Lawrence Kraus delivers an amazing talk on cosmology. He brings us up to date on our latest understanding of the universe -- while getting in a few jabs at God. This is a MUST watch . . . even though it runs over an hour. Absolutely the most informative hour I've spent in my life.

Tags: cosmology, eternity, fluctuation, flux, kraus, nothingness, space, universe

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Watched this fantastic talk also. The thought of matter in empty space flitting in and out of existence is still blowing my mind.
Yeah, Greg, isn't that wild?

Apparently, matter doesn't necessarily flit back out. He's saying the universe came from nothing . . . right?
You know, Larry . . .

I know that quantum fluctuations supposedly had a lot to do with contributing structure to the early universe. I've also heard that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle led to the idea of quantum fluctuations. But quantum fluctuations would violate the First Law unless those "flitting" particles pop in and out of existence in some sort of equilibrium.

So, the short answer is, I don't know how quantum fluctuations can create PERMANENT particles without violating the First Law. This part disturbs me but I'm sure it's a failing on my part . . . I just need to learn more about it.
It could very well be the energy-matter of the universe is fluctuating on at least two scales.

At the quantum level these fluctuations are known through the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Just as there are at least three types of waves "fluctuating" in the oceans: small rippling waves (also known in oceanography as capillary waves) which appear on smooth waters, seas are larger waves that are formed under irregular and un-sustained winds, and swells are formed when seas move away from their point of origin, separating naturally as per direction and wavelength.

Similarly, the quantum fluctuations may just be only one type of fluctuation similar to capillary waves, with the seas metaphorically resembling stars and galaxies, and the swells metaphorically resembling the possibility of our universe fluctuating on the scale of the Big Bang.

1 - 1 = 0 --->(pre-Big Bang)
1 = 1 --->(some point after Big Bang)
0 = 1 - 1 --->(death of universe)

Currently we might be something similar to:

1 - 0.2 = 0.8

As you can see the universe is still equal to zero, just the equation is fluctuating. Just as in an ocean, waves can interact to form natural swells; in one universe the swell is in the negative direction, on the other side of the equation the swell is in the positive direction.

This is just my own hypothesis however.

But it is how I make sense of the Nothing universe in light of the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the universe swells to the right side of the equation we have entropy. Perhaps it will swell in the other direction one day by a similar fluctuation. If we have a sister universe, perhaps it already is.
My understanding, and I could be wrong, was that current quantum mechanics and particle physics no longer accepts that there was at any point absolute nothing. That as far as anyone knows there has always been something. What exactly is still up in the air. There has been some interesting research on Absolute Zero.

I have just spent an hour listening to Lawrence Kraus's lecture.

Firstly, what he was considering was not what we normally understand as 'nothing' in our ordinary lives.

He makes this clear when he says "If you have 'nothing' in quantum mechanics, you will always get something from it."

So this is not a conventional “nothing” because otherwise there would be no possibility of incipient energy.

More likely (being allowable through theoretical physics) would be a particular kind of void—“an unstable quantum void”.

So regarding the origin of the Universe, quantum physics has this means of positing a purely natural mechanism for the transition 'empty Universe' to 'non-empty Universe'.

That is to say, the Universe was self-created, instantaneously and uncaused, from an unstable timeless void or false vacuum having the property that incipient, virtual particles were omnipresent.

Hence there are two possibilities for further contemplation: either one has an unstable void or one has its alter ego the Universe.

This logic means that universes in real time are all there can be, because their absence would imply an unstable state of the void that cannot exist in time.

Thus, our Universe simply is . . . because at least one universe is necessarily always present.

If not, there would be a void instead—but a void being truly unstable, a universe would instantly replace it.

By this reasoning, a Universe–or universes—must be, and always were, and always will be.
The atheist in me leads me inexorably to the next conclusion.

Because time cannot exist prior to universes, universes cannot have any first cause.

Without a first cause, there is no origin, no creation.

Therefore postulations of the supernatural are superfluous—needless, worthless...

... and what I say next is something I have written many times:

Atheism is the natural condition of the Universe into which we are all born and where we innocently live unless cerebrally raped by indoctrination into some ‘faith’ by intellectually-challenged persuaders who prey mostly on children. People’s gods exist only as fictions inside their heads.
I saw this video on Pharyngula a few days ago, blew my mind. =D
@ Dr. Terence Meaden,

As much sense as Lawrence made in his video, I'm finding, afterwards, that more and more questions arise.

According to the video, most of the mass of the universe is dark matter/energy that we haven't been able to confirm yet. It's what's driving the accelerating universal expansion. So this universe only has one shot and will eventually spread its remnants so far apart from each other that galaxies will reside in total isolation.

But if nature abhors a void, why won't the vast stretches of space between galaxies fill with dark matter/energy? It's my understanding that the Big Bang expanded space outward at thousands of times the speed of light, then quickly slowed down. However, billions of years later, dark matter/energy got the upper hand and the universe began accelerating again. This seems to say that dark matter/energy is always being created and will always be created.

I was going to ask why this dark matter/energy wouldn't eventually coalesce into stars and such to fill "new" space but I think the answer is because the accelerating rate of expansion won't allow that to happen.

As for your last sentence, Lawrence said the infinitely old universe was the OLD view of the universe . . . but we now know the universe did have a beginning -- that emerged from nothing.

If a void is so unstable that a universe will "instantly replace it", then the universe did have a beginning -- which occurred a split second after the void was formed. That idea also seems problematic.

Hmmmmm . . . ignorance sucks! I wish you could go to the drugstore and buy Einstein pills.
Dr. Terence Meaden said:
"By this reasoning, a Universe–or universes—must be, and always were, and always will be."

Isn't that what we've all been saying from the beginning? It seems to me, one does not need a degree in quantum mechanics to grasp this one.
Yes, Timo. That is so.
All it needs is plain commonsense in an unbiased brain.
@ Timo and Terrence,

I have posted blog and group entries that argue exactly that (the universe is eternal, without beginning): based mostly on The First Law of Thermodynamics.

However, Lawrence Kraus specifically pointed out that this is the outdated and outmoded view of the universe. The new view says the universe had a beginning and that it sprang from nothing.

I don't pretend to understand Lawrence . . . in fact, I'm hoping for answers to questions that Lawrence has raised in my mind.

From my atheistic perspective, an eternal universe is the cleanest way to debunk God. God would not be necessary if the universe has ALWAYS existed. But my perspective isn't the point. The point is: what does the best evidence say?

Lawrence summarized that evidence as best he could. Unfortunately, the evidence leans toward an actual beginning of the universe -- not an eternal universe. However, (atheistic) hope is salvaged by the growing evidence for the multiverse.

But the multiverse only postpones the bottom line. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, eternity AND God are both unlikely.

The mystery remains.


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