Thursday, September 25, 2014

Heideggerian Nonsense Redux: Nonsense is still nonsense and nothing still yields nothing.

I received a reply to this prior post which began by providing this link to the Wikipedia page on Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing -- whose title itself is philosophical sophistry. The writer supplied this without analysis to my discussion of Heidegger's question.  Unfortunately, there are some (Richard Dawkins, for one1) who believe Krauss has something relevant to say to that question.  As we will see, Krauss has nothing to say about that question. As discussed below, Krauss is both a philosophical charlatan and also, on occasion, exhibits incompetence in his physics descriptions .  Krauss' book is rather old news, and I suspect my interlocutor probably did not "drill down to" David Albert's devastating critique of the book: On the Origin of Everything.

In any event, Krauss' book certainly adds nothing to the philosophical discussion of Heidegger's nonsense.

As it turns out, even Krauss is not so dim as to believe that something comes from absolutely nothing -- even though he promotes this idea in cloaked words, as if that were the case (so much so that Richard Dawkins foolishly takes the bait). Krauss, in his lecture here, remarks (my punctuation added): "By 'nothing' I don't mean nothing I mean 'nothing' " Exactly so. (Of course, putting scare quotes in the title would not be as sensational.) The quantum vacuum of quantum field theory (QFT) is called the particle vacuum: it is the ground state of the fields (and that is something) in which no particles are detectable. The Wikipedia entry states: "[I]t is a mistake to think of any physical vacuum as some absolutely empty void." David Albert has remarked on this in his review of  "A Universe from Nothing" (supra). I have made similar analysis on Hawking here: Hawking's "The Grand Design" -- a new sub-Platonic Cosmogony for Itching Ears and here: More on Hawking's Grand Design.

To summarize: In quantum field theory, the fields are everywhere, particles are not.  One can have fields with no particles, but not particles without the fields. The fields are fundamental; they are the matrix of the particles. Particles are the quantized manifestation of excitations of the field -- i.e. discrete vibrations of the field.

It bears repeating.  The main point is that in all physical theories, the material is presupposed by atheists as eternally existent -- there is no explanation for their existence. The quantum fields are merely posited as uncreated and eternal. Krauss should have titled his book: A Universe from "Nothing"  -- but the scare quotes would be less sensational and no doubt "scare off" some potential book buyers. As titled, it is a marketing hook that certainly aids in attracting the naively gullible atheists, of which, Richard Dawkins is one. Richard Dawkins interprets Krauss' "nothing" to be literally nothing but yet a sophisticated something (!) (as we see in this humorous video in which Dawkins earns his dunce's cap. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God").

In closing, I point out that Krauss believes his mythology so deeply that it even seduces him into loose statements in his lectures. Here is an example from the video above at time 21:28 where he displays a simulation of his so-called "empty" space between quarks. He says the simulation shows the fields "popping in and out of existence." It shows no such thing.  As presented (by what it "shows" and what it omits) the simulation is an example of atheist propaganda. (If that simulation shows fields popping in out of existence, then this video shows a drum head popping in and out of existence! Absurdity!)  There is another remark around 18:00 where he describes this "empty" space as that which you get if you remove "absolutely everything" --  well, Krauss' subsequent discussion contradicts that.  The quantum fields are still there; so much, for "absolutely everything." Krauss is absolutely wrong.

Krauss should know better. The quantum fields do not pop in and out of existence. The fields exist eternally (in the atheist's philosophy) and everywhere. The amplitude of the fields (like the displacement of the vibrating strings on a violin or the membrane of a drum head) vary with time and position according to the relativistic wave equations, but that does not mean the fields are popping in and out of existence (anymore than the node on a violin string means the string has popped out of existence at the node). Krauss has made the embarrassing mistake of blurring objects and attributes of objects. One should also consider the simulation itself.   In describing the fields between the quarks, the simulation has program variables that hold the values of the fields at each instant and at each spatial point between the quarks -- those values can be zero at some points and times while the simulation is running.  But that does not mean the variables (and the fields they describe) in the program cease to exist!2   Those variables are programmed to obey a numerical representation of the relativistic field equations.  Well to be fair, if you observe Krauss' chartmanship you will have noted that the slide title is "Empty space not empty." That is loose (and self contradictory as written), but fits his atheist talking point. The slide should read: "Empty" Space is not Empty -- or, better: Space is not empty.

Finally, Krauss is wrong on so many levels when he talks about "empty" space. Consider: the four-dimensional space-time itself is something (even if it is a four-dimensional slice of a higher-dimensional "bulk" as in string theory -- the bulk, too, is something). The four-dimensional space is described by the metric (gravitational) field of general relativity. This field itself has the properties of distinguishing between the three spatial dimensions and time. It also mysteriously, and without explanation, encodes the value of the fundamental speed of light!  Finally, we should mention that the omnipresent Higgs field is also in Krauss' so-called "empty" space.  From the Wikipedia
  "The Higgs Field is an invisible energy field that exists everywhere in the universe" (emph. added).
So then, Krauss' "empty" space is most certainly something filled with a plurality of more unexplained eternal things interacting via equally mysterious "quantum interaction vertices." Krauss has swept a lot of mystery dirt underneath his atheist rug called "nothing." Unfortunately, Krauss' atheist philosophy is the stuff that passes as "science" and that permeates the writings of many of the current crop of pop celebrity atheist scientists; and fervently believed by many of the gullible public.
 "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools... Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator." (Romans 1:22,25)

1 Richard Dawkins mistakenly states that Krauss has answered the theologian's "trump card": "Why something rather than nothing?" But no competent Christian apologist raises that question. Certainly no presuppositionalist would ask that question. That question, as stated, is nonsense.
2 One should consider: If absolutely everything was removed between the quarks, as Krauss remarked, then there would be nothing for the program variables to simulate. There would be no need for a program, period!