Science's answers to the ultimate mysteries of existence are almost as baffling and logic-defying as the mumbo-jumbo of churches. They can seem nearly as absurd as the miracle claims of religion. But there's a crucial difference: science is honest. Nothing is accepted on blind faith. Every claim is challenged, tested, double-tested, and triple-tested until it fails or survives. New evidence often alters former conclusions. Honest thinkers have little choice but to trust science as the only reliable search for believable answers.
We unsure people are doomed to be seekers, always searching for a meaning to life, but never quite finding one. Both the cosmos and our biosphere seem utterly indifferent to humanity, caring not a whit whether we live or die. Only a monster would arrange the monstrosities too often found in our world, and do nothing to save the victims. So common sense proves that the beneficent modern God is a fantasy who doesn't exist. We who are not orthodox religious believers can't find any underlying reason for existence. And we know that death looms ahead. So we must make the interval as enjoyable as possible, while we're here.
Christian psychologist Justin Barrett argues that belief in immaterial minds is similar to and justifies belief in God. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds demonstrates that Barrett's concept of mind is outmoded. Moreover, Barrett does not distinguish between innate beliefs in other people's mental abilities and the cultural concept of mind, which is learned, not innate. The belief that other people think, have emotions, and so forth is supported by evidence, but there is no evidence for the existence of God.
Barrett presumes that "atheism" is difficult to maintain because innate ways of thinking promote belief in spirits. In response, Reynolds provides some of the reasons for nontheism and refutes Barrett's arguments that having moral principles and confidence in one's beliefs pose special problems for nontheists. Reynolds concludes that, to the contrary, living as a nontheist is not difficult and does not require social and cultural segregation to sustain it.
"The human body is just a machine. Sometimes it breaks down and needs repairs or spare parts, but eventually the breakdown is irreparable and life ends. When the body dies, some parts might be salvaged to repair other bodies, but for that particular body it is all over."
Once again a news magazine has published an article that "demands an answer." This time a disease-induced hallucination is being propped up on a frame labeled "Science" and sold to the credulous public. Under the guise of science, the article is a regression to the body-mind dualism that since antiquity has distorted humankind's understanding of itself and of the universe. Here, as usual, the chief incentive is the lust for persistence of one's precious ego after death, and the secondary motive is a wish for a gift of unending bliss—both selfish urges.
We humans have long been haunted by the awareness of our own mortality. In the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, the alewife Siduri warns Gilgamesh that his quest for eternal life is certain to end in failure. In a similar vein to Siduri, Albert Camus the famous French-Algerian existentialist thinker and author, depicted human existence as a futile labour of Sisyphus. In our view, the philosophy of Siduri and Camus is a philosophy of despair and surrender which is based on a view of human existence as a closed circle. We believe that the human journey is an open-ended and not a closed-ended affair, and that there's a good chance that the fate of our species lies not in the hands of the gods but in our own hands!
Does reality include a supernatural realm, inhabited by God and, perhaps, other spiritual beings? Or is the familiar natural world all there is to it? If there is a supernatural world, how do we relate to it? Are we composite creatures with souls as well as bodies? Is it possible that our souls live on after our bodies are no more? Or is physical death the end? What is the nature of the free will that we commonly suppose ourselves to enjoy during our sojourn here on earth? Do we in fact have free will? Or are our lives little more than pointless scribbles on the fabric of the universe, as devoid of real significance as scratches on a piece of glaciated rock?
Some believe that if life must end, life is meaningless; that death means that from your perspective, ultimately, there is no perspective; that if your life is as if it never had been, then death erases the meaning of your life. The solution to this supposed dilemma is personal immortality after our physical death. Hart demonstrates that the concept of personal immortality creates its own dilemmas, dilemmas which actually deprive life of meaning.
The ban on cloning passed by the House of Representatives poses a chicken and egg problem of a different sort.
A consideration of free-will and moral knowledge in the kingdom
of heaven--sure to confound your neighborhood theist.
This essay considers whether life is inherently meaningless if death is the permanent end of our conscious existence and our lives are not part of a higher purpose. If a sentient God existed, Augustine argues, then the value that he would attribute to our lives would not be the same as the value that we find in living and thus would be irrelevant. Therefore, we must create our own meaning for our lives regardless of whether or not our lives serve some higher purpose.
Huddleston questions Still's philosophical assault on the notion of life after death. If one understands this life as a time of soul-making, then our earthly life is neither purposeless nor overshadowed by the afterlife to come.
We tumble into the world without purpose and when we leave it we are gone forever. But I still believe that, rightly examined and understood, we can experience eternal life.
An analysis of the philosophical arguments and scientific evidence against life after death, one which weighs the parapsychological evidence for survival of bodily death against the physiological evidence for the dependence of consciousness on the brain This essay is divided into four main sections: Defining the Problem; The Philosophical Case Against Immortality; The Scientific Case Against Immortality; and Postscript on Survival.