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If Atheism Is True and Man is a Machine, Why Is "Thinking Not a Mechanical Process"?

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11 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

"Thinking is not a mechanical process", Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt's Speech

But if atheism is true and man is a biological machine lacking what theists would call a soul, then how is "thinking not a mechanical process"?

Mechanical means automatic. Thinking is not an automatic process, as explained it the paragraph you removed that out of context quote from.|

Next time, read the whole paragraph. That would answer most of the questions you keep starting pointless threads for, by the way, not just this one.

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47 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Nicky, if man is an automaton without a soul, then thinking is an automatic process.

It'd help to add context to the quote. Automaton is a loaded word here. "Mindless machines" is like behaviorism. Souls aren't required, you just need mental states.

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34 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

It'd help to add context to the quote. Automaton is a loaded word here. "Mindless machines" is like behaviorism. Souls aren't required, you just need mental states.


Rand was, fundamentally concerned with the refutation of the dominate epistemology of her time, which was the behaviorism of Watson, Skinner and Pavlov - all three of which "supported" Marxist epistemology and that notion that "ideas" are nothing but  "phantoms of the brain" and incapable of affecting changes to matter.  This was seen, by them, as a violation of the Conservation of Energy and a violation of Causality.

This position is little different than the Medieval Scholastics with attributed all causation to the direct, moment by moment, intervention of God.

This is why Materialism/Behaviorism/Determinism so closely mirrors Religion.

Edited by New Buddha
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If it helps in any way:

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival....To remain alive, he must think."

"But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call 'human nature,' the open secret you live with, yet dread to name, is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival-so that you, who are a human being, the question 'to be or not to be' is the question 'to think or not to think.'"--Ayn Rand, from Atlas Shrugged, page 1012.

I happened to be re-reading the novel, so it wasn't too much trouble to transcribe it.

In brief, using one's consciousness for constructive purposes is a volitional act, a choice. Evasion is also a choice, but not a wise choice.


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