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William Lane Craig on Quantum Indeterminacy and Something from Nothing

Sometimes it is said that quantum physics furnishes an exception to premise (1) [Whatever begins to exist has a cause], since on the sub-atomic level events are said to be uncaused. In the same way, certain theories of cosmic origins are interpreted as showing that the whole universe could have sprung into being out of the sub-atomic vacuum or even out of nothingness. Thus the universe is said to be the proverbial “free lunch.” ¶ This objection, however, is based on misunderstandings. In the first place, not all scientists agree that sub-atomic events are uncaused. A great many physicists today are quite dissatisfied with this view (the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation) of quantum physics and are exploring deterministic theories like that of David Bohm. Thus, quantum physics is not a proven exception to premise (1). Second, even on the traditional, indeterministic interpretation, particles do not come into being out of nothing. They arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the sub-atomic vacuum, which constitutes an indeterministic cause of their origination. Third, the same point can be made about theories of the origin of the universe out of a primordial vacuum. Popular magazine articles touting such theories as getting “something from nothing” simply do not understand that the vacuum is not nothing but is a sea of fluctuating energy endowed with a rich structure and subject to physical laws. Such models do not therefore involve a true origination ex nihilo.


In:
The Cosmological Argument

About William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (born 1949) is an American analytical philosopher, theologian, and Christian apologist. Craig's philosophical work focuses on philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of time. His theological interests are in historical Jesus studies and philosophical theology. Craig has contributed to discussions of the cosmological argument for God's existence, divine omniscience, theories of time and eternity, and the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. His current research deals with divine aseity and the challenge posed by Platonist accounts of abstract objects. Craig is an author of several books, including Reasonable Faith. ~ Wikipedia


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