Materialism leads to determinism leads to rationalism leads to atheism leads to nihlism. Where is the flaw?

Written by admin on October 31, 2008 – 1:21 am -

Posted in Morality and Atheism | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Materialism leads to determinism leads to rationalism leads to atheism leads to nihlism. Where is the flaw?”

  1. By Eagleflyer on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    The only significant nihilism I can point to is men on horseback touting crosses and hacking their way into the heathen masses; the heathen masses adopting the religious tenet to destroy infidels wherever they find them.

    Fast forward to the present day: Make no mistake, the war we are involved in now is Christianity vs. Islam. In an age of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer afford to pit one "true god" against another. If you think religion is the only thing that gives meaning to life, you lack imagination.


    Okay, having been prompted to read Sandy's answer, I would submit that her prejudices show as well. I didn't mean to imply that I am a reductionist, although that philosophy takes a bit of courage too. Or to put it another way, I believe in god as long as no one tries to define to me what god is. Every definition of god that I've heard is in my opinion nihilistic. That does not mean that humanity cannot embrace spirituality.
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  2. By Jessy on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    Even if we are just quirks of nature, our lives have meaning in our relationships with others, our actions echo through the generations.
    Lack of proof of a thing isn't proof of it's opposite.
    Atheists aren't necessarily nihilistic, because meaning doesn't have to come from a creator.
    Life is even more precious if there is no creator, as there would be no afterlife.
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  3. By J.P. on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    So failure to have moral absolutes is a flaw of nihilism? That's a value judgement. On what are you basing those values?

    And nihilism does have a pair of moral absolutes, created by evolution itself, as it happens: empathy and altruism.

    Your argument is moot.


    Regardless of the results of the conclusion of nihilism in practice, I cannot see a logical way out of that conclusion without accepting the existence of free will and/or a creator. As the non-existence of free will can be easily demonstrated (I did it in a previous one of your questions by showing the human experience to be computable, even if not feasibly so), the deific hypothesis is unsupportable. One must conclude that were the deific hypothesis true, free will would be a natural result of it.

    If (deity exists) then (free will exists)
    not (free will exists)
    therefore not (deity exists). [by modus tollens]

    If we are wrecking nature as a species, perhaps it's because of a flaw in our expression of the moral guides most of us are born with. I actually blame the condition of the world on Christianity, actually.

    Think about this: The evidence of evolution is overwhelming. Christianity teaches that Humanity is the pinnacle of all creation. However, evolution says that if mankind exists long enough, in an environment that splits him or puts selective pressure on him, then he will evolve and change into something else. This would PROVE that humanity was not the pinnacle of all creation.

    So instead, Christian civilization has been designed so that it contains the inescapable conclusion — the world must die so we don't evolve. The evidence of this is in the willful mistranslation of a word in Genesis into english as 'dominion', despite there being a far better translation, 'stewardship'.

    It's funny that you and I come to opposite conclusions on the cause of the ills of the world. I wonder where in the space between us the truth actually lies, there are always three sides to every story — His side, Your side, and The Truth.


    And Sandy: I do take it to its logical conclusion. I do accept the reality of determinism and rationalism, and the logical conclusion of nihilism. Careful with those generalities, hm?
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  4. By Sandy on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    Well, I agree with you to an extent. But you see the possible pitfalls. A philosopher who does not believe in a creator would just be positing that "first cause justification," and the rest of his or her philosophy would spin out in weird and indefensible ways.

    But I guess that you're not really saying that. You are saying that for a philosophy to be good, the philosopher must believe in a creator…and that all philosophy written by philosophers who do not believe is bad philosophy.

    I agree with this, but it is difficult to argue such a point to someone who is a proponent of certain philosophies by certain nonbelievers. This is because if one does not know a creator, then one cannot see the forest…and cannot think, really. What I mean by "cannot think" is that their thoughts cannot normally be drawn out to their logical conclusions, because the proponents themselves simply refuse–or are unable–to accept those logical conclusions. For example, "Morality comes from God or it comes from man. If it comes from God, it is good. If it comes from man, its basis is bad." These people believe there is some inherent goodness in man, ignoring the evidence of their senses (and, lo, the evidence of their newscasts), and just urging ever so strenuously that people are good. It is worse than circular logic. It is delusion.

    And these are the same folks who will call people of faith deluded. Many people of faith can plainly see the blazingly apparent evidence of their senses: that man is seriously disturbed.

    But, yeah, atheism carried out to its logical end is nihilism. Too bad that many atheists are not equipped to carry thoughts to their logical conclusions. Standing ever so defiantly in an indefensible position: "I am good!" Notice that they will allow for the possibility that others are bad, and if only others would see as "clearly" as they, then others would become good too.

    Ignoring the logical conclusion–yet again–that if others could become good on their own, they would have already done it. And ignoring also that if humans had the power to be all good, humans would be all good. If it is in our nature to be good, then why do we so ardently go against our nature at least seven times a day?

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  5. By don't panic on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    I'm not much of a fan of Kant. Existentialism takes it in another direction — existence precedes essence and there is no inherent meaning in life, that meaning is all subject to our interpretations and actions. There's a huge difference between no inherent meaning and no meaning whatsoever. It's up to each of us to create meaning and purpose and to live our lives fully in that.

    The grand scheme of things is about averages and collective action. Any individual doesn't matter, but together our actions do shape the future. Just look at what we're doing to the planet.
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  6. By timeponderer on Oct 25, 2006 | Reply

    Ok, at a stretch I can follow, for the sake of argument, that materialism can lead to rationalism can lead to atheism. But in no way does atheism lead to nihlism (by your definition of lacking meaning and morals) simply because meaning comes from our social contacts – ask any psychologist. And morals (except in the sociopath) do not hinge on the existence of a higher ruler or creator. We are full of empathy and altruism. We are a social animal. Life is precious because our human empathy tells us so. And that is a far more important source of morals than a simple set of rules which may or may not apply. How many "Christians" in the US hate gays? or etc. and feel excused in this because the bible tells them so?

    Now I agree that people are more likely to act in an altruistic way if they think that someone is watching them, a parent figure, a God – studies show this. And this is a dilemma in the modern world. However, on the other side of the coin, the countries with the highest proportion of atheists in the world, are also at the top of the list for social justice and low crime rates – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Japan, Germany, France, maybe Australia etc. Correlation is not causation but it shows that atheism doesn't cause the sky to fall in.

    The USA, which is one of the most religious countries in the western world, and particularly one of the most fundamentalist religious countries in the world (eg. rejection of evolution) has an astronomical crime rate. And by far the highest proportion of sociopaths. I'm not saying that this is due to the religiousity. What I'm really saying is that if I was you, I would be more worried about rampant individualism, than atheism. Just a thought.
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