Is "Nothing" Unstable?

Study matter and its motion through spacetime...

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#1  Postby The Doctor » Mar 15, 2010 2:17 am

Physicist Victor J. Stenger calculated that there is around a 60% chance that something can come out of nothing, since nothing is unstable. Is "nothing" unstable?
"We are omniscient, but confused." - Leibniz
Image

My blog: Monads Have No Windows
User avatar
The Doctor
RS Donator
THREAD STARTER
 
Name: John Smith
Posts: 145
Age: 108
Male

Country: TARDIS
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#2  Postby klazmon » Mar 15, 2010 2:18 am

What is nothing?
User avatar
klazmon
 
Posts: 2030
Age: 110
Male

New Zealand (nz)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#3  Postby iamthereforeithink » Mar 15, 2010 2:22 am

I would disagree with Stenger. Nothing is nothing. Neither stable nor unstable. Stenger approaches the issue through the lens of the laws of quantum physics. That assumes the existence of something- The laws of quantum physics
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
User avatar
iamthereforeithink
 
Posts: 3332
Age: 10
Male

Country: USA/ EU
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#4  Postby Aught3 » Mar 15, 2010 2:26 am

That's just physicists being cheeky with the word 'nothing'. As to the probability if I recall correctly that was performed using a Christian's formula but plugging in accurate values for the variables listed.
League of Reason: Freethinkers, unite!
User avatar
Aught3
 
Posts: 113
Male

New Zealand (nz)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#5  Postby Teuton » Mar 15, 2010 2:34 am

The Doctor wrote:Physicist Victor J. Stenger calculated that there is around a 60% chance that something can come out of nothing, since nothing is unstable. Is "nothing" unstable?


"How do we define 'nothing'? What are its properties? If it has properties, doesn't that make it something?"

(Stenger, Victor J. God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does not Exist. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007. p. 132)

It does. Whatever is something and not nothing is an entity and not a nonentity, and so what Stenger describes as a "transition from nothing-to-something" (p. 133) is actually a transition from something-to-something.
It is extremely misleading to call something a nothing that is actually a something!
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#6  Postby Teuton » Mar 15, 2010 2:43 am

iamthereforeithink wrote:The laws of quantum physics


I doubt that the physical laws do not depend for their existence on the physical universe.
Physical laws are not transcendent abstract, "Platonic", entities that exist prior to the concrete energy-matter-space-time complex.
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#7  Postby twistor59 » Mar 15, 2010 7:43 am

iamthereforeithink wrote:I would disagree with Stenger. Nothing is nothing. Neither stable nor unstable. Stenger approaches the issue through the lens of the laws of quantum physics. That assumes the existence of something- The laws of quantum physics


I would tend to agree.

I read recently that someone (Paul Davies maybe?) was arguing that in the early universe, the laws of physics themselves were in some sense fluid and had not yet crystallised out. Whether such a statement could be forumulated rigorously I've no idea.
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I
User avatar
twistor59
RS Donator
 
Posts: 4966
Male

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#8  Postby z8000783 » Mar 15, 2010 7:51 am

twistor59 wrote:
iamthereforeithink wrote:I would disagree with Stenger. Nothing is nothing. Neither stable nor unstable. Stenger approaches the issue through the lens of the laws of quantum physics. That assumes the existence of something- The laws of quantum physics


I would tend to agree.

I read recently that someone (Paul Davies maybe?) was arguing that in the early universe, the laws of physics themselves were in some sense fluid and had not yet crystallised out. Whether such a statement could be forumulated rigorously I've no idea.

Is what we know and call nothing because if fits our description of what nothing should be and nothing like nothing actually is in real life?

John
Last edited by z8000783 on Mar 15, 2010 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I don’t simply believe in miracles - I rely on them
z8000783
 
Name: WTF
Posts: 9325
Age: 66
Male

Greece (gr)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#9  Postby hackenslash » Mar 15, 2010 5:54 pm

I'd go further, and say that 'nothing' is impossible.
User avatar
hackenslash
 
Name: The Other Sweary One
Posts: 21438
Age: 50
Male

Country: Republic of Mancunia
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#10  Postby natselrox » Mar 15, 2010 6:12 pm

hackenslash wrote:I'd go further, and say that 'nothing' is impossible.


You mention that in one of your vids. It is frustrating to hear people talk about things you don't understand. :lay:
When in perplexity, read on.

"A system that values obedience over curiosity isn’t education and it definitely isn’t science"
User avatar
natselrox
 
Posts: 10037
Age: 108
Male

India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#11  Postby hackenslash » Mar 15, 2010 6:57 pm

You understand quantum uncertainty, don't you?

'Nothing' would represent a zero field or, in other words, a field whose state (position = 0) and rate of change (velocity = 0) could be predicted with certainty. This is prohibited by the uncertainty principle. Therefore 'nothing' is impossible, except as a transient state.
User avatar
hackenslash
 
Name: The Other Sweary One
Posts: 21438
Age: 50
Male

Country: Republic of Mancunia
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#12  Postby Teuton » Mar 15, 2010 7:34 pm

An important point:
From the fact that it is impossible for a/the nothing to exist it doesn't follow that it is impossible for there be nothing.
Logically speaking, "Nothing exists" is equivalent to "It is not the case that something exists", and not to "Something exists which is a/the nothing".
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#13  Postby hackenslash » Mar 15, 2010 7:37 pm

Tomato/tomato. Either way, HUP precludes a state of 'it is not the case that something exists'.
User avatar
hackenslash
 
Name: The Other Sweary One
Posts: 21438
Age: 50
Male

Country: Republic of Mancunia
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#14  Postby Mononoke » Mar 15, 2010 7:50 pm

twistor59 wrote:
I would tend to agree.

I read recently that someone (Paul Davies maybe?) was arguing that in the early universe,
the laws of physics themselves were in some sense fluid and had not yet crystallised out.
Whether such a statement could be forumulated rigorously I've no idea.


What does that even mean. If the laws of physics changes in a particular measurable way you have a new law there.
User avatar
Mononoke
 
Posts: 3830
Age: 32
Male

Sri Lanka (lk)
Print view this post

Re: Is "Nothing" Unstable?

#15  Postby twistor59 » Mar 16, 2010 7:55 am

There is another way to answer the OP (but it's cheating because I think by "nothing", he means something like the empty set{0} rather than the quantum vacuum |0> ), anyway:

Just imagine if we were living in a false vacuum and we tunnelled to another vacuum sector. I remember when I was a grad student, Sid Coleman gave a very entertaining lecture on this and the possibility that the physical constants in the new sector might be different, hence eliminating us rather quickly ( he also said something along the lines of "if the physical constants don't change too much, you might just feel a bit ill"). Funny guy !
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I
User avatar
twistor59
RS Donator
 
Posts: 4966
Male

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post


Return to Physics

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest