Question:

Yesterday I watched a sitcom The Big Bang Theory and in one of their jokes, they said that quantum mechanics teaches us that there is a possibility that matter can spontaneously come into a being (in this case a beautiful woman). To be fair, it was told as a joke. I have no knowledge of quantum mechanics and while this is told as a joke, is it true that quantum mechanics teaches that something can spontaneously come into being however small the odds are out of nothing? I am wondering if this could be the yet-unproven scientific theory that atheistic physicists could use to explain what happened before the big bang?  On the other hand, after reading your “Is there a God” this may fall into the argument that matter has existed forever.  I am not sure if quantum mechanics (or that joke) meant to explain that it is possible that matters can come from nothingness.  I am curious to hear your thought.

Also, I was interested in information on History, Archaeology and the Bible. I saw your power point, but it doesn’t have a lot of explanations in there especially when it comes to the pictures. Perhaps you have an audio to compliment that which I am not aware of?

Answer:

As to the quality of the joke I cannot testify, but it is true that quantum mechanical theory predicts that photons and even matter/antimatter particle pairs can come into existence spontaneously out of the quantum vacuum.  The phenomenon of spontaneous emission (the SE in LASER), which explains how lasers work, depends on these quantum fluctuations of the vacuum.

Unfortunately, this does not work to solve the atheist’s problem of explaining why the universe exists.  This is true for two reasons.  First of all, these spontaneous events occur in a universe that already exists.  There is no evidence that quantum fluctuations will occur where there is no universe within which these fluctuations can happen.  These fluctuations may occur in a “vacuum” but they do not occur in nothing.  They occur in an existing universe.  Technically, at least according to quantum mechanics, a vacuum is not a place where there is nothing.

The second problem is that, even if one could propose that something could literally come from nothing (a thing which has not been demonstrated), in our universe only single particles come into existence in such quantum fluctuations.  How could an entire universe come into existence by such a random quantum fluctuation?  There is no justification, either from experiment or even from theory for proposing that an entire universe could be the result of a quantum fluctuation in a vacuum.

And do not forget that, as far as we know, there cannot be quantum fluctuations out of nothing.  They must occur in an existing universe.  The atheist is in a Catch-22 when he or she proposes the occurrance of a creation event out of literally nothing.

This creation idea of an entire universe being created out of nothing does not even deserve the label scientific theory because there is no evidence to support it and the idea is also irrefutable.  As I explain to my students in my philosophy of science course, any explanation which is neither confirmed by experiment nor refutable is not scientific.  This idea of creation out of nothing is an ad hoc hypothesis, created to save atheism rather than to explain a phenomenon scientifically.

Can something come from nothing, according to scientists? The answer is that it depends on what you mean by “nothing.”

As for history, archaeology and the Bible, I do not have particularly detailed notes.  I mainly use the power point.  I have a lot of detail on these archaeological finds in my book “Reasons for Belief” available at www.ipibooks.com.  Also, there is a more detailed set of notes to the presentation at this link:   http://evidenceforchristianity.org/report-on-2016-icec-at-york-college-history-archaeology-and-christianity/

If you look you will find notes for my talk.  You can get the audio, with lots more detail, but you will need to purchase the one year membership to the web site.  If you do this, you will also be supporting our ministry.

John Oakes

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