Even materialists crave religion. The need to believe—to locate ultimate meaning in the universe—is deeply embedded in our natures.
Atheists seek to deflect attention from this deeply human yearning. Thus, Richard Dawkins famously wrote that Darwin made it possible “to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
But intellectual fulfillment is hardly the same thing as finding meaning and purpose to the mystery of existence. In fact, on another occasion, Dawkins pinpointed a major reason why naked materialism is not widely embraced: “Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end,” he blustered. Maybe. But ultimate existential extinguishment is not a flag most people will cheerily follow. Oohing and aahing at natural selection can only take one so far. Thus, it was only a matter of time before materialists began grasping at a materialist substitute for religion.
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