Good morning gentlemen. I have not been by much lately, just an occasional visit to see if there is an interesting argument. Guess I missed most of this one, but I frequently show up late where ever I go. And it is hot outside, not much on TV, so this must be my day to be philosophic. I may have posted my specs before, but just in case: I am an "abeliefist". (I dont like the over-used ambiguous terms like "atheist" because they incite wasted circular discussion, so I just make up my own terms.)
I do not "believe" in Allah, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, or individual humans that I only know of through the internet. I also dont "believe" in Creationism, Evolution, Relativity, or Gravity... I just have made judgements about the likelihood of each of these entities... judgements that I am fully prepared to re-assess when new evidence is presented. Gravity is looking pretty good, but I have not yet ruled out "The Earth Sucks".
Considering how much we dont know about the physical universe, it is not surprising that we dont have a good grasp on such poorly defined terms as life and death. But it is surprising to see anyone here expressing certainty either way. The feeling that there is no possible chance for any continued existence after the brain ceases to function, is uncomfortably close to the idea that Heaven with its streets of gold, and Hell with the lake of fire, are unquestionable real places.
The evidence for a universe well beyond our understanding is pretty convincing to folks lots smarter about that sort of thing than I. The Anthropic nature of our universe suggests either intelligent design, or many universes with different fundamental laws of science. Both ideas are pretty rattling.
When I look out at our local cluster of galaxies, it seems pretty unlikely that human life was very important to any "creator". (else SheHeIt would have placed us closer to the center) But it is very clear that any force that could creat such, would have motives well beyond our understanding, and is perfectly capable of hiding from our pretty feeble science. My current favorite hypothesis is the "universe as a lab-project" theory.
Singularity. Dont forget the distinct possibility that we could get past "death". Medical science, chemistry, computer science, all expanding faster then the universe. This laptop, transported only 40 years into the past, would be magic. The science of that period would not even be able to analyze it, they would have simply given up, and decided it was some sort of trick. Who knows what another 40 will bring. Your children may in fact not die at all. (I have heard the assertion that half the people who have ever lived are still alive, but it was too much work to confirm/deny.)
What to tell the kids about life and death? As mentioned earlier, kids handle it better than many adults. Perhaps they are closer to not-life. Maybe they remember that not being alive was not at all painful. Or maybe they are just stupid kids. Just tell them: Life is Interesting--likely lots of fun, even more likely, lots of sadness. Dont worry about it, just study the interesting parts, enjoy the good parts, and tough-out the bad. Work hard, but not too hard, plan ahead, bring her flowers, always store beer in a dark place. And if you take any of your Baptist friends fishing with you, always take at least two.
Death? "Dont trust anyone who claims to know the answer to that."