1. Everything just is — without an outside cause or overarching design. Scientists claim to find “laws” governing the behavior of matter, energy, time, and space. But such laws only partly explain the universe; there is no grand unifying theory of everything. And those laws are subject to change as science unveils new aspects of matter, energy, time, and space — as it does continuously.
2. Same as 1, but the sum of everything is a “cosmic consciousness,” akin to the consciousness that seems to emerge from the disparate parts of the brain. Being “in tune” with the cosmic consciousness is a “gift” that entitles its self-anointed recipients to pass judgment on the behavior of those lesser mortals whose actions are out of step with the cosmic consciousness.
3. Similar to 2, but instead of a “cosmic consciousness” there is a “cosmic balance.” The “right” balance is, of course, known only to the self-anointed high priests of environmentalism and animal rights. In their reckoning, human beings have no special place in the scheme of things, and may not even be a necessary part of the “right” balance. Their natural allies are those who deny the superiority of Western civilization, the importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition to the development of that civilization, and the particular importance of the Constitution of the United States (in its original meaning) as a bulwark of that civilization in one of its most secure bastions — the United States of America. Ironically, extreme libertarians (i.e., anarcho-capitalists, or market capitalists) and Objectivists (their close correlates) — both of which groups disdain the high priests of environmentalism and the enemies of Western civilization — also hew to a belief in a “cosmic balance,” given their insistence that rights are Platonic essences that simply exist without the benefit of human efforts to secure them through politics and war.
4. There is an external force or consciousness that brought everything into being. That force or consciousness may merely have set things in motion, or it may play a continuing role in some or all aspects of existence. The intentions of the external force or consciousness are known to religionists, by revelation and/or faith; science is inadequate to fathom those intentions or to prove that the universe conforms to an underlying “design.” Those who reject this fourth possibility as “unscientific” — that is, most scientists as well as the typical libertarian/Objectivist — can do so only by accepting one of the equally unscientific (i.e., untestable) possibilities outlined above.
To be continued . . . perhaps.
In “Existence and Creation” (May 20, 2011) I refine these four possibilities and add a fifth.