Monday, July 14, 2014

The Evolution of Nothing

“Nothing” is a concept that has meant different things at different points of humanity’s understanding of the universe. When our planet was effectively understood as the universe, empty air space was reasonably defined as “nothing.” Upon discovery that space exists beyond our atmosphere, the meaning shifted to exclude air as now the vacuum of space was a valid option. The march of scientific discovery theorized magnetic, gravitational and other fields were “something” that may even correspond to particles that clearly aren’t applicable to the concept of “nothing.” And finally it was realized that space and time itself were dimensions that could conceivably not exist, which they wouldn’t in the case of a hypothetical “nothing.”

One might think this speculative absence of everything would be the purest nothing to which both atheists and theists could agree, but of course it’s not. Modern physics has shown that quantum fluctuations can spawn temporary virtual particles out of even this “nothing.” There is no particle or field or dimension or anything to exclude at this point. It is entirely nothing, then something, then nothing again. The only way an apologist, motivated to believe in a nothing in which God is the only creative power, can define nothing at this point is arbitrarily. Nothing, to them, is that without the natural potential for something. A baseless, speculative meaning only used by a minority that special pleads in order to create the illusion that the arguments they insert this term into is valid.

“That without the nature potential for something.” The special pleading is apparent with the qualifier of “natural.” It allows for another baseless and speculative category of the supernatural which isn’t only without scientific evidence, but conveniently beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. Something coming from nothing in our reality is only permissible, in their minds, through magic in which the spell caster is their deity of choice and only their deity. This “nothing” is just another example of a term in the apologetic handbook that when applied to the handbook’s official syllogisms, makes them entirely fallacious.


  1. This is a very timely piece, I was just thinking about this today as well. Its amazing how the only way some theists can defend their already already absurd claim is by creating another absurd claim about what nothing is. Its as if two absurds make a truth.

  2. While the folk definition of "nothing" might have changed as you described, this has not been the case with regards to philosphers. Most philosophers down throughtout the centuries have understood "nothing" to simply mean the complete absence of anything, at all. That is, a complete lack of any existents.

    And as it turns out, it is naturalists who have attempted to beg the question in their definition of nothing. When Krauss was told that his idea of "nothing" was completely fallacious, his reply was that "science changes the meaning of things."

    Moreover, this Quantaum vacuum is not "nothing". It has been described as having an explicit wave function, as being unstable, has physical quantities, and contains the laws of Quantum Mechanics. This is obviously not "nothing", it is something.

    1. This is exactly why many scientists today are questioning if philosophy has any value when it comes to the real world. Philosophers can define terms however they want, but if those terms have no real-world application, they are meaningless. It doesn't matter what apologists and philosophers say "nothing" means, if it cannot be demonstrated to actually exist, just like God, it's a nonsensical argument.

      The only thing that matters is reality. Making up nonsense and pontificating on it is meaningless.

  3. Even if a particle comes into existence in our realm (our something), it may not have come from “nothing” but from another realm (some other “something”). So I have to agree with Steven Jake.

    But your point for the desperation to make “out of nothing was the world created” work, is well taken. But the desperation of those who try to make this impossible is also obvious to me.