But let’s start with the iconic opposing question: Why is there evil? That opposing question stands as the traditional route into this complex, daunting corner of philosophy. Academicians, philosophers, theologians, social scientists, commentators, and just ordinary individuals have pondered that question endlessly. Start an internet search with “Why is there e… ” and the search engine will generate many and multiple variations of the question “Why is there evil?” without need to even type any further than the initial “e” in evil.
In contrast, the inquiry in the title above, of why is there good, appears a path less traveled. Start an internet search with “why is there g… ” and the question “Why is there good?” will likely not appear.
Why then consider why there is good? For that very reason, i.e. the question of good provides a less common path, and thus a hopefully revealing route, to insights into the deep questions about good and evil.
So, then, why is there good? Why are we blessed with the gentleness of a little child’s smile, the delicacy of a soft Merlot wine, the kindness of stranger to pick up a dropped glove, the heroism of a first responder to enter a fire, the good fortune of minable resources like iron and oil, the wonder of our human intelligence, the refreshing ability to laugh, the exhilaration of sport, the intrigue of a well-written mystery, the joy of family and friends, the basic existence of a stable universe, and many other enjoyable abilities and experiences.
So why is there good?
If the question offers a different path, let’s start down that path, and let’s do so at the beginning, literally, at the hypothesized beginning of our actuality, at the Big Bang.
Basis One for Good: Low Entropy of the Initial Universe
What does the Big Bang have to do with good? What possibly could be the connection? Very simply, the Big Bang, as now hypothesized, produced a very productive state of affairs.
The Big Bang explosion (not really an explosion, but on the assumption we all understand that the Big Bang, in current theory, actually created matter, space and time, while an explosion requires matter, space and time to already exist, we will Px7 primal flow label the Big Bang an explosion) generated a low entropy condition. By low entropy, we mean very organized, and for the early universe, extremely well organized. And once such a condition exists, once we have an enormously organized initial condition, on the gigantic scale of the early universe, everything else might be just a clock winding down. With so much low entropy, one could argue that good became inevitable.
We do need to take two side tracks here. First, why does low entropy provide an efficient engine for producing anything? We need to touch a bit of physics and define entropy. In basic terms, entropy measures the level of disorder, with low entropy signifying orderly (and thus high entropy signifying disorderly). Now, if we are given an orderly collection matter, aka low entropy, we can produce work.
Take propane gas, the type used for outdoor grills. If we have an organized collection of that gas, say a collection of the gas compressed into a container, we can cook our barbecue. But disburse that gas by opening the valve to the air, and in a few minutes that propane escapes, spreads out, and becomes disorganized. The propane becomes useless. Note the sum of the chemical energy in the disbursed propane remains the same as the propane when collected in the tank. However, once disbursed, we can no longer access that energy since the propane molecules are scattered about.