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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What caused nothing to decide to become something, and for what reason?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20287 points ) December 23rd, 2013

There was nothing, then this entire nothing produced the Big Bang, and the nothing became something. What caused the nothing to ”go bang” and become something? I could say further no one was there to even know there was a bang, but I won’t go there. After this nothing became something, why didn’t all this new something follow the same path? Why did some of this new something from nothing, developed into what is called life, and since it was random, why not anywhere close to here as to be detected like all the dead something from nothing? And the something that became what we call life did so for what reason? If there was nothing to start with, how did the something come from it? What caused some of this something to develop into gas, liquid, solids, etc.?

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32 Answers

ETpro's avatar

We have no idea what was before the event horizon that the current Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation presents. It strongly points to a Big Bang, as does myriad other observable data, but it has absolutely nothing to say about what was before the Big Bang, or whether that is even a well-formed question. What’s so terribly hard about saying “I don’t know.” and then looking to find out instead of making up completely unsupported conjectures to “explain” those things we don’t yet know?

We do know that quantum chromodynamics require that things come from nothing all the time. We can observe that. It is also possible that the Universe in some form is eternal, and that it just went through a phase change at the Big Bang, perhaps one of an infinite number it goes through. Then again, string theory may prove to be the answer, in which Universes will be branching off all the time, and we just happen to find ourselves in one that’s perfectly suited for life, because how could we find ourselves in one that was adverse to life?

You are trying to apply human logic evolved from hunter-gather survival on the African Savannah to something that happened 13.73 billion years ago. Human logic can’t even begin to grasp time that deep. It’s small wonder it leaves you agape. But rather than plug in answers with no evidence, as in saying “God did it.” you gain much more by admitting the truth. “We don’t know, but maybe we can find out.”

For what reason. There doesn’t have to be a reason if it’s eternal and there is a set of laws of physics it works within.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“What caused nothing to decide to become something…”

Information. That’s how all nothings become somethings. Your question was nothing until you in-formed it. So was fluther. So was the internet. So was everything humans have ever created.

”...and for what reason?”

I have no idea why the original nothing became something. But when I personally create something out of nothing, it’s always because I desire it to be so.

kess's avatar

Nothing is the first and ultimate fool.
Upon which lies all other foolishness.

They are all self destructive by nature.

ragingloli's avatar

That depends on what you mean by “nothing”.
If you mean “nothing” in terms of physics, “nothing” is full of quantum fluctuations that produces particles all the time. In that sense, “something” always comes from “nothing”, it can not be any other way.
If you mean “nothing” in philosophy (e.g. useless in terms of applicability to actual reality), then this “nothing” can not exist.

rojo's avatar

After reading the topic line I was afraid this was another Phil Robertson question. Thankfully it is much, much more interesting.

kess's avatar

Nothing is one thing full of many faces, just as foolishness is one thing full of many faces.
Do not think there are more than one nothing.

josie's avatar

One pretty decent guess is that the previous collection of something had a phenomenon like gravity and it collapsed into itself and then went bang. What caused the resulting stuff to condense into something else is what we sort of abstractly call the Laws of Physics.
But since nobody was there, it really just becomes your best conclusion based on the evidence.
And as @ETpro says, being epistemologically honest means that sometimes you have to say “I don’t know”. Having to say “I don’t know” is not justification for making up a fairy tail.

glacial's avatar

Somewhere in its youth or childhood, it must have done something good.

Bill1939's avatar

If there was a beginning to the universe, it came from something. Otherwise it always was. However, what it was before it became what it is could be something that by the standards of existing reality is transcendent. This being said, an intelligent creator having conceived ot this cosmos, realized this thought, making it manifest, materializing our reality, is not a necessary condition.

flutherother's avatar

How can nothing produce something? It can’t, by definition, and if it did it would only prove it wasn’t nothing to begin with. Nothing is without dimensions including the dimension of time and so it can’t exist and therefore there has to be something but what that something is in its essence it is difficult to say.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ETpro We have no idea what was before the event horizon that the current Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation presents. It strongly points to a Big Bang, as does myriad other observable data, but it has absolutely nothing to say about what was before the Big Bang, or whether that is even a well-formed question
It sound to me as if you are saying the Big bang is rather irrelevant to how the universe got here. If no one knows what was before this event that is believed to happen because of certain things seen is believed to point to it, why even reference it at all?

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Your question was nothing until you in-formed it. So was fluther. So was the internet. So was everything humans have ever created.
Exactly, everything you mentioned someone decided to form it, create it, build it, etc. not one of them just came to be. What about everything else? What made them to just form without anyone deciding they should be here? I can’t even get to addressing your other comment until you get pass this one.

@ragingloli If you mean “nothing” in terms of physics, “nothing” is full of quantum fluctuations that produces particles all the time.
I mean that there was no existence of anything before the Big Bang. If you are saying there were particles and such before the Big Bang and the Big Bang merely arranged them, where did the particles in which the Big bang used originate? Were they the same atoms, quarks, electrons etc. that are here now, and if so, what caused them to Big Bang into some arrangement when they had not before it happened?

@josie One pretty decent guess is that the previous collection of something had a phenomenon like gravity and it collapsed into itself and then went bang.
If gravity is caused by mass, what mass was there before the Big Bang to cause the gravity to implode on itself? Was it more gravity than now, and if so how much more that it pulled together until it could pull together no further?

Having to say “I don’t know” is not justification for making up a fairy tail.
If anyone was making up fairy tales, but it is also no excuse to saying this is how it was, to say anything else is quacked.

@Bill1939 If there was a beginning to the universe, it came from something. Otherwise it always was.
That is what I am saying, what did it come from and why if it just happened? If it always was, then why keep referencing the Big Bang when it would have had nothing to do with the creation of the universe if only to arrange what was already here; which would lead to why the Big Bang decided what was here needed changing?

ragingloli's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central
You really need to buy glasses or something and actually read what people write.
I already explained that in that post.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ ^ OK……let’s try it this way then, where did these quantum particle/fluctuations, what have you, come from, and what caused them to do what they do, or to spawn into the Big Bang? If s ship sinks, I know it is because it took on water. If a sofa burns up I know it was because it was introduced to a flame source. I have yet to see one burn up simply because of nothing. If these quantum fluctuations has matter in them, what matter was there if not what exist already, and if it exist already then the Big Bang could not have produced it, could it?

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central What’s your answer, and what came before it?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ETpro What’s your answer, and what came before it?
We are not looking for my answer, but the scientific answer, if there is one, I haven’t heard anything conclusive yet. There either was something there or there wasn’t, if there was then the Big Bang was a big bust.

Bill1939's avatar

Maybe it is a question of where nothing was and where something is. The domain where our universe was created could have been empty of everything, including quantum stuff. I imagine a second domain wherein everything exists in an undifferentiated state. As the first moment can into existence a point of singularity connected the two domains. Through this point the singular state of everything emerged at the speed of light, forming a sphere that continues to expand today. The first moment was one Planck time long. At the end of the second moment the sphere became a shell that was one Plank length thick. Nothing exist inside or outside the expanding shell. Inside the shell Plank bubbles of probability convert points on the inside surface to points on the outside surface where the instance of reality exists. As the shell expands, everything continuously differentiates. Change continued from moment to moment, eventually reaching a readiness for the “Big Bang” to happen. The rest of the evolutionary process is likely as modern physicists imagine (albeit incomplete).

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Bill1939 Through this point the singular state of everything emerged at the speed of light, forming a sphere that continues to expand today.
You use the phrase ”Speed of light”, that would apply that light existed before the Big Bang, or if used just as a reference of speed, before this Big Bang things might have actually moved faster than the speed of light. There certainly could not be any light before the Big Bang, because there would have had to be some force or energy to create it. What was that energy? If there were no light, how could there be energy that magnitude that produced no light?

I have still not heard a reason, or catalyst that caused all of this matter/maybe not, to decide to change.

Bill1939's avatar

The speed of light is velocity, not photon. This velocity is a measure in Plack’s constant, which essentially is the shortest possible distance for a light wave to travel in the shortest possible time. This value exists whether or not a photon is present.

Also, light is a small segment in a wide spectrum of electromagnet energy. The energy emerging in that first moment of creation is bound in the alternations of magnetism. With each moment a wave carries reality forward, unfolding Origin’s wavelength, differentiating into the changes between previous and current instances.

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I gave you the current scientific answer. It is “We do not know.” The things I mentioned outside that were just some of the more promising hypotheses that may eventually prove to answer the question. But you appeared unsatisfied with “We don’t know.” so I wondered what answer would satisfy. Of course, if you supply an answer, I’m going to want to know what proof you have it’s the right one.

In one respect, the Universe not only may have come from nothing, but it still is nothing. Taking the size of the electron shell of a hydrogen atom versus the size of its nucleus, the atom is 99.9999999999999 empty space. If we consider a hydrogen atom, its nucleus consists of 3 quarks, which (like electrons) are point particles. The nucleus exhibits a certain “diameter” only because quantum mechanics requires the quarks never contact one another, but maintain a specific distance apart, just as electrons stay in their orbital shells and never collapse into the nucleus. So in that light, everything in the universe is empty space and the forces controlling the fundamental particles are all that give the impression of solidity. Read more: http://www.physicsforums.com

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Bill1939 The speed of light is velocity, not photon. This velocity is a measure in Plack’s constant, which essentially is the shortest possible distance for a light wave to travel in the shortest possible time.
Light being velocity, (and I guess not energy, or energy created?) due to Plack’s constant, how was that determined, I know there as a scientific test they had to run to come to that conclusion?

@ETpro It is “We do not know.” The things I mentioned outside that were just some of the more promising hypotheses that may eventually prove to answer the question. But you appeared unsatisfied with “We don’t know.” It is “We do not know.” The things I mentioned outside that were just some of the more promising hypotheses that may eventually prove to answer the question. But you appeared unsatisfied with “We don’t know.”
”I don’t know”, I can live with that, in fact I believe it of them more than not. I just don’t want them to tell me it is that way because we believe it, without showing the work, since they are people of facts. If you are going to say, for example, I have microscopic dust mites living on my eyelash, better be able to show me the ugly creature in an electron microscope. If I believe the electron microscope and the truthfulness of those presenting the information I then have the choice to believe what I am being shown even if I did not see it myself; at least I have something tangible to go with the talk. If they tell me there are mites there, but tell me they can never show me, or they themselves have never really seen one, that is another thing. If they tell be I believe a Big Bang happened, and happened like this but it is all a guess, they may never have been a Big Bang at all, I can go with that. To say there was a Big Bang and that is how it all started when no one was there, then I need an explanation of what was there before, and why did it decided to go “bang”? Since we are dealing with just the facts Jack.

glacial's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central “You use the phrase ”Speed of light”, that would apply that light existed before the Big Bang”

“Light being velocity”

The speed of a car is not a car. The speed of light is not light. We say “the speed of light” as shorthand for a specific value of speed (299,792,458 m/s). It does not matter whether or not the light was present; @Bill1939 is referencing a specific value of speed.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@glacial The speed of a car is not a car. The speed of light is not light. We say “the speed of light” as shorthand for a specific value of speed (299,792,458 m/s). It does not matter whether or not the light was present;@Bill1939 is referencing a specific value of speed.
OK, let’s bypass light. Light I guess is only a visual of that state of velocity. Just as radio waves existed before there was even a transistor radio to make use of them, there could exist, right now, this day a state of velocity that is faster, only we have no way to see it, that would be a theory, to say with even 90% certainty with no way to prove it would just be wrong. When people speak of the big Bang they should speak of it as one of maybe billions of possibilities, in spite of what they think they detected. No one has been out there to know what affected what they see or gathered before it got here. Time of death can be affected by cold, weather, heat, etc. we know the person died, there is a dead body, but the exact moment the person died is speculation even under the best of conditions unless you were the person who murdered him/her or witnessed it.

ragingloli's avatar

Except of course that Einstein already established the speed of light as the absolute speed limit through space as a law withing the theory of relativity.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

At one time the best minds thought the Earth was flat. He may have been bright, but he did not go out there, so the best he had to deal with was what he could _see from here and use. He is just a man and he could have missed something he never even got to compute because he never been out there, he just tried to figure it out with numbers.

ragingloli's avatar

yes, he predicted everything purely by mathematics, and afterwards, everything was confirmed by countless experiments, and never contradicted.
despite Einstein himself hating it, his theory of relativity predicted black holes, purely as a mathematical necessity and inevitability. They have been confirmed by observation.
The Higgs boson was predicted decades ago purely because it was a mathematical necessity, and its existence was confirmed experimentally last year.
Theories that can predict things with that amount of accuracy and that are consistently confirmed by thousands upon thousands of experiments, can safely assumed to be correct.

Bill1939's avatar

The quark too, in all of its delicious favors, was a purely mathematical construct until experiments demonstrated its existence.

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central The flat Earth postulate seemed reasonable to ancient man. To the unaided eye, standing on a plain, the horizon appears to be a straight line. Those making their eyeball observations were not that far off. The actual curvature of the Earth is 1/8 inch (3.175mm) per 100 feet, so they were close to right. It’s only from a high mountaintop, or when watching a large sailing vessel go out to sea and noticing that it progressively drops below the horizon, that unaided human eyes can easily detect the curvature of the Earth. But a flat Earth postulate would predict things like being able to walk far enough across the land or sail out far enough into the ocean to find the edge of the Earth, where the dome of the firmament was attached to it. Experiments do not bear out the predictions of a flat Earth postulate. So the postulate was abandoned for better ones.

You’re right that argument from authority is a logical fallacy. You are perfectly justified to reject an argument from authority if it is not supported by evidence other than the fact the person asserting it is an authority. But the points @ragingloli and @Bill1939 note about the evidence predicted by the work of Einstein, Bohr, Planck and other’s work being verified by thousands of tests to see if what it predicted holds true is why the Theory of General and Special Relativity, the Standard Model of Nuclear Physics, etc. are far more substantially supported than simple assertions by a “noted authority.”

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I just want to put out there that it was Monseigneur George Lemaître who first proposed the Big Bang Theory. He was not only an astronomer, and a professor of physics, but he was also a Belgian Priest.

So believing in the Big Bang does not exclude that there could be a creator. :)

Watch the video I posted above it explains the “nothing” much better.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ETpro The flat Earth postulate seemed reasonable to ancient man. To the unaided eye, standing on a plain, the horizon appears to be a straight line. Those making their eyeball observations were not that far off. The actual curvature of the Earth is 1/8 inch (3.175mm) per 100 feet, so they were close to right. It’s only from a high mountaintop, or when watching a large sailing vessel go out to sea and noticing that it progressively drops below the horizon, that unaided human eyes can easily detect the curvature of the Earth
Right, you had to get airborne, or ascend a very tall mountain to be able to see there was a curvature to the earth. One could have predicted it, had a theory of it, but if they were never able to get airborne or climb a mountain then it is the best guess. Astronomers say there are black holes that are black because light cannot escape. The future might prove they are not holes at all, but semi-solid or dense mass of something causing light not to pass through; not really holes at all. Right now they claim that it is what they say because of evidence the put together that support what they say. Just as temperature and exposure can distort the time of death, there could be something out there which they have yet to determine that affects what they see or what they are reading; then what they see and believe is not accurate; and they will never know it is because they can’t get out there close enough to be sure there is nothing between them and these heavenly bodies they can only see from afar.

@Bill1939 The quark too, in all of its delicious favors, was a purely mathematical construct until experiments demonstrated its existence.
Was the quark before or After the Big Bang?

@KaY_Jelly So believing in the Big Bang does not exclude that there could be a creator. :)
To me the Big Bang is the Creator; though I know this is a very unpopular view. For those who can’t see it I want to know what they believe was before it and if their smart men of science has proof, since they are all about the smoking gun.

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I would be among the last people on Earth to tell you our current understanding of black holes is a complete picture. There is a great deal we can observe about their effects on surrounding spacetime. We can watch how things orbit around them and calculate from that their mass. We can observe the time dilation predicted by Relativity and see that time for the outside observer slows as an in-falling object approaches the event horizon, and appears to stop at the event horizon, with the in-falling object flattened till it is occupying one Planck thickness. But we know that per Relativity, the in-falling object experiences no change in time. It goes right through the event horizon and falls in. We know that because we can measure the mass increase. So there is a good deal we know with some certainty, and one is that black holes aren’t just areas of the Universe painted black but ordinary in every other respect. But there is a vast array of questions yet to answer about these strange, fascinating phenomena.

Bill1939's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I imagine that at the start of our reality, before the alleged Big Bang, a super solid binding all of the forces/energy into a single state existed. This object, which I call Origin, differentiated, moment (which I imagine to be a Planck time and length) by moment, into subtler energy forms that eventually becomes subatomic substances (quarks and other energetic forces). I think that the Big Bang, the instant matter and energy as we commonly recognize them formed, did not occur until many moments had passed since the beginning of spacetime.

The source for Origin, which began as a dimensionless singularity, could be called God. However, I do not think of God as being analogous to humans. Nor does God think or feel or choose to act or not act in any manner we might conceive. I believe that the only aspect of God we might share (that is, be in the image of) is spirit. But spirit too, may only be a product of one’s imagination.

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