The Evils of Empirical Materialism (a potential excerpt from a book I may write in the future)

#1
Of all the evils that have been visited upon mankind in the 21st century, I consider the death of the soul to be perhaps the most mournful and heinous. It is with this proclamation by materialistic science that the basis of all meaning and all forms of connection have been extinguished. If, for instance, as some in science today say, I am no more than a biological automaton, controlled by the mere whimsy of impulses and laws beyond my control, where does this leave a role for responsibility? If I am to acknowledge that my only role in life is that of a highly sophisticated computer, of what responsibility can I have to ensure the well being of another? A computer is no more responsible for its circumstances than an ant is to be born on an ant hill. A computer has no more moral responsibility than lichen has to the rock that it grows upon.

If I am to apply this principle of reductionism to my treatment of others, I can conclude that I have no more obligation of beneficence than perhaps the bed I sleep in or the chair I sit on. It may be true that I may have a sensation of guilt for causing harm to another, but this, as materialism explains, is little more than an illusion. If indeed all there is to an individual is individual pieces of dead matter, what guilt should I have to logically break or hurt them than if I were to break a glass out of my anger-indeed, they are one and the same?

The solemn conclusion of empirical materialism is that it cannot be used as a basis for moral reasoning. It is for this reason, whether it is true or not, that I must reject this dogma and propose to imagine that in an individual there are reflections of that substance which forms myself, a substance that is very much alive and encompasses the individual. From this reasoning, it becomes much harder for me to justify causing undue suffering to another, as in doing so, I would be causing undue suffering to myself, violating the very innate drive for self-preservation. If I propose that an individual is composed of more than that which I may break with the strength of my own body, I then cannot reasonably justify destroying or maiming them, as it would be beyond my capacity to do so. It is for the interest of human civilization, then, that we must imagine that there is more to an individual than simply the parts that they are composed of.
 
#2
I would be careful about using the word "evil" it has the effect of dehumanizing the people whom it is used to refer to. It might stir up anger, hatred, or violence, which are unnecessary. Problems can be identified and dealt with much more effectively if they are handled without those emotions that can cloud one's judgment.

I agree materialism is harmful and is a misconception, but I don't think materialists are necessarily evil people.
 
#4
To paraphrase Donald Tusk, I wonder if there is a special place in hell for those that promote the end of materialism without even a sketch of a plan as to what might replace it.
 
#5
In an immaterialist model, where is the source of responsibility and guilt?
It lies in an immaterial realm that is composed of thought and emotion. At first sight that doesn't explain much more than the materialist model, but the difference is that materialist model purports to explain these things when it clearly can't - you need a realm of quite different properties to make any progress.

Remember Malf, this isn't a new debate, it has been going on for centuries really. Apparently there used to be a fad for constructing very elaborate mechanical models of people performing various actions, and there was a serious debate as to whether such 'beings' were exhibiting consciousness rather like real people:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8...t=&hvlocphy=1006642&hvtargid=kwd-329928834204

The theory never moves on, because it is impossible to bridge the gap from physical things - electric currents, chemicals, diffusion, etc to the domain of thoughts and emotions.

David
 
#6
To paraphrase Donald Tusk, I wonder if there is a special place in hell for those that promote the end of materialism without even a sketch of a plan as to what might replace it.
Vetting conjecture against the null hypothesis is called - Science
Venerating a falsified null hypothesis is called - Dogma (what Tusk suggests is necessary. Dogma is never necessary.)
Believing the null hypothesis is called - Church

We have a lame duck null hypothesis in place (materialism). It has been falsified out of office, but its Party (Church) refuses to cede power. This more than anything, prevents us from forming new coherent hypothesis.
 
#7
The solemn conclusion of empirical materialism is that it cannot be used as a basis for moral reasoning. It is for this reason, whether it is true or not, that I must reject this dogma and propose to imagine that in an individual there are reflections of that substance which forms myself, a substance that is very much alive and encompasses the individual
I think I'd put it the other way about:

1) Materialism is clearly false.
2) Using the false premise of materialism creates a lot of problems.

Remember highly religious societies can and do fight - they aren't necessary pleasant societies. Obviously it will be your book, but I'd be inclined to keep those two issues distinct.

David
 
#8
Vetting conjecture against the null hypothesis is called - Science
Venerating a falsified null hypothesis is called - Dogma (what Tusk suggests is necessary. Dogma is never necessary.)
Believing the null hypothesis is called - Church

We have a lame duck null hypothesis in place (materialism). It has been falsified out of office, but its Party (Church) refuses to cede power. This more than anything, prevents us from forming new coherent hypothesis.
Materialism has only been falsified if one puts arbitrary limits on its scope. I suspect (and we see it again and again) that the nature is more magical than we credit.
 
#9
Materialism has only been falsified if one puts arbitrary limits on its scope. I suspect (and we see it again and again) that the nature is more magical than we credit.
I agree, reality is going to prove out much more strange than either materialists or spiritualists even comprehend or imagine. I suspect that the boundary of our realm is not actually a boundary - rather a cognitive limitation on our part. (Either that or an elaborately decorated prison... and I tend toward the latter temptation the more I get to know humanity...)

But I am not sure that Materialists would agree to your defining their religion in that manner. :)
 
#10
I agree, reality is going to prove out much more strange than either materialists or spiritualists even comprehend or imagine. I suspect that the boundary of our realm is not actually a boundary - rather a cognitive limitation on our part. (Either that or an elaborately decorated prison... and I tend toward the latter temptation the more I get to know humanity...)

But I am not sure that Materialists would agree to your defining their religion in that manner. :)
You need to hang with cooler materialists ;)
 
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