In this video clip, John Schellenberg describes a bit more of his way of thinking about ultimate questions which is very much in line with my own (you can find the full video here):
A couple of points I’d like to make:
– In other videos, Schellenberg calls himself an atheist in a very similar way that I call myself an atheist (with some minor differences), yet he is not a naturalist. As you can see in the above video, while he leaves open the possibility that naturalism could in fact be true, he says that “the jury is still out, in a really big way” – and I agree, in a big way. 😉 I’ve run into several people on the internet who seem to equate naturalism with atheism. While many atheist bloggers are indeed naturalists as well, polls of philosophers on the questions of “atheism” and “naturalism” actually indicate that among philosophers the number of atheists who do not accept naturalism is actually larger than one might think.
– I agree with Schellenberg that the future of human evolution, while unknown, could very likely lead us to a point where we can get more definitive answers to these big questions of life that many of us ponder. When I think about the kinds of rational and critical thinking skills which humans have compared to other life forms like bacteria and many animals, then I wonder about what kinds of understanding of reality that future beings might possess. Perhaps the future will open the doors of understanding to some of our much deeper questions. As I have expressed before, these thoughts for the future are a great source of meaning for me.
– Even aside from evolution, simply the mere fact that human knowledge seems to be growing at an almost exponential rate is very encouraging for me. If 6000 years ago you had asked a Sumerian if they thought that we could find the answers to questions like “where do diseases come from” or “where does lightning come from” then very likely they would have said that these kinds of questions would always be out of the reach of humans. While there are still a great many questions that seem elusive to us today, great progress has certainly been made in many fields, such as medicine, vehicles of transportation, computers, weather prediction, space exploration, etc. I think it is fair to ask what methods helped us to progress in this very large increase of knowledge that we have today – was it faith that the writings of ancient people were totally true or was it more objective methods like the scientific method? Obviously you know what I think.