Is Lawrence Krauss’ Nothing Really Nothing? – Does it Matter

Sveiki Skeptics,

Not to long ago, Lawrence Krauss published a book entitled “Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?”, and there was a lot of hype over it, he made all the rounds on the scientific, atheistic and religious podcasts, and was often criticized for many reasons. One of the most commonly argued points by the religious was that the nothing that Lawrence Krauss describes is not ‘strictly’ nothing. Today, I will not try to argue that it is nothing, or that we know how to get something from ‘strictly’ nothing, I am going to argue that it doesn’t really matter, and try to and explain why it is an important part of the progress of science.

First of all, an explanation of Lawrence Krauss’ ‘nothing’. When he talks about something coming from ‘nothing’ which has been proven by science, he is talking about  the vacuum of space, as well as a TOE and electromagnetic fields and gravity. In the vacuum of space, matter and antimatter are created fleetingly, and then come back together and collide back into nothingness. This has been proven by science, and is the reason Hawking radiation exists, causing the shrinking of black holes. One particle of antimatter goes into the black hole, and the other particle of matter goes off into other places, taking down the net weight of the black hole. This happens all the time, everywhere.

When he suggests that the universe can be created from nothing, he is talking about absolute nothingness + a TOE. He gets a lot of flack from the religious about that. They argue that it is really not nothing, and I agree. However, it is unscientific to just say, “Well, its not nothing, ergo God.”

The process of science is to continually discover more and more about the universe, and at no time saying that there is no more that can be found. Science works by looking and looking. But for the religious to just dismiss it because it isn’t quite nothing yet, is just terrible.

Another argument is that you cannot get something from purely nothing, and therefore it is pointless to even bother. But for the religious to just say that something can never come from nothing is hypocritical. The whole concept of religion is that god just IS, ad will always BE. Yet they say that everything has to have a cause.
“Everything has to have a cause… except God.”

The point that Lawrence Krauss’ makes, that something can come from almost nothing, is a valuable scientific contribution, and is important for the progress of science. And religious criticism of this is completely hypocritical, as is almost all cosmological arguments for god, or against natural arguments against god.

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7 thoughts on “Is Lawrence Krauss’ Nothing Really Nothing? – Does it Matter

  1. Religious criticisms of this are completely hypocritical if the notion that God was some sort of super human entity that said SNAP!!! and the world as we know it came into existence. It would be hypocritical should philosophical inquiry disregard science and the evidence provided by science.

    Science, absent philosophical enquiry is just as hypocritical. To disregard the possibility that there is a God (granted maybe not the average evangelical preacher version) would also be intellectually dishonest. There has to be at least one UNconditional reality. For you, the scientist, that may be “nothing + a Theory of Everything”, but we don’t know and to get there and then stop inquiry would be intellectually lazy. On the other side, the philosophers side, that unconditional reality(ies) may be God.

    I see no problem with following both theories down their logical rabbitholes and see where we get. I am a physicist by education and an engineer by employment, I’m no theologian and not a trained philosopher. However, I see a dearth of philosophical inquiry and an intellectual laziness in men like Dawkins and Krauss who sacrifice real and credible philosophic inquiry at the altar of science. Science and Philsophy should go hand in hand into the inquiry behind this existence. For one side to disregard the other seems to be disregarding half the problem. A healthy respect and sceptisicm toward eachother is fine, but listening to Dawkins and Krauss, (Disclosure: I have not read any of their books, but have, since you turned me onto Krauss, watched a few interviews, debates and speeches by them both) I get the feeling that they are playing the same game as Mr. Chopra in shilling a limited view to promote book sales.

    • As scientists, we are not going to stop at “nothing + a TOE”, we are going to keep researching and looking, we are not stopping here, unlike the religious, who are NEVER looking for simpler explanations or systems, and at EVERY stage of science just give up and say, “tiny little gaps in knowledge, ergo god”.

    • Your notion that real and credible philosophers are not continuously re-evaluating their conclusions as new bits of knowledge and understanding come up is incorrect. As to your narrow minded unthinking “religious” types, we are in agreement. However, the fact that there are people who take a shallow and irrational view of metaphysics, is not a valid proof that there is not more to this existence then we can verify through science.

      • While it may be true that legitimate philosophers are reevaluating every time new knowledge comes in, they do it only AFTER science has discovered it and pondered its implications, and they DO (depending on their ideology) say that the small gaps in knowledge must be god.
        What I am saying is that scientists never give up and keep looking further and further, while the religious and philosophers just fill the gaps in knowledge with god.

        • Completely agree. And thanks. You’ve provided me with one more reason why the “God of the Gaps” belief many of the ID folks promote is flawed. See we can agree on something :)

          • I personally think that the god-of-the-gaps argument is the lamest possible reasoning for creationism. As a tip, don’t call it ID. ID is just creationism dressed up in a cheap tuxedo. When creationism was shut down in the courts, they just changed the name to ID and started all over again. Don’t give them that. Call it creationism because it is.

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