Changing the definition of nothing to mean pretty much anything he wants.Rough copy - this informal article is not finished and edited entirely.
If we are going to use definitions of nothing how about zero in mathematics
Zero is the integer denoted 0 that, when used as a counting number, means that no objects are present. It is the only integer (and, in fact, the only real number) that is neither negative nor positive.
Quote from mathworld.wolfram.com
According to math "no objects are present".
But according to Krauss' definition of nothing, a random virtual particle generator is in fact present, therefore an object is present. So Krauss' definition of nothing violates the mathematical definition of zero. I guess pretty much all text books will have to be changed to accomodate Krauss' definition of nothing which now means pretty much anything he can configure it as.
If a computer existed which popped out random numbers then cancelled them, this would not be nothing but in fact a computer (object) spitting out numbers. Similarily, something has to pop out virtual particles randomly, whether it be some physical process(or) or bizzare quantum mechanical system in a background (Einstein hidden variable?). As physics is not advanced enough to know what is generating random virtual particles, Krauss arrogant claim that we can redefine nothing to mean whatever Krauss wants it, is premature, if not immature to say the least.
It is very tempting to accept the definition of zero or nothing which allows a negative cancelling number such as negative 7 to exist with a positive 7. The total of two numbers -7 and +7 is zero, yet two numbers exist. But the fact that two numbers exist means that: someone had to write those numbers down on paper, or a computer had to put those numbers out in some way, or a calculator had to have them in memory. Likewise, with the virtual particles popping into and out of existence, there is some kind of physical system present randomly popping them into and out of existence (not neccessarily a ridiculous christian god, but some kind of physical system in place similar to how the quantum mechanics behind tap water exists in some form). The number 7 also in the human brain generated entropy when the mind thought of it, so what is generating these virtual particles and is entropy being expelled each time the system pops out a number or particle? Where is this entropy accounted for if it exists? These are all physical "how" questions answered by physics, not philosophical.
Krauss' argument is sort of like saying you can write down mathematical equations on paper as a human, but you are in fact "nothing" of a human and do not exist, if you write down -7 + 7 = 0 because the answer is zero therefore you as a human don't exist. i.e. when humans generate negative and positive numbers, humans do in fact exist and are present and are not nothing. Likewise, what is generating these virtual particles? Something? not nothing? In no way do I mean to suggest a God is sitting behind the scenes generating random particles, but rather I am simply asking the question: what is generating virtual particles, or how are they being generated? via a computer? via some physical system not a computer? One like a computer? Are there variables involved that keep track, ala hidden variables? Is there a code involved, algorithm? Is that nothing? can't be.
The issue here is what the hell is generating and randomly producing virtual particles or equations to make them pop into and out of existence? As an antitheist make no mistake I am not claiming a christian God is present, I am simply asking a logical physical question which Krauss will fail to answer because he hasn't a clue. In stead Krauss wants to take a short cut and redefine nothing to now mean an "anything generator" which avoids actually explaining what this anything generator really is (once again I insist, I am not implying a God behind the scenes that rolls dice). Even a computer that randomly generates virtual particles could be present, if one is tempted to believe in absurd "Matrix" theories or The Thirteenth Floor theories. To claim nothing is present is simply laziness and lack of deep thought, and is in no way philosophical masturbation, as this is a physical question that needs to be explained by physics.
"Definition of the gaps" ... I can't explain it therefore I'll just change the definition of words so that I don't have to explain it. This is similar to god of the gaps where instead of explaining it you just wish it away with "God did it". Definition of the gaps simply means modifying the definitions of words to suit your own needs. As long as we now change the definition of "nothing" to mean "an anything generator" the "how" part no longer needs to be explained because we modified the definition of nothing to now mean pretty much any fucking thing we want. If we stick to the strict definitions of zero or nothing which means "no objects present" then we must explain the how part: for example how does the virtual particles just pop into existince without some kind of physical random virtual particle generator system. Einstein had similar questions regarding whether there are hidden variables behind the scenes for quantum mechanics.
But the idea that nothing is anything is indeed a philosophical mind f*ck. It's just I'm more interested in the how. How are the virtual particle generators working, and if they aren't generators then what is it? how is it?