1. All world-views tell a story -- basic beliefs we reason from, rather than to.
2. Everybody has one.
3. They are prescriptive -- they tell us both the way things are, and the way things ought to be.
4. They can be critiqued. Even though they exist deep-down and are fundamental, like an OS, they can be swapped or modified.
World-views answer four basic questions:
1. Who am I - identity
2. Where Am I - setting, context
3. What's Wrong? "Every world-view believes there is something wrong with the world"
4. What's the solution?
World-views can be critiqued based on the criteria of
Coherence -- Is it internally consistent or contradictory?
Correlation (correspondence) -- Does it match our experience of life?
Comprehensiveness -- Does it answer all the relevant data?
Consistency -- Is it livable in practice?
Contentment -- Does it provide existentially satisfying answers to life?
Camus -- central question of life -- what can I devote my life to?
The Naturalist World-view.
1. The Naturalist Story. "The universe is all there is, all there ever has been, and all there ever will be. It consists of material objects. Life emerged from the accidental combination of the right elements and has evolved through the eons as the result of gradual mutations coupled with natural selection, i.e., the survival of the fittest"
2. Naturalist Answers to World-view Questions
a) Who Am I? Cosmic accident result of impersonal physical forces
b) Where Am I? Inhabit tiny portion of eternal universe
c) What Is the Problem? I have been superstitious believing in supernatural causes and consequences.
d) What Is the Solution? Embrace reality and construct a meaningful life and society
1. Reductionistic science - law of parsimony, Ocham's razor - abductive reasoning - reduce everything to science
2. Darwinian faith.
3. Inherent goodness of humanity.
4. Centrality of the self.
Coherence -- holds within it a great contradiction -- what is the source of human rational thought -- must be a material source -- mind nothing more than chemical reactions, molecules in motion, thoughts are no more, no better than this. The mind finds its ultimate grounds in mindlessness.
Corrrelation -- Most people believe that choice is not the same as an involuntary knee-jerk in a doctor's office. But, if materialism is true, then free-will goes out the window. Same with love -- we cannot love freely.
Comprehensiveness -- Cannot adequately explain consciousness Ned Block - no conception to explain consciousness. Dawkins, Steven Pinker "beats the heck out of me". Zilch. Researchers are stumped. Purpose -- is utilitarian. "Why did my fingers move as they did when I typed out my notes last night?" Can answer the mechanics of fingers moving, but not the motivation for typing, or the conscious choice of what to type, cannot count for the "I" directing the movement of the hands to type
Consistency -- unliveable. Michael Ruse and Wilson - we are deceived by our genes into thinking that there is objective moral code existing above individual human desire and outside of, in some sense, biology, e.g., Dawkins "the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature"
Contentment -- what we think of as a real choice is merely a chemical reaction. Morals are, ultimately, either a trick of evolution or based on purely subjective human preference. We are fooled into thinking human beings have intrinsic worth, fooled into thinking we have intrinsic purpose, fooled into thinking that conscience imposes objective moral constraints on us, fooled into thinking that we freely choose, fooled into thinking that biological creatures are designed, fooled into thinking we have a mind as well as a brain, and, indeed, fooled into thinking that there "I" exists in some way apart from or in addition to my body and brain, which are purely material entities existing as chemicals and chemical activities.
"There is no immaterial, supervisory self".
Comment: Atheists like to say that atheism is not a world-view, it is simply this standalone belief that there is no God. However, it does have implications. Perhaps the stronger issue is not theism vs. atheism, but world-views -- OK, you say you are an atheist. What is your world-view?