Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another New Blog

Sorry about pulling this on you again, people who read this blog, but I've decided to start blogging again, but it will be over on another URL. I'll mostly blog about nihilism and philosophy and related topics. I have just grown increasingly weary of the religion debate to the point where I find it rather uninteresting most of the time. Exploring a positive philosophical position like nihilism, reading books relating to it and unpacking the ideas seems to me like a much more enjoyable and productive use of my time spent writing.

Here's the link
Staring Into The Void

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Undeniably Nihilist

For quite some time I have been thinking about questions regarding meaning, purpose, and value. Ever since I became an atheist back in 2009 I've been operating under the assumption that we have to make our own meaning. It wasn't until this year however that the implications of this really unpacked themselves for me.

During much discussion amongst friends, and in a group that I'm part of at my university, on the topic of morality I came to realise that I am a moral nihilist. I don't think moral facts exist. Morality to me is a useful fiction that allows society to function as a cohesive unit. I even gave a presentation to the group (we regularly hold academic lectures after class time at university, usually from guest speakers, though I gave this talk) on the topic of morality and the is/ought problem. The video of the presentation will be uploaded to youtube soon, and I'll post it here when it is. The crux of my presentation was that morality simply cannot be objective, and to suggest that it is seems like a category error. Morality isn't the kind of thing that can be objective, moral propositions aren't the kind of things that can be true or false, they are something else.

That aside, acknowledging my moral nihilism caused me to look further into nihilism. I realised that I had never really understood what nihilism actually was. I fell for the common misconception that nihilists were people who didn't believe in, or care about anything. This simply isn't the case, it's a caricature of the position. Nihilism is, and always has been the rejection of any inherent meaning, purpose, or value in life or the universe. At this stage I'm uncertain whether I'm willing to go so far as to reject the possibility of knowledge, though I am willing to concede that all of our knowledge of the physical universe is at a base level, drawing off assumptions and intuitions. Take for example the idea that we can trust our perceptions, and that the data we collect about the physical world is real. These cannot be proven, they are simply brute assumptions we have to accept on an intuitive level, though they seem to be useful.

My actual moral positions have not changed as a result of this revelation however. With the possible exception of a heightened sense of (subjective!) value for meaningful self-determination. My nihilism didn't arise out of pessimism, though I certainly express a considerable amount of pessimism at the idea of human progress, but that can wait till another time.

Think about it. I certainly will.

Friday, June 21, 2013

CMI furious that Christians are against YECism

I have probably mentioned before but I'm on the CMI (Creation Ministries International) mailing list, for shits and giggles. Through this I discovered today that they're really mad because "Homeschooling parents demand evolutionary textbooks". Good on them. I'm not so optimistic that this indicates in any way a strong trend away from creationism, as CMI seem to think it is, but at least it's a start.

I'm not going to link to the article, because CMI never link to anything they disagree with. Fuck them.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Objective Morality

is Bullshit.

While I think the quest for an objective metric of morality is often well intentioned it is extremely misguided. This is particularly the case for quests for scientific metrics of morality. Science is by nature, in the business of figuring out how things work. This helps us hugely in informing our ethical systems, though giving us a better understanding of things like sentience, and its possible implications for other species and so on. What it does not do is provide us with moral imperatives.

Moral imperatives are wholly subjectively derived. I would go so far as to say they are inter-subjectively derived but no further. What I mean by this is that we construct our ethical beliefs based on what subjective effects actions have on other ethical beings (by this I mean being capable of ethical thought). We may be able to detect through brain activity what effect some actions may potentially have, but this does not tell us what is good, only what *IS*. We must then appeal to our ethical construct, which has been inter-subjectively defined. This is what I mean by science informing morality, but not constructing it.

More on this in the future.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Does it matter?

It has been a long time since I last posted here, and there's a good reason why. I haven't converted to theism or anything like that, I'm still very much an atheist, and still think that the arguments for the existence of gods fail. However, the process that I mentioned had begun in my post in August last year, I've moved on even further. I no longer read any atheist blogs, I've unsubscribed to most of the atheist YouTube channels that I used to watch and I've only read three books on religion all year, two of which I actually started reading last year, and the third had as much, if not more, to do with politics than religion.

I am considering getting back into blogging, but it will most likely be on my politics blog, Straight Up Socialist, where I posted today. There is an area of study that has recently been drawn to my attention which I am very tempted to persue in greater depth, and it is known as political theology. I find it fascinating from an analytical and sociological perspective; although I don't buy into the 'theos' behind it, I think political theology has the potential to foster social progress. I also will be doing a presentation in a few months on the is/ought problem in philosophy/ethics, so some of my research into it may get blogged here.