[if you don't like philosophy, skip this article...]
Have you ever had that feeling that its all been done before? Me too. And yes, this age old question is still unresolved, philosophers can not answer this question, nor can the scientists, nor can the religious. So, why something rather than nothing? I have some thoughts, all of which have been borrowed from more intelligent folks than I.
Science is great at answering the "how" questions, but not so good at answering the "why" questions. Both questions are intriguing. Why has the universe gone through all the trouble of existing in the first place? If you've read anything on this site, you can eventually figure out that I'm a Christian. As such, I understand that the Bible explains God's love for us, and how our the most important command is that we love God and each other. Ok, got that.
But, religion lacks answers to many adventurous questions. I think that's the way it should be, so as to not spoil the fun of discovery. We only take so many trips around the sun, and it's meant to be an adventure. This discovery process is exactly how Dr. Francis Collins spent 30 years of his life as an atheist, only to discover God after he decoded human DNA. Somehow, the beauty and complexity prompted Collins to believe in God. I get that, but not a good argument. Complex scientific discoveries do not point to a creator, though it may make such a belief both reasonable and plausible. For me, seeing a beautiful bikini on the beach convinces me that there is a God (can't be an accident, right?), is my inspired vision any better an argument than Collins' decoding of the human genome?
Anyway, if we want to answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing, it would be helpful to know what "nothing" is. I became interested in the subject of "nothing" after 21+ years of defending criminal cases. Sometimes, we attorneys must play with the definitions of words. And, I've noticed several scientists committing the same slight of hand maneuvers that I get paid to perform. The difference is, as attorneys, we have judges and legislatures and statutes and prosecutors to keep our definitions in check. That's not the case for scientists, you need only present a few complex models (mix in some big words and heavy equations), and not many folks will recognize the slight of hand. Well, I've noticed, and I'll explain more later.
Back to the big question. The intellectually lazy position is to simply dismiss the question. The question can be brushed off as being irrelevant. Or, that the universe needs no explanation. Who knows, these answers may turn out to be correct, but I'm looking for something a bit more intellectually satisfying (whatever that means--kind of like the supreme court's definition of pornography, 'we know it when we see it').
Another incomplete answer would be that the universe is here by chance. Chance is the scientific equivalent to a "God of the Gaps" analysis, in which religious folks claim that any gaps in scientific knowledge must be the hand of God. Scientist's gap theory claims that anything they cannot explain must have happened by chance. Of course, both camps may be right on this to some extent. If there is a God, maybe He did in fact cause certain things we can't explain. Or, regardless of whether or not God exists, there may still be plenty of room for chance in the universe (maybe God does play dice?).
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