Stranger Fruit

Why This Universe?

Jim Lippard has highlighted an article in the latest Skeptic which provides a taxonomy (below) of answers to why this universe is the way it is. Jim neglected to mention that the article is freely available online as a PDF.

1. One Universe Models
1.1 Meaningless Question
1.2 Brute Fact
1.3 Necessary/Only Way
1.4 Almost Necessary/Limited Ways
1.5 Temporal Selection
1.6 Self Explaining

2. Multiple Universes
2.1 Multiverse by Disconnected Regions (Spatial)
2.2 Multiverse by Cycles (Temporal)
2.3 Multiverse by Sequential Selection (Temporal)
2.4 Multiverse by String Theory (with Minuscule Extra Dimensions)
2.5 Multiverse by Large Extra Dimensions
2.6 Multiverse by Quantum Branching or Selection
2.7 Multiverse by Mathematics
2.8 Multiverse by All Possibilities

3. Nonphysical Causes
3.1 Theistic Person
3.2 Ultimate Mind
3.3 Deistic First Cause
3.4 Pantheistic Substance
3.5 Spirit Realms
3.6 Consciousness as Cause
3.7 Being and Non-Being as Cause
3.8 Abstract Objects / Platonic Forms as Cause
3.9 Principle or Feature of Sufficient Power

4. Illusions
4.1 Idealism
4.2 Simulation in Actual Reality
4.3 Simulation in Virtual Reality
4.4 Solipsism

Lots of options to choose from and, as Jim notes, much more than the "God did it" that certain schools of thought favor.

Full citation is: Robert Lawrence Kuhn, "Why This Universe? Toward a Taxonomy of Possible Explanations" Skeptic 13(2): 28-39.