Famous 'Materialists'
“Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it, but the instruction of fools is folly”    Proverbs 16:22

"When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth"   Proverbs 8:27

Strict controversial Materialists are known as the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism":  Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens.

In short, strict materialism says that consciousness is the emergent action of a clump of meat, rather than a miracle property of that meat.  That life has no higher purpose than the ‘perpetual survival of DNA’.

The "Four Horsemen of New Atheism" are deist, such as Jefferson and Emerson, who believe in a “first cause” kind of deity that began the universe but which does not interfere with its natural processes – the so called ‘watchmaker’ model.  To them, “Spirit” is nothing but a myth or at least is superfluous.  They will not claim that science can disprove the existence of God, however they do postulate that science can show that the reality of God is highly improbable.  The perceived key conflict between science and religious beliefs is the possibility of miracles.

The Four Horseman makes the assumption that a 'theistic' universe (revealed theology) would most likely not include a long development (from the viewpoint of biological evolution).  Basically, and rightly so, they are criticizing the mythical, fundamental biblical mindset that literally believes the universe began in ‘4004 B.C’.  Criticizing those who believe in a ‘personal god’ with human qualities such as vengeance, wrath or hate (negativity is man's alone).

The Horsemen and evolutionists have superior explanatory power, but all they really can do is just explain the process, not how, in the words of Ken Wilber, the 'holons' got there.  Where did the 'hydrogen' and 'energy' come from?  Where did the amazing algorithm of Darwin’s ‘natural selection’ come from?

To paraphrase Stephen Hawkings, "if we understand these things, shall we 'know the mind of God?'".

The Four Horseman are correct in stating that a God in a sophisticated, physicist's sense bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible or any other religion, for religion is dogma. 

That ‘miracle’ we call Human Consciousness is difficult to account for if atheism is true.


The popular theoretical physicist and futurist, Michio Kaku, was asked on his opinion on God.  His reply began with Einstein:

Einstein was asked ‘Is there a God?’  Einstein explained that there are two kinds of gods. We have to be very scientific, we have to define what we mean by God".

"If God is the God of intervention - the personal God, the God of prayer, the God that 'parts the waters' (the “miracles”), then you get a hard time in believing that. God listens to all our prayers for - a bicycle for Christmas or smite the philistines, if you please.  Einstein didn't think so".

"Einstein believed in the God of order, harmony, beauty, simplicity and elegance (Beauty, Truth, Goodness).  The God of Spinoza.  Because Einstein believed the Universe was so gorgeous, but it didn't have to be that way.  It could of been chaotic, ugly, messy”.


Joseph Campbell, the popular scholar on myths, discusses God in the PBS series ‘The Power of Myth’:

Prior to the Old Testament, gods were viewed in a mythical, symbolic way.  In the Old Testament the critical distinction became ‘God is a fact, not a symbol'.  The mythological archetypal symbols became interpreted as facts.  Catholics thus use Jesus as a 'factual God'.


Ken Wilber on Materialists
“There are several meanings in defining ‘science’ and ‘spirituality’.  The questions can change on what meaning you’re talking about.  I talk about two different types of sciences, Narrow Science and Broad or Deep Science.
Narrow science only allows evidence from the lowest realm of consciousness - the sensorimotor. Broad science includes evidence from logic, mathematics and also would include testimony of meditators and spiritual practitioners…. In essence, Narrow Science trumps Narrow Religion, but Broad Science trumps Narrow Science".

"If the criticism about science and religion boils down to ‘science is genuine’ and ‘religion is nonsensical’, the battle can never be resolved. The only real battle is between genuine science and bogus science, and between genuine religion and bogus religion. Where “genuine” means experientially verifiable (or refutable) and “bogus” means dogmatic, non-experiential. Where the ‘subjectively experienced’ is falsifiable. Religious experience (as direct apprehension) passes the scientific test if it is experiential, repeatable and public. For example, the transmission of Buddha’s enlightenment over the centuries disproves the claim religious experience is private and non-communicable."

Wilber does not use the word God because he says the meaning of that word carries such divergent connotations so as to be useless in communicating.

"Reality is Spirit...The arrow of time moves in the direction of complexity, with humans currently at the leading edge (as far as we know), with our consciousness probing “what’s next?...Ahead of us are levels that cannot be known through reason nor expressed in words".

"There is more to Reality than what we can touch and taste and measure and describe...I’m impressed with the logic of the Materialists, but unconvinced that we are collectively nothing but biological creatures  (the ‘clump of meat’)".


 

Michael Polanyi 

The Tacit Dimension  (1966) 

 

"Yet it is taken for granted today among biologists that all manifestations of life can ultimately be explained by the laws governing inanimate matter. K.S. Lashley declared this at the Hixon Symposium of 1948, as the common belief of all participants, without ever consulting his distinguished colleagues. Yet this assumption is patent nonsense. The most striking feature of our own existence is our sentience. The laws of physics and chemistry include no conception of sentience, and any system wholly determined by these laws must be insentient. It may be in the interest of science to turn a blind eye on this central fact of the universe, but it is certainly not in the interest of truth. I shall prefer to follow up, on the contrary, the fact that the study of life must ultimately reveal some principles additional to those manifested by inanimate matter, and to prefigure the general outline of one such, yet unknown, principle."

 


Sylvia Browne
The Other Side and Back (NY Times Bestseller, 2000)

“Do not ever believe that illness or death is in any way a punishment from God, or that if you are unable to heal yourself or a loved one, you’ve somehow failed. God doesn’t punish, ever. Illness and death are included in life’s blueprint…There is a higher purpose to the decisions we make when writing our blueprints and when acting on them, that we may not understand now, but we understood once and we’ll understand again when we’re back Home on The Other Side”.

“A combination of three elements can make a miracle – prayer, belief and affirmation”.



What 'atheist' typically means is that he or she does not go along with some kind of Christian god (organized religion). There are pure white entity atheists. Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, atheists, all of us, are trying to make their way in this world.

 

  z