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Purpose of life?

  1. Sep 26, 2004 #1
    I wanted to know what the scientist believe, is the reason for human life?

    even if it is not confirmed by evidence just tell me the theory.

    Thnx in advance
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2004 #2
    When i was in school, i took eight philosophy classes besides the subfields of mathematics and physics. Ah! you seek consensus ! Whack on the head with ruler !
     
  4. Sep 26, 2004 #3

    Integral

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    This question is not addressed by science.
     
  5. Sep 26, 2004 #4

    hypnagogue

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    Asking for a reason is like asking a 'why' question, and 'why' questions generally have two senses in which they can be interpretted: 'How is it that' and 'for what purpose.'

    Science answers the question 'how is it that there is human life?' by explaining how humans evolved from apes as a result of natural selection. However, science does not answer the question 'for what purpose is there human life?'
     
  6. Sep 26, 2004 #5

    Integral

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    Isn't it preferable to say, "Man and Ape decended from a common ancestor which was neither man nor ape"?
     
  7. Sep 26, 2004 #6
    Wouldn't be fair to say, that the reason for human life is survival and evolution? From the sciencist point of view of course. Theological perspectives are much different.
     
  8. Sep 26, 2004 #7

    hypnagogue

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    Yes, probably (depending on the technical definition of ape and the empirical details in the fossil record, neither of which I am an expert on); sorry about that.
     
  9. Sep 26, 2004 #8

    hypnagogue

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    This gets into finer shades of the meaning of the word 'purpose.'

    If one interprets the statement "X's purpose is Y" to mean that Y is the end towards which X tends, then it is unproblematic to say that the purpose of life is ultimately to propogate 'fit' genes, because that is quite demonstrably the end towards which life tends. But this relatively neutral interpretation doesn't quite seem to capture our notion of the word. For instance, statements like "The purpose of large cosmic bodies is to be approximately spherical" and "The purpose of a series of coin flips is for the frequencies of heads and tails to be approximately equal" sound like odd ways indeed to use the word 'purpose.'

    What seems to be missing here is the notion of intention. We usually take "X's purpose is Y" not to mean just that X tends towards Y, but that X is intended to tend towards Y. "The bus's purpose is to transport the public" doesn't just mean that the bus tends to transport people around, but that the bus has been intentionally created in order to do so.

    It should be clear that science would not endorse the statement "the purpose of life is to propogate genes" if we understand this statement to be saying "life was intentionally created in order to propogate genes." There is no scientifically demonstrable entity to be doing the intentional creation; it amounts to a wrong-headed kind of anthropomorphication of nature. Nature has no intentions, just causal mechanisms. These causal mechanisms tend to support a process (evolution via natural selection) that very much looks like intentional design on the face of it, but which in fact is perfectly understandable even if we assume that the causal mechanisms are 'dumb' or 'blind,' i.e. have no intention.

    So basically, saying that life has any kind of purpose is not scientifically endorsable, unless we use an impoverished sense of the word.
     
  10. Sep 27, 2004 #9
    one word:appetite
     
  11. Sep 27, 2004 #10
    Do you sience people believe that the purpose of life is to explore the univers and its mysteries?

    Or was there no reason in the exitence of human race?
     
  12. Sep 27, 2004 #11

    mee

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    I dont believe the purpose of life was originally to explore the universe and its mysteries but to many of us that is what it has become. :)
     
  13. Oct 1, 2004 #12
    Life came from out of the Earth into the Seas. From there, Life took over Land. From there...

    We colonize, every species does. We'll take over the universe if we lived (our species) long enough (that is if this damn thing called 'reality' is finite.)

    Is that the purpose? Probably one of them. Once we colonize the universe, will that conclude our reason? Nope.
     
  14. Oct 1, 2004 #13
    purposing of life is prove our existantisy
     
  15. Oct 1, 2004 #14
    My take on this question is progression. The purpose of life is to progress. Everything in the universe progress. Wheather it be - or +, its still going from one state (mentally and or physically) to another. This is the one common characteristic I see in any entity in the universe, including the universe itself. Although on a personal level, the answer really depends on the one asking the question; their though process, their environment, ect, have a lot to do with how they precieve things. Asking this question to a monk compared with asking it to a serial killer, you'll probably get answers that differ. It's not so much a scientific question, as integral said, This question is not addressed by science. A satisfactory answer to this question can only be given by the one asking it. Thats why its philosophical, cause wheather you answer it or not, whatever your answer is, no one or nearly no one cares nor is it going to effect them in any way. Its not something you'll be able to write down on your to do list. So ponder. Regard this as either a ****load of **** or food for though.
     
  16. Oct 1, 2004 #15

    If I'm not mistaken I believe we have proved conclusively that humans did not evolve from apes.

    We believe that we may have a common ancestor, but I am fairly sure we have proven we did not evolve from apes. Its one of the great scientific lies that is perpetuated as truth throughout the scientific community.
     
  17. Oct 1, 2004 #16

    hypnagogue

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    I already retracted that statement to some extent, but in any case it's irrelevant to the thrust of my argument.
     
  18. Oct 1, 2004 #17

    selfAdjoint

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    The common ancestor of chimps and humans lived around 6 million years ago. But if you were to see one, I'll bet you would call it an ape.
     
  19. Oct 1, 2004 #18

    Gokul43201

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    No, it's not. It is merely a nuanced usage of the word 'ape'.

    Perhaps the next biggest lie perpetuated as truth throughout the scientific community is that the earth is spherical ?

    And just to make the second point as certain as the first : it has been proven conclusively, that we share a common ancestor.
     
  20. Oct 1, 2004 #19
    To find the purpose of anything you must go the intent of the designer. If you can’t find out from the designer for one reason or another, afraid to ask or don’t care to ask, then you must look at the functions of the design. If you look at a lump of mud you will see very little function compared to a computer. From the function of the computer you are able to discern the intended purpose of the creator of the computer.

    To find a purpose for life you must do the same thing. You must look for the designer to ask the purpose or you need to look at the function of the creation to discern the purpose.

    If you use your free will and decide that there is no designer your chances of finding the real purpose of life are pretty slim because you are looking for purpose with out intent of a designer. You will of course try shaping the purpose to your intent and not that of the designer.

    If you accept the fact of a designer then you must again use your free will to work for or against the purpose of the designer. You may also try to substitute you purpose for that of the designer.

    If you do not make a choice you will most likely end up finding you purpose in life is that of someone else’s purpose. Our history indicates that this is usually not the purpose of the prime designer.
     
  21. Oct 2, 2004 #20
    the purpose of life?

    to live...to exist...

    as simple as that sounds, scientifically, i think thats all there is to it...
     
  22. Oct 5, 2004 #21
    Unfortunately, scientists do not have the faintest idea what life is.

    There is something we have not measured.

    Take this gestalt: if we had a very good ctem and we could place individual atoms at specified coordinates in space : if we put all the atoms in the correct location for an amoeba .... would it be alive ? If so, which atom placement made it alive ? What happened at that point ?

    Best
     
  23. Oct 5, 2004 #22

    selfAdjoint

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    Ventner is proposing to extract the DNA from a bacterium, make up an artificial DNA string and insert it into the (now dead) bacterium. He figures it will come to life with new properties and abilities, which he will have designed in with the DNA.

    This story is going to play out in the next five years or so. We'll see what happens.
     
  24. Oct 8, 2004 #23

    Les Sleeth

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    As the some have pointed out, science doesn't address this issue. So I will use your question, if you don't mind, to reflect on something a little different (but related).

    When people ask about the purpose of life, they usually just bunch together livingness and consciousness. But as Nereid seemed to suggest, an amoeba can hardly be called purposeful consciously, even if its biology is fully involved in survival. So it seems to me that to discuss a living being properly, we have to distinguish between purpose in livingness and conscious purpose.

    To explain that concept a little more, the term "life" includes a huge range of organisms, from plants and bacteria to bugs and humans. When simply comparing the quality of "living" amongst life forms, it hard to say a bacterium in a pig's bowel is living less effectively than the pig with whom it's symbiotically infatuated. In fact, that intrepid intestinal invader might just be more equipped for survival than its host, and among evolutionists survival is commonly seen as the first priority of the quality of living. So if we are restricting the meaning of purpose to "livingness," then it is logical to say that that which furthers something's ability to survive can logically be labeled its primary purpose.

    But looking at life on the scale of all living organisms, there is a pattern which can be discerned in how evolution proceeded (i.e., which can't be seen within a single -- particularly early -- species): the quality of "livingness" develops ever higher avenues for the emergence of consciousness. This fact, which is not even slightly open to doubt, could be interpreted as a higher purpose of life (though not more "primary").

    To clarify the difference between primary and higher, consider studies done on people hard at work in human society. It has been demonstrated many times that once workers' salaries are meeting survival needs, healthy human beings tend to look for ways to get creative (or self actualize, as some put it). If survival is threatened, then survival quickly becomes the focus; but once survival is secured, mentally healthy humans look once again to creative ways to express themselves (and even NEED to in order to maintain good mental health).

    If a similar hierarchy of values has prevailed in evolution, then biology’s relentless march toward organization favoring the manifestation of consciousness suggests livingness has had both a primary purpose and a higher purpose; survive first, and then to develop avenues for ever more refined/advanced emergence of consciousness.

    If we at least allow such a model as a possibility, then an interesting question seems to naturally arise. What sort of forces/principles/dynamics established that hierarchy of values?
     
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