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Archived => Craig vs Krauss => Topic started by: Ruffen on July 29, 2013, 07:15:02 am

Title: Nothing
Post by: Ruffen on July 29, 2013, 07:15:02 am
In the Craig vs Krauss debates that have been, there's been a lot of trying to "define nothing".

Krauss points out that even in empty space there are particles popping in and out of existence, as well as dark energy which is a gravitationally repulsive force. Craig claims that this is not nothing.

But those particles and forces are properties of space itself. In other words, the phrase "empty space" is self-contradictory, as space will always not be empty. And space and time are what the Universe itself is made of. You cannot find any place in the Universe where space does not exist. Therefore you cannot find a truly empty dead place in the Universe with no activity at all.

In other words, true nothingness has never been observed and will never be observed by any human being, as we and our physical instruments cannot move to a place where space (and therefore notion of "place") does not exist. Which way do you go to end up nowhere?

How then, can Craig claim that "nothing comes from nothing" or that "everything that begins to exist has a cause", when ex nihilo creation from a true nothing has never been observed, cause or no cause?

The creation of the Universe (and therefore space and time) means that "before" the Big Bang, time and space did not exist. If some pre-existing conditions did exist, then causality may be necessary, but then again that's not nothing. However if a true nothingness existed (a pure nothingness with a complete functioning omnipotent God? Is that nothing?) from which the Universe came into being, our everyday experience of causality or any other physical laws may not apply.

Craig himself is eager to point out that Krauss' description of space means that true nothingness does not exist anywhere within the Universe, so how can he assume that causality still applies to a "true" nothingness "before" the Big Bang or "outside" the Universe, when time does not exist and where space does not exist and notions like "before" or "outside" or "nothing" or "something" become meaningless?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: ginobli2311 on July 29, 2013, 08:38:09 am
It's a great question and one we just can't answer.  I think both sides of the issue essentially agree that there is something out there that is eternal or outside time and space.  Anyone claiming to know what that is or making statements like "nothing comes from nothing"...or that even absolute nothing is possible...is claiming to know things said person simply can't know.

If someone argues that God is without cause...then there is no reason why something else out there can't also be without cause.  And the notion that it has to be a mind that is outside time and space just cracks me up.  On what basis is someone making such claim? 
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Zeta_Metroid on August 08, 2013, 07:15:43 pm
There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know that nothing can come from it, we can tell that from logic. Just like we don't need to take two piles of a trillion objects and observe them being put together to know that a trillion plus a trillion is two trillion.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: ginobli2311 on August 09, 2013, 06:41:08 am
There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know that nothing can come from it, we can tell that from logic. Just like we don't need to take two piles of a trillion objects and observe them being put together to know that a trillion plus a trillion is two trillion.

I agree that logic tells us that nothing can come from the absolute nothing that Craig needs for his proof of God.  However, logic does not dictate reality...reality operates all on it's own.  Quantum mechanics is hardly logical, yet that is the way the universe works.

We simply don't know if it is even possible in reality to have the "absolute nothing" in the first place.  And, in terms of evidence, there is no such evidence that it exists.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 17, 2013, 06:11:50 am
It's funny, just today I invented/came across exactly the same reasoning that Ruffen did.

The first premise of the KCA "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" makes perfect empirical, observational, and hence intuitive sense. We just don't see things popping into existence from nothing. This is where the idea originated; from observation.

Unfortunately, science has since told us otherwise. Quantum Mechanics involves particles doing exactly this - popping into existence - EVERYWHERE in the universe, all the time. Even in empty space.

The response from Craig is to say "Well, empty space isn't nothing. Time and space are still there"
So the question arises, what on earth would Craig accept as "nothing"? Where in the universe can we observe this "nothing" - where can we get away from everything, even space-time? Answer: we can't.

So Craig's definition of "nothing" is relegated to, quite literally, outside the universe. What does that mean? It means that the first premise - in stark contrast to how intuitively, empirically obvious it first sounded - is now merely a metaphysical assertion. Completely and utterly unverifiable, unfalsifiable, unobservable, unempirical. So his premise is really "Something can't come from "nothing", where "nothing" only exists outside the universe".

To Naturalism-ists like me, and in my opinion,  this yields this premise completely pointless because it cant be tested/falsified. It's like me claiming that there are invisible, undetectable, unobservable three-legged bananas running the universe, making it look like it runs on the laws of physics. Pointless! Unless, of course, I happen to be a three-legged banana worshiper, the equivalent of which William Lane Craig most certainly is.

I do have an inkling that because Craig etc. do not adhere to empiricism or (metaphysical) naturalism they will claim that the first premise "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" can be known through Universals or as a Metaphysical Truths or some such nonsense.
Which immediately makes you wonder: Since the first premise really always was just "Something can't come from nothing, where 'nothing' only exists outside the universe", why try to dress it in sheep's clothing as the very empirical and obvious-sounding statement "Everything that begins to exist has a cause"?
Answer: If you can find empirical facts that seem to back up your belief, jump on them. But when empirical facts disagree with you, deny them and retreat back into metaphysics. This all seems wantonly disingenuous, but is actually probably just the delusionary confirmation bias, though I doubt it's been applied to philosophy before.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Ruffen on August 18, 2013, 02:39:19 pm
There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know that nothing can come from it, we can tell that from logic. Just like we don't need to take two piles of a trillion objects and observe them being put together to know that a trillion plus a trillion is two trillion.

By the same logic, nobody actually tested Aristotle's "logical common sense" idea that heavy objects accelerate faster due to Earth's gravity than light objects.

By the same logic, one should not have to observe light rays to know that if a spaceship moves at 100 million meters per second and emits a ray of light that exits the spaceship with 300 million meters per second, then that ray of light should then have 400 million meters per second.

But that is not the case, as shown by the Michelson-Morley experiment as well as Maxwell's equations which lead Albert Einstein to develop the Theory of Relativity.

Nature is strange. We are used to objects between a millimeter and a kilometer in size and beyond that our "common sense" is useless.

For a Universe (which contains space and time) to come into existence, one cannot induce assumptions based on lions not appearing out of thin air.

So the fact that we haven't observed "true nothingness" is indeed relevant, because whatever may have caused the Universe's existence is not comparable to eskimo villages, and if we ever find out how that worked, it will not conform to our common sense.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 18, 2013, 11:50:41 pm
^ What he said.


There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know...

Nope. This is so misguided. All of our logic comes from implicit knowledge of the macroscopic world in which we evolved. And it works so well for so many things that philosophers have elevated it to a 'metaphysical' level. Unfortunately this has a doubly bad effect. Firstly, people/philosophers don't even realize or accept that our logical intuitions come from only the macroscopic world, and secondly the elevation of this logic to a metaphysical level shields it from empirical enquiry.


Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Militant Atheist on August 23, 2013, 08:42:41 am
Exactly, there is absolutely no standings for any of Craig's assertions. The scientific method wins again.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 23, 2013, 09:31:35 am
Nope. This is so misguided. All of our logic comes from implicit knowledge of the macroscopic world in which we evolved. And it works so well for so many things that philosophers have elevated it to a 'metaphysical' level. Unfortunately this has a doubly bad effect. Firstly, people/philosophers don't even realize or accept that our logical intuitions come from only the macroscopic world, and secondly the elevation of this logic to a metaphysical level shields it from empirical enquiry.

Which this basically concludes to nothing is actually known per se, we are all just dancing to the music of our DNA evolution imparts upon us.  We can't possibly know what's true, so these statements essentially cannot ever be rationally justified.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 23, 2013, 06:35:09 pm
Which this basically concludes to nothing is actually known per se, we are all just dancing to the music of our DNA evolution imparts upon us.  We can't possibly know what's true, so these statements essentially cannot ever be rationally justified.

You seem to be saying that we can't trust our senses because they evolved. Let's say that we are all just dancing to our DNA. How does it follow that we therefore can't know/discover what is true?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: TableForOne on August 25, 2013, 06:40:57 am
Irrespective of how you feel about these thinkers in general, Krauss is plainly wrong and WLC is plainly right on this issue.

Craig has the audacity to define "nothing" as no thing: no space, no time, no particles, no quantum vacuums, etc. That we haven't observed nothingness is no argument against our ability to use the concept in formal reasoning -- no one has ever observed a perfect circle, for instance, but it's still a valuable abstraction in mathematics. The human mind is capable of much more than empirical observation, and one of those capacities is the ability to think apophatically.

Nothing is the negation of any-thing. In trying to answer the question "How can the universe come from nothing?", Krauss replaces this question with "How can the universe come from quantum fields?" and brushes his hands together as though he's accomplished some conceptual marvel. It's no surprise that many of those Krauss calls "idiot philosophers" called him out on his sleight of hand. Anyone who hasn't yet read David Albert's brutal critique of A Universe from Nothing really should give this link a read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html?_r=0
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 25, 2013, 07:05:13 am
Which this basically concludes to nothing is actually known per se, we are all just dancing to the music of our DNA evolution imparts upon us.  We can't possibly know what's true, so these statements essentially cannot ever be rationally justified.

You seem to be saying that we can't trust our senses because they evolved. Let's say that we are all just dancing to our DNA. How does it follow that we therefore can't know/discover what is true?

One could discover truth on this view.  Nevertheless there is no real way to rationally affirm what one believes is the truth, so any real correlation between a claim and the actual truth of matters would be purely coincidental.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 25, 2013, 08:15:35 am
Irrespective of how you feel about these thinkers in general, Krauss is plainly wrong and WLC is plainly right on this issue.

Hahaha. I admire your religious fervour.

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Craig has the audacity to define "nothing" as no thing: no space, no time, no particles, no quantum vacuums, etc. That we haven't observed nothingness is no argument against our ability to use the concept in formal reasoning -- no one has ever observed a perfect circle, for instance, but it's still a valuable abstraction in mathematics. The human mind is capable of much more than empirical observation, and one of those capacities is the ability to think apophatically.

Well this completely depends upon one's worldview. If you think that numbers and abstract concepts are platonic - perhaps they are sitting at the left hand of god - then, sure, just imagine all kinds of crap and claim that just because no one has seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  :P

Alternatively, perhaps our minds use generalized/integrated abstractions to link phenomena together, and some people confuse reality with those abstractions.

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Nothing is the negation of any-thing. In trying to answer the question "How can the universe come from nothing?", Krauss replaces this question with "How can the universe come from quantum fields?" and brushes his hands together as though he's accomplished some conceptual marvel. It's no surprise that many of those Krauss calls "idiot philosophers" called him out on his sleight of hand. Anyone who hasn't yet read David Albert's brutal critique of A Universe from Nothing really should give this link a read:

Under the Naturalist view, our minds are evolved to deal with middle-sized practical problems, and so our intuitions with respect to microscopic and megascopic problems can be suspect (we even know this is true from what we know of quantum mechanics and cosmology). The arbiter here is observation, and observation should inform our views, and so "nothing" should be empirically based, and we never observe the kind of nothing that Craig imagines.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: TableForOne on August 25, 2013, 03:49:34 pm
Well this completely depends upon one's worldview. If you think that numbers and abstract concepts are platonic - perhaps they are sitting at the left hand of god - then, sure, just imagine all kinds of crap and claim that just because no one has seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  :P

There's a difference between the ontological reality of abstract concepts and their practical application in formal reasoning. You don't have to be a Platonist to understand why "I've never observed 'nothing,' therefore I cannot talk about it" is a poor train of thought. Again, think of the perfect circle.

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The arbiter here is observation, and observation should inform our views, and so "nothing" should be empirically based, and we never observe the kind of nothing that Craig imagines.

This is simply a package of assertions. Why is empirical observation the "arbiter" for metaphysical questions? Why should we define "nothing" as something?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Ruffen on August 25, 2013, 04:56:25 pm
Irrespective of how you feel about these thinkers in general, Krauss is plainly wrong and WLC is plainly right on this issue.

Craig has the audacity to define "nothing" as no thing: no space, no time, no particles, no quantum vacuums, etc.

Yeah, a complete nothingness just with a fully functioning omnipotent GOD in it....

How can "nothing" with laws of physics or quantum effects not be nothing, but a "nothing" with God in it be nothing?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: TableForOne on August 25, 2013, 06:45:21 pm
Christians don't believe in nothing -- God is eternal, God is omnipresent. The theist answers the question "How can something come from nothing?" by simply responding "It cannot." But for the naturalist, this question remains unanswered. If there was no God prior to creation and there is no divine origin for existence, then how can something come from nothing- not quantum fields, but no-thing? And if existence is eternal, why does something exist rather than nothing? This isn't a double standard; the supernaturalist has an answer, while the naturalist does not.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 25, 2013, 08:52:03 pm
There's a difference between the ontological reality of abstract concepts and their practical application in formal reasoning. You don't have to be a Platonist to understand why "I've never observed 'nothing,' therefore I cannot talk about it" is a poor train of thought. Again, think of the perfect circle.

I fully confess that I am not that up with the play on abstract objects. Perhaps you could explain a/your view on exactly what these objects are.
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The arbiter here is observation, and observation should inform our views, and so "nothing" should be empirically based, and we never observe the kind of nothing that Craig imagines.
This is simply a package of assertions. Why is empirical observation the "arbiter" for metaphysical questions? Why should we define "nothing" as something?

Well I'm just explaining what I understand to be a/the Naturalism-ists view. (which I DO hold but I don't pretend to have an extremely rigorous defense of, nor understand the many flavours in which I'm sure it comes)
We should use observation for examples of "nothing" for the same reason that we should use observation for examples of "circle". As you point out, no one has observed a perfect circle - they are not real. Unfortunately for Craig-esque positions no one has observed perfect 'nothing' either!
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 25, 2013, 09:11:09 pm
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You seem to be saying that we can't trust our senses because they evolved. Let's say that we are all just dancing to our DNA. How does it follow that we therefore can't know/discover what is true?

One could discover truth on this view.  Nevertheless there is no real way to rationally affirm what one believes is the truth, so any real correlation between a claim and the actual truth of matters would be purely coincidental.

I can only assume that it has never occurred to you that what is naturally selected and what is true is related. For instance - I love using this example - birds can count*. As you can probably see natural selection and truth about the [macroscopic] world are extremely related.



*http://www.google.co.nz/#fp=d43543ea8682426e&q=birds+can+count (http://www.google.co.nz/#fp=d43543ea8682426e&q=birds+can+count) Even if birds are merely estimating the size of a cluster of objects, this is still reflects truths about the real world.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 25, 2013, 09:17:38 pm
All right, but so what?  How does this go anywhere to show we can know what is true, on this view?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 25, 2013, 09:50:48 pm
All right, but so what?  How does this go anywhere to show we can know what is true, on this view?

I don't get you. Maybe I have misunderstood your point. But it seems to me that evolving equipment (brains) that can know what is true (model the world) is an advantage. So that's what happens.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 25, 2013, 10:00:30 pm
But that just already assumes we can know what is true, and that's the assumption I am challenging. On this evolution view being purported, we believe/ we get what's essentially given to us by evolution. Evolution, as I understand it, selects for survival value, not necessarily truth value. If this then, we can't possibly rationally affirm the truth value of something, because at bottom, evolution has selected some particular belief for us to have so we can survive, not because it was true. Truth would just be a happy coincidence we'd never truly know about.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 25, 2013, 10:38:53 pm
But that just already assumes we can know what is true, and that's the assumption I am challenging. On this evolution view being purported, we believe/ we get what's essentially given to us by evolution. Evolution, as I understand it, selects for survival value, not necessarily truth value. If this then, we can't possibly rationally affirm the truth value of something, because at bottom, evolution has selected some particular belief for us to have so we can survive, not because it was true. Truth would just be a happy coincidence we'd never truly know about.

So birds can count because it helps them survive and this reflects a truth about the real world. It's not just a happy coincidence that their beliefs about numbers happen to reflect reality.

But also, brains are abstract symbol-shunters. They're not just a simple input-output system like a...bacterium, for instance. So it's not like my brain dictates every single idea or belief I have or every word that comes out of my mouth. I can evaluate things by representing them symbolically and seeing how they fit in with other symbols in my brain. Including this paragraph!  :)
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 26, 2013, 07:07:25 am
But see the salient point here is that you are presuming all this as true, only because evolution has dictated these beliefs (of alleged "truth") to you.  Any affirmation of what you believe things "are," is just an excrescence of biological evolution, not something you have rationally considered and worked through.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 27, 2013, 05:48:51 am
But see the salient point here is that you are presuming all this as true, only because evolution has dictated these beliefs (of alleged "truth") to you.  Any affirmation of what you believe things "are," is just an excrescence of biological evolution, not something you have rationally considered and worked through.

I do see your point, don't get me wrong, but I just disagree with it.

To me it looks very much like minds can indeed consider things rationally. We could entertain all manner of crazy scenarios. Perhaps the world is only 5 minutes old and we have fake memories!

But also, there is nothing inherent to evolution that dictates that our faculties are all just delusions. It's entirely possible that evolution could have produced brains/minds that can evaluate and decide.
Most likely you are conflating/smuggling determinism in with 'evolution', but determinism is a whole 'nother story...
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Stephen on August 27, 2013, 07:01:45 am
I agree with you, as well it seems to me the mind can indeed rationally consider things.  It seems to me I am free to work my end towards whatever means I wish, and that not everything I do is necessarily geared towards my survival, much in the way the animal kingdom typically operates.

It's a good point about the conflation of determinism and evolution, though it seems to me to be a distinction without a difference.  On this, while we might think we are able to rationally consider things, nevertheless this exercise is illusory, as evolution is by all accounts, really just an aid to survival.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: NicOfTime on December 20, 2013, 11:06:16 am
But for the naturalist, this question remains unanswered. If there was no God prior to creation and there is no divine origin for existence, then how can something come from nothing- not quantum fields, but no-thing? And if existence is eternal, why does something exist rather than nothing?

No-thing is a circumstance.  Circumstances have effects / consequences -- i.e., circumstances can be causes.

That is, if there is no-thing on the road ahead of you, it affects how you drive on it.

At the most fundamental level, existence is in a tug-of-war with non-existence.  There is no reason at all for anything to exist...but it may be impossible for absolutely nothing to exist.

Why?

Well...look at the properties of everything regarded as "existent".  There are two properties that everything regarded as "existent" have -- take away either of these two properties, and there is not enough left over to be considered "existent".

One property is "persistence".  If something has no persistence whatsoever...not even for the shortest possible period of time...there is no way to detect it.  It's gone before it was even there to begin with.

The other property is, for lack of a better word, is "domain"...where a "domain" is any collection of information that can be potentially labeled as some kind of entity...so that there is something to perist.

If these two properties define what it means to "exist", then the absence of either or both define what "non-existence" is.

In this context, it becomes non-sensical to speak of a domain with no persistence, since the domain is gone even before it's there...and it becomes equally non-sensical to speak of a persistence without a domain...because there is nothing to persist.

But a curious thing happens here...whether this is an entirely semantic construct, or if the semantics are accurately, if symbolically, describing the most fundamental workings of existence itself, I'll put off for now.

The term "absolutely nothing" would be a condition of no domains and no persistences.  But if there were no persistences, then nothing itself could not possibly be persistent.  If it persisted, it would have to become at least some kind of domain in order to have something to persist...i.e., it would have to become something.

So...the proposition here is that there is a logical dilemma at the most fundamental level of existence...two states, existent and non-existent...where it's impossible for both to exist in exactly the same way simultaneously, but one or the other absolutely must exist.

The only option is oscillation between the two states...where each exists only long enough to satisfy the illogical condition it attempts to resolve...and its own existence creates the illogical condition that makes the other state the only remaining logical choice.

This is out of the range of radar of science at the moment...because science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability...and not about logic.  But this logical dilemma has absolutely measureable consequences...and science can observe the consequences without necessarily being able to observe, or at this point even propose, the actual thing that is causing those consequences.

This is the point where philosophy / logic and science begin or meet.  It provides a framework for answering the question why there is something rather than nothing...and, further examination of what can be produced out of this oscillation...and exactly what is oscillating...appears to be entirely consistent with the kinds of things that have already begun to be observed at the quantum level.

So...I wouldn't say that a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to these questions...but that the answer has not yet been clearly determined.

Science is not complete...it may well be that an element of logic becomes necessary for science to have a comprehensive explanation...but to say these are unanswerable through an entirely naturalistic explanation is, at this point, premature.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: OneCheesyNacho on January 04, 2014, 11:52:22 pm
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but it may be impossible for absolutely nothing to exist.

Of course it is absolutely impossible for absolutely nothing to exist. If it is nothing it is nonexistent. There really was no reason for you to go into detail about that, you can easily just say that nothing wouldn't exist because it refers to nonexistence.

I think what we need to keep in mind here is that by nothing, we don't mean 'something'. Its not as though there was a state of nothingness prior to the origin of the universe and the universe popped into being in that state. We mean that the beginning of the universe was not preceded by anything. So to say that the universe came into being out of nothing, is simply to say the universe came into being without a cause. This is obviously logically absurd.

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Science is not complete...it may well be that an element of logic becomes necessary for science to have a comprehensive explanation...but to say these are unanswerable through an entirely naturalistic explanation is, at this point, premature.

No. Not premature at all.

You said it yourself: "science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability". So in that case Naturalism is all about detectability /observability /verifiability. If something cannot be detected/observed/verified because they are timeless/space-less/immaterial, then they are beyond naturalistic explanations? Wouldn't you agree?

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But this logical dilemma has absolutely measureable consequences...and science can observe the consequences without necessarily being able to observe, or at this point even propose, the actual thing that is causing those consequences.

So here you are assuming that everything has measurable consequences thereby making naturalism true. But not all things have to have measurable consequences, if this is the case, then naturalism holds false.

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So...I wouldn't say that a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to these questions...but that the answer has not yet been clearly determined.

As I said earlier, you are assuming that all things can be measured/observed/verified. What if something is timeless/space-less/transcendent and cannot be measured/observed/verified, again, Naturalism cannot answer this question so it cannot be determined as per naturalistic explanation because the nature of the entity is not naturalistic.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Lambert on January 08, 2014, 02:31:01 am
Hi all, my first post here.

Interesting topic and I am happy to be here now. Then let me tell you that English is my second language, but as I understand the word "nothing," it means that it is no-thing and thus with no thinginess it has no cause for it to be. This so means that it is without essence to be formed and hence is without substance to be called a thing and therefore is nothing. I think we are talking about causation here wherein essence precedes existence and therefore has no cause to be. If then, essence precedes existence, ex-nihilo creation is the only way.

Such then would also be the universe itself and time as well, which has to be true so that the universe can make room for me, and of course for you, in time for sure, since also time is without essence so that eternity can be. Then if you combine these you end up in infinity where now the finite is needed to make eternity known that exists both in time and in [empty] space that we call the universe, and that now is how infinity is known only because of me and you as the continuity of infinity.   

 And sry, I did not read the argument, but let me just add that there also is no thinginess about this God we know so he can be the universal measure of us all.

Enough said and maybe more than that. Thank you.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: NicOfTime on January 09, 2014, 11:32:05 am
Of course it is absolutely impossible for absolutely nothing to exist. If it is nothing it is nonexistent. There really was no reason for you to go into detail about that, you can easily just say that nothing wouldn't exist because it refers to nonexistence.

Mostly just laying the logical foundation here.  Sometimes adding the obvious is useful.

I think what we need to keep in mind here is that by nothing, we don't mean 'something'. Its not as though there was a state of nothingness prior to the origin of the universe and the universe popped into being in that state. We mean that the beginning of the universe was not preceded by anything. So to say that the universe came into being out of nothing, is simply to say the universe came into being without a cause. This is obviously logically absurd.

Not really.  Nothing is still a circumstance.  And circumstance has consequences.

No. Not premature at all.

Well, yes it is premature.  There is no final answer at this time...the final chapter on this has yet to be written.  Speculation, of course, is not premature...pretty much all scientific propositions start out as some kind of speculation...but it is premature to assert that there can be no naturalistic explanation.  The point has been...and is...that there may be a logical...and not a theological...solution.

You said it yourself: "science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability". So in that case Naturalism is all about detectability /observability /verifiability. If something cannot be detected/observed/verified because they are timeless/space-less/immaterial, then they are beyond naturalistic explanations? Wouldn't you agree?

That's assuming the answer is beyond logic.  But, yes, you're right...anything that is non-detectable in any way, shape, or form will be beyond science...but also beyond anyone's capacity to prove its existence.  The proposition that a logical solution may be at the heart of the matter has scientifically discernable effects (by definition, because the topic here is existence, which is certainly detectable), and it may well be possible to derive specific predictions from the hypothesis that a logical issue may be operating at the most fundamental level of existence itself.

So here you are assuming that everything has measurable consequences thereby making naturalism true. But not all things have to have measurable consequences, if this is the case, then naturalism holds false.

A bit of a mis-read on your part here...I have not assumed that everything has measurable consequences...but it's entirely possible that a logical issue at the most fundamental level of existence will have measurable consequences, and may resolve some of the "spooky" behavior already observed at the quantum level.

As I said earlier, you are assuming that all things can be measured/observed/verified.

No, I never said that, nor do I assume it.  But we clearly have a very observable, measureable existence here.  And we are observing some interesting things at the quantum level that are not inconsistent with the proposition that "nothing" may have measurable consequences.

Anything that cannot be observed / detected in any way, directly or indirectly, is indistinguishable from things that don't exist at all.

What if something is timeless/space-less/transcendent and cannot be measured/observed/verified...

Well, then, you certainly cannot assert that it exists, can you?

again, Naturalism cannot answer this question so it cannot be determined as per naturalistic explanation because the nature of the entity is not naturalistic.

If there's no way to detect, measure, observe, corroborate, verify, validate something, then how do you differentiate that from something that doesn't exist?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Lambert on January 09, 2014, 12:56:34 pm
 Hmmm, that's interesting and who is the we in this line?:
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But we clearly have a very observable, measureable existence here.  And we are observing some interesting things at the quantum level that are not inconsistent with the proposition that "nothing" may have measurable consequences.

. . . if we are not existence itself? Kind of like you may have red hair but you are not your hair of which the color is an illusion to give you a hint that also you are, (impersonal always).

And so now do you think beauty is real and truth maybe too? or are we just coal miners trying to keep warm and let somebody else do the dirty work for us while we keep warm. And can you not see the music in this?
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: NicOfTime on January 09, 2014, 01:15:50 pm
And so now do you think beauty is real and truth maybe too?

Well, pretty fuzzy terms.  We certainly label some things "beautiful".  The experience is certainly real.  But we may be labeling the experience...while the thing being experienced is...well...a thing being experienced, neither beautiful or anything else.

Truth?  To me, it's a description that matches the thing being described.  Pretty much a mechanical description...doesn't elevate "truth" to any arbitrary level.

or are we just coal miners trying to keep warm and let somebody else do the dirty work for us while we keep warm. And can you not see the music in this?

I've been a musician all my life...40 years professionally.  I see music in everything.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Lambert on January 09, 2014, 01:33:37 pm
I do not claim to have the final word in this, but I see beauty as the unifying agent that is universal in mankind and that has a truth factor behind it for support. The same is true for all sentient beings, as I see it, wherein also love is made known that although is without substance is known to die for and thus is greater than us.

And of course, music is a subset of this in the arts, good for you, with philosophy being the finest of the fine arts, or so it is meant to be in the end when wisdom herself is ours to behold.

 
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: NicOfTime on January 09, 2014, 02:47:36 pm
I do not claim to have the final word in this, but I see beauty as the unifying agent that is universal in mankind and that has a truth factor behind it for support. The same is true for all sentient beings, as I see it, wherein also love is made known that although is without substance is known to die for and thus is greater than us.

And of course, music is a subset of this in the arts, good for you, with philosophy being the finest of the fine arts, or so it is meant to be in the end when wisdom herself is ours to behold.



I love metaphysical fuzziness.  My love for life has no bounds.  I often say that I don't play music, but rather music plays me.

That is, until I try to fix a radar system.  At that point, I put the beautiful fuzziness aside, and put on my uncompromising mechanistic hat...because there's really no magic there.

You know, the right tool for the job?

When trying to reverse-engineer existence, metaphysics provides some wonderful descriptions, but few if any clues about what's actually going on mechanistically.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Lambert on January 09, 2014, 04:04:29 pm
I see your problem and sometimes wonder how I arrived at the place I arrived and don't remember how I got here as if my car just takes me there and then ask myself why it would do that to me.

Sure, and this is the same old argument wherein when push come to shove we lean on that which we can lean on, while we forget, or perhaps are in total oblivion of the fact that all our human endeavors originate from intuition itself, which is an 'it' and therefore is real, and is unfailingly true in pure form, and that is why we smile when we finish what we set out to do.

It makes science exhilarating even, as if we proved to our self that our intuition was right from the start.

Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: OneCheesyNacho on January 09, 2014, 04:48:15 pm
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I think what we need to keep in mind here is that by nothing, we don't mean 'something'. Its not as though there was a state of nothingness prior to the origin of the universe and the universe popped into being in that state. We mean that the beginning of the universe was not preceded by anything. So to say that the universe came into being out of nothing, is simply to say the universe came into being without a cause. This is obviously logically absurd.

Not really.  Nothing is still a circumstance.  And circumstance has consequences.

Of course nothing has a consequence...nothing. Nothing means "not anything". But saying 'nothing' is unstable is logically incoherent as nothing by definition (not Krauss') cannot have properties.



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No. Not premature at all.

Well, yes it is premature.  There is no final answer at this time...the final chapter on this has yet to be written.  Speculation, of course, is not premature...pretty much all scientific propositions start out as some kind of speculation...but it is premature to assert that there can be no naturalistic explanation.  The point has been...and is...that there may be a logical...and not a theological...solution.

No. How can there be naturalistic explanations of something that is beyond its scope? Again that is logically incoherent. Naturalism deals with things that you can observe/measure. If there is something that you cannot observe/measure then it is beyond naturalism's scope and therefore cannot be explained by naturalism. So saying that naturalism will be able to find such an explanation being its scope is logically baseless optimism. It is like saying that "don't worry, with time, we will figure out how to make a round-square".

 
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You said it yourself: "science is all about detectability / observability / verifiability". So in that case Naturalism is all about detectability /observability /verifiability. If something cannot be detected/observed/verified because they are timeless/space-less/immaterial, then they are beyond naturalistic explanations? Wouldn't you agree?

That's assuming the answer is beyond logic.  But, yes, you're right...anything that is non-detectable in any way, shape, or form will be beyond science...but also beyond anyone's capacity to prove its existence.  The proposition that a logical solution may be at the heart of the matter has scientifically discernable effects (by definition, because the topic here is existence, which is certainly detectable), and it may well be possible to derive specific predictions from the hypothesis that a logical issue may be operating at the most fundamental level of existence itself.

Okay, so I got from that is that you agree that is not premature to say that naturalism cannot explain things that exist beyond measured/observed reality (the universe). So by definition, Naturalism cannot prove God exists or anything beyond the universe. Now, I do not agree with you saying that if something is beyond our observable/detectable scope, then it does not exist. Something outside of the universe could exist, but we just can't detect it because it is beyond science's scope. So by saying that "the topic here is existence, which is certainly detectable" is wrong. Existence doesn't have to be always detectable by humans.

 It very well could exist, but we just don't know it does. Imagine a deep sea fish that is blind and will never have contact with humans. To it, humans do not exist because it cannot detect humans. So if it were to apply its principles of naturalism, it would never be able to determine what exists beyond the ocean. But things DO exist beyond the ocean, it is just not within the naturalistic scope of the deep-sea fish. This analogy is not perfect, but it demonstrates my point.

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So here you are assuming that everything has measurable consequences thereby making naturalism true. But not all things have to have measurable consequences, if this is the case, then naturalism holds false.

A bit of a mis-read on your part here...I have not assumed that everything has measurable consequences...but it's entirely possible that a logical issue at the most fundamental level of existence will have measurable consequences, and may resolve some of the "spooky" behavior already observed at the quantum level.

Very sorry for misrepresenting you. I do agree it is possible that at the most fundamental level of existence we could detect certain things that would hint at the existence of what is there beyond the universe. But, my argument was not of this, I was saying that it is no surprise that science did not prove God. That is because it cannot prove God, because God by definition exists outside of detectable reality (beyond naturalistic scope).

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As I said earlier, you are assuming that all things can be measured/observed/verified.


No, I never said that, nor do I assume it.  But we clearly have a very observable, measureable existence here.  And we are observing some interesting things at the quantum level that are not inconsistent with the proposition that "nothing" may have measurable consequences.

Anything that cannot be observed / detected in any way, directly or indirectly, is indistinguishable from things that don't exist at all.

Again very sorry.

But for your second statement, I feel like you have defined the word nothing. "nothing" is not anything, that is my definition. By definition, nothing cannot have properties.  If you are deciding to refer to nothing as "the sea of fluctuating energy", then I agree with you, that it does have measurable consequences.

Your third statement is absolutely wrong. Please refer to my deep sea fish analogy. That fish cannot observe humans, it does not mean we don't exist--it means we don't exist in their perception! There are things humans cannot observe, it does not mean they don't exist. So I would disagree, things that cannot be observed by humans are not the same as nonexistent things. But I do agree that they are indistinguishable TO the human perception.

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What if something is timeless/space-less/transcendent and cannot be measured/observed/verified...


Well, then, you certainly cannot assert that it exists, can you?


You misunderstood my point. What I was arguing was that naturalism cannot account for everything that exists. It could only account for things that exist in the universe because we could only measure/observe only things that exist in the universe. This is due to the fact that the universe is the beginning of all matter/energy and time, and science deals with just those concepts. Things outside of matter/energy/time cannot be explained by naturalism.

So can you assert they do or don't exist with evidence? Of course not, naturalism can't answer that question.

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again, Naturalism cannot answer this question so it cannot be determined as per naturalistic explanation because the nature of the entity is not naturalistic.


If there's no way to detect, measure, observe, corroborate, verify, validate something, then how do you differentiate that from something that doesn't exist?

There are a few ways, like if it must logically exist or if it is the best explanation for existence or if it must exist by necessity etc. The thing is, my argument was, we do not have evidence for God because there can't be evidence for God since God exists outside of observable/measurable reality (universe).

Now what you are getting at is an idealist perspective. You are saying that quantum physics says that nothing exists unless it is measured. I agree with you. But things do exist without being measured by humans...so how could anything exist that we didn't know of, like Dark matter. From this you conclude that a mind--an observer exists (God) who views everything thus makes everything existent --including the deep sea fish, humans and things humans haven't yet discovered.  Michio Kaku agrees with this. For example, how could humans exist by what quantum mechanics tells us to the perception of a deep sea fish. The answer is we don't, BUT, we do exist because a mind is observing everything in the universe. To familiarize yourself with this very important concept, I recommend this video which explains it beautifully!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM&feature=c4-overview&list=UU5qDet6sa6rODi7t6wfpg8g

^Watching this, I think will be beneficial as it will introduce you to what we make of reality!
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: NicOfTime on January 09, 2014, 07:37:07 pm
Now, I do not agree with you saying that if something is beyond our observable/detectable scope, then it does not exist.

Sigh.  I'm amazed by what folks misunderstand.

And, really, I don't have time to clear up your misunderstandings.

If something has no effect upon this existence whatsoever...at any time, in any way...I didn't say it didn't exist.  I said it was functionally equivalent to non-existence.

If it has no effect on our existence whatsoever, then you cannot possibly validate its existence...and any assertion you might make about that is speaking beyond your own possible knowledge, by definition.

If you're going to insist on the existence of things that have no effect whatsoever on our own existence...then have fun.

I simply don't have time to clear up your mis-reads.  And that's just the first of many.

I'm familiar with the video...cherry-picked quotes...deliberate mis-leads...strawmen...and caricatures.

It doesn't have to know a lot.  It just has to know more than the person watching it.

If you're impressed by that...then we have little common ground...and it's no wonder you mis-read me.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: OneCheesyNacho on January 09, 2014, 10:53:34 pm
Now, I do not agree with you saying that if something is beyond our observable/detectable scope, then it does not exist.

Sigh.  I'm amazed by what folks misunderstand.

And, really, I don't have time to clear up your misunderstandings.

If something has no effect upon this existence whatsoever...at any time, in any way...I didn't say it didn't exist.  I said it was functionally equivalent to non-existence.

If it has no effect on our existence whatsoever, then you cannot possibly validate its existence...and any assertion you might make about that is speaking beyond your own possible knowledge, by definition.

If you're going to insist on the existence of things that have no effect whatsoever on our own existence...then have fun.

I simply don't have time to clear up your mis-reads.  And that's just the first of many.

I'm familiar with the video...cherry-picked quotes...deliberate mis-leads...strawmen...and caricatures.

It doesn't have to know a lot.  It just has to know more than the person watching it.

If you're impressed by that...then we have little common ground...and it's no wonder you mis-read me.

Ad homimem attacks have been disregarded...

I'm not sure where you get the idea that I was implying that it didn't have an effect into our existence. It does have an effect, it allowed our existence. But we cannot detect such things beyond the universe, because naturalism and science can only deal with things that exist in the universe (matter, time, energy). God by definition does not exist in the universe, therefore it is no surprise he can't be detected by science.

I would say that you mis-read me and my argument. I said it is no surprise that there is no proof of God because God by definition is outside of the scientific and naturalistic scope. 

Secondly, I am not impressed by the video, I am impressed of the findings in quantum mechanics. You seemed to have some sort of idealistic perspective and I agreed. If you don't agree with the video that quantum mechanics has debunked realism, then please present reasons why. I can't think of any way to honestly do this while being faithful to the evidence.

Now I don't think I mis-read you, you said it plainly " If there's no way to detect, measure, observe, corroborate, verify, validate something, then how do you differentiate that from something that doesn't exist?" This is a clear implication that you believe that if something cannot be detected/measured/observed/validated, then it is as if it doesn't exist. I countered by saying that this argument is incoherent. If I have misread you, then what exactly was your point and why was this relevant to this debate about naturalism?

If you were to agree that naturalism cannot prove God because God is beyond space-time, then this goes against your initial statements in saying that (and I quote you) "So...I wouldn't say that a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to these questions...but that the answer has not yet been clearly determined." And "but to say these are unanswerable through an entirely naturalistic explanation is, at this point, premature."

With the fact that Naturalism cannot account for things beyond matter/time/energy which exist only in the universe (multiverse), then a naturalistic viewpoint has no answer to this question and no definite future answer can be determined. It would be like having the hope that science would be able to find a round square in the future.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: shoaibwh1 on February 04, 2014, 11:08:28 pm
WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Rob Heusdens on June 11, 2014, 08:35:09 pm

The creation of the Universe (and therefore space and time) means that "before" the Big Bang, time and space did not exist.

This is nonsense, since inflation occured prior to the (hot) big bang, and for sure there was space time and matter then.

Don't equate the big bang with the fictional singularity, since that has not happened. General Relativity breaks down there, since als Quantum Mechanics plays a role under those circumstances,. so obviously a theory based only on GR can not predict what happens then. GR + QM can, and we can at least approximate that. Starbinsky did that already in 1980, and developed the first mechanism similar to inflation.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Rob Heusdens on June 13, 2014, 03:10:32 am
There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know that nothing can come from it, we can tell that from logic. Just like we don't need to take two piles of a trillion objects and observe them being put together to know that a trillion plus a trillion is two trillion.

I agree that logic tells us that nothing can come from the absolute nothing that Craig needs for his proof of God.  However, logic does not dictate reality...reality operates all on it's own.  Quantum mechanics is hardly logical, yet that is the way the universe works.

We simply don't know if it is even possible in reality to have the "absolute nothing" in the first place.  And, in terms of evidence, there is no such evidence that it exists.

Well there are obvious cases in which you can know the truthvalue of a statement without having the need to look for evidencen.

P: All bachelors are not married.

P is true by definition.

And also:

Q: Nothing comes from nothing.

Q is true by definition.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Ghostofhitchens on August 19, 2014, 05:32:50 pm
What is the point in using formal logic structure to make the most juvenile of assertions?

Prove this:  'Nothing' is a relevant concept when discussing the nature of the universe. 
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: peanutaxis on August 20, 2014, 12:08:38 am
Haha. Because it makes one feel like one is talking sense. Just like Jebus and the afterlife etc.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: watkinsje13 on October 07, 2014, 06:21:42 pm
If i'm repeating whats already been said then my bad, I am pretty sure that in the "why does anything exist debate" Krauss states that as far as we can tell the big bang happened and there was nothing before it which he defines nothing as no time or space for anything to happen in and I respected him for defining it that way becuase I thought he was really being truthful and holding to what science says. Right after that he goes on to say that if there were a multiverse it could cause our universe to start existing, but doesnt that mean you have to ask the question what did the multiverse act on to create the universe because you wouldnt think that the multiverse could force itself to exist in place that it isnt able to exist in because its not there, given the definition of nothing Krauss provides as to what was there before the big bang.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Bill McEnaney on July 30, 2016, 11:49:44 pm
The word "nothing" usually means "not anything."  But Krauss's nothing is something.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: Andyboinen on August 31, 2016, 06:40:10 am
No. There is simply no evidence for God. Saying the Bible is evidence for God is like saying the Harry Potter series is proof that Voldemort existed, or the LOTR series proves that Middle-Earth exists etc. It's simply ridiculous and illogical.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: pat1911 on March 16, 2018, 12:08:02 pm

If someone argues that God is without cause...then there is no reason why something else out there can't also be without cause.  And the notion that it has to be a mind that is outside time and space just cracks me up.  On what basis is someone making such claim?

Nothing doesn't exist, literally. The fact we have a word for "it" is paradox. But we need to be able to talk about non-existence without a long diatribe of 'not anything that could be or is or was'.

God can exist causeless, but other entities that can be known cannot exist causeless as it then is in conflict with the Uncaused-cause. Only one thing can occupy that space. If other causeless entities can exist, they cannot be known because once they are known, they have 'caused'. Knowledge of 'it's existence to be specific, which causes a contradiction with THE Uncaused-cause.
Title: Re: Nothing
Post by: jayceeii on March 06, 2020, 08:36:45 am
There are two sources of knowledge: observation, and logic. We don't need to observe nothingness to know...
Nope. This is so misguided. All of our logic comes from implicit knowledge of the macroscopic world in which we evolved. And it works so well for so many things that philosophers have elevated it to a 'metaphysical' level. Unfortunately this has a doubly bad effect. Firstly, people/philosophers don't even realize or accept that our logical intuitions come from only the macroscopic world, and secondly the elevation of this logic to a metaphysical level shields it from empirical enquiry.
Indeed, the philosophers can be found chasing false abstractions, to be talking about nothing real. The entire theory of Molinism is this way, as is found by seeking real world examples of the counterfactuals instead of allowing this to remain an abstract (and unexplained) concept. “Bring me more examples,” is not what philosophers wish to hear.

Existentialism is certainly this way, in all its varieties. The philosophy of ethics is also this way, which is why this philosophy has almost no influence on the real world. The mind can take leaps into itself, increasingly ignoring the external realm, particularly its real others. The worldview of most is ill-met by the actual world, ideas without vitality.