There’s More to Nothing Than We Knew

There’s More to Nothing Than We Knew

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 5th, 2012, 5:32 am #1

MULTIVERSE PROPONENT The cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss

By DENNIS OVERBYE
Published: February 20, 2012

It is, perhaps, the mystery of last resort. Scientists may be at least theoretically able to trace every last galaxy back to a bump in the Big Bang, to complete the entire quantum roll call of particles and forces. But the question of why there was a Big Bang or any quantum particles at all was presumed to lie safely out of scientific bounds, in the realms of philosophy or religion.

Now even that assumption is no longer safe, as exemplified by a new book by the cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss. In it he joins a chorus of physicists and cosmologists who have been pushing into sacred ground, proclaiming more and more loudly in the last few years that science can explain how something - namely our star-spangled cosmos - could be born from, if not nothing, something very close to it. God, they argue, is not part of the equation. The book, "A Universe From Nothing," is a best seller and follows recent popular tomes like "God Is Not Great," by the late Christopher Hitchens; "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins; and "The Grand Design," by the British cosmologist Stephen Hawking (with Leonard Mlodinow), which generated headlines two years ago with its assertion that physicists do not need God to account for the universe.


Dr. Krauss is a pint-size spark plug of erudition and ambition, who often seems to be jetting off in several directions at once on more missions than can be listed on a business card. Among other things he is Foundation Professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.


And he knows his universe. In 1995, he and Michael S. Turner of the University of Chicago made waves by arguing that many of the paradoxes regarding cosmology could be resolved if a large portion of the cosmos resided in the form of a hitherto-undiscovered energy, known then as the cosmological constant. Three years later astronomers discovered that the expansion of the universe was being accelerated by some "dark energy" that behaves exactly like the cosmological constant.


Dr. Krauss is also a prolific author of popular science books, including "The Physics of Star Trek." And he has been an outspoken critic of attempts to introduce creationist ideas and to censor the teaching of evolution in schools and textbooks.


The new book grew out of a talk he gave in 2009 that got more than a million hits on YouTube.


The point of the book, Dr. Krauss, a self-described nonbeliever, writes at the outset, is not to try to make people lose their faith, but to illuminate how modern science has changed the meaning of nothingness from a vague philosophical concept to something we can almost put under a lab microscope.


How well you think he succeeds might depend on how far you yourself want to go down the rabbit hole of nonbeing. Why, for example, should we assume that nothingness is more natural than somethingness? Indeed, you might ask why it is that we think there is something here at all. The total energy of the universe might actually be zero, according to the strange bookkeeping of Einstein's general theory of relativity, as Dr. Krauss points out. "The universe," Alan H. Guth, a physicist at M.I.T., likes to say, "might be the ultimate free lunch." Even space and time themselves might be a kind of holographic illusion, string theorists say.


You might think to dispute this by kicking a rock, but remember that both the rock and your foot are mostly empty space, prevented from intermingling by electric fields.


Dr. Krauss delineates three different kinds of nothingness. First is what may have passed muster as nothing with the ancient Greeks: empty space. But we now know that even empty space is filled with energy, vibrating with electromagnetic fields and so-called virtual particles dancing in and out of existence on borrowed energy courtesy of the randomness that characterizes reality on the smallest scales, according to the rules of quantum theory.


Second is nothing, without even space and time. Following a similar quantum logic, theorists have proposed that whole universes, little bubbles of space-time, could pop into existence, like bubbles in boiling water, out of this nothing.


There is a deeper nothing in which even the laws of physics are absent. Where do the laws come from? Are they born with the universe, or is the universe born in accordance with them? Here Dr. Krauss, unhappily in my view, resorts to the newest and most controversial toy in the cosmologist's toolbox: the multiverse, a nearly infinite assemblage of universes, each with its own randomly determined rules, particles and forces, that represent solutions to the basic equations of string theory - the alleged theory of everything, or perhaps, as wags say, anything.


Within this landscape of possibilities, almost anything goes.


But even the multiverse is not totally lawless, as Dr. Krauss acknowledged. We are not quite there yet. At the very least, there would still be the string equations and those quantum principles that undergird them. Is quantum randomness the secret of existence?


"Maybe in the true eternal multiverse there are truly no laws," Dr. Krauss said in an e-mail. "Maybe indeed randomness is all there is and everything that can happen happens somewhere."


It would be silly to think that we won't have better answers and better questions 50 or 100 years from now, but for the moment this is the story science can tell. If you find it bleak, that is your problem. "The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not," Dr. Krauss writes.


It gets worse.


If nothing is our past, it could also be our future. As the universe, driven by dark energy - that is to say, the negative pressure of nothing - expands faster and faster, the galaxies will become invisible, and all the energy and information will be sucked out of the cosmos. The universe will revert to nothingness.


Nothing to nothing.


One day it's all going to seem like a dream.

But who is or was the dreamer?

House of Love

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha


Last edited by Oscar50 on May 5th, 2012, 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Arthur Dent
Arthur Dent

May 5th, 2012, 6:35 am #2

He seems to delight in a lonely and depleted future of the universe, when our skies will be devoid of even starlight, but then again, that future is so far away that mankind will surely have passed, probably by wontonly destroying his own planet.

But of course, reality is what it is, irrespective of dreams that we may pretend are true.
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Tim
Tim

May 5th, 2012, 7:07 am #3

But of course, reality is what it is, irrespective of dreams that we may pretend are true.
--------------------------------------------------------

Its no dreaming about what is real.
The dream is on your part Art, that there is nothing more then you see.

You are blind Art. Let others help you see.

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Arthur Dent
Arthur Dent

May 5th, 2012, 11:25 am #4

At least he makes no bones about what his peace means.

I was under the impression that you needed the help Tim.

You need to back up your statements Tim, I know what you believed, but its obvious that you've been deceived.

Dont just tell me that you think you are right, produce the evidence that your biblical quotes are words of a god.

anyone can tell me that their god is the real one, ther's thousands of them, why would a rational person actually believe them though?

Kate tells me that there is no evidence that her god is the real one, she has to believe, and its obvious that so do you.

Whats so smart about that?
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Iceman
Iceman

May 5th, 2012, 2:46 pm #5

The belief in "god" seems to be ubiquitous through the ages.

We know, for example, that the ancient Egyptians believed in their gods so fervently that they built massive structures like the Great Pyramid -- still today one of the largest and most enduring human constructions ever created. Despite that fervor, however, we know with complete certainty today that the Egyptian gods were imaginary. There is no evidence of their existence. Thus we do not build pyramids anymore and we do not mummify our leaders.

More recently we know that tens of millions of Romans worshiped Jupiter and his friends, and to them they built magnificent temples. The ruins of these temples are popular tourist attractions even today. Yet we know with complete certainty that these gods were imaginary. There is no evidence for their existence and thus no one worships Zeus any more.

Much more recently, we know that the Aztec civilization believed in their gods so intensely that they constructed huge temples and pyramids. In addition, Aztecs were so zealous that they were sacrificing hundreds of human beings to their gods as recently as the 16th century. Despite the intensity, however, we know today that these gods were completely imaginary. The Aztecs were insane to be murdering people for their gods. Killing a person has no effect on rainfall or anything else. We all know that. And there is no evidence whatsoever demonstrating that the Aztec gods exist. If the Aztec gods were real, we would still be offering sacrifices to them and these sacrifices would be effective.

Today's "God" is just as imaginary as were these historical gods. The fact that millions of people worship a god is meaningless.
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Tim
Tim

May 6th, 2012, 5:53 am #6

Well that brings us to the debate of intelligent design or random chance of evolution.

I can tell you guys the things I've seen and witnessed in life, but that seems to hold no grounds with you both because it doesn't fit your beliefs.

So, lets move on.... Show me any proof of evolution and random chance of something evolving.

Creation can be proven in the laboratories today, but you guys don't seem to be grasping that information because of your false beliefs.

Bottom line is, evolution is a myth, and Creation is science.

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Arthur Dent
Arthur Dent

May 10th, 2012, 9:03 am #7

What quirk in your mental process blipped that up?

I suspect that you need to learn what you are talking about Tim, the experts point out that evolution is not a random chance, if you dont know that, you shouldnt be commenting until you learn what evolution really is I guess.

You could tell me things that youve seen, in life, or out of it, but so what? What is your testamony worth to me, do you think, Illbelieve any of it without some sort of documentation? You keep quoting the bible as proof, but why do you bother?

Its worthless.

There is another gentleman on another forum, he has been here, he calls himself Nucc.

He keeps asking for evidence and then pretend that no one has given him any (therefore he is ahead in the debate). What he doesnt say is that he ignores it because

A) He doesnt understand any of it
B) He doesnt want to read it
C) It doesnt suit his preferred story

Therefore, although he wont admit it, nothing that doesnt support his view is going to be recieved.

If I point you to proof, will you just blow it off as antichrist? (which of course, proof has to be)

Creation can be proved to be false in labs, your point?

"Bottom line is, evolution is a myth, and Creation is science.

Defiance can be cathartic I guess, but the logical bottom line is that creation and science are antithetical (I noticed you couldnt even make a start on what i previously posted, but you are keen to assert that for unexplicable reason you want it known that you disagree. evolution is science and science is anti religion.

religion itself is myth without logic, just special excuses. (awww god is above mans logic, oh no he isn't, hes just fluffy ignorance.)
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hop
hop

May 11th, 2012, 3:00 am #8

So Art you would pick Allah as your god. Now how can a man with an education say something like that. If you are an atheist then say what an atheist would say.....there are no gods and god was an invention of men.

I believe you are a closet Muslim and don't want to admit it. [grin]
hop
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Arthur Dent
Arthur Dent

May 13th, 2012, 9:59 am #9

But we all choose our gods, none of us have gods choose us.

Maybe our parents choose our gods for us, or our regions by virtue of us being there.

At least Moslems leave you in no doubt that their "religion of peace", isnt.

Christians will pretend to the end, that their similar religion, is.
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Joined: July 14th, 2009, 8:15 pm

May 16th, 2012, 12:35 pm #10

The difference Art is only a handful of retarded christians like Phelps use the Old Testament to preach on or live by. I myself know that all religions are man made and you of all people should also know that. [grin] As a rule Christians don't blow up school buses and kill infidels. And don't bring up McVeigh and Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh was an atheist like I am. I really am an agnostic as Einstein was and if you can prove it I will believe it. [grin]
hop
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