A Universe From Nothing?

It has been quite a while since I posted anything, so today I chose a simpler(to me) topic to write about. It is the exact model I referred to in my refutative article of the KCA, the ‘Universe From Nothing’ hypothesis. It is remaining as a hot topic in the God debates..

In the inflationary theory, matter, antimatter, and photons were produced by the energy of the false vacuum(’empty space’), which was released following the phase transition. All of these particles consist of positive energy. This energy, however, is exactly balanced by the negative gravitational energy of everything pulling on everything else. In other words, the total energy of the universe is zero! It is remarkable that the universe consists of essentially nothing, but (fortunately for us) in positive and negative parts. You can easily see that gravity is associated with negative energy: If you drop a ball from rest (defined to be a state of zero energy), it gains energy of motion (kinetic energy) as it falls. But this gain is exactly balanced by a larger negative gravitational energy as it comes closer to Earth’s center, so the sum of the two energies remains zero.
To explain this part, we need to understand that ’empty space’ has energy, in fact, ‘false vacuum’ is synonymous to ’empty space’. It has a considerable amount of energy, and it is expanding. In the quantum levels, there happens a little irregularity, a little bit of nonuniform expansion, which creates a phase transition, and prepares the hot, dense big bang. As our universe expands, it becomes flatter and flatter. Confirming that the universe is essentially flat, makes the ‘universe from nothing’ hypothesis a little bit likely.
And for the ‘zero energy’ sum, there is a quite beautiful analogy given by Prf. Stephen Hawking, you can go through it here.

The idea of a zero-energy universe, together with inflation, suggests that all one needs is just a tiny bit of energy to get the whole thing started (that is, a tiny volume of energy in which inflation can begin). The universe then experiences inflationary expansion, but without creating net energy. After inflation stops, the universe is filled with Quark-gluon plasma along with many other elementary particles. As you go further and further in time, the scenario becomes less and less speculative.

But how did the big bang singularity arise? It is true that if our whole universe totals zero amount of energy, the arousal of the big bang singularity does not violate the law of energy conservation. But, as some philosophers out there may argue, if there was a state of absolute zero, why did it separate? And why did separate in the exact way by which a universe would begin to exist which will contain the exact properties by which human life could exist? Well, the answer of the latter question may be found in my refutative article of the fine-tuning argument, but the answer of the first must be given here.

Let’s look at it. Somehow space-time(I will call this the ‘mother universe’) got started, then there was a nonuniform expansion of that space which resulted in a density fluctuation(or ‘quantum fluctuation’, the meaning of this term varies) which caused the big bang(not violating the law of the conservation of energy) releasing out of an immense false vacuum(space-time) energy and creating our universe. So far good. Now, how did the mother universe came into existence?
Here’s the interesting part, it is certainly plausible that the mother-universe came to exist without any divine help. Because, there is a rule in the heart of quantum mechanics which sometimes drives politicians or CEOs(crediting Prf. Krauss for this line), that, as long as nobody observes, anything goes. This is the thing, Schrodinger’s cat, double-slit experiment all are beautiful demonstrations of this law. This law implies that because nobody was observing that how or why did the mother-big bang came in, the laws which made it possible may have accidentally arose.
There was no space, no time, no matter, no radiation, not anything. It is obviously not the philosophical nothingness we were trying to find out, it is a scientific nothingness. Perhaps, it is the closest to nothing you can get.

Actually I don’t want to end this here, but I have too. Throughout this article, I never claimed that I know what is true, neither I said that anybody claimed so. It is just a plausibility. And that is the remarkable thing you can understand from this. It is plausible that out universe came into existence without any divine intervention, maybe not from absolute nothingness, but from a natural nothingness. That means we have an alternative explanation to the God hypothesis. There are many other models I hope to write about in future regarding the origin issue, it may be that this article got a little too complex, I am sorry if it did.

Thanks for understanding if you did.

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9 thoughts on “A Universe From Nothing?”

1. Welcome back, rounaqb! I’ve missed you.

BTW, what do you think of my “explanation” of what scientific nothingness is?

Firstly, it’s not a void.

There are two ways, in which the energy can be zero:

1) 0 = 0.

2) Or a state where plus and minus counterbalance each other, like 1-1+2-2+3-3 = 0.

It’s pretty obvious, according to me, that state #2 can’t be a void. In other words, something is going on in state #2.

But at the same time something important is missing: a trigger.

Until that trigger emerges, nothing spectacular will happen in this stage #2 of the scientific nothingness.

In a way the scienfitic nothingness can be likened to an action potential (which is how cells communicate with each other).

To start with, there is, in state #2 of the scientific nothingness, something that can be called a resting potential, that is a kind of equilibrium (the activity will always end up by being 0 (zero). Some sort of disturbance (let’s call it “dysfunction” or “malfunction”) inside the scientific nothingness is needed.

At some time, sooner or later, a disturbance will occur that is big enough to reach a special threshold level, which means the current equilibrium in stage #2 of the equilibrium can’t exist any longer but is bound to destabilize..

If the scientific nothingness does not reach this critical threshold level, then no action potential will fire, that is, nothing spectacular happens.

Either the scientific nothingness does not reach the threshold (= nothing will happen) or the threshold is reached (= a full “action potential” .a.k.a. a Big Bang is fired).

There are only these two possibilities (= the “EITHER ALL OR NONE principle”.)

So, what do you think of my idea(s), rounaqb? Something to consider? Or totally bullshit?

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2. Hello, I have missed you as well.
Your idea of nothingness is quite surely something to consider. It is indeed quite obvious that scientific nothingness can’t be a void, because a void is a whole heck of ‘something’ by default. Let me hold on to that ‘trigger’ part a bit. As you may understand, any natural extremes are unstable. Quite similarly, this ‘nothing’ thing is also unstable, as quantum mechanics tells us, anything happens when nobody observes(as I said in the original article). So, that ‘trigger’ may have been caused by this ‘unstableness’, which has an abstract existence but no actual existence, it is just how things work. But again, it may be true or maybe not.

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3. QM states that anything goes when nobody is looking, correct? Does this extend to this scientific nothingness? How do you apply Quantum Corrections to NOTHING? It seems a bit counterintuitive to me, so perhaps you will elaborate.

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4. Hello, thanks for the comment.
I will like clear out that the nothingness I am talking about is not philosophical nothingness. It is the absence of space and time, thus matter, energy and radiations.
Now coming to your question, how there are laws like the non observer effect affecting that nothingness? Well, I will like to assert here, that laws are descriptions, not prescriptions. Laws are just ways of describing natural phenomenons, they have no actual existence. So, just to describe this nothingness’ instability, we are using the quantum non observer effect. The law itself has no ‘physical’ existence. Nothingness is unstable, as any other extremes are.

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5. victorenesi says:

Nothingness is infinite. It is from nothingness that Something springs up.
Nothingness is the infinite potentiality of something.

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6. If it is infinite, then that is a quality associated with it. How can you associate a quality to ‘nothing’?

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7. victorenesi says:

You can, because nothingness can be conceptualised by the human brain. I know it sound counterintuitive, but maybe what is needed here is a readdressing of the term ‘nothing’.

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