The atheist materialists say that we’re mere matter, and nothing else exists. No spirit, no soul, nothing greater than a pile of molecules arranged in an certain way. The more philosophically inclined realize the implications of this, that if this is true, there is no true free will, no objective right and wrong. If materialism is true, all that is in existence is the result of blind natural processes.
Another way to explain the implications of atheist materialism is to consider how we view groups of objects. The very concept of a “group” implies that we recognize similarities in a series of individuals, and recognize them as a group. If we are but matter, e.g., molecules in motion, how is it that we recognize universal groups? How is it that we recognize concepts that apply to series of individuals?
For example, when we hear a tune, why do we call it a tune? Why do we not just perceive it as a series of individual tones? For music is merely frequencies of pressure in the air……..so why do we percieve patterns in the frequencies, and call them songs? If we were merely matter, would we not just percieve a series of frequencies?
How is it that we can look at many individuals, and call them a unified group? How is it that we can assign greater value to some groups of individuals and lesser value to others? How can we call one group of frequences a “good” song and another group a “lousy” song?
Plato answered the question by saying that there were forms that existed separate and apart from the object. But this does not explain how the forms exist or anything about them or how they supposedly interact with the objects. Modern researchers feel that there must be something that ties together all that exists, and so they search for what they call the Unified Field Theory.
Regardless, there is really no explanation in a purely materialist world for things such as universals, or melodies, or groups in any sense of the word. At best, there are only individuals, and even in those, we cannot distinguish between where one pile of molecules stop and the next pile starts.
But we obviously do perceive groups, for we have names for universals. And therefore there must be something beyond pure matter, and the atheist materialist has some questions to answer.