Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Some theists contend that contemplation of this age-old philosophical question can be credited to religion. However, unless one is to conflate metaphysical thought and specifically religious thought, then this is an error of reasoning. For example, Parmenides was contemplating this question in the fifth century B.C - somewhat before the Abrahamic religions got in on the act.

Anyway, what exactly has religion contributed to answering this particular question? Of course, it has posited that there is something rather than nothing because God chose to create the material universe. Nevertheless, under this assumption, why is there a God rather than no God? By that, I don't mean what reason is there for thinking that the existence of the universe necessitates a supernatural creator (that we call God). Rather, if we take it as a given that this supernatural creator exists, then why would such an entity exist at all, rather than just not existing? Why not just no God and no universe? Surely, that would be simpler?

In contrast to the religious answers, which succeed only in replacing one question with another (with the addition of positing an ill-defined supernatural creator), science does have something of use to say on this matter. See, for example -

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