Physics is an Eternal Truth

I don’t challenge the claim that God could exist forever. I do use some clichéd arguments, but that is not one of them. I accept that if a thing can exist independent of time then it can—for the lack of better expressions—exist forever. But God’s complexity, as intelligence capable of controlling the universe, does demand explanation. However, I want to explore whether the laws of physics could exist forever.

I’ll start with a simple question. There is an equation that describes how a ball rolls down a hill. When a ball rolls down a hill, it expresses that equation. When a ball is not rolling down a hill, is the equation still true? I argue ‘yes, the equation that describes how a ball rolls down a hill is true even when there are no balls rolling down hills’. I say that because if the truth of the equation were to switch off when there are no rolling balls then there would be no reason for the same equation to be true next time.

If the equation were to stop being true every time it stopped being expressed then the next expression could be completely different. The first time you roll a ball down a hill it might stop 11 meters away. The second time it might turn into a gazelle and gallop away to the beach. Therefore, I assert that for the simple reason that physical events are repeatable and predictable the equations that describe them are true even when the events aren’t happening.

Physics describes space/time. That is what relativity and general relativity are about. If physics is true even when the thing it describes isn’t happening, then physics would also be true independent of space/time. Physics is eternal.

When science talks about the universe coming from nothing, it is talking about energy, matter, space and time coming from a state without energy, matter, space and time. Physics is still true under these conditions. You can claim that physics is not nothing, and therefore talking about a universe coming from physical principles is not describing A Universe from Nothing. Fine. But the ‘nothing’ that is free of energy, matter, space, time, physics, quantum fields, and potential is a ‘nothing’ that we don’t assume necessarily existed.

So, here’s what I propose: the nothing that science talks about and that the universe may have emerged from should be called the physical nothing and the nothing that people describe to argue against science should be called the philosophical nothing. The ‘Big Bang’ is only about getting ‘stuff’ from a physical nothing. As a final point, as the context of my blog is no secret, I offer one last question: how could God create something from a philosophical nothing; a state devoid of even potential?

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9 thoughts on “Physics is an Eternal Truth”

  1. 1 million points! Excellent post! I like this distinction: physical nothing and philosophical nothing. It advances the argument into new fields. Well done. I’m saving this one for reference material.

    1. Can I cash these points in? I want to buy a car.
      Thanks though, I appreciate it! I look forward to the angry religious people you’re going to send here 😛
      I nearly called it “theological nothing” to mirror that Lawrence Krauss joke: “theologians are experts in nothing”, but I decided against it.

  2. According to Krauss, the physical nothings from which a Universe can be born from do not contain a law of physics; only the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which will invariably spawn of particles and energy. But then, I suppose we can reclassify that as also a law of physics, just so long as we understand the difference between that physics and our physics (relativity). It also somewhat depends on the multiverse: is ours the only universe or does each universe’s constants vary, thus changing the laws of physics. (I mention this only because you mention relativity which, if the multiverse proves true, would be different in other universes, but I’m just nitpicking.) 🙂

    Great post however, and this distinction between the physical and philosophical nothing surely leads to many disagreements and I’m sure in many cases, outright confusion.

    1. I like how higher dimensions (particularly in String Theory) deal with the idea of a multiverse.
      The hypothesis is that any universe would appear as a 2-4 dimensional reality, plus a time dimension (we’re 3 dimensional, plus time)… but string theory necessitates a lot more dimensions than that. Those remaining dimensions are ‘invisible’ to us because they are coiled up so tightly that we cannot interact with them. Our laws of physics, then, are a product what shape those coiling dimensions are, and the “physical nothing” in this example would be nothing more than an uncertainty principle. Other universes would have different physics because the extra dimensions are coiled up into a different shape.

      I do take some issue with the uncertainty principle being the physical nothing (although it could well be). I take issue because we’re still not sure if the uncertainty principle is an ontological truth (i.e. a quantum bit actually is travelling at various speeds) or the limit of investigation (no matter how hard we look, observation must interfere with the reading, even though there is an absolute truth)…

      1. I find string theory fascinating. The LHC, from 2015 onwards, will start tackling the predictions of string theory, and the physicist Michio Kaku thinks within 10-15 years, we’ll know whether string theory is false or true. I’m patiently waiting, and I do hope it’s true. Multiverse, eleven-dimensions, count me in!

        What I meant to say, is that the way we use ‘laws of physics’ may be somewhat of a slippery slope when discussing anything other than QM (and even then, we have no physical evidence that QM exists outside our universe, though it is a reasonable assumption to make). You mention relativity as an example of a law of physics, and while I understood your meaning, maybe others may get confused. For example, Einstein’s theory is an incomplete theory (in the sense that it foretells its own demise, at the singularity-which from what I’ve read from the physics literature, is not nothing in any sense. In fact, Sean Carroll calls it a breakdown of mathematics or rather, an inability of our current mathematics, not ex nihilo in any sense). That’s the only distinction I wished to make: that our laws of physics, at least from the stand point of relativity as we know it, is subjective to this universe, if this is indeed the only universe. We most certainly may make the case that there is always a law of physics, but that those laws are, or may be, different to ours.

        I hope I made sense, I’ve had a few glasses of wine at this point, so forgive me if I haven’t or rambled. 🙂

        1. I was getting at something similar with mentioning String Theory. There may be a much more basic set of principles (or single principle) that would be a “universal” physical law. But there would be some sort of a filter, like the shape of the folded extra dimensions, that would make the simple set of principles something more complicated (like relativity).
          Then that single principle would be the physical nothing. I tried not to tie down what, exactly, the physical nothing is. Partly for simplicity, but mostly because I don’t know.
          The important thing is that a physical nothing only has to be devoid of space, time, energy and matter.
          I like that I have readers that can delve deeper into this with me!

  3. I not an expert in using “Theory” and “Quantum Physic” but I believe I can understand where the post are to be lead with my limited idea of science.

    From my understanding “Universe are being created”, even it always being mention as “Universe from Nothing”, nothing itself is “1st person view point” not “3rd party view point”.

    It being mention ” I create the universe from nothing” (2:117). To have this idea, a requirement to have God as establishment of Universe is a must. So, the establishment of God make the physic law become valid as the origin of matter, energy, and space are being found. The why it way important to understand God as “Not Equivalent to thing” (112:4)

    From my understanding of physic, assumption “universe from nothing” are not valid if the understanding of “there is no god or creator of Universe” are being accepted. So the idea of “universe from nothing” are not relevance at all if there was no god.

    As you mention and agree by all scientist and engineer like me, energy, matter, space can not be destroy as being understand in Theory of Thermodynamic.

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