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So, Matt:

Why is there stuff in the universe? Why is there anything instead of nothing? If there used to be nothing, it makes more sense that there would still be nothing. Can you help?

-- R&R, Clairemont

Skirting the religious implications, and with a little help from some consulting philosophers, I'll take a crack at it. According to all the big thinkers, "nothing" can't exist. The brainiacs challenge you to imagine nothing. Go ahead. Give it a shot. The holes in Swiss cheese? An empty bank account? A dark, spooky void stretching to nowhere? Ixnay, they say. Even the void has dimension in time and space; it can be imagined and described, therefore it can't be nothing. Real nothing as no characteristics and so it can't exist. The savants conclude that a world full of rubber cigars and chow mein and cell phones and nuclear waste is much more logical; nothing has never existed, and the universe is infinitely old because something could not have arisen from nothing. They have reduced it all to a mathematical formula, in case you're still not convinced. But you're asking for even more trouble if you insist on seeing the proof.

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