Something from Nothing

“I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. In order to make progress, one must leave the door for the unknown ajar.” -Richard Feynman, an American physicist known for his work in quantum mechanics and particle physics

I had an interesting conversation with Jamie Tighe (@rankine911) on Twitter. He asserted the ONLY logical answer for the creation of the universe is for it to come from an eternal self-existent being since something can’t come from nothing or itself. The universe requires a creator as a singular intellect based on a human understanding of intelligence since that’s the only logical answer according to him. He dismissed every counterpoint or view I suggested because apparently his logic is perfect and without question. I’m guessing the creator he made in his own image is too.

Regardless, I do agree something can’t come from nothing using the rules of logic within this universe. Something also can’t exist inside nothing if we speak in spatial terms without the time dimension. Logically, the eternal self-existent being violates these rules of “something from or in nothing” since the being is something. This little logic problem is easily overcome by simply calling it supernatural and exempting it from our rules of space, time, and logic. You also have to avoid any discussion about that being actually existing as something. Apparently space or time can’t exist forever but an eternal self-existent being can create those laws along with all matter and energy without a beginning or end to its own intellect and existence. It doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand we have a scientific non-theist view that a Big Bang went poof all by itself and the universe spontaneously came to be from… well, perhaps nothing and without a cause. I don’t buy that one as a final answer either for the same reasons. Namely, what the heck caused it to happen in the first place and what was the spark that ignited the universe into existence? I can’t wrap my simple human mind around nothing suddenly turning into something for no apparent reason, which is why I emphasize my agnosticism over my de facto atheism.

I suggested the only logical thing to me would be that the universe itself is an eternal self-existent thing. The laws of physics and logic would then be eternal laws governing the nature of the eternal everything. I also found some interesting cyclic models that conceptualize an eternal universe with big bangs marking off the aeons in a conformal cyclic cosmology. We don’t fully understand the true nature of everything. These cyclic models just hint at some possible answers and that’s another reason to proclaim my agnosticism. If the universe is an eternal cauldron of “everything” then eventually throughout infinity and the sparks of the big bangs there will rise some finite time periods of order out of the chaos on small scales. Small scale order can evolve into complex order as it fights against the headwind of entropy that exists in everything.

I was told I don’t see the logical errors I’m making so I can’t possibly know what I don’t know nor what others can possibly know. It’s just really hard to get concepts across through Twitter. All of the problems for the universe existing are the same problems for an eternal being existing.

Go ahead and exempt an eternal being from laws of space, time, and logic in this universe. Wouldn’t there be other laws we can’t possibly understand governing how and where that supernatural being operates? If not, then the supernatural being is “all things” and couldn’t just exist as a singular intelligent being (A is not not-A). “Intelligence” and “being” are specific constraints requiring some form of laws governing the ability to possess these traits. The act of creation logically requires governance of the processes used for the universe to be designed and created.

If there’s a supernatural realm outside this natural universe then it’s part of a larger everything including this universe and it’s laws. There wouldn’t be any logic for a singular self-existent thing in the supernatural realm to create this one bit of natural something with space, time, and logic only applying to this universe. It’s still creating something from nothing even if you pass it off as a supernatural act within the confines of a supernatural larger set of laws.

Our concepts of intelligence, logic, and being are all defined and relative to this natural universe or they’re eternal concepts in an eternal existence. It wouldn’t be applicable to use our logic to prove or disprove a supernatural anything outside space, time, and logic if they weren’t eternal concepts. How could the ONLY “logical” answer for this universe be based on a singular supernatural being conforming at all to our concepts of intelligence or being? It’s the same problem I have with the Big Bang. How can anyone say we can see back to the beginning of the universe and time when we’re looking at the problem from within this universe after time supposedly began?

Really, the only “logical” thing I can suggest after all of this mind bending is that everything would have to be eternal to completely overcome the “something from nothing” problem. An eternal self-existent supernatural being (poof!) doesn’t solve it since it would also be something from nothing. That actually makes the problem more complicated. The simplest and most logical answer is that matter and energy is everything there is and they’re eternal. There’s nothing supernatural. There’s nothing outside the universe or existence. The laws for space, time, logic, and anything else in existence that contributed to the rise of us stupid humans are the true eternal self-existent creators of this planet and our lives.

What I really know is we don’t know how or why existence exists. An eternal self-existent BEING with the power and intellect to create this universe as something from itself (or nothing) doesn’t make any logical sense.

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” -Albert Einstein

2 thoughts on “Something from Nothing

  1. Great arguments for when we should know that we don’t know. Even Einstein knew that everything was uncertain. Love it. Faith is hard to argue against. And faith is real for some people, I suppose. Even the International Baccaulareate (sp) curriculum is teaching its philosophy-type course called TOK (Theory of Knowledge) with faith as an acceptable and appropriate way of knowing. I imagine they ran into a lot of complaints from religious communities in N. America and the Middle East and felt the pressure to add this new way of knowing to their instruction. Interesting thing to look-up if you have time.

  2. Great points. It just makes life more fascinating and rich with wonder to know that we don’t know. Take an entry level course in probability (I’m talking 8th grade here) and we quickly discover that the cup is barely full at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *