Monday, November 5, 2012
Today's Atheists Are Pantheists
I just read a review of an interesting book by Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. I know I will not get around to reading the book myself -- there are too many better books still screaming for my limited time -- but this appears to support a contention of mine, that what passes for atheism these days is more accurately a kind of irreligious pantheism. This certainly seems to be the case with Nagel. 'He thinks this “nonpurposive teleology” is different from the other alternatives: “chance, creationism, and directionless physical law.” Naturalistic teleology means that there are organizational and developmental principles that are irreducible parts of the natural order, yet “not the result of intentional or purposive influence by anyone.”' It appears that Nagel's objection to "Theism" is to the idea of a God who is a Person (or, as Christians believe, a Trinity of Persons) that is not a part of the universe itself, while his "nonpurposive teleology" sounds very much like the World Soul about which philosophers in the late ancient world speculated. No doubt some philosopher will want to quibble over the details, but to me all this sounds like a flavor of pantheism.