Philosophy, Science, Science & Religion

The “Why?” Question [Part II]

As we saw previously the “Why?” question cannot be applied forever. In fact sometimes it won’t even make sense. But can we find the ending to the infinite amount of whys we can apply?

The famous biologist and prominent atheist Richard Dawkins usually avoids the question of why the Universe exists by saying that it’s a silly question and it doesn’t make sense. Is it truly a silly question? In my opinion its not exactly as pointless as Dawkins makes it seem to be. In their latest book “The Grand Design”, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present a possible scientific explanation to why the Universe exists and to why there is something rather than nothing. The book perfectly demonstrates how we can scientifically explain existence and this shows that questions like what is the purpose of the Universe won’t only be part of philosophical and religious study but also of strict scientific study.

A key point in the “why?” quest is human nature. There is a major problem in human reasoning and it is not obvious most of the time. We live our lives having for granted that we posses free will. Although free will as we understand it in everyday situations does not exist, we can accept that a deterministic form of free will does exist. In “The Grand Design” Stephen Hawking writes that “free will is just an illusion”, according to modern Physics. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer perfectly said “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills”. So, since the illusion of complete free will is part of human nature and questioning, we begin to assume what is the source of our desire to find the purpose and deep meaning in the Universe. We tend to think that there must be a mind behind everything, a mind that is free to act, that is exercising its free will. This mind is often called God and it is usually the end to the infinite amount of whys. The reason why a God is a good solution for many people is because it’s a mind, much like our own mind. We are so deeply affected by everyday situations and choices that a “choice” is almost always a good answer to a problem: a choice must be made in order to proceed further. This is exactly how many view the origins of the Cosmos; a choice was made by a supreme all-powerful being and all the laws of Nature came to be. It all goes back to the First Cause and Cosmological arguments which of course satisfy our need for totality, but do not have strict logical meanings.

However, this does not prove that there is no mind behind the Universe. It shows us that our emotions often lead us to wrong conclusions though. When dealing with cosmological and scientific issues in general it is essential that our emotions do not influence our reasoning a lot, since it is mostly based on common sense, which doesn’t always apply. Nevertheless, it is more probable that there is no human-like intelligent mind behind the Cosmos, like God. There are the laws of Nature and, in accordance to those laws, the constant development in science shows us that we might be able to tell for sure why is there something rather than nothing.
Philosophy, Science, Science & Religion

The “Why?” Question

Throughout human history people always questioned about the world around them, the nature of reality, the origins of the Cosmos and the meaning or purpose of life. Science (always progressing) has been showing us more and more aspects of how the world works, but it basically answered questions of “how?” and not more philosophical ones like “why?”. This is a question which is more often used by believers of a higher power (usually referred to as God) that created everything we see. We often hear people saying “and why is the law of gravity as it is?”, “why does the universe appear to be fine tuned?” etc. Before someone addresses such questions we need to talk about the nature of “why?” itself.

Why are things the way they are? They could have been different. Well, we need to realize, firstly, that a question like this can be infinitely used. People who support the idea of a God do not realize that they are using the question in a wrong manner and basically the series of whys will be ended only when the answer is “because God made it this way”, or something like that. Science can explain how the Universe operates and maybe even how it began but it might never explain why it began . Using the why question in such a manner is completely false, because we can’t have an infinite series of questions which have meaning. From a certain point we start losing a meaning to those questions and eventually fall into a delusional quest for answers which do not really exist. Nevertheless science is often underestimated when it comes to whys. Who said science cannot explain why the world is the way it is? The only thing that scientists cannot do is stop searching for proper and testable theories and models which will finally reveal fundamental secrets of existence. The fact that we do not have a proper and tested theory that explains why we are here doesn’t mean this theory does not exist. Invoking the supernatural or divine axiomatically does not qualify as a scientific theory nor as a correct answer, because it remains unexplained.

These are fundamental elements which many people ignore when they talk about the origins of our Universe. Maybe randomness is the ultimate answer to why the Universe exists or maybe there is not why at all, only how. Anyway, the “Why?” question has its limits and it cannot be used infinitely without reaching something illogical, meaningless or absurd. From a certain level it becomes an illusionary quest for nothing. A research with an imaginary end.