Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A question atheists won't ask, let alone answer

Why is there something rather than nothing?


  1. No one can answer that question, especially the
    religious who think they know every thing. We can go from day to day without the answer to that stupid question, so why is it so important to the religious people? At least science tries to give credible answers. The bible certainly doesn't and it makes the whole idea about what happened sound very stupid. Genesis is a joke and has been proven not credible by historians for years.
    I wish the fundies would wake up and quit being so deluded. Fundies like Ray Comfort and his side kick, Kirk, certainly don't help their cause.

  2. Aspentroll, if you are going to post a comment on this blog, please take a little more time, in order to clarify your terms and to avoid incoherence and/or stupidity.

    We can go from day to day without asking all sorts of questions, that does not make them stupid, it just makes them questions that we can go from day to day without asking.

    You mention religious people. As there are approximately 5 billion religious people in the world, could you please make it clear to whom in particular you are referring, since they undoubtedly hold different views on all kinds of topics including the one you refer to.

    Many of the 5 billion will no doubt agree that exponents of the natural sciences do attempt to provide answers to the questions that come within the scope of their discipline. Of course, although you appear unaware of this fact, many of these scientists are themselves religious.

    What makes you say that the Bible account is stupid. I agree it should not be taken at face value. But little in the Bible should, since it is a religious text that conveys meaning on many levels, sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes ethical, sometimes metaphysical. You may not agree that it is what Christians say it is, but that does not make it 'a joke', important as your opinion may appear to be to you.

    I take what you are saying to mean that science can provide answers to the questions it asks, but that no one can provide an answer to the question as to why there is something rather than nothing.
    This appears to be based on assumptions that have not been empirically validated:
    (i) that there are no questions relating to the natural sciences that cannot be answered by the natural sciences (otherwise they would be stupid by your criteria);
    (ii) that questions not relating to the natural sciences cannot have answers (since only questions answerable by the natural sciences are credible by your criteria).
    If you cannot justify these assumptions (presumably by some kind of appeal to the natural sciences), then it would appear that your conclusion is weaker than you think.

    Now let's see what Stephen Hawking has to say in 'The Brief History of Time':
    ‘If we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.’
    Here then is a scientist who believes:
    (i) that there can be a unified theory of everything (not a view shared by all scientists);and
    (ii) that once this is achieved, then even for him, who is not a believer (I take his talk of the 'mind of God' to be metaphorical, rather than literal - it is nevertheless not stupid), the question atheists won't ask or answer can and should be asked.

    I disagree with him that we need to await a unified theory before considering such a question, precisely because there are no questions are out of bounds in the realms of free inquiry, which include (but are not limited to) the natural sciences and philosophy.


Please do not make rude or abusive comments. They will be removed. Thanks.