Some of the Changes Lawrence M. Krauss Should Create to the Second Edition of "A Universe from Nothing"

Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 1:34 AM

Krauss penned a book titled: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. In it he dared to declare how with only the laws of physics our universe could've created itself out of nothing.

Some of the Changes Lawrence M. Krauss Should Create to the Second Edition of

A couple of years ago (two thousand twelve) theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss penned a book titled: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. In it he dared to declare how with only the laws of physics our universe could've created itself out of nothing.

If you ever discover yourself with the opportunity to read this book, please do. And while I've some powerful disagreements with his specific writing fashion and some of the structure of the book, there are more than sufficient insights and enlightenments to create the reading of this book quite enjoyable. And he makes a genuinely Herculean effort to swim around the world, even if everyone assumes it can't be done. I've read the book three times, and frequently I discover myself studying many of the passages in it.

And while I said I'd definitely recommend the consumption of this delicacy, I discover this snack could've been made even better if only a few more ingredients had been added to it. Here are several things Krauss might think about changing if he ever writes a second edition of A Universe from Nothing.

Clarify what you believe math is

If you can't declare what math is, then you can't tell us what physics does. To a physicist, math is God, both figuratively and literally.

Yet, in the preface of his book on pages xii and xiii Krauss says: "Similarly, our minds may not be able to easily comprehend infinities (although mathematics, a product of our minds, deals with them rather nicely), but that doesn't tell us that infinities don't exist."

Krauss mentions what math is in a most casually unimportant manner, as though math is only a footnote in physics. I'm hoping this was just an embarrassing accident. For the query of what math is, truly is the most vital question a physicist can both ask and answer. In physics, math is the Alpha and Omega. And in A Universe from Nothing math is very much the whole argument, or should I declare the foundation on which the whole argument is based?

Is math created by the mind or discovered and exists apart from our consciousness? If it's but an appendage of our consciousness does math even declare anything about our universe? And yet, if math exists without our minds... well, then the universe becomes stranger than unusual and at the same time maybe even somehow unnervingly explicable.

So if Krauss wants us to get the idea that our universe could've arisen from nothing as a genuine opportunity by only using physics, he should convince us how this "math" isn't fiction (even if one argues it's only created by the mind) and how ultimate reality actually can be explained by this math-god.

Please clarify better how we can apply what we know about our universe to the thing that came before our universe

If you travel to different universities around the world and ask physicists what came before the Huge Bang, the most common reply is this: We don't know. Does vacant space predate the Large Bang? We don't know. Do quantum mechanics and quantum field theory even exist before our universe was here? We don't know. Is there a multiverse? We don't know. Did math arrive before the creation of our universe? We don't know. Do the laws of science even exist exterior our universe? We don't know.

And so it'd seem what Krauss says about string theory in his book can also be said about his grand ideas of what reality was before our universe was: "We still have number idea if this remarkable theoretical structure actually has anything to do with the genuine world." (The "real world" in this case being that which came before the birth of our reality-universe and "this remarkable theoretical edifice" being all of the mathematical arguments that we presently apply to prove we know what came before the Large Bang.)

Yet, can Krauss'south ideas be so easily dismissed?

Maybe, maybe not. (Not accidentally, the same reply he gives if we'll ever know why the universe has to be the way that it is.)

As stated, the assumption by the vast majority of physicists is that we cannot know what came before the Huge Bang, at minimum not know. If this is true, then everything said by Krauss and others that think love him about what existed before our universe existed becomes as valuable as fascinating colors of waste water.

But in his defense (or to the way that he's thinking) Krauss makes some very simple to realize statements. The best argument is simplicity. And his beliefs arrive down to some very understandable statements that he says are founded on what we've learned about the laws of physics and the usage of science and maybe even someday on the usage of even more science. ("More science" here being the fact that maybe one day empirical testing will be done to prove or disprove our universe came from nothing, the multiverse exists, etc.)

And when he says: "I've focused on either the creation of something from preexisting vacant space or the creation of vacant space from number space at all," and: "We've discovered that all signs propose a universe that could and plausibly did occur from a deeper nothing--involving the absence of space itself--and which may one day return to nothing via processes that may not only be comprehensible but also processes that don't require any external control or direction" he makes a very ordinary and comprehensible argument. He genuinely believes we can know some scientific truths from our universe and apply them to the world before our universe was here.

I realize what he's saying. He does argue his science with proof, and he does a excellent work at stating the scientific proof behind this or that belief. And if we don't know something (why the power of vacant space is too powerful, or what's shadowy matter or shadowy energy), he seems more than willing to admit it. But he needed to have a space in his book dealing with this problem. How do we know what we know can be applied to what came before the Huge Bang? Or, is his argument one of a gentle growth of empirical truths that naturally lead to the trust that we can presently know what came before the Huge Bang? Are learning how our universe could've arrive from nothing without breaking the conservation of energy law, grasping the idea how vacant space, a quantum vacuum, should always have something in it and is always unstable, and seeing how a tiny particle may inflate to becoming a very large universe collectively arguing how we can apply what's happening in our universe also to the thing that came before our universe?

To a certain degree, his argument always seem to imply that there is number genuine separation between what came before our universe and our present-day universe. I'd have very much appreciated an argument explaining how in the past we couldn't know what came before the Large Bang and why we can presently in the present declare we're dealing with things that are telling us of what came before the Huge Bang. Or, is he arguing that the former separation of our universe from what came before the Large Bang based on the incorrect assumption that they're separated? Explaining why these two things aren't separated (our quantum vacant space also exists in the space that came before the Large Bang) is required in this type of argument. Why we couldn't declare before what came before the Huge Bang would've fit nicely at the beginning of the book, and how we can presently speak about what came before the Big Bang should've been added close the finish of the book.

So, can we declare anything about what came before our universe through the lens of science? Or, is all of this scientific reasoning and inferring and suggesting and extrapolating simply equal to the ravings of a mystic-lunatic?

Mention more of the physicists who came up with the key ideas that led to how our universe could've arrive from nothing

Krauss doesn't mention several physicists of the twentieth cent who were very much connected to the thesis of his book. And I don't believe this was done purposefully or consciously or maliciously. I just think Krauss may be a tiny too educated for his own good. Sometimes we know something so easily we forget that it'd be kind to know how someone made this idea so simple for us to know.

He doesn't mention Richard C. Tolman of the CA Institute of Technology who first came out in his one thousand nine hundred thirty-four book Relativity, Thermodynamics, and Cosmology with the idea that if you get all the mass-positive energy and all the gravitational-negative energy and add them up they'll cancel each other out, leaving a universe totaling zero energy. And this fact could easily lead to the surreal idea that a universe could start with zero energy (from nothing) and not crack the law of the conservation of energy, which states energy can be neither created nor destroyed. This man definitely deserves to have been mentioned in his book.

He also doesn't mention how to argue that we live in a static (always eternal) universe the German physicist Pascual Jordan in the late one thousand nine hundred thirty thought he'd figured out how such a universe could always still be creating new matter by knowing the fact that a star'south mass-positive energy and gravitational-negative energy could imply a star'south total energy would lead to it having zero energy, giving him the insightful thought that if this was the case what'd stop a star from coming into existence by a quantum transition from the vacuum, but never realizing himself that one might ask the same thing about the creation of our universe. And because he was the first physicist to look how something (a star) might be created from nothing (the vacuum), he should've been mentioned in this book.

And it'd have been more than fitting if Krauss had told the legend of how in the mid-1940s when the physicist George Gamow related Jordan'south idea to Einstein when they were walking across the Str that it so startled Einstein that he suddenly ceased emotional right in the center of the road, forcing cars to stop to avert hitting him.

And one of Krauss'south most noticeable omissions was when he forgot (or maybe he just didn't know) to mention that it was the American physicist from Hunter College of the City Univ of NY City Edward P. Tryon who first said that our universe might be a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum. In December, one thousand nine hundred seventy-three, in the British scientific magazine Nature, Tryon came out with the scientific argument that our universe might be the result of a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum. In his two-page paper titled, "Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?" Tryon would propose the very unusual idea that our very large and very elderly universe could've arrive from a quantum fluctuation of vacant space (the vacuum). In fact, he'd characterize this vacuum as nothing (and sometimes not quite nothing.) (I think this would create him our first "nothingist.")

Tryon would would utilize Tolman'south idea that our universe could've zero energy (he learned this from the common relativist Peter Bergmann) to assistance him clarify how our universe could've arrive from nothing and not be violating the law of conservation of energy. He'd also characterize how our universe has virtual particles that population in and out of existence at the quantum level of vacant space, and then go on to state that so does the space that came before our universe have these same virtual particles popping in and out of vacant space, too, but there one of these quantum particles would grow to become our universe. And he came to this discovery by simply making the assumption that our vacant space (quantum vacuum) also existed in the space before our universe was here.

And his idea how our universe originated from a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum wasn't rejected because he'd said our universe may have arrive from nothingness, but his proposal was totally rejected by the scientific community because he'd said our very large and very elderly universe had once been a very tiny particle that somehow expanded to becoming our present-day universe. This was too risible for any physicist to accept. Every physicist knew that virtual particles are very tiny and exist only for the briefest of moments. And if one came into existence and had all the energy and mass of our universe it should've crushed itself out of existence or simply collapsed into a singularity. And Tryon is a physicist who definitely should've been mentioned in a book about how our universe might be a quantum process of the vacuum.

And even though Tryon is given credit with coming up with the idea that our universe came from a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum, at about the same time in Soviet Russia (Kiev, Ukraine), P. I. Fomin (Petro Ivanovych Fomin) seems to have been coming up with the same idea of how our universe was created by a quantum process. Yet, he never published anything about his ideas about our universe being created from a quantum process until one thousand nine hundred seventy-five and he also didn't publish in a prestigious scientific journal and so nobody gave him credit or really took notice of him in the West. But he should've been mentioned in this book, even if only in a footnote. (And to be fair, I should add in his residence country when he died in his obituary he was given credit for coming up with the idea that our universe came from a quantum process.)

And although Krauss mentions Alan Guth, he should've stressed as distant as the idea of our universe coming from a quantum process from nothingness was only taken seriously after he came out with his inflationary theory in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth. Very quickly after he announced his inflationary theory the physics community would arrive to accept the idea that our universe could originate by a quantum process because the idea of a universe actually coming from a tiny particle and growing to become a very elderly and very large universe could presently be explained by inflationary theory and so presently was accepted as a legitimate thing that might've taken place. It happened so quickly that when Alexander Vilenkin came out with his one thousand nine hundred eighty-two paper, "The Creation of Our Universes from Nothing," Vilenkin'south idea that our universe could be created from a nothingness by quantum tunneling was much more readily accepted simply because Guth had explained how a tiny particle could inflate and eventually become our very large and very elderly universe.

Drop the afterword by Richard Dawkins

Why should Krauss drop the afterword written by Richard Dawkins? Simple: Dawkins is better than this. Whether you consent with him or not, one has to admit he's a very fine and capable writer. And this afterword is some of the worst writing he's ever erected. And I'm a believer you should never wish to read someone'south worst work but only their finest. And this is distant from his best of quill. And so because he's so excellent and this isn't representative of his outstanding writing ability, it's better to let this afterword go.*

*And obtain rid of this sentence: "Now, a cent later we scientist can perceive smug for having discovered the underlying expansion of the universe, the cosmic microwave background, shadowy matter, and shadowy energy." It's a error to utilize shadowy matter and shadowy energy as an accomplishment of how much science knows because scientists don't know what shadowy matter and dark energy are.

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