Well, this’ll be interesting. Somebody quoting from Tzortzis, and employing some of his favorite tactics as he displayed at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin Ireland. Keep in mind, if a statement has already been addressed, I’m less likely to address it, again. After all, I started at about three in the morning.
For those of you unfamiliar with the context, the sections posted in quotation marks is what was posted as a response to comments I made in Ban the Adhaalath, or quoting from another source. The link to this will be posted so I’m not having to copy and past all of it, can add comments to a response section for this, etc.
“Created or brought into being from nothing
We know the universe couldn’t have come out of nothing, because out of nothing, nothing comes! This is an undeniable philosophical principle, as P. J. Zwart in his publication About Time explains,
“If there is anything we find inconceivable it is that something could arise from nothing.””
That wouldn’t happen to be the publication entitled About Time: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin and Nature of Time ? I notice this going over your comments. Your source refers to a lot of philosophers, and not many scientists when you refer to statements and claims made. So I have to ask, why go with philosophers over scientists who work on the subject?
Edit: June 8, 2013
Somebody had provided an interesting link regarding this point in the comments section. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the original source to verify this, but it would appear that Hamza, not only plagiarized others (WLC is one common example of people Hamza has plagiarized), but misrepresented others by copying many of the same ideas from others.
“A significant point to raise here is that nothingness should not be misconstrued as the nothingness that some physicists talk about. The term nothingness in this context refers to the absence of anything physical, in other words there is no pre-existing ‘stuff’.”
And if you had asked me for the context of how the word was used, I could’ve provided it, and this point could’ve been removed due to being irrelevant, or refined to be more relevant.
“In light of the beginning of the universe, there was absolutely nothing before it began to exist,”
So I have to ask, what is tzortzis’ definition of nothing in this situation? From the context of what was provided earlier (“not… misconstrued as the nothingness that some physicists talk about”), I’m inclined to believe that it is the dichotomy between the existence of something and the lack of anything detectable within the space that something existing would occupy.
“which is why physicists have explained the universe as having a space-time boundary.”
And it couldn’t be because before then, at the point of the singularity, defined as the point at which the laws of physics as we know them break down, such as time, space, and cause, concepts such as space-time are inapplicable as we know them?
“However, nothingness as defined by some physicists relates to the quantum vacuum. This is misleading because the quantum is something. In quantum theory the vacuum is a field of energy pervading the whole of the universe.”
How about we look at how that word, nothing, is used, such as in the abstract of an article, shall we?
From (http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Sept02/Kinney/frames.html) “The underlying theme is that cosmology gives us a unique window on the “PHYSICS OF NOTHING,” or the quantum-mechanical properties of the vacuum. The theory of inflation postulates that vacuum energy, or something very much like it, was the dominant force shaping the evolution of the very early universe. Recent astrophysical observations indicate that vacuum energy, or something very much like it, is also the dominant component of the universe today.”
Now, I know that you’ll (the person who had posted the comment) be motivated to use vacuum energy to say that “It isn’t nothing.” You might want to double check that before doing it. From a relatively quick search (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum#In_quantum_mechanics), “In quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, the vacuum is defined as the state (i.e. solution to the equations of the theory) with the lowest possible energy (the ground state of the Hilbert space). This is a state with no matter particles (hence the name), and also no photons, no gravitons, etc. As described above, this state is impossible to achieve experimentally. (Even if every matter particle could somehow be removed from a volume, it would be impossible to eliminate all the blackbody photons.)”
That is more or less how nothing is defined within quantum physics, which is the way that I was using it, and indicated as such when I said “a possibility if you understand quantum physics.” To attempt to commit the equivocation fallacy by using the common interpretation of nothing is not going to help you out.
If you think that what I’ve said isn’t applicable with at least a little bit of research, then do that research yourself. If you think I need to do more, provide the references to the articles and books by those who work in the field (scientists, not science philosophers) so that I can learn for myself.
“ In the word’s of John Polkinghorne, a philosopher of science, the quantum vacuum,
“…is not ‘nothing’; it is a structured and highly active entity.””
Scientists or provide a basis on which the ideas of philosophers should be accepted. Granted, because these aren’t your thoughts, or something which you’ve attempted to research to any extent, I don’t expect you to provide one.
“So, in context of some of the physicists’ definition, the universe could not have come from absolutely nothing, as the quantum vacuum is something.”
The definition of a quantum vacuum is pretty close to NOTHING! Pardon the lame joke.
“It is a sea of fluctuating energy, which is still part of the cosmos and it did not pre-exist the universe. This point leads us nicely to the next possible explanation
1. The quantum vacuum is not nothing, so the claim that the universe came from nothing, because of the observations made at the quantum level, is misleading. The vacuum is actually something; it is a sea of fluctuating energy with a rich structure and obeys the laws of the universe. This is why many physicists are adopting a deterministic view of the observations made at the quantum level, for instance the David Bohm interpretation being one of them.”
- Which physicists? Its stated that they do, and no examples are provided. It could’ve been strengthened with just a few names, and yet that opportunity is overlooked.
- While the David Bohm interpretation is provided, arguably as an example, it would be one aspect which is deterministic. If I were to put it into the context of something I’m much more familiar with, biology, it would be akin to saying that despite the selective mechanisms producing relatively predictable changes, evolution must be completely random because of the random aspects.
2. “ Philosophically speaking how can these physicists, like Stephen Hawking who adopt an indeterministic view, justify their conclusions? I don’t think they have a strong argument because everything we perceive in the universe comes into being via a cause, things change and events happen because of causes. This is the undeniable default position to take because the collective experience of mankind has never experienced or witnessed things coming into being out of nothing, and without the concept of causality we will not have the mental framework to understand our observations and experiences. In philosophical terms causality is a priori, which means knowledge we have independent of any experience.”
I’ll get around to what you regard as a priori, showing how your own examples are flawed.
“Some philosophers and scientists deny this and claim that you can’t think of examples of things we can know independent of experience.” It might help if you provided examples which weren’t contingent upon experience.
“ This is not true, take the following examples into consideration:
• Circles have no corners.”
And if you don’t know what a circle is, or what a corner is, you wouldn’t know that independent of experience, the experience being firsthand or through education.
“• Fathers are male.”
And if you don’t know what a father is, or male, or gender for that matter, you wouldn’t know that independent of experience, the experience being firsthand or through education.
“• 4+4 = 8.”
Which is dependent on knowing math and numbers. If you didn’t know either one of those, you wouldn’t be able to finish the equation. For example, while ½=.5 is slightly more complicated, the same basic idea applies.
“• Time is irreversible.”
Which is dependent on knowing the properties of time and what can be done at the moment. If you never knew or considered a concept like time, would you ever consider that it is irreversible?
“• Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”
And that one is an example of circular logic. Everything that begins to exist has a cause, because every cause, by definition, leads to something.
So from your examples, all but one are examples of things which aren’t known a priori, and the last one is an example of a logical fallacy. Are you certain that the position of the philosophers and scientists is unsupported bow?
“We know causality is true because we bring it to all our experience, rather than our experience bringing it to us. It is like wearing yellow-tinted glasses, everything looks yellow not because of anything out there in the world, but because of the glasses through which we are looking at everything. The contention that this is just an assumption is not true because without causality we would not be able to have the concept of an external reality. Take the following example into consideration; imagine you are looking at the White House in Washington DC. Your eyes may wonder to the door, across the pillars, then to the roof and finally over to the front lawn. Now contrast this to another experience, you are on the river Thames in London and you see a boat floating past. What dictates the order in which you had these experiences? When you looked at the White House you had a choice to see the door first and then the pillars and so on. However with the boat you had no choice as the front of the boat was the first to appear.
The point to take here is that you would not have been able to make the distinction that some experiences are ordered by yourself and others are ordered independently, unless we had the concept of causality. In absence of causality our experience would be very different from the way it is. It would be a single sequence of experiences only: one thing after another.”
“You may be wondering how this relate to God’s existence. Well, if spontaneous creation from nothing was true and that causality did not make sense in the quantum vacuum, then from a scientific perspective God could be out of the picture.”
Gods, deities, pixies, and fairies are all out of the question in science until it is supported by evidence. Causality as we understand it not being applicable wouldn’t rule out a deity as that isn’t what would rule out a deity from being used in a scientific explanation.
“But since causality is true and spontaneous creation out of nothing is false,”
With no basis on which to make that statement. For example, in normal physics, if you know the position of something, how much momentum it has, and velocity, you can predict where it will be, and you can know all of those without a problem. Meanwhile, when you get to the quantum scale, you get the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle, in which you can’t know with certainty the position or momentum simultaneously. The problem seems to be that Tzortzis took it from the perspective of regular physics.
“then we have a strong argument for the existence of God. Take the following premises into account,
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause
Since premises 1 and 2 are true, it logically follows that premise 3 is true. Everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore the universe must also have a cause. However, to believe that this cause is God can be perceived as a leap of faith rather than a rational conclusion, because this cause could have been a mechanical cause or necessary pre-existing conditions. In light of this how can we justify that this cause is a transcendent immaterial being?”
I’ve seen him present that argument, among others, and I’ve seen them shot down in real time. (Magic sandwich show, June 26, 2011). And I’ve seen that argument shot down time and time again. The hidden premises which theists attempt to use, the logical fallacies which are eventually used from those who’ve employed it, etc. If you need a reference for the argument which he is using and a thorough countering of it, feel free to read this if you don’t feel like watching a roughly two-three hour discussion (Iron Chariots – Counter Apologetics Wiki: Kalam Cosmological Argument).
“Using conceptual analysis, we can conclude that it must not be subject to time because it created time.”
Then using that same type of analysis, could you conclude that human beings must not be subject to bullets because people create them? The fact that you make something =/= not subject to the effects of it.
“ This cause must also be uncaused due to the absurdity of an infinite regress, if the cause of the universe had a cause, and that cause had a cause ad infinitum, then there wouldn’t be a universe to talk about in the first place!”
I’m just going to separate this from the rest so I can point out the issues with the next part.
“The cause of the universe must also be immaterial and beyond matter because it created the universe, and the universe is the sum of all matter. Significantly, this cause must have a will because since this cause is eternal, and it caused a finite effect, in other words the universe, then it must have chosen to do so, and choice indicates the existence of a will. Since this cause has a will it can interact and have relationships with personal agents, like human beings.”
None of this really follows from what has been presented so far.
1.) “it created the universe” So he goes from cause, to created as the cause. If he wanted to make a stronger case, he could’ve said “it caused the universe to exist.”
2.) “this cause must have a will since this cause is eternal, and caused a finite effect,” So I have to ask, on what basis does he make that statement?
3.) “then it must have chosen to do so” You might think that would be the basis, but it isn’t, because it isn’t an inference which can be made on a sound basis.
“This analysis gives good reasons to believe in the Islamic concept of God, as the Qur’an – the book of the Muslims – eloquently summarises these points,”
That same analysis gives good reasons to believe the Greek, Hindu, Celtic, Aztec, Sumerian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Egyptian, among other concepts of gods, and entities which in the religion aren’t deities such as the Cree Earth Spirit O-Ma-ma-ma. It doesn’t give good reasons.
“Say: He is God, the One and Only! God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.”
To demonstrate what I mean.
The goddess Gaia from the Greek Neopagan religions
– Not the only, but why this one is a necessity isn’t sufficiently indicated.
– Has children with other gods.
– Children have relations with people, indicating the potential for Gaia to do the same
“In conclusion, it seems to me that the Professor has placed himself in a self-defeating position, because to claim something comes from nothing and that causality is not true at the quantum level would be tantamount to saying that his book The Grand Design was not written by him, rather it spontaneously appeared into existence without any cause, and came into being from nothing!”
As I said earlier, its a matter of scale, and which ones would be applicable.
“But we all know out of nothing, nothing comes. This is why the Professor seems to have contradicted himself by saying it was all possible because of gravity. Then I would like to kindly ask him, “where did gravity come from?” If he responds “from nothing”, well, I would rhetorically reply, “so did your book”.”
I find it funny how he refers to one person, and says if. I’d like to know, has Hamza attempted to ask Hawking, either through e-mailing his publisher or employer and asking them to forward the question to him, and have him reply in whatever method he feels fit. As a result, I’m taking it upon myself to do so to see the response he has to the first question, and to the rhetorical response. When I get back, I’ll type it up and sent it.
“Lastly, I must add that I am looking forward to reading the Professor’s book to find out what exactly he means by spontaneous causality and that the universe came into being from nothing, because for me it just doesn’t make any sense!…”
Things tend to not make sense when you don’t have the faintest understanding of them.
Link provided by Siru Arts who provided the statements I replied to.