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Old 12-02-2011, 06:39 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Default Re: Newtmentum! (David Weigel & Chris Moody)

Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
You may be correct in calling this an instance of the naturalistic fallacy. I'm not well versed enough in philosophy to say. On the other hand, the idea seems to undergird environmentalism: The planet must be preserved at all costs.

One often gets the sense, too, that people who contend human ethics are merely an outgrowth of the evolutionary imperative--the species must perpetuate itself; cooperation and altruism are the best ways to do that --take great comfort from that notion, as it disposes of the idea that ethics might have a Transcendent Source.
As to the first, most (not all, but most) environmentalists don't treat the preservation of the planet as an end in itself, but as a means to the end of maintaining the quality and quantitity of human life. Many people are environmentalists for religious reasons as well.

As to the evolutionary imperative. I don't think it's so much a desire to eliminate God, although it may be for some. Rather, it's a desire to take one's own moral preferences and deem them immune to disagreement and/or argument, by claiming that they are self-evident and/or already proven.

As to the specific notion that the self-evident/scientific/evolutionary purpose of people is produce more people, and as many people as possible.

At least in some forms, this is simply religion in a particularly impoverished and abstract form.

Rather than YHWH or Jesus Christ or Allah or the myriad other spiritual systems that have been around for millenia and served many people reasonably well, positing a divine being or principle that promotes a rich if flawed set of moral and ethics and who values (at least some, but often all) people in themselves, this "natural law" religion worships The Person That Can Never Be.

The as-yet-unborn who are the nominal ends of this religion are only means once they materialize, and the ends will shift to the next generation and the next. People are only ends in themselves as long as they don't yet exist, because once they exist, their purpose to produce more people who don't yet exist. Thus, people who matter in and of themselves are beyond an ever advancing window, never coming to be as valuable in their own right.

The other justification I suppose is that people matter in the aggregate not as individuals, which makes the object of worship The Human Race. But the notion that the preservation of us as a species depends on each of us producing as many people as possible is somewhat akin to working to ensure that our planet ressembles Waterworld on the premise that water is necessary for life.
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