This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Everything and Nothing - An Interview with Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence M. Krauss is a renowned cosmologist, popularizer of science, and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 300 scientific publications and 8 books, including the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek. His interests include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He is also a friend and an advisor to my nonprofit foundation, Project Reason. Lawrence generously took time to answer a few questions about his new book, A Universe from Nothing.

One of the most common justifications for religious faith is the idea that the universe must have had a creator. You’ve just written a book alleging that a universe can arise from “nothing.” What do you mean by “nothing” and how fully does your thesis contradict a belief in a Creator God?

Indeed, the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” which forms the subtitle of the book, is often used by the faithful as an unassailable argument that requires the existence of God, because of the famous claim, “out of nothing, nothing comes.” While the chief point of my book is to describe for the interested layperson the remarkable revolutions that have taken place in our understanding of the universe over the past 50 years—revolutions that should be celebrated as pinnacles of our intellectual experience—the second goal is to point out that this long-held theological claim is spurious. Modern science has made the something-from-nothing debate irrelevant. It has changed completely our conception of the very words “something” and “nothing”. Empirical discoveries continue to tell us that the Universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not, and ‘something’ and ‘nothing’ are physical concepts and therefore are properly the domain of science, not theology or philosophy. (Indeed, religion and philosophy have added nothing to our understanding of these ideas in millennia.) I spend a great deal of time in the book detailing precisely how physics has changed our notions of “nothing,” for example. The old idea that nothing might involve empty space, devoid of mass or energy, or anything material, for example, has now been replaced by a boiling bubbling brew of virtual particles, popping in and out of existence in a time so short that we cannot detect them directly. I then go on to explain how other versions of “nothing”—beyond merely empty space—including the absence of space itself, and even the absence of physical laws, can morph into “something.” Indeed, in modern parlance, “nothing” is most often unstable. Not only can something arise from nothing, but most often the laws of physics require that to occur.
Read more

TAGGED: INTERVIEWS, LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, SAM HARRIS


RELATED CONTENT

Mars rover searching for signs of life

Lawrence Krauss - CNN Comments

Author and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, discusses what it would be like if we found life on another planet.

Why Some Physicists Bet Against the...

Robert Wright - The Atlantic Comments

Hawking wasn't available to answer that question, but I did manage to have a long conversation with an American physicist who had also doubted the existence of the Higgs--Lawrence Krauss

A Blip That Speaks of Our Place in the...

Lawrence M. Krauss - New York Times Comments

A Blip That Speaks of Our Place in the Universe

How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story...

Lawrence M. Krauss - The Daily Beast Comments

How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story of our Creation

A Quantum Leap

Lawrence Krauss - Slate Comments

Belief in God: Prohibitive or...

Lawrence Krauss - YouTube -... Comments

Belief in God: Prohibitive or Liberating? Lawrence Krauss & Uthman Badar | ANU, April 2012

MORE

MORE BY SAM HARRIS

Free Will

Sam Harris - Free Press 253 Comments


Release date March 6, 2012

Life Without God: An Interview with Tim...

Sam Harris - samharris.org 14 Comments

Tim Prowse was a United Methodist pastor for almost 20 years and left his faith and career in 2011.

Your God is My God What Mitt Romney...

Sam Harris - The Blog 5 Comments

Your God is My God What Mitt Romney Could Say to Win the Republican Nomination

Lying

Sam Harris - Amazon - Kindle edition 120 Comments

September 11, 2011

Sam Harris - SamHarris.org 142 Comments

What defenders of religion cannot say is that anyone has ever gone berserk, or that a society ever failed, because people became too reasonable, intellectually honest, or unwilling to be duped by the dogmatism of their neighbors.

Whither Eagleman?

Sam Harris - SamHarris.org 20 Comments

Part 1 (we hope) of a written exchange between Sam Harris and David Eagleman.

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment