Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Can cosmology prove or disprove creation?

Here. 

59 comments:

Starhopper said...

Creation ought not to be considered as a one-time event, occurring at some point in the distant past. Creation is ongoing at every moment. Recall what The Book of Common Prayer says of "God, the creator and preserver of all mankind." (emphasis added)

Time itself is being created from instant to instant. As the Book of Genesis so poetically (but not literally) puts it, "There was evening and there was morning, the first day," etc. God was not merely creating the contents of the universe, He was creating the time and space which matter and energy were to occupy.

And let us never forget that even that all changed with the Resurrection. That singular event forever and definitively divided time in two; into the old creation and the new. This is why Mary Magdalene mistook the Risen Christ for a gardener. He was the New Adam, tending to the new Garden of Eden, the Church.

Joe Hinman said...

I agree with that theologically but how do you handle it apologetically? How do you spin a cosmological argument off of it?

Starhopper said...

I think the point of the article is that you can't "spin" an argument out of cosmology - or at the least, any attempt to do so would be largely futile since the exact same data could be used on opposite sides of the debate.

As an evangelical tool, however, contemporary cosmological ideas could well be cited to great effect.

Legion of Logic said...

From the article linked in the OP, Vilenkin says:

"What causes the universe to pop out of nothing? No cause is needed. If you have a radioactive atom, it will decay, and quantum mechanics gives the decay probability in a given interval of time, say, a minute. There is no reason why the atom decayed at this particular moment and not another. The process is completely random. No cause is needed for the quantum creation of the universe."

Obviously being a scientist does not teach one to avoid idiotic beliefs, even within one's field of expertise. If you have a radioactive atom, it will decay. Conversely, if you have no radioactive atom, it will not decay. Why is this? Because nothing produces nothing, and nothing happens with nothing. Universes do not arise from nothing.

Joe Hinman said...

Starhopper said...
I think the point of the article is that you can't "spin" an argument out of cosmology - or at the least, any attempt to do so would be largely futile since the exact same data could be used on opposite sides of the debate.



I am very much against that idea. You cant prove the existence of God but we can warrant belief with arguments like the CA. These attempts at giving up on causes are really silly because they don't mean it. If one was consistent one should abandon science. You can't disprove hypotheses without causes. Of course don't enamel causes at the macro level but then that;s part of the inconsistency. I know their rationale is QM theory but I'm not sure that is really applicable What I mean is big bang expantion takes plac3 with time and physical law, so it's in a framework n which C/e is meanigful.

Joe Hinman said...

Obviously being a scientist does not teach one to avoid idiotic beliefs, even within one's field of expertise. If you have a radioactive atom, it will decay. Conversely, if you have no radioactive atom, it will not decay. Why is this? Because nothing produces nothing, and nothing happens with nothing. Universes do not arise from nothing

Right, its the old routine,where did the atom come from? more atoms!DC comics!

Starhopper said...

Of course don't enamel causes at the macro level

What does that mean?

Legion of Logic said...

Joe: "DC comics!"

Now now, it's unfair to insult DC Comics, since it's much more scientific than a universe from nothing. Krytponian DNA, similar to Earth DNA due to evolutionary convergence, responds differently to certain spectrums of light/radiation and results in extremely efficient metabolic outputs of energy. Extremely far-fetched and unlikely, but still more possible than a universe popping up from nothing.

Hugo Pelland said...

But 'nothing' in that context means 'nothing from a human perspective', right?

Legion of Logic said...

I've not seen that qualifier, but some may say that. It's not the nothing that theists are addressing, so it fails as a response. What it does seem to do is consider something like a quantum field to be a brute fact, which there is currently no reason to accept of which I'm aware.

Starhopper said...

To my knowledge, the first-ever mention of the idea of creation ex nihilo is found in Second Maccabees 7:28, written circa 124 B.C.

"I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see that everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed."

Is anyone aware of an earlier reference to this idea?

Joe Hinman said...

Starhopper said...
Of course don't enamel causes at the macro level

What does that mean?

I don't know why my computer sticks in irrelevant words like that,I thin its auto correct, gone haywire.what I meant was when they say no cause they mean at the macro level, they mean the Qm level.

Joe Hinman said...

Now now, it's unfair to insult DC Comics, since it's much more scientific than a universe from nothing. Krytponian DNA, similar to Earth DNA due to evolutionary convergence, responds differently to certain spectrums of light/radiation and results in extremely efficient metabolic outputs of energy. Extremely far-fetched and unlikely, but still more possible than a universe popping up from nothing.

I/ve always had you figured for a DC fan with your screen name.

Joe Hinman said...

Starhopper said...
To my knowledge, the first-ever mention of the idea of creation ex nihilo is found in Second Maccabees 7:28, written circa 124 B.C.

"I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see that everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed."

Is anyone aware of an earlier reference to this idea?

no, but thanks for that one out

Starhopper said...

HERE is a marvelous article which includes the line "[S]cience is such quicksand as a foundation for any theology or philosophy."

You'll need to read the article to find out why the author says that.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said..
October 25, 2017 2:03 PM.

" Vilenkin says:
If you have a radioactive atom, it will decay, and quantum mechanics gives the decay probability in a given interval of time, say, a minute. There is no reason why the atom decayed at this particular moment and not another. The process is completely random. "

" Obviously being a scientist does not teach one to avoid idiotic beliefs, "
--Agreed, and Feser does a good job of pointing out the fallacy of Vilenkin. WL Craig loves to cite Vilenkin, who is obviously not schooled in logic whatever his mathematical physics talents may be.

Vilenkin is affirming the consequent, as Aquinas does. This is an insidious error that even great thinkers are prone to when they argue for a position they have a predisposition toward.

Vilenkin also asserts that laws of QM can exist Platonically in absolutely nothing at all, thus allowing something to arise from nothing by quantum tunneling. Vilenikin does not seem to understand that properties are of something, and that nothing has no properties. If properties exist then something exists and we are not starting from absolutely nothing at all.

If you want to listen to a top notch cosmologist who also does not spout these absurd irrationalities as Vilenkin is prone to I suggest Sean Carrol.

Let X be "intrinsically random process" or "purely stochastic process"
Let Y be "observation of a set of statistical occurrences that conform to a specified probability distribution within our best available measurements"

If X then Y
Y
Therefore X

In affirming the consequent the fallacy is perhaps poorly named, because we can actually find the consequent to be true (affirm it). The fallacious step is affirming the antecedent because the consequent has been affirmed.

So, the fallacy of affirming the consequent is actually the fallacy of affirming the antecedent based on having affirmed the consequent.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said.. October 25, 2017 3:46 PM.

" Krytponian DNA, similar to Earth DNA due to evolutionary convergence, responds differently to certain spectrums of light/radiation and results in extremely efficient metabolic outputs of energy. Extremely far-fetched and unlikely, but still more possible than a universe popping up from nothing."
--Agreed.

Space aliens and the multiverse are vastly more likely explanations than something from nothing or god. Space aliens and the multiverse are just more arrangements of the same basic stuff we observe all around us.

Something from nothing and god are fantasies that are never observed and require the ad-hoc invention of whole new sorts of existence that are in fact undefined and unevidenced.

Legion of Logic said...

Stardusty: "Space aliens and the multiverse are vastly more likely explanations than something from nothing or god. Space aliens and the multiverse are just more arrangements of the same basic stuff we observe all around us."

These two sentences contradict themselves, as a space alien or multiverse is part of what is being explained - the basic stuff we observe all around us.

Also, there is no evidence for either a multiverse or aliens, so at worst God has good company as an explanation.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Legion of Logic said.. October 27, 2017 11:27 AM.

Stardusty: "Space aliens and the multiverse are vastly more likely explanations than something from nothing or god. Space aliens and the multiverse are just more arrangements of the same basic stuff we observe all around us."

" These two sentences contradict themselves, as a space alien or multiverse is part of what is being explained - the basic stuff we observe all around us."
--By "explanations" I meant in general to account for difficult to understand aspects of our existence, like the beginning of life on Earth or the apparent fine tuning of the universe.

I should have been more clear about that sorry, I see how you think I was applying space aliens and the multiverse to to something from nothing question.

Of course, the multiverse does not explain why there is a multiverse rather than nothing, so you are quite right in that respect.


" Also, there is no evidence for either a multiverse or aliens, so at worst God has good company as an explanation."
--Induction based on what we observe is vastly more likely than making up a whole new sort of existence out of whole cloth.

Space aliens and the multiverse are just more of the same sort of existence. God is a whole new unobserved sort of existence.

Which is more likely, that there are things far away we can't see that are made of the same stuff we are, or there is a whole new sort of stuff?


Hugo Pelland said...

Legion,

"I've not seen that qualifier, but some may say that. It's not the nothing that theists are addressing, so it fails as a response. What it does seem to do is consider something like a quantum field to be a brute fact, which there is currently no reason to accept of which I'm aware."

Exactly, it's not the nothing Theists are addressing, but it is relevant because that's the closest to nothing we can get.

i.e. just like we cannot take quantum fields as brute facts, we also cannot take literally nothing as brute fact. It's possible that nothing is not coherent at all. It has not been establishes that there was ever nothing.

Starhopper said...

It's possible that nothing is not coherent at all.

I actually heard a British cosmologist (Guy Sansom) say that very thing. He suggested that the proper question was not "Why is there something rather than nothing?" but rather "How is 'nothing' possible in a world where there is something?"

I'll admit that that had me stumped for several years. I got past it by realizing that "nothing" requires no explanation (and so his question is moot), whereas "something" does. And since there is something, there is no way of getting around coming up with one.

bmiller said...

It has not been establishes that there was ever nothing.

In fact if there had even been absolutely nothing, then there would still be absolutely nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit has been a foundation of Western science and philosophy since pre-Socratic times.

Starhopper said...

absolutely nothing

It all depends on what is meant by "absolutely nothing". Even the doctrine of creation ex nihilo does not presume there was a time when there was "absolutely" nothing. There was still the Creator, as the Creed says, "before all ages".

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

Agreed. There could never have been a time when there was absolutely nothing, even if the material universe had a beginning.

Hugo Pelland said...

The question "How is 'nothing' possible in a world where there is something?" doesn't imply that there was alwats something; it illustrates the difficulty in positing the possibility of nothing. But we cannot conclude either way, that's as far as we can go. Jumping to "there must always had been something" is also not supported.

That's when none of us can say anything but I don't know...

Starhopper said...

that's as far as we can go

Interesting that you should say that. Cosmologists are in general agreement that we can only see so far into the past - that the moment of creation is intrinsically unknowable to us. This is because what is termed the Inflationary Epoch basically erased all data from whatever preceded it, so we're faced with an impenetrable barrier beyond which all will forever be conjecture.

If this is indeed true, and no information exists from the earliest moments of the universe, then "science" cannot even hope to ever have anything meaningful to say about the ultimate origin of the natural world.

bmiller said...

@Hugo,

Maybe I misunderstood.

I thought this was the proposition I was responding to:
It has not been establishes that there was ever nothing.

But you replied with this:
The question "How is 'nothing' possible in a world where there is something?"

I see those as 2 different propositions. I was responding to the first.

Starhopper understood my response in the sense I intended. The historic philosophical concept of "nothing" is the absense/non-existence of anything, including even the potential for there to be anything. So by definition, something cannot come from nothing.

But I'm not sure how the second sense is intended. Because if we're in a world where it is clear there is 'something', then the question of whether it is possible for there to be 'nothing' at the same time seems to have already been answered.

Hugo Pelland said...

Yes they are slightly different questions, but should yield the same position: we cannot possibly determine whether nothing ever existed, or not, just like we cannot determine whether something always existed. Both are concepts we cannot justify as being the true representation of our word.

But the point about the potential for something is interesting one, even though it seeems to me that it ascribes a superfluous attribute, which is that things need to have first been the potential to be, before being. That's defining potential into existence via definitions. What if something can be something without the potential to be something first? Can we prove/disprove that?

bmiller said...

@Hugo,

we cannot possibly determine whether nothing ever existed, or not,

I disagree. "From nothing nothing comes." is the English translation of the Latin phrase. It is a foundational principle of the philosophy of science.

I think that some modern practitioners of science have lost sight of that fact.

What if something can be something without the potential to be something first?

Let me break down to see how I can understand it:
Can I rephrase the first part from:
What if something can be something
to:
What if something has the potential to be something?

If so, then substituting, I have
What if something has the potential to be something without the potential to be something first?

This doesn't seem right to me.

But beyond that, there is no something in the first place. There is nothing. So there is no thing existing to become something.
I think the concept of "nothing" is a difficult one to grasp. If you think about empty space, that is not "nothing". Empty space can contain objects. Even a disembodied thought is not "nothing", it too is something if even immaterial.

Metaphysical nothing can only be described as what it is not, but even that is wrong since the wording attributes being to nothing by using the word "is".

Hugo Pelland said...

I complelety agree with the end:
I think the concept of "nothing" is a difficult one to grasp. If you think about empty space, that is not "nothing". Empty space can contain objects. Even a disembodied thought is not "nothing", it too is something if even immaterial.

Metaphysical nothing can only be described as what it is not, but even that is wrong since the wording attributes being to nothing by using the word "is".

But then... after that, it means that we agree t hat really can't tell whether something can come from nothing, becausr we can't even truly discuss what absolute nothing means/is/isn't...

Basically, let me restate what I am trying to point out here: we don't know whether nothing produces nothing, because we can't define nothing properly.

grodrigues said...

@bmiller:

"I think the concept of "nothing" is a difficult one to grasp."

No it's not. It is simply the absence of any being whatsoever. What may be difficult to grasp is what this entails exactly, because it may not be clear what counts as "being". Suppose for example, we consider the empty possible world W (*). Then the following proposition P is true of W:

"grodrigues does not exist in W"

But if you are a platonist about propositions then this implies that W is not empty after all, for there exists at least one being in it. If you are not a Platonist about propositions (and I am not) things are iffier.

(*) Since I think the actual world is impossible, this is a contradiction. From a contradiction, anything follows, so take the sentences that follow the (*) with a grain of salt.

grodrigues said...

Drat, the sentence "Since I think the actual world is impossible" is obvious nonsense and should read as "Since I think the empty world is impossible".

Starhopper said...

And then of course (just to put things into perspective), we always have THIS.

bmiller said...

Yadda, yadda, yadda :-)

Starhopper said...

"Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

bmiller said...

@Hugo,

Basically, let me restate what I am trying to point out here: we don't know whether nothing produces nothing, because we can't define nothing properly.

I'll leave you with your opinion.

This is mine:
Nothing is non-existence itself. Since it is non-being it has no essence, no properties, no abilities, etc and all of the attributes we assign to material and immaterial things. Parmenides famously said that we can only speak of things that exist in some sense, so we can't even speak of nothing. So if one thinks nothing can produce something he really is making something out of nothing 😉

grodrigues said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grodrigues said...

@bmiller:

"So if one thinks nothing can produce something he really is making something out of nothing."

It is worse than that; it means that Nothing has potentialities, properties, whether dispositional, causal or otherwise, etc. But only being(s) are the bearers of potentialities, properties, whether dispositional, causal or otherwise, etc. which implies that Nothing has being, therefore it is not Nothing. Contradiction.

There is no deep mystery here; just muddled, confused thinking.

Hal said...

I agree with the article linked to in the OP. As long as a theological claim is non-empirical science can neither prove nor disprove it.

Hugo Pelland said...

bmiller, grodrigues,
You are overlooking something here, which shows why your oversimplifications are not as certain as you put them. If nothing can come out of nothing, and given that there's something right now, this means there was always something. But the 'always' here implies some infinity, an eternal existence, and this is as impossible to justify as something from nothing. We cannot explain how something always was, how there were always some 'potentialities, properties, whether dispositional, causal or otherwise, etc.'

It seems though that we agree that the latter is more likely, or at least makes more sense to us than something from nothing. But it's preposterous to claim that we can definitely pick the right interpretation of what existence is.

grodrigues said...

@Hugo Pelland:

"You are overlooking something here, which shows why your oversimplifications are not as certain as you put them."

You have not pointed any error on my arguments or any simplification whatsoever so this is a gratuitous assertion.

"But the 'always' here implies some infinity, an eternal existence, and this is as impossible to justify as something from nothing."

Since that is precisely what the arguments for the existence of God purport to do, no it is not impossible. In fact, you have just sketched the beginnings (although imprecisely and liable to misleading) of one famous such argument.

"It seems though that we agree that the latter is more likely, or at least makes more sense to us than something from nothing."

I quite explicitly said about "something from nothing", "Contradiction". It is not a case of one being more likely than the other (whatever "more likely" even means) as there is no parity between the two options. So no, we do not agree.

Hugo Pelland said...

@grodrigues
"You have not pointed any error on my arguments or any simplification whatsoever so this is a gratuitous assertion."
That's funny... It was the sentences right after, which you addressed, gratuitous comment ;)

"Since that is precisely what the arguments for the existence of God purport to do, no it is not impossible."

Because it's an argument, it's not impossible?

"I quite explicitly said about "something from nothing", "Contradiction". It is not a case of one being more likely than the other (whatever "more likely" even means) as there is no parity between the two options. So no, we do not agree."

But it's also a contradiction to claim that existence always existed, as it requires infinite time for us to be in the present, from the infinite past, hence we cannot exist. But we do. Contradiction.

I agree that there is no parity, but honestly cannot really say why with confidence. It just seems plausible that existence always existed. What we do disagree on is our confidence level apparently.

grodrigues said...

@Hugo Pelland:

"That's funny... It was the sentences right after, which you addressed, gratuitous comment ;)"

I understand that you may have some trouble knowing what pointing an error in an argument is, but I stand by my assertion. It can be checked and re-checked by anyone reading what you wrote. If you wish to double down, go ahead, from past transactions it does not surprise me. I certainly will not waste one more line with this.

"Because it's an argument, it's not impossible?"

I do not quite understand the question. You said and I quote "But the 'always' here implies some infinity, an eternal existence, and this is as impossible to justify as something from nothing." Presenting an argument for an "eternal existence" *is* a justification, therefore it is possible. Your assertion on the other hand, it is just that, a personal prejudice, possibly born out of ignorance, but with no argument to back it up.

"But it's also a contradiction to claim that existence always existed, as it requires infinite time for us to be in the present, from the infinite past, hence we cannot exist. But we do. Contradiction."

This is barely coherent babbling. What does it mean to say "existence always existed"? Does it mean that no matter how far we go back in time, something or other has always existed? Orthodox Christianity does not say that anywhere, not even of God. If you think it says that, than it is just one more thing you are ignorant of. What does it mean "requires infinite time for us to be in the present, from the infinite past"? Do you want to simply say that the Universe is eternal in the past? In that is what you want to say why not simply say it, instead of this convoluted crap? And how exactly is a universe infinite in the past direction a contradiction? Are you running the Kalaam argument? Craig does not say it is a *contradiction*, he says that it is metaphysically impossible. Maybe the distinction does not ultimately matter for your purposes, but since you quite obviously cannot construct a valid argument, who can tell?

Joe Hinman said...

This is barely coherent babbling. What does it mean to say "existence always existed"? Does it mean that no matter how far we go back in time, something or other has always existed? Orthodox Christianity does not say that anywhere, not even of God.

certifiably it does, that is what it means to say God is eternal. It is by no means gibberish or even hard to understand to say that being is eternal. There is no point at which true absolute nothing is the putative state of affairs. If so the nothing could ever come to be,

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman said...
Hugo Pelland said...
bmiller, grodrigues,
You are overlooking something here, which shows why your oversimplifications are not as certain as you put them. If nothing can come out of nothing, and given that there's something right now, this means there was always something. But the 'always' here implies some infinity, an eternal existence, and this is as impossible to justify as something from nothing. We cannot explain how something always was, how there were always some 'potentialities, properties, whether dispositional, causal or otherwise, etc.'

(1) We don't have to. It';s still more logically based then something from nothing

(2) I think we can. God is not subject to laws of physics, Even quantum states are not subject to Newtonian physics so conservation of energy,is not a factor here; clearly we are dealing witha rules change.

It seems though that we agree that the latter is more likely, or at least makes more sense to us than something from nothing. But it's preposterous to claim that we can definitely pick the right interpretation of what existence is.

I don't see why not,we are all experts at existing,been doing it all my life

Joe Hinman said...



As prlude to my Transcendental Signifiers argument for God I present this discussion about abductive approach to argument,

Metacrock's blog

grodrigues said...

@Joe Hinman:

"certifiably it does, that is what it means to say God is eternal."

Certifiably is does *not*, and no that is not how the Orthodox tradition uses the word "eternal" when it applies it to God (the classical locus for all this are Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy" and St. Augustine's "Confessions"). What it does say is that God is a-temporal, which is a *different* thing than eternal as Hugo is using the word. If the universe had a beginning, which is at least the common opinion in Christianity if not rightdown dogmatic teaching, then time also began and is not eternal in the backwards direction, so God *cannot* be eternal in Hugo's sense.

"There is no point at which true absolute nothing is the putative state of affairs. If so the nothing could ever come to be"

That is in the same family of arguments that Hugo tentatively suggested and I have no major beef beefs with it.

Joe Hinman said...

rodrigues said...
@Joe Hinman:

"certianly it does, that is what it means to say God is eternal."

Certifiably is does *not*, and no that is not how the Orthodox tradition uses the word "eternal" when it applies it to God (the classical locus for all this are Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy" and St. Augustine's "Confessions"). What it does say is that God is a-temporal, which is a *different* thing than eternal as Hugo is using the word. If the universe had a beginning, which is at least the common opinion in Christianity if not rightdown dogmatic teaching, then time also began and is not eternal in the backwards direction, so God *cannot* be eternal in Hugo's sense.

wrong on two counts,(1) you cannot establish a basic or your argument because they had nothing to compare it to,they had no knowledge of modern temproal theory they were not trying answer scientific questions.

(2) a temporal is the same thing as not having time that is eternal. That means no starting point no ending point, That is beyond horizon , no time, it lasts always,that is closer to what we know about time than then is a never ending count of years.

(3) I thin we could find modern theologians who talk about in any number of ways, even in the Christian tradition, Moltman for example thinks it;s year upon year,.


"There is no point at which true absolute nothing is the putative state of affairs. If so the nothing could ever come to be"

That is in the same family of arguments that Hugo tentatively suggested and I have no major beef beefs with it.

far out dude

October 30, 2017 9:00 AM

grodrigues said...

@John Hinman:

"wrong on two counts"

Your (1) is wrong; it is just a matter of reading Boethius or St. Augustine. This has nothing to do with "modern temproal theory" (sic.) or "scientific questions" or whatever. Your (2) is not inconsistent with anything I said (I am well aware of the distinction thank you). As for (3), I talked of "Orthodox tradition"; I probably should have added "classical", so (3) is irrelevant.

Joe Hinman said...

rodrigues said...
@John Hinman:

first my name is Joe not John.

"wrong on two counts"

Your (1) is wrong; it is just a matter of reading Boethius or St. Augustine. This has nothing to do with "modern temproal theory" (sic.) or "scientific questions" or whatever.

that is wrong,you are assuming Boethius must be wrong because he lived in pre scientific age, but he still answers the issue of foreknowledge and determinism, noting in science proves determinism, no scientific fact mandates determinism. he disproves the idea that foreknowledge means predestination. That is still a relevant issue because atheists use it as an alleged fallacy of God belief.


Your (2) is not inconsistent with anything I said (I am well aware of the distinction thank you). As for (3), I talked of "Orthodox tradition"; I probably should have added "classical", so (3) is irrelevant.

I'm sure it is but Ill have to look

Joe Hinman said...

part 2 of the piece liked above


Occam., Fine tuning, Best Evidence

grodrigues said...

@Joe Hinman:

"first my name is Joe not John."

Ack, apologies for the mistake.

"that is wrong,you are assuming Boethius must be wrong because he lived in pre scientific age, but he still answers the issue of foreknowledge and determinism, noting in science proves determinism, no scientific fact mandates determinism. he disproves the idea that foreknowledge means predestination. That is still a relevant issue because atheists use it as an alleged fallacy of God belief."

Huh? Joe, you are *seriously* confused about what I am defending. I mean it; you have it all backwards. Amazing.

Joe Hinman said...

I see the problem. good then we are on same page on Boethius you should consult me more often.

Joe Hinman said...

I really don't know how I got cross thread,I really did read it the opposite,I see taht now,sorry.

ficino4ml said...

As to Vilenkin and "nothing," I went to a lecture of his on the theory of cosmic inflation three years ago. FWIW, during the Q-A, someone asked, "Is 'nothing' possible?" Vilenkin answered that by “nothing,” physicists mean a state in which there is no matter. The state nevertheless can have properties.

Vilenkin talked about universes bubbling from a multiverse. From what I took away from that lecture - not all of which I had the background to understand - it sounded as though Vilenkin was NOT trying to say that the universe popped into existence from absolutely nothing.

Joe Hinman said...

I have arguing that physicists do not mean true absolute noting when they use the word "nothing." I've argued that for years because way back in 2001 I read it on a NASSA oR website by astronomer work for NASSA. David Albert's criticism of Krauss says the same thing. I've been told hundreds of times by as many atheists I know nothing about science because I said that. The major determinate of weather or not one knows science is agreement with atheism.

grodrigues said...

@ficino4ml:

"Vilenkin answered that by “nothing,” physicists mean a state in which there is no matter. The state nevertheless can have properties."

When physicists talk about "nothing" they usually mean (as Vilenkin does) lowest energy states or vacua. To confuse this with what Nothing really means -- the absence of any and all being -- is to trade in equivocation. There is nothing else that needs to be said.

ficino4ml said...

In the lecture I attended, at least, Vilenkin never said that the universe pops out of absolute nothing. He said there is no answer to “What happened before inflation?” The beginning may have been spontaneous, from nothing. But as I wrote above, he said that "nothing" does not refer to absolute absence but to an inherently unstable state. I don't know where the Vilenkin quote came from that was used in the article linked in the OP, but during the two hours I was present, it was made clear that "nothing" was some special kind of physic-y nothing that I don't know enough about to explain. "lowest energy states or vacua" is probably what he meant, since he spoke a lot about a false vacuum. And he said that his work deals with what PRECEDED the Big Bang. Guth, he said, assumed that the early universe was in a state of false vacuum. I don't know whether that is the physics-y "nothing" that he meant.