I mean not so sound supercilious, but I must admit that all counterarguments thus far received are points I have foreseen and chosen to omit in the paper for the sake of length and inherent stupidity of my evaluators. This is why I have come here for intelligent recluse, as it is, so far, the only place found to be conducive to intelligent, insightful thought.
[Listed below are three defenses in ascending order of length] In address to certain qualms, I must start by saying that when I say that 'there is no scientific justification for morals of any sort, only that in the Darwinistic sense,' I mean that morals hold a people together and make for an organized society conducive to 'prosperity'. Hence, such use of moral ethical standards is to not be "self-destructed;" morals are independent independent of science, but the justification for morals is what is being evaluated. Also, I don't understand how WMD can be evil. If logical evaluation is evil, then so is affirmation of any moral discipline thereto destructive. -- >Saying that life is worth living, or that you believe it is bad to kill, are simply >statements of your values and feelings, and as such are valid independently of any >scientific theory. -- >Your conclusion that "there is no scientific justification for morals of any sort, >only that in the Darwinistic sense" depends on the definition of "scientific." >Without "morals" an argument could be made that mankind would not exist - it would >have self-destructed. Perhaps that is "scientific justification" for morals, at least >as far as mankind is concerned. And perhaps our lack of morals will yet wipe us out >through WMD, or other evil. -- In address to the proposition that, without any moral imperative or motivation or justification, I should not even bother to write this paper, I felt that way much of last year, at the end of the eleventh grade, which is why I did not write this sooner. Obviously, what would be the purpose of defending one's argument agains morals if there would be no moral purpose for doing so? In all actuality, there is none; however, what is to say that there is any reason not to write it? Ethical nihilism is simply the rejection of the possibility of absolute morals, not to say that one shan't have a version of his/her own. What I am saying is that there would be no logical basis for having any sort of moral, except for extrinsic gain, and that things will unfold as they do, no matter what. In that regard, why should one write it, or why should one not write it? I write it because I feel like it, not because there is any moral basis; I need to relieve my mental tension, which arises from m! y psychological history. There is no ramification either way. The preference for one action or the other in regards to the physical is simply determined by the ontological probability either way. In short, I aim not to eliminate morals, only the logical misconceptions thereby seemingly justifying. -- > Sorry. Can't help myself : Is there any point in completing that term paper really? >Actually, between the above remark made in fun, & the subsequent discussion, there >are things in common. Above, the joke is that, if one adopts nihilism & the view that >nothing is worth caring about, then what value would one place in knowing this or in >knowing anything? Ethics pertains to feelings & values regarding power, submission, >governing oneself, governing & being governed, decision-making. Then there are also >feelings & values regarding other things, including knowledge, what's worth knowing, >exploring, etc., standards of evidence, etc. We have no word like "ethics" for it >although one might argue that the word "philosophy" was originally meant to mean it. >These values with regard to cognition & knowledge are values which in a refined & >deepened form motivate science, & they dissolve under nihilism, along, therefore, >with science itself. But this in turn leads to the dissolution of nihilism, which >used scientific ideas. Vicious circle there. -- Finally the last point--last because of its superior difficulty, at least for me: >But why not have as good a game as possible before it ends in a billion or trillions of years. Although this is explained above, I feel as though you may not realize the psyhological extent of your situation. We must all take into account the fact that we are humans governed by our minds; as Chrisopher Plummer's character in 'A Beautiful Mind' insightfully puts it, "you can't reason your way out of this, because your mind's where the problem is in the first place." I mean not to vilify your mind nor its reasoning, but I must advise to account for our mind's needs for safety and belonging in evaluating our motivation driving the seeking of morals. >For some strange reason, I value the most complex yet elegant and robust emergent >order (for itself). This is why for example, I'm an environmental activist in my >spare (hah!) time. [Me too. I do actually care about many things, amazingly.] We all seek psychological complacency as a means of stabilizing the ego, as a way to maintain order in our minds. We have been predisposed, both genetically and by our nurturing and environmental influences, to certain trains of thought. Your quest to find the most elegantly robust system (which I really respect, as I have once taken such course of action and found it emotionally fulfilling) is merely your mind's attempt to fulfill some end, perhaps to realize your potential. There is a certain psychological theory of which I will surely be tested friday in my psych class, but I am amiss as to its name. Anyhow, what I am saying is that, with relation to all of the scientific reasoning behind your standpoint, which is [I think] extremely valid (I agree with trying to solve the mysteries, as I am poised to pursue a career studying and researching theoretical physics), you must consider your motivation in relation to your Freudian and genetic past. -- Eric Hawthorne wrote: >Sorry. Can't help myself : Is there any point in completing that term paper really? >On a few points. >I don't believe in the point of view of "nihilism because everything will happen in >the multiverse, anyway, regardless of what I do". My reasons are a little vague, but >here's a stab at it: >1. I look at us group of human observer SAS's as results of and guardians of emerged >complex order in our universe. In fact I believe our universe (its temporal arrow etc) is only observable because it is the set of paths through the multiverse that has all this emerged complex order in it.I believe these potentially observable sets of paths through the multiverse's general disorder are rare (of small measure.) 2. Somehow, all of us human observers are clearly "in" or "observing" the SAME set of paths through the multiverse. Now that is significant. It tells us that in the emergent-order paths of multiverse info-state evolution, that those paths are observable consistently to ANY observer that emerges as part of the emerged complex order present in those paths. 3. I see humans (or other intelligent lifeforms) as in some strange ways the smart-lookahead "guardians" of the particular piece of emergent-order their most a part of (their planet, their ecosystems, their societies, themselves).The reason we emerged (or are still here) is because we have helped make our emergent complex system "successful" (robust). 4. For some strange reason, I value the most complex yet elegant and robust emergent order (for itself). This is why for example, I'm an environmental activist in my spare (hah!) time. 5. I think if one values elegant, robust complex order, and if one is an active part of the elegant, robust, complex order, who emerged precisely so that a SAS of the emerged system could sense and make sense of the surroundings, and could model and influence the future, and guard the SAS's own existence and that of the whole emerged system of which it is a part, then "guard away" I say, actively, not nihilistically. Model your world. Predict its different possible futures, and use your emerged (and cultivated, same thing) wisdom to steer yourself, and your society, and your ecosystem, and your planet, away from harm and too-soon reduction to entropy. In the very, very end, it is said, entropy wins (like the house wins in Vegas.) But why not have as good a game as possible before it ends in a billion or trillions of years. 6. Of course, it doesn't make sense to try to protect (and advance in elegance) an emergent order that is indeed truly robust, does it? But my point back there was that we are supposed to be part of the emergent system's self-defense mechanism, because we can think and plan, and change things in our universe. 7. So can we change the multiverse as a whole? Probably not. But all that observers can ever co-observe is a single self-consistent universe in the multiverse. Look at earth and earthlife like a surfboard and surfer surfing this big coherent wave of informationally self-consistent order that is our universe. What we as the surfer can do is look ahead, and steer the board, and prolong the ride, and make it as amazing as possible before it tumbles into the vortex. That's enough control to say let's delay nihilism til the very last possible moment at least, shall we. Let's see where we might wash up if we keep riding well. Enough. Enough. This tortured analogy is killing me. 8. You may say that there's all these other virtual doppelganger surfers and surfboards (even on our same order-wave universe) so why bother steering anyway? One of us will make it. Yeah well I don't think so. I think all the emergent systems kind of compete with each other to organize things, and there's winners and losers, and the losers are all just info-noise. 8. I guess the above is premised on the supposition that we CAN steer. That we have any say over when and how our part of our universe degrades into entrop (info-noise.) This is really vague but I have some strange sense that what observing AGENT (actor) systems such as ourselves are doing is choosing (or having a part in choosing) the way in which their quantum world becomes their classical world. I think there's the possibility of free will there. It's like their steering the NOW wavefront itself (in their shared universe). If the possibly ordered paths through multiverse infospace near these observers are more than one possible path, maybe its the observers, by the sum total of their collective actions, that micro-manage the choice of future info-paths that will still be consistent with the path(s) their all on. Maybe the set of possible consistent and ordered paths is narrower and narrower as time goes on for them, but I think there are still choices to be made. It's possible that that's an illusion, but choice being an illusion is a concept for the theoretical meta-level, for OUTSIDE our universe path. Inside our path(s), our paths and the real or illusory choices we make within them, are all we'll EVER be able to see. So why not play along with the rules of the game your in, be a guardian angel of elegant complex order near you. Why not model and see the probabilities ahead with all your learning power and determination, and why not then choose with all your might? Whether it all amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world or not is one of the last mysteries. But mysteries help make it all so fricking amazing. Try solving them. What can you lose? 9. But go ahead and explore your point of view in your essay, and maybe post it when you're done. I could be entirely wrong the way I see things, and your outline looks great. Maybe simplify, cover a little less, but a little deeper, because simplicity with complexity underneath it is what it's all about. -- If you've made it thus far in the email, I would like to thank all who have responded for at least partially stimulating my brain. jk But please feel free to defend yourself against my further arguments in this respect. I have written one page (single-spaced) so far, and aim to post my entire essay/paper when it is completed. Thanks, everyone, especially for the flattery: -- >/me thought he was the only Existential Nihilist! =P Are you sure you aren't writing this as your doctoral thesis? I've read papers by professors that are far less scholarly than your outline, as presented... -- >Pretty amazing for a high-school senior term paper, by the way. -- --Cesar E. Caro P.S. I actually have a website, which is soon to post my paper and reasonings on existential and ethical nihilism. It already contains poetry, if it may be called that (it does pertain somewhat to this topic), as well as artistic photography. The page link is <http://www.geocities.com/cesarcaro314/>; Note: the 314 in the address is not in relation to pi, but to my birthday; amazingly, I was not aware of this relation when I made the name. _______________________________________________ Join Excite! - http://www.excite.com The most personalized portal on the Web!