In case you don't already know what Cosmogony is:

Here's what I have to add to it.

It is Atheism's answer to the theist approach of trying to make us prove there is no god, and prove how the Universe came into existence from nothingness.

Any thoughts on this statement? :)

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I ticked the "like it" button, however the truth is that I love it! My undergraduate degree is in Engineering Science, and I took so much Physics, I wound up with a degree in that as well. Bonus! Also Mathematics. Double bonus! I am currently (and thoughtfully, of course) working toward a doctorate in Philosophy. Theoretical Physics and Philosophy deal with the same questions, using different methods and with different goals. Theoretical Physics seeks theories of and insights into how the Universe works. Philosophy seeks insights into and distinctions of how we comport ourselves as Beings with our Universe as it is (as opposed to for instance, how we wish it were). Physicists and Philosophers, generally working on their own, on opposite sides of campus, so to speak, have been scaffolding this tower of awareness for centuries. It is the most exciting conversation of our time.

For years, I have been telling people (not just to see the expression on their faces) that one of the foundational premises of Western thought — ex nihilo nihil fit [out of nothing, nothing comes] — is not valid, or even useful. It has been a flaw in the ontology, or a fly in the ointment, and it's just a mess. It is out of Nothing that Everything comes. Light can only emerge out of a backdrop of no light, energy can only be generated out of no energy, sound can only be produced against a background of no sound, force from no force and so on. Something from something else would be mechanical or technical: energy from matter, light from heat etc. — these are things that Bill Nye, the Science Guy can demonstrate or explain, without difficulty. What people find difficult to grasp is that we are not considering the ordinary kind of nothing that we encounter very day. We see, for example, an empty aquarium and casually observe "there's nothing in it.". That's the nothing as something, which is not Nothing, or No-Thing. We are talking about an extraordinary No-thing-ness. Powerful Nothing this Nothing is.

How I became an Atheist has a lot to do with this. When I was in my tweens and early teens, I began to question christian mythology, the dominant myths of my native culture (I'm Italian-American), and began researching other god-concepts of other cultures, times and individuals. All of these gods seemed way too small to be the kind of god that would be worthy of worship. I suspected that perhaps the Human mind was too small to conceive a god that was not in the image of Man, in some way, eight arms and three faces or navel-lotuses notwithstanding. So, I began a thought experiment to attempt to conceive of a god big enough to be the source of All. I kept expanding my god-concept to include more and more of Everything and when it encompassed Everything, god disappeared into the Nothingness, along with all of us and Everything else. This Nothing was the source of Everything!

Some people try to recreate this thought experiment and get "lost in space" because they can kind of imagine empty space, but trying to get an experience of Nothing scares them. If You can embrace Nothing, You can begin to recognize who You are and what Life is all about.

Very glad to see you posting here Antony.

Forgive me for not participating in discussions. My academic work is completely overwhelming me. I am already behind on everything that I have promised others to get done. I am recently back from research in Ireland, and in 12 days time I leave for a European summer school in Sardinia where I have three lectures to give. On top of that I am fighting advanced prostate cancer, and my wife is soon to have a major operation. So I am a bit busy. Cheers to you and everyone. 

I will pray for you.  :D

Thank you Susan.

Do you know about the superior power of non-prayer?

THE POWER OF NON-PRAYER: “My friend was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder about seven months ago. After three operations he has now been declared free of it, and is back at work. I didn’t pray for him because I am an atheist, and he didn’t pray for himself either for the same reason. This is a miracle and shows the mysterious power of non-prayer.” Fabian Acker. Letter to The Freethinker, October 2006.

[Extract from Terry's forthcoming book]

Well,  I'm a believer.

Sorry You are not well, Dear Doctor. Best wishes to You and Your wife for speedy recoveries.

Terrance, I saw that you were dealing with advanced prostate cancer. I am very sorry to hear that. Get yourself well and don't worry about posting here. You have always been so welcoming to all who signed up here. I hope you are getting some of that love back as well. I remember how good it felt to see your welcome message for me when I first signed up several years ago. Nice to know someone is paying attention.

Get well and keep the academic work under control as well.


Thank you all. I'm fighting on harder than ever; and my research and writing never stop. I shall be announcing the completion of a set of four atheist books before the end of 2012. 

As to the chicken and the egg issue, just remember the experimenter effect. The universe as we know it isn't actually independent of our observation. The entire discussion occurs within a community of language users, that's us doing this. The assumption of independent reality is only an assumption that we make for our purposes. When the assumption ceases to function, to work for us meeting our needs, it can be modified.

When you finish expanding your horizon of inquiry, "god" disappears but we who are doing the questioning don't.

Exactly. The experience of Nothing and one's own consciousness of Nothing, consciousness being structured as language, is the ultimate phenomenological reduction. Once experienced, one cannot escape the intimate relationship between Existence and Language.
Thanks for the great replies, and sorry to here of your illness Dr Meaden. Love your points Samantha, and great to "meet" someone who thinks like me. I for one think baryon asymmetry to explain something from nothing is where physics has it slightly wrong. Even if there were equal amounts of matter-antimatter it'd just 'annihilate' into energy, but there would still be photons. I think that every particle, whether mass or energy is always (in some way) equivalent to complete nothingness. This way the Universe is allowed to exist at every stage of its existence. I suggest that geometry is the answer. Anyway, may be too much physics/Maths for main discussion. Sorry!

But nothing is the only allowed concept that reconciles all three paradoxes of Cosmogony, hence our fundamental existence from it is intuitive and dare I say necessary.
Yes. It all balances. Currently, we are in the state of "something in particular" — particular particles, particular energy at a particular time, velocity or location, no two particulars of each particle can be precisely described simultaneously. This is how we experience the Universe, a particular bit at a time. It's difficult to imagine a Universe any other way. However, as You say, a change of state, to the state of Everything is necessary. All the somethings, when they have reached their horizons, cease to be a part and become indistinguishable from the Everything. Time ceases and the Nothing that is potentially Everything is all that's left. One might intuitively expect that Nothing would be extremely stable stuff, and something would never come from it. But the change of state from Nothing to Something is just as necessary as the other.

One might be tempted to ask how long Nothing is Nothing before it changes state, but there is no time in Nothing. The question is meaningless, and the Nothing is Nothing. CERN seems to have caught a glimpse of the Higgs Boson. Perhaps a Higgs is one of the first something-in-particular particles to emerge from Nothing, and these bosons give the attribute of something-ness to the somethings.


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