Short and sweet: nihilism

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
Post Reply
User avatar
Arbu123
Posts: 28
Joined: March 22nd, 2022, 10:15 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Me
Location: Midtown
Contact:

Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Arbu123 »

Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
Meta Island
Posts: 11
Joined: August 31st, 2022, 5:49 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Meta Island »

Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
I don’t understand nihilism. Doesn’t it contradict its foundations? My understanding is that it rejects the existence of, among other things, knowledge and meaning. But doesn’t it present itself as a type of meaningful knowledge?
User avatar
Arbu123
Posts: 28
Joined: March 22nd, 2022, 10:15 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Me
Location: Midtown
Contact:

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Arbu123 »

Meta Island wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 7:16 pm
Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
I don’t understand nihilism. Doesn’t it contradict its foundations? My understanding is that it rejects the existence of, among other things, knowledge and meaning. But doesn’t it present itself as a type of meaningful knowledge?
I mean that there’s no moral or immoral.
Meta Island
Posts: 11
Joined: August 31st, 2022, 5:49 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Meta Island »

Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 7:47 pm
Meta Island wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 7:16 pm
Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
I don’t understand nihilism. Doesn’t it contradict its foundations? My understanding is that it rejects the existence of, among other things, knowledge and meaning. But doesn’t it present itself as a type of meaningful knowledge?
I mean that there’s no moral or immoral.
Apologies, but I can't be of much help here. I don't see what you see.
User avatar
Sy Borg
Site Admin
Posts: 12738
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Sy Borg »

Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
Many claim that evolution does not have a direction. I tend towards empiricism and, as far as I can tell, evolution has very clearly shown a direction, towards ever greater complexity, sophistication and specialisation. Extinction events may "reset" life, sending it to a state closer to the distant past, but the seeds of complexity remain in the survivors, and come to fruition when conditions stabilise.

So life can indeed have meaning when one considers the extraordinary advances made in the past, and future potentials. At present, people tend to be pessimistic because short-term prognoses for societies and nature are uniformly poor, and medium-term too. However, this is a time of great change, and the disruption the changes bring are invariably painful.

I am personally optimistic about the long term potentials of the Earth, which the planet might achieve in the future. Still, there are no guarantees. A "planet-killer" asteroid could end it all. However, I find meaning in being part of this great evolutionary chain, leading to who-knows-where.

Still, in terms of the circus known as "society", without considering its broader context (as above), nihilism makes perfect sense. We are drowning in absurdity - politics, social media, reality TV, the news media, illogical laws and social norms. When the ostensible madness gets a bit much, Camus has my favourite answer - to accept the mind-numbing grind of life as a given and instead focus instead on the many wondrous aspects of reality.
User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 4924
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
Sy Borg wrote: September 25th, 2022, 2:26 am Many claim that evolution does not have a direction. I tend towards empiricism and, as far as I can tell, evolution has very clearly shown a direction, towards ever greater complexity, sophistication and specialisation.
I think we sometimes tend to consider evolution as if it was a mindfully-guided process. This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings. Evolution is a mechanism whereby difference can emerge by mutation. Mindless mutation that occurs by chance, not design. Mutations are not even selected; they just happen. Most don't survive because they are, in some way, non-viable. But sometimes, a mutation occurs that confers some degree of success upon the mutated animal, and so that trait is preserved, or can be.

Evolution does tend in the direction(s) you describe, but it's never planned and always, I suppose, unexpected. We could look at it as Nature trying out different combinations, but randomly, not with a direction or purpose.
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"
User avatar
Sy Borg
Site Admin
Posts: 12738
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Sy Borg »

Pattern-chaser wrote: September 26th, 2022, 10:04 am
Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
Sy Borg wrote: September 25th, 2022, 2:26 am Many claim that evolution does not have a direction. I tend towards empiricism and, as far as I can tell, evolution has very clearly shown a direction, towards ever greater complexity, sophistication and specialisation.
I think we sometimes tend to consider evolution as if it was a mindfully-guided process. This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings. Evolution is a mechanism whereby difference can emerge by mutation. Mindless mutation that occurs by chance, not design. Mutations are not even selected; they just happen. Most don't survive because they are, in some way, non-viable. But sometimes, a mutation occurs that confers some degree of success upon the mutated animal, and so that trait is preserved, or can be.

Evolution does tend in the direction(s) you describe, but it's never planned and always, I suppose, unexpected. We could look at it as Nature trying out different combinations, but randomly, not with a direction or purpose.
Sure, some people think that God dunnit, but I don't care about that, just what is real. That ancient idea is probably responsible for the resistance to appreciating that evolution results in progression. However, that too is being held captive by ideology, failing to see what is in front of one's face due to pre-conceived beliefs.

However, if we value evidence, even our small sample of one is compelling. If we consider events from 3.8 billion years ago to now, we see constant progression at varying rates, interrupted by occasional extinction events.

While fish that move from the open waters to caves lose their vision and koalas lost the cortical folds, these regressions happened simply because vision and mental work are energetically expensive, and resources became too scarce for those animals to support those functions. Those who lost the functions would have reproduced more successfully than the sighted fish and smart koalas, because the sight and smarts were wasted, the animals' energy better deployed to other functions.

The biosphere's journey has the same dynamics as those in individuals' and colonies' lives. Life is life, being it a microbe or an ecosystem. They all grow at different rates, they get sick occasionally and sometimes almost die. They mostly progress but sometimes there are regressions due to stressors. And, in the end, they all die, their bodies breaking down back into the Earth, but possibly reproducing first.

So it's not destiny or fate. If the asteroid responsible for the Chicxulub crater was a larger object, life may have been reduced to subterranean organisms or been snuffed out altogether. If the object had been much smaller, dinosaurs would probably still be dominant.

But here we are, neither microbes, dinosaurs nor dead.
User avatar
Samana Johann
Posts: 54
Joined: June 28th, 2022, 7:57 pm
Contact:

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Samana Johann »

Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
To be or not to are no questions for one wishing to overcome birth, aging, sickness, death and breaking apart, good householder, but just the turning on wheel, from moment so moment.

Died off right here? And now? Another try to become, be?
Meta Island
Posts: 11
Joined: August 31st, 2022, 5:49 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Meta Island »

Pattern-chaser wrote: September 26th, 2022, 10:04 am
Arbu123 wrote: September 22nd, 2022, 3:24 pm Evolution appears to be allowing full potential. Does this argument hold up nihilism alone? Duality says, “Yes.” Free will says, “Yes.” Even metaphysical arguments, like Heaven AND Hell say, “Yes.” What do you guys think? Adaptation—to me—seems like it’s a way species are becoming “better” according to their surroundings. Even though evolution is a priori, I think it’s correct. If evolution becomes accepted, or proven, will nihilism fall in line shortly after?
Sy Borg wrote: September 25th, 2022, 2:26 am Many claim that evolution does not have a direction. I tend towards empiricism and, as far as I can tell, evolution has very clearly shown a direction, towards ever greater complexity, sophistication and specialisation.
I think we sometimes tend to consider evolution as if it was a mindfully-guided process. This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings. Evolution is a mechanism whereby difference can emerge by mutation. Mindless mutation that occurs by chance, not design. Mutations are not even selected; they just happen. Most don't survive because they are, in some way, non-viable. But sometimes, a mutation occurs that confers some degree of success upon the mutated animal, and so that trait is preserved, or can be.

Evolution does tend in the direction(s) you describe, but it's never planned and always, I suppose, unexpected. We could look at it as Nature trying out different combinations, but randomly, not with a direction or purpose.

If DNA can be viewed as a complex set of instructions, then it can be viewed as a complex set of ideas. Understanding how ideas link to other ideas could help support Sy’s view that evolution has a direction toward greater complexity, and it could also support Pattern’s view that evolution has a mechanism that nurtures “trying out” different combinations of ideas when it encounters chance environmental variables.
User avatar
Sy Borg
Site Admin
Posts: 12738
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Sy Borg »

In terms of nature v nurture, I see DNA as "stored nurture", especially with epigenetics being found to be influential. Thus "nature" is really just the "nurture" of previous generations. DNA carries history (and pre-history) that helps to shape the present. DNA holds the unspoken life lessons of our ancestors, passing on attributes to their offspring that helped them to survive and breed.

Certainly researchers are using DNA to extract stories from ancient times about both the organism and its environment.
Meta Island
Posts: 11
Joined: August 31st, 2022, 5:49 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Meta Island »

Sy Borg wrote: Yesterday, 8:51 pm In terms of nature v nurture, I see DNA as "stored nurture", especially with epigenetics being found to be influential. Thus "nature" is really just the "nurture" of previous generations. DNA carries history (and pre-history) that helps to shape the present. DNA holds the unspoken life lessons of our ancestors, passing on attributes to their offspring that helped them to survive and breed.

Certainly researchers are using DNA to extract stories from ancient times about both the organism and its environment.
Reverse engineering DNA programming, stepping through the changes, will look eerily like DNA self-awareness. 😊
User avatar
Sy Borg
Site Admin
Posts: 12738
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Short and sweet: nihilism

Post by Sy Borg »

Meta Island wrote: Yesterday, 9:54 pm
Sy Borg wrote: Yesterday, 8:51 pm In terms of nature v nurture, I see DNA as "stored nurture", especially with epigenetics being found to be influential. Thus "nature" is really just the "nurture" of previous generations. DNA carries history (and pre-history) that helps to shape the present. DNA holds the unspoken life lessons of our ancestors, passing on attributes to their offspring that helped them to survive and breed.

Certainly researchers are using DNA to extract stories from ancient times about both the organism and its environment.
Reverse engineering DNA programming, stepping through the changes, will look eerily like DNA self-awareness. 😊
Not so sure about self-awareness, but certainly memory.
Post Reply

Return to “Ethics and Morality”

2022 Philosophy Books of the Month

Emotional Intelligence At Work

Emotional Intelligence At Work
by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
January 2022

Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021