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This is about training in argumentation. I use a text from R. Carrier: https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/468, where he claims that from nothing everything follows. (Don't get shocked, the article is not long, it's the comments that make it look long.)

Carrier basically defines nothing as no thing/fact plus logical necessities like mathematical truths. He makes an argument where he uses probability theory to claim that the probability is almost 1 that universes would arise from nothing. He can because probability is a logical necessity in the sense (and I simplify heavily): |= If Kolmogorov's axioms + stuff then probability theory, and he said that logical necessities are always there, even in nothingness. But my problem is that it's also a logical necessity that "If Kolmogorov's axioms + stuff + setting any probability to zero then P(anything) = 0.

So he basically takes one logical necessity and assumes its premises to come to his conclusions whereas other logical necessities would make his conclusion to collapse. I'd tend to see his argument as valid but unsound. What (if at all) is foul with his argument and what is the technical term for it? (Please just focus on my problem described here, any other reasons for his argument to fail, maybe overlooked in this discussion.)

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  • Logical necessities? No thing could possibly come out of nothingness, However, if there is truly nothing, then there cannot be any constraints, except of there being nothing. In particular, there cannot be any constraints as to what might possibly pop out into existence and what would be the probability of that. And once it does, the probability that it did is 1. Jun 28 '20 at 20:14
  • Carrier agrees: He says that if nothing is then also there's nothing that limits things not to exist. But of course: I could turn it 180° and say: if nothing is then also there's nothing that drives things into existence. It seems another premise from Carrier that is just questionable.
    – Pippen
    Jun 29 '20 at 0:12
  • "This entails it is effectively 100 percent certain an infinite multiverse exists because the probability of there being only one universe is then 1/INFINITY" is fallacious. Not only does it apply probabilities to a context where they are nonsensical, but it further assumes the principle of indifference for them. But we were told earlier that mathematical laws are not necessary in the sense that "their premises are necessarily true". And the principle of indifference is not even an axiom.
    – Conifold
    Jun 29 '20 at 5:30
  • @Pippen There is nothing to drive things into existence and nothing to prevent them from popping out into existence. I guess this is what true randomness would be. No a priori probabilities. Things happen or not. We can only observe the result and only because we are part of it. This also contradicts the idea that there would be any "probability of there being only one universe". Jun 29 '20 at 10:12

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