Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Eternal Question that Proves God!! But only for the deluded

“Why is there something rather than nothing? What is your explanation for why we exist?”

This tired Christian apologetic for the existence of god is frankly unworthy of serious discourse. It is at least 1000 years old, has been posed and answered many times by philosophers and scientists, without the need of a supernatural explanation. And yet the logic of those answers go in one ear of the theistically impaired and out the other without even slowing down in between. To them the question is, in and of itself, evidence of a boogie man in the sky. When they pose it as some kind of self-evident, prima fascia proof of god they are pathetic in their childlike self-satisfaction.

Now don’t misunderstand. As a philosophical question, or as a question that helps explain quantum physics, it’s useful for mental exercise, discourse and understanding. It’s the religious implication, the theist co-opting of the question for an apologetic agenda to which I object.

Religionists who use this tact don't want the scientific / rational answers. They've been tendered; they abound on the internet and in books brimming with secular reasoning. Theists simply want to continue to repeat the question as a justification for their "God did it" explanation, which is their explanation for everything. They like to use it as though it were some esoteric mystical mind twister that can only be solved by injecting the supernatural.

It's tantamount to the old "If evolution is true, and man came from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?" That answer, as simple and as obvious as it is to people who understand evolution, natural selection, random mutation etc., and as often as it has been explained to the unthinking creationists, continues to be ignored by them. The question will be asked ad nauseum no matter how many times the gross ignorance it displays has been soundly and completely dispelled. They will continue to believe that is a chink in evolutionary theory's validity, when all it does is make creationists look vapid.

So, following Occam’s razor that states the best answer is the simplest one; the answer to the Christian's questions of “Why is there something rather than nothing? What is your explanation for why we exist?” is this:

A) Because natural phenomenon happen to create life under proper circumstances; and
B) We exist for the same reason that life likely exists on a multitude of planets in the universe; refer to "A" above.

And as a default answer:
C) There is something rather than nothing, because if there were nothing you couldn’t pose your insipid and hackneyed question.


NewEnglandBob said...

It is usually not asked as a question about life but as a question about the universe. Here I would give these answers.

D. Something is simpler than nothing. (see Physics)


E. The sum total of all the energy including that which resides within matter and includes gravitational and expansion forces is zero. Therefore everything together is nothing.

Brian said...

There is only one possible universe containing nothing. There are an infinite number of possible universes containing something. Therefore, it is infinitely more likely for a universe to contain something rather than nothing.

See, I need neither gods nor the anthropic principle!

Anonymous said...

"The logic of those answers go in one ear of the theistically impaired and out the other without even slowing down in between?" Good sir, you may have just found the only perfect vacuum. Science thanks you!

Anonymous said...

The theists' argument that God must have created everything because otherwise how did it all come into existence doesn't really solve anything anyway, because if there was this God, who created him (or her or it, whatever)? They never tell us that do they?

zarton said...

Just the question itself "where did everything come from if not from god?" Is wrong in implying that if you can't come up with a better explaination then my explaination of "god did it" must be correct.
It would be like saying "How does gravity work if not because of a giant kirby at the center of the earth sucking everything down?"
Just because I can't explain something does not mean that I have to accept the first (and usually worst) explaination that comes along.
"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong."
-- Thomas Jefferson , considering three different explanations for why sea shells would be found at higher elevations than one should reasonably expect an ocean to have existed, in Notes on the State of Virginia

Randall "Doc" Fleck said...

I like to keep in mind that as it is clearly true nothing comes from nothing it is equally true that something (anything) is incapable of being reduced to a void.

Why is there something? Its because we can't get rid of it. Nothing becomes nothing.

Analog Kid said...

Excellent post and comments. This "argument" happens to be Ray Comfort's (AKA BananaMan) favorite right now. He and Kirk Cameron represent all that I despise about the christian extreme.

itsme_crazydad said...

C) There is something rather than nothing, because if there were nothing you couldn’t pose your insipid and hackneyed question.

Damnit, Dude! Now I am compelled to read Satre's "Being and Nothingness".

Tracey said...

Let me see if I understand this. Xtian claims that since there is something rather than nothing, this proves that skydaddy exists. Ok, I'm game. Since lumps of coal and stockings do exist, that is proof positive that Santa Claus exists. Eggs and baskets exist, therefore the Easter Bunny exists. I have teeth, therefore the Tooth Fairy exists. It all makes sense.

DudeMan said...

I of course agree that existence doesn't prove that there is a god (and anyone who says it does deserves full mockery), but I don't feel like existence itself is really a good answer to the question of why anything exists. Saying "if nothing existed then you couldn't ask why it existed" is basically the same as saying "stuff exists because stuff exists", isn't it? That doesn't seem like a very significant statement.

Dromedary Hump said...

I wasn't meant to be significant, it was meant to be mocking, hence the reference to the "default" response.

DudeMan said...

Mission accomplished as usual Hump! Thanks for the clarification.

Secret Rapture said...

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Shaw Kenawe said...

I try to understand the answer not by asking why we exist, but by asking how we exist.

That may be more interesting--at least it is for me.

"Matter becoming aware of itself" is the best explanation I've come across so far of what human beings are. That, of course, doesn't answer why, but it satisfies me.

Also, wasn't it Kurt Vonnegut who had one of his characters ask: "What are people for?"

Have you seen this?

Dromedary Hump said...

Shaw, yes, have seen that Hitchens link. Good stuff. Of course, he's at his best when he is foaming at the mouth and calling theist fundies the backward imbeciles that they are.

DM said...

add some comment moderation to your blasphemy blog, little fool…

DM said...

Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism...

add some comment moderation to your blasphemy blog...