Steven Pinker Argues Science Makes Belief In God Obsolete.
I must respond to this batshit.
Steven Pinker says science makes belief in God ‘obsolete’ because… well, let’s hear it from him:
“Traditionally, a belief in God was attractive because it promised to explain the deepest puzzles about origins. Where did the world come from? What is the basis of life? How can the mind arise from the body? Why should anyone be moral? Yet over the millennia, there has been an inexorable trend: the deeper we probe these questions, and the more we learn about the world in which we live, the less reason there is to believe in God.”
O.K., then, Mr. Pinker, let’s get back to those questions you imply science has now answered, or is at least, by your lights, close to answering, thusly making belief in God obsolete:
1. Where did the world [universe] come from?
In Pinker’s view there are 3 possibilties: 1, from nothing, 2, it’s a brute fact, and finally, 3, “beats me!”.
We couldn’t have possibly come from nothing because if we did, then anything can come from nothing, which is absurd. There isn’t anything in ‘nothing’ that would make it produce any specific thing, because prior to producing it, there wasn’t anything! So Scrap that.
Saying the universe is simply a brute fact is no different from saying ‘it’s just magic!’ The guy pulling a rabbit out of a hat will make just as much sense explaining the trick away by saying “it’s just a brute fact that I can pull rabbits out of hats!”
Saying you don’t bloody know where the universe came from is at least a respectable answer — but then we’re left with zero answers to the question you imply science has already answered!
2. How can mind arise from body?
Pinker doesn’t know, but he’ll happily issue a promissory note that science will one day be able to tell us, despite that his buddies Alex Rosenberg, the Churchlands, and Dennett are quite explicit about the answer. And it is that mind does not, in fact, exist — it’s an illusion. Seriously, that’s what they think — it’s what they’re left to think, actually, for how else do you get ‘mind’ from the inanimate except by explaining it away, which seems to be their wont whenever the target explanandum seems, in principle, to be beyond science’s reach. Of course, the problem here is that an illusion presupposes a (wait for it…) MIND to perceive it. So, essentially, to them (Pinker’s buddies, and perhaps to Pinker himself), we have a mind that perceives the illusion of a mind, and maybe another mind that perceives the illusion of a mind perceiving the illusion of a mind, and another mind.. ad infinitum. Or, in a nutshell, the answer they give amounts to illogical, self-referential drivel.
3. Why should anyone be moral?
Pinker is a naturalist, so to him morality is merely the sentimental predispositions humans have acquired that are the residue of evolutionary processes. In other words, we feel this way because feeling this way on the aggregate helps our species flourish. Or, in more other words, eating babies only seems morally reprehensible because if we kept eating babies — by golly — we wouldn’t have been able to be around for this long as a species! In more, more other words, nothing is really right or wrong, all that matters is what will make us survive! Or, in more, more, more other words, morality is just another illusion.
So, to recap:
Where did the universe come from? It either came from nothing, or it’s just magic — or we’ll never know.
How can mind arise from body? Mind is just an illusion, really.
Why should anyone be moral? Nothing, at bottom, really, as morality is just another illusion.
Profound Mr. Pinker. How very profound.
If there’s anything to take from all this, from the patently ridiculous answers Pinker, or the rest of gnu atheists, give to these questions about which people have pondered for millennia, it’s that, well, 1, Pinker is a real clever-silly, and, 2, there are a great many things that seem to be way beyond science’s scope.