Many atheists, skeptics, non-believers, humanists leave a tiny tiny percentage of some kind of unknown, happening after death, since nobody ever came back from the great beyond.
But, many people, atheists or not think they have achieved immortality through their children who will inherit the same DNA make-up, basic traits of characters and much else from their parents and these children will produce other children, ad vitam eternam, or until the earth collapses.
Great thinkers, scientists, artists, etc leave behind their work that can be corner stones on which some great new ideas or currents may flow and will keep their name alive for centuries to come...
So isn't it there a tiny fault in the strength of the most convinced atheists ?
Hmm, not sure I'm understanding the question, but I've never been that bright. =)
Haha Neal, if you say that, what will be said of the rest of us?
Heh. Well, I wanted to reply, but I thought I might be looking at the question wrong. I don't look at anything I do in life as leaving a legacy. I guess many think that is why some people strive to become famous.
I think we do fabulous things because it helps us to enjoy life, not because it necessarily makes us immortal.
And I am aware of my limitations, I run headlong into them all the time. =)
Even if we have children and our children have children, and so on and so forth, it's not really "immortality", because our children and their descendants are not us. They only share more DNA with us than with other people on Earth, and if we think in evolutionary terms, constant change and the fact that species don't last forever and are not immutable, should diminish our thoughts of "immortality through our descendants.
People who achieve greatness are remembered for a longer period than other people, but even that is not immortality. Mozart' music may seem immortal, but he certainly is not immortal, and furthermore, he hAS no conscience of having achieved immortality through his music.
Having said that, it's only human to want to make contributions to future generations. The idea of our disappearance from Earth as something permanent and irrevocable is always a bit of a disquieting thought because evolution has equipped us with a lust for life and a strong instinct to preserve ourselves.
Thanks Adriana; the concept of immortality through children came from an atheist, I found it very srange. As to being a remakabke talent or a genius only leaves as impact if there are people to asknowledge him or her.
Adriana, glad to see you after quite a while.
Well I agre that it was badly put. First there was an affirmative: that we cannot kow to the 99.09% that nothing exists after we're dead.
Second, I was talking about people who view immortality through their children or their own accomplishments and this is where the question mark is....
Chris: I saw your comment that atheists kive in the moment in my mailbox but didn't see it here. If you deleted it it's a loss for everybody I think. It should be true that we all live in the moment but the moment is defined by the past (The talk by Sam Harris did get that point).
There has been a lot going on in my life in the last month and it deeply affects me in the now.
I think there is a problem with language. I thought nihilism. Music is simplistic.
Writing is the cure.
I look at it this way - the people living in Europe and nearby a 1000 years ago are all my ancestors. The people living 1000 years ago will all be my descendents - we are all immortal at least as long as the human race or homo sapiens sapiens is puttering around the planet and other planets. We just need to make sure that leave the planet inhabitable as long as we are alive and hope people do make it even worse after we are gone. If you want to view the long picture - atoms in you were created billions of years ago in Supernovas.
As far as a great invention keeping your "immortal" who was the creator of Sumerian writing?
I read a scientific article saying that if we go back 3000 years ago it's shown that indeed we are all equally related.