A couple of days ago, I posted the following "rant" at the Richard Dawkins Forum in a thread entitled Kalam & The Nature of "Nothing". Perhaps it would be useful if I repost it here, with a couple of editorial changes.
It sure can be frustrating trying to communicate with some logicians and most religionists. Sometimes I want to grab them by their linguistic lapels and shake them until they beg for mercy: "Stop, please, I promise that, never again, will I get hung-up on words."
Karl Popper said it well:
In science, we take care that the statements we make should never depend upon the meaning of our terms. Even where the terms are defined, we never try to derive any information from the definition, or to base any argument upon it. This is why our terms make so little trouble. We do not overburden them. We try to attach to them as little weight as possible. We do not take their “meaning” too seriously. We are always conscious that our terms are a little vague (since we have learnt to use them only in practical applications) and we reach precision not by reducing their penumbra of vagueness, but rather by keeping well within it, by carefully phrasing our sentences in such a way that the possible shades of meaning do not matter. This is how we avoid quarrelling about words… Our “scientific knowledge”, in the sense in which this term may be properly used, remains entirely unaffected if we eliminate all definitions; the only effect is upon our language, which would lose, not precision, but merely brevity…
A case in point is the hang-up, illustrated in this thread, with words such as "nothing' and "existence'. How many times, I wonder, must we suffer through such word games as "nothing can't exist" and "something can't come from nothing".
Maybe the points listed below will help eliminate some of the useless scholasticism. Elsewhere I provide more details.
1. Evidence suggests that 'existence' isn't a scalar, with normalized values usually taken as 1 (a representative for 'something') and 0 (for 'nothing'). Instead, 'existence' appears to be at least a vector (with normalized values of at least 1, 0, and -1). To describe spin, however, 'existence' would seem to need to be at least a second-order tensor, and to describe electrical charge, color charge, charm, etc., then the order of the existence tensor would seem to need to be still higher.
2. If for simplicity 'existence' is considered to be only a vector (i.e., a first-order tensor), then it's easy to see how something can come into existence from nothing: 0 = 1 - 1 (i.e., 'nothing' can be separated into identical positive and negative 'somethings').
3. That seems to be how our universe came into existence: "the original nothingness" split into equal and opposite amounts of energy (with most of the positive energy having subsequently condensed into mass and with the negative energy remaining as what we call 'space' or "the vacuum").
4. Yet, in our universe, in total, almost certainly there's still nothing: the total electric charge is almost certainly zero (from the first principle of electrostatics), the total momentum is almost certainly zero (from the second principle of mechanics), and the total energy is almost certainly zero (from the first principle of thermodynamics). [I would be glad to discuss the possibility that the total entropy is also zero, but only with Ph.D. physicists who are willing to entertain the possibility (as suggested by Feynman and John Cramer) that, in space, time goes in the negative direction (in the sense of hosting retarded waves), because I'd like to learn knowledgeable opinions about the possibility that the entropy of space is negative (and increasingly so, as our universe expands).]
5. Therefore, it appears to be incorrect that "something can't come from nothing." Also, it appears to be necessary to correctly interpret "nothing can come from nothing." Thus, our universe (i.e., nothing) apparently did come from nothing (the "original total nothingness") – and similarly, other 'verses' (other nothings), i.e., multiverses, have probably come from the same "original total nothingness".
6. But then, of course, there's the obvious and intriguing question: What is "the original total nothingness"? In response, there seems to be a hint: space is brim full with negative energy, and if a hole appears in space, it's called an antiparticle. So, if you look into a hole in space (i.e., at an antiparticle), then you've got a "peep hole" through which to look at "total nothingness".
7. For those who don't like the term "total nothingness", fine: call it something else. How about "the quintessence" or how about "split-been soup"? It doesn't matter what words are used. What's important is that it seems to be quantum mechanical (since antiparticles are); therefore, it seems likely that the split-been soup fluctuates (and apparently can have unstable fluctuations, creating verses such as our own).
8. So, how might our universe have been formed? Well, to try to describe that, we need some new expressions to mean "before the Big Bang" (since time has no meaning without energy) and "outside our universe" (since location has no meaning without momentum). How about using phrases such as "for-be the Big Bang", "at-side our universe", and so on? Then, discussions with logicians and religionists about how our universe might have formed could be more productive.
9. Thus, in the beg-nining, for-be the Big Bang, there was split-been soup, eve-dair. Soured by inactivity, it started to bubble or fluctuate. Still nothing significant happened, however (still stuck at zero), until one of the 10^10^10…-or-so bubbles (apparently a fluctuation in what we call 'energy') misfired, breaking a symmetry. With that, all hell broke lose (i.e., "inflation" or the Big Bang), splitting the split-been soup into two "beings", i.e., into positive and negative tensor existence states. Thereby, with positive energy available, time began. Subsequently, the negative energy remained as space (or "the vacuum") and some of the positive energy condensed into matter, which in time evolved – eventually leading to humans.
10. And thus, as should be clear to all humans (even to logicians and religionists), God is soured, bubbling, occasionally misfiring, split-been soup at-side our universe, eve-dair – or in other words, total nothingness.