Think of an experience from your childhood. Something you remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all you really were there at the time, weren’t you? How else could you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you weren’t there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place …. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that does not make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important.” - Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Prof. Dawkins has an unshakable belief in the materialistic paradigm and evolutionary biology. Because of his great belief that matter and energy are all there was, is, or ever will be, Dawkins makes an amazing discovery, or rather, comes to an astounding conclusion. Since your original matter and energy was not really present at the event of a children memory, yet you retain that memory, there must be a mechanism for the transference of this memory. Because he rejects the obvious implication of dualism, he asserts that matter, flowing from place to place, has some unknown hidden trait that carries with it memories of events that it passed through. Of course if this were true, I should be able to remember not only my own personal memories but I should have memories of all events my matter has passed through from the beginning of its existence.
For simplicity sake, monism as used here means that reality is composed of a single strata or substance, that is matter (or matter and energy) and is akin to materialistic atheism. Dualism, such as was common to the belief of the ancient Greeks or Hebrews, states that reality is composed of both mind and matter and that these two things are distinct. So when I say Dawkins in a monist I mean he believes in a single layer of reality. This means that Dawkins has to explain how matter can acquire the attributes of the incorporeal, i.e., of mind.
Dawkins attempts to do this with the concept of the MEME he proposed in “The Selfish Gene”. Never mind that there is not one iota of evidence for it except for the use of large words used in a way to make them sound scientific. Never mind that He uses the canned Neo-Darwinian mechanism to explain how memes operate.
Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition and inheritance, each of which influence a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread and (for better or for worse) mutate. – Wikipedia
To keep things squarely in a materialist framework and avoid the more obvious conclusion of theistic dualism, Dawkins has to invent quasi-evolution constructs like memes. There is no basis for this in the evidential world in which Dawkins claims to live. He simply does not know how to explain memory, fashion, or social habits that are found in all cultures. He certainly knows of no explanation for why a hunk of matter, like yourself, should find art, music or architecture of any interest at all. After all, dirt is not musical. It is not moral, it has no memory, contains no blue print or plan. Matter does not choose a set of symbols and organize them to create the syntax and grammar needed by a sender and a receiver to communicate intentions. Matter is not in and of itself information baring, nor does it impose upon that information syntax and grammar.
We use matter in many ways, to pave streets or forge into tools or light up houses and keep warm. What we don’t do is assume it can make moral choices or have unsatisfied desires. My granite counter-top does not pine away wishing it were back in the old mountain it was dug from, at least, not to my knowledge. Such a belief would be considered idiotic. The average, normal, rational person, driven by the evidence all around him treats matter as distinct from mind. The normal assumption of anybody free of materialist atheism that arises out of evolutionary pollution is to treat the world as dualistic rather than monistic.
Memes and replication really explain nothing at all, least of which is now matter acquires the attributes of mind. Of course, to Dawkins, mind is brain. But mind is not brain. Brain is matter. As an analogy we could use a television. Now I realize no analogy is perfect but they can be instructive.
Say a person is siting at home watching “Happy Days”. The cable or satellite or TV antenna is picking up the signal and passing it through the matrix of circuits that is the television. Then, something goes wrong. Prehaps the sound goes out, or all the reds drop out of the picture, or focus is lost. What happened? The signal is still there, with all the information is has always contained. The other TV in the bedroom is still seeing the picture fine. So, a repairman is called. He replaces a part. Then another, then another. Finally the show can be viewed properly again. But the television has new parts that were not in the original configuration. Shouldn’t that make a difference? Not at all because those parts that were needed to see the show properly are completely independent of the signal carrying the show itself.
The same is true of the soul or mind or spirit. The brain may not always work right but it is mere interface for the mind. Memory, desire, values, decisions, free-will, analysis, sorrow, guilt, wonder, amazement, fear, hope, love, hate, purpose, appreciation, gratitude, composition of literature or of music, devotion, ideas, beliefs, and rationality are not found in matter but in mind.
To believe that the love of architecture is merely a signature of some combination of matter and energy is to believe that the effect can be greater than the cause. No rational person believes that. It is akin to saying that books create authors or that I can pour one gallon of water into an empty five gallon bucket expecting it to overflow. It is like believing that 2 + 2 will always be greater then 4. It is a position of extreme irrationality in the presence of the evidence of all reality. What Dawkins and all materialists do is attribute properties to matter that matter does not have and that there is zero evidence for. According to the materialistic atheism of Dawkins, matter desires and remembers those desires and thinks about them using the laws of mind like identity and non-contradiction and excluded middle. Matter has never been observed to possess any of these properties. Matter has never been observed to possess ideas or logic or deductive reasoning. These things are far beyond the pour capabilities of matter. Matter has never been demonstrated to possess these things and no evidence exists for such conclusions. Such a simple thing as a category fallacy sends very bright people into this maze of stupidity.
Yet, Dawkins, Dennett and a great parade of Oxford dons and Cambridge apostles array these beliefs as rational. They tell us with sophisticated language and complex theorems that matter can create mind. It is easier to believe that books create authors. They want us to believe that they are the rationalists among us while the foundation of their beliefs are nitwittery.
Is it any wonder Dennett and Provine claim free-will is an illusion? How could they not if they believe that all mental interactions are just collisions of electric forces governed by physical law. But how does matter come to have the capacity of illusion? How is the matter in our bodies self-aware enough to be even concerned about such an illusion? How is illusion a construct of matter rather than mind? In Dawkins’ world it must be so because mind really doesn’t exist, just matter flowing here and there with unknown magically memes recording everything. After which it becomes me or you for a short time. For that short time we are drones living an illusion and we then think deep thoughts and have unlimited desires and make billions of choices only to disappear again and flow somewhere else. An this is called science?
While being a drone, devoid of free-will may make one a prefect candidate for the state collective, many people, common people, reject Dawkins’ atheistic materialism and evolutionary biology not because of ignorance or evil, but because its foundation forces upon them a belief in the absurd. Dawkins’ monist worldview is not rational but irrational to the point of silliness, it is certain men professing to be wise when they are fools, it is a belief that the effect is always greater than the cause, it is saying that if you want to be considered a brilliant thinker by the elite pundits of the world you have to begin from a base of irrationality.
Why is it that those who believe in a reality of matter and energy only use non-material means such as ideas and language and argument to convince us we should dispense with our common sense and follow their light into darkness?