Friday, March 23, 2012

Way Up in the Middle of the Air

Wilson is giving away the punchlines before I can find this book: Way Up in the Middle of the Air:
That blind shuffling of atoms produced Presbyterian thoughts in my head, and atheistic thoughts in his, but neither of us are thinking, any more than we are choosing. 
Harris disclaims any authorship for his thoughts. What does that mean? It means that an impersonal blind chance wrote his book, which undercuts my confidence in its veracity, which in turn undercuts any reason for believing that it was written by blind processes. 
Put it this way. Why did Harris drink a glass of water? He claims that he has absolutely no idea (p. 19). Now I have a real stumper for him, given all that he has been affirming here. Why does he affirm atheism? The answer has to be the same. He has to acknowledge that he has no idea. If atheism is the case, the first thing we should settle in our minds is the fact that the atheists don't and can't know it -- given the premises, knowing, arguing, choosing, and deciding are all as illusory as Farley's ghost....
If free will is an illusion, one of the first questions we should ask is how many other cherished illusions are there? One of those illusions is that Sam Harris thinks he wrote a book.

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