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#42352 - 01/30/12 01:07 PM More Something From Nothing?
Bill S. Offline
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“As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704206804575467921609024244.html


Edited by Bill S. (01/30/12 01:07 PM)
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Of Interest?
#42361 - 01/30/12 08:52 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
redewenur Offline
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Oh, we are back here again, and it had to Stephen Hawking, and a nothing that is something.
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#42366 - 01/31/12 12:03 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: redewenur]
Orac Offline
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Even in his view it really isn't coming from nothing, it's only nothing from the point of view of that universe. This multiverse version he believes in still has a multidimensional bulk that the universe is spawning from which is hardly nothing if you take the wider frame of reference.
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I hate QM, emetic scum, always wrong, never believe me, sad and broken and now lost credibility.

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#42368 - 01/31/12 12:32 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
redewenur Offline
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Absolutely Orac. It's rarely pointed out clearly in the media. Several people have done so, including Sean Carroll and Michio Kaku, but others, such as Lawrence Krauss seem to want to obfuscate, perhaps due to their battle with Creationism.
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#42370 - 01/31/12 08:48 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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Surely any battle with creationism is best waged in the open. Obfuscation does nothing other than let in the sort of word games that should be left to philosophers and "ism-ists".

Personally, I have no problem with someone making a logical argument for something coming from nothing. What I take issue with is trying to make that argument by pretending that something is nothing.
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#42371 - 01/31/12 08:59 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rede
Oh, we are back here again, and it had to Stephen Hawking....


I'm afraid I have to take more of the blame than Hawking for the return of this subject to this forum. Big grovelling apology! (insincere, of course). I suppose I have a hang up about the something/nothing issue, as I do about the finite/infinite question.

Actually, there was an “ulterior” motive for posting this and “Is the multiverse a God substitute?” which I shall return to later.
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#42372 - 01/31/12 09:16 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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I thought I had posted this before, but I can't find it at the moment.

Lawrence Krauss explains "A Universe from Nothing"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

He has now written a book on it which I won't get around to reading for a while (unless I bump a few things down my list).
http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/145162445X

Krauss argues that what we normally think of as "nothing" isn't really "nothing." That is, even a "vacuum" contains energy.

Like all experiments, we shouldn't just accept the results until they've been repeated and the scientific community has had a chance to put the results and methodology through the wringer, but here's one seems to support Krauss:
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-scientists-vacuum.html

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#42373 - 01/31/12 09:39 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Orac Offline
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Yes most of the problems people have with physics at the moment is it plays with there sensibilities they want everything to be nice and solid and simple.

The problem is the more we investigate the more everything reveals that it is an illussion that we desire, and not the actual truth.

QM is fast approaching the point we may soon be able to view it like we see things with a infrared camera (http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-quantum-mechanics-naked-eye.html)

Historically people struggle with things they can't see you only have to look at understanding that germs caused infection, radiation etc to see the issue.

Worth a read is the condensed background that germs cause infection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ_theory_of_disease)

We laugh at the thought people didn't believe that but in the 19th century it was highly controversal. God and/or doing the right thing would decide who lived or died not some unseen natural thing was the dominant view.


Edited by Orac (01/31/12 09:39 AM)
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#42377 - 01/31/12 10:44 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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About the "ulterior motive" I mentioned: to avoid repetition I am posting the explanation in the "Does God have a role in science" thread.
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#42381 - 01/31/12 11:09 AM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Krauss argues that what we normally think of as "nothing" isn't really "nothing." That is, even a "vacuum" contains energy.

Thanks for that info. In that case, my apologies for misinformation re Prof Krauss. I had heard him state that it was literally nothing, but if he went on to talk about vacuum energy then that's another matter (dear me, not another pun! frown )

Still, I think he's unwise to sow confusion by using the word 'nothing' in the first place. I, for one, don't consider the existence of several dimensions containing vacuum energy to be what we "normally think of as nothing". The distinction draws a line between physics and metaphysics.

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Like all experiments, we shouldn't just accept the results until they've been repeated and the scientific community has had a chance to put the results and methodology through the wringer, but here's one seems to support Krauss:
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-scientists-vacuum.html

It looks like there's a mind-boggling amount of energy lurking in a vacuum...

"However, in both Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic Electrodynamics (SED), consistency with the principle of Lorentz covariance and with the magnitude of the Planck Constant requires it [vacuum energy] to have a much larger value of 10^113 Joules per cubic meter"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy

I don't really know how much energy that is, but I do know that's more than enough to boil an egg (no, really, it is)...and the funny thing is, as space expands, the vacuum energy per unit of volume remains the same.
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#42384 - 01/31/12 01:17 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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I suspect the results are startling even to most physicists. But some of them have been predicting the existence of "virtual particles" for a while.

I'm not sure this is the same thing as the light from vacuum experiment, but it's related in my mind. Also, I think Krauss mentioned that even a vacuum is swarming with these particles. Particles can "pop into existence" in our universe in pairs - particle and anti-particle which exist for tiny fraction of a second and then annihilate. I've read about conjecture that this is a mechanism by which black holes can "evaporate." A pair pops in near the event horizon, one particle goes into black hole and annihilates with some other particle, while its original partner goes off into space. No idea if there's anything other than speculation about this.

When scientists discover some new thing, they can make up new terms or they can borrow old terms. Either approach can create confusion in different ways. Also, just like everyone else they want to explain new things in terms of things they already understand - very often by means of analogy. Analogy are never perfect - and they don't need to be. But they also can sometimes create confusion.

One thing that irks me is that the scientists are still trying to figure stuff out and in swoop the obscurantists to "explain" the implications of it. One justification they use is that if the scientists don't know everything, then they really know nothing.

Bertrand Russell summarized the problem when he wrote "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

(In "Christian Ethics" from Marriage and Morals (1950), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief, but I got read it at http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/russell.htm )

So we have guys like William Lane Craig (WLC) telling us about the implications of "something from nothing" and Krauss telling us what it really means when scientists talk about "something from nothing." I have no qualms at all about accepting that they are both wrong - but anyone who thinks they're probably equally wrong is, well, not thinking clearly.

I understand that when scientists like Krauss use phrases like "literally nothing" it's confusing and irritating - I feel the same way. But it's no different than any other kind of scientific term. The word "order" CAN have different (orthogonal and perhaps even contradictory) meanings to a waitress, a judge, an artist, and a thermodynamicist - all of those definitions are correct in their appropriate context, but applying a definition in the improper context is, well, improper.

It's the same thing when we use the word "accelerate." The common understanding of the term is fine and even correct when you're talking to other lay people - but if you apply that popular connotation to solving problems in dynamics, you're going to end up proving the laws of physics are wrong. (ahem)
(If you ask a random person how to accelerate his car, most will look at you like you're an idiot and say, "step on the ACCELERATOR of course." If the person is clever and took algebra, she will realize that a deceleration is just a negative ACCeleration and might answer "step on the gas or the brakes." But an engineer or scientist would realize that acceleration is not just a change in speed. It's a change in velocity and velocity is a speed AND a direction, so an acceleration could be a change in either. So a car going in circles, even at constant speed, is nevertheless continuously accelerating.)

Similarly, the "the web" and "the Internet" are not the same thing and it's fine that some people do not distinguish between them. But if one wants to work in the technology, one probably ought to know the difference.

These are a few very simple examples to illustrate what I'm talking about. There are many others. It's not that Krauss and other physicists don't know what they're talking about, or that they're trying to deliberately confuse us.

A typical scientist goes to school for 4 years to get the very basic understanding of his field; then another 4-8 years of getting the crap kicked out of them in grad school (depending on field, etc); then maybe a postdoc, and then active research where they publish where they're getting beat up by their peers. They read books and papers on the exact subject, they solve problems, they check and recheck, they collaborate, they compete, they argue with their peers, subordinates, and masters. The masters argue with THEIR masters. It's not that I think these guys are always right, but how can anyone NOT think Krauss, et. al. know more than WLC (or Deepak Chopra, et. al.) about physics?

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#42385 - 01/31/12 03:38 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: TFF
I've read about conjecture that this is a mechanism by which black holes can "evaporate." A pair pops in near the event horizon, one particle goes into black hole and annihilates with some other particle, while its original partner goes off into space. No idea if there's anything other than speculation about this.


Does it strike anyone else as odd that something as miniscule as the creation of a particle/antiparticle duo can happen in such a position in relation to the event horizon of a BH that one of the duo can be on either side of the event horizon? My understanding is that an event horizon is not that clearly defined.
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There never was nothing.

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#42388 - 01/31/12 06:00 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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TFF, I hope the following is a summary of what you meant to say. If not, let me know:
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
One thing that irks me is that, (while) the scientists are still trying to figure stuff out, in swoop the obscurantists to "explain" the implications of it.

One justification they use is that if the scientists don't know everything, then they really know nothing.
...
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
...Bertrand Russell summarized the problem (the one created by obscurantists?) when he wrote "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. ... but I got to read it at http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/russell.htm )
And I got to read about the passions I admire:
Quote:
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life:

1. the longing for love,
2. the search for knowledge, and
3. unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind....

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
-- Bertrand Russell, "What I Have Lived For," the prologue to his Autobiography, vol. I p. 4

Russell, Age 8, My whole religion is this:

1. do every duty, and
2. expect no reward for it, either here or hereafter.
-- Bertrand Russell, childhood diary, quoted from Against the Faith by Jim Herrick

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
-- Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays (1928)
_________________________
G~O~D~The Gift of Oneness & Delight. It Generates Organizes & Delivers: The good we Will to have.


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#42390 - 01/31/12 07:08 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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Rev, I'm not at all sure that I see what:

"1. the longing for love,
2. the search for knowledge, and
3. unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.... "

have to do with getting something for nothing, but I bet there's a link there somewhere.

"This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me."
Bertrand Russell.

Did he write that before depression struck?
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#42391 - 01/31/12 07:09 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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I would like to thank those who have contributed to this thread. Although, as Rede pointed out, we were returning, yet again, to a well worn theme, the quality and quantity of responses, not to mention any feelings that might have been stirred, would tend to indicate that all that could be said had not already been said.

The point we seem to have reached is that we are saying that when cosmologists refer to “nothing” they are not using the term in the way it is generally used in everyday life. That may be confusing, but it seems preferable to opting for an “Alice in Wonderland” sort of logic that says: something can come from nothing, because nothing is something.
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#42392 - 01/31/12 07:15 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Originally Posted By: TFF
I've read about conjecture that this is a mechanism by which black holes can "evaporate." A pair pops in near the event horizon, one particle goes into black hole and annihilates with some other particle, while its original partner goes off into space. No idea if there's anything other than speculation about this.


Does it strike anyone else as odd that something as miniscule as the creation of a particle/antiparticle duo can happen in such a position in relation to the event horizon of a BH that one of the duo can be on either side of the event horizon? My understanding is that an event horizon is not that clearly defined.

Better have a word with them, Bill, they might not have thought of that grin

I wonder if we'll hear any more re this: "Physicists may have observed Hawking radiation for the first time" September 28, 2010

"Event horizons are not unique to black holes; they can be exhibited in a variety of physical systems, from flowing water to a moving “refractive index perturbation” (RIP) in a dielectric medium (in which light can change the medium's refractive index). It's this latter system that Belgiorno and his colleagues used in their experiment."

http://www.physorg.com/news204866995.html
_________________________
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#42395 - 01/31/12 07:38 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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In the beginning was the Void, and the Void was without form or content. Thus was the Void utterly empty from all eternity. The Void contained neither space nor time; nor was there any possibility of any matter or energy existing within the Void. The nature of the Void was total emptiness because there was no observer who could give reality to anything that the Void might otherwise have contained; and so it was, for the vastness of eternity.

In the fullness of eternity there appeared within the Void the Boltzmann Brain. Only for the most unimaginably minuscule instant did the Boltzmann Brain remain in existence in the Void, but that was sufficient for it to become an observer. As the only observer of the Void the Boltzmann Brain was, perforce, the typical observer. So it was that the observations of the Boltzmann Brain became the reality of the Void.
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There never was nothing.

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#42396 - 01/31/12 08:22 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Orac Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that something as miniscule as the creation of a particle/antiparticle duo can happen in such a position in relation to the event horizon of a BH that one of the duo can be on either side of the event horizon? My understanding is that an event horizon is not that clearly defined.


Two comments:

There are a growing group of us who see event horizons as only valid for your physical solid world we suggest the event horizon doesn't exist for QM and that was even reluctantly accept by people like Hawkings.

The event horizon is as well defined as the surface of a water body. Viewed from a long distance it looks very defined, view up very close the clear distinction is lost.
_________________________
I hate QM, emetic scum, always wrong, never believe me, sad and broken and now lost credibility.

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#42397 - 01/31/12 08:32 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Orac Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
In the beginning was the Void, and the Void was without form or content. Thus was the Void utterly empty from all eternity. The Void contained neither space nor time; nor was there any possibility of any matter or energy existing within the Void. The nature of the Void was total emptiness because there was no observer who could give reality to anything that the Void might otherwise have contained; and so it was, for the vastness of eternity.

In the fullness of eternity there appeared within the Void the Boltzmann Brain. Only for the most unimaginably minuscule instant did the Boltzmann Brain remain in existence in the Void, but that was sufficient for it to become an observer. As the only observer of the Void the Boltzmann Brain was, perforce, the typical observer. So it was that the observations of the Boltzmann Brain became the reality of the Void.


Again there is a problem with your use of the word "void" you need to think carefully about what you are implying.


I will take some rather simplified theories but you will get the problem.

You could mean you had a pile of energy (you can't see it therefore you have a void) the energy became matter E=mc2 viola we have a universe. Void has an interesting meaning in that situation.

You could be higgsonian and believe there is a higgs sea of virtual particles and our universe was created from that. Again our universe started void but what it came from well is it void or isnt it depends on your view.
.


Edited by Orac (01/31/12 08:34 PM)
_________________________
I hate QM, emetic scum, always wrong, never believe me, sad and broken and now lost credibility.

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#42398 - 01/31/12 09:06 PM Re: More Something From Nothing? [Re: Bill S.]
Bill S. Offline
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Quote:
view up very close the clear distinction is lost.


Presumably the particle/antiparticle creation would have to be up very close where the horizon woule ne unclear.
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There never was nothing.

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