Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

What Is Nothing?


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#18 SwoopdeSwoop

SwoopdeSwoop

    Curious

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:12 PM

I'm not surprised. Scientists and philosophers have debated "nothing" for as long as they've debated anything else.
Below is what I meant by "Empty is not = to nothing.

This sort of nothing—the absence of matter—we might consider to be the first level of nothing, clarified  J. Richard Gott, a physicist and cosmologist at Princeton University and the author of “Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective.” It’s what scientists call a quantum vacuum state. It’s a box with everything taken out of it—all the stuff, all the air, all the light. “It even has a color—it’s black,” deadpanned Gott, who frequently demonstrated the best comedic timing of the bunch. Yet even in this nothing, something remains. Virtual quantum particles pop in and out of being, and the empty box still contains the basic scaffolding of existence: space, time and quantum fields.
http://blogs.scienti...of-nothingness/

 

I want to point out that these are Physicists discussing this, not Philosophers. They're not concerned with metaphysical possibilities, only experimentally verifiable answers.



#19 Eclogite

Eclogite

    Creating

  • Moderators
  • 1477 posts

Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:26 PM

And so it comes back to nomenclature. Until the relevant terms are defined, no agreement will be possible. Now I am going to compose a wolverine, by which I mean - using my definitions of compose and wolverine. I'm going to eat a prawn curry.



#20 pgrmdave

pgrmdave

    Lurking

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3057 posts

Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:37 PM

Is there space between the objects? Space is not nothing. Not the space our universe exists in.


Doesn't matter. Pick an object/atom/etc. Start drawing imaginary line in any direction and stop when you hit something that is not nothing. If that line has length, then you have shown the existence of nothing. If and only if there is nowhere in the universe where you could draw that line could there be a total lack of nothing. And that works for any definition of nothing.

#21 PersonalPronoun

PersonalPronoun

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 44 posts

Posted 09 February 2015 - 06:02 PM

That's a question for an engineer and irrelevant to the question as to whether or not nothing could exist. Unless you'd say that there is literally *no distance* between an object and the next closest object then you'd have to agree that there are areas of "nothing".


No, that's nearly the exact opposite of what I'd say.
In fact I did point out that if there is nothing between two objects, then there are not, in fact, two objects.
You neglected to comment about that, and I'm very curious how you get around it.

At this point I'd like to be mature enough to mean it when I say that I hate to use your own words against you :P, but sadly I am not, so I'm going to enjoy this a little:

Distance is measurable, in the other thread you very clearly stated that if it is measurable it has an effect on our universe.
If it has an effect on our universe, then it can't be nothing.

#22 pgrmdave

pgrmdave

    Lurking

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3057 posts

Posted 09 February 2015 - 06:15 PM

No, that's nearly the exact opposite of what I'd say.
In fact I did point out that if there is nothing between two objects, then there are not, in fact, two objects.

And I ignored this because you didn't back it up with anything other than just...claiming that there aren't two objects because you said so.

Distance is measurable, in the other thread you very clearly stated that if it is measurable it has an effect on our universe.
If it has an effect on our universe, then it can't be nothing.


Why would measuring the distance lead to it not being nothing? What kind of strange, bizarre definition of nothing are you using? And in either case *my test still stands*. If we use your definition then you'd simply claim that the line has a length of 0 for any starting point or direction. You would conclude that there is, in fact, no nothing. No matter how I define nothing, my test will work. If any line of any non-zero length can be drawn between a non-nothing thing and the next closest non-nothing thing then there is nothing. IFF that line cannot be drawn then there is no nothing.

#23 motherengine

motherengine

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 508 posts

Posted 20 August 2015 - 01:46 AM

Yes - part of the problem is the combination of the exact terminology with inexact terminology. "Nothing" can be defined exactingly: a bounded area of space without any matter or energy. "Exist" can't be defined as well though. However, an easy way to think of it is this - "space" is defined by the distance between objects. Assume that space is continuous, assume that matter is not. Given two objects, start to draw a line from one to the other, and stop as soon as you hit matter or energy. That line contains nothing by definition.


What are you drawing the line on? Wouldn't the line itself contain material from the tool which you used to draw it?

Assuming you were referring to an imaginary line: There are things which exist between two perceptible objects that we cannot naturally perceive.

Edited by motherengine, 20 August 2015 - 02:42 AM.


#24 motherengine

motherengine

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 508 posts

Posted 20 August 2015 - 02:33 AM

In the dictionary "Nothing" is described as "something that is nonexistent", but this is really a paradox.
  
Can Nothing actually exist?


I would suggest that there could be eternal absence in which things exist. But the words 'be' and 'in' are problematic (note: due to my own inability to communicate the idea without such usage). Humans have a vast well of language, but our symbols often confuse us. I think much confusion stems from an inability to structure language in such a manner as to avoid semantic paradox, among other issues (e.g., enter the void).

That being said, my difficultly has been with the concept of everything in existence somehow coming into existence from absolute absence.

Cheers, and Godspeed on your quest for understanding.

Edited by motherengine, 20 August 2015 - 02:34 AM.


#25 pgrmdave

pgrmdave

    Lurking

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3057 posts

Posted 20 August 2015 - 12:13 PM

What are you drawing the line on? Wouldn't the line itself contain material from the tool which you used to draw it?

Assuming you were referring to an imaginary line: There are things which exist between two perceptible objects that we cannot naturally perceive.

Yes, I was *clearly* not referring to a chalk line, or a railroad line, or a pencil line. Are you completely unfamiliar with how hypotheticals work? 
As for things which we cannot perceive, that's irrelevant.  If something has *no measurable effect whatsoever* then it doesn't matter if it exists or not - it has as little effect on the world as an imaginary creature that nobody's yet dreamed up.  If a thing *does* have any effect on the world then it is measurable.

And if you're going to argue that imaginary creatures aren't nothing then yes - in an actual fantasy world where actual fantasy is actually considered actually real then maybe there isn't nothing because you can just stick your fingers in your ears and claim that anything you think is true.



#26 CraigD

CraigD

    Creating

  • Administrators
  • 8034 posts

Posted 22 August 2015 - 10:31 AM

That being said, my difficultly has been with the concept of everything in existence somehow coming into existence from absolute absence.

You’re not alone, motherengine. This concept, the focus of the scientific discipline of cosmogony, is deep and difficult.

There are several explanation for it offered using quantum mechanics. As it’s not possible to test enough of the predictions made by these theories using any equipment yet available (for the most part, these would be vastly larger and more powerful particle colliders) which are wrong can at present only be decided through the formalism of quantum mechanics, which is even more difficult IMHO than overcoming difficulties with the informal concepts into which they can be interpreted.

Starting with these interpretations, we can at least chose favorites that appeal to our intuition and sense of beauty. For me, these are “nothing cosmology” (which should be called “cosmogony”) theories which propose that, in nearly empty, but normal Euclidean space-time universe, over vast time periods, the very low but no zero probability event of a big bang, occurs – or, as Edward Tyron famously (in rarified circles) put it, ca 1970, “the universe is simply one of those things that happens from time to time.” (see this 1994 magazine article for more)

Other theories propose a distinct spacetime event in which space and time appear, before which there are neither. Taking the mention of these and not Tyron and others “nothing” theories in the Wikipedia page for “cosmogony”, I’d say they’re more popular, not in least because celebrity physicist Steven Hawking favors and has work on one.

What all of these theories have in common is that the “nothing” from which “everything” emerges in the big bang is not “absolute”: at least, it contains the fundamental laws of nature, which are not physical objects, but ideas. As accustom as we are to thinking of ideas as being either abstractions of physical phenomena or physical phenomena that occur when human beings think about them, the idea of a universe without much or any matter and energy, or possibly even space and time, that yet contains the fundamental laws of nature that describe the behavior of space, time, matter, and energy, can be mind-boggling. It is, I think, nonetheless implicit in all non-mystical theories of cosmogony (that is, theories not including “god made everything”).

#27 GAHD

GAHD

    Eldritch Horror

  • Administrators
  • 2697 posts

Posted 22 August 2015 - 04:58 PM

...that yet contains the fundamental laws of nature that describe the behavior of space, time, matter, and energy, can be mind-boggling. It is, I think, nonetheless implicit in all non-mystical theories of cosmogony (that is, theories not including “god made everything”).

;)



#28 motherengine

motherengine

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 508 posts

Posted 25 August 2015 - 02:34 PM

Yes, I was *clearly* not referring to a chalk line, or a railroad line, or a pencil line. Are you completely unfamiliar with how hypotheticals work? 

As for things which we cannot perceive, that's irrelevant.  

If a thing *does* have any effect on the world then it is measurable.

And if you're going to argue that imaginary creatures aren't nothing then yes - in an actual fantasy world where actual fantasy is actually considered actually real then maybe there isn't nothing because you can just stick your fingers in your ears and claim that anything you think is true.


1- Remain calm; I just think that it is a confusing hypothetical.

2- Why?

3- We are only capable of measuring what our tools allow us to measure in any given age. Should we assume absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

3- ? I honestly have no idea what you are referring to.

Edited by motherengine, 25 August 2015 - 02:41 PM.


#29 Mariel33

Mariel33

    Questioning

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 115 posts

Posted 03 October 2016 - 11:13 AM

This is nothing..

 

absence = absence + presence or absence + absence

The principle is that nothing is imbalance.

 

If one assumes that relativity is real, meaning that a movie premiere is always able to be prior to any atom, obviously this state of reality can't be infinite, yet to resolve it means to have to select one aspect of reality over another, creating absence.

 

The absence of absence is the absence of inequality.