From Nothing to God?

Oh Brother, Lawrence Krauss is back to his old tricks again. No doubt wanting to follow-up on the success of Hawking’s last philosophically bankrupt work of semi-fiction, Lawrence has a new book coming out entitled ‘A Universe From Nothing‘, where he still, just like his buddy Hawking, surreptitiously defines “nothing” as a sea of quantum energy governed by physical laws. When will he ever realize that this state-of-affairs is not nothing? Never, it seems.

In his interview with Robert Wright a while back, bemusement ensued. Naturally, Robert, being the all-around erudite that he is, questioned this definition of nothing, which Lawrence seems so beholden to despite the consequences on his philosophical credibility, as it seemed so diametrically opposed to the kind of nothing that’s in many a philosopher’s mind.

If the audience was able to listen to that interview astutely, Lawrence, after multiple attempts at verbal calisthenics to evade the question, thusly proceeded to make the rather epic and utterly impotent extrapolation that, because of cosmology’s winning streak in its ability to show causally prior states to what was previously assumed to be nothing, cosmology, in time, can also –will also, in fact– show how the universe came from philosophical nothingness. One wonders what gives?

The problem for Lawrence is that, should he be able to show that universes come from philosophical nothingness, rather than providing a metaphysical framework for his atheism –which seems to be the real intention of his book– he’ll be providing one for theism instead:

If something can come from nothing, then ANYTHING can come from nothing; if the universe can come from nothing, then so can pink bunnies, spaghetti monsters, and evil, moustache-twirling genitalia. In fact, if the universe is infinitely old, as Lawrence seems to think, then all those things have already materialized from nothing infinitely many times. Absurd ain’t it?

If the universe can come from nothing, then anything can come from nothing since there’s nothing in the universe; no quality to it; not one iota about it; not anything about it; nothing about it, that would make “nothing” tend to produce it, because before it was produced, it wasn’t anything! The old Scholastics weren’t stupid. There’s a reason why they took it as metaphysical truth that from nothing, nothing comes;  ex nihilo, nihil fit.

That’s why anything (the universe, in this case) that arises from “nothing” will more plausibly have a personal-agent-type teleology; an agent who had the intention of producing from nothing that which was produced from nothing (and this, as Aquinas likes to say, we call GOD). Else, you’ll have to accept the absurd and patently untenable consequences, as illustrated above, that would ensue from its counter-factual (good luck defending against a reductio ad absurdum).

Lawrence was unsuccessfully trying to foist on Robert his feeble definition of the word nothing. And since Robert didn’t quite buy it, he backtracks in an attempt to salvage any credibility for his book, and manages to make a case for theism. Lucky for him that Robert was either ignorant of the particular philosophical argument or was being too polite to point it out.

I would recommend Lawrence’s book though, but for the science and not for the philosophy. Lawrence, of course, will say it’s a book on science. But that only yet again shows his complete ignorance of philosophy; he’s so ignorant of philosophy that he’s scarcely even cognizant that he’s actually philosophizing.

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Posted on January 29, 2012, in philosophy, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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