John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sun, 11 Jan 1998 22:17:18 -0800 (PST)


On Sat, 10 Jan 1998 davidmusick@juno.com (David A Musick) Wrote:

>The real question is: Why is there something, instead of nothing?
>I don't think that question has been answered satisfactorily yet.

That must be the greatest understatement of all time because I don't think
the human mind is able to conceive of a more difficult question.
I have about as much chance of correctly answering that as pigs have of
flying, so I will focus on a much simpler, though still very difficult
question. What general form would the answer have to be in for it to be
satisfactory? Clearly "the universe exists because it should" is not
satisfactory because it implies the existence of ethical laws and existence
is what we are trying to prove in the first place. The anthropomorphic answer
that the universe must exist or we wouldn't be here to ask the question,
is true but just begs the question, why are we here? Any answer in the form
"the universe exists because of X " will never satisfy us because it
immediately suggests another very obvious unanswered question.

The only halfway adequate way to explain it is if it could be shown that
"nothing" was somehow self contradictory so there must be "something".
Needless to say I have no idea how to do this. Even in this case however it
assumes the existence of logical laws, such as the law forbidding
contradictions. Being logically self consistent doesn't prove a thing's
existence (or does it?), so why does being self inconsistent prove it doesn't

I love logic, I think it's useful in solving all problems, except this one.
I don't know if the question even makes sense. The first word of this question
is "why" which means " what is the reason". Reason implies logic and logic is
something. So we are asked to find a logical reason for reality, but clearly
we can't use logic to find it, after all, that would be illogical. This sort
of thing could give circular reasoning a bad name because it's totally
without meaning.

Or is it? All the definitions in a dictionary are made of words, and those
words also have definitions made of other words also in the dictionary,
and round and round we go. Is a dictionary totally without meaning?
I suppose that all depends on what meaning means, and what the meaning of
meaning means, and what the meaning of the meaning of meaning means, and...

Ok, now that I've made everything clear as a bell we can move on.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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