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Thread: Nothing is Impossible

  1. #1 Nothing is Impossible 
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    "Nothing is Impossible." Does this saying have meaning? No, I'm not saying that nothing is impossible as in everything is possible. I'm asking, is the idea of nothing actually impossible? For example, The Big Bang Theory suggests that something spawns from nothing. If there are no dice to roll (nothing), how does the possibility of reality (something) even have a chance?


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  3. #2 Re: Nothing is Impossible 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    "Nothing is Impossible." Does this saying have meaning?
    Yes, but it is not meant to be taken literally. It refers more to people realising their dreams than to physical laws. It urges us to contemplate what we want to achieve then to strive towards it. It does not encourage us to think that we can jump of a building and fly unaided, or construct a perpetual motion machine, or travel faster than light.

    Your clarification wasn't unambiguous, at least for me. You seem to say this isn't what you wanted to speak about, but rather about the idea of 'nothing'. If that is the case I think using the phrase 'nothing is impossible' is confusing and misleading.

    On the Big Bang theory, it does not claim that the universe arose from nothing. BBT says nothing (pun intended) about what came before.

    So, I'm left slightly bewildered about what you wanted to say.


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  4. #3  
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    Nothing is impossible, you say?

    Find me a rational square root of the number 2.
    I've just offered proof of the false nature of your axiom (thanks to John_C for pointing this out to me in such a simple and concise way).
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    Sorry, I didn't intend to confuse or mislead you. I meant the phrase "Nothing is Impossible" as a way of discussing the idea that nothing is indeed not possible. I'm confused with the idea that "nothing" could even exist prior to The Big Bang (if that occurred). I don't believe The Big Bang Theory has ever said that "something" existed prior, maybe I am wrong. I see the idea of The Big Bang Theory as the sudden instant that reality is born (molecules/atoms/space/time/ect.). I'm just looking for some understanding as to how the birth of our universe happened with the explanation of The Big Bang Theory.
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    Ah... That clarifies. Thanks, korben.


    There are a few different ideas. The cosmologists I've read don't seem to think everything started with the BB, just that our current models and maths break down at that point.

    There is a really awesome site that puts some of the more accepted ideas into terms everyone can understand. You might enjoy checking it out, and exploring some of the articles. A tale of two big bangs is a really nice one, but they're all good.

    http://www.aei.mpg.de/einsteinOnline...ogy/index.html
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    Thanks, I will give this site a look and see if it helps me with some of my questions. I am having so much trouble with the idea of nothing giving birth to something. It doesn't make sense. If the universe started with mixtures of gases or whatever, I could always keep begging the question of . . Where or how did those gases come into existence? It seems as if there is no end. If I decide to start at nothing . . I can't grasp the idea of nothing giving birth to something (atoms/molecules/gases/ect.) for no apparant reason.
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    I understand. It's not an easy concept to grasp, and it's certainly not intuitive.


    If you've got an hour, I highly suggest you watch the discussion linked below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Imvl...layer_embedded
    Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including "The Physics of Star Trek."

    Krauss is a very gifted speaker and listening to him might illuminate some of the areas giving you difficulty.
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    I watched the entire video, very interesting. The concept is that nothing isn't nothing, but actually something. I'll quote him, "Nothing is really a boiling bubbling brew of virtual particles that are popping in and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can't see them." I could still state the idea that particles popping in and out of existence is obviously something and not nothing, but probably the best explanation i've seen so far. It gives me the idea that prior to The Big Bang there was always something, no matter how small or short lived it's time was. I guess the bigger question is, how much time must something exist for it to be considered something?
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    I watched the entire video, very interesting. The concept is that nothing isn't nothing, but actually something. I'll quote him, "Nothing is really a boiling bubbling brew of virtual particles that are popping in and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can't see them." I could still state the idea that particles popping in and out of existence is obviously something and not nothing, but probably the best explanation i've seen so far. It gives me the idea that prior to The Big Bang there was always something, no matter how small or short lived it's time was. I guess the bigger question is, how much time must something exist for it to be considered something?
    Philosophically speaking, 'nothing' is not the same as the nothing (=vacuum) about which physicists speak. From a definitional point of view, true 'nothing' must have no characteristics whatsoever (it must be the existential equivalent of zero in mathematics).

    Given this, either there are infinite nothings or pockets of nothings, all sublimely not interacting with any somethings, and all identical (they cannot even have the characteristic of location in space or time) which means they're actually the same nothing... or else it is logically impossible for there to be 'nothing', which then answers the question of why there is something rather than nothing...

    Not easy, this stuff.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Not easy, this stuff.
    Au contraire. There is nothing to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Not easy, this stuff.
    Au contraire. There is nothing to it.
    Heh!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior

    Philosophically speaking, 'nothing' is not the same as the nothing (=vacuum) about which physicists speak. From a definitional point of view, true 'nothing' must have no characteristics whatsoever (it must be the existential equivalent of zero in mathematics).

    Given this, either there are infinite nothings or pockets of nothings, all sublimely not interacting with any somethings, and all identical (they cannot even have the characteristic of location in space or time) which means they're actually the same nothing... or else it is logically impossible for there to be 'nothing', which then answers the question of why there is something rather than nothing...

    Not easy, this stuff.
    With that said, do you believe that nothing is nonexistent? It seems impossible to have nothing. It doesn't appear logical (forgive me if that is not the right word to use) to say nothing is there because nothing is indeed not there. In my opinion, nothing is impossible because you can't have nothing. For example, 0 is like a balance between +1 and -1 cancelling eachother out, but 0 does not have a property of either positive or negative. It's like saying I travelled 0ft. when if you actually travelled somewhere you couldn't move 0ft. Maybe this is the wrong analogy, but you understand what i'm poking at. Do you believe nothing is even possible?
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    I've often (in the past) contemplated the idea that the "nothing concept" is a bit of a paradox... The moment you describe it, it becomes something... and hence is no longer nothing.

    Is that the type of idea you're trying to convey?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    I've often (in the past) contemplated the idea that the "nothing concept" is a bit of a paradox... The moment you describe it, it becomes something... and hence is no longer nothing.

    Is that the type of idea you're trying to convey?
    Exactly. It seems impossible though because nothing is nothing, it's nonexistent.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    korben, I think we're saying much the same thing. To 'exist', something must have characteristics. By definition, true 'nothing' can have no characteristics. Ergo no true 'nothing' can 'exist'.

    But this could just be the prejudice of thinking 'somethings'...
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    korben, I think we're saying much the same thing. To 'exist', something must have characteristics. By definition, true 'nothing' can have no characteristics. Ergo no true 'nothing' can 'exist'.

    But this could just be the prejudice of thinking 'somethings'...
    We are, sorry, I was missing the idea of "true nothing" everytime I read your statement. I found "true nothing" online and understand what it means now.
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  18. #17  
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    The Big Bang Theory says nothing about something coming from nothing.
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    Hmm.... a vaccum still has spacetime, and dark energy/matter.

    Perhaps the only thing impossible is the existence of nothing, which I might add is pretty much the most logical statement you will ever hear.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    "Nothing is Impossible." Does this saying have meaning"
    _____________________________

    - Nothing indeed is impossible - see

    http://arXiv.org/abs/0812.2819 – V4, paper "The informational physics indeed can help to understand Nature". (The paper contains some misprints in physical formulae, but for philosophical thread that isn’t essential).

    (also may be useful

    - http://arXiv.org/abs/physics/0703043: paper "The information and the Matter"
    - V1, sections: 1. "Introduction"; and may be 2. "To the definition of the concept of information";
    - V5, sections: 1. "To the definition of the concept of information"; and "Discussion and conclusion")

    Cheers
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    I contemplate on nothing...
    where it is there is nothing...
    Where it is not there is something...
    so if nothing was there, what property had it? None.
    so nothing is the propertyless.
    suppose it exists.
    There would be nothing of it.
    so say that there is minus nothing
    that would be minus propertyless.
    so I suppose it'd have the property of a sign (without increasing in value)
    Is that how the universe came to be, that 0 became -0 and then evolved from the minus sign?
    Is vacuum perhaps something like -0?
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    "...so nothing is the propertyless."
    ___________________

    That isn’t so - since you listed the nothing’s properties:


    "where it is there is nothing...
    Where it is not there is something...
    so if nothing was there, what property had it? None
    "

    These "properties" are evidently logically non- consistent, but that is principally non – avoidable, because of nothing is impossible – always there exist an information when the information cannot be nonexistent…
    (See the arXiv links in SSDZ post of Thu Mar 04, possibly again)

    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDZ
    "...so nothing is the propertyless."
    ___________________

    That isn’t so - since you listed the nothing’s properties:


    "where it is there is nothing...
    Where it is not there is something...
    so if nothing was there, what property had it? None
    "

    These "properties" are evidently logically non- consistent, but that is principally non – avoidable, because of nothing is impossible – always there exist an information when the information cannot be nonexistent…
    (See the arXiv links in SSDZ post of Thu Mar 04, possibly again)

    Cheers
    Well, imagine this:

    Nothing has the property nothing,
    So nothing is like a one-sider:
    It has one dimension,
    But no size.
    So that's evedently what we call nothing:
    a line without length.
    A line without length has one property, a side.
    Lower then that cannot be named,
    lower then that cannot exist.
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  24. #23  
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    Nothing is relative, as nothing (as we understand it) can only be relative to something. If nothing is relative to nothing, then that (presumably) is absolutely nothing. Even the total darkness of nothing cannot exist, as total darkness is something.
    If everything is relative, then there is nothing for everything to be relative to.
    There cannot be a state of absolute nothingness, otherwise there would be no universe. It only needs one conscious observer to confirm that there is something, rather than nothing, and that observer could be confined in a small room and need not have any knowledge of what lies outside.
    Philosophers have addressed this problem, throughout the ages. The only answer seems to be that we live in lower dimensions, and that's why we can't understand 'nothing'.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing
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  25. #24 Re: Nothing is Impossible 
    Forum Freshman AlphaMuDelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    "Nothing is Impossible." Does this saying have meaning? No, I'm not saying that nothing is impossible as in everything is possible. I'm asking, is the idea of nothing actually impossible? For example, The Big Bang Theory suggests that something spawns from nothing. If there are no dice to roll (nothing), how does the possibility of reality (something) even have a chance?
    It is irrelevant to discuss what preceded the big bang because time had not begun, and thus there was no space or time for anything to exist, and where nothing exists there is nothing that may form the sense/reference of a proposition. Nothing is by definition not a thing. The proposition is indeed meaningless.

    Nothing is relative, as nothing (as we understand it) can only be relative to something. If nothing is relative to nothing, then that (presumably) is absolutely nothing. Even the total darkness of nothing cannot exist, as total darkness is something.
    If everything is relative, then there is nothing for everything to be relative to.
    There cannot be a state of absolute nothingness, otherwise there would be no universe. It only needs one conscious observer to confirm that there is something, rather than nothing, and that observer could be confined in a small room and need not have any knowledge of what lies outside.
    Philosophers have addressed this problem, throughout the ages. The only answer seems to be that we live in lower dimensions, and that's why we can't understand 'nothing'.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing
    That sounds like some existentialist nonsense.
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  26. #25 Re: Nothing is Impossible 
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    It is irrelevant to discuss what preceded the big bang because time had not begun, and thus there was no space or time for anything to exist
    This is not necessarily true. I encourage a review of the following:

    http://www.aei.mpg.de/einsteinOnline...ngs/index.html
    http://www.aei.mpg.de/einsteinOnline...ang/index.html
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  27. #26 Re: Nothing is Impossible 
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Hmm, there is the theory of the oscillatory universe, and I have read convincing papers on quantum gravity where the universe does not technically have a start time, but either of these scenarios would make this person's question irrelevant - if the universe we inhabit now resulted from the collapse of a previous version of the universe, then a previous universe preceded the big bang and thus the issue of "nothing" does not arise; indeed, in a universe without a start time, the issue of "nothing" does not arise.

    But I take your point.
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  28. #27 Re: Nothing is Impossible 
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Hmm, there is the theory of the oscillatory universe, and I have read convincing papers on quantum gravity where the universe does not technically have a start time, but either of these scenarios would make this person's question irrelevant - if the universe we inhabit now resulted from the collapse of a previous version of the universe, then a previous universe preceded the big bang and thus the issue of "nothing" does not arise; indeed, in a universe without a start time, the issue of "nothing" does not arise.
    If we live either in a recycled universe, or in a baby universe budded from a parent universe, then what does quantum gravity say about what happened before the birth of the first universe? What existed before even the void? Why is there something rather than nothing?
    I assume that the only possible answer is that while there might be lower dimensions relative to us (which one day we might understand), there are higher dimensions, which we cannot ever comprehend. Our brains can only understand so much logic, and this is based upon our experience within the bubble of our own universe with its own unique parameters.
    When we talk about the subject of time, and what happened n years after the BB, then a year to us (ie. 365.25 current spins of the earth), is meaningless compared to what time was in the early universe.
    (T - 1 = 0, where 0 is nothing?)
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    If we live either in a recycled universe, or in a baby universe budded from a parent universe, then what does quantum gravity say about what happened before the birth of the first universe? What existed before even the void? Why is there something rather than nothing?
    Nothing preceded the "void" - a void implies an absence of time, meaning that nothing could have happened; if we consider that geometric planes form the space in which lines and shapes occur, probability is the space which comprises logical possibilities (p AND q, p OR q, et cetera), then time is the space which comprises events - ergo, without time, there can be no events, so nothing preceded the big bang. Though the big bang had a start time and the universe has an apparent age, nothing preceded it and time commenced as a result of the big bang.

    I assume that the only possible answer is that while there might be lower dimensions relative to us (which one day we might understand), there are higher dimensions, which we cannot ever comprehend. Our brains can only understand so much logic, and this is based upon our experience within the bubble of our own universe with its own unique parameters.
    We can understand any number of dimensions through mathematics. If you mean directly perceive higher dimensions as we currently perceive 3 dimensions (+ time), we cannot rule that possibility out. It is not illogical and thus it is beyond our epistemology to rule the idea out completely, it simply seems implausible to us now.

    When we talk about the subject of time, and what happened n years after the BB, then a year to us (ie. 365.25 current spins of the earth), is meaningless compared to what time was in the early universe.
    (T - 1 = 0, where 0 is nothing?)
    Our units are simply conveniences, we use them to quantify continuous variables like length, width, depth and time. It might seem meaningless, but we have no real alternative and it has a meaning to us, despite the fact that the units are arbitrary.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Nothing preceded the "void"
    If nothing preceded the the void, then what preceded nothing?
    Philosophers throughout history have been trying to get their heads round this one, and it becomes like a zen koan. Some have seen it as proof of God, as this is something that can't be explained, and yet we are here to ask the question. Consequently, there are things that only God can know. The term God then becomes a metaphor for what we can never know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMuDelta
    Nothing preceded the "void"
    If nothing preceded the the void, then what preceded nothing?
    Philosophers throughout history have been trying to get their heads round this one, and it becomes like a zen koan. Some have seen it as proof of God, as this is something that can't be explained, and yet we are here to ask the question. Consequently, there are things that only God can know. The term God then becomes a metaphor for what we can never know.
    What is the definition of the term "nothing"? It is an absence of things - matter, time, whatever. So, if NO time or matter could precede the beginning of time and matter, how on earth do you even find sense in the question "what preceded [that which preceded the beginning of time and matter]?"? And if we are going to discuss epistemology, your question is still meaningless, whilst the leap to a transcendent being is utterly irrelevant also. Even if there was a god who started it all, he would be utterly beyond our perception and thence irrelevant - there is no knowledge to be gained from the discussion of metaphysics and there is no purpose in a question to which there can be no answer.

    I don't even want to speculate as to how people have arrived at a "proof" of god's existence from the fact that we cannot sensibly discuss the absence of any time and matter before the beginning of time and matter.
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    The discussion about "nothing" becomes, as it seems, be unexpectedly permanent, when the discussion’s problem is clear.

    Again – nothing is impossible because of there exists the information which cannot be non- existent; more see the arXiv links in SSDZ post of Thu Mar 04, 2010. For convenience the links are:
    _____________

    http://arXiv.org/abs/0812.2819 – V4, paper "The informational physics indeed can help to understand Nature". (The paper contains some misprints in physical formulae, but for philosophical thread that isn’t essential).

    (also may be useful

    - http://arXiv.org/abs/physics/0703043: paper "The information and the Matter"
    - V1, sections: 1. "Introduction"; and may be 2. "To the definition of the concept of information";
    - V5, sections: 1. "To the definition of the concept of information"; and "Discussion and conclusion"
    __________________

    As a corollary - the notion "nothing" as the absence of anything is logically non-consistent, since if it is true then there is no anything when something exists, namely – the nothing itself.

    Besides about some notions mentioned in the posts above.

    Because of all what exists for the humans (and what "doesn’t exists") is/ are the elements (informational structures) of absolutely infinite Set "Information" – so, e.g., Time and Space are only two of a number of logical conditions (rules) for that our Universe – which is a subset in the Set “Information” – is as it is. So Time and Space as logical conditions existed "always" and will exist "forever".

    As to notion "God" (e.g. – as to God as Creator of our Universe) - it can be non-transcendent. If It exists as some self- organized Essence (having a self- identification, some aims, etc), then It is some subsystem in the Set "Information" which appeared to be (before the Beginning) under some reason or because of that a self – organization is an intrinsic property of Information.

    On another hand, if a self – organization is an intrinsic property of Information, then the Set Itself can indeed be classified as the "Prime Creator", Deo, - as, e.g., G. Cantor said (see Wiki) "…The actual infinite arises in three contexts: first when it is realized in the most complete form, in a fully independent otherworldly being, in Deo, where I call it the Absolute Infinite or simply Absolute…"

    But, on another hand, here a problem appears – can we consider an Essence rational, when this Essence is absolutely complete and so cannot change anything in itself? Insofar as even the Essence will attempt to change something in itself, for example – to begin our Universe, It must absolutely exactly follow to the scenario of this change, when this scenario existed "always", including – "far before" of some Beginning.

    More – see the links.

    Cheers
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    we obviously live in a world where things do exist, so nothing cannot exist. if 'nothing' were to exist, then 'nothing' would be something that exists. even the idea of nothing cannot exist. a void of all energy and information would still be that, and at the very least it would be an idea, and it would not be nothing. I'm lazy and didnt read all the posts but I would say that you are indeed right; Nothing is impossible. since we can imagine anything, everything is possible. even a thought is 'something'.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
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    Here some expanded description of the informational conception appeared – see

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.3712

    Cheers
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  35. #34  
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    All arguments to date appear entirely contingent upon the definition of nothing and as such appear to be circular arguments.
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    Relax:

    http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=813

    (SSDZ post of May, 19, 2010)

    Cheers
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  37. #36  
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    If the whole universe were actually something, then it would be like a big traffic jam. No, more like a big blob of matter. There would be no kinesis. For the universe to exist as we perceive it, there must be both something and nothing. Now, as to which is the actual something, and which is the actual nothing? I don't know.

    Edit. Mon 5/24;
    If there is an almost total amount of "something", and just a tiny bit, almost none, of "nothing", then we have dense matter. Like in a black hole. With more "nothing", and less "something", we have low density matter's. Like as in a gas. Without an actual "nothing", there would be no relative value to "something". Imagine one of those puzzle's with the squares that slide around. Without the blank space, the puzzle won't work. There is a "nothing", and it is absolutely essential.
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  38. #37 nothing is impossible 
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    The bang in the big bang theory is the product of interactions between things that exist. The theory isn't built upon something from nothing. We know of no thing that exist that has come about from nothingness. Without the existence of dice nothing can be rolled and there can therefore be no outcome.
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    Can someone define nothing for me? To be in whatever form or state equals something. There is no such thing as nothing in contrast to something. Meaning of whatever is however little the amount of something it contains or consist of there is no measure of nothingness in it or of itself.
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    Now extended and more systematic version of the informational model in physics appeared see

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0812.2819 , V5; though it remains be rater desirable
    to have read the paper http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.3712 before/ also.

    As it seems the SR theory becomes more understandable.

    Cheers
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  41. #40 Re: nothing is impossible 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Son
    Without the existence of dice nothing can be rolled and there can therefore be no outcome.
    This statement is based upon the laws of physics as they apparently exist at this point in time. It therefore has little value as an arbitor of what was or was not possible at some other time in some other reality.
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  42. #41  
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    Keep dreaming superman
    Staying focused
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  43. #42  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Your reply is unintelligble. Can you explain? Will you explain?
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  44. #43  
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    There are certain absolutes in life that have proved be so over large periods of time and we can't just wish them away to believe in the tooth fairy. We must build upon what we know to be certain in order to understand other things that are certain.
    Staying focused
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  45. #44  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    All arguments to date appear entirely contingent upon the definition of nothing and as such appear to be circular arguments.
    I totally agree, you have a marvelous intellect Ophiolite.

    To end this discusion, as per se, If you cannot describe it it cannot exist

    Because then the universe can't describe it, and describe is still easier then to do it.

    Q.E.D Nothing is a word basically for something dark with no inside, now, while what the word describes may exist, the concept you are trying to find that does not exist is contradictive.

    I make this conclusion based on that only a contradivtivity may be untrue.

    Now, an amount has no inside in itself, and infact an amount is a dimension.

    Now, what you meant with nothing was: The thing which was which wasn't a thing

    Now that does not exist, in the same way (have you read the shavers beard, or whatever it was called?) yellow boxes distinctly and only pink does not exist.

    Conclusion:

    The thing which was which wasn't a thing - contradicting

    The thing with no inside - purely an amount & not contradicting
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  46. #45  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Apopohis Reject's Avatar
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    LeavingQuietly; whatever dose of medication you've been put on, urgently needs to be doubled.


    Quote Originally Posted by Old Son
    There are certain absolutes in life that have proved be so over large periods of time and we can't just wish them away to believe in the tooth fairy. We must build upon what we know to be certain in order to understand other things that are certain.
    Even though this is an extremely valid observation, in this age of post modernistic reasoning, we will struggle to reach any consensus on what the term 'absolute' means, much less what it might describe.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  47. #46  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    LeavingQuietly; whatever dose of medication you've been put on, urgently needs to be doubled.
    If you went more in circles, you'd open up a wyrmhole to upside-down world.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeavingQuietly
    Quote Originally Posted by Apopohis Reject
    LeavingQuietly; whatever dose of medication you've been put on, urgently needs to be doubled.
    If you went more in circles, you'd open up a wyrmhole to upside-down world.
    You sure got me there, my friend.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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