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 
types, 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> Noble 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.  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 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.  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? ;)> 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.  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."> > TomSuppose, as 
a thought experiment, that a world exists that was not created by a loving God. 
It might have been created by a deistic god, by advanced aliens, or even by the 
devil. This world contains intelligent beings who arrive at exactly the same 
beliefs about science, religion, ethics etc. as we do in our world, because the 
design parameters are such that they have a similar capacity to reason as we do 
and are fed similar data about the world, even though some of it is false data. 
The question is, will this society differ from ours as a result of the fact 
that they only *think* they have an ultimate purpose? Would it necessarily fall 
apart if it were revealed to them after centuries that they are in fact just an 
experiment? What would you say to those who, after the revelation, dismiss it 
as interesting but irrelevant as far as their personal lives are concerned, and 
carry on as usual?Stathis Papaioannou
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