Why Do We Exist?

The following comment was made by a Christian blogger to an individual who disagreed with him:

 But you will fail because you will never be able to answer the most important questions of all—why we exist, why are we here at all? Your “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting.

I found this comment a bit condescending, but mostly, it’s simply not true.

To say that an “I don’t know” answer will always be found “wanting” reveals an obvious bias since NO ONE can definitively say why humans exist.

Even though multitudes of people attribute our presence on this earth to a supernatural entity (and not always the biblical god), there are scores of others who support a more “scientific” view. Still others simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Who knows? Who cares?”

I would say I lean towards the last point of view.

This is not to say I never ponder the heavy question of “why?” … but if/when I do, I admit my tendency is to accept the answers provided by science. However, having said that, I also recognize that science is not … and cannot be … the final answer.

But then neither is the answer found in a book written many thousands of years ago. Nor is it hidden in the numerous legends, myths, and fables that have been passed down though the centuries.

Simply put … we don’t know why we exist.

Therefore, when someone asks, Why we exist, why are we here at all, the most honest answer has to be “I don’t know.”

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141 thoughts on “Why Do We Exist?

  1. Answering the “why question” requires knowledge about the causation of creation. That will always be impossible for most to answer. However, it doesn’t stop some from opining on the subject. For example:

    Carl Jung said that, “This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

    Carl Sagan said that, “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

    Astrophysicist Martin Rees said that, “Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.”

    Physicist John Wheeler said that, “The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”

    At least, that’s what they said.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. If we are all honest with each other, we are agnostics. We cannot know, at least at the moment. Perhaps one day Artificial Intelligence will answer questions humans only dreamed of.

    Condescending ? I think you were accurate in your assessment, Nan,

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I remember a joke about a Philosophy exam. The exam consisted of one question: “Why?”

    There were two possible correct answers. One was “Because.” The other was “Why not?”

    Theists have been taught that the only correct answer is “Because”, and only their version of “Because” will do.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The question concerned what was happening before Inflation, to which the only honest answer is, I don’t know. We don’t know. We don’t currently know.

    For the theist, that gap is just too tempting not to insert Goddunnit.

    To be honest, I hadn’t even really read his comment to the end, but now that I have it’s interesting to see how Mel had to broaden the actual subject to include something so unrelated that’s its really quite funny.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. As a Christian, purpose and meaning were big. Now as a deconvert… i realize that the question “why are we here?” Is a loaded one. It assumes that there is a purpose for our existence, some grand reason we exist vs not existing.
    There is none. At least no ultimate Purpose that we exist for or Reason we are here vs not here.
    We give our own lives reason, purpose and meaning. No need or evidence for any imposed or imp lied from the outside.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Here’s an analogy:

    Three people stand behind an impenetrable wall wondering what’s on the other side.

    Person #1: “What do you think is over there?”
    Person #2: “I haven’t a clue.”
    Person #3: “There’s a monster over there.”
    Person #1: “How do you know that?”
    Person #3: “Because it says so in this book I read.”

    Liked by 4 people

  7. It’s not condescending to say, “I don’t know” is an answer that leaves you wanting. It’s accurate.

    “I don’t know” isn’t a satisfying answer to any question. It may be the truth, but it doesn’t increase understanding.

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        • I don’t know may be the most unsettling and unsatisfying answer, but in some cases it’s the most honest answer one can give. And for inquiring minds, it’s the greatest motivation to try to find the answer. Either way, it really doesn’t matter if I don’t know is unsettling or unsatisfying. Neither Truth nor Reality care about about your feelings about them. Grow up john

          Liked by 4 people

        • I didn’t use the word, unsettling.

          I did mention that sometimes “I don’t know” is true.

          Neither truth nor reality care who makes a particular statement. Inquiring minds will consider a thoughtful answer even if it comes from me.
          I’m way more grown up than you, Pastor Mike. Go write a poem.

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        • John, just letting you know … your comments are under moderation. The last one to Mike was uncalled for … and it isn’t the first time. If you can join the conversation without getting snarly, I’ll remove you from moderation.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Good call, Nan.

          Censorship is necessary to protect weak ideas. You and I both know that I’m not the one getting ‘snarly’.

          By all means, moderate me.
          Keep everybody safe from my big, scary ideas.

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        • Thank you.

          Yes, you are the one getting snarly … others simply responded accordingly. Further, you haven’t actually offered any ideas, scary or otherwise. I will be happy to remove the moderation if and when you can contribute something to the conversation at hand instead of off-handed remarks that have no substance.

          Liked by 3 people

  8. What I find quite revealing Nan about some Christians and their comments such as this one is the repulsive, elitist arrogance of some unproveable ‘esoteric knowledge’ or privileged access to it… when empirically, observably, time after time after time NON-Christians demonstrate and have demonstrated all throughout history many brilliant, remarkable breakthroughs, findings and discoveries!

    Meanwhile, Christians like this person are basically wasting everyone’s time and effort with insignificant Q&A along those lines when ALL of existence is infinitely available to explore, to better understand through time, FUTURE time and leave it at that. The “Why” we are already here doing this isn’t near as important as forward movement, evolving, progressing, and making a greater good for the greatest number of species while NOT repeating history… BAD history at that! LOL 😛 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  9. My response is “I do not know … yet … and neither do you.” Actually I do know the answer. The question is meaningless, because if we did not exist there would be no one to ask the question. Only if we exist can the question be asked, so it is basically a useless question, a question that all conscious existing beings might ask.

    And these people don’t really want to know the actual answer. they have a made up answer they subscribe to. This is called wishful thinking. We all want to feel “special,” that our lives have “meaning,” so we invent one. Yeah, that’s the ticket. We were made by a god for a special mission, something only we could do, yeah. Can’t get any more special that that.

    In reality, the only beings that could ask this question are: a) beings who exist and b) beings who do not yet know the answer.

    PS I have to ask. Is that your picture on your book cover?

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’m assuming that last question is directed at me … ?

      No, Steve, it’s not me. But don’t feel bad, I’ve been asked that question more than once. 🙂 If I remember correctly, it was a Dreamstime image. I thought it seemed quite appropriate for the title.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I appear on the covers of a couple of my books, but only in long shots from the back. Who wants to see an old fat male archery coach?

        I liked your cover, it was what lead me to buy the book and then find your blog. And you can’t ask any more from a cover.

        Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The answer I would like to give to this question is:

    “I try to see life as an exam for which I’m not given time to prepare anything”.

    At any moment, known and unknown problems arise, which I have to resolve as well as I can. Foreseen and unforeseen circumstances will appear every day, and it is my task to find the best solution, alone or with the help or others. Likewise, others may seek my assistance. The tools we need, will appear alongside the road.

    Now, many of us will not find any tool. Those are the unfortunate, helpless inhabitants of this earth. Such is life. A truly unanswerable question would be. why do I enjoy life, walking on the sunny sidewalk, while are there Syrian and Myanmar Refugees, and Victims of Terrorism and Hurricanes? [Capitals intended]
    .-

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I hesitate to jump in this conversation because I don’t want to get into an extended debate here. It’s hard enough to keep up with comments on my own blog. 🙂 I just want to clarify my point.

    My point was that it’s OKAY to say, “I don’t know.” What is invalid is saying “I don’t know…but you are wrong.” If you truly don’t know then you cannot rightfully say the other person is wrong. You must offer a better counterclaim. And even then, we should all be respectful because we cannot prove it either way.

    So, to be clear, I agree that existential questions cannot be answered by normal means. It’s a philosophical question, not a scientific one. There will always be differing views and explanations. But it’s not one that will ever go away by dismissing it. So, while I cannot say I’m right, but I do I feel I have an explanation that makes sense.

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    • If you truly don’t know then you cannot rightfully say the other person is wrong. You must offer a better counterclaim.

      That’s not how the burden of proof works, Mel.

      You are making the positive claim. It is up to you to demonstrate it.

      Now, as a Christian, you have a cosmogony in place, as it pertained to the question: What was happening before Inflation.

      That cosmogony is wrong.

      Now, you have a number of questions you have not answered.

      Principally: Is this universe designed (by the designer) for human life?

      Liked by 3 people

    • And I believe you also said you would address the amoeba proteus, a gelatinous, microscopic, single-celled blob of primitive organics that boasts a staggering 670 billion base pairs in its genome, whereas a 5 trillion-celled human being has only 2.9 billion base pairs.

      Was that “designed”?

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        • Apologies, but Mel has run away from these questions.

          It’s an unnerving habit of his; to write a post about design, for example, then refuse to talk about THE> design.

          I would genuionely like him to finally address somethig tangible.

          I fear he’s incapable of doing so, though.

          Liked by 2 people

      • What does that have to do with my point, John? I asking, “why” not how.

        And “designed” means a lot of different things, including setting up a process where these things can take place.

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        • Errrum, yes, you’re making the positive claim. Demonstrate it’s truthfulness.

          And “designed” means a lot of different things, including setting up a process where these things can take place.

          Ah.

          So, in other words, your Designer (Yhwh), and his work, is indistinguishable from nature and the evolutionary processes.

          Can you demonstrate the magic anywhere?

          Liked by 1 person

        • @ John. Again, this is why I hesitated to comment here. I probably shouldn’t have. To answer your question simplistically, yes, the universe is obviously fit for human life because we are here. I would say it’s designed that way. You are free to disagree.

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        • The universe is “fit” for human life?

          We evolved 200,000 years ago on rocky surface of a 510 million km2 planet in a universe of life-annihilating vacuum whose observable edge lays a thought-haemorrhaging 430 billion trillion kilometres away in every direction.

          Before the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago this earth was not “fit.” In 5 billion years, the earth will not be “fit.” A bolide impact tomorrow would ruin any “fitness.”

          But you want to talk simplistically, OK. This universe is better “designed” for the production of black holes, not life-capable planets.

          Does that mean black hole production was the purpose for this universe?

          Liked by 3 people

        • John, I really don’t have an argument with how nature evolves or creates. I’m asking the “why” question and pointing out that it’s a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Science definitely accurately tells us the “how” but doesn’t tell us why it’s so.

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        • Oh, but you are dabbling in science. You spent a week talking about cosmology.

          But sure, the “why” question.

          This universe is better “designed” for the production of black holes, not life-capable planets.

          Does that mean black hole production was the purpose for this universe?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Geez. I hate to jump in BUT …

          Mel, I won’t say you’re “wrong,” but I must disagree. You simply cannot say the universe is “obviously fit” for human life. EARTH has been proven to be, but the only way we can venture into “space” (the Universe) is by staying inside protected devices and/or wearing protective clothing. If it were truly “fit” for human life, none of this would be necessary.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Nan, I was only trying to make a “self-evident” point, that because we are here, it works for us (on earth). But, yes, apparently we’re not “fit” for other parts of the universe. Of course, we have the ability to adapt ourselves artificially.

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    • … but I do I feel I have an explanation that makes sense.

      It makes sense to YOU, Mel, but not to the many people who do not believe in your god. And therein lies the conundrum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mel I disagree with your premise. It is OK to say I don’t know, but your explanation makes no sense by what we do know. There are cases where something maybe so new that no one has had time to investigate the side issues. Then there is the multitude of things we don’t know the answer to one part of a question, but we have lots of information on the total, so we can say that while we may not have an answer for this one point, your claim of this being an answer over all is wrong. I hope that sounds as clear when written as it did in my head. Hugs

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      • Hi Scottie. But that’s my point, you can’t say I’m wrong unless you offer a better explanation. You CAN say I don’t know. And you certainly don’t have to take my position. But you cannot rightly say I’m wrong. You have no way of knowing, as you have admitted.

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        • Mel you totally missed the point of my comment. But you tend to do that with what I write. Either I don’t express my self well, or there is another reason it seems to go this way so often. Hugs

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        • @Nan. I actually agree with that. The “why we exist” is definitely “up for grabs.” It may always be up for grabs. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m just trying to make a point about dismissing someone as wrong when you don’t know is just as bad as some religious fundamentalist’s certitudes. It shuts down the conversation.

          Got to go. Thanks!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mel, you keep saying this: “I’m just trying to make a point about dismissing someone as wrong when you don’t know is just as bad as some religious fundamentalist’s certitudes.”

          This is not what you’re trying to do, Mel. You are trying to claim that your claim is being dismissed because of some similar certitude of some other faith-based belief. That’s incorrect; it is being dismissed because it doesn’t fit what we do know. You keep recycling the former idea – that those who disagree do so for motives other than being honest and having intellectual integrity but a certainty like a religious belief – to avoid the heart of the problem your claim contains, namely to make it something more than “I don’t know” by fiat, by proclamation, by default, when none of these add an iota of merit to your explanatory model. Your model doesn’t fit reality. This is the failure of your explanatory model. It is a failed model. That failure is in relation to the model, to the lack of merit of your model; your explanation doesn’t fit. That’s what people keep explaining to you. Because it doesn’t fit, yes we CAN reasonably conclude it is wrong, it is in error, it is mistaken… or it would fit reality as we do know it to be. This has everything to do with your claim, with your explanatory model. It has nothing to do with anything else. That’s what YOU are importing. We are fully justified to go right on saying honestly that we don’t know… and you don;t either.

          This brute fact has absolutely nothing to do with the honest “I don’t know” answer YOU keep on waving away, dismissing out of hand. You are having difficulty understanding why someone’s not knowing has nothing to do with the lack of quality of your explanatory model. So let me try another approach:

          You keep insisting that because I don’t know how much all the birds currently flying in the world weigh in total and with certainty, therefore you can claim 100% proof alcoholic content of your flying god Quetzalcoatl, which just so happens to be the ‘answer’ you favour to any ‘why’ question you can think of, and then reject anything I can say about best estimates of weight and mass for this avian ‘answer’ and insist your alcoholic claim about your god is therefore protected. The lack of evidence for this positive claim about a divine spirit-spirit isn’t a question of arriving with a similar faith-based belief and certitude as you keep insisting. It’s pointing out that your claim has no merit. Period.

          Dismissing the ‘I don’t know” truthful answer to questions about origins that lack any substantive merit is not reasonable. The dismissing is a break down of reasoning and not an ‘alternative but better’ answer to ‘I don’t know.’

          Liked by 4 people

        • Tildeb: “It is being dismissed because of what we do know”

          So, what do you “know” about why we exist, Tildeb? I’m not talking about how much something weighs or how we got here. Why are we here? You say you are dismissing my explanation because of what you know. What brute facts are you referring to about why we exist?

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        • John, I infer a designer (who I would call “God”) and then, from Scripture, who is good and made everything good for us to enjoy. We’re here to enjoy life, to love, to create, to take care of what we’ve been given, and to fully explore the world we live in. I also believe that we were meant to know this God, which is why He sent His Son. We were meant to live forever with Him.

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        • Thanks for answering.

          If I may explore this answer.

          I infer a designer (who I would call “God”) and then, from Scripture, who is good and made everything good for us to enjoy.

          Us, being humans only?

          We were meant to live forever with Him.

          Then why are we on earth, in biological form, and he is in some other unseen realm, in spiritual form?

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        • JohnZ: “Us, being humans only?”

          I would speculate that everything has a purpose in its own way.

          “Then why are we on earth, in biological form, and he is some other unseen realm, in spiritual form?”

          I would answer, simplistically, because His creation is biological. But I also believe we are spiritual.

          Liked by 2 people

        • I would speculate that everything has a purpose in its own way.

          OK, so you don’t, actually, know.

          You do, however, say the “Designer” is good, but could a designer of extraordinary compassion and unlimited means oversee a world where the very mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) would not even exist in the world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief?

          How do you reconcile the claim of “goodness” against this hard fact?

          Equally, why 3.8 billion years of messy, bloody terrestrial evolution (13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution) before even the first apelike semblance of what would eventually become man emerged?

          Why evolution, when it is such a slow, horrendous, painful process?

          I would answer, simplistically, because His creation is biological. But I also believe we are spiritual.

          OK, so you don’t know why he created this physical world. You don’t know its purpose.

          This appears to contradict your claim of knowing.

          Do you agree?

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        • JohnZ: “Okay, so you don’t actually know”

          If you mean scientific proof, of course, I don’t know for certain. I think that was my point. And neither do you. I am offering an explanation that science doesn’t answer.

          When you talk about “happiness” you are talking about a psychological development, not goodness itself. How do amoebas know anything at all? They don’t, but I believe they were still created for good.

          And about your point on suffering, how would you explain the point of suffering if all we do is suffer and die? What’s the point of that?

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        • I am offering an explanation that science doesn’t answer.

          Sorry, no. As per the theme of this post, you actually claimed:

          But you will fail because you will never be able to answer the most important questions of all—why we exist, why are we here at all? Your “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears you haven’t answered that question either, yet.

          If you can, then please do. Otherwise, your hubris is comical.

          When you talk about “happiness” you are talking about a psychological development

          No, I’m not. I am talking about the physical mechanisms necessary to experience ‘happiness.’

          So, how do you reconcile the claim of “goodness” against the hard fact that the mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) would not even exist in the world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief?

          As Tildeb has been at pains to stress, your hypothesis should match reality. It should be demonstrable.

          If it does not match reality, which it appears not to, then there’s either a rational and compelling explanation for why it doesn’t, or it’s simply the case that your hypothesis is wrong.

          And about your point on suffering, how would you explain the point of suffering if all we do is suffer and die? What’s the point of that?

          You’re here, alive, because prior generations evolved and died, making room for the new. Making room for you. That is the point. Constant improvement. Aristotle might have thought that the purpose of all things was to fulfil their nature, to strive towards some ideal neatly bottled inside their form, but such a state of employment could only ever be relevant—be meaningful—in a closed system. The Earth is not however a closed system. 438,000 watt-hours of free energy per square foot fall on the earth every year. Forces flow in and out and through everything. Change and transformation is inevitable and unavoidable. Evolution never stops.

          You are not only an evolved ape, you are the universe made conscious; the arrowhead of 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution.

          You still want to ask, what’s the point?

          Now, to that point, you seemed to have completely ignored my question:

          Why evolution?

          You say you know the “why,” so why?

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        • How does science answer WHY we exist?

          You really haven’t answered the question. You explain existence itself very well but it still doesn’t address what’s the point of it all. Simply to be the latest version of existence? To exist and die? Why? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just personally don’t believe that’s the best explanation. These are questions contemplated in the humanities, philosophy, art, and religion, not in science. Science can only gives us brute facts, not existential meaning.

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        • How does science answer WHY we exist?

          I might remind you, you haven’t answered it.

          To exist and die? Why?

          To make room for you, Mel. That is why you exist today.

          Now, you have completely ignored my question for a third time.

          Here’s a fourth attempt:

          Why evolution?

          You say you know the “why,” so why?

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        • JohnZ: “I might remind you that you haven’t answered it”

          Answered what, how science explains it? I said it doesn’t. And I did give my answer for why I think we’re here when you first asked me.

          Why evolution? My guess would be because it’s part of the creative process. Why do you say evolution exists? Why evolution, John?

          You keep saying “I know why.” I never said that! I said I have an explanation for “why.” Neither of us can prove it one way or the other. My position makes more sense of things for me than that there’s no purpose at all.

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        • My guess would be because it’s part of the creative process.

          Your guess?

          You’re just guessing?

          Would you guess humans were what Yhwh wanted, or are we just a chance happening along that creative process?

          Have we stopped evolving?

          And that “creative process”… It is an ethical nightmare.

          How do you reconcile that with your claim of “goodness”?

          Why would Yhwh oversee such a defiled (dangerously slow) experiment?

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        • I’m guessing because it’s an existential question that I have no conviction about. If there is a creator, and evolution is true, then evolution would be part of the creative process put in place by the creator.

          Okay, your opinion is that the creative process is defiled, so what is your better explanation for why we exist?

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        • JphnZ: “Maybe that be because your hypothesis cannot be reconciled with reality?”

          Wait a minute. Who says? How have you disproven a designer with your argument? And what is reality?

          And I don’t even know what your hypothesis is, let alone know whether it agree with reality. You still haven’t answered why we exist. And if you say you don’t know, we’re back to the beginning again.

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        • Wait a minute. Who says? How have you disproven a designer with your argument?

          Have you established a “designer”?

          You can’t even explain the design.

          The design (as witnessed through 13.8 billion years) contradicts your claim of “goodness.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • And you also completely ignored this question.

          Fourth time:

          How do you reconcile the claim of “goodness” against the hard fact that the mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) would not even exist in the world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief?

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        • John, you still haven’t answered how science answers the question, why we exist. I gave you my explanation. Why should I continue down your other rabbit trails when you cannot answer the first question?

          And you did not answer the question of suffering. What is the point of “suffering enormously” if all we do is suffer and die?

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        • Your explanation cannot be reconciled with reality, Mel.

          Your hypothesis is demonstrably wrong.

          What is the point of “suffering enormously” if all we do is suffer and die?

          Improvement.

          Improvement that has made you, Mel, possible.

          The continual refinement of the physiological and behavioural characteristics of living things eases the pains of existence. That which torments and threatens can be quietened, it can be tamed, and according to Duke University’s Professor Adrian Bejan’s Constructal Law of design and evolution in nature, it is the very reason for why things endure through time.

          This is an entirely new Law of Physics which, said as simply as possible, accounts for the phenomenon of evolution organisation (the configuration, form and design of inanimate and animate systems together) throughout nature.

          “In each case the urge [of living] is not toward an ideal. It is toward something better tomorrow, and to something even better the day after tomorrow—relentless improvement and refinement.”

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        • You’re here, aren’t you?

          “In each case the urge [of living] is not toward an ideal. It is toward something better tomorrow, and to something even better the day after tomorrow—relentless improvement and refinement.”

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        • Yes, we exist. And I even agree with the ideal. But the question is, why? The relentless improvement isn’t addressing why it’s so. It only addresses a trajectory or process of existence.

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        • Asking for a second time:

          Would you guess humans were what Yhwh wanted, or are we just a chance happening along that creative process?

          Have we stopped evolving?

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        • John, you’re continuing to ask questions that are not the subject of this post. I personally believe it was God’s intent for humankind to exist, whether through the evolutionary process or any other way. And, no, I don’t believe we’ve stopped evolving as a species. Beyond that is pure speculation.

          You’re still not answering the question why we exist. That’s the question on the table.

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        • you’re continuing to ask questions that are not the subject of this post.

          Quite on the contrary.

          You posit a designer, a purpose, an ideal, but can’t seem to demonstrate it.

          As you say, we’re still evolving.

          Why, Mel?

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        • Yes, why do we exist, Mel.

          I believe you said you had the answer… But what you’ve offered so far (with accompanying claims) can’t be reconciled with reality.

          I believe the onus is on you to explain your model, and demonstrate it’s truthfulness.

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        • I said I had an explanation. But you claim I’m wrong because it can’t be reconciled with reality. How have you done this? And what do you define as “reality?”

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        • But you claim I’m wrong because it can’t be reconciled with reality. How have you done this?

          Have you been paying attention?

          How, for example, do you reconcile the claim of “goodness” against the hard fact that the mechanisms necessary to physically experience something beginning to resemble ‘happiness’ (enkephalin and opioid receptors) would not even exist in the world before some 3.5 billion years of terrestrial evolution had passed and untold billions of generations of living things had suffered enormously without as much as the hope of corporeal relief?

          Why 3.7 billion years of impenetrably natural evolution (full of blood and mistakes and pain and terror) to arrive at humans… Why are we still evolving?

          Did Yhwh cause the 11 great extinction events necessary to pave the way for humans?

          Is that ethical?

          Yes Mel, please reconcile your hypothesis (an impossibly ‘good,’ mindful, mistake-free ‘designer’) with 13.8 billion years of cosmic, planetary, and biological evolution.

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        • Mel you reiterate JZ’s point against your assertion that you have an explanation to the why question, “Okay, so you don’t actually know” with this:

          If you mean scientific proof, of course, I don’t know for certain. I think that was my point. And neither do you. I am offering an explanation that science doesn’t answer.”

          You are offering an answer incompatible with with how we understand reality to operate and then claim you are reasonable to do so BECAUSE there isn’t certainty! But Mel, you know perfectly well that nothing using the method of science can be known with certainty. You include this to create a false equivalency, that something understood to work for everyone everywhere all the time so far is equivalent to something that doesn’t work for anyone anywhere so far. That’s not equivalent, Mel, and using the metric of ‘certainty’ is parlor trick to try to find a means to make your causal claim of agency by Oogity Boogity! using a mechanism you have knowledge about called POOF!ism another kind of reasonable and equivalent hypothesis for your explanation to a scientific one… if the scientific hypothesis produces anything less than certainty.

          Yet note how you use two standards here: a religious standard that requires only faith-based belief to be entrusted with certainty (and you’re fine with assuming this certainty is well placed) while demanding a scientific standard that must somehow achieve certainty even though you know perfectly well that the method we call science is predicted on never, ever making the same faith-based assumption! You’ve already assumed the conclusion and then used it as a the main premise for this ‘certainty’ requirement you/ve thrown in here.

          That’s why I keep saying that your explanation has nothing whatsoever to do with reality (a reality that does not support any of your explanatory premises) and everything to do with your imported faith-based belief that is intentionally divorced and kept separate from reality’s arbitration of it, separate from the body of knowledge we have about how it operates and maintained even when contrary to and incompatible with this body of knowledge. Yet you present your religious explanation as if it possessed some measure of knowledge adduced from reality and that this is what answers the ‘why’ questions you raise.

          That’s not true.

          And we know that’s not true because you cannot produce any such independent body of knowledge, any such gnosticism, independent of your faith-based belief! You demonstrate time and again that you have the same level of knowledge regarding the ‘why’ questions as the rest of us: none. That means you don’t know, either… even without this imported requirement of ‘certainty’. Your ‘explanation’ is without any extrinsic merit and relies wholly upon your imported faith-based belief. In terms of knowledge, we return to the same honest answer to the ‘why’ question you raise as we started with: I don’t know and you don’t either.

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        • But it does, Mel. Where have you been?

          Unquestionably, the correct answer has been known for quite some time:

          42.

          That’s right.

          42 IS the correct answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

          I thought you already knew this. I thought everybody did.

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        • Haha…Douglas Adams’s quote. Okay, so you’re answer is 42. What about 27? Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Kurt Cobain, and a bunch of lesser known musicians who died at age 27.

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        • Then there is the multitude of things we don’t know the answer to one part of a question, but we have lots of information on the total, so we can say that while we may not have an answer for this one point, your claim of this being an answer over all is wrong.

          What is hard to understand about this statement? If we know enough about a subject to say that we can not yet determine a single point or answer a set question, but we can still say that a proposal is wrong on the subject by what we already do know. The point is we do not need to have all of the answers to a subject 100 % to know that something that doesn’t fit and has no part of what we do know shouldn’t be introduced as an answer. Hugs

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        • What I don’t understand is how does this make me wrong? Nothing we have discovered in the universe disproves a designer. And if you can disprove a designer, then you would not say “I don’t know.” You would offer a counterclaim. To say “I don’t know but you’re wrong” is a nonsensical answer. And all this still doesn’t address the “why?” question.

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        • I am responding to this part of your comment.

          What is invalid is saying “I don’t know…but you are wrong.” If you truly don’t know then you cannot rightfully say the other person is wrong.

          This statement is false. We can know a subject well enough to know that we may not know it all but a purposed answer is not correct. For example if my car wont run I may not know enough about the engine to not know why it wont fire correctly but I do know enough to know pouring jam in the gas tank wont help.

          As to the universe and a designer. I have not seen in all I have heard and read from what scientist know that it requires a designer. So if it doesn’t require it, why add it. I asked you once before why religious people add a god or deity to things that don’t need them. Why add a god to something proven to not need a god. You never answered me. I see it as add a deity to take credit for something that needs no deity at all in the first place. Hugs

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        • OK Mel. You have a right to your position sure. I am not sure we need a why. I do not see needing a god to give life meaning as productive. At least not for me. I have enough going in life to feel great with out a deity. But that is not Nan’s post so I will drop it there. But to daily things and even the part of cosmology we have not yet explained I still don’t see the need to add god. It is the same to me as saying I need to add Thor , a god, to lightening because it makes me feel better. As to the why are we here. I am just happy enough to exist without needing any deity to make me feel better. I am happy with the reasons given for life to have formed and developed here on this planet. Actually because I think life is all over the universe it makes me feel better and happier to not need a deity to do it. That way life could be all over on its own terms. Be well Mel. As you say , we disagree. Hugs

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        • Your POV is similar to mine, Scottie … which is why I said in my post that I tend towards the “Who knows? Who Cares” way of looking at our existence. Let’s just enjoy and make the most of the life that’s been given to us and stop analyzing the “whys and wherefores.”

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        • (My apologies Scottie)

          Nothing we have discovered in the universe disproves a designer.

          Could you address the amoeba proteus, a gelatinous, microscopic, single-celled blob of primitive organics that boasts a staggering 670 billion base pairs in its genome, whereas a 5 trillion-celled human being has only 2.9 billion base pairs.

          Designed?

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        • OK, but you see what I mean? Mel loves to make sweeping statements, but when asked to quantify these statements he runs away, waving his hands about in the air like an autistic parakeet.

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        • Thank you.

          BTW, I don’t entirely agree with your analysis of Mel, but that’s not a topic I care to discuss as we’re getting into personalities and not issues.

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        • But it’s the issues I want to talk about.

          Mel “claims” no one can say his view is wrong, but we can! To demonstrate this we must ask him to quantify his claim. To demonstrate where the magic is. To rationally present an argument.

          That is why he runs away.

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        • But your ‘answer’ doesn’t fit what we do know, is what Scottie is saying. And that means your ‘answer’ is identical to “I don’t know”… not because I say so but because you cannot show that you DO know. That’s why Included the ‘honesty’ bit to my, “I don’t know” because you have demonstrated that, …”you don’t, either.”

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        • Mel it can be we are here because life propagates life. It needs be no more complicated than that. We know that all life tries to make more little lives of it self. It is what life does. It needs no one to tell it to, it needs no grand design. It exists, and it tries to flourish. Again I know you have a deity and you love that deity, OK grand. But your deity is not needed in this case, in this equation. Again you are adding a god to something that doesn’t need it. Be well. Hugs

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        • Understood. You’re giving a possible explanation. My point is, you cannot say I’m wrong, only that you explain it another way. I cannot say you’re wrong. That was my point in the first place. We can only talk about the plausibility of our explanation.

          And your explanation still presents a problem in my mind. I would still ask, why is it such that life can propagate life? If I get into your car (analogy), whether I know anything about it or not, it seems to me that it’s meant to take me somewhere. The car has a purpose because it was designed that way. I infer a purpose without any technical knowledge. But this is a different point than the one I’m making.
          Blessings to you, Scottie. Thanks for the hugs, as always.

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        • Hello Mel. When I was a young man and bought my first car, I always filled the fuel tank with the most premium fuel I could get. High test gas all the way. If it cost more it had to be better and nothing was to good for my first auto. However I soon worked with an auto mechanic who showed me very clearly I was not helping my car. I was adding something it did not need. I was simply giving a profit to a company for no real return. It was not hurting the car, but did not help, it simply made no difference. That is how I see adding god or a deity to why we are here. We are here because the universe we live in has developed a way of making planets by gravity and all the rest through time which is explained by science. We are here because after all the march of time life took hold here on this scientifically explained quite well planet and after a while took off running, diversifying again through the well understood scientific method of evolution. Maybe we talk across each other Mel, but to add more to that is not needed. Adding a deity is simply adding higher priced gas that the engine doesn’t need and works no better with. Be well. I guess your deity gives you some comfort that simple knowledge can not. IF so that is where it is needed, to give you comfort. It seems You need it. So that is the benefit of adding the deity that is not needed, your comfort? For me, I have no need really of why other than it is what life does. Be well. Hugs

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        • I understand, Scottie. Perhaps we can talk about the need for God another time. My view is that knowing God makes sense to me and adds to my life. That’s why I personally accepted His invitation. I didn’t need Him in the sense of some lack or codependency. I wanted something more than just existing or living. But, of course, that’s from my perspective.

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        • I can support your knowing your god, if it helps you in your daily life and harms no others. That is cool. My only point was I did not see the need to add it to something that as I understood it worked OK with out it, but lets drop that for now as you said. A topic for another post.

          However Mel, to help me understand where you are coming from and comfortable with can you answer this for me and John.

          Why are we here?
          What is the purpose of us, of Creation?

          Thanks. Hugs

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        • Scottie, I already answered your question in my answer to JohnZ. But here it is again:

          We’re here to enjoy life, to love, to create, to take care of what we’ve been given, and to fully explore the world we live in. I also believe that we were meant to know this God, which is why He sent His Son. We were meant to live forever with Him.

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        • Heading there now. An elderly man, about 86 came to my door in distress and I had to stop to help him. His cell phone company is ripping him off and has been on and off for three years. I made them stop last year, but he went to Maine in April and they started again. Monday I will have to get involved again. Maybe that is the why I am here, to help my elders when I can. OK now to catch up. Hugs

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        • That’s good that you’re helping this man. No one should be without friends or support. I believe it is one of the reasons why we’re here. And from what I know about you, Scottie, you have a good heart. 🙂

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        • To tell the truth I now have a dozen more questions …LOL But I don’t want to drift off topic because Nan asked us not to. SO just one on the why. Did god also want this same relationship with all the hominids and prehumans through out history. If so why wait through hundreds of thousands of years, maybe even more, to appear to man just 2 thousand years ago. What about all the other humans before, were they not important enough to get the why? Hugs

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        • I would speculate that God wanted all humanoids to know Him in the way that they could understand at their level of development. If it’s true that Scripture says that all creation “declares the glory (His goodness on display) of God, that would certainly includes all forms of humanoids. That would be my rationale, anyway.

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  12. Some of you are getting away from the intent of my post. It was this part of Mel’s comment that disturbed me: Your “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting..

    To say I don’t know means exactly what it says. The person making the statement has indicated there is nothing s/he has learned/studied/read/contemplated that answers the question. To say an “I don’t know” answer is “wanting” is a judgmental statement (except perhaps to those who think they have all the answers).

    As I indicated in my post, when it comes to the question of “why we exist”, there simply is no factual, irrefutable answer. Science offers an answer. Religion offers an answer. But NO ONE can definitively say why we exist.

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    • “I don’t know” answers will always be found wanting…

      Yes, that is what I, at least, am exploring.

      Mel has implied he has an answer, and if he does, we should examine whether that answer is justified, rational, sound.

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    • Hello Nan. Do you think there is a “why”? Does there have to be one? I can understand asking how. That is a question that is very interesting and has several different pathways to an answer. But why seems to be limited to me. Thinking to what Mel has said, which gives him comfort, if you think there is a designer, does it follow the designer even figured us into the plan. It may have simply wanted a nice universe model and dang those pesky fungus growth keep appearing? maybe the designer wanted to make black holes and again we sort of just happened in the mix? I am listening to Lawrence and he says the why doesn’t matter. But he is debating someone saying the why is Islam. Hugs

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      • Perhaps a “why” question isn’t necessary, Scottie, but many, many people ask it. And for me, the answer Mel gave was, as I indicated, judgmental. Yes, in his mind, there is an answer. But not everyone agrees with his perspective and that’s why I didn’t like the part about “I don’t know” being “wanting.”

        I agree the “how” question is fascinating … and probably as argumentative as the “why” question. 😉

        Believers are simply unable to go beyond what they see as “Truth.” And because they feel the rest of us are “unenlightened,” they have made it their job to “show us the way.”

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        • I already told Mel that if the why for him is god and it gives him comfort with out harming others I can support that. I don’t see the need to take others comforts away if the do no harm. But to me adding a god for a why just muddies the waters and brings with it a whole bunch more questions. What is really harmful is if you accept the why as god and then end the inquiry. If you stop looking simply because you add a god that scares me because we wont ever progress. It is true that we don’t really know ( at least I have not heard it has been discovered ) what happened before inflation. But that is a what. So how to answer the why with what we know and with out an unfounded supernatural addition? I do not have the answer Nan. Does anyone else? Does a why need to have a supernatural cause? Thanks what great questions you sparked Nan. Hugs

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  13. Hello all. As I read each comment I am struck by a feeling we are missing an important point. I do not think WHY we are here is a question, not for philosophy nor for science. The why has no purpose. We are not here for a reason, we are simply here. Life simply doesn’t need a why. Yeah. Now the HOW is a grand question that science can answer and still there will be people who say it is wrong. In my opinion of course. Hugs

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