A Universe from Nothing? Has Lawrence M. Krauss Missed the Point?

To cut to the chase it is my view that Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, eminent cosmologist, theoretical physicist, and author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing,[1] has missed the point of the argument. Yet, his book is fascinating, and the discoveries he discusses are very significant, perhaps in ways he has not yet considered.

Let me state quite plainly that I accept and respect all the scientific discoveries and theories that Krauss describes. I have neither the skill nor the training to counter them, and nor do I feel a need to do so. I have faith in the integrity and dedication of the scientists who are collecting and analysing the data, and proposing the theories based on mathematical calculation and/or study of the data. If they have it wrong, I know they will correct it, and slowly but surely, the physical scientific realities of the universe will be uncovered. So that is not my focus.

My concern is the philosophical and spiritual interpretation that is derived by scientists from their theories and data, even if it is purely to say that there is no need for God or that what philosophers or theologians might have to say is necessarily of little worth. Accordingly, my mission is to find the middle path reconciling both the scientific and philosophical/spiritual views in a way that is coherent and all-embracing. It is logical to me that there is a theory of everything being uncovered, and that this theory must incorporate science, philosophy, spirituality, religion, and every other body of work and view of the universe, each of course honed to its own accurate and “perfect” set of truths.

Krauss initially changes the question from why there is something rather than nothing, to how there is something rather than nothing. As he points out, using the word why implies purpose, and as a scientist he would rather describe the process of how it is possible for something to derive from nothing.

As with many scientists who see everything as being explained by science, Krauss sees no need for a God or a Creator. Krauss does not consider the possibility that God designed and implemented science’s physical laws in order to create the universe as it is. While I can understand that physical laws need to be coherent and obviously are, there is no reason in my mind why these could not have been designed by a superior Designer to work in just that way. It would appear to me that the how that Krauss insists on discovering is exactly the uncovering of the path that God took to achieve what He (She, It) achieved. In many ways the why question is far more challenging and momentous than the physical and cosmological discoveries under discussion.

Krauss explains three ways in which something can come from nothing. In brief they are (though I accept that my descriptions may not be perfect):

  •  In the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang a period of inflation occurred, where the universe expanded by a factor of more than 1028, and the resulting quantum fluctuations allowed matter to form out of nothing.
  •  A quantum gravity of zero allows, and even initiates, matter (and thus the universe) to be created from nothing. A state of nothing is ultimately unstable.
  • The concept of a multiverse shows that up to 10500 (that is 1 with 500 zeroes) unique universes may exist. Thus by chance our one happens to have the perfect set of physical laws to produce the universe we see.

 Krauss admits that in the first of these three possibilities, the nothing described is empty space storing energy, and allows for the existence of the Laws of Physics. In the second possibility, the need for pre-existing space has been removed. In the third and final way in which something can come from nothing, Krauss takes away the Laws of Physics, in that they become measurements and descriptions of what exists as opposed to needing to pre-exist in order to create the universe we know.

It does not take much to see that we are still not talking about creating a universe from nothing, or answering the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Krauss suspects that at the time of Plato (423-347BC), or even St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), they were defining nothing as empty space, as they considered why there was something rather than nothing. I suspect that this is very far from the truth.

Why is there something instead of nothing? My definition of nothing, and I would have thought, the definition of everybody else except scientists, is that nothing means absolutely and entirely nothing at all. Therefore no space, no time, no physics, no mathematics, no nothing! Krauss complains about people redefining nothing to suit their purposes, but frankly, I believe that is exactly what he has done. To me, nothing means absolutely nothing at all.

So on to my argument. Yes, there could have been nothing at all instead of a universe. There really is no reason why there should be anything. Why bother? And who would there be to bother? Yet clearly we have a universe, as so ably described by Krauss and his fellow scientists. Therefore there can never have been the state of nothing, because if there were nothing, absolutely nothing at all, how would anything ever have got started? There would be no virtual particles to pop in and out of existence as suggested by quantum mechanics, and there would be no space in which they could pop. There would be no source of a multiverse and there would be no conditions to initiate a Big Bang.

It follows that something did pre-exist the Big Bang, and Krauss confirms that today’s thinking is that the Big Bang was a certainty. Great, I am perfectly happy with that, and happy that it happened too, as I am sure you are. It would also seem sensible to suggest that, whatever pre-existed the Big Bang, it has existed eternally, whatever that term might be interpreted to mean. There could never be the time, place or situation where there was nothing at all, as even this pre-existing state could never have got started.

My suggestion is that the eternal, pre-existing state was Consciousness. It could also be called Life or Being. By many people, especially those with religious beliefs and affiliations, It is called God (or their alternative words for God). In my book, whatever Its nature or qualities, that eternal, pre-existing state that enabled there to be something rather than nothing, and got the universe started, is absolutely worthy of the name God, whatever that Ultimate Reality is.


[1] Krauss, L., A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, Free Press, New York, 2012

Advertisements

Welcome to The God Franchise blog. The blog is below, and please add your comments and thoughts to posts. Most importantly, if you wish to ask me anything separately about The God Franchise concept, or the implications of it, please ask as a comment on the Your Questions page. For all other information please see www.TheGodFranchise.com.

Enjoy!

The Illuminating Blogger Award – what an honour

I have been away from blogging here for way too long – looks like 7 weeks! Where does the time go? I have been active on Twitter, a new medium for me, and that has been feeding through here, but yet… 140 characters brings a whole new meaning to keeping it brief. So, I’m back.

Anyway, I am delighted to discover that Leigh (yogaleigh) of BlueGrassNotes blog has nominated my blog, The God Franchise, for the Illuminating Blogger Award. That is a wonderful honour as I have been so impressed by her frequency and quality of posts.  As well as her likes and positive comments on my blog from time to time.

 

 

So thank you so much, Leigh (http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com), for nominating The God Franchise as recipient of an Illuminating Blogger Award. 

The rules for the Illuminating Blogger Award are: 

Food Stories is pleased to present the Illuminating Blogger Award, a fabulous award that anyone can bestow on their fellow bloggers for illuminating, informative blog content. Here’s how it works: 

1. The nominee (i.e. = recipient) should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way to maintain a blogroll of award winners).

2. The Nominee should thank the person who nominated them by posting and including a link to their blog.

3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.

4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.

5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/). 

Something random about me is that I take a walk every morning, for about 40 minutes during the week, and up to twice that at the weekend. Most of the walk is on paths through reserve areas, so off-street. This is not specifically for physical exercise, but to have time at peace with myself, to celebrate the new day, to see the other people on their walks, the birds, the cats and the dogs, and generally come back home feeling inspired and fired up, ready for the day. 

My nominees for the Illuminating Blogger Award are: 

The Math of God (http://themathofgod.wordpress.com) – Lyle  

Loveviewz (http://ok2loveagain.wordpress.com) – Audrey 

Brain Brew (http://brainbrewblog.wordpress.com) – Christine 

Alicia’s Roses (http://aliciasroses.wordpress.com) – Alicia 

Knowthesphere (http://knowthesphere.wordpress.com) – Jeremiah

So thank you once again, Leigh, and may the Illuminating Blogger Award continue to illuminate through the blogosphere.

I Have Free Will

I have free will to feel whatever I like. It is part of my kitbag as a God Franchisee.

If I want to feel happy, I can feel happy.

If I want to feel bored, I can feel bored.

If I want to feel that I am a victim, I can feel that I am a victim.

If I want to feel sorry for myself, I can feel sorry for myself.

If I want to feel I am out of control, I can feel I am out of control.

If I want to feel nervous, I can feel nervous.

If I want to feel special, I can feel special.

If I want to feel beautiful, I can feel beautiful.

If I want to feel desperate, I can feel desperate.

If I want to feel angry, I can feel angry.

If I want to feel dissatisfied with my lot, I can feel dissatisfied with my lot.

If I want to feel lost, I can feel lost.

If I want to feel safe, I can feel safe.

If I want to feel loving, I can feel loving.

If I want to feel loved, I can feel loved.

If I want to feel unsure, I can feel unsure.

If I want to feel purposeful, I can feel purposeful.

If I want to feel depressed, I can feel depressed.

If I want to feel sad, I can feel sad.

If I want to feel something is missing in my life, I can feel something is missing in my life.

If I want to feel scared, I can feel scared.

If I want to feel scarred, I can feel scarred.

If I want to feel clever, I can feel clever.

If I want to feel useless, I can feel useless.

If I want to feel better, I can feel better.

If I want to feel sexy, I can feel sexy.

If I want to feel determined, I can feel determined.

If I want to feel superior, I can feel superior.

If I want to feel amused, I can feel amused.

If I want to feel ecstatic, I can feel ecstatic.

If I want to feel homesick, I can feel homesick.

If I want to feel mean, I can feel mean.

If I want to feel shy, I can feel shy.

If I want to feel forthright, I can feel forthright.

If I want to feel arrogant, I can feel arrogant.

If I want to feel joyous, I can feel joyous.

If I want to feel blessed, I can feel blessed.

If I want to feel peaceful, I can feel peaceful.

If I want to feel happy, I can feel happy.

I have said that I can choose to feel these things as a God Franchisee. The good news is you are a God Franchisee too, whether anyone told you that or not.

So, it is really great that you too have the free choice to feel as you wish. And you can easily change how you feel, if you wish to do that. Haven’t you experienced a sudden change in how you feel when the phone rings and someone you really want to speak to (or not speak to) is there, right now?

Whether your shift is from a negative emotion to a positive one, or vice versa, you can feel the shift. You will have seen this phenomenon happen in other people too.

Do I need to say more? I doubt it. Would you like to say something? Here is your chance, down below. You are free to feel whatever you like about this post, and to express it freely.