightenment and Despair, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1976, 1987
  • Population and Development, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977
  • The Standard of Living, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987
  • Plausible Worlds: Possibility and Understanding in History and the Social Sciences, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991
  • The Future of Asia and the Pacific, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • Thucydides on Politics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

His ideas on contrafactual history are well known and have been highly influential. Hawthorn was also the author of numerous papers in learned journals and other periodicals.[4][7][8][9]

In  the third video below in the 138th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

An interview of Geoffrey Hawthorn – part 1

Uploaded on Nov 25, 2009

An interview about the life and work of the sociologist and political theorist, Geoffrey Hawthorn, filmed by Alan Macfarlane on 23 April 2009. For a higher quality, downloadable version with a detailed summary, please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com

__________________________

An interview of Geoffrey Hawthorn – part 2

Geoffrey Hawthorn interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 23rd April 2009

Quote by Dr. Hawthorn:

I suppose that intellectually I am an atheist, but socially I hope I am a tolerant agnostic. I recognize religious feeling when I see it, and I am drawn to it and I want to hear about it.

My response to  Dr. Hawthorn’s quote:

 

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

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. I go into this further in a June 17, 2014 letter I wrote to Harry Kroto (which is below). The interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector. This tells us why DR. HAWTHORN WAS DRAWN TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER’S IDEAS  ABOUT GOD!!!!!!

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

THIRD, Solomon showed very clearly in the Book of Ecclesiastes that without God in the picture when one looks at life UNDER THE SUN the only conclusions one can reach is that life is meaningless and there is no satisfaction anywhere.  H.J.Blackham founded the BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION, and he  has eloquently stated:

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

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

Image result for h.j. blackham british humanist

___

In fact, I sent Hawthorn a  sheet of quotes  that included that quote above from  H.J. Blackham but I never received a return letter from him.  Here is another section from that letter:

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

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

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

______________________

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

June 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Kroto,

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

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

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

Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above. 

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

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

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

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)

Image result for e.o.wilson

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Adrian Rogers at White House)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 139 Gabriel Horn neuroscientist, Cambridge, “Although well knowing that I may die, I never thought I had to get myself converted…”

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

 

Gabriel Horn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gabriel Horn
Born 9 December 1927
Died 2 August 2012 (aged 84)[1]
Cambridge
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
Notable awards Royal Medal (2001)

Sir Gabriel Horn, MD, ScD, FRS,[2] FRCP (9 December 1927 – 2 August 2012) was a British neuroscientist and Professor in Natural Sciences (Zoology) at the University of Cambridge.[3] His research was into the neural mechanisms of learning and memory.

Early life[edit]

Horn was born on 9 December 1927. He attended Handsworth Technical School in Handsworth, Birmingham.[4] He left the school at 16 to work in his parents’ shop and studied part-time for a National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, achieving distinction. He served in the Royal Air Force before studying for a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Birmingham.[5]

Academic career[edit]

Horn’s first academic position was in 1956 at the Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge as a Demonstrator in Anatomy. He became a Lecturer and then a Reader, before leaving to become Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bristol in 1974.[5] In 1975, while at Bristol, he obtained his DSc degree.[5] In 1977, he returned to Cambridge to head the Department of Zoology. He retired in 1995 and was made Emeritus Professor. He was Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge from 1992 to 1999 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university from 1994 to 1997.[4][5] He remained a fellow of Sidney Sussex College after 1999 until his death; he had earlier been a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and was elected a life fellow there in 1999.[4]

Honours[edit]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986,[2] receiving their Royal Medal in 2001.[5] He was given an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Birmingham in 1999 and by the University of Bristol in 2003.[5] He was knighted in the 2002 New Year Honours “for services to Neurobiology and to the Advancement of Scientific Research”.[6]

Succeeded by
Sandra Dawson

In  the third video below in the 121st clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

 

 

Interview of biologist and zoologist Sir Gabriel Horn – part 1

 

 Interview of the biologist and zoologist Sir Gabriel Horn – part two

 Interview of Sir Gabriel Horn – part three

Uploaded on Jun 3, 2010

An interview of Sir Gabriel Horn by Sir Patrick Bateson on 16 January 2007, filmed by Alan Macfarlane.
For a higher quality, downloadable, version with summary, please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.com

Quote by Dr. Horn:

Yes, I did nearly die. On one occasion I was lucky to be alive after a  massive hemorrhage.  I can say one thing. I never took to religion. I was really true to myself. Although well knowing that I may die, I  never thought I had to get myself converted to Judaism properly. It actually never crossed my mind. I always thought that if on my deathbed I do something funny like that those there will understand it doesn’t mean anything at all.

 Interview of the biologist and zoologist Sir Gabriel Horn – part four

  My Response to Dr. Horn’s statement would have been this simple question:

Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?

What I mean by that is  if God exists then would it be plausible that God would want to communicate  to us about his existence? There are those who actually believe that God has done that in the Bible. Dr. J. Gresham Machen said that he believed the Bible to be accurate in even the smallest details. The critic H.L.Mencken rightly noted, “Well, if you really want to be a Christian there is only one kind of Christian to be and that is the Machen kind.”

When Dr. Horn made his statement he acted as if he made a  deathbed conversion then his words  would meaning nothing.  I would admit that many people do say things  that they don’t mean but when  you are  on  your deathbed that would be a perfect time to  be totally honest. I salute those who are honest for their honesty, but it should be after they examine the evidence fully concerning God’s existence and that would include the historical accuracy of the Bible. I corresponded with Carl Sagan during the final year of his life and I was sad that he died as an agnostic. That was his choice. I  was appreciative that he took time to write me back and discuss these importance spiritual issues with me. Ironically,  I corresponded with Antony Flew several times, but when he died it seemed as although many secular people were very made at  the things he said in his final book There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007) with Roy Abraham Varghese. 

Two of my biggest spiritual heroes were men who stood up the accuracy of the Bible.

____________

 

Francis Schaeffer

I remember like yesterday hearing my pastor Adrian Rogers in 1979 going through the amazing fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of the city of Tyre. In 1980 in my senior year (taught by Mark Brink) at Evangelical Christian High School, I watched the film series by Francis Schaeffer called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Later that same year I read the book by the same name and I was amazed at the historical accuracy of the Bible and the many examples from archaeology that Schaeffer gave and recently I have shared several of these in my current series on Schaeffer and the Beatles. The reason I did that was because many people in the 1960’s had taken non-rational leaps into such areas as communism, the occult, drugs, and eastern mysticism,  but sitting right there in front of them was the historical accurate Bible which contained sufficient evidence to warrant trust.

(Adrian Rogers met with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

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(This was the average sanctuary crowd when I was growing up at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis)

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Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that politically Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan were my heroes. Spiritually my heroes have been both Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers. An interesting fact about both of these two men and that is they both believed the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Both men defended the historical accuracy of the Bible even though both of the religious denominations they belonged to started to shift to the liberal view that the Bible contains errors in it.

H. L. Mencken
H l mencken.jpg

J. Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen

Francis Schaeffer’s battle on this issue came in the 1930’s when he got to know Dr. J. Gresham Machen was involved in a battle with  the Presbyterian Church USA over their leftward shift in theology. Francis Schaeffer observed:

H.L. Mencken died when I was a young man and I read some of the stuff he wrote and he came at just the point of the total collapse of the American consensus back in the 1930’s or a little before. H.L.Mencken was very destructive to the American consensus and he was way out. It is he who said the famous thing about Dr. J. Gresham Machen. Dr. Machen was the man who was fighting the battle for historic Christianity against the liberals in the big denominations and expressly the Presbyterian denomination and the liberals were trying to laugh Machen out of court. But H.L. Mencken said a remarkable thing, “Well, if you really want to be a Christian there is only one kind of Christian to be and that is the Machen kind.” This is wonderful. This is exactly where the battlefield is. When you take Christianity and chip away at it like the liberals wanted to do then you don’t have anything left. This is no halfway war. If you are going to be a Christian you have to be a biblical Christian. Machen and Mencken understood this and this is my position too.  

Adrian Rogers also was that type of Christian too. Recently a relative told me that his Bible Study Teacher at the church he started attended recently started a series on Genesis and he said on the front end that evolution is true. I encouraged my relative to ask the simple question: DO YOU BELIEVE IN A LITERAL “ADAM AND EVE?” I sent him the sermon on Evolution by Adrian Rogers and here is a portion of it below:

H.G. Wells

H. G. Wells, the brilliant historian who wrote The Outlines of History, said this—and I quote: “If all animals and man evolved, then there were no first parents, and no Paradise, and no Fall. If there had been no Fall, then the entire historic fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin, and the reason for the atonement, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells says—and, by the way, I don’t believe that he did believe in creation—but he said, “If there’s no creation, then you’ve ripped away the foundation of Christianity.”

Now, the Bible teaches that man was created by God and that he fell into sin. The evolutionist believes that he started in some primordial soup and has been coming up and up. And, these two ideas are diametrically opposed. What we call sin the evolutionist would just call a stumble up. And so, the evolutionist believes that all a man needs—he’s just going up and up, and better and better—he needs a boost from beneath. The Bible teaches he’s a sinner and needs a birth from above. And, these are both at heads, in collision.

What is evolution? Evolution is man’s way of hiding from God, because, if there’s no creation, there is no Creator. And, if you remove God from the equation, then sinful man has his biggest problem removed—and that is responsibility to a holy God. And, once you remove God from the equation, then man can think what he wants to think, do what he wants to do, be what he wants to be, and no holds barred, and he has no fear of future judgment.

Francis Schaeffer & the SBC

Actually Francis Schaeffer’s good friend Paige Patterson talked Adrian Rogers into running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979 and the liberal shift was halted. In the article “Francis Schaeffer ‘indispensable’ to SBC,” (Thursday, October 30, 2014,)  David Roach wrote:

The late Francis Schaeffer was known to pick up the phone during the early years of the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence. Paige Patterson knew to expect a call from Schaeffer around Christmas with the question, “You’re not growing weary in well-doing are you?”

Patterson, a leader in the movement to return the SBC to a high view of Scripture, would reply, “No, Dr. Schaeffer. I’m under fire, but I’m doing fine. And I’m trusting the Lord and proceeding on.”

To some it may seem strange that an international Presbyterian apologist and analyst of pop culture would take such interest in a Baptist controversy over biblical inerrancy.

But to Schaeffer it made perfect sense.

He believed churches were acquiescing to the world, abandoning their belief that the Bible is without error in everything it said. A watered-down theology left the SBC with decreased power to battle cultural evils. To Schaeffer the convention was the last major American denomination with hope for reversing this “great evangelical disaster,” as he put it.

Thirty years after Schaeffer’s death, Baptist leaders still remember how he took time from his speaking, writing and filmmaking schedule to quietly encourage Patterson; Paul Pressler, a judge from Texas with whom Patterson worked closely during the conservative resurgence; Adrian Rogers, a Memphis pastor who served three terms SBC president; and others.

By the early 1990s, conservatives had elected an unbroken string of convention presidents and moved in position to shift the balance of power on all convention boards and committees from the theologically moderate establishment. But at the time of Schaeffer’s annual calls, the outcome of the controversy was still in doubt.

(Paige Patterson)

“I strongly suspect that he was afraid I would not hold strong,” Patterson, now president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, told Baptist Press. “He had seen so many people fold up under pressure that he assumed we probably would too. So he would call and ask for a report.”

Schaeffer’s interest in engaging culture made him particularly appealing to Southern Baptist conservatives. He helped provide them with a “battle plan” to fight cultural evils and what they perceived as theological drift in their denomination, Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, told BP.

Along with theologian Carl F.H. Henry, Schaeffer was the key intellectual influence on leaders of the conservative resurgence, Land said. When conservatives started to be elected as the executives of Baptist institutions, Henry spoke at Land’s inauguration at the Christian Life Commission (the ERLC’s precursor), R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and Timothy George’s at Beeson Divinity School in Alabama.

“If Schaeffer had still been alive, we would have had him come,” Land said. He noted that Schaeffer was “close” to Rogers and “admired” by Bailey Smith, two conservative SBC presidents. Edith Schaeffer and Patterson’s wife Dorothy were close friends and traveled together in the early 1980s speaking on the importance of the home.

Clark Pinnock, a former New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor who mentored conservative resurgence leaders before taking a leftward theological turn in his own thinking, served on Schaeffer’s staff at L’Abri.

(ADRIAN ROGERS, chairman of the committee that drafted changes to the Baptist Faith & Message, joins Al Mohler, Chuck Kelley and Richard Land in a news conference shortly after the new statement of faith was adopted by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, Fla)

Mount Sinai is one of the most important sites of the entire Bible. It was here that the Hebrew people came shortly after their flight from Egypt. Here God spoke to them through Moses, giving them directions for their life as newly formed nation and making a covenant with them.

The thing to notice about this epochal moment for Israel is the emphasis on history which the Bible itself makes. Time and time again Moses reminds the people of what has happened on Mount Sinai:

Deuteronomy 4:11-12New International Version (NIV)

11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fireto the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lordspoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form;there was only a voice.

Moses emphasized that those alive at the time had actually heard God’s voice. They had received God’s direct communication  in words. They were eyewitnesses of what had occurred–they saw the cloud and the mountain burning with fire. They saw and they heard. Moses says, on the basis of what they themselves have seen and heard in their own lifetime, they are not to be afraid of their present or future enemies.

On the same basis too, Moses urges them to obey God: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen…” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Thus the people’s confidence and trust in God and their obedience to Him are alike rooted in truth that is historical and open to observation…The relationship between God and His people was not based on an upward experience inside their own heads, but upon a reality which was seen and heard. They were called to obey God not because of a leap of faith, but because of God’s real acts in history. For God is the LIVING GOD….”Religious Truth” according to the Bible involves the same sort of truth which people operate on in their everyday lives. If something is true, then its opposite cannot also be true.

From the Bible’s viewpoint, all truth finally rests upon the fact that the infinite-personal God exists in contrast to His not existing. This means that God exists objectively. He exists whether or not people say He does. The Bible also teaches that God is personal.
Much of the Bible is in the sphere of normal existence and is observable. God communicated himself in language. This is not surprising for He  was the creator of people who use language in communicating with other people.
In the Hebrew (and biblical) view, truth is grounded ultimately in the existence and character of God and what has been given us by God in creation and revelation. Because people are finite, reality cannot be exhausted by human reason.
It is within this Judeo-Christian view of truth that, by its own insistence, we must understand the Bible. Moses could appeal to real historical events as the basis for Israel’s confidence and obedience into the future. He could even pass down to subsequent generations physical reminders of what God had done, so that the people could see them and remember.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Faith, Seeing & Believing

John 21:1-14New International Version (NIV)

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

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The resurrected Christ stood there on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. Before the disciples reached the shore, He had already prepared a fire with fish cooking on it for them to eat. It was a fire that could be seen and felt; the fire cooked the fish, and the fish and bread could be eaten for breakfast.

When the fire died down, it left ashes on the beach; the disciples were well fed with bread and fish and Christ’s footprints would have been visible on the beach…

Thomas, Christ tells us,  should have believed the ample evidence given to him of the physical evidence of the resurrection by the other apostles. Christ rebuked him for not accepting this evidence.He at that time and we today have the same sufficient witness of those who have seen and heard and were able to touch the resurrected Christ and were able to observe what He had done.

Because Thomas insisted on seeing and touching we have a more sure witness than we otherwise would have  had. In the testimony of those who saw and heard we have a sure witness and this includes Thomas’ doubt and his personal verification which removed that doubt. WE SHOULD BOW BEFORE THE TOTAL WITNESS OF THE RECORD WHICH WE HAVE  IN THE BIBLE, OF THE TESTIMONY OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE AND IT’S FORM AND THE UNIQUENESS OF MAN. IT IS ENOUGH! BELIEVE HE HAS RISEN.

John 20:24-29New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?

Tim Brister —  July 26, 2006 — 6 Comments

In the appendix of his book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Francis Schaeffer wrote a little piece called “Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?” Schaeffer explains that, “To modern man, and much modern theology, the concept of propositional revelation and the historic Christian view of infallibility is not so much mistaken as meaningless” (345). The 20th century came with many challenges to theological formulation, not the least of which was the assault on propositional truth and revelation. Such camps as existentialists and logical positivists attempted to remove religious truth from the reason and revelation while others sought to justify meaning, reality, and truth with other criterion of verification such as experience and perception. However, center to the Christian faith is the belief that God has spoken and revealed himself in the written Word of God. In this revelation, God used language as the medium to carry and convey biblical truths and realities. This is not to say that God has revealed himself exhaustively, but it does mean that he has revealed himself truly and definitively. Schaeffer makes two points which I would like to mention here:

  1. Even communication between one created person and another is not exhaustive; but that does not mean that for that reason it is not true.
  1. If the uncreated Personal really cared for the created personal, it could not be thought unthinkable for him to tell the created personal things of a propositional nature; otherwise, as a finite being, the created personal would have numerous things he could not know if he just began with himself as a limited, finite reference point.

Schaffer makes some salient points here that deserve to be brought up in the 21stcentury. While we do not disagree that revelation is also personal, we cannot flinch on the assault on propositional revelation. God has revealed himself to us, his nature and his acts, through propositional revelation (i.e. the Bible), and the implications of this truth is that we do not have the rights to reinvent or rename the God Who Is There. If we do not begin with God and his revelation, Schaeffer is correct to conclude that there are many things we could not know about God based on such a limited, finite reference point as ourselves. It is no coincidence that, at the time of Schaeffer’s publishing of this book (1972), John Hick was advancing his pluralistic hypothesis which argued for the ineffability of the “Real” which argued that one cannot know anything about God as he is (ding an sich).Adapting the Kantian model of the noumenal and phenomenal worlds, Hick argues that God (“Real”) has not and cannot reveal himself truly and definitely; furthermore, it is impossible to know anything at all about the Real (except that it is ineffable and that it exists which is something he claims to know). The result when God is not the beginning, the reference point, the apriori grounds of knowledge and revelation, then knowing and defining God is a free-for-all to anyone who wants to postulate their phenomenological interpretations as religious truth. Schaeffer concludes his little article with this important paragraph in which he said:

“The importance of all this is that most people today (including some who still call themselves evangelical) who have given up the historical and biblical concept of revelation and infallibility have not done so because of the consideration of detailed problems objectively approached, but because they have accepted, either in analyzed fashion or blindly, the other set of presuppositions. Often this has taken place by means of cultural injection, without their realizing what has happened to them” (349, emphasis added).

In the days ahead, I hope to share how propositional truth is foundational to personal truth and give a few examples of the redefinition of revelation in contemporary contexts.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Hebrews 1:1-2

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 138 Paul Churchland, Univ of Calif, San Diego, Phil Dept, “In order to buy needed authority [religions] have bought too much and it is self defeating. If you laws are infallible, if your laws are already perfect then you can’t possibly anything more from experience. Any creature that stops learning dies.”

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Paul Churchland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paul Churchland
Born October 21, 1942 (age 73)
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Alma mater University of Pittsburgh
Era 20th, 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic Philosophy
Institutions University of Pittsburgh
Main interests
Neurophilosophy
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of mind
Artificial intelligence
Epistemology
Notable ideas
Eliminative materialism

Paul Churchland (born October 21, 1942) is a Canadian philosopher noted for his studies in neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind.[1] He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, where he held the Valtz Chair of Philosophy[2] and a joint appointment with the Cognitive Science Faculty and the Institute for Neural Computation.[3] He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 under the direction of Wilfrid Sellars.[4] Churchland is the husband of philosopher Patricia Churchland, and it has been noted that, “Their work is so similar that they are sometimes discussed, in journals and books, as one person.”[5] He is also the father of two children, Mark and Anne Churchland, both of whom are neuroscientists.[6][7][8]

Professional career

Churchland began his professional career as an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969;[9] he also lectured at the University of Toronto from 1967-69.[10] In 1969, Churchland took a position at the University of Manitoba, where he would teach for fifteen years: as an assistant professor (1969–74) and associate professor (1974–79), and then as a full professor from 1979-1984.[11] Professor Churchland joined the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1982, staying as a member until 1983.[12] He joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1983, serving as Department Chair from 1986-1990.[13] He is a member of the Board of Trustees Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Philosophy Department, Moscow State University.[14]

Philosophical views

Along with his wife, Churchland is a major proponent of eliminative materialism, the belief that everyday mental concepts such as beliefs, feelings, and desires are part of a “folk psychology” of theoretical constructs without coherent definition, destined to simply be obviated by a thoroughly scientific understanding of human nature.

Just as modern science has discarded such notions as legends or witchcraft, Churchland maintains that a future, fully matured neuroscience is likely to have no need for “beliefs” (see propositional attitudes). In other words, he holds that beliefs are not ontologically real. Such concepts will not merely be reduced to more finely grained explanation and retained as useful proximate levels of description, but will be strictly eliminated as wholly lacking in correspondence to precise objective phenomena, such as activation patterns across neural networks. He points out that the history of science has seen many posits once considered real entities, such as phlogiston, caloric, the luminiferous ether, and vital forces, thus eliminated. In The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul Churchland hypothesizes that consciousness might be explained in terms of a recurrent neural network with its hub in the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus and feedback connections to all parts of the cortex. He says his proposal is probably mistaken in the neurological details, but on the right track in its use of recurrent neural networks to account for consciousness. This is notably a reductionist rather than eliminativist account of consciousness.

In  the third video below in the 143rd clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

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

Below is both a letter I wrote to Dr. Churchland back in 1994 and one I wrote him on July 9, 2016 and I respond to his quote in the second letter.

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

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

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

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

_______

July 9, 2016

Dr. Paul Churchland, University of California San Diego,

Dear Dr. Churchland,

I would to do two things today.

FIRST, I wanted to respond to your quote from the You Tube series “Renowned Academics Speaking About God.”

SECOND, I would like to send you a portion of the letter I sent to you back in 1994.

YOUR QUOTE

If you think you already have the answer of truth whether scientific or moral and it is given to you from God, then you have a problem. You can no longer learn. Absolute truth is immutable and that is the most tragic thing of all.  In order to buy needed authority [religions] have bought too much and it is self defeating. If you laws are infallible, if your laws are already perfect then you can’t possibly anything more from experience. Any creature that stops learning dies.

My first response is to challenge you to watch the WOODY ALLEN movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and just simply answer the question HOW CAN AN ATHEIST CONVINCE JUDAH NOT TO MURDER HIS TROUBLESOME MISTRESS?

Second let me just put before this short article that deals with the idea of an INFINITE REFERENCE POINT.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Star to Steer By – Revised!

The beautiful Portland Head Lighthouse on the Maine coast.

It was the flash from this lighthouse I could see from the

balcony of my hotel in Ogunquit, far to the south.

No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.

                    Jean-Paul Sartre

I am the light of the world.

                    Jesus Christ  (Matthew 5:14)

I stood outside on the deck of my hotel listening to the surf quietly lap the beach. It was a beautiful Maine evening, with stars blazing overhead and a gentle breeze blowing warm for early October. Out in the darkness my eyes traced a dim line of lights running along the shore of the peninsula that jutted far out to sea. Where the lights ended, I assumed, was lands end and where the open sea began. I was curious then, when I saw a light flash much farther out to sea. It didn’t take long to realize that the flash was from a lighthouse, which marked the true end of land. It was plain to me then how a lighthouse could make the difference between life and death to a ship sailing off the coast.

My friends and I had to laugh when
we saw this sign in Beijing, China,
north of the Forbidden City. It reminded
us all about the perilous journey of life.

A Point of Reference
As I thought about a ship sailing along the coast in rough waters without a reference point to warn it where it could run aground, it occurred to me how similar this is to navigating through life. Who could argue that life is not perilous? And how many lives have been shattered on the rocks of despair, meaninglessness, alcohol and drug addiction, bitterness, anxiety, etc.

How helpful it would be to have a point of reference to warn us of the dangers in life.

Even John-Paul Sartre (quoted above), a famous atheist existentialist, recognized that we finite human beings need an infinite reference point in order to have meaning. However, because Sartre didn’t believe there was an infinite reference point (God), he concluded that life is meaningless. “Man is absurd”, he said, “but he must grimly act as if he were not”. Sartre had worked through the implications of life without God, and his conclusion perfectly illustrates the hopelessness of the atheistic and secularist worldview.

The flash of the lighthouse interrupted my thoughts. Each time I saw it, I was amazed at how far out the shore really ran.

Worldview
All of us have worldviews that, consciously or unconsciously, guide us through life and affect our daily decisions…decisions that could move us closer to or farther away from dangers that could destroy our lives. Francis Schaeffer noted that our worldviews are based on “presuppositions” (1). For example, the presupposition that is championed at the secular university (and widely in our culture) today is the “uniformity of natural causes in a closed system”. Because, it is believed, the system is closed, then there can be nothing outside the system (i.e., God) and therefore, intervention from the outside (miracles or revelation from God) is impossible. With this presupposition, as Oxford mathematician John Lennox so eloquently stated, “we can’t even answer the simple questions of a child: Why am I here? What’s the meaning of life? And so on” (2). This is why Sartre, who believed in the closed system model, concluded that man is absurd.

If, on the other hand, you believe in the “uniformity of natural causes in an open system”, into which God can act, then revelation and miracles are entirely possible. We can receive answers to the simple questions of a child because there is a God who can speak into our system (such as through the Bible). He is our lighthouse.Then the statement by Jesus Christ that he is the light of the world (quoted above) makes sense.

View from my hotel balcony on the coast of Ogunquit, Maine.
At night I could see the Portland Head Lighthouse flashing in
the distance at the far right.

A North Star
Francis Schaeffer went on to say that the Bible gives us an adequate reference point, a North Star for our lives in the infinite-personal God. God is infinite (and thus, provides us a needed infinite reference point), and at the same time personal. How was he personal? The apostle John wrote that God came into the world as a human, a person, whose name was Jesus Christ (3). Jesus reached out and touched the lepers (4), which everyone else was afraid to do because they didn’t want to catch leprosy! He restored the lame (5) and even brought the dead back to life (6). Its hard to imagine getting more personal than that. In fact, read the New Testament and you will learn of many broken lives that, when touched by him, were healed and restored. Truly his mission had profound implications for those whose lives had been shattered on the jagged rocks of life.

Amazingly, the good news for us is that Jesus is still at work, healing and restoring life to all who accept him!  (7)

The lighthouse flashed again. Its no accident that Jesus described himself as the light of the world, or that John called him “the true light that gives light to everyone” (8).

It was getting late and I was growing tired. But I went back into my hotel room with a supernatural assurance that God was with me. As John wrote about Jesus: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (9)

Footnotes:

(1) He is There He is not Silent, by Francis Schaeffer
(2) An interview with John Lennox, Professor Lennox discusses Christianity, atheism, and science
(3) John 1:1,14,17.
(4) Matthew 8:1-3.
(5) Mark 3:1-6.
(6) Mark 5:21-43; John 11:1-44.
(7) Romans 8:10-11.
(8) John 1:9.
(9) John 1:5.

posted by at 6:00 PM

You will notice in the above article that Francis Schaeffer is referenced. On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to you and here is a portion of that letter below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Dr. Churchland for taking time to read this letter.

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

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___________

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Richard Feynman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Feynman” redirects here. For other uses, see Feynman (disambiguation).
Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman Nobel.jpg
Born Richard Phillips Feynman
May 11, 1918
Queens, New York, U.S.
Died February 15, 1988 (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, Altadena, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Cornell University
California Institute of Technology
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Thesis The Principle of Least Action in Quantum Mechanics (1942)
Doctoral advisor John Archibald Wheeler
Doctoral students
Other notable students
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Arline Greenbaum (m. 1941; d. 1945)
Mary Louise Bell (m. 1952–56)
Gweneth Howarth (m. 1960)
Children Carl Feynman
Michelle Feynman
Signature

Richard Phillips Feynman (/ˈfnmən/; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin’ichirō Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.

Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.[1]

He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II and became known to a wide public in the 1980s as a member of the Rogers Commission, the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. He held the Richard C. Tolmanprofessorship in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

Feynman was a keen popularizer of physics through both books and lectures, including a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and the three-volume publication of his undergraduate lectures, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Feynman also became known through his semi-autobiographical books Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? and books written about him, such as Tuva or Bust! and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick.

Early life[edit]

Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918, in Queens, New York City,[2] to Lucille née Phillips, a homemaker, and Melville Arthur Feynman, a sales manager,[3] originally from Minsk in Belarus,[4] in those days part of the Russian Empire; both were Ashkenazi Jews.[5] They were not religious, and by his youth, Feynman described himself as an “avowed atheist“.[6] He also stated “To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory”, and adding, “at thirteen I was not only converted to other religious views, but I also stopped believing that the Jewish people are in any way ‘the chosen people‘.”[7] Later in his life, during a visit to the Jewish Theological Seminary, he encountered the Talmud for the first time and remarked that it contained a medieval kind of reasoning and was a wonderful book.[8]

Like Albert Einstein and Edward Teller, Feynman was a late talker, and by his third birthday had yet to utter a single word. He retained a Brooklyn accent as an adult.[9][10] That accent was thick enough to be perceived as an affectation or exaggeration[11][12] – so much so that his good friends Wolfgang Pauli and Hans Bethe once commented that Feynman spoke like a “bum”.[11] The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking, and who was always ready to teach Feynman something new. From his mother, he gained the sense of humor that he had throughout his life. As a child, he had a talent for engineering, maintained an experimental laboratory in his home, and delighted in repairing radios. When he was in grade school, he created a home burglar alarm system while his parents were out for the day running errands.[13]

When Richard was five years old, his mother gave birth to a younger brother, Henry Philips, who died at four weeks of age on February 25, 1924.[14] Four years later, Richard’s sister Joan was born, and the family moved to Far Rockaway, Queens.[3] Though separated by nine years, Joan and Richard were close, as they both shared a natural curiosity about the world. Their mother thought that women did not have the cranial capacity to comprehend such things. Despite their mother’s disapproval of Joan’s desire to study astronomy, Richard encouraged his sister to explore the universe. Joan eventually became an astrophysicist specializing in interactions between the Earth and the solar wind.[15]

Manhattan Project[edit]

Feynman’s Los Alamos ID badge

In 1941, with World War II raging in Europe but the United States not yet at war, Feynman spent the summer working on ballistics problems at the Frankford Arsenal in Pennsylvania.[43][44] After the attack on Pearl Harbor had brought the United States into the war, Feynman was recruited by Robert R. Wilson, who was working on means to produce enriched uranium for use in an atomic bomb, as part of what would become the Manhattan Project.[45][46] Wilson’s team at Princeton was working on a device called an isotron, which would electromagnetically separate uranium-235 from uranium-238. This was done in a quite different manner from that used by the calutron that was under development by a team under Wilson’s former mentor, Ernest O. Lawrence, at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California. On paper, the isotron was many times as efficient as the calutron, but Feynman and Paul Olum struggled to determine whether or not it was practical. Ultimately, on Lawrence’s recommendation, the isotron project was abandoned.[47]

At this juncture, in early 1943, Robert Oppenheimer was establishing the Los Alamos Laboratory, a secret laboratory on a remote mesa in New Mexico where atomic bombs would be designed and built. An offer was made to the Princeton team to be redeployed there. “Like a bunch of professional soldiers,” Wilson later recalled, “we signed up, en masse, to go to Los Alamos.”[48] Like many other young physicists, Feynman soon fell under the spell of the charismatic Oppenheimer, who telephoned Feynman long distance from Chicago to inform him that he had found a sanatorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Arline. They were among the first to depart for New Mexico, leaving on a train on March 28, 1943. The railroad supplied Arline with a wheelchair, and Feynman paid extra for a private room for her.[49]

At Los Alamos, Feynman was assigned to Hans Bethe’s Theoretical (T) Division,[50] and impressed Bethe enough to be made a group leader.[51] He and Bethe developed the Bethe–Feynman formula for calculating the yield of a fission bomb, which built upon previous work by Robert Serber.[52] As a junior physicist, he was not central to the project. He administered the computation group of human computers in the theoretical division. With Stanley Frankel and Nicholas Metropolis, he assisted in establishing a system for using IBM punched cards for computation.[53] He invented a new method of computing logarithms that he later used on the Connection Machine.[54][55]Other work at Los Alamos included calculating neutron equations for the Los Alamos “Water Boiler”, a small nuclear reactor, to measure how close an assembly of fissile material was to criticality.[56]

On completing this work, Feynman was sent to the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the Manhattan Project had its uranium enrichment facilities. He aided the engineers there in devising safety procedures for material storage so that criticality accidents could be avoided, especially when enriched uranium came into contact with water, which acted as a neutron moderator. He insisted on giving the rank and file a lecture on nuclear physics so that they would realize the dangers.[57] He explained that while any amount of unenriched uranium could be safely stored, the enriched uranium had to be carefully handled. He developed a series of safety recommendations for the various grades of enrichments.[58] He was told that if the people at Oak Ridge gave him any difficulty with his proposals, he was to inform them that Los Alamos “could not be responsible for their safety otherwise”.[59]

At the 1946 colloquium on the Super at the Los Alamos Laboratory. Feynman is in the second row, fourth from the left, next to Robert Oppenheimer

Returning to Los Alamos, Feynman was put in charge of the group responsible for the theoretical work and calculations on the proposed uranium hydride bomb, which ultimately proved to be infeasible.[51][60] He was sought out by physicist Niels Bohr for one-on-one discussions. He later discovered the reason: most of the other physicists were too much in awe of Bohr to argue with him. Feynman had no such inhibitions, vigorously pointing out anything he considered to be flawed in Bohr’s thinking. He said he felt as much respect for Bohr as anyone else, but once anyone got him talking about physics, he would become so focused he forgot about social niceties. Perhaps because of this, Bohr never warmed to Feynman.[61][62]

Due to the top secret nature of the work, the Los Alamos Laboratory was isolated. Feynman indulged his curiosity by discovering the combination locks on cabinets and desks used to secure papers. He found that people tended to leave their safes unlocked, or leave them on the factory settings, or write the combinations down, or use easily guessable combinations like dates.[63] Feynman played jokes on colleagues. In one case he found the combination to a locked filing cabinet by trying the numbers he thought a physicist would use (it proved to be 27–18–28 after the base of natural logarithms, e = 2.71828…), and found that the three filing cabinets where a colleague kept a set of atomic bomb research notes all had the same combination. He left a series of notes in the cabinets as a prank, which initially spooked his colleague, Frederic de Hoffmann, into thinking a spy or saboteur had gained access to atomic bomb secrets.[64]

Feynman’s salary was $380 a month, about half what he needed to cover his modest living expenses and Arline’s medical bills. The rest came from her $3,300 in savings.[65] On weekends, Feynman drove to Albuquerque to see his ailing wife in a car borrowed from his good friend Klaus Fuchs.[66][67] Asked who at Los Alamos was most likely to be a spy, Fuchs speculated that Feynman, with his safe cracking and frequent trips to Albuquerque, was the most likely candidate.[66] When Fuchs confessed to being a spy for the Soviet Union in 1950, this would be seen in a different light.[68] The FBI would compile a bulky file on Feynman.[69]

Feynman (center) with Robert Oppenheimer (viewer’s right, next to Feynman) at a Los Alamos Laboratory social function during the Manhattan Project

Feynman was working in the computing room when he was informed that Arline was dying. He borrowed Fuchs’ car and drove to Albuquerque where he sat with her for hours until she died on June 16, 1945.[70] He immersed himself in work on the project and was present at the Trinity nuclear test. Feynman claimed to be the only person to see the explosion without the very dark glasses or welder’s lenses provided, reasoning that it was safe to look through a truck windshield, as it would screen out the harmful ultraviolet radiation. On witnessing the blast, Feynman ducked towards the floor of his truck because of the immense brightness of the explosion, where he saw a temporary “purple splotch” afterimage of the event.[71]

Cornell[edit]

Feynman nominally held an appointment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an assistant professor of physics, but was on unpaid leave during his involvement in the Manhattan project.[72] In 1945, he received a letter from Dean Mark Ingraham of the College of Letters and Science requesting his return to the university to teach in the coming academic year. His appointment was not extended when he did not commit to returning. In a talk given there several years later, Feynman quipped, “It’s great to be back at the only university that ever had the good sense to fire me.”[73]

As early as 30 October 1943, Bethe had written to the chairman of the physics department of his university, Cornell, to recommend that Feynman be hired. On 28 February 1944, this was endorsed by Robert Bacher,[74] also from Cornell,[75] and one of the most senior scientists at Los Alamos.[76] This led to an offer being made in August 1944, which Feynman accepted. Oppenheimer had also hoped to recruit Feynman to the University of California, but the head of the physics department, Raymond T. Birge was reluctant. Eventually, he made Feynman an offer in May 1945, but Feynman turned it down. Cornell did, however, match its salary offer of $3,900 per annum.[74] Feynman became one of the first of the Los Alamos Laboratory’s group leader to depart, leaving for Ithaca, New York, in October 1945.[77]

Since Feynman was no longer working at the Los Alamos Laboratory, he was no longer exempt from the draft and was called up by the Army in the fall of 1946. He avoided this by faking mental illness, and the Army gave him a 4-F exemption on mental grounds.[78][79] This may not have been an incorrect assessment; his father died suddenly on 8 October 1946, and Feynman suffered from depression.[80] On October 17, 1946, he wrote a letter to Arline, expressing his deep love and heartbreak. This letter was sealed and only opened after his death. “Please excuse my not mailing this,” the letter concluded, “but I don’t know your new address.”[81]

Unable to focus on research problems, Feynman began tackling physics problems, not for utility, but for self-satisfaction.[80] One of these involved analyzing the physics of a twirling, nutating disk as it is moving through the air, inspired by an incident in the cafeteria at Cornell when someone tossed a dinner plate in the air.[82] He read the work of Sir William Rowan Hamilton on quaternions, and attempted unsuccessfully to use them to formulate a relativistic theory of electrons. His work during this period, which used equations of rotation to express various spinning speeds, ultimately proved important to his Nobel Prize–winning work, yet because he felt burned out and had turned his attention to less immediately practical problems, he was surprised by the offers of professorships from other renowned universities, including the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley.[80]

Feynman diagram of electron/positron annihilation

Feynman was not the only frustrated theoretical physicist in the early post-war years. Quantum electrodynamics suffered from infinite integrals in perturbation theory. These were clear mathematical flaws in the theory, which Feynman and Wheeler had unsuccessfully attempted to work around.[83] “Theoreticians”, noted Murray Gell-Mann, “were in disgrace.”[84] In June 1947, leading American physicists met at the Shelter Island Conference. For Feynman, it was his “first big conference with big men … I had never gone to one like this one in peacetime.”[85] The problems plaguing quantum electrodynamics were discussed, but the theoreticians were completely overshadowed by the achievements of the experimentalists, who reported the discovery of the Lamb shift, the measurement of the magnetic moment of the electron, and Robert Marshak‘s two-meson hypothesis.[86]

Bethe took the lead from the work of Hans Kramers, and derived a renormalized non-relativistic quantum equation for the Lamb shift. The next step was to create a relativistic version. Feynman thought that he could do this, but when he went back to Bethe with his solution, it did not converge.[87] Feynman carefully worked through the problem again, applying the path integral formulation that he had used in his thesis. Like Bethe, he made the integral finite by applying a cut-off term. The result corresponded to Bethe’s version.[88][89] Feynman presented his work to his peers at the Pocono Conference in 1948. It did not go well. Julian Schwinger gave a long presentation of his work in quantum electrodynamics, and Feynman then offered his version, titled “Alternative Formulation of Quantum Electrodynamics”. The unfamiliar Feynman diagrams, used for the first time, puzzled the audience. Feynman failed to get his point across, and Paul Dirac, Edward Teller and Niels Bohr all raised objections.[90][91]

To Freeman Dyson, one thing at least was clear: Sin’ichirō Tomonaga, Schwinger and Feynman understood what they were talking about even if no one else did, but had not published anything. Moreover, he was convinced that Feynman’s formulation was easier to understand, and ultimately managed to convince Oppenheimer that this was the case.[92] Dyson published a paper in 1949, which added new rules to Feynman’s that told how to implement renormalization.[93] Feynman was prompted to publish his ideas in the Physical Review in a series of papers over three years.[94] His 1948 papers on “A Relativistic Cut-Off for Classical Electrodynamics” attempted to explain what he had been unable to get across at Pocono.[95] His 1949 paper on “The Theory of Positrons” addressed the Schrödinger equation and Dirac Equation, and introduced what is now called the Feynman propagator.[96] Finally, in papers on the “Mathematical Formulation of the Quantum Theory of Electromagnetic Interaction” in 1950 and “An Operator Calculus Having Applications in Quantum Electrodynamics” in 1951, he developed the mathematical basis of his ideas, derived familiar formulae and advanced new ones.[97]

While papers by others initially cited Schwinger, papers citing Feynman and employing Feynman diagrams appeared in 1950, and soon became prevalent.[98] Students learned and used the powerful new tool that Feynman had created. Eventually, computer programs were written to compute Feynman diagrams, providing a tool of unprecedented power. It is possible to write such programs because the Feynman diagrams constitute a formal language with a formal grammar. Marc Kac provided the formal proofs of the summation under history, showing that the parabolic partial differential equation can be reexpressed as a sum under different histories (that is, an expectation operator), what is now known as the Feynman–Kac formula, the use of which extends beyond physics to many applications of stochastic processes.[99] To Schwinger, the Feynman diagram was “pedagogy, not physics”.[100]

By 1949, Feynman was becoming restless at Cornell. He never settled into a particular house or apartment, living in guest houses or student residences, or with married friends “until these arrangements became sexually volatile”.[101] He liked to date undergraduates, hire prostitutes, and sleep with the wives of friends.[102] He was not fond of Ithaca’s cold winter weather, and pined for a warmer climate.[103] Above all, at Cornell he was always in the shadow of Hans Bethe.[101] Feynman did, however, look back favorably on the Telluride House, where he resided for a large period of his Cornell career. In an interview he described the House as “a group of boys that [sic] have been specially selected because of their scholarship, because of their cleverness or whatever it is, to be given free board and lodging and so on, because of their brains”. He enjoyed the house’s convenience and said that “it’s there that I did the fundamental work” for which he won the Nobel Prize.[104][105]

Caltech years[edit]

Personal and political life[edit]

Feynman spent several weeks in Rio de Janeiro in July 1949,[106] and brought back a woman called Clotilde from Copacabana who lived with him in Ithaca for a time. In addition to the cold weather, there was also the Cold War. The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, generating anti-communist hysteria.[107] Fuchs was arrested as a Soviet spy in 1950, and the FBI questioned Bethe about Feynman’s loyalty.[108] Physicist David Bohm was arrested on December 4, 1950,[109] and emigrated to Brazil in October 1951.[110] A girlfriend told Feynman that he should consider moving to South America.[107] He had a sabbatical coming for 1951–52,[111] and elected to spend it in Brazil, where he gave courses at the Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas. In Brazil, Feynman was particularly impressed with the Samba music, and learned to play a metal percussion instrument, the frigideira.[112] He was an enthusiastic amateur player of bongo drums and often played them in the pit orchestra in musicals.[113] He spent time in Rio with his good friend Bohm, but Bohm could not convince Feynman to take up investigating Bohm’s ideas on physics.[114]

Feynman did not return to Cornell. Bacher, who had been instrumental in bringing Feynman to Cornell, had lured him to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Part of the deal was that he could spend his first year on sabbatical in Brazil.[115][101] He had become smitten by Mary Louise Bell, a platinum blonde from Neodesha, Kansas. They had met in a cafeteria in Cornell, where she had studied the history of Mexican art and textiles. She later followed him to Caltech, where he gave a lecture. While he was in Brazil, she had taught classes on the history of furniture and interiors at Michigan State University. He proposed to her by mail from Rio de Janeiro, and they married in Boise, Idaho, on June 28, 1952, shortly after he returned. They frequently quarrelled and she was frightened by his violent temper. Their politics were different; although he registered and voted as a Republican, she was more conservative, and her opinion on the 1954 Oppenheimer security hearing (“Where there’s smoke there’s fire”) offended him. They separated on May 20, 1956. An interlocutory decree of divorce was entered on June 19, 1956, on the grounds of “extreme cruelty”. The divorce became final on May 5, 1958.[116][117]

In the wake of the 1957 Sputnik crisis, the U.S. government’s interest in science rose for a time. Feynman was considered for a seat on the President’s Science Advisory Committee, but was not appointed. At this time the FBI interviewed a woman close to Feynman, possibly Mary Lou, who sent a written statement to J. Edgar Hoover on August 8, 1958:

I do not know—but I believe that Richard Feynman is either a Communist or very strongly pro-Communist—and as such as [sic] a very definite security risk. This man is, in my opinion, an extremely complex and dangerous person, a very dangerous person to have in a position of public trust … In matters of intrigue Richard Feynman is, I believe immensely clever—indeed a genius—and he is, I further believe, completely ruthless, unhampered by morals, ethics, or religion—and will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve his ends.[117]

The government did, however, send Feynman to Geneva for the September 1958 Atoms for Peace Conference. On the beach on Lake Geneva, he met Gweneth Howarth, who was from Ripponden, Yorkshire, and working in Switzerland as an au pair. Feynman’s love life had been turbulent since his divorce; his previous girlfriend had walked off with his Albert Einstein Award medal, and, on the advice of an earlier girlfriend, had feigned pregnancy and blackmailed him into paying for an abortion, then used the money to buy furniture. When Feynman found that Howarth was being paid only $25 a month, he offered her $20 a week to be his live-in maid. That this sort of behavior was illegal was not overlooked; Feynman had a friend, Matthew Sands, act as her sponsor. Howarth pointed out that she already had two boyfriends, but eventually decided to take Feynman up on his offer, and arrived in Altadena, California, in June 1959. She made a point of dating other men but Feynman proposed in the spring of 1960. They were married on September 24, 1960, at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. They had a son, Carl, in 1962, and adopted a daughter, Michelle, in 1968.[118][119] Besides their home in Altadena, they had a beach house in Baja California, purchased with the money from Feynman’s Nobel Prize.[120]

Feynman tried LSD during his professorship at Caltech.[121][122] He also tried marijuana and ketamine experiences at John Lilly‘s famed sensory deprivation tanks, as a way of studying consciousness.[121][123] He gave up alcohol when he began to show vague, early signs of alcoholism, as he did not want to do anything that could damage his brain.[122]

Physics[edit]

At Caltech, Feynman investigated the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, where helium seems to display a complete lack of viscosity when flowing. Feynman provided a quantum-mechanical explanation for the Soviet physicist Lev D. Landau’s theory of superfluidity.[124] Applying the Schrödinger equation to the question showed that the superfluid was displaying quantum mechanical behavior observable on a macroscopic scale. This helped with the problem of superconductivity, but the solution eluded Feynman.[125] It was solved with the BCS theory of superconductivity, proposed by John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, and John Robert Schrieffer.[124]

Richard Feynman at the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1984.

With Murray Gell-Mann, Feynman developed a model of weak decay, which showed that the current coupling in the process is a combination of vector and axial currents (an example of weak decay is the decay of a neutron into an electron, a proton, and an antineutrino). Although E. C. George Sudarshan and Robert Marshak developed the theory nearly simultaneously, Feynman’s collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann was seen as seminal because the weak interaction was neatly described by the vector and axial currents. It thus combined the 1933 beta decay theory of Enrico Fermi with an explanation of parity violation.[126]

From his diagrams of a small number of particles interacting in spacetime, Feynman could then model all of physics in terms of the spins of those particles and the range of coupling of the fundamental forces. Feynman attempted an explanation of the strong interactions governing nucleons scattering called the parton model. The parton model emerged as a complement to the quark model developed by Gell-Mann. The relationship between the two models was murky; Gell-Mann referred to Feynman’s partons derisively as “put-ons”. In the mid-1960s, physicists believed that quarks were just a bookkeeping device for symmetry numbers, not real particles; the statistics of the Omega-minus particle, if it were interpreted as three identical strange quarks bound together, seemed impossible if quarks were real.[127][128]

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory deep inelastic scattering experiments of the late 1960s showed that nucleons (protons and neutrons) contained point-like particles that scattered electrons. It was natural to identify these with quarks, but Feynman’s parton model attempted to interpret the experimental data in a way that did not introduce additional hypotheses. For example, the data showed that some 45% of the energy momentum was carried by electrically neutral particles in the nucleon. These electrically neutral particles are now seen to be the gluons that carry the forces between the quarks, and their three-valued color quantum number solves the Omega-minus problem. Feynman did not dispute the quark model; for example, when the fifth quark was discovered in 1977, Feynman immediately pointed out to his students that the discovery implied the existence of a sixth quark, which was discovered in the decade after his death.[127][129]

After the success of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman turned to quantum gravity. By analogy with the photon, which has spin 1, he investigated the consequences of a free massless spin 2 field, and derived the Einstein field equation of general relativity, but little more. The computational device that Feynman discovered then for gravity, “ghosts”, which are “particles” in the interior of his diagrams that have the “wrong” connection between spin and statistics, have proved invaluable in explaining the quantum particle behavior of the Yang–Mills theories, for example, quantum chromodynamics and the electro-weak theory.[130] He did work on all four of the forces of nature: electromagnetic, the weak force, the strong force and gravity. John and Mary Gribbin say in their book on Feynman: “Nobody else has made such influential contributions to the investigation of all four of the interactions”.[131]

Partly as a way to bring publicity to progress in physics, Feynman offered $1,000 prizes for two of his challenges in nanotechnology; one was claimed by William McLellan and the other by Tom Newman.[132] He was also one of the first scientists to conceive the possibility of quantum computers.[133][134] In 1984–86, he developed a variational method for the approximate calculation of path integrals, which has led to a powerful method of converting divergent perturbation expansions into convergent strong-coupling expansions (variational perturbation theory) and, as a consequence, to the most accurate determination[135] of critical exponents measured in satellite experiments.[136]

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman[edit]

In the 1960s, Feynman began thinking of writing an autobiography, and he began granting interviews to historians. In the 1980s, working with Ralph Leighton (Robert Leighton’s son), he recorded chapters on audio tape that Robert transcribed. The book was published in 1985 as Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and became a best-seller. The publication of the book brought a new wave of protest about Feynman’s attitude toward women. There had been protests over his alleged sexism in 1968, and again in 1972. It did not help that Jenijoy La Belle, who had been hired as Caltech’s first female professor in 1969, was refused tenure in 1974. She filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled against Caltech in 1977, adding that she had been paid less than male colleagues. La Belle finally received tenure in 1979. Many of Feynman’s colleagues were surprised that he took her side. He had gotten to know her, and both liked and admired her.[146][147]

Gell-Mann was upset by Feyman’s account in the book of the weak interaction work, and threatened to sue, resulting in a correction being inserted in later editions.[148] This incident was just the latest provocation in a decades-long bad feeling between the two scientists. Gell-Mann often expressed frustration at the attention Feynman received;[149] he remarked: “[Feynman] was a great scientist, but he spent a great deal of his effort generating anecdotes about himself.”[150] He noted that Feynman’s eccentricities included a refusal to brush his teeth, which he advised others not to do on national television, despite dentists showing him scientific studies that supported the practice.[150]

Challenger disaster[edit]

Feynman played an important role on the Presidential Rogers Commission, which investigated the Challenger disaster. During a televised hearing, Feynman demonstrated that the material used in the shuttle’s O-rings became less resilient in cold weather by compressing a sample of the material in a clamp and immersing it in ice-cold water.[151] The commission ultimately determined that the disaster was caused by the primary O-ring not properly sealing in unusually cold weather at Cape Canaveral.[152]

Feynman devoted the latter half of his book What Do You Care What Other People Think? to his experience on the Rogers Commission, straying from his usual convention of brief, light-hearted anecdotes to deliver an extended and sober narrative. Feynman’s account reveals a disconnect between NASA‘s engineers and executives that was far more striking than he expected. His interviews of NASA’s high-ranking managers revealed startling misunderstandings of elementary concepts. For instance, NASA managers claimed that there was a 1 in 100,000 chance of a catastrophic failure aboard the shuttle, but Feynman discovered that NASA’s own engineers estimated the chance of a catastrophe at closer to 1 in 200. He concluded that NASA management’s estimate of the reliability of the space shuttle was unrealistic, and he was particularly angered that NASA used it to recruit Christa McAuliffe into the Teacher-in-Space program. He warned in his appendix to the commission’s report (which was included only after he threatened not to sign the report), “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”[153]

Recognition and awards[edit]

The first public recognition of Feynman’s work came in 1954, when Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) notified him that he had won the Albert Einstein Award, which was worth $15,000 and came with a gold medal. Because of Strauss’ actions in stripping Oppenheimer of his security clearance, Feynman was reluctant to accept the award, but Isidor Isaac Rabi cautioned him: “You should never turn a man’s generosity as a sword against him. Any virtue that a man has, even if he has many vices, should not be used as a tool against him.”[154] This was followed by the AEC’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in 1962.[155] In 1965, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Schwinger and Tomonaga “for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles”.[156] He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1965,[2][157] and received the Oersted Medal in 1972,[158] and the National Medal of Science in 1979.[159] He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, but ultimately resigned and is no longer listed by them.[160]

Death[edit]

In 1978 Feynman sought medical treatment for abdominal pains, and was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Surgeons removed a tumor the size of a football that had crushed his kidney and spleen. Further operations were performed in October 1986 and October 1987.[161] He was again hospitalized at the UCLA Medical Center on February 3, 1988. A ruptured duodenal ulcer caused kidney failure, and he declined to undergo the dialysis that might have prolonged his life for a few months. Watched over by his wife Gweneth, sister Joan, and cousin Frances Lewine, he died on February 15, 1988.[162]

When the end was near, Feynman asked Danny Hillis why he was so sad. He replied that he thought Feynman was going to die soon. Feynman said that that sometimes bothered him, too, adding, when you get to be as old as he was, and have told so many stories to so many people, even when he was dead he wouldn’t be completely gone.[163]

Near the end of his life, Feynman attempted to visit the Russian land of Tuva, a dream thwarted by Cold War bureaucratic issues – the letter from the Soviet government authorizing the trip was not received until the day after he died. His daughter Michelle later undertook the journey.[164] His burial was at Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum in Altadena.[165] His last words were: “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”[164]

Films and plays[edit]

  • Infinity, a movie both directed by and starring Matthew Broderick as Feynman, depicting his love affair with his first wife and ending with the Trinity test. 1996.
  • Parnell, Peter (2002) “QED” Applause Books, ISBN 978-1-55783-592-5, (play).
  • Whittell, Crispin (2006) “Clever Dick” Oberon Books, (play)
  • “The Quest for Tannu Tuva”, with Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton. 1987, BBC Horizon and PBS Nova (entitled “Last Journey of a Genius”).
  • “No Ordinary Genius” A two-part documentary about Feynman’s life and work, with contributions from colleagues, friends and family. 1993, BBC Horizon and PBS Nova (a one-hour version, under the title “The Best Mind Since Einstein”) (2 × 50-minute films)
  • The Challenger (2013) A BBC Two factual drama starring William Hurt, tells the story of American Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman’s determination to reveal the truth behind the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster.
  • The Fantastic Mr Feynman. One hour documentary. 2013, BBC TV.

External links[edit]

In  the first video below in the 3rd clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

John Piippo in his article 50 Renowned Academics (Atheists) Speaking About God – A Review, (August 05, 2011) concerning Feynam’s quote (which is in bold).

  1. Richard Feynman (physics)
  1. “I can’t believe the special stories that have been made up… because they seem to be be too simple, too local, too provincial.” I think this is a good objection, one to be taken seriously. I don’t, of course, think it is adequate to claim that the Jesus story has been “made up.” We need to bring in historical studies here. The Jesus-claim is that it is a story rooted in historical events. Historiographical research contains its own unique set of problems, especially as regards the matter of “evidence.”

Let me give 4 short responses.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. The interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector and there was a proposition I made to the FELLOWS of CSICOP concerning that in the 1990’s.  I was very honored that many of the them replied (including Antony Flew and Carl Sagan).

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

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

FOURTH, sending someone to the world like Christ in the form of a human was too “provincial” according to Feynam, but let us examine Carl Sagan’s same criticism and compare it to his own book CONTACT:

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that &