Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why do we make sense?

"Commenting on Richard Dawkin's book The God Delusion, which strikes many of the same notes as Harris's books, fellow atheist Michael Ruse, professor of philosophy at Florida State University, says, "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist." And in response to Sam Harris's presentation at the Salk Institute, atheist and professor of psychology Scott Atran used almost identical words: "I find it fascinating that among the brilliant scientists and philosophers at the conference, there was no convincing evidence presented that they know how to deal with the basic irrationality of human life other than to insist against all reason and evidence that things ought to be rational and evidence based. It makes me embarassed to be a scientist and atheist."
(Ravi Zacharias, The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists [USA: Zondervan, 2008], p.23)

"...atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning."
(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

What convinces me to believe in the existent of God?

It seems that it makes more sense that creatures like us not merely able to conceptualize rationally and meaningfully about the world but also strive to do so unceasingly. I am not even here touching on objective/subjective debate, but pointing to the mere fundamental humans' outlook to life.

If our existence is reducible to matter and nothing other than matter (as atheists suggest), then it is just improbable that we could even come to make sense of our existence, not to mention our dying to want to make sense about it. There is a divine reason why scientists and philosophers are trying so hard for so long to discover the Theory of Everything.

6 comments:

The Creaking Floor said...

What you are saying is that you WANT there to be meaning, so there MUST be meaning. This is not rational.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi The Creaking Floor,

I totally agree with you. Hence I didn't say that there is meaning because we want it to have meaning.

We discover there is meaning because (1) there is meaning, and (2) we are able to discover it.

Though I don't see how your comment is related to what I posted, yet it is a good point.

reasonable said...

C.S. Lewis' statement says: If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.

Not necessarily so.

If the whole universe has no meaning, we can still find meanings - in the sense that we can still find living life meaningful.

Different atheists can find living life meaningful even though they believe their consciousness terminates upon death. Meaning of life can be subjective and created subjectively.

Meaning of life in general or meaning of an individual's life is possible to be subjective in accordance to different persons, whether or not there exist any objective meaning of it all.

See my other comment, posted as a comment below the second blog-post "Why do we make sense? (part 2)" relating to why human beings are having such a nature as to tend to seek to make sense of things.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

Not necessarily so because you understand C. S. Lewis' term "meaning" to be any arbitrary sense of significance. But that is not what C. S. Lewis meant by the word.

C. S. Lewis was emphasizing the "found out" rather than whether there is or is not meaning.

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out it has no meaning."

He was not saying that people cannot live a life full with meaning if meaning is arbitrary.

He was saying that the fact that meaning (no matter arbitrary or not) exists in our awareness is pointing to this fact's non-arbitrariness (read: necessary).

reasonable said...

"He was saying that the fact that meaning (no matter arbitrary or not) exists in our awareness is pointing to this fact's non-arbitrariness"

But the fact that meaning exists in our awareness does not mean that meaning is non-arbitrary.

Our awareness of meaning (and the lack of meaning) does not logically lead to "meaning is non-arbitrary".

Why would an awareness of meaning logically means "meaning is non-arbitrary"?

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

If meaning is non-arbitrary, then the fact that meaning exists in our awareness is also non-arbitrary.

If meaning is arbitrary to begin with, then we will never be able to come to a sense of meaning as the sense is as arbitrary and has no ground to be a sense.

This is akin to Witgenstein's private language game. If everyone has their own language which is private (arbitrary), then there no persons able to convey anything as communication assume determined/ordered (contrast arbitrariness) ground.