Sunday, January 27, 2013

Something Rather Than Nothing

Periodically, theists drag out this foolish old notion that since there is something rather than nothing God must exist. From start to finish this is nonsensical crap. Yes, we exist. I certainly am willing to concede that existence in and of itself is very important and quite impressive. Of course, if we didn't exist I would not be writing let alone thinking or attempting to convey my thoughts. The mere fact that we exist along with everything else in the universe does little to tell us about the nature of existence or its origin. It also by itself does not tell us what the purpose of existence or whether there even is a purpose for existence.

There were two recent pieces I came across that serve well as examples of the kind of pathetic thinking theists try to drag out of the fact of existence. Daniel Harrell in his short "Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?" only seems to manage to mangle Ockham's Razor and point out the pointlessness of his own writing. He also seems to rely almost entirely on past examples. He feebly tries to use what he sees as the simplicity of ancient philosophy as proof that simplicity is not necessarily desirable. Like so many others he confuses the importance of limiting the number of assumptions in a scientific approach to being simple. Most of his writing clearly demonstrates, despite claims to the contrary, that he has not even attempted to approach the question with anything resembling objectivity. He KNOWs at the start what the answer to his question is and simply seeks to make excuses for it. Why bother? If proof and reasoning are of no consequence then there is no point thinking about the question at all.

Mehdi Hasan's "God is the best answer to: 'Why is there something rather than nothing'?"* makes a few of the same points and with equal amounts of ignorance and foolishness. He also harps on past philosophers without ever acknowledging that the level and reliability of information available today far outstrips what was available then. It is in no way a statement (positive or negative) of their intelligence. Mehdi also uses all manner of logical fallacies to try to demonstrate that his predetermined position is correct. What I find the most mind-numbing about his entire approach is that he really believes that simply saying God did it has any explanatory value at all. It doesn't. to me it as incomprehensible as stating that the sky is blue because it is not green or red. A "supreme being" that cannot be quantified in any way created everything. Really? How to get to that conclusion based on the available information? And then why and how did this Being do it? It not only doesn't offer any substantial answers it doesn't even allow for a framework from which you can pursue any.

*Unfortunately I could not find a freely available online version of this piece. It appears in the December 21 (2012)-January 3, 2013 edition of New Statesman.

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