Cosmology

That weasel word “nothing” … which “nothing” does Hawking think created everything?

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In “Have I lost my mind and ability to think logically, or have Darwinists and people like Hawking lost theirs?”, Gil Dodgen observes,

Hawking says that nothing created everything. If nothing is nothing, it creates nothing, …

You mean, Bernie Madoff’s universe, Gil? Ah, the weasels  of  “nothing” …

Astronomer Hugh Ross, author of Why the universe is the way it is (Baker, 2008) offers some thoughts on the variations of nothingness and their weaselly uses:

“If absolute nothingness could spontaneously produce something, scientists would see new somethings arising everywhere. Instead, they see the consistent operation of the first law of thermodynamics, which says the total amount of matter and energy within the universe can neither be increased nor decreased.”

Scientists, theologians, and philosophers define nothing differently.

It can mean “a complete lack of:

1. Matter;
2. Matter and energy;
3. Matter, energy, and the three big cosmic space dimensions (length, width and height);
4. Matter, energy, and all the cosmic space dimensions (including the six tiny space dimensions implied by string theories)
5. Matter, energy, and all the cosmic space and time dimensions;
6. Matter, energy, cosmic space and time dimensions, and created nonphysical entities;
7. Matter, energy, cosmic space and time dimensions, created nonphysical entities, and other dimensions of space and time;
8. Matter, energy, cosmic space and time dimensions, crated nonphysical entities, and other dimensions or realms-spatial, temporal, or otherwise; or
9. Anything and everything real, created or otherwise.

And he asks,

So what kind of nothingness did the universe come from? According to the space-time theorems of general relativity, not from the first five or possibly six kinds on this list. In other words, the universe could not possibly have arisen from matter, energy, and/or any of the space-time dimensions associated with them, either existing or previously existing. The reason number 6 remains open to debate is that, depending on one’s theological/philosophical perspective, created nonphysical entities may or may not be endowed with the ability to create space-time dimensions.

The space-time theorems also eliminate option number 9. The universe of matter, energy, space, and time is, in itself, an effect. Every effect is generated by a cause. Absolute nothingness – the complete lack of anything and everything – cannot be a cause or causal agent. That is ruled out by definition and also by observation. If absolute nothingness could spontaneously produce something, scientists would see new somethings arising everywhere. Instead, they see the consistent operation of the first law of thermodynamics, which says the total amount of matter and energy within the universe can neither be increased nor decreased.” (p. 130-131)

(Reposted from Colliding Universes nothing (September 10, 2008) )

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6 Replies to “That weasel word “nothing” … which “nothing” does Hawking think created everything?

  1. 1
    material.infantacy says:

    “You mean, Bernie Madoff’s universe, Gil? Ah, the weasels of ”nothing” …”

    I think he means Social Security.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    If you say you pull a cosmos out of nothing, then speak of causal antecedents, you have done a bait and switch, perhaps inadvertently.

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    What? Hasn’t Hawking watched The Sound of Music? If he did, he would learn the simple truth, “Nothing came from nothing, nothing ever could” 😉

  4. 4
    r2d3 says:

    Which requires more faith to believe?

    In the beginning, NOTHING.

    In the beginning, a SINGULARITY.

    In the beginning, GOD.

    *

    Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
    You gotta have somethin’
    If you wanna be with me
    — Billy Preston (1974)

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    If nothing means anything then it means nothing If something emerged from a supposed nothing then there wasn’t nothing in the first place. This is one of the few points on which kairosfocus and I agree, if there had ever been nothing, there would still be nothing. Or, as they say in Yorskhire, “You don’t get owt for nowt.”

  6. 6
    groovamos says:

    “if there had ever been nothing, there would still be nothing. ”

    But what if there was ONLY nothing in your scenario. And how do you show that if there was only nothing that there would always be only nothing? If that is what you mean.

    And if you were to try to prove that: WAS only nothing leads to ALWAYS only nothing, you would be self refuting, as ‘was’ and ‘always’ require time, which is something.

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