September 2, 2010

"Vibrating strings... point particles, 2-dimensional membranes, 3-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space."

Not God... vibrating strings... point particles, 2-dimensional membranes, 3 -dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space.

M-theory, Stephen Hawking says, explains how the universe came to exist.

154 comments:

Scott M said...

Yeah, but what came before...

JayC said...

Nonsense.

It's turtles, all the way down.

Scott M said...

I've always felt like making claims like this one Hawking makes (a man I have profound respect for), is analogous to a Hoo-sized person claiming they know how many grains of sand are on the beach where the grain they live on is buried. To which, of course, the other Hoo's ask, "what is a beach?"

TMink said...

"the universe can and will create itself from nothing,"

I appreciate his bravery, if not his wisdom in admitting that the universe without God depends on spontaneous generation.

Trey

Chip Ahoy said...

Hoo-sized as in Horton hears a Who?

madawaskan said...

Why is Hawking's wasting his effort and time to disprove the unprovable?

Scott M said...

I appreciate his bravery, if not his wisdom in admitting that the universe without God depends on spontaneous generation.

Apparently math spontaneously generated as well. Granted, as far as we know, it took another few billion years before we came along and gave it neat names and symbols, but it had to have worked a nanosecond after the universe became, if not before.

Original Mike said...

I wonder how accurately the article quotes Hawking? Of course physicists are working to construct a Universe without spontaneous creation. It's in the job description. You build your models and you compare them with experiment. It would surprise me, however, (and I read a lot of this literature) that Hawking is claiming "Mission Accomplished."

Comrade X said...

the universe can and will create itself from nothing

Hawking subscribes to the White Goodman School of Physics: You can't be my boss! Nobody's my boss! I'm my own boss! I created myself!

Scott M said...

Hoo-sized as in Horton hears a Who?

D'oh! Yes.

lemondog said...

vibrating strings... point particles, 2-dimensional membranes, 3 -dimensional boobs ??

Sounds sexual.

Richard Dolan said...

"Hawking says in his book 'The Grand Design' that, given the existence of gravity, 'the universe can and will create itself from nothing.'"

So, smart man, who created gravity, or gave it and those lovely vibrating strings the properties that allowed them to make the universe?

Hawking wants to get rid of the Big Bang. It's a singularity and mathematics hates singularities like that. The Big Bang was a nice picture, easily visualized, but it never explained what was doing all that banging at the beginning. Its only use was in explaining what supposedly happened after the Bang. Hawking wants to substitute an eternal and unchanging gravity -- he just posits its eternality, which effectively makes it the stand-in for the God-role.

That's not an explanation that explains anything. It's just a different picture that gets rid of the singularity and substitutes an infinity. Not much there there.

traditionalguy said...

There he goes again. A space containing matter exists in a moment of time and neither exists without time says Einstein. So even if matter self generates somewhere, who arranged for the existence of the time for it to generate in...maybe an eternal maker out side of time...but that brings us back to God. Has Hawking found any other planet with human life living on it yet? Of course the universe would be so much cleaner without the existence in time of such polluting sons of God.

El Pollo Real said...

lemondog said: Sounds sexual

So does "Big Bang"

"Whimper" not so much.

Revenant said...

I appreciate his bravery, if not his wisdom in admitting that the universe without God depends on spontaneous generation.

First of all, he's not describing spontaneous generation.

Secondly, the universe with or without god requires something that either self-creates or has no creator. The only difference is whether "something" is "God" or "the universe itself". :)

Moose said...

Simple minds come up with simple answers. More complex minds come up with more complex answers.

The thing is that they both can be wrong. Faith is not antithetical to science. Just makes things easier when the numbers don't add up.

Paddy O said...

That whole accelerating universe thing really forced everyone to get a lot more creative.

The ol' "expand, gravity takes control!, shrink, boom" theory sounded so... plausible.

At the same time, I think all these attempts to come up with new explanations pushes some brilliant people to understand the universe as it in very interesting ways.

The hottest area of study in theology these days is all about the intersection of science and theology, not in the old Fundamentalist battles, but in a really fun embrace of what cutting edge science is discovering. And to do that kind of discovering, it takes more than mild curiosity. It takes a bit of existential angst to explore the bounds of explanation.

Paddy O said...

The only difference is whether "something" is "God" or "the universe itself".

excellent point.

Dagny said...

The red-shift tells us that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, but I can't help thinking there must be some way for it to collapse back on itself so it can start over. Otherwise, it just happens once, and eternity backward becomes meaningless, while eternity forward becomes boring.

msspurlock said...

I simply can't trust anything coming from a "scientist" who is so militantly, arrogantly and viciously atheist.pioni

El Pollo Real said...

I simply can't trust anything coming from a "scientist" who is so militantly, arrogantly and viciously atheist.pioni

Perhaps he nurses a grudge.

Dead Julius said...

There is a God and we humans create him. He does our bidding. He is our bitch.

While Hawking might be out to disprove the existence of a superior eternal God, what about the inferior ephemeral one?

The traditional God of old has been said to have created the universe... but could he create a line of products for the holiday season like Steve Jobs unveiled yesterday? I think not. Move over YHWH, we humans are in charge now.

Revenant said...

A space containing matter exists in a moment of time and neither exists without time says Einstein. So even if matter self generates somewhere, who arranged for the existence of the time for it to generate in...maybe an eternal maker out side of time...but that brings us back to God

Space-time IS the universe. All the matter and energy around us is just the stuff IN the universe.

Another interesting point to keep in mind is that the universe is, so far as we can tell, the one and ONLY thing that has ever been "created". Everything we think of "creation" -- the birth of a child, building a house, the formation of a star or a planet -- is just already-existing matter and energy getting shuffled around. So when we say "surely the universe must have a creator", pause to consider that we've never really witnessed anything being created -- just transformed. We don't know what the rules for "creation" are.

El Pollo Real said...

We don't know what the rules for "creation" are.

Yes, something's still missing in the big picture.

Paddy O said...

"so far as we can tell"

That's the tricky bit.

Revenant said...

militantly, arrogantly and viciously atheist

And this describes Hawking how?

I think you have him confused with Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist. Dawkins is, indeed, quite nasty in his anti-religious rhetoric. Hawking's attitude towards religion is more of a Laplacean "I had no need of that hypothesis" sort of thing.

Methadras said...

madawaskan said...

Why is Hawking's wasting his effort and time to disprove the unprovable?


Legacy. Plain and simple. Better to exclaim your anti-God screeds in the political vacuum chamber that has become the arena of science than it is to have those questions about your work lingering in the air for all time.

Chip Ahoy said...

What's needed here is a simple way to get these difficult concepts across. Like this:

Hurricane Earl as seen on the Space Station.

It's all so clear to me now.

roesch-voltaire said...

From John F. Haught's Boyle Lecture I take this thought:
"In my view, the fact that
the universe possesses a narrative character made possible by its inherent openness to the future
is the greatest of wonders." This continual movement towards complexity and life is the core of the Creator.

LordSomber said...

Earth is but a mere paperweight to mighty Jove.

Paddy O said...

"but could he create a line of products for the holiday season like Steve Jobs unveiled yesterday? I think not."

Oh, I don't know. The Christmas tree has been a perennial bestseller for quite a long time, and will probably continue to sell. And like Apple products, you need to get a new one every year.

tim maguire said...

Proofs of the non-existence of God are about as convincing as proofs of the existence of God. It's remarkable how incredibly stupid this subject can make even the incredibly smart.

given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing,"

Well, it's sounds like he's got it all figured out then.

Revenant said...

Yes, something's still missing in the big picture.

Exactly. We're trying to figure out how the heck something COULD be created. It has apparently only been done once. That raises immediate suspicious that it wasn't really "created" then, either.

Throw in the fact that time itself is a property of the universe, and thus there was no "before the big bang", and it gets very difficult indeed to put the origins of the universe into a frame of reference that makes sense to humans. The pity is that even if science eventually develops a perfectly consistent, rational, testable theory for the origin of the universe, odds are almost nobody will really be able to comprehend it. Ultimately it will be no different than a religion, to all but those people smart enough and educated enough to understand the concepts involved.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Let's all point and hoot at the pointy-headed perfesser, and tell each other how wrong he is about things we've never studied and math we don't understand.

I don't know anything about M-theory other than what Brian Greene wrote about it, but I do know that I don't know enough about it to say whether it's true or not. I don't have a more compelling alternative.

Skepticism is valuable when it is informed. Otherwise, it's willful ignorance.

Especially regarding physics, which is the most empirically successful of the sciences to date. If quantum mechanics and general relativity were wrong, much of today's technology could not work.

Methadras said...

Dagny said...

The red-shift tells us that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, but I can't help thinking there must be some way for it to collapse back on itself so it can start over. Otherwise, it just happens once, and eternity backward becomes meaningless, while eternity forward becomes boring.


If there is an accelerated expansion then the only logical conclusion is that in about 40 trillion years or so the universe as we know it will cool down to the level of a Bose-Einstein condensate. However, if the observed accelerated expansion, eventual slowing, and final reversal leads to the reverse of the big bang, known as the big crunch, then who really wins. If astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, et. al. are still having these larger argumentative questions being posed within their own domains while factoring out any idea that a divine intellect engineered it all, then is the result still the same? If you every scientist proclaimed the existence of God into their grand equations or observations of physics, then happens then? Do we proclaim that God engineered the entire workings of the universe and simply started it to watch it run it's course? Then what? What are the expectations after that?

We already know what atheism has wrought on science and would the results still be the same? Science is about discovering the workings of everything to their fundamental levels and from that, maybe we can witness the grandeur of how it all works whether there is a God or not. I'm an intelligent design guy myself, but that doesn't cloud my ability to use physics to my benefit and occupation. It's all there for us to discover it. I'd just like to keep the political/religious rhetoric out of something I enjoy so much.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Don't believe it - he's out to kill our economy!

Revenant said...

Legacy. Plain and simple. Better to exclaim your anti-God screeds in the political vacuum chamber that has become the arena of science [blah blah blah]

Er, no. Hawking is not trying to "disprove" the idea that God created the universe. For starters, he doesn't need to, since the God theory is an unsupported hypothesis to begin with.

What Hawking has tried to do is describe how the universe works. If you asked him "did aliens from a parallel reality create the universe" he would also say "no, they did not". That doesn't mean he set out to prove that aliens don't exist; it means that he has an explanation that, in his opinion, accounts for the universe without requiring any "god of the gaps"-variety special pleading.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Two thousand years ago, people were explaining snowflakes and rain and lightning as things made by God.

Nowadays, most people learn all about that by the third grade, and so they explain where people and planets came from using God.

If I said that it's blasphemy to deny that God handcrafts each individual snowflake, you'd think I was touched in the head; but it's totally unreasonable to think He might not have made planets, or people.

Freeman Hunt said...

But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge.

Becky Jo said...

I'm quite sure I would agree with Scott M, if only I knew what he said!

garage mahal said...

Do we proclaim that God engineered the entire workings of the universe and simply started it to watch it run it's course? Then what? What are the expectations after that?

probably the most plausible god creator theory. He's moved onto bigger and better things and left us behind, or maybe the work of a lesser or juvenile god. Really, look at this place.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Unless he subscribes to the infinite expansion of the universe, he's obviously just a godless liberal intent on destroying the world, and by extension, our nation and its wonderful economy.

You guys just can't see it coming. Damn shills.

El Pollo Real said...

Methedras wrote: We already know what atheism has wrought on science and would the results still be the same?

Methedras, you seem to have missed Comrade X's earlier memo. True atheism, like true communism, hasn't really been tried yet.

Revenant said...

If you every scientist proclaimed the existence of God into their grand equations or observations of physics, then happens then?

Well, let's take E=mc^2 for example. Suppose you want to know the total energy contained in a gram of water.

If you leave God out of the equation, the answer is "89.9 terajoules".

If you insert God into the equation, the answer is "whatever God wants it to be". You know nothing; you might as well not bother learning math, science, or engineering, because you can't make any predictions about anything.

Fortunately, thanks to an eerie coincidence it turns out that the energy in a gram of matter just so happens to be exactly what the "godless" equation says it ought to be. So it is possible for us to have things like computers and nuclear reactors without the necessity of regular prayer to keep them functional.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Freeman Hunt:

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge.

But it's not Hawking's God. It's the God of every believer who says that we can never how something happened and so God must have done it.

It's the God of the Discovery Insitute, of Answers in Genesis, of the Ayatollahs and everyone else who says "ALL the answers worth knowing are in our ancient book".

Fundamentalist Muslims claim that every scientific advance is anticipated in the Koran. Fundamentalist Christians claim it's not science if the Bible says it's not.

It's the line between religion and superstition. If you turn to religion for answers to questions like "Why are we here? What is good?" that's perfectly respectable, but if you turn to religion for "Where do rainbows come from" and "How did the GRand Cnayon get here", that's just superstition.

Paddy O said...

"since the God theory is an unsupported hypothesis to begin with"

Not really. Just because you personally don't accept the support doesn't mean it is unsupported.

People who are serious about a religion or their understanding of God do so with particular reasons in mind. Most people, especially those who adopt a religion in their adulthood, have decided there is support for choosing a certain hypotheses of reality.

You rejecting their criteria as criteria or support doesn't itself undermine their reasoning. Of course you do, because you are choosing a different assumption of criteria, and one that is very, very good about explaining a certain extent of what happens in this world. But not everything. That's the tricky part. Because we don't even know the extent of the everything that we can't explain.

When we seek to grasp something beyond our ability to grasp, there's just different approaches and criteria that come into play.

c3 said...

I remember in my college Physics class being dumbfounded by concepts that made little sense from my worldview (i.e. the uncertainly principle and how, if you change the constant, leads to some bizarre experimental outcomes). I thought it odd that religion had been historically criticized for creating fantastic explanations for everyday phenomena. It was disorienting to learn that science had done the same thing.

Note, I didn't say not true just not understandable from a human perspective.

Revenant said...

Most people, especially those who adopt a religion in their adulthood, have decided there is support for choosing a certain hypotheses of reality.

"Evidence" is not the plural form of "belief".

When I say that the God theory is an unsupported hypothesis, I mean from a scientific perspective. Scientists do not have to account for unscientific theories. Those theories may be correct, but they aren't demonstrably so.

Methadras said...

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Unless he subscribes to the infinite expansion of the universe, he's obviously just a godless liberal intent on destroying the world, and by extension, our nation and its wonderful economy.

You guys just can't see it coming. Damn shills.


Will you just shut up.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

If you every scientist proclaimed the existence of God into their grand equations or observations of physics, then happens then?

Well, let's take E=mc^2 for example. Suppose you want to know the total energy contained in a gram of water.

If you leave God out of the equation, the answer is "89.9 terajoules".

If you insert God into the equation, the answer is "whatever God wants it to be". You know nothing; you might as well not bother learning math, science, or engineering, because you can't make any predictions about anything.

Fortunately, thanks to an eerie coincidence it turns out that the energy in a gram of matter just so happens to be exactly what the "godless" equation says it ought to be. So it is possible for us to have things like computers and nuclear reactors without the necessity of regular prayer to keep them functional.


That's not what I meant, but it made me lol nontheless.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

If you every scientist proclaimed the existence of God into their grand equations or observations of physics, then happens then?

Well, let's take E=mc^2 for example. Suppose you want to know the total energy contained in a gram of water.

If you leave God out of the equation, the answer is "89.9 terajoules".

If you insert God into the equation, the answer is "whatever God wants it to be". You know nothing; you might as well not bother learning math, science, or engineering, because you can't make any predictions about anything.

Fortunately, thanks to an eerie coincidence it turns out that the energy in a gram of matter just so happens to be exactly what the "godless" equation says it ought to be. So it is possible for us to have things like computers and nuclear reactors without the necessity of regular prayer to keep them functional.


That's not what I meant, but it made me lol nonetheless.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Babyface said:

Will you just shut up.

No.

Will you?

Revenant said...

That's not what I meant, but it made me lol nonetheless.

Well thank you. :)

But in all seriousness, that really is why gods aren't part of science. The purpose of science is to provide accurate explanations. Throwing in a variable that is capable of altering any and every aspect of the thing being explained renders all explanations moot. The answer to every question becomes "whatever the gods will", just like it used to be in past centuries (and still is in some benighted corners of the Earth).

If it turns out that some aspect of the universe really IS governed by such a being then science will never be able to adequately explain it. Science assumes a rational universe, an a universe governed by an ineffable being can't be rational in a human sense.

Joe said...

(The Crypto-Jew)
I've always felt that Hawkings was ANGRY at G*d for having "given" him ALS. And Hawking's "revenge" was to write G*d out of Hawking's Universe.

Were the Pope or my rabbi to declare "String Theory" THE basis of Modern Cosmology, what weight woud it carry? None, most likely, as neither the Pope nor my rabbi have advanced Mathmatics or Physics degrees, nor have htey performed any SCIENTIFIC experiments to "priove" their claim (actually to show that the Null Hypothesis, the results are due to random variation, is false).

So too with Hawkings. His pronunciamentos in Re: God's existence or non-existence are merely that ASSERTIONS, devoid of any proof or authority. Nobel Prizes do not grant insight into the Almighty.

Bottom-Line: Stephen Hawkings or your third grader say there's no G*d. OK, you can worry for their souls, but not worry too much about G*d's existence.

sunsong said...

Interesting topic. Interesting discussion :-)

Something I really admire about scientists is their willingness and ability to let go of a theory if it doesn't hold up. I would like to get to that place with my own theories :-)

A scientist is so loyal to truth (it seems) that even if their most cherished theory is discredited they can accept the evidence.

As to God - my view is that some things will never be *proved*. And the existence of God is one of them. When life begins is another. Some things remain, imo, matters of sacred choice or as a dear friend puts it "across the bridge of belief"...

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

That's not what I meant, but it made me lol nonetheless.

Well thank you. :)

But in all seriousness, that really is why gods aren't part of science. The purpose of science is to provide accurate explanations. Throwing in a variable that is capable of altering any and every aspect of the thing being explained renders all explanations moot. The answer to every question becomes "whatever the gods will", just like it used to be in past centuries (and still is in some benighted corners of the Earth).

If it turns out that some aspect of the universe really IS governed by such a being then science will never be able to adequately explain it. Science assumes a rational universe, an a universe governed by an ineffable being can't be rational in a human sense.


I absolutely agree with this sentiment. I didn't mean to imply that God should have some sort of value that can be inserted into any mathematical equation. My use of the word equation was more generic and general in that, in the discovery through the scientific method, from my perspective as an engineer and as a Christian, that we can uncover the physics of all things observable, quantifiable, and mathematical as a function of a grand divine design. I know you don't agree with that, but I believe the conclusions remain the same whether their is a grand engineer of all quanta known and unknown or not. If God did engineer the universe, then so what. If he didn't because of whether he exists to have done it or not, then so what. The result is the same. Water will still have energy of about of 89.9 Terajoules under E=MC^2 whether God exists or not.

The physics of this universe are already set. Whether God had a hand in it or not, to me, is irrelevant. I'm more interested in how he engineered it than anything else.

SteveR said...

The problem with being a really smart scientist is the need to only rely on science. They can't use faith so they end up making shit up when they can't explain things. Since we can't really grasp the concept of God, and I don't care what you think, you can't get close, we are tempted to seek human explanations.

Such a waste of time, is life for anybody going to better if know the freaking strings vibrate? Ever? Can it even be proved? Go hug your kids and enjoy the burning ball of Hydrogen as this side of the earth spina away from it.

ricpic said...

There's a cornfield across the road from my house. Every spring the farmer plants the corn and all summer the corn grows and late in the fall the farmer harvests the corn. The whole thing is beautiful. And sufficient.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@SteveR:

They can't use faith so they end up making shit up when they can't explain things.

is life for anybody going to better if know the freaking strings vibrate? Ever? Can it even be proved? Go hug your kids and enjoy the burning ball of Hydrogen as this side of the earth spina away from it.

What is this "hydrogen" nonsense? How can the sun be "burning" it if there's no air in space? Even a third grader knows that! How do you know the Earth "spins"? I look out my window, I don't see anything moving. Is it sitting on some kind of huge table? How do you know atoms aren't made up shit? Have you ever seen one?

The science you accept now is the science your ancestors mock, and the science you mock know is the the science your descendants will think is obvious.

rcocean said...

Blah,Blah -Scientific Truthiness- Blah blah- unprovable speculations, blah blah - untestable assumptions - blah, blah, real facts unknown - blah blah - smartest guy in the room talking out of his ass - blah blah - Newsstory.

Lem said...

And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the existence of God.

Or.. If God doesn't indeed exist, the burden of proving he does not is made all the more burdensome..

Its like literally lugging the luggage around instead of using the wheels it comes with.

w/o our faith loophole all these guys (including our estimable dear Hitch) are wondering around in the penumbras.

SteveR said...

Gabriel Hanna: You made my point entirely. Thanks. We will forever be mocking our ancestors understanding of many things. To pursue the advancement of medicine is worthy, to understand how to improve crop yield, very good. There's many worthy things to explore and theorize about and sometimes unanticipated benefits happen.

You can't prove God exists or doesn't exist, its not possible not in my prehisdtoric mental state or yours, which is obviously very close to Hawkings

Lem said...

Scientist say (because Ive heard them say it with my own ears) that the universe is infinite..

The first time I heard the word "infinite" was in Sunday school.

It seems to me Science and Religion ought to go on a blind date.

Somebody please fix'm up.

mythusmage said...

What is it about gravity that it inspires such levity, and levity that it inspires such gravity?

sunsong said...

Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

sunsong said...

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars." ~ Henry Van Dyke

rsb said...

Thank goodness that mankind is so curious; that a discussion like this could occur at this very second among people from all over the world is because people have evolved a wonderful brain and with it arrived at the scientific method. Always too, we humans have been curious about our existence and the thought of a creator. The wish for a creator is deep - it makes sense.
Hawking is wrong when he makes such a blanket statement denying that there is no "God" - he should know better - it is unprovable. Our brains don't even have the capacity to comprehend the scope of such an entity if it does in fact exist.
All I can do is marvel at the great luck I have to witness this stuff.

Lem said...

"One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created." -

Chesterton
The Boston Sunday Post, 1/16/21

Revenant said...

Such a waste of time, is life for anybody going to better if know the freaking strings vibrate? Ever?

Let me rephrase that for you.

"Is life going to be better if we understand how matter and energy actually work? Ever?"

I trust I don't need to provide the answer? :)

rhhardin said...

The proper use of capital letters comes to us from astrophysics.

Lem said...

The proof that God does indeed exist can be found in any song hymn in Amazon.

Even the infidels ;) give him praise.

Call me when science can match that!

Lem said...

Speaking of beautiful..

Mathematicians speak of "elegance" in their proofs.. they get all exited and speak of beauty and all that..

I find that excitement difficult to understand w/o God.

wv: scite - enough to reject a million dollars maybe?

Benjamin said...

One big, major, gaping problem with all of this. String theory is, as of yet, completely unproven and worse, unprovable. M-theory is a theory about what the real theory should look like. As far as I'm aware, it hasn't made very many testable predictions, and each variant's predictions differ greatly.

On a broader note, a big failing of scientists is that they begin to be too attached to their model. All scientific knowledge is at best an approximation to reality. That's just the nature of human thought. A model might give good predictions, but the underlying "why" can be way off.

An example of this was the Maxwell's model of the vacuum as containing tiny gears and springs. The equations were, as close as we can tell, right, but the model no longer makes much sense.

(btw, I'm saying this as a grad student in physics. I do quantum chemistry, not cosmology, but I do know at least some about the topic).

Lem said...

Dial M for Murder..

Would the Muslim theory be X-theory?

etcetera.. there is no x in etcetera?

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

You know it would be nice if Althouse put it to a vote up or down .. it would be boring probably.. that's why she doesn't do it..

There I just proved there is a God ;)

Lem said...

The reason why God does exist is because the majority says so.. and of course as we all have acknowledged one way or the other God is no minor thing.

Am I allowed to say that w/o pissing off my side?

ken in sc said...

How many times, do you suppose, would a tornado have to hit a junkyard, before a fully functional aircraft resulted—with Boeing written on the side? The universe being what it is by accident is just about as likely as that. Just curious about what most of you think. Just kidding about the Boeing part. Boeing is now a South Carolina company.

Lem said...

Science problem is that religion beat them to the punch by saying God has always existed..

And now they are trying not to sound religiousy when they say it.. that the universe has always existed.

D'oh

Mumpsimus said...

"I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts for a second or maybe less; I do not know how many birds I saw. Was its number definite or indefinite? The problem involves the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because God knows how many birds I saw. If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because no one could have kept count. In this case, let’s say I saw less than ten birds and more than one, but I did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one, which is not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc. That integer is inconceivable, ergo, God exists."

Argumentum Ornithologicum, by Jorge Luis Borges

Skyler said...

Revenant is on a roll here! I think I'm going to steal a few of his lines for future use.

Ultimately it will be no different than a religion, to all but those people smart enough and educated enough to understand the concepts involved.



If you insert God into the equation, the answer is "whatever God wants it to be". You know nothing;



"Evidence" is not the plural form of "belief".

SteveR said...

Reverant:
Fine figure out how matter and energy interact (duh!!), figure out new ways to create energy, blow stuff up. That's good science. Using that to prove or disprove the unprovable is what? Not content to be the smartest man in the world he throws vibrating strings against the wall.

Doesn't matter (no pun intended) what he thinks about God, it's no more valuable an opinion than anyone else's. Don't care

Skyler said...

That integer is inconceivable, ergo, God exists."

This is why philosophers have gotten a bad rap over the centuries. There are too many idiots among them.

Lem said...

Nice quote by Borges.. I was not familiar with it.

As to Boeing in South Carolina..

God works in mysterious ways ;)

The problem with trial and error is that the answer - error - seems so ungodly ;)

Lem said...

There are too many idiots among them.

Idiocy proves that only God could have created it ;)

edutcher said...

I seem to remember from my schooldays something about neither matter nor energy can either be created or destroyed being an accepted scientific principle. If so, Scott M is on the money.

It also makes the whole, "Let there be light", thing a little hard to refute.

Flexo said...

Suppose you want to know the total energy contained in a gram of water. If you leave God out of the equation, the answer is "89.9 terajoules". If you insert God into the equation, the answer is "whatever God wants it to be".

Only if you are speaking of an entirely arbitrary god like Allah, who is so all-powerful that he is not even limited by himself.

But God as understood in Christianity is not arbitrary, rather, He is, as described in John chapter 1, the "Logos" (Reason). In Christianity, truth is not arbitrary, truth is not relative, truth does not change according to the whimsy of a capricious diety (or a hubris-filled scientist).

If you insert God of Christianity into the equation, the answer then the answer is 89.9 terajoules.

Lem said...

The only difference is whether "something" is "God" or "the universe itself".

excellent point
.

I see somebody already made my point.. I must be in the wrong track ;)

Flexo said...

How many times, do you suppose, would a tornado have to hit a junkyard, before a fully functional aircraft resulted—with Boeing written on the side? The universe being what it is by accident is just about as likely as that.

And how many more times before that Boeing aircraft could move on its own and reproduce? And then have the capacity for thought and autonomy of action (i.e. independent free will)?

Revenant said...

Using that to prove or disprove the unprovable is what? Not content to be the smartest man in the world he throws vibrating strings against the wall.

You didn't actually read the article, did you.

Hawking isn't trying to prove God doesn't exist. He's trying to prove there's a good explanation for the universe's existence that doesn't *require* God to exist.

Revenant said...

How many times, do you suppose, would a tornado have to hit a junkyard, before a fully functional aircraft resulted—with Boeing written on the side?

Would you like me to link to some of the numerous debunkings of Fred Hoyle's "junkyard tornado 747" example, or would you prefer to Google them on your own?

Revenant said...

If you insert God of Christianity into the equation, the answer then the answer is 89.9 terajoules.

If you always get the same answer to your question whether you account for God or not, why add God to the equation? That's like painting your car red to make it go faster. It has aesthetic appeal but it doesn't actually do anything. :)

Flexo said...

If you always get the same answer to your question whether you account for God or not, why add God to the equation?

You're the one who added Him to the equation, so why are you asking me?

Revenant said...

You're the one who added Him to the equation, so why are you asking me?

I was pointing out to Methadras that including gods in scientific theories didn't work.

AC245 said...

It really is funny to see the atheists all up in arms over these imagined assaults on their religion.

What is this "hydrogen" nonsense? How can the sun be "burning" it if there's no air in space? Even a third grader knows that! How do you know the Earth "spins"? I look out my window, I don't see anything moving. Is it sitting on some kind of huge table? How do you know atoms aren't made up shit? Have you ever seen one?

vs. something like

What is this "God" nonsense? ... I look out my window, I look at my gauges and meters, I look at my equations, and I see no sign of God at all. ... Have you ever seen him?

Oh, the irony.

Lem said...

You didn't actually read the article, did you.

I was trying to read his lips ;)

I'm going to hell.

Flexo said...

OK, if you insist that I tell you the answer --

God invented the equation (E=MC2), not Einstein. The answer is still 89.9 terajoules (or whatever the hell it is) not because God is irrelevant, but because it's His equation, so "adding" Him to it doesn't alter anything.

Actually, to get technical about it, if you leave God out of the equation, the answer is not 89.9 terajoules. Rather, the answer is nothing -- not even zero, which is a something, but absolute nothing, a nullity, nihilo -- because if you leave God out, you leave the equation itself out. Indeed, you leave the water out too.

Revenant said...

Oh, the irony.

Well, yes, that would be an ironic statement indeed. Pity nobody actually made it.

Cedarford said...

Freeman Hunt - "But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander"

Except that that the Abrahamic Faiths concern themselves with a lot more than "were it all came from".

Immortal souls, God sending his only begotten son to die and wipe away original sin, nothing happens without Allah directly willing it - not even one of 600 billion mosquitos deciding to move left or right, up or down. Jews answered prayers and regular miracles.

Hubble, Hubble telescope, and cosmology all deeply challenge the Abrahamic faiths.

sunsong said...

"With all your science, can you tell how it is, and whence it is, that light comes into the soul?" ~ Thoreau

Revenant said...

OK, if you insist that I tell you the answer

I didn't. And judging from your response, you clearly didn't understand the question. :)

El Pollo Real said...

Three-dimensional blobs, point particles, two-dimensional membranes, vibrating strings

That might just as well describe breasts, erect nipples, drums, and electric guitars to a layperson--in other words: sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

What a degenerate.

I'm shocked that he is so revered.

Fred4Pres said...

Stephen Hawkings is just doing this to make Christopher Hitchens smile.

But we might as well smoke some weed and adopt Larry Kroger's theory of the universe instead (which he stole from Horton).

Charlie Martin said...

Not really. Just because you personally don't accept the support doesn't mean it is unsupported.

You're missing the argument. In this context, what this means is "there's an experiment that will show it's wrong." You can't construct such an experiment to disprove the existence of Deity, because an Entity that has the qualities we assign to a Deity can foresee your experiment, whatever it is, and move to undetectably thwart it.

This doesn't mean the hypothesis is false; it's just unsupported and can't be supported in a scientific framework.

Erik said...

Flexo said:

"God invented the equation (E=MC2), not Einstein. The answer is still 89.9 terajoules (or whatever the hell it is) not because God is irrelevant, but because it's His equation, so "adding" Him to it doesn't alter anything.

Actually, to get technical about it, if you leave God out of the equation, the answer is not 89.9 terajoules. Rather, the answer is nothing -- not even zero, which is a something, but absolute nothing, a nullity, nihilo -- because if you leave God out, you leave the equation itself out. Indeed, you leave the water out too."

And you know all this how exactly?

Charlie Martin said...

I appreciate his bravery, if not his wisdom in admitting that the universe without God depends on spontaneous generation.

Does it? What if the universe didn't have a start?

Fred4Pres said...

Hawkings is of course correct. Turtles on turtles make as much sense as Creation as does string theory as does the big bang. The universe is essentially timeless and enternal (really there was nothing before the big bang?).

So out of that sort of vastness, beyond ken or understanding, we were the result of an accident?

Then again, I do keep buying those loterry tickets!

Charlie Martin said...

If quantum mechanics and general relativity were wrong, much of today's technology could not work.

Yup. Sadly, quantum mechanics and general relativity are mutually inconsistent: they can't both be right.

amba said...

The hottest area of study in theology these days is all about the intersection of science and theology, not in the old Fundamentalist battles, but in a really fun embrace of what cutting edge science is discovering. And to do that kind of discovering, it takes more than mild curiosity. It takes a bit of existential angst to explore the bounds of explanation.

Paddy O, can you point me to some of that? Got any links?

SteveR said...

You didn't actually read the article, did you?

Only God and Stephen Hawking (but I repeat myself) know for sure.

In spite of your explanation and asssuming its the correct one, its not provable.

amba said...

Chip, what's an egg whisk doing up there??

garage mahal said...

That might just as well describe breasts, erect nipples, drums, and electric guitars to a layperson--in other words: sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

What a degenerate.

I'm shocked that he is so revered.


I don't understand it either, but I'm not shocked at the fact I do not. Creationists have always been graded at a 1st grade level against the greatest minds - after all, all they have to explain is *poof!*, snap of the fingers, by some imaginary supreme being to explain the universe. Any idiot can sit back and do that.

amba said...

"How did the GRand Cnayon get here"

It was drawn with a Gwand Cwayon.

Methadras said...

Flexo said...

Only if you are speaking of an entirely arbitrary god like Allah


Allah is the Arabic word for God. Not the God of Muslims, which is a moon God. So when a Muslim Arab uses the word Allah, he does not mean the God of Abraham or that of Christians, but the god of the moon. A non-Muslim Arab or a Christian Arab that says Allah refers to the God of the Christian Bible. The creator of all things. There is a big difference in the two usages.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

That's like painting your car red to make it go faster. It has aesthetic appeal but it doesn't actually do anything. :)


Actually, if you paint your car red to make it go faster, then that would be false since the added weight of the paint would essentially have a direct, albeit a very small, bearing on the speed of the vehicle. Not having paint means no added weight, which will increase the likelihood of extra, albeit a very small amount of speed. Picking nits wherever I can. :D

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

You're the one who added Him to the equation, so why are you asking me?

I was pointing out to Methadras that including gods in scientific theories didn't work.


Let me clarify further my point. I understand your point of view, Rev., but I'm coming at it from another direction. God, who engineered the physics of this universe and set them into motion would already know the full effect of the engineering of the physics he created. Science, as far as I can tell, since no other method has come close to it, is the revelation of that engineering. Not all at once, but piece by piece. We make a discovery in particle physics, we see how it fits in the models we've created to explain it. It's tested, it's reviewed, it's reconciled, it's accepted and we move on to the next piece of the puzzle to reveal that which is already engineered.

The sum total of the universe was already here before us, so it's safe to presume that the engineering of the physics of this universe hasn't changed since it's ignition. The primary duty of science is to reveal that which already is. We can't see it all, but yet it's all around us and our innate curiosity helps and shapes the thoughts and ideas by which we can surmise what we uncover and discover. Piece by piece, bit by bit, building on top of each successive discovery, theory, and idea.

jimspice said...

That's right. Pick at the edges. THIS is wrong with string. THIS is wrong with brane. When you add it up, it equals the Catholic Church.

Methadras said...

jimspice said...

That's right. Pick at the edges. THIS is wrong with string. THIS is wrong with brane. When you add it up, it equals the Catholic Church.


Unfortunately there is no proof of Branes or of Strings, but you can always go to the Vatican.

virgil xenophon said...

Issac Asimov anticipated all this in a 1956 story "The Last Question" @

http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

virgil xenophon said...

Issac Asimov anticipated all this in a 1956 story "The Last Question" @

http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

meep said...

Thing is, there's not much evidence for string theory, either. [looks like at least one person above noted that]

When they hit on a theory that makes a testable prediction (and doesn't just predict what's already there), get back to me.

String theory is bullshit spun by bored physicists with math envy.

meep said...

My point is this: Hawking would be on better ground if the stuff he was talking about were actually scientific.

Now the difference between religion and M-theory is that theoretically, someday, someone might admit the M-theory was wrong. But at this point, it's not even where it's falsifiable. (And yes, M-theory is just fancied-up string theory. I guess they got ridicule for the prior name, and just putting a letter in its place sounds more grown up.)

TMink said...

Something from nothing = spontaneous generation. That is simple. Then there is how a system going from a state of disorder to order, again spontaneously, violates entropy.

I mean I could believe this if my office spontaneously cleaned itself and generated a maid to keep it that way. So far, I am still waiting.

Trey

TMink said...

"Any idiot can sit back and do that."

But it takes a special idiot to not see God in His creation. 8)

Trey

Bryan C said...

The existence of other solar systems, and perhaps other intelligent life, doesn't really tell us anything about God. God's an enterprising fellow with lots of time on his hands; I doubt one race of sentient beings on one planet would be the limit of his creative ambitions.

The Deists believed in a clockwork universe. The Great Architect designed it, built it, wound it up, and then stepped away to let it run its course. From the clock's perspective the hands have always been moving.

LarsPorsena said...

Science tries to answer the question "How?".

Religion tries to answer the question "Why?".

It's when either crosses the others natural boundary that we get these tautological threads.

Skyler said...

My prediction is that Hawkings will now be very unpopular among the masses. Before he was the poster boy of physics, and his debilitated condition gave his a memorable impact. But now, he will find himself in much fewer Star Trek episodes or the like.

It's sad that the truth is so scary to people even today.

Gabriel Hanna said...

So, there's two positions emerging from the comments here.

1: The laws of nature didn't come from anywhere, and they explain the universe as we see it.

2: It's totally ridiculous to say that the laws of nature didn't come from anywhere. They must have been set up by God, and God didn't come from anywhere--and that's the only way to explain the universe as we see it.

You can't explain anything with God. God has no properties which you are willing to tie Him down to. He has whatever intentions or abilities you desire to "explain" whatever you it is you think needs explaining. But's it's a shuck-and-jive. You're just giving ignorance a name, by invoking God.

The universe is complicated, and it must be explained by something. But when you invoke God to explain it, you invoke something even MORE complicated which you just grant yourself a license to ASSUME, all the while flinging feces at those who assume much less.

@Charlie Martin:

Yup. Sadly, quantum mechanics and general relativity are mutually inconsistent: they can't both be right.

They are both right in their areas of applicability; of course you know this and are just being difficult, and it is true that if they didn't match experiment to theory then our technology wouldn't work. They just can't explain each other's experiments.

The rightness of a scientific theory is not judged by its inability to explain EVERY THING EVER; you might as well say then that none of them are right. And by doing so give aid and comfort to those who say God and His angels are making the snowflakes.

c3 said...

Garage;
Creationists have always been graded at a 1st grade level against the greatest minds - after all, all they have to explain is *poof!*,

Interesting that in all of this discussion you're the first one to bring up the word "creationist"

So by the same logic, if a physicist doesn't hold to string theory he by definition agrees with the existence of God?

mtrobertsattorney said...

I thought Professor Irwin Corey had died?

Michael McNeil said...

When life begins is another.

The scientific answer of course is that life doesn't begin (except once, billions of years ago). All life on Earth, including human life, is part of a continuous chain extending back to soon after the formation of the Earth, and every being's life is simply inherited without break or pause from its parents.

The parents are alive, their egg and sperm are alive, the fertilized egg resulting from their union is alive, and the embryo then adult organism that grows from it is alive. No “new life” at all.

Michael McNeil said...

Something from nothing = spontaneous generation. That is simple. Then there is how a system going from a state of disorder to order, again spontaneously, violates entropy.

No it doesn't. The second law of thermodynamics to which you refer does not forestall localities from experiencing a drop in entropy (increasing order) — it simply requires that the entropy (order) of the system as a whole (i.e., the universe) generally increase. (And, actually, it doesn't require even that, since as a statistical law, it simply says that chances are that entropy will increase.)

So, it's perfectly allowable for living things to act to accumulate order (negentropy) in their immediate vicinity — so long as more entropy increases elsewhere (such as in and around the Sun, which floods adjoining space with energy as it “burns”).

I mean I could believe this if my office spontaneously cleaned itself and generated a maid to keep it that way. So far, I am still waiting.

Your office is simply too primitive to accomplish that feat. Living organisms on Earth these days are far from primitive.

Michael McNeil said...

Make that: it simply requires that the entropy (disorder) of the system as a whole (i.e., the universe) generally increase.

Revenant said...

Something from nothing = spontaneous generation. That is simple.

"Spontaneous generation" refers to the ancient belief that non-living matter spontaneously produced living creatures -- e.g. that dung produced maggots. It is not applicable to this dicussion, and certainly isn't what Hawking was proposing. :)

Revenant said...

Interesting that in all of this discussion you're the first one to bring up the word "creationist"

Why is that interesting? There have been several creationists commenting here. Being the first person to label them as such isn't interesting.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Michael McNell, TMink

Then there is how a system going from a state of disorder to order, again spontaneously, violates entropy.


It's not limited to "living" things spontaneously lowering their entropy. TMink thinks that ice and snowflakes are impossible and miraculous.

Of course high-entropy liquid water turns into low-entropy ice and snowflakes ALL THE TIME. So what's your explanation, TMink? Is God making every snowflake? Maybe He has the angels do it for him?

Are scientists so stupid they don't know about ice and snow?

Or maybe, just maybe, you don;t have the slightest clue what you are talking about, and maybe need to educate yourself before you can argue the question?

Even Answers in Genesis have given up this argument, since it's so obviously bogus!

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/itbwi/energy

mtrobertsattorney said...

By "spontaneous creation", Hawking means "...the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

In other words, the universe and all the "stuff" in it originally sprang into existence from absolute nothingness, or what the early Greeks called "the Void".

Of course another word for this is "magic". Hawking could have spared himself (and the rest of us) all this nonsense about "vibrating strings...point particles, 2-dimensional membranes, 3-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions" and simply declared that the universe was created by magic.

Gabriel Hanna said...

In other words, the universe and all the "stuff" in it originally sprang into existence from absolute nothingness, or what the early Greeks called "the Void".Of course another word for this is "magic". Hawking could have spared himself (and the rest of us) all this nonsense...

Matter creating itself spontaneously from "nothing" is observed all the time in the lab, genius.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Gabe, if you or anybody else can create existence (being) from non-existence (non-being), a Nobel prize awaits you. But even if you can't, if you can solve the mystery of exactly what those "2-dimensional membranes" and "3-dimensional blobs" are, you will merit at least an honorable mention.


Could it be that the emperor has no clothes?

Revenant said...

By "spontaneous creation", Hawking means "...the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Spontaneous creation, yes. Not "spontaneous generation".

Gabe, if you or anybody else can create existence (being) from non-existence (non-being), a Nobel prize awaits you.

Probably not, since Paul Dirac already won the Nobel Prize for it 67 years ago. :)

AC245 said...

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

And yet, you're still talking.

You atheists are so cute when your faith is challenged!

Revenant said...

Christian physicists believe the same things as atheist physicists, AC245.

This is about science vs ignorance, not atheism versus religion. You don't have to be an atheist to believe that things can come into existence spontaneously; you just have to be educated enough to have learned that we have witnessed it happening.

Calling it "magic" is like sneering that your these so-called "microwaves" that heat your food are nothing more than primitive superstition. It makes you sound like an idiot.

AC245 said...

Christian physicists believe the same things as atheist physicists, AC245.

About physics, I would certainly expect them to accept whatever the evidence shows, regardless of their religious beliefs.

This is about science vs ignorance, not atheism versus religion.

I'm not really interested in participating in either side of the crusade, but I will admit I find the zealotry of you atheists more amusing than that of the various theists whose beliefs you guys routinely belittle.

You don't have to be an atheist to believe that things can come into existence spontaneously; you just have to be educated enough to have learned that we have witnessed it happening.

Hmmm. Earlier (9/2/10 5:10 PM) you emphatically stated:

'Another interesting point to keep in mind is that the universe is, so far as we can tell, the one and ONLY thing that has ever been "created".'

So, who is that you believe witnessed the creation of the universe?

AC245 said...

So, who is it that...

Revenant said...

I'm not really interested in participating in either side of the crusade, but I will admit I find the zealotry of you atheists more amusing than that of the various theists whose beliefs you guys routinely belittle.

If you want to smugly criticize straw men and pat yourself on the back for being so clever, by all means -- carry on. The notion that I've exhibited "zealotry" in this conversation is too asinine to waste my time with.

Revenant said...

So, who is that you believe witnessed the creation of the universe?

Nobody. You're confusing two different topics.

We have witnessed things spontaneously coming into existence, e.g. particles in a vacuum. But their existence is a function of the energy of the vacuum. They aren't being created; they are a manifestation of that energy.

We did not witness the creation of the universe; we just know that it spontaneously came into existence. The question we're trying to answer is why. Was it truly "created" from nothing (which would be a first), or was it just the same sort of thing we see around us every day, at a larger scale, or was it something else entirely?

That's what physics is trying to figure out. There is nothing "magical" about spontaneous non-being -> being or being -> non-being transitions. That happens all the time. :)

AC245 said...

If you want to smugly criticize straw men and pat yourself on the back for being so clever, by all means -- carry on. The notion that I've exhibited "zealotry" in this conversation is too asinine to waste my time with.

There's no point in trying to discuss articles of faith with a true believer, which is why I didn't try. I just pointed out that your zealotry amuses me.

Clearly, my amusement at your zealotry does not amuse you - but I am not surprised, as the faithful rarely like to see their beliefs openly mocked.

Nobody. You're confusing two different topics.

We have witnessed things spontaneously coming into existence, e.g. particles in a vacuum. But their existence is a function of the energy of the vacuum. They aren't being created; they are a manifestation of that energy.


Your emphatic distinction in your earlier comment appears to be no longer operative, since you're now sloppily referring to matter-energy transformations as "things spontaneously coming into existence" - a.k.a. creation.

Revenant said...

Your emphatic distinction in your earlier comment appears to be no longer operative, since you're now sloppily referring to matter-energy transformations as "things spontaneously coming into existence" - a.k.a. creation.

You're so worried about convincing people you're clever that you're missing a good opportunity to learn something new.

Here is exactly what I said:

the universe is, so far as we can tell, the one and ONLY thing that has ever been "created". Everything we think of "creation" -- the birth of a child, building a house, the formation of a star or a planet -- is just already-existing matter and energy getting shuffled around.

Yes, I know that particles coming into being is the kind of thing we normally call "creation". That's an example of what I'm talking about in that second sentence, above -- that even though we call it "creation", it really isn't. Particles spontaneously coming into being is just a manifestation of vacuum energy. If that energy didn't exist, no particles would appear.

AC245 said...

You're so worried about convincing people you're clever that you're missing a good opportunity to learn something new.

I noted that your comments were in tension, and you clarified that you were no longer maintaining an emphatic distinction between creation (i.e. the spontaneous generation of a thing from nothingness) and matter-energy transformations. No big deal.

Your statement

You don't have to be an atheist to believe that things can come into existence spontaneously; you just have to be educated enough to have learned that we have witnessed it happening.

would have been better written as

You don't have to be an atheist to believe that energy can be converted into matter; you just have to be educated enough to have learned that we have witnessed it happening.

but it would have lost some of its zing factor.

(You also might want to have a brief clarifying talk with your cohort, Gabriel, who seems to be under the impression that Matter creating itself spontaneously from "nothing" is observed all the time in the lab, genius.)

And with that, I'm outta here. Have a great long weekend.

Revenant said...

I noted that your comments were in tension, and you clarified that you were no longer maintaining an emphatic distinction between creation (i.e. the spontaneous generation of a thing from nothingness) and matter-energy transformations.

That's your interpretation of what I've been saying? My goodness, you certainly are confused. I've never seen someone take so long to comprehend the idea that the creation of the universe must have been quite unlike what we normally think of as "creation".

Your statement would have been better written as

Tsk. Understand first, AC. Rewrite second.

Mtroberts was scoffing at the idea of "existence (being) from non-existence (non-being)". That happens all the time. The virtual particles created by vacuum energy are an example of existence from non-existence -- one instant they don't exist, the next instant they do, without anybody doing anything to cause them to exist. They come into existence spontaneously, in every sense of the word. So I phrased it correctly the first time, thank you very much.

Now, absolute nothingness becoming "somethingness" is, like I and about a zillion other people have noted, something different from what we normally witness. Mtroberts sneered that this is "magic". But like I noted in my first post in this thread, all beliefs about the origins of the universe trace back to something that either self-created or had no creator. We know that something can come from nothing, because we know that it has to have happened. Either a god came from nothing and created the universe, or the universe came from nothing directly, or something else along those lines.

So saying it is "magic" for something to have come from nothing is just ignorant. If you know for certain that something is real, it isn't magic. :)

Gabriel Hanna said...

@AC245:

You also might want to have a brief clarifying talk with your cohort, Gabriel, who seems to be under the impression that Matter creating itself spontaneously from "nothing" is observed all the time in the lab, genius.)

And with that, I'm outta here. Have a great long weekend.


What I described is exactly what happens, and Revenant agrees. You can see it for yourself if you get a couple of metal plates and some vacuum.

You don't know enough to know how little you know, and you think you're smarter than the people who study it for a living.

It would never occur to me to tell a heart surgeon or even a plumber that I know what he knows better than he does, but some people can't seem to help it, I guess.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

For those of you keeping score at home, we still have two positions:

1: If we assume natural laws we can explain what we see.

2: It's crazy to assume natural laws! First you have to assume a sky fairy, and then HE writes the natural laws, and then we can explain things.

You guys got nothing else, in 7000 years you've come up with nothing else--and you write about it using electronic boxes that couldn't have been built without the science developed by the guys you're mocking.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Rev, have you ever studied philosophy?

The distinction that escapes you is between necessary existence and contingent existence.

When you try to answer what is in essence a philosophical question, you should have at least some grounding in this discipline. Let me recommend Copleston's History of Western Philosophy. After you and Gabe have worked your way through Kant, you will be ready to seriously tackle George Berkeley. He will surely cure both of you of your naive materialism.

Hawking's ramblings about 3-dimensional blobs and the like are nothing but pure gibberish. The fact that he compares himself to Newton is bizarre. And the fact that otherwise intelligent people are convinced he is uttering some profound truth is astounding.

William said...

The existence of God is immaterial to me.

Revenant said...

Rev, have you ever studied philosophy?

Yes.

The distinction that escapes you is between necessary existence and contingent existence.

Speaking of "necessary existence" would have confused matters, since (a) most people don't know exactly what that means and (b) "necessary existence" is commonly understood to mean something which can't NOT exist. That could confuse the issue, since the existence of the root cause of the universe was only actually "necessary" 14 billion years ago. E.g., it could be that a god created the universe and then ceased to exist, which would mean that the statements "a god created the universe" and "no gods exist" are both true. Or it could be that the universe arose through some natural process and then an all-powerful God popped into (contingent) existence later on. Or it could be there have never been gods, or that there have always been one or more gods.

When you try to answer what is in essence a philosophical question, you should have at least some grounding in this discipline.

My, you're a snotty little thing, aren't you? I wasn't making a philosophical argument, although I often have in the past.

But I do like how you're saying people should "have at least some grounding" in what they talk about in the very same comment in which you declare m-theory -- which you hadn't heard of two days ago and mistakenly think Stephen Hawking invented -- to be "nothing but gibberish". Very cute.