On 07 May 2012, at 15:42, Pierz wrote:

The question, "Why is there anything at all?" used to do my head in when I was a kid. I can still sometimes get into kind of head- exploding moment sometimes thinking about it. Russell's answer to me remains the most satisfying, even though in a sense it is a non- answer, a simple ackowledgement that there is no logical reason why there has to be a cause of 'everything' even though everything may have a cause. Krauss's argument - I admit I haven't read the book (yet), so I am speaking of what I understand rhe hist of his argument to be - may be interesting physics/cosmology, but I agree with the critics that it doesn't really get to the bottom of the proverbial 'turtle stack', and it shouldn't claim to, because such a bottom turtle is in principle impossible.

John Clarke claims that a 'nothing' that contains the laws of quantum mechanics and the potential to produce time, space and matter is a very pitiful something if it is a something at all. But I think it sneaks a lot more into its pitiful somethingness than at first meets the eye. Not only the laws of quantum mechanics, but the laws of logic and mathematics without which quantum mechanics could not be formulated or expressed - as Bruno woukd be quick to point out. I really must read the book to understand how this vacuum can be unstable in the absence of time -

The problem is that physicists have not yet succeed in marrying QM and GR, which is needed to get a quantum theory of space-time. You can bet on strings or on loop gravity though, or on the Dewitt-Wheeler equation, which, actually make physical time vanishing completely from the big picture. It is an internal parameter only.


doesn't stability or instability depend on time by implying the possibility or otherwise of change? But even accepting this it seems to me that in order to reason about the properties of this vacuum (e.g., its instability or otherwise) means that the vacuum must exist. Getting what seems like extremely close to non-existence is still a million miles (actually an infinite distance) from actual non-existence, because what defines the distinction between non- existence and existence is not anything to do with being extremely minimal. An extremely small number, say 10 to the -100000, is extremely minimal, but still not zero, and still an infinite distance, in a sense, from zero.

Krauss's argument may satisfy the cosmologist's desire to see the cause of the universe reduced to something extremely simple, but it does not satisfy the wondering child or philosopher who is thunderstruck by the strangeness of there being any existence at all, however simple or rudimentary its origins. It's wrong to say such a child or philosopher is caught in a pointless mind loop trying asking how something that does not even have the potential to produce anything can, nevertheless, produce something. Of course that is absurd. The question in my mind as a wondering child was never 'How did the nothing that must have come before the universe produce the universe?' It was my mind chasing the chain of causation of things and realizing that, whatever that chain looked like, I could never trace it all the way back to absolute nothing - so why this mysterious beingness? The fact is it's beyond reason. Call it a gift or a miracle and you're as close to it as anything. God is no answer, mind you - he's just another spurious bottom turtle. God, laws of quantum mechanics: it's just different attempts to stop the rot of infinite regress, hammer in a wedge somewhere and say "Because". Why do the law of quantum physics exist? Because. Why does God, the UD, the Buddhist void exist? Because.

It is different for the UD. Its existence is a theorem in any theory of everything, like this one:

classical logic +
0 ≠ s(x)
s(x) = s(y) -> x = y
x+0 = x
x+s(y) = s(x+y)
x*0=0
x*s(y)=(x*y)+x

or in this one:

Kxy = x
Sxyz = xz(yz)



As for the remark about nothingness having only one way of being and there being a lot more ways of existing, it's cute, but it's sophistry. Non-being is not a countable way of being.

I agree.


It's the absence of being - obviously - so can't be presented as one among a myriad of possible configurations of the universe.

It that exists. Exactly.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


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