Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Does There Have to be an Ultimate Purpose? Apparently Not!

In a recent post little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer, one of the many Discovery Institute (DI) talking heads, said this:

'In what our friend Eric Metaxas calls the “scientistic materialist” perspective, there is not only no ultimate purpose or meaning to life. “If we are just material beings,” says Eric, “then there is actually no such thing as life,” either.'
Eric, like most DI talking heads and their friends, misses an even simpler point, "Why does there have to be an 'ultimate' purpose or meaning to life?"

Seriously, before telling me that life is meaningless without some sort of ultimate purpose, explain why that is a requirement?  Has anyone ever done that?  Really done that?  No!

Oh I know one or more theists will start spouting Bible verses, but once you scrape off the religious dressing, what's left?  Absolutely nothing.  Look at this website (What is your Ultimate Purpose?) if you want, it clearly wants you to believe that your ultimate purpose is to be an immortal being, like their version of God.  Talk about circular logic.  Let's create a deity, tell everyone that he created you in his image and when you come back to him, you'll understand your ultimate purpose.  In the meantime, keep up the donations.  Seriously?  Only in Theology would that make sense.  Try thinking like that in a real science or math class and see how far you get.

I am not asking what that ultimate purpose is supposed to be, just why must there be one.  Religious groups never get around to explaining this, they start from that assumption and build their whole shaky edifice of arguments on this apparent need they have for purpose.  That seems to be what separates believers from reality, the need to have some higher purpose to believe in, and religious groups cash in on that need.

So I am asking the question, why does there have to be some sort of ultimate purpose or meaning in life?

The only answer seems to be 'There doesn't!'  We have who knows how many religions on this planet and I would say a majority of people belong to one of them.

Look at it honestly, which of the thousands of religions has told you what your ultimate purpose is?  None of them, right?  A few make some stupid claim, but then there are hundreds of others that contradict such claims.  But no one has found the one, single ultimate purpose/meaning for life, have they?  And, if they are like the site I linked to above, their ultimate purpose is quite self-serving.  It's not your ultimate purpose, but the religion's ultimate purpose that keeps you on their rolls (and donating).

Eric is mistaken in another area, science is not inherently materialistic. What science is driven by is a philosophy called 'Methodological Naturalism', which is not the same thing at all. Methodological naturalism is a way of acquiring knowledge. It is a distinct system of thought concerned with a cognitive approach to reality.  In other words science does not address things like purpose/meaning, just like it doesn't address the supernatural.  That's not the same thing as saying that science says there is no purpose/meaning, but that it doesn't address them.  It's like saying Math is wrong because it's not addressed in English.

But people like Eric and klingy like to redefine things to their own purposes.  They are the ones who define things like 'scientistic (is that even a word?) materialist' and then claim that means science says there is no meaning.  Not addressing something is not the same thing as such a categorical statement like:
"there is not only no ultimate purpose or meaning to life"
So, do we need to have some ultimate purpose?  I don't think so, but if you are one of those who demand to have some sort of ultimate purpose, instead of looking at religion, look at your life.  Look at the people you surround yourself with and make your own ultimate purpose.  I know my personal purpose in life changed when I got married, it changed again when I had children, and changed yet again with my grandchild.  Doesn't seem to be a bad purpose for my life!

There's also another advantage to considering my children and granddaughter my purpose, I get to deal with my purpose in this life, right now.  I don't have to wait and find out in Pascal's Wager is true or not, I am living my purpose!  I really don't care if one of the many deities has some other purpose for me in mind, if they want to bitch about the way I am living my life, they aren't much of a deity then, are they?  So instead of counting on them in a crisis -- because that always works, right?  And instead of spending time and resources focused on such an imaginary being, I spend it with reality, the reality of my family.  Now that seems to be a damned good purpose to have!  Imagine how many children would be alive today if certain people would have focused on them instead of letting them die of neglect because those parents/caregivers preferred their belief system instead of those children!

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree with your final paragraph sir. THE purpose of life is to produce offspring. You are most fortunate in that you have children AND grandchildren.
    I have neither, but that is just the way my own life turned out. I don't miss it as you cannot miss what you never had.
    Joseph Campbell, the late mythologist, who was also a wonderful story teller said that the ONLY sin was not liking yourself. Of course he also said, quite correctly, that life feeds on life. Of course it does, humans and many other animals kill other critters to stay alive. When you pick fruits and vegetables, you kill them. Life does feed on life. Wonder how many xtians will admit to that truth?
    OK, I'll now go back to my own Korner and stay quiet.
    Oh, one last thing. What have these xtians given the world? The crusades and the Inquisition are the big two in my sarcastic opinion. They also made the RCC very wealthy. Hmmm, I remember something in that holly buy-bull about NOT storing up riches in this life......ah, but that cannot apply to the churches can it?
    We must realize the the priests of doG (regardless what religion they push) need to be fed, housed, and taken care of, after all, we must never expect them to hold real, useful jobs.