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Author Topic: Can nothing exist?  (Read 11435 times)

Offline yor_on

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #25 on: 04/04/2012 06:36:07 »
Classically Space have one, two, or four properties that I know of. Gravity, which Einstein called the 'metric' for making a 'space', and 'distances'. You can split 'distance' in length, width and height, defining a 3D-space.

To that you can add a arrow, although?
Locally or globally?

So yes, 'space' is 'something' but it is also a 'nothing' in the motto that it show no resistance and is no classical 'medium'. We can't even measure a ray propagating in it. The only thing we can prove to 'move' in the vacuum is mass. That is if you as me prefer direct measurements, going over to indirect, using weak measurements only your imagination sets the limits.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #26 on: 04/04/2012 17:37:56 »
True, Yor_on.  But the fact that we can admit that space has properties and still shoehorn it into some definition of 'nothing' shows why it's more useful to talk in specific terms about what properties space has rather than trying to force a broad and poorly defined (in a scientific sense) term like 'nothing' to describe it.
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #27 on: 04/04/2012 21:58:18 »
Quote
as for the BB theory, that would mean: if we allow nothing before the BB, we must allow for everything to never accour, since there was (or eternaly is) nothing also.

I agree.  There can never have been a time when there was nothing, otherwise there would still be nothing now. 

Probably someone will say: "Nothing exists, therefore there is nothing now" but that's just semantics and leads to endless discussion that is only of philosophical interest. 

Should we agree that absolutely nothing is absolutely nothing; it is meaningless to say that it exists, or does not exist; it is nothing.  The nothing of physicists is really something; it exists, it changes and it can be discussed.

 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #28 on: 05/04/2012 08:18:53 »
Well. classically it isn't poorly defined :)
As that is the way we observe the vacuum normally.

Heh.

But yes JP, I agree. If we add all other effects we find, as the Casimir force, then it definitely is 'something' more than only 'empty'. That is me assuming that the Casimir force is a result of hidden 'energy', and not a result from matter of course. Maybe this can be considered a proof though? Moving mirrors.

It's also interesting to note that in 'General Relativity, as the modern theory of the gravitation, the gravitative effect of vacuum-energy results in the cosmological constant Λ' according to some sources. Although

"Although the existence of the vacuum-energy is proven, its energy-density is still unclear today. The value of the energy-density is regarded as the largest discrepancy in modern physics. As an average over several literature references of cosmology, the energy-density can be estimated at about (9.0±0.27)·10-10J/m3, whereas in Geometrodynamics a value of h·c·π/Lp4=3.32·10+113J/m3 is suspected.

However the latter value is calculated by an integration over all wavelengths of the quantum mechanical zero point oscillations within the vacuum (these are infinitesimally many), whereby divergence problems are suppressed simply by the means of cut-off radii. Several other approaches to suppress the divergence problems of these improper integrals (leading to the energy density) result in further other values for the energy-density of the vacuum, but they do not solve the problem of the ambiguity." From  Definite Proof for the Conversion of vacuum-energy into mechanical energy based on the Measurement of Machine Power.

And no, the later I will not use as a proof, but it seems interesting still?
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #29 on: 05/04/2012 13:06:08 »
Quote
as for the BB theory, that would mean: if we allow nothing before the BB, we must allow for everything to never accour, since there was (or eternaly is) nothing also.

I agree.  There can never have been a time when there was nothing, otherwise there would still be nothing now. 

Probably someone will say: "Nothing exists, therefore there is nothing now" but that's just semantics and leads to endless discussion that is only of philosophical interest. 

Should we agree that absolutely nothing is absolutely nothing; it is meaningless to say that it exists, or does not exist; it is nothing.  The nothing of physicists is really something; it exists, it changes and it can be discussed.

Indeed. If space and time truely are the same, and assuming time exists and timelessness is wrong, then there cannot be anything before time itself.

If the universe however was born from no time, which our current theory seems to be suggesting, then what happened before big bang truely is limitless.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #30 on: 05/04/2012 13:06:48 »
Quote
as for the BB theory, that would mean: if we allow nothing before the BB, we must allow for everything to never accour, since there was (or eternaly is) nothing also.

I agree.  There can never have been a time when there was nothing, otherwise there would still be nothing now. 

Probably someone will say: "Nothing exists, therefore there is nothing now" but that's just semantics and leads to endless discussion that is only of philosophical interest. 

Should we agree that absolutely nothing is absolutely nothing; it is meaningless to say that it exists, or does not exist; it is nothing.  The nothing of physicists is really something; it exists, it changes and it can be discussed.

Indeed. If space and time truely are the same, and assuming time exists and timelessness is wrong, then there cannot be anything before time itself.

If the universe however was born from no time, which our current theory seems to be suggesting, then what happened before big bang truely is limitless.

Anyway, saying that ''nothing exists'' is a paradox unto itself.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #31 on: 18/12/2013 16:57:52 »


Anyway, saying that ''nothing exists'' is a paradox unto itself.
I agree, and even if one considers a volume of so-called empty space, quantum fluctuations are constantly producing virtual particles that come in and out of existence. The very energy that produced our present universe is spread homogenously thru out it's entirety. Nowhere in our present space/time is nothingness possible.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #32 on: 18/12/2013 19:36:09 »
'Empty' space, the quantum vacuum, isn't nothing, it's spacetime. If you look closely, it's seething with the virtual particles of 'quantum foam'. Nothing is the absence of anything. It exists only in the abstract, as a concept.

Reminds me of the 'Hackenthorpe vacuum' of my student days - take an ordinary vacuum, then suck all the vacuum out ;)
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #33 on: 18/12/2013 20:15:22 »
The resurrection of this thread caused me to re-read it.  There’s a lot of fascinating philosophical stuff in it, but in terms of scientific logic it seems to come down to:

Nothing = no thing.  Things can exist - nothing cannot.

Nothing is the absence of existence, therefore one might assert that “no thing exists”, but this is an example misleading semantics, which do no more than lead round in aimless circles. 

There’s a catch here, though; because if we argue that nothing cannot be said to exist, then it follows that there can never have been nothing, and we all know the trouble that sort of statement can get us into.  :)
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #34 on: 18/12/2013 22:24:09 »
The resurrection of this thread caused me to re-read it.  There’s a lot of fascinating philosophical stuff in it, but in terms of scientific logic it seems to come down to:

Nothing = no thing.  Things can exist - nothing cannot.

Nothing is the absence of existence, therefore one might assert that “no thing exists”, but this is an example misleading semantics, which do no more than lead round in aimless circles. 

There’s a catch here, though; because if we argue that nothing cannot be said to exist, then it follows that there can never have been nothing, and we all know the trouble that sort of statement can get us into.  :)
Actually Bill, if you study M theory, or what's more commonly called Brane theory, it suggests that even outside our present universe there exists an infinite number of membrane universes.

Coming from a purely logical stance, one could argue that because something exists in this realm of reality, something has always existed and therefore, nothing has ever been the norm nor ever will be.
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #35 on: 19/12/2013 14:07:35 »
Quote from: Ethos
Coming from a purely logical stance, one could argue that because something exists in this realm of reality, something has always existed and therefore, nothing has ever been the norm nor ever will be.

Absolutely!  But as JP eloquently, and correctly, points out elsewhere, that argument involves making assumptions that cannot be scientifically justified.   
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #36 on: 19/12/2013 15:23:53 »
Quote from: Ethos
Coming from a purely logical stance, one could argue that because something exists in this realm of reality, something has always existed and therefore, nothing has ever been the norm nor ever will be.

Absolutely!  But as JP eloquently, and correctly, points out elsewhere, that argument involves making assumptions that cannot be scientifically justified.
Very true Bill, evidence is still very thin and presumably may stay that way for a very long time.
 

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #36 on: 19/12/2013 15:23:53 »

 

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