Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Influential “neuro” atheists leading the race to nothing?

If “neuroatheist” isn’t a word, I am glad invented it. Someone made a list of the word’s 25 most influential atheists.

No’s 2 and 4, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett, have been trashing the mind and free will for years, and now Stephen Hawking, in No. 5 position, has started up on that theme. Oh yes, and Steve Pinker, trailing at 6.

If there is free will, then they rejected God of their own free will, but if their isn’t, the buzz of neurons made them do it. Their neurons buzzed one way, mine another.

A surefire recipe for a meaningful life that.

Lists are fun and good learning tools, even if we wonder how anyone can know who’s the most influential.

Mid-century British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, himself “famous for being famous”, used to send up that kind of thing. He would ask, did anyone know how influential Jesus or his mother would become, in the several generations following their deaths? Think about it.