Bertrand Russell pointed out long ago that the properties of the
members of a set need not be properties of the set itself. I.e.,
everything in the universe may have a cause but the universe - the set
of all things - need not. We can argue about whether the ontological
nature of the "set of everything" is physical, mathematical,
spiritual, sensical (Weinbergism) or some other -al, but the question
why any such set exists (its cause) has no answer.

The best response is Sidney Morgenbesser's ( sure you all know it):
"If there were nothing you'd still be complaining!"

On May 5, 3:54 am, Craig Weinberg <> wrote:
> On May 4, 11:48 am, John Clark <> wrote:
> > On Thu, May 3, 2012 Craig Weinberg <> wrote:
> > > Why would focusing on one issue be a distraction from the other?
> > Because Human Beings do not have infinite time to deal with, so time spent
> > focusing on issues that Krauss correctly describes as sterile (not leading
> > to new ideas) is time not spent focusing on profound issues that are quite
> > literally infinitely more likely to give birth to new knowledge.
> That is the same logic that assumes that everyone who downloads a free
> mp3 is taking money out of the pockets of musicians. It presumes that
> everyone who wasn't doing one thing would automatically be doing the
> other.
> > There are
> > several ways to define "nothing" but if you insist it means "not even
> > having the potential to produce something" then contemplating the question
> > "why is there something rather than nothing?" is a obviously a complete
> > waste of time and does nothing but inflict needless ware and tear on
> > valuable brain cells.
> So you agree that it is impossible to have something come from
> nothing.
> > However it now looks like if we work very hard
> > science may actually be able to answer questions like "why there is stuff
> > and not empty space,
> Not if the answer is just going to be that empty space is full of
> stuff and stuff is mostly empty space.
> > why there is space at all, and how both stuff and
> > space and even the forces we measure could arise from no stuff and no
> > space". Those are enormously deep questions and that is where we should be
> > spending our limited time, not "impotent and useless" navel gazing.
> I think of them as incredibly shallow questions. They are like the
> easy problem of consciousness. Making a big deal out of what terms we
> use to describe stuffness and non-stuffness. What do you find deep
> about them?
> > > Is there some threat of the international science budget being siphoned
> > > off into philosophy?
> > Yes.
> Communists? Witches?
> > > > If the nothing of a vacuum is really full of potentials,
> > If you insist on the strictest definition of "nothing" which is not even
> > the potential of producing anything, then even God Himself could not
> > produce something from nothing; and this line of thought is quite clearly
> > leading precisely nowhere.
> That's why it's complete hype to claim that the universe comes from
> nothing. It's a slogan to sell books.
> > > how is it really different from stuff?
> > You want to know how the potential is any different from the actual? As
> > Krauss says in his book (which you have not read)
> I haven't read the Koran either, but I get the gist.
> > that's like asking how
> > the potential human being any random male and female have of producing
> > together is any different from a real flesh and blood person. Your problem
> > is that your brain is caught in a infinite loop trying to figure out how a
> > nothing without even the potential to produce something can nevertheless
> > produce something.
> I'm not stuck in a loop at all. I only point out as a fact that the
> universe could not come from something. It's a very straightforward
> argument, which you apparently agree with except that someone has
> written a book with a title that suggests otherwise. I'm not trying to
> figure out how something comes from nothing, the book in question is.
> I understand that causality is something that comes from sense, not
> the other way around, so I don't have to waste my time redefining
> 'nothing' to include a proto-universal universe.
> > If you're too busy spinning your wheels to read
> > Professor Krauss's book your only hope is to at least try to squeeze in a
> > little time to read the 2 articles I mentioned in my last post and repeat
> > below for your benefit, they're a sort of readers digest condensed kiddy
> > version of the book, but that's far better than "nothing" by any meaning of
> > the word.
> >
> >
> There is nothing surprising in either of these articles.
> Craig

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