As An Atheist Can Your Life Have Purpose and Meaning?

I was wondering what other people thought about this.

I realize we weren't born with a purpose. No creator or "higher calling".

But as a non believer can your life have meaning and purpose without god?

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We create new surface area all the time – we build up. Most resources (such as oil, natural gas, etc.) are more accessible and abundant than ever before. This is not to say we can grow to infinity, just into the foreseeable future. I agree past success does not necessarily predict future results, but a 200 year old failed hypothesis regarding ridiculous doomsday predictions is certainly nothing to hang your hat on. Population growth is slowing down, not increasing exponentially. Rising prices has much more to do with inflation and government interference than actual scarcity.

 

The "foreseeable future" might have been a valid point 1000 years ago, but today, we are way past the foreseeable future in terms of quality of life. We destroy open wild spaces way faster than we are growing "vertically", there are no safe potable waters left on the planet, they all need treatment before being drank, ocean life is on the brink, ocean acidification (sink for all the extra CO2 we're obsessed with creating) is nearing completion, a majority of large mammals as well as many lower levelled fauna/flora are reaching critical mass.

And we're not talking doomsday here, we're talking H.sapiens quality of self-sustainable life, versus completely industrialised life, with manufactured water/air/food and no space.

You somehow are building your world view with complete disregard with one of the major fields of science, biology. Population growth slowing, or stability, will not even come close to fixing the disruption of life on earth, we need drastic reductions of H.sapiens and CO2 usage.
Objective no.1, fight religious purpose

objective no.2, fight economics religion purpose

objective no.3, educate people about biology

TNT I agree on all three objectives. 

We don’t “destroy” open wild spaces, we adapt them to human objectives. We have been treating water for some time now in order to make it safer to drink – it’s marvelous how such innovations improve the quality and production of human life. This is a prime example of manipulating an otherwise unsuitable resource in order to support a larger human population.

Sorry, TNT, but you are the one with a religious fervor here. You say, “Biology does not lie.” Bullshit.

“Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F.” — Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University in Time Magazine’s June 24th, 1975 article Another Ice Age?

And…

Oxford University biologist Norman Myers suggested in his book The Sinking Ark that 40,000 species per year were going extinct and that 1 million species would be gone by the year 2000. Myers suggested that the world could "lose one-quarter of all species by the year 2000."

Catastrophic predictions such as Malthus, Ehrlich, Kukla, Myers, et al. have failed miserably in the past, so color me skeptical of all your dire predictions today. However, even if I accept for argument’s sake your entire premise that anthropomorphic global warming will cause a great many species to go extinct – so what? It’s estimated that somewhere around 99% of all species that once existed on the planet are now extinct. Many liberals I’ve discussed this with have argued, those species went extinct “naturally”. Asteroids are "natural", but coal plants in China are “unnatural” because they are human innovations. But this ignores that fact that humans are natural too – doing what humans do, adapting the environment to our aims.

Biologists’ predictions have been gravely mistaken in the past and will likely be significantly mistaken regarding future predictions as well. But regardless, you treat the science of biology as if it’s a moral imperative. Biology – along with any other branch of science - tells us, at best, what is and, given accurate analysis, what may manifest in the future – NOT what should be done about it. Liberals who favor knocking homo sapiens back to the stone age in order to save other species have vastly different priorities than I do. This isn’t religion for me, it’s an unabashed preference for human welfare over all other species. Inasmuch as we can coexist with them, or need them to survive, I favor their existence. But in a world of survival of the fittest, humans – for now – win, and I’m very glad.

 "global warming will cause a great many species to go extinct – so what?"  Oh, no! That's just awful.  

Two remarks about population growth.

1. Malthus's premises failed to take into account even the possibility of vast improvements in food production.

2. Despite those improvements hunger has remained a problem for a large portion of the earth's population.

It's why bringing up any Malthusian or anti-Malthusian argument in the the 21st century is completely useless. :)

2. Despite those improvements hunger has remained a problem for a large portion of the earth's population.

Only in regions where politics, war, and other factors restrict growth. It’s not that we can’t produce enough food to eliminate hunger, it’s that other circumstances prevent the distribution of this food.

Which is just about everywhere. Millions in the United States still have a problem getting enough food.

The biggest problem is water.  We pollute ALL the water.  We purify (partly) the water rich people BUY.  What about the hordes of poor people?  What about all the other animals?  Don't they deserve a fair share of water.

I'd hate to be the one to break the naturalist party but equivocating "good" with "order" despite its popularity cannot reconcile with the is-ought problem. Although I don't consider myself to be Nihilist, once we accept that there's no one true purpose in life--existential nihilism--everything after that depends on bias. There's no escaping it. There's no God-ordained-like mission to save human kind, improve human genetics, maintain the environment, or be selfish or anything of that nature.

"Why be good?" presupposes that we know what "good" is. Is domination animalistic? Surely there just as many social animals as there animals that rely on force. We are not so unique.

What do we do when we know there is no purpose yet to live requires the propensity to act? We construct truths, contend with them, knowing that there is no truth, ultimately shooting it down. And we start all over again, in this lifelong journey to remain as close to the nothingness but never quite getting there.

Secular Humanism is just a phase in this road. It may be where many will permanently take residence but it's a phase nonetheless. It may be internally consistent as a theory, but it is not externally consistent with the "truth" or "purpose" (which is either unknowable or even ontologically impossible).

Which leads me to say there is no blimy "good" reason to be "good" because in these millennia, "good" always seems to mean "more humans", so what several herein consider "good", I consider genocidal. Is genocidal "wrong", well I guess not, not inherently, it's all relative right? Since for so many people, it's ok to genocide our ecosystem, just not religious and/or ethic humans...
Less Homo sapiens would be beneficial to the our (not N.Americans, but the big us, the planetary us) quality of life, this means that we must work against all these H.sapiens who are obsessed with purposes such as creating "little thems", and purpose such as spreading H.sapiens everywhere... why... cuz we can? Where is the rationality in that. "cuz we can" is not an argument to move forward in a detrimental direction.

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