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Live Not by Lies: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Intelligent Design

Photo: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, by Bert Verhoeff for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

When one person stands up to lies or oppression, others can become emboldened to do the same. On a classic ID the Future episode, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discusses his article about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Soviet dissident and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Solzhenitsyn penned the short essay “Live Not by Lies” in 1974, just before he was arrested and exiled from Russia. It was his advice, or strategy, for living under totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn’s basic advice is simply not to participate with lies, and to refuse to speak what one does not believe. It’s unnervingly relevant counsel to us in America today, where “cancel culture” and other silencing tactics, long foreshadowed in the intelligent design debate, are spreading to the broader culture. As Egnor relates, sometimes it takes a single person to stand firm before others will do the same. “There are orders of magnitude more of us than of them,” Egnor says. “That is people who feel as we do: who support academic freedom, who support human dignity, who support freedom of speech and freedom of religion…the only way they control us, the only way they oppress us, is with our cooperation.” Download the podcast or listen to it here.

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