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Here is another comment on the probability of nothingness, something that has piqued my interest over the last week or so. It comes from Ryan Covington on the facebook page for this blog (drop a Like if you have time!).

Here’s a thought along the same lines: what is the probability of nothingness, given that 100% of our observations are of something existing and never of “nothing” existing? If we have no examples of nothingness, are we entitled to assume it is possible?

This goes back to the a priori notion of probability. It does make you wonder though: if we assume the probability of something existing (i.e. some kind of Cartesian minimal existence) as being 100%, then this means that the probability of nothing existing is necessarily 0%. If something does exist, then nothing can’t exist (in a manner of speaking – you get my drift).

This does seem inductive / a posteriori, rather than a priori, but what is the worth of a “potential” a priori probability as I mentioned the other day? And from this we can ask the question as to whether nothingness is even possible?

This necessary property of existence (arguably matter, or the universe, or some fundamental physics) is what I took away from reading Laurence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing some years back.

Indeed, as I mentioned in my book Did God Create the Universe from Nothing?, could it not be that the universe is necessary in the same way that theists often posit that God is necessary? In fact, it is a more parsimonious explanation, since we have merely the universe as necessary, rather than the universe + a necessary god.

Either way, I think it is necessary that you get my book…:DidGodCreatetheUniverse

Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...