Humanists versus naturalists

Any person who has spent any time trying to get things done knows that the biggest enemy of achievement is the individual.

People space out, procrastinate, indulge in illusions, screw up, fall asleep, drop the ball, etc. The root of most of these problems is that they get lost in their own minds and forget that reality goes on without them.

If you’ve gone through this experience, you think humans should probably get a good reaming by reality because they so arrogantly, stupidly, and blindly ignore reality in favor of short-term social and monetary rewards. That’s the core of the human evil.

Now, there are these people called humanists who want us to be a law unto ourselves, and to put human concerns before concerns of the whole (humans + world around them, and not just in the present tense either):

The disagreement about values may be described in an over-simplified way as a disagreement between naturalists and humanists. Naturalists believe that nature knows best. For them the highest value is to respect the natural order of things. Any gross human disruption of the natural environment is evil. Excessive burning of fossil fuels is evil. Changing nature’s desert, either the Sahara desert or the ocean desert, into a managed ecosystem where giraffes or tunafish may flourish, is likewise evil. Nature knows best, and anything we do to improve upon Nature will only bring trouble.

The humanist ethic begins with the belief that humans are an essential part of nature. Through human minds the biosphere has acquired the capacity to steer its own evolution, and now we are in charge. Humans have the right and the duty to reconstruct nature so that humans and biosphere can both survive and prosper. For humanists, the highest value is harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. The greatest evils are poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, disease and hunger, all the conditions that deprive people of opportunities and limit their freedoms. The humanist ethic accepts an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a small price to pay, if world-wide industrial development can alleviate the miseries of the poorer half of humanity. The humanist ethic accepts our responsibility to guide the evolution of the planet.

NYT

I don’t side with the humanists because that’s like siding with solipsists. They ignore reality around them in favor of what they’d like to think.

For this reason, I’m more on the side of the naturalists, but I find human beings claiming to know what nature wants are usually full of shit.

Instead, I advocate design science: we pay attention to how reality works and fit into it. That means not destroying our environment, or ourselves.

It’s that simple.

One Comment

  1. anonymous says:

    I’m on the side of the humanists. I’m totally willing to accept higher carbon dioxide levels if we can alleviate poverty.

    It’s that simple.

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