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The Dallas Examined Life Philosophy Group Message Board › Why is there something instead of nothing?

Why is there something instead of nothing?

user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 28
After bloating out a discussion that originally started off as one concerning the benefits of religion, we ran a bit off topic and soon enough we were rambling on about nothing, literally. Original thread here.

Why is there something instead of nothing?

This particular question is a tough one and really manages to befuddle the mind. It is, nevertheless, an important one to philosophy, even though we may never be able to find a satisfactory answer. There are many things to think about when considering such a concept.

1. An eternal universe does not solve this problem, it only pushes the problem back to infinity.
2. There are major linguistic problems with even stating the question, let alone the potential answers.
3. Can a state of "nothingness" really exist?
4. Any rule/law/force/entity that would allow for existence would have to precede existence.
5. What is existence anyway?
6. Is god the only answer to this question that cannot be discredited?

I actually found an interesting article about this from a quick google search:

Right off, I'm have difficulty understanding why this question wouldn't imply a beginning. Jim, perhaps you could clear this up for me. The way I see it, if the problem is pushed back infinitely, it still isn't solved. The way I see it, one would have to come up with a reason why something could come from nothing. The only alternative would be to explain why a state of nothingness could not possibly exist, but I'm not sure that even that would answer the question because this "why" would presuppose existence.

As far as the linguistic problems go, it might be helpful to come up with terms we can agree on to represent these states. I was having a conversation with a friend about this topic and at one point said "nothing can't exist". Her five year old responded with "but flying pigs don't exist!" which pointed out the double negative quite well. I think there's really some major problems with illustrating an existential negative. I've managed to come to the conclusion that states can exist or not exist without much contradiction. To say "a state of nothingness cannot exist" does not create a logical contradiction, nor does it lead to flying pigs.

If something can exist before existence itself, then this would imply that a true state of nothingness could not exist. An interesting example would be that even in a state of nothingness 2+2=4. Although one might think this requires that there be definitions of numbers as well as definitions of operations and declarations, it does not stop 2+2 from equaling 4. The potential for a state can also exist before a state. The potential lack of a state can also exist before the end of a state. Then you've also got ideas such as Plato's Realm of the Forms where all ultimate truths reside a priori.

would a state of nothingness even have to conform to logic? If nothing exists, then neither does logic at that point. Would that make the logical impossibility of a state of nothingness a mute point? It seems like the true state of nothingness may be a concept so strange that our minds simply are not equipped to deal with it properly.

In the previous thread, I started to hint towards existence being a moot point without the state of nothingness to compare existence to, can we even make the statement that any material actually exists? The point is that the existence of material is a non-condition, it simply is. Only various states of material can be said to exist. Although I suppose existence is a state of material, essentially saying "material is" or "material isn't" would be comments about the state of material. Furthermore, it may be possible that the existential nihilists are right, and the answer to this question is "nothing and something are the same thing anyway."

So far it seems like god is the only answer that seems to stand up to any degree of criticism. The problem is that the answer to this question is that there must be some "ground of being" that is the reason why there is something rather than nothing AND that god is defined as the "ground of being"... which seems a bit contrived and unnecessary. It also implies that any other possible explanation for this question would be classified as god (which really messes with the usefulness of this definition). For instance, if we found that Plato's World of Forms were an equally acceptable answer to this question, must we conclude that this world is god? If we found that it simply is the impossibility of a true state of nothingness that is the answer to this question, logic being the reason why there is something rather than nothing, would mean that god is logic?

I really need some Atheists on my side in this. I'm afraid Jim and Metacrock have me against a wall, I'm not sure I really stand a chance. However, I feel as if someone must root for the godless universe if only to cause those who disagree to think about their stance.
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 30
Now... on to questions left over from the previous discussion.

...If God created the world ex nihilo ("out of or from nothing") then there's no exact analogy we can find for that in human creation because our creation is, at least materially, more of a re-arrangement. We have no precise word for this action so we use the closest analogue we have.

Jim, I'm not sure that saying "But god's special" works in this case. As said previously, god being maximally great still limits him to what is logically possible. Essentially god cannot do the impossible (ie: make a square circle or create a rock that is too heavy for him to lift). Either ex nihilo creation is or is not possible. I am a firm believer in the law of conservation of matter/energy and a firm believer in the concept of creation and destruction both being transformation. If those premises are true then it follows that either nothingness can be used as a material to create something or god could not have created anything from nothing. One or the other must be true. The former requires that we rethink the nature of the state of nothingness and the later dethrones god as the creator of existence.

You said in earlier posts that it was meaningless to posit something existing outside of existence, but now you say that potentiality can exist outside of existence(?) And you write, "Nothing is pure potentiality" which, being an identity statement would therefore also mean that "Pure potentiality is nothing."

I realize now that the potential for something and even the concept of something can exist prior to the something in question. This is illustrated by my saying that prior to my existence, I had the potential to exist (saying nothing about the materials of which I'm composed which necessarily existed prior to my existence). Obviously, this must have been true because I do exist now, if I never had the potential to exist, then I would never be. I'm figuring this stuff out as I go along. I think I finally understand how something can exist outside of existence.

I know that a vacuum isn't really comparable to a true state of nothingness, but bear with me. If I pump out all the material from a chamber, all that's left is the potential space for material to inhabit. Potentially, this nothing could be filled with something. So while there is nothing in the chamber, there is also potential for something that is also in the chamber. Basically, an empty cup has the potential to be filled. If it didn't, it would be impossible to fill it. An empty cup would be full of potential. Furthermore, when you open the valve to the vacuum, air rushes in because there is greater potential spaces for material to inhabit inside the chamber than outside the chamber. The fact that mere potential can act on particles which can cause them to move means that potential can be used to perform work. The definition of energy being "the capacity to do work", I see potential as a source of energy.

In this example, one may say that the pumping out of the material in the chamber is what gave it the potential energy. Still, this means that one can store energy in nothing! There is nothing in that chamber, and there is energy in that chamber. This doesn't mean that energy is nothing, nether does it mean that potential is nothing. It means that they can coexist. Granted, this all supposes the existence of the chamber. However, one could also imagine that the chamber is infinite in size. The interesting thing left to think about would be the nature of this energy, does the nothingness pull or does somethingness push? Is the energy in this vacuum contingent on the material outside of it? If that's the case, then pure potential cannot be considered an energy, but potential as well as energy can still coexist with a state of emptiness.

As far as my statement that a state of nothingness is pure potential. It's essentially like saying it's a clean slate. A blank canvas is potentially an infinite number of paintings before the first stroke is laid down. If one also sees a state of nothingness both as a reservoir and source of energy then it follows that the state of nothing holds within it, the potential for an infinite number of states.

Still doesn't tell us where the energy comes from. Energy is going to burn off with heat death because we have a finite stock of order. So the atheist position cannot answer the argument of final end.

Please prove to me that there is a finite stock of energy. You and Jim have both mentioned the finite nature of the universe. I would like to see an explanation for why this must be the case. An infinite system could exist in perpetuity because it could not violate the second law of thermodynamics for the simple fact that the second law only applies to closed systems, and infinite system would not be closed and would have boundless energy at its disposal.

But since thought is energy why can't the universe be based upon thought rather than disembodied chaotic energy with no structure and laws to guide it's function?

It can indeed be considered energy. Some philosophers have suggested that existence is basically the dream of god. They argue that perception is reality, that things only exist when they are perceived and things that exist outside of our perception are perceived by god. The argument is that we all exist within the mind of god. This illustrates the split between the spiritual and materialistic views of the universe. One side argues that consciousness created the universe and the other argues that the universe created consciousness. That being said, if thought is energy and god (and his thoughts) exist outside of existence, then they too can "coexist" with nothing. This, yet again, illustrates my point. I still think thought requires existence in order to work though. Thoughts are about things, they are relational by nature, grouping information in various ways so as to make sense of them. Without things to relate, how can thought exist?

total absolute nothing is not just a vacuum. It's literally nothing at all, which probably could never be. So that as a first stater is impossible. Therefore, has to be something eternal, and that's the first quality of God.

If the first starter must be eternal, why must this first starter be god? If the state of nothingness is impossible then that would imply that something always existed and was never caused to exist in the first place. This leaves god being unnecessary for existence because the true lack of existence could not possibly be.

Metacrock, are you suggesting that zero point energy has been disproved, the casimir effect has been disproved, that zero point energy could be the first cause or some combination thereof? I can find nothing regarding the refutation of either zero point energy or the casimir effect. I can't seem to find information specifically about the zero point energy and the first cause, if you could point me in the right direction or summarize the concept, that would be awesome.
Lewisville, TX
Post #: 27
Thank you, Nathaniel for distilling a lot of the previous discussion to your question on top of this thread.

In the past, I have tried to research this question from a theoretical physics perspective. Of course, that can only answer the "how" and not the "why". And not being a theoretical physicist, it is hard for me to endorse any of the explanations.

But here is an interesting article by Lawrence Krauss from a while back.

"…….The key point, however, is that with zero total energy, Aquinas's puzzle is resolvable. And once the energy fluctuations of quantum mechanics are thrown into the mix, the idea of something arising from nothing can become not just possible, but necessary.

Purists will argue that this begs the question of how the physical laws that make it all possible arose. Nevertheless, science has once again altered the playing field for such metaphysical speculations in a dramatic and beautiful way."

I think Victor Stenger also writes in these terms in his recent book as well.­

Again, I am not endorsing these views, but I think they are interesting.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 73
I'm going to be getting pretty busy soon and may not have as much time to devote to the message boards, but I'll still try to respond as much as possible.

Let me try to step back and get some perspective. My position has always been nothing more than a rational warrant argument for theism. A rational warrant means that there is a sound, legitimate argument to be made for believing whatever's being proposed. Such an argument does not mean that alternative positions are not also sound and credible. So to advance a rational warrant for theism is not to deny rational warrants for atheism or agnosticism or apatheism. One rational warrant does not exclude another. All I've ever tried to establish is that theism can be a reasonable position, that it's not necessarily like believing in round squares or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or an invisible teacup orbiting Neptune.

My position is that God is the most adequate, intellectually satisfying answer to the question "Why anything rather than nothing?" I may be wrong about that, of course. I also accept the fact that there may be other satisfying answers to that question, though I have not found one yet. I also definitely believe that one can answer the "Why?" question with something like "No answer is required," "The question is misstated," "The universe does not require an answer to the question 'why?'" Those are all legitimate answers and I think rational warrants can be garnered for them. So again, just because I believe that God is the best or most satisfying answer to the "Why?" does not mean that I think there are no rational warrants for alternative positions.

Nathaniel, I think you asked why I think the universe does not require a 'beginning.' First off, if one thinks of 'beginning' in a temporal sense, then the universe would not have a beginning IN time, because the universe has been around as long as there has been time. But let's assume that we mean a beginning OF time. Assume that there was no singularity, that the "Steady State Theory" is true, that the universe is truly eternal both in the past and the future. That would only answer the "How?" of the universe, not the "Why?"

Aquinas accepted the very real possibility that the world always was and always will be, but he was asking 'why?', what's the sufficient reason, the necessary ground, which may be a different question from the 'How?' One may answer that an answer isn't required, or that it's the wrong question, or that the 'How?' provides the 'Why?' or that nature does not deal in 'Why's'. These are all legitimate answers, and if one gives such an answer, there may not be much more that that person and I could profitably discuss, because our positions are at such a general, primordial level that I'm not sure what kind of argument or fact or reason could be advanced on either side. It's almost like a difference in taste; a piece of music moves you but leaves your friend unaffected. How to persuade your friend to feel the way you do? (This is a crude analogy and definitely not meant to suggest that theism/atheism are just feelings, only that they may be motivated by metaphysical beliefs that are as basic and primordial as feelings.)

You asked why I think the universe is finite. I think I was referring to this universe which seems to be finite because of the singularity, finite but unbounded both in terms of space and time. The multiverse may be infinite in terms of it being composed of a potentially infinite number of universes, but even then you may not be able to say that the multiverse is spatially and temporally infinite since each universe is its own space time continuum with no over-arching meta-spacetime in which the multiverse would be spatially/temporally infinite. I don't know enough about physics to even get myself into trouble.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 74
Nathaniel, Let me try to recap what I think you're saying. You're saying that if something could exist before or outside of existence, that would mean that a true state of nothingness could not exist. And you think that potentiality can exist before or outside of existence, which would mean that nothingness cannot exist. Is that fair?

Well, the good news is that we agree about 'nothing,' and at the risk of sounding redundant, I'll say again that a true state of nothingness cannot exist. If nothingness existed, then it clearly wouldn't be nothing. True nothingness would not be a state of affairs of any kind. You could say that even without the existence of anything else, God would have to exist, but here again I think you run into the limits of language; just as with 'creation,' and 'nothingness,' with 'God's existence' you're dealing with analogical, not univocal ways of speaking.

So I think all the talk about potentiality is to support your thesis that true nothingness cannot exist. I disagree with a lot of what you say about potentiality and we can discuss that further if you want, but since we agree on your conclusion about nothingness, maybe we can set it aside for now.

The distinction that's implied in the "Why?' question is one between existence and non-existence, not between a kind of existence called 'existence,' and another kind of existence called 'nothingness.' There are facts or 'things' that language can't precisely state but those facts or 'things' are still meaningful. Take for example "my non-existence." Assuming that death is the end of my subjective consciousness, I can think about my eventual non-existence from an objective point of view but from a subjective perspective, it eludes me. Even though my non-existence will never exist for me, it is still a meaningful concept somehow, even though language can never really fully grasp it. If you broaden the scale from 'my non-existence' to the non-existence of everything, language still falls short but now on a global, not a local scale. So that even though there's no state called 'nothingness,' just as there's no subjective state called 'my non-existence,' these terms still seem to carry meaning. Just as 'my cat Lenny' carries meaning, though Lenny is not. He doesn't exist anymore. Despite Lenny not existing, 'my cat Lenny' is a meaningful term, there are facts about it., and beyond the mere fact that I remember him. I remember him because he is a meaningful concept, not vice versa.

When you say that the existence of material is a non-condition, that it simply is, don't you beg the question because you assume that non-existence is meaningless? By the same logic, couldn't you say that "My existence subjectively for me is a non-condition because subjectively my non-existence is meaningless?" So you are either assuming that non-existence or nothingness is a kind of existence or that it's meaningless. Does 'my cat Lenny' exist? Is 'my cat Lenny' a meaningless term?

As to whether logic would be God, I don't think so because logic doesn't compel or cause anything to happen unless it's being implemented by agents. At most it describes some aspects of reality.

As far as God being a 'special case,' well, yes, IF there is God, God would be special in a number of ways. So to decide beforehand that God cannot be special and that this fact weighs against God's reality is to beg the question. If God created 'from nothing' then this creation would be a special case. We may be equivocating over the word 'from.' I make bread 'from' flour and water. But 'from nothing' is not using this sense of the word 'from,' because of the linguistic problems associated with 'nothingness' discussed earlier. It doesn't follow that 'nothing' was the material God used to create the world in the way I use flour and water to make bread. The Law of Conservation applies to the physical universe so I don't see how it could apply to the question of "why?" We're asking about the ground of possibility of that or any law or of this or any universe. You're assuming the outcome of the question and then incorporating this assumption into one of your premises. I think you're assuming that physicalist-type explanations are the only legitimate ones. All I'm suggesting is that there may be others.

As far as the definition of God being 'contrived and unnecessary,' God has been defined as eternal, necessary, non-material, infinite, and the ground of being for over a thousand years in various philosophical and theological traditions around the world, so it's not an ad hoc or opportunistic definition. Whatever would fulfill all those criteria would by definition be God. Those features were chosen because they are the least analogical ones possible. The other characteristics such as creator, personal, etc. get more deeply mired into the symbolic and say more about human limits than about God. If Plato's Realm of the Forms fulfilled all those criteria, then it would be God, but even Plato placed the One or the Good as the form of forms which I think would be a better candidate.

God is not logically necessary, thus it cannot be logically proved and therefore nothing more than a rational warrant can apply. But I believe that God is ontologically necessary, meaning that IF God is, then God necessarily is (as per definition above) and IF God is not, then God is impossible. Since I believe that it can be reasonably argued that God is not impossible, then it follows that God is necessary. But I'm not dogmatic about it and acknowledge that I could be wrong.
Plano, TX
Post #: 47

Problem solved.

Oh, you want me to relate this to the exact question at hand? Ok, let's try. If there is something, and we exist of it, then we can observe it. If there were nothing, we could not exist of it, and therefore that state could never be observed.

The rest of the discussion MUST stem from the realization that our observed universe MUST facilitate our existence. Any other question would be like asking "Why didn't we evolve on Mercury?". The answer is the obvious one... We couldn't. The conditions aren't right. Though, some other entity may be suited for those conditions... Our definition of "something" is simply a label we slap on anything that can participate in our observed universe. Who knows, maybe intelligent life exists in a realm we'd define as "nothing"?
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 75
Rowdy, I agree that the universe has to facilitate the existence of everything in that universe but that's independent of whether those things in the universe are capable of observation or not. There may be factors in that universe that certain organisms in that universe cannot observe. Do chimps observe dna or quantum mechanics? How do we know there aren't other factors that facilitate our existence that we cannot observe? And a universe with no observers would still exist, wouldn't it?
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 31
Alright, so it seems I'm getting too tied up in the "how" and thinking that I'm considering the "why" of the question. I tend towards a more nihilistic view of the universe. I see no evidence of things happening for any reason. In other words, telos is for life, not a lifeless universe. "Why" implies "for what end?" and I do not believe that there can be an answer to this question other than god. Essentially, the question is biased towards god for the very reason that it requirestelos, which suggests a conscious force behind it. If we take this back to Plato, "Why are flutes made? To be played. How are flutes made? By carving wood in a particular way." Note that in the former, the end is called to make the answer. In the later, it is merely a process.

Now as far as my ramblings on potential, I'm sure they're false. I'm reasonably certain that this nothing cannot give rise to something. I'm really just playing devil's advocate. Although I really do like the idea that we are essentially made of energy borrowed from nothing. For some reason, I find that rather poetic. From nothing we came, and to nothing we return. It also aligns very well with my nihilistic view of the universe.

That being said I think I finally see what you're saying. If the question is "why" then the only reason that makes sense is that there was/is something that is outside existence which gives existence its reason for being. Restated, one might say "If the universe exists for a reason, then god necessarily exist as the grounds for this reason." However, there is an alternative to this: "If the universe exists for no reason, then god is not necessary for its existence." Furthermore, if god is defined as the eternal necessary ground of being, then god cannot exist in a meaningless universe. It seems then, that the existence of god hinges on this telos. If existence has a purpose, then god exists. If not, the god does not exist.

While I think it might make us feel better if this existence meant something, I completely reject the claim that it does. I think it's wishful thinking. Existence itself is meaningless and I think it must be so. If it is not so, then I reject this god on the grounds that the ends do not justify the means. No matter what the telos behind existence is, I do not believe that it could justify the pain and suffering of those within it. Now, life may be an accident, a little side-effect of the true telos of the universe, in which case life is still universally meaningless even if existence is not. At which point I oppose an active god because he seems either indifferent or at least biased towards certain groups. I also choose not to worship a god that is inactive (asleep/dead/etc...) because there's no point in doing so.

Well poo. I suppose I'm now technically an agnostic atheist. I must say I saw this coming. Jim, your logic may be hard to absorb, but it's also hard to circumvent.

Now, the only thing left is that we must determine whether or not it is necessary for there to be a reason/purpose/telos for existence. The problem is that I'm not sure this question is actually answerable. I'm also not sure that every answer could be equal. If the reason for existence is simply "to be" or "it is impossible not to be" I'm not sure that either makes a case for god any more than they make a case for the eternal universe. Granted, such answers generally fall short (as has been pointed out before) and god seems to be the only possible source for the true telos of the universe.

Perhaps that's where the true divide originates between theists and atheists. One operates under the assumption that this must all mean something, the other that all this cannot mean anything. From the premise that this must all mean something, theism/religion/spirituality arise out of necessity in order to explain this telos. If that is the case, then I must say that you're right, there is a rational warrant for religion. The problem is that of existential telos. One assumption leads us down one logical road, while the other is a dead-end of sorts (even though it may also be true). While I tend to think the dead end is the truth, if it is impossible to know for sure which direction to take at the fork, then it is not irrational to follow the path that leads to religion. Was that not the longest path to realization ever? It even had to span into a new topic! I am glad, though, that we did at least manage to get to the heart of things.
Jim B.
user 4260314
Arlington, TX
Post #: 76
I appreciate your viewpoint and accept the very real possibilty that you are right. Not just existence, but life also seems meaningless and without purpose. I think that one can be certain that existence is meaningless or certain that it's meaningful or uncertain as to the entire question of meanning itself, which I think is more in line with what I've been saying. It also could be that we are both right in certain ways. Existence may have an explanation in terms of its ground but not necessarily in terms of its end or telos. If there is real freedom and indeterminacy, then the world is genuinely open, God or no God, so that there may not be any telos inscribed into the nature of existence in either case. It's just that genuinely free agency is hard for me to account for in terms of physical reductionism.

It could be that words like 'meaning' and 'purpose' have to be applied analogically to God, though I realize that the 'analogical card' can be dodgy and not immune to criticism. It's just that if God is on the level of (necessary) being, that would be the broadest category possible (unless you include nothingness as well), so how could 'purpose' apply to being since purpose requires an instrumental ordering of means and ends?

I've thought of some serious flaws in my argument which makes me think that there's no real way to argue for this sort of thing other than to realize that both sides may ultimately be saying the same basic things under slightly different categories. Metaphysics seems to be like a wheel - the further out toward the edge of the wheel, the further apart the spokes ( or metaphysical positions) are but that the closer you approach the "center," (or the more fundamental the ideas), the closer together the spokes become, until they converge at the hub, which in traditional wooden wheels is nothing but empty space! Could it be that the void has a (sadistic?) sense of humor?biggrin
user 10963465
Group Organizer
Mesquite, TX
Post #: 32
I'm reminded of an Einstein quote "The more I learn, the more I learn that I know nothing."

Perhaps the uncertainty principle also applies to metaphysics. In quantum mechanics, the more specific the information is that you try to determine and the smaller (and more precise) the measurement you're trying to gather, the more uncertain you are of any of it. Rather, the more random the results seem to be. After a certain point, you can only know so much. Anything beyond that point is obscured by the uncertainty principle. We're getting into some very specific, perhaps quantum aspects of metaphysics.

As far as purpose/meaning/telos goes there seem to be two ways that something gains telos:
1) It is given telos (IE: I make/find a knife and give it the purpose "to cut").
2) It gives itself telos (IE: I choose as my purpose to gain and share knowledge).
Note: One may say that purpose can exist by nature but this is not purpose it is function.

From this, if existence has purpose then:
1. God must have given the universe its purpose. or
2. The universe itself is alive (which one could consider god), and it gave itself purpose by choice.

Now, if the universe chose it's purpose, then this assumes both its existence and a point before which the universe had no purpose (prior to the choice). Such a "choice" would have to precede existence in order for this to satisfactorily qualify as god if god is to be defined as the eternal, necessary ground of being. This means that the living universe option isn't really an option. It may be true that the universe is god, but it cannot be god in totality. For instance, it may be possible that all of existence is located within the mind of god, as has been proposed before. However, god still created this universe with purpose within his mind, which means that it is option 1, not option 2.

To further complicate the issue, consider the purpose of god. God was not created, and so he MUST choose his own purpose. Essentially, that which gives meaning to existence is, itself, inherently meaningless. The ground of being may serve, as its function, as that which imparts telos to existence, however, this ground itself cannot have an intrinsic telos of its own. If one says that the purpose of the ground of being is to serve as the reason for existence, this implies a "purpose giver" that lies beyond even the ground of being. Such an argument could continue ad infinitum.

This problem does not occur in the following situations:
1. The ground of being has no purpose, only a function.
2. The ground of being had no purpose, but chose a purpose.

These two stances, however, are not without their own perils. The first is that it is unclear as to how a function can give rise to a purpose. According to Kant, reason is necessary in order to actually make a choice, otherwise one is acting merely as a slave to ones appetite. Basically, without reason, one acts out of function. However, what constitutes a choice made by reason and a "choice" made my impulse/appetite/function is a bit fuzzy as well as seeming more than a little arbitrary. In the second option, it is not readily apparent how any choice can be made in the absence of all... especially when there would theoretically be an infinite number of choices available. Part of me envisions a scene where god ponders "to be or not to be? ... to be!" followed by the big bang. The only problem with that is that god would have no choice as to whether or not he exists. If he is capable of making the choice, then he must exist in order to make it. It's a nice thought though.

Another interesting point to make would be that in order to make such a choice, god must posses both a mind and a capacity for reason. This is not necessarily the case if god must only give purpose merely by his function. I think the later is supported by at least Christian theology. God tends to act "by his nature" as opposed to actually making choices. This, of course, is at odds with biblical passages which suggest that God does make choices... but that's an entirely different argument which is beyond the scope of this discussion.

It seems as if, just as it was with the ground of being, that the "ground of meaning" may have similar problems. Considering the seemingly apparent meaningless existence of even god, I think it tilts the scales in the favor of meaningless existence.

Granted, this all hinges on the origins of telos as I've laid them out. Perhaps other methods of attributing purpose could be possible which could derail my argument (which would not surprise me in the least).
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