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How to Live a Happy Life From a Leading Atheist – Daniel Dennett

This pertains to the article: David Marchese, How to Live a Happy Life From a Leading Atheist, New York Times, Aug. 25, 2023 AD.

The leading Atheist in view is Daniel C. Dennett—one of The Four my Little Ponies of Atheism—about whom Marchese tells us and Dennett is, “perhaps best known” as asserting, “there are no metaphysical mysteries at the heart of human existence, no magic nor God…Instead, it’s science and Darwinian evolution all the way down.”

Now, I’ll point out instantly that we’re told that thus saith Dennett How to Live a Happy Life without a premise: this is a case of one accidentally existing apes dictating to other accidentally existing apes how to live a happy accidental life: without even telling us up against being happy is preferred nor getting into the subjective nature of that concept—much less about that being happy, on Dennett’s worldview, refers to accidentally existing apes emotively subjectively interpreting the accidental byproducts of an accidental mixture of bio-neural-chemicals in our haphazardly evolved brain.

Marchese notes that in a book, Dennett, “traces the development of his worldview, which he is keen to point out is no less full of awe or gratitude than that of those more inclined to the supernatural.”

He quotes Dennett thusly, “I want people to see what a meaningful, happy life I’ve had with these beliefs.” Did you catch the emotively subjective qualifying terms? “I want…” much as if he would declare, “I like…vanilla ice-cream.”

Moreover, Dennett declares, “I don’t need mystery.” Of well, that’s nice—I suppose. Perhaps no one needs a mystery but as far as I know, Dennett isn’t omniscient so need or not, mysteries persist.

Marchese notes, “Right now it seems as if truth is in shambles…” but on Atheism, truth is accidental, as is our ability to discern it, there’s no universal imperative to adhere to it, nor to demand that others do so either.

He then states, “let’s look at epistemology, the theory of knowledge” very well then, let’s. On Atheism engaging in epistemology is a subjective personal preference du jour. Sure, Dennett may, “want” do engage in it but he may also “want” to eat vanilla ice-cream: what of it?

He then wrote of, “fact” but since facts are nuggets of truth based on reality, then on Atheism, facts/truth/reality is/are accidental, as is our ability to discern it/them, there’s no universal imperative to adhere to it/them, nor to demand that others do so either.

Dennett was asked, “What did you mean by ‘tiny robots’?” and replied, “Each cell is a living agent of its own. It has a sort of agenda: It’s trying to stay alive” and that survival instinct is accidental, on Atheism—boy oh boy, good thing that the very first living thing was accidented with that instinct. Actually, it’s not a, “good thing” on Atheism since, like literally everything else, it just is. If the first living thing didn’t survive and we wouldn’t be there to discuss it then it would matter not.

Moreover, he noted, “It’s got to keep itself a supply of energy to keep going. It’s got a metabolism. It’s the descendant of a long ancestry of free-floating, living cells that had to fend for themselves, and they’ve all joined forces to make a multicellular body. Those are little robots.”

The statistics on life coming from non-life and that life just so happened to have a survival instinct and the ability to keep itself a supply of energy to keep going and a metabolism and actually no ancestry and that it fended for itself but then somehow multiplied and joined forces to make a multicellular body are the stuff of which Atheist cosmogenic—and biogenic—myths are told.

And, of course, this is the simple-simple-simple-simple-simplified version since each of those steps require a massive number of extremely fine tuned symbiotic interactions: all that just happened and just so happened to have happened the way that they just so happened to have happened.

Furthermore, “neurons reach out and grab other neurons and send signals to them” with, “trillions of motor proteins, and motor proteins are not alive…They march along on these little highways on the brain, carrying things around…the necessary materials to keep the cell going and to repair and to extend its dendrites…Life couldn’t exist without these little molecular machines — by the trillions…Human life and human consciousness are made possible by these incredibly brilliant consortia of little robots.”

Rewrite: accidentally existing neurons somehow know to reach out and grab other accidentally existing neurons and somehow know to send signals to them with trillions of accidentally existing motor proteins, and motor proteins are not alive…They somehow know to march along on these little accidentally existing highways on the accidentally existing brain, somehow knowing to carrying things around the accidentally existing necessary materials to accidentally keep the cell going and to somehow know to repair and to extend its dendrites accidentally existing life couldn’t accidentally exist without these little accidentally existing molecular machines — by the trillions, accidentally existing human life and accidental human consciousness are made accidentally possible by these incredibly accidentally brilliant consortia of little accidentally existing robots.

And that’s about all of the relevant portions about which I wanted to comment.

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