Sketches on Atheism

Why there is something rather than nothing.

Adapted from my new book, On the Problem of Good, available through Amazon and Createspace.

Curiosity is a stubborn power.cover_A

In the hands of a sufficiently motivated man, mystery can inspire great epics, or birth equally great madness. In the mind of an uncreated aseitic being it, inferably, spawns worlds; entire universes orientated to seeing behind that hill an aseitic being cannot see behind, and exploring the far side of that ocean an uncreated being could never cross.

An uncreated aseitic being cannot not be.

Alone, and with an eternity bottled in a single timeless moment to contemplate this defect (this incompleteness in what should have been rigorously complete), such an unexpected curiosity could not help but grow into a fat, noisy obsession; a category of madness, but not insanity. Not at first. Not completely. Not something chaotic. Not something uncontrolled. In its infancy, not being able to not be could only be classified as a dangerously alluring seed, the mother of all “Wet Paint” signs, and the irrepressible urge to ‘touch’ the analogous paint is, it appears, not only the reason for why there is something rather than nothing, but why that something is shaped the way it is.

This world was inevitable.

Ultimately, there was no choice.

Unable to die, powerless to be no more, incapable of even experiencing the thrill of the fear of approaching annihilation, it was inevitable that a non-contingent aseitic being (that seminal consciousness: God) would come, eventually, to gather and focus His impossible powers to contrive artificial environments fixed between concepts He, the Creator, could never touch, but could impose on a synthetic scape: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Inside these sealed-off worlds (these self-complicating petri dishes) profoundly ignorant avatars could be cultivated and grown to probe and explore this extraordinary curiosity; evolving surrogates raised like experimental animals, and through whom He, the Creator, could taste the fear He alone could never savour, feel the suffering He alone could never know, and meet every pedigree of oblivion denied to Him by dying vicariously.

Is this no more unreasonable than a man walking to the top of a hill, or traversing a mountain range, or crossing an ocean just to see what was on the other side?

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108 thoughts on “Why there is something rather than nothing.

    • I wish John only understood that hallucinations from old books have more value. I agree that this is a failure in his thesis. If you’ve found a hallucination you already prefer to believe is true, then this book simply isn’t for you.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I agree. And John is an atheist. I think he would agree. His argument is too demonstrate how logical frameworks can be applied to many lines of thinking, even though they have no bearing in reality. It seems the very point of his work is to show that logic and hallucination aren’t necessarily divorced from each other when you base that framework on unverifiable premises.

        Liked by 3 people

    • That’s what it says. You can’t begin to explain the Problem of Good until you first undertsand why Creation (this artificial world) was enacted. Why was this world created? For what purpose was it forged?

      By assessing the 13.82 billion years of cosmic history we have to study and draw conclusions from, it is clear that St. Thomas Aquinas was emphatically, hopelessly wrong. It was not goodness that spilled out into the world, shaping that which had no shape, bonum diffusivum sui, but (from our perspectiver, inside looking out) a spectacular weave of perversion born of a simple but ultimately irresistible compulsion to explore and experience through evolving proxies that single thing an uncreated aseitic being—God—could never alone explore or ever directly experience: death, and all the exotic abstractions associated to it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • John,

        An example of artificial is margarine in place of butter or plastic in place of wood or steel.

        The universe we live in is not a substitute for another.

        We know that because it is obvious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never said it was a substitute. I said it was “created,” which is precisely what your narrative even says. What is natural is the aseitic being. So, the question you have ask is: why was this world (this petri dish) created?

        As Paley observed in a flash of surprising clarity,

        “Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”

        Know then the disposition, revealed as it must be through the design (through the predominant tendency, or output of the contrivance), and one may know the designer. Know the designer, and one may faithfully address the Problem of Good.

        Liked by 4 people

      • I think ol’ SOM is a very clever and lucid person, just a wee bit off the rails, and actually teasing out some good arguments.

        I love these exchanges—a bit like being a survivor from a sunk destroyer bobbing about in a wee rubber raft, at night, watching battleships still slugging it out just beyond the horizon.

        Like

  1. Reminds me of Scott Adams’ (creator of comic strip Dilbert) book, “God’s Debris” where God sees if he can destroy himself.

    I look forward to your book, John. A book which is thought provoking is good exercise indeed. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great observation! Adam’s thoughts are the very seed of this. In TOOAIN I didn’t even raise the question as to why there is something rather than nothing. Adam’s god is aseitic, and nothing exists outside it, hence when it blows itself apart the reassembly of its essence is always fully contained inside that original set. This evolved adaptation recognises that this world is an artificial construct, a contrivance not part of the actual world.

      In total, this is not a huge part of the book, but it is critical.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, and the “why” of “creation”? simple, YHWH created the universe to support the Earth on which he planted a Garden, for which He need a gardener (Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.). We are God’s Mexican.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I had to read it twice. The first time I didn’t know what “aseitic” means but your handy link solved that second time round. It’s hilarious and as clever as all the tricky words and long sentences would have led me to believe! I guess I just need to persevere with your prose, or not have Dinosaur Train running full blast in the background while attempting to process it. I’m almost inspired to buy a copy but feel I have to finish the first one before I do so. Is SOM a major influence? It reminds me of him. Nice that he’s first to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • VioletWisp,

      Regarding SoM, you’ll learn pretty quickly — like many other fair-minded inquisitive people/commentors who’ve tried — that his primary (only?) function is simply to troll non-Xian blogs and be an incessant cymbal. He has never shown any desire or intention of engaging in any in-depth dialogue about Xianity, nor will he answer any significant, productive questions you may try to ask of him. He merely wants to bash his cymbal. LOL 😉

      There is a concept/passage in John 17:14-15 where the Believer is admonished to “be in the world, but not OF the world.” SoM is neither. He cares only for those “identical” to himself. He’d rather insult and heckle the “real world.” You’ll see that’s what he does best, sadly. :/ I do sincerely hope he’ll change and engage in meaningfull lengthy discussions, but don’t hold your breath. [fingers crossed] 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Complete thoughts (and brevity) require longer sentences 😉 And why does no one know what aseity means? It’s the fundamental theology of Christianity/Judiasm/Islam. The god, God, is an aseitic being. Just think “uncreated.” You don’t, though, need to have finished the first to understand this. It’s stands on a different continent.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wait, when are all these divine experiences occurring?
    Cuz if God is completed…
    Hmmm, I guess you could say there is God-time, which is precisely analogous to time-time – so much so that we can make deductions from the analogy – and at once completely different from time-time, as the need may be.
    Ok, God-time.
    There, that was easy.
    Now I can move on to moral arguments.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ” Inside these sealed-off worlds (these self-complicating petri dishes) profoundly ignorant avatars could be cultivated and grown to probe and explore this extraordinary curiosity; evolving surrogates raised like experimental animals, and through whom He, the Creator, could taste the fear He alone could never savour, feel the suffering He alone could never know, and meet every pedigree of oblivion denied to Him by dying vicariously.”

    Terrific. Brother, reading this gave me a chubby. Finally, I get the “meaning” of it all and the fundamental, inarguable, nature of “God”. I LIKES it! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ruh-roh! It looks like that somewhat less than divine and prolific arbiter of His word, SOM, has blessed this fine blog with an appearance. God help us all!

    Would it be appropriate to see aseity as: 1) the ultimate and unassailable statement of affirmation, or 2) a pathetic attempt to dissuade unanswerable criticism?

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1 and 2 seem to exist simultaneously. I can appreciate the thought behind the idea, but it does raise this problem of not being able to not be, and if you have an entity that is everything, but isn’t, but should be, it creates some problems 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “a dangerously alluring seed, the mother of all “Wet Paint” signs, and the irrepressible urge”

    … not only spot-on, it’s pure poetry. Boom boom!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t know, the aseitic being seems to me a non starter. Its existence appears to have risen from some philosophical necessity to explain why a supposed god exists. And/or why it does the things that have been claimed were done by it/them. (with no real evidence shown) Since these gods have not been proven to exist save in the minds of the believer, what exactly is the point?

    Any and all discussion on the matter, it seems to me, is akin to the dog that chases its tail.

    Or am I missing something?

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. One of the most wonderful features of organized religion is that it defines its own axioms and then use them to proves its unique truth. Thank God there is a word for it that you have put into my consciousness.

    Like

  11. My learned friend, I’m curious and doubtful if your eloquent arguments will have any effect on the majority of people. We are and will always be cognitive misers.

    Also your “problem of good” sounds more like you mean the “problem of evil.” I am convinced that what we call God and what we call the Devil refers to the same entity and “pain” is what drives the evolutionary process established by such entity. But it’s not all pain. Happiness, though transitory is an interruption. Pain is a feeling, nothing more. Death is not painful. Psychology provides very interesting answers to the origin of existence or the notion thereof.

    Maybe I have to read your entire book, but I live in an African jungle, that’s the problem, and my community is technologically impaired.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Poet

      The Problem of Good is the opposite to the Problem of Evil in that it (seemingly) negates the thesis of a maximally wicked Creator, whereas the Problem of Evil negates the thesis of a maximally good Creator.

      Yes, reading the book would help you grasp it all a little better. Send me an email: johnzande@gmail.com

      Like

      • I see. To me, both concepts seem to fade into a null hypothesis – there is no difference. It’s like looking through a telescope, one looks through with two eyes but ends up with same view. Anyway I cannot hasten to conclude until I’ve read the entire book. Thanks for your email address.

        Like

  12. Why is There Something Rather than Nothing?

    Because “a nothing” can never transform into “a something”.

    Does the universe need to really have a cause?

    It is clear that causal explanations are a vital part of the scientific method. Various processes in the universe can be displayed as a succession of states in such a way that the preceding state is a cause of the succeeding one. If we look deeper at such processes, we see that there is always a dynamical law prescribing how one state should generate another state. But dynamical laws are expressed in the form of mathematical equations, and if we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about a cause of the mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the Great Blueprint of Gods thinking of the universe.

    When asking your question John, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes.

    When thinking about science as deciphering the Mind of God, we should not forget that science is also a collective product of human brains, and the human brain is itself the most complex and sophisticated product of the universe. It is in the human brain that the world’s structure has reached its focal point with the ability to reflect upon itself.

    Science is but a collective effort of the Human Mind to read the Mind of God from question marks out of which we and the world around us seem to be made. To place ourselves in this double entanglement is to experience that we are a part of the Great Mystery.

    Another name for this Mystery is the Humble Approach. The true humility does not consist in pretending that we are feeble and insignificant, but in the audacious acknowledgement that we are an essential part of the Greatest Mystery of all of the entanglement of the Human Mind with the Mind of God.

    ***

    To take an academic look at your question let’s list the possible options.

    Why Something?

    There Are Only Six Options Too Choose From

    1) Nothing Created It.
    This fails since out of nothing, nothing comes. An infinite number of temporal events going into the past is a formal absurdity. Going backward, no matter how far you travel in time, you would always have an infinity to go. Going forward, we would never get to the present moment because we would have an infinite amount of time and causes and effects to traverse to get here.

    2) Chance.
    This fails as well since chance has no being, nor power of active creativity. Mere chance is a logical absurdity. It would be like creating a square triangle. It’s impossible. A triangle by definition cannot be square. So creation cannot create itself as it would have to pre-date itself to create. The pre-dated form would then need a sufficient explanatory cause, ad infinitum.

    This option is a slight of hand option that amounts to nothing. The fact is that chance has no being. This option implies that “chance” itself has quantitative causal power. The word “chance” is used to describe possibilities. It  does not have the power to cause those possibilities. It is nonsense to speak of chance being the agent of creation of anything since chance is not an agent.

    3) Illusion.
    If so, where does our illusion come from? I know, it’s dumb times one hundred, but it’s been proposed. Obviously, and completely, self-defeating.

    4) Eternal.
    Infinite time going backwards: impossible. The problem here is that it is either a restating of option #1 (nothing created something) or fails due to the irrationality of #2. In our current universe, the law of cause and effect cannot be denied with any sanity. While we often don’t know what the cause of some effect is, this does not mean that it is causeless. When we go to the doctor looking for an explanation for the cause of our neck pain, we don’t accept the answer “There is no cause. It came from nothing.” When there is a fire, the fire investigator does not come to a point where he says, “Well, we searched and we searched for a cause to this fire. Our conclusion is definite: the fire came from nothing.” In both cases, we would assume that the person who gave such answer is better fit for a straight-jacket than a respected professional of his field.

    5) Self-created.
    This is the idea that the universe and all that is in it did not have its origin in something outside itself, but from within. The universe did come into being, but it came from itself. It is self-created. Here, we may suppose that while we don’t understand how this could happen, advancements in scientific theory will eventually produce an answer. Like with the previous four options, we have created a logical absurdity.

    6) From Transcendence.
    A transcendent being (God) created all that there is out of nothing.

    This is the last option that I know of. Here we recognize the impossibility of the first five. Realizing that the universe must have come into existence a finite time ago, we know that there must be a sufficient cause. Here is how it might look:

    a) Whatever comes into existence has a cause.
    b) The universe came into existence.
    c) Therefore the universe has a cause.

    The question now is what is that cause? It can’t be “chance” or “nothing” as we have shown that they don’t have causal power. As well, it cannot have relation to time, space, or matter in its actual being as that would make it subject to the laws of cause and effect (then we would be infinitely stuck in the trap of “If God created everything, who or what created God?). Therefore, this being is transcendent (above, beyond, without ontological relation to…) to the universe. This causal agency must be “all”-powerful or else the grandeur of the effect would eclipse the grandeur of the cause (then we are back to absurdities). This causal agent must have a will (i.e. be personal) or else there would not have ever been a time when the universe was not created (i.e. it would always be being created—again, an absurdity) since it would not be a willful decision to create, but simply a natural aspect of the transcendent cause.

    This creator had to have created all things ex nihilo (out of nothing). In other words, all of matter could not be eternal since material itself is, by definition, not transcendent and subject to the law of cause and effect. This creator, being transcendent to the laws of our universe in which the saying “out of nothing, nothing comes” applies, must create time, space, and matter out of neither himself or preexisting material. He creates it all out of nothing. He brings all of existence into being by his power. While it is beyond our understanding how transcendence can create immanence, it does not form a logical absurdity.

    In fact, existence itself demands that it is a logical necessity.

    All other options, I believe I have shown, are self-defeating, formally absurd, and irrational. In short, the only logical explanation for existence is that a transcendent, powerful, and personal being (God) created all that there is out of nothing.

    Acknowledgments:

    Richard Webb
    newscientist.com/article/mg23130890-400-metaphysics-special-why-is-there-something-rather-than-nothing/

    Rev. Robert P. Imbelli
    commonwealmagazine.org/why-there-something-rather-nothing

    The North
    able2know.org/topic/165446-1

    C Michael Patton
    reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/03/why-is-there-something-rather-than-nothing-the-only-six-options/

    November 11, 2016
    theconversation.com/answering-the-biggest-question-of-all-why-is-there-something-rather-than-nothing-65865

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    • Excellent, Ken. Regarding the challenge, did anything pop immediately to mind? I’ve tried to solve it but haven’t found anything I’d be completely confident about. A fresh set of eyes might though see mountains I’m missing.

      Like

  13. “Regarding the challenge, did anything pop immediately to mind?”

    I always like a challenge, but unfortunately in all honesty I couldn’t come up with a single word.

    Leroy couldn’t either so he had to belittle your “new” book by saying it only had 1 review and that people stopped commenting on it, followed by the same old apologetics babble they all use when they don’t want to answer the question at hand.

    I listened to someone on a talk show the other day who said that humans will most likely not be around when our star burns out but a new evolved creature. How fascinating ! Will they look back at us and wonder how we existed as long as we did ? 🙂

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    • Roy (who doesn’t even know what the challenge is) seemed to have forgotten it was only released last Friday, and it takes people a little time to read, not to mention wait until it’s actually delivered and in-hand 😉 His Christian spirit just floweth over, doesn’t it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s a lot like the last “book”, which has a grand total of 16 reviews.

        https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/the-owner-of-all-infernal-names/

        Posted here on 6/8/15, last comment 10/2/16. Dead thread now I suppose…

        On that post you stated to my reply, “I’m afraid to say you haven’t quite understood the thesis”. June 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

        So here we are again, me still not understanding.

        Is it fear John? Or laziness? Do you look at yourself in the mirror? I’m mean really look? Do you look past the skin and wrinkles and the eyebrow hair that might be a little too long? Wonder how it is that you are even here? A cosmic accident? A one-in-a-billion-to-the-billionth-power chance? Ever wonder how nice it would be if your parents never meet and never conceived a John Zande?

        I did not really want to belittle your book, or the time you wasted writing it. Your a big boy, right? After all, scholars will never source your work. Historians will never mention the philosophical arguments of John Zanda. Right? It was never meant to be an academic study.

        @realtalk

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      • So here we are again, me still not understanding.

        Well, yes, precisely. That often happens when someone hasn’t read the material being discussed. When you know what you’re talking about, and have something coherent to say, do please re-engage. I’d enjoy reading a formal rebuttal, especially one that addresses the explicit challenge presented.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. John, it’s rather obvious you spent a lot of time doing research. What’s important here is that your detractors will do little research of their own when challenging your claims.

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    • Don’t worry about Roy. He’s a little unstable and often posts under different monikas, pretending to be different people. It’s rather odd behaviour. I am though hoping for some formal responses. Was promised a few from professional and amateur apologists alike for the first book, but none materialised.

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      • Your a funny man John. Not the ha-ha humorous kind of funny, more like the guarded don’t-want-to-play kind of funny. If your waiting for a professional apologists to take this challenge I’m afraid you’ll be waiting as long as the last time. Suppose?

        As per: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/thesis-statement

        noun
        1. a short statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, etc., and is developed, supported, and explained in the text by means of examples and evidence.

        If you are so sure your new book can weather a critique by an “amateur” what is your thesis? Or shall it ever remain a mystery only know by you and a dozen others who have read the book?

        A one or two sentence thesis-statement summarizing your work…it can’t be that hard.

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