You can go away screaming I suck! at an uncaring universe if you like or else you can look at evidence-based alternative views.
What is the value of human life? So many atheist thinkers argue it is nothing. Life has no value.
Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, atheist and agnostic thinkers (i.e., materialists and positivists) have considered everything, including humans, as merely the product of accidental processes. This means that human life no longer has any value or moral significance. This talk examines the way that many thinkers, such as the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell, espoused this view, but also contradicted themselves by implying that humans are important.
Many aspects of Darwinian theory have implications for the value of human life, and Darwinists themselves have acknowledged this. Darwinian theory rejects teleology, and often reduces humans to just another animal. Many Darwinists consider morality itself the product of chance evolutionary processes. Human evolution also implies human diversity, which has led many to embrace human inequality. Finally, Darwinism implies that death is a positive force in the universal struggle for existence.
The notion that human behavior is shaped primarily by our hereditary predispositions has become a powerful force in Western thought in the past century. Many sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists today claim that behaviors, such as kindness, marital bonding, and self-sacrifice, but also marital infidelity, incest, infanticide, abortion, and even rape are programmed into our psyche by our evolutionary heritage. This reduces human agency and relativizes morality.
Secular thinkers who reject biological determinism often embrace the view that human behavior is primarily the product of our upbringing and education. This became a powerful current in the nineteenth century, influencing Marxism and other forms of socialism. The behaviorist psychologists John Watson and B. F. Skinner powerfully promoted this idea in the twentieth century, claiming that humans are little more than a machine responding to stimuli. This view still has many prominent adherents in the social sciences.
Did Nietzsche, Foucault, and Postmodernism open the door for the Death of Humanity?
Nietzsche, subsequent existentialists, Foucault, and other postmodernists have contributed to the secular assault on the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic. Nietzsche had utter contempt for the masses of humanity and argued that Superman figures should oppress and even eradicate those deemed inferior. Foucault admitted that the Nietzschean death of God also meant the death of humanity, and Foucault glamorized suicide as a result. Both existentialists and postmodernists reject any human rights or objective morality.
Note: A quintuple hat tip to Philip Cunningham, for sending in these five vids.
See also: Believing in purposeful universe is good mental health
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