20191106

Why does the universe exist?


PSI Blog 20191106 Why does the universe exist?

The answers to this age-old question are reviewed in this 17-minute TED talk by Jim Holt:


Of course, the correct answer is that it is impossible for the Infinite Universe not to exist. As an idealist, Jim does a fair job on the subject within the limitations of that indeterministic philosophical position. But once people get off their idealistic high horses, the answer becomes obvious.

Nothingness and perfectly empty space are equivalent. They are the same idealization. All things in the universe exist on the continuum between perfectly empty space and perfectly solid matter. The empty space and solid matter endmembers do not and cannot exist—they are idealizations. All real things have properties akin to each of those ideals. The doorway does not have to be perfectly empty for us to leave the room while not crashing into the not perfectly solid wall.

Like all the other “Big Questions” religious folks denigrate science for its inability to give answers that might satisfy their quest for idealistic eternal life. Sorry, the Infinite Universe can produce an infinite number of things, but perfectly empty space and eternal life are not among them.

2 comments:

George Coyne said...
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George Coyne said...

Based on your point that empty space and solid matter are merely idealization, I hold that the universe exists because the imagined idealization of "nothing" is an impossibility. The principle of mass conservation implies that mass cannot be created or destroyed, and thus must have always existed and always will exist. All the microcosms from subatomic particles to the largest cosmic structures have mass and are representative of the abstraction known as matter which refers to all that exists. The question “Why does the universe exist?” implies that non- existence is a valid concept. But this idea violates logic: “nothing” cannot exist because only things have existence, and thus if “nothingness” existed then it would by definition be something. As there is only matter and motion in the process known as "the universe" and since “nothing” is not matter and not motion, it is an invalid abstraction. Thus the posed question is asking why does the material universe exist as opposed to that which is impossible, (i.e non-existence). The answer is it exists because there is only one possibility, which is for matter to exist and motion to occur.