Friday, December 14, 2018

Reproduction machines

Had an impromptu debate with an apostate on Facebook

What Doctrines do Atheists hold? I would prefer to describe myself as a Humanist because that does tell you something about my beliefs and values. If I called you a non-Buddhist, all that would tell you is some of the things a don't believe.

Typically, atheists are physicalists. In addition, they believe the universe is a closed system:

Many ontological naturalists thus adopt a physicalist attitude to mental, biological and other such “special” subject matters. They hold that there is nothing more to the mental, biological and social realms than arrangements of physical entities. 

In the final twentieth-century phase, the acceptance of the casual closure of the physical led to full-fledged physicalism. The causal closure thesis implied that, if mental and other special causes are to produce physical effects, they must themselves be physically constituted. It thus gave rise to the strong physicalist doctrine that anything that has physical effects must itself be physical. 

There is no ultimate reason for why things happen, although there are causes. This life is all there is. No immortality. No immortal soul. No resurrection of the body. Humans are fleeting, fortuitous combinations of particles. What we believe and cherish is the result of blind evolutionary conditioning and social conditioning. That's pretty standard. Some atheists toy with Platonic realism. Many atheists reject moral realism.

None of these are doctrines, meaning none of the beliefs you mentioned,(Physicalism/Metaphysical Naturalism, Causal Closure of the Universe) are required in order for one to not hold a belief in a personal god (or gods). 

As a Humanist, I believe Humans are much more than "fleeting, fortuitous compinations of particles". That is a straw man if I've ever heard one. 

Then you're a deeply confused atheist. 

i) Western atheists typically believe humans are merely physical organisms, composed of molecules, atoms, quarks. And a very temporary organization of matter at that. 

ii) According to mainstream atheism, it's dumb luck to be on one of the few or only planet in the entire universe where the conditions are just right to produce life. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here.

It's dumb luck that an impact event wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, clearing the way for the evolution of humans.

It's dumb luck that all your linear ancestors beat the odds of high infant morality.

It's dumb luck that you beat out the sperm right behind you in the race to fertilize the ovum. If your dad ejaculated into your mom's vagina 5 minutes sooner or later, you'd miss the boat. 

You won lottery after lottery to be here. Change one variable and you wouldn't exist. 

And it's not because the universe intended that outcome. A vast series of blind variables made that happen. So, yeah, your existence is utterly fortuitous.

In short, you proved my point. There is only one thing one must not believe in order to count oneself as an Atheist and that is the belief in a personal god.

You repeat the village atheist error of driving a wedge between the definition of atheism and the definition of naturalism. But as I already documented, that's a false dichotomy:

It is important to recognize that the term “atheism” is polysemous—i.e., it has more than one related meaning—even within philosophy. For example, many writers at least implicitly identify atheism with a positive metaphysical theory like naturalism or even materialism.

Denying the existence of the Christian God has far-reaching logical implications. The fact that many atheists are inconsistent is beside the point.

I know a number of Buddhists, both (Theravada and Mahayana) that are atheists but are not metaphysical naturalists.

Buddhism is an example of inconsistent naturalism. No atheist starting from scratch would include reincarnation in his system.The context of my statement is Western atheism. Buddhism is a mongrel position because it attempted to reform Hinduism, but there's carryover, like reincarnation. And folk Buddhists are polytheistic.

You keep missing the point. You keep harping on varieties of atheists. That's wholly irrelevant to my critique since the real issue is consistency. Taking the implications of a godless universe to a logical conclusion. Making sociological observations about a spectrum of atheism has no bearing on the logical alternatives.

Its your use of terms like "merely" physical organisms and "dumb luck" are disingenuous. 

That's the fence-straddling posture of an atheist who attacks "bronze age religion" but can't face up to the consequences of his own alternative. If the universe is all there is, then the universe is unintelligent. Even if the universe produces a smattering of intelligent organisms on one planet, it's a blind, bottom-up process.

Teleology is goal-oriented. That can't be a brute given in a bottom-up process that begins with mindless matter and energy. At best, that would be an emergent property. The end-result of the blind, bottom-up process. If the physical universe is all there is, then the forces and processes that gave rise to the current status quo are non-purposive, undirected forces and processes.

For me, life is more precious precisely because it is fleeting and rare. The very fact that we are in part the universe becoming aware of itself is deeply spiritual to me. I don't need to delude myself into believing I'm immortal to find life worth living.

i) A last-ditch effort to make a virtue of necessity. Rare, fleeting things can be precious if they can be experienced. If, however, death destroys the capacity for experience, then that nostalgic outlook is illusory.

ii) From a naturalistic standpoint, humans are simply reproduction machines. Utterly expendable and interchangeable, like Mayflies. 

iii) From a naturalistic standpoint, evolutionary psychology has brainwashed you into believing life is worthwhile as a motivation to reproduce and raise your offspring. Evolution is a delusion machine. It wires the brain to project meaning onto a meaningless universe.

Yes, I "arrogantly" tell you where your beliefs lead to. Guess what, atheists routinely tell Christians where Christian beliefs supposedly lead to. Two-way street.

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