Richard Carnes: No answers without questions |

Richard Carnes: No answers without questions

Richard CarnesVail, CO,

In answer to a recent question on this very page ( from a guy referred to as Ed, it was Rush, from their 1976 album “2112,” that summed it up best: “No, you can’t get something from nothing …” Canadian rock gods aside, the question of how our universe became “something from nothing” is a philosophical topic as opposed to one tackled by the world of science. No reputable cosmologist in his or her right mind would ever make such an irresponsible claim.What they do say is that the Big Bang (the beginning of our known universe) was the rapid expansion of a space-time singularity – a state of infinite density, which is very much “something” indeed. In a literal sense, you could say it is everything – all energy and matter that has ever existed within our human concept of space and time.Scientific theory has postulated for decades that such an event could not have come from “nothing,” as that violates all known laws of physics. Whether it was preceded by the Big Crunch or not is still up to lengthy debate, but hopefully, the CERN collider in Switzerland, which was busy smashing protons at 99.9 percent the speed of light just two weeks ago, will put us closer to a verifiable answer. Put simply, the reason we cannot get something from nothing is because there never was “nothing.” There has always been, as far as science can confirm, “something.” But the nature of the something that preceded our universe is, at this point, a gaping hole of unknowns.And before some creationist jumps on the magical being bandwagon, realize that these gaps of the unknown will continue to be filled, like they have for thousands of years, as science pours in the data and reaches verifiable conclusions.It is what science does.Science never has, and never will, take a “leap of faith” of any kind in order to prove a theory. It never believes in anything; it only knows or does not know.All that is required is evidence.And it’s not just the Big Bang causing our brains to hurt. Current quantum theory holds that a single particle can physically be in two places at once, yet only “seen” in one. Huh? Or how about anti-matter? Try to wrap your head around that, as opposed to particles, we have anti-particles, and they are comprised of anti-protons and anti-neutrons, among other anti-things. We can’t see them, yet we know they are there because we use them, every day, in things such as PET scans to help test for and diagnose cancer.Where there appears to be nothing, there is always something.So keep looking at the stars and dream, wonder, imagine and, above all, question. And if you insist upon settling for an easy answer because it helps you sleep at night, that’s OK. Just don’t try to sell those answers unless they can be supported with verifiable data.To do otherwise is simply irrational.Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at Comment on

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