Lawrence Krauss and the Atheist Definition of Nothing

By Robin Schumacher

Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a very well educated and intelligent man. There is no doubt his prowess in the area of science exceeds my own by an extremely wide margin, and I'll be the first to admit that physics is certainly not my area of expertise.

But I have a bone to pick with Dr. Krauss about his latest book, A Universe from Nothing, which has the subtitle "Why there is something rather than nothing." Those having taken an intro to philosophy class will recognize that Krauss' subtitle is a rendition of the most basic philosophical question of existence, which has been attributed to truth seekers such as Gottfried Leibniz who asked, "Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?"

You would think that by the title of Krauss' book, he answers the question that Leibniz posed. But, he doesn't. Instead, he redefines what "nothing" is. "nothing" to Dr. Krauss would be empty space or the quantum vacuum. Neil DeGrasse Tyson who is an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History says in his brief review of the book: "Nothing is not nothing. Nothing is something. That's how a cosmos can be spawned from the void — a profound idea conveyed in A Universe From Nothing that unsettles some yet enlightens others. Meanwhile, it's just another day on the job for physicist Lawrence Krauss." defines "nothing" as:

1. no thing; not anything; naught: to say nothing.
2. no part, share, or trace (usually followed by "of"): The house showed nothing of its former magnificence.
3. something that is nonexistent.
4. nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.

But, I think the best definition of "nothing" is Aristotle's: "Nothing is what rocks dream about."

Why does Krauss attempt to redefine "nothing"? Because Krauss is an atheist, and a fairly acerbic one at that. He not only doesn't believe in God, he doesn't like God. But, this is the problem Krauss faces: If nothing is really nothing, and we have something (the universe) from a real nothing, then it points to the universe having a beginning. And has Stephen Hawking has observed, "Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention."

The problem is that empty space and/or the quantum vacuum aren't nothing; they're something. So Krauss' book does absolutely "nothing" to answer Leibniz's question and leaves his readers no better off than they were where the issue of the origin of the universe is concerned.

All the scientific evidence points to the universe exploding out of true nothingness, but atheists like Krauss hate this truth. So they do their best to spin and redefine the facts to try and placate their worldview. As Dr. Robert Jastrow says, "Theologians generally are delighted with the proof that the universe had a beginning, but astronomers are curiously upset. It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence."

Yes, Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a very well educated and intelligent man. But he doesn't know anything about nothing.

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Published on 3-19-12