Re: Fw: belief, faith, truth

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 22:15:59 -0800

Norman Samish wrote:
> Hi John,
> Your rhetorical questions about "heaven" point out how ridiculous the
> concept is - and no, I don't think heaven, hell, etc., are even remotely
> likely. I think that when I'm dead, I'm dead, never again to be
> congnizant.
> The thing I'm agnostic about (defining "agnostic" as "without
> knowledge") is whether an infinitely powerful God is reponsible for the
> universe we see.

Whether there is a deist God, one who sets the universe in motion but doesn't
interfere in it, is undeciable - so one should be agnostic in the strict
philosophical sense. But there are many propositions that are undeciable. Why
pick out this particular one to discuss. Isn't it just because many people
believe in a similar, but theistic God who answers prayers, judges the dead, and
motivates suicide bombers?

>And if this God exists, why? And where did IT come
> from?

Why not just suppose the universe exists and that it didn't have to come from
anywhere (where else would there be?).

> If you have an answer to "Why does anything exist?" I'd be glad to hear it.

OK, here are a few answers.

"What is there? Everything! So what isn't there? Nothing!"
          --- Norm Levitt, after Quine

"The reason there's Something rather than Nothing is that Nothing is unstable."
        --- Frank Wilczek (Nobel laureate physics, 2004)

Or to be less flippant - why would you imagine there could BE nothing? In fact
you probably can't imagine it; I can't. Maybe it's just a form of words that
has no meaning. Why is Nothing the default? And what's the definition of
Nothing? To a physicist it's the solution to the equations in the TOE where
all the field values are zero. Which is what Wilczek notes is unstable. I
think that's probably the only coherent definition of Nothing.

Brent Meeker
Nothing: Nothing is an awe-inspiring yet essentially undigested
concept, highly esteemed by writers of a mystical or
existentialist tendency, but by most others regarded with
anxiety, nausea, or panic.
       --- The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Received on Wed Feb 01 2006 - 01:17:20 PST

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