Why Morality and Meaning Cannot Exist in an Atheist Universe (or Multiverse)
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After 4 votes and with 24 points ahead, the winner is...
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Let us start off simply and on one subject, so as to keep the debate clear and concise. Since I am the instigator of this debate I think it is only fair that round one will be on the subject of death in an atheist universe. Now, in an atheist universe, when you die, you are dead as a doorknob and that is that. You have been utterly and totally annihilated. Now, if you disagree with this, then, in my opinion you have moved from the realm of atheism to theism. There is no way around this. If your worldview is correct, then in 60 or so years time you will be extinguished like a candle, never to come into being again for all eternity. Now, you could claim that you could upload your consciousness to a computer, or a more advanced version of the internet. In that case, it will not matter, for no matter how long you can make yourself live, the universe will annihilate itself after the last iron stars turn into black holes, and those black holes evaporate and explode (yes, black holes do evaporate, it just takes a very long time). You could even find a way to integrate your consciousness into the fluctuating quantum field, and harness zero-point energy, thus truly creating some sort of ghost that is moving around the universe at the speed of light. Such technology will probably exist one day if it is possible. So then, the only way around death in this regard is to travel to an alternate universe, and to keep up jumping universes for all eternity to avoid the heat-death of each individual universe (technically the universe itself will not die but that is besides the point). But now we are getting into the realm of fantasy, unless you actually want to argue this. I have heard atheists un-ironically make this argument, that we can upload our minds and thus live forever (like TJump from YouTube). It is quite ridiculous, because even if we could, we are still absolutely guaranteed to die some day, thus you cannot take comfort in mind uploading. Now that we have gotten the question of death out of the way, you must move on to what will happen when you die. When you die, you will be annihilated. What does this truly mean? It means the death of the observer, the experiencer, and knower. You are YOUR OWN experiencer, and nobody else's. That is to say, from your perspective, nothing exists outside your consciousness, for everything that you know and experience exists within your mind. This debate exists within your mind, and so does your computer (at least visually), and the knowledge of how to work your computer, and, if you are listening to music like I am right now, I think it goes without saying that the music ONLY exists within your mind, and if anybody else is with you, then from their perspective, the music only exists within their minds as well. So then, from YOUR PERSPECTIVE, the entire cosmos exists within your head. Basically, it is like your brain is generating a virtual reality landscape (in which your body and mind is a part, for you only feel your mind and body), in which you can move around in. I know that sounds crazy but it makes sense if you think about it. For somebody that doesn't know about the planets, or the astounding length of the Milky Way galaxy (100,000 light years), or the fact that our universe could be a finite 4 dimensional hypersphere with no apparent edge, or no knowledge of the quantum foam or string theory, these things are totally outside their 'realm of experience.' That is to say, we do not know what is outside our consciousness, for anything that is outside our consciousness is not only unknown, but we do not even know that we don't know it. Just think what it would be like to be a cave-man. From their perspective, their cave, the river, the forest, the stars, their family, and the gods are the only things that exist, and who are we to blame them? Ok, so what am I getting at? I want you to really consider my statement that, 'the entire cosmos exists within your head.' Ok then, do I mean that the cosmos wouldn't exist if you didn't exist? No, I do not mean that at all, but what I am arguing is that YOUR CONCIOUSSNESS and mine, and your dog's, and the consciousness of every living being that has existed, does exist, and will exist is part and parcel of the cosmos. You cannot have one without the other. No cosmos without 'soul' and no 'soul' without cosmos. This is in fact similar to an argument that the Greek philosopher Socrates used to prove that you were never created and will never die. So then, because FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, all of reality exists within you, I want you to consider what will happen when you will die. Obviously you will have no senses. I think that goes without saying. No sight, no sound, no smell, no touch, no nothing. Now, I want you to try to 'look behind your head,' as if you head eyes in the back of your skull. Because you cannot see out of the back of your head, not only is there no sight, but there isn't even a void. There is only absolute and total annihilation visually. Ok then, that is what it will be like for your senses. Now, moving on to your intellect, I think it goes without saying that you won't be able to think at all. You will be in a state far and beyond deep sleep or being in a coma. So then, absolute annihilation of intellect. Now, I want you to consider the final state of mind of which these previous things are dependent upon. That being awareness. Finally, it can be said that your awareness will be annihilated. Now, it will be like seeing 'behind your head,' for there will not be just 'a void' of 'non-awareness,' but the annihilation of awareness to such an extent that you are not even aware of it. It will be above and beyond anything like the void. That is to say, from your perspective, EVERYTHING ceased to exist. The whole universe, time itself, the void, all form and senses, all sense of the self and the possibility of other selves EVERYTHING IN IT'S TOTALITY. So, because from your perspective, there will be no perspective, you might as well saying that nothing exists and will continue to exist in that way for all of eternity. It will be EXACLY LIKE what reality was like before the Big Bang, for the Big Bang was the rapid expanse of the space-time continuum (proven by the fact that space itself is expanding, not just the objects within space). But here is the thing. Scientists like Stephen Hawking say that there actually was no 'before' the Big Bang, for there can be no such thing as 'before' time. "Observations indicate that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. It will expand forever, getting emptier and darker. Although the universe doesn't have an end, it had a beginning in the Big Bang. One might ask what is before that but the answer is that there is nowhere before the Big Bang just as there is nowhere south of the South Pole." - Stephan Hawking. Now, even though Stephan Hawking was brilliant, and I do believe in the Big Bang theory, I think it is ridiculous and dare I say idiotic to think that this was the beginning of time, for non-existence cannot exist, because that goes against the definition of non-existence, thus time never had a beginning. Now, apply the same argument to the nature of death and what I was talking about regarding the nature of annihilation. Just as it is ridiculous and idiotic to say that time had a beginning, it is ridiculous and idiotic to say that you will die and that there was a time in which you didn't exist. I know that sounds absurd, but if time always existed, then certainly it is possible for SOMETHING to have always existed, and if it is possible for something to have always existed, and the soul is something, then it is not a logical contradiction to say that the soul has always existed. Thus, you are an eternal being. Furthermore, if you WILL BE annihilated, as you think, then nothing matters, for at one point in time all of your experiences will disappear into nothingness for all of eternity, thus NONE OF YOUR EXPIERENCES matter. Thus, morality doesn't exist. Morality can only exist if the soul is eternal. Furthermore, you could argue that only the present matters, so you might as well try to live the best moral life in the here and now, but that is just ignoring the point that the present is always changing, and before you know it, this present will change to another one in which you are dead. Do you see what I am saying? The present is ghostly and fleeting, always changing and never withing our reach, and even if you have lived a good and fulfilled life, when you are on your death bed, I guarantee you that you will be shocked that this is 'the new present,' that you are actually and truly dying RIGHT NOW. Thus, on your death bed, you will see that everything was for naught (if you are still an atheist, that is). So then, I have concluded that morality cannot exist if atheism is true. That being the case, you could argue that you could do whatever you want, which INCLUDES being a moral person, because that is what makes you feel good, as the French philosopher Albert Camus concluded. But even that is illogical for you will die and all your experiences will come to naught. Thus, there is no point in being moral, and there is no point in going around killing and raping. And because any finite period of time is infinitely small compared to eternity, you could argue that you might as well commit suicide, but even THAT is meaningless for you will die later on from natural means. 60 years is the same as this afternoon compared to forever. Thus, from any living being's perspective, meaning cannot exist, and this reality is absurd, meaning cannot exist. Thus, morality and meaning cannot exist if atheism is true. Lastly, I must really highlight that non-existence cannot exist. There has been and always will be 'a perspective,' just like there has been and always will be time and space. "The soul of man is immortal and imperishable," - Plato.
- The proposition that was supposed to be argued for was "Morality and Meaning Cannot Exist in an Atheist Universe (or Multiverse)." Unfortunately, Pro's round one is just a ramble, and there is no clear inference being made. Many confusions start from very early and continue to affect pro's entire case. For one:
Now, if you disagree with this, then, in my opinion you have moved from the realm of atheism to theism. There is no way around this. If your worldview is correct, then in 60 or so years time you will be extinguished like a candle, never to come into being again for all eternity.
- This is false, as it confuses Naturalism with Atheism. Naturalism is a thesis "affirming that all beings and events in the universe (whatever their inherent character may be) are natural." All Atheism is, is the view that no God/god(s) exist. You don't need to be a naturalist to be an atheist. So everything con states about death is simply irrelevant to the debate. You can be an atheist and believe in an afterlife, there is no contradiction there. And note that these are simply the standard definitions used in the philosophy of religion.
- Even if it was relevant, the fact that people will die someday does not entail that morality or meaning do not exist on atheism. The argument (if you can even call this one) would be a non-sequitur.
- Here is a suggestion for pro. When pro says that morality "can't" exist on atheism, presumably this is a modal claim, which means that the existence of such entails some contradiction or so. Pro can start by giving the conjunction of the proposition and negation entailed by such.
- As for me, I just need to show that it is possible, and that seems simple, because we have language that we use to communicate in this debate, and that language is understood collectively as a set of shared concepts, and it is possible that atheism is true right now, which means that it is obviously possible for there to be meaning on atheism.
- Again, the proposition that was supposed to be argued for was "Morality and Meaning Cannot Exist in an Atheist Universe (or Multiverse)." Unfortunately, Pro's round one is just a ramble, and there is no clear inference being made. Many confusions start from very early and continue to affect pro's entire case. Let me just extend our previous post.
- All we need from pro is the contradiction entailed by having meaning and morality under atheism. It can't be anything about the afterlife because morality, whether subjective or objective, is not contingent on an afterlife and you can be an atheist (believe no Gods exist) and believe in an afterlife. There is no contradiction there. Atheism != Materialism.
- Secondly, our language obviously has meaning otherwise we would not understand this debate. It is however possible that atheism is true right now, and therefore it has to be possible for there to be meaning under atheism.