Thursday, May 3, 2018

Modern Deism Explained

I am a Deist. Not an 18th century Deist but a modern 21st century Deist. For all practical purposes that means I'm an atheist who believes in God, sort of... The genesis for this rather unorthodox opinion lies decades ago in my college years when I was a student majoring in biology. At that time the legislature of the state I resided in passed and the governor signed into law a bill requiring public schools to teach biblical creationism whenever evolution was mentioned in class. As I was then, and still remain, a hardcore evolutionist I found this intrusion by religion into science deeply disturbing (an opinion I still hold). However my philosophy professor, who was also opposed to this law, used the opportunity to challenge us to defend our opinions about the case. As an atheist I initially thought the task would be easy but that proved not to be the case. And while I never saw any reason to change my mind about the impossibility of divine intervention I did find good cause to question my disbelief in the general idea of the existence of God. It was then I became aware of Deism, a philosophy that holds that God exists based on reasoned arguments, and discovered to my shock I was in fact NOT an atheist but rather a Deist. In the past when people have asked me about how I came to be a Deist I was not really able to vocalize my reasons because while the philosophy is simple the explanation is quite complex. Thus I resolved to set down in writing what led me to this philosophy. I have attempted to keep it as simple as possible so I have decided to stick to basic logic which is essential to understanding the thesis so I begin with a brief overview of it for those who have never studied the subject. Just keep in mind this is only my opinion based on reading as much as I could of philosophy and science. It is not my intention to convince or convert anyone only to explain my own views. Nor is this essay a complete explanation of the entire philosophy. That would require a book as the consequences of belief in a Deistic God and the ethics it entails are extremely involved. So I have limited this piece to why I think a Deistic God exists and will leave the rest for later.

Modern Deism Explained
copyright 2017

Does God exist? Theists say yes. Atheists say no. Who am I to believe?

Like many others I have thought long and hard about this question and for most of my life sided squarely with the atheists. But after learning as much as I can about logic and critical thinking I have come to the conclusion atheism is untenable. and that God exists. Therefore it is my intention to demonstrate in a manner any reasonably intelligent person can understand how I came to the conclusion that the claim "God exists" is more logical than the claim "God does not exist" but be warned It is a very different God than ever conceived of before.

In order to show an argument is the only logical choice among several two criteria must be met. First it must be demonstrated the argument is completely and without exception obedient to the rules of logic. Second it must be proven there are no alternatives to the argument. This requires a knowledge of what logic is and how it is derived. We will begin where the great French philosopher Rene Descartes did. With ourselves.

The maxim "cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am) is a self-referential observation that provides certain knowledge of our own conscious existence. But that observation can also be put in the form of a syllogism:

I am a thinking being.
In order to think a being must exist.
Therefore I must exist.

This three line analysis of our own personal awareness allows the examination of ideas and is thus the basis of all philosophy and everything we know about logic is derived from this observation; proper distribution of terms to avoid non-sequiturs, the copula which establishes the relationship between those terms positively or negatively by using a form of the words "is" or "is not", and the fallacy of contradictions because how could I be aware of myself if I did not exist?

That contradictions cannot be accepted is easily demonstrated. Imagine an irresistible force, represented by a battering ram that can demolish anything at all, colliding with an immovable object, represented by a wall that can not be breached by anything at all. What would happen if the two met? It would result in an inconceivable event. The idea of an irresistible force, like the battering ram, colliding with an immovable object, such as the wall, is paradoxical and therefore logically impossible and must, as with all contradictions, be dismissed.

Contradictory claims such as an irresistible force colliding with an immovable object cannot be allowed in logical systems

The formal expression of a logical statement is called the syllogism (there are other higher forms of logic but the conclusions reached here in this brief essay are compatible with all of them). In order to better understand it let’s look at it in generic form:

A is B major premise
B is C minor premise
A is C conclusion

Notice how the middle term "B" occurs in both the major and minor premises thus connecting the minor term "A" to the major term "C" allowing for a conclusion. This connection must exist. If it doesn't the conclusion must be dismissed as a non-sequitur.

Each line in a syllogism is an idea presented in a specific way and is made up of four subunits; a quantifier such as all, some or none,which tells how much of the second or subject term is specified. The subject, of course, is what the sentence refers to.

Thirdly there is a predicate term which describes some property or characteristic the subject does or does not possess. The predicate may be either necessary, that is a property that is essential to the concept of the subject, or contingent, which is a property that may or may not be held by the subject but which does not alter its essential nature. For example a triangle must necessarily have three sides but the length of the sides may vary resulting in different types of triangles because that is a contingent factor.

Three sides are necessary for a triangle but the length of the sides is  contingent

It is also very important that the parts of the sentence be presented in the correct order to avoid confusion. There is a big difference between "dog bites man" and "man bites dog". Without syntax it would be impossible to determine if we should guard against a dangerous beast or prosecute someone for animal cruelty.

Because of the various ways the subunits can be combined there are four possible types of sentences in a syllogism and each has its own properties. They are:

1. Universal and affirmative- These are sentences in which every member of a class has a characteristic the predicate describes therefore the subject is said to be distributed. The predicate however is not distributed because it does not refer to everything that may fit that description. For example the sentence "every rose is red" asserts that all roses are the same color but there are things other than roses that might also be that color. In this case the term "roses" is a subset of the term "red". This can be illustrated by a device called a Venn diagram in which the subject term is contained within the predicate term.

2. Universal and negative- In this type of sentence no member of the subject class has the characteristics described by the predicate. The subject and predicate are both distributed therefore since all the members of the subject class are referred to as well as all members of the predicate class when they are excluded from each other. This may be seen in the sentence "no reptile has hair".Nothing in the category "reptile" has hair and nothing that does have hair is a reptile. In this case the Venn diagram looks like this:

3. Particular and affirmative- In this case only some of the members of the subject class are described by the predicate which implies of course that there are other members of the class which aren't. Neither the subject or the predicate are distributed. Consider the sentence "some athletes are women". This sentence does not refer to all athletes. It only refers to those athletes that are women. Nor does it refer to all women, only those that are athletes. The Venn diagram in this case is in the form of an intersection and the sentence refers only to those members of each set common to both.

4. Particular and negative- Some but not necessarily all of the members of the subject class do not share the characteristics of the predicate. There are two possible forms this sentence can take. First it could be that some members of the subject class is described by the predicate or second it may be that no member of the subject class is described by the predicate. Consider the sentence "some people are not psychic". It is not determinable from the sentence if some people are psychic or no one is because it is not clear if either the subject or the predicate is distributed or not. So the Venn diagram may intersect or it may not.

There are two basic rules which govern how terms are distributed in the syllogism:

1.- The middle term must be distributed at least once. Syllogisms that violate this rule take this form;

All dogs are mammals
All cats are mammals
Therefore all dogs are cats

In this case the middle term is "mammals" and it is true that all dogs are mammals and so are all cats. But cats are not dogs and dogs are not cats so the argument is false. And the reason it is false is because it violates the law of distribution for the middle term. This is because even though each premise by itself is correct in syntax (that is both correctly place the terms "dogs" and "cats" within the category "mammals" not the other way around) the category "mammals" should be a subset of the predicate term in the minor premise not "cats". An example of a correctly distributed middle term would be;

All dogs are mammals
All mammals are animals
Therefore all dogs are animals

2.- The next rule states that if a term is not distributed in the premises it must not be distributed in the conclusion. For instance;

All monkeys are primates
No man is a monkey
Therefore no man is a primate

This is clearly false because the premises are not written in a way that tells us about all primates but by excluding man the conclusion does. The only way this syllogism could be considered valid would be to show that all primates are monkeys. But that goes beyond what we know from the premises. The fact is man is a primate.

There are also three rules we need to know about to determine whether or not a conclusion is affirmative or negative. They are;

1.- No conclusion can follow from two negative premises. Consider the argument:

No birds have gills
No thing with gills can fly
Therefore no bird can fly

Now it is true no birds have gills. Fish have gills and no fish can fly but that has nothing to do with what birds are capable of. The conclusion assumes information not presented in the premises and must therefore be dismissed.

2.- If one premise is negative the conclusion must also be negative. Now it is possible to construct a syllogism that obeys all the previous rules I have mentioned and still be false:

Some men are football players
Football players are not women
Therefore some men are women

The correct conclusion of course would be "some men are not women".

3.- Finally a negative conclusion does not follow from two affirmative premises:

All men are human
All humans are mortal
Therefore some mortal beings are not men

This is a fallacy even though it is true. Again the conclusion assumes more information than the premises provides. It should read "all men are mortal".

As you can see assuming a conclusion that does not follow from the premises is a major fallacy. It may be true or it may be false. It just cannot be determined one way or the other from the argument. Only conclusions that follow from the premises are valid. Those that violate this principle are non-sequiturs (does not follow).

Non-sequiturs are not the only fallacies. Here are a few more we need to know about to understand the following argument.

1. Ambiguity- This is a fallacy in which terms change meaning in an argument:

Bill and Ted are brothers in a fraternity
Ted is Mary's brother
Therefore Bill is Mary's brother too

As you can see the word "brother" in the major premise has a completely different meaning than the same word in the minor premise therefore we cannot be sure if the conclusion is true. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't.

2. Argument from authority- Society sets up some people as experts in certain fields. What this means is they have a deeper knowledge of a given subject than the average person does. It does not mean they know everything there is to know about it and are therefore infallible. There are no exceptions to this rule. Some of the greatest thinkers in history have been proven wrong or recanted long held beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence or persuasive arguments. And no text, no matter how sacred, is immune either. In fact it is because some were willing to challenge the prevailing wisdom society has been able to progress. So consider what these people say but base your opinions on reasoned arguments and evidence.

3. Circular reasoning- This comes from assuming whatever it is that you are trying to prove is true in order to prove it to be true. The most famous example is this:

1st person, "Mohammed was inspired by God to write the Koran"
2nd person, "How do you know?"
1st person, "Because the Koran says he was."
2nd person, "How do you know the Koran is right?"
1st person, "Because it was written by Mohammed who was inspired by God."

This argument assumes the truth of its conclusion in order to prove the truth of its conclusion. It maybe true or it maybe false. Who knows?

4. Untestability- An explanation that must be taken completely on faith because there is no way to verify it. This is also known as "Russell's teapot" after the British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell who stated that making untestable claims is no different than saying there is a teapot orbiting Mars. There is no way to prove there isn't one but there is also no reason to assume there is either. The burden of proof of a claim is on the person making the claim. So I don't have to prove there is not a teapot orbiting Mars the person who insists there is must provide evidence it is there.

5. The fallacy fallacy- This occurs when someone dismisses a conclusion because the argument it is based on has been shown to be fallacious for some reason. But an argument can be wrong in form and the conclusion can still be true. For example:

Turtles have shells
Some animals with shells are reptiles
Therefore turtles are reptiles

This syllogism is incorrect in form so the conclusion does not follow from the premises however the conclusion happens to be correct so dismissing the conclusion because the syllogism is faulty is unjustified. All a person not familiar with turtles, reptiles or things with shells could say is that there is not enough information to draw a conclusion. (I include this as I am not a professional philosopher or scientist and this is not an academic paper rather just an explanation of my personal opinion there is a chance some minor mistake may have crept in but dismissing the conclusion of the argument based on a trivial error is illogical because it may make no difference as to the validity of the conclusion thus the only legitimate criticism of the conclusion of the argument must be based on elements of the argument that directly affect that conclusion.)

6. Appeal to ignorance aka the argument from incredulity- Assuming a conclusion simply because you can't imagine it being otherwise:

"There is no evidence that aliens didn't build the pyramids and I can't imagine ancient humans with primitive technology being able to build them therefore aliens must have built the pyramids".

Again there is no proof the claim is true so it cannot be accepted.

7. False dichotomy- Claiming there are only two possible conclusions to an argument therefore if one is shown to be wrong the other must be right:

Cars either go forward or they go backwards
This car is not going backwards
Therefore this car is going forward

While there are true dichotomies they generally apply to universals not particulars therefore this is false because cars may also be parked and not move at all. The best example of a true dichotomy is the one we started with, "I think therefore I am" because there are only two provable possibilities, 1, I do not exist and 2, I do exist. Since I am aware of my self the former cannot be true. This demonstrates that it is possible to prove a conclusion true if there are only two possible answers by a process of elimination. If that is the case then if one is shown to be false the other must be true. This is also possible for problems in which there are more than two possible answers but in order to show an answer to be true by elimination all other answers must be proven false no matter how many there are. The one that's left must be true.

8. Composition- This fallacy assumes what is true of a whole is true of the parts that make up the whole but this is not true. Imagine two tanks of water connected by a pipe that allows water to flow between them. Now imagine a control valve in the pipe closed so no flow is possible. Tank "A" is filled three fourths full while tank "B" is only filled one fourth full. Now if the control valve is opened water will flow out of tank "A" into tank "B" until the levels are equal. Each tank is a part of the whole structure which consists of both tanks and the pipe between them. When the valve is opened there is a change in each tank, "A" loses water and "B" gains water but the total amount of water in the whole system remains the same the entire time because no water is added or removed to the system after it is originally filled thus demonstrating the whole is different from its parts.

Water flows out of tank "A" and into tank "B" but the total amount stays the same because the whole is different than its parts

Now there are cases where there is no difference between the whole and its parts so assuming, for instance, that because a muffler on a car is made of metal the rest of the car must be made of something else because the whole is different from a part is not founded in any reasonable and demonstrable difference therefore in order to show that an argument is invalid because of the fallacy of composition it must be demonstrated such a difference exists logically. In the first case there is a finite amount of water in the system as a whole and that amount does not change. But there is a change in the water level in each individual tank therefore there is a logical and demonstrable reason to conclude that in this case the whole is different than its parts. In the second case there is no difference in the material  of which the muffler and the rest of the car is made so concluding there is a difference between them based on that is not logical. If no logical basis for such a difference can be shown then it cannot be assumed such a difference exists.

9. False equivalence- This is where a claim is made that two or more things are the same because they share some trait that has nothing to do with what the subject refers to.

"Dogs and cats both have fur therefore they must be the same species."

This is obviously false. Just because dogs and cats both have fur that doesn't mean they are the same species. There are legitimate uses of the principle of equivalence however that is not a fallacy. The most famous use of the principle of equivalence was by Albert Einstein when he equated acceleration with gravity when he developed the theory of relativity. But he was able to show a logical connection between the two that was relevant to his thesis. If no such logical connection can be demonstrated there is no basis for assuming equivalence.

10. Straw man- Misrepresenting an argument in order to defeat the argument.

1st person, "Scientific evidence supports the theory of evolution."
2nd person, "Only atheists believe in evolution and communists are atheists."

The first person states that evolution is supported by scientific evidence but doesn't elaborate any further on that statement. The second person however attempts to twist what the first person says by associating acceptance of the fact that the theory of evolution is supported by evidence with atheism and in turn associating atheism with communism. But the conclusion a person who accepts evolution is an atheist and a communist has nothing to do with what the first person said. In fact that conclusion is demonstrably false because there are people who accept evolution that are not atheists and there are atheists who are not communists.

11. Invalid premises- A syllogism can be completely correct in form and avoid all the fallacies listed above and still be wrong because the terms found in the premises have no basis in fact or observation. For example:

All men are mortal
All mortals are dogs
Therefore all men are dogs

This is a valid syllogism but, even though I know several women who would whole heartedly agree with it, the conclusion is not correct because the minor premise contains incorrect information. It assumes all mortals are dogs but there is no factual basis for that claim. While it is true that all dogs are mortal so are birds and trees, and fish and many other forms of life. In order to have a syllogism that is both valid and true it must take the correct form and have premises that are true in fact. And that is the province of inductive logic but before we examine it I would like to add a couple more fallacies to the list.

12. Reification- This is when an abstraction is assumed to be concrete or real. An example would be something like the personification of an abstract idea such as Themis the Greek goddess of Justice then applying human characteristics derived from that personification to the concept of justice.

13. Cherry picking- This is when certain parts of an argument are taken out of context in order to falsely refute it. The only way to legitimately refute an argument is to take it as a whole and show why it's conclusion is faulty .

14. Obstinance- This is technically not a fallacy but the refusal to accept legitimate arguments and evidence simply because you don't like them. If you want to know the truth you must accept whatever results logic leads you to honestly no matter how inconvenient, depressing, distasteful or uncomfortable they are to you because the truth doesn't depend upon the way you feel about it. It is simply the truth. Now we will consider inductive logic and the scientific method.

These are the basic rules of deductive logic and by adhering to them we may analyze not only philosophical arguments but what we discover about the world around us through inductive logic, which will be explained shortly, and the various arguments about how the observations we glean from induction should best be interpreted. It is through induction we will derive many of the premises for the syllogisms we will construct. It is therefore important observations be done in a manner that is as reliable as possible because for a statement to be completely logical it must not only be correct in form but contain true premises.

We have seen how deductive logic can be derived from our own personal awareness but we also perceive things that seem to be separate from us. What is this world outside of me, what is it made of and how does it behave?

Acquiring true or at least credible premises is the province of inductive logic also known as the scientific method or alternatively empiricism. It is simply the logical examination of what we experience. Therefore it applies only to what we experience. However unlike deductive logic in the form of the syllogism it can never arrive at a definite conclusion by itself because no matter how many times a phenomenon has been seen to occur a particular way there is always the possibility it may be seen differently in the future.

The rules governing the scientific method permit the investigation of actual phenomena to see how it behaves. They are:

1. State the problem- What is it you want to know?

2. Develope an hypothesis- That is form an opinion based on your own observations that you think best explains the phenomenon in question.

3. Experiment- Test your hypothesis by establishing a procedure that will allow you to isolate and manipulate individual variables or aspects of the phenomenon and compare them to other unmanipulated or controlled examples of the same test subject. This may be done by constructing an if-then scenario in which a characteristic is assumed for the time being to cause certain effects. So if it were eliminated then those effects would no longer be seen. If however they are seen then the assumption was wrong. Either way you have learn something about it

Any difference between the control and test subjects may be attributed to the variables. Designing an experiment may be difficult however as there may be many variables with which to work so knowing which ones may reveal the desired information may be difficult. A useful guide in such cases is an intellectual tool called Occam's Razor. It allows a person to focus on the most probable answers to a problem and avoid tedious time consuming trial and error searches. It basically says the simplest answer to a problem is usually the best and any investigation should begin there.

4. Interpret the data- Was your hypothesis right or wrong? A single experiment may not be enough to allow the formation of a tenable theory but a series of them may show distinct patterns the replication of which may allow the construction of a reasonable explanation. It maybe however that more than one explanation may fit the data you have accumulated. In that case other experiments guided by Occam's Razor may be necessary.

5. Draw conclusions- Experimentation allows us to glean raw facts about the world. Logic allows us to compare them with each other and not only put them in order but points the way to further investigation that may permit us to construct a viable theory of what we observe. But remember by itself the scientific method will only provide us with a set of isolated facts without context. It is only by combining them with the reasoning power of deductive logic that a coherent picture of the world emerges. The best way to present that picture is by the use of models. But no matter how exhausting the amount of evidence supporting it is there is always the possibility a model may be proved false with the introduction of new evidence so all any model can really do is show that is consistent with what we see in the world. Nothing more. It is the concept of falsifiablity that distinguishes a model as scientific.

Models are mental representations of how phenomena work and behave that help us understand the world and if used correctly may lead to further insights and discoveries. But they are only representations. They are not the phenomenon itself so you should always keep in mind that just because the model allows or suggests that something may or may not be possible that doesn't mean that the thing it represents is bound by that. Therefore it must always be held suspect. It may be useful up to a point but only properties that follow from a valid premise or are observed experimentally should be accepted.

Science is a statistical discipline and the more consistent the observations the more trust we can place in our experiences. but they will never have the same level of certainty that deductive insights such as "I think therefore I am" has. But the fact we can "know" what to look for and most often find it does imply a deep connection between the mind and the world we see so we can safely assume that the world is logical. Now that we have the intellectual tools required we can at last apply them to the question of the existence of God.

First we have to define what we mean by the term "God" and that requires an understanding of how it was derived.

Anthropologists and historians suggest that the concept of God may have arisen in primitive people as a result of pattern seeking. The recognition of pattern is one of the most basic characteristics of consciousness. Psychologists have determined that our sense of beauty arises from the appreciation of form and symmetry. Rhythm in music, rhyme in poetry, form in sculpture, all instill in us a sort of awe, sometimes to the point of being almost hypnotic. Even the most abstract paintings display subtle patterns that can induce the same feelings we sometimes experience when looking at a particularly beautiful sunset or mountain vista. The association of order with intelligence and the recognition of order in the world could have lead early men and women to conclude that a supreme mind, similar to their own, created the universe.

But the belief in a creator God didn't spring into being fully formed. Initially people ascribed purpose to natural events because they recognized what they believed to be intelligent design. Unfortunately, and quite frequently, things happen that seem to conflict with each other, an earthquake might alter the flow of a river or a fire may destroy a forest. It appeared to the ancients that there are many “gods”, each with their own sphere of influence and their own agenda. Their personal goals didn't always mesh, however, so they spent much of their time warring against each other. Thus polytheism was born from such inferences. Monotheism arose later.

Monotheistic religions seem to have developed over time scribes, and philosophers, such as the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton (one of the greatest theological geniuses of all time), who studying the world saw associations and connections between phenomena previously thought separate and thus ruled by different Gods slowly combined them thus reducing the pantheon of deities to a single creator God. They were able to comprehend a deeper interpretation of the world that implied unity and see a single basic principle underlying all of nature. One God, one reason for existence.

I believe there is some historical evidence of this. One account which shares traits common to many religious definitions of God is found in the 19th psalm of the Hebrew Bible “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.” Then in the Book of Exodus, which recounts the legend of his encounter with God in the form of a bush that burned without being consumed, Moses dared to ask God It’s name. The simple reply? “I AM.” The same conceptual foundation of the self we all share.

What we can glean from this is simple. In fact it the simplest possible definition of God and is shared by most of the worlds religions (although religious authorities include attributes that are not necessary and even atheists when debating theists commonly ask "which God are you referring to?" suggesting different contingent definitions of God arising from differences in religious beliefs however their rejection of all of them implies even they accept a core necessary definition shared by all) that definition is  "God is a self aware being upon which the world is contingent". Nothing more. That is God is conscious and the reason there is something instead of nothing. Some religious authorities may insist that attributes such as omnipotence are necessary to the concept of God but they are not. Neither is the claim God purposely created the world. Just because a religious or philosophical authority claims the definition of God must include certain attributes doesn't make it true. The only attributes of any concept that are necessary are those which are internally consistent with that concept and whose exclusion would destroy the concept. Referring back to the examples of the triangles we can see that some attributes of a concept that have traditionally thought to have been necessary actually aren't. Mathematicians for centuries believed the Euclidean axiom that the angles of all triangles add up to 180 degrees. But in the 19th century non Euclidean geometries showed this was not the case. Triangles in Riemannian space have angles that add up to more than 180 degrees and those in Lobachevskian space add up to less. The only definition of a triangle therefore that is necessary is a geometric object that has three sides and thus three corners. It is only by taking away one of those sides that the triangle disappears. Likewise the ONLY definition of God that is necessary is "a self aware entity upon which the world is contingent" take away either of those two attributes and you lose God. Subtract awareness and all you have left is an inanimate force. Remove the requirement the cosmos is contingent on It and all you have left is just another conscious being with no more relevance to the existence of the world you or I have. Adding omnipotence or omniscience to the definition of God however only creates contradictions but taking them away still leaves us with that core definition therefore such attributes are unnecessary. In fact the Bible itself states in Job 11:7 "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the almighty?" Implying that if God has a purpose or design it is unknowable therefore if it is unknowable it cannot be assumed any such purpose or design exists. Thus the only definition of God even by biblical standards that is reasonable and supportable is that which raises no contradictions or paradoxes and that is simply God is a self aware entity upon which the world is contingent.

Some theists maintain that God is beyond human understanding and therefore not bound by the rules of logic but there is NO evidence supporting that claim and because we are bound by logic we cannot accept such claims made simply to justify a particular religious belief. Many however maintain that such a belief is justified in order to account for what they claim are miracles which they assert are events that cannot be explained by science. That assumes that just because a natural explanation for a particular event has not been explained it cannot be explained. But history is over stuffed with examples of so called miracles that were later explained. So it is not logical to exempt any event from explanation as evidence of divine intervention unless there is absolutely irrefutable evidence of God performing such an act no matter how miraculous it may appear and any natural explanation is utterly impossible which is something that has never happened. So there is no reason to think any claim of miracles or divine intervention is anything other than an irrational and unsubstantiated superstition based on the fallacy of incredulity and should be dismissed as such.

The definition of God as "a self aware being upon which the world is contingent" is logical and the theistic definition is not but it says nothing more about the nature of God or why God created the universe. Was it a deliberate creation or was it an accident? Either way how could God possibly create a universe from nothing? And why does God exist? The answer lies in why there is something rather than nothing.

Most people share the common notion of "nothingness" as a black and empty void that is completely without property. But we can't just assume that definition is correct without reason. And there is good reason to think it is wrong. If "nothingness" were completely without property it would be absolute. And if "nothingness" were absolute we would NOT be here to ponder the question. So the question must be rephrased. Instead of first asking, "how can 'something' come from 'nothing'?" we should instead ask, "what is it about 'nothingness' that keeps it from being absolute?" And after answering that question then we can show how "something" can come from "nothing".

All concepts must be defined, even "nothingness" otherwise we may assert a definition that is wrong simply because it seems to us it should be true. No definition or proposition may be considered true however unless it has a logical foundation. And the rules of logic above allow only two ways for definitions to be derived; induction which is based on experience, and deduction. Since I see "something" when I look around me I can not experience "nothingness" and thus cannot rely on induction to discover the meaning of "nothingness" so I must use deduction.

Whatever you can conceive, anything at all that exists, you may negate it without contradiction simply by putting a variation of the words “is not” in front of it. The things we perceive, for instance, are extended in space, that is they have height, width and depth, take away one of those three dimensions and you are left with a two dimensional plane. Remove another and you have a one dimensional line. Subtract that and you're left with a point that indicates location. Take that away and you're left with no geometrical properties at all. The same is true of other attributes of the things we see. By applying these two words to the totality of existence then we should arrive at the logical definition of "absolute nothingness" by the systematic removal of all the properties of the things we are aware of until a contradiction is reached. That point is reached when we arrive at the concept of nothingness itself as even after all other attributes of being are removed in our quest to define "nothingness" it can still be contemplated. That is because you cannot think about nothingness and not think about nothingness at the same time it cannot be reduced any further and attempting to do so results in contradiction. Therefore since nothingness can still be thought of the only property we can logically say it has is that it is a concept. Literally nothing more.

And concepts are not "nothing" which means that "nothingness" is not absolute because it is a concept. Which in turn means "nothingness" is not devoid of all property. In other words because "nothingness" is not "nothing" in the colloquial sense it is a contradiction! But contradictions are not allowed in logic therefore there cannot be a "state of nothingness". And because for "something to come from nothing" there must be some commonality between them to avoid a non-sequitur and as the only property "nothingness" has is that it is a concept it follows the world is also basically just a concept.

This may seem counterintuitive but as the philosopher Immanuel Kant showed we can never know the "thing in itself". All we can know about what we sense are those properties which we are consciously aware of so if we adhere strictly to logic we cannot assume that anything we are not aware of or can deduce from valid premises exists therefore we cannot assume anything other than the properties we are aware of exist. That is if we have no evidence of it we have no logical basis to conclude there is a "thing in itself" that has an objective existence at all. And because our awareness of property is conceptual it follows that concept itself is a property. Therefore even though I can negate all other attributes of existence when I place the words "is not" in front of "being as a whole" I still have the idea of nothingness. All other definitions must be dismissed as unfounded and meaningless.

Nothingness cannot be an idea while also being devoid of properties since we could not have performed the operations in logic that allowed us to define it. That is nothingness cannot be absolute and also be conceivable as there would literally be nothing to think about. Absolute means just that. ABSOLUTE! No property. No potential. No exceptions. But since it is conceptual we can say it obviously does have potential which demonstrates it is not absolute and there is no such thing as a “state of nothingness” nor can there be. Just saying, “non-existence exists” is absurd.

The concept of "absolute nothingness" results in contradiction, a violation of the most basic rule of logic. Therefore I have to conclude the common notion of "nothingness" as a void that is completely "without property" is wrong. "Nothingness" does have one property. It is a concept that, as will be explained below, is in "absolute equilibrium".

Nothingness is the only thing (and because it has property it is a 'thing') that may be thought of in completely negative terms except for the fact that it is a concept which is something. Nothingness is a concept, you're thinking about it right now!

Likewise what we perceive as "somethingness", including our own self awareness, is also concept since we cannot assume the objective existence of a "thing in itself". And that commonality provides the link needed between the concepts of "nothingness" and "somethingness" that allows for the one to come from the other.

All the evidence I have says that for a concept to exist there must be a mind to consider it because they are ideas. For example I can have 9 coins in one hand and 9 stones in the other but where is the number 9 apart from what I hold? Aside from the fact they appear “physical” I can sense no other property they have in common. For example changing the quantity doesn't seem to affect the "physical" characteristics of either group so that particular integer itself is not intrinsic to either group physically. 9 has attributes I can understand. It is the square of 3. It is an odd number. And I can distinguish those traits from; say, the number 8 which is even and not a square. So even though it is not tangible it is a thing in its own right as a concept but that is all. I can not point to anything in nature and say, “This is the number 9 by itself.” I can only think about it. And since numbers in the form of mathematical rules seem to govern the world it is logical to conclude that the world is intrinsically mathematical.

Where is the number 9 apart from the stones and coins?

Some materialists claim the universe is not intrinsically mathematical and our mathematics is just a human construct because in materialism there are no abstractions only matter.  So what we perceive as mathematical patterns are just arbitrary and temporary similarities. They say that numbers themselves are merely the products of material processes in the brain we impose on the world. But it seems to me this is an unsubstantiated claim. One can not assert the brain and its processes are material in order to prove the brain and its processes are material as that is a circular argument without foundation.

Evidence of the mathematical nature of the world surrounds us and can be found in the orbits of planets, the crystalline pattern of a snow flake and the fractal geometry of a mountain range. It permeates everything. To claim otherwise ignores the predictive power of mathematics and suggests the world is behaving in a synchronistic manner with the models we use to describe it and exploit for various reasons, such as sending spacecraft to rendezvous with a distant planet, but which in reality it would have nothing to do with if materialism were true which in my opinion is highly improbable.

Because "nothingness" defined as "absolute equilibrium" is a mathematical concept it must be observed just like any other concept however if that's all there is there is literally nothing else to observe it. An unobserved concept is contradictory and thus cannot exist if the world is logical. Consequently as it is self contradictory it is unstable and must collapse into a state that is stable and non-contradictory but in order to do that it has to have something in common with that state to avoid a non-sequitur. Since the only property nothingness has is that of a concept it may only collapse into a state that is also a concept. Therefore that fundamental state must be a concept that is self-referential and thus able to observe Itself as there is literally nothing else to see It. Such a Prime Observer meets the most basic definition of "God" that is common to all religions that postulate a creator in that It is "a self aware being upon which the world is contingent" but logically that is all that can be said of It. Nothing more. There is no basis in this model to justify the conclusion the world is a purposeful creation or that God is supernatural. In fact it suggests the opposite and any universes that exist are nothing more than an unintended side effect philosophers call an epiphenomenon that arise for no reason other than this model gives them the potential to.

Just how this may occur can be illustrated by utilizing a technique called the principle of equivalence to show the difference between "something" and "nothing" is as basic as that of a straight line to one that curves back in on itself. That is because "nothingness" has but one property, concept, therefore it can be represented by a line which also has only one geometrical property, length.

As demonstrated concepts are ideas that must be observed thus the concept of "nothingness" must be observed or it will result in a paradox. Since there is literally nothing else to observe it the concept will become unstable if it remains in an open state therefore it must collapse into a closed state that is stable and able to hold itself in existence. This is possible because lines may curve in many ways. One is a circle. A line that bends into a circle demonstrates how a concept can collapse into itself and become a self referential or self observing concept identical to the concept "I AM". And because self referential observers, such as ourselves, are conscious It follows It must also be conscious. And because It is the foundational consciousness It can be thought of as the Prime Observer from which all things come (because it would be unstable at any time prior to any finite closure it's collapse would be pushed back into infinity so it would always have existed in a closed state making it eternal). It cannot be reduced any further and is thus the simplest possible structure but contains within It all the complexities that can ever be and It explains Itself because It's existence is logically necessary.

The relationship between “God” and the "concept of nothingness" may simply be that of a straight line to one that curves back in on itself creating a perfectly smooth circle in absolute equilibrium allowing It to say "I AM"

Because a line may curve in an infinite number of ways you can derive the set of all possible waves of any given amplitude and frequency from it. But because waves with a positive deflection would be perfectly balanced by identical waves with a negative deflection their overall value when added together would equal zero which is analogous to "nothingness" as a concept defined as "no difference" or "absolute equilibrium".

There are an infinite number of potential waves that may emerge from a straight line.

Now if things happen simply because they can happen and they can happen because those things don’t result in contradiction and if there are an infinite number of ways a smooth surface may be distorted it follows that, utilizing a technique developed by the French mathematician Jean Baptiste Fourier, adding together particular waves we can show there may be an infinite number of possible combinations of these buried waveforms that may be expressed as worlds with their own laws of physics (as all possible axioms will be realized) which may emerge spontaneously and simultaneously (which is consistent with time as we perceive it being an illusion) as precipitates from the "ground of being" called the Prime Observer simply because they have the potential to. All that is required is that they emerge in pairs, one positive and one negative, so as to maintain an absolute equilibrium though not necessarily as mirror images.

Adding two or more waves of different frequencies or amplitudes (which by themselves have no meaning) will produce a single wave of a distinctive shape which can explain how universes can emerge spontaneously with different physics.

Thus may the world emerge in a manner consistent with what physicists call a "quantum fluctuation" and because it is fundamentally mathematical and mathematics is the language of science it is perfectly consistent with everything science reveals about the world. That in turn explains why our universe seems so finely tuned for life. If there are an infinite number of possible universes most would be barren however by sheer chance some, like ours, would emerge in which the conditions for life are present. Thus there is no reason to assume our universe is purposely designed. Life may spontaneously arise and evolve without any divine intervention at all simply because the laws in a particular universe, which itself has emerged entirely by chance, allow it.

It also has profound implications for the concept of space and time. If universes emerge "all at once" our common notion of time must be wrong. Time is not divided into "past", "present" and "future" as all three would exist together as an unchanging mathematical continuum physicists call a "block universe" that is inextricably linked with space allowing it to not only describe the warping of space/time by gravity as observed in the universe it actually predicts it because the probabilistic nature of this model will not allow a smooth undisturbed continuum (so in this case there is a difference between the whole, God which is perfect, and its parts, contingent universes, which are not) We only see time and space "spread out" so to speak because our brains can only comprehend it in that frame of reference because we are embedded in it and what seems like "before" and "after" is just a series of logical contingencies from the specific we see around us back to the most general from which the basic forces of nature emerge which could appear similar to what astronomers call "the big bang".

In addition the requirement that absolute equilibrium be maintained suggests that universes come in pairs, one "positive" from our point of view and the other "negative". That in turn could explain some anomalies in modern science such as why our universe is predominantly made of matter and anti matter is relatively rare. Our sister universe would to us appear to be made up of primarily of that substance (similar "multiverse" theories have been proposed by physicists). But that doesn't mean they would be mirror images of each other. Only the basic structure of each universe would necessarily be the same. Entropy would allow each one to develope in its own distinct way. That is universes may emerge and evolve guided only by their own internal dynamics without any need of divine intervention. In this way the model is actually closer to atheism than theism even though it holds God exists.

Lastly this model also refutes a common atheist straw man argument which assigns God the attribute of omnipotence then tries to use omnipotence to refute the existence of God (theists also believe in an omnipotent God but for different reasons). The most famous example is by the Greek philosopher Epicurus who said,

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

There is just no logical foundation for the inclusion of omnipotence as a property of God. It is simply not necessary to the definition of God as "a self aware being upon which the world is contingent" because its exclusion creates no paradox in that definition but its inclusion does because if God was omnipotent It could create an irresistible force and make it collide with an immovable object which as we have seen is a contradiction that cannot be allowed. God is neither good nor evil and what we perceive as "bad" is arbitrary and outside of Gods ability to control therefore it is a straw man argument and has no bearing on the existence or nonexistence of God. 

In fact this model clearly explains how observers in the world can interact with it in ways God cannot. Imagine the Prime Observer as an ocean unbound by any shore and the world as a wave traveling through it (which is all that is needed to constitute an observation). Now imagine secondary observers such as ourselves as ice bergs. If it encounters no obstruction the wave would move through the water unhindered but if it hits a berg it will be deflected. The ice is made of the same “stuff” as the ocean it floats in but while it is in a solid state it can affect the wave in a way liquid water can’t.

The model we constructed above is fundamentally idealistic, that is it holds the world has a subjective existence because it is basically idea and thus must be observed, and appears to be completely logical but we must also ask ourselves if it is compatible with what we see in the world. And it does make a testable prediction which meets the criteria of a scientific model because it is potentially falsifiable. It states the fundamental nature of the world is mathematical because the worlds that emerge from it are governed by mathematics such as those discovered by Fourier. That is the Prime Observer is like the point of origin on a graph that permits mathematical structures such as those waveforms demonstrated above to be constructed. Therefore in order to see if this model is consistent with what we see in the world we must construct an experiment to determine if it at least behaves mathematically at its most basic level. If it isn't fundamentally mathematical this is where it will be shown. Since the universe is basically energy then any test should be on energy in its simplest form. The simplest form of energy we know is light.

One of the mysteries of light first investigated was its composition. Some physicists believed it was composed of particles while others thought it was made of waves. In 1801 a physician named Thomas Young decided to test the wave theory by building a device called an interferometer which is simply a box with a pin hole to admit light in the front, a divider in the center with two slits in it and a screen at the back (I performed this experiment myself in college physics)

Basically what the wave hypothesis predicts is a ray of light goes into the box through the pinhole and spreads out like a ripple striking the divider. The slits in the divider then become secondary points of origin which create two waves that emerge and spread out in such a way that they interfere with each other. If the crest of one wave meets the crest of another they will reinforce each other making a bright band of light when it hits the screen. The same applies when a trough meets a trough. However if a trough meets a crest they will cancel each other out and produce a black band where there is no light making a smooth unbroken pattern of light and dark bands blending into each other. This is the result Young saw thus convincing scientists at the time light behaved as a wave.

Light which is made to pass through an interferometer will produce a smooth unbroken wave pattern

In 1900 however the physicist Max Plank revived the particle theory of light in order to explain some bizarre experimental results such as what has come to be called the photoelectric effect. It had been discovered that certain metals could produce an electric current if a certain type of light was shown on them but no one knew why until 1921 when Albert Einstein used Planks particle theory of light to explain what they were seeing.

Einstein observed that a red light would not do anything even if it was very bright while even a dim blue light would produce a current. He realized that would be impossible if the wave theory was correct because as the light spreads out it is dispersed over a greater area so it would not be strong enough at any one place to knock an electron out of the atoms the metal was made of because they were bound to them too tightly. The only way it would work is if all the energy was concentrated in a particle. That's why red light would not kick out any electrons even if it was bright but a dim blue light would. Increasing the brightness only causes more individual particles to be produced but the individual photons would remain the same energy level. So when a red photon struck an electron it would just bounce off but even though there were fewer photons in a dim blue light the individual photons were much more energetic and thus strong enough to knock electrons out of atoms and produce an electric current.

The photoelectric effect. Even a bright red light (L) will not kick out electrons because even though there are more of them the individual photons are too weak to overcome the force binding the atom together and will effectively just bounce off while a high energy blue photon (R) has no difficulty

But this understandably perplexed scientists because the results of Youngs experiments were still valid. How could light be both a particle and a wave?

A solution was proposed by the physicist Max Born who suggested light be thought of as traveling as mathematical waves of chance which collapse into what we see as particles when they strike the electrons.

To test this scientists reconfigured Youngs interferometer so that only one photon at a time was sent through. They began by closing one slit in the divider. If light was composed of particles (photons) they should shoot straight through like bullets and build up a speckled grouping behind the open slit. That was the result seen. Then they opened up both slits. If light was a particle then even with both slits open it should only build up two speckled groupings, one behind each slit.

Individual photons sent through an interferometer with only one slit open will build up a particle distribution pattern immediately behind the one opening and no where else

But what they actually saw was a speckled wave pattern. A particle going through an interferometer and interfering with itself makes no sense unless it is looked at mathematically which was exactly what Born predicted indicating that even at its most basic level the world behaves as if it is fundamentally mathematical which is exactly what the model presented in this essay predicts. In other words the universe isn't just described by mathematics it is mathematics.

Instead of creating two particle distribution patterns immediately behind the openings individual photons sent through an interferometer with both slits open will build up a speckled wave pattern because the photons travel through the device as probability waves which interfere with each other according to the same mathematical rules that govern any other kind of wave indicating the cosmos is mathematical at even its most fundamental level

The world more and more does seem to be just numbers, values, and probabilities. A materialist may say that the number nine, for instance, must be expressed physically as stones or coins to exist but what is the physical? Albert Einstein proved that mass (matter) is just energy in particle form. Then the physicist Erwin Schrodinger discovered that energy could be manifested as a wave as well as a particle. And finally another scientist, Max Born, showed that waves are just the probability distribution of a possible event. Probability, in turn, is mathematical in nature and mathematics itself is nothing more than the rules that govern numbers which are concepts that it seems can only be seen by the mind (remember the stones and coins).

The double slit experiment cannot be used to argue that mathematical idealism is true but it can be used to demonstrate that quantum physics is compatible with it so it should only be viewed in that very narrow light and no other conclusions drawn from it. However it does in my opinion offer a better interpretation of the results of the experiment than materialism because the difficulties and contradictions that arise from a materialistic interpretation such as wave/particle duality just don't exist in idealism and because of that it appears to refute the materialist claim the brain is physical. The brain is made of tissue composed of cells built from molecules of atoms that are particles of matter which is energy that can be manifested as probability waves that are fundamentally mathematical in nature...

While it is far from conclusive the results of the double slit experiment is very strong evidence in favor of mathematical idealism and as there is a chance, if the materialist claim the universe is not fundamentally mathematical is true a negative result could occur it does meet the criteria of a scientific model as it is potentially falsifiable. Materialism on the other hand can claim either possible result as consistent with it and therefore is not falsifiable and thus does not meet the criteria of a scientific model (if the results show the universe is not behaving in a way that is consistent with it being fundamentally mathematical it can legitimately claim confirmation but if the results show it is behaving in a way consistent with the universe being fundamentally mathematical it can claim it is just a temporary and arbitrary result. But so far all the results of such experiments are consistent with the world being fundamentally mathematical so there is no evidence for materialism at all)

This leads me to the final criticism of mathematical idealism, which I personally don't find to be very good but since it is common requires addressing. That is if the universe is basically idealistic we should be able to have some sort of telepathic control over it. This is absurd for the simple reason that if the world obeys mathematical rules we are also bound by those rules and thus our interaction with the world is limited to those "physical" mechanisms that have evolved and that allowed the emergence of our conscious awareness, that is our brains, senses and muscles. There is no reason to assume what may be rightly considered magical properties such as telepathy or telekinesis based on this model.

Thus we are able to construct an argument that God, defined simply as a "self aware concept upon which the cosmos is contingent" exists that is compatible with what we see in the world.

We will now consider the only alternative to this argument, materialism which holds the world has an objective existence and does not need to be observed. Because materialism rejects the premise the world is fundamentally idea only premises that have been established by empirical observation are considered legitimate in that philosophy. But despite the difficulties arising from those constraints some materialists have attempted to construct arguments linking "being" and "nothingness" however to be completely logical they must show why nothingness is not absolute without resorting to any nonmaterialistic argument.

They take various forms but they are all based on the assumption the net energy level in the universe is zero and is thus referred to as the "zero energy universe hypothesis". The most common version is based on Einsteins theory of relativity and goes like this: The universe is an energy field. The amount of energy in the field depends on the total curvature of space within it. If there is a zero net curvature because the outward negative push of the expansion of the universe caused by the big bang cancels out the inward positive pull of gravity from everything in the universe, then space is flat overall and thus there should be zero net energy or, in other words, nothing since matter is just a form of energy. But there is a problem.

This argument is basically mathematical in nature and thus subject to the rules of mathematics. And while on the surface it seems logical because in mathematics -1+1=0. The problem arises because mathematics also says 0/2=0. That is half of nothing is still nothing. So this argument actually fails because it confuses 0 meaning “nonexistence” with 0 meaning “no difference”. In other words, it is ambiguous. In this case zero obviously means equilibrium, like a scale with 1 ounce of gold in each pan. The scale would read 0 meaning no difference, but there would still be 2 ounces of gold. Likewise in an objective universe there must be something to divide or a contradiction will result. In materialism that is an already existing energy field that changes from an unexpressed form in which half is positive and half negative so they cancel out creating the illusion of "nothingness" to an expressed form which constitutes the world we see. But that is not the same thing as "nothingness" as the energy itself must be explained no matter what form it takes if it can't do that it really hasn't explained anything except how energy can be changed from one form to another. It certainly hasn't explained why the energy field exists.

The arrow of a scale with one ounce of gold in each pan would indicate 0 meaning "no difference" because they are in equilibrium not 0 meaning "no gold". Likewise in materialism what appears to be 0 net energy doesn't mean there is no energy only that "negative" energy and "positive" energy exist but are balanced

Also as materialism assumes only material things exist "nothingness" in that philosophy must be absolute because it is the complete absence of material. Since logic says that for something to come from something else there must be a commonality between them and there is no such bridge between "being" and "nothingness" in materialism, as demonstrated by 0/2=0 above, "something" from "nothing" in that philosophy is a non-sequitur and thus impossible.

Some materialists try to get around problems such as that and assert that the cosmos as a whole doesn't require an explanation if it has always existed as a chain of cause and effect stretching into infinity. They reason that such a chain would eliminate the need for a "first cause" upon which the world is contingent. This argument is based on the fallacy of composition but as we have seen you cannot just assert the whole is different than its parts without a logical basis for such an assertion. But there is no such logical basis for such a claim here. Saying that because things in the world can be explained that somehow exempts the cosmos as a whole from explanation is absurd. It is nothing more than an unfounded claim and must be dismissed as such.

Another materialist argument is based on observations of quantum mechanical effects that allow objects called "virtual particles" to seemingly pop out of "empty space" without a preceding cause. Classical causality in which specific actions lead to specific effects does not seem to apply to quantum mechanics in which the probabilistic nature of quantum physics leads to an uncertainty about the level of energy in the cosmos that could result in a quantum fluctuation which we perceive as the big bang thus explaining the universe but that cannot explain what it is about nothingness that keeps it from being absolute because if nothingness is absolute there is no chance or probability. There is only nothingness. The argument is therefore forced to assume the existence of something that is unexplainable in order to have something to be uncertain about. That doesn't mean there is no underlying explanation of why such phenomena have the potential to exist only that it cannot be materialistic. There can be no phenomena of any kind if there is no potential for that phenomenon to exist and as we have seen if nothingness were absolute, as it must be if materialism is true as it holds only material things exist and nothingness is the complete absence of material, there would be no rules or potential of any kind. Therefore you cannot assert such a claim unless you can explain why potential exists. That doesn't mean the universe didn't emerge this way, i.e. by quantum fluctuation, only that the rules by which it did cannot be assumed to exist prior to its emergence in order to explain why there is something rather than nothing without also explaining why the rules exist. In fact the model presented above suggests a similar mechanism for how the universe came to be. But it also explains why those rules exist. This argument doesn't. It assumes the rules of quantum mechanics which are highly mathematical already exist without explanation or need for observation even though they appear to be purely conceptual in nature and uses them to explain how a world governed by quantum mechanics exists and that is just a circular argument and thus cannot be accepted (it is ironic, however, that in attempting to establish a material cause for the existence of the cosmos the adherents of that philosophy employ what seem to be increasingly immaterial  arguments).

Asserting a universe, or the rules by which that universe came to be, that exists forever for no logical reason without any supporting evidence is, as the mathematical philosopher Bertrand Russell stated, no different than claiming there is a teapot in orbit about Mars. We cannot prove there is no such teapot but neither do we have any basis for believing it. The burden of proof is upon those making the claim therefore it is up to materialists to provide evidence of such a chain and that eternal existence makes it exempt from explanation. And it is no different than claims by theists that a supernatural God exists which those same materialists reject. The astonishing success of mathematics and the scientific method to not only describe the world but also predict things we see in the world is strong evidence that the cosmos is fundamentally logical and as long as that trend continues it must be accepted as a basic truth. You can't dismiss an argument as unreasonable and unscientific then turn around and use the same argument yourself. Nor can you just assert that the world is explained by rules but the rules themselves are unexplainable. If you claim to believe in reason you must accept without prejudice whatever logic and evidence reveal to do otherwise is to embrace hypocrisy.

Besides even if the universe has always existed that doesn't mean it is not contingent on something else. Assume that the Earth has always existed just as it is now. In such a world there would always have been life but life is dependent on the planet on which it lives. The planet may exist without life, and many of them do, but life could not exist without an Earth to grow on, therefore even though they are equal in age, one is still contingent upon the other and nests within it. (Of course that leaves you with the task of having to explain why the Earth has always existed which illustrates the futility of trying to avoid explaining why a material universe exists by appealing to another material explanation which in turn has to be explained and so on ad infinitum.)

If you assert something has always existed necessarily you must provide a logical basis for its existence if such a claim is to be accepted. The above model does that, nothingness is not absolute because it is a concept in absolute equilibrium that collapses onto Itself so as to become self referential and avoid a contradiction and that allow universes that are fundamentally mathematical concepts to emerge thus avoiding non-sequiturs, and in doing so demonstrates that claims which assert something that has always existed, because Its collapse into a self referential concept would be pushed back into infinity, are not exempt from explanation. The materialist claim is illogical and therefore must be dismissed because it cannot demonstrate a link between being and nothingness as 0/2=0 thus making nothingness absolute in that philosophy since it holds only material things can exist and if nothingness were absolute then there would be no potential for anything to exist thus that would be the case and we would not be here to ponder the question. You have to have something that is logically explainable to divide in order to get an answer other than zero. The model presented here provides that something in the form of a self referential concept that has always existed necessarily and from which "sister universes" that balance each other  may emerge spontaneously. And it only takes one example of an argument that can be constructed in which something that has always existed is logically explainable to show the materialist assertion such things are exempt from having a logical foundation is wrong. The model presented here does that also thus the materialists claim is refuted.

Even if there is an endless chain of cause and effect there must be a logical reason why there is a chain (L) instead of no chain (R) if materialism is true and logical

Materialism, which holds the cosmos has an objective existence and does not need to be observed and is thus fundamentally atheistic, has completely failed to establish a logical foundation. For it to be considered true and logical it must do two things; 1, demonstrate what it is about nothingness that keeps it from being absolute in purely material terms and, 2, establish a material link between whatever it is that keeps nothingness from being absolute and the material world in order to avoid a nonsequitur. And it must do both those things without contradicting itself. But it cannot do either because at it's simplest level it fails at both. In fact as complexity appears to arise from simplicity, not the other way around, and a universe in which exactly half the energy in it is positive and the other half is negative seems to be the simplest possible physical description of the world I have no reason to assume a materialistic explanation can ever be found. Therefore because there is no logical basis for it the materialist claim the universe has always existed must be dismissed as illogical. (This also refutes a possible counter argument the conclusion of this essay is a reification because in order to make such a claim it must first be established that materialism is true and the fundamental nature of the world, since that cannot be done any claim idealism is just an attempt to make concrete what is an abstraction is unfounded. There just is no empirical evidence that the universe is materialistic and the arguments for it do not conform to the rules of logic and you cannot assume the cosmos is fundamentally material with no evidence in order to prove it is material or prove it's alternative, idealism, is false as that is a circular argument)

Because we are bound by the rules of logic derived from our own self awareness we can only accept that which is logical. The model presented above is completely logical. It holds that what we commonly think of as nothingness is actually a concept defined as absolute equilibrium that must be observed and demonstrates how that concept can not only bend back on Itself and become self referential, explaining why It exists, it also shows how what we see around us can arise from It thus avoiding a non-sequitur.

The only alternative, materialism, is untenable because it cannot establish a link between being and nothingness since it asserts only material things exist. And although it tries to establish a link between being and nothingness based on the argument the net energy level of the cosmos is 0 (which except for the fact it doesn't 'close the circle' is almost identical to the idealistic model above because they both equate 'nothingness' with equilibrium) as half of it is negative and half of it is positive it fails because this argument is basically mathematical and is expressed as the equation -1+1=0 but it contradicts the very rules of mathematics it is based on because by holding only material things exist it creates an unbridgable chasm since 0/2=0 and half of nothing is still nothing and the rules of logic clearly indicate all contradictions must be dismissed. The consequences of that contradiction in that philosophy is there is no commonality between existence and nonexistence as required by logic to avoid non-sequiturs thus nothingness by that argument must be absolute. Since we exist we know nothingness is not absolute which forces materialism to assert that the world has always existed for no reason other than it has the potential to but if there is an absolute barrier between being and nothingness in materialism then an unexplained potential for the universe to exist cannot be the reason the universe exists instead of nothingness as there is no potential in absolute nothingness for anything to exist. The only way to explain why the cosmos has the potential to exist without presupposing the existence of that potential is to establish a link between being and nothingness, as materialism cannot do that it cannot answer the question, "what is it about nothingness that keeps it from being absolute?" That is materialism at its foundation is a mystical philosophy inconsistent with the most basic assumption of science and the evidence it provides that the world is explainable and therefore logical which makes it essentially no different than theism or any other religion or irrational or mystical belief that has no evidence to support it. For atheistic materialism to be considered logical it must either show that zero divided by two (or any other number for that matter) equals something other than zero as that is the only way it can show an intrinsic potential that explains existence materially is that the net energy level of the universe is 0 but that, as we have seen, results in contradiction or demonstrate a logical basis for exempting a cosmos that has always existed from explanation that doesn't lead to the fallacy of composition or establish a materialistic definition of "nothingness" derived empirically, that does not assume any preexisting conditions, that explains why "nothingness" is not absolute which is impossible because we cannot observe "nothingness" since the existence of any observer, which is something, is inconsistent with "absolute nothingness" and requires a material explanation of the observer.

In conclusion you cannot just assume the fundamental nature of the cosmos. Any judgment must be based on evidence and reasonable argument. There is no evidence or reasonable argument to support materialism. In fact that philosophy is riddled with violations of the rules of logic. Because it holds only matter exists nothingness in that philosophy is absolute which means nothingness would be the case, but since nothingness is not the case then the world must exist for no logical reason which essentially makes  materialism a mystical belief no different than theism or any other mystical philosophy or religion. The universe may appear to be behaving logically for now but if it is not fundamentally logical there is no guarantee it will continue to do so. The evidence for idealism, however, in the form of mathematics is overwhelming and the arguments for it are logical all the way down to its foundation (and thus it avoids the infinite regression materialism is forced into in its futile attempt to avoid the fact it has no logical basis). That is mathematical idealism can establish a link between being and nothingness whereas materialism cannot. And it appears to be able to predict important features of both relativity and quantum theory. However it must be noted that because this model holds the world evolves and operates according to it's own internal dynamics without any outside influence and except for its starting premise it is virtually identical to standard models of the world formulated by scientists because it obeys the same mathematics it would seem to some to behave as if it was material even though it isn't just as the sun seems to orbit the Earth even though it doesn't however basing a belief in materialism for that reason alone simply because you cannot imagine it otherwise when there is no logical or scientific evidence to support such a belief is just another form of the argument from incredulity and cannot be accepted.

I have at last reached the point of decision. I have two and only two choices because idealism and materialism are true dichotomies as they are universals. Everything in the cosmos is either material or idealistic. One has to be true and the other has to be false. The truth is the world is either concept or it isn't. It has an objective existence or it has a subjective existence. It must be observed or it doesn't. It is either logical or it's mystical. Idealism is logical and allows the construction of a theory that meets the criteria of a scientific model because it is theoretically falsifiable if it can be shown the world is not fundamentally mathematical. Materialism is not logical and makes no predictions about the fundamental nature of the world so it does not meet the criteria for a scientific model because it cannot be falsified even in theory as it is nothing more than an untestable assertion. Therefore I am bound to reject the latter and accept the former and everything that follows from it according to the rules of logic even though neither can be proved conclusively and what it says is that God exists and like the origin of a number line is the basis for all existence. But It is the God of Deism not theism and it's acceptance offers no consolation other than that I provide for myself.

The entire argument is so simple it can be depicted in a single illustration that shows how the concept of nothingness defined as absolute equilibrium and represented by a straight line may collapse in on itself making it self referential thus meeting the  definition of God as a self aware being upon which the world is contingent and by this fulfilling the requirement concepts must be observed and thus providing a mechanism by which probabilities may combine allowing the mathematical rules describing universes to emerge spontaneously without any need of divine guidance some of which permit the evolution of sentient beings such as ourselves But this poses an obvious question; if “God” does exist and holds Itself in existence because It can say, “I AM” then shouldn't the same hold true for us? The model does allow the Prime Observer to reproduce, as shown in the illustration above, by budding in a manner similar to some simple organisms and mediated through what we see as "physical" processes in the brain (which in addition indicates a potential explanation of consciousness). And if that is true we, as theology predicts, very well could be immortal.

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