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Lawrence Krauss - A Universe from Nothing
Posted: 06 February 2012 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Host: Chris Mooney

We had Lawrence Krauss on Point of Inquiry less than a year ago, to discuss his recent book on the scientific works of Richard Feynman.

But Krauss is kind of a machine, and in order to keep up with him, we had to have him on again. Already.

You see, Krauss has a new book out that’s causing quite a stir right now—A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.

Here’s a hint as to why: Krauss’s answer to this age-old question isn’t God. In fact, as discussed on the program, Krauss has arguably written the book that “kicks God out of physics.”

And along the way, he also manages to explain a heck of a lot of science.

Lawrence Krauss is an the internationally known theoretical physicist and popular author. He has published hundreds of scientific papers, as well as acclaimed books like the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek and Fear of Physics. He’s director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/lawrence_krauss_a_universe_from_nothing/

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Posted: 07 February 2012 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yep, even nothing has potential. I especially liked his observarion that something from nothing was inevitable.

[ Edited: 07 February 2012 03:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 07 February 2012 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, but I read the book last week. I recommend the book very highly. Physicists are seemingly on the verge of proving that nothing is unstable and universes will pop into existence randomly. Philosophically, this makes a lot of sense. Now we just need some method to detect a signal of this happening. Even if it cannot be proven in our lifetimes it is a very intriguing possibility. Much better than goddidit.

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Posted: 07 February 2012 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Nothing ain’t really nothing it seems. What a cool topic, and Krauss is always a fun guest.

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Posted: 07 February 2012 11:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The presence of nothing implies something in itself. Only a void presents the absence of everything. But obviously there never was a void, only a geometric singularity of nothing and that is something.

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Posted: 11 February 2012 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Why does the universe exist?(just under half the program time) Perhaps the largest of big questions.  Stick it to those conservative Christian fundamentalists. (a little over half the program time) An idea as big as a grade school play yard, but life itself to liberals intent on highjacking science, skepticism, and all the power in human society. Demonize and stigmatize the competition.

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Posted: 11 February 2012 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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rg21, if you had a point there it is obscured by your poor writing. You should try using complete sentences with a subject to perform an action, a verb to indicate the action, and a direct object to receive the action. Now, try again and explain to us exactly what point you wanted to make.

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Posted: 11 February 2012 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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“Why does the universe exist” may be the largest and most fascinating of big question although ironically it consumed just under half the program time. In contrast, tormenting and mocking conservative fundamentalist Christians and the glee garnered from so doing, an exercise that consumed a bit more than half the program time, is no more consequential or intellectually significant than the taunts of mean and insecure third graders in a school yard. However, for liberals intent on highjacking and prostituting the skeptical movement and science as they do everything else they can get their hands on, it means as much as life itself.
  Now can I ask in reciprocity from leftists to use proper, respectful, and polite language without slang or vulgarisms wherever they may be from now on?

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Posted: 11 February 2012 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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rg21 - 11 February 2012 08:39 AM

“Why does the universe exist” may be the largest and most fascinating of big question although ironically it consumed just under half the program time. In contrast, tormenting and mocking conservative fundamentalist Christians and the glee garnered from so doing, an exercise that consumed a bit more than half the program time, is no more consequential or intellectually significant than the taunts of mean and insecure third graders in a school yard. However, for liberals intent on highjacking and prostituting the skeptical movement and science as they do everything else they can get their hands on, it means as much as life itself.
  Now can I ask in reciprocity from leftists to use proper, respectful, and polite language without slang or vulgarisms wherever they may be from now on?

Do you know “why” the universe exists?

IMO it is an unanswerable question.  We have a pretty good idea “how” the universe exists.  Does there need to be a “why”?

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Posted: 12 February 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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In his conversation with Chris Mooney, Lawrence Krauss uses the term “miracle” to describe aspects of the universe, and therefore by definition existence. The definition of miracle includes ‘a wonder’ or ‘a marvel’, and ‘a surpassing example’, but those two follow ‘1. an effect or extraordinary effect in the physical world ... ascribed to a supernatural cause’, & ‘2. an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.’ 

It is the first two definitions that are universally enculterated in humans. God is the first association I make when I hear the word miracle, and with the theists I know it is the only association made. Most literally are unable to hear anything else.

Any evidence advanced that is intended to negate the existence of the supernatural, but includes any variation of the word miracle, usually negates itself. No matter how the author or speaker intends the use of ‘miracle’, the only thing the theist hears following it is confirmation of the existence of a deity.

Frustrating experience informs me that this is not mere insignificant niggling on my part. If current debate in the US and around the world re secular vs religious, or left vs right both politically and culturally demonstrates anything, it is that language is meme that both unites and motivates ideologues, and also screens ideas and limits open inquiry potential.

While on this rant, I will identify another (seemingly unrelated, but I believe actually linked) critical semantic error: the linkage of the biological condition of sexual orientation to the moral value “lifestyle choice”, and therefore automatically subject to divine approval—and god thinks like me.

Lifestyle choice is a misused term that ought to reflect actions like buying in suburbia vs renting in an apartment in the city, or bicycling instead of driving, or vacationing at the beach instead of the mountains. It has nothing to do with biological sexual orientation.

The people hostile to LGBT Americans accessing the identical palette of rights guaranteed and accessed by heterosexual citizens uses an erroneous definition of ‘lifestyle’ based on a counter-factual understanding of existence. To a great extent, this is the same group of people who want Goddidit to be the only explanation for existence. These are just two obvious examples of the anti-evidence mindset evidenced by this group. Changing/ending anti-evidence thinking begins with careful vocabulary selection.

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Posted: 12 February 2012 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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rg21, thank you for updating your post. I think you mistook what Krauss was saying, though. As W4U pointed out, “why?” is the wrong question. I did not hear him say it in the podcast, but in the book Krauss explains the reason “why?” is the wrong question and points out the correct question is “how?” There is no “why?”: the universe simply exists. Asking why is meaningless because the universe sprang spontaneously from nothing.

Where did Krauss torment and mock conservative fundamentalist Christians? He used science to explain where their beliefs are wrong. Part of the reason he wrote the book is to counter creationist arguments that the universe requires a god. Showing that the universe erupted from nothing proves a god is not necessary, thus the time spent refuting ancient mythology.

1984isnow, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Krauss used the word “miracle” one time as far as I recall. Focusing on that and ignoring the rest of his talk shifts the discussion way from the important aspects and into an irrelevancy.

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Posted: 12 February 2012 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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From Wiki,

In casual usage, “miracle” is seen as any event that is statistically unlikely but beneficial, (such as surviving a natural disaster), or simply a “wonderful” occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth. Other miracles might be: survival of a terminal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or ‘beating the odds.’ Some coincidences may be perceived to be miracles.

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Posted: 13 February 2012 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I look forward to reading Krauss’s book soon. I regret that my comments indicate that I fixate on a single detail—while I am unable to prove so with a forum response, I assure you that I listened to the entire podcast with avid interest. Believers in magical explanations equate belief with knowing and undermine all actual knowledge as a result. Evidence will, sooner or later, interest people more than mystical belief. At that point faith in a myth explanation for a who & why singularity event will begin to gradually be replaced (for the vast majority, hopefully) by the gratification of discovering and comprehending evidence that explains ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘how’, and the physical explanations for ‘why’ they are synergistic. And if it is discovered in the process that there is such a thing as a real supernatural ‘who’ of some sort—although I see no reason to nurture such an expectation—such a discovery will only add to the single magic that matters, reality (as Dawkins titles his recent book).

My interactions with people of faith inform me that unless the word ‘miracle’ is used with extensive qualifying comments, as per the example above, it is almost absolutely certain that any other thing being communicated in the sentence in which it is used is automatically absorbed by the theist filter, and what little chance existed to penetrate theist consciousness takes an almost certain fatal blow in the process. I see and experience this time and time again in debates between reality and religion theism, whether the topic is science or atheism/religion or socio/political, and I am absolutely convinced that carelessness with term usage removes at least 75% of what is, at best, only a slim opportunity out of the gate to reach Reason Center inside a believer. I can absolutely guarantee that in argument, loosely/broadly defined terms is the basis used to undermine a sound statement with one spurious.

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Posted: 13 February 2012 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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1984isnow - 13 February 2012 06:48 AM

Believers in magical explanations equate belief with knowing and undermine all actual knowledge as a result.

That is a great line. Please use it in some of the religious discussions going on right now, such as this one. You are absolutely right: theists substitute faith for knowledge and cannot/will not admit their faith is based on nothing more than wishful thinking.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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A Universe from Nothing – Video with Lawrence Krauss

  Here is a video from RDF with Richard Dawkins introducing Lawrence Krauss.

http://www.openculture.com/2011/09/a_universe_from_nothing_by_lawrence_krauss.html

Here you can see Krauss in action and observe some of his graphs and diagrams.

TT.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I appreciate the Krauss video. He and Dawkins are two of the best at plainly communicating ideas that are not always easy for me to grasp. When they finish a sentence, I often find myself saying “Aha!” as I experience a eureka moment. I am not ready at that point to teach a class on the material, but I have just taken a giant step in processing reality.

Here is a video of a lecture I watched recently on determining and evaluating evidence that offered some perspective I was unfamiliar with. It might be particularly useful for Egor on his journey:


Jesus, the Easter Bunny, and Other Delusions: Just Say No! from Philosophy News on Vimeo[/img]http://vimeo.com/36676883.
Sorry, it will be necessary to copy/paste—I don’t have this link process figured out.

[ Edited: 22 February 2012 02:46 PM by 1984isnow ]
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