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← Something From Nothing - An evening with Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss - Canberra

Something From Nothing - An evening with Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss - Canberra - Comments

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 1 by aquilacane

I think the word nothing should be banned

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 15:44:55 UTC | #933360

Until proven otherwise, I think I be waiting a while's Avatar Comment 2 by Until proven otherwise, I think I be waiting a while

will there be a tv link? or some type of broadcast showing? thanks james

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 17:09:43 UTC | #933383

CJHefford's Avatar Comment 3 by CJHefford

I really want to see this debate live in the UK. I would so travel to see Richard and Lawrence discuss, debate and explain.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 20:12:43 UTC | #933426

caseyg5's Avatar Comment 4 by caseyg5

Doesn't the idea of "nothing" need to be redefined in light of modern physics?

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 23:39:46 UTC | #933472

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 5 by Alternative Carpark

Canberra is a very nice little city. Mostly embassies and the houses of parliament. Visited there twice in one week. Don't ask why.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 00:42:15 UTC | #933494

cgw's Avatar Comment 6 by cgw

Comment 4 by caseyg5 :

Doesn't the idea of "nothing" need to be redefined in light of modern physics?

There seems to me two sorts of nothing one can talk about. The first is the vacuum, empty space, but this isn't really nothing, since it is awash with quantum fields, strings, membranes, the space-time continuum, virtual particles etc. etc. This sort of nothingness is nothingness within the universe.

Then there's the nothingness the universe may "have come out of" (a phrase I don't like since it fails to emphasize that time is an intrinsic property of the universe and not external to it). The "nothing" in that case is the answer to the analogous question "What is more south than the south pole?"

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 02:36:10 UTC | #933514

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 7 by Katy Cordeth

Comment 1 by aquilacane :

I think the word nothing should be banned

How then would we answer the question "What will Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich be doing on 7 November, 2012?"?

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 08:15:54 UTC | #933576

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 8 by mjwemdee

re Comment 6 by cgw

Then there's the nothingness the universe may "have come out of" (a phrase I don't like since it fails to emphasize that time is an intrinsic property of the universe and not external to it).

I don't understand what is wrong with using that phrase. It is in the past perfect tense, surely it implies time as intrinsic?

But at this point anyway we all start getting bogged down in semantics, and end up sounding like Pell, or the dear old Archbish of C.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:29:33 UTC | #933632

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 9 by aquilacane

Comment 7 by katy Cordeth

Comment 1 by aquilacane :

I think the word nothing should be banned

How then would we answer the question "What will Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich be doing on 7 November, 2012?"?

Something else

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:44:59 UTC | #933640

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 10 by aquilacane

Comment 6 by cgw

(a phrase I don't like since it fails to emphasize that time is an intrinsic property of the universe and not external to it).

I don't buy the time intrinsic stuff. I don't buy time, quite frankly. The energy in the universe might mostly be intrinsic to the universe. As for nothing. What exactly was it waiting for before it produced something? The perfect state of nothing? Waiting until it was comfortable? If there were ever nothing, there still would be nothing. Unless it had potential to be something, then it wouldn't be nothing. No such thing can (not?) exist.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:54:49 UTC | #933642

cgw's Avatar Comment 11 by cgw

Comment 10 by aquilacane :

I don't buy the time intrinsic stuff. I don't buy time, quite frankly. The energy in the universe might mostly be intrinsic to the universe. As for nothing. What exactly was it waiting for before it produced something? The perfect state of nothing? Waiting until it was comfortable? If there were ever nothing, there still would be nothing. Unless it had potential to be something, then it wouldn't be nothing. No such thing can (not?) exist.

There are alternative theories for the origin of the universe that do not involve creation from nothing, and maybe they might be more intellectually pleasing to you (though that is not a criterion for their correctness). Nevertheless these theories also have time as intrinsic to the universe since the universe is everything (or else it wouldn't deserve its name).

The "creation from nothing" I was referring to was the Hartle-Hawking's No Boundary Proposal. In this idea the universe is a four-dimensional manifold. Since this is a little bit awkward to visualize it's useful to think of an easier analogy. Consider a sphere (i.e., a two-dimensional object) we can select a North and South Pole and draw on lines of latitude. To understand the sphere we could look at it in the round, so to speak, as a two-dimensional object, doing so we notice that there is nothing remarkable about the poles we drew on and we could formulate some laws of physics (perhaps Euclidean quantum gravity) on the sphere. Now consider the same sphere but by investigating the slices through it defined by the lines of latitude (these correspond to slices of constant time in the universe). First you have the South Pole then a progression of larger and larger and circles until we reach the equator. The circles then come smaller and return to a point at the North Pole. In this 3+1 (i.e., 3 space dimensions + 1 distinguished time dimension) view rather than spacetime view the universe (or sphere) seems "to come from" nothing (i.e., those points south of the South Pole, of which there are none, or in the universe's case times "before" the universe existed, which also are non-existent). It is better to look at the sphere or universe as a 2-dimensional (respectively 4-dimensional) object. The nothingness that is bothersome need not even be mentioned since it is doesn't exist in any mathematical sense. It is an artifact of a particular way of looking at the universe.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 16:52:53 UTC | #933696

cgw's Avatar Comment 12 by cgw

Comment 8 by mjwemdee :

re Comment 6 by cgw

I don't understand what is wrong with using that phrase. It is in the past perfect tense, surely it implies time as intrinsic?

My objection is that it expresses a causal relationship between something that exists (the universe) and something that does not (nothing). There's an additional subtlety since in this view of the creation of the universe time takes on the same characteristics as space (we talk about Euclidean/Riemannian geometry, or about imaginary time) .

But at this point anyway we all start getting bogged down in semantics, and end up sounding like Pell, or the dear old Archbish of C.

The way around that is to be very careful to define our terms and not retreat in sophistry and obfuscation as a method to hide our ignorance.

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 17:31:16 UTC | #933710

Raiko's Avatar Comment 13 by Raiko

What exactly was it waiting for before it produced something? The perfect state of nothing? Waiting until it was comfortable? I

How would it wait? Time did not exist and waiting requires time to pass.

Sat, 14 Apr 2012 09:41:25 UTC | #934578