Is Science basically nihilistic?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Is a scientific view of the world, or more broadly a physicalist view of reality, necessarily nihilistic?
    CAN ultimate meaning or purpose exist in a universe where everything is reducible to interacting vibrating strings or a fizzy quantum soup?
     
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  3. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    True, there is no ultimate meaning or purpose, and this is exactly what frees one to make whatever meaning or purpose of their life that they can. Hip, hip, hurray!

    And, of course, too, the religious are free to choose to have strings attached to them.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Are there atheist writers, painters and musicians? Of course there are so your question is nonsensical.
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    How would a bunch of subatomic particles/strings create meaning? And wouldn't that meaning always be illusory?
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Sure there are. I can make up things too. But that doesn't mean it's meaningful anymore than posting here is creating real meaning for your otherwise empty little existence. Fleeting illusory diversions from being a purposeless hunk of meat. That's all they are.
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Then I could say God worship is also a "fleeting illusory diversion". Art and culture obviously mean a lot to the people involved in them, they investigate man's relationship to man and existence.

    I dare anyone, atheist, materialist, or theist, to look at the products of science like the Hubble Telescope images and not feel a sense of awe and wonder.
     
  10. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    Nope, not illusory, for real is real, and for the time that we are alive, we have actual experience.

    Is life just a small parentheses within eternity, beyond which there is nothing else for the particular individual? Yes, but we have what we have.
     
  11. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    They once purposely trained the telescope on a dark area no larger than a grain of sand, letting the light collect for about 11 days. 10,000 galaxies appeared.
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes..and from inside a scientific paradigm of reality God would be just one more culturally generated delusion of meaning, like romantic love, patriotism, morality, or aesthetic wonder. I can smoke some pot and get a sense of wonder watching it rain. But that doesn't mean anything. In a universe where everything is just mechanical vibrations wouldn't every nice feeling or emotion be just a
    hallucination to pass the time under?
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    So being alive for no reason at all just to play around and maximize pleasure for yourself and then to dissolve back into dust IS meaning to you? You don't expect much do you?

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  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    What makes a feeling or transcendent emotion something valuable to you? I'm not saying the meaning that theists feel isn't meaningful, I'm just saying that it's not dependent on the actual reality of a supreme being.

    Some sects of theism say that this world is ultimately meaningless, it's just a place to pass the time until the reality of eternal life comes about.
     
  15. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    It's all there is, and it is a lot, as we stand upon all that went before, but as I said there is no ultimate meaning beyond the dust to dust, and that means freedom (within our form).

    Those who want more are prone to making things up, be they never so humble.
     
  16. livingin360 Registered Senior Member

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    I refute that science is nihilistic. Life has meaning because what use is the universe without it being conscious that it exists. That's why our strongest impulse i believe is to survive.
     
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    Science is necessarily valueless - IOW it deals with questions of "what" as opposed to "why"
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Well I'm not a scientific physicalist so I don't take my feelings to be just hallucinogenic brain states that evolved to get me to survive. I take thought itself to be meaningful in itself and a meaning-creating faculty. When I see a rainbow for example I'm in awe because of the thought: "This universe somehow harmonizes with my feelings and thoughts on a fundamental level. There's something "meant" about my being here." I don't know what meaning is exactly. But intuitively I feel it as my very state of being conscious. People who believe in a God do the same thing aesthetically but based more on the thought of everything being created by a humanoid being. That's THEIR way of feeling meaningful in their existence.
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It does deal with various why questions, like why do we invent religion!
     
  20. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    Well said.

    The OP is ridiculously flawed in that it assumes that there is either: a) inherent meaning in the universe or, b) no meaning whatsoever.

    Egads someone needs to study logic...
     
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But how do you KNOW this is all there is? Couldn't we be in a matrix-like reality created by really advanced ET's? Couldn't there be other dimensions where we live other lives whose eternal destiny is to eventually converge into one existence?
     
  22. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, if they can micro manage and project a trillion-trillion interactions in every spec everywhere without disrupting all. One must consider that all proposed situations are not at all equi-probable. It certainly seems via science that atoms and forces do all the work themselves

    Also, it may well be that in the far future that we all combine into some higher or even universal mind.
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I take the brain to be a meaning-creating engine. I don't think a rainbow means anything inherently, but I feel happy when I see one. It doesn't take any extraneous theories to feel this. You are making the common mistake that since a physical worldview is the only one that can be demonstrated, the inherent meaning we feel as human beings is somehow diminished by that knowledge. I think science adds to this feeling by revealing things like our place in the galaxy, the vast size of the apparent universe, the complexity of our bodies and brains, and the complex and interesting story of our evolution. Evolution created love, but that doesn't diminish the feeling of love. I know it's a bio-electro-chemical response that increases human bonding, but the feeling is still real.
     

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