A Moment of Clarity from Richard Dawkins

New Atheist activist Richard Dawkins is caught off guard when asked about free will. Because of this, he answers in a remarkably candid manner (sidekick Lawrence Krauss also answers, but he comes across as babbling).

The transcript of Dawkins’ response is below the fold.

It’s a question that I dread actually because I don’t have a very well thought out view about it. I think that, I mean I have a materialist view of the world, I think that things are determined in a rational way by antecent events, and so, THAT convinced me to the view that when I think I have free will, I’m deluding myself. My brain states are determined by physical events. And yet that seems to contradict the very powerful subjective impression that we all have, that we do have free will.

As you can see, the “materialist view of the world” is what causes Dawkins to deny free will. He is precisely correct. It’s “the materialist view of the world” vs. the “powerful subjective impression that we all have.” Dawkins embraces the materialist view of the world and thus dismisses his subjective experience as a delusion. Me? I embrace my subjective experience and thus dismiss the materialist view of the world as the delusion.

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5 Responses to A Moment of Clarity from Richard Dawkins

  1. GeoffSmith says:

    Dawkins is right to note that one of the prime evidences for free-will is the subjective impression. I would go further though and note that the ‘subjective impression of free will’ is precisely the experience we must interpret. It’s weird to say, “I have the most immediate possible observation of personal freedom” and simultaneously say, “Every thing I know about the world contradicts the theory of free-will.” The mistake is that people suppose that the data (I make choices) is the theory (there is a thing out there called a free-will).

  2. Tim Moore says:

    More concerning is if Dawkin’s views are merely the result of antecedent physical events. I just can’t see any motivation then for me to believe anything he says.

  3. Kevin says:

    I just love how they shoot themselves down. It’s hard to call people irrational for not believing what the Dawkins brand of atheists does when neither the theist nor the atheist has any choice in what they believe, which blows the entire New Atheist movement out of the water. I suppose the atheist would counter with they have no choice but to be a conceited blowhard toward Christians, which is logically consistent I suppose.

  4. John Peters says:

    It also doesn’t give them any room for morality. We cannot say that a person is immoral unless they have some way of acting otherwise.

  5. UpstateIslandersFan says:

    “I think that…things are determined in a rational way by antecedent events…When I think that I have free will…I am deluding myself.”

    What I find so weird is the unexamined belief that physical events can create the rationality that Dawkins believes he embodies. I think that if you want to hold to a physicalist view you can’t argue for morality or even actions that have objective meaning. In fact, the idea of a delusion seems strange because it implies a self and not simply a self, but a self that has a grasp of abstract truth. I think if you are going to hold these views it is far better to eliminate everything down to bare bones physical causation and dispense with the idea that there is really any deep truth you have access to.

    I really despise these men. Certainly, I don’t wish them any ill will but the nastiness and pompousness they exude is just too much. I feel sorry for the cheesy looking table on the stage for having to stand between them.

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