RE: where did the Big Bang come from?

From: Patrick Leahy <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 19:38:02 +0100 (BST)

On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, Jesse Mazer wrote:

> Norman Samish wrote:
>> > Norman Samish wrote:
>> >> And where did this mysterious Big Bang come from? A "quantum
>> >> fluctuation of virtual particles" I'm told.
>> >
>> On Mon, 6 Jun 2005, Jesse Mazer wrote:
>> > Whoever told you that was passing off speculation as fact--in fact there
>> > is no agreed-upon answer to the question of what, if anything, came
>> before
>> > the Big Bang or "caused" it.
>> >
>> Patrick Leahy wrote:
>> Maybe Norman is confusing the rather more legit idea that the
>> "fluctuations"
>> in the Big Bang, that explain why the universe is not completely uniform,
>> come from quantum fluctuations amplified by inflation. This is currently
>> the leading theory for the origin of structure, in that it has quite a lot
>> of successful predictions to its credit.
>> Norman Samish writes:
>> Perhaps I didn't express myself well. What I was referring to is at
>>, where Sten Odenwald
>> hypothesizes that random fluctuations in "nothing at all" led to the Big
>> Bang. "This process has been described by the physicist Frank Wilczyk at
>> the University of California, Santa Barbara by saying, 'The reason that
>> there is something instead of nothing is that nothing is unstable.' ". . .
>> "Physicist Edward Tryon expresses this best by saying that 'Our universe is
>> simply one of those things that happens from time to time.' "
> But as I said, this idea is pure speculation, there isn't any evidence for it
> and we'd probably need a fully worked-out theory of quantum gravity to see if
> the idea even makes sense.

Even then it would beg the question, why do the rules of quantum gravity
apply? I.e. these answers are a bit of a con trick. Back in 1984 when
Odenwald composed his text, there were still quite a few physicists who
really thought that it would turn out that one and only set of physical
laws were logically possible. This is one of those ideas that seems
obviously false to any but True Believers, but there you go.

In defense of Odenwald, he does clearly flag his description of events
before GUT era as highly speculative. (Actually he is overconfident on the
GUT era: you don't hear much about "leptoquark bosons" and "X Higgs" these

Moreover, the idea that "our" big bang within the level-2 multiverse
(Tegmark's notation) was produced by a quantum fluctuation is probably a
loose but reasonable description if you believe in the level-2 multiverse
at all (which is a fairly speculative thing to do).

Paddy Leahy
Received on Mon Jun 06 2005 - 14:39:10 PDT

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