Discussion in 'Science and the Universe' started by A Cup Of Tea, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2011
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    Here's a two hour long discussion on 'Nothing' by physicists and philosophers Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eva Silverstein, Lawrence Krauss, J. Richard Gott, Jim Holt and Charles Seife. I found it hard to follow at times but rewarding enough to spend two hours of my time.

    A lot of the discussion revolves around the 'Nothing' before the 'Something' and how the latter came about out of nothing. On this forum I remember discussions forming around either the idea of nothingness and a divine action or the something emerging out of something else, the latter being nicknamed 'turtles all the way down'. In the above discussion there is a similar dichotomy where the physicists try to scale away the 'Something' while the the philosopher persists that there is more to take away.

    The universe is wonderfully complicated and I think these are questions for humans to grasp because we have no experience with Nothingness and Infinity. Biologically or socially there haven't been any practical need for them. Since we all know what we talk about it's very likely that we can comprehend them, but I would like to postulate that it could be that we either don't have the mental capacity to truly understand Nothingness and Infinity, or that the concepts simply only exist in our mind. In either case what we understand is simply a crude shadow of reality. Neither of them are measurable in any case.

    Around 1h 27min into the video Seife points out how similar Nothingness and Infinity are as concepts as when you take something away or add something to either you still end up the same. The both depend on the 'Something' that is all around us always, what we are programmed to actually comprehend. Nothingness is the absence of something where the mind is trying to (infinitely) take away the something, and Infinity is the endless 'Something' where the mind is trying to (infinitely) add something. Like turtles.

    I think it's worth pointing out for perspective. And no matter if there is Nothingness and Infinity, or if we can comprehend it or not, is it not conceivable that there is a third answer to the question besides Nothingness and Infinity that we haven't conceived yet?
    Hermes likes this.
  2. izniss

    izniss Member

    Feb 20, 2015
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    The best little treatise I've ever read on "something" and "nothing" was Wei Wu Wei's "All Else is Bondage".
    Part of it is available here.
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2007
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    Allow me to share an answer from the Theosophical perspective. "Nothingness" refers to whatever or wherever our universe comes from. It also refers to the "conditions" that "exist" between the time one universe disappears in a Big Crunch and the next universe appears in the next Big Bang.

    Even Genesis refers to this time: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."

    It is extremely difficult to imagine what the conditions of such a "nothingness" must be like. Because we know so little about it, and because so little information has been provided, many religions have taken to using the metaphor "nothingness" to describe and name it. I suppose there is no better way term to use to refer to it.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  4. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2014
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    Looks like a great video. Hope to have the time to devote to it soon! As to your last point, I agree there is every possibility that there may be a third solution that we simply do not have the capability to understand yet. With such startling discoveries in recent times such as we can only be aware of a fraction of this reality - what is it, 95% that is supposedly Dark Energy? With all our knowledge, we can only discern 5% of this reality, if this theory proves correct. What wonders might be possible if we are ever able to understand the other 95%!

    Is what we understand of Nothing somehow related to the something that is there but we cannot perceive? How does that potential increase the possibility of understanding something from (supposedly) nothing. On the theological side, is it possible that the 95% of something we cannot perceive - is that where Gods and an afterlife might inhabit?

    Fascinating stuff!
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Jan 9, 2004
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    That made for an entertaining morning. I didn't realize there was so much ado about nothing!

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