Who or what created the universe?

And if so, who or what created whatever is your answer?

Posted: June 18th 2007

bitbutter www

I consider the universe to be everything that exists. Anyone attempting to look 'behind’ existence to explain it is doomed to fail because their explanation will itself rely on the axiomatic concept of existence.

For example: Even if a supernatural consciousness was responsible for the universe, we can all agree that that consciousness would still have to exist. We can see that existence is primary and any system that claims the primacy of consciousness (such as Christianity) refutes itself.

Existence is a brute fact and is as foundational as we can ever hope to get. In the words of Ayn Rand: Existence Exists.

Posted: November 19th 2007

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SmartLX www

I don’t know, of course, but the implication of this two-part question is that the only valid answer to the first question is a god. This is, in other words, the Cosmological Argument or Argument from First Cause.

The problem is that the second question can still be applied: who or what created your god? Did he (it’s usually a he) make himself from nothing, develop from something or was he created directly by an even more powerful being? And then what created that being? And so on. The only escape is to assert that the god has always existed, and there’s no way to back that up.

If one can accept a powerful, intelligent being that has always existed, how is it harder to imagine something simpler than that always existing, like a conglomeration of energy or a succession of different universes? Time might even be cyclical, or nonlinear in some other way, possibly removing the necessity of a first anything.

Gods are a terrible explanation for the beginning of the current universe, because they demand an even more stupendous explanation themselves and leave us none the wiser.

May I add that if any one of these millennia-old a priori arguments held any water, it would have won out by now and we’d be done discussing whether a god exists. Instead we’d be fighting over which god exists.

Posted: November 18th 2007

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Stefan www

We don’t know.

We don’t even know if cause and effect is a valid concept outside of time. (As far as we know, time started to exist only since the big bang.)

But one day we may know.

No need to kill each other over unfounded theories until then.

Posted: June 21st 2007

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brian thomson www

Short answer: we don’t know.

From this little corner of the universe, with our limited senses and capabilities, how could it be otherwise?

We have the “Big Bang” theory, of course, which came from the “red shift” observations made by Edwin Hubble in the 1930s. Much research is going in to figuring out what happened closer and closer to that point. Note how the observations always come first, before a hypothesis; we are trying to explain the universe as we see it, not as we would like it to be.

Much as scientists like to speculate, no-one is seriously claiming that they have unraveled the mystery of how it all began. They would need to produce some really extraordinary evidence of such a claim; the same is true for anyone who claims to know.

Confucius said:
bq. Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it;-this is knowledge.

(from the Analects )

Posted: June 19th 2007

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