It is an established fact, according to leading philosophers, that Darwin’s theory of natural selection also applies to development of psychology—non-material emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. This theory is called “naturalism” or “materialism,”—not bird-watching or mall-hopping, but that all affections are simply the result of physical brain activity
The Geneticist, Frances Crick explained it this way: “ ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. Who you are is nothing but a pack of neurons.”
Leading atheists Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennet agreeing, contend that this reduces all of life—our reasoning, morals, and love—to pure physics. Every human phenomenon is the result of actions and reactions starting at the big bang. This means there is no reason for the way we behave or the way the world is; it is all the result of blind chance of brain activity, and in that sense it is all pre-determined: essentially, we are just moist robots!
Dennet realizes the danger inherent in this idea: that if people come to believe their sense of free will or belief in objective morality is essentially an illusion, it has the potential to undermine order the civilisation requires. It’s essential to leave them in the belief that these affections are real.
Unfortunately, A leading philosopher, Tom Nagel—himself an avowed atheist, has contended that the affections are real, and cannot be accounted for by any evolutionary process. This has been roundly condemned by his associates as a retrograde step in their “progress” of understanding humanity.
Nagel contends that there are parts of the human psyche that cannot be accounted for by natural processes, and which run counter to common sense. Anything that is a retreat from “science”—especially common sense—is heresy to his associates.
But no-one thinks of his daughter, for instance, as just “molecules in motion”! If materialists really lived what they believed, they wouldn’t just be materialists, they’d be psychopaths. Orwell hit the nail on the head: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”
Nagel himself gives the motive for such obstinacy: fear of religion. “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
Adapted from an article in The Weekly Standard by Andrew Ferguson