18 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderfully said! She doesn’t believe a word of it but that is beside the point :D

    I was hoping Dr. Krauss would mention, as in his brilliant 4 minute YouTube interview, that the effects of those virtual particles can be measured and their models used to make predictions accurate to nine decimal places. You can’t get much more convincing than that IMO.

    Krauss is such a master at removing doubt, so aptly is he able to explain these incomprehensible notions, that every one of those who understand his words can only reach but one inescapable conclusion: “Krauss knows nothing – and he has redefined it!”

    “It is only after a night’s hard drinking that I fully understand the universe – for it is then that I, too, have zero total energy.”

  2.  
    Metamag
    Is it just me or was that reporter condescendingly grinning the whole time in such a way as if he was talking  nonsense but she has to indulge him? 

    There was nothing much to indicate she understood any of his answers, or had any grasp of the scientific issues.

  3. It’s great to hear such rational discusion on American TV. We need more of it! American TV too often dumbs down it’s audience (evidently by hiring news readers without brains), and filters information so that you only get to hear the childish, easy-to-understand version; which is invariably the religious version. This is clearly why most of the general public take religion so seriously, because they think there is no alternative. It then takes a great deal of independent thought, by very smart people, to think otherwise. If there were more balanced discussions like this, then it will be easier for the average public to reject ancient childish religions. And maybe then the politicians can start conforming to the constitution for a change.

  4. …politicians can start conforming to the constitution for a change

    This billboard just went up in Kansas City.
    I recognize the area, it’s a major artery -  lots of motorists will see it!

  5. She did wonder about the difference of not believing that god made the universe versus not believing in god. Actually I suppose that is a pointless thought. What would be the point of god if it did not make the universe.

  6. Scientists come across like defence lawyers for OJ, the way the refuse to answer what to the lay person sound like simple questions, always using extremely evasive language.

    I would like to see them say, “I am not speaking for science, but just as someone who has had a lot of exposure to science. We discover more and more each day how the universe runs itself and even creates itself. The way this happens is mind boggling, but the evidence is under our noses and we can’t escape it much as it makes our heads hurt.  It is obvious that the people who wrote the bible had no special knowledge. They were wrong in almost every detail. They were just speculating, and we have learned an immense amount about how the universe works since then.  God was just one of their hair-brained ideas to explain thunder.”

  7. I felt the interviewer deserved a better answer to her question of the form  “But matter out of nothing seems even more weird than God to me, so why do you accept the matter appearing out of nothing, but not God?”.

    The answer is, there in inescapable evidence for matter popping in out of nothing. Our instruments for exploring the quantum world, our math, our telescopes show us it happening. It is very counter intuitive for lay people because it does not happen on the scale of watermelons that you and I live in, and you can’t see the particles with the naked eye, but it is not speculation, but observed fact. On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever for a god, and further, no need for one.  All we have are people’s gut reactions or feelings there is or ought to be one.  The universe runs itself just fine without one. The universe does not need constant tinkering.  It unfolds automatically according to beautiful mathematics.

  8. Randi Kaye inteviewed particle physicist Lawrence Krauss on CNN. I felt the interviewer deserved a better answer to her question “The notion of nothing creating something sounds every bit as unbelievable as saying that God created all this. What do you say to those people?”

    He did not address her question as fully as I would have liked. I think he should have answered something like this: “There in inescapable evidence for matter popping into existence out of nothing. Our instruments for exploring the quantum world, our math, our telescopes all show it happening. It is very counter intuitive for lay people because this popping into existence does not happen on the scale of watermelons that you and I live in, and you can’t see the particles with the naked eye, but it is not speculation, but observed fact. On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever for a god, and further, there is no need for one. All we have are people’s gut reactions or feelings there is or ought to be one. The universe runs itself just fine without one. The universe does not need constant tinkering. It unfolds automatically according to beautiful mathematics.”

  9. I’m sorry, but I have to ask this. My knowledge is very limited of course, but what I gather from all the Krauss lectures about ‘Universe from nothing’, the idea is that particles do pop up out of nothing. The so-called virtual particles. However, we’re talking about massless photons that exist for a very very very short time, in the planck scale, and then disappear again. I think(correct me if I’m wrong?) that no device has ever detected an event of a single particle popping into existence. I read virtual photons are part of the explanation of the casimir effect, as an indirect cause. Fair enough, though I read alternative explanations have been derived that don’t bring into play virtual particles.  But isn’t it quite a mental leap to go from that, to ‘the whole matter and energy of the Universe popped out of the quantum vacuum due to a fluctuation’?

    The fluctuations WE study right now are nothing like this, they are unable to give rise to a single electron/positron for any meaninful amount of time to warrant a detection, for instance. But suddenly we are certain the whole universe was created due to a such a cataclysmic fluctuation? We’re talking about what happened just before the Big Bang. How do we know such thing happened? Is there a somewhat solid theory in place? I’m going to have to get the book when I find it, but in the meantime…is all of this more of speculative nature rather than actual verified theory? As I said, the whole thing seems like quite a mental leap.

    Well, that’s all :)

  10. Lawrence can’t really explain it in a one minute sound bite any better. A great deal of it is counter intuitive because we have discovered that at the smallest scale what was traditionally called “nothing” does not behave the way the our brains evolved to understand, say, an empty jar. I have written about it here and here. As it turns out, I got to spend a bit of time with Lawrence at the American Atheists meeting in Bethesda in March, and discussed this subject. We had a few words about nothing at all.

    The quantum foam, and virtual particles, and particle pair production are all complex subjects, but you can get a bit of a start here. Also, Sean Carroll wrote this review of Lawrence’s book from another angle that may add something.

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