“For some time I have been noticing the emergence of a strange trinity of beliefs among my fellow skeptics and freethinkers: an increasing number of them, it seems, don’t believe that they can make decisions (the free will debate), don’t believe that they have moral responsibility (because they don’t have free will, or because morality is relative — take your pick), and they don’t even believe that they exist as conscious beings because, you know, consciousness is an illusion."
-- Dr. Massimo Pigliucci (atheist), Chairman Dept. of Philosophy at CUNY-Lehman College
* * * * * * *
“...we are enslaved by selfish molecules …. They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. …. they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines."
* * * * * *
"Let's not kid ourselves, we're all concentrations of molecules containing DNA, hard-wired into a chemical analog computer known as the human brain, which as software has a certain genetic code. And your idea that you have a soul or even a self, much less free will, is just an illusion."
* * * * * * *
One can sense today a new spiritual fervor in the air. This fervor is the manifestation of a multifaceted religious movement that is sweeping through the land. The religion itself is quite 'slippery'. It is often obscure and difficult to define. Its influences have seeped under the door of western culture like an odorless and toxic gas. Its noxious fumes first oppress, then numb and then eventually kill the central nervous system of civilization by searing the conscience and aborting the soul as she breeds her deadly chaos.
Her doctrines are as subtle as they are legion. Her liturgies are altogether tempting. She demands worship at the altar of Human Reason and self-congratulatory obeisance to the intelligence of the highly evolved Brain of Man. Pride motivates her worship style just as it has done throughout every age of recorded human history.
Her faithful followers can often be heard making statements like this:
"Everything, including that which happens in our brains, depends on these and only on these: A set of fixed, deterministic laws. A purely random set of accidents." -- Dr. Marvin Minsky (M.I.T., cognitive scientist)
... and this...
"The universe cares nothing for us. Humans are nothing even in the evolutionary process on earth. There is no ultimate meaning for humans."
--William B. Provine, (Prof. of Biological Sciences, Cornell University)
“Our brains are simply meat computers that, like real computers, are programmed by our genes and experiences to convert an array of inputs into a predetermined output.”
--Dr. Jerry Coyne, (biologist, U. of Chicago)
Her nuanced doctrines come in many shapes, sizes and disguises. She uses a myriad of aliases including Scientism, Humanism, Materialism, Utilitarianism, Nihilism, Naturalism and many more, all doctrinal sub-sets and categories that only the truly initiated could recognize and/or appreciate. However, most of us (ie., the unwashed and the un-initiated ) would recognize this religion more readily as ”The New Atheism”,... though there is nothing new about her at all. She has been seducing and working her skillful magic on mankind for a long, long time.
As someone once said: There is nothing new under the sun.
Lately, it seems, her angry adherents have been getting a lot of fawning and positive press.
This “new” atheism promotes and engages in various worship styles. She blends and co-mingles her philosophical “denominations” of Relativism, Physicalism, Reductionism and Determinism with mesmerizing skill.
Her parishioners usually insist that physical matter is really all there is. And, according to the tenets of this Faith, there is no transcendent reality, no “bottom line” or higher order of “Morality”or “Truth” to which human beings may be held accountable or by which they may be judged. Her members recognize no higher authoritative Transcendent Standard , only a vague, non-binding subjective, personal preference based on feeling and undefinable “reason” born somehow from the mindless influences of a nebulously swirling electron cloud.
In a “nutshell”, she preaches that:
--”Free Will” is an illusion.
--There is no “Good” or “Evil”.
--There is no “Right” or “Wrong”.
--There may be “brain”, but there is no Mind.
-- There is “body”, but there is no Soul.
--There is matter, but there is no Spirit.
And, of course, most importantly, she informs us that there is no “Sin”.and no “God” who calls it so.
Her acolytes proudly reason that there is no Purpose or Meaning to this life beyond that of acknowledging that the firing of neural dendrites in the brain determine everything “all the way down”. This they perceive to be “enlightened”. They proudly reason that there is no Reason and no absolute “right” or “wrong”at all..... .And then, with rebel flair and swagger, they reason that they are being perfectly reasonable in doing so and even insist that they are rallying beneath “reason”'s banner, all the while swearing that they are absolutely “right”.
They may sincerely believe that “reason” is their banner, but logical consistency is not exactly their strong suit.
She claims to be a religion of tolerance, and yet some of her most prolific and outspoken apostles (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, P.Z. Myers, the late Christopher Hitchens, and many, many more) have often demonstrated quite the opposite to be true, expressing vitriolic animus and disdain for those who profess and confess a different understanding of reality than they.
Her Sacred Text (one might say her “Old Testament”Book of Law) is derived from the scrolls of Darwinian Macro-Evolutionism, an interesting but ruthless tome that declares that only “the fittest” deserve to survive. This dog-eat-dogmatic, constantly changing revelation is a testament to an undirected, random and purposeless procedure called “natural selection”, a quite mystical process that they firmly believe somehow produced man from mud for no particular reason at all. Those who dare to question this Book of Law, Darwin's Descent of Man... (which, by the way, has now been published in stone)... are deemed slow-to-evolve “heretics”, declared outcasts and placed “outside the gates”.
Her “New Testament” articles of Faith (based upon her up-to-date latest findings), also derive from Humanism's Seat of Idol-Pride. These articles promise future hope of freedom, peace and purification through the sacrificial system of doggedly working through Scientism's New Age Catechisms of Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Micro-biology, etc.). Ironically, hers is a robust “works righteousness” program for those who scoff at the very concept of ultimate “right-ness” at all. Some might detect an underlying intellectual incoherence in all of this, but for those who sincerely embrace the truth that there is no Truth, this is simply not a problem....
And even though the faithful may be seen handing out tracts proclaiming the good news of human “progress”, the religion's spiritual foundation has remained unchanged for thousands of years.......
de-ter-min-ism/ (noun): a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws.
“We've Determined We're Determined!”
(We're Determined You Should Know)
We've determined ...We're determined
By blind matter all around;
There's no overriding Reason
To distract us we have found.
We're determined by electrons
Zooming 'round 'n' 'round in space.
Everything is pre-determined;
Every thing is in its place.
Even ”love” we know's illusion,
Only neural cells in heat;
We're determined there's no Meaning,
And that life's a dead-end street.
Yes, we're really quite determined
By those feelings in our genes,
Chromosomes that keep us reeling
In our quest for Self-Esteem.
And we're really quite determined
To be free from Moral Codes;
We're determined to escape them,
So we kick against the goads.
We've determined....”truth”'s subjective!
Even then, it's just a mist;
We're determined....There's no Purpose;
All true Meaning's been dismissed!
So, you see, we're quite determined...
Oh, my yes! We're lean 'n' mean!
We're the Cult of Chemo-Cousins
From the Tribe of Meat Machines..
We're determined.... “Good” 's fictitious.
We're determined ...”Bad” 's O.K.
We've determined “Virtue” 's worthless...
Just Gray Matter all The Way!
We've determined Free Volition
Is a vapor and a Lie;
We know Nothing really matters,
There's no need to wonder “Why?”
We're determined.....”right” 's demoted...
We're determined ….”wrong” 's not right.
We're determined....there's no spirit...
At the tunnel's end...no light.
We're determined.....all's illusion,
Just a pointless Chem-O-Dream;
We've determined there's no Meaning
To The Evolution Scheme.
We've determined Darwinism
Is a Magik-Trick in time;
We're determined...and there's really
Only Matter...... never Mind.
We're determined “accidentals”,
Random Mutants on the rise;
We're determined...There's no Person
Whereby mankind was devised.
We've determined no Designer
Could have ever placed us here;
We're determined ...Sons of Atom
Have no Sov'reign God to fear.
We're determined....all that matter's
Only matter... never souls ;
We're determined mechanisms
With no high or lofty goals.
We're determined by the senses....
Brain Activity is King!
There's no 'god' or law or judgment...
There's no Christ...The Go-Between
We're determined...there's no reason
Slime-Were-Us should bend the knee;
We're determined.... there's no “heaven”...
We choose Dark Eternity.
* * * * *
Lord, this darkness has descended...
Lord, have mercy on us all;
Give us Grace to see our Sin, Lord,
And to recognize the Fall.
Give us eyes to see the Light, Lord...
Holy Spirit, stir the soul;
Help us knock to find the answer...
Revelation! Truth foretold.
* * * * * * *
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1: 3-5)
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation.....” (Psalm 27: 1)
“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place...” (2Peter 1: 19)
“This is what God the LORD says---he who created the heavens and stretched them out......I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:5...7)