Something did not come from nothing
The Invisible Ocean
An Atehist's answer to philosophically based religions, Deists, and Agnostics.
Matter is eternal. The big Bang is the start of measurable time only but not existence.
Face it the world and all life on it was not created in six or seven days by a magical being. People may agree or disagree with this; some may believe in a personal god or conventional god. As for the people who literally believe in magical gardens, my words are lost on you and you need not read any further.
Conventional gods are easily dismissed with a little bit of history or science. After all, Gods come and go from Set and Sin to Zeus and Athena, to Apollo, to Allah, and Yahweh. Religions come, reform, and eventually die. There have been many religions made up through out the world, some are large and popular like Islam, and some are always small like the Tao.
Organized religoins do not go very far with even a drop of skepticism or critical thinking. They must rely heavily on faith because there is no other way to convince people with reason how they could possibly be true. One with an open mind, does not have to look far to see the inconsistencies, tragedies, mistakes, shortcomings, and often laughable absurdities in each.
Most people claim to be a 'such and such', but with a little questioning one discovers that they actually have a personalized god that they reformed from the religion they were brought up to believe. For example a lot of Catholics I know are actually Protestants because they don’t believe in the Pope. They merely call themselves Catholics because that’s what their parents told them they were. Apparently they didn’t give it much thought. Likewise most Protestants can not even tell you what separates their sect from another Protestant sect. Sure some can, but it is still interesting how little investigation goes into religious thought for many.
Some people may reject specific texts but maintain that something IS out there and that religions are all just worshiping the same thing under different titles. A huge hole in this argument is that not all religions have a god(s). Plus, after enough reduction aren't you really a Deist rather than part of a particular creed? This brings us to personalized gods.
What about the personalized gods? These gods or even forces seem to be born out of philosophies or seemingly logical deductions. These gods and their arguments are then too often kidnapped by the conventional religion promoters. These kinds of religions based on philosophy rather than on fear or dogmatism are far more respectable than the more fairytale like fantasies. It is important then to have a discussion to address these more moderate religious beliefs. So let’s look at one of the puzzles that seems to get a lot of people, even the agnostics.
The age old question, “Where did it/we all come from?” People think, that there had to be a beginning to matter and since (they assume) it all had to come from somewhere, and there must be a kind of god that 'Made' everything. So god must be real. For the god-thing it is acceptable to not have a start b/c it is somehow magic and above that rule. I think everyone may have asked and answered this question of themselves when they were a young child. There a few things wrong with this.
Well, "Where did it/we all come from?" (Why would it have to come from anything) Within this question are two assumed truths, that being had to come from something rather than being that something. And that nothingness existed at some point, because anything that is not nothing is something.
Now, why is nothingness assumed as the default setting? Is it because religious texts say 'in the beginning all was void'? Somethingness and nothingness do not have to come from each other. (in fact they logically could not) Each has equal claim to always being. In fact, because one can not come from the other, existence has always been. One can ask, where does nothingness come from? People seem to think that nothingness doesn't have to come from anything, that it just always is. But is it not equally as reasonable to ask how nothingness was made from somethingness, as it is to ask the reverse?
What one can question is the assumption of a nothingness. An old Taoist saying goes, "Fish do not know they are in the water." Humans do not see space as a thing (out side of a fabric for motion and an area for gravity) but it is very possible that nowhere is there nothing. The words on this screen have space between them but there is still the screen. Space is like the grid we are all subject to. The Higgs field particle is on its way if predictions are correct, we are about to discover our own invisible ocean.
For somthingness to come from a previous something, the previous something would be part of the continued existence of existence thus just as nothingness does not come from nothingness, nothingness just is, somethingness does not have to come from something it just is as well. The difference and the confusion lies in that somethingness can change. As a 'new' something comes from a previous something, this is a measure of change we call this time. Existence does not ‘come from’ existence; existence is what is, it is being. Time is a measure of change within the being but not a measure of being itself. All measurements are parts of infinity, like all numbers are parts of a possible infinity. Nothingness simply remains nothing and somethingness, though it can change, always remains not nothing i.e. somethingness. Therefore you either believe in the eternity of nothingness or somethingness or both. Unless you make up a god and say it made either the nothing or the something, but even a god can not have neither. The god idea however is not necessary, at least not for that reason. The only religion around it might be Pantheism which holds that the somethingness is god. But to be realistic my audience is mainly moderate Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
“What about the big bang? What came ‘before’ the big bang?” This is another typical question and a reasonable question too. Again the word before implies time and we know now, in large part because of Einstein, that time is a physical thing, (much like motion is physical-esk. Motion is a movement, but there still must be a thing doing the moving.) Before this physical universe moved, our reality and time were not. (Unless there is a multiverse which is a different can of worms. To ask "what came before?" implies again the English languages obsession with location metaphores, 'going to' and 'coming from'. There is no 'Before' until there is time. There is also no coming in the coming before since this in fact would be the start. The start is the start, if you keep gong back you just get a new start, but it is still the start and there is no 'coming' before it, there is not even a 'before'. It was also never nothing. Time does not really Exist. Capital E on exist. Time is a concept of our memories.
The past is not real, that is, it does not exist, only our memories exist. This moment, right now, is all that is actual. The present is eternal in existence. Time does not exist outside of existence. Time is the measure of change in objects from one point in the now to another point in the now. But really, time is some concept out of the memory. Time applies to changes but not to existence. For every action there is a thing doing the act. The action cannot predate the things. There is no time until there is existence. There are no changes until there are things to be changing. So you see there is no such thing as before existence if it has always been. It's like saying what was nothing before it was nothing. The answer is simply still nothing. So the answer what was before the big bang? Well everything was. "What was everything doing?" Is a better question. When you say the word was do you mean what happend i.e. events or what existed i.e. subjects. And there can be no events without subjects. So there is no before existence.
That’s one answer and it does not even require a bigbang. Now, folks in the M-theory camp can give you yet another explanation, the question is, is M-theory even still science or philosophy? Wait, was not science once called natural philosophy? Newton did not call what he did science, but philosophy. Is science not lead by imagination, by science fiction, by philosophies, and then later 'proven' (within a paradigm) by the most current empirical data? The history of our future is a philosophy of the past.
And there was light...