Spark Up!

Posted: September 2, 2007 in Theo/Philo

 

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I may be naïve,but it seems there is no logical reason for those who subscribe to an atheistic worldview to believe in any notion of agency or freedom to choose or think.

If this is the case, then there is no adequate basis for objectivity, we are under constant control or subjected to forces, which although can be measured, cannot (according to atheism) be objectively understood.

The other implication is that we have no basis for moral ethical treatment -‘I’m sorry your honour my genes made me do it!’ No behaviour can be described as objectively wrong or right as that behaviour is the result not of the will but of complicated impersonal forces.

There’s no need to take my humble bloggers word for it,check out the published opinions of eminent atheists and philosophers:

 

John Searle :

 

our conception of physical reality simply does not allow for radical [libertarian] freedom.”

 

John Bishop:

 

the idea of a responsible agent, with the ‘originative’ ability to initiate events in the natural world , does sit easily with the idea of [an agent as] a natural organism…our scientific understanding of human behaviour seems to be in tension with the presuppositions of the ethical stance we adopt toward it.”

 

Thomas Nagel:

 

‘There seems to be no room for agency in a world of neural impulses, chemical reactions, and bone and muscle movements’.

 

Nagel further challenges the naturalistic basis of cognition :

 

‘By non apparent character of the world, I mean the aspects of reality that are not ordinarily observable by human beings. We could effectively go through our daily life without knowing, or needing to know, that physical reality has a molecular and atomic structure. Natural selection would favour the development of reliable cognitive and rational abilities only insofar as those aptitudes helped protohumans cope with the challenges of there environment, but there is no reason to believe that we should trust our reasoning abilities beyond that original “coping” function.

Hence a naturalistic evolutionary account of human beings would undermine the very confidence that naturalists place in our ability to get to know the world through mathematical and scientific means.’

 

William Provine:

 

..”free will as traditionally conceived…simply does not exist. There is no way the evolutionary process as currently conceived can produce a being that is truly free to make choices”.

 

Apart from the problem of ethics and objectivity the loss of agency has other problems too; Richard Dawkins book the God Delusion has a logical inconsistency even within the title of the book.

To be deluded about God or anyone or anything else implies thinking. Thinking implies free will , as Angus Menuge points out :

 

‘We are back with Descartes, pointing out that even to be deceived, one must think. But thinking is intentional, so if we are deceived, as the eliminativist reductionist claims,then intentional states do exist’.

 

Contrary to the atheistic worldview if we think we must be agents, and so not wholly subject to natural forces as the atheists would claim,there must be more to our world view than that which is measurable.

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