Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

I just finished “A Universe From Nothing,” by Lawrence Krauss. I found it intensely interesting and enlightening. From a purely scientific perspective, I found it engrossing and understandable, even for a lay-person like myself. There were definitely some points that I did not completely understand, but it helped me to also watch his lecture about this topic online for clarification.

Krauss tells the history of cosmology, how its discoveries paved the way for the truly mind-boggling science that is taking place right now. He explains, in understandable language, how the mathematics involved work to tell us what we now know about the beginning, current state, and end of the universe. How does one “weigh” the universe? What is the significance of dark matter? Is nothing really nothing?

When reading “A Universe From Nothing,” I began to see why what Dr. Krauss was telling me about dark energy was important to the overall understanding of our world. I also feel that I could, in a simplistic manner, explain what he wrote, to others.

From the distribution of matter over the universe to the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation; from the speed of light to the geometry of the universe; Krauss explains how all of this is tied together, how it works and what we can learn from it. It is all connected to the bigger picture and thesis of this book: something can come from nothing. In fact, it does all the time.

I highly recommend it.

If you read my preview of this review, you know that I had three questions before reading this book. How has this book answered them?

Is it possible there was ever a point where actually "nothing" existed? Not empty space, but absolutely a complete lack of anything? More specifically, can a theist still posit that if you go "back" far enough, there had to be a beginning point that absolute nothing and something sit on opposite sides?”

As far as I understand the current thinking in cosmology, the answer is probably. But it is not as simplistic as I once thought.

Does the concept of absolute nothing even make sense to think about any longer? Is it just a simplistic notion that can be shrugged off in physics?”

It still makes sense to think about. But of course it is hard to even imagine. Since “nothing,” in this case , means “non-being,” not just empty space, it's an odd concept. In the immediate, and more certain sense, when Dr. Krauss is explaining how something can come from nothing, the nothing he is referring to is actually the nothing that most people think about when picture nothingness – open, empty space. Take a small patch of space, remove all the radiation and particles that we consider to be something, then that's the sort of nothing that he means. But guess what? 70% of the mass of the universe is in that sort of nothingness. It turns out, as Krauss himself says, “nothing isn't nothing anymore.”

In regard to the other sort of nothingness, non-being, Krauss says the following:

...quantum gravity not only appears to allow universes to be created from nothing – meaning, in this case, I emphasize, the absence of space and time – it may require them. 'Nothing' – in this case no space, no time, no anything! – is unstable.”

How do I explain this to someone who believes there was "nothing," then God created the Big Bang?”

This is a question that I see now, really wouldn't be affected by this book. Even if everything one could possibly want explained about everything was in fact explained in this book, many people would still believe that God did it. But this book doesn't say for sure that the universe came from absolutely nothing without God, only that it could have done so.
Share |


uchitrakar said...

If some atheistic scientists claim that not God, but "nothing" has given birth to our universe, then we will say that this "nothing" is fully supportive of God. This is because this "nothing" has not only given birth to the universe, but it has also given us some scientific laws and theories of which special theory of relativity (STR) is a major part. With the help of STR it is possible to explain all the major attributes of God. God is said to be one, and He is also said to be spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal and all-pervading. With the help of STR we can explain God’s spacelessness. With the help of STR we can explain God’s timelessness. With the help of STR we can explain God’s changelessness. With the help of STR we can explain God’s immortality. With the help of STR we can explain how God can be everywhere. Thus with the help of STR we can explain all the five attributes of God. When we find that science can explain God, is there any reason to believe that God does not exist? If God does not really exist, then why is it possible to explain all the above five attributes of God scientifically? If scientists think that God does not really exist, then why does their science explain a non-existent entity like God? So either their science is faulty that explains God; or, if their science is not faulty, then God is not non-existent.

Now STR is also science, and as a theory it has not yet been falsified. When we find that with the help of STR we can fully explain God, we feel that our belief in the existence of God is scientifically justified. With the help of STR it is not only possible to explain God, but it is also possible to answer the age-old question "Who created God?" if total energy of the universe is zero. So we will boldly say that this "nothing" of the scientists is in no way against God. Rather we will say that it is also of the view that there is a God. That is why it has not forgotten to give us a theory like STR with which we the believers can defend our faith.

Atheistic scientists say that as total energy of the universe is zero, so the universe can and will create itself from "nothing", whereas we the believers have shown that if total energy of the universe is zero, then it is quite possible to answer the question "Who created God".

For further reading on this, please see

Anonymous said...

Post a Comment