I'm not a physicist or cosmologist, so I hope I am asking the right question with the right words here.
My question regards the word "energy" as it pertains to quantum vacuum states, and to concepts such as Lawrence Krause's "something from nothing" theory.
When I hear the word "nothing" I envision a "void" that is an empty set. But Krause, Eva Silverstein and J. Richard Gott (2 hr YouTube video of debate on "nothing" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson - last url segment = watch?v=sNh-pY3hJnY) seem to be saying, if I understand correctly, that this void has a non-zero energy state, and that quantum fluctuations create "something" out of nothing because of this.
I have to say that this sounds a bit to me like hand waving and weasel words, but perhaps my ignorance is committing an injustice.
But if this is what is happening, is this "nothing" actually a void? Energy is something, and that would make "nothing" contain something. And I fail to see how this could be so.
The question: What, exactly, IS "energy." In usage in this context it sounds a lot like phlebotinum.