Friday, July 20, 2012

The atheist alternative to God: Exactly ZERO

The laws of physics could have created the universe from nothing, according to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in his recent book.1

To support this idea, Krauss and other Big Bang scientists appeal to the well-known phenomena of “virtual particle” creation and annihilation, also known as a quantum fluctuation. These subatomic particles appear and then disappear over such short time intervals that they cannot be directly observed. 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 greater the energy of the fluctuation, the shorter the time that it may last.  Without HUP, another Big Bang might occur at just about any time...

The universe itself is the result of such a fluctuation, according to Krauss and other evolutionary physicists. Of course, the energy content of the universe would be so large that the corresponding fluctuation time would be vanishingly small. Evolutionary physicists argue, however, that if the total energy content of the universe were exactly zero, then a universe resulting from such a quantum fluctuation could persist indefinitely without violating the HUP.

Exactly Zero is all that is required.

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.

However, if you are not already committed in advance to the Big Bang theory, it is not at all clear that the universe’s total energy would be exactly zero. In fact, it seems extremely unlikely.

Zero chance, shall we say?

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.

Why do atheistic physicists naively assume that rules like the HUP would even apply when describing the universe’s creation? 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. One can engage in all kinds of speculation here, but such speculation is not science.

These supposed higher laws of physics must have an existence apart from the universe. But this presents a dilemma for the atheist like Carl Sagan, who famously said “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”2

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.”

Christians believe in a great God who created all things ex nihilo (out of nothing).
Atheists are forced to believe in an Exact Zero that created all things out of nothing.


(selections from Jake Hebert, A Universe from Nothing? Acts & Facts, July 2012, Institute for Creation Research)

(To receive new uMarko posts via a daily email, please click Subscribe)

References (selected)

1. Krauss, L. 2012. A Universe from Nothing. New York: Free Press.

2. Sagan, C. 1985. Cosmos. New York: Ballantine Books, 1.