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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.


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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.


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.

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God versus Rationality may be a better way of phrasing the Religion versus Science debate. I always find great food for thought on Psybertron, and here’s some of that great food: Privilege which suggests we have not quite proven that we do not have a privileged place in the universe. This is well worth a serious read, including especially, the Larry Kraus quote linked to, and all the other links there. I’m still working on it and may not get to the end in my lifetime.

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Here’s a heavyweight Origins Symposium: Leading physicists/cosmologists try to tell us what they know about the universe, and I must say, it isn’t much, which they readily admit.

We get from them the concepts of “dark matter” and “dark energy”, where of course the adjective “dark” means it’s out of sight, i.e. not visible, in other words not understood. In fact, the universe is roughly 2/3 dark energy and 1/3 matter most of which is dark matter. The bottom line is that about 96% of the universe is dark, i.e. not understood.

These dark things were not predicted theoretically but were determined from astronomical measurements using well understood theory.

I’ve been spending a lot of time the last couple days listening to these discussions. The quality of the presentations varies quite a bit. These people may be well trained in esoteric science but they’re merely human after all, and of course what they’re talking about isn’t so easy to explain.

A very good introduction to the symposium is the discussion moderated by Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday here.

Left to right in this picture are Ira Flatow the moderator, Lawrence Krauss, Michael Turner, Brian Greene, Steven Weinburg, the latter four being all prominent physicists and good presenters.

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