Sunday, September 07, 2014

Rom 1 reply, 55: Why is there something instead of nothing?

This is yet another old, deep and hard -- thus, philosophical -- question. 

One, I need to take up as a response to someone grappling with it. Where, almost by definition, hard questions are hard because they have no easy answers. 

And where, we also face the consequent problem that if at first one accepts P1, P2, . . . Pn and draws out Q as a consequence but does not like Q, one can reject Q to deny one or more premises:

1: {P1, P2, . . . Pn} => Q

2: I reject Q, and argue:

3: ~ Q => ~ {P1 AND P2 AND. . . AND Pn} 
4: So, I say: Pi, Pj etc "beg the question" or the like.
(All, to escape the "bite" of Q --
. . . which may be a subtle question-begging itself.)

 The answer to this is of course to compare difficulties on coherence, factual adequacy and explanatory power . . . neither an ad hoc patchwork trying to stop the next leak nor simplistic . . . and to hold to a view that rests as far as possible on hard to deny premises and facts.

So, let us begin with some observations:
O1: It is a fact that something exists including us

O2: It is a fact that we exist as contingent beings in a credibly contingent world, one that is rich with functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in both the world of cell based life and in the fine tuning of the cosmos that is the framework for such life

O3: It is a fact that this is the ONLY world that we have ordinary physical experience of

O4: But also, we experience that world as self-aware, self-moved beings able to choose and act into the world in ways that make a difference. That is, we ourselves are causally effective and minded. Also, we are credibly under the moral government of OUGHT.

O5: Moreover, we have never seen anything that begins come into existence without a cause.
Now, let us consider the issue:

P1: We exist in a going-concern world

C2: Something patently exists, rather than nothing, per O1 - 4. (If someone denies this, ask: how can nothing -- non-being -- argue or assert claims?)

P3: Nothing, properly, denotes non-being

P5: Non-being has no causal power

C6: Were there ever nothing, there could not thereafter be something

C7: Therefore, there never was nothing.

C8: So also, there always was something.

 C9: For any possible world (which excludes non-being), there must always be something

C10: There is no possible world in which there is nothing

C11: In the actual experienced world, there always was something

C12: The world being credibly contingent, that always-something would be independent of on/off enabling causal factors antecedent to it, and so would be a necessary being

P13: Matter, being inherently composite, dependent on space and being convertible into energy, cannot be a necessary being.

C14: The necessary being at the causal root of our world is necessary and immaterial, and powerful enough to be the primary cause of the world.

C15: So, once we start from a going concern world perspective, we see that provided something now is, something always was.

C16: Where also, had there instead been nothing, there never would be something.

P17: So also, we reckon with the principle that, being independent of ON/OFF enabling factors, a serious candidate necessary being will either be impossible . . . having core attributes that stand in mutual contradiction (cf. a square circle) . . . or else will be in any possible world, including that which we are a part of.

C18: Therefore, once we stand in a world with something, there must be something that is a successful, serious candidate necessary being, with capability to be causal root of a cosmos fine tuned for C-Chemistry, aqueous medium, self-replicating cell based, code and algorithm using [thus, language using . . . ] cell based life.

P19: Where, it is not credible that language, codes and complex algorithms with associated execution machinery came about in our cosmos by blind chance behaviour and/or blind forces of mechanical necessity. 

P20: Where also, the fine tuned cosmos that enables such life, is rooted in physics and cosmology that equally reflect functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information.

P22: Where also, both experience of trillions of cases of the origin of such FSCO/I and the challenge to successfully blindly search vast configuration spaces within reasonably available resources point to purposeful, skilled intelligence as the only empirically and analytically credible source of FSCO/I.

C23: Therefore, the observed something, the cosmos we live in and the life we experience point to an intelligent designer of both cosmos and cell based life in it.

P24: where also, we find ourselves morally governed by binding force of OUGHT attested by conscience and the credible worth of others that are as we are, leading to a need for a world-foundational IS capable of sustaining OUGHT.

P25: Across many centuries, there has been but one serious candidate for such: the inherently good creator God, a maximally great and necessary being, the originating and sustaining root of reality.

C26: Thus, as God is the main serious candidate necessary being in view, one faces the choice: God is impossible or actual

C27: But, credibly, God is not impossible, so is actual.

GC28: Therefore, the best explanatory reason why there is something rather than nothing is that there has always necessarily been the inherently good creator God, a maximally great and necessary being, the originator and sustainer of reality.
Can one reject this argument?


But, then one has some serious explaining to do on why one's alternative is factually adequate, coherent and explanatorily powerful and balanced. In particular, one will need to tackle the issue of God as serious candidate necessary being and the challenge: impossible or actual.

That is where the pivotal challenge lies. END