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Posted: 25 August 2007 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Is it accurate to say that “something” is the solid form of “nothing?”

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Posted: 25 August 2007 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t think so. That reifies “nothingness”. It’s to say that nothingness is a thing, which can either be solid or non-solid. Further, it’s not like nothingness moves around from here to there, except in the banal sense that things move around, so their negative space “moves” around them.

Think of an empty space with a single molecule drifting through it. It’s not as though, were the molecule not to have been there, there would have been some non-solid object, “nothing”, drifting through space. There would just have been ... nothing.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s sort of like asking, “Is one the solid form of zero?”  Or, “Is green the solid form of red?”  Substitute “something” for “solid” in the first, and “anticolor” for “solid” in the second. 

“Is one the something form of zero” is silly.  Zero is nothing so something can’t be a form of nothing. 

The use of “solid” tries to confuse the issue because it’s the wrong word.  There’s liquid, gas, energy of various sorts, etc.  Change the word “solid” to “something” in your original question and it now reads, “Is something the something form of “nothing?”  Then ask yourself it it even makes sense.

Occam

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Posted: 26 August 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Occam - 26 August 2007 02:32 AM

That’s sort of like asking, “Is one the solid form of zero?”  Or, “Is green the solid form of red?”  Substitute “something” for “solid” in the first, and “anticolor” for “solid” in the second. 

“Is one the something form of zero” is silly.  Zero is nothing so something can’t be a form of nothing. 

The use of “solid” tries to confuse the issue because it’s the wrong word.  There’s liquid, gas, energy of various sorts, etc.  Change the word “solid” to “something” in your original question and it now reads, “Is something the something form of “nothing?”  Then ask yourself it it even makes sense.

Occam

Now you just went ahead and changed the words all around. Your examples are not synonymous to my question. Actually, “Solid” was the exact word I wanted to use. Also, just because I asked this question does not mean I hold what it is suggesting to me one way or the other. However, I am looking for some effective rebuttals. Look at how Doug approaches it, I felt that it was an honorable attempt.  You adding that “it’s silly” and “ask yourself it it even makes sense.”  is not evidence to support your argument. “Is green the solid form of red?” is not an accurate representations to my question. For colors are visual attributes of “things” that result from the light they emit, transmit, or reflect.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:09 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 26 August 2007 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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zarcus - 26 August 2007 09:48 AM

Absolute nothingness is paradoxical and thus can not exist.
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First, The understanding that something is a paradox is not evidence that that something does not exist.

zarcus - 26 August 2007 09:48 AM

The concept of nothingness, however, does exist but is self-contradictory (a concept is not “no thing” it is an idea that represents “nothing”) and therefore it is unstable so it must collapse into a state that is stable but in order to do that it has to have something in common with that state.
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Secondly, How can one speak of something without using a representation (word(s)) of it to communicate what it is it is representing, substance. To mistake the representative of a substance for the substance itself is surely fatal to ones argument. And when speaking of emptiness, it can even more difficult to follow, for we are using something to represent nothing. But the focus should not be on the representative, it should be on what the representative is representing.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Perhaps a better way to ask the question is whether physical objects are a modification of the spacetime manifold. That is, empty space (“nothing”) is still a part of einsteinian spacetime, and spacetime has a (four-dimensional) shape; so it’s not totally without properties even when it’s empty. Further, we do know from quantum mechanics that spacetime is never absolutely empty. See vacuum energy and virtual particles.

I use the word “physical object” rather than talk about solidity, because solidity is actually a physical process; it depends upon electromagnetic interactions between the molecules in the surface of each object. There is no object that is “solid” in the sense of being perfectly continuous and impenetrable on its surface. Solid objects are actually largely themselves made up of “nothing”, or empty space.

My supposition would be that it is simpler to talk about physical objects in spacetime rather than to talk about modifications of spacetime being physical objects. But honestly, this is the sort of question that only a good physicist would have the answer to.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I think the original question, and all the talk of paradoxes, exist because of the difficulty humans have conceiving of what nothing might be. Of course, it can’t be anything, by definition. But it’s an abstract, and we have an easier time comprehending things that are more concrete. To say it doesn’t exist or can’t exist seems just a failure of our imagination, not a rational assessment of reality. We must learn to accept the inconceivable as our understanding grows. I find much of quantum mechanics thoroughly unvisualizable, yet if the math and the predictions it generates works, it has to be real anyway.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:10 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 26 August 2007 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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After writing out those quotes, I can better understand the question you ask, morgantj. I find it a more interesting question.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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zarcus - 26 August 2007 11:25 AM

After writing out those quotes, I can better understand the question you ask, morgantj. I find it a more interesting question.

Thank you. I’m glad you’ve now found interest in it.

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Posted: 26 August 2007 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:10 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 26 August 2007 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I will just say quickly that the concept of “nothingness” isn’t self-contradictory. Or at least it need not be.

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 26 August 2007 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:11 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 26 August 2007 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:11 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 26 August 2007 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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[ Edited: 20 October 2007 03:11 PM by zarcus ]
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