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Something From Nothing

steve_bank

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I am moving my discussion of something from nothing over here from religion. I put it under metaphysics because something from nothing is no more provable or testable than religious creationism. If there is no possible experiment then it can’t be science, at least by Popper’s definition. Some considered String Theory philosophy for the same reason.


Non-Exiastence - No mass or energy or causation

Something From Nothing - Mass and energy appearing or manifesting in our reality out of non-existence without any causality, the appearance of mass and energy.

In the 90s Hawking wrote he could prove the universe cod create itself out of nothing which resulted in a religious response.

Something from non existence’ to consistence is analogous to creationism regardless of who proposes it, scientific credentials or not.

Continuing from the other thread, There is nothing that says a virtual particle comes from any kind of ‘non existence’.

I looked at virtual particles years back on the science forum.

After looking at it again I get the same conclusion.

It is interpretation and semantics. To me it looks like a gap filler in a partcle process. Part of a Feynman diagram. There is nothing wrong with that. A working thory does not have to reflect reality exactly, it has to predict measurable outcomes.

With capacitance Maxwell was faced with a dilemma, a capacitor is an open circuit so he had to resolve it Kirchhoff current law, essential conservation of energy, and Ampere’s Law. He came up with displacement current to resolve the issue.

A photon can be said to come to being from non existence. A photon does not exist at rest and goes out of existence when absorbed., but not from otr to nothing.

Run a current through a wire antenna and locally there will be a jumble of electric and magnetic fields but no propagating wave uf photons with orthoganal electric and magnetic field. This change from one state to the next can not occur nstantaneously, even particles.

Nothing happens in zero time, as dt goes to zero you end up with a divide by zero and an infinte asymptote. If something comes from nothing is it instantaneous? If so what is the energy required? Or is it a lossless process.

No energy and mass and no causation is what I call magic. Abracadabra and a particle appears and dispears.

A sequence of particle creation and extinction can not be instantaneous unless you want to dispense with causallity and C as a limit.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Literally something from literally nothing would seem to be a physical impossibility. In the same fashion, a "first cause", to get stuff moving, would present the same problem. So, it would seem natural to conclude that "stuff-in-motion" has always been and always will be.

How long has this been going on? Well, the notion of "eternity" comes to mind. Eternity is infinite time. And, where would we find ourselves in this infinite time line? Right in the middle seems as reasonable as anywhere else, with one eternity behind us and another eternity in front of us. (Yep. 1/2 of eternity = eternity. Eternity is funny that way).

This would suggest that entropy is a purely local phenomena, and that, within infinity, no matter is ever added and no matter is ever lost. If matter were ever lost, then, given that an eternity has already past, it would all be gone by now. But, here we are, looking around, and seeing stuff in motion. So, stuff in motion must be eternal.

It would seem reasonable then that our universe (and any other universes too far away to see) would follow a Big Bounce cosmology, alternating eternally from a Big Bang of expansion into a new universe followed by a Big Crunch as matter is re-accumulated into a very large Black Hole that eventually reaches some tipping point and explodes into another Big Bang, ad infinitum.

But what about the accelerating expansion of our current universe? Perhaps that is a problem of relative viewpoint. We know that gravity causes acceleration as things fall toward each other. Perhaps, instead of expanding, we are accelerating back to the middle, the center of gravity from which we originally sprang. And we are not viewing the stars beyond us as moving away from us, but it is instead us, falling away from them, at an accelerating rate back toward the center, in a Big Crunch, and on our way to the next Big Bang.
 

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Let's imagine the beginning of a universe as it happens from within this one.

It involves two contexts of consideration.

At first, the universe does not exist at all. Sure A universe exists in this model, but it's not the one being created. It's a possibility, a potential choice someone can make. This is not exactly "nothing".

Then, someone writes that idea into a more solid thing: a system that creates universes. Still, the universe does not exist yet but still too it is not "nothing".

Then the creator makes a platform on which this long array of intents and planned choices can be instantiated. This is not the universe, is in fact no part of it. Yet still this is not "nothing".

Then the creator by whatever means pushes the thing into life, and starts it's symmetrical cycle. It is not really a universe yet. It is just churning, endless masturbation without a past and a future -- or perhaps with infinite past and infinite future. Yet still this is not "nothing".

And then the symmetry gets broken in the way either planned or perhaps unplanned: the system sparks into complicated reaction everywhere, from this precipice of infinite and perfect instability. This is in fact very "something".

Even when things do not yet exist as they might later, they are still not "nothing".

I can point to a couple folks who would say unequivocally that this universe I created was causally necessary, even. Perhaps it is the nature that if anything exists, if there is ever to be anything, then it is necessary for universes not just to exist, but to come into existence new, and yet from their own perspective without beginning and end.

Of course this implies that when a universe is in perfect symmetry, this allows "Last Thursday" to exist.
 

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"Virtual" particles are real, are experimentally demonstrated by the well known Casimir plates experiment, and arise spontaneously from quantum fluctuations in spacetime.

If you think that 'there is no possible experiment', then you're just wrong. The experiment was proposed in 1948, and has been performed with increasing accuracy by various teams between 1958 and the present day; The observed results match Casimir's predictions.
 

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A working thory does not have to reflect reality exactly, it has to predict measurable outcomes.
And a lightbulb doesn’t need to work, it just needs to look like it works. But then you need to figure out why it looks like it works.
The fact that you can create a rats nest of fields and photons doesn’t explain the results of any (let alone all) of the experiments that are consistent with virtual particles as physically real. If I’m wrong about that, you should be the first engineer to win a Nobel prize in physics.
 

steve_bank

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A working thory does not have to reflect reality exactly, it has to predict measurable outcomes.
And a lightbulb doesn’t need to work, it just needs to look like it works. But then you need to figure out why it looks like it works.
The fact that you can create a rats nest of fields and photons doesn’t explain the results of any (let alone all) of the experiments that are consistent with virtual particles as physically real. If I’m wrong about that, you should be the first engineer to win a Nobel prize in physics.
A light bulb works regardless of how it is modeled. Edison was pure trial and error with very little knowledge of scince. QM, EMR, ad electric current were yet to be developed and accpted.

'The map is not the countryside', to me science is a map that does not necessarily represent physical reality.

Virtual particles or whatever you call it that come from nothing as I defne it are impossuble.

Is an electron real or is it a result of opir meaurimg something? Is an electron a neat litte spericl blob?

Paraphrasing Carver Meade in an interview he expressed my view. I don't nknow if an electron exists, but I know I can do useful things with the idea. How big is an electron? It is as big or small as it needs to be.


But this is diversion.


The OP is about how I defined something from nothing. I categoricaly reject any theory that runs counter to it.

In the example I linked to in the her thread a circuit can be developed and mathematicaly simulated that violates 2nd Law. Impossible to physically construct. Point being a theory does not necessarily reflect reality. The test is an experiment.

I have a relative who woked on RHIC at Brookhaven. I got to see the ring and the experiemnt chmabe. In a partcle experiment will a virtual particle register as having mas and energy on a mass spectrometer or a cloud chamber? If it does, does it come from nowhere?

The question is can something come from nothing? A photon does not come from nothing, there is a causation and source.
 

bilby

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In a partcle experiment will a virtual particle register as having mas and energy on a mass spectrometer or a cloud chamber?
Yes.
If it does, does it come from nowhere?
Yes.

Your imagination and beliefs aren't a better source of factual information than scientific experiments.

As mentioned above, there is both theoretical and experimental evidence for the reality of particles spontaneously existing due to quantum fluctuations.

That these real particles were described by early theorists as 'virtual' merely reflects the fact that they, like you, were incredulous of the results popping out of their theories. Unlike you, they had the excuse that at that time there was no experimental evidence to contradict their incredulity.
 

bilby

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The question is can something come from nothing? A photon does not come from nothing, there is a causation and source.
The answer is 'yes'. Photons arise from spacetime (the so called 'quantum vacuum') all the time. There's no evidence whatsoever of either causation or source; It's just another of the many quantum scale phenomena that appear inexplicable and even unbelievable to humans who evolved without awareness of these very small scale phenomena.

But unlike human intuition, repeatable experimental evidence with a sound theoretical basis is not something we can just disregard.
 

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"Virtual" particles are real, are experimentally demonstrated by the well known Casimir plates experiment, and arise spontaneously from quantum fluctuations in spacetime.

If you think that 'there is no possible experiment', then you're just wrong. The experiment was proposed in 1948, and has been performed with increasing accuracy by various teams between 1958 and the present day; The observed results match Casimir's predictions.

That's just mistaking not knowing where the virtual particles come from with them coming from nowhere (or nothing).
 

bilby

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"Virtual" particles are real, are experimentally demonstrated by the well known Casimir plates experiment, and arise spontaneously from quantum fluctuations in spacetime.

If you think that 'there is no possible experiment', then you're just wrong. The experiment was proposed in 1948, and has been performed with increasing accuracy by various teams between 1958 and the present day; The observed results match Casimir's predictions.

That's just mistaking not knowing where the virtual particles come from with them coming from nowhere (or nothing).
Nah, it's just dependent on your definition of 'nothing'.

If spacetime at its energy minimum is 'nothing' then virtual particles are something from nothing.

If spacetime itself is 'something', then 'nothing' is nowhere and never. It's hard to imagine how even a zero-point spacetime vacuum could arise from nowhere and never. 'From' doesn't even make sense in the absence of spacetime.

That's a metaphysical question, and perhaps even an interesting one; But denying the reality of "virtual" particles (as Steve does in his OP) isn't metaphysics, it's just erroneous physics.
 

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If spacetime itself is 'something', then 'nothing' is nowhere and never.

Exactly. The appearance/disappearance of “virtual” particles is a real feature of our spacetime continuum. That it doesn’t fit with Steve’s mental picture of the universe is inconsequential.

denying the reality of "virtual" particles (as Steve does in his OP) isn't metaphysics, it's just erroneous physics.

It seems to be a reflexive retreat into Newtonian understanding.
“I went to the collider and ain’t seen no dam particles popping’!”
 

Swammerdami

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I don't think you can escape the "something from nothing paradox" just by positing an endless universe. Even if you have a "self-sufficient" universe, or some metaverse consisting of an infinity of such objects, you can frame it and ask what brought that frame and its contents into being, or what beholds it? Nothing or something? And if something, then what creates or beholds that? I'm afraid it's "something or nothing" all the way down!

An easier task is to contemplate the beginning and end of our ordinary universe. Two interesting theories are (1) Penrose's CCC and (2) the Big Crunch model which may lead to the exciting  Gold universe which features retrocausality.

The Gold universe model is rejected these days, but NOT because it is theoretically unsound (although it seems to impose a big burden on the equations of General Relativity). Instead it is rejected because it seems to contradict astronomical data: the universe's expansion is expected to continue forever, rather than eventually Crunching.
 

steve_bank

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Some claim virtual particles as an example of coming from nothing. I believe that was the case on the relgion thread.

If they appear on a Feynman Diagram then causality and a genesis is inferred. If they are undecided in a particle expeimnt then they are theoretical.

I was looking to see if anyone would make a case for something from non existence as defined in the OP. I put the thread on philosophy not science. If something appeased with mass and energy there is no way to prove it came from nothing.

In the 90s Hawking wrote he coud prove the universe could create itsel without god with the expected religious response. He also said something about black holes instendedd to hide knowledge from us.
 

bilby

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Some claim virtual particles as an example of coming from nothing. I believe that was the case on the relgion thread.

If they appear on a Feynman Diagram then causality and a genesis is inferred. If they are undecided in a particle expeimnt then they are theoretical.

I was looking to see if anyone would make a case for something from non existence as defined in the OP. I put the thread on philosophy not science. If something appeased with mass and energy there is no way to prove it came from nothing.

In the 90s Hawking wrote he coud prove the universe could create itsel without god with the expected religious response. He also said something about black holes instendedd to hide knowledge from us.
As I said, it depends on what you mean by 'nothing'.

It's experimentally demonstrated that spacetime with no matter or energy present isn't a stable state, and that matter and energy constantly pop in and out of existence in such an environment.

If you don't like it, tough. Reality doesn't care what you like.

If you don't understand it, tough. See above.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I've taken in physics lectures where the presenter defined "nothing" as spacetime minus any particles. If this is nothing then nothing is clearly something. End of debate and confusion.

Maybe the real problem is use of the word "existence." Maybe we should ask "Why is there existence instead of non-existence?" But wouldn't that be the same as asking "Why is there 7 instead of no 7?" We can't just take words and say words equate with objective reality and then go off into debate. Or maybe we should, so people can understand and learn.
 

steve_bank

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I've taken in physics lectures where the presenter defined "nothing" as spacetime minus any particles. If this is nothing then nothing is clearly something. End of debate and confusion.

Maybe the real problem is use of the word "existence." Maybe we should ask "Why is there existence instead of non-existence?" But wouldn't that be the same as asking "Why is there 7 instead of no 7?" We can't just take words and say words equate with objective reality and then go off into debate. Or maybe we should, so people can understand and learn.
Even with that definition the question remains. Can something appear in space time without causation?

The definition does not answer the question.

Take away causation and you can justify cretionism.
 

bilby

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I've taken in physics lectures where the presenter defined "nothing" as spacetime minus any particles. If this is nothing then nothing is clearly something. End of debate and confusion.

Maybe the real problem is use of the word "existence." Maybe we should ask "Why is there existence instead of non-existence?" But wouldn't that be the same as asking "Why is there 7 instead of no 7?" We can't just take words and say words equate with objective reality and then go off into debate. Or maybe we should, so people can understand and learn.
Even with that definition the question remains. Can something appear in space time without causation?
YES!

Indeed, it's not possible for it not to.
The definition does not answer the question.
No, but the experimental evidence and the theory certainly do.
Take away causation and you can justify cretionism.
Not really.

Quantum mechanics is probabilistic. Strict causation would require a level of certainty that is not possible.

Heisenberg prohibits spacetime from containing nothing for any significant duration. Casimir proves that he is correct to do so.

You don't have to like it nor understand it for it to be demonstrably true.
 

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I’ve never studied quantum mechanics besides reading the popular “gee whiz” type books, but it seems to me that space/time without matter/energy is by definition a nonsensical notion. Space/time is defined by matter/energy, no?

Furthermore, no space/time means that infinitely long and infinitely short would be equivalent. Eternity would be an instantaneous state. Existence would be inevitable.

Well, that makes some sort of sense to me, at least.
 

skepticalbip

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I've taken in physics lectures where the presenter defined "nothing" as spacetime minus any particles. If this is nothing then nothing is clearly something. End of debate and confusion.

Maybe the real problem is use of the word "existence." Maybe we should ask "Why is there existence instead of non-existence?" But wouldn't that be the same as asking "Why is there 7 instead of no 7?" We can't just take words and say words equate with objective reality and then go off into debate. Or maybe we should, so people can understand and learn.
Even with that definition the question remains. Can something appear in space time without causation?

The definition does not answer the question.

Take away causation and you can justify cretionism.
Just the opposite. It was the human belief and insistence that every event needs a preceding cause and that the universe had to have had a beginning that convinced them that only a god could be the "initial cause". The idea that the universe could be eternal or that there could be uncaused events (quantum fluctuations) was, and is, foreign to them.

If someone believes that every event requires a cause then they need to invent an eternal god as the cause for uncaused events.
 
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steve_bank

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Thermodynamics and conservation applies to a bounded system with mass entering, inside, and leaving must be in balance.

In an ifinnite universe with no beginning or end conservation as defined in thermodynamics does not apply. The system boundary is infinite.

Religion, philosophy, or religion it all comes down to the same question, can something come from nothing. If the naswer is no then the unverse must have always been, If the answer is yes then you can invent anything. Particles from nothing or a god creating a universe.
 

bilby

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Thermodynamics and conservation applies to a bounded system with mass entering, inside, and leaving must be in balance.

In an ifinnite universe with no beginning or end conservation as defined in thermodynamics does not apply. The system boundary is infinite.

Religion, philosophy, or religion it all comes down to the same question, can something come from nothing. If the naswer is no then the unverse must have always been, If the answer is yes then you can invent anything. Particles from nothing or a god creating a universe.
The answer IS 'Yes'. But that doesn't imply that you can invent anything. Reality is real, and conforms to its own rules and constraints.

That a rule you personally like turns out not to be universally applicable does not imply that anything goes.

The first law of thermodynamics turns out, like the second law, to be a statistical rule that applies to large areas and/or large numbers of particles or interactions.

When considering sufficiently small systems, local and temporary exceptions occur constantly.

That doesn't make the first law wrong, it just limits its scope to almost (but not quite) every situation. In much the same way that Einstein's demonstration that Newtons gravitational theory is only mostly right, but that doesn't imply that things sometimes fall upwards.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Religion, philosophy, or religion it all comes down to the same question, can something come from nothing. If the naswer is no then the unverse must have always been, If the answer is yes then you can invent anything. Particles from nothing or a god creating a universe.
You can interchange the words nothing and god in those statements and get the same outcome because both words are undefined for purposes of discussion, likely because both words are example of woo.
 

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Religion, philosophy, or religion it all comes down to the same question, can something come from nothing. If the naswer is no then the unverse must have always been, If the answer is yes then you can invent anything. Particles from nothing or a god creating a universe.
You can interchange the words nothing and god in those statements and get the same outcome because both words are undefined for purposes of discussion, likely because both words are example of woo.
I would pose that entirely depends on what one considers a "god", and what one considers "nothing".

"Nothing" and "existence" are mutually exclusive, regardless. This means that as long as we exist, "nothing" is a purely imaginary thing.
 
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