The Most Fundamental Question of Existence

Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
The Most Fundamental Question of Existence

Why is there something rather than nothing?


NoMoreCrazyPeople
atheistSuperfan
NoMoreCrazyPeople's picture
Posts: 969
Joined: 2009-10-14
User is offlineOffline
No one knows the awnser to

No one knows the awnser to that at the moment, including you!


KSMB
Scientist
KSMB's picture
Posts: 702
Joined: 2006-08-03
User is offlineOffline
Why should there be nothing

Why should there be nothing rather than something?


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
KSMB wrote:Why should there

KSMB wrote:

Why should there be nothing rather than something?

Well, assuming the materialist worldview is true for the sake of argument, then there does not appear to be any logical explanation why there is something rather than nothing. The idea that a materialist world can exist (at least in theory) independently of consciousness is not self-explanatory.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:No

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

No one knows the awnser to that at the moment, including you!

I can hazard to guess.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
lame topic of discussion

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why not?  Why should something not exist?  What precludes energy from not becoming matter?  The equation is E=mc2. So matter and energy oscillate back and forth in the normal scheme of things.

Let's see what's next?  So why is that equation true?  Must someone have created the universe and the conditions that the equation describes?  Nope.  The oscillation came first, our understanding of it came later.  And so the equation is what fits the data.  No someone required.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Lol. I'm guessing God

Lol. I'm guessing God doesn't count as "something," so Paisley is going to argue that God made something.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
BETTER fundemental argument of existence and it's nature

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

What is "something"? What is "nothing"?

 

The main problem with your argument is that there is no "why" outside of (human?) cognizance. In fact... there are no questions and answers outside of the realm of intelligent behavior. A rock does not ask it itself "What is my purpose" because a rock does not think. A rock does not 'make itself so big that it can not carry it's own weight' (one important exception: degenerate matter.) It does not have a niche, and it is not a 'being' any more so than a pencil, sheet of paper, a keyboard, an abicus, a sliderule, an atom, a grain of sand, or even an entire planet.

It serves only as a miniscule, baryonic piece of the universe... and even then it's 'servitude' is questionable a lá General Relativity. The laws of physics, it seems, are easily bent on the basis of 'how much gravity is present right here or right there'.

As I have alluded to elsewhere on the forums -and practically outright stated to neptewn in another thread: all religion (along with the question of 'why?') exists as a psychosocial construct of a species with an ever-present desire the to escape their current circumstances.

Theism exists as a coping mechanism for a species with an unlimited capacity to think, imagine, craft, and develop new pursuits of life far more effectively than any other intelligence discovered thus far...

... but which also have a particularly limited ability to act on these concepts.

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Why is there

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Gah! Read my friggin' signature. Again. And if you don't get it, read it again until you do.

"Why am I what I am?" asked the one who was what he was.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Show me nothing, anywhere in

Show me nothing, anywhere in the universe. You won't find it. Even vaccum is something, it has measurable energy, permitivity and permeability. Because, something is simply a basic state of everything. Always was. We should rather ask "why there is nothing rather than something", if there ever would be such a thing as nothing.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


robj101
atheist
robj101's picture
Posts: 2481
Joined: 2010-02-20
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:Show me

Luminon wrote:

Show me nothing, anywhere in the universe. You won't find it. Even vaccum is something, it has measurable energy, permitivity and permeability. Because, something is simply a basic state of everything. Always was. We should rather ask "why there is nothing rather than something", if there ever would be such a thing as nothing.

Nothing, without looking up a definition, would be the complete lack of anything.

You will have to wait untill you die to find out what nothing is. But then you wont exactly know it is either, because if you did it would be something so lets all stand back and point and laugh at "nothing".

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


KSMB
Scientist
KSMB's picture
Posts: 702
Joined: 2006-08-03
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:KSMB wrote:Why

Paisley wrote:
KSMB wrote:

Why should there be nothing rather than something?

Well, assuming the materialist worldview is true for the sake of argument, then there does not appear to be any logical explanation why there is something rather than nothing. The idea that a materialist world can exist (at least in theory) independently of consciousness is not self-explanatory.

Did this make sense to anyone? Or is it just in Paisley's head, as usual?


NoMoreCrazyPeople
atheistSuperfan
NoMoreCrazyPeople's picture
Posts: 969
Joined: 2009-10-14
User is offlineOffline
KSMB wrote:Paisley

KSMB wrote:

Paisley wrote:
KSMB wrote:

Why should there be nothing rather than something?

Well, assuming the materialist worldview is true for the sake of argument, then there does not appear to be any logical explanation why there is something rather than nothing. The idea that a materialist world can exist (at least in theory) independently of consciousness is not self-explanatory.

Did this make sense to anyone? Or is it just in Paisley's head, as usual?

 

I think he's saying something like that someone had to think something in order for their to be something.  If no super being thought of all of this, it couldn't exist, something lame like that I'd guess!


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
cj wrote:Paisley wrote: Why

cj wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why not? Why should something not exist? 

Well, if nothing existed, no explanation would be necessary. However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

Paisley wrote:

What precludes energy from not becoming matter?  The equation is E=mc2. So matter and energy oscillate back and forth in the normal scheme of things.

I never stated energy and matter are not convertible. But I fail to see what this has to with the question I posed in the OP. Are you arguing that "energy" does not really exist?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:Lol. I'm

butterbattle wrote:

Lol. I'm guessing God doesn't count as "something," so Paisley is going to argue that God made something.

You didn't respond to the question I raised in the OP.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


NoMoreCrazyPeople
atheistSuperfan
NoMoreCrazyPeople's picture
Posts: 969
Joined: 2009-10-14
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:cj

 

Paisley wrote:

existed, no explanation would be necessary. However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

I think everyone agrees their is an explanation, the honest people just admit they don't know what it is yet. 


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:butterbattle

Paisley wrote:

butterbattle wrote:

Lol. I'm guessing God doesn't count as "something," so Paisley is going to argue that God made something.

You didn't respond to the question I raised in the OP.

Not that you want an answer but...

Something is easier to work with later on than nothing is.

Why do you need a form of God to fill in your gaps?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
It is an unanswerable

It is an unanswerable question at the moment, may always be.

I hope Paisley would be honest and/or insightful enough to realise that the existence or otherwise of some 'higher-level' mind of some kind is subject to the question as much as any other aspect of existence, since it makes no sense to imagine that a sentience could be the cause of its own existence, to 'will' itself into existence before it actually exists.

From what we know of the spooky, quintessentially random and uncaused nature of the Quantum regime, it is easier to imagine something like that being the first thing to spontaneously begin to exist that any kind of sentient entity, which has to be more complex than an energy field. At least according to everything we observe about the conscious beings we have access to now.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
Kapkao wrote:Paisley

Kapkao wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

What is "something"? What is "nothing"? 

The main problem with your argument is that there is no "why" outside of (human?) cognizance. In fact... there are no questions and answers outside of the realm of intelligent behavior. A rock does not ask it itself "What is my purpose" because a rock does not think. A rock does not 'make itself so big that it can not carry it's own weight' (one important exception: degenerate matter.)

I did not ask: "What is the purpose of life or existence?" I asked: "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

The adverb "why" does not necessarily imply teleology or purpose. For example, a child may ask his father: "Why is the sky blue?" And the father may proceed to answer the child with a scientific explanation, which may prompt another "why" question from child and so forth indefinitely.

I am simply giving you here the bottom line question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" If you have no explanation, then simply say so.

Kapkao wrote:

It does not have a niche, and it is not a 'being' any more so than a pencil, sheet of paper, a keyboard, an abicus, a sliderule, an atom, a grain of sand, or even an entire planet.

It serves only as a miniscule, baryonic piece of the universe... and even then it's 'servitude' is questionable a lá General Relativity. The laws of physics, it seems, are easily bent on the basis of 'how much gravity is present right here or right there'.

As I have alluded to elsewhere on the forums -and practically outright stated to neptewn in another thread: all religion (along with the question of 'why?') exists as a psychosocial construct of a species with an ever-present desire the to escape their current circumstances.

Theism exists as a coping mechanism for a species with an unlimited capacity to think, imagine, craft, and develop new pursuits of life far more effectively than any other intelligence discovered thus far...

... but which also have a particularly limited ability to act on these concepts. 

You're simply rambling on here. This has no direct relevance to question I posed in the OP.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Paisley

natural wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Gah! Read my friggin' signature. Again. And if you don't get it, read it again until you do.

"Why am I what I am?" asked the one who was what he was.

Why are you quoting "Popeye?"

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:natural

Paisley wrote:

natural wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Gah! Read my friggin' signature. Again. And if you don't get it, read it again until you do.

"Why am I what I am?" asked the one who was what he was.

Why are you quoting "Popeye?"

Why don't you want an answer to your question?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


v4ultingbassist
Science Freak
v4ultingbassist's picture
Posts: 601
Joined: 2009-12-04
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote: However,

Paisley wrote:

 However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

 

Why, exactly, is an explanation necessary?  I don't think it is.  Most people don't seem to think so either because if they did they would all be philosophers and scientists.  For most people, that isn't the case. 

 

My answer is I don't know, I don't know that we'll ever know, and I don't really care.  My daily life doesn't stand to benefit much if I knew how everything worked and how everything got here.  It just isn't that important to me.  What is important is how I live my life, how I treat other people, and how I stay happy.  'Why I do it' just isn't that crucial a question to me.


iwbiek
atheistSuperfan
iwbiek's picture
Posts: 3389
Joined: 2008-03-23
User is onlineOnline
Paisley wrote:natural

Paisley wrote:

natural wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Gah! Read my friggin' signature. Again. And if you don't get it, read it again until you do.

"Why am I what I am?" asked the one who was what he was.

Why are you quoting "Popeye?"

 

didn't popeye say "i am what i am"?  someone who's as fond of semantics as you are, paisley, should be more careful.

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Well, if

Paisley wrote:

Well, if nothing existed, no explanation would be necessary.

Why not? Why would no explanation be necessary? Why is there nothing rather than something? Doesn't that require an explanation?

Quote:
However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation.

Why does that require an explanation? Why isn't the opposite true?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:Show me

Luminon wrote:

Show me nothing, anywhere in the universe. You won't find it. Even vaccum is something, it has measurable energy, permitivity and permeability. Because, something is simply a basic state of everything. Always was. We should rather ask "why there is nothing rather than something", if there ever would be such a thing as nothing.

Well, I am asking "why there is something rather than nothing" because we are obviously experiencing something. Also, for the sake of argument, I am asking this question assuming the materialist worldview.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
robj101 wrote:Nothing,

robj101 wrote:

Nothing, without looking up a definition, would be the complete lack of anything.

You will have to wait untill you die to find out what nothing is. But then you wont exactly know it is either, because if you did it would be something so lets all stand back and point and laugh at "nothing".

Agreed. If you believe that when you die you simply cease to exist, then you will never know or experience this state. That being said, he may be referring to the state of "pure awareness" where neither subject nor object exist. Therefore, that would qualify as experiencing "nothing" - nothing in the literal sense of "no thing." According to Buddhist doctrine, you will allegedly experience this at the moment of death. But truth be known, you experience this every night during dreamless sleep.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:KSMB

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

KSMB wrote:

Did this make sense to anyone? Or is it just in Paisley's head, as usual?

I think he's saying something like that someone had to think something in order for their to be something.  If no super being thought of all of this, it couldn't exist, something lame like that I'd guess!

If nothing exists, then nothing needs to be explain. However, something does appear to exist. Therefore, that "something" requires an explanation. 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


v4ultingbassist
Science Freak
v4ultingbassist's picture
Posts: 601
Joined: 2009-12-04
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Agreed. If you

Paisley wrote:

Agreed. If you believe that when you die you simply cease to exist, then you will never know or experience this state. That being said, he may be referring to the state of "pure awareness" where neither subject nor object exist. Therefore, that would qualify as experiencing "nothing" - nothing in the literal sense of "no thing." According to Buddhist doctrine, you will allegedly experience this at the moment of death. But truth be known, you experience this every night during dreamless sleep.

 

pure- containing nothing that does not properly belong

 

aware- having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge

 

Mirriam Webster dictionary

 

Given that all three qualities of being aware are absent during dreamless sleep, you think we aren't supposed to realize, perceive, or know anything?  Sounds pretty stupid to me, especially when you're trying to answer a question about knowledge.

 


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
watch the quotes

Paisley wrote:

Well, if nothing existed, no explanation would be necessary. However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

Why should something require an explanation?  We don't have explanations for lots of things - including why there is gravity.  Does it affect me?  Yes, in the sense that what goes up does come down.  No, in the sense that it doesn't matter what gravity is or how it works - since I am not a theoretical physicist.  Do I care?  Not particularly.  Stuff is the way stuff is.  So stuff it.

Paisley wrote:

cj wrote:

What precludes energy from not becoming matter?  The equation is E=mc2. So matter and energy oscillate back and forth in the normal scheme of things.

I never stated energy and matter are not convertible. But I fail to see what this has to with the question I posed in the OP. Are you arguing that "energy" does not really exist?

Nope, I'm arguing that energy and matter slip back and forth between states without purpose or intervention.  Why do you need reasons for this conversion?  Why is this question important to you?

But then, I really don't care what your answers are.  This really is a lame topic.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
NoMoreCrazyPeople

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

 

Paisley wrote:

existed, no explanation would be necessary. However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

I think everyone agrees their is an explanation, the honest people just admit they don't know what it is yet. 

But you seem to be resigned to ignorance and not even willing to engage in some kind of rational speculation.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
jcgadfly wrote: Paisley

jcgadfly wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You didn't respond to the question I raised in the OP.

Not that you want an answer but...

Something is easier to work with later on than nothing is.

Why do you need a form of God to fill in your gaps?

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote: jcgadfly

Paisley wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Not that you want an answer but...

Something is easier to work with later on than nothing is.

Why do you need a form of God to fill in your gaps?

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

Why?  What concern could this possibly have for anyone?  Who gives a shit?  The materialists have not said the gap is insurmountable, they are saying, no one knows - yet.  And most of us don't care.

The best description I ever heard of how science works goes like this:

We are building a skyscraper, adding stories and details as our knowledge increases.  At the same time, the foundations are changing.  What was apparently a solid structure suddenly collapses as more information becomes available demonstrating that the solidity was illusional.

Those of us who are into science, are okay with the idea of knowledge changing.  Those who are into religion seem to want everything to be the same all of the time.  How boring.

Hey, I'm IT, if I was uptight about change, I would have gotten into a different career years ago.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:jcgadfly

Paisley wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You didn't respond to the question I raised in the OP.

Not that you want an answer but...

Something is easier to work with later on than nothing is.

Why do you need a form of God to fill in your gaps?

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

A 'God', or even just another 'level' of existence, is still part of 'existence', and still requires explanation as to 'why' it exists rather that not, if anything does. Extrapolations of Quantum observations suggest some ultimate randomness is is as useful an idea as anything. IOW, there was a non-zero probability of 'something' existing, and here we are...

A 'God' of any sort logically cannot be an answer to this question in any ultimate sense.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
robj101 wrote:Luminon

robj101 wrote:

Luminon wrote:

Show me nothing, anywhere in the universe. You won't find it. Even vaccum is something, it has measurable energy, permitivity and permeability. Because, something is simply a basic state of everything. Always was. We should rather ask "why there is nothing rather than something", if there ever would be such a thing as nothing.

Nothing, without looking up a definition, would be the complete lack of anything.

You will have to wait untill you die to find out what nothing is. But then you wont exactly know it is either, because if you did it would be something so lets all stand back and point and laugh at "nothing".

Ppppfffftttt why wait?

The most abundant demonstration of 'nothingness' appears to be under everyone's nose.

This is what nothing looks like... an old, bearded-gray dude with a gnarl on his face that seems to say "Damn... I knew I should've eaten more prunes before stopping by the can"

On August, 3, 1776 King George wrote in his journal "nothing important happened today." He was clearing referring to the same strange looking dude.

Much Ado About Nothing! Shakespeare was clearly making a biography of the same guy with a screaming hot case of constipation!

"Nothing to Lose"... means this guy couldn't win his way out of a paper sack, ever.

So... now you all know what NOTHING is. It's some retirement-age numbnuts trying to do a balancing act on top of cloud... in the middle of a building that's nothing more than a Tourism Cashcow for Italy

Here's a shot of Nothing doing the whole 'inappropriate touching' routine with one of his kids.... sick bastard.

Here Nothing shows the world how to do a REAL goatse.cx impression.

Here, Nothing Junior  tells Nothing Senior what he thinks about all of this...

 


 

My point? "Nothing", along with "Something", "Everything", and "Anything" are merely constructs of the human mind.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:But you seem

Paisley wrote:

But you seem to be resigned to ignorance and not even willing to engage in some kind of rational speculation.

Lol. Yeah, like you, right? He's closed-mindedly admitting that he doesn't know, and you're open-mindedly 'speculating' that the answer is your religion.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Because the

Paisley wrote:

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

Repeat this over and over until it makes perfect sense:

The gap only exists within your mind.

You, without your human mind.... can not understand the presence of substance as well as the complete absence of it. Materialism and spiritualism are entirely mental concepts.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:It is an

BobSpence1 wrote:

It is an unanswerable question at the moment, may always be.

It "may always be?" That's a fairly large gap.

BobSpence1 wrote:

I hope Paisley would be honest and/or insightful enough to realise that the existence or otherwise of some 'higher-level' mind of some kind is subject to the question as much as any other aspect of existence, since it makes no sense to imagine that a sentience could be the cause of its own existence, to 'will' itself into existence before it actually exists.

It may make sense if we make a distinction between "being" and "existence" and how we think about causation. Also, we may want to take into account that the laws of physics are time symmetrical and that the uncertainty principle works both ways in time. IOW, the quantum state of the past is just as uncertain as the quantum state of the future. This is the basis for John A. Wheeler's "Participatory Universe." Of course, this is a view that supports the "strong anthropic principle." (Below is a link in which physicist Paul Davies discusses the subject.)

http://www.templeton-cambridge.org/fellows/showarticle.php?article=23

Quote:

"Observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being."

(source: Wikipedia: Anthropic principle)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

BobSpence1 wrote:

From what we know of the spooky, quintessentially random and uncaused nature of the Quantum regime, it is easier to imagine something like that being the first thing to spontaneously begin to exist that any kind of sentient entity, which has to be more complex than an energy field. At least according to everything we observe about the conscious beings we have access to now. 

I see. You're invoking "spookiness" and creation ex nihilo.

Incidentally, consciousness (i.e. awareness) is simple. In fact, there is nothing simpler with the possible exception of nothingness itself.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Incidentally,

Paisley wrote:

Incidentally, consciousness (i.e. awareness) is simple. In fact, there is nothing simpler with the possible exception of nothingness itself.

Haha. Okay, give me an example of a simple, conscious thing.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Our knowledge in this area is

in infancy but whatever truth we can know will be discovered by accelerators exploring the fundamentals of subatomic and not by theism disguised as speculation.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


kidvelvet
atheist
kidvelvet's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: 2010-01-15
User is offlineOffline
Paisley wrote:Why is there

Paisley wrote:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

I don't know.  Why do I like waffles better than pancakes?

Dolt:"Evolution is just a theory."
Me:"Yes, so is light and gravity. Pardon me while I flash this strobe while dropping a bowling ball on your head. This shouldn't bother you; after all, these are just theories."


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
OP: No idea.  Probably now

OP: No idea.  Probably now knowable by beings with our frame of reference.

Special pleading a god isn't a logical answer though.  "Something can't come from nothing because I say so therefor something always existed because I say so and and if it didn't I would have to accept that I don't know everything in the universe and that would be such a tragically huge blow to my ego that I might get sad." - Thomas Aquinas.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

 

Why, exactly, is an explanation necessary?  I don't think it is.  Most people don't seem to think so either because if they did they would all be philosophers and scientists.  For most people, that isn't the case. 

My answer is I don't know, I don't know that we'll ever know, and I don't really care.  My daily life doesn't stand to benefit much if I knew how everything worked and how everything got here.  It just isn't that important to me.  What is important is how I live my life, how I treat other people, and how I stay happy.  'Why I do it' just isn't that crucial a question to me.

If you don't really care, then you should not be participating in this thread.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
iwbiek wrote:Paisley

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Why are you quoting "Popeye?"

didn't popeye say "i am what i am"?  someone who's as fond of semantics as you are, paisley, should be more careful.

Yeah, you're right.


 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:Paisley

butterbattle wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, if nothing existed, no explanation would be necessary.

Why not? Why would no explanation be necessary? Why is there nothing rather than something? Doesn't that require an explanation?

If there is nothing, then there is NOTHING to explain.

butterbattle wrote:

Paisley wrote:

However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation.

Why does that require an explanation? Why isn't the opposite true?

If there is something, then there is SOMETHING to explain.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Zaq
atheist
Zaq's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: 2008-12-24
User is offlineOffline
If you start with nothing

If you start with nothing and then* take a small deviation, you'll have something.

Once you have something, you'll have some spacetime for that something to exist in.

Once you have spacetime, quantum effects will ensure that you keep having something

 

In short, nothing is an unstable equilibrium (if it is an equilibrium at all).  Unstable equilibria are, well, unstable.  So a state of nothingness is an unstable state.

 

Alternatively, one could argue that nothingness is logically impossible.  After all, with nothing, you wouldn't have the laws of logic, and that obviously contradicts the laws of logic.  Therefore nothingness is a logically contradictory state.

 

 

*Of course, nothing would also mean no time, which confuses pretty much anything you'd want to say about the subject.  By the time** you get to the then, you'd already** have time, which is something.

**See how hard it is to work with timelessness.

 

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
v4ultingbassist wrote:Given

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Given that all three qualities of being aware are absent during dreamless sleep, you think we aren't supposed to realize, perceive, or know anything?  Sounds pretty stupid to me, especially when you're trying to answer a question about knowledge. 

It is unlikely that you will have knowledge of this experience unless you practice meditation religiously. But it is well-documented and contemplatives from disparate cultures have testified to its reality. "Turiya" is the Sanskrit term for pure-awareness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turiya
 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
cj wrote:Paisley wrote:

cj wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Well, if nothing existed, no explanation would be necessary. However, since there appears to be something, then that something requires an explanation. So, why is there something rather than nothing?

Why should something require an explanation?  We don't have explanations for lots of things - including why there is gravity.  Does it affect me?  Yes, in the sense that what goes up does come down.  No, in the sense that it doesn't matter what gravity is or how it works - since I am not a theoretical physicist.  Do I care?  Not particularly.  Stuff is the way stuff is.  So stuff it.

If you don't care, then I suggest you don't participate in this thread. IOW, take your own advice and "stuff it."

cj wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I never stated energy and matter are not convertible. But I fail to see what this has to with the question I posed in the OP. Are you arguing that "energy" does not really exist?

Nope, I'm arguing that energy and matter slip back and forth between states without purpose or intervention.  Why do you need reasons for this conversion?  Why is this question important to you?

But then, I really don't care what your answers are.  This really is a lame topic.

I am not asking about this conversion. And if you don't care about the question I posed in the OP, then why are you participating in this thread?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
cj wrote:Paisley

cj wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

Why?  What concern could this possibly have for anyone?  Who gives a shit?  The materialists have not said the gap is insurmountable, they are saying, no one knows - yet.  And most of us don't care.

It would appear that you do "give a shit" because you keep telling me how much you don't give a damn. If you truly don't care, then leave. No one is forcing you to participate in this thread.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:Paisley

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Because the materialists here are tacitly admitting that the gap is insurmountable. Moreover, this is of utmost concern for many (if not most) of us.

A 'God', or even just another 'level' of existence, is still part of 'existence', and still requires explanation as to 'why' it exists rather that not, if anything does. Extrapolations of Quantum observations suggest some ultimate randomness is is as useful an idea as anything. IOW, there was a non-zero probability of 'something' existing, and here we are...

A 'God' of any sort logically cannot be an answer to this question in any ultimate sense.

That an atheist has to employ the theological concepts of an "uncaused cause" and "creation ex nihilo" to explain why there is something rather than nothing is laughable.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


Paisley
Theist
Paisley's picture
Posts: 1933
Joined: 2008-03-13
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:Paisley

butterbattle wrote:

Paisley wrote:

But you seem to be resigned to ignorance and not even willing to engage in some kind of rational speculation.

Lol. Yeah, like you, right? He's closed-mindedly admitting that he doesn't know, and you're open-mindedly 'speculating' that the answer is your religion.

The materialist has to give some kind of answer. If not, then he is conceding the point.  IOW, the materialist saying "I don't know" implies that "I really don't know if the materialist worldview is true." 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Is it just me, or are you

Is it just me, or are you getting riled up Pais?

The problem is, *anyone*, atheist or theist, who comes up with a trite answer to this question is totally full of shit.  It isn't, 'The Most Fundamental Question of Existence" because it isn't even a question.  It is nothing but a vague idea that may or may not have an answer.

I have doubts about science answering the question, and to suppose some kind of philosophy or logical argument can crack the 'ultimate' secret of the universe is simply absurd.  I know you only start threads like this to pick fights, but this is just stupid, especially for someone like you who has been around for long enough to know what all the 'answers' will be.  You just want to hear us say, "we don't know".  Well, we don't know.  And neither do you.  And the chances are, none of us will ever know.  So get back to asking questions humans can actually answer.

No-one would get annoyed if it were some random theist, but again, you know better than to push this kind of nonsense.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.