Congratulations. You figured out the universe runs on physics, not magic.
Given your background and normal human psychology, that may be an impressive feat. It took memore than 20 years.
Please enjoy resisting, debunking and openly mocking religion.
But don’t stop there.
Now you’re living in the real world, and there are real problems here. In the real world, there is no rule that says the good guys win in the end. We live in a world beyond the reach of God, things can go very wrong, and we need your help.
“Critical thinking” is just the start. The rabbit hole of better thinking goes deeper. There aremathematical laws of thought, a mainstream cognitive science of how we depart from them, and experiments showing us how to do better.
Aiding the slow death of religion and superstition is also just a start. We face more pressing concerns, like the fact that every few decades we invent a new technology that can destroy our entire species.
After atheism comes adulthood, with all its challenges and its opportunities. Want to be a hero? Good. We need heroes. Here’s what you do.
On the other hand, this is the rotting foundation of his moral vision:
My Latest Thoughts on Desirism
I’ve finally come to admit that I probably won’t continue to record the Morality in the Real World podcast, which intended to explain the moral theory of desirism. People ask me if I still “believe in” desirism, so let me explain my current thinking. First, a few reminders:
Desirism never posited anything more than the standard, reductionistic, scientific picture of the world.
Given that most uses of moral terms refer to things that don’t exist (categorical imperatives, divine commands, etc.), my MitRW co-host Alonzo Fyfe several years ago proposed a set of “reforming definitions” for moral terms intended to (1) capture something similar to what most people had meant when using moral terms, but (2) capture a set of processes thatactually exist. This is standard practice in moral philosophy: see Rawls, Brandt, Railton, etc.
Most moral theories treat acts as the primary objects of moral evaluation, but Alonzo’s reforming definitions made motives (“desires”) the primary object of moral evaluation, ala Adams (1976).
Alonzo’s reforming definitions construed (non-moral) “value” as a relation between desires and states of affairs, such that a state of affairs has value just in case it is desired.
The existence of a desire is a state of affairs, and according to desirism desires are the primary objects of moral evaluation. A desire is”morally” good, on the desirist view, if it tends to fulfill other desires. This phrase “tends to fulfill” needs quite a bit of fleshing out, which is what we started to do in our podcast. An important point is that this claim does not require that desire fulfillment have any “intrinsic” value: see A Harmony of Desires.
Whether you want to call this a theory of “moral realism” or “anti-realism” depends on your attitude toward the meaning of those terms: see Pluralistic Moral Reductionism and Joyce (2011).
“Desire” in desirism was always a metaphor for “whatever a completed neuroscience tells us about the thing that is sort of like the thing we currently call ‘desire’,” and my studies in the neuroscience of human motivation and agent theory in AI have encouraged my view that something close enough to “desire” exists to support a notion of “value,” while in another sensehuman motivation in particular works quite differently than the folk theory of desire claims. Overall, I’ve shifted away from finding it useful to talk about human “desires” when I’m not talking casually.
But the larger reason I’ve stopped talking about morality in the language of desirism is that I’m tempted to not use moral terms at all. Moral language is thoroughly confused and corrupted and strongly motivated, and I’m more tempted than ever to abandon the entire language and start with a new one.
Will I continue to use desirist language on a regular basis? Probably not, because (1) moral language itself is not that appealing to me anymore in serious discussion...