The Big Questions
1. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there a universe, or why anything at all? Wouldn’t one expect the “lowest energy state” to be simply “nothing”?
2. Is there a God or gods, or anything agency of beings responsible for the universe? Where did they come from? If there can be such beings that are uncaused and eternal, couldn’t it just as well be the universe that is that.
3. What started life on Earth? Did it arise spontaneously, without any “supernatural” involvement? Has it arisen elsewhere in the universe?
4. Did Consciousness evolve through natural selection, or is there something “supernatural” about it? Can we humans engineer conscious systems (robots, computers, spacecraft, etc)? How would we ever know if such a fabricated entity was conscious?
5. Do we humans, or any conscious entities in the Universe, have free will? But how can it even be defined or understood, since all systems seem to be either hardware caused, software program caused, or randomly driven?
6. Do humans, or any animals in the universe, have any kind of life beyond the natural one? If so, what is the nature and duration of such a post life existence? Is there any external purpose to existence, or, perhaps as honest common sense would suggest, is the animal life all there is?
It is interesting to consider which of these questions the methods of Science might be able to answer. I am inclined to think that only #3 is amenable to being answered by Science. Some might add that #4 is, but I doubt it. The reason for my skepticism has to do with how consciousness is by its very nature a subjective experience. We use “Occam’s Razor” (the simplest explanation of something) to infer the Consciousness of other humans, but that will not work for other “platforms” or artificial systems.The other questions we cannot know the answers to (although of course we cannot stop speculating about them, and even having our own opinions and beliefs about them).