I don't think this derails the thread at all.
Just to remind you of the topic of the thread:
If all existence ends at death isn't hedonism the only logical lifestyle?
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?
So the question is, if there is no afterlife, then what implications does that have for ethics, and does this mean that hedonism is the only logical lifestyle? I have answered that in posts 7
The fact is that one unarguable difference between humans and animals is that humans can contemplate death, and wonder if the inevitable fact of their own death is a factor in how they should live their lives.
But that is not unarguable. The simple fact is, we do not know what is going on in the brains of the various animals, like dolphins. Maybe they contemplate death all of the time, and have existentialist angst about it. Or maybe they are not so silly as to do that, and think about more important things. But the simple fact is, we do not know whether they think about such things or not. And since we do not know, we ought not pretend that we do.
Historically, people have said various things differentiate people from animals, but many of those things have been proven false by greater study. For example, at one time it was believed that tool use separated people from animals, but we now know that is false. The fact that people had not noticed animals using tools before was no proof that they did not, and people should have realized that, but in their arrogance to differentiate themselves from other animals, they pretended to know what they did not know.
In the future, maybe we will figure out what is going on in the brains of other animals, and then we may find out that your claims are simply false. But even if your claims turn out to be true, right now, they are things that you could not possibly know, so you ought not pretend that they are known when they are not.
Plato said that all philosophy is a preparation for death. John Donne said 'Death, where is thy victory, grave, where is thy sting'? Now I don't think that any secular philosophers are comfortable with reflections of this kind.
Nonsense. Epicurus wrote:
[INDENT][INDENT]Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply the capacity for sensation, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terrors for him who has thoroughly understood that there are no terrors for him in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.
Letter to Menoeceus
According to Epicurus, death has no sting. And it has no sting precisely because it is the end of all sensation (i.e., because there is no afterlife).
(Before someone asserts that Epicurus claimed that there are gods, and is therefore not secular, of course he did write that there are gods, but if he had denied the existence of the gods he would have gotten in trouble, and the gods serve no function in his philosophy. Indeed, he gave an early version of the problem of evil, and explicitly stated that the common conceptions of the gods were all wrong, and that one need not ever worry about the gods ["A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness." Principle Doctrines
]. As it was, he was thought by many to be an atheist, but if my memory is correct, he managed to avoid being formally accused of such a thing in court.)
They would like to suggest that we are just animals and that is all there is too it. So I am not derailing this thread in the least, and I am sure Richard McNair who started it, would agree.
We can only wait and see if Richard McNair states such agreement or disagreement. But regardless, I do not see that it matters to what was stated in the opening post whether or not people are simply animals. The issue is, if there is no afterlife, then what implications does that have for ethics? I say, it has no impact on ethics whether there is an afterlife or not; it would only affect long-term planning and nothing more. I expressed this idea in post 12