Mr. Apologist wrote: “The first was originally posed by Martin Heidegger: ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?'”
Mr. Apologist nowhere shows this to be valid question; instead, he simply assumes that it is valid, and expects it to have a valid answer. It will be clear to those who have a firm grasp of Objectivism, that this fellow has not thought very carefully about this subject.
For one thing, Objectivism will view such questions as “why does existence exist?” as essentially fallacious. For no matter how one will want to answer such a question, one would have to appeal, at least implicitly, to that which exists (or to what supposedly exists). Otherwise, one would put himself in the dubious position of assuming that the appeal to non-existence somehow explains existence. (The trend in philosophy since Plato, and perhaps long before him, is to posit some form of consciousness as the “answer” to such questions, even though this tactic is irrescindably incoherent.)
Thus, by posing this question and assuming that it is valid, Mr. Apologist implicitly (but unavoidably) commits himself to the fallacy of the stolen concept. If we ask why something is, but simply turn around and posit that something in our explanation of that something, what mileage have we gained? Indeed, we’re back to where we started, yet we don’t admit it to ourselves. This is what Mr. Apologist does in assuming that the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” (or “Why does existence exist?”) is a valid question. One will have to assume the fact of existence in order to answer the question. But in so doing, he will have to deny the fact of existence in order to validate his assumption that there must be a reason why there is something rather than nothing. He must assume the very concept his argument wants to deny, thus ‘stealing’ it from the objective hierarchy of knowledge, and rendering invalid any conclusion he hopes to draw from his argument.
Existence exists. We must start somewhere. The theist wants to start with a form of consciousness. He wants to posit a mind (albeit supernatural) which is responsible for creating all its objects. This is called metaphysical subjectivism, a view which holds that existence finds its source in a form of consciousness.
Some may object to my characterization of the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” as fallacious, contesting that there is no such thing as a fallacious question. However, it is true when we examine issues in epistemology and logic, that there is a such thing as an invalid question. The fallacy known as ‘complex question‘, for instance, is a species of invalid question. It is a question which operates on a false assumption and expects the reader to accept that false assumption in order to answer it. The typical example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The question assumes that one is a married man and that he beats or has beaten his wife; indeed, it implies such beatings are a regular occurrence. Contrary to these assumptions, however, it could be the case a) that he is not married, or b) that he is married but has never beaten his wife. Since the question is asked in a manner in which a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response can be the only appropriate reply, one cannot answer it on its own terms and avoid affirming its erroneous premises. One would implicate himself simply by answering. The question is fallacious because it leads one to accept a false premise, assuming either a) or b) are the actual case, if he should choose to take it seriously.
Likewise, a question which leads one to commit a fallacy in order to answer it is also invalid. If taken seriously, the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” will lead one to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept; indeed, the fallacy of the stolen concept is unavoidable on the question’s own terms, as we saw above. One would have both to assume and deny existence in order to address the question. If Heidegger did not recognize this, it was principally because he was not operating on a fully rational philosophy. Yet, today we have theists assuming this question is valid all the time in the construction of their apologetic ruses. What is it that theists want to posit in response to their invalid questions so as to appear to satisfy them? Of course, they assume that the only logical answer is to assert a universe-creating, reality-ruling form of consciousness, which they call God, and delight themselves with this as their answer, never allowing themselves to recognize that the question leads them to accepting a stolen concept, and assuming that their arguments justifying this illicit move make it valid.
Mr. Apologist wrote: “And so Heidegger’s question becomes interesting. Atheism can describe the properties of what is. Objectivism can say that existence exists, but it cannot account for existence.”
As we saw above, the idea of “accounting for” existence is meaningless. Would not whatever Mr. Apologist asserts as “accounting for” existence also exist itself? If so, then he has not given an explanation (or an “account”), and if not, then he still gives us no explanation. One does not “explain” existence by appealing to non-existence, or to consciousness. Statements like Mr. Apologist’ assertion above, that “Objectivism… cannot account for existence,” only underscore the validity of the Objectivist identification that religion wants to posit a form of consciousness prior to existence.
Mr. Apologist wrote: “Any world view has to deal with questions in five areas:
1. Origin/Being (like the question above)
I agree that philosophy can be divided into five principle areas or provinces, but I would not endorse the divisions which Mr. Apologist suggests entirely. Rather, I would agree with Rand that those five branches are:
1. Metaphysics: What is the nature of reality?
2. Epistemology: What is knowledge and its proper validation?
3. Morality: What is the proper code of values to guide man’s choices and actions?
4. Politics: What is the proper social theory for man?
5. Aesthetics: What is a proper theory of art?
There are a number of general differences between this list  and the list which Mr. Apologist provides. First, Mr. Apologist wants to position the notion “origin” as a primary concern on his list. The origin of what? Ostensibly, of being as such, since he also includes this in his first area of philosophic concern, and since he is mistaken that existence or being as such can have an explanation beyond itself, as we saw above. Here we immediately see his system’s vulnerability to stolen concepts, since the idea of an origin of being as such, i.e., of existence, is prone to denying that which must be assumed, which is the fact of existence itself. What could possibly be the origin of existence to begin with? If we posit X as the origin of existence, are we not assuming that X exists? If not, then there is no explanatory value in positing X (since non-existence does not explain existence), and if we do assume that X exists, then we’re positing what we originally set out to explain, while denying it at the same time. This will not do, for it is internally fallacious and cannot lead to rationality, which should be our goal at this point.
By asserting at the outset that a proper philosophic code must address the issue of origins to being, Mr. Apologist intentionally stacks the deck such that non-theists will automatically fail in providing a sufficient foundation to their philosophy. One cannot attempt to reason about the origin of something before one has identified the nature of that something. There is an order of priority here which theists who place such emphasis on the question of “origins” tend to overlook. If I see a car, for example, and have not made the effort to identify its make, I will have nothing to go on in determining the nation in which it was manufactured (i.e., its origin). When I investigate the matter and discover that the car is a Volvo, for instance, then I can reasonably infer that the car originally came from Sweden. No, that’s not a fantastic example, for it may be possible so far as I know that Volvo has manufacturing plants in other nations (e.g. Canada, Belgium, et al.), and the car could have been produced there. And of course this example already assumes that I’ve determined that the object I perceive is a car. Had my example not made this assumption, it is clear that the identification of the object as a car would constitute yet another step in this process. The point is that I do not need to know where the car was manufactured in order to be fully certain that the object I am perceiving is in fact an car. The question of the object’s origin is not essential to a correct identification of the fact in question. So clearly we must begin any inference of “origins” with the identification of the nature of the object in question. Otherwise, we risk committing our conclusions to a false or inaccurate context.
When it gets to the universe as a whole, which is the sum of all existence, talk of “origins” is invalid, unless one is willing to assume that non-existence as such provides valuable explanation to that which does exist. But how does non-existence explain anything, and how does non-existence qualify as an “origin” of that which does exist? Were we to assume that non-existence plays a metaphysical, explanatory role for existence, we would also have to infer that existence came about through some kind of causal activity, and thus we would risk positing the concept ‘causality’ apart from existence, and consequently commit ourselves to another stolen concept. How can one posit a cause without assuming the existence of an entity which does the causing? As David Kelley states, “there’s no dance without a dancer.” Likewise, there’s no cause without a causal agent, i.e., without something which exists. This points to the fact that we must begin with something which exists, i.e., we must begin with existence as such.
 This list is not my invention. This is precisely how Ayn Rand summarized her philosophy in its most general conception. See for instance The Essentials of Objectivism on the Ayn Rand Institute Homepage.