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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From Nothing?

Philosopher Martin Heidegger asked it as have many before him:  "Why is there something rather than nothing?"   Well Quantum Physicist and Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss answered it in his book "A Universe from Nothing."

I read the book once and need to read it once again.  But I think he shows how it could have happened without appealing to any supernatural being or event.  Though it is still quite full of wonder.

He demonstrates that we live in a "flat" universe where the average energy, including gravity, is zero, how empty space can fill with energy that can give rise to virtual particles through quantum fluctuations, that particles of matter and anti-matter self-destruct unless one of them falls into a black hole.  All that seems to be born out by the discovered and verified laws of physics.

Then he speculates with other theorists that our universe is part of a multiverse with infinite, or at least indefinite, paths of possibilities. Eternity really has no meaning without space and time and space-time emerges in a quantum universe.

The bleak side of it all is that in a few trillion years our universe will spread out so far and so flat as to return to the nothing it came from.

Well, I don't understand all that.  But I'm starting to get it.  I dare everybody to read it with an open mind.

As Darwin and following biologists have demonstrated, the development of life, mammals, and humans without recourse to some extraneous outside nature event, so Krauss is showing the same for matter, space, time, our total universe.

I suppose some will find this bad news and so will not accept the science.  That is their prerogative. William James spoke of the need of both tender minds that value emotion, poetry, religion and tough minds that value reason in science.  Krauss I think brings the two together in this statement: ". . . we continue to marshall the courage to live meaningful lives in a universe that likely came into existence, and may fade out of existence, without purpose, and certainly without us at the center."

This, the courage to face reality, I believe is the real courage to be. It is the faith that is ultimately the source of meaning, the basis for truth, love, and morality.

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