Yesterday’s post described author John Searle’s Chinese Room illustration, and his logic in showing that the physical brain is not sufficient for obtaining meaning. The logic presented there is not mere twisting of words, but logical proofs that mortally wound materialism (the belief that humans are only material, not spirit).
Keep in mind that John Searle makes no claim to be religious. I presume he is not, for his theories go on to try to show that we are only physical bodies without a soul. But what is very interesting is the response that Searle claims he got when he published his theory. When he concluded that the brain cannot be explained by comparing it to a computer, he was vehemently attacked. As Searle describes:
Oddly enough I have encountered more passion from adherents of the computational theory of the mind than from adherents of traditional religious doctrines of the soul. Some computationalists invest an almost religious intensity into their faith that our deepest problems about the mind will have a computational solution. Many people apparently believe that somehow or other, unless we are proven to be computers, something terribly important will be lost. (The Mystery of Conciousness, p.189)
I find this very revealing. For here we have a completely secular writer, Searle, who disproves a pet theory of the atheist materialists, and then is severely attacked. He finds it surprising that he receives so emotional of a reaction, even to the point of describing atheists as having an “almost religious intensity into their faith.” Again, Searle is not presenting himself as a religious person. Quite the contrary, his system is one more attempt to explain the world without invoking God. Yet when he questions a central belief of atheist orthodoxy, he receives a visceral reaction.
I am not surprised in the slightest, for what Searle has done is undermine an essential doctrine of atheism, and an emotional response is what one should expect. When someone questions the beliefs of atheism, the view must be stamped out at all costs. Such a man is declared a heretic and thrown to the outer darkness, for the orthodox atheists must not have their beliefs questioned. Yet in the next breath, the atheists turn around with a straight face and try to convince us that they are only dealing in logic, only following the data where it leads, and try to tell us that they do not have a belief system, but only have a lack of belief. Searle’s experience proves otherwise, and reveals the atheists for what they are.