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Author Topic:   The Meaning of Life for Atheists
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1350 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 46 of 56 (494508)
01-16-2009 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Agobot
01-16-2009 3:01 AM


Re: No Such Thing as Objective Meaning
Agobot, you are an idiot.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

Bullshit. Atheism simply means one does not beleive in god(s). That does not mean we "know" god(s) do not exist.


Exactly, you believe god(s) do not exist. And you fight for your beliefs. As I said it's fun to watch the 2 belief systems, which are radical to anyone who's not brain-washed into believing any of the 2 "options", fight for their dogma.

You still don't get it. A lack of belief in god(s) is not the same as belief that no god(s) exist. There are some Atheists who actively believe that no god(s) exist. Others, like me, have no active belief regarding god(s). I don't believe in them, which is very different from believing they do not exist. It's an entirely different chain of logic, and you seem unable to comprehend the difference.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

Some might say as much, but many of us simply find no reason to believe in any deities.


Yes, belief. It's also the foundation of all religions. Including Atheism.

Atheism is not a religion, and in my case my Atheism is defined specifically by a lack of belief. You don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about. As you continue to repeat yourself, ask yourself whether cold is a form of energy opposite heat, or if it is the lack of heat, and why that would be relevant.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

There is a rather large difference, and it has nothign to do with how well science has or has not explained the Universe, and everything to do with the fact that there is no evidence supporting the existence of any deities.


Cool, sounds logical but dismissing all possibilities of a creator of some kind is radical.

I don't dismiss the possibility. Most Atheists I know don't dismiss the possibility, either. We just have no reason to believe in one, and so we do not. Further, why would such a position be radical? Is dismissing the possibility of an invisible pink unicorn radical as well?

quote:
Rahvin writes:

Assertion X is not necessarily the default position if Assertion Y fails to explain something. The default position is "I don't know."


If that were the case, there would be no atheism, but just religion and agnosticism.

Agnosticism is very close to some forms of Atheism. Agnosticism says "I don't know;" Atheism says "I don't have any reason to think so." You still aren't comprehending that Atheists are not all the same, and only some actively believe there are no deities and dismiss their existence as even a possibility.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

You seem to enjoy conflating rather large and heterogenous groups into incredibly stereotyped monolithic homogenous blocs. Not all Atheists have no religion.


Yeah right, and not all bears are bears, some are birds. I guess Bertot is an athesist who believes in god.

Christ, you apparently can't read, either. I suppose I can repeat myself again. Atheism means "no god(s)" and nothing else. It doesn't mean "no religion,[/i] though that's certainly the most common case. But animist or "spiritual" religions that believe in the supernatural or an afterlife or what have you but do not beleive in any deities are still technically Atheist. Among the "no religion" Atheists, there are still a wide variety of positions - some actively beleive that there are definitely, positively no deities, and others accept the possibility that god(s) may exist but have no reason to think so.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

Not all Atheists disbeleive in god(s) for the same reason. Not all religious people are Christian, and not all Christians even accept the Bible as some "ultimate tool for explaining everything."


I obviously didn't mean the Bible is the only holy book, but thanks for finding "holes" in my position.

Perhaps you should try saying what you mean next time, because yuor entire statement regarding religious people relying ont eh Bible was bogus - not all religions even rely on any holy text, not all Christians count the Bible as the "final authority," etc.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

This makes your posts woefully inaccurate and infuriatingly simpleminded.


Why? Because I don't believe what you believe?

No, becasue you spout falsehoods. You get the facts wrong. I couldn't care less what you believe, as long as you don't misrepresent what I or other people believe.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

At first, reading your various misconceptions regarding evolution, Atheism, and religion were amusing, as well. Then you kept making the same errors after being corrected, and doing so to a greater degree each time.


No, I don't claim to know how nature works with 100% certainty. No scientist does. No biologist does. Only atheists do, you know everything about evolution with great certainty. That's great! Stick to your beliefs, it seems all human need some form of religion - whether it's christianity, judaism or atheism.

Idiot. No Atheist I'm aware of claims to know how nature works with absolute certainty. Even if the processes of nature were 100% unknown, there would still be no reason to believe in a deity until there is evidence that a deity exists. "I don't know != "God," except with "God of the Gaps" morons.

By your definition of religion, Agobot, it's impossible to have no religion - even the absence of belief is counted as a religion itself. That's not indicative of a well-thought-out definition of terms.

quote:
Rahvin writes:

Now you're a broken record, and I question your ability to actually process information and learn.


Yes I am. Because I don't know everything that you know with the certainty you believe you know it. BTW, I have no desire to "process information and learn" about your beliefs because to an unpredjudiced observer both positions are radical.

That second sentence didn't even make sense. And I can see that you don't even comprehend that having a conversation and debate requires you to process what other people say. Now that you've expressed that you don't care whether you completely misrepresent other people's points of view, I have to question your purpose on this board, and I'll stop feeding you, troll.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Agobot, posted 01-16-2009 3:01 AM Agobot has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 47 of 56 (494510)
01-16-2009 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Agobot
01-16-2009 7:18 AM


equivocation
You claim you know that there is no meaning involved in evolution.

I thought I'd pop in and remind all parties that it is easy to accidentally equivocate over terms such as meaning, purpose, function and reason since there is much overlap between the terms. As with so many discussions of this nature it might be a good idea to get it straight what you mean. By meaning do we mean 'spiritual or personal significance' or 'goal' or 'something intended to be conveyed'.

Because you know there is no god and because you assume mutations are completely random.

Nobody is assuming mutations are 'completely random' in the sense that would mean 'We have to believe determinism is false'. Once again, it is easy to equivocate on the terms here. Random is meant 'random with respect to the fitness of the organism'. The mutations are caused by chance events in the complex biochemistry of DNA replication. Those events have their own causes, and so on. Because of the huge numbers, the small scales and the number of possible variables we consider them essentially unpredictable. This is the sense in which mutations are named 'random'. Not because they have no deterministic basis. It is akin to chaos, rather than mathematically random.

I am not telling anyone what they think. I merely said that life is objectively meaningless according to atheism. And I challenge each and everyone to produce a single objective purpose.

Hmm, and it is objectively meaningless according to many forms of theism. There is certainly an objective reason as to why we are here. We are here because our parents had sex and their two genomes united in a suitable environment and phenotypic development began and the body grew into what we have today.

There is certainly an objective reason as to why our parents had sex and so on and so forth. Is there some objective purpose or meaning above and beyond all of this? You can believe that God exists and believe that there is no objective meaning above and beyond this. You can believe in God and believe that there is some meaning beyond this.

Of course, you could also believe in a superGod that created God, in which case you might also believe there is some meaning for God giving us the meaning we have and so on and so forth.

But here is an objective, atheistic meaning above and beyond cause and effect for as to why we are here:

A scientist in another universe set things in motion in this universe for the purposes of entertainment in a massive 'reality show'. This requires no deities or supernatural entities at all - but it is an objective purpose for our being brought into existence. I believe that meets your atheistic objective purpose standards. Still, moving back to the equivocation and definition problem it is difficult to know exactly what you mean.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Agobot, posted 01-16-2009 7:18 AM Agobot has not yet responded

  
Ambercab
Inactive Junior Member


Message 48 of 56 (494624)
01-17-2009 9:06 AM


Modulus, I agree with your post 47 except that your objective, atheistic meaning as to why we are here doesn’t work.

The dictionary defines God as "the being that created and rules the universe…" or "a spirit or being believed to control some part of the universe or life…". Your extra-universe scientist is therefore a god. And you left us wondering who or what created your scientist. Try again. I think you will either need to give up on any kind of agency being involved, or say that there is no meaning to existence apart from we create for ourselves.

If there is a deep meaning then we may not be equipped to know it (why do we think we are?) unless we found a sign (remember Douglas Adams and God’s final message to his creation: "Sorry for the inconvenience").


There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made - Richard Feynman
Replies to this message:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1114 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 49 of 56 (494638)
01-17-2009 11:37 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Ambercab
01-17-2009 9:06 AM


Hi Ambercad,

The dictionary defines God as "the being that created and rules the universe…" or "a spirit or being believed to control some part of the universe or life…". Your extra-universe scientist is therefore a god.

I don't see how you came to this determination. The scientist is not a "being" or "spirit", it is a biological organism, like us. Modulous does not need to provide the origin of the scientist since it was just the origin of our universe that was being explained. Nor does the scientist rule anything or controls life.

Your extra-universe scientist is therefore a god.

He is nothing more than a scientist who is very smart and capable of creating a 4D universe by understanding the fundamental functions of matter/energy. Unless we change the meaning of God to "anything that can create", then we are all gods.

But, the scientist scenario does fit perfectly with Abogots criteria for an atheist. No God required was the point, and the meaning was for the entertainment of the scientist.


"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Ambercab, posted 01-17-2009 9:06 AM Ambercab has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19868
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 50 of 56 (494642)
01-17-2009 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by onifre
01-17-2009 11:37 AM


Clark's principle
Hey onifre,

He is nothing more than a scientist who is very smart and capable of creating a 4D universe by understanding the fundamental functions of matter/energy. Unless we change the meaning of God to "anything that can create", then we are all gods.

Asimov's Clark's principle that any technology sufficiently advanced from our own to be incomprehensible is equivalent to magic.

It matters only that the technology is superior to the understanding we have of the natural world for it to be supernatural.

Of course you could also demonstrate how this would be fundamentally different from a Deist god that creates the universe and then lets it run ...

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : subbie


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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subbie
Member
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 51 of 56 (494643)
01-17-2009 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by RAZD
01-17-2009 12:18 PM


Re: Asimov's principle
Not to undermine your point in the least, RAZD, but your misattribution is showing. It was Clarke,, not Asimov, who postulated the advanced technology law that you mention.


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19868
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 52 of 56 (494648)
01-17-2009 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by subbie
01-17-2009 12:26 PM


Re: Asimov's Clark's principle
oops.
This message is a reply to:
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Ambercab
Inactive Junior Member


Message 53 of 56 (494739)
01-18-2009 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by onifre
01-17-2009 11:37 AM


onifre

The dictionary I was using is Cambridge Online, which also defines a being as "a person or thing that exists". My logic was: The scientist is a person/thing that exists, so the scientist is a being, and since the scientist created our universe, he/she/it fits the definition of a god.

I’m new here and forgot to explain what I’m getting at, which is this:

I’ve met some Christians who are happy to say that they are religious, but have also met some (a whole church full in one case) who maintain that their belief is not a religion because they know that God exists; it is obvious (to them) that God exists. To me it is double-speak since it requires a redefinition of words to fit their group world-view.

Modulus doesn’t say how we could falsify the proposition about the scientist. If it can only be believed as a matter of faith then why isn’t it just another new religion? What is the essential difference between 'knowing' that God exists and proposing that the scientist exists, when no objective tests are possible in either case?

Put it another way: I ‘know’ that the scientist likes to wear blue socks while watching American Idol. Did I just step over a borderline into religion, and if so, where’s the line?


There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made - Richard Feynman
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 640 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 54 of 56 (494746)
01-18-2009 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by Ambercab
01-17-2009 9:06 AM


Gods are not required for possible objective meaning.
Ambercab writes:

The dictionary defines God as "the being that created and rules the universe…" or "a spirit or being believed to control some part of the universe or life…". Your extra-universe scientist is therefore a god.

The dictionary? The dictionary?! Are you a mono-dictionariest? :)

Certainly, an extra-universal scientist can fit some definitions of "God", but there are many that he wouldn't fit.

And you left us wondering who or what created your scientist. Try again. I think you will either need to give up on any kind of agency being involved, or say that there is no meaning to existence apart from we create for ourselves.

It's arguable that Mod's scientist could be a natural part and product of her universe, as we appear to be of this one, and that her own existence is objectively meaningless, but that the subjective meaning that she has for her creation of this universe confers a meaning on it which is objective from our perspective. It would be meaning that exists outside our minds.

If there is a deep meaning then we may not be equipped to know it (why do we think we are?) unless we found a sign (remember Douglas Adams and God’s final message to his creation: "Sorry for the inconvenience").

Indeed. And we may not have the mental equipment to understand it however many signs there were. But, please don't encourage people to believe that there might be signs around, because there are plenty of our brethren who are capable of receiving signals that have never actually been sent by anyone. ;)

Here's another kind of "objective meaning of life" example that atheists could believe without involving gods or extra-universal scientists.

"The meaning of life is to learn as much as we can, so that when our souls depart from these dimensions, we are better equipped to exist in the (non-life) dimensions."

That requires religious faith, but not theism. The kind of mistake that Agobot is making on this thread is common in people from mono-theistic cultures. They mistake "theism" for religion, and they frequently mistake "monotheism" for "theism". It's an interesting illustration of cultural conditioning, and is often done by non-theists as well as theists. Agobot also conflates lack of faith with faith in relation to religious/supernatural propositions.

If I were a theist, I'd be a polytheist, as it's more interesting. If one wants an imaginary friend, why not have a whole crowd of them and party?

Welcome to EvC.

ABE{I didn't see your last post before replying to the first, if this sounds a bit odd}

Edited by bluegenes, : see ABE


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Ambercab, posted 01-17-2009 9:06 AM Ambercab has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19868
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 55 of 56 (494761)
01-18-2009 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by Ambercab
01-18-2009 8:09 AM


Hey Ambercab,

... but have also met some (a whole church full in one case) who maintain that their belief is not a religion because they know that God exists; it is obvious (to them) that God exists. To me it is double-speak since it requires a redefinition of words to fit their group world-view.

See Message 185 and Message 186.

Modulus doesn’t say how we could falsify the proposition about the scientist. If it can only be believed as a matter of faith then why isn’t it just another new religion? What is the essential difference between 'knowing' that God exists and proposing that the scientist exists, when no objective tests are possible in either case?

Yes, it's called "intelligent design" and it is (ultimately) a version of deism (even though most people embracing it don't understand that little implication).

As for testing between a god/s created universe, a scientist/s made universe, and a naturally developed universe, see Rrhain on Message 127 and his proposition for a "perfect theory" that is actually true vs the "other theory/ies" that is/are true for all known evidence.

For the record "creation of the universe" qualifies one as a god, imho:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/god

quote:
3. (lowercase) one of several deities, esp. a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.

They would certainly qualify if Pan qualifies as a god.

Not all gods are megalomaniacs after all.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Ambercab, posted 01-18-2009 8:09 AM Ambercab has not yet responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 640 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 56 of 56 (494770)
01-18-2009 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by RAZD
01-17-2009 12:18 PM


Re: Clark's principle
RAZD writes:

It matters only that the technology is superior to the understanding we have of the natural world for it to be supernatural.

To undermine your point slightly, RAZD, the supernatural is not usually defined as being relative to our perception. Some low-tech human cultures have taken the phenomena produced by high tech cultures as being supernatural (cargo cults, for example) but they are wrong, and we would be wrong if we made the same mistake in relation to aliens from this universe or another.

The supernatural is generally considered to be above nature, not just above our perception of nature and its laws at any particular time.

I say "slightly undermine" because you probably can find definitions of supernatural that say things like "perceived to be contrary to natural law".

Modulous uses the word "scientist" for his creator, and if we look up "scientist" in dictionaries, we don't find the word god in any definitions. Because his scientist (as a universe creator) can fit some definitions of "god" doesn't mean it is a deity. Dictionaries can use "A" to describe "B", and "C" can fit "A", but that doesn't mean "C" is necessarily "B", because language is not maths, and it's certainly not logical.

However, the question that's important to this thread is related to the point that some of us have been making, that there's nothing that you can say about atheists other than what defines them, which is, encompassing all definitions, that they don't believe in any gods. So, the idea that we can say that there are no atheists who believe that there are objective meanings to life is wrong. They certainly could, because their belief in meanings, like those of theists, does not have to be evidence based or rational.

So, an atheist could say "meaning is an inherent property of the multi-verse, and that meaning is "x",", and believe that without putting himself outside the definition of "atheist".

In fact, an atheist could in believe in anything, except gods.

That's why a discussion about the meaning of life for atheists as a group is really a non-starter. They are not a group defined in relation to their views on the meaning of life.

Edited by bluegenes, : No reason given.


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