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Sep 30 2004

Why is there something instead of nothing?


* Because of the anthropomorphic principle
* who says there's something?
* Stop abusing AskMeFi

Take Your pick
2004-09-30 02:03:00
Why not?
2004-09-30 02:30:00
Because you experience something. Or think you do.
2004-09-30 02:36:00
That's the anthropic principle, not anthropomorphic. To be precise, it's the weak anthropic principle, and it only half applies. The WAP says that the universe is as we observe it because it must be, because our very observation implies that it exists and is capable of supporting carbon-based life. It's a response to the observation that the universe seems finely tuned to support us (Only a few values for the universal constants make it possible for life (or even matter itself) to exist). But it doesn't explain how the universe got this way or why it exists. As for the question, the best answer anyone can give is "because there is."
2004-09-30 03:05:00
and Nothing should know, because s/he is what there would be, if there weren't something. ...But then the fact that Nothing is commenting here means there must not be something... So the answer is... "mu."
2004-09-30 03:28:00
Ehm, anthropic principle, yes. *blushes* *tries to imagine what an anthropomorphic principle would look like*. Well, we know that. But what would it mean?
2004-09-30 04:01:00
I am fairly confident we can never know.
2004-09-30 04:31:00
Nothing has said something, but Something still has nothing to say?
2004-09-30 04:49:00
This is probably the deepest and most fundamental question ever asked on MeFi. Seriously. And a related question, what was there before there was something?
2004-09-30 05:27:00
what, before there was time? are you sure you know what you're asking?
2004-09-30 05:51:00
andrew cooke
Paging God.......
2004-09-30 05:58:00
Was the Universe created out of nothing? If you have created something from nothing, have you truly created something, or just the illusion of something?
2004-09-30 06:08:00
So many natural phenomena seem to follow principles of least action that it is a bit of a puzzler - how can our universe's existence require less action than there being no universe at all? Or does the universe not follow any such principle?
2004-09-30 06:09:00
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
2004-09-30 06:13:00
Someone's been reading plastic.
2004-09-30 06:31:00
Which came first - something, or the egg? and shouldn't our Nothing have a web site called "Nothing Awful"? These are the questions that plague me. But, seriously, I have the answer to this question. There is something in order for there to be nothing. In other words, since nothing is only the absence of something, there must be something in order for nothing to be nothing. If it weren't for something, nothing wouldn't be nothing, it would just be IT, the only something, and then IT's absence would constitute nothing. See? Which means that, really, something is actually nothing if there ever used to be just nothing.
2004-09-30 07:12:00
Someone's been reading plastic. And the first response is from MAYORBOB, perhaps the most prolific poster on the internet.
2004-09-30 07:14:00
Speaking of cosmological constants, have you people realized that if the value of Pi were different by even 0.0000000001, circles would be spirals?
2004-09-30 07:30:00
God. (the original Something.)
2004-09-30 07:51:00
(as long as we're oversimplifying.)
2004-09-30 08:07:00
The deeper you go into sub-atomic physics, the more it appears that there is in fact nothing there. I am not a physicist, but my understanding of the last few decades of theory and experiment is that there seems to be very little difference indeed between a something and a nothing.
2004-09-30 08:13:00
How do you know there is something? :P Otherwise, chance. There could have been nothing for a really, really, really long time; something had to come along sooner or later to screw that up. Nature abhors a vacuum!
2004-09-30 08:18:00
And a related question, what was there before there was something? That's actually easier to answer than weston's question. The leading cosmological theory suggests that time itself began with the big bang, so to talk of "before the big bang" is meaningless--much like asking "what's north of the North Pole?"
2004-09-30 08:56:00
circles would be spirals or space would have a slight curvature (+ve if pi is smaller; -ve if larger). and the answer to the original question is: we don't know, we can't know, and if you can't face up to that, get a religion.
2004-09-30 09:12:00
andrew cooke
I don't think there's anything. At all. You me, this, the world, the universe as we know it, it's all a parlor game, ghosts, not even ghosts, not even electrons. Nothing exists except the perception that something exists. There isn't even a perceiver, in the way we could understand it. Which makes the whole concept of morality kind of specious, but what the hell. Go ahead, commit some crimes, steal shit. Go nuts, people. It doesn't matter. I need a drink.
2004-09-30 09:58:00
we can never know. I second and final Pretty_Generics comment. I am tempted to waffle but nothing else can really be said about the topic.
2004-09-30 10:24:00
"Because matter must know itself" is an answer I really like. Loosely from the Pullman "Dark Materials" books.
2004-09-30 10:31:00
Who says there is anything? -- Bishop Berkeley
2004-09-30 10:51:00
Something IS Nothing, and vice versa. Duh ;-) My advice to you: develop a healthy respect for the ancient concept of "mystery" and accept that there are things the left side of your brain just can't understand.
2004-09-30 10:52:00
konolia: God. (the original Something.) Why is there God instead of nothing?
2004-09-30 10:54:00
Why is there something instead of nothing? I don't see that the two are exclusive. There is something, and there is nothing. And everything in between.
2004-09-30 10:55:00
I buy the "something is nothing" to some extent, much for the reasons that majick said... you start getting into modern physics which says that particles are waves and you look at the formulas that describe said waves and start asking yourself what's actually waving, and you either get answers like "well, it's just a metaphor for probability" or mumbling about fabric this and that. But this really only transmutes the question to "why should nothing behave like something?" Similarly, I find the "God" answer somewhat unsatisfying, since I consider God to be a part of existence: even if he created this existence, he'd be part of some other existence about which you could well ask the same question. And Shane, I think that's why this question tickles me so much: the simplest fact we can ostensibly observe brings up this mystery. It's almost like suddenly realizing there's magic everywhere, all around us, just by the fact that there is something instead of nothing and it's Christmas everyday, even if some of us are getting a lump of coal.
2004-09-30 11:12:00
This was an Ask Metafilter question on Sep 30, but was deleted. I had a copy of the thread up through a certain point that I'd pulled up on my home computer before the thread was deleted while I was at work. A couple of other people asked for a copy of the thread, and I sortof hoped for more ongoing discussion. So... here it is. Minus some snark from Space Coyote. Original dates/times of posting (beyond the date for this comment) are more or less preserved.
2004-10-03 14:16:46
--but i'm glad i kinda got to meet you and shane and the few others that have been cool. hope we run into each other somewhere as waves collide in the big surf (i always preferred the web spinning meta-for over the surfing myself, but i guess it's more about cruisers than users, and the abusers get all the attention anyway)
2004-10-06 18:22:30
the comment title was "sorry i didn't get a chance to fling my pennies at ya--"
2004-10-06 18:24:41

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