Monday, May 14, 2007

Faith and Evolution

Dinesh D'Souza comments on Sam Harris:

"My conclusion is that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose. Here is where the biological expertise of Dawkins and his friends could prove illuminating. Maybe they can turn their Darwinian lens on themselves and help us understand how atheism, like the human tailbone and the panda's thumb, somehow survived as an evolutionary leftover of our primitive past."

Here is a man admitting that there is an evolutionary explanation of faith and belief in God: it was necessary for intelligent man to have the will to live. But, he also acknowledges that people all over the world continually embrace faith. Not because they're right, but because they feel good about it. Atheism isn't bad not because it's wrong, but because it makes life meaningless.

I have trouble believing something just because it makes my life convenient. I wonder why African Americans have embraced Islam as opposed to Buddhism or Hinduism.


Well Caffeinated said...

You seem to be jumping to conclusions based on some incorrect claims.

Who says that atheism is without purpose? I understand a theist may think that because their purpose is to live for God, and without God, they would have no purpose.

However, atheism is the absence of a belief in a God, not an absence of purpose. Atheists base their sense of purpose on more tangible things/feelings. An atheist may find purpose in bettering human society, progressing knowledge, art, or the lives of other humans. An atheist may even find purpose in discovering a purpose.

Speaking personally, as an Atheist, I feel liberated to choose my own purpose. I can feel validated that I am a good person not because I am required to be by a God, but because I desire and aspire to be a good person.

I don't mean to pull down theism, I just felt the need to express another side of this complex argument, because I think many atheists feel (unjustifiably) antagonized by a dominantly religious society.

TabooTruth said...

After thinking about this issue alot...still not able to figure out what the purpose of life is. Any ideas? See the posthumanism and religion post.

Well Caffeinated said...

Purpose is very elusive. I would argue that there is no "The Purpose of Life", only purpose relative to your perspective (brought about by nature and nurture).

I base my world views largely on scientific fact. Physics, as I've noticed lately, has contributed greatly towards my world view. Physics has taught me that: (1) There are no absolutes. Truths must be determined relative to the observer (relativity). (2) Uncertainty is an intrinsic, mandatory feature of matter (quantum mechanics).

I'm not certain that belief is biologically hard-wired into humans. Perhaps it is. Theists definitely require a belief in a larger-than-life entity. Personally, I don't know if belief is a part of my life. I am certain of the uncertainty of life. There are many things beyond our imaginations that are yet to be discovered, even if these things will only be observed on paper. That is what drives me. To acquire as much knowledge of existence (physics) as possible. That is my idea of living life to the fullest. Gaining knowledge of things that no "normal" life would touch upon.

Since (IMO) purpose is such a relative concept, perhaps it is better to define yourself before defining your purpose. One may need more self consciousness before attempting to define a purpose for that self. Try being more introspective when searching for purpose.

Although, I guess some could argue that purpose helps to define self. In that case, things could get recursive...