In recent postings, I have written on the logical consequences of material monism. Material monism is self-contradictory -- it asserts that all of human experience is merely the compelled effects of the physical properties of matter. But this is the same as the assertion that things turn into their opposites -- by way of magic. Examples are: life from lifeless matter, minds from mindlessness, logic and mathematics from a-logical and a-mathematical matter, and morals from amoral matter. And for some, freedom emerges from physical compulsion.
There are two types of these "rational" monists.
The first type of monist (of which Richard Dawkins is an example), is one who asserts that he is free. We have dealt with that conceit here. The other group (of which William Provine is an example, discussed here) follows the logical consistency of their presuppositions, reject the miracle of Dawkins, and deny that they are free. This follows easily, since once a mechanism. . .always a mechanism. Thus, they use their rationality to deny their freedom, and so deny their own rationality. In short, they use rationality to deny rationality!
In perusing the blogosphere, it appears that the ranks of atheists promoting man as a mere robot without freedom from physical determinism are swelling.
The newest self-proclaimed robot I have discovered is Sam Harris. Harris's rejections can be found here:
In both of those essays, Harris supposes he is engaging in a rational argument. . .but one compelled by physics! Remarkable! In the second article above, Harris argues for morality compelled by physics! Yet another absurd miracle! To say that a purely material system (such as Harris in Harris's atheistic materialism) is logically and morally obligated to act a certain way is absurd. Matter is only "obliged" to act according to physical laws. Because of this, robots cannot exhibit moral or rational acts. Nonetheless, Harris asserts that he is a robot. And all of this is arrived at via a viciously circular argument rooted in the metaphysical bias of material monism.
A particularly muddled remark occurs at the end of the first article, viz., "the illusion of free will is itself an illusion."
Here by Harris's analysis, we have a supposedly rational conclusion which is itself an illusion compelled by physics. But what could it mean? If the illusion is an illusion, then on the normal meaning of the word "illusion," the "false appearance of free will" is itself a false appearance -- normal usage would either take Harris as contradicting himself or suggesting a rather nonsensical infinite regress of illusions. He has committed a faux pas -- perhaps though (in analogy with his illusion illusion), he would prefer he had committed a faux faux pas.
The issue of human freedom from physical causation extends deeper than ethical issues, such as the repudiation of moral choices and human responsibility. Even Searle in Rationality in Action has written, inconsistently with his naturalism, that rationality presupposes free will. To state it briefly: Naturalism cannot even account for the illusion of rationality, as there would be no “reason.” Yet, Harris expects us to rationally follow his reasoning -- or maybe he doesn't. Could it be that Harris is not the author, but rather a mindless robot?
But such is the absurdity to which atheism descends -- rather than worshiping their Creator, they worship "omnipotent" matter by way of their prideful faith in the "rationality" of "omnipotent" science. A rationality and science which is inexplicable in a purely material reality.
Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.