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Holden_Caulfield's avatar

Can one create something from nothing?

Asked by Holden_Caulfield (1139points) January 1st, 2010

…or did it already exist somewhere and just happen to manifest itself at the appropriate time to the appropriate mind? In other words… could someone else have created the exact same something from nothing given time and circumstance meaning it was already something to begin with? Or was it truly an original thought, idea, composition, etc. from a unique, individual mind?

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37 Answers

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Metaphorically, yes

dpworkin's avatar

You cannot violate the first law of thermodynamics.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

If you could send me a sample of “nothing” I’ll take a look at it to access possibilities.

absalom's avatar

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

HasntBeen's avatar

One can only create something from nothing. If you create from something, that isn’t creation, it’s modification.

Gossamer's avatar

I so hope you can…I have an abundance of nothing sitting around the house waiting to be used! Oh glorious day!~

LeopardGecko's avatar

@HasntBeen – Gossamer seems to be joking in his/her comment. But it perfectly illustrates a counter to your statement. What is considered nothing? I’m sure Gossamer has a bunch of nothing around the house that I could be using as something. What you may be considering nothing could actually be something. Take Oxygen and Hydrogen. Together they can make water, would you consider them nothing before you create water? As goes with anything else on any scale, large or small.

Rude_Bear's avatar

matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form

bea2345's avatar

“Whom did you see?”
“What was he doing?”

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Nothingness does not exist, so creation from nothingness cannot happen. It is akin to creation from unicorn hair.

jf9434's avatar

It depends on which school of thought you consider. Plato believed that everything that exists is a shadow of its true original form, or the idea of its form. Are you asking whether all “original” ideas and writings are stolen? Well, that also depends. It is often said that there is no such thing as original literature: there are paterns by which writing flows, that are copied over and over again. However, whatever a single person says or believes is an individual statement. This means that what they believe is “new” (to themselves) even if it has been said before.
I believe that as far as physical objects are considered, no one but God can create something from nothing.

Polly_Math's avatar

Nothingness. That’s something.

gasman's avatar

Particles of matter—each having mass—can be created out of massless energy according to E=mc^2, though in practical terms this only occurs in celestial processes. Matter from non-matter might thus be construed as ‘something from nothing’.

Ever since Einstein we’ve known that neither matter nor energy are actually conserved. Only their total combination, called mass-energy, is conserved.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

@Polly_Math….shhhhhhhh….don’t tell anyone…......someone wants to send me
a sample of nothing…..........hahahahahaha….........

Polly_Math's avatar

@JessicaisinLove That’s really something! Let me know when you don’t get it.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

@Polly_Math…....I told him ok…. if it’s safe to send through the mail. hahahahaha
actually I don’t think it would be….........not even if it was vacuum sealed for freshness.

Polly_Math's avatar

@JessicaisinLove No problem. I’ve received nothing in the mail from many people.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

I wonder what a teaspoon of “nothing” would do. We would be sucked into someplace else…..........
.I think…...........

Polly_Math's avatar

At least it’s not fattening.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

O I didn’t think about that…..............brilliant thinking on your part. hahahahaha

HasntBeen's avatar

@LeopardGecko : humans can’t create matter, obviously. But “creation from nothing” isn’t a meaningless phrase. The artist takes materials and rearranges them—changing their form. Nothing gets created in terms of matter. But the art was not there before, nor was there some sort of “pre-art”. It became art when the artist created it. From “nothing”.

So what is “nothing”? Possibility. Possibility has no substance, its the conditions which allow for creation. But you still need a creator… the artist, the person with a vision, the performer. Yes, there is some sort of material involved that changes form. But the result is greater than the sum of the inputs: art comes into existence, or projects, or whatever.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@HasntBeen The result is no greater than the sum of the inputs. Sure, we may place more value on it as a piece of art, but it is less valuable in other ways because that potential for creation is gone, and it cannot be shaped into any other valuable object. The canvas may keep a person dry or warm on a wet night, and the paint used to start a fire – a person struggling to survive would value these far above an artwork.

Ideas themselves also have a stimulus. The idea of the artwork may have come from an image that impressed the artist as they walked down the street, or a suggestion from another person. All we know and feel is learned. We may think about an abstract concept in an entirely new and unprecedented manner, but it is original thought built on existing principles and ideas.

“Nothing” does not exist.

YARNLADY's avatar

According to the mathematicians, if you put nothing next to one it becomes 10.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

@HasntBeen….........The concept of “nothing” to me is anything outside of our universe knowledge that we are unable to comprehend, detect, measure or see.
A place with other, heretofore unknown laws, that possibly govern in a much different way.
ie: Perhaps a place where perpetual motion is common. We are limited by our surroundings and the universe we live in. I believe it is wrong to assume there is nothing else though impossible as it may seem to most.
Just being part of our universe with our limitations could mean we are not wired or capable to go beyond what we are.

Holden_Caulfield's avatar

But original ideas whether they stem from nothing persay, or are a morph of something else, still become original ideas, thoughts etc… and thus come from nothing but something… so perhaps they are a hybrid of both?!? Just an afterthought…

ninjacolin's avatar

in an absolute sense, i believe nothing is the very definition of everything

DrMC's avatar

matter plus anti matter = 0 with energy.

I believe the reverse occurs, and might be behind the original work that explained radio emissions from black holes.

This subsequently was extrapolated to the Big Bang.

I am not a physicist however. I believe they could clarify.

HasntBeen's avatar

Well arguing about ‘nothing’ is sort of like dancing about air, I suppose :) At least there’s lots of viewpoints to choose from!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@DrMC Your original equation is quite silly, if you don’t mind me saying so. 1 + 1 = 2 + 0 + 0 +... Matter + antimatter = energy, in the proportions given by E=mc^2.

Also, the Big Bang was accepted theory long before there was any suggestion of Hawking Radiation. EM waves around black holes are not emitted from the black hole either, and do not involve any interactions of interest, but are simply the result of charged particles orbiting the black hole and emitting EM waves as they do so.

Irishmar's avatar

Nothing from nothing, means nothing, and you gotta have something, if you want to be with me. That is if you want to get along. Dig?

LeopardGecko's avatar

Thoughts that create an idea come from an already existing idea. You can’t create images in your head that are not present in reality. Even if you could, those ideas came from your thoughts. Which are something.

YARNLADY's avatar

@LeopardGecko Even brain scientists argue that point continuously. I doubt any brain surgeon has ever seen one.

ninjacolin's avatar

that’s a little arguable at least: you should see the stuff we’ve been able to do with thought data these days. read whole story see more monkey

OneMoreMinute's avatar

So far, Everything comes from Nothing.

…....But just give Nothing some time and Everything will soon be outsourced from China and India too!
( most everything I own has a sticker on the bottom that says “Made in China” right now)

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