Dawkins on the Meaninglessness of the Universe

Found this great discussion and Dawkins reference from big bad Bill’s website:

If life is simply about survival, and the replication of genes, then things like morality in general and truth-telling in particular seem quite out of place. As an example, atheist Richard Dawkins has been fairly candid about life without God. As he wrote in his 1995 volume, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life:

“Theologians worry away at the `problem of evil’ and a related ‘problem of suffering.’ … On the contrary, if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies… are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature. Will neither care nor know.’ DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”

The question is: on what grounds do the atheists rail against the supposed ‘lack of morals’ of the God of the Bible when according to their own standard there are no such categories?

2 thoughts on “Dawkins on the Meaninglessness of the Universe”

  1. Dawkins raises a point about the fact that being impossible to know with certainty for both theists and atheists, the question of inherent meaning in our objective reality can be known to relative certainty within the realm of human understanding.

    Dawkins is pointing to the fact that there are deterministic building blocks to a humans everyday existence with their environment – theist or athiest, these building blocks are known to a relative certainty to be this way. Hence, the meaning we place on the life around is exactly that, placed there by us – the experience we reflect on is the music we dance to. The meaning is in the eye of the beholder despite any attempts to control or pretend the meaning was there without the human perspective.

    Its the essence of anthropomorphosis for animals,things and even other humans. We do it all the time and to a large degree however giving our world meaning also creates consequences, it can in turn affect this deterministic existence.

    What I think Dawkins is missing is that spacetime creates a unique existence for every human being, for everything – time cannot travel in 2 directions. so every moment in any location is unique – if there were such a being that could understand even some of the deterministic influences surrounding them, that being in that moment could make a decision based upon their simulation in their mind and create something in the moment that is more than the deterministic building blocks they are made of.

    A man could walk down the street and be thinking of the pie he ate the day before and how he wants something different for lunch knowing with relative certainty that he will not be eating pie that day because he chose not to already. Emergent consequences from amazingly complex systems within the mans body and around him that in the end can be explained very simply with relative meaning from the man himself – in some way it can be said that his perspective drives the deterministic operations as much as they drive him, the emergent perspective this man has explains just as well how he ended up having pizza just as a complete simulation of this mans building blocks and the surrounding environment does also.

    The uniqueness of his perspective though tips the scales his way, since it is impossible to have any accurate simulation of his perspective – its in the moment. This means that for much of one humans existence they control the events that effect their own lives to a large degree – its the gaps where we cannot control things for ourselves and the even larger inability for one to control their environment that is where the theists and atheists really argue.

    So there is a relative certainty where a human can understand their own reality very well and when it doesn’t go their way we either say there is something bigger that can understand and control that which we cannot, or maybe the relative certainty we have is an illusion created by the deterministic building blocks.

    I will stick to the realm of relative certainty, for I like to know my boundaries well and I am fairly certain the emergent meaning I find in it is real for me and any attempts to place meaning in the gaps must be uncertain by definition, even ascribing indifference to the gaps is too certain for me, it sounds self righteous to ascribe anything there.

    I will finish my point by saying that by ascribing something in the gaps regardless of the truth about the gaps, it will change your perspective and therefore influence reality.

    All the best Wayne.

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