EL: “why is there something rather than nothing? I do not think it can be resolved by science. But I could be wrong.”
No, you are not wrong. Science is the study of the natural world. It presupposes the existence and intelligibility of the natural world. It cannot account for the existence and intelligibility of the natural world.
EL: “I think we will find that life is not particularly unlikely, given the universe we have.”
There is no particular reason to believe this other than that it suits your metaphysical predisposition to reject ID. It is no different from saying “life is a brute fact that I can’t explain.”
EL: “fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of scientific enquiry in general, and of the motivation behind multiverse hypotheses”
The multiverse is not a scientific hypothesis. It is a metaphysical assertion. The hypothesis that any universe exists (much less multiple universes) other than the one in which we live is not testable (how could it be?) and thus not falsifiable even in principle.
I understand the motivation behind the multiverse hypothesis well enough. Materialists understand that 13.7 billion years of monkeys pounding on typewriters are insufficient to account for even a single line of Shakespeare, much less to assemble a simple functional protein by sheer random chance. They need infinite monkeys. And since this universe cannot provide them with infinite monkeys, they need to conjure up more universes: Poof the multiverse.
EL quotes BKA: “The materialist answer to [why does the universe exist]: I dunno.” And then writes: “Yes indeed. But then, in a sense, so is the theological one. Even if we give the answer as “God”, that leaves a vast mystery. I dunno what God is.”
I am glad we agree about both of these assertions: (1) the materialist has no answer to why the universe exists. (2) God may be an answer, but He is a mystery. My point is not that God is an “understandable” answer to why the universe exists. My point is that God is a rational answer to why the universe exists. It is NOT rational to believe the universe is all there is, because that leads to the irrational conclusion that the universe can account for its own existence.
EL: “I would agree that the universe (in other words the reality that we know has existed since Big Bang) did not cause itself.”
Why limit the universe to the reality we know since the Big Bang? That leaves the Big Bang unaccounted for, and it is part of the reality we know (at least that is science’s current, provisional, best understanding of the reality we know).
EL: “That does not to me rule out the possibility that non-existence is an unstable state:
Absolutely false. Pure nonbeing is the most stable state imaginable.
EL: “and that things do “pop into existence” from time to time.”
Things do not pop into existence from a state of pure nonbeing. Here again, the standard equivocation of Hawking and his ilk. The quantum vacuum is not nothing.
EL: “We even have some evidence that this is true, and that “existence” is not a straightforward matter. At quantum level, “things” don’t seem to be “things” in the way that macroscopic things are things – with stability as to place and time.”
We have no evidence that things pop into existence from a state of pure nonbeing. That is a logical impossibility. Nothing comes from nothing. It is a contradiction in terms to say that something comes from nothing. It is true that “things” are different at the quantum level than at the classical level, but they are still “things.” That you can only describe them as such is all we need to know. Again, the quantum vacuum is not nothing in the sense of pure nonbeing.
EL: “The reason I stopped is that I could see no reason to assume that , whatever it is, is the God of Love I worshipped.”
How immensely sad. I see at least five reasons: (1) the hole in his right hand; (2) the hole in his left hand; (3) the hole in his right foot; (4) the hole in his left foot; and (5) the hole in his side.
EL: “So my current position is that life, minds, meaning, purpose even God, certainly Love, and are an emergent property of the universe, not its cause.”
Ah yes, the emergent property materialist poofery confession of ignorance disguised as an explanation. You might as well have written “and then a miracle happened.”
Summary: EL, I am glad that we agree on so much today.