Patrick has ideas about quantum fields and the existence of the universe

Continuing the discussion from Otangelo has questions about the age of the earth:

Hi Patrick,

Since your ideas and Otangelo’s are largely orthogonal, I have created a new thread dedicated to the topic you want to discuss.

If the Big Bang is really a kind of fluctuation in a quantum field, you need to have a quantum field. I know that there are physicists who are working on hypotheses that would describe a state earlier than the Big Bang, such as the ekpyrotic universe and quantum loop cosmology.

How would you design an experiment that would falsify either of these hypotheses? And if you can’t, how is belief in the ekpyrotic universe or quantum loop cosmology any less an act of faith than my belief in God?

Chris Falter

I am willing to discuss the latest findings in cosmology and quantum mechanics.

Sure, and while you’re at it, I would enjoy hearing whatever personal intro you’re willing to share.

As for me, I attended an Ivy League institution for my undergrad work. My work was largely on the humanities side, although I did a lot of work in math and the quantitative side of economics.

The most important thing I learned in those years was that all the learning in the world would be of no value if I did not have love. Realizing I needed to learn how to love–I wasn’t very good at this unselfishness thing–I asked Christ, the ultimate expression of God’s love, to transform my heart. To the extent that His work is unfinished, I accept the blame.

My wife Linda and I spent almost 5 years in the slums of a West African city, where we helped manage a nutrition and health education project. Since then, I have spent over 20 years in the software industry. I am working on a MS in Data Science, which provides whatever insights I may have into the relationship between data and models.

On the side, I have supported my wife’s venture in writing, which has just flowered into her first book, “Half Paralyzed, Twice Strong.” I am very proud of her accomplishments!


Great, looking forward to discussing inflationary models of the universe with you and the latest in Quantum Mechanics. In my opinion, what DNA studies have done to A&E, new cosmological results and QM results like Bell’s inequality are starting to show the natural processes of creation from nothing. And why there is something rather than nothing. As well as what is knowable about the future given QM.

Hi Patrick, I’m new to the forum but old to the subject. The problem it seems to me is not which of the various models of the big bang is more likely, but what you really mean by nothing. All the models involve some kind of rules or laws, and a ‘nothing’ which encompasses rules is not really nothing at all. The ‘ex nihilo’ argument simply gets pushed back a little further, from the creation of matter and energy from a set of laws, to the creation of the laws themselves. Where does your science think they came from?

Here is the latest thinking by several theoretical cosmologist: Nothingness never existed. And by the laws of QM, nothingness can never exist (for long). There has to be something because nothingness isn’t stable as particles/antiparticle will pop into existence when none existed before.

The current view is that matter arose from a quantum fluctuation of the inflaton field that permeated of space after inflation occurred. There was no before this time because there was no space nor time before spacetime started expanding. Inflation is the rapid expansion of both space and time. The Higgs field permeated space and gave matter mass. Space contains dark energy accelerating expansion.

There is also a new theory that the universe always existed: No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

The notion of nothingness is central to any theory that involves a beginning. We would also be at a loss if science and maths did not use zero as a sign for not-thing.

Hi Patrick,

But the laws of QM are not nothingness, as you yourself acknowledged earlier.

If laws of QM exist, it is not true that nothing exists.

Yes, read those papers. pretty interesting. Thanks.

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You talk about laws a lot. QM isn’t a written law that had to come first before QM can operate. The law of gravity didn’t have to be created before it can be adhered to. QM is a property of how our universe works.

No universe means no properties. Seems pretty fundamental to me.

Look, maybe your faith statement is right and mine is wrong. I just want us to be clear that we are discussing two faith statements.

I agree with that statement.
But every universe isn’t required to have the same properties. This universe has certain measurable properties that we call laws. Like E=mc^2.

I have no faith, so it can neither be right nor wrong.

You seem to believe that there are other universes. It is true that some physicists have built mathematical models (various forms of string theory, for example) that suggest that there are other universes. However, the experimental evidence for such alternate universes is quite, shall we say, thin.

Thus I would classify your belief in unobserved universes as an act of faith. Just as you would classify my belief in a Divine Creator as an act of faith. (And I would agree with you.)


Philip hit on the fundamental difference between the two main “origin of the universe” paradigms when he said that some scientists believe that “nothing” never existed. It is philosophically possible that the laws of the universe have always existed (or, for multiverse enthusiasts, the laws behind the laws of the universes!). I remember somebody, possibly Lawrence Krauss, responding to the question “why is there something rather than nothing” with the reply “why not?” which is perfectly fair. However, the nature of “nothing” still needs clarifying. To claim that “nothing cannot exist” (as opposed to “nothing did once exist”) can only be justified in terms of what currently exists, which, of course, didn’t exist before the universe began.

I think Philip is wrong to say that the laws of QM or Gravity did not have to exist before they could operate. If they are only descriptions of what is, then they cannot describe how “what is” came into being. Although I think we must pop in a slight caveat here in that the term “before” is not really appropriate, in that “nothing” must also include no time, as well as no space, no matter and no energy.

However, before we think we have defeated the scientific philosophy that the universe could be spontaneously created “ex nihilo”, we must also consider that equally logically, “nothing” also includes “no God.” So even theologians must admit that there was never a real state of nothing at all.

Some philosophers are working around the idea that there is another fundamental constituent of the universe apart from matter and energy, which is “information”, and both scientists and theologians can come together in the idea that the nothingness from which the universe arose did include “information”. We could then both discuss the characteristics of this preceding “information”, based on the universe which seems to have emerged from it.


Nothingness is a difficult concept and I am with @Chris_Falter in placing creation by God from “nothing” more as a statement of faith than a scientific or philosophical argument. Having said that, Christianity thinks of a beginning (in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth). We may contemplate this to mean that all that we may consider has a beginning - we cannot argue however, that God is part of this outlook - we say the creation began, and John 1 speaks of the Word bringing everything into existence. Such thinking cannot include God, as He caused or created everything we know, and He is not subject to the creation.

Scientifically most of what we understand may be viewed as movement in time and space, and it is this that provides our context. I think that speculation (esp by theoretical physicists) provides various concepts that the rest of us try to understand, but from what I have read, these cannot be tested and need to be considered as “acts of faith” by materialists who may wish to by-pass the Christian belief in a beginning.

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One doesn’t believe in other universes, I look at the properties of this universe and examine why they are what they are. Having multiple universes (the multiverse hypothesis) is one way to explain certain things but there must be evidence to accept such a claim. Regarding this universe, it is clear that we can observe just the observable universe which is a sphere 46 billion lightyears in radius with us at the center.

Greetings, @Patrick. Good to see you.

We need to be clear what we mean scientifically by nothing.

Energy = mass x the speed of light squared.

There are four factors in this equation, energy, mass, time and space. What we learn from this is mass creates time and space or no mass, no time, no space, no energy.

E = mc squared predicted the Big Bang before the confirming background energy was discovered.

Nothing really is nothing meaning no time, no space, no quanta. There is no time before the Beginning. Fortunately God is by definition beyond time and space.

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