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Physicists Are Philosophers, Too?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Jude View Post
    But wouldn't you say that the Quantum world is itself a physical entity? Complete with laws that are descriptive?
    Actually in cosmology, the Quantum World, Quantum Foam, Quantum Gravity is not a thing, because time and space does not exist. It cannot be defined as having a beginning, end nor boundaries. It may have a beginning and boundaries, but this is indeterminate since there is no time nor space.

    Can a natural law exist,
    Natural Laws exist and objectively verifiable, but of course they are not things. There is no other known objectively verifiable causes.

    much less create if there is no matter to describe?
    The matter originates from the Quantum World according to Natural Law as universes.


    So why not just come out and say the universe is static?
    Because there is no evidence that it is static.

    He is light years beyond me in intellect but his metaphysical musings are no more valid than anyone else's. Or would the QW even be considered META?
    It is not a matter anything more valid as a philosophy here. It is simply representing Hawking's philosophy correctly. The validity of his scientific world view, and his philosophy is a question for another thread.

    I know he says that God is not necessary to light the blue touch paper to get the universe going but as Lennox asks, where did the paper come from? It just seems like science of the gaps to me. I wonder if the big bang had never been articulated and demonstrated would we even have heard the word "multiverse".
    The paper comes from the Quantum World.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
      The word "nothing" has different things. If I say there is nothing in my box, that does not imply the interior of the box is free from any laws. What exactly did Hawking say about the universe coming from nothing? What was his audience? Was he talking to philosophers, who have their own specific meaning? If not, why demand he uses the same meaning as them?
      It does mean that " nothing" is in the box is not true. There is nothing visible to the human eye on the box. There's a difference to me. Think about these two chapter titles to Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing. Nothing is something AND Nothing is unstable. It seems like spin and redefinition of facts in order to sidestep the traditional Leibniz why is there something question. Physicists are having back and forth spats about this silliness so I doubt you and I will make any inroads. We will both have to walk by faith.

      Quantum foam is not physical matter. If you are wanting people to call spades spades, you should do so yourself.
      The theory as I understand it is that QF is the fabric of the universe but cannot be observed because it is too small. Also it is theorized to be created by virtual particles at very high NRG. I will never be mistaken for a physicist but that sure sounds like a something and physical
      Hawking and theology both posit something non-physical prior to the universe. Why should theology get a pass and not Hawking?
      If when I die that I find myself standing before Hawking and he asks me why I didn't believe in nothing I shall answer, "Not enough evidence Stephen, not enough evidence.

      The beginning of the universe is not the only evidence upon which I base my faith.
      Last edited by Jude; 05-20-2015, 02:20 PM.

      Comment


      • #33
        SD,
        I am curious if you personally favor the many worlds interpretation of QM or are you giving me a tutorial of Hawking's worldview? It just sounds strange to ask," What is your favorite interpretation of QM?" Isn't science about experiment and observation? Certainly it is not a matter of personal preference yet here we are asking about preferences and it smacks of hunches and intuition and cherished ideas

        My final thought on "nothing" as it seems that "nothing" will ever be resolved.
        Nothing exists or it doesn't. If it exists then it has the property of existence and that is something. If it does not exist then it is really nothing.
        Last edited by Jude; 05-20-2015, 03:33 PM.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Jude View Post
          It does mean that " nothing" is in the box is not true. There is nothing visible to the human eye on the box. There's a difference to me.
          So if someone tells you an empty box has "nothing" in it, you will think he is lying because actually it is full of air, physical laws and all the rest?

          You would actually think that, right? This is not just something you are saying for the sake of this discussion?

          That is pushing pedantry to a new extreme.
          Think about these two chapter titles to Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing. Nothing is something AND Nothing is unstable. It seems like spin and redefinition of facts in order to sidestep the traditional Leibniz why is there something question. Physicists are having back and forth spats about this silliness so I doubt you and I will make any inroads. We will both have to walk by faith.
          Seems to me Krauss is being up-front that his nothing is different to philosophers' nothing.

          Can you think of a better term for this not-quite-nothing that is devoid of all physical material?
          The theory as I understand it is that QF is the fabric of the universe but cannot be observed because it is too small. Also it is theorized to be created by virtual particles at very high NRG. I will never be mistaken for a physicist but that sure sounds like a something and physical
          I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that one.
          Hawking and theology both posit something non-physical prior to the universe. Why should theology get a pass and not Hawking?
          If when I die that I find myself standing before Hawking and he asks me why I didn't believe in nothing I shall answer, "Not enough evidence Stephen, not enough evidence.

          The beginning of the universe is not the only evidence upon which I base my faith.
          So you are saying theology is allowed to posit something rather than nothing before the universe because it fits with your faith.

          That is all well and good, but hardly begins to explain how you can use the fact that Hawking's hypothesis does not start from absolute nothing to reject it when you own belief does likewise, and indeed does so way, way more.
          If when I die that I find myself standing before Hawking and he asks me why I didn't believe in nothing I shall answer, "Not enough evidence Stephen, not enough evidence.
          So you (and God?) will understand why I (and Hawking) reject Christianity.
          My Blog: http://oncreationism.blogspot.co.uk/

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Jude View Post
            SD,
            I am curious if you personally favor the many worlds interpretation of QM or are you giving me a tutorial of Hawking's worldview? It just sounds strange to ask," What is your favorite interpretation of QM?" Isn't science about experiment and observation? Certainly it is not a matter of personal preference yet here we are asking about preferences and it smacks of hunches and intuition and cherished ideas
            First to describe my theological philosophy concerning science. I believe in an apophatic Source some call God(s) that is the Source of everything. What science describes as the Quantum World is the medium of God's Creation. God Creates by Natural Methods. Creation reflects the attributes of God. The evolving knowledge of the science describes our physical existence as God Created it.

            I believe in Methodological Naturalism where the methods and nature of the sciences are independent and neutral of any theological considerations. I have no problem with the Cosmology of Hawking and other cosmologists and physics, and they offer no evidence for the proof of the existence nor non-existence of God(s).

            Hawking did not say God does not exist. He stated 'It is not necessary for God to exist,' Actually based on the scientific evidence at present he is correct in his assessment, because science is essentially neutral to the existence or non-existence of God(s). There is not any scientific evidence that the existence of God(s) is necessary.

            I gave simple description of the world view and philosophy of Hawking before.

            In simple terms, Hawking believes that our natural existence resulted from natural circumstances, and all possible universes, and multiverses originate from the Quantum World and Quantum Gravity naturally, and the existence of God is not necessary.

            My final thought on "nothing" as it seems that "nothing" will ever be resolved.
            Nothing exists or it doesn't. If it exists then it has the property of existence and that is something. If it does not exist then it is really nothing.
            It is true that the Quantum World is in reality not "nothing," but it is a term, I do not approve of, used by some cosmologists, because it is a world that does not have time and the dimensions of space.

            I personally have no problem with the difference in the use of the term differently by scientists. and that used by philosophy/theology.

            I believe the multi-verse is a legitimate concept in the philosophy of science as the realm of all possible universes. There is currently no direct evidence for the existence of the multi-verse.
            Last edited by shunyadragon; 05-20-2015, 05:22 PM.
            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

            go with the flow the river knows . . .

            Frank

            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

            Comment


            • #36
              In September 1914 in an interview with the El Mundo Newspaper he made his personal philosophy concerning the existence of God perfectly clear. He does not believe God exists.

              Source: http://www.cnet.com/news/stephen-hawking-makes-it-clear-there-is-no-god/



              Stephen Hawking makes it clear: There is no God


              For a time, it was thought that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking had also left a tiny gap in his credo window for a magical deity. However, he has now come out and declared that there is no God.

              He gave an interview to Spain's El Mundo in which he expressed his firm belief that el mundo was the work of scientifically explainable phenomena, not of a supreme being.

              Hawking said: "Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation."

              I'm not sure whether there was a specific moment in which science overtook the deistic explanation of existence. However, El Mundo pressed him on the suggestion in "A Brief History of Time" that a unifying theory of science would help mankind "know the mind of God."

              Hawking now explained: "What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn't. I'm an atheist."

              He added: "Religion believes in miracles, but these aren't compatible with science."

              Perhaps. But some look at, for example, the human eye and wonder how that exciting ball of jelly could have come about scientifically.

              Hawking's been tending toward such an absolute pronouncement for a while. In a speech last year, he offered an explanation of how the world came to being without God. He mused: "What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?"

              © Copyright Original Source

              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

              go with the flow the river knows . . .

              Frank

              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
                So if someone tells you an empty box has "nothing" in it, you will think he is lying because actually it is full of air, physical laws and all the rest?

                You would actually think that, right? This is not just something you are saying for the sake of this discussion?

                That is pushing pedantry to a new extreme.
                No. I think you've known full well what it is as we all do. The common usage of the word is different than the usage forever in science. If I tell you that I celebrated New Year's with a Big Bang you honestly don't think I created a new universe do you? Maybe I instigated a little singularity? Of course not! You know the difference and are just being obtuse here. Krauss even admitted that the title of his book was purposely misleading to be more marketable. You want to Pretend that the universe came from nothing and fudge on the word with semantics it's certainly fine by me. Go for it.
                Seems to me Krauss is being up-front that his nothing is different to philosophers' nothing.

                Can you think of a better term for this not-quite-nothing that is devoid of all physical material?
                Well he admitted to being a little loose with the title for marketing purposes. I don't agree that it is devoid of all physical properties. Which of the interpretations is your personal favorite?

                So you are saying theology is allowed to posit something rather than nothing before the universe because it fits with your faith.

                That is all well and good, but hardly begins to explain how you can use the fact that Hawking's hypothesis does not start from absolute nothing to reject it when you own belief does likewise, and indeed does so way, way more.
                I'm saying that the universe had a beginning. We all believe that. Science for roughly 150 years and Judeo-Christian theology for roughly 5000. Written down in a book before Aristotle said that nothing is what rocks dream about. THAT is what some scientist do not like about the word nothing and is exactly why they would attempt to hijack it and obfuscate it's meaning. If that is the path you wish to follow then you have the free will to choose it.


                So you (and God?) will understand why I (and Hawking) reject Christianity.
                I don't speak for God but I would ask what it would take for you to believe that you are no accident?

                Comment


                • #38
                  SD

                  I agree with much of what you said. I do believe though that God is active in upholding the universe and so the naturalistic aspects that you speak of are contingent upon Him though they have an undeniable free reign. I believe He can inject information into the process and that as Lennox suggests, the Genesis creation account includes places where "And God said..." could be examples of such times.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Pixie,
                    From the beginning you and I have acknowledged that the word nothing is being used in two different ways. I wouldn't care, if they were being used differently in two separate disciplines but to use the same word in different ways in the same scientific application is just not wise and opens the door to confusion. This really should go without saying. As to what to call it? Why not what it is? Quantum foam or vacuum. What I've read tells me there are physical properties and particles and it is not nothing. That it is something that exists. It seems that in the end, no one really knows and it is largely an exercise in metaphysics with no solution in sight. Surely we must keep plucking away at it.

                    Peace

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Jude View Post
                      No. I think you've known full well what it is as we all do. The common usage of the word is different than the usage forever in science. If I tell you that I celebrated New Year's with a Big Bang you honestly don't think I created a new universe do you? Maybe I instigated a little singularity? Of course not! You know the difference and are just being obtuse here. Krauss even admitted that the title of his book was purposely misleading to be more marketable. You want to Pretend that the universe came from nothing and fudge on the word with semantics it's certainly fine by me. Go for it.
                      Which is pretty much my point. We use the same word to mean slightly different things. Philosophers have their meaning, and you are getting in a tizzy because Hawking and Krauss use it slightly differently. Yet here you are admitting that words can have different meanings.
                      Well he admitted to being a little loose with the title for marketing purposes. I don't agree that it is devoid of all physical properties.
                      What do you call a physical property? Earlier you said:

                      "The difference between positing God vs quantum foam as it relates to the word nothing is that one is physical and one is not. If some people want to state that physical matter is eternal then why don't they just say that? Why be confusing?"

                      Are you shying away from physical matter in favour of physical properties?
                      Which of the interpretations is your personal favorite?
                      I do not even have a favourite colour, let alone a favourite interpretation of the word "nothing".
                      I'm saying that the universe had a beginning. We all believe that. Science for roughly 150 years and Judeo-Christian theology for roughly 5000.
                      And indeed pretty much every religion. However, many posit something there prior to the creation:

                      Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created[a] the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit[b] of God was moving over the face of the waters.
                      3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.


                      Many Christians claim “Let there be light” was the Big Bang, and yet before that point the earth already existed, though without form, there was already darkness and the deep/the waters. These things are not nothing. They are even less like nothing that Hawking's nothing.

                      Whatever way you spin Genesis 1, Christianity posits God before the universe. God is about as far from nothing as you can get in a single entity. The claim that there was nothing before the universe is in direct opposition to theology.
                      Written down in a book before Aristotle said that nothing is what rocks dream about. THAT is what some scientist do not like about the word nothing and is exactly why they would attempt to hijack it and obfuscate it's meaning. If that is the path you wish to follow then you have the free will to choose it.
                      Ah, so this is all a conspiracy against Christianity... because Christianity rejects the claim there was nothing before the universe. Perhaps if you had said that upfront I would have had a better idea of how to handle your posts.
                      I don't speak for God but I would ask what it would take for you to believe that you are no accident?
                      I already believe that.

                      I wonder what it would take for you to believe that science does not say we are just accidents.
                      From the beginning you and I have acknowledged that the word nothing is being used in two different ways. I wouldn't care, if they were being used differently in two separate disciplines but to use the same word in different ways in the same scientific application is just not wise and opens the door to confusion.
                      I was under the impression that philosophers used it one way and physicists/cosmologists another. That is two different disciplines. What am I missing here?
                      This really should go without saying. As to what to call it? Why not what it is? Quantum foam or vacuum. What I've read tells me there are physical properties and particles and it is not nothing. That it is something that exists. It seems that in the end, no one really knows and it is largely an exercise in metaphysics with no solution in sight. Surely we must keep plucking away at it.
                      And my guess is it will be the scientists who make progress plucking away at it and not the philosophers.
                      My Blog: http://oncreationism.blogspot.co.uk/

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
                        Which is pretty much my point. We use the same word to mean slightly different things. Philosophers have their meaning, and you are getting in a tizzy because Hawking and Krauss use it slightly differently. Yet here you are admitting that words can have different meanings.
                        Yes we have agreed from the start on two meanings. Where we have disagreed is you drawing an imaginary line between physicists and philosophers as if there are no physicists who disagree with it or philosophers who don't. I have already noted that this discussion has been ongoing among scientists. I have further stated my personal take that to use the same word as a description of pre Big Bang cosmology is confusing. Reviews of Krauss' book, coupled with his admitting that he purposely took advantage of the confusion to sell books is all the proof I need.
                        What do you call a physical property? Earlier you said:

                        "The difference between positing God vs quantum foam as it relates to the word nothing is that one is physical and one is not. If some people want to state that physical matter is eternal then why don't they just say that? Why be confusing?"
                        From what I have read there is no state of the QW in which there is what I guess we must now refer to as philosophical nothing. The thing is that what cosmologists say is there depends on which ones you ask and which of the several interpretations of QM you use.



                        I do not even have a favourite colour, let alone a favourite interpretation of the word "nothing".
                        I was referring to interpretations of QM.
                        And indeed pretty much every religion. However, many posit something there prior to the creation:

                        Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created[a] the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit[b] of God was moving over the face of the waters.
                        3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.


                        Many Christians claim “Let there be light” was the Big Bang, and yet before that point the earth already existed, though without form, there was already darkness and the deep/the waters. These things are not nothing. They are even less like nothing that Hawking's nothing.
                        In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth......first 10 words.
                        Whatever way you spin Genesis 1, Christianity posits God before the universe. God is about as far from nothing as you can get in a single entity. The claim that there was nothing before the universe is in direct opposition to theology.
                        No. I find that God is the best explanation for this and you already know why. You want to answer this by saying that there never was nothing but want to call it nothing anyway.
                        Ah, so this is all a conspiracy against Christianity... because Christianity rejects the claim there was nothing before the universe. Perhaps if you had said that upfront I would have had a better idea of how to handle your posts.
                        C'mon. Must we drag out the old divine foot and smacks of creation quotes? It is well documented that some scientists hate the implication and I find this nothing business to be related to that disdain. You won't convince me I'm wrong.


                        I wonder what it would take for you to believe that science does not say we are just accidents.
                        Did the QW know that you were coming? Is the watchmaker blind or not?
                        I was under the impression that philosophers used it one way and physicists/cosmologists another. That is two different disciplines. What am I missing here?
                        Cosmology is a single discipline. We now have two competing explanations of cosmic beginnings using the same word in a different way to describe the same state of affairs.
                        And my guess is it will be the scientists who make progress plucking away at it and not the philosophers.
                        Might I point out that your statement is a philosophical one?
                        Last edited by Jude; 05-21-2015, 07:47 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Jude View Post
                          Yes we have agreed from the start on two meanings. Where we have disagreed is you drawing an imaginary line between physicists and philosophers as if there are no physicists who disagree with it or philosophers who don't. I have already noted that this discussion has been ongoing among scientists. I have further stated my personal take that to use the same word as a description of pre Big Bang cosmology is confusing. Reviews of Krauss' book, coupled with his admitting that he purposely took advantage of the confusion to sell books is all the proof I need.
                          I am not sure what your point is. I am not saying all physicists agree on Hawking's definition, I am saying he is up-front about what he means by it. I think that that is enough.
                          From what I have read there is no state of the QW in which there is what I guess we must now refer to as philosophical nothing. The thing is that what cosmologists say is there depends on which ones you ask and which of the several interpretations of QM you use.
                          I agree. So what?
                          I was referring to interpretations of QM.
                          Ah, I see. I prefer objective collapse theory.
                          In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth......first 10 words.
                          So you think "Let there be light" does not refer to the Big Bang, then, given it occurs after the creation of heaven and earth?

                          Further, your first 10 words say nothing (pun unintended) on what was there before hand.
                          No. I find that God is the best explanation for this and you already know why. You want to answer this by saying that there never was nothing but want to call it nothing anyway.
                          I asked last time if you had a better word for it, and you ignored the question. Seems to me that while "nothing" may not be ideal, it is the best word we have. Unless you have a better one?
                          Written down in a book before Aristotle said that nothing is what rocks dream about. THAT is what some scientist do not like about the word nothing and is exactly why they would attempt to hijack it and obfuscate it's meaning. If that is the path you wish to follow then you have the free will to choose it.
                          C'mon. Must we drag out the old divine foot and smacks of creation quotes? It is well documented that some scientists hate the implication and I find this nothing business to be related to that disdain. You won't convince me I'm wrong.
                          Consider this for the open-minded then.

                          Christianity has set itself up against science. not all Christianity, but enough to give itself a bad name for scientists. We all know how the church handled Galileo. We all know a lot of Christians reject evolution - and will pervert science to promote their own creationism as it suits them.

                          However, that does not mean scientists are doing science to defeat Christianity. By-and-large, scientists do science for the sake of science. Papers that get published in scientific journals do so because of the evidence, not because they undermine religion.

                          Jude's opinion that this "nothing" business is related to science trying to destroy Christian is religious paranoia and nothing more.
                          Did the QW know that you were coming? Is the watchmaker blind or not?
                          I guess it depends on what you mean by "accident". I think the planets keep to their orbit because they follow natural laws and not because there is an intelligent agent keeping them on track.
                          Cosmology is a single discipline. We now have two competing explanations of cosmic beginnings using the same word in a different way to describe the same state of affairs.
                          It happens. As long as individuals are up-front about what they mean, we get by.
                          Might I point out that your statement is a philosophical one?
                          Sure, go for it. What do you hope to prove by doing so?
                          My Blog: http://oncreationism.blogspot.co.uk/

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Jude View Post
                            From what I have read there is no state of the QW in which there is what I guess we must now refer to as philosophical nothing. The thing is that what cosmologists say is there depends on which ones you ask and which of the several interpretations of QM you use.
                            If believe this is true I need references.

                            I was referring to interpretations of QM.

                            In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth......first 10 words.

                            No. I find that God is the best explanation for this and you already know why. You want to answer this by saying that there never was nothing but want to call it nothing anyway.

                            C'mon. Must we drag out the old divine foot and smacks of creation quotes? It is well documented that some scientists hate the implication and I find this nothing business to be related to that disdain. You won't convince me I'm wrong.
                            Confusing to say the least.

                            Did the QW know that you were coming? Is the watchmaker blind or not?
                            If the watchmaker is blind, we will have no watches.

                            Cosmology is a single discipline.
                            True, The science of cosmology.

                            We now have two competing explanations of cosmic beginnings using the same word in a different way to describe the same state of affairs.
                            Actually, the theological view is better described as Cosmogony. The difference has been apparent since the pagans and the philosophy of Lucretius.

                            Might I point out that your statement is a philosophical one?
                            So is yours.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Alright, there's been a lot posted since my last bit of participation, so I'm going to reply to a smattering of things which I found either interesting or poignant. Please forgive me if I've omitted anything important.

                              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                              Your moving the goal posts. When you say his philosophy is poor, you are saying his philosophy is poor. It is absurd to judge his philosophical discourse(?) based on one citation in a layman's publication without citing and understanding his more serious scientific work, which would be relevant to his philosophy.
                              Yes, when I say that his philosophy is poor, I am saying his philosophy is poor. That's a rather meaningless tautology. The claim that a person's philosophy is poor is not a claim that his conclusions on cosmogony are false. You are conflating "philosophy" for "worldview." While the former can sometimes be used synonymously with the latter, that was not how we were utilizing the word "philosophy" when critiquing Hawking. Rather, we were discussing "philosophy" as referring to his ability to form consistent and logically sound propositions.

                              When Hawking says, "...the universe can and will create itself..." he does not actually mean that the universe can create itself. He is using a phrase which means precisely the opposite of his intention. That is poor philosophy.

                              Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
                              Quantum foam is not physical matter... Hawking and theology both posit something non-physical prior to the universe.
                              The quantum foam is not matter, but it is most certainly physical. Hawking does not, in fact, posit that there was something non-physical prior to the universe. Hawking actually asserts that there's no such thing as "prior to the universe." That is an incoherent phrase, in his estimation.

                              Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
                              I already believe that.

                              I wonder what it would take for you to believe that science does not say we are just accidents.
                              I'll certainly second this sentiment.

                              Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
                              I asked last time if you had a better word for it, and you ignored the question. Seems to me that while "nothing" may not be ideal, it is the best word we have. Unless you have a better one?
                              Well, sure. "Quantum vacuum" is a much better word for what some cosmologists have posited as existing prior to the Big Bang. "Nothing" is not the best word, in the least.

                              Let's say that someone asked me, "What exists north of the North Pole on the Earth?" and I responded, "Nothing exists north of the North Pole." I am not saying that, north of the North Pole, there exists some entity called "nothing." I am saying that the description "north of the North Pole" is nonsensical. Similarly, when someone asks, "What existed prior to the universe?" and I respond, "Nothing existed prior to the universe," I am not saying that, prior to the universe, there existed some entity called "nothing." Rather, I am saying that the description "prior to the universe" is nonsensical.

                              To attempt to label the quantum vacuum as "nothing" is to invite equivocation fallacies. Questions of universal origin are inherently philosophical, and naturally align themselves with philosophical terminology. Generally, when answering such a philosophical question with the term "nothing," it is natural to assume that one is referring to the philosophical concept of "nothing." To attempt to supplant that concept with some other concept is a surefire way to introduce confusion into the conversation.
                              "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                              --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                                Alright, there's been a lot posted since my last bit of participation, so I'm going to reply to a smattering of things which I found either interesting or poignant. Please forgive me if I've omitted anything important.

                                Yes, when I say that his philosophy is poor, I am saying his philosophy is poor. That's a rather meaningless tautology. The claim that a person's philosophy is poor is not a claim that his conclusions on cosmogony are false. You are conflating "philosophy" for "worldview." While the former can sometimes be used synonymously with the latter, that was not how we were utilizing the word "philosophy" when critiquing Hawking. Rather, we were discussing "philosophy" as referring to his ability to form consistent and logically sound propositions.

                                When Hawking says, "...the universe can and will create itself..." he does not actually mean that the universe can create itself. He is using a phrase which means precisely the opposite of his intention. That is poor philosophy.
                                I disagree, I believe a person's philosophy can very well be equivalent to a person's world view. I believe this is the case here.

                                I disagree that Hawking's use of the phrase amounts to 'poor philosophy.' You may accuse him of awkwardly wording of his 'philosophy.'

                                To attempt to label the quantum vacuum as "nothing" is to invite equivocation fallacies. Questions of universal origin are inherently philosophical, and naturally align themselves with philosophical terminology. Generally, when answering such a philosophical question with the term "nothing," it is natural to assume that one is referring to the philosophical concept of "nothing." To attempt to supplant that concept with some other concept is a surefire way to introduce confusion into the conversation.
                                I have mentioned in a previous post, I did not approve of the use, but nonetheless it is simple matter to make an effort to understand the meaning of the term "nothing" in the citation. It is also a problem to take one awkward citation out of context of Hawking's writings, and center your objections on that one citation. Hawking is not a philosopher, but it is not hard to understand his philosophy and world view as I described in various posts.

                                It is obvious that both Jude and you are making too much of this citation and did not make an effort to understand Hawking's philosophy, and discuss his actual philosophy. You can't necessarily require someone who is not a philosopher to be articulate in the terms of philosophy to suit you personally. 'Thou dost protest too much.'
                                Last edited by shunyadragon; 05-21-2015, 04:03 PM.
                                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                                Frank

                                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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