CA66 Materialism, Consciousness, and Atheism

We discuss the relationship between atheism, consciousness, and materialism after debunking arguments from consciousness formulated by Peter Kreeft and William Lane Craig. We also discuss why it’s important for naturalists to think carefully about these issues. I suspect that seemingly unrelated problems arise from our lack of a convincing story about consciousness. Consciousness and related phenomena, like morality and meaning, seem to be a major source of resistance to physicalism, naturalism, and atheism.

[Edit] Based on some of the feedback I’ve received, I feel the need to reiterate a major thesis of this episode: there is no incompatibility between atheism and any explanation of consciousness on offer. Atheism is not mutually exclusive to materialism, idealism, dualism, panpsychism, or any other solution to the mind-body problem. There is nothing one could say about the mind-body problem or the hard problem of consciousness that would count as a strike against atheism.

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Alvin Plantinga – Against Materialism [PDF]

William Lane Craig – Argument from Intentionality [Reasonable Faith]5

Does consciousness point to God? – Unbelievable [YouTube]

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ben Shapiro [YouTube]

Thomas Nagel – Mind and Cosmos [Amazon]

Arguments from Consciousness [wiki]


Here are modern atheist philosophers who hold very different views on consciousness:

Martine Nida-Rümelin, Atheist and Substance Dualist

Galen Strawson, Atheist and Panpsychist

Dan Dennett, Atheist and Materialist

Thomas Nagel, Atheist and Neutral Monist

(Young) Bertrand Russell, Atheist and Idealist

Keith Ward, Christian Idealist

Sharon Dirckx, Christian Substance Dualist

Peter van Inwagen, Christian Materialist