A response to Francis Schaeffer' book "Back to Freedom and Dignity" This essay discusses Schaeffer's christian view on B.F. Skinner

Essay by shellyUniversity, Master's December 2002

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Francis Schaeffer was a Christian philosopher, author and theologian that was able to incorporate how meanings, morals, and values where being dealt with by philosophy. He was also a well-known evangelist who often spoke to large university and seminary audiences across the country. Schaeffer believed that "Christians have a responsibility to stand courageously in the midst of a declining and increasingly hostile society."

In the book Back To Freedom And Dignity, Schaeffer basically explains how man is reduced to his genetic makeup and the conditioning of his environment, therefore reducing man to a machine. He also goes on to state that if man is a product of the impersonal plus time plus chance man is left without intrinsic value and his freedom becomes nothing more than an illusion. He believes when we recognize man as he is made in the image of God that he has true intrinsic value and personality and freedom.

In the first chapters of the book Schaeffer discusses Jacques Monod's philosophies. Monod, a French molecular biologist was responsible for discovering the replication mechanism of genetic material and the manner in which cells synthesize protein. Monod argued that mans existence was due to chance and unpredictable mutations and necessity. Schaeffer argues, "if a man lives in such a universe how shall he decide to live?" (p.12).

The next Topic discussed is a speech made by Dr. Francis Crick. Dr. Crick is one of the scientists who unraveled the DNA code. Schaeffer describes Crick as a reductionist, which is "one who would reduce man from a complex personal being made in the image of God to simply an electro-chemical machine." (p.16). Basically Crick believes that man can be reduced to what Schaeffer refers to as "junk". Schaeffer goes on to discuss that if he (Crick)...