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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

"Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"
Dr. Michael Shermer in Skeptic magazine

All of these arguments [for God's existence] have counter-arguments made by philosophers over the centuries, but there is one that seems to trouble a great many thinkers of all persuasions, and that is why there should be anything at all. That is, all of the other arguments for God’s existence presume that something exists that needs explaining. The argument that asks why there is something rather than nothing underlies all the other arguments, and is cognitively challenging because it is simply not possible for existing beings to imagine not existing, not just themselves (which forms the cognitive foundation of afterlife beliefs), but to imagine nothing.

Really, think about it. In grappling to understand what somethingness is we at least have the advantage of being something in it ourselves. We exist as something and when we look around all we see is something else.

Instead [for me] it's always been part about groping to grasp why somethingness exists at all...and how it came to exist in the first place. After all, any number of astrophysicists will argue that first there was nothing at all. And then BOOM! the Big Bang. Everything there is somehow just "explodes" into existence.

Just don't ask any of them to actually prove this.

At least with God we can attribute things to Him like omniscience and omniptence. End of story. As to how and why God came into existence...that is simply subsumed in His mysterious ways.

Go ahead and try it. Picture nothing. When I ask myself this question I start by visualizing dark empty space bereft of galaxies, stars, and planets, along with molecules and atoms. But this picture is incorrect because if there were no universe there would not only be no matter, but there would be no space or time (or space-time) either.

Or as Bryan Magee once superbly summed it all up:

For a period of two to three years between the ages of nine and twelve I was in thrall to puzzlement about time. I would lie awake in bed at night in the dark thinking something along the following lines. I know there was a day before yesterday, and a day before that and a day before that and so on...Before everyday there must have been a day before. So it must be possible to go back like that for ever and ever and ever...Yet is it? The idea of going back for ever and ever was something I could not get hold of: it seemed impossible. So perhaps, after all, there must have been a beginning somewhere. But if there was a beginning, what had been going on before that? Well, obviously, nothing---nothing at all---otherwise it could not be the beginning. But if there was nothing, how could anything have got started? What could it have come from? Time wouldn't just pop into existence---bingo!--out of nothing, and start going, all by itself. Nothing is nothing, not anything. So the idea of a beginning was unimaginable, which somehow made it seem impossible too. The upshot was that it seemed to be impossible for time to have had a beginning and impossible not for it to have had a beginning.

I must be missing something here, I came to think. There are only these two alternatives so one of them must be right. They can't both be impossible. So I would switch my concentration from one to the other, and then when it had exhausted itself, back again, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong; but I never discovered.

space

I realized a similar problem existed with regard to space. I remember myself as a London evacuee in Market Harborough---I must have been ten or eleven at the time---lying on my back in the grass in a park and trying to penetrate a cloudless blue sky with my eyes and thinking something like this: "If I went straight up into the sky, and kept on going in a straight line, why wouldn't I be able to just keep on going for ever and ever and ever? But that's impossible. Why isn't it possible? Surely, eventually, I'd have to come to some sort of end. But why? If I bumped up against something eventually, wouldn't that have to be something in space? And if it was in space wouldn't there have to be something on the other side of it if only more space? On the other hand, if there was no limit, endless space couldn't just be, anymore than endless time could.

So, you tell me: What is he missing here?

How does one not go back and forth with so much crucial information still far, far out of reach.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

"Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"
Dr. Michael Shermer in Skeptic magazine

There would be absolutely nothing, including no conscious being to observe the nothingness. Just… nothing. Whatever that is.

This part gets particularly surreal. First there's the part about nothing at all existing. Then there's the part about encompassing this if there are no conscious minds around to encompass it. The only thing more surreal [perhaps] is the part where something is around but there are no conscious minds around to encompass that. If for example Earth is the only planet with intelligent life and next week a gigantic asteroid from space wipes it out.

Sans God what is to be made of somethingness then?

This presents us with what is arguably the deepest of deep questions: why is there something rather than nothing? In his 1988 blockbuster book A Brief History of Time, the late Cambridge theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking put it this way:

What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

And, like Hawking, Shermer will almost certainly go to his own grave equally perplexed. As will you and I and everyone else reading these words. The only real distinction here being that some will be more perturbed by it than others. Another mystery embedded in "I": dasein.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Just to toss one more hat into this ring and see if there were any legitimate arguments.

AO vs VO: a friendly challenge: James S Saint » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:02 pm wrote:There is existence/affecting because it is logically and mathematically impossible for there to not be. And that reasoning is based upon the possibility of absolute homogeneity. Having mathematically proved that absolute homogeneity is impossible, we are left with the unavoidable fact that there are variations in potential-to-affect. All it takes is the slightest variation in PtA and the universe is off and running.

Did you want to see the math again (and again, and...)?

The absolute Impossibility of Nothingness - ever
May 23, 2015
Okay, now given that you have 10 cups with the random possibility of each cup having as many as 10 coins in it, what is the possibility that you have the same number of coins in all 10 cups?

Mathematically that would be $$(1/10)^{10}\quad or\quad 0.0000000001$$
The state of nothingness and the state of absolute homogeneity are actually the same thing. If there is no distinction in affect at all in every point in space, there is no universe. Thus for a universe to exist, there must be distinction or variation in affect between the points in space. What is the possibility that every point in space is of the exact same value of PtA (potential-to-affect)?

Well, let's define the term as the specific infinite series,
$$infA ≡ [1+1+1+...]$$
Just a single infinite line would give us infA² points on that line if you want to include all infinitesimal lengths, all "real numbers". And assuming nothing is forcing any particular PtA value, each point on the line might have a value anywhere from infinitesimal to infinite, the range of that same infA² but for PtA value.

So the possibility for every point on the line to have the same PtA value (given steps of 1 infinitesimal) would be;
$$Possibility \:of \:homogeneous \:line = (1/infA)^{(infA)^2}$$
That is 1 infinitesimal reduced by itself infinitely an infinite number of times. And right there is the issue. Also in 3D space, you actually have the infinite real-number cube (to simplify from spherical) of;
$$Possibility \:of \:homogeneous \:space = (1/infA)^{infA^6}$$
Normally in mathematics if your number has reached 1 infinitesimal, it is accepted as zero and is certainly close enough to zero for all practical purposes but we are literally infinitely less than infinitely less than 1 infinitesimal. For 3D space, we are looking at 1 infinitesimal times itself infinitely and an infinite number of times, infinitely times an infinity of more times, and infinitely times an infinite number more times.

Given an infinity of time (an infinite timeline, another infA² of points in time) and with or without causality, the possibility of running across homogeneity of space is;
$$Possibility \:of \:homogeneity \:through \:all \:space = (1/infA)^{infA^6}$$
$$Possibility \:of \:homogeneity \:through \:all \:space \:and \:all \:time = (1/infA)^{infA^{12}}$$

With a possibility being that degree of infinitely small, not only can it never randomly end up homogeneous even through an infinity of trials (an infinite time line, never getting up to even 1 infinitesimal possibility), but it can't even be forced to be homogeneous. A force is an affect. If all affects are identical, the total affect is zero. What would be left in existence to force all points to be infinitely identical?

But if that isn't good enough for you, realize that those calculations are based on stepped values of merely 1 infinitesimal using a standard of infA. In reality, each step would be as close to absolute zero as possible without actually being absolute zero. Using a standard of as close to absolute infinity as possible,
$$AbsInf ≡ highest \:possible \:number \:toward \:absolute \:infinity.$$
And then of course,
$$1/AbsInf = would \:be \:the \:lowest \:possible \:number \:or \:value.$$

Thus we have,
$$Possibility \:of \:homogeneity \:through \:all \:time = (1/AbsInf)^{Absinf^{12}}$$

Now we have truly absolute zero possibility because if we are already as close to absolute zero as possible with "1/AbsInf", as soon as we multiply that by any fraction, we have breached absolute zero, impossibly small. And we have breached absolute zero by a factor of AbsInf¹² ... well, well beyond absolute zero possibility of homogeneity.

Thus Absolute Homogeneity, "Nothingness", is absolutely impossible.
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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

"Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"
Dr. Michael Shermer in Skeptic magazine

Even if it could be established that something must exist, this does not necessarily mean that the something must be our universe with our particular laws of nature that give rise to atoms, stars, planets, and people. There could be universes whose laws of nature permit time and space but no matter or light; such universes could not be perceived because there would be no one to perceive the darkness.

What this brings me back to over and over and over again is the inherently mysterious relationship between existence and the perception of existence. Are there parallel universes where intelligent beings are actually able to explain or to "resolve" this? What is either Existence or No Existence without minds able to make such a distinction? Other than to assume the existence of God?

Then this part:

Our universe has particular properties suited to planets and people. According to England’s Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, there are at least six constituents that are necessary for “our emergence from a simple Big Bang,” including Ω (omega), the amount of matter in the universe = 1: if Ω was greater than 1 it would have collapsed long ago and if Ω was of matter in the universe = 1: if Ω was greater than 1 it would have collapsed long ago and if Ω was less than 1 no galaxies would have formed. ε (epsilon), how firmly atomic nuclei bind together = .007: if ε were even fractionally different matter could not exist. (3) D, the number of dimensions in which we live = 3. N, the ratio of the strength of electromagnetism to that of gravity = 1039: if N were smaller the universe would be either too young or too small for life to form. Q, the fabric of the universe = 1/100,000: if Q were smaller the universe would be featureless and if Q were larger the universe would be dominated by giant black holes. λ (lambda), the cosmological constant, or “antigravity” force that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate = 0.7: if λ were larger it would have prevented stars and galaxies from forming.

Here too some argue that the only explanation can be God. But that just brings me around to pondering whether God created these conditions out of nothing at all or whether these conditions were necessary even for the existence of God. Out of something that ever and always just...was?

The most common reason invoked for our universe’s “fine-tuning” is the “anthropic principle,” most forcefully argued by the physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler in their 1986 book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle: “It is not only man that is adapted to the universe. The universe is adapted to man. Imagine a universe in which one or another of the fundamental dimensionless constants of physics is altered by a few percent one way or the other? Man could never come into being in such a universe. That is the central point of the anthropic principle. According to the principle, a life-giving factor lies at the center of the whole machinery and design of the world.

God again, right? Sans God, we can only endlessly ponder whether somethingness includes a teleological component that necessarily leads to the evolution of matter into mind into conscious reflections on all of this actually able to go back to grappling with the existence of existence itself.

Then it's back to Magee above.

Unless someone here is able to link us to the very "latest" speculations on all of this.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

"Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"
Dr. Michael Shermer in Skeptic magazine

1. Nothing is Inconceivable
First, as I suggested above, just as it is not possible to conceive of what it is like to be dead, it is impossible to conceptualize nothing—no space, time, matter, light, darkness, or even any conscious beings to perceive the nothingness. As Robert Kuhn conceives it: “Not just emptiness, not just blankness, and not just emptiness and blankness forever, but not even the existence of emptiness, not even the meaning of blankness, and no forever. Inconceivable.

Clearly, if, here and now, it is in fact impossible to conceive of nothing at all, that still leaves open the possibility that the human brain will continue to evolve such that one day it will be able to conceive of it. Or, instead, nothing at all may well have once "existed" but the human brain itself is not [nor ever will be] equipped to grasp it.

In the interim then what may well be our only recourse is to continue to explore it in intellectual contraptions that revolve almost entirely around worlds of words that tell us little more then what to think about more words still:

2. Nothing is Something
The analytical philosopher Quentin Smith pointed out to Kuhn that it is a logical fallacy to talk about “nothing” as if it were “something”; that is, to suggest that “there might have been nothing” implies “it is possible that there is nothing.” As Kuhn articulates Smith’s argument: “‘There is’ means ‘something is.’ So ‘there is nothing’ means ‘something is nothing,’ which is a logical contradiction. His suggestion is to remove ‘nothing’ and replace it by ‘not something’ or ‘not anything,’ since one can talk about what we mean by ‘nothing’ by referring to something or anything of which there are no instances (i.e., the concept of ‘something’ has the property of not being instantiated). The common sense way to talk about Nothing is to talk about something and negate it, to deny that there is something.”

Got that? Okay, now take these conflicting theoretical contraptions and broach possible methodologies that might enable us to construct experiments and make predictions about the interactions we see all around us in the somethingness world. What procedures might be pursued that would allow us to connect the something factors back to the possibility of nothing at all.

3. Nothing Would Include God’s Nonexistence
In Kuhn’s taxonomy of “nothings” he lists what categories of things might be included in “something” that would be negated by “nothing”: physical, mental, platonic, spiritual, and God.

There's just no getting around God, here. Perhaps the most mind-boggling conundrum of all. Nothing, then God, then everything else? Or, always God and then everything there is out of...what exactly?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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### Re: Something Instead of Nothing

The Four Scientific Meanings Of 'Nothing'
Ethan Siegel in Forbes Magazine

1.) A time when your "thing" of interest didn't exist. How did the Universe make planets? How about stars? How about a matter asymmetry? These things didn't always exist, but rather had to be created. When the mechanism is known, we normally say that our "thing" was created from something, rather than nothing. Planets came from the recycled detritus of previous generations of stars, where the heavy elements comprising their cores and solid surfaces were created and then expelled back into the interstellar medium. Stars come from contracting clouds of gas, which contain regions that get dense enough and hot enough to ignite nuclear fusion. Both planets and stars are matter that come from pre-existing forms of matter; they're a thing that comes from something, rather than nothing.

Again, your "thing" of interest can encompass anything that is something. You name it and it exists as a result of one or another sequence embedded in creation. We may not understand how or why it was created going all the way back to the Big Bang, but there it is here and now because something created it. It's the part about before the Big Bang where creation itself becomes increasingly problematic.

Then the "scientific" stuff:

But the matter we have today didn't come from pre-existing matter. At some point in the distant past, the Universe was composed of equal amounts of matter and antimatter; the laws of physics that we've discovered only enable us to create them in equal amounts. Yet the Universe we have today is overwhelmingly made of matter and not antimatter, where every one of the billions upon billions of galaxies we know of are made of matter and not antimatter. Where did our matter asymmetry come from? From a previously symmetric state; from a state where matter and antimatter existed in equal amounts. From a time when there was no asymmetry. According to some, this means that the matter we have today arose from nothing, although others who adhere strictly to one of the other definitions dispute this.

Of course this is that part where most of us are just along for the ride. We have no capacity to even grasp this in full so we are stuck with taking a leap of faith to the "scientific position" that seems to explain nothing in relation to something in relation to everything in a way that seems the least perplexing to us.

It's fascinating to speculate about but who is kidding whom: for now this seems as far as it can go. Up to and including the most sophisticated and informed minds of all.

Though, sure, here I must acknowledge this pertains only to that which I think I now about such speculations here and now. There may well be a mind out there able to resolve it. If not here, on another planet. If not mere mortal, then a God, the God Himself.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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