Conjuring the Universe – A Book Review

I know I already promised a book review which I’m yet to deliver upon, but in the meantime I’ve been reading a lot and a great new book I’ve read is “Conjuring the Universe” by Peter Atkins. Peter Atkins is a professor of Chemistry and fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. His atheistic views are well-known having participated in several debates with apologists such as William Lane-Craig and Richard Swinburne.

In a similar vein to Lawrence Krauss’ book “A Universe from Nothing”, Atkins seeks to attack the intuition that the universe could not arise from Nothing. This is a common criticism levelled against atheists: that it takes more faith to believe the universe could just spring out of Nothing than believing a God created it. Atkins seeks to show that this claim has no basis in evidence and that the hypothesis that the universe comes from Nothing actually explains a lot of what we see in it today.

In my review of his book, I will argue that Atkins walks a thin line between established scientific fact and wild speculation, but that he does so in an engrossing and ultimately plausible way. He certainly doesn’t establish that the universe can arise from nothing, but he convincingly argues that there’s no reason why it couldn’t.



3 thoughts on “Conjuring the Universe – A Book Review

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  1. May I ask why you think that universe cannot be borne out of “Nothing”, if you think so ?

    I intend to, not debate, but enrich ourselves on the technically mesmerizing subjects of your blog.

    FYI : I have not read the concerned book, yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Discussion is always welcome! I think the universe can come from nothing, or at least there’s no reason it can’t. But there’s so little known about the very beginning of the universe that it would be unwise to say one way or the other whether existence from nothing is possible by some mechanism. In any case I think the whole idea that there was nothing and then something is unsupported by any evidence anyway. Time is a part of the universe and so there’s no concept of these being nothing and “then” something.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Perhaps, we have evidence, but partially – pair production of electron,positron from high energy physics of photon. Of course, energy and momentum must be conserved, so that it is not a pure zero-energy or zero-matter, as implied in the idea of borne out of nothing, but there is one such exactly “something from nothing” that did occur here – electric charge. I see this phenomenon as the beginning of concerned possibility, if at all.

        As a mathematical treatise, I am referring to Twistor Theory by Roger Penrose and he is a Platonist, from which declaration, for the first time I realized that perhaps, I am such too.


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