Friday, April 17, 2015

579: The End of the Atheism Project

For some reason a lot of people have problems with our finiteness. I really do my best to understand this problem.
We are born, live a short or a long life and die again. people have serious problems with this simple observation. There has to be more.
In my previous lecture I stated, that the question “What is the meaning of life?” is syntactically correct but useless. It gets body by adding a context.
“What is the meaning of life as a member of society, as a father, as a colleague, as a gardener?” That makes sense, but it all comes to an end.
Here a typical quote. I forgot who was the author, bit it was originally posted at ‘National Catholic Register’. -QUOTE-
If consciousness is just a mirage produced by chemical reactions in our brains, and if the mirage permanently flickers out on the day those reactions cease, then do any of our conscious thoughts really matter? 
Sure, you can have an impact on others who will live on after you die, but one day they will disappear into thin air too. 
To my mind, all this talk of valuable life experiences adding up to something meaningful is like talking about how to make X add up to something meaningful in (21 + 2 + 10 + 28 + 22 + 14 + 7) * 0 = __ . In the end, it is zero, it’s all for naught.
This, of course, does not necessarily mean that the atheist materialist worldview is false. Whether or not life has any meaning if atheism is true is a separate question from whether or not it is true in the first place. 
My intent here is simply to point out that you can’t have it both ways: Modern atheism denies that human consciousness is rooted in anything other than the chemicals in our brains, 
thus rejecting the idea that any of our experiences will last outside of time; yet it also tries to say that our consciousness and experiences are meaningful. I don’t see how both of those assertions can be true.
I’ve talked to quite a few Christians who say that if there were no eternal life for the soul, they would still find life to be meaningful. 
Maybe there’s some gene that allows you to sense meaning even if you believe that you’re faced with complete annihilation? 
If so, I don’t have it, because that mindset is not one I’ve ever understood. - END QUOTE -
A nice example of the standard rhetoric , suggesting a lot, but if fact an example of a sloppy use of concepts. The basic idea is that life can not be meaningful, if it is finite.
If our consciousness and thus our thoughts are finite, “then do any of our conscious thoughts really matter? “, is the first question.
The author thinks “no”. But the finite mind of Aristotle produced a lot  of thoughts we still discuss? What about literature, art, music, science? So.. a curious position…
Can life have a meaning, if atheism is true, because if it is true life would be finite? It sounds so simple, but what means “true” here. What concept of truth is meant?
Nevertheless we are slowly guided to the conclusion, that there is just one choice: complete annihilation or the existence of an eternal soul.
So experiences which last outside of time give meaning to our life? And why would that be? Why doesn’t helping my neighbor give meaning to my life or writing a book?
And there is something else I still can not understand: what is the sense of existing eternally for a soul (whatever that is)? What purpose does it serve?
What happened to the souls of all who died in the past 43.000 years, while they did not know they had a soul? Wasn’t that soul invented only a 2500 years ago?
Maybe finding a meaning in the finiteness of a lifetime makes more sense than to look forward to the prospect that your soul will exist for eternity.
Thank you…. the floor is yours ^_^

The Discussion

Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) claps
Max Chatnoir: But the equation is wrong.  It isn't times zero, it's PLUS zero.  So whatever your life means, it goes on meaning that after you die.  If you make it times zero, that implies that death is a part of everything.  I don't think so.  It may FOLLOW everything, but the everything still is.  I think the eternal life myth was invented to pacify people whose lives were hard and horrible so that that wouldn't rebel and take over the castle.
herman Bergson: The classic interpretation of an afterlife MAx
Max Chatnoir: The dinosaurs haven't lost meaning just because they are extinct.
herman Bergson: But what surprises me most is this desire of eternal life...
herman Bergson: Neither do I understand this peculiar way of reasoning regarding death, Max
Max Chatnoir: Well, I sort of get it.  I'd like to live until tomorrow, and tomorrow I'd like to live until day after tomorrow.  I don't know when that ends.  If I were sick, senile or in pain, I might decide I would NOT like to live until tomorrow, of course.
herman Bergson: Especially when you are told that the meaning of life is beyond or outside your actual life
Max Chatnoir: The meaning of the dinosaurs is beyond their actual lives.
Max Chatnoir: Unless you count birds, but even if you do, the other dinosaurs still had meaning.
herman Bergson: The will to live is a biological mechanism.....driving all living organisms
herman Bergson: The issue of atheism is becoming a little bit boring, I think :-))
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Max Chatnoir: So we've decided that it's OK, and we won't go to hell, and that we need a new topic.  :-)
herman Bergson: The situation is quite clear....
Bejiita Imako:
Bejiita Imako: i guess
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: only a 13 % of the world population is non religious....
herman Bergson: the other 87% believes in something and discriminates their fellowmen because of their believes
herman Bergson: a sad situation...
Bejiita Imako: indeed
Bejiita Imako: no nice world we live in
Max Chatnoir: Well, which part is making all the trouble?
herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that Bejiita....
Bejiita Imako: sad it is like this in modern days
Bejiita Imako: its 2015 and some live like in mid agaes, killing each other for nothing
Bejiita Imako: as i use to say
Bejiita Imako: make love not war
herman Bergson: yes....but don’t forget that the numbe rof democracies in the world still have increased...
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ;-)
Bejiita Imako: and world would be much happier place
Bejiita Imako: thats true
herman Bergson: it is a slow process...... not completed in our lifetime
Bejiita Imako: but still need to become much better in general, we have long way to go
Max Chatnoir: Indeed, and in some places going backwards.
Max Chatnoir: That's the scary part.
Bejiita Imako: yes, thats what makes me sad, as said, we live in 2015!
Bejiita Imako: not 1200
herman Bergson: I still believe that education will save this planet within a couple of centuries ^_^
Bejiita Imako: more education and less brainwashing would help
herman Bergson: At the end nobody can hide for the increasing scientific knowledge of our reality
Bejiita Imako: thats very true
Max Chatnoir: This morning on NRP I heard a story about a lesbian couple whose minister wouldn't baptise their baby.  What good did that do anybody?  Of course, that's a slightly bizarre story in itself.
herman Bergson: there is nowadays not a single person who still sincerely believes that the earth is flat
herman Bergson: that it is the center of the universe
CB Axel: Actually, I think there still are.
Max Chatnoir: I hope not.
CB Axel: I recently read about flat earthers.
herman Bergson: There are yet still people who believe that some diseases are inflicted by demons or bad spirits
Bejiita Imako: ah
Max Chatnoir: Yes, and if you get cancer, you must have deserved it or god is testing you or something.
herman Bergson: Yes CB....there are always such people :-)
herman Bergson: yes MAx....but medical science will one reveal more and more
CB Axel: I never understood why religious people who pray to be cured of disease ever go to a hospital. Are they hedging their bets that God can or will cure them?
herman Bergson: and all of a sudden....all diseases we can cure are no longer a punishment by god
Max Chatnoir: Or don't vaccinate their children.
Bejiita Imako: i think its sad homosexuality is so frowned upon, not one single time ever i have seen same sex people open show love like other couples always do in the city ect
Bejiita Imako: cause its seen as not normal
Bejiita Imako: bisexuality is more common then u might think
herman Bergson: But there are countries where people of the same gender may marry...
herman Bergson: this was never before possible on this planet
Max Chatnoir: True, that is progress.
Bejiita Imako: going in right direction but way to slow progress there too
herman Bergson: So I am not that pessimistic....:-)
Bejiita Imako:
Bejiita Imako: lets just hope for the best
Bejiita Imako:
Max Chatnoir: Education does spread, if we can survive long enough.
Bejiita Imako: thats all we can do
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): humans are often slow oin progress. But I also think that the world in some things changes .
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): slowly;-)
herman Bergson: Yes...and it is just a fact of nature that our brain can not accept changes faster...
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we are afraid also of changes
herman Bergson: for instance....
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): its easier to stay in the comfort zone
CB Axel: I believe that for the most part people don't change but each generation brings the change that we see.
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): yes, true
herman Bergson: ANd I have to create a new comfort zone in the form of a new project .....:-)
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): bit by bit
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): oh ha
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): what will it be
Max Chatnoir: Do you have any thoughts on a new project?
Bejiita Imako:
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): put me in a nice villa with a swimmingpool and I can handle the change very quickly..
herman Bergson: In fact I have indeed.....
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: I was thinking about EVIL.....
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): yes sounds good;-)
herman Bergson: With all these nice almighty all good gods.....we have a problem with evil....
herman Bergson: and even without these gods....
Bejiita Imako: we sure have
herman Bergson: is man intrinsically good or bad?
Bejiita Imako: evil is a big problem in the world
Max Chatnoir: everybody's gods aren't the same so everybody's evil isn't the same.
herman Bergson: It is, Bejiita
Max Chatnoir: And how is evil different from unethical or just bad manners?
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): who decides what bad manners are?
herman Bergson: Yes, MAx....I think we have questions enough about what is evil and how to deal with it
Max Chatnoir: same people who decided who god is?  :-)
Max Chatnoir: Go for the evil, Herman!
herman Bergson: How can we put an end to evil in this world.....?
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): also to face our own evil sides
Bejiita Imako: definition of evil, total opposite of being good
Bejiita Imako: basicaly the desire to cause as much harm as possible for your own sake
Bejiita Imako: to others or nature or whatever
Max Chatnoir: If I walk up to a fat person and say, "gee, you're fat,"  I may be speaking truth, but I may also be doing harm.
Bejiita Imako: and think its ok to do so
Bejiita Imako: thats evil to me
herman Bergson: I am checking some literature on the history of evil among other things....
Max Chatnoir: Cool!
herman Bergson: different times...different kinds of evil
Bejiita Imako: aa ok
Bejiita Imako:
Bejiita Imako: i for one thing can say I’m not evil since i have no desire to hurt others or case any form of damage, i don’t have any drive for such things
herman Bergson: You can continue the study as much as you like.....
CB Axel: Good to know, Beiita.
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: just google on it and you get millions of hits
CB Axel ticks the box "Not Evil" next to Bejiita's name. °͜°
Max Chatnoir: :-)
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
herman Bergson smiles
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Max Chatnoir: Well, I try to behave myself.
herman Bergson: Nice, you keep track of it, CB :-)
Bejiita Imako: promises not to blast CB with LHC beams
Bejiita Imako: hehe
CB Axel: LOL
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): I must leave now.
Bejiita Imako: im trying to help starting the thing up right now
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): Will there be class on Thursday?
herman Bergson: If I have come to one conclusion about atheism, then it is that the subject is pretty quickly boring :-)
herman Bergson: Yes Daruma.....
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Max Chatnoir: Well, you are sort of preaching to the choir here, Herman.
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): Ok see you then.
Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) waves
herman Bergson: Yes Max....
CB Axel: I don't think it's boring.
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Daruma
Max Chatnoir: I thought there were some very good discussions1
herman Bergson: Well...eventually CB....
Max Chatnoir: !
CB Axel: But like Max says, we here are all ok with it.
Bejiita Imako: yes we had indeed
herman Bergson: Yes the discussions were good!
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): boring lectures are lectures too:)
herman Bergson: lol
Bejiita Imako: but atheism i don’t think can be further explored, not much
Bejiita Imako: hehe yes i learned something for sure about it
herman Bergson: That was my feeling too Bejiita...
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: We need some new tunes, new music :-)
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it can't always be sunday:)
Bejiita Imako: hehe
herman Bergson: true Beertje :-))
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): looking forward to the next lectures Herman
Bejiita Imako: aa me too
herman Bergson: Me too :-))
Max Chatnoir: Time for SATURDAY NIGHT EVIL (LIVE spelled backwards)
Bejiita Imako: hahaha
CB Axel: Exploring evil sounds fun.
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahhaha
Bejiita Imako: aaa thats correct
Bejiita Imako: lol
herman Bergson: geez.... LIVE = EVIL.....:-)
Max Chatnoir: But that's only in English.
Max Chatnoir: So you don't have to worry.
Max Chatnoir: What is Evil in dutch?
herman Bergson: in dutch you get... LEVEN (live) = NEVEL (fog)
Max Chatnoir: live in a fog.  That works.
CB Axel: I identify with that.
Bejiita Imako: hehe
Bejiita Imako: ok
herman Bergson: In german too, I realize... LEBEN = NEBEL
herman Bergson: live = fog :-))
Bejiita Imako: living in a fog is a good definition of evil i guess in some ways
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we are living creatures who live in the fog...
Bejiita Imako: in that evil people only think about themselves
Bejiita Imako: not the surroundings other then to harm it
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): stakkers die in het duister tasten....
herman Bergson: Well...I guess we are ready for a new subject......
Max Chatnoir: OK, you all, I will see you Thursday.  Oh, wait, we have our student research presentations on Thursday.  I may not get here.
herman Bergson: So thank you all again....class dismissed
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sorry can't translate that
Max Chatnoir: See you some time.  :-)
Bejiita Imako: aaa cu next time
Bejiita Imako:
herman Bergson: Ok MAx :-)

Bejiita Imako: bye all

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