At comment 60 in this thread about self-described atheistic materialists who want portray themselves as being moral yet having no basis by which to be moral in any objective sense, Seversky says in response:
“However, it is a choice between able to be good in a way that actually means something and actually matters,…” to whom? That’s always the unspoken part of such a claim. Meaning only exists in the mind of the beholder and something or some one only matters to some one. Believers fell better if they believe that their lives have meaning and matter, which means they need a Creator to whom they matter.
Notice that, according to Seversky, meaning is an entirely subective pheonomena. IOW, in Seversky’s worldview, being good an entirely subjective narrative. It only exists in a person’s mind. There is no means by which anyone can be “good” in a way that is objectively valid and objectively meaningful (meaning, it is good to the mind that is the ground of existence, or god).
In the very next paragraph of his response, Seversky attempts to portray an atheist’s happiness as somehow more real than a theist’s happiness, as if the quality or value of ones experience of happiness would be increased if it referred to something objectively real. He uses a quote from Karl Marx to attempt to get his point across:
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
So, after I make the point that being good would have more validity and meaning if it referred to an objectively real commodity, Seversky shoots that down by insisting that being “good” can only be a subjective narrative. Yet, he seems to think that happiness – which which would obviously also be a subjective state of mind in his worldview – can be of a higher quality if it was generated by a correspondence to objective reality (giving up illusions, as Marx said).
In that thread’s OP I said:
This is the tragic nature of the good, moral atheist; they want their good acts to be somehow more real or better than an act a religious fanatic considers and feels is good, but alas, under the logical ramifications of atheistic materialism, their good acts would be the factual, physico-chemical equivalents of Jihadis who felt they were doing good by driving planes into buildings. There is no source distinction between any act anyone does.
Seversky seems to agree with this about morality, but is apparently holding on to the idea that happiness is somehow different; that the happiness generated by physico-chemical processes under an atheist/materialist narrative is somehow of better quality than the happiness experienced by theists, as if the happenstance correspondence of one set of chemically-produced beliefs to physical reality would necessarily mean a concomitant better quality of happiness. Seversky is apparently asserting that the quality of ones mental state of happiness is proportional to how closely ones beliefs happen to comport with physical reality. Seversky is free to try and support this assertion, but we all know he cannot. All this can possibly be is part of Seversky’s anti-theistic narrative; there’s no reason (that I know of) to believe that a theist’s happiness is somehow of less quality than an atheist’s. Nor is there any reason to believe that theism confers any evolutionary disadvantage.
Under atheistic materialism, there are no bonus points after you die for believing things that happen to be true, or that happen to correspond to factual reality. Seversky’s only recourse then, in countering what he refers to as my “Pascal’s Wager” style argument, is that atheistic materialism somehow bestows a happiness quality advantage during life. Perhaps he might extend that argument to include some other ways that atheistic materialism produces some real-world experiential advantage. I’d like to see him or any other atheistic materialist try to make that argument either through logic or some kind of scientific evidence. It is nothing more than a materialist myth.
The theme here is that for atheistic/materialists it appears to be important to their mythic narrative that atheistic/materialism conveys upon them some sort of meaningful experiential advantage over theists; that somehow, in some real sense, atheism is superior to theism and that it somehow demonstrates some sort of individual superiority (at least in the sense of setting aside “illusions” – which is a recurring theme.). The problem is that the nature of their worldview logically precludes that from even possibly being the case; they cannot deliberately understand and accept true things because their consciousness, sense of free will and responsibility are illusions generated by uncaring matter.
Note how the illusion of self, self-determination and free will that refers to itself as “Seversky” claims that illusions such as he can “set aside” false, illusory beliefs and reap some kind of factual benefit. This is an enormous metaphysical myth – that somehow something that is itself an illusion can set aside illusions and see and understand “the truth”, and that such a recognition will be somehow substantively rewarded in some way that escapes other illusions of self that refer to themselves as theists, as if some illusions of self are better than other illusions of self, and as if such a difference substantively matters.
If atheistic materialism is true, then we all have the beliefs we have and act the way we act because such things are caused by physico-chemical forces that have no regard for the truth-value of such thoughts and beliefs. Additionally, there is no “I” that has supernatural power over what these materials and forces happen to generate. It’s not like we would have the power to stop a physical process from producing a false belief because that belief is false; our idea that it is false would also be a sensation produced by the same blind physico-chemical forces that produced the false belief in the first place. Those forces equally produce true and false beliefs and thoughts (wrt factual reality) and also generate our ideas that such thoughts are true and false. If factually true beliefs happen to coexist with a higher-quality experience of happiness, how on Earth would one evidence such a claim, or be confident that the view of the evidence and logic wasn’t actually false?
It’s far more likely (under Seversky’s worldview) that false beliefs confer some sort of experiential advantage because, if atheistic materialism is true, that is what nature has actually selected for – the supposedly false belief that god and/or a supernatural world exists. Also, Seversky seems to think that it is important to have true beliefs rather than false ones; but why? Surely he realizes there is no factual basis for the claim that holding a true beliefs confers a better quality of experiential happiness. Why bother defending the idea that if a programmed biological automaton happens to think things in correspondence with reality that this also happens to correspond with a better quality of (ultimately) illusory happiness? So what if it does? If Seversky’s worldview is true, our levels of happiness are entirely caused by forces beyond our illusory sense of control and self-determination. In fact, individual happiness itself is an illusory experience of an illusory self; yet Seversky claims the sense of happiness of one illusion of selfhood is less illusory than that experienced by another illusion of selfhood.
What the take-home point here is that Seversky and others, even though they assert themselves atheistic materialists, still argue and act as if they and others have some supernatural power to deliberately discern true beliefs from false and deliberately overpower the physico-chemical processes of the brain to force them to correspond to true beliefs; that true beliefs somehow magically confer a better quality of experiential happiness; that true beliefs are somehow magically necessary or important when it comes to life and the human species. It is just as likely that false beliefs are necessary both to long-term survival and for higher quality experience of happiness, and that atheistic materialism is an evolutionary dead-end that cannot compete with religious faith when it comes to factually thriving in the real world because it corresponds to physical reality.
The idea that “truth” can be deliberately obtained, forced onto physico-chemical processes, and that it confers upon illusory “selves” a higher quality happiness or evolutionary advantage is an enormous materialist fantasy. For them, truth is the equivalent of a magical commodity capable of overriding, transforming and guiding physico-chemical processes, and they have utter faith in its ability confer both immediate and long-term benefits to them and humanity. One wonders if materialists ever thought that, in an actual materialist world, perhaps an illusion of self working under the illusion of self-will with chemically-caused thoughts might actually require false beliefs in order to function successfully and thrive in the factual world, and that is why such beliefs are so widespread and so pervasive historically?
Well, no. Because whether they admit it or not, whether they realize it or not, they still think truth is in itself some sort of transcendental, supernatural commodity that fundamentally matters and necessarily affects our lives in a positive way if we can deliberately ascertain it and live by it.