Accident

Posted: July 29, 2007 in Theo/Philo

richarddawkins.jpg 

Bertrand Russell:

‘That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.’

 Russell takes atheism to its inevitable unavoidable bottom line. The question though is this; why did Russell write this? Why did he write or do anything? Similarly why do we have the nu-atheists clogging up the bookshelves? Why? 

Why does Richard Dawkins stand at his lecture lecturing the masses about Gods non existence?Is it that these atheists are following the customs of there culture perhaps? 

 If ‘… man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins’ represents  an accurate portrayal of our plight, then there are logical consequences of this view point.

 For instance ‘J. P. Moreland in his excellent book ‘Kingdom triangle’ says:

‘It follows that if two people equally have biographical lives –if they each have plans, goals, and values that they equally (and arbitrarily) find important, and they can seek them in equally satisfying ways from their own (arbitrary) point of view-they and their life pursuits have equal value…there is no objective difference between the life aims of mother Teresa and Dax Cowart.’

 (Dax Cowart in his early twenties he suffered 90 percent body burns, before his burns he was a ladies man and a rodeo rider, after his burns he could not pursue these goals and asked to be administered a lethal injection.) 

There is no way to distinguish between a good and a bad act; all acts are equal, only culture seeks to impose values –which are subject to change through time and place. That we make judgments all the time is undeniable, it’s not what those judgements are but that we make them, that remains a mystery –a consistent atheistic worldview according to Russell leaves our judgements and the fact that we make distinctions unimportant and irrelevant.

 Without a meta-narrative what is left?If ‘Man’ is a machine made of atoms –how is a machine to find meaning, significance and definition?    

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Comments
  1. “That we make judgments all the time is undeniable, it’s not what those judgements are but that we make them, that remains a mystery –a consistent atheistic worldview according to Russell leaves our judgements and the fact that we make distinctions unimportant and irrelevant.”

    Incorrect. The subjective is both important and relevant. The fact that you like Metallica is important and relevant to you. The fact that it is subjective makes no difference.

    The fact that you have a subjective taste for some acts and a subjective distaste for others is also relevant and important.

  2. Mike Godfrey says:

    Hi Dorctor Logic,
    I agree that the subjective is important but the underlying thought in this post was to why -why is it important in the context of an atheistic worldview?
    There is no reason for it or anything to be labelled inportant, and in fact it has been said that the notion of self is an illusion.

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