Thursday, 7 February 2013

Locked-Down Doors Of Perception



Robert Mcluhan reviews a newly published work by Duke University's Philosophy Chair Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist's Guide To Reality.

McLuhan really has at it, on his blog. He reproduces this list of answers which Rosenberg includes in the book - a sort of Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions for the hard materialist Atheist:

Is there a God? No.
What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.
What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
Does prayer work? Of course not.
Is there a soul. Is it immortal? Are you kidding?
Is there free will? Not a chance.
What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad?There is no moral difference between them.
Why should I be moral. Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don't like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes...
Does the human past have any lessons for our future. Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.

I have been an Atheist. I am well acquainted with the smug feeling of superiority that many ( oh, OK, me in particular) Atheists use to put themselves to sleep at night. I also know that, if you're being honest and open with yourself, this feeling cannot last.

Regarding Rosenberg's bare-bones brand of Nihilism, I can only conclude - after running it through my own life - that it is a very, very small template through which to filter the experience of being human.

Physics, as we know, does not have all the answers. It's not through a lack of understanding of Physics that so many people search elsewhere for explanations to their life experiences. It's because Physics doesn't begin to address many of them. And, to be fair, it doesn't claim to either. Most Physicists won't touch the Hard Problem with a bargepole, professionally. It's only oddball philosophers like Rosenberg who do.

Perhaps this book would do as shock therapy for folks going through the reductionist materialist phase of their lives - it should be enough of a slap in the face to wake up all but the most locked-down of us.