A Scientific American article I was reading (I couldn't find it online) has a one-page discussion about nothingness. Some of the discussion points seem a little questionable to me, and I'd like to ask people more knowledgeable about some of these.
The first point I'd like to know about is his argument that nothing is actually something. He says,
It is a logical fallacy to talk about "nothing" as if it were "something" that ceases to exist... The very act of talking about "nothing" makes it "something." Otherwise, what are we talking about?
I don't get the part where he says talking about nothing makes it something. Sure, nothing exists as a word, but a word that means the non-existence of something. So, we are talking about the non-existence of something - here, the non-existence of everything.
Nothing is nonsensical. It is impossible to conceptualize nothing-not only no space, time, matter, energy, light, darkness or conscious beings to perceive nothingness but not even nothingness. In this sense, the question is literally inconceivable.
I suppose it is difficult to try to picture nothingness, but I think it is meaningful to discuss. It is simply the non-existence of everything, which seems perfectly coherent and meaningful to me.
Nothing would include God's nonexistence ... If by "nothing" is meant no physical objects or matter of any kind, for example, there can still be energy from which matter may arise by natural forces by the laws of nature. Physicists, for example, talk about empty space as seething with virtual particles, from which particle-antiparticle pairs come into existence as a consequence of the uncertainty principle of quantum physics. From this "nothingness," universes may "pop into existence.
I don't really get the argument here - it simply seems to say God is not necessary to create the universe if there are laws in place that can create it by itself. However, even if this is true, it could still be possible that God exists - God could have created these laws - even if they have always been true - by an eternal expression of his will, given God is timeless.
The last argument says that the idea that God created the universe out of nothing is false because if it was truly out of nothing, God would be included in that nothingness, and therefore cannot create the universe. But I think this rests on a misunderstanding of creation out of nothing. Creation out of nothing I think states God created the universe out of nothing, but that does not mean created the universe with nothing else in existence.
So are my criticisms on these arguments valid? Since Scientific American is a trustworthy source, I doubt these arguments would have such obvious pitfalls. Thoughts?
Edit: They posted the article online. It can be found here.