10 votes

No Such Thing As Nothing

'M-theory posits that multiple universes are created out of nothing, Hawking explained, with many possible histories and many possible states of existence.'


It always puzzles me when I hear either a theist or an atheist talk about things being 'created out of nothing'.

A theist would likely say: 'God created the Universe ex nihilo' (out of nothing).
I scratch my head and say, but isn't the Mind and Word of God, from which it came, something?

The atheist (like Hawkings) will likely say: 'Quantum laws, or M-theory created the Universe out of nothing.'
I scratch my head and say, but isn't an underlying quantum system something?

I think the idea of a TRUE nothing resulting in something is impossible, because there always has to be some pre-eminent fundamental reality (whether a God or a quantum system) that causes the so-called 'nothing' to be 'something'.

To me, the more interesting question is: which inescapable something, or fundamental reality best explains the existence of Person, Love, Reason, Beauty, etc.? I can't see how dead quantum or physical non-reason with a chain of deterministic or random cause and effect would ever generate Reason, which knows and infers and uses grounds and consequents. I see Love as transcendent and greatest -- not some meaningless illusion in a dead system.

And with that, I view the principles of Liberty as eternal and transcendent and real beyond any physical dependencies -- the consequence of Love being that something which cannot be nothing.

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On the contrary, there is no such thing...

You have to travel billions and trillions of miles through space to find any sizable amount of anything. Then you look at the molecules comprising the things and you find that they're almost completely empty space. Then you look at the component parts like the pions and the hadrons and find that even they are mostly empty space. Trillions of neutrinos travel through your body every second without ever hitting anything.

No, my friend, when you average it all out and scope out the entire grand design, you will find that indeed God did create the world out of nothing, and so do we.

It was probably the pandas.

space isn't nothing. if you

space isn't nothing. if you find yourself hurtling through space, you'll note your body moves according to certain rules (constants?), which also aren't nothing. nothing is a whole different animal. or, it's just an abstract idea which does not accede to our demand that it exist.

Phxarcher87's picture

first and formost

just because a scientist says something doesn't mean it is science.

he uses his position to warp minds and he creates this "pick and choose" dogma. "science or god" which is the stupidest decision anyone would make. what about both? many smart scientist have had a belief in a creator and still brought science droves further than hawking. i could use the guy who gave us the best description of what gravity is...

really crummy how the nothingness scientists get put onto the media pedestal and worshiped. just goes to show how the media wants all truth eradicated from the airwaves and their agenda elegantly displays as rational. ron paul during the last election cycle is the perfect example. no justice to our human advancement by any means. the last century shows what full fledged nothingness will get us. oh how our framers would not recognize this land.

pretty funny how we all loved a guy whos message brought truth, peace and hope. but somehow we reject a message of truth peace and hope when it come from a guy 2014 years ago.

ron paul is a prophet and he has been calling out into the wilderness alone for many years. many have now heard his cry and came to follow and spread the message. my question is then why do we see on here the ability for people to resort back to nothingness and reject what made dr.paul so great to begin with?

i cant help but guess what might be next.

headline Story:
top scientist says the big bang was actually silent...

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" - Mark Twain


'Nothingness' is a cool idea, but before one can approach such a subject, doesn't one need to know the nature of thought? If thought is the tool the brain uses to understand 'nothingness', mustn't one clearly understand the limitations inherent in the tool? Thought turns away from its insecurity by creating ideas, beliefs, opinions, etc., all with intent to 'know'. For it has found a sense of calm/security within the known, it is something to lean on, something to rely upon. If one is not fully aware of the nature of thought, if one is not aware of its movement in the mind, then one is led by it, swept away by it into the direction pre-established by society. To say that there is or is not such a thing as nothingness has little value if the mind is running around, it is only another form of entertainment created by thought so it does not have to face itself. It is like asking if there is reincarnation, or God, or Love. We turn to these questions and accept them or deny them. To find the truth of a thing, mustn't one first be aware of how the mind approaches the question? If one is going to find out if there is 'nothingness' how is one to approach that word? Mustn't one start with what one means by that word? Can one come to the word with a pre-established theory? How is one to find what is behind the word? What does the word symbolize? And most importantly, has thought the capability of finding out? Or is thought always the result of the known, the outcome of the accumulation of ones particular experiences? Can a tool that is formed by the known ever touch the new, can thought ever touch the unknown? If there was such a thing a nothingness is there not implied an absence of time? Is there not implied an absence of movement? Is not thought both the result of time and movement? It is easy to create a belief, to hear something that sounds right and adopt it as our own, but there is no stimulation in that. Thought creates ideas, beliefs, opinions, so it fall asleep in its corner. For understanding to take place, for learning to take place, the brain must be disturbed, bothered, agitated. There is no agitation is the known, there is separation as 'my knowledge' and 'your knowledge' but that only creates conflict between us, not internal psychological agitation.


Micah, when theists claim God

Micah, when theists claim God created the world ex nihilo they mean he didn't create it out of pre existing material. You must understand that historically, theistic conceptions of the world were competing, and a popular classical conception was God as the creator of order out of a pre existing chaos, out of already existent material. That was Plato's conception, and likely had much currency in the environment of in which Christianity defined itself.

So the ex niholo concept means God created the world out of nothing other than himself, which is a noncreated unity, and so the concept is entirely coherent has far as it goes. The way I would imagine it, assuming it was true, which I don't assume, would have God as a unitary substance Mind, not divisible, material, destructible, etc. The world would just be something who's existence depends and is synonymous with his thought or will that such a world exist. Just as if you were able of creating a world in your own mind and endowing it's subjects with an agency and will.

This might be mumbo jumbo if there's no God, but that is how I understand the ex nihilo default theistic understanding, as distinct from the god or Demiurge who creates order out of a chaos of forms and material that existed eternally alongside with him.

with these kinds of thoughts, best stay out of the woods

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

lmao. While I disagree with

lmao. While I disagree with your sentiment, I like the cartoon.

"I see Love as transcendent

"I see Love as transcendent and greatest" +1

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Nothingness is easy to prove. 1-1 = 0.

Those who deny the logical truth that 0 does not evolve, embrace the idea of infinity. Of course the logical problem with infinity is the illogical belief in infinite regress.

Someone who believes in God as creator, has no problem accepting nothingness. In fact I believe God because I believe in the possibility of nothingness.

Some respond to this line of thinking by arguing that if all-that-is were subtracted from all-that-is, then certainly a creator, if one exists, would be subtracted out of existence with everything else.

The problem with such a rebuttal can be seen by considering a car. Is the creator of the parts that make up a car, part of the car itself? No. Can you subtract all-that-is the car from itself and still have the creator of the car? Yes. Can you subtract all that makes up our world and the cosmos from itself and logically still maintain a creator. Absolutely. In fact it must be the case or we could not be talking about it right now. We wouldn't exist.


is a fish wet?

have you ever tried to explain to a fish that it is wet?

you are a fish, you live in an ocean of "air"

if, all of the "air" is removed. then a true "vacuum" has been created.


You know a lot about vacuums.

You know a lot about vacuums.

Does that surprise you?

what do you think "air" conditioning has to do with?

what is pressure? what is voltage? do either one flow?

You fascinate me.

You fascinate me.

Nothing sucks. How boring

Nothing sucks. How boring can nothing be?

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

Silence is nothing

and it can be quite welcoming after a hectic noisy day.

Prepare & Share the Message of Freedom through Positive-Peaceful-Activism.

I was thinking about this

I was thinking about this myself a few weeks ago. I recalled Lane Craig's remarks about how some atheists equivocate Nothing in the sense of Not Anything with some quantum vacuum titled 'Nothing' - and he compared it to the scene from the Odyssey where Odysseus tricks the Cyclops by calling himself No Man. Giving characteristics to 'Nothing' is clearly a misconstruing of its meaning.

But that got me thinking deeper about the problem. In the basic logic of language, there cannot be No-thing. Try to follow my thought here. Is it even imaginable for nothing to exist? To exist requires that the thing has the 'characteristic of existence.' How can 'nothing' have a characteristic?

You could respond - nothing is the absence of any characteristics. But semantically, 'having no characteristics' is itself a characteristic, I suppose. Is this an abuse of semantics?

It seems logically impossible for there to be "nothing." That would agree with your OP... But...

This is a problem for theists. Theists often appeal to the logical possibility of 'nothing' to bolster their argument that there needs to be an explanation for 'anything' existing. But that depends on the concept of 'Nothing' existing at all, and being.. a real thing

Lane Craig points out that "infinity is just an idea in our minds and cannot actually exist." so he recognizes the concept of something just being an idea with no possibility in reality. Is 'Nothing' also just such a conception and idea, and really has no possible existence in reality?

How can 'nothing' -- 'exist.' At least in human logic, there can be no such thing as... no thing. Which makes semantic sense. Say it with me 10 times - There. can. be. no. such. thing. as. no. thing.

There. Is. No. Thing. Nothing is not a thing. Nothing is no thing. Nothing is nothing.

How can there BE No Thing?



I can now understand why it took so long to come with the concept of zero. Personally, I am quite comfortable with the idea.

Here is a thought:

Zen is the application of the concept of zero to the human mind.


“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

You're confusing a numerical

You're confusing a numerical placeholder nothing with nothing as such. I see that they're related... and I also agree it must have been difficult for any mathematical construct to be created not just zero. But nothing in the philosophical sense is familiar to every child who imagines the 'nothingness' we all experienced, preceding our birth and ascent to consciousness. We feel a nagging sense that that nothingness is what 'should' be, and that the 'something' we experience now, like a dream is what demands an explanation.

I think that's a different nut to crack than creating the numerical zero within a structure of place values in an equation. But I could never have created mathematics, and consider those who did to be mysterious in their abilities.

Your concept of nothing also seems to me to be a placeholder

for, I guess, some kind of existential dread? You are choosing to equate the concept of nothingness with a particular feeling. You are creating a metaphor. Nothing in my experience suggests that this must be so.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Not at all. The feeling is

Not at all. The feeling is incidental. The concept itself, the absence of anything, even space, occurred to my at an early age. It seemed intuitionally logical that this kind of nothing would be the normal state of things, and mysterious that anything should exist instead of this concept of nothing. Has nothing to do with calculating sums with a structure of equations where place 1, 2, 3 each are multiples of ten, and each place can be assigned a value of nothing, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Infinity, nothing, negative are ideas in our minds, they might not have any possible existence in 'reality.'

wolfe's picture

I disagree that there is a difference.

No point.

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Your inability to see is not

Your inability to see is not something I can remedy. That the concept 'no apples' is different from 'nothing at all' is so elementary as to not require elaboration.

wolfe's picture

If it was so "elemtary"...

You should be able to explain it. However, you can't. The lack of apples, means there are no apples. The lack of anything, means there is nothing.

Play with the words all you like. It does not change the reality.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

The equation 5 apples + 0

The equation 5 apples + 0 apples equals five apples is intelligible even if the existential concept nothing is not possible. Nothing as an existential or metaphysical concept encompasses everything, and is not identical to the concept zero in a mathematical equation.

The equation itself, the logic of the universe, of the mind, would have no existence in true metaphysical Nothing. Nothing is nothing.

Even less so does the concept zero in the place value in a decimal equation equate to the metaphysical or philosophical concept of nothing at all.

You're equivocating concepts and words, namely because you don't understand any but one sense of the word, the mathematical. That's a big no no. Once you've familiarized yourself with other senses of the word nothing you could intelligently engage in this kind of a discussion.

Until then, everything will look like a nail, because you're a hammer.

wolfe's picture

I am actually a Buddhist....

So, no, I have an understanding of the concept of nothing in non-mathematical terms. As it is the achievement of perfection/enlightenment.

And yes, Buddhism is one of the few, rare religions were you don't have to believe in a god. My lack of belief in the metaphysical aspects however would limit me to one lifetime to achieve the goal.

I won't comment on what I think your problem is.

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wolfe's picture

Our understanding of math would have stopped expanding...

right around 800 AD if they believed the way you describe. Thank god for mathematicians (and coders).

Nothing may be difficult to grasp in your frame of reference but without it, I could not do my job. At all. Even the smallest fraction of it.

p.s. You wouldn't be able to type that message... With all it's All Or Nothing logic. Each character you type contains 8 little references that say All Or Nothing, that equate to a character.

01100001 = "A" :) Without nothing, "A" could not exist.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

You're confusing the idea or

You're confusing the idea or concept of something with it's possible reality. Zero or infinity might be conceptions or ideas that are useful, that doesn't mean they can exist in reality. That all goes back to the assumption that our logical intuitions about possibility are reliable, which is a big question mark. But we have to assume they are to have logical conversations.

wolfe's picture

Inituition is not logic.

Since you were rude, I won't mince words with you and just be direct.

Make sense.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Intuition is not logic,

Intuition is not logic, that's why there is need for the phrase intuitional logic. The logic or rules of what the mind considers possible by intution.

The phrase intuitional logic is intelligible, just as the logic of language or computer logic (rules) can be intelligible as phrases. Your failure to understand the various senses of a word is not my fault. Formal logic is only one sense in which the word logic is used. The phrase intutional logic does not equivocate itself with formal logic, rather it distinguishes itself.

That something not come from nothing is perhaps the most basic assumption of any system of logic. Even "A is not non A" is compatible with Nothing is not Something.

wolfe's picture

intuitional logic

Is not logic. It is someone pretending to know something because it feels right.

Your inability to separate emotion from logic is not my fault.

Explain the difference between the concept of nothing, and nothing?

You don't really have to bother. I have had enough interaction with you in the past to know it isn't worth giving you the benefit of the doubt. You struggle with logic and reason.

No point in us having a discussion.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -