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Math Science

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing 612

Posted by Soulskill
from the something-from-nothing dept.
KentuckyFC writes: "One of the great theories of modern cosmology is that the universe began in a Big Bang. It's backed up by numerous lines of evidence, such as the cosmic microwave background and so on. But what caused the Big Bang, itself? For many years, cosmologists have fallen back on the idea that the universe formed spontaneously; that the Big Bang was result of quantum fluctuations in which the universe came into existence from nothing. But is this compatible with what we know about the Big Bang itself and the theories that describe it? Now cosmologists have come up with the first rigorous proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously and produced the universe we see today. The proof is developed within a mathematical framework known as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle allows a small region of empty space to come into existence probabilistically due to quantum fluctuations. Most of the time, such a bubble will collapse and disappear. The question these scientists address is whether a bubble could also expand exponentially to allow a universe to form in an irreversible way. Their proof (PDF) shows that this is indeed possible. There is an interesting corollary: the role of the cosmological constant is played by a property known as the quantum potential. This is a property introduced in the 20th century by the physicist David Bohm, which has the effect of making quantum mechanics deterministic while reproducing all of its predictions. It's an idea that has never caught on. Perhaps that will change now."
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

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  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:37AM (#46724423) Homepage Journal

    If you make implementation details about the initial condition of an universe proof that such an universe has no superior level, you are already so ridiculous that punching people in the face is probably the best you can do.

  • by Ricyteach (2565289) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:42AM (#46724491)
    Physicists seem to have a curious definition of "nothing" (see Lawrence Krauss' book).
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:45AM (#46724523)

    So we see evidence of a seeming Miraculous event in the universe. One that seems to defy logic. And you use it as a time to get angry at people who believe in God.

    Is your atheism so week, that you fall back on violence if confronted with evidence that seems to force you to realign your belief structure.
    So tell me again how atheist are better than religious people?
    Or is it that you are just as human as the rest of us, and will strongly hold onto our belief structure and get very angry when something dissuades it.

  • by Ricyteach (2565289) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:51AM (#46724579)
    In "God and the Astronomers", agnostic Robert Jastrow chronicles the development of the Big Bang theory, and how for decades many physicists resisted it; not because of data, but because it meant the universe had a beginning, which was at odds with their worldview (“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be." --Karl Sagan). They recognized that if there was ever truly NOTHING, that science would never be able to explain why there is SOMETHING. The question of origins is outside the reach of scientific inquiry. I wish the physicists would stop playing in the philosophical and theological sandbox.
  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:59AM (#46724673)
    So "nothing" has quantum fluctuations.

    I have zero apples, which one will produce an apple seed to grow a tree.

    Note: The article itself doesn't imply what the summary says, but the summary here makes the article seem like nonsense.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:02AM (#46724693) Homepage

    But it is proof that disproving Aquinas's argument that no physical phenomena can arise ex nihilo is currently beyond the capacity of science, mathematics and philosophy.

  • Re:Nothing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jythie (914043) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:26AM (#46724951)
    Well, adding 'zero' to the number system was a pretty big deal about nothing.
  • by Hentai (165906) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:29AM (#46724977) Homepage Journal

    So the guy at the PC said to himself "Thank you for nothing, guys" and went making himself coffee.

    Well, what else were they supposed to do? They're DETERMINISTIC. Their entire existence is based on THE DETERMINISTIC APPLICATION OF RULES, right?

    So if the guy at the PC is butthurt, maybe he should have picked different rules or different initial conditions, right? Because once you hit 'run' you can't really blame the process for giving you its output.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:36AM (#46725041) Journal
    Math proofs are based on a set of axioms or starting assumptions. All the mathematical proofs are simply inevitable consequences of the axioms, that is all. Every mathematical proofs say, "this is consistent with your original assumptions". That is all, nothing more, nothing less.

    I remember reading about an European mathematician who set out to prove that Euclidean geometry was the only possible geometry. He came up with lemma after lemma, conjecture after conjecture, but no matter how hard he tried he could not prove non-Euclidean geometry could not exist. All those proofs, lemmas and work on conjectures formed the mainstay of the branch of non-Eucledian Geometry.

    So all the math proof tells you is, if you make a set of assumptions, cosmos could be created spontaneously.

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:50AM (#46725181) Journal

    I've always been surprised at people who give consideration to the simulation argument, but none to God. If we're living in a simulation (which I think is decently probable, relativity and wave/particle duality being emergent properties of programming kludges to save cycles), then this simulation was created by someone. That someone would be omnipotent and omniscient with regards to this reality, exists outside of this reality, and created this reality. That's the definition of God. God is the Programmer.

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Friday April 11, 2014 @11:25AM (#46725611)

    "superior level"???

    Why not talk about about the great Matma, an inferior level, the mysterious Wumpus, or the Flying Spaghetti monster instead?

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday April 11, 2014 @11:34AM (#46725697) Journal

    , I could easily design a better and more just system

    For some value of "better." You have no idea what the Programmer's motive and design goal is. We simulate un-perfect worlds all the time. This could all be a game of World of Warcraft for higher dimensional beings. Azeroth is a pretty fucked-up place because if it were all peaceful and just the game would be boring. We would have no more understanding of the Programmer than my WoW character has of me.

    We simulate our own universe, too, to try to understand it better. This could just be a much, much more high-fidelity simulation of the Programmer's universe.

    It could even be an experiment to see if simulated beings, shown a perfect paradise and expelled from it could, left to their own devices, re-create that same paradise after being shown an example of perfect love and sacrifice. In that case, Jesus was the Programmer's avatar in this reality, and Christianity is true.

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday April 11, 2014 @12:01PM (#46726113) Journal

    I'm never sure if I want there to be an afterlife or not. And I'm Catholic. I have faith in God, but I can never know.

    Really, what bothers me more than anything is the concept of hell. The exact nature of hell isn't really laid out in the Bible. It's described as being cut off from God and his goodness, permanently, which would be torment to us who were created by Him. But that doesn't tell you if it's really lakes of fire and demons with pitchforks (which was really just Dante's depiction that inspired everyone who came after), or if it's just some shitty shanty town...or if it's this reality we're in right now. But, if it is the whole 'torturing forever' thing, first thing I'm doing when I get to heaven is I'm tugging on God's cape and saying, "hey, can we get those people out of there?" I have no idea how I'm supposed to party forever in heaven with Jesus if there's even one soul suffering in hell.

    While I have faith in God, I also kinda hope I'm wrong and there's simply nothing after death, because I would rather have there be nothing for me than torture for anyone.

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