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Stephen Hawking Says Universe Created from Nothing

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the preparing-hell-for-people-who-ask-questions dept.

Science 1060

mr_3ntropy writes "Speaking to a sold out crowd at the Berkeley Physics Oppenheimer Lecture, Hawking said yesterday that he now believes the universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing. He said more work is needed to prove this but we have time because 'Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.' There is also a Webcast available (Realplayer or Real Alternative required)."

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1060 comments

Sounds like... (5, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351049)

Sounds like his speech was Much Ado About Nothing

Eternity (5, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351445)

"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."

Sure, it may feel like an eternity, but that's what it takes to get a decent table at Milliways.

Re:Eternity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351725)

or carcker barrel;;;;;

EVALGRIN!!

ATTENTION EVERYONE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351081)

gaymensecks

Pfft - yeah right. (5, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351083)

If that were true, how did the earth end up sitting on the back of a giant turtle? And where did all the other turtles that *they're* sitting on come from?

Hawking is such a hack.

Re:Pfft - yeah right. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351421)

It's turtles all the way down my friend!

hmmm, sorta like God, eh? (4, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351091)

the interesting thing about theories is that they all attempt to explain something. why there are bumfights between bible thumpers and scientists three times a day over these things has always mystified me.

Re:hmmm, sorta like God, eh? (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351287)

Because when it gets down to the highly theoretical stuff like this that no one will ever truly be able to prove, its not much different than religion. And religions being what they are.. like to fight amongst themselves.

Re:hmmm, sorta like God, eh? (3, Insightful)

quasius (1075773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351405)

To be fair, a lot of the fighting comes from stuff like this:

"If one believed that the universe had a beginning, the obvious question was, what happened before the beginning," Hawking said. "What was God doing before He made the world? Was He preparing hell for people who asked such questions?"

Now, rediculous stuff comes from the other side as well; but when incredibly smart and esteemed scientists like Hawking make such statements that show an animosity toward and lack of understanding of religion, it might antagonize people. If only people on both sides would stop the cheap shots and name calling...

Not sure why that's antagonistic (4, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351573)

To be fair, this cuts both ways (liberal and conservative). I frequently see comments that people assume are antagonistic and feel that the antagonism is in the ears of the, um, belistener.

As someone with a fairly good training in physics, I read this statement to be a commentary on Hawking's annoyance with the question of what came before "time" began. Many religious people have attempted to reconcile the Big Bang with Judeo-Christian beliefs by having God be responsible for the Big Bang. I think that such an allusion should not be taken as necessarily antagonistic.

Not really (0, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351481)

Real scientists don't bother to argue with religious people any more than they'd bother to argue with the guy on the corner talking to a leprechaun. You can't exactly reason or argue or even discuss with people who claim that they talk to invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent beings that live in the sky.

Many "real" scientists are religious (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351623)

I can't remember the exact numbers, and it is less than the general population, but a rather significant percentage of scientists believe in God. I just thought I'd throw that out there.

God is an AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351493)

To quote Asimov,

And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

And there was light --

all I have to say is wtf (0)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351097)

title says it all....

Re:all I have to say is wtf (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351383)

No kidding. This is the first time in nine years that I've read a Slashdot submission and literally thought that shit just blew my mind.

The problem is that whether you are a physicist or philosopher or theologist or anything else, it is equally as valid and confusing to the human mind to conceive of the requirement of something prior to the universe as well as nothing. The concept is so abstract and impossible that neither seems right nor wrong.

Now, I'm not a physicist. I'm not even particularly smart, for that matter. However, from what I have heard, Hawking is somewhat less than seriously regarded among scientists as he is among layman. To us, he's the poster boy for absolute genius. Among scientists, I don't think he even made the list of top twenty scientists of the 20th century. And I seem to recall that his announcement over the whole bet he had on the theory of black holes was snickered at in all corners.

Don't get me wrong. I am a big Hawking fan. I think the guy is stunningly brilliant and has done amazing things despite his progressively debilitating affliction. I just take any claims or discoveries announced by him with a glacial grain of salt.

Pfft (3, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351101)

That's not how it really happened... But when they were come into the Void, Ilúvatarr said to them: 'Behold your Music!' And he showed them a vision, giving to them sight where before was only hearing; and they saw a new World made visible before them, and it was globed amid the Void, and it was sustained therein, but was not of it.

Sounds like... (2, Funny)

Arclight17 (812976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351109)

It sounds to me like someone just discovered the Burger Joint at the Beginning of the Universe.

Many thanks to Douglas Adams.

that's "Big Bang Burger Bar" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351437)

Duh.

I hope it's true... (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351113)

It would add some credibility when I tell my girlfriend that the porn in my browser history came ex nihilo.

Re:I hope it's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351525)

You can also try telling the cop that the weed baggie in your glove compartment suddenly spontaneously sprang into being.

Pffft -- causality, who needs it? Much easier to do science without it, anyway!

But before that, it was turtles, right? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351129)

Enormous turtle farts. Then nothing. Then the Universe. Before that, I would say turtles all the way down, but there was no down. It was turtles all the way flammix, especially in the direction of Zorch. Believe me. I was there. At least, I'm sure I was, in at least one of the parallel turtles.

God to Hawking: (4, Funny)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351149)

In this house we obey the law of thermodynamics.

Re:God to Hawking: (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351611)

Do laws of physics and thermodynamics apply "outside" or "before" the universe? Does "before" have any meaning "outside" our universe?

Re:God to Hawking: (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351745)

According to Hawking, the origin of the universe can be depicted as bubbles in a steam in boiling water. Small bubbles that appear and then collapse represent mini universes that expand only to disintegrate.
With all due respect Mr. Hawking, calculate the number of permutations necessary for just _one_ of those bubbles to account for the perfect symbiosis between entropy, gravity, mass, and everything else which keeps this Universe and life intact after an expulsion from the birth canals of mother void. My belief is that time itself (even given sufficient spans of Infinity) in no way could account for such an equilibrium. Call me a Skeptic. Call me a Believer. Either way, I can dream just as well as the next physicist.

What Is Eternity? (5, Funny)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351151)

What is eternity? You're on the checkout line at a supermarket. There are seven people in front of you. They are all old. They all have two carts and coupons for every item. They are all paying by check. None of them have ID. It's the checkout girl's first day on the job. She doesn't speak any English. Take away fifteen minutes from that, and you begin to get an idea of what eternity is.

Thank you, Emo Philips.

Re:What Is Eternity? (2, Funny)

tempestdata (457317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351429)

To which you could add, "and you have to pee real bad"

Re:What Is Eternity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351715)

If you just go and leave a huge stain on your pants, the line will shorten very quickly.

Worthless link (2, Informative)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351173)

The linked article at The Daily Californian barely touches on any of the stuff mentioned in the /. summary. Do we have to listen to the webcast to get any of the good stuff?

Re:Worthless link (4, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351517)

"Do we have to listen to the webcast to get any of the good stuff?"

Why don't you listen to it and let us know.

Eternity -- a Long time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351179)

Perceived long times (endless) are all relative. 1 second is percieved to be endless compared to a hundred-billionth of a second. So whats the point? We're saying that Eternity seems like a long time, especially as it gets to be longer? WHOA BRILLIANT!

And uh, so we suddenly "Existed" as a universe? hrrrm... Yeah, Nothing to see here, move along, move al--oh hey, lookie something to see is here now.

Brought to you by the Captcha: Morsel

stephen hawking... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351191)

who gives a fuck what that slack jawed cripple thinks?

Out of Nothing Nothing Comes (2, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351197)

Nothing is the only thing that can flow from nothing. Because it is no-thing. It is what rocks dream about.

If there was nothing there in the beginning, there would be nothing now.

Re:Out of Nothing Nothing Comes (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351535)

Nothing is the only thing that can flow from nothing. Because it is no-thing.

If there is absolutely nothing, then that means you're certain of both how much energy is present (zero), and the rate of change of energy (also zero). That violates the uncertainty principle. So absolute nothing is unstable, because if you're totally certain there's nothing there then you have absolutely no idea of how rapidly that state of affairs is changing.

Re:Out of Nothing Nothing Comes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351683)

Exactly. I'm often surprised how scientists propose things that violate basic common sense... I guess its because they're so deep into the figures when they come up with something like "the universe came out of nothing" it doesn't even sound strange to them.

Re:Out of Nothing Nothing Comes (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351729)

>It is what rocks dream about.

I am a rock, you insensitive clod!

Wait... "insensitive clod" is the very definition of a rock!
I am a...
*thud*

Does he have any real credibility in physics? (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351199)

Stephen Hawking, despite his celebrity status (which has more to do with his wheelchair than anything else), wasn't taken very seriously by physicists.

In short, they think his information paradox and work on black holes (his lifes work), is a bunch of crap?

You probably saw the same Discovery special about it. So whats the scoop, should I care what he says? Is he more qualified to tell me the nature of the universe than Pat Robertson is?

It's a valid question (1)

flawedconceptions (1000049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351765)

should I care what he says?

Hawking has certainly benefitted -- in terms of his popular appearance -- from ALS. It is quite reasonable to wonder whether his work is truly valuable. In the long term, I think that we'll see that he hasn't made any monumental contributions to astrophysics or theoretical mathematics that are comparable with Guth's idea of inflation or with the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. However, he has contributed numerous less profound ideas: black hole radiation, some singularity theorems (with Penrose), and some ideas about black hole entropy and cosmology. In Kuhn's picture of scientific progress, Hawking's work is more "puzzle solving" than it is a paradigm shift.

At the same time, Hawking's ideas have been interesting and novel during the entire length of his career. He's a brilliant man on the forefront of a fascinating subject. Even if his ideas are epoch-defining or accurate, they are always worth thinking about.

Oh, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351233)

WTF? When "Stephen Hawking" says the Universe just magically popped into existence from nothing, he gets applause and articles written about it.
When *I* say the same thing, my friends have me put in front of the county medical board and committed to this here padded cell. Luckily they cannot hear The Voices... ...wait, what's that K'ri!x? The blue Saturn waxes by the white dove? Yes? Then what? Oh, then the Universe popped into existence.

Like Magic (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351239)

From Alan Moore's Promethea:

"Thus any venture is begun,
This reckless step from naught to one
It's magic's foremost trick, I guess
How something comes from nothingness

Like rabbits from an empty hat
Or thoughts from nowhere, just like that!
From whence were space and time deployed,
If not this empty quantum void?

Was matter pushed, or did it fall,
To being out of naught-at-all?
What magic shaped the way things fell?
The Fool smiles, knows, but does not tell."

This is one of the oldest conundrums of philosophy; indeed, of Western thought. Stephen Hawking is a smart guy, or so I have been led to believe. Can someone explain why this is a significant assertion? Is it because this is a "man of science" talking something suspiciously similar to ex nihilo, mainstream Christian creationism? Or do people really think this is a new assertion?

Re:Like Magic (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351523)

So if the universe formed out of absolute nothing that makes it Christian-centric? I don't get it. Short of "a big guy got some dirt and molded it into a ball and made some magic incantation and life appeared on the ball", I don't see what religion has to do with it.

what the.... (3, Informative)

Lxy (80823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351267)

The article points to his overall speech to be filled with satire. It's hard to say what he was trying to get at, and is he serious? "The universe was built from nothing, but we can't prove it because that would take too long".

Is he joking or is he serious? I have a bolder conclusion:

"The universe was built from SOMETHING. Since time is seemingly infinite in both directions, I'll never be able to prove it, but I know I'm right".

The paradox of Faith (5, Funny)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351459)

" I'll never be able to prove it, but I know I'm right".

There is no reasonable defense against an idiot with an agenda


It would seem you have backed yourself into a corner here.

Re:what the.... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351487)

time is seemingly infinite in both directions

Is it? Last I heard there was a beginning of time some 13.7 billion years ago. Steady State is pretty much dead nowadays.

Re:what the.... (3, Funny)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351593)

Is he joking or is he serious?
Good question. It's quite difficult to tell when Hawking is being sarcastic. Maybe he should start using <sarcasm> tags during speeches like this.

So basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351273)

The answer to what existed before the universe is "I don't know, but I don't want to say I don't know, so, like, nothing."

so (5, Interesting)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351279)

universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing.
 
So how long till it pops out of existence?

Re:so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351543)

It already did. You missed it, sorry about that.

Re:so (5, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351563)

universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing.
So how long till it pops out of existence?
In about 2 secon

An uneducated observation/question (1)

PiranhaKris (1069770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351703)

I don't know much about physics in general, let alone quantum physics but I seem to recall hearing or reading that neutrons and protons "pop in and out of existence". Maybe I misunderstood what I heard.
However, if that's the case what makes it such an outlandish suggestion that the universe came about in the same manner (aside from the "nothing can come from nothing" argument)? Perhaps it's easier to imagine that the microscopic particles can pop in and out of existence because they seem so small to us. Is it naive of me to think that scale has such a role in our perception of possibility?
I just read this here [physlink.com]:

Apart from the quarks that constitute the nucleons (i.e. neutrons and protons) (these are called "valence quarks") there also exists a "sea of quarks", which continually pop into and out of existence due to quantum fluctuations.


Can someone with a background in physics explain how this is possible?

Where is the water these bubbles came from? (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351297)

He used the analogy that they were like bubbles in the water. Ok, where did the water come from?

This sounds a lot like... *drumroll* blind faith to me.

This is the same sort of blind faith that most atheists pompously deride the religious for. In fact, based on this summary, it would be called something to the effect of a "load of religious bullshit" if it came from a preacher. Oooh, theoretical physicist says it, so we'll hear him out!

Please, you're acting like a bunch of laymen waiting for the latest ruling or revelation from the priest.

*Sigh* Go ahead, mod me down because I actually pointed out the obvious.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351453)

i was at the talk. the bubble analogy was meant to help the lay-person understand the fact that the universe is expanding. it had nothing to do with the beginning of the universe.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351547)

I suggest you do more than simply read an article written by an undergrad before you cast judgment. Among many other things, the Dr. Hawking's discussion related to nucleation theory and concentration fluctuations that we see in literally every physical aspect of the universe. The bubble metaphor has nothing to do with the water (but who put the chlorine into the water and what temperature is it, you say stupidly, and then I slap you) - it's a common one used to describe the statistical process by which nuclei form, are annihilated, and then when they happen to form near one another or grow via concentration fluctuations so that they are greater than a critical nucleus size, grow and don't disappear.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (5, Insightful)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351557)

So it's a bunch of bullshit. Who cares? In a theocracy, Stephen Hawking would be hauled off to jail for suggesting such blasphemy. Shouldn't we be celebrating the fact that he can openly speculate about origins? Hawking isn't telling you how to live your life, or what to think, or who to vote for, or what to teach your kids, or which supreme court justices deserve to die. He's just sharing his little vision.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (1)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351559)

a bit quick to call it "Blind Faith" isn't it? this wasn't some in-depth paper on his theory of the origin of the universe. it's just a high overview of a working theory he's yet to publish. in fact it may take years, if ever, before he comes out with all the reasoning behind the idea.

it's like a demo at GDC. you get the basic idea of how the game works, but can it do everything they claim it will on release? you don't know. so you either believe them or wait and see.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351579)


This is the same sort of blind faith that most atheists pompously deride the religious for. In fact, based on this summary, it would be called something to the effect of a "load of religious bullshit" if it came from a preacher. Oooh, theoretical physicist says it, so we'll hear him out!


I didn't read the fucking article, but I'm guessing that unlike the preacher man, Hawking, a scientist, has some kind of reason for whatever this new theory is all about. And he, I'm guessing before I dismiss it out of hand, has evidence as well.

If it's just a shot in the dark without underlying science supporting this theory, then you're right, we should say "Hawking's lost it" and dismiss the theory as nonsense. But Hawking does not have a reputation for making claims based on mysticism. So he gets (deserved) attention, and his new ideas, while absolutely subject to scrutiny, are considered more heavily than raving creation-theory guy, who's has had his share of attention and examination already.

(Now I better go read thet article to make sure SWH hasn't cracked after all.)

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (2, Insightful)

chrisbro (207935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351613)

Important difference: He said more work is needed to prove this...

Though it boggles my mind to think of the research he could be proposing...science with facts to back it up is automatically more trustworthy then religion with no testable hypotheses.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351633)

We hear some scientists out because, in the past, they've derived things that were actually new, verifiable, and accurate. Show me a preacher who can do that and maybe I'll listen to him.

Nobody's saying we believe Hawking on blind faith - we'll hear what he has to say, and maybe someday we will be able to determine if he's right or not. I doubt Hawking even "believes" it - it's just a hypothesis at this point.

So no, you're not pointing out the obvious - you're confused about the difference between science and religion. But thanks for playing, and have a nice day.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (1)

mo (2873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351699)

Please, you're acting like a bunch of laymen waiting for the latest ruling or revelation from the priest.

Except this priest can be convinced that he's wrong when given evidence to disprove his beliefs. For example, Hawking admitted he was wrong about his long-time debate with Leonard Susskind [wikipedia.org] about the black hole information paradox problem [wikipedia.org]. This is like having a prominant Christian leader convert to Islam after debating with a prominent cleric. While both religions are based out of the same roots, and share many of the same historical characters, believers consider them hugely different. Much in the same way, the information-paradox problem affects the very core beliefs of how scientists percieve the universe around us.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351701)

This sounds a lot like... *drumroll* blind faith to me.
We don't have any idea how the Universe came into existence, so there is no way we'll know the answer. However, we may choose to believe in one. The difference between a scientist like Hawking saying he believes in something relevant to his field and a religious man saying he believes in something is that the scientist makes up his belief based on his best interpretation and understanding of what he does know whereas the religious, well, you know, if some dude several thousand years ago said it, it must be true and don't you dare deny it. So as far as blind faiths go, the scientist's is a lot more informed.

Re:Where is the water these bubbles came from? (5, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351727)

He's making an analogy. A rigorous explanation is beyond the generalized audience he had there. Even those with proper background to understand it would probably have been bored -- they came there to see a scientist celebrity, and Hawkings did not disappoint.

For your enlightenment, the 'water' in question is a series of multidimensional branes [wikipedia.org], according to one cosmological theory. The universe may have been created when two branes collided, creating turbulence that manifested as a big bang in our dimensional space. These collisions go on all the time, but like the 'bubbles in boiling water' analogy not all the turbulence creates new universes.

Your next question is 'where did the branes come from'? Branes are mathematical concepts. If someone tells you 1+1=2, you can't really ask where '1' came from. If there is a multiverse it has to have some sort of brane structure, in much the same way as if humans exist they have to have skin.

So the universe was 'created by nothing' in a pretty accurate sense, as a mathematical concept is as close to 'nothing' as anyone is likely to conceive. But in the end, Hawkings' words were chosen for showmanship, not precision.

Why Do We Care? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351301)

You don't have to be an astrophysicist to have beliefs about cosmology. And we shouldn't be looking to Hawking to determine our own beliefs on anything that doesn't have to do specifically with physics (which his message increasingly strays away from). We should all evaluate the evidence for ourselves as time permits rather than worshiping whatever opinion he holds. Somebody on these forums once told me that no scientist was ever completely right (well put) and this means that we shouldn't worship any of them the way we do him. When you become obsessive over a scientist, the person becomes more important than the ideas themselves, and this can only interfere with an objective analysis of his statements.

Clearly, Hawking is taking advantage of the stage he's been given to act as more of an entertainer than a physicist. That's his right, but people should not be under any illusion that he knows the answer more than anybody else right now. There is far too much anomalous data in astrophysics today for anybody to say that they have the answer. People like him will gloss over this fact and leave a sense that we understand more of the universe than we in fact do. But the problems remain and his message is not even very new. In fact, there's really no practical reason for him to be giving these talks other than to make money for himself. People already know his theory very well. It's the basis for every single NASA press release and every single astronomy class taught in every single school in the world. Maybe what we really need is for the astrophysicists to spend more time on the problems, collaborating with the various peoples' of the domains that they work within, and less time demonstrating that they've mastered the art of public relations.

wow (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351325)

That's right up there with that Hispanic fella that rose from the grave.

Re:wow (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351513)

LOL

So I am not the only one who uses the Spanish pronunciation of the name as a joke... :)

It makes more sense when you see the guy flipping off some one who cut him off in traffic. All the while having a bumper sticker on his car that asks, "WWJD?"

preemptive question (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351341)

Which is more likely?
  1. The universe popped into existence from nothing, or
  2. A complex, intelligent, powerful creature (presumably with a beard) popped into existence from nothing, then one day decided to create the universe from nothing.

If you chose #2, it's turtles all the way down... ... ...

Re:preemptive question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351601)

Of course, those that support #2 would say that the creature didn't pop into existence from nothing, it is that this creature always existed (as far as the bounds of our time can tell).

Re:preemptive question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351603)

Except your assuming this omnipotent being is bound by time. Without time, there wouldn't be a day.

Re:preemptive question (1, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351607)

Which is more likely?

Do you really think anyone has the intelligence to evaluate the relative plausibility of those two propositions? I know #2 has some evidence, regardless of whether or not you just it to be valid. I don't know about #1.

Re:preemptive question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351631)

Actually, could you explain, how is it not turtles all the way down... if you choose #1?

Re:preemptive question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351639)

so, what you are implying is that there is a different level of probability for a universe to pop into existence vs. an omnipotent deity? AFAIK, there isn't a lot of conclusive research on the frequency of either of these occurrences.

if you have some info we aren't aware of, please provide a link.

Re:preemptive question (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351649)

Some cultures would also go for the argument that the universe and a complex, intelligent, powerful creature are one and the same, rather than being separate. No need to limit ourselves to Western philosophies.

Re:preemptive question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351735)

A complex, intelligent, powerful creature (presumably with a beard) popped into existence from nothing, then one day decided to create the universe from nothing.

I know of no literature that states god (any of them) came from nothing. It's entirely possible that he/she/it did in fact come from something and that (if "god" created the universe) that intelligence shaped something into somehting else.

-AC

Re:preemptive question (1)

mgrivich (1015787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351769)

Either the universe popped into existance from nothing, the laws of physics popped into existance from nothing, or God popped into existance from nothing, or one of these things has always existed. That is, at some point, something just is. Classically, this is called a first cause, or uncaused cause. There must be something that can cause others, but itself is not caused by anything. Hawking has not gotten around this problem, so no one should think that he has.

Say what? (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351345)

Okay, so universes are bubbles inside a pot of boiling water? Wouldn't that imply that there is something outside of the universe?


...Or is he just testing how far he can go before people stop the "OMG! It's Hawking! Everything he says is right." crap?

Re:Say what? (1)

sRev (846312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351685)

I think /. just found it's new April Fool's Day theme: OMG!!!!!!!HAWKING!!!!!!!1!!!!!!! Ponies are so last year...

Not in TFA (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351375)

I guess you have to watch the webcast because TFA doesn't say that. If anybody wants to summarize here that would be great.

IIRC from A Brief History of Time, Hawking theorized that time, a dimension, didn't exist 'before the universe' because it doesn't make sense to ask about time any more than the other three dimensions of spacetime before TFU existed. He had some maths explanation about how the time dimension approached 0 and curved back on itself (somebody more fresh elaborate...), and I think he got the Pope to concede time after time-0 to nature.

Maybe he's proposing a new theory here, reflected in the webcast?

Celebrity view (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351399)

Maybe we could ask Paris Hilton, too.
Among celebrity experts she is most definitely the biggest authority on the science of creating something from nothing.

In the beginning.... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351415)

...there was nothing. Then, God said, "Let there be light".

And there was still nothing, but at least you could see it.

Re:In the beginning.... (-1, Flamebait)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351617)

...there was nothing. Then, God said, "Let there be light".

And there was still nothing, but at least you could see it.

Very witty. :)

Did you ever notice that the Creation story in Genesis gets the order wrong? God creates light and dark, day and night, and then waits until the next day to create the sun, moon, and stars. Oops.

Perhaps Genesis' author was too busy coveting his neighbor's ass during astronomy class, because this sort of mistake is major lunch!

Oh, wait. God wrote it. God did it. And everyone knows that He, being omnipotent, can do it out of order if He wants to!

Parallel universes (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351505)

Wonder if he ever thought about these string theorists who say there are infinite parallel universes. Does he think there are infinite parallel universes, all popping into existence from nothing?

How about all this crap from everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351515)

If the universe could pop into existence from nothing, why isn't it also possible that nothings appears from everything?

http://www.dichotomistic.com/matter_infinoverse_on e.html [dichotomistic.com]

http://www.geocities.com/spatlavskiy/OTHER-PAPERS- 5.html [geocities.com]

After all, it's somewhat easier to imagine that stuff can emerge from some sort of mathematical soup of inifinities and negative infinities and everythings rather than from nothing.

Some thoughts (1)

u19925 (613350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351551)

If you ask a cosmologist, he/she would say that universe was created from nothing. If you ask Physicist (Quantum mechanics), he/she would say, universe is "nothing" (it is just a perception created by our consciousness). The problem here is that science equations don't work in nothing (because there are no science equations in nothing). Our equations (as they exists today) have relevance only when there is a physical reality (even if that reality is simply a perception). Also, we can't have nothing, since we are inside a physical universe (and "nothing" is outside of it), so the theory cannot be verified.

Hope this clarifies few things, or does it confuse even more?

Jumping the Shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351587)

At what point do we stop looking at Hawking as some demigod genius, and realize that he has gone absolutely crackers?

Something from nothing (2, Informative)

WryCoder (18961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351681)

Although TFA doesn't actually discuss the hypothesis that "universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing" (I suppose you'd have to go to the webcast for that), Hawking's use of the phase "that he now believes" implies that this is something new, and that he's in the process of developing it.

In fact, the idea is decades old, and has been popularized in several widely read books.

I recollect Gamov's book, "My World Line", wherein he recounts a time he and Einstein were crossing the street in traffic while discussing how an energetic universe could have arisen. Gamov pointed out that since gravitational energy was negative and the energy of matter was positive, they could balance and a universe could form without a net input of energy. The idea struck Einstein so forcefully that he froze in the middle of the street while he considered it.

COCTK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18351709)

working on various noises out of gthe Pooper. Nothing to predict *BSD's TCP/IP stack has hobbyist dilettante Asshole about.' One OpenBSD guys. They

not so smart (1)

trb (8509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351711)

I am probably stronger than Stephen Hawking, but neither of us is strong enough to lift my house. Stephen Hawking is probably smarter than me, but neither of us is smart enough to explain how the universe popped into existence. If Hawking thinks he can explain the origin of the universe, maybe he's not so smart. If he's just guessing, well, I can just guess too.

Timothy Ferris said it best (3, Informative)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351749)

Some years ago there was a documentary series called "The Creation of the Universe," with Timothy Ferris. They talked about this theory that the universe could have sprung into existence from out of nowhere. He said of the idea, "It sounds incredibly unlikely, but then it only ever had to happen once."

Questions without answers (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351759)

I don't think we will ever answer these kinds of questions, no matter how long we study them - why does anything *exist at all* - space, time, matter, energy ? Surely it makes more sense for nothing to exist, ever.

On the other hand, if nothing exists at all, then there are no laws of physics, so maybe there is nothing to prevent something from coming into existence spontaneously.

But then, if something can come into existence spontaneously, what prevents it from spontaneously not-existing ?

And what do we even mean by existence ? How do we define it ?

This just in from Dell... (1)

spazmolytic666 (549909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18351785)

Dell can't send a computer out with no OS on it, then the computer would have NOTHING on it and Dell support would have to field questions about universes spontaneously being created on your hard drive.

Yeah that Insperion you sent me? Well it looks like it has negative entropy and isn't moving toward equilibrium... I think something is wrong with my singularity?
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