Intelligent Design

The Magic of Reality and Will Provine’s Honesty

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In some ways I have great respect for Will Provine, who is honest enough to declare the inevitable philosophical consequences of atheistic materialism (no free will, no dogs or gods worth having, no foundation for ethics, no ultimate purpose or meaning in anything, and eventually drop dead and go straight to eternal nihilistic oblivion).

Richard Dawkins has written a children’s book (The Magic of Reality, an oxymoronic title if ever there was one). Dawkins could have easily distilled his most recent magnum opus into the following (with the obviously benevolent intent of edifying young children concerning Ultimate Truth and Real Science):

Dear Children,

You are the product of a random, materialistic process that did not have you in mind. (Please don’t ask any embarrassing questions about how a materialistic process could have a mind. We’ll get to that later when you are sufficiently educated to understand such concepts.) You have no free will. You are a machine with no ultimate purpose other than to pass on your selfish genes. When you die and your chemistry shuts down, you will enter eternal oblivion.

Now kids, since I’ve educated you about science, be sure to have a nice day! And don’t forget about The Magic of Reality!

8 Replies to “The Magic of Reality and Will Provine’s Honesty

  1. 1
    GilDodgen says:

    Gil,
    I’m confused. You stated that Dawkins is suggesting that people are machines with no ultimate purpose other than to pass on their selfish genes. Doesn’t Dawkins suggest that there is no ultimate purpose to anything?

    Dear Gil,

    Good point. My bad.

  2. 2
    Bruce David says:

    You know, atheists often accuse theists of being cowards—that the reason they believe in God is because they can’t face the actual truth that what awaits them when they die is “eternal oblivion”. The obvious response is: wanting something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it false. It’s quite possible that even though you really want it to be true, it’s true anyway.

    Now I am a theist but not a Christian, and in my worldview, God, out of His infinite and unconditional love, is a true and loving Friend, so that we have absolutely nothing to fear from Him. There is no Hell, and He will never judge, condemn, nor punish us. Furthermore, we are each made by Him out of Himself in His image and likeness, which means that our actual nature is magnificent beyond imagining. (We don’t all know this because the purpose of coming to this place is to forget in order to have the incredible experience of remembering.)

    I have been accused by some of the more rabid Christians who comment to this blog that I am just believing what I want to be true because I can’t (or don’t want to) face what is actually so (namely, their understanding of Christian dogma). To them, I make the same reply: wanting something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it false. It’s quite possible that even though you really want it to be true, it’s true anyway.

  3. 3
    gpuccio says:

    Gil:

    I could not agree more. Unfortunately, intellectual honesty is a very rare thing today.

    It seems that a smart mind is the best tool to forget honesty. A smart mind allows people to change the meaning of words ad hoc, just to support their smart fantasies.

    That’s how compatibilism is born, and deterministic machines are allowed a deterministic appearance of free will.

    That’s how strong AI is born, and non conscious machines are promised consciousness, if they just go complex enough.

    That’s how “emergent properties” are born, to explain out of mere imagination and authority what one cannot explain.

    That’s how neo darwinism is born, and the things that are obviously designed are promised a blind explanation.

    That’s how neo neo darwinism is born, and we are assured that alternative explanations exist to the classical RV + NS, and that magic words such as “engines of variation” can solve any problem.

    And so on, and so on…

  4. 4
    Bruce David says:

    I wouldn’t even dignify the phrase “emergent properties” by calling it an explanation. It is merely a disguise for what is really true: materialism hasn’t the remotest clue as to how consciousness could arise from inanimate, unconscious matter, not even the beginning of a theory.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    It makes me wonder why Dawkins and other atheists bother writing books about atheism when their central point is that there is absolutely no purpose to anything at all. If that is truly the case, then why should I be bothered to read about it?

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    Dear Bruce,

    I think you need to clarify what you mean by “we” in the comment below:

    Now I am a theist but not a Christian, and in my worldview, God, out of His infinite and unconditional love, is a true and loving Friend, so that we have absolutely nothing to fear from Him. There is no Hell, and He will never judge, condemn, nor punish us.

    Are Stalin, Lenin and Mao, who were responsible for the murders of at least 100,000,000 people (in the name of an explicitly atheistic ideology known as Marxism) included in your definition of we? Will they have the same eternal fate as you?

  7. 7
    Bruce David says:

    Gil,

    The short answer is “yes”, ALL human beings are included in “we”, even Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. I know this looks absurd from the perspective of one who believes in the reality of evil, but allow me to explain, with the understanding that due to space and time limitations, the explanation necessarily cannot be complete.

    My view of the purpose of life on earth (my main source for my spiritual understanding is the “Conversations with God” series, by Neale Donald Walsch), as I said above, is to forget Who We Really Are so that we may have the EXPERIENCE of our magnificence as we remember. In order to have the experience of X, as opposed to just the knowledge of it, not-X needs to be present also, at least in memory. So we come to earth to forget Who We Really Are and to experience the opposite of magnificence in all its different manifestations. Among those manifestations are all those acts that we label, “evil”, because the experience of evil is necessary in order to have the experience of good.

    This earthly existence is not our true home, and these bodies are not our true selves. It’s all illusion, but illusion with a Holy purpose. And the experience of “evil” is a necessary part of that purpose. In actual fact, each of us is eternal and immortal and absolutely immune to damage. So in reality, no harm can be done to us, hence no evil, really. It’s all just part of this magnificent game we are all playing together.

    And yes, in the larger sense, the same fate awaits Stalin, etc. as awaits you and me, namely that after we leave this plane of existence, we will each review our last lifetime from our own perspective and also from the perspective and experience of all those whose lives we touched. We will each of us have the opportunity to evaluate the full effects of our actions so that perhaps we may chose differently the next time around.

  8. 8
    gpuccio says:

    Bruce:

    Very well said…

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