Saturday, 15 August 2015

Understanding the quantum vacuum or nothing

In the past I have addressed the idea of nothing, but I thought perhaps it is time to take another crack at it. In reality the concept of nothing should be a make or break for most theists and I think the misunderstanding of what nothing is, is partly the reason that they believe that a god created everything. In fact scientists could potentially be to blame as much as philosophers are to blame for the misunderstanding of the concept  of nothing. So first lets look at the basics of what we need to know to understand what nothing is. The following three definitions are the basics that will help us get to the bottom of this problem.

Philosophical nothing: This is the nothing of philosophers, it means the absence of everything. Importantly, this nothing has never been demonstrated.

Reality nothing: This is the quantum vacuum and quantum fluctuations. It is the only nothing that has ever been observed. Although, if there is no observable (i.e. the Casmir effect) it cannot be observed.

Law of the conservation of energy: In a nutshell energy is conserved, or if we want to create mass or energy we need something to create it from something else.

Looking at these simple definitions, you could see the problem or the answer to the question what is nothing (and if something can come from nothing). The corectness of your answer however depends in totality if you believe in facts or fancy. We have observed that real nothing, there is no doubt that this nothing actually exists. As such when we have a quantum vacuum (or nothing) we can observe flashes of light or something coming from nothing. So how can we interpret this?

From the reality viewpoint we know that energy cannot be created from nothing. As such when we see something coming from nothing we have to come to the conclusion that the reality nothing has to have something there. This fact is grasped on by theists as evidence that something cannot come from nothing, while they do not realize that this nothing can only be observed when something happens (like those light flashes) and as such it really is the only nothing we know.

So what happens if we consider it from the philosophical viewpoint? The answer is that we 1) are working with a nothing that has never been observed and 2) a nothing that does not adhere to the conservation of energy. That is the philosophical nothing fails on the basic scientific laws that govern the Universe.

Does the concept of nothing make sense now? If not, then you really are believing in concepts that are not based in reality at all, and that is the facts.