|Sam Harris - another zombie|
Harris states clearly: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control.”
So there you have it. Not only is design in nature an illusion according to atheists, however our constant subjective experience of making choices to do one thing and not another is an illusion as well.
Logically, therefore, all praise for good behavior or criticism of bad behavior is irrational since the person doing those things had no choice.
To me this is reminiscent of the doctrine of transubstantiation the belief that,in the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and the wine used in the sacrament is changed into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before. Somehow nothing really is what it appears to be. Or something like that.
Even the New York Times reviewer has mixed feelings:
Couldn’t it be that we need the experience of what Wegner and others call “perceived control,” at least as a model of voluntary behavior, to get on with our lives and to have our achievements recognized and to be instructed by our failures? (Doesn’t Harris enjoy his success? I bet he does.) Finally, what happens to traditional qualities of character like courage, villainy, leadership? Poof! However correct Harris’s position may be — and I believe that his basic thesis must indeed be correct — it seems to me a sadder truth than he wants to realize.