How can anything come from nothing

  • Thread starter wolram
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  • #1
wolram
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i have struggled with with theories for creation for one
reason, and that is they all start with something.
how can anything come from nothing, is nothing a meaningfull
word in creation theories?
i find it totaly ilogical that nothing exsisted befor
creation.
the best i can come up with for a psudo nothing is two
forces that cancel each other.
our exsistence must prove that absolute nothing is
imposible?
 
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  • #2
Zantra
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I've had this argument before in the physics forum. When I ask someone to define what existed before BB, they say nothing. I say that there had to be something, because something doesn't spring from nothing, and there it stops.

No one knows what was before the universe was, but I know it must have been something. People say "nothing" because we can't define it, we have no frame of reference, or conceptualization. I believe it was something.
 
  • #3
wolram
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well pre BB it is said that no space or time existed, if that
is so then i cannot see how we could exsist.
what would no space be? a solid?
i think this space creation by BB is a way to explain gravity
and that it leads to a cul-de-sac, if space did not exsist
before the BB what was the stuff that it came from? maybe
a no dimensional thing exsisting in nothing.
 
  • #4
Eh
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Originally posted by wolram
i have struggled with with theories for creation for one
reason, and that is they all start with something.
how can anything come from nothing, is nothing a meaningfull
word in creation theories?

This gives a lot of people trouble because of the way the English language is. We tend to refiy just about anything. But "nothing" is not some mystical state to wonder about. The word only has meaning as logical negation of "things". It is the same for other words like nowhere, nobody, etc. Only when the word is placed into a sentence does it take meaning, which is as negation. For example, "nothing travels faster than the speed of light".

As for creation, let's take a look at a statement. The universe was created from nothing. This sentence does not claim that the universe was created from a state of nothingness, but is equivalent to the statement — The universe was not created from anything. Hence, "creation of the universe" becomes a misnomer.

A little examination of the language we use can clear up some confusion. In the case of nothing, you might say there is nothing to it.
 
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  • #5
Zantra
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See but that's one part of BB theory I don't acccept. THe world around us shows that through cause and effect, everything comes from something. The universe is an infinite series of cause and effect steps. To say that the universe just "blinked" into existence, goes against everything else that we DO know and have confirmed about the laws of the universe. Just because we can't prove there was nothing, doesn't mean there wasn't something. It may not have been anything that we could concieve of, but saying it was "nothing" is only a theory for lack of a better description
 
  • #6
Gale
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what is space? what is empty space? What is nothing? and what constitutes 'something?'
 
  • #7
Eh
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Space is a property of physical things. In the real world, that "thing" is the gravitational field. Space has no existence independent of it.

In the ontological sense, anything that exists is considered to be a "thing".
 
  • #8
Gale
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so if nothing exists does that make it a thing? or does that just mean that it's impossible for nothing to exist because it contradicts itself?
 
  • #9
THANOS
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nothing exist but we can't comprehend it. So trying to explain it is meaningless.
 
  • #10
Eh
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Originally posted by Gale17
so if nothing exists does that make it a thing? or does that just mean that it's impossible for nothing to exist because it contradicts itself?

Correct, it's a logical contradiction. As such it's no more possible than the existence of a circle square.
 
  • #11
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Eh
Correct, it's a logical contradiction. As such it's no more possible than the existence of a circle square.

Or a particle wave? :wink:

Anyway, I agree with you, Eh. Saying "nothing exists" does not assert the existence of some abstract thing that we call 'nothing'; rather it asserts the complete absence of existence of any 'things' in the first place.

Maybe there is some confusion because our concept of 'nothingness' itself is a thing-- after all, we must have some existent concept of 'nothingness' to be able to talk about it, however paradoxical that might be. But a concept is just a concept, just a mental pointer used to refer to something else. In the case of the concept of 'nothing,' it just so happens that the pointer has no referent.
 
  • #12
Zantra
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Ahh but you're missing the point. I'm simply saying that before BB there wasn't "nothing". There was "something" we just don't know what it was, so we say it's nothing.

For the sake of dicussion, we'll say that there wasn't "nothng", there was alpha existence. What alpha existence was like, we may never know-but it's was there
 
  • #13
steersman
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Calling nothing something doesn't solve anything. You're back at square one again because in our world of cause and effect, what created this something? nothing?
 
  • #14
hypnagogue
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Zantra, I was just addressing the notion of 'nothingness,' not your point. The idea that something came from nothing is highly counter-intuitive, but as steersman points out, we have to come to grips with it at some point unless we assume that the Universe is eternal and has no beginning-- which, in a way, is just as counter-intuitive as the alternative.
 
  • #15
wolram
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to avoid insanity i prefer to think that "space" is eternal
there is no opposit or alternative for space, so logicaly
it must have always exsisted, to my way of thinking its
the people that say space was created who are out to lunch.
 
  • #16
Guybrush Threepwood
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couldn't be that the sapce-time is eternal and the BB just offered some kind on mechanism to bend it and thus to have gravity?[?]
 
  • #17
wolram
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guybrush, you are thinking along the same lines as i am
it is far more logical to think of space as eternal.
what other options are there, no space, null space
total non exsistence of anything, all highly non intuitive
and impposible to make "something" from.
the creation of space by the BB is a gimmick used by
scientisis to explain gravity, given time I am sure this
theory will be diss prooved.
 
  • #18
Njorl
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The big-bang theory does not describe the creation of the universe. It might come very, very close, but there is a "wall" of time beyond which it can not describe what was going on. We may push that wall arbitrarily close to t=0, but not beyond. If there was something verifiably extant before the big-bang, then the big bang was not the start of our universe. This is certainly a valid point of argument.

Asking what existed before the creation of our universe is meaningless. Our universe is, by definition, everything which could conceivably interact with us in some way. What exists outside our universe is manifestly unknowable. Even theoretical predictions are meaningless, because there is no need any supposed extra-universal continuum to be governed by our physical laws.

It is possible that there could be something "outside" our universe. "Outside" includes before and after. But it doesn't matter. By definition, there can be no interaction with it, and no prediction made about it.

Njorl
 
  • #19
Eh
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As I said, "creation of the spacetime" is a misnomer. You can have a beginning of time, but it just means there is no before the first event. In this scenario, there is no time when the universe did not exist.
 
  • #20
wolram
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As I said, "creation of the spacetime" is a misnomer. You can have a beginning of time, but it just means there is no before the first event. In this scenario, there is no time when the universe did not exist.
____________________________________________________________________
ok EH that is understood, but how can you have a "first event",
if time does not exsist?
it is logical to me that something space, time, has to exsist
before you can have a "first event"
and yes it is pointless to hypothosise what came before the
BB if that theory is 100% correct, but if it is found that
the BB occurred in a pre exsisting "something", then science
can look before it.
 
  • #21
Zantra
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Then I can't accept that scenario. Just because we can't define it, doesn't mean we shouldn't theorize about it. And it certainly doesn't mean we can pretend it isn't there(well I can't anyhow). There is something else out there- beyond the universe. Beyond BB, beyond what we concieve of as the beginning of time. We may not be able to describe it, but it's still out there. And besides- you can't prove me wrong:wink:
 
  • #22
Mentat
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Originally posted by Zantra
Then I can't accept that scenario. Just because we can't define it, doesn't mean we shouldn't theorize about it. And it certainly doesn't mean we can pretend it isn't there(well I can't anyhow). There is something else out there- beyond the universe. Beyond BB, beyond what we concieve of as the beginning of time. We may not be able to describe it, but it's still out there. And besides- you can't prove me wrong:wink:

Yes I can. The very semantics of the issue kill any concept of something "outside of the Universe". The word "Universe" means "everything" or "all that exists", as njorl already pointed out. Thus, even to say "outside the Universe" is logically meaningless.

Also, to the point of the misuse of the word "nothing", I think Eh did an awesome job of conveying the point in his first post on this thread. I thought that this problem was over when we went through it in the E.I.N.S thread, but I suppose newer members have never seen this thread before. I suggest that all who get a chance read at least the first post, since this issue of what the word "nothing" refers to is really a complete non-sequitor.
 
  • #23
wolram
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i can only agree with MENTAT if the BB is the B all and
end all of the universe ,but if it had a totally
different beginning then it is not.
 
  • #24
Zantra
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I ascribe to the multiverse theory myself, so the term "universe" to mee seems too limiting. Sure, you can prove me wrong by "theorizing" that there is the universe and nothing else. But I can theorize that the outside of the known universe is coated by a thin layer of green jello, and you couldn't dispute it. Well you could, but not with any degree of certainty.

That's my point. We're all only speculating when it comes to anything beyond BB or the known "universe". Who's to say someone theory is anymore solid then anyone else's. We can make hypothyses about the known universe based on observation, but anything beyond what we know is just a blind guess. So what we do, rather than make wild guesses, is say there is "nothing" beyond what we know. I prefer to keep an open mind, myself.
 
  • #25
Pyrite
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As far as I'm concerned, there are only two theories that make any possible sence. either something has always existed, or space and time just blinked into existence, which is the same thing. as far as creationism goes, god(s) is/are considered a thing/things, which means that nothingness did not exist before.

Also, it is theorized that before the big bang, the universe was compressed to an infinitesimal size. It is also thought that it was decompressed before the Big Bang, and may have been much like, or exactly like, the universe as it is now.

It seems likely, from what we observe of planets, and what we know of light waves, that the universe is either expanding, or moving apart. we can tell this because everything seems to be moving further and further away from us.

I might also say that if space and time blinked into existence, it would likely be exactly the same as if they had existed forever, as no time would have passed before.

the only thing that can be proven is that something exists. what that thing is may vary.
 
  • #26
Royce
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If there was a Big Bang there are many speculations about what caused it or where it came from. There can only be speculation because if there was a big bang then all information, if any, about what was before was destroyed or we are forever cut off from it by the big bang itself.
Whatever may have been just begs the question of where that came from or what caused that which was before the BB ad infinitum, ad nausium.
It may be infinit and eternal whatever 'it' may be. My favorite is "God said; "Let ther be light." --- Big Bang." Everybody already knows that God is infinite and eternal so that answers the speculation. It is at least as reasonable (or unreasonable) as any other speculation.
 
  • #27
Pyrite
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Everybody already knows that God is infinite and eternal
No,they do not.

But anyway, this is getting off track. we were wondering if noting can exist,which it can't, as it's just the lack of something. It is nota noun, really.
 
  • #28
Royce
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Originally posted by Pyrite
No,they do not.

It was tongue in cheek, pure speculation that is as reasonable or unreasonable as spacetime being eternal and infinite. What's the differenc?


But anyway, this is getting off track. we were wondering if noting can exist,which it can't, as it's just the lack of something. It is nota noun, really.
[/QOUTE]

Sorry I thought the original question was about what came before the BB, that something coming from nothing was the issue. I thought that it had already been concluded that "nothing" does not exist but is just a nonreferential negating term in our language, by your own quote shown above.
 
  • #29
Eh
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Originally posted by Royce
It was tongue in cheek, pure speculation that is as reasonable or unreasonable as spacetime being eternal and infinite. What's the differenc?

One difference is that we at least know spacetime exists, whether eternal or not. We do not know any supernatural being exists at all, let alone one that it is eternal. So speculations do always have the same merit.
 
  • #30
Originally posted by Eh
As I said, "creation of the spacetime" is a misnomer. You can have a beginning of time, but it just means there is no before the first event. In this scenario, there is no time when the universe did not exist.
Change must emanate from some changeless state of being - an essence of change.
 
  • #31
Royce
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Originally posted by Eh
One difference is that we at least know spacetime exists, whether eternal or not. We do not know any supernatural being exists at all, let alone one that it is eternal. So speculations do always have the same merit.

A few corrections; We THINK we know that spacetime exists but not what or how it is. There is speculation that spacetime is a characteristic of matter,i.e. without matter space time does not exist.

YOU do not know that an eternal "supernatural" being exists. I put quotes around supernatural because I think it is a misnomer. A more appropriate term would be IMHO ultra-natural. There are those who know that such a being does exist, I am one of them. There is more to this universe than science and the scientific "knowledge" of Man.

Did you mean to say, "So speculations do NOT always have the same merit."? If we know something then it is not pure speculation. We only speculate about what we do not know.

I did not mean to, and will not subvert the topic of this thread to speculation about a supernatural being. It was an off hand remark and should have been ignored possibly after a chuckle.
 
  • #32
Eh
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Originally posted by Royce
A few corrections; We THINK we know that spacetime exists but not what or how it is.

Everyone with a functioning visual cortex will experience something we have labeled space. Anyone who is not a vegetable experiences change and we call that time. For the most part, no one seems to dispute this experience. However, most people in the world aren't likely to claim any experience of supreme being, and those that do usually aren't consistent. We do know of people who do claim to experience unsual things, but we tend to lock them up in institutions.

There is speculation that spacetime is a characteristic of matter,i.e. without matter space time does not exist.

This speculation has been shown to be incorrect by science.

YOU do not know that an eternal "supernatural" being exists. I put quotes around supernatural because I think it is a misnomer. A more appropriate term would be IMHO ultra-natural. There are those who know that such a being does exist, I am one of them. There is more to this universe than science and the scientific "knowledge" of Man.

I don't doubt you and others experience something you label "God". But I would argue the explanation of this experience has a more rational (and less complicated) source. Much like how our senses like sound and taste are explained in terms of brain processes, it would seem that kind of explanation for unsual experiences is much simpler than postulating some superpower wielding being our ancestors would cll magical.

Did you mean to say, "So speculations do NOT always have the same merit."? If we know something then it is not pure speculation. We only speculate about what we do not know.

That's right, I meant to say NOT. I often make typos, so you'll have to watch for it. At any rate, my point is that saying "God did it" is not on equal footing as a naturalistic explanations. One explanation may be based on rational thought and observations of the world, while the other is completely made up with no explanatory power. One might as well say Santa created the universe.

As I said, all speculations do not have the same merit. We cannot truly know anything outside our own experience, but the speculations we have about the outside world differ in that some offer explanatory power while others do not.
 
  • #33
Royce
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Originally posted by Eh
Everyone with a functioning visual cortex will experience something we have labeled space. Anyone who is not a vegetable experiences change and we call that time. For the most part, no one seems to dispute this experience. However, most people in the world aren't likely to claim any experience of supreme being, and those that do usually aren't consistent. We do know of people who do claim to experience unsual things, but we tend to lock them up in institutions.

Seeing and experiences spacetime as quoted above is a bit simplistic.
I wasn't speaking of spacetime at that level but at a deeper more scientific level and the properties of spacetime. "We" also fed them to the lions, ovens, mass graves and crucifications.


This speculation has been shown to be incorrect by science.

I am not questioning this but am very curious about when and how this was done. can you point me to link, article or book in which this is discussed?


I don't doubt you and others experience something you label "God". But I would argue the explanation of this experience has a more rational (and less complicated) source. Much like how our senses like sound and taste are explained in terms of brain processes, it would seem that kind of explanation for unsual experiences is much simpler than postulating some superpower wielding being our ancestors would cll magical.

It always amazes me to what lengths nonbelievers will go to attempt to explain in scientific natural terms what others experience and accept as natural spiritual or religious phenomena. What could be more natural than the creator of the natural universe? What is so hard to accept about that possibility but so easy to accept without qualm an infinite and eternal spacetime and/or universe. One is in my mind just as magical and improbable as the other. I do not understand the antagonistic bias against a creator.



That's right, I meant to say NOT. I often make typos, so you'll have to watch for it. At any rate, my point is that saying "God did it" is not on equal footing as a naturalistic explanations. One explanation may be based on rational thought and observations of the world, while the other is completely made up with no explanatory power. One might as well say Santa created the universe.

There are no naturalistic explanations for the origins of the Big Bang or the Big Bang itself. Nor are there any observations or rational thought as no one was there to observe. It is all specutation and can never be proved or disproved one way or the other. To say that one form of specutation has more merit than another merely admits to a bias in thinking, a preference of one over the other or preconceived notions. One is just as possible and has just as much merit as the other despite your and other's bias agains s "supernatural creator."
Yes, one might as well say that Santa did it and there is no proof that he didn't. Is that your problem with supernatural beings, you discovered that there is no such thing as a real physical Santa Claus; so now there can be no other supernateral beings including God too?


As I said, all speculations do not have the same merit. We cannot truly know anything outside our own experience, but the speculations we have about the outside world differ in that some offer explanatory power while others do not.

While I agree that all speculations do not have the same merit and that we cannot truly know anything outside our experience, the only difference that I see here is one explanation is acceptable to you while another is not simply on the basis that you do not believe in God the creator. That's fine with me. You have the right to believe or disbelieve in whatever you want just as I do. That does not, however, make you right and me wrong or qualify me for the loony bin.
 
  • #34
THANOS
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There be no creator for there is no creation.
 
  • #35
Royce
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Originally posted by THANOS
There be no creator for there is no creation.

Ahh, the infinite ,immortal, eternal, all knowing THANOS has spoken.
The issue is now settled once and for all. We are wiser and grateful for the proclamation from above. One question, THANOS, Where then did the universe come from and where did you come from? Did something indeed come from nothing as the original question of this thread asked?
 

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