What is the porpuse of humanity and existence itself ???

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Truenemo1889, Jan 26, 2002.

  1. Truenemo1889 Registered Senior Member

    Can anybody give a solid answer on this one ? It has been bugging me for a while . THX

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  3. kmguru Staff Member

    To enjoy life...
    To worship creation....
    To go where no man (woman, dog, cat) has gone before...

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  5. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Your ask for purpose as IF it's been designed...

    Our design is of evolution, of mistakes and corrections, striving for dominance and survival. (This usually means the more dominant the more chance to survive)

    No matter what anyone might claim as their reasoning, it is their reasoning not your own. If you question it then you should seek your own understanding, although reflecting on others understandings is a start.

    Survive, Prosper and Grow pretty much covers it.
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  7. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    a challenge

    Hi Stryderunknown,
    I challenge you (and any other feeling compelled) to give some prove to the idea of the universe being without design. Is it not impossible to prove, just like the alternative?

    Does God play dice?
  8. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

    Merlijn, Imahamster will undertake such a challenge. Being the cantankerous critter this hamster is, this hamster will expound on whatever this hamster wishes rather than focus exactly on the challenge presented.

    Often a believer suggests that some biological structure such as the “eye” is “proof” of intelligent design. A skeptic then shows a process whereby an “eye” could arise from a series of natural steps. The believer might reasonably disagree with the proposed process or might point to a different example and say then explain this. After several such exchanges the believer feels he has “proven” the existence of a designer and the skeptic feels he has shown that a designer is not needed. The skeptic may get very tired of this endless process and proclaim that inductively he has shown there is no designer. If out of the vast number of questions asked and answered throughout history not one required a designer, the skeptic may feel there is inductive “proof” that there is no designer. The believer doesn’t accept this “proof” as he feels that several questions were answered very poorly if they were answered at all. The position of each side hardens.

    To one who hasn’t played this game it may seem that one can’t disprove the existence of a designer. Next week miners might unearth tablets written in English saying, “I did so design the Earth. So there.” Or some mathematician could discover a similar message in the digits of pi. That really isn’t the issue. (At least to this hamster. Might be to others.)

    The believer feels there is already sufficient evidence to conclude a designer exists. The skeptic feels sufficient evidence has been examined that future discovery of compelling evidence for a designer is very unlikely. (Scientific proof isn’t mathematical proof. One need only provide sufficiently compelling evidence. On the over hand, science doesn’t promise absolute certainty. All conclusions may be re-examined under the light of new evidence.)

    This hamster feels it’s too early to draw conclusions. Very intelligent people have “examined the evidence” and come to diametrically opposed views. When this happens in a science area, this hamster usually concludes that there is insufficient evidence or that none of the proposed explanations are correct. When the dispute occurs across systems of belief the dispute is more fractious as the systems don’t share methods for acquiring, examining, or interpreting evidence. Tempers may flare as each side disparages the other’s irrationality.

    (It not as bad as it might seem as both believers and skeptics grew up under similar conditions so they share human reasoning processes. Learning to find one’s socks in the morning requires that one evaluate evidence and be familiar with doubt. Living in a technological world requires one accept much that one will never understand.)

    These disagreements would be academic except that the modern communications society is interconnecting everything. It’s no longer possible to screen one’s children from another group’s beliefs. The Amish have cell phones. Afghan and African tribes have televisions. The walls are crumbling and many groups are not happy with what they see happening to their people and culture. Islamic fundamentalists see a Western invasion. Christians see decaying family and national values. The French see cultural pollution. The scientific community sees a rising tide of superstition and non-rational belief. Everyone sees an unwelcome intrusion into their turf.

    This hamster’s opinion is that science is winning the struggle for mind share. This may create a dangerous backlash as competing belief systems struggle to survive. In these tumultuous times science should be less arrogant. Be less disparaging of other belief systems. Be more open about the limits of science. Build bridges to other belief systems rather than erect barriers. Science is sufficiently compelling that a gentle hand reached outwards will encourage more scientific thinking than would rationality wielded as a club.

    Finally, as to the question “Does God play dice?”

    This hamster has had a personal experience that led this hamster to conclude that something plays dice and is damn good at it. This hamster doesn’t know whether that “something” is alive or is intelligent or is a force of nature. It remains unknown. This hamster would not accept such hearsay evidence from another person so does not offer it here. Nor did this hamster’s experience lead this hamster to conclude that there is a designer. This hamster concluded only that the world is stranger than this hamster would have believed. The experience left this hamster more accepting of different belief systems and less arrogant.
  9. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    The eye is not proof of intelligent design. The eye is a collection of cells which were, over countrless generations exposed to the electromagnetic radiation which surrounds us, and eventually made use of that energy, just as our ears grew to make use of the vibrations around us. The size of these cells is roughly the size of the wavelength of light. If the cells were larger or smaller, they would have made use of different parts of the spectrum, and we'd be seeing in infrared or ultraviolet right now.

    As for purpose... Why assume there is one at all? Do you really need one for your life to have meaning?
  10. John Como Registered Senior Member

    Meaning of life

    The question of purpose has puzzled mankind perhaps from Day 1 and some of us have never understood the terse response that life has meaning without purpose. Meaning what? Imahamster offers a lotta interesting words, methinks, but without saying anything. For my part (and ignoring all religious claptrap about gods and afterlife), I would say there are scientific explanations for our presence on this space pebble, and we are here - like other living organisms - through random occurrence, survival of the fittest, that sorta thing. Still in the early stages of human evolution, we may become something unimaginably wonderful in the long term. But it's doubtful. Our propensity for greed, violence, over-population, etc., is leading us to self-destruct (extinction) in the short term. In the meantime, have a nice day! Peace and goodwill.

    John C.
  11. orthogonal Registered Senior Member

    I don't think much in terms of man's "purpose". The very word implies that man is here merely as a tool for some greater end. But one is then lead logically to ask what is the purpose of this next greater end. In other words; "A" exists for the greater good of "B". "B" exists for the greater good of "C"...ad infinitum.

    I never look beyond man himself, or more specifically, beyond myself for a purpose. My own "purpose" is to experience beauty, to love, and to satisfy my insatiable curiosity. I serve no other master. I am not merely a gear in a larger machine. I am the master and the machine. My happy life is a purpose worthy of my life. In this rare instance I may pick myself up by my own bootstraps.

    Concerning the design of the human eye:
    Richard Dawkins in his book, The Blind Watchmaker, uses the eye as an example of why we might not be a result of intelligent design. The problem with the human eye is that it's designed backwards! Any engineer would design an eye such that the connecting nerves leading from the retina to the brain are taken off the back of the retina. Instead, the bundle of connecting nerves actually pass between the incoming light and the light sensitive retinal cells. (It would be equivalent to Newton designing his reflecting telescope such that one's head had to be placed at the focus, insuring that much of the incoming light is wasted against the back of one's head.)

    The eyes of squids for example, which evolved quite seperately from human eyes, are designed in what we would see as a more intelligent manner; the nerves come off the back of the retina.

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2002
  12. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

    The beloved meaning of life concists very much for us humans of trying to find that out. And when we come to a point when we realize that we never can find that out, we still keep trying. It´s the ultimate riddle and we cherish it like the last caramel in the bowl.

  13. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    Exactly Bebelina!

    What is all that eye-nonsense? When I spoke of a "design" naturally I did not mean such a simple concept of an actual designer. I was merely wondering what the proof was for the purposelesness of the life, the universe and the rest (which was the original topic, wasn't it?).
    There may very well be a 'fuzzy' design: I can imagine a god/creator who has created a cosmic soup and gave the ingredients some kind of self-organizing properties. After a while life may evolve from this soup. the processes in the soup may appear to be random, but the orinial idea was that it 'seeks out', if you will, complex structures.

    As many may know, I believe in an absolute truth. I simply cannot accept a world view that is not based on the believe in mathematical and physical absoluteness. (so, it not only ethics I am copncreaned about

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    Besides, whithout the believe in an absolute truth, one denies oneself every ground of credibility: without an absolute truth one indirectly claims to have no evidence whatsoever.

    From the believe in a 'Platonic' world of absolute ideas it is a small step to believing in a purpose to existence.
    I have not yet figured out for myself whether I am willing to make that step.

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2002
  14. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

    Mathematicians have had to give up on “absolute truth”. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem showed that in all but the simplest formal systems there exist propositions that can neither be proved nor disproved. Godel’s theorem applies to all mathematical systems that are commonly used. It also applies to computer languages.

    Furthermore all but simple mathematical systems cannot be proven to be consistent. There remains a possibility that a statement may be shown to be both “true” and “false”. That would mean the original axioms of the formal system were inconsistent.

    (During the early 1900’s a number of mathematicians tried to build an “absolutely true” mathematical system. When Godel proved it could not be done there was a crisis of faith in the mathematical community. Later generations of mathematicians have learned to live with less certitude.)

    There is less “absolute truth” in mathematics than is commonly believed.

    There is a middle ground between “absolute truth” and “no evidence whatsoever”. That middle ground is the home of mathematics and science.

    (The above is the absolute truth. Hehe.)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2002
  15. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    Hi Imahamster,
    It's a good point you have there, but it is not exactly what Goedel's theorem shows. It shows that in every possible set of formal rules there are thruths that cannot be proven to be true, and there are flases that cannot be proven to be so.

    This does in no way challenge the idea of the existence of an absolute truth!

    bye Merlijn
  16. Counterbalance Registered Senior Member

    What is the purpose of humanity and existence itself...

    Humanity is comprised of individual humans with individual minds and bodies. At any given time a human may make choices that lead one directly or indirectly to interact with other humans, or animals, or things. And we bring about this interaction by making, breaking, and re-forming various types of ’bonds,’ rather like atoms do when forming a molecule. Multiple bonds... mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. Aspects of our individual selves are what we make use of when bonding and trying to establish a workable symmetry that will ultimately allow us to create or to investigate other dimensions of identity for all the atom-humans involved--separately or as a whole. The en masse act of this never-ending event is what I would call “humanity.” And the purpose of “humanity,” I think, is to explore who we are, could be, or who we will never be for as long as we determine we have a good enough reason to do so.

    Existence... is the dimensionless arena in which we carry out our “acts” of humanity.
  17. Counterbalance Registered Senior Member


    Dearest Hamster... Enjoyed your post. The only thing I would add is that the responsibility for bridge-building should fall to all who want see the true potential of Humankind realized.


  18. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

    Merlijn, Imahamster agrees with your statement of Godel’s Theorem. There are several equivalent formulations of Godel’s Theorem. Godel’s Theorem is also equivalent to the “Halting Problem” in computer science. This hamster chose a formulation that avoided statements such as “there are truths that cannot be proven to be true”. To most people that sentence might seem to be nonsense. Only a person who already knew Godel’s Theorem would recognize that “proven to be true” had a precise definition involving a finite number of formal reasoning steps. While “there are truths” represents “truths” reached through mathematically acceptable rules of reasoning outside the formal system.

    In this hamster’s opinion the mathematically acceptable rules of reasoning are themselves “non-provable”. They have served well through the explorations of math and science but ultimately this hamster is left wondering if a more intelligent entity could point out fundamental flaws. In this hamster’s opinion even the reasoning rules of mathematics and logic ultimately rest on the foundation of “they seem to work”. (Much as Newton’s classical physics usually “works”.)

    The only challenge to “absolute truth” this hamster implied was that this hamster doubts the definition and source of “absolute truth” will derive from mathematics or science. (Nor does this hamster personally subscribe to any source of “absolute truths”. This hamster crawls on shaky ground.)

    (Warning: rodents are often wrong. Accept rodent reasoning at your own risk.)

    Fun chattering with you Merlijn.
  19. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

    Counterbalance, this hamster agrees. This hamster’s friends and associates tend to be scientists and rationalists. This hamster’s comments often reflect what this hamster would say to them. Mutual respect and cooperation is needed from all groups.

    (This hamster liked the molecular analogy and reason for existence.)
  20. Science Geek Registered Member

    humanities purpose

    In truth the only answer for this question is the one from within. I believe the answer is different for everyone. If you can find one thing over your entire lifetime that is more important that anything else, that will be the meaning of your life. My belief about humanities purpose is that we are supposed to be explorers and discoverers. We should preserve the Earth and all it's inhabitants as well as colonize other worlds and perhaps even make contact with other races. I think we are beings of great though unfulfilled destiny. The many begin with the one.
  21. John Como Registered Senior Member

    Purpose, meaning

    I don't agree that the only answer is the one from within. On the contrary, this imaginary meaning - different in each individual - is not the answer to the question of What is the purpose of life? Methinks people naturally adopt this position to extract some personal and logical purpose in this vale of tears. Fact is, there ain't no universal purpose, other than basic survival. Having said this, I do agree that we are extremely distant from our great potential (destiny).

    John C.
  22. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Want to know why you are here?

    The simplest answer is: To discover Yourself.

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    It's a good idea ask now because most people ask this when they are dying (when they care about it).
    You are also special. There is anyone in the world exactly like you. You may find many people that share the same ideas with you, but they will always have something different.
    If you are different, you are here to change the world. You are here to make something.
    So, don't stay there watching TV and playing computer games!! (If you do so...). Discover yourself and you will discover what you are here for (in the humanity scale).
    For more information see my signature (below) and my posts.

  23. John Como Registered Senior Member

    Truth & logic

    Discovering yourself is an answer for peace of mind, perhaps, but is not connected to life's purpose. Six thousand four-hundred and fifty-one examples spring to mind, however I will mention only one: Supposing one "discovers" him or herself to be a paranoid schizophrenic killer of small animals. Then what? Does he/she therefore discover what they're here for? The fact that we're all slightly different does not mean we're here to change the world, no, all it means is that we're all slightly different. Some seekers of truth, methinks, are looking in the wrong direction. As for not watching TV nor playing computer games, I dunno. For some, this is the best lifestyle possible and because I consider mine is on a higher and more productive level is okay, but rather irrelevant and unapplicable to someone else. Peace and goodwill.

    John C.

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