I hope I read it soon!
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Lawrence Krauss (the officianados call him Larry;) has answered the question Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? in his new book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, or should I say he has claimed to have answered the question.
But I’m sure old Martin Heidegger, Nazi sympathizer that he was, is rolling over in his grave now saying, “No, he hasn’t. The Nothing that Krauss uses is really not the true Nothing, but already a Something. The true Nothing is not empty space but the absence of empty space altogether, in fact, “There was not then what is nor what is not.”, as found in the Song of Creation from the Rig Veda is perhaps an approximate, and only approximate, way of characterizing the Nothing.”
I hope my translation of his German is accurate. Old Martin was talking really fast and sputtering in frustration from his grave there. But I think I caught the gist of it, I hope.
Every so often I check out The Edge. Here’s what its purpose is:
To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
The Edge question for 2012 is WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DEEP, ELEGANT, OR BEAUTIFUL EXPLANATION?
Explanation for what? Well, the universe of course! Are they kidding? No, and they get quite a bunch of answers, 192 in fact. LOL!
If you have nothing to do sometime, check them out. Well, at least scan through them. You might be amazed.
The very first response in the list of 192 is by Andrei Linde, Professor of Physics at Stanford and father of the Eternal Chaotic Inflation theory. He begins by a quote from Albert Einstein, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” Off to a good start, if true. I haven’t read much beyond the 2nd paragraph yet.
And then there’s the beautiful and brilliant Rebecca Goldstein asking an even deeper question, “Why does the beauty of an explanation have anything to do with its being true?” She leaves that question unresolved. Good for her!
Well, I could spend the rest of the day, and then some, scanning through these 192. Psybertron has brief insightful summarries of a whole lot of them here.
Perhaps I should mention the books I’m in the process of reading or have read recently. I just finished The Meaning of Life by Terry Eagleton, and before that the Irish novel The Gathering by Anne Enright which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. Now I’m trying to simultaneously read The Private Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and Cosmic Jackpot by Paul Davies. I’ve already read the latter — see here — so this will be a re-read. Also, I’m still dabbling in Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality, a very heavy physics book for the “general reader”. Plus, there’s a bunch of stuff online on physics, cosmology, philosophy, and religion that I’m trying to keep up with. Incidentally, there’s a great put-down by Terry Eagleton of The God Delusion here.
My objective is to straddle science, philosophy and religion and see what kind of a mixture I might end up with, if any. ðŸ˜†
Tags: anne enright, Brain, Cosmology, god delusion, man booker prize, meaning of life, paul davies, Physics, Religion, richard dawkins, road to reality, roger penrose, susan greenfield, terry eagleton