Tom Caylor wrote:
> On Feb 5, 4:37 pm, Stathis Papaioannou
> <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>> Tom Caylor writes:
>>> On Jan 31, 10:33 am, Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:> > OK. But in 
>>> that case your question is just half of the question, "Why do people have 
>>> values?" If you have values then that mean some things will be good and 
>>> some will be bad - a weed is just a flower in a place you don't want it. 
>>> You must already know the obvious answer to this given by Darwin. And it 
>>> doesn't even take a person; even amoebas have values. I suspect you have a 
>>> set answer in mind and you're looking for the question to elicit it.> >> > 
>>> Brent Meeker> >> Also Stathis wrote:> > Sure, logic and science are silent 
>>> on the question of the value of weeds or anything else. You need a person 
>>> to come along and say "let x=good", and then you can reason logically given 
>>> this. Evolutionary theory etc. may predict what x a person may deem to be 
>>> good or beautiful, but this is not binding on an individual in the way laws 
>>> governing the chemistry of respiration, for example, are binding. Unlike 
>>> some scientific type
s, I am quite comfortable with ethics being in this sense outside the scope of 
science. Unlike some religious types, I am quite comfortable without looking 
for an ultimate source of ethics in the form of a deity. Even if this 
conclusion made me very unhappy, that might be reason to try self-deception, 
but it has no bearing on the truth.> >> > Stathis Papaioannou> >> > Brent and 
Stathis exemplify two possible answers to meaning. Brent> reduces meaning to 
something based on mere existence or survival. Thus> amoebas can have such 
meaning.> Stathis says that meaning is an unanswered (unanswerable?) mystery.> 
We just somehow self-generate meaning.> > My introduction of the "Meaning Of 
Life" thread asked if the> Everything perspective could provide any answers to 
this question.> Looking at the contributions since then, it looks like the 
answer is> apparently not. This is what I expected. Thus, meaning is either> 
limited to trivial (non-normative) values or is without basis (the> No
ble Lie). If you really read the modern philosophers seriously this> is their 
conclusion. Of course there is a third possible answer to> this question: 
Meaning is based on a source outside of ourselves, by> "making connections with 
others based on such ideals as honour and> obligation" (a quote I read from Dr. 
Laura Schlesinger off of a> Starbucks coffee cup this morning!) Of course 
people can poo-poo such> ideals as simply "sentiments", debunking them on a 
surface level> (which is the only level there is without them), just as C.S. 
Lewis> pointed out in his lectures on "The Abolition of Man". And indeed,> 
without such ideals, man will be discretized into a trivial skeleton> of his 
true self.> > Tom
>> You seem to keep arguing that it wouldn't be very nice if there were no 
>> ultimate meaning. Is there any actual evidence that this alleged meaning 
>> exists? For example, suppose a society believes that the Sky God provides 
>> ultimate meaning and live their lives happily, whereas it could be shown 
>> that they would all be miserable and kill each other if they believed it 
>> were not true. On this basis there may be reason to think that belief in the 
>> Sky God is useful, but is there any reason to think that belief in the Sky 
>> God is true?
>> Stathis Papaioannou
>> _________________________________________________________________
> I'm saying that there is no meaning at all if there is no ultimate
> meaning.  

So you say.  I see no reason to believe it.

>Again, I haven't just pulled this out of thin air.  If you
> really read the modern thinkers and writers, that is what they were
> saying.  Hegel, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Russell, Camus, Sartre,
> Dostoyevsky, Orwell, Godel, Monod, Lewis, Schaeffer...  

I don't think you've read these writers.  Russell, Camus, and Sartre were 
definitely advocates of each person providing their own purpose. Incidentally 
they hardly qualify as "modern" anymore.

>I hope that
> people who are trying to be on the cutting edge of "theories of
> everything" will go back and pick up from where these thinkers left
> off.  Not just stand on the shoulders of the physics giants, but also
> the philosophy (and spiritual!) giants.  I know that the modern
> philosophy road is depressing and unlivable.  They bring us to the
> edge of the cliff.  It was depressing for people like the young genius
> Nick Drake who was found dead on his bed in his 20's after a drug
> overdose, with Camus' Myth of Sysiphus beside him.  But we have to
> face the reality of where the modern age has brought us in order to
> find the answer before we all exterminate ourselves.  ...taking the
> "leap of faith" that it is bad to exterminate ourselves.  

It's not modern existential angst that threatens our existence.  It's the 
religious zealotry of worshippers of the sky god - in Iran, Pakistan, and the 
bible belt.

>In light of
> modern thought, your argument about the sky god society begs the
> question of meaning by assuming that they *shouldn't* "be miserable
> and kill each other".  This is not a dilemma to pass over lightly.  I
> believe it is at the heart of the matter for where mankind is at
> today, on the brink of something great or terrible.  Or is it REALLY
> all just meaningless?  (What would "REALLY" mean in that case? ;)

Not to me it isn't.  I'm all for not exterminating ourselves and I've got 
grandchildren to prove it.

> Isn't that what this Everything stuff is (ultimately ;) all about?  We
> want to solve the modern schizo dilemma of nature vs. grace and bring
> about wholeness.  

Sounds like a problem invented in the Vatican.

>I'm tired of hearing questions about scientifically
> *proving* which god is the right one, as if the question is supposed
> to show that it isn't worth it to pursue the answers to the *ultimate*
> questions.  While we're busy trying to scientifically *prove* which
> way to go, or show that you can't scientifically prove which way to go
> (which has been done already cf above thinkers), we're gonna walk off
> the edge of the cliff.  And, pardon my presumptuous risking the danger
> of a false belief, but "that wouldn't be very nice."

Scientists never "prove" anything; they observe, invent theories, collect 
evidence, test,...  Only mathematicians prove things - and then only relative 
to axioms they assume.

Brent Meeker
"It does not matter now that in a million years nothing we do now will matter."
        --- Thomas Nagel

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