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

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

 

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

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

Raymond Firth

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

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

Early life and academic career[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal life[edit]

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

  •  Sir Raymond Firth)

Papers[edit]

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

Sir Raymond Firth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for h.j. blackham british humanist

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

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

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

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

______________________

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

June 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Kroto,

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

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

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

Corliss Lamont and Herbert A. Tonne pictured above. 

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

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

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

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Harvard’s E.O. Wilson below)

Image result for e.o.wilson

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

(Francis Schaeffer pictured above)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Adrian Rogers at White House)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

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

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

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Robert Coleman Richardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]

_

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

Robert Coleman Richardson Quote: 

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

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

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

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

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

Who Is This Man Called Jesus?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Powerful Witness Of The Spirit

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

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

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

___________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

____________

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!!  Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist, Cal Tech, “I can’t believe the special stories that have been made up… because they seem to be be too simple, too local, too provincial”

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].

__________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________

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

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

Livgren wrote:

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

____________

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________

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

 

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

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

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

Sean M. Carroll

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

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

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

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

Career

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

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

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

Personal life

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

Research

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

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

Views on religion

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

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

 ____

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

________

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

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

_________

December 25, 2016

Dr. Sean M. Carroll, Pasadena ,

Dear Dr. Carroll,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer noted:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer commented:

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

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

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer observed:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

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

Image result for charles darwin
Darwin close to the end of his life
Image result for francis schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer pictured above

________________________

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

_______________________________________

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

Image result for kerry livgren dave hope 700 club
Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope on 700 Club

Image result for kerry livgren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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

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

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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My correspondence with the famous evolutionist Ernst Mayr!!!

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Ernst Mayr 1904-2005

Bill Gates, John Grisham, James Michener, E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, George Lucas…

Published on May 19, 2012

Bill Gates, John Grisham, James Michener, E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, George Lucas, James Cameron, Larry King, Ian Wilmut, Jane Goodall, Stephen Jay Gould, Tim D. White, Leon Lederman, Timothy Berners-Lee and Bill Gates. Complete and more interview go to websites “www.achievement.org”.

Mais entrevistas e completas no site “www.achievement.org”.

_____________________________________________________________________

____________________________

In 1994 and 1995 I had the opportunity to correspond with the famous evolutionist Dr. Ernst Mayr of Harvard. He stated in his letter of 10-3-94, “Owing to your ideological commitments, it is only natural that you cannot accept the cogency of the scientific evidence. However, to a person such as myself without such commitments, the story of the gradual evolution of life as reconstructed by chemists and molecular biologists is totally convincing.”

I responded by pointing out three points. First, Scientific Naturalism is atheistic by definition. Second, many great scientists of the past were Christians, and that did not disqualify their observations and discoveries. Third, the fact that evolution is true does not rule out God’s existence (Harvard’s own Owen Gingerich and many others such as Francis Collins hold to a Creator and evolution).

Let me just spend some time on my second point. Francis Schaeffer in his book “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?” stated that according to Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer, both renowned philosophers and scientists of our era (but not Christians themselves), modern science was born out of the Christian world view. Whitehead said that Christianity is the “mother of science” because of the insistence on the rationality of God. In the article, “Christianity and Technological Advance – The Astonishing Connection,” by T. V. Varughese, Ph.D, he observed:

Without question, “technology” has now become the new magic word in place of the word “science.” Since technology represents the practical applications of science, it is clearly consumer-oriented. Herein is bright economic promise to all who can provide technology.

In terms of technology, our present world can be divided into at least three groups: countries that are strong providers of technology, both original and improved; countries that are mass producers because of cheaper labor; and countries that are mostly consumers. Without a doubt, being in the position of “originating” superior technology should be a goal for any major country. The difficult question, however, is “how.”

An obvious place to start suggests itself. Why not begin with the countries that have established themselves as strong originators of technology and see if there is a common thread between them? The western nations, after the Renaissance and the Reformation of the 16th century, offer a ready example. Any book on the history of inventions, such as the Guinness Book of Answers, will reveal that the vast majority of scientific inventions have originated in Europe (including Britain) and the USA since the dawn of the 17th century. What led to the fast technological advances in the European countries and North America around that time?

The answer is that something happened which set the stage for science and technology to emerge with full force. Strange as it may seem, that event was the return to Biblical Christianity in these countries.

The Epistemological Foundation of Technology

According to Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer, both renowned philosophers and scientists of our era (but not Christians themselves), modern science was born out of the Christian world view. Whitehead said that Christianity is the “mother of science” because of the insistence on the rationality of God.[1] Entomologist Stanley Beck,though not a Christian himself, acknowledged the corner-stone premises of science which the Judeo-Christian world view offers: “The first of the unprovable premises on which science has been based is the belief that the world is real and the human mind is capable of knowing its real nature. The second and best-known postulate underlying the structure of scientific knowledge is that of cause and effect. The third basic scientific premise is that nature is unified.”[2] In other words, the epistemological foundation of technology has been the Judeo-Christian world view presented in the Bible…

Perhaps the most obvious affirmation that Biblical Christianity and science are friends and not foes comes from the fact that most of the early scientists after the Renaissance were also strong believers in the Bible as the authoritative source of knowledge concerning the origin of the universe and man’s place in it.[4] The book of Genesis, the opening book of the Bible, presents the distinctly Judeo-Christian world view of a personal Creator God behind the origin and sustenance of the universe (Genesis 1:1Colossians 1:17; etc.).

Among the early scientists of note who held the Biblical creationist world view are Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), and Samuel Morse (1791-1872) – what motivated them was a confidence in the “rationality” behind the universe and the “goodness” of the material world. The creation account in Genesis presents an intelligent, purposeful Creator, who, after completing the creation work, declared it to be very good (Genesis 1:31). That assures us that the physical universe operates under reliable laws which may be discovered by the intelligent mind and used in practical applications. The confidence in the divinely pronounced goodness of the material world removed any reluctance concerning the development of material things for the betterment of life in this world. The spiritual world and the material world can work together in harmony.

 References –

  1. Francis A. Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live (Revell, 1976), p. 132.
  2. Henry M. Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Baker, 1991), p. 30.
  3. Schaeffer, p. 131.
  4. Henry M. Morris, Men of Science, Men of God (Master Books, CA, 1988), 107 pp.

_____________

Henry Morris pointed out:

Many of these great scientists of the past were before Darwin, but not all of them. However, all of them were acquainted with secular philosophies and some were in fact opponents of Darwinism (Agassiz, Pasteur, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, Dawson, Virchow, Fabre, Fleming, etc). Many of them believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, as well as in the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. They believed that God had supernaturally created all things, each with its own complex structure for its own unique purpose. They believed that, as scientists, they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” learning to understand and control the laws and processes of nature for God’s glory and man’s good. They believed and practiced science in exactly the same way that modern creationist scientists do.

And somehow this attitude did not hinder them in their commitment to the “scientific method.” In fact one of them, Sir Francis Bacon, is credited with formulating and establishing the scientific method! They seem also to have been able to maintain a proper “scientific attitude,” for it was these men (Newton, Pasteur, Linnaeus, Faraday, Pascal, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, Kepler, etc.) whose researches and analyses led to the very laws and concepts of science which brought about our modern scientific age…. 

To illustrate the caliber and significance of these great scientists of the past, Tables I and II have been prepared. These tabulations are not complete lists, of course, but at least are representative and they do point up the absurdity of modern assertions that no true scientist can be a creationist and Bible-believing Christian.

Table I lists the creationist “fathers” of many significant branches of modern science. Table II lists the creationist scientists responsible for various vital inventions, discoveries, and other contributions to mankind. These identifications are to some degree oversimplified, of course, for even in the early days of science every new development involved a number of other scientists, before and after. Nevertheless, in each instance, a strong case can be made for attributing the chief responsibility to the creationist scientist indicated. At the very least, his contribution was critically important and thus supports our contention that belief in creation and the Bible helps, rather than hinders, scientific discovery.

_______________

My relatives live 3 miles from Spring Hill, Tennessee. When the new General Motors plant opened there I got to go see it. What if I had said, “The assembly line created a beautiful Saturn automobile!” Hopefully, some would have corected me by responding, “The assembly line did not create the automobile. It was first designed by the General Motors engineers in Detroit.” ASSUMING EVOLUTION IS TRUE, IT WOULD STILL ONLY BE THE MECHANISM. DOES EVOLUTION ACCOUNT FOR THE DESIGNER?

________________

TABLE I

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES ESTABLISHED
BY CREATIONIST SCIENTISTS

DISCIPLINE SCIENTIST
ANTISEPTIC SURGERY JOSEPH LISTER (1827-1912)
BACTERIOLOGY LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
CALCULUS ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
CELESTIAL MECHANICS JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)
CHEMISTRY ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)
COMPARATIVE ANATOMY GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)
COMPUTER SCIENCE CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)
DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)
DYNAMICS ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
ELECTRONICS JOHN AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)
ELECTRODYNAMICS JAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)
ELECTRO-MAGNETICS MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
ENERGETICS LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
ENTOMOLOGY OF LIVING INSECTS HENRI FABRE (1823-1915)
FIELD THEORY MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
FLUID MECHANICS GEORGE STOKES (1819-1903)
GALACTIC ASTRONOMY WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)
GAS DYNAMICS ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)
GENETICS GREGOR MENDEL (1822-1884)
GLACIAL GEOLOGY LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)
GYNECOLOGY JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)
HYDRAULICS LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)
HYDROGRAPHY MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)
HYDROSTATICS BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)
ICHTHYOLOGY LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)
ISOTOPIC CHEMISTRY WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)
MODEL ANALYSIS LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)
NATURAL HISTORY JOHN RAY (1627-1705)
NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY BERNHARD RIEMANN (1826- 1866)
OCEANOGRAPHY MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)
OPTICAL MINERALOGY DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)
PALEONTOLOGY JOHN WOODWARD (1665-1728)
PATHOLOGY RUDOLPH VIRCHOW (1821-1902)
PHYSICAL ASTRONOMY JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)
REVERSIBLE THERMODYNAMICS JAMES JOULE (1818-1889)
STATISTICAL THERMODYNAMICS JAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)
STRATIGRAPHY NICHOLAS STENO (1631-1686)
SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
THERMODYNAMICS LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
THERMOKINETICS HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)
VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)

______________

TABLE II

NOTABLE INVENTIONS, DISCOVERIES
OR DEVELOPMENTS BY CREATIONIST SCIENTISTS

CONTRIBUTION SCIENTIST
ABSOLUTE TEMPERATURE SCALE LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
ACTUARIAL TABLES CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)
BAROMETER BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)
BIOGENESIS LAW LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
CALCULATING MACHINE CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)
CHLOROFORM JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)
CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
DOUBLE STARS WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)
ELECTRIC GENERATOR MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
ELECTRIC MOTOR JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
EPHEMERIS TABLES JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)
FERMENTATION CONTROL LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
GALVANOMETER JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
GLOBAL STAR CATALOG JOHN HERSCHEL (1792-1871)
INERT GASES WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)
KALEIDOSCOPE DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)
LAW OF GRAVITY ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
MINE SAFETY LAMP HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)
PASTEURIZATION LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
REFLECTING TELESCOPE ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
SCIENTIFIC METHOD FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)
SELF-INDUCTION JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
TELEGRAPH SAMUEL F.B. MORSE (1791-1872)
THERMIONIC VALVE AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)
TRANS-ATLANTIC CABLE LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
VACCINATION & IMMUNIZATION LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)

_______________

2000 Interview with Ernst Mayr, Harvard University

Uploaded on Jul 13, 2008

Interviews conducted in March 2000 at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences on the topic of Challenges for the New Millennium. Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. See http://www.aibs.org/media-library/ for additional AIBS conference recordings.

________________

Henry Morris

_________________

The Dean of Evolution – A Review of Ernst Mayr’s Latest Book

Download PDFDownload The Dean of Evolution – A Review of Ernst Mayr’s Latest Book PDF

With the passing in recent years of the three most revered scientific spokesmen for evolution—Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and now Stephen Jay Gould—Professor Ernst Mayr is left as the unquestioned dean of the modern evolutionary establishment.

Gould, Asimov, and Sagan were all three extremely prolific and brilliant writers. All three were atheistic professors at prestigious eastern universities (Gould at Harvard, Asimov at Boston University, Sagan at Cornell), and all three were effusive and vigorous anti-creationists. They were formidable opponents (but eminently quotable), and we miss them. All three died at relatively young ages.

But that leaves Ernst Mayr, long-time professor of biology at Harvard. Dr. Mayr was born in 1904 and is (at this writing) still very much alive, and nearing the century mark. Dr. Gould recently called him “the greatest living evolutionary biologist and a writer of extraordinary insight and clarity” (in a jacket blurb on Mayr’s latest book).

Mayr’s New Book

And that book is the subject of this article. Its title is intriguing—What Evolution Is (Basic Books, 2001, 318 pages),—for if anyone could speak authoritatively on such a subject, it should be Professor Mayr. In his adulatory foreword, Jared Diamond, another leading modern evolutionist, concludes: “There is no better book on evolution. There will never be another book like it” (p. xii).

That evaluation should give any reader very high expectations. Unfortunately, however, Dr. Mayr first shows his disdain for creationism, not even considering its arguments. He simply says:

It is now actually misleading to refer to evolution as a theory, considering the massive evidence that has been discovered over the last 140 years documenting its existence. Evolution is no longer a theory, it is simply a fact (p. 275).

He dismissed the evidence for creation as unworthy of further discussion. “The claims of the creationists” he says, “have been refuted so frequently and so thoroughly that there is no need to cover this subject once more” (p. 269).

Ignoring Creation Evidence

He himself, however, has apparently not bothered to read any creationist or secular anti-evolutionist scientific books or articles. Or at least that is what one would infer from the fact that none of them or their arguments and evidence are even mentioned in his book.

No mention is made by Mayr, for example, of creationist expositions of the amazing created designs in living systems, nor of the effects of God’s curse on the creation, or of the significance of the great flood in understanding the geologic record. He does not even acknowledge the significance of naturalistic catastrophism or of such scientific concepts as complexity or probability. Current ideas about “intelligent design” are never mentioned. The origins of all things are due to time, chance, and natural selection, no matter how complex and interdependent they may be, according to Professor Mayr, who had been (along with Julian Huxley, George Simpson, and a few others) primarily responsible for the so-called modern evolutionary synthesis (or neo-Darwinism) back in the 1930s and 1940s.

Neither does Mayr seem aware that there are now thousands of credentialed and knowledgeable scientists (including a great many biologists) who reject evolution, giving not even a nod to the Creation Research Society, or to ICR, or any other creationist organization. He does occasionally refer to God or to Christianity, but only in passing, and always in a context that indicates that he does not believe in either one. He, like his three younger colleagues, is an atheist, and this naturally constrains him to ignore any possible theological implications of the origins issues.

The Alleged Evidence for Evolution

Mayr’s new book is beautifully written and does contain much good material, but it will not convert many to evolutionism, even though he does devote a chapter to what he thinks are the evidences for evolution. These evidences are essentially the same as those used 140 years ago by Darwin in the Origin (fossils, comparative morphology, embryological similarities and recapitulation, vestigial structures, and geographical distribution). Mayr adds nothing new to these arguments, ignoring the fact that creationists (and even a number of evolutionists) have long since refuted all of them. He does devote a brief section to the more recent “evidence” from molecular biology. But that also has been vigorously disputed by a number of specialists in this field, especially the supposed evolutionary relationships implied by the molecules. Even Mayr admits that “molecular clocks are not nearly as constant as often believed” (p. 37), but he does not mention any of the numerous contradictory relationships implied by these biochemical studies (e.g., the well-known genomic similarities of humans and bananas).

As do most evolutionists, Mayr spends much time in discussing micro-evolution, whereas modern creationists only reject macroevolution. He devotes five chapters to microevolution and only one to macroevolution. This particular chapter is quite long, discussing many speculative theories about how macroevolutionary changes might be produced, but there is one vital deficiency. He gives no example of any macroevolutionary change known to have happened. In other words, macroevolution seems never to have occurred within the several thousand years of recorded history. Thus, real evolution (as distinct from variation, recombination, hybridization, and other such “horizontal” changes) does not happen at present. Where, we would ask Professor Mayr, are there any living forms in the process of evolutionary change? He gives no examples, of course, because there are none.

As far as pre-human history is concerned, Dr. Mayr does insist that the fossil record documents past evolution. He cites the usual claims—horses, Archaeopteryx, mammal-like reptiles, walking whales, etc.—which are very equivocal, at best, and have all been shown by creationists to be invalid as transitional forms. Instead of a handful of highly doubtful examples, there ought to be thousands of obvious transitional forms in the fossils if evolution had really been occurring. Yet Mayr admits,

Wherever we look at the living biota, . . . discontinuities are overwhelmingly frequent. . . . The discontinuities are even more striking in the fossil record. New species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates (p. 189).

Professor Mayr still says that the fossils are “the most convincing evidence for the occurrence of evolution” (p. 13). Yet he also says that “the fossil record remains woefully inadequate” (p. 69). Thus, as creationists have often pointed out, there is no real evidence of either present or past evolution.

We have repeatedly noted also that the scientific reason why this is so is because real evolution to any higher level of complexity is impossible by the law of entropy, which states the proven fact that every system of any kind “tends” to go toward lower complexity, unless constrained otherwise by some pre-designed external program and mechanism.

Yet Ernst Mayr seems either to ignore or misunderstand this key argument of the creationists. Here is what he says:

Actually there is no conflict, because the law of entropy is valid only for closed systems, whereas the evolution of a species of organisms takes place in an open system in which organisms can reduce entropy at the expense of the environment and the sun supplies a continuing input of energy (p. 8).

And that’s all he says about one of the key arguments against evolution. This ubiquitous dodge of the evolutionists has been discredited again and again by creationists, and one would think that this “greatest living evolutionary biologist” in this “best book on evolution” would at least take notice of our arguments! At least half of America’s population, according to many polls, are creationists, apparently agreeing more with us than with Mayr.

An open system and external energy are, indeed, necessary conditions for a system to grow in complexity, but most definitely are not sufficient conditions. The question is just how does the sun’s energy produce complexity in an open system? The fact is that the application of external heat energy to an open system (such as from the sun to the earth) will increase the entropy (that is, decrease the organized complexity) in any open system, if that’s all there is. This is a basic principle of thermodynamics, and neither Mayr nor any other evolutionist has answered this problem. Evolution seems to be impossible by the known laws of science.

Professor Mayr does not deal with the theological or Biblical evidences, of course. For those who believe in God and the Bible, on the other hand, creation—not evolution—is, to appropriate Mayr’s words, “simply a fact.” Evolution is merely a belief held by many who “willingly are ignorant” (II Peter 3:5) of the strong evidences and arguments for creation, and who don’t even bother to consider them. In the words of the apostle Paul: “Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (I Corinthians 1:20).

Cite this article: Henry Morris, Ph.D. 2002. The Dean of Evolution – A Review of Ernst Mayr’s Latest Book. Acts & Facts. 31 (8).

___________________

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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