If human life evolved without any input from a higher being, then why does human life, or any life, have value?

If we and all other forms of life arose as the product of purely naturalistic forces, with no intervention from any sort of Higher Being, then WHY should life be viewed as having any value whatsoever? If you are just the product of chemical reactions which happened without any sort of intelligent input, then why is it any more "wrong" to kill you than it is to snuff out a candle flame?

In fact, if we are just the result of naturalistic process, then how can ANYTHING be said to be "right" or "wrong". How would the extermination of the entire human race be "wrong" if said race is just the product of purely naturalistic occurrences? If we are just the product of a chain of chemical reactions going back to a bunch of amino acids combining for the first time, then how are we different than a cock-roach? Or the fizz from baking soda and vinegar mixing?

You cannot argue for "morality" unless you argue that human beings MATTER for some reason. With naturalistic evolution, you cannot assume that we do. All atheistic arguments for the existence of morality presuppose that human beings still MATTER, that human life is still valuable. But they never answer WHY human life should have value if said human life evolved without God.

This is not an argument for or against Evolution. This is just show that IF you accept naturalistic evolution, you must accept that there is no reason to assign human life, or any other life, any particular value. Nor to believe in any sort of morality.

Update:

Mandrake:

That's not how an "argument" works. If 90% of what someone says is wrong, one cannot conclude that the next thing he/she says is wrong. Each statement must be evaluated on it's own merits. But if we want to talk about wrong statements;

1. Christians believe the lives of non-Christians matter so much that The One True and Living God became a human and DIED for those very non-Christians.

2. Just because what we believe doesn't agree with YOUR beliefs does not make them "wrong".

Update 2:

Mandrake:

(continued)

3. Your third point does not follow logically, nor is it based upon anything other than your own prejudice.

Update 3:

So, I'm getting a lot of answers along the same theme. Many of these answer boil down to, "Life has value because we SAY it has value". Well, that only works if you can prove that we are capable of conferring value on something by saying it has value. Certainly, we can create the ILLUSION of value. We can ASSUME value. But that doesn't mean there is REALLY any inherent value.

Some of you admit that. Some of you admit that this ILLUSION of value is the best we can do. At least that's honest.

Update 4:

I have to admit, there were many good, honest answers from the Atheist side basically AGREEING that if we just arose through purely naturalistic means then the human race really DOESN'T have any inherent or intrinsic value. But that still begs the question as to why things like murder are "wrong". Certainly we can't TOLLERATE such things in a functional society! I'm not suggesting we could. I'm speaking of Good and Evil as transcendent concepts.

Update 5:

Again, thank you to so many people for your honest answers. Choosing BA is actually going to be tough, which is why I have put it off for so long.

23 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Nothing has objective value, something having value is a subjective opinion, and I guess that most people consider humans to have value.

    From evolution we have evolved a will to live, and therefor it evolutionarily makes sense for someone, to at least, consider their own life to matter. Since essentially everyone feels that way, it makes sense that we would make a social contract which everyone matters, and no one will kill/attack/harm you as long as you return the same favor, which would be a fair deal since it ensures your own protection. And since staying in groups was good in our evolution, it makes since to value those you are with, as if they continue to live, they can continue to help you and your group.

    Also, we have evolved empathy, so we can feel for others, so us valuing others could have something to do with that.

    I accept that there is no objective, universal reason or scientific law that says that humans have value, but from a humans perspective, I think that it makes sense to hold such an opinion.

    Even if a God did exist, which I don't believe, I don't see how that would make morality, or the value of humans into something objective. I don't see how God's opinions would be anything else than that, opinions.

    Note: I'm not a biologist, so something I said about human evolution might be inaccurate, but I think that what I said is essentially correct.

    • Arch
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      @Broton and Tony B: Okay. Thank you both for your honesty, as well as the Anonymous poster of this answer.

  • 4 months ago

    If human life evolved without any input from a higher being there would be no Soul, Spirit, intellect. or eternity thus no value.

    • Arch
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      @Broton: At least you admit that's where Atheism leads.

  • 4 months ago

    It doesn't!

    Not to God (John 17:9)!

    Whoever believes it does, take your best shot because that's all you have (Hebrews 3:19)!

    • norine4 months agoReport

      How do you know what His Word means without one sent (Romans 10:14-15)? If you don't know what it means and interpret the wrong meaning you have "rejected His Word."

  • 4 months ago

    Your question is malformed. Your premise is that religion is the source of enlightenment when history has proven that religion has spread ignorance, bigotry and encouraged judgmental practices. Historic examples of slaughter justified by religion are innumerable AND CONTINUE TO THIS DAY.

    Ask instead how 21st century civilization evolved to value ALL human life IN SPITE OF RELIGION and ignorance.

    I am so sorry you have to believe in an imaginary sky daddy that evolved from a minor deity of war from a Judaeo pantheon simply to believe that your life has value. Atheists believe your life has value and are saddened you waste it on religious dogma.

    • Arch
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      My premise makes no assumptions about religion being the source of any "enlightenment". This question is not ABOUT enlightenment. This is a question of whether life has any INHERNET, INTRINSIC value if there is no higher power. You haven't even understood the question.

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  • Tony B
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    I can't believe you really mean what Ithink you mean.

    We (meaning humans) value life in general because we ARE life. In particular, we value human life because we ARE human life. I can't see how whether or not you believe a “higher being” was involved in our evolution would make any difference.

    It's most likely that any creature that did not value it's own species (or at least act as if it did) would have become extinct millions of years ago. If you can imagine, for example, rats actively trying to kill each other (and there being many other creatures trying to kill them) then they would soon cease to exist.

    This “desire for survival” is instinctive in species - that's why they have survived. As humans we rationalise this instinct: we “value” ourselves as a species; we say it is “morally wrong” to kill humans. As our lives have become more comfortable and we have become more knowledgeable we value life in general because we are now aware of the relationships and dependencies between different species of living things.

    Like I say though, whether or not there is any “higher being” makes no difference at all.

    • Tony B
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      ...because these things are human concepts. But, humans DO exist so a person CAN be intelligent and a view CAN be beautiful and human life DOES have intrinsic and inherent value. That's because WE say it does!

      Without humans these CONCEPTS do not exist.

  • 4 months ago

    Life has the value that we place on it.

    We place relatively little value on the life of our food.

    We place a great value on our own lives. Empathy and the Golden Rule leads to us placing value on the lives of other humans. Although this is fragile and can be removed easily - see the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany, the current rise of white supremacy in the US and Europe.

    But there is nothing to indicate that there is any external influence of how we value life and the lives of living things. Just us.

    • Simon T
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      Theists claim that their deity creates their worth - without realizing that this is the worth that this is nothing but the worth they have created for themselves.

  • Paul
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    God may have brought human biological life into existence through a natural process of His design, however humans are not merely biological beings. Humans also have a spiritual nature and an immortal soul, which could not have come into existence in any way other than by a direct act of God.

    • Broton
      Lv 6
      4 months agoReport

      There us no evidence of any soul. Why do you think a spiritual nature is impossible without a god?

  • 4 months ago

    I suppose human life has no value to an accelerating expanding universe. It might not have any value to a being who lives outside of the universe either. How does that affect the value that we place on each other?

    Also, have you established the premise that god is the source of morality? No.

    Would the poor Jews have gone extinct from amoebic dysentery and e. coil poisoning if God hadn’t showed them how to properly dispose of fecal matter? No.......

  • 4 months ago

    Life has value because we value life. Values are the products of our minds, not objective entities.

    "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Life has intrinsic value because it is life. There is no need to create an imaginary Sky Daddy to give it value.

    • antonius
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      No, you are accepting that all comes from faith in a god, which there have been hundreds throughout history, claimed by various people and none has ever been proved to exist, including the one that you can only claim but you have no proof of that god thingie.

  • 4 months ago

    If that were true, it wouldn’t. Not only would we be accidents, but we would be no more important than any other life form. At that rate, we may as well be gnats or cock roaches. This life would be unimportant and pointless.

    That being said, evolutionists disagree with that—they think human life has value even though nothing other than that specific Biblical teaching would ever give us “accidents” cause to think so.

    • Broton
      Lv 6
      4 months agoReport

      That's it, Jennifer. We are not more important than other life forms.

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