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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Astronomy & Cosmology and God » Virtual particles require a quantum vacuum. What was the cause of the vacuum ?

Virtual particles require a quantum vacuum. What was the cause of the vacuum ?

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Virtual particles require a quantum vacuum. What was the cause of the vacuum ?

from the book : a case of a creator

Quantum theory ... holds that a vacuum ... is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum, although they tend to vanish back into it quickly... . Theoretically, anything-a dog, a house, a planet-can pop into existence by means of this quantum quirk, which physicists call a vacuum fluctuation. Probability, however, dictates that pairs of subatomic particles ... are by far the most likely creations and that they will last extremely briefly.... The spontaneous, persistent creation of something even as large as a molecule is profoundly unlikely. Nevertheless, in 1973 an assistant professor at Columbia University named Edward Tryon suggested that the entire universe might have come into existence this way.... The whole universe may be, to use [MIT physicist Alan] Guth's phrase, "a free lunch."20
I closed the magazine and tossed it on Craig's desk. "Maybe Tryon was right when he said, `I offer the modest proposal that our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.' “
Craig was listening intently. "Okay, that's a good question," he replied. "These subatomic particles the article talks about are called `virtual particles.' They are theoretical entities, and it's not even clear that they actually exist as opposed to being merely theoretical constructs.
"However, there's a much more important point to be made about this. You see, these particles, if they are real, do not come out of nothing. The quantum vacuum is not what most people envision when they think of a vacuum-that is, absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it's a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws. These particles are thought to originate by fluctuations of the energy in the vacuum.
"So it's not an example of something coming into being out of nothing, or something coming into being without a cause. The quantum vacuum and the energy locked up in the vacuum are the cause of these particles. And then we have to ask, well, what is the origin of the whole quantum vacuum itself? Where does it come from?"
He let that question linger before continuing. "You've simply pushed back the issue of creation. Now you've got to account for how this very active ocean of fluctuating energy came into being. Do you see what I'm saying? If quantum physical laws operate within the domain described by quantum physics, you can't legitimately use quantum physics to explain the origin of that domain itself. You need something transcendent that's beyond that domain in order to explain how the entire domain came into being. Suddenly, we're back to the origins question."

In the face of the logically coherent answer supported by the Leibnizian cosmological argument, Krauss would dearly like to change the topic: "what is really useful is not pondering this question…" As a result, he produces a book that’s overwhelmingly devoted to questions besides the one on the front cover. Krauss anti-philosophical prejudice leads him to embrace a verificationalist stance long ago abandoned by philosophers as self-contradictory and to toy with rejecting the ultimate question of origins as meaningless. Despite this, Krauss spends a handful of pages attempting to explain why there is something rather than nothing. The attempt leads him to beg the question against theism, to reject logic in the name of science and to embrace a double standard. This kludge of fallacies convinced Richard Dawkins to put his name to the incoherent assertion that "nothingness is unstable: something was almost bound to spring into existence from it"; which only goes to show just how intellectually unstable the foundations of neo-atheism are.

Theories that the universe is a quantum fluctuation must presuppose that there was something to fluctuate their quantum vacuum is a lot of matter-antimatter potential not nothing.

Tom’s Top 10 interpretations of quantum mechanics

Last edited by Admin on Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:06 am; edited 14 times in total

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Luke Barnes, a non-creationist astrophysicist who is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, University of Sydney, Australia, is scathing about Krauss and those who argue like him:

First and foremost, I’m getting really rather sick of cosmologists talking about universes being created out of nothing. Krauss repeatedly talked about universes coming out of nothing, particles coming out of nothing, different types of nothing, nothing being unstable. This is nonsense. The word nothing is often used loosely—I have nothing in my hand, there’s nothing in the fridge etc. But the proper definition of nothing is “not anything”. Nothing is not a type of something, not a kind of thing. It is the absence of anything.

Physicist and philosopher David Albert

The fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings—if you look at them aright—amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.—

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Astrophysicist Rocky Kolb, chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, wrote:

“[A] region of seemingly empty space is not really empty, but is a seething froth in which every sort of fundamental particle pops in and out of empty space before annihilating with its antiparticle and disappearing” (1998, 26[2]:43, emp. added).

Estling (1995, 19[1]:69-70, emp. added).

Quantum cosmologists insist both on this absolute Nothingness and on endowing it with various qualities and characteristics: this particular Nothingness possesses virtual quanta seething in a false vacuum. Quanta, virtual or actual, false or true, are not Nothing, they are definitely Something, although we may argue over what exactly. For one thing, quanta are entities having energy, a vacuum has energy and moreover, extension, i.e., it is something into which other things, such as universes, can be put, i.e., we cannot have our absolute Nothingness and eat it too. If we have quanta and a vacuum as given, we in fact have a pre-existent state of existence that either pre-existed timelessly or brought itself into existence from absolute Nothingness (no quanta, no vacuum, no pre-existing initial conditions) at some precise moment in time; it creates this time, along with the space, matter, and energy, which we call the universe.... I’ve had correspondence with Paul Davies [eminent atheistic theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, who advocates the supposition that the Universe created itself from nothing—JM] on cosmological theory, in the course of which, I asked him what he meant by “Nothing.” He wrote back that he had asked Alexander Vilenkin what he meant by it and that Vilenkin had replied, “By Nothing I mean Nothing,” which seemed pretty straightforward at the time, but these quantum cosmologists go on from there to tell us what their particular breed of Nothing consists of. I pointed this out to Davies, who replied that these things are very complicated. I’m willing to admit the truth of that statement, but I think it does not solve the problem

Jonathan Sarfati said:(1998, 12[1]:21, emp. added).

Some physicists assert that quantum mechanics…can produce something from nothing…. But this is a gross misapplication of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics never produces something out of nothing…. Theories that the Universe is a quantum fluctuation must presuppose that there was something to fluctuate—their “quantum vacuum” is a lot of matter-antimatter potential—not “nothing”

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4 A Universe from Nothing? on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:22 pm


A Universe from Nothing?

Explaining the origin of the universe is an enormous challenge for those seeking to deny their Creator: How could a universe come from nothing? The challenge is so great that some have argued that the universe simply did not even have a beginning, but has existed eternally. However, because most professing atheists have accepted the big bang model of the universe, they have accepted the premise that our universe did indeed have a beginning. Hence, they have a need to explain that beginning.

Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss presented in a recent book his claim that the laws of physics could have created the universe from nothing.1 Likewise, other physicists offer similar arguments.

They appeal to the well-known phenomena of “virtual particle” creation and annihilation. The spontaneous (but short-lived) appearance of subatomic particles from a vacuum is called a quantum fluctuation. These subatomic particles appear and then disappear over such short time intervals that they cannot be directly observed. However, the effects of these virtual particles can be detected; they are, for instance, responsible for a very subtle effect on the spectrum of the hydrogen atom called the “Lamb shift.” The short lifetimes of these virtual particles are governed by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP), which says that a short-lived state cannot have a well-defined energy.

The HUP places a limit on the time that a quantum fluctuation can persist. The greater the energy of the fluctuation, the shorter the time that it may last. It is for this reason that virtual particles appear and then disappear after very short intervals.

Krauss and other evolutionary physicists argue that the universe itself is the result of such a quantum fluctuation. However, the HUP itself presents an apparent difficulty for this claim. One would intuitively expect the energy content of the entire universe to be enormous. Hence, even if one were to argue that the universe did “pop” into existence via a quantum fluctuation, the energy content of the universe would be so large that the corresponding time would be vanishingly small, and the newly born universe would then immediately vanish. It is, therefore, difficult to see how our enormous universe could have resulted from such a fluctuation.

Evolutionary physicists argue, however, that if the total energy content of the universe were exactly zero, then a universe resulting from such a fluctuation could persist indefinitely without violating the HUP. This is admittedly a clever argument. Have the “new atheists” found a genuinely convincing way to explain our universe’s existence apart from God?

Not really. The argument hinges on the claim that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero, and this claim is based squarely on Big Bang assumptions. Stephen Hawking writes:

The idea of inflation could also explain why there is so much matter in the universe….The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero.2

Despite Hawking’s blithe assertion, no human being can possibly know the precise energy content of the entire universe. In order to verify the claim that the total energy content of the universe is exactly zero, one would have to account for all the forms of energy in the universe (gravitational potential energy, the relativistic energies of all particles, etc.), add them together, and then verify that the sum really is exactly zero. Despite Hawking’s intelligence and credentials, he is hardly omniscient.

So the claim of a “zero energy” universe is based, not on direct measurements, but upon an interpretation of the data through the filter of the Big Bang model. As hinted in the above quote, the claim comes from inflation theory, which states that the universe underwent a short, accelerated period of expansion shortly after the Big Bang. But “inflation” is an ad hoc idea that was attached to the original Big Bang model in order to solve a number of serious (and even fatal) difficulties.3 Hawking, Krauss, and others are making the claim of a zero energy universe because it is an expected consequence of inflation theory. However, for someone who does not have an a priori commitment to the Big Bang (and inflation theory), it is not at all clear that the universe’s total energy would be exactly zero. In fact, it seems extremely unlikely.

Moreover, when virtual particles momentarily appear within a vacuum, they are appearing in a space that already exists. Because space itself is part of our universe, the spontaneous creation of a universe requires space itself to somehow pop into existence.

In his recent book, Krauss spends very little time addressing this key point. Most of the book consists of a defense of the Big Bang, anecdotal stories, and criticisms of creationists. It is only near the end of the book that he actually seriously addresses this key issue (how space itself could be created from nothing), but he spends very little time on it, despite the fact that the book is over 200 pages long.4 He argues that quantum gravity (a theory that merges quantum mechanics and general relativity) could allow space itself to pop into existence. One obvious problem with this claim is that a workable theory of quantum gravity does not yet exist.

Moreover, the general claim that the laws of physics could have created our universe suffers from a number of serious logical difficulties. Our understanding of the laws of physics is based on observation. For instance, our knowledge of the laws of conservation of momentum and energy come from observations made from literally thousands of experiments. No one has ever observed a universe “popping” into existence. This means that any laws of physics that would allow (even in principle) a universe to pop into existence are completely outside our experience. The laws of physics, as we know them, simply are not applicable here. Rather, the spontaneous creation of a universe would require higher “meta” or “hyper” laws of physics that might or might not be anything like the laws of physics that we know.

But this raises another problem. Since such hypothetical meta or hyper laws of physics are completely outside our experience, why do atheistic physicists naively assume that rules like the HUP would even apply when describing the universe’s creation? They freely speculate about other (unobservable) universes in an alleged “multiverse” that can have laws of physics radically different from our own. Since the HUP is known to be valid only within or inside our universe, it is not at all clear why they would assume that the HUP would even apply when discussing our universe’s creation. Perhaps the HUP is indeed part of these hyper laws of physics, but one could just as easily argue that it is not. One can engage in all kinds of speculation here, but such speculation is not science.

Moreover, even if these supposed higher laws of physics actually existed, in order for them to create the universe, they must have an existence apart from the universe. But this presents a dilemma for the atheist who says that the cosmos is all that exists. Before his death, Carl Sagan acknowledged in correspondence with ICR scientist Larry Vardiman that he recognized this problem for his worldview: His view of origins required the laws of physics to create the cosmos, but because he did not acknowledge his Creator, he could not explain the origin of the laws themselves.5 The existence of physical laws external to the cosmos itself was an obvious violation of his well-known axiom “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”6

Of course, the atheist could try to dodge this difficulty by resorting to the claim that the cosmos simply had no beginning and is eternal.

But even this avoidance leaves unresolved difficulties. For instance, some are claiming that the cosmos as a whole—the so-called “multiverse”—is eternal, but that it contains infinitely many individual universes (a consequence of modern inflation theory). According to this view, it is only our particular universe that began 13.7 billion years ago. The existence of other alleged (but unobservable) universes supposedly explains our seemingly improbable existence—because the multiverse contains infinitely many universes, the laws of physics and chemistry in at least some of these universes would have properties necessary for life. Thus, our existence is supposedly explained because we just happen to live in such a universe.

A glaring fallacy exposes this argument: While the laws of physics and chemistry in our universe do indeed allow life to exist, they do not allow life to evolve. The laws of physics and chemistry simply are not favorable to the evolution of life.

For decades, creationists have pointed out the insurmountable difficulties with “chemical evolution” scenarios.7, 8, 9 These difficulties don’t vanish simply because someone claims that other (unobservable) universes exist. Even if the laws of physics and chemistry in every single one of these other supposed universes did allow for life to evolve, those laws from another universe could not explain the existence of life in this universe. This should have occurred to the atheists—but their argument demonstrates “vain imaginations” and “foolish, darkened hearts” (Romans 1:21-23).

Despite the impressive academic credentials of those promoting the “universe from nothing” idea, the scenario is utterly unreasonable, and no Bible-believing Christian should be intimidated by these “vain imaginations.”

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