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Pop cosmology: Believing in Nothing instead of God

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In “Has the Meaning of Nothing Changed?” (Slate, July 23, 2012), Ron Rosenbaum offers a dose of pop cosmology for your morning joe – the effort to make Nothing into God:

Why should you care about nothing? Well, I know what I care most about is the purity of the nothing invoked in this maddening question. Pure nothingness: It’s the last unspoiled, uncluttered concept in the cosmos. I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in Nothing, in the sense I want to believe in mysteries beyond the reach of the mind. It makes life more interesting if existence can’t yet be reduced to a series of equations.

Which is why I’ve been waiting anxiously for Jim Holt to weigh in on the question of nothing. Now, finally, with the publication of his book, Why Does the World Exist?, which was 18 years in the making, he has. Holt’s book should put nothing on your mind.

You may know of Holt from his work in the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker (where his devastating account of the confusions of string theorists caused a stir in 2006), or as a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review on complex matters of science and philosophy. What you may not know is that his current book is the culmination of years pursuing this ultimate question with the best minds in the realms of quantum cosmology, philosophy, and theology all over the world.

Slate also offers an article based on Holt’s book.

See also: Peter Woit warns Michael Shermer not to discredit atheism over multiverse

4 Replies to “Pop cosmology: Believing in Nothing instead of God

  1. 1
    Latemarch says:

    “You keep using that word.”
    “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Inigo Montoya

  2. 2
    humbled says:

    This is great, when my bank manager calls bringing my attention to the fact I’ve NOTHING left in my bank account, I’ll simply quote Jim Holt.

    Clearly all this time we’ve got it wrong, nothing really means something..

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    Because no less a person than Hawking has attempted to confuse everyone by claiming that “nothing” in fact included SOMETHING, getting back to an honest definition of “real nothing” is progress.

    Or are we going to be afflicted with a continuum: really-real absolute nothing; kinda sorta nothing but with a few spots; mostly nothing; practically nothing; nothing interesting; nothing worth talking about; something, but hardly noteworthy…

  4. 4
    sergiomendes says:

    I am warely confused. Is mr rosenbaum cosmologist? if not, i would think that the question of “nothing” should be address to this mr/dr holt. the question of “nothing” in science sense probably much different from everyday sense, no? thank you for any response.


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