Why is there something and not nothing?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Alan McDougall, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Alan McDougall Alan McDougall Registered Senior Member

    Why Is There Something And Not Nothing?

    Why is there something instead of nothing? The interesting conclusion of this ultimate puzzle is that, we can be sure of, it that at least something exists. There is a Universe, we see people, and things, and light, and while we may debate what it means, how it came into being, and how it works, we can be sure that there is at least `something'.

    Many physists search for the most elementary laws of physics, and believe that a law is more likely to be true, when it is simpler, more elementary. Some think that at some moment, humans will understand how the Universe and everything works, and, even more, that we find out why the Universe is necessarily as it is. I cannot believe that, indeed, I believe humans cannot ever give a satisfactory or final answer to this ultimate of all questions. Why is there something instead of nothing?

    With nothing, I mean the un-existence of everything. No people, no earth, no milky way, no universe, no laws of nature, no space, no time a total non-existence of everything. A mind-boggling, brain-, brain-numbing and brain- twisting overwhelming concept, terrifying, frightening, too awful to contemplate and impossible think about, without going insane and totally beyond understanding of any human genius. Making a mathematical model of nothing is actually easy. (Take an empty set, with no operations on it, and nothing else.)

    Nevertheless, one thing we can be sure of: this nothing is not correct: we do not have “nothing”, but definite and absolutely do indeed have ‘SOMETHING’. This shows that the simplest model is not always the correct one. The universe is almost infinitely complex and to me this points to the simple logic that it is the creation by an infinite, intelligent power. Nothing is the very most basic of all concepts and if there were nothing, there would be no creator, of course.

    Some people may argue that the universe was created in the Big Bang ( but whom and what pressed the button of the big bang in the first place, so to speak?) , and that positive matter and positive energy are actually negated by the simultaneous creation of negative matter and negative energy. However, this doesn't answer the other question, where do matter, energy and laws of physics then come from in the first place?

    Does this question have an answer? If something exists because it either was a modification of something or else, Something or Somebody else created it, then what caused that to exist? It seems that our logic is unable to deal with the question; indeed, I think the question shows there is a limit to our understanding of things by the very best minds of the human race. There are simply mysteries out there that will never ever be solved by mere mortal man.

    You see the universe has a strange Goldie locks condition about it, i.e., it cannot be too hot, or too cold etc, etc, erc, but it has to be just absolutely correct, precise and right or life would not have come into existence and we would not be around to contemplate, debate or dialogue on this ultimate enigma. We would not exist. Life hangs on and depends on this knife- edge of harmonies conditions that have to be sustained over countless billions of years, for us to have come into existence and continue to exist. Makes one think, does it not?

    Why do we have a Universe? My answer is that God created the Universe. However, then, one can ask, who/what created God? I believe God was not created and this ‘FACT’ IS BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING AND MUST BE ACCEPTED ON FAITH. God is far and beyond our understanding, everlasting, without beginning or end, eternal and ever -existing, but was (and is, and will be) always existed.

    He/she is indeed the very author of all existence. Indeed, God is so mighty, Omni-All that he/she exists, forever, far above our reasoning and above the ultimate reaches of our logic. Something we and all the vain puffed up scientist, philosophers, etc, will just have to accept in time, We will, at the end of the day have to, relent and acknowledge that somewhere out there is a awesome, colossal, mighty, great infinite intelligence that in comparison that we are as a microbe is to a human or perhaps horrors even much further remote, from the Omni-all power we call God.

    It will indeed be a most humbling experience for us to finally realize and acknowledge, that there are things and mysteries that will; remain forever, absolutely, totally beyond human comprehension understand and reside eternally in the mind of our creator God.
    It is a fact the finite can simply never ever comprehend the mind of the infinite; this should be logic to any fool.
    God Exists and inescapable fact of logic
    By Alan McDougall 11/6/2007.
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I can at least try to understand what infinity is through careful examination of facts that are found at every turn of the telescope, microscope or other devises humans use to study such things. That is why I don't need a "God" to believe in to help me know there are things that can't be understood today because we just don't have enough information about them not because "God" created it all.
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't know the answer. What's more, I suspect that nobody will ever know.

    The question itself seems to be peculiar, since any possible answer would seem to -- A. Be circular -- B. Create an infinite regress -- or C. Beg the question.

    I sense very strongly that the original question is a real problem and not just a linguistic pseudo-problem of some sort. But I'm not even sure how to begin answering it.

    That's the standard Christian theological answer. I'd classify that one in the 'Begs the question' category.
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  7. Sin Registered Senior Member

    There are many ways in which something can exist.
    There is only one way nothing can exist.

    A universe can include one atom, or two atoms or a billion billion billion atoms arranged in various ways that distinguish some possible universe from another. On the one side, we have have an infinite amount of ways something can exist versus the singular way nothing can exist. Set up as a probability, it seems infinitely more likely that something exists rather than nothing.

    Yazata, I'm guilty of at least one of your concise critical titles but if this system has to be accepted on faith, I think it asks and assumes much less than the existence of God.
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    I could've saved you a lot of typing.
  9. JuNie Registered Senior Member

    Why is there something and not nothing? Why would there be nothing and not something? After all, the concept of nothing doesn't exist without something.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The only reason that there is something instead of nothing is that the laws of nature allow for something to exist. Some scholars say the laws of nature don't just allow this, but make it certain--but I won't get into that because it's not necessary to do so.

    The question then comes down to: Why are the laws of nature as they are? Could the values of all of the universal contants not be slightly different, so the forces (I'm using that word in the philosophical sense rather than its definition in physics) that created the universe would never have existed?

    I'll defer to the superior knowledge of the first physicist who logs in here, but I believe the answer to that question is yes. It's a Big Cosmic Coincidence that the laws of nature are as they are, that the universal constants have the values that they have, and therefore that the universe can exist.

    If you roll the Cosmic Dice a large number of times, what are the odds that you'll get the results we've got here? Just how big a coincidence is it that the universe exists?

    That's a question I don't know the answer to; perhaps the physicist I'm waiting for will be able to answer it.

    But the point is that it was obviously possible for the laws of nature to be as they are and for the universal constants to have the values they have. The probability of that occurring may be so small as to be immeasurable, but it is not zero. The proof is right here: the universe did in fact come into existence.

    So you can say that the reason there is something instead of nothing is just chance, coincidence, the law of averages. If you roll the dice once, you can get any possible outcome, and this is the possible outcome that came from that one roll.

    Some suggest that the dice have been/are being rolled (English grammar is not up to the demands of cosmology) multiple times, perhaps an infinite number of times, that the circumstances leading up to the Big Bang occurred before and will occur again, perhaps a googolplex years ago or a googolplex years in the future, so we'll never have any way of knowing. Or that they are occurring right now, a googolplex light-years away so we'll never have any way of knowing.

    Maybe in all those other times and places, there is no universe because the universal constants didn't line up and the laws of nature do not allow its creation. Maybe this is the only time and place when and where that happened. Maybe this is the only universe that has ever existed and will ever exist.

    So this would then be the only place where intelligent life could have evolved, where people could exist to ask deep philosophical questions.

    Everywhere else there is only nothing, not something. But because of that, there's nobody around to notice, much less wonder about it.

    You could say that the proper question is not "why is there something instead of nothing," but rather, "why are we here to ask the question?" The answer is, "Because we cannot be anywhere else."
  11. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Mod Note:

    Alan McDougall,

    You have been warned before concerning oratory and proselytization.

    If you seek merely to post your fanciful theories here, they are not welcome.
    I would advise you to formulate your OP's in a succinct and lucid manner that clearly encourages others to engage in discussion.

    This one is borderline (as you did eventually get to actually asking a question....).

    I'll leave this be for now given that others have already entered into discussion.

  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    This can't be correct because if you start with nothing you have zero probability because there are zero variables.

    IOW the chances of developing something from nothing are not slim - rather they are non-existent.

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  13. woowoo Registered Senior Member


    I enjoyed reading your post, I agree absolutely, thank you.

    “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong” Voltaire
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Maybe the assumption that things started with nothing is incorrect.
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Maybe the assumption that things started with nothing is incorrect.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Nothing" is a state of maximum entropy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics assures us that temporary reversals of entropy are possible, and it does not limit the scope of those reversals.

    Our entire universe may be merely a temporary local reversal of entropy. I have suggested this before and unless I missed it, no one has refuted it. The strongest objection I've read is that it's unreasonable to imagine such a huge reversal of entropy; they were thinking along the lines of a handful of bosons, leptons and quarks popping into existence and then popping back out in a tiny fraction of a femtosecond.

    But "huge" and "tiny" are human concepts.

    Come to think of it, so is "unreasonable."

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  17. Emil Valued Senior Member

    I do not never expect we are able to talk about nothing!
  18. Alan McDougall Alan McDougall Registered Senior Member

    I am trembliing in my boots, do you think you frighten me with your threats, damn it go and ban me if that will satisfy your ego
  19. John99 Banned Banned

    yes a modification like the tumbleweed rolling across the plains? yet the tumbleweed is made up from things we can explain. You are saying that since humans cannot explain something it HAD to be "created"? Like the lint in your belly button came from the shirt you wore? Though there the shirt was "created" but did it have to be created? Did it have to come from a shirt? No. There are many ways to look at this. You say no explanation and then give an explanation the does not explain so much as satisfies. So you may say "lets leave it at that and carry on".
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This has nothing to do with ego. You and I have crossed paths too. As Moderators it is our job to make this a place of science and scholarship. Trolling and crackpottery are exactly the kind of posts that we have to curtail or we will fail in our duty. A little is okay because it can be entertaining, and also because by watching us deal with it the younger members can see the scientific method in action: empirical evidence, logical reasoning, peer review, Occam's Razor, the Rule of Laplace, the whole process.

    But too much is too much. We don't have the bandwidth to deal with it.

    So be forewarned: if you keep posting this anti-scientific dreck on our boards, you will be banned.
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Ok, so what accounts for there being any 'laws of nature' in the first place? Trying to explain the brute fact of existence's existence by pointing to particular observed features of existence (in this case its regularities) seems to me to be circular reasoning.

    The thing to be explained can't be assumed as part of its own explanation. But when we are seeking an explanation for being itself, which takes in everything that is, we seem to encounter logical difficulties.
  22. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    The reason there is something rather than nothing is that something is more stable than nothing. Something is like a crystal, nothing is like a supersaturated solution, full of potential form but highly unstable.
  23. Emil Valued Senior Member


    Depends on the point of view.
    For me "nothing" is the absolute of the stability.
    Never change.Never turn into something else.

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