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Thread: What is "nothing"?

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    Lots are people are struggling with the question - what (if anything) caused the big bang?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Lots are people are struggling with the question - what (if anything) caused the big bang?
    If the universe was created from nothing, then obviously it had no cause. In any case, asking what caused the universe assumes that something existed to cause it which contradicts the idea of the universe having a beginning. If the universe is all that exists, which is the very definition of "universe," then nothing could have existed before it to cause it. If you toss in the fact that time started with the initial big bang and that causes require time, then the idea of a causal beginning of the universe is exposed for the nonsense that it is--if there was no time, then there could have been no cause.

    It's important to keep in mind that everyday common sense often cannot be meaningfully applied to uncommon circumstances. Our everyday experiences might tell us that time passes at the same rate for everybody, yet as Einstein discovered, near the speed of light a space traveler will experience much slower time than an observer at rest. In the same way we can and do experience causes and effects all the time in our everyday lives, but at the point in which time came into being such experience is no longer a valid source of knowledge.

    Jagella


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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Lots are people are struggling with the question - what (if anything) caused the big bang?
    It can be other dimensions, such particles can move forward and backward in time
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    Nothing is something that is not.
    Simple ??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Nothing is something that is not.
    Simple ??
    Well, nothing cannot be a something.

    Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the physical notion of nothing:

    In physics, the word nothing is not used in any technical sense. A region of space is called a vacuum if it does not contain any matter, though it can contain physical fields. In fact, it is practically impossible to construct a region of space that contains no matter or fields, sincegravity cannot be blocked and all objects at a non-zero temperature radiate electromagnetically. However, even if such a region existed, it could still not be referred to as "nothing", since it has properties and a measurable existence as part of the quantum-mechanical vacuum. Where there is supposedly empty space there are constant quantum fluctuations with particles continually popping into and out of existence. (1)
    It seems to me that if physicists and cosmologists want to tell us that the universe emerged from nothing, then they need to develop a technical definition of nothing. Otherwise, what they say may reduce to meaningless pronouncements.

    Jagella

    (1) "Nothing," Wikipedia, Nothing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Accessed (2/11/2012)
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    Nothing isn't a place you can visit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    It seems to me that if physicists and cosmologists want to tell us that the universe emerged from nothing, then they need to develop a technical definition of nothing. Otherwise, what they say may reduce to meaningless pronouncements.
    I think what they're trying to say is that discussing the origins of the universe when we lack a complete understanding of the universe at such a time is meaningless. Assuming the universe is the result of some process gives us no extra information than if it were a spontaneous occurrence. It amounts to a guess, as opposed to a conclusion drawn from what we know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby View Post
    I think what they're trying to say is that discussing the origins of the universe when we lack a complete understanding of the universe at such a time is meaningless.
    But physicists are discussing the origins of the universe and have been for a long time. In addition, I don't think that a complete understanding of the universe is possible. Even if we did have all the knowledge that would result in a complete understanding of the cosmos, how could we possibly know that our knowledge is complete? Nevertheless, we can have meaning without complete understanding although we may still lack certainty. Your use of the English language has meaning even if you don't completely understand English.

    In any event, I think the current scientific study of the origin of the cosmos is exciting. It's likely to result in some surprises that may shake up not only science but other parts of our culture like philosophy and religion.

    Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post

    But physicists are discussing the origins of the universe and have been for a long time. In addition, I don't think that a complete understanding of the universe is possible. Even if we did have all the knowledge that would result in a complete understanding of the cosmos, how could we possibly know that our knowledge is complete? Nevertheless, we can have meaning without complete understanding although we may still lack certainty. Your use of the English language has meaning even if you don't completely understand English.

    In any event, I think the current scientific study of the origin of the cosmos is exciting. It's likely to result in some surprises that may shake up not only science but other parts of our culture like philosophy and religion.

    Jagella
    Non-physicists also discuss the origin of the universe. Since we can't use physical laws to determine how the universe came into being there is no more validity to a physicist saying it came from nothing than there is in a theist saying that god did it.

    I don't mean to suggest that our physical description of the cosmos is undermined by the lack of knowledge about it's origin. There is compelling evidence to suggest that the universe began in a compact and high energy state (compelling is probably an understatement) but we have run into problems describing the initial state of the universe. So we cant say for certain what was created, just roughly how it evolved to the state that it's in today.
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    Nothing= 0 = reference,base,matrix,sub set or alternately neutral.
    Wholly (as or pertaining to most if not all sciences) = multicultural
    Holy = religionist/racist !

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    nothing is what this question is worth
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby View Post
    Non-physicists also discuss the origin of the universe.
    Yes, and as a matter of fact science is a late-comer to the search for the origin of the cosmos. Until recently, such questions were more metaphysical than physical.
    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby View Post
    Since we can't use physical laws to determine how the universe came into being there is no more validity to a physicist saying it came from nothing than there is in a theist saying that god did it.
    I agree that the current physical laws in our universe may not seem to be applicable to the origin of the universe for the simple reason that they may not have yet existed in order to bring about our universe. Nevertheless, causal order of effect following cause in time may not work in the case of the big bang because there was no time. Perhaps cause and effect were simultaneous, and in some strange sort of way the laws of our universe did cause it to come into being. That may not make much sense, but as any physicist who has studied quantum mechanics knows, the universe does not always make sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by wallaby View Post
    I don't mean to suggest that our physical description of the cosmos is undermined by the lack of knowledge about it's origin. There is compelling evidence to suggest that the universe began in a compact and high energy state (compelling is probably an understatement) but we have run into problems describing the initial state of the universe. So we cant say for certain what was created, just roughly how it evolved to the state that it's in today.
    From what I've studied, a synthesis of quantum mechanics and relativity may be needed to more fully understand just what happened at time zero. I'm betting that the answer will be purely physical. Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Well, nothing cannot be a something.
    It isn't. Your original description in terms of absence seems reasonable to me. I don't see the problem.

    It seems to me that if physicists and cosmologists want to tell us that the universe emerged from nothing, then they need to develop a technical definition of nothing.
    But they are just speculating and giving their personal opinions. This isn't science.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Space made of nothing but space is affected by the movement of particles back and forth in time on it , so there is something
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water Nosfim View Post
    space is affected by the movement of particles back and forth in time on it
    Stop repeating these idiotic comments about particles going back and forth in time. Unless you want to reference some science to support it.

    (But at least your comment was comprehensible and spelt correctly this time)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Nothing is something that is not.
    Simple ??
    Something that is not what?

    Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    It seems to me that if physicists and cosmologists want to tell us that the universe emerged from nothing, then they need to develop a technical definition of nothing.
    But they are just speculating and giving their personal opinions. This isn't science.
    I quoted Stephen Hawking earlier in which he stated that the universe created itself from nothing. Based on my reading of Hawking's The Grand Design, his statement is meant to be very scientific rather than mere speculation or personal opinion. I'd recommend that you read The Grand Design. It's very interesting and iconoclastic. Many people wish to believe that there is some scientific basis for belief in a "personal creator." Hawking disappoints them.

    Another iconoclastic work is Lawrence Krauss's A Universe from Nothing. This book is recently published and is what prompted me to start this thread.

    Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Nothing is something that is not.
    Simple ??
    Something that is not what?

    Jagella
    Just that. Something that is not.
    This whole issue is profoundly disturbing. On the one hand there was no time and space ( much less anything in it ) at the instant of the Big Bang, on the other hand there is clearly something here now. Can something come from nothing ( in the classic sense of 'not anything' ) ? I think not. Clearly some thing ( not something ) must have been there all along so that the universe could arise and become what it is. Some thing gave rise to the universe, yet because of the absence of space and time at the Big Bang, some thing was there in a state of non-being.
    Do you see the issues ? We do not even have adequate words to describe the problem, let alone the solution.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    I quoted Stephen Hawking earlier in which he stated that the universe created itself from nothing. Based on my reading of Hawking's The Grand Design, his statement is meant to be very scientific rather than mere speculation or personal opinion.
    The fact that he is Stephen Hawking and that he thinks it is scientific doesn't make it so. How is this "hypothesis" to be tested? I don't believe it can be - certainly not currently, perhaps never. It sounds exactly like philosophical speculation to me.

    And, of course, in his view the universe didn't come from "nothing" it came from the pre-existing laws of physics. Does it make sense to say that the laws of physics exist in the absence of anything else? That is philosophy, not science.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    I quoted Stephen Hawking earlier in which he stated that the universe created itself from nothing. Based on my reading of Hawking's The Grand Design, his statement is meant to be very scientific rather than mere speculation or personal opinion.
    The fact that he is Stephen Hawking and that he thinks it is scientific doesn't make it so. How is this "hypothesis" to be tested? I don't believe it can be - certainly not currently, perhaps never. It sounds exactly like philosophical speculation to me.

    And, of course, in his view the universe didn't come from "nothing" it came from the pre-existing laws of physics. Does it make sense to say that the laws of physics exist in the absence of anything else? That is philosophy, not science.
    I would tend to agree. The state ( or whatever term fits this ) that gave rise to the Big Bang would by definition not be part of the universe which we can now observe, so really this question is rather academic. Very interesting discussion nonetheless !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Do you see the issues ? We do not even have adequate words to describe the problem, let alone the solution.
    It is actually a "non-problem" in science. Science is the art of the soluble, and this is not soluble, so it is not in science's domain i.e. it is not a scientific problem.

    It may be in the domain of some other arena, theology say, but definitely something that science should never attempt to answer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Can something come from nothing ( in the classic sense of 'not anything' ) ? I think not. Clearly some thing ( not something ) must have been there all along so that the universe could arise and become what it is. Some thing gave rise to the universe, yet because of the absence of space and time at the Big Bang, some thing was there in a state of non-being.Do you see the issues ? We do not even have adequate words to describe the problem, let alone the solution.
    I think it's best for us not to apply everyday commonsense logic to extreme events and circumstances--like I said earlier. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there are more things in heaven and on earth than what we dream of in our philosophy. It may seem reasonable that something cannot come from nothing, but nature does not always conform to what we think is reasonable. Creators and causes may be useful in theology, but in science they lost their usefulness when Darwin published On the Origin of Species.Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    The fact that he is Stephen Hawking and that he thinks it is scientific doesn't make it so. How is this "hypothesis" to be tested? I don't believe it can be - certainly not currently, perhaps never. It sounds exactly like philosophical speculation to me. And, of course, in his view the universe didn't come from "nothing" it came from the pre-existing laws of physics. Does it make sense to say that the laws of physics exist in the absence of anything else? That is philosophy, not science.
    Just because you cannot think of a way to test Hawking's idea doesn't mean it cannot be tested. I'm confident that in the not-too-distant future these new hypotheses will be tested and found to be credible. The history of science demonstrates that what we thought was not amenable for science turned out to be quite understandable.Jagella
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    The history of science demonstrates that what we thought was not amenable for science turned out to be quite understandable.
    The history of science also demonstrates a plethora of crackpots who were zealously certain they were correct, and turned out to be completely wrong. Truthiness is not certitude.

    Truthiness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintermute View Post
    The history of science demonstrates that what we thought was not amenable for science turned out to be quite understandable.
    The history of science also demonstrates a plethora of crackpots who were zealously certain they were correct, and turned out to be completely wrong. Truthiness is not certitude.

    Truthiness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Yes, "crackpots" can be certain they are correct and turn out to be wrong. If they turn out to be wrong, then we recognize their error. If they turn out to be right, then we award them the Nobel Prize.

    Einstein was quite sure he was right when he said quantum mechanics was wrong, and he turned out to be wrong. One need not be a crackpot to be wrong. We all make errors. I think it's fair to say that anybody who was afraid to make a mistake never turned out to make any significant discoveries.

    What is your point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Can something come from nothing ( in the classic sense of 'not anything' ) ? I think not. Clearly some thing ( not something ) must have been there all along so that the universe could arise and become what it is. Some thing gave rise to the universe, yet because of the absence of space and time at the Big Bang, some thing was there in a state of non-being.Do you see the issues ? We do not even have adequate words to describe the problem, let alone the solution.
    I think it's best for us not to apply everyday commonsense logic to extreme events and circumstances--like I said earlier. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there are more things in heaven and on earth than what we dream of in our philosophy. It may seem reasonable that something cannot come from nothing, but nature does not always conform to what we think is reasonable. Creators and causes may be useful in theology, but in science they lost their usefulness when Darwin published On the Origin of Species.Jagella
    This may well be so, but if we operate from that point of view then it is pointless to even have this discussion in the first place, because it becomes little more than Science Fiction. Our logic is really all we have to base our theories on, commonsense or not, since we cannot step outside our human frame of reference.
    I wouldn't deny, however, that the universe could perhaps have come from nothing, I just find it rather an uncomfortable notion.
    Last edited by Markus Hanke; February 13th, 2012 at 07:00 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    This may well be so, but if we operate from that point of view then it is pointless to even have this discussion in the first place, because it becomes little more than Science Fiction. Our logic is really all we have to base our theories on, commonsense or not, since we cannot step outside our human frame of reference.
    I didn't mean to imply that our logic is useless. We must use logic when addressing scientific issues, of course. What I am saying is that our logic sometimes fails when we study nature. Perhaps the most infamous example of failed logic is that of Aristotle's saying that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Simple experimentation proves him wrong. Reason needs to be tested to see if it is consistent with the world. Isn't that the scientific method?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    I wouldn't deny, however, that the universe could perhaps have come from nothing, I just find it rather an uncomfortable notion.
    I think a lot of people may be uncomfortable with that notion. William Lane Craig, a Christian apologist, reacted rather swiftly to Hawking's The Grand Design. Craig likes to argue that the big bang is evidence for a cause to the universe. That cause, for Craig, is the Christian God. When Craig realized that Hawking was saying that the universe is uncaused and created itself out of nothing, there was no room left for God. Craig had to argue that Hawking is wrong, of course.

    Now, I'm left wondering: Who should I believe knows more about the big bang? Hawking or Craig?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Now, I'm left wondering: Who should I believe knows more about the big bang? Hawking or Craig?
    About the big bang? Hawking.
    About the creation of the universe? Neither.
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    nothing is whats's in between everything else. this forum gets dummer daily
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    Uhh, that's dumber {insert irony here}
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    nothing is whats's in between everything else.
    Are your ears included?

    this forum gets dummer daily
    Today I would agree
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    nothing is whats's in between everything else.
    Are your ears included?
    "And zinj takes that hanging slider and knocks it deep...it's going, it's going, it's goooone. Into the upper deck!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney View Post
    nothing is whats's in between everything else. this forum gets dummer daily
    That's great, but there is still a "there" there, no? Absolute nothingness is complete non-existence, like the 7th side of a standard die or an outside of the big bang universe.
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    The trouble with accepting the Big Bang Theory is that science has no explanation for how it's possible it could even have happened.

    The trouble with rejecting the Big Bang Theory is that then science would have no explanation for:

    1) - How it's possible that all objects could be Red Shifted proportionally to their distance away from us.
    2) - How it's possible that there is black body radiation coming at us from every direction equally (The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation).
    3) - How it's possible that there is still so much Hydrogen and Helium out there, and it hasn't all been reacted into Iron and Nickel yet.

    Basically, by accepting the Big Bang Theory, you get to trade three "How it is possible?" questions for one (equally unanswerable) "How is it possible?" question. It's not ideal, but I guess it will have to do for now. So far nobody has a better solution for the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    The trouble with accepting the Big Bang Theory is that science has no explanation for how it's possible it could even have happened.
    I'm not sure science is in the job of answering this sort of "ultimate question". It attempts to describe the world and if it can do that by subsuming a number of apparently disparate observations under a single model then that is probably a better description.
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    The problem is not so much that they're failing to answer everyone's biggest question, as the fact that their answer to those other three questions amounts to "God did it". (Or the Big Bang did it,..... which is pretty much the same basic idea.)

    "Explaining" something in science by reference to a revised creation myth is hardly a new idea in human thought. It puts the evidence in a domain where nobody can access it or refute it. The ultimate hypothesis protection mechanism. The thing it proposes to explain serves as the proof it is correct. (Kind of like how a preacher might tell you that the grass and trees are the evidence of God.) As long as no better explanation exists, an appeal to ignorance will serve to put to rest any criticism by asking "do you have a better explanation?" Nobody has one yet, but I think if we really want science to progress then we ought to be looking for one. We might get lucky and find it, and if we do find one, we'll probably find a lot of other interesting things with it.

    I always consider it ironic that Einstein won the Nobel prize for coming up with a good explanation for the photo-electric effect, then that explanation gave rise to quantum mechanics, and Einstein never accepted quantum mechanics. But you see how a better explanation to any problem, even small problems, can open up new avenues for scientific enquiry? Maybe we're leaving an avenue closed right now.
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    Perhaps a state of nothingness is unachievable.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Nothing is the point before something,it is the none existence, before existence. so we could say it is something. It is before anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
    Nothing is the point before something,it is the none existence, before existence. so we could say it is something. It is before anything.
    So now we know!
    In the OP it was stated that nothing is the absence of space, time and matter. That would seem to be a decent definition.
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    there never was nothing. prior to the big bang all information (i.e. matter and stuff) was within the singularity.

    but what caused said singularity?
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    That's the beauty of creation myths. There's no need to explain anything prior to that point in existence. We can blame all anomalous observations on initial conditions, instead of having to try and revise our theories to accommodate them.

    The best science of the 20th century came because people were beginning to find anomalies in ordinary laboratory experiments, stuff that didn't add up under the accepted models of the time. When astronomers come across similar kinds of weird happenings in the universe today, they get to do something the laboratory experimenters don't have the option to do: chalk it up to the creation event. Astronomy is thereby made less useful as a way of investigating physics at a fundamental level.

    When the universe starts to get weird, there's always going to be a temptation to want to try and make it not weird again, rather than just accept the new weirdness and try to find a new theory to explain it better. Creation myth revision enforces a kind of malaise on science, because "best fit" comparisons are the only way to approach their accuracy. But they're tailor made. A creation event theory's only basis is that we want it to fit what we're observing. No other constraints on the theorist's creativity exist. They're free to make a perfect match/fit out of thin air, as they please. Competing theorists have to work with genuine constraints given by previous observation, and have the disadvantage that when they arrive at the truth it will probably conflict with "common sense", like how Special Relativity conflicts with common sense.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    That's the beauty of creation myths. There's no need to explain anything prior to that point in existence.
    If we accept something came from nothing then is it fair to say that which we call something, is in fact still nothing? There's been no real change as this is what nothing is apt to be like. The phrase 'something has always been' sounds weirder than 'nothing has always been' if one accepts that everything is really a part of nothing. No things really exist.(hope don't mind the pun....just waxing philosophic)
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    so basically, nothing, is what we know about nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    so basically, nothing, is what we know about nothing.
    If some noted thinkers of the world are leaning towards something actually coming from nothing, then we may be learning more about nothing than we thought possible.

    Is the 'something from nothing' notion actually a scientific theory....does anyone know? If so then how would you test it?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Hello Friends:

    Lately some physicists have been claiming that the universe came from "nothing." Stephen Hawking, for instance, has recently written: "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing..." (1) Unfortunately, Hawking does not define what nothing is.

    I'm assuming that it may make no sense to say what nothing is because nothing isn't a thing--it is a lack of thing(s). It is like asking what is north of the north pole or what happened before the beginning of time.

    Another way to examine the meaning of nothing is that if we consider the things in the universe: matter, energy, space, and time, then nothing is an absence of matter, energy, space, and time.

    Anyway, as you can see I'm struggling with nothing. Is there a scientific approach to this concept?

    Jagella

    (1) Hawking, Stephen; The Grand Design; p 180
    An odd irony is that I posted my first post here in physics, right next to yours and I never noticed it till now

    My post is on a paper I am writing tackling the question of ''did something come from nothing.''

    I know Steven Hawking has never defined it, but it's not true however that no one can. Nothing is simply the opposite of everything. In a physicists eyes, they begin at the big bang, there, there are four ingredients so far as we can tell that is required to construct a vacuum. Those being space, time, energy and it's other fascet, matter. In fact, matter is simply just a concentrated form of energy or said another way, energy is a diffused form of matter. So nothing should be the absence of these four objects. They make the manifold as we know it. So, in my work, I speculated that maybe something coming from nothing is not such a weird speculation.

    For instance, the null energy condition postulate states that all matter and energy actually comes to the big goose egg, zero. There is also the Wheeler de-Witt equation which is the quantized version of the EFE's, which permits timelessness on a global scale due to it having a Global Wave Function. Then there is the spaceless models, which have actually been around for quite a while as well... they are usually found in LQG models. So we have physics really subtly implying that space, matter, time and energy are really just a big bunch of illusions, or that maybe that reality is not what it seems because our approach is the wrong one.
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    Incidently, the Transactional Interpetation solves it all. You can state that information is being shared between the past and future. Observations or natural manifestations made in the present moment send signals back to the past worldline of a system and determine a true history for it. This is the many histories example of Quantum Cosmology. It could be that somehow the future horizon of the universe is creating the early universe by sending signals back in time.

    This was conjectured from the famous experiment, Wheelers delayed Choice Experiment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    That's the beauty of creation myths. There's no need to explain anything prior to that point in existence. We can blame all anomalous observations on initial conditions, instead of having to try and revise our theories to accommodate them.

    The best science of the 20th century came because people were beginning to find anomalies in ordinary laboratory experiments, stuff that didn't add up under the accepted models of the time. When astronomers come across similar kinds of weird happenings in the universe today, they get to do something the laboratory experimenters don't have the option to do: chalk it up to the creation event. Astronomy is thereby made less useful as a way of investigating physics at a fundamental level.

    When the universe starts to get weird, there's always going to be a temptation to want to try and make it not weird again, rather than just accept the new weirdness and try to find a new theory to explain it better. Creation myth revision enforces a kind of malaise on science, because "best fit" comparisons are the only way to approach their accuracy. But they're tailor made. A creation event theory's only basis is that we want it to fit what we're observing. No other constraints on the theorist's creativity exist. They're free to make a perfect match/fit out of thin air, as they please. Competing theorists have to work with genuine constraints given by previous observation, and have the disadvantage that when they arrive at the truth it will probably conflict with "common sense", like how Special Relativity conflicts with common sense.
    creation myth?
    what this has to do with the definition of nothing?
    we 'could' say that prior to the big bang/beginning of universe there was nothing, but we 'can't'. can we even proof, that a singularity existed which caused the big bang?

    we can't define nothing, this leaves the possibility that the universe came out of nothing.
    but 'IF' we ever get there, the answer to the beginning wouldn't be 'nothing'.

    but all that is is an assumption for now because we know 'nothing' about it yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Hello Friends:

    Lately some physicists have been claiming that the universe came from "nothing." Stephen Hawking, for instance, has recently written: "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing..." (1) Unfortunately, Hawking does not define what nothing is.

    I'm assuming that it may make no sense to say what nothing is because nothing isn't a thing--it is a lack of thing(s). It is like asking what is north of the north pole or what happened before the beginning of time.

    Another way to examine the meaning of nothing is that if we consider the things in the universe: matter, energy, space, and time, then nothing is an absence of matter, energy, space, and time.

    Anyway, as you can see I'm struggling with nothing. Is there a scientific approach to this concept?

    Jagella

    (1) Hawking, Stephen; The Grand Design; p 180
    The existence of Nothing requires no justification. It is the only phenomenon commonly considered to be essentially natural and intrinsically logical.

    But just what IS Nothing?

    The "void" of space isn't Nothing as in non-existent. Space may be non-material - i.e. it does not have the property of mass - but it occupies volume and anything which has a physical presence in the Universe exists. An infinite expanse of space devoid of matter requires no less logical justification than an infinite expanse of matter devoid of space.

    Semantically, Nothing has two connotations :
    Nothing(L) (in logical terms) is the null set - represented by the symbol 'Ø'.
    Nothing(A) (in the abstract) is 'that which does not exist'.

    But, 'that which does not exist' doesn't exist. It isn't the empty set. It's not a set at all.

    To consider Nothing(A) would be not to consider.
    To perceive Nothing(A) would be not to perceive.
    To understand Nothing(A) would be not to understand.

    (If you think you understand the preceding paragraph, please go back and re-read it until you are absolutely certain that you don't.)

    Imagine an inert, infinitesimal point in space - and then try to imagine that same point NOT in space. Better yet, try to describe for me something that neither has nor lacks quality, quantity or location.

    The definition and Nothing(A) is often found on federal government forms : (This space intentionally left blank)

    Nothing vs Infinity

    Reality is usually measured and described in qualitative, quantitative and spatial parameters - three basic criteria. Quantitatively there is a negative equivalent for every positive value and dimensionally there is an opposite for every vector. If each of the fundamental elements of the Universe is composed of reciprocally balanced sets of qualities and anti-qualities, then within the finite world the equivalent of Nothing exists. But in the very real and not so 'relative' domain of infinity, absolute Nothing exists.


    (3) Consider the fractions 1/2 and 1/999999,999,999,999,999 . As the denominator of a fraction increases, its value decreases. Though infinity is undefined and cannot be represented by a value, it is obvious that if the numerator of a fraction is finite, then regardless how large that numerator may be, the ratio of any finite quantity compared to infinity is Ø.

    (2) Using any given point in space as the point of origin for an X,Y,Z axis, one may theoretically extend equidistant lines to infinity throughout the spectrum of three-dimensional coordinates. The procedure inscribes a sphere which theoretically encompasses the Universe. By definition, the selected point is the center of that sphere - and the center of the Universe. Since the same can be done for all points in the Universe, every point in the cosmos is its center.

    (1) If every quality has a reciprocal, then the equivalent of nothing exists, just not all in the same place...unless you look at it from the point of view above (infinity).

    From the perspective of infinity, nothing exists (1), has no size (3) and no relative location (2). It is the only perspective from which quantitative, qualitative and dimensional values all vanish (Ø).

    Nothing is the abstract interpretation of the perfect null balance that is the common essence of every element in the cosmic spectrum and the fulcrum of an eternally balanced perpetual system.

    http://www.theory-of-reciprocity.com
    Last edited by THoR; February 18th, 2012 at 10:27 AM.
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    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geometrogenesis View Post
    My postis on a paper I am writing tackling the question of ''did somethingcome from nothing.''

    I think I see a trend in physics andcosmology. To say that the universe came from nothing is asignificant advance because it enables us to completely dispense witha creator, and the idea of a creator only prevents us from trulyunderstanding existence.


    To explain this principle, consider the study of Genesis in Sunday school. A child who is taught that God created the world might ask: “Where did God come from?” Answers to that question might include that God has always existed. Such an answer may be less than adequate for the child because she may be left wondering how anybody knows that God has always existed. She may also realize that the answer doesn't truly address the problem of God's existence—she didn't ask how long God has existed but why he exists.


    As we can see, the notion of a creator only trades one mystery for another. If we posit some creator or cause for the universe, then we must explain that creator or cause. Explaining that creator may be difficult or impossible. I say let's just stick with the material world, observe it, test it, and see what we can come up with. That way at least we have something to go on.


    Quote Originally Posted by Geometrogenesis View Post
    Forinstance, the null energy condition postulate states that all matterand energy actually comes to the big goose egg, zero. There is alsothe Wheeler de-Witt equation which is the quantized version of theEFE's, which permits timelessness on a global scale due to it havinga Global Wave Function. Then there is the spaceless models, whichhave actually been around for quite a while as well... they areusually found in LQG models. So we have physics really subtlyimplying that space, matter, time and energy are really just a bigbunch of illusions, or that maybe that reality is not what it seemsbecause our approach is the wrong one.

    I'm familiar with this idea. In mystudy of physics, it seems that so much has its opposite. Anodes havetheir cathodes. Matter has antimatter. Magnetic north poles havetheir south poles. In some cases two things acting as oppositescancel each other out into an apparent nothing. Two waves of the sameamplitude that are 180 degrees out of phase will experiencedestructive interference. The result is much the same as no wave atall. In the case of nothing, can it be that a “nothing” isactually two somethings that cancel each other's existence out? Isthat what our universe is? A collection of somethings that canceleach other out? Is something just a different form of nothing?

    Jagella
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
    That statement could actually be a revolutionary-awakening in very wisdom-like words - there must have been a potential for something to appear, yet we are still left with the question of what defined that potential if no one was around to observe it?
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    the question of what defined that potential if no one was around to observe it?
    I have seen you make comments like this a few times. I think you are misinterpreting the whole wave function collapse thing. It is not that a consciousness observes something that collapses a wave function, it is simply the act of making the observation that does it, i.e. some interaction has to take place which only entails having a particle or a force or something interact with the system. That is what does the collapsing, not the fact that a consciousness was involved.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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    Why do you presume the phenomenon of existence is the result of cause and effect?
    In order for something to change or be changed it must exist (unless you believe in things that don't exist)
    This means change - cause and effect - is a FUNCTION OF existence, not the reverse.
    Existence is more fundamental than cause and effect and it is reconciled with the canons of logic by a principle, not a process (processes are GOVERNED BY principles).
    The answer to the enigma of existence is very simple and it is hidden in plain sight.

    A common sense look at the mysteries of nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
    that's probably the simplest definition for nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
    that's probably the simplest definition for nothing.
    Or maybe nothing is the potential for everything or that it is the sum of everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
    that's probably the simplest definition for nothing.
    Or maybe nothing is the potential for everything or that it is the sum of everything.
    how can it be the sum of everything?
    that would make everything nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Well, I suppose we could say that nothing is just simply the potential for anything !
    that's probably the simplest definition for nothing.
    Or maybe nothing is the potential for everything or that it is the sum of everything.
    how can it be the sum of everything?
    that would make everything nothing.
    If for every value in the cosmos there is an equal and opposite value then the equivalent of NOTHING exists.
    Particle physicists have hinted at this with matter and anti-matter, but that is a misconception.
    They are substances in opposing condition - not opposite existences, else they would disappear without a trace on contact (no energy or mass remaining)
    Qualities and anti-qualities most likely comprise every element in the cosmic spectrum, but our Neanderthal technology hasn't discovered this yet.
    Fundamental particles HAVE substructure.
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    Definition of 'NOTHING': ".................................................. .................................................. ................................. "
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    I wouldn't take aything that Hawkings had said for the past 20++ years, very serious. He's babbleling and raving.

    Science can only calculate what they have theorized and discoverd, not unknown factors, thus science postulated that humans can't burn because we consist of 80% water, then we discoverd that we can indeed burn due to the "wig effect".

    Hawkings have probaly not calculated the matter that super strings consist of, to exist.
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    Hawking, not Hawkings. Before you dismiss a theoretical physacist, at least have the respect to get his name right.

    And based on your apparent level of understanding of current physics, I doubt you have a clue what he has or has not calculated.
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    And that is the 'wick effect' - a fat burner not recommended by the AMA or the FDA.

    I CAN; however, easily dismiss any theorist who believes the phenomenon if existence is the product of cause and effect (Universe Began) and he is certainly in that camp. Pity to waste such an inherent facility to crunch numbers, but mathematics can describe fantasy just as 'beautifully' as it can describe reality.

    As for super strings, I found a bunch of them at the Philadelphia Philharmonic.
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    Nothing is what does not make sense of putting the word "is" after.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Here are some properties that I believe that nothing has:

    Nothing is the absence of something.
    Nothing is nothing.
    Nothing is not something else.
    Nothing does not contain anything except itself.

    Doing nothing to something does not change the thing.
    Adding nothing to something does not change the thing.
    etc.

    This is my opinion, but for me it would be wrong to call what existed before big bang nothing. If laws existed before big bang then it wasn't nothing, it were something, namely the existence of laws. The absence of the universe in that case is not nothing, it's a set of laws. The empty set is not nothing, because it has laws.

    I was going to write that the empty set is not nothing because it has properties and rules, but nothing does also have properties in a way...
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    I think all you can say at this point is that there is insufficient data to formulate a scientific hypothesis - yet.
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    "nothing" is the space between the smallest units of matter
    The need for an intelligible world begins with the fearfulness of pre-philosophical, pre-literate societies facing an unpredictable world of change and trying to make sense of it.
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    Nothing is no thing, denoting the absence of something. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness, which is also an adjective, and an object as a concept in the Frege-Church ontology.

    In nontechnical uses, nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance. Nothingness is the state of being nothing, the state of nonexistence of anything, or the property of having nothing.
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    What is thing? Thing is a hand from the adams family.

    No-Thing is a prohibitory sign to keep the thing out.

    Beware_of_the_thing.jpg
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Nature abhors a vacuum. This thread is full of it.
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    That has been the question that scientists in this field have been puzzled by forever. It's basically the question of how NOTHING turned into EVERYTHING in the blink of an eye. You're asking a question far beyond us.
    “There is a philosophy that says that if something is unobservable -- unobservable in principle -- it is not part of science. If there is no way to falsify or confirm a hypothesis, it belongs to the realm of metaphysical speculation, together with astrology and spiritualism. By that standard, most of the universe has no scientific reality -- it's just a figment of our imaginations.”

    -Leonard Susskind
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    We can not prove that the universe came from nothing. Though scientists claim they know the universe comes from nothing, that we are a result of random displacement of matter, but maybe, the big bang was the only moment nothing existed, that before the big bang, there was something else, slowly fading into nothing. Seen the futurama episode, where farnsworth travels to the future, and only the future? It is a possibility THAT's what happens. Though i can't say most of my science knowledge comes from cartoons, though i can't say it doesn't.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    We can not prove that the universe came from nothing. Though scientists claim they know the universe comes from nothing
    Some scientists claim that, others disagree (the big bang theory is silent on the matter).
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Hi again Jagella; you are probably aware of most of what I have written below. Never the less, this is my answer to your original statements and question.

    Stephen Hawking most assuredly understands the PRESENT mathematical laws pertaining to GRAVITATION; it is equally evident that he does not know or understand the fundamental dynamic nature of gravity.

    It is typical of humans; we are always attempting to understand that which is presently unknown. With regards to the origin of the universe, that understanding requires an explanation of the original creation.The Big Bang is just such an attempt; it originates from an attempt to explain the distant red shifting of the H and K spectral lines of calcium by relating it to the Doppler Effect. It may be correct to assume that the Doppler Effect is the cause of the red shift, however, that fossil light has to travel through vast distances of space that would be affected by the gravitation effect of the many galaxies that intervene.

    With regards to the word NOTHING, it has many meanings that are dependent in which sense it is used. In the case referred to, non existence would have been more specific. As stated above, it is typical of humans that we attempt an explanation, and in this case there is conceit and frustration attached to the belief that we have the answer to the original creation of the universe.
    You are struggling with such a concept because you are subconsciously aware that the concept does not belong within scientific analysis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWN View Post
    Stephen Hawking most assuredly understands the PRESENT mathematical laws pertaining to GRAVITATION; it is equally evident that he does not know or understand the fundamental dynamic nature of gravity.
    And you do, I suppose?

    Care to enlighten us? Or or we mere humans unable to understand these mysteries?

    It is typical of humans; we are always attempting to understand that which is presently unknown.
    Puny humans. It is a good job that GWN is here to explain everything.

    But what exactly is wrong with trying to understand the unknown? It is attempting to understand the unknown that has brought us progress in technology, medicine, agriculture, the arts, etc. If it weren't for those attempts you wouldn't be using your computer to write these messages. You might not even have survived to whatever age you have achieved.

    With regards to the origin of the universe, that understanding requires an explanation of the original creation.[/COLOR][/FONT]The Big Bang is just such an attempt;
    The big bang theory does not attempt to explain the origin of the universe.

    it originates from an attempt to explain the distant red shifting of the H and K spectral lines of calcium by relating it to the Doppler Effect.
    It does not relate red-shift to the Doppler effect.
    And it does not only use the "H and K spectral lines of calcium". What about the time dilation of supernovae?

    Hawking may not understand "the fundamental dynamic nature of gravity" (whatever that means) but it seems clear that you know nothing at all about cosmology.

    It may be correct to assume that the Doppler Effect is the cause of the red shift
    No it would be utterly wrong to assume that.

    however, that fossil light has to travel through vast distances of space that would be affected by the gravitation effect of the many galaxies that intervene.
    And, of course, no one else has thought of that, done the math and found that it doesn't work.
    So perhaps you could show us, in appropriate mathematical detail how the gravitation effect of the many galaxies would cause red shifting?

    in this case there is conceit and frustration attached to the belief that we have the answer to the original creation of the universe.
    Do we have the answer to the original creation of the universe? I am not aware of that? Somehow it seems to have not made the news round here.

    You are struggling with such a concept because you are subconsciously aware that the concept does not belong within scientific analysis.
    Just because science doesn't currently have an answer does not mean that it can never have an answer.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWN View Post
    it is equally evident that he does not know or understand the fundamental dynamic nature of gravity.
    The only thing that is evident to me is that Prof Hawking understands more about the fundamental nature of gravity than all of us forum participants combined. And that is from someone who has studied a lot of his publications over the years - the scientific papers, not the popular ones. There is a reason why he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, you know.
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    The "subject", the question, "is it a realistic outcome"?

    Are we allowed to play with ideas, use Hawking-isms, with such bravado?

    Why not just suggest something offensive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post

    With regards to the origin of the universe, that understanding requires an explanation of the original creation.[/COLOR][/FONT]The Big Bang is just such an attempt;
    The big bang theory does not attempt to explain the origin of the universe.
    Yeah. That's the sad thing about it. It posits an origin, but really makes no attempt to explain that origin. Perhaps that's for the best.

    When Kepler discovered that planets orbit the Sun in elliptical orbits, his theories about why they did so were.... well... a little crazy. A good explanation didn't really come along until Newton. But Kepler was dead right about the elliptical orbits part, so I guess it's ok to just live with not knowing why sometimes.



    Quote Originally Posted by ballyhoo View Post
    I think all you can say at this point is that there is insufficient data to formulate a scientific hypothesis - yet.
    Yeah. I much agree.

    Within the framework of the theory, nobody really knows or can claim to know whether there was nothing or something before the big bang. Only what the state of the universe was when it actually began to happen.

    For all we know, it was a giant spaghetti monster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post

    With regards to the origin of the universe, that understanding requires an explanation of the original creation.[/COLOR][/FONT]The Big Bang is just such an attempt;
    The big bang theory does not attempt to explain the origin of the universe.
    Yeah. That's the sad thing about it. It posits an origin, but really makes no attempt to explain that origin.
    Strictly speaking, it doesn't even do that. It just describes the evolution of the universe from the earliest state we can deduce anything about.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    mrJoshua is banned as a sock puppet of Questisnotover/Streamsystems/Manynames/etc.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Thanx KALSTER. He certainly came in with a preassembled provocative attitude that I suspected came from past interactions, but I haven't been here long enough to know all the old names and personalities.
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    Big bang is a hypothesis derived from the assumption that the red shift of elemental markers in light from the most distant galaxies is caused by cosmic expansion. Think about it. What do we REALLY know about billion year old light waves? Human lifespan seems to make the subject moot at best.

    No, BB doesn't portend to explain the phenomenon of existence, itself, but that explanation does; however, cast doubt on the validity of BB theory. And it's not even rocket science.

    Before something can change, before it can act or be acted upon, it must exist. This is a rather simple axiom, intrinsically self-evident since any who might dissent must believe in things that don't exist. Existence in the absence of change is possible, change in the absence of existence is not. The fact that existence is required in order for change to occur explicitly means cause and effect is a function of (derived from) the phenomenon of existence.

    The Universe didn't suddenly transform from a condition of non-existence into a state of physical being because existence isn't a condition or a state of being, it is the phenomenon of being, itself.

    If there ever was a Big Bang (and the jury is certainly still out), the only logical version would be that within our local neighborhood (45 billion light years or so with its theoretical expansion factor), an immensely large volume of mass somehow collapsed into a hyper-critical black hole which then regurgitated. I could almost (but not quite) lend credence to that scenario, but it certainly didn't create the Universe. At most it was a colossal rearrangement of elements which already existed.

    Haldane tells us that the world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine. But Occam readily assures us that if theories sound far-fetched, it's probably because they are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Hello Friends:

    Lately some physicists have been claiming that the universe came from "nothing." Stephen Hawking, for instance, has recently written: "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing..." (1) Unfortunately, Hawking does not define what nothing is.

    I'm assuming that it may make no sense to say what nothing is because nothing isn't a thing--it is a lack of thing(s). It is like asking what is north of the north pole or what happened before the beginning of time.

    Another way to examine the meaning of nothing is that if we consider the things in the universe: matter, energy, space, and time, then nothing is an absence of matter, energy, space, and time.

    Anyway, as you can see I'm struggling with nothing. Is there a scientific approach to this concept?

    Jagella

    (1) Hawking, Stephen; The Grand Design; p 180

    Yes, you are correct. Hawking does not define the word "nothing" in such statements. Like you and others on this thread have pointed out, word definitions are the key to understanding some of his statement(s), especially the word "nothing" in this case.

    I agree that a good scientific approach for any query is to first understand and agree upon a definition(s) for the word(s) that one is trying to use or understand. I agree that yours and other's ideas on this thread of "nothing" are correct.

    In this case the word "nothing" has a simple etymological basis. The two root-words are "no" and "thing." "No" as an adjective means "not any." And "thing" as a noun means in this context: "an object having material existence." So the primary antonym to "nothing" is the word "something." The word "some" in this context means "having a substantive physical state or condition of existence."

    So the word "nothing" generally can be given the meaning of "not having a physical existence," or "not having a state or condition of existence."

    The old axiom "something cannot come from nothing" was recognized in ancient Greek times as being a foundation principle of logic.

    I think Hawking's statements are a play on words. The "vacuum" in modern physics is equated with the "Zero Point Field," which in the absence of known matter particles but is still known to be filled with energy. Most believe it is also filled with particles. Such theoretical particles are dark matter, gravitons, Higg's particles, etc, and entities such a quantum foam and dark energy, etc. About a hundred years ago this energetic, particulate field was called a particulate aether.

    This "vacuum" is often commonly referred to as "nothing." So it seems apparent to me that Hawking does not believe that the universe came from nothing at all. Instead I think he is stating that this universe came from this state of potential which we call the Zero Point Field (ZPF) leading to a Big Bang beginning. The ZPF accordingly is thought by many to have more energy potential than all the matter in the universe. This may be the farthest thing away from "nothingness" as possible.
    Last edited by forrest noble; June 13th, 2012 at 11:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagella View Post
    Hello Friends:

    Lately some physicists have been claiming that the universe came from "nothing." Stephen Hawking, for instance, has recently written: "Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing..." (1) Unfortunately, Hawking does not define what nothing is.

    I'm assuming that it may make no sense to say what nothing is because nothing isn't a thing--it is a lack of thing(s). It is like asking what is north of the north pole or what happened before the beginning of time.

    Another way to examine the meaning of nothing is that if we consider the things in the universe: matter, energy, space, and time, then nothing is an absence of matter, energy, space, and time.

    Anyway, as you can see I'm struggling with nothing. Is there a scientific approach to this concept?

    Jagella

    (1) Hawking, Stephen; The Grand Design; p 180

    Yes, you are correct. Hawking does not define the word "nothing" is such statements, but like you suggest, definition is the key to understanding his statement(s).

    I think one of the best scientific approaches for any query is to first understand and agree upon a definition for the word(s) that one is trying to understand, and that your ideas of "nothing" is correct.

    In this case the word "nothing" has a simple etymological basis. The two root-words are "no" and "thing." "No" as an adjective means "not any." And "thing" as a noun means in this context: "an object having material existence." So the primary antonym to "nothing" is the word "something." The word "some" in this context means "having a substantive physical state or condition of existence."

    So the word "nothing" generally can be given the meaning of "not having a physical existence," or "not having a state or condition or existence."

    The old axiom "something cannot come from nothing" was recognized in ancient Greek times as being a foundation principle of logic.

    I think Hawking's statements are a play on words. The "vacuum" in modern physics is equated with the "Zero Point Field" which in the absence of known matter particles, is still thought to be filled with energy. Most believe it is also filled with particles. Such theoretical particles are dark matter, gravitons, Higg's particles, etc, and entities such a quantum foam and dark energy, etc. About a hundred years ago this energetic, particulate field was called a particulate aether.

    This "vacuum" is often commonly referred to as "nothing." So Hawking does not believe that the universe came from nothing at all, he believes instead that this universe, and others, came from this state of potential which we call the Zero Point Field (ZPF) leading to a Big Bang beginning. The ZPF accordingly is thought by many to have more energy potential than all the matter in the universe. This may be the farthest thing away from "nothingness" as possible.
    Why would an infinite field of space devoid of matter require any less logical justification than an infinite field of matter devoid of space?
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    Quote Originally Posted by THoR View Post

    Why would an infinite field of space devoid of matter require any less logical justification than an infinite field of matter devoid of space?
    How would you define matter ( or anything at all ) in the absence of a space-time for it to exist in ?
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    Thor,

    Why would an infinite field of space devoid of matter require any less logical justification than an infinite field of matter devoid of space?
    Many or most theorists today do not believe the ZPF or space is infinite in its extension, nor do I. I don't remember what Hawking thinks about the idea of the infinite extension of time or space.

    Based upon your postings, I think our opinions run parallel concerning our questioning of the logic of present cosmological theory
    Last edited by forrest noble; May 13th, 2012 at 02:49 PM.
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    As I understand it, the idea in Big Bang Theory is that the universe is finite, but curves in some weird sense where traveling from one end to the other is like Departing from Equador on Earth at the Equator, and traveling due East. Sooner or later, if your path is straight enough, you will end up right where you began. That analogy also helps in understanding how the universe's expansion can be like the expanding surface of a balloon, where there's no real center to the expansion.


    However it leads to a perplexing question about time. If time really is just another dimension, like "North", "East", or "Down" are dimensions in space, and the universe curves in such a manner as to bring you back to your starting point if you travel far enough through space...... then what happens if you travel really far in the "time" direction?
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    As I understand it, the idea in Big Bang Theory is that the universe is finite, but curves in some weird sense where traveling from one end to the other is like Departing from Equador on Earth at the Equator, and traveling due East. Sooner or later, if your path is straight enough, you will end up right where you began. That analogy also helps in understanding how the universe's expansion can be like the expanding surface of a balloon, where there's no real center to the expansion.


    However it leads to a perplexing question about time. If time really is just another dimension, like "North", "East", or "Down" are dimensions in space, and the universe curves in such a manner as to bring you back to your starting point if you travel far enough through space...... then what happens if you travel really far in the "time" direction?
    Although some theoretical physics believe time can have a backward direction to it, many or most theorists believe that time has a single direction to it defined by change and motion.

    Concerning General Relativity (GR) and the curving of space, a spherical like bending is only one possibility of it. The prevailing model of cosmology, the Big Bang, presently asserts that space expands and that that expansion rate changes over time ( Inflation model, dark energy). According to GR space can also be "flat" as in Euclidean geometry. So far the observable universe appears to be flat.

    If Generally Relativity turns out not to be the correct model of gravity, then it would be even more likely that the universe is entirely flat, meaning no curvature of space and maybe no expansion of it either. Other than the known energy or theoretical particulates within it, there is no certainty that space has any characteristics at all other than being the distance between matter.
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    According to GR space can also be "flat" as in Euclidean geometry. So far the observable universe appears to be flat
    I don't think that is correct. According to GR, space might be flat on a global scale, but not on smaller scales. GR describes gravity, which necessarily requires curvature, which is not Euclidean. Also, we might see it as flat globally, but that might just be an artifact of the relative size between the observable universe and the whole of it, just like the earth under your feet appears flat.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by THoR View Post

    Why would an infinite field of space devoid of matter require any less logical justification than an infinite field of matter devoid of space?
    How would you define matter ( or anything at all ) in the absence of a space-time for it to exist in ?
    ???? Space is a substance. Time is a measurement.

    There are two basic phenomena - existence and change. Certainly the substance of space changes - especially when in the presence of things that have the property of mass (gravity) - but to try to append the two as an integrated consideration or to consider time as a dimension does a disservice to the discipline of science....sorry uncle Al.
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Thor,

    Why would an infinite field of space devoid of matter require any less logical justification than an infinite field of matter devoid of space?
    Many or most theorists today do not believe the ZPF or space is infinite in its extension, nor do I. I don't remember what Hawking thinks about the idea of the infinite extension of time or space.

    Based upon your postings, I think our opinions run parallel concerning our questioning of the logic of present cosmological theory
    Yes, many theorists believe there is no point of existence 10^999,999,999 light years from Earth OR space is curved and any traveler who could instantaneously traverse a sufficient distance would just retrace his path. To those who entertain the first assumption I would warn, BEWARE AND SAIL YE NOT TOO FAR OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE LEST THOU FALLEST FROM THE EDGE. To those who espouse the second I would ask what principle of science, logic or mathematics portends that such a point of reversal exists.

    Of course if the Universe began, then unless it expanded at an infinite rate or for an infinite time it would necessarily be finite in volume. Fortunately it is not temporal in nature - it did not begin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    According to GR space can also be "flat" as in Euclidean geometry. So far the observable universe appears to be flat
    I don't think that is correct. According to GR, space might be flat on a global scale, but not on smaller scales. GR describes gravity, which necessarily requires curvature, which is not Euclidean. Also, we might see it as flat globally, but that might just be an artifact of the relative size between the observable universe and the whole of it, just like the earth under your feet appears flat.
    Yes, you're correct and my statement above for the reason you explained could be misleading to some. GR can predict a flat universe on the global scale but asserts the warping/ bending of space surrounding all matter as you stated. Only if GR and the BB model both are wrong could space be completely flat at all scales and have no characteristics at all to it other than the known ZPF within it.
    Last edited by forrest noble; May 13th, 2012 at 09:21 PM.
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    "Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it - in a decade, a century, or a millennium - we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid?"

    John Archibald Wheeler



    Reality is nothing but a mathematical structure. A mathematical structure not unlike a circle, how could it have been otherwise?
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    Of course if the Universe began, then unless it expanded at an infinite rate or for an infinite time it would necessarily be finite in volume. Fortunately it is not temporal in nature - it did not begin.
    Yeah, although I don't adhere to the standard model, I do believe in a universe finite in both time and space. That being said, we can be certain that the universe is either finite or infinite concerning its beginning and volume
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    Quote Originally Posted by qsa View Post

    "Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it - in a decade, a century, or a millennium - we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid?"

    John Archibald Wheeler

    Reality is nothing but a mathematical structure. A mathematical structure not unlike a circle, how could it have been otherwise?
    Cool, I like that

    Whether we perceive reality as a mathematical structure or not is a perspective, as is the perception of complexity or simplicity. But the perspective of simplicity is my preferred point of view concerning reality Looking at reality as being a place of simplicities demands a logical explanation of it -- so sayeth I.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Lots are people are struggling with the question - what (if anything) caused the big bang?
    In any finite universe model with a beginning entity, it had to have within it the characteristic of potential energy concerning the cause of its initial changes perpetuating time. A Big Bang beginning entity would have necessarily had the characteristic of potential energy, seemingly the only possible explanation concerning a finite beginning in time.
    Last edited by forrest noble; May 13th, 2012 at 09:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by qsa View Post

    "Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it - in a decade, a century, or a millennium - we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid?"

    John Archibald Wheeler

    Reality is nothing but a mathematical structure. A mathematical structure not unlike a circle, how could it have been otherwise?
    Cool, I like that

    Whether we perceive reality as a mathematical structure or not is a perspective, as is the perception of complexity or simplicity. But the perspective of simplicity is my preferred point of view concerning reality Looking at reality as being a place of simplicities demands a logical explanation of it -- so sayeth I.
    Thanks, and yes I have the logical explanation. And it is ridiculously simple, but once you find out you will know why we are so astonished as to why something rather than nothing. I will post it tomorrow in the New Hypotheses and Ideas forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by qsa View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by qsa View Post

    "Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it - in a decade, a century, or a millennium - we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid?"

    John Archibald Wheeler

    Reality is nothing but a mathematical structure. A mathematical structure not unlike a circle, how could it have been otherwise?
    Cool, I like that

    Whether we perceive reality as a mathematical structure or not is a perspective, as is the perception of complexity or simplicity. But the perspective of simplicity is my preferred point of view concerning reality Looking at reality as being a place of simplicities demands a logical explanation of it -- so sayeth I.
    Thanks, and yes I have the logical explanation. And it is ridiculously simple, but once you find out you will know why we are so astonished as to why (there is) something rather than nothing. I will post it tomorrow in the New Hypotheses and Ideas forum.
    (parenthesis added)


    Very much looking forward to your new thread since I seriously have a whole book of my own theories in cosmology and theoretical physics and this is one of the questions that I give a simple answer to also So if both of our ideas/ theories have their basis in logic, then our conversations might last awhile, I hope.
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    What fascinates me is that the people who base their theories on "logic" and "common sense" (rather than science) all come up with different, and frequently incompatible. ideas.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    What fascinates me is that the people who base their theories on "logic" and "common sense" (rather than science) all come up with different, and frequently incompatible. ideas.
    Stange, my good buddy, I expect that in the future theories will be based upon common sense as they were a hundred years ago. My opinion is that in the last one hundred years we have diverged from this opinion. I believe you will survive the transition of understanding that the logic of science will eventually transcend today's theories, but I could be wrong in more than one ways. What do you think my friend?
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Yeah, although I don't adhere to the standard model,
    And I am sure you have good reasons for that. Care to share them?
    I do believe in a universe finite in both time and space.
    Again you no doubt have good reasons for this "belief". Why not share them
    That being said, we can be certain that the universe is either finite or infinite
    No shit Sherlock! How novel, how profound
    Ascended likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Yeah, although I don't adhere to the standard model,
    And I am sure you have good reasons for that. Care to share them?
    I do believe in a universe finite in both time and space.
    Again you no doubt have good reasons for this "belief". Why not share them
    (bold added)

    I don't adhere to the standard BB model for many reasons. It has its mathematical basis in GR which requires dark matter, which has never been observed. The model requires new physics based upon Inflation theory. It adheres to the dark energy hypothesis that has also never been directly detected. It adheres to the expansion of space which has never been observed at any scale. The BB predicts and requires a universe 8 times more dense in matter 7 billion years ago (based upon the expanding volume of a sphere). A denser past concerning galaxies, has never been observed. We have observed a number of galaxies at the edge of the observable universe that appear to be as large and as old as the Milky Way which would seemingly contradict the 13.7 G age of universe -- and the list goes on.

    As to the finite nature of the universe: In this way I agree with the limited amount of matter and space as in the standard model, only a much larger and older universe. My basis for this agreement is my own cosmological model called the Pan Theory that I believe is equally supported by evidence. This theory can be found on any search engine.

    (my quote)
    That being said, we can be certain that the universe is either finite or infinite
    (your quote)
    No shit Sherlock! How novel, how profound
    This was an attempt at a little tongue-in-cheek humor, hence the smile following it.
    Ascended likes this.
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