As An Atheist Can Your Life Have Purpose and Meaning?

I was wondering what other people thought about this.

I realize we weren't born with a purpose. No creator or "higher calling".

But as a non believer can your life have meaning and purpose without god?

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The best way to advance humanity is to reduce its numbers.  Every problem we have caused (and that is almost all the problems that exist) can be solved, or its damages reduced, by a huge reduction in our numbers.  How many environmentalists and animal advocates have deliberately had no children?  How many, instead, spend all their energy bringing up their children instead of helping solve problems.  How many brag how their superior kids will solve all the problems that their parents were too busy breeding to solve?

So from the point of view of the earth and its other inhabitants what is "Good"?  Surely not humanity.  The world would recover and go on nicely without us.

I had my tubes tied cut-cauterised at age 30 :D
I teach, so I hope to affect other people's kids, as some teachers affected me ;)

I totally agree.
A responsible attitude on reproduction is needed. Only animals breed unfettered.

Personally I stopped after 2 daughters, even though I have the means and will to try for a son

Have you had your daughters fixed?  Just kidding, but you have increased the human population.  You, and, I hope, your wife, are still here.  Perhaps some of the grandparents are still here.  Will there be water for your grandchildren? I hope so.   What about clean rivers and lakes for wildlife.  What's good for me, is what is good for a living earth.  We are are acting as parasites on her skin.  We could have the goal of a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the living things on earth.

From Jeff Jacoby, a perspective that I generally agree with...

Has there ever been a more persistent and popular superstition than the idea that having more kids is a bad thing, or that “overpopulation’’ causes hunger, misery, and hopelessness? In the 18th century, Thomas Malthus warned that human population growth must inevitably outstrip the food supply; to prevent mass starvation, he suggested, “we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction,’’ such as encouraging the spread of disease among the poor. In the 20th century, Paul Ehrlich wrote bestsellers with titles like “The Population Bomb,’’ in which he described the surging number of humans in the world as a “cancer’’ that would have to be excised through “brutal and heartless decisions.’’ (His list included sterilization, abortion, and steep tax rates on families with children.)

Just last month, Thomas Friedman avowed in his New York Times column that “The Earth Is Full,’’ and that “we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished.’’

For more than 200 years the population alarmists have been predicting the worst, and for more than 200 years their predictions have failed to come true. As the number of men, women, and children in the world has skyrocketed - from fewer than 1 billion when Malthus lived to nearly 7 billion today - so has the average standard of living. Poverty, disease, and hunger have not been eradicated, of course, and there are many people in dire need of help. But on the whole human beings are living longer, healthier, cleaner, richer, better-educated, more productive, and more comfortable lives than ever before.

When human beings proliferate, the result isn’t less of everything to go around. The planet doesnt run out of food and fuel, minerals, and metals. On the contrary, most resources have grown cheaper and more abundant over the past couple centuries - in tandem with rising population.

The explanation is no mystery. Yes, more babies mean more mouths and therefore more consumption. But more babies also mean more minds and arms and spines - and therefore more new ideas, more effort, more creativity, more initiative, more enterprise. “Human beings do not just consume, they also produce,’’ writes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan. “The world economy is not like a party where everyone splits a birthday cake; it is more like a potluck where everyone brings a dish.’’

FLAME AWAY! I can take the heat :-)

Dear me that argument is almost as old as Malthus himself. Anyone with a modicum of science and biological systems and ecosystems knowledge can fully understand the undisputed destruction of our ecosystems and near extermination of all large wildlife!

TNT666, dismissing the argument as “old” does not dispute it. In fact, you don’t dispute anything in the article, but rather change the argument to one of ecosystems and wildlife, which misses the objection to the overpopulation myth. On balance, population increases the prosperity of humans in a (relatively) free society.


I’m more than happy to debate this topic, but I’d rather not highjack this thread as overpopulation and environmental impact debates are probably best discussed elsewhere. If you wish to further explore this topic with me, start a new thread - or I can do so if you’re interested. Just let me know.

I said it's old because it's old, but mostly because it's obsolete!

We will never be overpopulated if you look only at food and minerals, we can always technologically find more of those. They are NOT the point.

Carrying capacity (k) is a lovely biological concept except it does not work with Homo sapiens. K is based on a fixed resource availability and we keep pushing that goalpost farther and farther, so carrying capacity is useless when assessing H.sapiens population.

So I'm not at all changing the topic, but simply correcting your strawman, I speak of overpopulation with regards to the ecosystem and wildlife, and you somehow equate that to a Malthusian argument. Fail. Stop relying on obsolete dogmatic arguments and look at science. Biology does not lie.

The point of this discussion what that somehow it was "good" thing to overpopulate this planet, inadvertently exterminating all other wildlife. Only a religious brain could see that as a "good" thing and pursue that as a "purpose".

YOU "speak of overpopulation with regards to the ecosystem and wildlife" - the article and I did not. Therefore, it is YOU who has created the strawman and attempts to turn this discussion in a different direction. The article argues against "overpopulation" adversely impacting humans - which has proven false. 

How correcting you are. I was a fan of Malthus too. And here came the realization that guay was just an old fellow not worthy of even mentioning.

ALTRUISM & EDUCATION would also free up the spines and minds we have now - and make it a better place. A REASON to be charitable.

I just say a more responsible outlook is needed - not unfettered
Your Capitalist model of population = productivity assumes that the surface area and resources on a livable Earth are infinite, and that is not the case. Past success do not predict future results, especially since population growth is exponential. The change in demand over supply is already reflected in rocketing fuel and food prices. I think people have already, subconsciously even, noted the economy of raising a child, and that is the reason why most first world populations are aging.




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