Sunday, June 13, 2010

An "Honest" Atheist? Not quite.

In the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, atheist William Provine of Cornell University unabashedly stated the logical consequence of his materialist atheism when he announced that there is no "free will."  BINGO! As Provine said, this conclusion "follows" rather easily from "belief in evolution."

On the materialist worldview, all processes are the result of random quantum actions at the subatomic level.  Provine's actions would be the determined effects of the "orderly universe"   -- hence there would be no human freedom from the laws of the physical universe (a human being is nothing more than a random collocation of atoms -- mere chunks or physical "subsystems" of the universe, the "Big System").

Is Provine an atheist with more depth of thought than Dawkins or Hitchens? Or at least more honesty?

What doesn't jibe on Provine's worldview is that if there is no "free will," there can be no "free thought," either.  And since honesty presupposes individual freedom from the tyranny of physical laws, Provine's conclusion would not exhibit "honesty."  In materialism, the mind and thoughts are an "epiphenomenon" -- mere effects.  There is no such thing as true mental causation, consequently, no free thinking and no free will.

This undermines Provine's entire exposition on how "reasoning" about Darwinism led him to rejection of God -- and then ironically to rejection of free will, and then necessarily to rejection of "free thought!"  Too bad the real Provine didn't  step forward to the microphone and announce that his "logical argument" or "reasoning" is inexplicable, since he has no free thought. I can understand why he would not, or why he has not thought of such, since that admission would undermine his whole argument, indeed, every word he utters.  It would sound absurd -- which of course it is!

There is irony in Provine's remarks regarding his students near the end of Expelled:

"I don't care what they end up as being.  I don't care if they end up being religious or a young earth creationist. If they have thought their way through the issues and get there -- I'm all for them."

Here Provine speaks as if there is such a thing as free thought, when he has denied such!  On Provine's worldview, Provine can't help himself -- nor can his students!

It seems that Provine is not a better "thinker" than his atheist friends, Dawkins and Hitchens, after all. Christians can legitimately say, that Provine -- a resident in God's universe, in which honesty is a real moral attribute -- exhibits a degree of intellectual honesty. This is more than Provine can say of himself since he denies the existence of morality and that he has any free intellectual actions.  Such is the absurdity of atheism.