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Thought Experiment: Should Atheists End all Metabolism in Their Brain?

  1. Jul 1, 2013 #1

    I'm an atheist: a mentally disabled one with depression and no future. So perhaps this may bias my point of view:

    When we atheists die, we will have no memories and conscious awareness of our success and failures in life because our consciousness and memories are lost for eternity, becoming nothing more than dirt in the ground. It would be as if we had never existed, from a first-person point of view.

    Some may say that their lives do count because their successes will benefit future generations. But, once you die, you will not be conscious to observe and enjoy watching future generations benefit from your contributions; you may feel good about it now, but once you are dead, it makes no difference.

    Therefore, why bother to accomplish anything? Why live a stressful life trying to compete in the Darwinian struggle, when in the end, it is all for nothing? Why not just end all metabolism in our brains?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2013 #2


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    Hey, those atoms were LOANED to you. Make some use of them! Don't make the cosmos grumpy with you. You pay your interest back in love and laughter and knowledge.

    I know what it means to be depressed.

    The main issue I see here is that you assume that you should live for some greater concept, ie god. Without that, and the promise of some "after-life", there is no point. That's what I gather from your post.

    Why not live to live? Breath the air into your lungs. Smile at things that make you happy. The smallest pleasures in life are for the individual alone.

    Accomplish things for the fun of it. Don't bother with some grand idea if that isn't your thing. We're self aware, which causes this sort of "what the hell is the point?" issue. However, I suggest not dwelling on it.

    And I find more joy in the "you may feel good about it now, but once you are dead, it makes no difference". I use that as a response to silly things, like what I was to do for a funeral. Oh, well, you know. Party on my grave, what will I care, I'll be dead!

  4. Jul 1, 2013 #3
    Perhaps this is why atheism never caught on for most humans: evolution would select against a purely rational, objective, and scientific world-view, for such people would probably not reproduce, thinking it was pointless, and/or they would just end their lives or not fight hard to preserve it.
  5. Jul 1, 2013 #4
    I would agree with you, but being chronically depressed combined with major cognitive/intellectual deficiencies, I am forced to live a blue-collar life, if even that: very unpleasant being poor. No big deal: compared to the age of the universe, 13.77 billion years, our lives of about 75 years is statistically insignificant; it can be ignored. Therefore, based on human statistics, we don't exist. If we don't exist, why worry about anything, since there is nothing to worry about since our lives are just an illusion?
  6. Jul 1, 2013 #5
    If you felt that if you died, any good you did on Earth would be pointless because you don't get to view it from heaven, then that's your problem. That's just you. Not everyone feels that way.
  7. Jul 1, 2013 #6
    What do you mean? Can you elaborate please? How do other people feel? What percent of them feel a certain way? How many different permutations of feelings are there, and what percent of humans fit into each one? Why do they feel that way? Can you put it in an evolutionary context? What about a rational context? Thanks!
  8. Jul 1, 2013 #7


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    I won't post my story again, but let's say I can almost certainly guarantee I know your perspective.

    For the last 3 years my monthly budget has been around 500 mo. That gets me some rice, veggies, beans and a bit of meat. I don't own a car. I have a few personal items, most of which were given to me or bought second hand. I share a small apartment with my boyfriend, who also makes meager wages. I am "poor" but I've never used that as a reason to be unhappy.

    Before that, I had nothing of my own, I was a farm hand putting myself through high school. Before that, in the foster system in Detroit. What kept me going was of course, some counseling (it's nice to not feel so alone) and a delicate optimism to realism balance.

    I am the only one, within reason, in control of my own self fulfillment.

    From your posts, you certainly don't seem intellectually deficient.

    In regards to elaborating on Leroyjenkens' post:

    There is no way for us to really tangibly quantify feelings. I'm sure some people do feel the same, while others do not. Humans, by evolutionary means, have stayed positive. Laying down to die doesn't get the next generation born.
  9. Jul 1, 2013 #8
    You've got the rest of eternity to be dead while we are all waiting for the black holes to evaporate. Why not just ride out the hundred years good or bad, what's the difference?
  10. Jul 1, 2013 #9
    Because life is mostly fun when compared to nonexistence.
  11. Jul 1, 2013 #10
    I am glad that you feel enough happiness to want to keep on living. :smile:

    I did a lot of fast food work myself throughout adulthood. Now, at age 37, I rent rooms in people's apartment, paying weekly. I am single with no offspring.

    I am in New York City, in Hamilton Heights, a Dominican neighborhood. People always look at me funny, as if I am the village idiot. I stand out: imagine an albino Urkel: black hair, black eyes, pale-white skin, glasses, and a woman's skeletal frame on a man. Combine that with clumsiness in public and a look of being lost in the clouds all the time. Now add to that a somewhat hump-back due to a deformed backbone, and no muscle weight. I am also a virgin.

    I have an extremely low IQ: 110, with most of the weight in the verbal, hence forth why I sound good on paper. But never ask me to engage in non-verbal reasoning or visuospatial processing.
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  12. Jul 1, 2013 #11


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    My IQ is 89, last time I was tested at 19 (I'm now 21). That puts me in the "fast food worker" category. I guess I don't put much faith in it. I did two pretty hefty research projects in HS (Virginia Tech partnership in 2009, OSU organic optoelectronics lab). I deduced the proof for "e" when I was very young (14?) I wasn't aware of it's roots in Taylor series, I just figured it out by looking at the number, it's relations. It was beautiful to me, so I went after it. That's the key, to find a passion in something.

    My fathers was 156-180 depending (higher when on lower doses of his medicines), my mothers 140. So, not only am I "dumb" but I'm born of two parents who apparently are geniuses. The pressure was on. I've gone on to do well via brute force. I scored well on state tests, did okay on the ACT (26). I however, did extremely well in my math courses. I did well in English. By no miracle, but by hard work. I take around 3 hours to each credit hour, rather than the accepted 4-hour rule. It takes me much longer to reason through puzzles but once I've got them they're there forever.

    I was placed into a special kindergarten because when they asked me to name my animals, I listed dinosaurs. Really, the IQ test has it's place, but it also has glaring flaws. I'm also a INTJ, so there's a huge conflict right there.

    But by your reasoning, I'll never accomplish anything in HEP (my dream field), so I should probably just quit while I'm ahead. Never mind my ambition and work-ethic.

    Being a white girl in downtown Detroit sucked. But it taught me a lot, and yes, I got a lot funny looks. I've since moved to the greater DC metro with a much better understanding of the world around me, rather than my little puddle. I'm a better "global" citizen because of it. I also gained a greater appreciation of what prolonged poverty does to a community.

    Chin up, you're far from dumb. You're nearly a standard deviation above the "average".

    It's easy to find reasons to exclaim failure before you've even tried.

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  13. Jul 1, 2013 #12
    The concept of IQ is really just pseudo-science anyway: I wouldn't place any importance on your "score."
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  14. Jul 1, 2013 #13
    I'm not White.
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  15. Jul 1, 2013 #14


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    I was tested by an expert, at my psychiatric evaluation. At the age of 7, 14, and 19. I've stayed consistently within that range. The highest I've scored was 105, at the age of 7.

    Now, my porn habits are not up for discussion. But I speak, write and am moderately grammatically correct. I am living contradiction to your argument. Perhaps it's the little bit of dumb in me that makes it easy to be happy. I'm okay with that.

    I'm aware of the issues in Detroit. They've been long standing, actually. I have family in the auto industry, and as such, have heard stories. My grandfather was an engineer and a patent writer as well. He explained to me in great detail the racial, socio-economic and political fracture between "the burbs and the city" fueled by Coleman Young's appointment to mayor. He drove the nail in the coffin, and the coffin was burned in 2008 when the car industry collapsed.

    You're making excuses supported by weak facts and extreme bias. If you're truly depressed, seek medical help. That's not something we can provide for you here.
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  16. Jul 1, 2013 #15
    What really matters is love. :smile:
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  17. Jul 1, 2013 #16


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    The laws of Biology have nothing to do with a standardized test.

  18. Jul 1, 2013 #17


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    @Synaptic:We're PF, so we generally require sources to support claims like that.
  19. Jul 1, 2013 #18
    I support President Obama. He really cares for the underprivileged. I hope he decides to help me out.
  20. Jul 1, 2013 #19


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    Well, I've wasted my morning trying to help someone. Now excuse me while I quit school, wallow in the misery that is "below average" and watch gratuitous amounts of explicit material.
  21. Jul 1, 2013 #20
    I'm glad you greatly enriched your life by living in Detroit. The culture their is very beautiful, and the diversity is almost unparalleled. I have always been a big supporter of cultural diversity and credit the success of our nation to it.

    My grandparents are themselves immigrants.
  22. Jul 1, 2013 #21


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    Enriched as in, I saw poverty. I saw what it meant to support yourself out of the trash. You previously mentioned in this thread the terror that is modern Detroit, so I'm certain that you don't actually feel the way you seem to in the above post. True, diversity is great. But it needs to flourish, rather than argue among each facet.

    I saw what it really means to be poor. What it really means to be unemployed, alone. I may have been young, the the memories of "do we eat today, or tomorrow, or the next?" will forever stick with me.

    Enriched isn't always positive. But we are shaped by our experiences and how we react and adapt to them.

    I can tell when I'm being mocked, and you know, take it elsewhere. If you refuse to seek medical help about your state of depression, and refuse to look towards the potential for growth you do have--then we have nothing to offer you.
  23. Jul 1, 2013 #22
    I believe pornography should be legalized all over the world. I like the work of Sigmund Freud and how he relates sexual repression to authoritarianism, racism, bigotry, and sexism.

    It is a shame that pornography is illegal in Muslim countries and China.

    P.S. You are not below average: from talking to you, I've come to realize that there really is no such thing as "intelligence"; it is too complicated to even define or measure. Who is anyone to say someone is intelligent or unintelligent? The best thing society can do is simply provide an enriching environment for everyone.
  24. Jul 1, 2013 #23
    You are just imagining this then: I have capitulated to your point of view, and you confuse this for mocking? In my depression and frenzy to find a way to end my life in the last eight hours, I decided to post in this forum in such a state of mind, so my original thoughts were very illogical, nonsensical, and incoherent. But now that I am feeling not as bad, I am coming back to my senses and realizing that you are indeed correct. You have been a great help, and I am very thankful.
  25. Jul 1, 2013 #24
    You are 100% correct. Intelligence really is just a function of cultural enrichment, and no test can really measure it.
  26. Jul 1, 2013 #25


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    This is an incorrect application of logic. A logical argument depends on a starting premise, but that doesn't mean the premise has to be logical, it only has to be factual (to relate yo reality). That's why atheists don't commit suicide en masse! They just don't make decisions based on the possible implications in an afterlife.
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