Saturday, March 24, 2012

David Albert Comments on Krauss' A Universe from Nothing

This really needed saying, and David Albert (Columbia) says it well.

2 comments:

Steve Maitzen said...

Ex: Thanks for linking to the review. I have my own doubts that the "fundamental cosmological question," as it's usually understood, is well-posed. But in any case Krauss doesn't show us how to answer it.

Judging from his terrible answers in his interview with Sam Harris, Krauss's book seems to be the sort of thing that gives contemporary physics a bad name:

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/everything-and-nothing/

Choice quotations:

"Modern science...has changed completely our conception of the very words 'something' and 'nothing' [Ahem; No, it hasn’t]. Empirical discoveries continue to tell us that the Universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not, and 'something' and 'nothing' are physical concepts and therefore are properly the domain of science, not theology or philosophy." So Krauss admits he's redefined the word "nothing" and then pretends he's engaging the age-old question.

"But even more germane to your question perhaps… do we have any physical reason to believe that such nothing was ever the case? Absolutely, because we are talking about our universe, and that doesn't preclude our universe arising from precisely nothing, embedded in a perhaps infinite space, or infinite collection of spaces, or spaces-to-be." Literally nothing! (embedded in such-and-such else). Harris tries twice to pin him down on whether his "nothing" truly refers to nothing, and then gives up.

exapologist said...

Unbelievable. Thanks for the pointer, Steve. I hadn't seen that.

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