[Has Arnold Lunn succeeded in poking any holes in Russell’s understanding of what the truth of materialism would mean for humanity? (Arnold Lunn was a Catholic convert and gifted controversialist, both in print and on the debating platform. In his war-time autobiography, And The Floods Came, 1942, he describes how he arranged a skirmish with the eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell while they were both in America early in the war.)]
Nothing is more difficult than for a sceptic to be consistent. If man’s “loves and beliefs” are but the outcome of an “accidental collocation of atoms” then our beliefs are the by-product of forces alien to reason and are therefore not the result of any rational process. We have, therefore, no means of knowing whether in fact our beliefs are the “outcome of accidental collocations of atoms.” Bertrand Russell, in fact, is busily engaged in sawing away the branch on which he is sitting, for the only rational consequence of accepting materialism is the suspicion that we have no rational grounds for accepting any belief, including materialism. And clearly, if all our beliefs are predetermined, it is rubbish to discuss what should be a “free man’s worship,” for man on this hypothesis is not free.
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