Readers may have heard of Larry Krauss, one of the contenders:

When celebrity physicists disagree about some fundamental prediction or hypothesis, there’s often a goofy and well-publicized wager to reassure us that everything is under control. Stephen Hawking bets Kip Thorne a one-year subscription to Penthouse that Cygnus X-1 is not a black hole; Hawking and Thorne team up and bet John Preskill a baseball encyclopedia that quantum mechanics would need to be modified to be compatible with black holes. Et cetera, et cetera. And even as we roll our eyes, we’re grateful because at least some part of us does not want to see these people violently disagreeing about anything.

So when celebrity physicist Lawrence Krauss publicly called celebrity physicist David Albert a “moron” for not appreciating the significance of Krauss’s discovery of the concrete physics of nothingness, it caused quite a stir. In his book, A Universe from Nothing, Krauss argued that in the same way quantum field theory depicts the creation of particles from a region of spacetime devoid of particles (a quantum vacuum), quantum mechanics, if sufficiently generalized, could depict the creation of spacetime itself from pure nothingness. In a scathing New York Times review of Krauss’s book, Albert argued that claiming that physics could concretize “nothing” in this way was at best naïve, and at worst disingenuous. Quantum mechanics is a physical theory, operative only in a physical universe. To contort it into service as a cosmological engine that generates the physical universe from “nothing” requires that the abstract concept of “nothing” be concretized as physical so that the mechanics of quantum mechanics can function. What’s more, if quantum mechanics is functional enough to generate the universe from nothing, then it’s not really nothing; it’s nothing plus quantum mechanics.

Michael Epperson, “The creative universe” atIAI News(June 11, 2021)

It’s a good thing nothing is at stake. 😉

*See also:* What does “nothing” mean in physics? *(Hugh Ross)*

Lawrence Krauss apparently doesn’t understand nothing.

Nothing is not space without time. Probability requires time. And space-time is something, not nothing.

Nothing is non-existence. The Easter bunny is a non-existent entity with only a name. Thus, what he proposes is equivalent to asserting that the universe originated from the Easter bunny. Good luck with that.

-Q

Well that was an interesting article. In the first part of his article Epperson bemoans the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness.” Where “we identify any object, conceptual or physical, as universally fundamental”. He also chides Tegmark for holding that “our successful theories are not mathematics approximating physics, but mathematics approximating mathematics.”

And yet in the second part of his article Epperson goes on to say, “the best solution, (to the incompatibility of general relativity and quantum theory), would be a mathematical framework that was itself impossible to concretize”.

He envisions this new mathematical framework as “the algebraic method.” Where the universe becomes “an open totality-in-process with novel “creative” relations—that is, physical relations that beget new physical relations, not just reconfigurations of previous relations. In such a universe, the business of physics is not the concretizing of what is, but rather the historicizing of what becomes.”

So I guess he just wants us to leave the entire question of “why does mathematics even describe the universe in the first place?”, and the entire question of “exactly how do “novel “creative” relations” happen?” on the cutting room floor? And to just accept the fact that the universe is, somehow and inexplicably, describable by mathematics, and also to just accept that the fact that, somehow and inexplicably, “novel creative relations” just so happen to happen within the new mathematical framework that he, (via Whitehead), is putting forth?

If so, I already have a new name for his new mathematical ‘theory of everything’. It should be called the “stuff just so happens to happen ‘theory of everything’.” 🙂

Something tells me that ignoring those two, rather large, unanswered questions, i.e. those two elephants in his living room, is not going to work for Epperson.

Those questions are simply not going to go away for him no matter how much Epperson himself may personally take it on blind faith that the universe is, somehow and inexplicably, describable by mathematics, and that, somehow and inexplicably, “novel creative relations” just so happen to happen within the new mathematical framework he is, (via Whitehead), putting forth.

As to the first question that Epperson would rather leave unasked in his new mathematical framework, (i.e. Why is the universe even describable by mathematics in the first place?), that the universe is even describe by mathematics in the first place is, rightly, to be considered miraculous.

Don’t take my word for it. Both Albert Einstein and Eugene Wigner are on record as to regarding the applicability of mathematics to the universe to be miraculous.

In fact, Wigner even went so far as to question (atheistic) Darwinian evolution in his process of calling it miraculous,,

And Einstein even went so far as to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in his process of calling it miraculous,,,

As to the second question that Epperson would rather leave unasked, i.e. “exactly how do “novel “creative” relations” just so happen happen in his new mathematical framework?”, might I be too bold in suggesting that it AlWAYS takes a Mind to explain why “novel “creative” relations” just so happen to happen within any mathematical framework?”

Verse and Quotes

I’m glad to see that David Albert confirms that quantum mechanics is a physical theory and we have some agreement on the proposition that you can’t get something from nothing.

Seversky states, “I’m glad to see that David Albert confirms that quantum mechanics is a physical theory”

Hmm, a supposedly purely ‘physical theory’ with a irreducible subjective element built into its conceptual foundation. Exactly how is that suppose to work Seversky?

So they’re arguing about nothing? They would certainly know a lot about that.

Yep. Or as William Shakespeare put it, there’s Much Ado About Nothing, which is quote something when you think about it.

The real question is how you can get something that exists (such as the universe) from something that doesn’t exist (such as the Easter bunny). Lawrence Krauss apparently thinks that this is possible through quantum fluctuations, but it’s not clear whether the bunny or the egg comes first.

-Q

H’mm:

It seems that David Albert hits home with:

Utter nothingness, as someone above suggested, also implies no-time so no temporally distributed probabilities, energy flows, changes etc.

Something from utter nothing, as Sev highlighted, is absurd.

KF

EvS, nothing is actually a worthwhile topic to explore. KF

The ultimate mystery of philosophy/science.

Jerry, hence, logic of being [yes, in the L&FP series], investigated from our participation in a going concern world. KF