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tv   Interview with Hyrum Lewis There Is a God  CSPAN  August 11, 2019 1:44pm-2:16pm EDT

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convoluted superstructure only recently in the early 20th century, a blip in human history we have got to fight the bad language with a good language, but true language. >> you can watch the full talk by visiting our website book tv.org. >> tonight on the tv in prime time, dale reports on the website for chan and its impact on the 2016 presidential election. we sit down with economic professor robert lawson to discuss his travels to socialist countries. former virginia democratic governor terry macola recounts the events in charlottesville showing the rally of 2017. warren farrell argues boys have
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been shortchanged in our current culture and journalist david epstein says it's more ad mentation to have a broad set of skills went to specialize in a particular area. check your cable guide for more scheduled information. >> book tv is on location in las vegas at the freedom fest libertarian convention and we are talking with authors and we want to introduce you to one hiram lewis who teaches at byu cannot help and here's the cover of his book. there is a god how to respond to atheism in the last days. i went to start with those last words, in the last days. what are you referencing? guest: referencing a specific tradition. obviously there's a lot of work in apologetics coming out and new atheists have gotten aggressive in the 21st century.
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host: who are the new atheists? >> they usually talk about the four horsemen. sam harris, christopher hitchens has passed on and then daniel of test university so they call them the four horsemen of the atheists apocalypse but they are aggressive and angry. the 20th century was much more live and let live. the idea was i can't believe that if you want to believe that your business and probably good for you and society. the new atheists will have none of this they will say i don't believe i'm going to make sure no one else believes and i will crusade to destroy everyone states so part of it is a little apocalypticism of the new atheists, but when i talk about the last days and tried to broaden the scope of apologetics so you have for instance a catholic tradition that goes back in which they make a lot of philosophical arguments for the existence of god and i'm sure you are familiar with these arguments.
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a whole range of things. then you have a protestant tradition which focuses on the text. remember martin luther taught this idea that the bible is the ultimate authority, so the protestant tradition let's go back and look at the text itself and find evidence for belief within the text, i witness to jesus resurrection for instance. i think their traditions left out of the apologetics conversation for instance, societal friends called quakers are latter-day saints reap in combination with some in which we focus on direct expense with god, revelation when i say revelation i don't necessarily mean a man without beard going up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments or the burning bush. i'm talking about something more direct and everyday. the vast majority people you talk to if you say why do you believe god they probably won't say well, i read st. thomas and i was convinced.
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that's not frequent. they will probably say i read the bible and the textural evidence is strong. they will probably say in moments of quiet contemplation or in moments of prayer or ritual or at a major life event like the birthday child i just felt the presence of the divine. new atheists will tell you that and feel free to cut me off anytime you want, they will tell you these feelings don't count that only empirical experience counts as knowledge and if you are talking about feelings then it simply is illegitimate. the funny thing about this is that that in and of itself isn't an empirical statement if you say only empirical and what we mean is knowledge that comes through the senses and if only that counts then saying only empirical knowledge counts itself is self refuting. if someone goes to a webpage and it says don't believe anything you read on the internet , it's self-contradictory. one of the great philosophers of the 20th century actually
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pointed this out in an argument called at two dogmas of empirical is on and said he started out agree with atheists that you cannot believe anything that's not data related and then later said it's resting on.net , a faith assumption. if you believe only empirical knowledge counts you take an act of faith, just something you want to believe, dogma. the second thing is that -- the atheists might say hallucination took these feelings you're having is your brain tricking you and they will lose-- use evolutionary psychology and say over millions of years your brain has evolved for survival and so feelings that there's a god had some kind of survival ballot-- value way back then but we've got beyond that and now, we know better and can look back and say it may have had used thousands of years ago, but now we can move beyond that and now, we can simply
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recognize this for the evolutionary trick it is stop believing in god. if our brains evolved to trick us then why should we be-- believe the findings? the atheists was to invoke tricks to experience them away. if your brain is a tricking expression machine then why are we tricking-- [inaudible] the third thing they might say is you save these feelings aren't empirical, but they are. they mean-- when i say revelation i'm talking about experiences with god for example your experience of being a self jerk you don't like the microscope and say there's my mind. the fact that you love your wife and children is not a sit empirical experience so as i see they are not science. by day you have free will in your free conscious being that and i love itself is a
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revelatory knowledge. scientist zero believe in free will by and large. the most important thing in life, love, freedom, ultimate values, morality are not amenable to science so they say when you feel joy or love for your children if i look at your brain under an imaging technology i will see certain parts of the brain light up with joy therefore that lighting up his empirical and therefore scientific. my response is falling prey to what i call the vacuum tube fallacy. if you took someone in the 1970s let's say mr. rogers on tv and you brought someone from a primitive part of the world who had never seen electricity or a television and showed that mr. rogers on the tv, then they may go to the back of the tv and see the vacuum tubes lighting up in their conclusion would've been the vacuum tubes cause the picture, but this is false spirit of the
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program on the tv is broadcast from thousands of miles away. the vacuum tubes are really-- merely the receptors and that the relationship between the brain and mind. the brain is merely the receptor of the mind and they are also violating the atheist argument when you go to the statistics 101 class you learn corals relation is not causation. they brick-- say the brain state causes the-- [inaudible] the first question mr. rogers would get from kids as they would say how did you get out, how did you get out of the tv because they assumed like the atheists that you-- they assumed the tv was causing mr. rogers so atheists need to realize you are not your brain, your mind is not your brain and the tv was not mr. rogers.
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host: you spend a lot of time with darwin and origin of the species in your book. guest: sure. i love-- i think charles darwin's was one of the greatest intellectuals of all the time. i'm a big believer in evolution. evolution is as close as you can get to a scientific fact so i have no problem with evolution. i think it's been a terrible thing when religious apologist tether themselves to opposing evolution. my god is great enough he can create however he wants and if he wants to create through evolutionary process i have no problem with that. the same way i understand god by looking at the workings of the particles we can understand god looking at the process by which he created. darwinism is more controversial than evolution. whether or not variation and selection which is the darwinian selection of through which scientists claim that
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evolution happened, whether that can account for all biological complexity is another question and there are people that say no, it needs some help and they call them-- in some intelligent design scientists. the call them intelligence design philosophy and i'm okay with teaching that as a philosophy. science as we find it is a search for natural material causes and one tweet jumped out and say therefore god did it it seems as though we jump out of science and i think that should be reserved for course on theology or philosophy so if we want a prefatory part of the class scene we will talk about a series of evolution we will get to the stuff later, but is there a case to be made for intelligent design behind whole process, i think that would be fine. setting it up as a competition that it's either or i think is a huge intellectual and strategic mistake and it
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brings up with some justification of charges of being anti- intellectual. i see what david berlinski has done and i think it's interesting. in trying to fight the battle of darwinism or design to meet his error host: is darwinism or evolution amoral as opposed to man and his man naturally moral? guest: darwinism is a moral to some say darwinism is immoral. darwin said my theory operates on survival of the fittest to georgine's preserve themselves and richard dokken is a great philosopher who's been arguing for preservation that preservation happens on the gene level and because of that you have selfish genes tried to replicate themselves and therefore
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he says the selfish gene, being selfish is your natural state. i don't think that's true because we evolved to cooperate. we both cooperate and are selfish so you look at human being characteristics, the capacity for love, hate, selfishness, selflessness, the capacity for kindness, cruelty, the inclination to destroy an inclination to create our all natural inclinations and you can find evidence in darwinism or at least make up stories to explain how the street came about, so to say we can get our morals from evolution is bizarre because everything we do comes from evolution, so doctor shermer, michael shermer wrote an article which most atheists disagree with by the way host: and he's atheist? guest: yes. he said you can look at the way the world is on
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the way humans actually behave and conclude that's how we should behave. he says it is the case that we humans strive to survive and flourish. therefore, something is immoral if it promotes surviving. my answer is it is the case that we commit genocide, that we start wars, murder, rape, kill so's to say therefore we should do those things is preposterous. evolution is a moral. we have to introduce morality from outside the natural world and that is the great argument for god. i have a chapter in my book called the good delusion. richard said there's a delusion of god and i say every argument used make you can make the same argument against the existence of good. he said feelings don't count. the only way you know right and wrong mr. feelings and if i have intuition about what's moral why can't i have intuition about the creator of the universe?
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they never offer an answer to that work they are stuck. host: hiram lewis, you talk about the physicist max planck in your book, why? guest: because he was an inventor of quantum theory, one of the great theories of all time and he was a practicing christian. hard-core religious believer there is this bizarre idea and i can't believe anyone believes it that there is a war between science and religion. it's preposterous. if you look at every great scientist throughout history including darwin them him and religious believers. albert einstein, galileo , copernicus, go through the rollcall of great scientist route history and every single one has been a religious believer. there is no war or to the only time they is when you have people step outside the boundary, when you have
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religious people trying to make scientific statements and trim the book of genesis into a biology footprint and that's where we run into problem or when you have scientists making religious claims. science is the realm of the empirical and repeatable, what you can find in a laboratory. religion is the realm of the ultimate. site is on capable of saying anything about that matters. religion on the other hand isn't generally concerned with the more approximate matters. max planck's example of a practicing christian there are these books written by atheists essay along came siphon it displace religion in the 18th century. is preposterous. religion did not go anywhere, they just don't know their history they say the founding fathers were not men of religion wise either or? you see these trumpeted about. one is are you left or are you right, neither
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in both their splendid to agree with on the left and on the right. something people here at freedom fest will agree on is do you believe in capitalism or do you want to help the poor, it's a false binary. this-- unfortunately atheists have gone into false binary. do you believe in science or religion and that shows it's a ridiculous formulation. most people don't know that america has gotten more religious as it's got more scientific work john butler at yale, all the great historians of religion have a shown that as science has increased in america religion has increased with it. we are in a dip now the past 20 or years or so we have seen a dip. host: why do you think that is? guest: a couple reasons. one i think 911 did
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something to a lot of people. i think what made the new atheists embolden, and islamic terrorists per perpetrating these attacks and they say religion causes violence so they started writing these books like a lot of people bought into their argument and said religion caused violence on 911 and religion is bad. is that association. this is sad reasoning and they should better-- no better. it's become unscientific when it comes to religion. if i say to you democrats are bad because i knew one bad democrat or if i were to say smoking doesn't kill people because my father-in-law smoked and lived to be 90 you say that's ridiculous, anecdotal evidence, not data and when it comes to the value of religion atheists rely on anecdotal evidence. ..
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>> controlling from other variable in western society where we have freedom of religion, the religious score higher on every agreed upon measure of morality than you can imagine. there are thousands showing the religious people live longer, give more to charity, religious people are more educated, believe it or not. than less religious people. that religious people adopt more children, that there's higher social capital among the religious. that the crime rate is lower. just good down the list of things we trying to promote in society that we can ade, democrats, republicans, that would be go and you fine those things are -- find those thing -- the good things in society are better because of religion and that religious
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believers are -- in jesus, the salt of the earth. they're making our societies better. so trying to destroy religion is immoral by their own cite tearon. michael shermer case something is immotorhome if it hurt human flourishing. religious beliefs makes society better, reduces time, increases social capital, reduces depression, increases income well-being and he's trying to do something immoral best hi own terms. like mike michael shermer and is debunking of holocaust denial and that but when he goes after religion, he is doing something is immoral. >> host: mao and stalin. >> guest: yes. great examples. if you want to good anecdotal, they're anecdote. so prior to he 20th century you have athiests al the time.
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when they want to tell their stories, they want to go to the middle ages, talk about the inquisition, the religious wars, they want to talk about witchhunts, and they shay look at all these bad things religious people were doing. that doesn't rise to the level of an net domesticat evidence because there's no control group. if array cyst said black people are inherently more violent than white people you would say creator evidence. they said before 1500 in africa black people commit all the oppression, all of the assaults and rapessed and thefts. i you june be there nor white people. that's what the athiest does. look at all the terrible thing relations believers did in the middle aims but a although terrible things were doing. i the i don't see eightests
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doing. that but there were no athiest. we don't have a control group until the 20th under when specific number of athiests and eightishing regimes when weeing say something. meaningful but athiests and i you want to compare the athiest violence and religious believer violence, the athiest is win in a landslide. the bigger mass murder was chairman mao, an athiest. stalin, probably the second greatest mass murder, an athiest. pol pot. the greatest murderer of walk time an athiest and doing it in the name of an athiest materialism. so this idea of religion causing violence. i like to look at social scientific data. but if you want to look at somebody like chairman mao,
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what -- richmond dawkins tries to wig owl another this and say anywhere not really athiest, really? hey said they were, they say stall lynn believed, mao believed in a marxist ideology which was a kind of religion. they try to have it both ways. you he athiests say that atheism is not a'ing. so i hear people -- they say, you're right, dr. lewis, you say that everybody has faith. eightist have faith. their faith u.s. just in atheism. i say you're wrong, eightism is a nonbelief in god. so michael shurmur says atheism is nonbelief in god, fullstop. don't believe never flying spaghetti monster. that's not a religion. i'm not a high priest in the flying spaghetti monster. you say stalin was a communist, not an athiest, wrong. you just said that it atheism is
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a nonbelief in god, full stop. stalin didn't believe in god, full stop. mao didn't believe in god, full stop. an athiest. all of these terrible tyrants of the 20th century were athiests and they can't wigging -- wiggle out of it. so if you want to look at the consequence of religious belief, the-doesn't mean athiests are bad people. dr. schirmer is a good guy. richard dawkins is probably compassionate and gives money to charitable causes. we're talk neglect broad scope of history here. >> host: through your book there's a god, you address the lds church. what is that and are you a member? >> guest: yes, i am. good question. i appreciate the word lds. the church has tried to get people to not use the colloquial
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term mormon. >> host: where did that come from. >> guest: the sacred book, the become of mormon but says this is the church of jesus christ, not the church of a prophet. i if you call the church by the name of a prophet it's wrong. mormon was a prophet so it's a mistake to call our church the mormon church it's a slightly insulting. why is the church at this moment pushing us to talk about the church of jesus christ of later day students. we live in a moment in world history and american history when things have gotten to sound-bitey. too much in love with the short sound bite and instead of fleshing things out, we need more and more to stand. just see it all the time in cable news and forth. people are shouting at each other left inning, right wing, fascist, comey, instead of saying tell met whaty believe and giving longer answers,
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calling the church the church of jesus christ latter-day saints says i'm going to explain. jesus christ, that's the numb -- name of our church. latter day statements means we believe in a restoration of the pure truth that jesus taught which is something that thomas jefferson, roger williams and other great defenders of religious freedom championed, the idea of a restoration of religious truth. so my book was written to make an apologetic case for "there's a god by wherein to include more relations traditions and the lds religious tradition is the one it's aimed but religious believers of all stripes for people who doubt the existence of god, they can profit from it because the arguments north exclusive to latter-day saints. >> host: how did you get interested in. >> guest: i teach at byu hood,
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smaller school,. >> host: bring ham young -- brigham young. >> guest: yes. the football was good once upon a time. it's south of yellowstone national park. one of the most beautiful spot nets country, i shouldn't save that it because i'm trying to keep it small witch like the small town and the small size. so i have had visiting positions stanford university and and nowu and i love it there i'm. i'm an intellectual historyn and during graduate school,ow read eightist, john dewey, karl marx, sigmund freud. i as i'm reading and discussing in seminar these things, i would
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just -- like an itch i had to scritch. ernest hemingway say you have deal. ons you have to get rid of in your head. couldn't move on until i'd written things down so i had these refuteddations of what i thought war the bad argument offered the new athiests and i wrote them down and kept a file and i wondered if i could organize this into something big sore start putting things around and my brother said you ought to turn that into the book and i did the rewriting. got it in book form and it there is. what i teach at brigham young university at hood, the u.s. history, more than founding, american civics, film history, i've taught asian history in the. in a smaller department you get a a rate of topics to --
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variety of topics to teach. so this is something that was a side thing but important enough to me and my own spiritual development and the conclusion is came to. so i thought they could be helpful for other people, too. >> host: what's an apologetic. >> guest: it sounds like you're apologizing for something about derive from latin or ancient languages, but apologetics means i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry. it's at if you're apologizing for your faith. i'm sorry i believe. let me explain you. apologizing means defense of the faith. so when we talk about apologyityics for christianity, they speak out in favor of christianity in favor of christian religious in favor of beliefs and quads against those who would attack it and since there's so many attacks on religion,, in the 21st century, we need solid apologetics
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against the attack. the ton of my book is a little hostile. can get a little chippy. that's not intentional. at a christians that's smooth i need to work on. that's not the christ-like way but the athiests behave like intellectual bullies. richard dawning consistence is a bully, rude, air can't -- arrogant and if if respond in kind, perhaps my readers can forgive and perhaps it's understandable i respond with a little bit of strong tone at times because the athiests are so aggressive and so bullying and so rude. maybe there's a miss to stand up to bullies even if they're intellectual. >> host: hyrum lieu -- lewis holiday there is a god, how to respond to atheism in the last days." >> guest: great to be with you. >> you're watching booktv on
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c-span2. with top nonfunction authors every -- nonfiction authors. >> here some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to the "washington post." topping the list is tara westovers account of growing bound in the idaho mountains, and her introduction to formal education at age 17 in her book "educate." it's been on the bestseller list for over year. next in american carnage, pollitt to magazine tim, explores division nets republican party that led to the election of president trump. then it's former first lady michelle obama's memoir "becoming," the best, selling book of last year. fog that is "beyond charlottesville: former virginia governor terry mcauliffe's recount of the leadup the killing in charlottesville. and wrapping up a look at the
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best selling nonfiction book is is mark levin's critical look at the media, "unfreedom of the press." all of the authors have appeared on booktv and you can watch them online at booktv.org. >> tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern, on "after words," former virginia democracy governor terry mcauliffe talks about his book "charlottesville. >> if the can say this stuff i can do, and emboldened them. that's why the felt comfortable coming to charlottesville. make the pint that people used to wear hoods and do there is at night. they don't think they have to ware hoods anymore. charlottesville, their big coming out party but they

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