Atheism and the Denial of the Soul
By Scott Youngren
“You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat?”
“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they’re made of meat.”
“Oh, there is a brain all right. It’s just that the brain is made out of meat.”
“So…what does the thinking?”
“You’re not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat.”
“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat?!”
“Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture, or do I have to start all over?”
–The above is an excerpt from a short science fiction story by Terry Bisson, which UCLA Research Professor of Psychiatry Jeffrey M. Schwartz cites in his book The Mind & The Brain to humorously highlight the absurdity of the belief that we do not have an immaterial soul which exists independent of our brain.
I’m sorry to ruin your day, but if you are reading this, you are nothing but a mindless robot made of meat. How do I know this? Atheists told me so. (And, up to this point, you thought you were a person with a soul…HA!) What you refer to as “me” is really nothing but “a survival machine….a robot vehicle blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes,” in the words of the renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins from his book The Selfish Gene.
Atheism MUST deny the existence of the immaterial self (the soul) because if consciousness can exist independent of matter (referring, of course, to the matter that makes up the human brain), then there is no reason to disbelieve in an immaterial, disembodied conscious being such as God.
Regarding atheism’s denial of the existence of the human soul, philosophers Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro cite two of the most prominent atheist figures of the last 50 years in their book Naturalism…the astronomer Carl Sagan and the biologist Francis Crick…
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