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Something or nothing, which is more supported?

  1. Apr 20, 2014 #1
    Excuse my simple mindedness about the question but which of these has more evidence for being true? Either there was absolutely nothing and then something, or there was always something.

    It doesn't matter how many layers you strip back, how many big bangs, no matter how powerful our measuring tools are, the answer to the universe must be one of those two things.

    For this question when I refer to universe I mean everything that can possibly exist in any and all space-times, universes, virtual spaces ect ect... everything.

    So regardless of whatever theory turns out to be true, the answer must be that either there was absolutely nothing and then something or there was always something... Which one has more scientific backing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2014 #2
    I would have to say, at this time both are still equally valid. We can't see or measure far enough back to say with certainty one or the other
  4. Apr 23, 2014 #3
    Anyone else have anything to say or is it simply 50/50?
  5. Apr 23, 2014 #4


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    No, it is not 50/50, it is 0/0. In other words, indeterminate. We simply do not know.

    And a third possibility is that the question is completely meaningless, that there was no time t < 0 at all.
  6. Apr 23, 2014 #5
    "The universe from nothing" model via quantum processes, is still a contender, Loop quantum Cosmology,(bounce universes, expanding, contracting), Chaotic eternal inflation (Bubble universes) are also equally valid. Then you have your cyclic universe models.

    In the Universe from nothing model, the process is loosely described as originating from virtual particle production due to the Hiesenburg's uncertainty principle. Mathematically this process does show possibilities. Chaotic eternal inflation involves a similar process, where bubble universes can be formed from small anisotropies that later inflate.

    You will also see Universe models where we are in a blackhole/whitehole event horizon though these models don't fit the observational data well so I don't consider them as viable, for one they don't account for variations in a black hoes feeding rates. The universe is in my opinion too homogenous and isotropic. Also models involving a universe rotation also have difficulty with the homogeneous and isotropic measurements.

    String theory and its branes may also be considered valid though I don't study string theory.

    In short, unless we can gather observational evidence to favor one model over the other, then any model that cannot be disproved is considered. As mentioned our observational limits due to last scattering and the "dark ages" (time when the mean free path of light is too short due to particle interactions) See Chronology of the universe images. We simply cannot favor any model that fits the observations over another.

    then again in bounce or cyclic models, where our universe originated from another parent universe. The question of "How did the first universe start ?" always comes into play at some point
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  7. Apr 23, 2014 #6


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    What, you don't believe in "turtles all the way down" ? :smile:
  8. Apr 23, 2014 #7
    Is inflation a turtle that beat the hare?
  9. Apr 23, 2014 #8
    I don't understand this joke, if that is what it was :P

    Thanks for the indepth reply but I was looking more for an answer as to whether there was nothing and then something or that there was always something.

    In your personal opinion, from everything you know about the universe which to you find more conceivable or more likely. That there was nothing and then something, or there was always something?

    Theories don't really matter in this question because as I said before ultimately behind all the theories, big bangs, bubble universe ect ect there can only be one answer. Either there was nothing, or something.
  10. Apr 23, 2014 #9


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    Google the term. It's one of the original answers to your question.
  11. Apr 23, 2014 #10


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    What part of "nobody knows" didn't you understand? Personal opinions are basically meaningless in questions of this type.

    Also, I think you ignored Bill_K's response that there is a third option, i.e. that the question is meaningless. You might want to Google the Hawking-Hartle No-Boundary idea, which says that asking this question is in some sense similar to asking "What is north of the north pole?"
  12. Apr 23, 2014 #11
    Personally, and this is only my feelings is that both are valid. However the question of first cause always comes to mind lol. I hope that the universe from nothing keeps being valid. For the simple reason pertaining to the question "How did the first universe come into existence" If our universe is the resultant from a parent universe, then we will never be able to gather observational evidence to confirm how a first universe would derive.

    However my desires is not science, and this forum is not the place for philosophical arguments. Currently the real science is "we don't know one way or the other"
  13. Apr 23, 2014 #12
    OK Thanks for your response. I did understand his answer of we don't know but I was more interested in peoples personal opinions. I know little about the universe but I do know that we don't know how our universe came into existence so I wasn't expecting a definitive answer, just opinions but thanks for the replies.
  14. Apr 23, 2014 #13
    Even in the 'universe from nothing' model, the term 'nothing' can be misleading. It considers the universe to have emerged from the quantum vacuum and denotes this as nothing. It's a relatively widespread terminology and in the best models of physics it is all that exists in the absence of other things. In a more formal definition of nothing, the quantum vacuum can't be considered to be nothing since it is still a 'thing'.

    Which definition is compatibile with your notion of 'absolutely nothing' is up to you.
  15. Apr 24, 2014 #14
    ... Nothing is part of something. It's a 'placeholder' for something. It has 'meaning' but no value and substance.

    ...We tried to destroy something but always ends up something. I always have that silly thought of (nothing)^2+(dynamic)^2=(something)^2. You'll never get there.^^
  16. Apr 29, 2014 #15
    Yes, there is no answer to the OP since our tool for abstraction the mathematics breaks down beyond 10^-43 second timeline of the universe. And that implies at least to me, that the spacetime doesn't always exists but neither it has its first moment.
  17. Apr 30, 2014 #16
    just as a side note to Bill_K's appropriate answer, this article is rather interesting

    "Time before Time"
  18. May 1, 2014 #17


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    I am uncomfortable with 'something from nothing'. The argument 'something' originated from some less ordered state is not helpful. Unfortunately, that forces us into accepting an eternal universe. That might be the right answer, but, I can't wrap my head around it.
  19. May 1, 2014 #18


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    I personally have no problem accepting either answer. Either the universe is eternal, or it is not. Neither answer changes anything. I'm still going to get up in the morning and have my cereal.
  20. May 1, 2014 #19
  21. May 2, 2014 #20


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    That bolding of the word "must" is mine. You cannot limit your thinking to these 2 possibilities. Amongst other possibilities suggested, consider that "Nothing" and "Something" are one and the same, just different manifestations of each other. It might help ease your mind....or, on the other hand, blow it away.:eek:
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