God, Physics and Nothingness

Recent attempts by Hawking and Krauss to show how a universe can arise out of 'nothing' suffer from the same fundamental objection that I raised against religious use of creation ex nihilo. At the very minimum, according to their arguments, a universe can arise spontaneously out of nothing according to the laws of physics. But what about the laws of physics? Do they not have to exist, at least in ontological sense if not physical, for them to bring about a universe out of nothing? And how is their existence compatible with nothingness, which is the absolute absence of all existence?

Partly, Hawking and Krauss are motivated to show that science makes God unnecessary, and while this may strengthen the conviction of atheists, it does little to shake the views of theists, who can easily declare the mysterious laws of physics to be the manifestation of God's will or God's nature or something of the sort. 

Gerald Schroeder explained the resemblance between the two very well:

"Our concept of time begins with the creation of the universe. Therefore if the laws of nature created the universe, these laws must have existed prior to time; that is the laws of nature would be outside of time. What we have then is totally non-physical laws, outside of time, creating a universe. Now that description might sound somewhat familiar. Very much like the biblical concept of God: not physical, outside of time, able to create a universe."

In our attempt to pull a universe out of nothing, we keep bumping into this mysterious ontological entity, be it God or the laws of physics.

Comments

Komal said…
"Do they not have to exist, at least in ontological sense if not physical, for them to bring about a universe out of nothing?"

What do you mean by existing in some ontological sense? Any existence would be in some ontological sense, since ontology is the study of existence :P
Awais Aftab said…
@ Komal

I meant that a person can deny that laws of physics have any physical existence, but they cannot deny that they have an ontological existence, which also includes the non-physical possibilities of existence.
Olenhad said…
I think the problem here lies with the concept of 'nothing'. You need to define what you mean by nothing. The semantic conception of 'empty space' does not suffice, as 21st century physics empirically proves that 'empty space' is not actually empty.
Anonymous said…
@Awais

"In our attempt to pull a universe out of nothing, we keep bumping into this mysterious ontological entity, be it God or the laws of physics."

I think we might be asking the wrong question here. Rather than pursuing a line of thought which inquires the notion "How did the universe arise from nothing?", we should ask "Why is there something rather than nothing?" which again dwells into the technical difficulties of defining the term 'nothing'.

I feel the latter question has more relevance both scientifically and philosophically.

I think Krauss is forwarding his stance to fill the non-believer's void, like a Prophet. He's giving the same sense of comfort which a believer has when he believes that the scripture or God is the answer. By saying that 'Universe can be created out of nothing' he's putting a nail in the coffin, if you will, and supplying a sense of comfort to the non-believers.

Your previous posts highlight that if we want to honestly pursue the 'creation' question, we must be ready to "bump.. into this mysterious ontological entity[ies]"

Thank you for your honesty!
saud said…
"But what about the laws of physics? Do they not have to exist"

Im finding the idea a little uneasy. the laws of physics are well, simply how things tend to behave. repeated observations make us deduce these laws. once we familiarise ourselves with the behavior of 'things' we manage to deduce laws and begin predicting events. the more accurate the observations, the more accurate our perceptions of what these laws are.
what im finding a little unsettling is the idea suggesting that these 'laws' are an entity, and that they would exist whether say, mass or energy exist yet or not.
It seems to me that once entities come into existence, they begin to behave and the 'tendency of an entity to behave in a certain way' IS what a 'law of physics' is. how could it exist independently, and/or before an entity begins to exist?

What do you think?
Barooq said…
lol still the moron I see.
Did you even try to read Dawkins or Krauss ? I know for a fact that The God delusion is not easily available in Pakistan and Krauss's "A universe from nothing" is rare too. You can find "The greatest show on earth" but judging by the complete lack of any intelligent analysis of the arguments (Or even the mention of those) I am sure you didn't even touch any of the the books and did what you always do: Fucking wikipedia every thing and then write utterly imbecilic posts that dont make any sense. I once came to your blog about an year ago and was left in half amusement half disgust by your stupid narrative and complete lack of understanding of feminism/theology and philosophy. And that too from one post. An year on, you are still stupid as you were.
I mean the amount of copy pasting you do, you should have learned Somefuckingthing by now but there isn't any evidence that you have.

You are fascinating dude. I mean Philsophy the manh behan aik kar rehay ho salon se. You don't give it up, people don't call you out, and you remain utterly deluded. I mean, that is some feat.
I am impressed.
Qasim Aziz said…
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