It's probably just a crazy thought, but could circular reasoning be reasonable when it comes to existence? I'm going to expand on that, but not before acknowledging that some problems with this hypothesis that I didn't think through may be pointed out by someone more knowledgeable or imaginative than me. Also, I haven't really heard anyone talk about existence in these terms. I realize that may be a sign that it doesn't make that much sense, but it could also mean that I just didn't hear anyone talk about it, even though some could have.


So, why circular reasoning? Well, perhaps it's not as stupid as we think it is. Of course, when we talk about chronological events, it seems kind of meaningless, but what if we're not. What if we're talking about nothing, not as in the absence of matter, or space-time, or energy, but actually nothing. People ask how could something come out of nothing, but what if something is bound to come out of nothing? What if everything that is hypothetically possible is bound to come out of nothing? And I'm not talking about Hawking's new book here, in which he explains how universes can occur due to some laws of physics. I'm talking about the existence of these laws too. Actually, they wouldn't have begun at any point, but just always existed because there is no alternative; nothing is impossible to exist.


I know it doesn't make sense so far, but hopefully I will manage to change that a bit in the next phrases. To do that, I will go back to circular reasoning. So, let's say that we could have literally nothing. The problem, in this case, with something existing is the first cause or set of causes that puts the rest into motion (for the purposes of this discussion I will stick with a set of causes, no matter how big, because I don't think it would matter how many causes there are). The problem with this set of causes is that it wouldn't have been triggered by anything. But, like in circular reasoning, what if it's triggered/caused by the events it, in term, caused. So, A causes B which causes C which causes A (A, B, C are each a set of events/causes). Of course, this can go on and on, but there has to be a set of events, caused in a causality chain by the first set of events, which, in turn, cause this first set. I know it's confusing, but that's why it's circular reasoning and not normal reasoning. Continuing, I'd ask how could an event be caused by the event it caused. Well, it couldn't... that's if these events happen in a world where time exists. But we're talking about nothing here, not even time. So, in a way, everything happens at the same time. Wouldn't it be impossible for these sets of causes not to exist if they are self-contained and make sense, as in everything is determined/caused by something and nothing exists without a cause? If that's true, then every combination of these sets of causes that would determine events that would, in turn, cause them, would exist. If a set of causes can't be caused by the events it triggers, then that set of causes would simply be impossible to exist.


So, according to this ad hoc idea of mine, the world we are living in (that means what ever multi-verse or meta-universe there is besides the known universe) it's just one of those possible, if not imminent, combinations. Also, if it were true, then, simply put, everything that is hypothetically possible it's real, even if not in our circular chain of events.


Finally, for clarification, if this were to be true, then there wouldn't be any actual first set of causes, just like in a circle there is no start point. I hope I wasn't too confusing with my explanation. I'm talking about causality here, but not like in a straight line where an event is caused by a previous event, but like a kind of circle or closed loop, where there is no start or end point.


Again, it's just a crazy idea I developed lately, but I want to hear what you think of it. I also realize there is no scientific basis for it, but a purely logical one. And it denies the possibility of an ultimate creator, not that it would need any more denying.


I do NOT claim that all, or even some, of what is written above is either fact, probable or even reasonable, as I find it extremely confusing myself. My only concern is to share this idea and hopefully get some clarification to tip the balance of reason one way or another. I also apologize if confusion occurred during your reading of this post.

Tags: existence, nature, universe

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I don't really dig most of science-fiction because it's often bad science and even worse fiction. Unfortunately, this means I miss out on the great products of human imagination and intellect that may be mirrored by such literature. That being said, this is kind of what I was saying. However, I don't understand this: "we [...] figure out how to start a new universes and then realize that someone has to go back and start this universe." Or what? If the universe wasn't caused by something, it wouldn't exist, therefore, if we don't start the universe, something else will. But that's a good point. It could be that some intelligent beings close the loop, but there could also be really "short" worlds, with little events and circumstances that close the circle of existence. In these cases, and not only these, the actual laws of that universe would be of such manner that the starting (improperly said) event would happen.

Anyway, I hope the fact that others have thought about this is a good sign that it's not 100% crazy.
I like the Wizard of Oz because its theme--there is no place like home--resonates with the notion that there is no Heaven or god--only charlatans who want people to believe there is. And I like Alice in Wonderland because it shows logic does not explain existence.

Below are the various attempts by science to explain it. Their conclusions: no one knows jack. So you're not the only one confused, Radu.

----------------------------------

One can equally hypothesis a universe that came out of nothing. (Note, in a vacuum,
subatomic particles seemingly pop into existence out of nothing, so applying this to a
universe does not deem improbable.)

1. The universe had a beginning
No one has evidence of a universal beginning. Although the known expanding
universe suggests a smaller volume universe in the past, this does not necessarily
mean that it had a primordial "beginning." Recent hypothesis suggest that even a Big
Bang does not require an absolute singularity. Furthermore, various "many-world"
hypothesis proposed by physicists produce many Big-Bangs. There simply does not
exist enough information to determine whether or not the universe had a beginning,
or even what "beginning" means in terms of a universe.

2. Everything that had a beginning must have had a cause outside of itself.
Human short life spans do not allow knowledge about "everything" and we could not
possibly have tested for everything in the universe to see if it had a beginning or not.
Therefore we cannot possibly know everything much less know that everything had a
beginning. And why would "everything" have to have an outside cause? Do quarks
have an outside cause or a beginning? And what does it mean by "outside." Why not
include whatever exists "outside" as part of the total universe?

3. Therefore, the universe had a cause outside of itself
Since we don't know whether the universe exists as open or closed, or whether many
universes exist, or whether it had a beginning, or no beginning, we cannot possibly
determine cause much less an "outside of itself."

4. The universe or universes may have always existed without an initial beginning. No
creator required.

"If the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge,
it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place then, for
a creator?"
-Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time)

5. The universe or universes may have come into existence from pure static energy to
create matter-energy. No designer required.

6. Perhaps the universe came out of a singularity or "nothing" (Standard Big Bang).
No intellegent designer required.

7. The Big Bang may have had no singularity at the beginning. No creator required.
(really the same thing as 3)

"It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other
physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe."
-Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time)

8. Maybe the universe cycles though an infinite number of Big Bangs. No designer
required.

9. Perhaps the question of a beginning or infinite universe has no answer and we have
posed meaningless questions to ask because of our limit of understanding.
Although the leading hypothesis, the Big Bang, has some indirect evidence for
support (expansion, black body radiation, etc.), many a hypothesis has proven
incorrect with far less evidence. Regardless of how consistent a mathematical theory
seems, if it does not have good supporting evidence, then nothing about its nature can
produce factual knowledge. Moreover, even the Big Bang requires no need to
postulate an intellegent designer to make it consistent with observation and reason.
Virtually all other hypothesis, Anthropic Principles, Many Worlds,
expansion-contraction theories, TOEs, etc. all come from speculation and have little
to do with fact and evidence.

To conclude, I propose that we do not know enough about the universe(s) to make a
determination about the history of its origin or if it had one. And to introduce a
creator adds nothing to our knowledge of the universe but has only created
insurmountable or inconsistent problems. To date, all useful knowledge about nature
and the universe holds consistent with a non-designer universe. Lest the reader failed
to read the previous sentence, it bears repeating: To date, all useful knowledge about
nature and the universe holds consistent with a non-designer universe. Until evidence
for a creator appears, this universal consistency of a complete lack of evidence for an
intellegent designer makes the non-intellegent-designed universe the leading theory.

"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more
interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong."
-Richard Feynman, physicist
Continuing, I'd ask how could an event be caused by the event it caused. Well, it couldn't... that's if these events happen in a world where time exists. But we're talking about nothing here, not even time. So, in a way, everything happens at the same time.

I like it! Perhaps our construct of reality is too heavily biased by being inextricably bound to time. Or maybe it is because we cannot experience any dimensions beyond the three spatial and one temporal; we're like the two-dimensional characters of Flatland who are confounded by the incomprehensible presence of a three-dimensional object. By experiencing time as the threshold of our dimensional experience, we are unable to conceive of anything superseding this dimension and are therefore limited in our perceptions. Because we are locked into the flow of time as individual units, we cannot step outside of time and see it as a whole entity. (I've yet to seriously study physics but I think that I might have just regurgitated some horribly dumbed-down version of string theory. Be gentle with an English major. ;) )

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