(via Boing Boing) Can we just talk for a minute about the ridiculous notion that "You can't get something from nothing"? Few things annoy me more about the 'origin of the universe' argument.
How many people, religious or not, have direct experience of what it's like when there isn't anything? None, right? Because there has never been a time when there hasn't been stuff, but there were people around to observe it. We've got no idea what nothing is like.
I hate the argument that stuff just can't pop into being. For all we know, the only reason stuff doesn't just pop into being now is because there's already other stuff in the way. As far as I can tell, in fact, that's what's going on with Hawking radiation, where the absolute nothingness created around the black hole makes space for particle-antiparticle pairs to form, one end being sucked into the black hole and the other shooting out into space as new stuff.
We do this a lot in human thinking: we assume that, because we have intimate experience of one state, we can draw conclusions about a state that we describe as being opposite to it. Absence is not the mirror-reflection of presence. We don't know how nothingness behaves just because we know how stuff behaves.
That is all.