Wednesday 19 August 2009

Arguments for Fred* #1: Why is there something rather than nothing?

Kicking off a new series of posts today, inspired by recent discussions at Skeptico, I bring you the first of several ramblings on the arguments I've come across for the existence of God. This one is more of an oblique question than a direct argument: why is there something rather than nothing? The implication is that for there to be something (that is, for the universe to exist, rather than not to exist) there needs to be a prime mover - a cause. And that cause has to be God.

Just Googling the question will reap a rich harvest of links to extensive discussions on the subject, but the main thrust of most of the refutations of this argument appears to be that the state of "there being something" is more stable than the state of "there being nothing". In other words, there has to be something. But I'd like to offer a simpler, more direct refutation. Instead of asking the question, "why is there something rather than nothing?" perform this little experiment:

Flip a coin. It comes up heads (or tails). Why did it come up heads (or tails) rather than tails (or heads)?

The answer to the question posed by the above experiment is also the answer to why there is something rather than nothing.

*Fred is A. C. Grayling's term for "any suppositious supernatural agency defined ad hoc for some purpose religionists have in mind."

UPDATE 2009-08-21: Click here for AfF #2