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Something Coming From Nothing Realization...

Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/1/2013 11:13:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I just realized that, if it is true that something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed. However, I know that in the quantum world, something does "seem" to come from nothing. Quantum fluctuations explains how virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause. I just have a hunch that there is a cause to this phenomenon we just have not pinpointed it yet, or perhaps we do not have the tools or brainpower to ever pinpoint it. It just doesn't follow logically that something comes from nothing, and it is really bothering me. Thoughts?
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000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/1/2013 11:29:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm not sure why this isn't investigated (at least to my limited knowledge) by more philosophers and biologists... but evolution practically necessitates a limit to the intelligibility of nature. We have developed completely in such a tiny milieu in this incomprehensibly vast universe and yet we have an intrinsic knowledge of the basic laws of everything? Unlikely.

So nature is not obligated to abide by logic. Nature came first, logic was only an evolutionary approximation of its behavior.... whose end is not truth, but self-preservation. While to undermine the universality of logic we would already be presupposing some of its axioms, it's perfectly valid that we can find the limitations of logic while still operating within it.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Drayson
Posts: 288
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9/1/2013 11:59:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It only bothers you (and most other people), because it's based on mechanics that fall outside our intuitive understanding of the universe. It bothers you in the same way that Einstein's Theory of Relativity bothered everyone (including some of the greatest minds of the time) when he first developed it.

We as humans have a very restricted and limited ability to conceptualize reality - we've only developed the skill to understand things insofar as they relate to our survival and well-being. Even the physicists who deal with such things only reach their conclusions through advanced mathematics...so if a person doesn't understand the maths, they won't understand it at all.
"I'm not saying I don't trust you...and I'm not saying I do. But I don't"

-Topper Harley
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/2/2013 1:14:28 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/1/2013 11:29:30 PM, 000ike wrote:
I'm not sure why this isn't investigated (at least to my limited knowledge) by more philosophers and biologists... but evolution practically necessitates a limit to the intelligibility of nature. We have developed completely in such a tiny milieu in this incomprehensibly vast universe and yet we have an intrinsic knowledge of the basic laws of everything? Unlikely.

So nature is not obligated to abide by logic. Nature came first, logic was only an evolutionary approximation of its behavior.... whose end is not truth, but self-preservation. While to undermine the universality of logic we would already be presupposing some of its axioms, it's perfectly valid that we can find the limitations of logic while still operating within it.

Very nice point about logic but I do not think we can just undermine all of logic because we have evolved for self-preservation. Logic should be just valid even though us humans have developed it and pointed it out. Our logic does seem to explain almost every observable thing in our universe, so perhaps nature does in fact abide by logical rules similar to the ones we have derived? Perhaps it exists in the same way as natural laws existing in our universe, if they "exist" at all. This brings me to a very important question actually, do natural laws exist? (e.g. law of gravity)
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Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/2/2013 1:18:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/1/2013 11:59:59 PM, Drayson wrote:
It only bothers you (and most other people), because it's based on mechanics that fall outside our intuitive understanding of the universe. It bothers you in the same way that Einstein's Theory of Relativity bothered everyone (including some of the greatest minds of the time) when he first developed it.

We as humans have a very restricted and limited ability to conceptualize reality - we've only developed the skill to understand things insofar as they relate to our survival and well-being. Even the physicists who deal with such things only reach their conclusions through advanced mathematics...so if a person doesn't understand the maths, they won't understand it at all.

That is a fair assessment, us humans are limited in our conceptual abilities. So perhaps it is a question that cannot be understood or answered by us humans. This is somewhat depressing, but I guess its nice that there are still great mysteries that will probably never be answered. Knowing everything may be quite boring.
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wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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9/4/2013 3:57:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/1/2013 11:13:13 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I just realized that, if it is true that something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed.

Right.

However, I know that in the quantum world, something does "seem" to come from nothing.

Don't confuse coming from nothing with happening without a cause.

Quantum fluctuations explains how virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause.

Sure, they're uncaused, but they aren't coming from nothing.

I just have a hunch that there is a cause to this phenomenon we just have not pinpointed it yet, or perhaps we do not have the tools or brainpower to ever pinpoint it. It just doesn't follow logically that something comes from nothing, and it is really bothering me. Thoughts?

Which phenomenon are you trying to discuss? Uncausedness, or from nothing?
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/4/2013 4:05:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 3:57:35 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 9/1/2013 11:13:13 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I just realized that, if it is true that something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed.

Right.


However, I know that in the quantum world, something does "seem" to come from nothing.

Don't confuse coming from nothing with happening without a cause.


Quantum fluctuations explains how virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause.

Sure, they're uncaused, but they aren't coming from nothing.

If something is uncaused doesn't that mean it comes from nothing? Because if it is uncaused then that means that nothing caused it, which means that uncaused things may happen due to nothing. Put in another way, if quantum fluctuations are uncaused but come from something doesn't that mean it is caused by that something?

I just have a hunch that there is a cause to this phenomenon we just have not pinpointed it yet, or perhaps we do not have the tools or brainpower to ever pinpoint it. It just doesn't follow logically that something comes from nothing, and it is really bothering me. Thoughts?

Which phenomenon are you trying to discuss? Uncausedness, or from nothing?
From my response above perhaps you can see why I think uncausedness must mean from nothing or else it is caused.
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wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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9/4/2013 7:11:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 4:05:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
If something is uncaused doesn't that mean it comes from nothing?

No.

Because if it is uncaused then that means that nothing caused it,

Right.

which means that uncaused things may happen due to nothing.

You understand that you're twisting language now, I hope?

Put in another way, if quantum fluctuations are uncaused but come from something doesn't that mean it is caused by that something?

No.

From my response above perhaps you can see why I think uncausedness must mean from nothing or else it is caused.

Imagine a universe in which nothing existed, and then, poof, suddenly something did exist. That's coming from nothing.

Now imagine this universe, with plenty of things existing, and suddenly---for no reason---a uranium atom emits an alpha particle. That's something happening uncaused.

But, hey, if you want to keep conflating the two concepts, fine. You'll not get any meaningful answer to your questions if you do that, but knock yourself out. I'll unsubscribe from this thread.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/4/2013 8:56:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 7:11:05 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 9/4/2013 4:05:39 PM, Orangatang wrote:
If something is uncaused doesn't that mean it comes from nothing?

No.



Because if it is uncaused then that means that nothing caused it,

Right.

which means that uncaused things may happen due to nothing.

You understand that you're twisting language now, I hope?

I see now where my statement may be confusing.

Put in another way, if quantum fluctuations are uncaused but come from something doesn't that mean it is caused by that something?

No.


From my response above perhaps you can see why I think uncausedness must mean from nothing or else it is caused.

Imagine a universe in which nothing existed, and then, poof, suddenly something did exist. That's coming from nothing.

But if nothing existed and suddenly something just popped into existence then you can also say it was uncaused. I think this is where we might be confusing things as I see a synonymous relationship with saying "something comes from nothing" and "something starts existence uncaused."

Now imagine this universe, with plenty of things existing, and suddenly---for no reason---a uranium atom emits an alpha particle. That's something happening uncaused.

But, hey, if you want to keep conflating the two concepts, fine. You'll not get any meaningful answer to your questions if you do that, but knock yourself out. I'll unsubscribe from this thread.

I'm honestly not trying to conflate anything, either I am genuinely confused but do not know where, or you do not understand my example. The example I posited is not a uranium atom emitting an alpha particle it is virtual particles that pop in and out of existence, everywhere...
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The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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9/4/2013 9:04:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The Fool: The Fool: They come into recognition, natural science is what we "recognize" with the senses. It is a recognition/reality fallacy, to equate what we recognize with what exists, popping in and out of existence is not sound.

For one, the expression assumes that something is coming in, to something, in existence, and out, of something.

While existence itself is not a thing, but rather something exists because it is a thing.

Many scientists are horrible at conceptualizing, because the overestimate the extent to which all things are seen.

What is most ironic about physics, is that they "physicist "actually see the least of all. As most of their theories are based off, some form of mathematical inference rather than observed.

It is clearly a fallacy to think something does not exist when we no longer see it, and likewise that it exists only when being seen.
We would not think electromagnetism existed 500 years ago, and it would seem to come out of nonexistence, which is nonsense. Because nonexistence, it doesn't exist. It is important to understand that, the quantum world is measured, with probabilistic mathematics which itself is incomplete, and thus could only give incomplete measurements, we know this before experimenting. It is all too popular to confuse the measure, with the thing being measured. Or at least that is what a wise man once told me, in a dream of dreams. To myself.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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9/5/2013 6:09:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 8:56:38 PM, Orangatang wrote:
At 9/4/2013 7:11:05 PM, wiploc wrote:
I'm honestly not trying to conflate anything, either I am genuinely confused but do not know where, or you do not understand my example. The example I posited is not a uranium atom emitting an alpha particle it is virtual particles that pop in and out of existence, everywhere...

Okay, I'm back, resubscribing to this thread.

Imagine what we call a vacuum as actually being space filled with energy. (Don't ask me what kind of energy, because I don't know. If anybody does know, I'd like to hear from you. Lets assume that it is just electromagnetic radiation that is passing thru the "empty" space.

Now assume that some of the energy suddenly converts from one form into another: It quits being electromagnetic radiation, and becomes a pair of virtual particles. It doesn't do this for any reason; the change is uncaused. Suddenly, for a moment, there are two oppositely charged particles. They attract each other, come together, and annihilate, converting back into radiation.

This is an example of something happening without cause, but it is not an example of something coming from nothing. The distinction is important because creationist arguments rely entirely on blurring the difference.

As for your hunch that there really is a cause and we will one day find it: Scientists didn't give up believing in cause easily. They had to be forced to do so by the facts. It may turn out that the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong, but that will mean giving up something else. What would be worse than giving up cause? I can't imagine. But know that the other possible interpretations involve something horrible enough that scientists generally give up cause rather than the other things. Must be horrible indeed.
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/5/2013 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Okay, I'm back, resubscribing to this thread.

Imagine what we call a vacuum as actually being space filled with energy. (Don't ask me what kind of energy, because I don't know. If anybody does know, I'd like to hear from you. Lets assume that it is just electromagnetic radiation that is passing thru the "empty" space.

Now assume that some of the energy suddenly converts from one form into another: It quits being electromagnetic radiation, and becomes a pair of virtual particles. It doesn't do this for any reason; the change is uncaused. Suddenly, for a moment, there are two oppositely charged particles. They attract each other, come together, and annihilate, converting back into radiation.

This is an example of something happening without cause, but it is not an example of something coming from nothing. The distinction is important because creationist arguments rely entirely on blurring the difference.

I see exactly what you mean here, and it is true that no matter where we look in our universe there is ALWAYS something. We have never actually observed pure nothingness, therefore cannot make any definitive statement of how nothingness behaves or what properties nothingness holds.

I think another useful distinction to note here is that if something does indeed come into existence from nothing then perhaps that nothingness actually caused it, or it is an uncaused phenomenon. On the other hand if something happens uncaused, it does not at all mean that it "came from nothing" it just means that no thing caused that phenomenon to happen. I think this clears up that confusion now.

As for your hunch that there really is a cause and we will one day find it: Scientists didn't give up believing in cause easily. They had to be forced to do so by the facts. It may turn out that the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong, but that will mean giving up something else. What would be worse than giving up cause? I can't imagine. But know that the other possible interpretations involve something horrible enough that scientists generally give up cause rather than the other things. Must be horrible indeed.

I see, this makes plenty of sense however does the Copenhagen interpretation really say that things happen without a cause? If it does as you say it does, then that is actually quite scary I agree. An inconsistent world where things happen for no apparent reason with no apparent cause may be terrifying, but from everyday experience I can be quite comfortable in the fact that the universe and it's laws are consistent (hence my hunch) and that is what makes nature so enlightening.
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wiploc
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9/5/2013 8:41:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/5/2013 8:25:40 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I see exactly what you mean here, and it is true that no matter where we look in our universe there is ALWAYS something. We have never actually observed pure nothingness, therefore cannot make any definitive statement of how nothingness behaves or what properties nothingness holds.

D

I see, this makes plenty of sense however does the Copenhagen interpretation really say that things happen without a cause?

Yes.
Wocambs
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9/8/2013 5:32:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
It's my understanding that instead of questioning our ability to understand the world through logic we should be questioning our understanding of nothingness and causality.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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9/9/2013 5:47:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/1/2013 11:13:13 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I just realized that, if it is true that something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed. However, I know that in the quantum world, something does "seem" to come from nothing. Quantum fluctuations explains how virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause.

It describes it, it doesn't explain it.

I just have a hunch that there is a cause to this phenomenon we just have not pinpointed it yet, or perhaps we do not have the tools or brainpower to ever pinpoint it. It just doesn't follow logically that something comes from nothing, and it is really bothering me. Thoughts?

You are equating so called "empty space" within the spacetime continuum to nothing, but it isn't nothing, it is something. Nothing would mean nonexistence, the spacetime continuum exists. The zero energy state from which quantum fluctuations derive is a very dynamic and constantly changing state full of complex forces that balance each other exactly . Quantum theory consists of a very complex set of laws, and it is not very sensible to say that the counterbalancing of positive and negative forces is equivalent to nothing at all.

Quantum theory doesn't postulate something from nothing in the beginning, neither does cosmology. Physicists apply relativity and quantum theory to a postulated primordial mass to get a cosmic loophole big enough for all creation to jump through, that certainly isn't something from nothing,
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Orangatang
Posts: 442
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9/9/2013 4:23:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 5:47:52 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 9/1/2013 11:13:13 PM, Orangatang wrote:
I just realized that, if it is true that something cannot come from nothing then something must have always existed. However, I know that in the quantum world, something does "seem" to come from nothing. Quantum fluctuations explains how virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time for no apparent reason, with no apparent cause.

It describes it, it doesn't explain it.

I just have a hunch that there is a cause to this phenomenon we just have not pinpointed it yet, or perhaps we do not have the tools or brainpower to ever pinpoint it. It just doesn't follow logically that something comes from nothing, and it is really bothering me. Thoughts?

You are equating so called "empty space" within the spacetime continuum to nothing, but it isn't nothing, it is something. Nothing would mean nonexistence, the spacetime continuum exists. The zero energy state from which quantum fluctuations derive is a very dynamic and constantly changing state full of complex forces that balance each other exactly . Quantum theory consists of a very complex set of laws, and it is not very sensible to say that the counterbalancing of positive and negative forces is equivalent to nothing at all.

You are right, my mistake for calling empty space "nothing." We have never observed nothing in our universe, so we do not know how nothing behaves. However, I think if it logically follows that nothing comes from nothing, then the universe as we know it, was never nothing. Therefore something has always existed.

Quantum theory doesn't postulate something from nothing in the beginning, neither does cosmology. Physicists apply relativity and quantum theory to a postulated primordial mass to get a cosmic loophole big enough for all creation to jump through, that certainly isn't something from nothing,

I see, so no physicist has actually made a theory of something from nothing, not even Lawrence Krauss. He assumes that the laws of physics exist (and does not have an answer of how they got there, perhaps they always existed), then he is able to make a theory of how the universe came into existence, using those laws.
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johnlubba
Posts: 2,892
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9/11/2013 12:58:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/2/2013 1:18:54 AM, Orangatang wrote:
At 9/1/2013 11:59:59 PM, Drayson wrote:
It only bothers you (and most other people), because it's based on mechanics that fall outside our intuitive understanding of the universe. It bothers you in the same way that Einstein's Theory of Relativity bothered everyone (including some of the greatest minds of the time) when he first developed it.

We as humans have a very restricted and limited ability to conceptualize reality - we've only developed the skill to understand things insofar as they relate to our survival and well-being. Even the physicists who deal with such things only reach their conclusions through advanced mathematics...so if a person doesn't understand the maths, they won't understand it at all.

That is a fair assessment, us humans are limited in our conceptual abilities. So perhaps it is a question that cannot be understood or answered by us humans. This is somewhat depressing, but I guess its nice that there are still great mysteries that will probably never be answered. Knowing everything may be quite boring.

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.

~ Harry Emerson Fosdick