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Why is there something instead of nothing? Where do the laws of nature come from?

  1. Oct 14, 2006 #1
    That is perhaps the biggest 2 question for the whole of existence.
    Without it, there would be no sciences, no human, no anything...at all.
    Can the laws come into being without matter/universe? Can the universe come into being without the laws? (It is said that universe might come out of a quantum vaccum, but that( quantum vaccum) itself is a laws, a generalization within the universe. Can we apply the laws of nature outside the universe? Is there such a thing as "nothing"? By "nothing", i mean the non-existence of everything.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2006 #2
    are we supposed to answer? or what . . .

    if there are no laws there would be nothing, because if something is something its only something because of ... you guessed it. Laws.
  4. Oct 15, 2006 #3
    Well, laws are only significant in relation to matter. It makes zero sense to have laws, but no physical phenonmen.

    If there are matters, but no physical law, there would be no physical final say on where that piece of matter come from.

    According to modern physic, that piece of matter came out of a quantum vacuum. Can we trust that to be true? How much can we weight a law again it `s own assertions? What is the nature of physical law?
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
  5. Oct 15, 2006 #4
    You are not using your brain enough. (Let this be an unwritten comment to anyone who is like you.)
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
  6. Oct 16, 2006 #5
    Hey kant. I hope you realize essentially you just repeated me.
    The difference that made your comment better then mine is that you made it more legible. And cut me some slack, I'm in grade 10, and I perfer talking casual.

    Edit: I have no idea what quantum anything is. If you have time and would like to help me out.
    PM me or something and explain it a little
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2006
  7. Oct 21, 2006 #6


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    The nature of physical law is to be testable. It is only as convincing as the sequence of tests it has passed. The idea of the quantum vacuum, and the derived idea that the material uniiverse came out of a quantum fluctuation, are pretty good by this standard but not rock solid.

    Of course NOTHING in science is rock solid; everything is open to falsification by experiment or observation. But the quantum vacuum, while better than some ideas, is not as solid as, say, the law of conservation of momentum. The reason for that is that the QV is a conclusion from a complex argument, and so its relationship to experiment depends on the technical details of that argument. And we all know where the Devil resides.
  8. Oct 21, 2006 #7
    The way I see it, those are fundamentally unanswerable questions, which I assume is your point. And when I say unanswerable, I don't mean merely that possible answers are unverifiable, I mean that there is actually no answer that makes sense at all.

    For example, "God made the universe and its laws" seems like an answer at first, but it is really just a reframing of the original question. It just becomes, "Why is there God instead of not-God? Why are these laws better than other possible laws?" There have naturally been lots of attempts to answer those questions, but I haven't really encountered any that weren't circular reasoning, or that couldn't just as well be applied to the universe instead of "god," eliminating the middleman.
  9. Oct 22, 2006 #8
    Well, yes, but i would also like people to challenge those unanswerable. What is beneth the unanswerable. The probing of the infinitestimal separation between the known, and the unknown. They are the most powerful question in the whole of existence. This come down to the nature of natural laws as physical models; when does it lead to absurdity. The absolute limit of objective knowledge. An example would be quantum flutuation that lead to the our universe. Is it scientific? 1) it is extroplating something before the big bang. How do we know? By physical models, formulated within our universe. Does it make sense to perdict stuff that are so obvious 'outside' it`s domain? 2) Physical models in themselves are a bite mysteries. How does it work, and why does it work. The latter is a mystery. What is mathematics, and does it have any meaning if there was nothing? The fact that a single person has a the capacity to understand, question, and decode a bit of that mystery on paper is itself a mystery.

    How do you reason without laws. If not, then where do laws come from? Do the system come before the law, or is it the opposite? if we do not start from laws, then how do we reason without laws. The words" reason without laws" is obvious a contradiction, but the means to judge that sentense is itself a laws, no matter how initutive it is. It is a assertion that cannot be answered.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
  10. Oct 22, 2006 #9
    Please read again. You misunderstood. I have no patience to type an explanation.
  11. Oct 22, 2006 #10


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    I did read it again without changing my opinion of what you wrote. I have no patience with your attitude that everyone else should work to understand you but you have no obligations to make yourself clear to others.
  12. Oct 25, 2006 #11
    This topic that you are posting, I have repeatedly dealt with its content in several places on this PF. On the issue of there being something instead of nothing, I have gone down on record in answering that this is due to the spooky appearance and behaviour of matter in the spectrum of reality. Matter appears and behaves at the critical metaphysical level as if it is self-categorising. I am not quite sure if this so. But if this true, then this unfortunately disposes of the whole notion of 'Nothing' or 'Nothingness'. In our account of reality, it is pointless admitting 'Nothing' as a true metaphysical category that may be said to neatly equate something of which matter and matter alone tends to wholly represent.

    My arguement is that if only something exists and that something is matter and matter alone in its current spooky self-categorising state, then it is the same matter that is the source of all laws of nature. I could be wrong, but that is my own trillion dolar stake!
  13. Oct 25, 2006 #12

    Let me try to reformulate your arguement:

    There is no such thing as nothing, and that that non-nothingness is filled with matter. Matter is the sourse of all physical laws.

    My own reply:

    Can you explain the existence of that matter that fill everything? Can we really know if your guess is correct? Can you explain the bases of your guess?

    I don t see an arguement. Even if your premises are ture, that reallity is full with these "matter". The question would then be: What are there these "matter", rather than no "matter".
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
  14. Nov 10, 2006 #13
    Sorry, for my late response, Kant. Matter to me, at the metaphysical level, seems to behave very badly in the spectrum of reality. It appears as if it is 'multiply self-categorising' into everything. Of course this is in the assumption that matter (as we were all brought up to define and understand it) is not forstering or maintaining any form of causal relations with 'immaterial entity' and 'nothing'. You may not appreicate this, but the biggest metaphysical headache in philosophy is the need to establish wehther this sort of tripartite relationship exists betweeen these three metaphysical categories - Matter, immaterialism and nothingness (in its absolute sense). So, when you start counting and talk about there being something instead of nothing, metaphysically, you ought to also include 'immaterial entities' (such as ghosts, souls, God, angels etc) in your calculus. You must count and include immatrial entities in the sum totality of Something, given that such something is construed and universally accepted as the 'ULTEMATE METAPHYSICAL CATEGORY'.

    In philosophy, the battle of explanation is between the physicalists and the dualists. There are many detailed variations of these, but I’m going to just sum them up under these two headings as roughly opposed to each other. The physicalists are saying that there is nothing over and above the material or the physical. All there is to the human existence is the physical material world --- a world of matter changing from one form to the next.

    On the other side of the argument, the dualists say that there is something over and above the material or the physical, that the material is maintaining some form of causal relation with the immaterial. The immaterial is something over and above the material simply because we can neither see, touch, nor explain it in the way that we are able to explain material things and events. So, on this front the battle continues within the philosophy discipline.

    My argument therefore is that if the dualist controversy is false, that is there is nothing over and above the material, and the something – nothing relation is discounted from this metaphysical calculus, then perhaps all that is left is the ultimate metaphysical category ‘Something’ and that this is matter.

    However, where I am personally concerned is where matter hangs on the metaphysical scale and appears as if it is multiply self-categorising in this spooky way that I have been talking about. And, as I have said it already, I am not quite sure if this is actually the case, especially while the physicalists-dualist controversy is still raging on in philosophy.

    Well, we only go by what and how science originally defined matter. I have already lodged my personal concerns about this elsewhere on this forum. If you sip through my postings you should see this there. What I said there was that I am not quite sure whether our original scientific definition of matter is doing our understanding of it and the universe at large much good, especially when matter behaves so badly at the metaphysical level. I therefore suggested perhaps the time is due for a revision of its definition.

    Equally, we are also explanatorily impoverished when science (physics to be precise) suddenly declares that only a tiny percentage of all the matter in the universe is within the explanatory reach of the researchers in the field. So, what happens to the remaining unexplained aspect of matter? We are told that some part of matter is missing, therefore physics cannot account for it or explain it? Is this true?

    Hence, when it comes to the proper definition of matter or what matter really is, your guess is as good as mine. We can only go by the definition that science originally laid down.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2006
  15. Nov 11, 2006 #14
    if your source of everything is matter, and matter is what physic define it. It leads to two contradtion
    There is a limit to physic, so there is a limit to how "correct" physic can define matter. Physics can only build models to explain nature, but is the model a true representative of nature. no! Science can only describe how, but it can t tell us why things are the way they are. A model might be a good tool for us to predict experiments, or to help our human brains to conprehen a bit of nature, but there no evident that those physical models matchs nature itself.

    With the limit of science being said on 1. Physicists do a remarkable job in explaining nature with their physical models, but all those physical models are formulated 'within' our universe, and after the big bang. physic cannot tell us what happen at the big bang, or in a pre-big bang state because it would be applying those physical models out of there context. What caurse the big bang to happen? There must be some stuff in the pre-big bang state to account for the big bang. That stuff is something that cannot be define by our physical model, or definition, but that doesn t make that stuff less real.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2006
  16. Nov 11, 2006 #15


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    What science can do, in addition to describing, is to rule out false ideas. For example science can say with confidence that the Earth is not flat and that perpetual motion machines can't exist. This is because the description of those things would contradict the descriptions that science has for more general situations. This gets to the application of mathematics in science, for if your model of nature is a mathematical one, then it has to be logically consistent within its own limits, and the limits of current models of nature extend far enough to rule out those cases.

    Actually Martin Bojowald, a proponent of Loop Quantum Cosmology, has a model which extends through the big bang to the other side. And Lee Smolin has his idea of evolution of universes in which there would be big bangs aplenty. And the string community has their ekpyrotic scenario of colliding branes, which are held in that model to generate the big bang. So your understanding of what is involved in modeling the universe needs to be updated.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2006
  17. Nov 11, 2006 #16
    Yes, there is a limit to physics and how much it can explain. This we are both in agreement and I think most of my postings on this forum either directly or indirect imply this. Besides, I have qualified my postulate with the term ’I am not quite sure if this is the case’. In other words it may be false.

    There isn’t much contradiction in this either. Yes, physics cannot tell us much about pre-Big Bang events and their accountable histories, yet physics is already predicting the ‘Post-Big bang events’ and their subsequent consequences – the so-called ‘Big Crunch’, which results in the current ‘Big bang –Big Crunch’ cosmological model of the universe. Now check out my response to Crackpot’s posting here: observe what he says about the big-bang cosmological model of the universe and his views about the relationship between a matter-filled universe and ‘Nothing’ or ‘Absolute Nothing’, as he/she prefers to call it:


    And here I also continue on the same theme. Here I am concerned with two things: (1) the need to know in pure quantitative terms how much of the universe is already successfully explained or is explainable by physics, and (2) the possibility of a revision of the current cosmological model so as to allow some form of causal and relational progress to interplay. With regards to (1) physics is already making a very serious claim (that everything is explainable by physics and physics alone). My question therefore is if this is true, what happens to the unexplained missing parts of the universe, especially as it turns out that a substantial chunk of normal matter (35 – 45% to be precise) is missing from the overall scientific explanation of matter? And with regards to (2) I am also arguing that things will only begin to make sense if the current model permits progress to manifest. Or should it not?


    I think you should also look at the postings on these links to decipher the origin of my views about this whole notion of there being relationship between Something and other metaphysical categories such as ‘Nothing’, Immaterial Entities, or other ‘metaphysically categorisable alternatives’, given that they are possible in the first place.



    Remember that with matter, I have no problem whatsoever in agreeing with you that there is a scientific limitation as to its overall explanation. However, with regards to causal relations between fundamental metaphysical categories (Something (matter), Nothing(0), Immaterialism (souls, ghosts, angels gods, etc.) or their equivalent alternatives)), if we all accept that such relationships do exist between them, then any explanation whether philosophical or scientific should contain coherent and consistent arguments as to how and why this is the case. Conversely, if we chose to deny the possibility of these other metaphysical categories, let alone there causal relations/links, and possibly want to reduce all other categories into this one ‘Something’ we so much desire, then I am suggesting that that something is matter however badly we define and understand matter. And as I have already admitted, I am not quite sure if this is the case. Just take it to be ‘work in progress’ - that I am still working on it.
  18. Nov 11, 2006 #17
    The point is that if the laws of natures are to be accepted as a brute fact in nature, and all physical theory/models are made to explain those laws of nature, then there "is" a definite limitations to the applicable of those models. What happens to the laws of natures at the moment of the big bang, or in a pre-bang state is unknown to us, and therefore a limit to our most advance physical model. The models cannot tell us anything at the moment of the big bang, or in a pre- bang state, because to do so would be apply those models out of there own context.
    EX: Some physicists say that our universe might come out of "nothing", and that that "nothing" is a quantum vaccum. It is missleading, because there is actually something in that "nothing", and those are virtual particals. Any ways physicist come to explain the universe coming out of nothing relies on laws of nature as observed within out universe. We have no empirical basis to assert that laws of nature are the same in a pre-bang state, or at the big bang. For all that we know, whatever that stuff that caurse the big bang might be some thing unknow to us, or rather, our physical model, so we can never know.
  19. Nov 11, 2006 #18
    The point is that you are not being clear on you mean by "matter", when you define matter by how physic define it. In physics, even in the most empty region of space, where there is not mater, there would still be fields. If you can strip the field away, there is still going to be virtual particles. In other word, there is no such thing as nothing( the none existence of everything) 'within' our universe.

    The matter of fact in this discussion is " why is there something rather than nothing". You asserted that there is no such thing as "nothing", and that the stuff(you call: matter) are everywhere( all of existence). You assert that matter is what physicists define it to be. I said it would lead to problems if you define the stuff( matter) that is everywhere by how physicists define it. I gave you one example of some 'stuff'( stuff that caurse the big bang) that could not be accounted for by any physical models

    In regard to the two points.

    1) The dark matter, dark energy stuff can be understood by manipulation of our current physical models. On the other hand, we might just have to accept that the stuff like dark matter, dark energy are just those things that could not be explained in our physics models. In any physical models, there are always going to be unexplain explainers, because unexplain explainers are what what is used to build physical models. Perhaps dark matter, and dark energy might just be those unexplain explainers. If we cannot construct any good experiment to describe them in any scienctific terms. We might never be able to explain dark matter, or dark energy.

    2) that depend largely on what you mean by "progress". As i stated in 1, we might never be able to understand what dark matter, dark energe are. Unless we can do experiments to test their properties, we might never be able to understand them.

    What you call 'matter'. i perfer to call it a 'stuff'-set. If we define the universe, and all the things that is in it as a set. if we call that set the universe-set. I assert that the universe-set is a proper subset of the stuff-set.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2006
  20. Nov 13, 2006 #19
    we have the time t that it takes to observe 'A'.
    'A' then must be considered as an event.
    or a process.
    any asymmetric unique minimum volumetric with respect to itself has no such t because there is no event or process for it to be related to or relative to.
    t here is not an issue.
    infact when we look at these aumv's we are now looking at the ''everlasting'' first brick.

    only when it becomes part of an event or a process, does it begin to have an ''age''.
    so a cosmic event can be given an age by saying that it started x amount of time ago.
    if we go to the granpa of our universe we can fairly and safely say that our universe is at least as old as our cosmic grandfather.
    however this will only take us back to when this cosmic grandfather was born.
    we will not know what events prevailed before this.
    time maps are drawn to try and diagramatically help us to understand the big bang etc.
    if they are to be considered correct then they must include a 360 by 360 degrees development.
    they are short of doing so.

    like there is a search going on for the higgs boson(its something that fits in , so argue the physists, with what proof that they have...but did it ever exist naturally?) we theorists have to exploit our findings, findings from our own research, and then try to suggest that this or that idea may be true.
    its a trial and error situation.
    and many of us have been developing ideas and models for 30 or 40 years now.
    if we could come up with something that is not involved in 'events' or 'processes' small enough then maybe we could explain a few questions.

    for want of finding a way to obtain an empty universal group I stubbled on the fact that no description can fully empty everything out or totally fill something up.

    this led me to the ''hypothesis of uniques''.
    which states:
    ''that nothing is the same as anything else not even to itself never''.
    this could handle for example Betrand Russells Cretan dilema.

    this became my trial framework.
    and from this i concluded that the aumv hypothesis could put some light onto many enigmas.
    now the reason i call them asymmetric is because their periferias are never exactly the same.
    they are unique because their cordinates are unique.
    they are the minimum because a universal zero does not exist.
    and they are volumetric because if a universal zero doesn't exist then no other zero can exist because ''everything'' is made up of unique ''somethings'' and they are at least like our own universe ie of tri dimensional form.

    so like astronomers suggested that our solar system should have a further planet between this one and the other one , i suggest that the posible and probable properties of these aumv's are such that they question the classical reasons given for the ''red shift'' for example...
    that they answer g for example.
    g cannot be a preferential ''well'', it has to behave in a 360 by 360 degrees manner.
    and these aumv's are giving some of these answers.
    they also seem to give us an idea about ''limits'' ie concerning why c. etc....
  21. Nov 13, 2006 #20
    what is this got to do with the present discussion so far
  22. Nov 13, 2006 #21


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    What is this 35%-45% of "normal matter" that is missing from the scientific explanation of matter? Science currently has the following categories
    Normal matter, reacts to the ellectroweak, strong and gravational forces. What we are made of.

    "Dark" matter. Does not react to electroweak or strong force, but does gravitate. Responsible for various behaviors of galaxies, etc. Recently shown by an astronomical example to be physical and not, say, just curved space.

    "Dark energy. Not matter at all, responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe, which has been detected by astronomers.
  23. Nov 15, 2006 #22
    suggestions were put forward by me, that for the merging of trillions of minimum volumetrics within a vast volume of these same minimum volumetrics, other neighbouring ones, would be in an elastic non merging phase.
    stretched volumetrics cannot then be involved in the creation of certain prosesses or events.
    we would expect then, that in these areas, density would be below critical.
    however its diminute parts ie each of its minimum volumetric, would still have the basic ''locking'' ability. ie g.
    any 2 galaxies have between them a volumetric vast of this nature.
    the processes going on in any galaxy will have used up so much of the ''merging'' capabilities of these volumetric minimums that the neighbouring ones will all be stretched.
    the vastness of these areas between galaxies must also have a limit as to the separation maximum posible.
    this maximum may have the effect then of curving each minimum volumetric involved in the stretching chain and hence the complete vast volume in between any 2 galaxies.
    only em will be able to effect and be effected by these stretched volumetrics.
    again i put forward that the minimum volumetric posible is our graviton and that its chore becomes a photon only when merging with other gravitons takes place ie when periferias merge to give us p critical. ie other non photon particles etc....
  24. Nov 15, 2006 #23
    I am matter, but I disturb the equilibrium of the spacetime outside of my mass.
    But spacetime is inside of me.
    Is this something to do with gravity?
  25. Nov 16, 2006 #24

    i don t know what you said, and i don t think you can tell me the relavance of what you said. You contribute nothing to the present discussion.
  26. Nov 18, 2006 #25
    As a macro object I disturb spacetime outside of me to effect gravity outside of me. So inside my mass spacetime is disturbed also, to effect gravity inside of me.
    If spacetime is absolute, and if the graviton is considered as a purely geometrical inert particle of spacetime excited by the presence of mass, then disturbed and disjointed spacetime would attempt to regain equilibrium.
    The gravitons emitted by the extreme spacetime curvature inside of me would be negated by the opposing gravitons emitted by spacetime outside of me, and inertia would be established.
    I would float, but the earth would rise up to meet me
    Is this how gravity works?
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