The Argument of Contingency
The Question of “Why is there something rather than nothing” occupies the great minds of philosophers that extend from ancient history such as figures of Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato. Firstly the question addresses the need for an explanation to anything and everything that “exists” by asking why they do.
With this question at hand, there are 2 expected positions thatbhave a say in this which is the existence of a God or simply needing an explanation that does not necessarily need God. In essence this question is a very revealing concept. Explanations are needed to understand not just how things are but why they are.
Dependency and Non-contingency
The rational concept of dependency and independency has been debated over centuries in late antiquity by previosly named greek figures and the figures that follow up to today. Peter Adamson, a Historian of Philosophy and Author addresses this in his book Philosophy in the Islamic World as to the debates that occured concerning this question.
The arguments of dependency forces the rational conclusion that in a universe filled with dependency on one thing or the other like a domino effect requires an independent variable that does not require anything else to start it. If an inifinite sequence of dominoes were setup there would never be an end and a start to where the first domino fell unless there is something external to it that will result in a “causality”
This idea of a domino effect is exemplfied by a Philosopher of Science, Hamza Tzortzis, in his book “The Divine Reality”. What Hamza argues is that within this dependent universe that exists and classified as “something” requires or necessitates another “something” that causes it. He also emphasises that “nothing” can never give rise to “something” without a cause and arguably this is a valid point. Hamza then uses this to prove the existence of a creator, a God.
It gets interesting because this did not unanimously cause everyone to start becoming believers in a God. There were arguments that suggested other wise where considering there is a God from the argument of dependency is simply an act of “God of the gaps”.
“Science will one day discover what it is and it most probably wont be a God so stop assuming” is the general summary of what responses that appear in light of this argument.
Another argument to consider in this discussion is the idea that since there is some sort of cause that is independent out there why can it not be the universe itself that just simply causes to come into existence and everything that follows where one considers it to be “dependent” as simply part of the independent process of the universe.
Hamza in his book responds to this by saying that there is nothing independent or “necessary” within the universe to exist. To assume that everything around us is necessary then refutes the credibility and curiousity of pursuing science where the study of dependency is the main source of discovery and up until today there has not been anything that science does not want to discover within that the “something”.
Refering to what Hamza argued he added the the statement that scientists then should not be surprised if things pop up into existence without any form of causality be it a car, a large green ball out of nowhere, on the basis if we were to assume that the universe is independent itself.
The Necessary Existent
The discussion now shifts into the area of a necessary being that is the cause of something coming into being. If there was no God or some independent force then why does it force the existence of everything we see around us? The candidate for this argument proposed by pro-God is God as the necessary existent.
to recap, we discussed about how if there is nothing in the first then surely there should be nothing right now. You shouldnt be reading this right now, you shouldnt be breathing right now, and simply you shouldnt exist right now, but you do so an explanation is needed.
If we exist and surely be classified as “something” and referring back to how we are dependent on something, then there has to be something that Necessarily exists or else we could not have been here. (The word exist should sound weird to you now)
It is expected still that some atheists or science activist may not want to end in the conclusion of a God but keeping it at bay that we simply do not know because we were not there and that the universe is hard to understand. Any reader may lead themselves to whichever conclusion introduced given that they considered the how valid the arguments are.
This argument once it comes into light causes quite a lot of criticisms before the claims are even introduced. Say this proves the actual existence of a God it would force to believe or re-evaluate the credibility of religions which is arguably a hard pill to swallow for some.
The Anti-God party may still resort to the stance that they refuse to put God into the picture and justify the inability of science at the moment. Another response to this is repeated that the idea of science can never discover anything independent or something “that just is” and doesnt requires an explanation. Because then what’s the use of science in the first place? Therefore one conclusion can be made that science cannot disprove the existence of this Independent being nor discover it scientifically.
Another response say they agree to a God or an independent being it wont be easy to accept the idea of a God from the perspectives of religions. This debate is summarised that though there may be a God then it does’nt necessarily relate to religion but a matter of science.
Philosophers of science do not shy from (as expected) needing to respond to this as well by arguments of meta-ethics and source of objective morality.
In Conclusion, this brief discussion may not cover everything that is discussed within the question of “why is there something rather than nothing” but hopefully introduces the overall subject and an introduction to examples of claims that are presented.
If you would like more information on the subject or literatures that address these issues are the previously referred books and many more.
The Divine Reality by Hamza Tzortzis
Philosophy in the Islamic world by Peter Adamson
Why is there something rather than nothing by Bede Rundle