One of the most common justifications for religious faith is the idea that the universe must have had a creator. You’ve just written a book alleging that a universe can arise from “nothing.” What do you mean by “nothing” and how fully does your thesis contradict a belief in a Creator God?
The answer Krauss gives is such an awful mess of verbiage that I will not quote a big load of it, but I will quote some of it. The reader can read the whole thing if he cares to.
1. The "long-held theological claim" that out of nothing nothing comes is "spurious." This is because "modern science . . . has changed completely our conception of the very words 'something' and 'nothing.' " We now know that " ‘something’ and ‘nothing’ are physical concepts and therefore are properly the domain of science, not theology or philosophy."
Wow! Modern science has completely changed our conceptions of something and nothing! That is something! Something and nothing are physical concepts? You mean, like mass and momentum? Please tell me more!
2. "The old idea that nothing might involve empty space, devoid of mass or energy, or anything material, for example, has now been replaced by a boiling bubbling brew of virtual particles, popping in and out of existence in a time so short that we cannot detect them directly. I then go on to explain how other versions of 'nothing'—beyond merely empty space—including the absence of space itself, and even the absence of physical laws, can morph into “something.” Indeed, in modern parlance, “nothing” is most often unstable. Not only can something arise from nothing, but most often the laws of physics require that to occur."
There is no point in quoting any more of this stuff since it is obviously gibberish. What is not obvious, and indeed what is most puzzling, is why anyone who is supposedly intelligent would spout such patent nonsense. Or is he joking? Pulling our leg? Trying to sound 'far out' to sell books? It surely sounds like a weird joke to hear that nothing boils and bubbles and 'morphs' and is unstable with particles popping in and out of existence. If a virtual particle popped out of existence would it be even more nothing than the nothing that it was a part of?
If I tell you that I met nobody on my hike this morning, it would be a bad joke were you to inquire, "And how is Nobody doing these days?" 'Nobody' is not the name of a person or the name of anything else. If you are confused by 'I met nobody on my hike,' then I will translate it for you: 'It is not the case that I met somebody on my hike.' The same goes for 'nothing.' It is not a name for something.
The point, of course, is that nothing is precisely nothing and not a weird something or even a non-weird something. Krauss is not stupid, and he is presumably not joking. So he is using 'nothing' in some special way. He and his colleagues are free to do that. He and they are free to stipulate a new meaning for an old word. But then he is not using it in the sense in which it figures in the old principle, ex nihilo nihil fit, 'out of nothing nothing comes.' Whether true or false, the meaning of the principle is clear: if there were nothing at all, nothing could have come into being. This obviously cannot be refuted by shifting the sense of 'nothing' so that it refers to a bubbling, boiling soup of virtual particles.
The strong scent of intellectual dishonesty is wafting up to my nostrils from this bubbling, boiling cauldron of Unsinn.
If I make a tasty hamburger out of a lump of raw meat, have I made something out of nothing? Sure, in a sense: I have made something tasty out of nothing tasty. In a sense, I have made something out of nothing! But one would have to have hamburger for brains if one that ought that that refuted ex nihilo nihil fit.
"Not only can something arise from nothing, but most often the laws of physics require that to occur." This is just nonsense. Whatever the laws of physics are, they are not nothing. So if the laws of physics require that something arise from nothing, then the laws of physics require that something arise without there being laws of physics.
Not only is the quoted sentence nonsense, it contradicts the rest of what Krauss says in quotation #2 above. For he says that there is a sense of 'nothing' which implies the absence of physical laws. So we are supposed to accept that physical laws require the emergence of something out of nothing even if there are no physical laws?
So you've got this situation in which nothing at all exists, and then something comes into existence because the physical laws (which don't exist) "require" it. Bullshit! Sophistry for the purpose of exploiting rubes to make a quick pop science buck.
Krauss spouted nonsense on a previous occasion when he said in the New York Times that human beings are just a bit of cosmic pollution. See "We're Just a Bit of Pollution," Cosmologist Says.
See also Do Physicists Bullshit?
Ed Feser has also done good work exposing this cosmological nonsense.