Budimir Zdravkovic

PhD student in biochemistry/cancer biology,

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The Something out of Nothing Paradox is Outdated

In philosophy classes the paradox regarding the beginning of the universe is still debated. how can a universe emerge from nothing? How can there be an initial cause without a prior cause, or how can time come into existence from a timeless moment. Sean Carroll outlines a feasible alternative in his talk on TED, however there is no reason why the big bang cannot be the beginning. The argument against the big bang relies on an archaic scientific notion which has been abandoned since Newtonian physics came into existence. Noam Chomsky in his lecture at Oslo goes into great detail to outline how we abandoned mechanistic explanations of nature with the emergence of Newtonian physics, where unseen forces can exert physical effects on objects. Modern physics, is concerned with mathematically consistent and comprehensive theories which can predict events in reality, it is less concerned with offering mechanistic explanations and defining concepts such as materialism. We are aware that mathematics can accurately predict reality but mathematics itself doesn't exist as a physical substance or material. Physicists like Hawking propose that when time is smaller than the plank length it is unstable and it may not exist as we experience it. However, through physics and mathematics Hawking has demonstrated that from this unstable condition a universe can emerge so something can come of nothing. As far as I'm concerned if the mathematics is valid there is no reason why its predictive power should not be valid as well. Mathematics doesn't require a materialist or a mechanistic explanation, neither does the predictive power of mathematics depend on such explanations.

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    Sep 11 2012: I had nothing .... I met my wife and then had something. End of debate.

    Bob.
  • Sep 10 2012: This is one of the oldest debates in logic, and there is nothing logical about it.

    We just do not know. No human was there to witness the event. We can develop theories and do the calculations, but in the end, we will only know whether our model supports our predictions. The past will always be in doubt.

    Can something come from nothing? I have finally become comfortable saying I do not know.
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      Sep 10 2012: Whether our universe did originate with the bang cannot really be settled since we cannot really observe such an event. But is it logical that our universe could've originated from a big bang, Steven Hawking seems to think so. He claims he worked out the mathematics, if the mathematics can describe such an event, then the event is logically possible.
      • Sep 10 2012: And what caused the big bang? And what caused that cause? Frankly, this sounds a lot like a small child saying Why? Why? Why?

        It seems to me that a much more interesting question is, Why are so many people so uncomfortable with the simple and obvious notion that there are many things that are unknowable.
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          Sep 10 2012: But that's the idea, according to modern physics nothing is necessary to cause the big bang. I think curiosity is a strong instinct, that is hard to control, maybe repressing the instinct makes us uncomfortable.
        • Sep 12 2012: "There are many things that are unknowable"
          Yes indeed, the important part of wisdom is to be able to map the unknowable - that which is beyond human capacity to fathom. There are many unknowables - God/Creator, Infinity, Eternity - essentially those about which we cannot really conceptualize meaningfully, at best only get a glimpse or fleeting experience.
          All mathematicians who dealt with the "infinity" in mathematical terms went insane or committed suicide. (BBC documentary - Dangerous Knowledge)
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      Sep 11 2012: "Why are so many people so uncomfortable with the simple and obvious notion that there are many things that are unknowable?"

      Because the existence of the "unknowable" violates the laws of reality.
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    E G

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    Sep 23 2012: Basically what you're saying is that : 'something out of something material paradox is outdated ' , we don't need something material as a prior cause . That's right .

    Something out of absolute nothing have never been a paradox . It is impossible to comprehend how something can come out of absolute nothing . Therefore I deduce that is an assumption at best ; as it seems to me that is an illogical assumption .
    In any mathematical or physics calculations there is something you start with , something which quantifies either something material or something that is not material . Otherwise you can't get any result .
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    Gail .

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    Sep 15 2012: It is too soon to get specific content from electromagnet measurements, but it is not too soon to recognize them in your experience. Science is looking at this very question though, and though it may be 100 years or 500 years in our future, we will most likely get there.

    Hallucinations are surely something. So are delusions. They have their own consequences. ALL thoughts have consequences.
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    Sep 15 2012: I am not a scientist, but I think that the black hole's gravity condenses everthing in it to an unimaginable small mass and when this mass reaches a critical point then there is a big bang. Silly I know but just a thought.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 12 2012: The math suggests an organic rather than a mechanistic reality, and that something does indeed come from nothing - AS WE DEFINE THINGS.

    There is a saying, "Thoughts are things". There is another saying: "Thoughts create our realities".

    As thoughts are measurable electromagnetic energy, and as energy can neither be created or destroyed, but it can be transmuted into physical reality (and as I believe - is aware and can transmute itself), then people who don't believe that thoughts are things would think of something coming from nothing, where those who believe that thoughts are things see reality as an extension of thought.

    Thus - it all boils down to "what is a thing"?

    My opinion anyhow.
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      Sep 15 2012: But can you get the specific content of thoughts from electromagnetic measurements? This content is the qualia which is not measurable and hence considered non substantial. What about hallucinations? Can hallucinations be considered something or nothing?
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        Gail .

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        Sep 15 2012: t is too soon to get specific content from electromagnet measurements, but it is not too soon to recognize them in your experience. Science is looking at this very question though, and though it may be 100 years or 500 years in our future, we will most likely get there.

        Hallucinations are surely something. So are delusions. They have their own consequences. ALL thoughts have consequences.
  • Sep 12 2012: Something comes out of nothing through an act of creation by a consciousness that has 'power' or 'spirit'
    --as Robert just pointed out - a relationship was created by two beings that had the 'power' or 'love' to so create.
    ----paradox solved
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      Sep 15 2012: This is the phenomenon of emergence, where two or more things interact in such a way to produce something that has a new meaning. This could also be said about creativity, we create something new out of old parts essentially by rearranging old parts. The new arrangement has a new meaning or value to us. I agree that there is no explanation as to how meaning emerges, why is some work of art more meaningful then other, there is no explanation.
      • Sep 15 2012: There are two kinds of creativity in the human context but only one kind of ‘primordial creation’. The primordial creation - that which is the ‘cause’ of the existence of space-time itself, whether you call it ‘from nothing’ or from the ‘absolute and eternal’ itself is a matter of technical terms – the difference is that when we conceive of the physical cosmos, the term ‘created out of nothing’ by a force or creator that it itself absolute and eternal makes more sense than to say that the physical, that is, matter appeared spontaneously by itself without any consciousness or force behind it, or without any rhyme or reason, or having no Logos or no underlying principle that brought it into existence. But when on the basis of experience or vision we sense and conceive of non-physical reality or Spirit, it becomes clear that existence has a primordial unified or singular source that is eternal and absolute, and therefore this source and underlying principal is the creator of the space-time temporality, as well as the presence in time, of the eternal and infinite – this presence or force is Spirit. Thus Spirit is both temporal as well as eternal.
        Human creativity is always expressed in terms of whatever was already there but is not merely a recombination of existing parts or pieces, but genuine art is always a new synthesis of existing fragments in a unique pattern that has a ‘moving impact’ upon the target subject.
        As an example in music we can say that a new beat or rhythm is a recombination of existing pieces of musical beats or rhythms – which is also creative, but a melody is never just a recombination – it is much more than that – it has a wholesome uniqueness that is pure creativity – in which something has been brought into existence from nothing – that is to say that the melody itself was never in existence until it was created.
        "The greatness of art is to find not that which is common but that which is unique", Issac B.Singer
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    Sep 11 2012: Possibly order was created out of chaos.
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    Sep 9 2012: And 7 Li?

    It's the one element that's holding back the Big Bang,so far to date what should be there isn't.Was our mathematics wrong?
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      Sep 9 2012: What's 7 Li?

      I'm not saying the mathematics have to predict what is actually happening, if they are consistent they could explain one possible theory. My point is there is a explanation for this old philosophical paradox even if the big bang theory turns out to be inaccurate.
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        Sep 9 2012: This below.

        "(Phys.org)—Researchers studying the cosmos have been stumped by an observation first made by Monique and François Spite of the Paris Observatory some thirty years ago; they noted that in studying the halos of older stars, that there should be more lithium 7 than there appeared to be in the universe. Since that time many studies have been conducted in trying to explain this apparent anomaly, but thus far no one has been able to come up with a reasonable explanation. And now, new research has deepened the mystery further by finding that the amount of lithium 7 in the path between us and a very young star aligns with would have been expected shortly after the Big Bang, but doesn't take into account the creation of new amounts since that time. In their paper published in the journal Nature, Christopher Howk and colleagues suggest the discrepancy is troubling because it can't be explained with normal astrophysics models."

        It's a cut and paste from this link article

        http://phys.org/news/2012-09-mystery-apparent-dearth-lithium-universe.html

        All it's saying is the numbers are there but there isn't any new amounts found that should be there,which tells me we have to adjust the models to fit the observation or start again or take on the steady state universe model,i don't see anything wrong with the bang but it only takes one observation to bring a theory down.
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        Sep 9 2012: I'm with you on you're points but we as humans go after the one all inclusive formula,"It has to be only one"We use mathematics to explain nature and to some point predict nature but that relies on all possible observations to be made that can possibly be made of said object to fully explain it"right now our astronomers are finding more new and exciting things out there that conforms with the basic models but was not predicted to be there which is great,predictions one thing but whether it's there or not is another thing,until it is observed it's virtual.
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          Sep 10 2012: It relies a lot on observations and empirical evidence which is hard if not impossible to acquire for something like the big bang. We can come up with many math models, and we cannot say this models are wrong because they are essentially logical models. How can math be wrong? It cannot be wrong or maybe a better word would be valid. Math always has to be valid otherwise it would not be math. But we can ask whether the math is sound, and by that I mean to say whether the math is applicable to physical phenomena. Hawking math might be unsound, because we don't have a way to empirically test his proposition. Plus this new observation that you posted above may discredit the big bang theory. I think Carroll's idea is testable, what if we can creat a baby universe, if we can do that then we have another possible theory and some empirical evidence which I think is much needed in cosmology.
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        Sep 10 2012: My friend,you're a scientist or will be but i'm a hitchhiker,not even a layman,i play at understanding and dine upon the blood and sweat of science and well, mathematics is really the only language we have to describe what we see,so i'm with you but there will always be in the back of my mind the mild skeptic saying "But how do we know if it is"?

        Cosmology is a mess,what i posted is really just another mystery that in all earnest will not be properly peer reviewed because there is not enough scientists on the planet that can properly give their time and attention to each others papers,there is too much data coming in,i feel sorry for you guys.It's truly an exciting time for science but we need more of you guys.Cheers!
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          Sep 10 2012: Thanks for the encouragement but I am probably just as much in the dark about cosmology as you are. What I'm doing is much different. I dont look at anything smaller than an atom, and even then I prefer to work with formulations rather than mathematics. The mathematics of protein chemistry is very messy, worse than cosmology at least cosmology has working equations and principles. Proteins are mostly collected data with no unifying mathematics. So science is messy on all scales really.
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    Sep 9 2012: Instability, or chaos, is not the same as nothing. If you are told to make a cake you will ask for the ingredients and tools necessary to comply. Thus you have made a cake. If you have nothing, and are given nothing, and you comply, you have created a cake. In the beginning an uncaused cause created the heaven and the Earth.
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      Sep 9 2012: I love the "because that's the way cakes are made" argument.
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        Sep 9 2012: Sometimes folks miss the difference between making and creating. There is a talk on TED about REMIX which touches on this. In his first Arrow of Time talk on TED over a year ago Sean Carroll promised a complete demystification of Time was coming within a year. I am still waiting.
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      Sep 9 2012: The argument which is made by many physicists is that time and space are so unstable below the Planck length that conventional time and space might have as well come from nothing. Essentially this invalidates that you need conventional time and space prior to the big bang because the Planck length time is nothing like the time we experience, also these are not my words Steven Hawking also claims that something can come from nothing so I assume that the mathematics can explain such an event. If I understood the mathematics I might change my mind though.