Re: Fw: belief, faith, truth

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 17:35:32 +1100

On Tue, Jan 31, 2006 at 10:15:59PM -0800, Brent Meeker wrote:
> >
> >If you have an answer to "Why does anything exist?" I'd be glad to hear it.
> OK, here are a few answers.
> "What is there? Everything! So what isn't there? Nothing!"
> --- Norm Levitt, after Quine
> "The reason there's Something rather than Nothing is that Nothing is
> unstable."
> --- Frank Wilczek (Nobel laureate physics, 2004)
> Or to be less flippant - why would you imagine there could BE nothing? In
> fact you probably can't imagine it; I can't. Maybe it's just a form of
> words that has no meaning. Why is Nothing the default? And what's the
> definition of Nothing? To a physicist it's the solution to the equations
> in the TOE where all the field values are zero. Which is what Wilczek
> notes is unstable. I think that's probably the only coherent definition of
> Nothing.
> Brent Meeker
> Nothing: Nothing is an awe-inspiring yet essentially undigested
> concept, highly esteemed by writers of a mystical or
> existentialist tendency, but by most others regarded with
> anxiety, nausea, or panic.
> --- The Encyclopedia of Philosophy

I don't agree with equating the vacuum with "Nothing", although I know
a few people do. The vacuum still has a wealth of information
associated with it.

In the ensemble of all descriptions (sometimes known as Schmidhuber
ensemble), all describable things correspond to subsets of cardinality
c=2^\aleph_0. For example every finite bitstring is represented by the
subset of descriptions having that bitstring as a prefix. The only
describable thing having vaguely the properties of "Nothing" is the
empty finite string, which is, in other words, the set of all possible
descriptions. But this is just the Everything. The Everything and the
Nothing are equivalent, just as a finite bitstring is equivalent with the
subset of bitstrings sharing the finite string as a prefix.

I note that Hal Ruhl was going around saying the Nothing was unstable
before Wilczek, but using a rather different argument.


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Received on Wed Feb 01 2006 - 01:49:18 PST

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