Wednesday 13 August 2014

What is Nothing?

It irritates me beyond belief when I see things like this. The following quote comes from Michael Robbins in a book review over at Slate magazine.

 "Nothing is not quantum anything. It is nothing. Nonbeing. This, not empty space, is what “nothing” signifies for Plato and Aquinas and Heidegger, no matter what Krauss believes. No particles, no fluctuation, no laws, no principles, no potentialities, no states, no space, no time. No thing at all. "

Now just to clarify, I actually did not even bother to finish the article after reading that sentence. (Update: I did read the article it was rubbish) The problem is that there is a fundamental flaw that needs to be addressed and as such I don't see the point in listening to rubbish until this error is corrected. This is true especially when the article title is explicitly about nothing, its called "Know Nothing". So here is my two pennies on what nothing is. Granted you don't have to accept my word for it, but please don't believe this fools word for it either.

Nothing as defined by philosophers does not exist. Just like many philosophical concepts (i.e. the soul and go) there is no proof for this so called nothing.

On the other hand however, nothing has been defined by physicists as actually being something. It is the quantum fluctuation in a vacuum, when all the air and matter in a space has been removed. So essentially nothing in the philosophical sense is there (although they will deny it) but that nothing is something i.e. the quantum fluctuation.

The difference between the definitions provided by physicists and that provided by philosophers is that physicists have proof. This means the nothing defined by physicists is the nothing that actually exists and is relevant in discussion and debate. As such Robbins needs to reanalyze his position as he is clearly misleading if he knows what Krauss has said about nothing.You are not allowed to pretend you know what something is when it has been proved otherwise. That is pure dishonesty.


On a side-note:
Some atheists have said Robbins has gone atheist bashing in this piece. I don't think he has, as he shows complete ignorance of what atheism is never mind other basic concepts. How can you bash something when you actually don't know what it is?