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What Is “Fundamental”
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Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Anonymous: on 6/1/14 at 6:58am UTC, wrote Dear Earle, Thanks for giving us your wonderful essay with wonderful idea....

Tihamer Toth-Fejel: on 5/21/14 at 2:29am UTC, wrote Dear Earle, What an absolutely awesome essay! While I only touched on the...

George Gantz: on 5/16/14 at 2:12am UTC, wrote Earle - Thanks for your willingness to speak of religion outright - a...

Aaron Feeney: on 5/10/14 at 4:03am UTC, wrote P.S., I will use the following rating scale to rate the essays of authors...

Chidi Idika: on 5/1/14 at 23:49pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr Fox, You say and I concur: “… the Biblical notions that...

F Fox: on 4/30/14 at 0:17am UTC, wrote Dear Eckard, Thanks for reading my article. Yes, I believe in peace on...

F Fox: on 4/30/14 at 0:06am UTC, wrote Dear Margarita, One might well be skeptical about morality because...

Eckard Blumschein: on 4/29/14 at 7:42am UTC, wrote Dear F Earle Fox, I consider those like you who are ultimately believing...


jim hughes: "I'm not a mathematician. So what I see here is some smart people who..." in Consciousness and the...

Steve Dufourny: "Hello FQXi, the members and all, I try to do my best to unite and convice..." in Global Collaboration

Lorraine Ford: "The idea of a smooth mathematical evolution of “the wave function”, and..." in Consciousness and the...

Georgina Woodward: "Broken machine: What do[es] I see next? The I that was, E.I, has not been..." in The Room in the Elephant:...

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September 28, 2021

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: How Shall We Then Live? by F Earle Fox [refresh]
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Author F Earle Fox wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 15:21 GMT
Essay Abstract

The Biblical worldview uniquely asserts the reality of a personal deity who is creator ex-nihilo of all that exists. The Biblical cosmos is an open system because there is communication between the created cosmos and its creator. The secular and pagan cosmoses are closed systems because there is nothing outside of the cosmos with which to communicate. The resources within the closed system were not sufficient to raise up Western science. We have steered ourselves differently over the ages depending on our worldview. Most of “steering” took place by civil government, and was done coercively, with the strong keeping the weak and poor subjected. The only force which with any consistency worked to level the playing field among the rich and powerful with the weak and poor was the Judeo-Christian worldview and good news. Basic concepts such as all humans being made in the Image of God, and thus of equal worth, and the moral order being based on the two great commandments of love, created in the West a sea-change in the way politics was done, and thus the way the future was planned. And there was the unique development of Western science under the Biblical worldview because the Biblical God provided a rationality to the cosmos which no other worldview did. Western science began with the union in the Middle Ages of the Greek talent for abstract analysis with the Hebrew focus on the particular, personal, space, and time. So, science, morality/politics, and religion combined to form Western civilization, with its freedoms, economic dynamism, and the first (and hopefully not missed) chance at world peace.

Author Bio

Born 7/8/35 M.Div., The General Theol. Seminary, NYC 1960. D. Phil. Oxford, 1964 on relation between science and theology. 4 3-month quarters Clinical Pastoral Ed – 1 city prison, 1 general hospital, 2 mental hospitals. Parish ministry, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, East Haddam, CT 1971-81; St. Luke’s Reformed Episcopal Church, Santa Ana, CA . 2009-2012. Good Shepherd Anglican, Mesa, AZ, current. Founded The Road to Emmaus 1984 – for pastoral counseling and Christian apologetics. Published: Biblical Inner Healing. Pending: Personality, Empiricism, & God (D. Phil thesis); Law & Grace in the Image of God; The Theology of Civil Government.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 00:09 GMT
Hi F. Earle Fox,

I want to let you know I have read your essay. You set out your views very clearly. I don't think the two possible outcomes you give at the end are the only outcomes that are possible. Certainly more secular Muslim states seem happier places, to me, than the more fundamentalist. The Christian Puritans of the 17th century did not have much tolerance for fun.I can envision a...

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 02:44 GMT
Hi, Georgina

I had posted previously, but it got lost in the posting process (had same problem last year), so I am now writing and saving my posts on my computer before posting them....).

At any rate, regarding the two possible outcomes at the end of my essay (we either build heaven with God and each other or we build hell all by ourselves), in the Biblical view, life is...

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Member Dean Rickles wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 01:07 GMT
I quite agree with Georgina's "hellish theocracy" point - though I'd say it's far *more* likely to be hellish than secular alternatives. Not to mention the issue of "which" of the many possible theocracies to choose from!

Secondly, the claim that people started shooting each other in schools because of "fun vs boredom" (and a loss of faith) is absolutely ludicrous and grotesquely...

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 08:33 GMT
Dear Dean,

Your assertion that Biblical theocracy is far more likely to be hellish than secular models does not fit the facts of history, especially the history in which secularism was pretty much running the world, the 20th (visit

And, yes, of course, there are many theocracies from which to choose. But I was talking about the Biblical theocracy as...

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Member Dean Rickles replied on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 13:10 GMT
I know I'll regret posting this (and apologies in advance for the snarky tone), but ...

After reading your recommended text (and following up a couple of the references in there), I see that if you had your way, humanity would be steered into a future in which men run society (as the sovereigns) and women exist to create babies/raise children. And also that gays would be viewed as having a...

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:10 GMT
Hi, Dean,

You raise many issues, too much to reply to. I apologize for going off on evolution, not really central to our subject. But I do want to remark on your statement:

‘The readings I suggested to you *are* directly relevant to the case you made since they show how morality (apparently selfless behaviours) can emerge from natural processes and can amount to rational...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 18:54 GMT
Dear Doctor Fox,

I found reading your essay truly uplifting. It was such a relief not having to wade through quantum quackery and string theory strangulation, I do not know how to express my thanks to you adequately.


Joe Fisher

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 00:57 GMT
Hi, Joe,

Thank you for your kind words. There are not (sadly) many Christians who will engage in these kinds of debates, but that is because too many Christians are incapable of reasoning, having concluded that reason and revelation are opposed. I think reason and revelation very much need each other to remain focused on truth. So anything I can do to encourage Christians to get involved is worth the effort. To tell the truth, I am surprised at the number of friendly responses I get.

Blessings, Earle

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 02:43 GMT
Hi Earle,

I'm very happy to see you back! You've already heard from the closed circle. It's as open as they want it to be.

On the other hand, I very much appreciated your analysis of the history of the dynamic between civil and religious government, resolved by Western civilization. And your observation that "power consistently trumped the makeshift morality" of the pagan world. ...

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:28 GMT
Hi, Edwin,

Good to see you on board. I got in just under the wire due to a recent move from California to Arizona (should be Aridzona...). So I am just catching up reading some of the essays. I will look up yours And thanks for your encouraging words. I plan to stay in the fray as long as I can, partly to encourage other Christians to speak out and to show that we Christians have a marvelous case to present.

Your comment that “For the most part you face secularists who abandoned religion [if any] as children or adolescents, and therefore have nothing but a childish view of the issues...” is right on the money. Few seem to have bothered to update their childhood rejection with a reality check.

Best wishes, Earle

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Margarita Iudin wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 01:13 GMT
Hello Earlie,

I read your submission and I would like you to read mine. While reading, please have in mind that I am Jewish and a fanatical believer. I am hardly an orthodox in a ritual sense, but an orthodox in the perception of the Creation.

I am also very skeptical about what is called morality and that religious mindfulness really can change human behavior. Not only morality is changing over time, we know lots of examples when people pray and fear and consider themselves pious or clear of sin and still do awful things. You know morality is taught in family and society. I do not think that G-d has anything against human morality, but it is not G-d who gives us morality. Moral laws of Judaism are a wonderful human invention. Most probably, morality does not harm to society but often it harms to an individual.

Though there is no word of a faith or religion in my essay, my faith is present in my worldviews. Please do not think about virtual self as a G-d or G-d as a transcendental life-force. I had all the reasons to choose the different wording.

In this essay I write about the imagining, analogous imagining and how people think. I hope you will have your ideas to share.

You may look at my entry about imagining the future. I hope my essay will encourage you to learn more about ways of knowing and to apply analogous imagining in your field of interests.

Please disregard any typo mistakes you may encounter.

Warm cheers,

Margarita Iudin

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Author F Earle Fox replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 00:06 GMT
Dear Margarita,

One might well be skeptical about morality because historically it has been very subjectively decided, each culture often being quite different from its neighbors. But if the Biblical view is true as I think it is, then there is one and only one morality, that of God. Morality that is subjective is a contradiction in terms because it has no authority to it. So it has to...

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 07:42 GMT
Dear F Earle Fox,

I consider those like you who are ultimately believing in peace and humanity indispensable allies across the borders of competing religions. I wondered that your essay has been scored rather low. Please are not deterred by the consequent rationalism I don't hide in my essay. I see Alfred Nobel a good example for not mutually excluding rational and responsible aspects of a consequent attitude.

When God created the men, did he set an upper limit to population?

Buddhist Tejinder Singh admitted this to be a serious question because the resources don't grow.

I fear, militant Muslims are not so tolerant, and the non-Christian Earl Bertrand Russell was even ready to preventively extinguish the risk that surrounded me.



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Author F Earle Fox wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 00:17 GMT
Dear Eckard,

Thanks for reading my article. Yes, I believe in peace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind, and that competing religions should compete peacefully and on all sides be looking for the truth. We cannot all be right, but can all be honest, and looking for the truth, even if the truth is not what we currently believe. If I am wrong, I would want to know, not run from the truth.

I am not aware of God setting any upper limit to the population. I think that there is an upper limit to what the earth can handle, but I think it is far above what we have now. The problem is the terrible way we treat each other and earth’s resources. But God wants us to be good stewards of His earth, good caretakers.

You are, I think, right about the Muslims, or at least the traditional Muslims, who have a long history of being violent, right from the beginning of Islam. And, I think you are right about B Russell, who wanted to reduce the surplus population, but did not offer to reduce it by eliminating himself. I guess he did not think he was part of the surplus.

I hope you do well in the contest. Thanks for your comments.

Best wishes, Earle

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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 23:49 GMT
Dear Dr Fox,

You say and I concur:

“… the Biblical notions that every man was equally valuable, and that the law of love trumped all other law, slowly percolated into hearts and minds. The people, armed with a moral consensus under God, would one day begin to steer the government.

But not without firm resistance from those at the top.”

Bet let me add that...

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George Gantz wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 02:12 GMT
Earle - Thanks for your willingness to speak of religion outright - a courageous thing to do in this quite secular crowd. I happen to feel that physical truths (e.g. in physics and biology) are ultimately pointing us in the same direction as spiritual truths in terms of ideal behaviors, so I I chose to approach the question of moral guidance a bit obliquely, through a secular lens, before closing the loop at the end. I'd be interested in your thoughts if you haven't read it already. My essay is The Tip of the Spear.

Regards - George

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Tihamer T. Toth-Fejel wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 02:29 GMT
Dear Earle,

What an absolutely awesome essay! While I only touched on the importance of wisdom, and of answering the "The God Question" in my essay ( Three Crucial Technologies ; please give me your critical comments and a rating) - you connected the two concepts beautifully. The only things you missed were:

1. How Thomas Aquinas merged Christianity with Greek Philosophy, and

2. More detail about which specific technologies are moral (and exactly why; or maybe a method for determining this).

You mentioned the importance of causality. This is something that Islam misses because they think that Allah is absolutely transcendent and causes everything directly--a notion as anti-science as paganism's non-unified multiple gods and it's logical effects.

Finally, I'm sure that you've seen all the advances in the supposedly uncaused world of quantum mechanics. The tide is changing -- see Beyond the Quantum Horizon by David Deutsch and Artur Ekert.

Thanks again for a great essay!


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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 06:58 GMT
Dear Earle,

Thanks for giving us your wonderful essay with wonderful idea. We must debate and exchange ideas. Great information on the founding of Great America. Unfortunately, she is in trouble now morally and economically. Unless she can renew and rejuvenate herself, just like previous great civilizations, she will exhaust her vigor and slowly die from old age. We need to look at all options and seek a better solution to real problem. The status quo always says: yes, we do have problems but our system is the best in the world. People complain but if she is the best, why change?

In the final analysis, you are right that morality and principle steer Humanity but we must have the great scientific engine to enable us to dream and realize those dreams. We need the proper engine, because without correct engine it will not go. I offer KQID's free-lunch engine for free for any one or any civilization with her unique religious belief to achieve her own unique dreams and aspirations. Without the proper engine for any social system even a religious belief, it is like offering cars without their proper engine, those cars would not run. Even electricity needs its power generator to produce electricity. This electricity then is used to power our houses or electric motor engines. When we design an airplane, we must spec its engine. However, many sovial theorists fail to spec the engines they would power their social engineering projects. We thus need both principles and the engines that would power these systems. In order to have the force of light defeats the force of darkness, we must have the free-lunch engine to power free-lunch system to create and distribute abundant of objects of desire to everyone who needs it.

I share your concern,

Leo KoGuan

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