Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why is there something rather than nothing?

"Why is there something rather than nothing?" is a common question that arises when discussing theology and the origin of the Universe. The question, I posit, is flawed. The problem is in the use of the word "why", which implies purpose or design, which means the question is biased to begin with. It's a trap. Attempting to answer the question misleads into futile debate. There is no "why". There is no purpose or design.

The Universe exists, period. End of discussion. "Why does it exist?" is a pointless question; because there is no answer. Why can't you divide a number by zero? Because you can't divide by nothing. It's a mathematical impossibility.

If you ask me, personally, what I think of the origin of the Universe, I will probably suggest a thought experiment that goes as follows:

If we look back in time to the theoretical Big Bang singularity, we will find that space contracts, and time, being relative to space, slows down. So as time slows down and we approach the event horizon, the laws of physics begin to break down. What this means is that there is no way to measure or quantify when or how the Universe began. In short, there never was a beginning. The Universe has always existed. There never has been nothing. So the question of "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is unanswerable.


  1. I think it's rather egotistical, on a cosmological scale, to think our universe is the beginning of everything.

    I find it easy to trip up the theists in this discussion, simply by making the issue not about the universe, but about God. Where does God come from? If the universe needs a cause, and it is nothing but simple matter without will or intelligence, what could ever cause God to spring into existence? Saying "God is uncaused" or "God always was" would not be satisfactory to the theist in regards to the universe.

    I think we can accurately say our universe was created billions of years ago, but to say anything of that which we have no data is unempirical.

  2. DM, you make a really good point. The earthquake in Ottawa last week was probably caused by the boobquake. Oh my God, what have we done?...

  3. Gotta love a person like DM. He/She feeds my extreme paranoia and justifies my desire to stockpile large amounts of ammunition.

  4. What amazes me, is that despite the fact that he is completely bat-shit crazy, he manages to use a computer to go on the internet and comment on blog postings.