Monday, August 12, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

This video has been well put together and does a good job of exposing Richard Dawkins' casuistry as he blusters his way through an explanation of how something came from "nothing". His attempts to define "nothing" simply end up stuck in a mire of oxymoron as he effectively defines nothing as something; it reminds me of that task where a contestant is asked to eat a cream-bun without licking his lips.

Dawkins appeal to the sophisticated "nothing" of the physicists is to no avail because we well know that the physics concept of nothing is in fact something - namely, transcendent  physical laws which, algorithm like, control the flow of the configurations of space, time and matter. In any case those laws may be without meaning unless there is a pre-existing substrate on which they are reified and their operations realised; in short the laws of physics don't exist if they are not manifest on a substrate; substrate primary, laws secondary. But whatever; the object we are talking of here will be of considerable mathematical sophistication - we can agree on that, but to call  this sophisticated something "nothing" is an abuse of language. "Nothing" is the antithesis of sophistication.

The other dubious thought hinted at by Dawkins, is the idea that somehow "simplicity" is a lesser origins issue than complexity. However, in both cases an irreducible and kernel logical hiatus presents itself.

Richard Dawkins has really made an embarrassment of himself here. OK, I can be soft on atheism, but let's at least have some atheism with intellectual integrity please. My guess is that Richard Dawkins has heard about how matter-energy can come out of the void and has then drawn the wrong conclusion.

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