Jump to content
disillusioned

Something rather than nothing

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, TEG said:

 

That is an interesting point.  No matter what christians say about the existence of a soul, the unescapable fact is that it is dependent on a body.  Dementia is a perfect (sad) example.  When someone who used to be vibrant and devoted to their family, no longer knows their children and lashes out in anger when someone tries to feed or bathe them, one can’t help but think they are not the person they used to be.  And it is because their brain is not what it used to be.

 

The Hindu concept of atman is a little more interesting than the western concept of a soul; in the former, as I understand it, one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions are a part of the body like everything else, and the atman transcends all of it.  So the symptoms of dementia do not really affect the self.

 

Concerning some of the rest of this thread, being sort of a dialectical monist myself, I see “nothing” as the undifferentiated center from which all “somethings” come.  First there is nothing; then when there is light, there is also darkness; when there is good, there is also evil; when there is up, there is also down; and so on.  I don’t know how scientific this is.  It is basically neoplatonism, and consistent with Taoism and Heraclitus.

 

It seems that both believers and unbelievers ultimately say that something came from nothing; for believers, that “something” is god, and for unbelievers it is the physical universe.  So when a believer ridicules you for believing that something came from nothing, I guess you can respond, “So do you.”

 

If your 'self' is only a limited physical body then dementia affects it in a major way. If your self is the multiverse with a pinpoint of consciousness being a physical body then dementia, while sad, is an experience that will probably be replaced by a brand new experience after a while. 

 

Sometimes people will say that if there is an immaterial soul that transcends the physical body then why doesnt that soul override or overcome physical ailments, like alzheimer's disease? Like if a soul exists it 'must' have this powerful attribute to it. Maybe it just doesnt. 

 

Your idea regarding nothing may not be scientific. And that's ok. I'm not sure why Christians don't think something can come from nothing nor why science says "Well, it isnt just nothing...it's a very special kind of nothing." Give me a break. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UemhCsaeGgc

 

In the video, Krauss mentions stuff popping in and out of existence all the time. Maybe we are part of that appearance and disappearance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 8/11/2019 at 1:26 PM, disillusioned said:

What follows is just a trace of the essence of a thought I've been having lately,  so forgive me if it's not terribly coherent. Feel free to critique,  disagree with,  or otherwise challenge what follows. I'm just trying to approach making sense. I want my thinking to be stretched on this, so please challenge me.

 

I have often heard it asserted that something cannot come from nothing. I've also heard it asked (usually in a tone of voice which suggests a certain profundity) that something cannot come from nothing.  Now,  there are various possible responses to this,  and I've engaged in a number of arguments here and elsewhere regarding this assertion. In general,  I think a great deal turns on what one means by "nothing". But this is by the by, at least for now.

 

Recently, on these boards, I have asserted that I've heard it said that something can emerge spontaneously from the quantum vacuum. But also, that I've heard it said that the quantum vacuum is not nothing. And further, that arguments have been made to the effect that no other kind of "nothing" is possible. Well, this is all very nice, but it does still leave the layperson pondering the original question: why is there something rather than nothing? And how does something come about from nothing?

 

These are questions that deserves to be taken seriously. But they are also questions which demand that we take them seriously. That is to say, the subject and the content of the questions matter a great deal,  but so do the presuppositions of the questions. So if we are to move forward here, it seems to me that we must proceed with caution.

 

To put it very bluntly, the question "why is there something rather than nothing" seems to me to presuppose that there ought to be nothing, but nevertheless, there is something. I think that if we think about this for more than a minute,  we will all realize that this is nonsensical.

 

When have we ever experienced nothing?

 

Could we ever experience nothing?

 

It seems to me that the very nature of experience is that it is of something. But this is to say, we have no reason, and can have no reason to think that nothing is even a possibility. 

 

To put this another way, try considering the original question in reverse. Why is there something rather than nothing, and how did it come about? No. Why might there be nothing rather than something, and does that even make sense?

 

I think you'll find that it doesn't make sense. Or so it seems to me right now.

 

This could be put in the science section. Why is there something rather than nothing was a question that Stephen Hawking asked in his book "A Short History of Time." If you are interested in scientific answers to this question I will put your posting in the science vs. religion section.  If not I could give you an answer to your question here after a little time passes. .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, midniterider said:

 

I also understand my defining feature as a person to be consciousness yet physical science would like to say that consciousness, what I call me,  is a byproduct of the biological organism. If my physical body gives rise to an epi-phenomenon, then wouldnt my body be my defining feature? Why does consciousness seem to be important?

 

Why do we talk about consciousness as if it 'were' something, when from a physical science view there really is no consciousness thing. Only neurons firing. 

 

When you decide to do something, like anything at all, is it your consciousness doing this? Or is it your neurons deciding it? Or maybe both? Or neither. :) 

 

Good questions, and I'm not going to pretend that I'm equipped to give a full answer.  I've only started thinking seriously about these issues in the last couple of years, and I'm learning more all the time.

 

Recently, my views on consciousness have come into fairly strong alignment with the Biological Naturalism of John Searle (I think). On this view consciousness is not an epiphenomenon, it's a "higher level" feature of the brain.

 

By analogy, consider that water at standard pressure has different features depending on its temperature. In particular, below 0C, it has "solidity", and above 0C but below 100C it has "liquidity". These are not epiphenomena. They are features. It's also true that water below 0C is entirely conposed of H2O molecules arranged in a lattice structure. Ok, but nevertheless, it is solid. And its solidity functions causally. I can dive into a swimming pool of water, but not of ice. Why? Because the ice is solid. And since no individual particle of the ice is solid, but the ice as a whole is, the solidity is not epiphenomenal.

 

I think consciousness is somewhat similar to this. It is a higher level feature of the brain. And it can function causally. When I consciously decide to stand up, this causes the action. It's true that consciousness is caused by neuronal processes, but it doesn't follow from this that consciousness can't have effects of its own.

 

As to your question about whether it's my body that is my defining feature since it gives rise to consciousness, my answer is yes and no. My body is my defining feature precisely because it gives rise to my consciousness. If it were to stop doing so, it wouldn't be my defining feature anymore. So in this sense, it's my consciousness that really matters. On my view, there can't be consciousness without a body, but there can be a body without consciousness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, pantheory said:

 

This could be put in the science section. Why is there something rather than nothing was a question that Stephen Hawking asked in his book "A Short History of Time." If you are interested in scientific answers to this question I will put your posting in the science vs. religion section.  If not I could give you an answer to your question here after a little time passes. .

 

I'm quite happy to discuss scientific answers, but I didn't want to restrict the conversation, which is why I posted the topic here. I think science has things to say about this,  but the question I'm asking is primarily philosophical in nature. Incidentally, I've read several of Hawking's books, including A Brief History of Time. I agree with parts of what he has to say, but he does not fully address the issue I have in mind here.

 

Please do feel free to offer scientific answers as you see fit. I'm always happy to talk about science.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Justus said:

 

Well, if  the clock disappears then you got to absolute zero and if you never quite get to zero then there isn't any reason for there to be a clock.  

 

Why does the clock require a reason?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

This could be put in the science section. Why is there something rather than nothing was a question that Stephen Hawking asked in his book "A Short History of Time." If you are interested in scientific answers to this question I will put your posting in the science vs. religion section.  If not I could give you an answer to your question here after a little time passes. .

 

Ooops, didnt realize i was in the coliseum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

I'm quite happy to discuss scientific answers, but I didn't want to restrict the conversation, which is why I posted the topic here. I think science has things to say about this,  but the question I'm asking is primarily philosophical in nature. Incidentally, I've read several of Hawking's books, including A Brief History of Time. I agree with parts of what he has to say, but he does not fully address the issue I have in mind here.

 

Please do feel free to offer scientific answers as you see fit. I'm always happy to talk about science.

 

"Why is there something rather than nothing"

 

I was a little surprised when Hawking put this question as being one of the most important in cosmology in his opinion. There is no consensus theory or answer in mainstream cosmology as to where the substances of the universe came from. Present theory refers to the Big Bang as the progression forward from a very small hot dense beginning entity of some kind. Some have speculated that something came from nothing, although the nothing they refer to is a known background energy field which is a long way from being nothing IMO.

 

I am a theorist in this field, cosmology/ cosmogony and in my own related theory something cannot come from nothing. The old Latin saying is "ex nihilo nihil fit, which means "out of nothing comes nothing". But if everything had a source cause does that mean that time progresses infinitely backward with no beginning? 

 

One of the older Big Bang proposals addressed this quandary. From an original Big Bang entity they asserted that both substance, time, and space were created. Obviously to create something else this entity must had to have the potential energy to change. This brings us to the question of whether space and time have a meaning separate from matter. This is one of the many things Einstein get right IMO. He said "Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter." By this understanding we could say that time and space were creating at a point in time, but substance had a pre-existence to both whereby nothing prior to that happened since time did not exist. Nothing existed before but something accordingly did not come from nothing. The prime mover that motivated the first change was the potential energy of the beginning entity. 

 

Although I don't adhere to the Big Bang model, my ideas above have kinship to one of their original proposals concerning the origin of time and space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

"Why is there something rather than nothing"

 

I was a little surprised when Hawking put this question as being one of the most important in cosmology in his opinion. There is no consensus theory or answer in mainstream cosmology as to where the substances of the universe came from. Present theory refers to the Big Bang as the progression forward from a very small hot dense beginning entity of some kind. Some have speculated that something came from nothing, although the nothing they refer to is a known background energy field which is a long way from being nothing IMO.

 

What stikes me as most odd about Hawking is that he insisted that philosophy is dead, and then proceeded to write an entire book (The Grand Design) on what I regard to be the philosophy of science. Interestingly,  he insisted that philosophy is dead in that very book. I suppose we all have our blind spots.

 

19 hours ago, pantheory said:

I am a theorist in this field, cosmology/ cosmogony and in my own related theory something cannot come from nothing. The old Latin saying is "ex nihilo nihil fit, which means "out of nothing comes nothing". But if everything had a source cause does that mean that time progresses infinitely backward with no beginning? 

 

One of the older Big Bang proposals addressed this quandary. From an original Big Bang entity they asserted that both substance, time, and space were created. Obviously to create something else this entity must had to have the potential energy to change. This brings us to the question of whether space and time have a meaning separate from matter. This is one of the many things Einstein get right IMO. He said "Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter." By this understanding we could say that time and space were creating at a point in time, but substance had a pre-existence to both whereby nothing prior to that happened since time did not exist. Nothing existed before but something accordingly did not come from nothing. The prime mover that motivated the first change was the potential energy of the beginning entity. 

 

Although I don't adhere to the Big Bang model, my ideas above have kinship to one of their original proposals concerning the origin of time and space.

 

Despite the fact that we may disagree on details, I find the gist of this to be quite pleasing.

 

The question I would want to ask is,  if the beginning entity requires potential energy, then is it really the case that nothing existed before? It seems to me that, on this account, at least potential energy existed before.

 

On my account, "before" becomes incoherent when we are discussing the beginning of time. What do you think about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even Einstein said that time does not have an independent existence; philosophers have said things like this from way back.

The only question:  is it a “thing” that emerges from matter, like heat, or is it just something we invent to measure the rate of change that we see around us, like temperature?  (I vote the latter.)

In either case, “before” the big bang, there was no time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, TEG said:

Even Einstein said that time does not have an independent existence; philosophers have said things like this from way back.

The only question:  is it a “thing” that emerges from matter, like heat, or is it just something we invent to measure the rate of change that we see around us, like temperature?  (I vote the latter.)

In either case, “before” the big bang, there was no time.

 

I think Einstein would probably reject both the options you present. Time does not emerge from matter, nor is it merely an invention. Time and space are inextricable,  just as mass and energy are. But this is not particularly helpful in answering the question at hand.

 

What I contend is that the very notion of "before the big bang", or "before the beginning" (whatever "the beginning" might be...), doesn't actually make any sense. If it's to be an absolute beginning, then the concept itself admits no "before".

 

This seems to me to entail that the question regarding something vs. nothing is foundationally flawed. The assumption underlying the question is that there was nothing before there was something. But I don't think that that makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

What strikes me as most odd about Hawking is that he insisted that philosophy is dead, and then proceeded to write an entire book (The Grand Design) on what I regard to be the philosophy of science. Interestingly,  he insisted that philosophy is dead in that very book. I suppose we all have our blind spots.

 

 

Despite the fact that we may disagree on details, I find the gist of this to be quite pleasing.

 

The question I would want to ask is,  if the beginning entity requires potential energy, then is it really the case that nothing existed before? It seems to me that, on this account, at least potential energy existed before.

 

On my account, "before" becomes incoherent when we are discussing the beginning of time. What do you think about this?

 

Yes, you are correct. There would be no such thing as before. The first particle had the potential to change, and upon that change time and space could be counted. So the first entity had three dimensions, and the potential to change. We could call that potential its fourth physical dimension, such as being wound up for instance. Upon the action of that potential an interval of change in its form and a dimensional change in its volume occurred, hence the birth of time and space.  The entity with potential had to be the first thing with nothing before that. This would have happened at a finite time in the past, at the "beginning."

 

In the Big Bang version the beginning entity would have been the Big Bang entity. In my own related model the beginning entity was instead a very simple entity that changed little by little oven trillions of years, rather than a big bang happening all of a sudden 13.8 billion years ago. My own theory is called the Pan Theory which can be found using any search engine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/4/2019 at 4:38 PM, midniterider said:

In the video, Krauss mentions stuff popping in and out of existence all the time. Maybe we are part of that appearance and disappearance.

 

That's an interesting way of looking at it.

 

Campbell used say, 'sub atomic particles, whence?' They are coming and going. From where do they come and to where do they go? The idea being to outline a modern practical way of understanding the first function of a traditional mythology - putting one in touch with the mystery of their own life and existence. Which is the same underlying mystery as the existence of the universe, world and all things. In a lot of ways we are merely coming and going with longer time interval duration than the sub atomic particles that pop in and out of visibility in the particle collision chambers.

 

In a philosophical sense everything comes and goes out of the ground of being and non being, or as what Alan Watts used to term, "the fabric and structure of existence itself." And that's what everyone and everything basically is, deep down and far in. Just the fabric and structure (what ever that turns out to be in a literal sense) of existence itself molded into what we see around outside of ourselves and what we see in the mirror. We come and go, but all the while the ground level and basis of what we are at these lower levels is something steady. What comes and goes are merely the appearances, forms and images that the underlying fabric and structure of existence itself takes on for a duration. And then those appearances, forms and images eventually recede and dissolve. But the existence factor underlying the coming and going was steady the entire time, and presses ever forward. 

 

This does tend to outline the "something from nothing" issue in a philosophical sense. Setting any particular cosmology and physical models aside. They all depend on some type of eternal source material: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANtpsunRYIs&t=214s

 

And that boils down to the philosophical term the fabric and structure of existence. Something that has always existed. If it didn't always exist, then it would have been created. But then what created the fabric and structure of existence itself? Something else? If so, then what created that? It was either always in existence or created by something further back. So either way, either created by something that requires something else, or something that has always existed, we're still facing a something = something scenario. 

 

The scientific modeling issue is merely attempting to put descriptions and labels on whatever the "something" that is necessary for "everything" is. And religion merely personifies that "something" as if it were a deity, or supreme being that has always existed rather than taking the impersonal look at how existence itself could have always existed and is not a personification deity, or supreme being, god or any other such literal visualization.

 

So people can get confused.

 

Because christians insist on a something = something philosophy of existence. It seems like sometimes people (some atheists and naturalists) start to think that in order to contrast the christians a nothing = something philosophy of existence is the tool for the job. But that's not necessarily true.

 

It's more the case of everyone involved arguing for a something = something philosophy of existence.

 

And the arguments breaking down to a natural something = something philosophy of existence verses a supernatural something = something philosophy of existence. But even then, concerning the esoteric and mysticism, there are further arguments with christians between two rival supernatural something = something philosophies of existence. The mystical and impersonal supernatural philosophies and the personal theistic oriented philosophies. And both of those in contrast with the naturalistic something = something philosophies of existence. 

 

When Krauss and others get off on these kicks about nothing spontaneously becoming something, it usually turns out that what they are referring to as nothing isn't actually nothing, it's something. So that direction offers very little in contrast to the philosophical issues outlined above. And it seems to be just another case of two rival something = something philosophies of existence, cloaked as a nothing = something philosophy. 

 

The sub atomic particles coming and going from visibility and detection in the collision chambers seem to be none other than something equaling something, be it taking on a form and then losing the form or how ever we interpret it. Underlying the whole production seems to be this philosophical fabric and structure of existence itself, steady, and for all intensive purposes eternal and beginningless.

 

And yet, that has all of jack squat to do with defaulting to YHWH, jesus or any of the christian mythology as being literally true just because they take a something = something philosophy. 

 

Take that christian apologist's!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'And yet, that has all of jack squat to do with defaulting to YHWH, jesus or any of the christian mythology as being literally true just because they take a something = something philosophy. '

 

That's a good point.

 

OK, everything indeed came from something. Let us therefore praise his Noodly Presence. :)

 

.....

 

"And the arguments breaking down to a natural something = something philosophy of existence verses a supernatural something = something philosophy of existence."

 

I think the terms supernatural and natural get blurred when we start thinking of existence and what we are in an Alan Watts Zen kind of way. Zen proponents like to say that there's nothing 'supernatural' about anything. It's all quite natural. We are all "the fabric and structure of existence itself." And if that's true then 'I' have been here forever. Maybe just in a different form or forms.  My atoms will take a different form in the future. How many atoms from other people do we breath in every day? Everyone is each other atoms over time. :)

 

People just get overly concerned about trying to keep their atoms arranged in a certain way for as long as possible. lol

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2019 at 5:04 AM, Joshpantera said:

 

...............Campbell used to say, 'sub atomic particles, whence?' They are coming and going. From where do they come and to where do they go? The idea being to outline a modern practical way of understanding the first function of a traditional mythology - putting one in touch with the mystery of their own life and existence. Which is the same underlying mystery as the existence of the universe, world and all things. In a lot of ways we are merely coming and going with longer time interval duration than the sub atomic particles that pop in and out of visibility in the particle collision chambers..................

 

 

Subatomic particles, those that make up atoms and molecules , come in three forms, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Protons and electrons are permanent particles. Concerning our testing of them, they never go out of existence. Neutrons are particles that are formed inside of the nucleus of atoms. They are formed by combining protons with electrons, plus a lot of compression energy of nuclear fusion.  If radiated outside of an atom during nuclear decay a neutron free from the nucleus in space lasts only about eleven minutes before it decays back into a proton and electron. An additional particle is generated from the released energy, called a neutrino.

 

So atomic particles do not go in and out of existence. But there is a background field called the Zero Point Field. It can be equated to a physical field with bustling energy, an atmosphere of sorts. In this field very short lived particles, lasting only trillions of second, are generated. These are called virtual particles. Nothing permanent is known to ever have been generated from this field, however this is the field that some physicists, including Stephen Hawking, had proposed was the source from which the whole universe was generated. This has been called his something from nothing proposal. I'm not too fond of this model 🤨

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, midniterider said:

'And yet, that has all of jack squat to do with defaulting to YHWH, jesus or any of the christian mythology as being literally true just because they take a something = something philosophy. '

 

That's a good point.

 

OK, everything indeed came from something. Let us therefore praise his Noodly Presence. :)

 

.....

 

"And the arguments breaking down to a natural something = something philosophy of existence verses a supernatural something = something philosophy of existence."

 

I think the terms supernatural and natural get blurred when we start thinking of existence and what we are in an Alan Watts Zen kind of way. Zen proponents like to say that there's nothing 'supernatural' about anything. It's all quite natural. We are all "the fabric and structure of existence itself." And if that's true then 'I' have been here forever. Maybe just in a different form or forms.  My atoms will take a different form in the future. How many atoms from other people do we breath in every day? Everyone is each other atoms over time. :)

 

People just get overly concerned about trying to keep their atoms arranged in a certain way for as long as possible. lol

 

Yes, of course. Let us praise his Noodly Presence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, midniterider said:

People just get overly concerned about trying to keep their atoms arranged in a certain way for as long as possible. lol

 

That's what it boils down to. I like that summary.

 

5 hours ago, pantheory said:

So atomic particles do not go in and out of existence.

 

That the point I was trying to make by saying: 

 

9 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

The sub atomic particles coming and going from visibility and detection in the collision chambers seem to be none other than something equaling something, be it taking on a form and then losing the form or how ever we interpret it. Underlying the whole production seems to be this philosophical fabric and structure of existence itself, steady, and for all intensive purposes eternal and beginningless.

 

It's about visibility and detection as they collide, and sub atomic particles burst out briefly. We've discovered new sub atomic particles. 

 

5 hours ago, pantheory said:

But there is a background field called the Zero Point Field. It can be equated to a physical field with bustling energy, an atmosphere of sorts. In this field very short lived particles, lasting only trillions of second, are generated. These are called virtual particles. Nothing permanent is known to ever have been generated from this field, however this is the field that some physicists, including Stephen Hawking, had proposed was the source from which the whole universe was generated. This has been called his something from nothing proposal. I'm not too fond of this model 🤨

 

And that's the other point. A back ground, Zero Point Field is something, it isn't really something coming from nothing. That's what atheist's and materialists who gravitate towards these arguments should keep in mind before going up against christians with this material (no pun intended). Drawing a line in the sand on a nothing = something argument is doomed in so many ways. And not worth taking up. I think it's far better to just concede that everyone is operating from a something = something basis, both the believers and non-believers alike. 

 

Do you disagree with the above Pantheory? 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

That's what it boils down to. I like that summary.

 

That the point I was trying to make by saying: 

 

It's about visibility and detection as they collide, and sub atomic particles burst out briefly. We've discovered new sub atomic particles. 

 

And that's the other point. A back ground, Zero Point Field is something, it isn't really something coming from nothing. That's what atheist's and materialists who gravitate towards these arguments should keep in mind before going up against christians with this material (no pun intended). Drawing a line in the sand on a nothing = something argument is doomed in so many ways. And not worth taking up. I think it's far better to just concede that everyone is operating from a something = something basis, both the believers and non-believers alike. 

 

Do you disagree with the above Pantheory? 

 

 

I agree. You explained it according to my belief, understanding, and related model :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

I agree. You explained it according to my belief, understanding, and related model :)

 

That's what I thought. It's been a while since this came up. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, so it seems to me at this point that many of us want to say that there is something now,  and that something only comes from something. So we end up with some version of "there has always been something". Theists say there has always been God, but provide precious few compelling reasons for us to think that God is the necessary something. It just has to be something, no necessarily God.

 

I'm interested in the implications here for the very notion of nothing. I think it's an idea that doesn't really make sense. We have something, something only comes from something, therefore nothing is actually not a thing (yes, I know how that sounds). I don't see why this should really be troubling,  but I suspect a lot of the general public would disagree with me on this point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, disillusioned said:

I'm interested in the implications here for the very notion of nothing. I think it's an idea that doesn't really make sense. We have something, something only comes from something, therefore nothing is actually not a thing (yes, I know how that sounds). I don't see why this should really be troubling,  but I suspect a lot of the general public would disagree with me on this point. 

 

To the question of why does existence, exist at all, some one tried a serious attempt at answering the question anonymously on a pantheist forum. It went like this: 

 

'Existence, exists, because the absolute non-existence of anything at all is impossible.'

 

And that seems arguable and full of assumption. But at the same time there may be more to it than many people catch at first glance. The whole issue coming from the BBT and beginning of the universe comes down to this necessity for an eternal source material.

 

Attempts at a nothing = something argument turn out to be something = something after all. And that could be as simple as accepting that if anything exists right now, then something, somehow, had to have always existed, in some way (or many ways), or else nothing could exist right now. No eternal source material - no existence. 

 

The more I've thought about it, the more I've warmed up to his answer. It doesn't make existence any less mysterious, either. Because it's mind boggling how something has always existed. And yet, the alternative doesn't work out at all. So by default, it seems the non-existence of anything at all probably is impossible. 

 

It's pretty difficult to locate true, absolute nothing. This may be why. 

 

I'd also add that the whole thing could just be one of those species specific issues. At the minimum it shows how our species is wired to observe, think and interpret reality. It looks like we're very married to a something = something philosophy of reality. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

I'd also add that the whole thing could just be one of those species specific issues. At the minimum it shows how our species is wired to observe, think and interpret reality. It looks like we're are very married to a something = something philosophy of reality. 

 

I tend to agree with this. It may be the case that we are not equipped to fully understand these issues,  so we just do the best we can.

 

Oddly, there's a connection I'd like to try and draw between the consciousness tangent we went down and this issue. I mentioned in a previous post that I've found a fairly strong alignment between some of my views and the philosophical arguments of John Searle. One of the key distinctions he draws is between ontological objectivity and epistemic objectivity. On his account, it's an ontologically objective fact that (for example) hydrogen atoms exist, because their existence is independent of our knowledge about them. But it's an epistemically objective fact that bathtubs exist. Bathtubs are bathtubs only because we say so. Many things in our lives have an epistemic mode of objective existence rather than an ontological mode of objective existence. I think that a lot of the time people conflate these categories and it leads to problems.

 

For example, I've argued before that objective moral facts may exist, but only in the context of a particular moral system, which is itself not objective. This makes sense to me, but I know a number of people have taken issue with it. On Searle's vocabulary, this statement would be that moral truths are epistemic in nature. So objective moral truths are epistemically objective, not ontologically objective. I think this is a bit of a better way of putting it.

 

Where is the relevance to the current discussion? Well, I think it's clearly the case that things which have an epistemic mode of objectivity may simply cease to be. Money is money only because we say so. If no one says it's money,  then it just isn't. And if everyone decided to dispense with money (or if everyone simply died),  then money would simply not exist.  It would not change into something else, it just wouldn't exist. The pieces of paper, metal, and plastic would still exist, and that is because their mode of objectivity is ontological. But the natural state of affairs is for money to not exist. It exists only because we say so. This is typical of epistemically objective things.

 

What I'm trying to get at here is that I think the question "why is there something rather than nothing" contains an implicit category error. It seems more natural to us to assume that nothing is the natural state of affairs, because for epistemically objective entities this is the case. But for ontologically objective entities, it is not. Ontologically, there is just something, and that's just a brute fact.

 

This ties in nicely with Niels Bohr's view of science concerning not how the world is, but rather what we say about the world. Because science is an attempt to epistemically descibe ontologically objective entities,  it sometimes seems as if epistemic objectivity is all that there is. And if this were true then it would indeed be the case that nothing ought to exist. But I think this is a very significant mistake.

 

A final thing that I want to say about this for now is that I think the theist's view can be fairly accurately described as reducing to the assertion that only God has an ontological mode of objective existence. Everything else is ultimately epistemically objective. It exists only because God says so. In fact, God declared it to exist, literally, and that's why it exists. So on the theist's view, the idea that there ought to be nothing is baked in from the start.

 

These are things I'm still trying to get straight in my own mind,  so I apologize if the above is not particularly coherent. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, disillusioned said:

A final thing that I want to say about this for now is that I think the theist's view can be fairly accurately described as reducing to the assertion that only God has an ontological mode of objective existence. Everything else is ultimately epistemically objective. It exists only because God says so. In fact, God declared it to exist, literally, and that's why it exists. So on the theist's view, the idea that there ought to be nothing is baked in from the start.

 

These are things I'm still trying to get straight in my own mind,  so I apologize if the above is not particularly coherent. 

 

Creation ex nihilo. 

 

Creation out of nothing seems to suggest as much. One problem I have with them over this is the question of god's omnipresence. If god is not nothing, and god is all present, everywhere present, that would tend to cause a contradiction with creation ex nihilo. Where in the scheme of an omnipresence does "nothing" exist? Which leads into how an omnipresent god could NOT be everything in creation, everything in existence, etc. 

 

Of course these are just contradictions among many, many contradictions and inconsistent beliefs. And in all of that christians are conditioned into having the idea that there ought to be nothing baked in from the start. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/4/2019 at 5:23 PM, disillusioned said:

 

Why does the clock require a reason?

 

Actually my comment was that there is no reason for a clock when it can not be turned back to 0.  I guess the same reason the linear measure of time needs the cyclical motion of mass in order to be known.  If you don't have a cyclical motion of mass, being that expanse between two points then you can't measure time which is the reason you don't need a clock if it never can return to zero.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'

Well, time began when matter emerged into existence

On 9/5/2019 at 7:40 PM, TEG said:

In either case, “before” the big bang, there was no time.

 

The 'big bang' is said to be the result of all space, time, matter and energy that exists in our universe rapidly expanded from a highly condensed state.  So time did exist before the big bang, yet it has been 14.5 billion years since the big bang, if you subscribe to the Catholic doctrine of the primordial atom published in scientific form.  However, the hypothesis doesn't address how the primordial atom originated, only how it changed into the current form. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Justus said:

 

Actually my comment was that there is no reason for a clock when it can not be turned back to 0.  I guess the same reason the linear measure of time needs the cyclical motion of mass in order to be known.  If you don't have a cyclical motion of mass, being that expanse between two points then you can't measure time which is the reason you don't need a clock if it never can return to zero.

 

Good incite.  I agree that the rotational motion of fermions (atomic particles), in your words the cyclical motion of mass, is the primary motivator of time. But time can also be equated to a change of any kind. Besides the ever continuous rotation of fermions, there are spacial changes in reality related to the space matter collectively occupies. This does not only include their internal space, but the volume all matter collectively occupies which included the distances between matter. There are also the relative changes in the positions of matter to each other. These changes occur between one point in time to another. Another type of change we call momentum or inertia, commonly called speed. This is another type of relative motion. These are the relative changes in the positions of matter to itself related to the passage of an interval of time. But the initial motivator of time which accordingly would be the cause of all other changes, would be the innate spinning of fermions, in your words "the cyclical motion of mass." These explanations relate to my own cosmological model, the Pan Theory, which may be different from many explanations in modern physics. There is no consensus view in physics concerning the essence of time or its beginning. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.