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Universe from nothing

  1. Nov 14, 2003 #1
    if the big bang is traced back to the part where the universe was essentially just an infinitely small "dot" and then u go back further until there is nothing there....

    how can u get something from nothing..sorry mite sound like a stupid question but u know
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2003 #2
    This usually boils down to a philosophical argument over what "nothing" is. (Is the vacuum "nothing"? What about a state in which classical spacetime does not exist?) Some people say, "either the universe came from nothing, or it is infintiely old", but whether a finitely old universe "came from nothing" depends a lot on what you mean by that, and I don't know if I would personally say it.
  4. Nov 14, 2003 #3
    Physics MUST be derived from logical principle alone. For if physics is reduced to merely some fundamental particle(s), then that still is just begging the question as to where the universe comes from. What difference does it make if you are looking at a tree or a Higgs boson, the question remains, where did it come from. To suggest that the universe is infinitely old and has no beginning is also begging the question. But all questions stop when they are reduced to the principles of reasoning itself. For you can question facts that may be contingent on something else. But you can't question the principles of legitamate reasoning without undermining your quest for truth.
  5. Nov 14, 2003 #4


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    Actually, if there is a beginning of time, there is a point where you literally cannot go any further. In such a case there is no before the first moment. It's exactly the same as talking about a place where there is no space.

    A universe created from nothing is not a created universe at all. It's a universe that just is. It is logically consistent to claim the universe is of finite in age without no "prior" state to the initial planck era.

    This is philosophy, because there aren't any scientific models that say the universe was created from nothing or make any other grand metaphysical claims.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2003
  6. Nov 14, 2003 #5
    Our universe is seemingly 13.7 billion years old, so not of infinite age.
    Nobody knows whether our universe is the Universe or just a universe i.e. whether the observed universe is one of many 'bubble' universes which are each part of the Universe but totally inaccesible to one another,or if the observed universe is the only Universe. And if our universe is the only Universe, then is there a cycle of big bangs and collapse, or is there only the single expansion?
    Where did it come from? No-one can say.
    As for the infinitely small point, you need to ask yourself if anything ever real ( actual ) can be correctly described as infinite or infinitesimal.It feels more believable to me to consider small or big without limit, rather than infinite i.e. it keeps getting smaller and smaller ( backwards in time ) but never reaches infinitely small.
  7. Nov 15, 2003 #6


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    That is how far back the Big Bang Theory goes.

    That is outside of Big Bang Theory.

    Perhaps there is More, perhaps not. But Big Bang Theory successfully explains the changing state of our observable universe since its Beginning.

    Check out Inflation Theory and M-Theory for more thoughts about the Beginning.
  8. Nov 17, 2003 #7
    Your second point may be used to contradict your first one. You see, if out universe is only a finite part of a much larger Universe, then we would only know the age of our "local" universe, while the Universe's age could indeed be infinite.
  9. Nov 19, 2003 #8
    I don't agree with the whole idea of the Universe just being, maybe because I can't fathom there being no initial creation. I beleive you must always take Something from Something else, and not Something from Nothing, or an Absolute Nothing. Absolute Nothing, I beleive, does not exist. If you have something that occupies neither time nor space, then it is not there. Thus, what is not there, is not there, and can not support Something that is there. Even though I beleive there had to be SOME sort of intial Start to existence, it is somewhat of a paradox, because every Start has no precedence of itself, and no precedence of existence prior to this initial Start would be Absolutely Nothing or non-existence, which could not support a start. Who the hell knows?
  10. Nov 20, 2003 #9

    Just because you can't comprehend something, does it mean that they are not real? A frog can't comprehend a Nuclear bomb, but that does not mean such devices don't exist.
    All scientists can do is try to explain what is, not what should be...

    You may want to believe that something can't come from nothing, and that is fine. But our description of the Universe can only be based upon what we observe, and whatever theories are consistent with observation.
  11. Nov 20, 2003 #10
    A universe may be defined as all the facts that could interact. It is by definition irrelevant what something may be that does not and never will interact with us.

    Maybe you caught that portion of the Elegant Universe shown on Nova not too long ago where it was explained that the strings of our universe exist on some membrane and that our universe may have come into being by the collision of two membranes. In otherword this is all the result of two universes colliding.
  12. Jan 15, 2004 #11
    from nothing?

    ok, I know that this one will draw all kinds of flack, but it has to be said.
    Presently, we know very little of what happened so long ago. I think a <duh!> goes here, or at least will be stated in the peanut gallery.
    From what I understand there are two generally accepted perspectives.
    1- it all came from nothing.
    2- In the beginning, God said....
    As followers of the Bible's teachings, we accept that one day scientists will finally get to the point in their science of both realizing, and mathematically/scientifically proving-- God really is there. A kind of-- Oh, wow--(actually, it'll more than likely be one of those truly profound set of expletives) you really do exist!-- realization.
    As one who came to faith first, and then through faith, came to find a love for learning physics (it was already there, but took time to mature enough into its present state), I'd be more ready to believe that there really is a supreme personality that created it all.... from this infinitesimally tiny piece of whatever (definitely not proper scientific terminology, but since we really don't know what it was that came from that "tiny dot", it's good enough for this comment). And has had a field day just watching us try to figure it out ever since.
    And yes, I've heard the opposite-- that it really is just some mush that somehow got thrown together by all the forces, both understood, and not understood, etc...!
    Whatever you may wish to believe-- "It is the Glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of Kings to search it out." Proverbs.
    Who knows, with this new particle accelerator (The one that some said would create black holes here on earth, and thus destroy the planet. Sorry, I can't remember its name.) being built in Europe, we just might find out in the next decade or so. Won't that be cool?
  13. Jan 15, 2004 #12


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    Do you really think a scientific proof of God would be cool? Think of this, in your religious tradition* the human race is fallen and can only be saved by the grace of God, right? So now comes Witten or somebody and proves God exists and has the properties Christians impute to Him. People are converted not by the grace of faith given to them by God but by the intellectual experience of being convinced by a rational/empirical demonstration. What happens to original sin and grace then?

    * From your quotation of three of the five corporal works of mercy in a previous post, I infer that at least one point you were in contact with the Catholic tradition.

    NOTE TO MODERATOR: This is not a post or thread about God but about human interaction with conjectured future physics.
  14. Jan 15, 2004 #13
    What happens to "grace" when the Kingdom of God finally does come and we behold everything with our own eyes? Do we believe by grace then, or only on the emperical evidence around us?
  15. Jan 15, 2004 #14


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    Was this question satisfactorily answered?

    It seems to me to be a physics question (although it may have
    theological spin-off as well, it has real physics content IMO)

    Who here thinks that the premise is true as stated?

    That is, that in fact "the big bang is traced back to the part where the universe was essentially just an infinitely small "dot"".

    I believe that classic BB theories (that is, the Einstein/Friedmann equations) simply blow up and fail to work if pushed back too far.
    They have a limit of applicability which is a sign of an inadequate mathematical construct. The theories do not predict an "infinitely small dot", they simply stop computing at a certain point. This is a common experience with scientific models and motivates people to fix the models.

    In the past 3 or 4 years, several authors using a variety of approaches have improved on the classic BB theory (quantized BB or quantized Einstein/Friedmann equation) and gotten rid of the infinities.

    When quantized, the model does not fail. Mechanisms explaining the onset of inflationary expansion are being investigated. In the quantized models there is not a "nothing" before the onset of the era of expansion we are witnessing and believe to have lasted some 13.7 or 14 billion years.

    Perhaps other people here would like to disagree. It seems to me the proper answer to Outside is that his assumed premise is wrong.
    The classic BB model had a singularity---a mathematical breakdown---when it reached its limit of applicability. Now the model is being improved and all the proposed improvements get rid of this failure and extend evolution of the universe back before the commencement of the current expansion era. In the current improved models the universe never was an infinitely small dot or anything like that

    a landmark paper was in 2001

    Absence of Singularity in Loop Quantum Cosmology
    Martin Bojowald

    According to CiteBase this particular paper has been cited by 29 other papers since it was published.

    this gives a rough index of the activity in this particular line of research
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2004
  16. Jan 15, 2004 #15

    Actually, yes.
    It'd be interesting to say the least. Moreoever, while you may deny that, inside, after giving it some thought, even you will agree that it would be an interesting thought.
    Now, it is indeed written in our writings that "the natural man cannot comprehend the things of God(1Corinth.3)," true. However, it is also written that "nature itself proclaims/declares the glory of God. " (Romans chapt.1, Psalms19, etc.... )

    I did not, if you'll note, say that it would happen; I said that we generally accept that one day it could easily happen. And that is not what can be considered doctrine- just a generally accepted idea within the confines of those who believe. And only--thus far-- among those who've actually thought about, or discussed it openly. I.e., that idea did not originate with me- I heard it from the pulpit 24 years ago.

    There is a distinct difference from knowing God, and knowing of him.
    Much like the difference of one who knows an acquaintance, or a friend/loved one. I know of Joe Blow. We've met, or someone told me about him. However, after 14 years of marriage, I think it's fairly safe to say that I know my wife.
    Hopefully that point is clarified.
    Now, onto the real point, that I thought had been made clear by my post.
    We do not know.
    I am one of many who happen to think, believe, and accept the hypothesis-- admittedly unprovable at this time, then so were Einstein's ideas on relativity when he first introduced them -- that when we get past that tiny dot at the beginning, we'll see the hand of a creator holding it. If we get past that hand, we'll see, or perhaps (And please do not pick hairs here. This is not a discussion of semantics, but of ideas, and perspectives) hear a voice saying- Let there be....
    While we have no idea what exists before that "tiny dot" way back when, we all hope, that one day we will find out. One way or another! I just happen to actually believe that we will find the hand of the individual who was holding it at the time it was released, and began expanding.
    Something for thought, and rumination.

    And while some of the above material can be classifiable as religious, it is intended to clarify a previously misunderstood/misconstrued point.
  17. Jan 16, 2004 #16
    Conservation laws are only relevant to an existence of some kind. The question is without meaning where nothing exists yet.

    time = zero at the infinitesimal point (if it existed). And from there it was some none zero volume when time was not zero. So the question seems to be HOW the universe proceeded from a dot. Did it expand instantaneously, or linearly, or asymptotically?

    There simply is no other choice but that it proceeded from a dot. For the only alternative is to have instantaneous changes in a universe of conservation laws.

    What we do know is that the very first thing the universe does is expand and create praticles. So there MUST be some mathematical theorem that relates expansion or the curvature of the universe (viewed as an overall manifold) to the creation of particles (viewed as submanifolds)
  18. Jan 17, 2004 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    What happened to the idea that the BB resulted from the "collapse" of the 10 [11] dimensional hypersurface into the 4 + 6[7] predicted by ST? Has this notion flopped?
  19. Jul 10, 2004 #18
    yes, that's true-- there is that point.However, I 13.7 G yr for little-u not big-u is probably about right, and I still feel uncomfortable to think of infinity being other than a concept.
    Example: people have been known to say, ' oh the density of a singularity of a black whole is infinite and the singularity is infinitely small.
    Surely singularites can only be approached arbitrarily closely i.e. the object under consideration becomes small without limit, but that the limit is never reached.
    Similarly, the density increases without limit but infinite density is never reached--- it can always become more dense later.
  20. Jul 10, 2004 #19


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    The paper reference by Marcus is very important to current theory. We may, in a few years, even have the observational evidence to refute or support QLG. Hopefully even string up those annoying string theories that have like 10^200 or more estimated mathematical solutions.

    Anyways, there is an easy way to explain how the universe arose from nothing. It has, is and always will be absolutely nothing. The problem is the definition of nothing. There is no such thing as nothing, there is only zero. I will retract that assertion just as soon as someone shows me a mathematical solution whose result is "nothing", as opposed to somewhere between -infinity and +infinity. What I am getting to is this: the total energy of the universe has and always will be exactly zero. The universe consists of a combination of positive energy and negative energy that totals to exactly zero. What we dont fully understand is how to categorize one from the other and quantify them. Why use energy as currency? Simple. Everthing that is possible to observe consists of energy. Matter is simply concentrated energy [E=mc^2 thing]. Why is the total zero? Thermodyanics and quantum theory. The principles of convervancy and natural tendency of all systems to seek equilibrium. You could also just say the entire universe is a quantum fluctuation, but, that would be an unnecesarily complicated explanation. See link below for thumbnail of the 'Free Lunch Theory'.

  21. Jul 11, 2004 #20
    I also have to wonder if the total entropy of the universe in zero. We have on one hand the expansion of the universe which is a positive entropy process. But then on the other hand we have matter collecting into galaxies, stars, planet, and people, which is a negative entropy process. Is the total zero? I wonder. There is zero information without a universe. But then again, since the existence of a universe of some sort is an absolute certainty, there is no information/entropy gained by knowing the universe exists as a whole. Of course, we can't be so certain about what may be going on in that universe. So there is information gained and lost by processes inside.
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