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9841Materialism and Beyond (was: DQ controversy)

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  • Stephen Figgins
    Apr 8, 2010
      On Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 1:10 PM, Janos Biro <janosbirozero@...> wrote:

      > I am not a materialist. Even though I think evolution is a very useful
      > theory, I realize it's just a theory.

      So is gravity. We may someday gain a better understanding of gravity than
      we have today, but the phenomenon is going to be the same. Evolution is a
      broad and well tested theory. I don't see any reason to question that life
      on earth evolved, but we may discover more about how it evolved. I suppose
      you don't have to be a materialist to believe in gravity, so maybe not to
      believe in evolution either?

      As for nature. I expect it is in some sense partial to us. We evolved as a
      part of it, and it has evolved around us. So we are not something foreign
      or outside it. It has shaped us in ways that has made us very adaptable.
      That nature is still maintaining Earth's temperature at a reasonable level
      and it's air with a certain mix of oxygen suggests to me that it is more or
      less friendly to us. More friendly than Mars. I expect if we screw
      around with it enough it could become remarkably less friendly.

      And as for what we value. Well, I believe that all living things value
      living. At least those that survive do. They avoid danger, they seek to
      extend life. So all living things serve life. I think this has had a
      profound affect on us all, and maybe even particularly humans who have the
      opportunity to reflect on this. We all have a basic need to serve life.
      From this comes our compassion, and our connection to the living world.
      Pretty amazing stuff right there.

      As I see it, the meaning of life is to serve life, because without that, we
      would no longer exist. And we feel joy, happiness, contentment, when we act
      in ways that serve life.

      On one hand, I believe this has all been programmed into us as a result of
      natural selection. On another, I experience it as something wonderful,
      something transcendent. I don't see a reason to deny that. Actually, it
      probably makes it more likely I will survive if I embrace that. So the
      story I enact honors this connection, this sense of spirit, and encourages
      serving life in all its varied forms.


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