In addition to Dr. Neil Shenvi's fine article, I'd like to add the following:1. I don't see how mathematics or physical laws can create anything. They are just that: mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena. In and of themselves they have no causal power. No power to bring something into existence from nothing.2. What's more, I think it's arguable mathematical and physical laws existed prior to the universe itself. If so, then Krauss and his ilk would need to explain this as well.3. As a slight tangent, if it's true quantum fluctuations are responsible for the universe, then isn't it theoretically possible multitudes of baby universes are constantly coming into being? On the face of it, this would seem to be absurd.4. In any case, perhaps Alan Guth said it best in The Inflationary Universe (1998): "[A] proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from."
Just found this from William Lane Craig which might be a helpful supplement to Dr. Shenvi's article: "Quantum Vacuum Fluctuation Model has Problems."
rockingwithhawking,"1. I don't see how mathematics or physical laws can create anything."Someone pointed out this interesting clip of cosmologist Alexander Valenkin (of the BGV theorem) in which he argues that both the initial quantum state and the laws of physics both *actually exist* in some Platonic sense. Granted, it's not clear how he thinks they can have causal properties. But he seems to affirm that some real timeless, spaceless entity 'created' and sustains the universe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHdI4Let27I
Thanks, Dr. Shenvi! I just watched the video. Pretty interesting.Maybe I'm misunderstanding him, but it seems to me Valenkin is arguing both the universe spontaneously came into being from nothing and the universe spontaneously came into being from something (i.e. the laws of physics and mathematical facts in a pre-existent "Platonic" state). Yet, if so, that'd be a bit of a logical contradiction, I would think!Also, I haven't read them, so I can't vouch for them, but it looks like Dr. Luke Barnes has several useful links here which attempt to address an essay from Vilenkin on the same or similar topic.
That's a good point; I might have been confusing that video with this one, in which Valenkin talks about the 'quantum vacuum':https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHdI4Let27IIn the first video, he does refer to 'nothing' several times before defining it as 'a state with no matter, energy, space or time.' I think I would ask him the same question I pose in my article: how can a 'quantum state' be 'nothing'? But I think the key affirmation is that 'something' existed outside of time and space (for Valenkin, the laws of physics) which caused the universe. He and the theist would agree on this point.
Thanks, Dr. Shenvi. I very much appreciate your expertise and humble willingness to interact with a plebe like me! I'll check out the video now. :-)
Interesting stuff. It's funny, Moses called it several thousand years ago, and we're still playing catch up today.