Meaning of life (Not Brian’s)

This text was a response to a ‘blog’ I found on a well known ‘Q&A’ site. However I found it valuable enough to have its own space on my blog.

Interesting piece, however, failing at some severe points (as I just commented on one of your answers elsewhere, I thought lets see what Roger Baker writes beyond answers).

It starts here (well actually in some incorrect presuppositions made regard ability to generalize groups or even individuals with a certain worldview):

We may or may not be children of God, but we are indubitably children of the universe, and it is physical and insentient. If, as cosmology teaches, the universe is cold, impersonal and pointless, devoid of any framework of intentional, the problem of meaning forces itself upon one.

It seems as a very rational thing to say: We are either this or that, but one can not deny one of them. However, cosmology doesn’t teach anything, not even by its findings. It only shows what is observable and deductible and painfully our interpretations are always personal. Besides that, calling it ‘pointless’ would seem as if the universe has no ‘goal’. Though it doesn’t have a ‘deliberate’ goal, it is not without point. Just like crystallizing water creates intrinsic webs of ice, it is due to removal of heat. Such is also the fact that the universe becomes more and more complex due to the binding of elements, it is not pointless. It has a direction to move to. Life seems (as we now know the working of folding of proteins, build from simple amino acids) inevitable in situations common to our own Earth atmosphere.

Of course it is not intentional, why would it? A rock falls from a pile, does it have an intention? No. If it hits your toe, still no intention.

The induction (or the need to) of meaning is a post hoc fallacy. See, we are a species that has learned to change the simple ‘pattern recognition’ behavior that is in all life (flora and fauna) to survive, into the ability to plan depending on it by choice. We changed the: ‘It will happen’, to ‘it has to happen’. This is the cause of animism and from that religion at the start of humanity.

As is proven by research and logic (as we know can see, as an individual, the far reaches of space and the inner working of our own body), we individually can deduct and induct how causality causes, but not bring meaning. We are born to die, we procreate to survive. That is one of the definitions of life. So, whether you quote William James or someone else, it doesn’t change that observably we can individually and as humanity as a whole, tell that the biological bonds between kin, are causing the natural cause for procreation and the meaning (again from biological point of view) for our life. However, humans have one thing over other animals: choice. A deliberate and cognitive choice. Even the ‘smartest’ animals will behave on instinct, not rendered mental concepts.(Humanistic meaning)

Whether life has a meaning, depends on whether we give it one (Our own meaning). Or we are indoctrinated with one (religious meaning).


I don’t take physicists or philosophers to quote them for ‘knowledge’. This is something an individual has to come to on his/her own accord. The scientist or wise person, or even just intelligent person can be a proxy or ‘enabler’, but it is your own mind that should try to find the answers, the ‘truth’ in your personal world. I guess we agree on that (though we might disagree on how that should go).

Lets leave out the religion part for the moment, as we seem to stand on different sides of the door and (the metaphore isn’t meant to be mean) I enjoy the sun on my face on the outside of it.

I will answer your ‘question’ regarding meaning, if you do too from your perspective (only your own words, not refering to your earlier writing or others).

You ask two separate things:

  1. How do we give meaning to life?
  2. Why give meaning to life if its meaning ends at death?

The additional points are valid questions regarding the fear people have not having chosen the right meaning for their lives.

For the first question, how do we give meaning to life, I could say that is a spiritual journey for many. Many others (if not most) get the meaning of their life directed by parents, society or general culture (In India the cohesion between country, religion, culture and societies are so strong, there is hardly a difference. This is also the reason).

I shared the second link, to show you have for instance the book of Genesis does ‘teach’ us things, but not about the actual words but the intrinsic nature of the human mind. How awareness (growth of level of cognitive abilities like recognition of causality and ability to form abstract concepts) has altered the realisation of self and the influence of our view of self on the world around us.

Why do I explain this? Because this is where the meaning of our life comes from. Do ants think of a reason for their life? Or the meaning of it all? No, they are fully functional lifeforms, immersed in emotional instinctive behavior. It gets them from a to b and from life to death. This goes for all lifeforms without cognitive abilities like humans (as far as we are aware we are the only ones on this planet currently)..

Why do some think that there must be a reason/meaning for their life outside of their own mind? Because of the lack of awareness of causality. The lack of understanding how things work if there is no mind to observe it (you call this the non-physical, but the first link I shared shows how the mind comes from the brain, ie physical). ‘If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make any sound?’ Yes, it does. Sound is the word we give to the sensory input of material pressure (vibrations in air, but also through more solid objects) change, recognized by our body (ears, sinus, head, haptic feeling). However, we as humans aren’t the only ones to recognize this event in our surroundings. Even if we are not there to recognize it, nor any other life form, the event still takes place. the tree’s branches will still break, the trunk will rupture, the objects around it and the ground itself will tremor. However, this already happened way before human ears existed. It didn’t have any meaning, yet happened anyway.

So, if everything has happened, yet had no meaning, like the birth of stars and the death of them, the debris becoming planets on distant solar systems after a cataclystic event like a super nova. These events also have no meaning, except for the life that eventually might emerge on such planets and becomes aware enough to observe and question their place.

The fact that humans exist, as does other life on Earth (and possibly elsewhere), does not automatically bring a meaning. If history had gone different, we might have not gained cognitive abilities to question our surrounding, though logic states that it is most likely that this was inevitable.

Once you are aware of your parents (by the time you are able to see.), you will feel identified with them. They are part of you. This is a biological bond, that is caused by evolution, because those children who don’t cling like a leaf to their parents will die first. Our emotional field has all emotions of earlier iterations of animals, but our cognition doesn’t have a direct connection with them, though it is directly/indirectly influenced by them. The very first emotion (most important for survival) is fear. Even the single cell organism responds with the most rudimentary equivalent of fear. If something takes away fluids, move away. If something is hot, the cell will (by internal mechanism) move away from it, like plants do. This is meaning for them to survive? Or is it ‘reason’? Or ‘cause’? Life in general has become more aware each iteration (aware in level of response mechanisms to influences in the cycle of a life form). Nowhere in this trajectory there was meaning induced already. This only came into existence when cognitive awareness caused the individual entity (in this case proto-human) to recognize that not all signals were required to respond instinctively to. The fact that (proto-)humanoids weren’t at the bottom of the food-chain anymore, caused their numbers to increase. More entities in a group create more communication, causing complexity of interaction and ‘language’. But with complex communication comes enlarged memory due to the nature of individual differences. Communication causes humans to seek common ground, this is something that is imperative for survival as well. After all the physical dangers outside the group, now humanity has to ensure there is no danger from inside the group too. By following specific protocols, individuals ensure early recognition of danger or possibilities to have mutual goals. Is this a meaning? Or a reason? No it is a means though. Humans haven’t been aware of it, but they have been subject to it anyway (as an object). This all shows that there is meaning in itself.

We create a meaning based on our awareness of the world. When one is unaware of causality, all meaning is one’s own mind. When one sees causility that is identifiable, one will place meaning outside him/her self, based om the identification. Mostly like children do: I act like this, so any event outside myself happening in an identifiable order will be based on the same kind of reason: a person. ‘Stupid chair’ etc.

When we become more aware of the world and have understanding that there are larger connections, it is this larger scope that provides us with meaning: We live together and are dependent on each other. So, this bond must have importance. Now we have (as humanity) evolved further and become aware of things as individuals. We are able as individuals to survive as such. We find that outside ourselves, everyone makes a meaning for their life (Buddhists make their reasons, Christians make their reasons, aboriginals make their reasons.) Because everyone has a choice based on their awareness, meaning has become individualized. But meaning is still not imbued by anything outside the mind. Cause and effect are not meaning, they are results. Taking ‘pointless’, as ‘meaningless’, yes, the universe is meaningless. We observe (and perhaps other species that have evolved into cognitive beings as well) the universe and are children. Our emotional dependency on pattern recognition (instinctive survival mechanism), causes our cognitive awareness to ‘feel’ there is a reason for things, even if it is just that false positive on danger.

Does not having a meaning in life, mean that life is meaningless? No, because our mind has emerged from the increasing complexity of manifolds, we are able to introspect, retrospect, deduct and induct on our observations (which are more than just the visuals). Yes, the only reason for our lives (biological) is to breed. What would happen if all of humanity lost the want to procreate? We would die out. Except that our biological sexual drive will cause the unaware to start breeding (having sex) anyway and cause the species to continue. This again is not a meaning, but cause and effect of biological measurements. But we give life meaning. How do we reflect on a Gorilla mother hugging their infant? How do we reflect on a Chimpanzee baby sleeping in the cultivation of its mother or father? Does it have less meaning? Or more?

Why would a human life have more meaning? The cognitive awareness? Is that what gives more meaning? Because the cognitive awareness is required to even fatom a meaning? Yet if all humans were finished off, the world would continue to turn and another species would emerge superior. Would that be the meaning for humans perishing? The cycle of life includes death. No matter what comes after. The existence as it was before you were born or a fictive eternity of mind? The implications of the wanted ‘after’, depends on the awareness one has for causality. If something doesn’t fit into the logic of reality, one will add supernatural or surreal solutions. To do so, will then cause more and more intrinsic webs of supernatural causes and reasons. But with it comes a reason and cause that is also requiring a meaning. Thus one creates a loop that will keep itself going. Worst thing is our primal emotion. When the loop is connected with fear, it is almost impossible to stop it. Life is prone on survival and to survive it needs to know it will not die. When it knows it will die, it either looses will to continue or seeks a meaning for death. The only meaning people ‘want’ for death is to continue living. The truth is, everything dies. The universe, the planet, humans, specks of dust. Dying is part of a cycle of existence. Energy – matter transformation. Direction to no direction. Movement to no movement.

But what would be wrong about it? Did you bother about life before you were born? No. You weren’t existing. IF you would imply everyone lives AFTER death, you automatically imply everyone lives before birth. Taking this into infinity, everyone would be in an infinite loop and you more likely will end up Buddhist, than anything else. If you live before birth, as what? Non-corporal? That would imply the mind or essence is not based on physical causes as we know it is. It implies we would be able to investigate mind / cognitive abilities at the moment of conception or even before (because the implication of added complexity would still have to adhere to reality). As we know, this is not so. We have been able to figure out where the mind/cognition is created and can switch it on and off.

So what is the meaning of life, if life ends? Well, for one, there is the meaning of A life and there is meaning of life. One is what it means to an individual, the other is what it means to a species or even broader, an ecosystem. Until an individual is aware of it, there is no meaning for it to discern. When it is aware, it will search for a meaning. Not that there is one, but it will search for it, because the pattern recognition that is the base of our mind, depends on search for causality. We as humans often fail to understand that causality is not meaning. It is cause and effect. The result, not the meaning.

So, if there is no meaning to life, what could we extract as the most objective ‘meaning’ we could give it?

Looking at life as it is, it is adaptation. Adaptation means learning. Learning means finding data, information and from that knowledge. This is what humanity has done. First with the increasing complexity of life itself, then its habits, then its communication, then its cognitive understanding. So, the meaning of life, in the most objective matter would be: Accumulate as much data, information and knowledge for the next generation to grow upon and extend.

I might add: To increase the positive effect of it on humanity, its habitat and entire ecosystem.

And again on the proof of superstition

Any religitard (someone who has deliberately kept his/her ignorance up, by following superstition rather than using the brain his/her ancestors gave him/her) will keep coming up with reversed logic:

‘Look how beautiful everthing is. That MUST be my god’s doing’ (Whether it is Hindu, Muslim or Christian denomination)

‘But that is too complex to be existing without a divine hand’ (doesn’t matter the line of religion followed)

However, they still fail to meet any burden of proof

And what will they say?

But you can’t disprove it either’.

Well….that is where they are wrong. See, all we have for saying that something exists is EITHER: proof/evidence (not the same thing) or history.

Now the thing with history is, that it is either ‘left overs’ in the natural world, or interpretations written to paper by our ancestors.

What is wrong with that? Nothing, as long as you understand the implication. It means that without the knowledge YOU have, someone who wants to give an answer about something, will have to trust on the information he/she DOES have.

An example? The people who wrote most of the still in print religious books from around 3000-2000 years ago, thought the world was flat. They even thought the Earth was the center of the universe. Why? For the same reason you talk from perspective of I and you/others. You speak from perspective. In such you take the place your mind is, in your head, behind your eyes, and the first thing you address is how to connect what you see, hear, feel and experience to the ‘mind’ that is you. Why can blind people think? Because the mind doesn’t need a visual to work. A part of the brain is dedicated to visuals, but the mind doesn’t have that. At first, humans, gaining cognition (deliberate self awareness and ability to extend that awareness into planning etc), only saw the limits of the group. Then they extended beyond the groups (some where bannished, some were seeking or left behind, some were the sole surviver of a group), they sought out the world. But that world was what they walked on. Every step was a flat step. When looking up, they saw the sky, like a blanket, when they looked forward, they saw the world, until the next mountain, then next forrest. The world WAS flat. It still is to extend, as the WORLD is what you observe. But Earth has never been flat. The planet is what it is, a globe (read some Copernicus to understand how humanity escaped that limitation of mindset), and the world is too, now. The world is basically our projection of our awareness on the ‘universe’ around us. How do we know that our evolving humanity has gone through these stages? Because our individual evolution per human still follows EXACTLY the same steps of awareness.

Sooo, how does all this relate to the question? Well, you wanted to know prove for imagination, I now explained to you where our mind and from that our imagination comes from. BUT, how about the ideas of gods? Well, imagine you are limited in understanding and awareness. Imagine you are a ‘baby’ in mind. Basically learning to ‘write’ and ‘read’, or even the more complex pattern recognition, was something that has taken humanity the greater of thousands of years. Before that, mammals were growing out of an ice age, where the ‘tide’ had turned. The change in climate, made the center of Africa (then the center of the ‘world’ of mammals, like apes) a lush green jumgle. It was easier to stay alive, but also, many different species fought for dominance and died. The dinosaurs, already extinct for some time, left more of the smaller animals for the battle and these eventually started to take its toll. Homo Erectus (or before that even Homo Habilis) was able to get out of the trees, without being preyed on. They started to walk the fields and have less and less attackers. BUT, the instincts were there. They had been there for thousands if not millions of years in its ancestors, and they had proven to be the required survival instincts. When a bush rustled, it didn’t matter if there was a predator or not, you got into the tree, high up. These were eventually, even when humanoids and other mammals lived in groups, the instincts that would still pop up. The ‘fear’ of death, the fear of not being able to reproduce, was stronger than anything. It still is. These fears, these ‘false positives’ were the ability for humans to survive. The ‘look I ran from this bush and survived’ was a stronger lesson than: ‘look there is a dead body of a mate but we don’t know how that happened.’

Now, you have had your run in the community with these false positives (you survived, even though there was no danger), how do you explain this to your children when they are in the woods. Do you say: Look, if you die, you were just unlucky. Or do you say: Stay away from rustling bushes, because you will die if you don’t? I am guessing you would go for the second. This is how our mind works. We did and do this with everything. From losing our keys at home, to picking up the phone a second before the mechanism actually makes it ring. We think that it is ‘super natural’, because it ‘preceded’ us or happened due to a factor that we are ‘unaware’ of. This is the basic reason people seek for proof of gods and other superstition. But they are all the same, just some have a longer written story that supports it.

The only argument ANY theist has for their god or supernatural power, is circular reasoning which has been done away with already (and again in the piece above):

The book says this happened and I will not seek into the mind of humanity WHY someone wrote it down like that, I just accept it for true, because I once had an experience I couldn’t explain, so it must be true. So, the book says my ignorant superstition is called , so I will name it .

Wanna be right, or correct?

It has been several years now, that I have, talked, discussed, debated and fought theists of many sizes. Even agnosts and atheists. What?! Yes, even agnosts who call themselves such and wanted to claim that I could not prove the nonexistence of ignorance and as such it had to have a space in the mind of some obscured human. I strongly disagree. Why? Because we are all human and many if not most of us will be a parent eventually. We are supposed to make a better future for our offspring. Why? Because they are the legacy of humanity. If not for them, what then? Shouldn’t we teach them how we made mistakes and prevent the really lethal ones from being remade? Isn’t that what all species do? Alter the next generation, so they will survive changes?

Yes, I know, I get ahead of myself.

What this text is about, is simply: what do you gain by actual research. How much is your own brain capable of deducting and inducting regarding yourself and the world around you?

See, in the end, if you look really closely, a theists thinks the atheist, or evolutionist is taught information he/she recites. However, the atheist thinks the same about the creationist or theist. They just copy their text from a book and that is it. So….how do you get beyond this point? Well, most simple solution, we throw all books, all knowledge gathered by humanity, whether accepted by some and/or all, out the window and sit together and see how you can still get to some point of reference, without…..reference.

So, consider this:

You and I sit down on a beach. We are to look at things around us and see if we can make a timeline and by deductive/inductive reasoning (that which makes most of the human mind) come to a mutual conclusion.

Why is the theist always wrong?

As a theist you use a presupposition where no evidence is due. This is using false positive and projection. I can start explaining to you how a child learns about dependancy on its parents, interaction with it, building first an emotional structure that gains certain responses, which will be the base of the cognitive structures later on in life. But that will take a lot of time (took me some years of study for the different psychological and neurological directions in science). These structures are, when not met with correct consideration, causing individuals and from that groups, to respond to patterns in nature and more importantly society, with irrational behavior. Why? Because instead of understanding the physics and psychological evolution of humanity, people are then building their responses and insights/assumptions on these patterns based on ignorance. (this was an explanation still, so if you want to know more, check for instance (going to be moved here too). But I will elaborate answering two common questions that are giving theists the assumption that their idea about superstition is warranted.

The most important question:
1. How did it all begin?
If you have some understanding of science, you will understand how humanity has evolved its knowledge regarding its place in its own mind, society, nature and on Earth. Like children, humanity itself has learned to move away from fully emotional being (which animals are), to cognitive beings. (having reasoning skills, not merely emotional dependency skills). As children first have a dependency on their parents, so did humans still have a dependency on nature, causing it to project any ability of itself onto the patterns (signals coming from any source around us: plants, weather, light, animals, peers, events). Thus causing us (humanity or more likely even before becoming homo habilis) to create animism. Why? Out of fear. Any emotion humans have, are based on the evolutionary bred emotion fear. The single cell organism and every intermediate species have this same first emotion: fear. Fear of dying, and from that survival is based on balancing this emotion with all other evolved abilities.
We as humans have come to a moment where we are able to make objective (without emotion) reasoning (inductive/deductive) about patterns around us and see the causation between them. This has given us most if not all technological advancements you and I are using today. This technological advancement is both proof of the ability of humans to make our interpretation of reality consistent AND use the interpretation to determine and predict related causality that we are not able to directly touch (physically). As such we came to understand the microcosmos and microbes, quantum physics (though this is a slippery slope subject still), we came to understand from simple roling balls (Newton) that the Earth could not be the center of the solar system, nor universe, simply because the forces that we witness and the related consistency in reality, could not work if it was. Then we found more and more methods and evidence that the earlier theories by both theist scientists and secular scientists were correct or false, making things possible for humanity to evolve in both cultural, scientific and technological sense. This gave us things like the laws of thermodynamics, of gravity, of relativity, of evolution. These have caused humanity to reinvent itself many times. It is like a child having its puberty. The phases of transcending to another cognitive level. We first grew into our habitat. We demolished it, until we saw what the effects were (like a spoiled child in its egocentric phase, we thought everything was ours). We started to understand the causality of nature.  We started to research ecosystems, biosystems, relations between amount of species that were part of each others lifecycle. We found more and more evidence that older species had gone through the same cycle and had become extinct (even before the hand of man took hold of Earth). We found out that there were ways to determine what the age of bones were, that there was DNA, that there were obvious relations between kin, between bloodlines, between ancestors. Though, as a child we first thought our parents and family were the world, we started to understand as humanity, that there was way more. Our parents had parents and this went on for thousands and thousands of generations. We found out that, physical resemblence was more than just face value. This caused us to look beyond our habitat, beyond Earth and we saw that people like Galilei, Copernicus, Newton and many more were right about how forces were not just acting here in our ‘little’ world. The observable ‘universe’ which at first was our solar system, was holding to the same laws. It never wavered from it, never changed its mind. We found out that the Earth had gone through many catastrophies, which humanity never knew about. We came to understand that if these forces worked in the solar system, we could start explaining why stars (previously just pinholes in a blanket on the sky) weren’t always in the same place and not even had the same distance among themselves. we created (based on the confirmed formulas and models that were proven by independant researches and tests) bigger models and formulas, that sometimes upset the existing ones, but were often improvements of the older models, not refutations (though sometimes they were). Eventually we came to understand that atoms weren’t the smallest parts we could calculate with, photons, particles and quarks were found to exist as smaller bases. They gave us insights on why nuclear forces degraded over time, why the Earth stayed going around the sun. But also, how elements were expelling or absorbing energy in their cycle (like the research had previously proven the causality in life cycles of animals), how eventually entropy would set in and a match would stop burning if no fuel was left. Theories about how the sun burned in a vacuum came and went. We found more and more radiation types, particles, levels of light and magnetic frequencies. These caused us to find that the whole of the universe was holding to this type of change, where energy and matter were exchanged. How background noise proved that there was a long history to the universe. Humanity was becoming the eye on the universe. We could see further and further, like an infant that could see only 30 cm after birth, one meter at age 6 months and further and further as its eyes adjusted to the level of detail around it. Humanity now understood why on Earth there were so many archeological finds in sediments that were old, very very old. The universe itself was very very old. Using different calculations, some precise, some crude, humanity found out what could and what could not be correct ages of things, of life, of rocks, of energy of movement. We found out that the solar system, the galaxy it was in, the universe we could see, was moving. Away from it something, but some things were moving towards each other. The universe was expanding. At first this was thought rediculous, so at least half of the scientific community set on a quest to falsify this idea. And even now there are still individuals that will look for calculations that will hold all proven laws and models, but will disagree with an expanding universe. However, this expanding universe meant also that it had to have been a starting point of the expansion. This is what currently is know as the singularity. Whether it is the correct name or cause, is to be determined, but the best answer in such case is: I don’t know yet! Why is that the best answer? It gives you the option to research and find the answer, but also any other answers in between. So, where did it all begin? At a point, approximately 17.8 BILLION years ago. (and even if science is a billion years off, or 10, it is still immeasurable by human mind). What started it? Well, the models all indicate that at some point friction caused the start. But for now, it is an unknown, which is fine.

The second question:

2. Do you believe the earth is eternal?
As you might have imagined from the long and winding road above, I don’t. Why would I? Rule number one in our reactionary universe; Everything changes. The Earth itself isn’t 17.8 BILLION years old, it is only 4.5 BILLION years old. So it already didn’t exist for ever, so why would I even consider it to exist for ever from now on? The elements that make up Earth will last a long time in their current form. BUT as science has proven that matter and energy shift sides every now and then, the matter that makes up Earth will eventually turn to energy (whether that is before the universe either collapses onto itself or outstretches itself of poofs like a soap bubble) and that energy will cool down and become new matter somewhere in the far future. Current calculations say that the sun will burn for another 5 billion years, so if we as species haven’t obliterated earth before than and haven’t settled our differences or have perished, Earth will go to an energy state in matter of seconds or years if the sun ends (either in cooling, or in explosion. Our sun isn’t very big in comparison to others, so we won’t have a supernova).

I hope that answers your questions. When Logically inclined, Honesty frames the view of Reason

End of superstition

A. Why would you believe there is basis for a superstitious ignorance called ‘god’? Because there are people around you claim there is, from a book that is in no way original, nor in its original state.

B. Even if the book, which was written to ‘prove’ the superstitious ignorance to be the answer of all questions of the time, but especially the most basic of all individuals: ‘why me?’, was not altered, adapted and by translation inconsistent, it would still have lost its merit to the progress of humanity.

C. Are you part of humanity? Yes. Am I part of humanity? Yes. So what we see and hear is part of humanity’s learning.

D. We can say, without a doubt, that DNA findings are correct. You are a biological child of your parents, inherited features with adaption.

E. All research (whether by now you suddenly jumped to a conclusion of superstitious ignorance or not) done by the growing cognitive abilities and intellect of humanity, has resulted in explaining away the simple things that caused ‘primitive’ minds to see only a superstitious solution (hence superstitious ignorance).

I have already explained in (which you haven’t read) how the evolution of the awareness of an individual follows the same path (in extend) as that of the global human mind as a species. In this, the organism primate came to less and less natural enemies, causing it to change feeding habits and pattern recognition with each generation (read until the ‘modern human’ was the generation phase (meaning several generations, likely between 50 or perhaps 100 generations) where language evolved beyond the concrete objects and started to include abstracts, tools developed into reusable and teachable items for the next generation. From the beginning, the mind of humanity, like that of a child, has had only one solid base of reference: itself. As such, when pattern recognition failed, it could only ‘assume’ that the reason for the pattern was like its own mind. At some point children recognize causality, but lack understanding of natural effects and the technical implications behind these events. Simple things like stars, rainbows and the reflection of water. All very beautiful, but we can’t grasp how they exist, until we came to understanding that light was actually an ‘object’. The breaking and reflection of light as wave or particle, caused us to observe the events. The emotional effects remain the same. Some like sunsets, some don’t. Reality doesn’t exist by the grace of light, it is merely one of our options to observe. If this was not the case, blind people would have no existence. We have since come to understand that not all organisms ‘observe’ reality by the same means. Some have more simple eyes, others have even more complex eyes than humans, because evolution caused their ancestors to adapt little by little to changes in their environment. All this humanity figured out by adapting neurology. We started off with limitations, but as the environment gave us options and influenced our physics, we have evolved, even in the last 4000 years. We lost features, degraded the ability of some, improved others. How fast or slow this can go is proven by simple adaptions to handicaps (blind people can hear better, deaf people can smell and see better.) All for survival.

All this shows that the processes at work have been progressive, yet without real course of action, just improved entropy and result of events caused by yet other events. These events have been shown to adhere to the same laws of nature and physics, not even deviation once from it.

So, now as we have arrived at the point where Occom’s razor will kill the mood: All this is proof that it is the way it is, because it can be tested a million times over and EVERY single time, it will have the same result. Even the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics can change that.

Overleven (Dutch)

Ongeveer 3.7 miljoen jaar geleden, begint door verandering in de leefomgeving en klimaat, in Afrika een ontwikkeling die leidde To het ontstaan van een nieuwe wonderbaarlijke diersoort. Een die totaal verschillend zou zijn van alle anderen, maar toch zo hetzelfde. Deze diersoort had zich lange tijd als prooi van andere dieren op gehouden in de gewassen, beschermd door de kans dat roofdieren zich niet in bomen konden werken zonder het voordeel van kracht te verliezen. Door vermindering van aanwezige voeding ging generatie op generatie, de jager ten onder aan zijn eigen succes. Er kwam ruimte op de savanne en de primaat kon zich steeds meer op de grond wagen. Generatie op generatie veranderde de houding en reactors ten opzichte van dierlijke instincten. Wel eens een hond zien reageren op een opgeheven arm? Het ingeprente verwachtingspatroon is dat er een gevolg van pijn kan komen. Dat is een instinct. Ieder organisme, van eencellige tot mens, hangt aan elkaar van reacties, of wel instincten t.o.v. patronen die het herkent. Herkende patronen zorgen voor een grote overlevingskans van het organisme. Het herkennen van patronen, heeft gezorgd in de evolutie, dat organismen die beter reageerden op (veranderende) patronen, een grotere overlevingskans hadden. Dit heeft in bijna alle gevallen geresulteerd in veranderingen van het organisme. Tijdens de periode van 4+ miljard jaar sinds het ontstaan van de aarde tot nu, zijn organismen na de vorming van RNA zelf replicerende eiwitmoleculen en later na inkapseling in een cel,het DNA, gaan reageren op hun omgeving. Een ongelukkige wijzing in vorm kon soms de overlevingskans vergroten i.p.v. verkleinen. Door verandering van habitat, kon soms de cel en later de complexiteit van verschillende cellen, zorgen voor diversiteit, die na enkele generaties al een ander organisme opleverde dan zijn/haar grootouder.

Toen de eerste primaat zijn leefomgeving zag veranderen, was hij zich niet bewust hiervan en reageerde met genetisch geërfde instincten op patronen. Echter, sommige patronen bestaan altijd, maar zijn veranderd in causaliteit (oorzaak gevolg verband). Eerst was er de ritseling in het gewas dat 7 op de 10 keer een jager was (een leeuw, tijger, of ander dier), later werd dit maar 3 op de 10. Echter, wanneer je het ritselen hoorde had je als primaat twee keuzes. Je instinct dat had gezorgd voor overleving volgen, of negeren. Als je het negeerde was de kans dodelijke pijn en het einde. Als je het instinct volgde, was je vrijwel zeker van overleven, ook als het niet een jager was. Dit wordt in verschillende onderzoek vlakken een ‘valse positief’ genoemd. Door generatie op generatie met deze valse positieven in aanraking te komen, werd het ontwikkelde brein (of hersenen) deels overbodig voor deze reacties. Echter kwam er nog iets anders bij kijken. Door de verandering van dreigingen, kreeg de primaat andere voedingsgewoontes. Daar waar het initieel voornamelijk op angst leefde, kreeg het in groepen de overhand op zijn omgeving. 

Voeding waarin meer vetten zaten, die voorheen het lichaam reguleerde door de schaarste ervan, zorgde voor snellere groei van de massa van de hersenen. Dus terwijl de reactie nood minder werd, werd het aantal beschikbare verbindingen (neuronen) groter en ging de primaat vooruit reageren op mogelijke gevaren. Anders gezegd, het begon te plannen. Dit gebeurde in eerste instantie nog op instinctieve basis, maar hoe meer ruimte de reacties kregen, hoe ‘abstracter’ de planning kon worden. Van verzamelen voor mindere tijden tot het zorgen voor voeding aanwas voor mindere tijden. Dit bovenstaande is een enigszins versimpelde weergave van de veranderingen, die met tegenslagen en terugvallen zich ontwikkelden. Toen de primaat inmiddels zich begon te verspreiden over een groter gebied, kwam er, afhankelijk van habitat ontwikkeling in bepaalde hersengebieden, maar ook in de manieren waarop de groepen zich opstelden tegen gevaren en kansen. 

De groei van groepen had ook een inherente ontwikkeling van communicatie als gevolg. Deze communicatie zorgde voor conceptualisaties en bewuste overbrenging van geleerde reacties die niet direct op instinct stoelden. Dit was het ontstaan van menselijke cultuur, maar cultuur is niet iets uitsluitend tot de organisme mens beperkt. Bij het observeren van de omgeving was vanuit de instinct en het herhalen van patronen, voor de cognitieve ontwikkeling van de mens (nog een eenvoudig primaat), de valse positief van belang, maar ook het vlak tussen zekerheid en onbekendheid. De onzekerheid maakte plannen moeilijk, maar zorgde in bepaalde gevallen ook voor reacties binnen de groep die inconsistent waren met wat de groep als geheel ervaarde. Veel elementen die de primaat/mens tegenkwam leken te voldoen aan de patronen die soortgenoten ‘bewust’ veroorzaakten (of konden veroorzaken). Het was dus niet onlogisch, om als het kind dat de primaat mens was, hier een projectie te maken van het eigen kunnen op de elementen in de omgeving. Dit is wat kinderen ook doen als ze nog jong zijn en bepaalde patronen van causaliteit niet kunnen herkennen of bevatten. De mensheid als geheel heeft dezelfde stappen doorlopen als de mens als individu vanaf geboorte doet in zijn leven. Het magisch denken, heeft door de vele valse positieven gezorgd dat de ‘jonge’ mensheid onbegrepen causaliteit aan animisme toewees. Animisme is zoveel als het toekennen van een bewustzijn aan elementen buiten onszelf, waar deze lijkt overeen te komen met keuzes die we zelf zouden kunnen maken. 

De mensheid had baat bij dit animisme, simpelweg omdat het een kind van de natuur was en de natuur zelf geen informatie kon overbrengen aan haar ‘kinderen’. De ontwikkeling van het cognitieve van de mens gaat altijd voor de technologische ontwikkeling. Het gebruik van gereedschap, ontwikkelt zich naar inzicht. Het is niet mogelijk dat een gereedschap zich ontwikkelt, voor de cognitieve ontwikkeling dat hem moet maken. Natuurlijk bestonden er platte stenen en lange puntige stenen, maar dit was voor het gebruiken van dit ‘gereedschap’ gewoon een natuurlijk gevormd element, zonder doel. De mens heeft in zijn ontwikkeling, verschillende vormen van gereedschap ontwikkeld. Fysieke gereedschappen, mentale of cognitieve gereedschappen. Allemaal om het leven of veiliger te maken, of gemakkelijker. Fysieke gereedschappen volgen een ontwikkeling van complexiteit, die gelijk loopt met het vermogen van de mens om causaliteit van de elementen waar het voor moet worden gebruikt heeft doorgrond. Bij cognitieve gereedschappen ligt dit iets onoverzichtelijk. Ten eerste is is de menselijke geest inmiddels bij machte om gereedschappen op abstract niveau te gebruiken en ontwikkelen, waar eerst de filosofie nog bedoeld was om gereedschappen van logica te ontwikkelen, is de calculus en psychologie bedoeld om de werking van het zelf verder uit te diepen en te beïnvloeden. Maar, laten we een stukje terug gaan. Naar die valse positieven. De primaat heeft zich de gewoonte gewaand, dat omdat hijzelf ‘bewust’ acties oproept in zijn omgeving, dit in de omgeving zelf volgens dezelfde spelregels zou afspelen. Als de primaat/mens steen kon werpen. Kon een steen die bij hem neerkwam, onmogelijk dit uit zichzelf hebben gedaan (tegenwoordig zouden we dit soort denken paranoia noemen, maar toen was de mens nog maar in een beperkte schakelingsmogelijkheid: gevaar of niet. Eetbaar of niet. Vriend of niet. Scherp of niet. etc.). Zoals eerder genoemd, deed de mens niet veel anders dan ieder kind dat probeert zijn omgeving te begrijpen en er in te overleven, via magisch denken, een redernering bepalen die consistent is met de observatie en aansluit bij de eigen emotionele gedachtegang. Waarom had men dit ook alweer nodig? Uit het feit dat angst de beste raadgever leek te zijn en zorgde voor de beste overlevingskansen. Animisme zorgde dat de primaat/mens een begrip kon vormen over zijn omgeving, die voldeed aan zijn zelfbeeld en in het begin, voor zeker 30% van de tijd ook voldeed aan het verwachtingspatroon. De geesten, demonen en goden die de historie van de mensen bevolken waren in verschillende culturen, de uitkomsten van het cognitieve proces, waarin de ‘kind’ mens, de wereld om zich heen probeerde helder te krijgen en te overleven. Het heeft tot slechts een paar honderd jaar geleden geduurd, voordat de mens zich bewust werd van de erfenis die het had. Het had weliswaar een emotioneel cognitieve erfenis gecreëerd, om het geobserveerde te verwerken in hoe het dacht dat de wereld werkte, maar deze evidente historie en erfenis die bewijs leverde van een veel groter geheel, en een langere historie was dan het ogenschijnlijke wat men via overlevering had kunnen bewaren, was een grote schok voor grote groepen binnen de mensheid. Zij die het hun taak hadden gemaakt om de groepen mensen in verschillende omgevingen te leiden, hadden hiervoor regels en werkwijzen opgesteld die historisch gezien resultaat hadden geleverd. Die zeker waren. De nieuwe geschiedenis ondermijnde deze ‘status quo’. De geestelijke leiders, die met veel moeite probeerden de ‘schapen’ binnen de groep zonder al te veel bloedvergieten met elkaar te laten samenleven, werden op de proef gesteld in hun eigen overtuiging dat uitsluitend hun inzichten correct waren. 

Helaas voor de mensheid, was de angst de sterkste drijfveer en zorgde dit voor een terughoudendheid tot nieuwe informatie, die zou zorgen voor een lange vruchteloze strijd van de cognitieve ontwikkeling van de mens tegen deze achterdochtige (valse positieven). De wetenschap, een voortvloeisel van religie, naar filosofie, naar thesis, naar methodes, wordt ook vandaag de dag, door de mensen die zich door angst laten leiden, gezien als ongezond en onjuist. Het geeft voor de buitenstaander die voorbij is aan dit bijgeloof, een vreemdsoortig beeld van een ouder die zijn kind niet los wil laten als de puberteit is aangebroken en het kind juist een pad naar zelfstandigheid moet overleven. Deze conflicten, die we als volwassenen allemaal zullen herkennen van onze eigen puberteit, waarbij de hormonen zorgen voor een overactiviteit van emoties, maar ook voor een drijfveer, waarbij alle opgenomen kennis onder kritiek komt te liggen van het zelf verworven cognitieve redeneren. De mens is op weg naar de volgende fase, maar veel mensen houden nog vast aan het magische denken dat inmiddels slechts nog een remmend effect heeft op de ontwikkeling van de mens en zijn mogelijkheden om die ontwikkeling ten goede te laten gelden in zijn omgeving. Laten we hopen dat er snel een punt komt, waar men inziet dat magisch denken geen oplossingen biedt voor wereld problemen, en slechts vies watje is op een al stinkende wond.

Moving through life

(This is a working document, which you can read. When you check back tomorrow, or next week, it will differ)

We all start somewhere, we all change over time, we all believe one thing one day, and another the next. We don’t all come to the same conclusion, even when presented the same facts or considerations. This is what makes us human. To give some insights, I will try to write a bit of my own journey here. 

Ever since I was a kid, I have been busy finding what is most likely to be true. I was raised by a single mother, from a Catholic home. She gave me all the freedom, but of course the religious notion of a superior being called god was already taught. Not that it was real, just that everything in society around me and the talks would have such a notion in the back. I even was going to church at some point, wondering how the minister could believe the contradictory parts himself. I started to have issues with the idea of a superior being already by the age of 7. I was living in the country side and had all the time to think about it. Of course the first part was the self search. All humans are looking at themselves first. (All children start with this) then I started to look at relations around me. Between people, between all sorts of things. I had some personal moments that have influenced who I am, greatly and not in a positive way I must say). From the age of 11/12, I researched/looked at events and experiences that were seen as ‘mystical’ or ‘spiritual’. I was sure I was experiencing some of them myself at several points (due to the working of my brain as a pattern recognition system and the emotional bonds placed by my upbringing regarding a ‘reason’ for life). I have gone through hardship and happiness in life and found all of them the strongest when together with others. Being each other’s ‘salvation’ is what I saw life is about. All that I saw was about learning. Finding new information, creating new knowledge. All I have done since was try to live by that creed: any new day should bring new knowledge and it should be shared, because we can’t survive alone.

Though I have been somewhat introvert outside of home, I was rather extrovert with people I knew well. At some point I found out that to read people, I had to send signals. A bit like a bat. When you send a signal, you receive a signal (or not, which is just as much a signal) from another person. When you act sincere, it is not defined that you will receive a sincere response signal. When you give a crazy or out of place signal, you are more likely to receive a response or even more likely to receive a more sincere response. This gave me good insight on who I could trust and what signals would result in certain return responses. Living on this, I became extrovert outside the house, and learned a lot about people around me.

From the age of 9/10 I have been very avidly trying to figure out whether there was any reason to believe in supernatural things…..

Why not the middle ground?

Below is the answer to a friend who asked why I couldn’t let people who believed and people who don’t in their respective ‘realities’.  This was after I got word this friend had a mission to do so. I thought back and found that at some point (I even have the reasons and ways I would act written down somewhere…yes..on actual paper) I was the same. Idealistic I thought after I chose to leave that path, but it is something each person has to choose.

So as the question, if I could elaborate on WHY I failed that path:

“No problem. I felt it dishonest to my own reality to keep accepting that religion (based on controlling masses of people who believe) was okay for my surroundings. I saw what happened and couldn’t keep closing my eyes. 

(Just had a conversation with my neighbor just the night before, which was about the same thing, but she was raised muslim and she was appalled by the vision of burqa wearing women at their holiday stay, while the muslim men were taking baths with European skin clad women. She was going to speak to the women about the fact that you either hold to religion all the way and the men should not bath there, or they should not wear a burqa there. (she thought it pure hypocrisy) However, because it was their holiday and she feared (yes there it is) that there would be other things behind some actions, she kept from it.)

You can accept people to ‘believe’, but if that believe isn’t believe but following a belief, it becomes religion. Nobody in the whole world can say: I believe in a god that already is written about. Why not? Because they haven’t come to believe this god existed on their own. Only children do that, when they are about 4, their imaginary friend. But reality catches up to them, because of their parents and peer pressure of the imaginary friends of other children (actually the fact that they find out that everyone has them and they are all called differently and are all imagination). Except if their parents hold on to an imaginary friend that is accepted globally, then they will eventually either accept that imaginary friend, or not. But those that don’t will first search for a replacement ‘imaginary friend’ and eventually, depending on their path find one, or none and come to terms with reality.

Holding to a god that is premade, is dishonest, because you either believe your own experience, or you take another’s because it is easy.

See, the gods that have been prefabbed up to today have all been rebuked by our growing reality. As you already stated: 

Creationism accepts the stories of any one holy book to be true and all was created as it is.

Educated people accept that science has caught up with ‘believe’ and shows it is wrong.

Now what is the consequence? The story that tells you there is a god, is the same story that explains there has to be one, because he fabricated all that is, in the current state. BUT, if the story is false on account of created in current state, it fails its value as reason for a god. (you can create any number of other reasons for A god to exist, but then you are on the right track: You will try to find YOUR god, which will eventually lead you to a life of soul searching, whether you find one, or not, or find out that there is none.)

Simply said: I couldn’t reconcile the fact that you either: 

Believe 100% or Know 100%. They are mutual exclusive by honesty.

If you believe something, you don’t know something. But if you know something, you can’t believe in it anymore. To believe something is to fear  not something is (yes, this strange grammatical abhoration is meant this way).  We believe something, because we need to overcome fear that it is the reversed (the unknown). When we know something, the fear retreats.

Is belief irrational?

All humans by definition are irrational. 

This is the emotional state we are in. We have out grown the animalistic rationale behaving solely on survival, yet animals when not in their everyday behavior of such survival show emotions and irrationale. 

Are theists more irrational than non-theists?

The point is here that rational or irrational isn’t a general state of mind. You can be fully rational about one thing and totally irrational about the other. For the deduction whether one person is more irrational than another, we need to look what it would be that we call irrational. Irrational behavior or thinking means it is inconsistent with logic (hence irrational could be equalled to illogical).

So, irrational would be illogical response to specific stimuli, information or knowledge.

For instance, if we know snow is cold, illogical would be to say it is hot. If we know snow melts from heat, it would be silly to say you can’t melt it with a fire. That would be irrational.

Humanity started of as an animal with a totally changing habitat, which gave its nervous system many new possibilities. It didn’t need as much responses (all based on fear meant for survival) to survive anymore, it could predict, plan and imagine. Eventually the huge brain mass was used to make causal connections which weren’t needed for survival of the individual, but for the generation, and next and next. Communication became more complex and caused holding knowledge from one generation to another other than the fear etched instincts that are inherited genetically. 

Cognitive knowledge was growing. But this cognitive knowledge was build on emotional knowledge (patternicity), for survival. As with all species, the choice for survival supersedes that of the cognitive mind. Thus fear is still causing people to choose rather on fear than cognitive insights. This is what we can define as irrational (as long as the choice is not warranted by actual stimuli). Patternicity eventually caused agenticity and this is where belief started. 

As with every theory, one first has to believe something occurs for a specific reason. At first, like children, humanity saw patterns that seemed connected to arbitrary events. Mostly connected to their own actions. Opening your eyes in the morning would bring the sun back. That kind of magical thinking. But like children, humanity learned how to distinguish more and more. 

When more and more humans populated the earth due to the improving temperatures and more secure locations, more and more ‘technological’ advancement came about. BUT, emotions came first, societies grew on the same fears and emotions as the first humans. They still needed soothing for these fears, to not go crazy. Religion was the structure that, based on answers given by ancestors, to these fear questions, controlled the societies (like witch doctors and medicine men and others ), even when people were using less emotional driven choices to decide who should lead (often out of greed, or alpha male protection). 

Eventually humanity started to become fragmentised. As everyone (literally) had their own belief, they would teach their children a little bit different. Eventually folklore and superstition were slowly discredited by logical thinking. We now could philosophize what was a rational thought and irrational thought. Something that was (by test and deduction) an illogical choice or reaction to the pletoria of impulses, was seen as irrational. As such, holding to any superstitious idea from before, was seen as irrational, because these ideas were rebuked by science and advancement in human intellect. 

Answering that ancestors were both rational and irrational, is correct. We all still are. Humanity doesn’t know everything yet, but we do know where certain ideas came from. We even know that in some way, believing (irrational sometimes) isn’t mutual exclusive or is even required to get to the next step of finding out.

Irrational in a way is subjective to the observer, like quantum physics. Don’t tell Highs by the way.

So, yes, when a person is religious AND chooses to deny humanity’s collected facts, he/she is irrational. If one keeps to religion for the comfort of it, but still tries to find new knowledge to equate away the leftover beliefs, he/she isn’t automatically irrational.

Chances of it are?

<some non-specific theist> thank you for bringing pascal’s wager or some statistical change for reality to be what it is, up. I have already explained the error in thinking with when it relates to chance and mathematics by simply stating that we exist, so any CHANCE of reality to be what it is by chance is 1, also on ‘our’ regards on numbers and what we see in the world around us. Quick example: what numbers would we have used if we had more fingers or less? How would we have calculated distance and other ‘equations’? 

Anyway, that should already have set you straight, but here is the fun part: Your claim might that the chance of life to have evolved this way is of 10 to power of 54th is worse then the chance that this chance has happened and the outcome you chose to believe that there is yet another level of chance. Basically the chance of your god theory IS <10 to the power of 54th, as it would require us to exist first. Now lets step back, because you will start ranting that that is not what you mean. 

What is a theist presupposition?

Here it is: We exist, the universe exists and the chance to that is 1, because it happened. 

Now, we go to your theory of a god. Basically it is only assumed from a book to be a workable theory. 

Now, lets leave all science away and take the obvious: Can there be a god? what are the odds that this could be true? Well….actually incalculable small, because there is nothing to calculate the chance from. It is an imaginary conclusion. Additionally what would be the chance there would be a superior being, considering to create a universe that consists of NOTHING except for 1 blue planet and decided to create some ‘life form’ there AND knows exactly how to do it, but fails to recognize the fact that what he/she/it created had the chance on rebelling and destroying what he/she/it intended. Then we come to the closure: Taking the moment before the alleged Genesis moment, What are the odds that a super being (what created it? what would it consist of? how did it learn to do something? how did it come create existence without existing (in time and space)? If this was the case, its ideas would not include humans, as he/she/it would not be able to fathom them, as they are only a speck on a speck on a speck on a speck so small, that the chance this being of a totally different energy/signature/element/existence level would recognize or even realize the existence is way smaller then the made up number you though for chance of existence of life as it is now. 

The realist stance

The chance of life in this universe is 1 for 2 reasons: 1. because we exist and because it can happen again, simply because the universe is so big, that all chances can come to exist at some moment. What is likely? We are god in the future and tried to make our ancestors believe in us, so there would be enough life in the future, or to prevent too much progress to be made, so the errors in the future will be prevented. Anyway, the chance of life by chance is 100% as it happened and we can redo the events. We even can already show how it has become on our world, from the conditions: We breath as the tide of the seas, because all that happens on earth happens from this single effect. Chances are that new life is still created in the depths of the ocean, chances are highly existing life has been created by other conditions on other planets, but those types of life don’t need to be recognizable by us. However the chance is 1, we are proof.