The mathematical proof that something can come from nothing.
When two people are arguing about the existence of God, one of the individuals who believes in God is likely to say, “well you can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, therefore you have no right to believe that God doesn’t exist.” This is known as the evidence of absence.
Absence of evidence is evidence of absence only where evidence is to be expected. You conveniently left that last part out. This is what Richard Carrier calls the silence of god. Sure, we hear this person and that person say that god has spoken to them or revealed something to them, but what we find are inconsistent messages. Thus, either god is not speaking or he is contradicting himself. When people like Harold Camping are prophesying the end of the world, it’s safe to say some of these people are just plain loony. We also hear about this or that miracle claim; however, when scrutinized, we find that it’s not a miracle. Never mind that some of these claims come from underdeveloped countries (i.e. the myriad resurrection claims coming out of parts of Africa). In any event, if there was a god, we would expect evidence of some sort. Unfortunately, what we find is negative evidence—especially in the case of the Judeo-Christian god. Archaeology doesn’t support biblical accounts; history doesn’t either. In the interest of brevity, I won’t issue any examples. Also, that’s another discussion entirely. Ultimately, it’s not just the absence of evidence where evidence is to be expected; it’s also the negative evidence that we have.
Atheists claim that there is no evidence for the existence of a God, therefore God cannot exist, but this argument also uses the evidence of absence. Atheists must be able to show scientific evidence for creation, otherwise both arguments lack just as much evidence as each other, and a person can only meaningfully claim to be nothing more or less than an agnostic.
We have this evidence. The issue is that—and this has been my experience with Christians—most Christians write off the evidence we provide. They then proceed to demand greater evidence due to their dissatisfaction with what’s presented. I’ve still to meet a Christian who isn’t bothered by abiogenesis. Yet I don’t see what’s so unscientific or speculative about inorganic matter becoming organic matter via long-term and sustained chemical processes. The fact that we can’t fully explain how this happened doesn’t discredit any theory put forth. The building blocks of life, for instance, have been found on meteorites. As a matter of fact, the building blocks of life are common throughout space. This is precisely what we would expect in a godless universe. If god made the universe, he wouldn’t need a universe of this scale. He could have, as was formerly believed, created a universe the size of the Milky Way. Instead, we see an observable expanse that is billions of light years across. The lower bound placed on our universe suggests that the universe may be twenty times bigger than what’s observed!
I anticipate that this is where something like the Fine Tuning Argument comes in. Sean Carroll, in a recent blog post, addresses it succinctly:
You might hear, for example, claims to the effect that our laws of physics could turn out to be the only conceivable laws, or the simplest possible laws. But that seems manifestly false. Just within the framework of quantum mechanics, there are an infinite number of possible Hilbert spaces, and an infinite number of possibile Hamiltonians, each of which defines a perfectly legitimate set of physical laws. And only one of them can be right, so it’s absurd to claim that our laws might be the only possible ones.
Yet this is what the Fine Tuning Argument takes for granted. The argument concludes that god fine tuned the constants of the universe. It assumes that the physical laws we have are the only ones that we can possibly have. That simply isn’t the case. Thus, even the supposed fine tuning of the universe doesn’t make it more plausible to believe that a god created it. In a universe of this scale, the thought of a perfect god being a creator verges on nonsensical; this is a universe of chance and chance events. Such trial and error is unbecoming of perfection.
There’s also the anthropic principle. I’ll quote my friend who I’ll quote more extensively in subsequent sections:
I am going to give a perspective on creation in a way that uses mathematics instead of morality (as many religions do). I am going to give you an equation for God. For the purposes of this essay, a creationist is any person who believes that their God is the initial creator of everything. In the sense that many scientists believe that big bang happened out of nothing, a creationist believes that their God created the big bang.
In many ways, a creationist’s argument in this regard makes more sense, and that is the reason why it is so satisfying for so many people. You cannot have something come from nothing, therefore God created the something. However, this argument seems to fall short when you ask what created God. A creationist’s response might then be that he has always existed, but then you fall into a problem where you have something that exists without a cause, and this makes just as little sense as something coming from nothing.
I am going to attempt to settle the argument by using mathematics.
Infinite is a concept that boggles the minds of even the greatest mathematicians. Infinite is just such an amazing idea that many wrestle with it for years without much progress in understanding the concept. It’s no wonder that most of the modern gods possess this quality of infinitude. God, they claim, is an infinite, omnipresent being. This realization is in many ways, far more intelligent and convincing than earlier versions of mythological gods that were finite.
In order to mathematically prove that something can come from nothing we must accept this concept of infinite as everything that has ever existed including the existence of nothingness. Infinite is simply the actual (not just the observable) all encompassing, omnipresent universe. It is the complete existence of all of reality.
Infinity, as far as the universe is concerned, doesn’t have to be accepted. What’s probably necessary is to accept that space is infinite. In private correspondence with a friend majoring in physics and mathematics, he stated the following:
There is actually some good reasoning to believe [space] is infinite. And that yes, our observable universe has simply been an expanding point in this infinite field of space. And because of its expansion regions beyond are unobservable. The age of the universe is simply the duration in spacetime through which it has been expanding ever since it was barely more than a point.
He also added, that “in particle physics, ‘something’ comes from nothing all the time. The uncertainty principle says that a particle’s position and velocity cannot be precisely known, can be algebraically manipulated. You can create something with a huge energy from zero energy so long as the duration of its existence is short enough that it doesn’t violate the uncertainty principle. This is what a virtual particle is: something with a large energy “coming from nothing” such that the duration of its existence doesn’t violate the uncertainty principle.”
We also have multiverse theory, quantum fluctuations, and four-dimensional black holes. All of these are possibilities. And if you’re concerned about evidence, dark flow and the cold spot on the CMB serve as evidence for a multiverse. Planck data suggests that our universe is being pulled by other universes.
In science, probability is used to justify so many problems in scientific theories. For example, evolution is simply the very slim probability of organisms adapting into more complex organisms. Humans have evolved from microorganisms in the seemingly most unlikely chance. The chance of our existence is so small, but the eternity of time has allowed for it.
Similarly, there is a very real chance that all of the air in the room you are in right now could spontaneously move to a corner of the room leaving you to suffocate. The chance of this happening is basically zero, but the chance does exist.
In fact, it could be argued that almost any situation that you can possibly think of is possible if given enough time. This is commonly known as the infinite monkey theorem, the well-known theorem that if you give a money at a keyboard enough time (aka infinite) he will eventually type out one of Shakespeare’s plays. This theorem implies that anything is possible in infinite, and it is why infinite plays such an important role in creation. Nothingness must be infinite. Nothingness can exist forever because nothingness doesn’t need a cause to exist because it is simply the absence of anything.
Applying the infinite monkey theorem to this, we can assume that every possible occurrence, known or unknown to us, will occur in this infinite nothingness, including the chance of something coming from nothing.
God can therefore be explained in a mathematical equation:
The chance of winning the Powerball lottery: 1/175,000,000
The chance of a monkey typing banana on a keyboard:1/15,625,000,000
The chance of something coming from nothing: 1/∞
Now to my criticisms. What strikes me as odd is that the “equation” isn’t an equation at all; it’s a probability. Consider Maxwell’s equations and you’ll see my point. One thing that struck my friend as odd is that one divided by infinity is zero. Thus, it seems that you have simply preassigned a probability; in other words, you made the probability exactly what you wanted it to be. Lastly, if we assume that a god created the universe, aren’t we to assume that he made it from nothing? Thus, if we were to grant that your probability is true, the universe shouldn’t exist—regardless of whether god created it or not. If not, you would have to conjecture that he made it out of something. That being the case, on Occam’s Razor, why couldn’t the universe emerge from preexisting material? Either a god made the universe from nothing or from something; or, the universe emerged from nothing or from something. The latter is more simpler because a god would require a cogent explanation of its own; if explaining the universe is difficult, explaining a god would be far more difficult. Ultimately, I can preassign such a dubious probability to god and be done with it. However, I won’t do that—especially since you seem to imply a very specific god. Although that’s an entirely different discussion, I am quite adept at demonstrating the nonexistence of Yahweh. In any event, we are left with an unfortunate circumstance: your title promises an equation, but as I’ve shown, you never provided us with one.