Why is there something and not nothing?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Alan McDougall, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Seems equally, or more likely to me that you have it backwards -have roles of gods and universe as cause and effect (creator and created) reversed.

    I.e. we must just accept that the universe exists and this fact is, as you say,: "BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING AND MUST BE ACCEPTED ON FAITH." *
    We also have our sensory evidence confirming that the universe exists now, but no such evidence that God exists now or at earlier times.

    So lets start with the acceptance that the universe does exist. What science has told us about it is that it has done so for a very long time during which biological processes could begin from non living matter. Then evolution could eventurally give rise to man. Man has we know postulated at least a dozen different major gods, just in modern times, many millions if we go back thru history - E.g. the river god of what we now call the Nile, or ever a tiny creek in Utah that occasionally had its god get angry in a flash flood etc. I.e. we know for a fact that it is in man's nature to create god(s).

    SUMMARY: First without possibility of understanding how, came the universe. Then via long slow process came man who created gods. I.e. as stated at start of this post, you have the cause and effect backwards and all the evidence supports this POV. None supports that God was the cause of the universe, which is an effect god produced.

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    *Not everyone has accepted that the universe exists. Bishop Berkeley being the first, more than 300 years ago, to argue forcefully and with irrefutable logic show that nothing needs to exist but spirit, his and perhaps a greater one. (He was a bishop and had to admit god might also exist.) Descarte starts from the same position, but with faulty logic eventually concludes that Christ had to die on the cross, etc. (As I recall, it only takes about 5 pages in his book to do this - but very few actually read what he wrote anymore. No need to - They have Cliff Notes and the internet to tell his ideas to them.)

    PS if you want god to be the cause of the universe there is, as you note, the problem of where god came from. In this "god before universe" POV, I think the best solution to that obvious problem is the infinite regress. I.e. God A was made by God B who as made by God A etc in infinite regress. Note that is identical with the standard claim that god has no beginning, but always was, if you identify God A = God B = God as the infinite regress has no beginning.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2010
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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    "a maximum state of entropy" is a meaningless statement if it has no bearing to an object

    IOW any statement about a "state of being" always requires a (relevant) object (even a theoretical object) in order to be comprehensible.

    For instance the statement " a happy armchair" only becomes comprehensible when one tinkers with the object of an armchair

    (something like this)

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    IOW just because there a range of objects that "happiness" is pertinent to, doesn't render the objects any less definite ... and as it pertains to the thread .... distinguishing one state ("a maximum state of entropy) from another ("a moderate state of entropy") is certainly something (particularly if the operative word is "maximum" ... I mean suppose it was discovered a greater state of entropy than what was previously understood ... .. does that make it more nothing

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  5. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Well, we're digressing off into pure semantics here, but... I have to disagree with you on that point.
    One may, quite legitimately discuss "happy armchairs" without there being any armchairs whatsoever in existence.
    Sadly (or happily, depending on your POV...), our language does allow us to refer to non-existent referents.
     
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  7. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    Please,please leave me something, leave me "nothing".
     
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    on the contrary, if there are not , at the very least, theoretical models of armchairs, the dialogue grinds to a halt
    how can something be non-existent if it referenced?
    Or to even take it a step further, how can a state of being be inferred unless it has some bearing on an object (albeit even a theoretical or abstract object)?
     
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    There are other philosophical possibilities.
    What if God was not created, but did create the Universe, and yet was not always in existence?

    It seems to me that your beliefs are not founded on philosophy, but on acceptance of the Bible, and or Christian tradition.
     
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Quick question - in your view: what does such a (theoretical) model of X need to contain before one can start assigning descriptors such as "maximum state of..." to X?
     
  11. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Just because something does not exist, it doesn't make it meaningless.
    The worlds of Thomas the Tank engine or Harry Potter are meaningful and non contradictory, but they don't exist.
     
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    some sort of quality or behaviour.

    But to jump the gun and pull apart defining "nothingness" as "the maximum state of entropy", it is a problem since "nothing" is an explicit term and "maximum" is a tacit term.

    (So for instance, if what was suddenly thought to a maximum state of entropy was suddenly qualitatively increased by 50%, does that mean one now has 50% more nothingness ... or that the previous state of nothingness was only a farce in light of the new and improved nothingness? Or that something was discovered about the state of nothing that led to a more effective version of it?

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    IOW the very nature of defining nothing in such a fashion obstructs the actual meaning of it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    actually at this point we are not discussing whether something exists or not, but rather whether something can be merely abstracted.

    Harry potter and thomas the tank and happy arm chairs can all be abstracted (and discussed) ... happy adgfasdjfjag's cannot however ... until someone brings to the table some sort of qualitative explanation of what a adgfasdjfjag is.
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    And by defining the model as "maximum state of X"... is this not itself a quality?

    How can one increase the absolute maximum? Either it is the maximum or it is not... to talk about such a maximum that is "increased by 50%" is thus meaningless.
    You are surely confusing personal assessments of a quality with the absolute.

    How so?
    Perhaps if the wording is changed: "'Nothing' has a a greater state of entropy than can be conceived."?
     
  15. Lady Historica Banned Banned

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    instead of entropy maybe we should think of nothing more like having an infinite limit to power per unit of "nothing".
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Entropy is lack of organization. Is a completely empty space-time continuum in a state of maximum disorganization or maximum organization? Doesn't anything have intrinsically greater organization than nothing?
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't it one of the eskimo words for snow.
     
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    then you have a sore definition for "nothing", since disorganization requires something to come to bear on in order to define itself
     
  19. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    sure
    notice how it relies on existent referents?

    or even better, how can one arrive at an absolute anything via empiricism? (IOW maximum in the language of empiricism is always tacit )
    so how would one know that one had arrived at the maximum state of entropy?
    Or is such a claim untenable and hence, even to assume it is a capable working model for nothingness, futile to dress it up as some primal state of being for the development of "something"?

    Then I guess that leaves you with the problem of explaining at what point does entropy give rise to "nothing" ... especially since all indications of entropy give rise to a host of "somethings" (IOW disspiation of elements certainly doesn't qualify them for non-existence or nothingness)
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    So what if, for the sake of argument, the universe contains an equal number of quarks and antiquarks, leptons and antileptons, etc. Again, for the sake of argument, eventually they condense and cancel each other. At this point you have a universe in which there is nothing: just an empty space-time continuum, which is a human abstraction and not a physical thing. Is the state of organization in this empty universe greater or smaller than it was a fraction of a microsecond ago before the last two particles disappeared? Considering that it has been steadily decreasing throughout the condensation and cancellation process, why would that decrease not have continued through the final cancellation, resulting in zero organization?

    If within every arbitrarily small section of the universe there is exactly the same amount of mass and energy, then is that not maximum entropy? Then why would that not be true if the amount happens to be zero?

    Is there something unique about this particular zero that makes it a singularity rather than a limit?
     
  21. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Theoretical need not refer to anything actual.

    Again, you're trying to go offtopic but.... dialogues do not need to grind to a halt if we choose something non-existent as their topic...


    Again, you miss the point. The distinction is purely one of language.

    I can reference "vampire", for example.

    Sorry LG, you're grasping at straws here...
     
  22. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

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    The question is nonsensical.

    "Nothing" (that is complete non-existence, no fundamental laws, no ST, no potential, nothing) has no existence. By definition, "nothing" is non-existence.

    Of course, we may postulate "nothingness" and form hypotheses about its nature but this seems rather absurd as there is no basis from which to ground any assertions. If fact I would contest that "nothingness" is immune to logical analysis because the rules of logic would not exist. Nor would causality or indeed any rules what so ever.

    One might them postulate that in absence of any rules anything is possible but that's a dichotomic argument in itself and therefore is no more valid than any other answer. We might similarly hypothesize is that the nature of nothingness is to become something, or this particular universe, or to find ways to cause candy apples to exist.

    So since we have nothing upon which to formulate any sort of hypothesis about the nature of nothingness all we have left is to ask is, why is there something?

    The answer is simple, because nothing isn't.

    ;D

    ~Raithere
     
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I tend to agree with Raithere's post 59 so rephrase the question and add another:

    (1) Why is space time filled with matter and energy?
    (2) If ST had no energy or matter content, in what sense would it exist? To make this feasible, one must assume that vacuum polarization ("pair production") does not occur.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2010

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