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Something rather than nothing

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2 hours ago, Justus said:

'

Well, time began when matter emerged into existence

 

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.

 

(embolden added)

 

No!   It depends upon which of the many Big Bang versions you are referring to. In the version I explained above the Big Bang beginning was the originator of both time and space. You might refer back to my related explanation to have an understanding of how this could happen, and how accordingly time could not have possibly existed before this beginning. If one equates time to change, then you could logically say that there could not possibly have been any change before the first change, or time before the beginning of time. This, again relates to this particular Big Bang version. As I said before, I believe the Big Bang model is almost entirely wrong, that the beginning of reality was far simpler. But this explanation of the beginning of reality, and of both time and space also is the same as my own explanation of the beginnings of time and space.

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22 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.

 

I think I understand what you are saying here. Understand that the clock I referred to was metaphorical.

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Scientific American’s latest issue has an article that addresses the nature of existence; The Search for Truth in Physics.

The entire issue is interesting.  Why we believe lies, etc.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/magazine/sa/2019/09-01/

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10 hours ago, TEG said:

Scientific American’s latest issue has an article that addresses the nature of existence; The Search for Truth in Physics.

The entire issue is interesting.  Why we believe lies, etc.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/magazine/sa/2019/09-01/

 

Yeah, but to find out what they think could be the truth, what are lies, and which they think are uncertainties, I have to buy the September issue since this info is not online. I could find the latest issue in the library but I don't mind buying the September issue to find out their opinion. IMO there is very little truth in modern physics concerning logical explanations of it. I'm pretty sure there are few lies involved. Maybe some uncertainties, but instead most of it is simply wrong concerning the conceptual aspects of it, maths aside. Just have to buy the magazine and see what they think.

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On 9/11/2019 at 8:32 AM, disillusioned said:

 

I think I understand what you are saying here. Understand that the clock I referred to was metaphorical.

 

In all my answers I never really answered your basic question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?"  The answer is simply that absolutely nothing is not a possible state of reality for the entire universe. When I say nothing, I mean absolutely nothing of substance, energy, capacity, or potential.  If it were possible then the reality which we now observe would have to have come from that nothing,. Something from absolutely nothing is impossible IMO.

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3 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

In all my answers I never really answered your basic question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?"  The answer is simply that absolutely nothing is not a possible state of reality for the entire universe. When I say nothing, I mean absolutely nothing of substance, energy, capacity, or potential.  If it were possible then the reality which we now observe would have to have come from that nothing,. Something from absolutely nothing is impossible IMO.

 

I tend to agree with this. 

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On 9/11/2019 at 9:32 AM, pantheory said:

  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.

 

LOL, that wasn't exactly what I said but I wish I had because you actually said it better that I did.   

 

Yet the cyclical motion of mass is not time, but rather the way we measure time.  But more importantly, time is reflective of the finite nature of the universe which is another way of saying it is quantifiable.  

 

On 9/11/2019 at 9:32 AM, pantheory said:

But time can also be equated to a change of any kind.

 

Exactly, anything which changes in substance or form has a finite nature and the characteristic of the finite is it quantifiability 

 

On 9/11/2019 at 9:32 AM, pantheory said:

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."

 

By cyclical motion I  am referring unto the recurrent motion having the same duration.  That period from the beginning of motion until it returns to the same position is the measure of time. 
 

However the motivator of time is the finite nature of the universe.  Since the nature of the universe is finite, that represents that every living thing in the universe is reflective of that nature.  Having a beginning of existence, all living things will have an end of existence therefore time is merely the measurement of that period.  

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2 minutes ago, Justus said:

 

LOL, that wasn't exactly what I said but I wish I had because you actually said it better that I did.   

 

Yet the cyclical motion of mass is not time, but rather the way we measure time.  But more importantly, time is reflective of the finite nature of the universe which is another way of saying it is quantifiable.  

 

 

Exactly, anything which changes in substance or form has a finite nature and the characteristic of the finite is it quantifiability 

 

 

By cyclical motion I  am referring unto the recurrent motion having the same duration.  That period from the beginning of motion until it returns to the same position is the measure of time. 
 

However the motivator of time is the finite nature of the universe.  Since the nature of the universe is finite, that represents that every living thing in the universe is reflective of that nature.  Having a beginning of existence, all living things will have an end of existence therefore time is merely the measurement of that period.  

 

IMO you have some good ideas in this posting :) and much of it I agree with.

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This is becoming a bit murky, in my opinion. Terms like "finite", "duration", "cyclical", "beginning", "end" , etcetera are all inextricably linked to conceptions of time. It boots nothing,  as far as I can see,  to go on about how time reduces to cyclical motion of particles (or whatever), because cyclical implies that at some time there will be repetition. For that matter, repetition itself requires an implicit reliance on some sort of conception of time. I say this in spite of the fact that I tend to agree that time is inherently a part of space, the universe, matter, what have you. But having said that, we need to be careful that we don't just throw words around to no actual effect.

 

Perhaps we lack the vocabulary to discuss these ideas properly. I tend to think that if this is the case, then it is probably because we aren't reallt equipped to do away with the notion of time. Maybe this is because time is actually indispensible. Maybe it's because we just need different words to discuss these ideas. Or perhaps it's because these are ideas that don't or can't actually make sense to us no matter we might phrase them. There is no reason,  after all,  to think that the human mind,  evolved as it is, should be capable of truly comprehending the intricacies of ultimate reality. What we're good at it describing how things seem to us. But I don't see that we can do this without some reliance on the idea of time. 

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2 hours ago, disillusioned said:

This is becoming a bit murky, in my opinion. Terms like "finite", "duration", "cyclical", "beginning", "end" , etcetera are all inextricably linked to conceptions of time. It boots nothing,  as far as I can see,  to go on about how time reduces to cyclical motion of particles (or whatever), because cyclical implies that at some time there will be repetition. For that matter, repetition itself requires an implicit reliance on some sort of conception of time. I say this in spite of the fact that I tend to agree that time is inherently a part of space, the universe, matter, what have you. But having said that, we need to be careful that we don't just throw words around to no actual effect.

 

Perhaps we lack the vocabulary to discuss these ideas properly. I tend to think that if this is the case, then it is probably because we aren't reallt equipped to do away with the notion of time. Maybe this is because time is actually indispensable. Maybe it's because we just need different words to discuss these ideas. Or perhaps it's because these are ideas that don't or can't actually make sense to us no matter we might phrase them. There is no reason,  after all,  to think that the human mind,  evolved as it is, should be capable of truly comprehending the intricacies of ultimate reality. What we're good at it describing how things seem to us. But I don't see that we can do this without some reliance on the idea of time. 

 

I understand. A type of cyclical motion, a frequency cycle,  is how we presently measure time using an atomic clock. Cyclical motion is based upon atomic spin. 

 

Today cesium clocks measure frequency, cycles of spin, to an accuracy of 2-3 parts in 10 to the 14th power. This is 0.00000000000002 Hz (cycles).; this corresponds to a time measurement accuracy of 2 nanoseconds per day, or one second in 1,400,000 years. It is the most accurate measurement and determination of a unit of time,  a second (time), that mankind has yet devised. Finite of course means limited time. Beginning means the start of time, but as far as we know in physics there will be no ending of time. Time is simply a measurement of change of some kind like a sun dial, hour glass, water clock etc.

 

The most accurate measurement of time to date is a cesium clock. I'm not too fond of Einstein's space-time idea but it is a good concept for his equations of General Relativity. The idea is that location is not definite, its only relative to ones surroundings. So ones location is therefore x,y,z, at any particular point in time relative to your surroundings since everything has relative motion including your surroundings. So x,y,z stands for the coordinates length, width, and height relative to a defined point of origin. We add 't' to it becomes x,y,z,t. This is the location of something in space relative to a point of origin at a point in time. As time changes so does the values of the distances x,y,z in space.  This is the essence of the meaning of space-time. This is all simple stuff that most people could understand if it is properly explained. Hope that's what I did :) . I think this stuff is poorly explained online, for the most part. If there is a part of it that doesn't make sense to you, ask questions if you are interested in further explanations. 

 

Again I equate the human concept of time to change, nothing more than this.  Looking up the common definition of time one sees that time is something that a clock measures. I don't think physics does a better job of explaining it. The problem in physics is that there is no consensus understanding of the essence of time. 😏

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3 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

I understand. A type of cyclical motion, a frequency cycle,  is how we presently measure time using an atomic clock. Cyclical motion is based upon atomic spin. 

 

Today cesium clocks measure frequency, cycles of spin, to an accuracy of 2-3 parts in 10 to the 14th power. This is 0.00000000000002 Hz (cycles).; this corresponds to a time measurement accuracy of 2 nanoseconds per day, or one second in 1,400,000 years. It is the most accurate measurement and determination of a unit of time,  a second (time), that mankind has yet devised. Finite of course means limited time. Beginning means the start of time, but as far as we know in physics there will be no ending of time. Time is simply a measurement of change of some kind like a sun dial, hour glass, water clock etc.

 

The most accurate measurement of time to date is a cesium clock. I'm not too fond of Einstein's space-time idea but it is a good concept for his equations of General Relativity. The idea is that location is not definite, its only relative to ones surroundings. So ones location is therefore x,y,z, at any particular point in time relative to your surroundings since everything has relative motion including your surroundings. So x,y,z stands for the coordinates length, width, and height relative to a defined point of origin. We add 't' to it becomes x,y,z,t. This is the location of something in space relative to a point of origin at a point in time. As time changes so does the values of the distances x,y,z in space.  This is the essence of the meaning of space-time. This is all simple stuff that most people could understand if it is properly explained. Hope that's what I did :) . I think this stuff is poorly explained online, for the most part. If there is a part of it that doesn't make sense to you, ask questions if you are interested in further explanations. 

 

Yes, I understand all this. I think it's relatively straightforward. The problem is that this is a description of how we measure time, not a description of how time is generated

 

Yes, we can define one second in terms of cyclical atomic motion, but this assumes that time already exists. If one second is "the amount of time that X process takes to occur" then there must actually be an amount of time that X takes to occur. We can't obtain time in this way, only measure it.

 

3 hours ago, pantheory said:

Again I equate the human concept of time to change, nothing more than this.  Looking up the common definition of time one sees that time is something that a clock measures. I don't think physics does a better job of explaining it. The problem in physics is that there is no consensus understanding of the essence of time. 😏

 

But the idea of change also relies on the notion of time. Unless there is time,  nothing can change. 

 

I think the concept of time is just something that we're stuck with whether we like it or not. Attempts to describe how time is generated seem to fall into circularity. Time is "something that a clock measures", but what is a clock save for "a device that measures time"?

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This is so very deepity. Seems to me that change and movement exist but "time" is nothing more than an artificial grid we put over everything in order to be able to talk about it. We are good at coming up with measuring systems but the measurement isn't the reality. Inches, feet and meters don't exist anywhere other than in our agreement that they do. Hours, minutes and nanoseconds are our invention. The wavelength our eyes perceive as the color blue is in reality only a wavelength but it has a name because we perceive it in a certain way. With nobody to "see" it there is no color, no light, either. Wealth is how many sheep or cattle you have, the suitability of your dwelling, not dollars; that's just how we measure, keep accounts and talk about it. I think our symbols and measurements are useful to us, but not real in the sense the moon orbits the Earth whether we observe and measure it or not.

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2 hours ago, florduh said:

This is so very deepity. Seems to me that change and movement exist but "time" is nothing more than an artificial grid we put over everything in order to be able to talk about it. We are good at coming up with measuring systems but the measurement isn't the reality. Inches, feet and meters don't exist anywhere other than in our agreement that they do. Hours, minutes and nanoseconds are our invention. The wavelength our eyes perceive as the color blue is in reality only a wavelength but it has a name because we perceive it in a certain way. With nobody to "see" it there is no color, no light, either. Wealth is how many sheep or cattle you have, the suitability of your dwelling, not dollars; that's just how we measure, keep accounts and talk about it. I think our symbols and measurements are useful to us, but not real in the sense the moon orbits the Earth whether we observe and measure it or not.

 

This is the essence of the epistemic vs ontological distinction I pointed to earlier. The way I see it, science is an epistemic description of ontologically objective entities. Systems of measurement allow us to express epistemically objective truths. They allow us to describe what is actually there, and to do useful work. But they are not themselves ontologically objective.

 

When I say that I think the concept of time is the kind of thing that we just can't do without I'm not saying that I think time necessarily exists as such; I'm saying that we can't make much sense of anything without the assumption that it exists. So I think it has to exist epistemically, otherwise we can't do much of anything, but it doesn't have to exist ontologically. It is indeed a bit like money, except that we don't need the concept of money in the way that we need the concept of time.

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On 9/13/2019 at 10:05 PM, disillusioned said:

Yes, I understand all this. I think it's relatively straightforward. The problem is that this is a description of how we measure time, not a description of how time is generated

 

Yes, we can define one second in terms of cyclical atomic motion, but this assumes that time already exists. If one second is "the amount of time that X process takes to occur" then there must actually be an amount of time that X takes to occur. We can't obtain time in this way, only measure it.

 

But the idea of change also relies on the notion of time. Unless there is time,  nothing can change. 

 

I think the concept of time is just something that we're stuck with whether we like it or not. Attempts to describe how time is generated seem to fall into circularity. Time is "something that a clock measures", but what is a clock save for "a device that measures time"?

(embolden added)

 

(your quote): The problem is that this is a description of how we measure time, not a description of how time is generated

 

Yes, I agree. As I discussed above, the universe had to have potential energy in its beginning for it to evolve into something else, and for the human concept of time as an interval of change to be envisioned and defined. So the universe accordingly had to start with a dimensional substance (or just energy in some models) of some elemental sort, and for time to continue in this way matter must have had, and continues to have potential energy within it. In my own model this is a type of winding of fermions.  Fermions are the atomic particles which have spin, protons, electrons, and neutrons. In this model spin is not just a characteristic of these particles, it is what they actually do, just like a top. This is the same way that physicists understand and observe atomic and molecular physical spin, but speculate as to its cause without any consensus understanding of it. In my own model these particles both wind up and unwind at the same time. The unwinding torsion of fermions accordingly is the physical characteristic and dimension of matter that generates time, a kind of particle torsion.

 

As to modern physics there is no consensus as to what time is or what drives it. In my own model all is relatively simple. But as to possible observations of this, electrons, for instance, are far too small to look at any internal parts. In modern physics they deal with them as zero-dimensional point particles. No internal parts of them or solid surface has ever been observed because of their infinitesimal size. But their description as point particles is all the understanding that is necessary for their calculations concerning electron interactions with other particles. 

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8 hours ago, pantheory said:

As I discussed above, the universe had to have potential energy in its beginning for it to evolve into something else,

 

By the statement 'in it's beginning' are you inferring to a specific point  at which the universe came into physical existence or are you referring unto 'the beginning' like written in Genesis?    

 

The reason I ask is I am a little confused by the inference of potential energy  since the beginning of the universe would necessitate that space would have first appeared since matter requires space in order to physically exist.   So there first must be space for energy to emerge into existence within right? 

 

While energy is commonly defined as being the potential work, or ability of self-animation by mass, it is held that energy is transferred between atoms.  While nothing suggests that energy exists without mass but they do claim that energy can occupy space separate from mass.  However,  nothing indicates that energy could exist prior to mass, so that would mean that mass would would have also be present at the time energy emerged into space albeit separate from mass wouldn't it?

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8 hours ago, Justus said:

 

By the statement 'in it's beginning' are you inferring to a specific point  at which the universe came into physical existence or are you referring unto 'the beginning' like written in Genesis?    

 

The reason I ask is I am a little confused by the inference of potential energy  since the beginning of the universe would necessitate that space would have first appeared since matter requires space in order to physically exist.   So there first must be space for energy to emerge into existence within right? 

 

While energy is commonly defined as being the potential work, or ability of self-animation by mass, it is held that energy is transferred between atoms.  While nothing suggests that energy exists without mass but they do claim that energy can occupy space separate from mass.  However,  nothing indicates that energy could exist prior to mass, so that would mean that mass would would have also be present at the time energy emerged into space albeit separate from mass wouldn't it?

(embolden added)

 

According to my model the universe never came into physical existence. This may be a difficult concept for some people to understand. This is because everything that we know of had a cause, something that existed before it. But according to this model, matter, time and space only has had a limited time to their existence; there was no such thing as time before their existence. This would be because the changes perpetuated by this beginning entity created time and space resulting in our concepts which now define them. Substance with potential pre-existed both time and space yet this substance accordingly had no source cause. One could say it pre-existed separate from time and space for an instant. An instant of time is like a  photograph in which no changes are occurring. They are just reference points within time which science call time frames. In this case this instant would be the beginning time frame and reference point. If you can understand this then you can understand the concept of the beginning of the universe according to the model I'm explaining and the related model  of the Big Bang beginning having the same concepts.

 

Accordingly there never could have been a time before the beginning entity any more than there could have been a change prior to the first change. In this context the word "before" would have no meaning. The beginning entity by its first reaction to its own innate internal potential energy, accordingly created time and space by its own action. We can now equate an interval of change as being the quintessential element that defines time. By a change in form the volume which matter first occupied also would have changed. Space can be defined as the volumes which matter occupies. When there are two separate substantive entities space can be defined as the volume these entities occupy, as well the distance between them. For three or more entities we could define space as the volume which they collectively occupy which encompasses them, their internal space and the distances between them. There would be no such thing as space, time or gravity outside the confines and influences of substance, matter and field, since the existence of substantive matter defines time, space, and gravity.

 

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Justus,

 

(Your quote and question) "However,  nothing indicates that energy could exist prior to mass, so that would mean that mass would would have also be present at the time energy emerged into space albeit separate from mass wouldn't it?"

 

The only example that I am aware of where energy turns into mass is when two apposingly directed high amplitude gamma rays (similar to x-rays) interact whereby they can create an electron positron pair that stay in existence. Right now I think the energy-first model of the Big Bang may have as many supporters as those that support a beginning big bang physical entity. I am not a fan of either version since I believe the Big Bang model is almost entirely wrong.

 

In any event I'm not a fan of any energy-first model since IMO all energy has as its source a substance of some kind. So accordingly the zero-point energy field would have at its source the interactions and motions of a physical substantive field of some kind. My own model hypothetically explains this entity and its characteristics in some detail providing related reasoning and asserted evidence for the proposal.

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I'm a layman when it comes to physics, but here I go with my layman's common sense----hoping that I make some sense.

 

I don't find it at all impossible to conceive of "nothing"; it seems to me that "infinite, inert emptiness" is an adequate definition.

 

If we assume that nature always takes the path of least resistance, we should sooner expect there to be nothing than something since nothing is a simpler state. For nothing to exist, nothing would be required. This may sound like a tautology, but the point is that nonexistence would cost nothing to maintain (no physical laws), and creating it would be unnecessary. Thus, all of existence can be thought of as superfluous complexity.

 

If something has to exist, then there has to be some principle which dictates that something has to exist. But then, why does that principle have to exist? And while, unlike God, we do at least have the universe at our direct disposal to examine, this doesn't take us very far since the universe's being self-*evident* doesn't make it self-*explanatory*.

 

And I hope this isn't too tedious or out-in-left-field, but the tree/sound question actually has an answer. The answer is no, the tree falling with no one to hear it does not make a sound. Why? Because the vibrations generated by the tree falling are not sound. Sound is an interpretation of vibrations which happens in the brain; outside of our heads, it's totally silent. From there we go into the whole question of how our perceptions shape reality, and I've never quite gotten a handle on that one.

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23 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

I'm a layman when it comes to physics, but here I go with my layman's common sense----hoping that I make some sense.

 

I don't find it at all impossible to conceive of "nothing"; it seems to me that "infinite, inert emptiness" is an adequate definition.

 

If we assume that nature always takes the path of least resistance, we should sooner expect there to be nothing than something since nothing is a simpler state. For nothing to exist, nothing would be required. This may sound like a tautology, but the point is that nonexistence would cost nothing to maintain (no physical laws), and creating it would be unnecessary. Thus, all of existence can be thought of as superfluous complexity.

 

If something has to exist, then there has to be some principle which dictates that something has to exist. But then, why does that principle have to exist? And while, unlike God, we do at least have the universe at our direct disposal to examine, this doesn't take us very far since the universe's being self-*evident* doesn't make it self-*explanatory*.

 

And I hope this isn't too tedious or out-in-left-field, but the tree/sound question actually has an answer. The answer is no, the tree falling with no one to hear it does not make a sound. Why? Because the vibrations generated by the tree falling are not sound. Sound is an interpretation of vibrations which happens in the brain; outside of our heads, it's totally silent. From there we go into the whole question of how our perceptions shape reality, and I've never quite gotten a handle on that one.

 

The problem with nothing at all as a logical possibility, one would be referring to nothing of any kind, essence, substance or energy,  in this or any other possible universe. If you believe in such a thing then you must concede that since we know that what we observed as reality is not "nothing at all," then you must accept that something can come from absolutely nothing at all. I don't know about you, but not only does this sound illogical, I think it is logically impossible. No proposition that I have ever heard of proposes that something can come from "absolutely nothing of any kind."

 

Present proposals of something from nothing, which I don't adhere to,  refer to nothing as the Zero-Point-Field (ZPF or ZPE). This known field is believed to have far more energy than all the rest of the universe combined. For this reason the ZPF may be the farthest thing from nothing that we know of.

 

(your quote): "..... From there we go into the whole question of how our perceptions shape reality, and I've never quite gotten a handle on that one."

 

Reality exists aside from any understanding of it. For an understanding of reality, science and every human forms "a perspective" of reality. And there are countless logical and supportable perspectives of it.  Needless to say, your or my perspective of reality could never change reality itself even though some well-known "dumbbell" scientists IMO have proposed that our sensual observations of reality can change reality itself.

 

Instead what is actually happening IMO and opinions of others,  is that at the quantum level we are not using our direct senses to observe reality, instead we use instrumentation which involves electrons and photons. As electrons and photons assist us in providing information about a quantum reaction, by contact electrons and photons actually interfere with the reaction itself and therefore change it. In such a case our "observation" or understanding of reality would in fact have nothing to do with changing reality. That is done by our instrumentation.

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15 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

I don't find it at all impossible to conceive of "nothing"; it seems to me that "infinite, inert emptiness" is an adequate definition.

 

I don't like this definition. "Infinite" implies that the thing being referred to is, in some sense, quantifiable. There has to be an endless amount of a thing in order for it to be infinite. But how can there be an endless amount of nothing? It seems to me, that if it's really nothing, then there should be none of it.

 

"Inert emptiness" is also problematic, because emptiness is a lack of something in a particular place, and if there is a lack of something, then there is something. Moreover, something can't really be inert unless there is at least the possibility that it could change. But there is a much deeper problem here. Any definition of "nothing" will fail necessarily, because definitions are descriptions of what a thing is. Nothing is not a thing. So we can't describe what it is. It isn't.

 

Put another way, if we say "nothing is X", and X is a thing, then nothing is a thing, which it isn't. It's nothing.

 

15 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

If we assume that nature always takes the path of least resistance, we should sooner expect there to be nothing than something since nothing is a simpler state. For nothing to exist, nothing would be required. This may sound like a tautology, but the point is that nonexistence would cost nothing to maintain (no physical laws), and creating it would be unnecessary. Thus, all of existence can be thought of as superfluous complexity.

 

The main problem I see with this is that it assumes nothing is a possible state of the universe. It is not. It couldn't be. The universe consists of all things. To treat nothing as a possible state of the universe seems to be contradictory on the face of it.

 

It also isn't clear to me that existence "costs" anything to maintain. Specific forms of existence do, to be sure, but simple brute existence of matter and energy? I don't think so.

 

15 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

If something has to exist, then there has to be some principle which dictates that something has to exist. But then, why does that principle have to exist?

 

I don't think this is correct. Something clearly does exist. Principles, on my view, are simply human attempts to describe what is going on. They follow from the existence of things, not the other way around.

 

15 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

And while, unlike God, we do at least have the universe at our direct disposal to examine, this doesn't take us very far since the universe's being self-*evident* doesn't make it self-*explanatory*.

 

I agree that the universe being self-evident does not make it self-explanatory. But I don't think this is a problem. Explanations are just human attempts to account for what occurs within the universe. It isn't at all clear to me that the universe itself requires an explanation.

 

15 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

And I hope this isn't too tedious or out-in-left-field, but the tree/sound question actually has an answer. The answer is no, the tree falling with no one to hear it does not make a sound. Why? Because the vibrations generated by the tree falling are not sound. Sound is an interpretation of vibrations which happens in the brain; outside of our heads, it's totally silent. From there we go into the whole question of how our perceptions shape reality, and I've never quite gotten a handle on that one.

 

The answer to the tree question turns on one's definition of sound. Physically, the vibrations are sound, so the answer is yes. Psychologically, sound is something that occurs in the mind, so the answer is no. I've never really understood why this is held up as some kind of profound, deep question. It just depends what we're talking about.

 

I don't think that perceptions shape reality. I think perceptions are shaped by reality.

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INTERMISSION

 

 

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

INTERMISSION

 

 

 

Yeah, I really liked Billy Preston's song, "Nothing from nothing leaves nothing" when it came out in '74." Hard to believe that was 45 years ago

 

The famous cool Latin phrase stated that  "out of nothing comes nothing, "ex nihilo nihil fit,.

 

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On 9/29/2019 at 10:27 AM, disillusioned said:

 

I don't like this definition. "Infinite" implies that the thing being referred to is, in some sense, quantifiable. There has to be an endless amount of a thing in order for it to be infinite. But how can there be an endless amount of nothing? It seems to me, that if it's really nothing, then there should be none of it.

 

"Inert emptiness" is also problematic, because emptiness is a lack of something in a particular place, and if there is a lack of something, then there is something. Moreover, something can't really be inert unless there is at least the possibility that it could change. But there is a much deeper problem here. Any definition of "nothing" will fail necessarily, because definitions are descriptions of what a thing is. Nothing is not a thing. So we can't describe what it is. It isn't.

 

Put another way, if we say "nothing is X", and X is a thing, then nothing is a thing, which it isn't. It's nothing.

 

 

The main problem I see with this is that it assumes nothing is a possible state of the universe. It is not. It couldn't be. The universe consists of all things. To treat nothing as a possible state of the universe seems to be contradictory on the face of it.

 

It also isn't clear to me that existence "costs" anything to maintain. Specific forms of existence do, to be sure, but simple brute existence of matter and energy? I don't think so.

 

 

I don't think this is correct. Something clearly does exist. Principles, on my view, are simply human attempts to describe what is going on. They follow from the existence of things, not the other way around.

 

 

I agree that the universe being self-evident does not make it self-explanatory. But I don't think this is a problem. Explanations are just human attempts to account for what occurs within the universe. It isn't at all clear to me that the universe itself requires an explanation.

 

 

The answer to the tree question turns on one's definition of sound. Physically, the vibrations are sound, so the answer is yes. Psychologically, sound is something that occurs in the mind, so the answer is no. I've never really understood why this is held up as some kind of profound, deep question. It just depends what we're talking about.

 

I don't think that perceptions shape reality. I think perceptions are shaped by reality.

There could be an infinite amount of nothing simply by there being no amount of anything.

 

How could Nothing *not* be inert when its very nature would be motionlessness?

 

If a lack of something is something, how many lacks can fit on the head of a pin?

 

Nothing is, indeed, not a thing. It isn't. It isn't....what? It isn't ANYthing. So if X is Nothing and Nothing isn't  a(ny)thing, then X isn't a thing.

 

The universe consists of all things that exist, but only *because* they exist. That doesn't mean that Nothing isn't a theoretical possibility.

 

Science is the study of cause and effect, so for existence to be described scientifically, it has to be described as the effect of a cause. That's why the universe requires an explanation----at least a scientific one.

 

And you have the tree/sound thing backwards. Vibrations are sound *psychologically* until they physically stimulate the auditory nerve and become sound *physically*.

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First of all, I want to say thanks for continuing this conversation. It was starting to trail off, and I still think there might be some things to learn here.

 

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There could be an infinite amount of nothing simply by there being no amount of anything.

 

I'm afraid this doesn't follow. If I have no bananas, I don't have an infinite amount of apples. I also don't have an infinite amount of no bananas. For there to be an infinite amount, there has to be an amount.

 

Are you familiar with set theory? Very basically, in mathematics and formal logic, a set is a collection of items, and the cardinality of a set is the number of items in a set. So the set {1, 2, 5} has cardinality 3, because it has 3 things in it, whereas the set of natural numbers has infinite cardinality, because it has an endless amount of elements.

 

I mention this because, to my mind, the closest coherent notion of "nothing" that I can think of is that of the empty set. This is simply the set which has no members. You might say that it contains nothing. Therefore, its cardinality is zero, because it doesn't contain anything. If its cardinality were infinite, quite a lot of very serious mathematical problems would arise.

 

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How could Nothing *not* be inert when its very nature would be motionlessness?

 

"Inertness" is a quality that objects may have. It isn't at all clear to me that it makes any sense at all to ascribe the qualities of objects to nothing. If we could do so, why stop at inertness? Why not give nothing a texture, taste, temperature, and a colour as well?

 

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If a lack of something is something, how many lacks can fit on the head of a pin?

 

I didn't quite say that a lack of something is something. Rather, inorder for there to be a lack of something, something must exist. This is why it makes sense for me to say "I have no bananas", but not "I have no :#&÷^,ajdhes".

 

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Nothing is, indeed, not a thing. It isn't. It isn't....what? It isn't ANYthing. So if X is Nothing and Nothing isn't  a(ny)thing, then X isn't a thing.

 

I think this kind of misses the larger point I was trying to make. Definitions necessarily make reference to things and their characteristics. That's all our vocabulary enables us to do. So any definition of nothing will rely on conceptions of something. This is problematic.

 

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The universe consists of all things that exist, but only *because* they exist. That doesn't mean that Nothing isn't a theoretical possibility.

 

Indeed, but for it to be a proper theoretical possibility, it ought to be definable. See above.

 

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Science is the study of cause and effect, so for existence to be described scientifically, it has to be described as the effect of a cause. That's why the universe requires an explanation----at least a scientific one.

 

Science is the study of the natural world. This includes a study of cause and effect. Not everything in science must be described as the effect of a cause though. This is a view which is at least questionable, and which I personally think is false.

 

Also, even if it were the case that all events within the universe require a cause, it would not follow logically that the universe requires a cause. This is the fallacy of composition.

 

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And you have the tree/sound thing backwards. Vibrations are sound *psychologically* until they physically stimulate the auditory nerve and become sound *physically*.

 

By "physically" what I meant was "in physics". And in physics, sound literally is just vibrations which propagate through a medium. The stimulation of the auditory nerve is a physical process, but the manner in which this cause us to consciously experience sound in our minds is the purview of psychology/neurobiology.

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