I just finished reading Bernard Haisch’s book The God Theory: Universes, Zero-point Fields, And What’s Behind It All. I must confess that I was a bit concerned before I started (and for a little while after that, too) that this was going to be one of these kooky, New Agey types of books blending scientific ideas and spirituality into a half-baked hodge podge. But this book, refreshingly, isn’t like that. Instead, Haisch is very up front about what he thinks the evidence proves about science and religion, what is as yet unproven but consistent with what we currently know, and what is his own speculation.
Haisch is first and foremost an astrophysicist, although he did at one point briefly attend seminary. His recent work is particularly fascinating as it relates to the Zero-Point Energy, the rather mysterious nature of what is still sometimes called, and was once thought to genuinely be, a vacuum. (To avoid confusion, I don’t mean an electric device for cleaning floors). “Empty space”, as it turns out, is full of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence.
Although I ought to be most interested in what Haisch has to say about religion, I was most fascinated by work he has done together with Alfonso Rueda to confirm that Newton’s postulate F=ma can be derived from the Zero-Point energy.
If inertia is a result of the Zero-Point field, then presumably so is gravity. We may thus have witnessed the first opening of the door that leads into the antechamber of the Grand Unified Theory. Perhaps even more remarkable, one aspect of this field, stochastic electrodynamics (SED), may in the end show that the uncertainty at the quantum level is also a result of the Zero-Point field acting upon subatomic particles in a way that can be expressed in terms of classical physics.
I find myself fascinated by Haisch’s pioneering research in physics, and impressed by his humility when it comes to his religious assertions. He is not willing to simply say “the Zero-Point Field is God” (p.116). What he does say confidently based on science is thought-provoking, whether it relates most to the nature of the universe or to spirituality. For instance, he offers the intriguing insight that, from the perspective of a photon, space and time do not exist. At the speed of light, everything is instantaneous – no time passes, no distance seems to have been covered. Thus “space and time are created when you leave the reference frame of light” (p.119).
Although the Zero-Point Field reminds one of the force (“it surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together,” to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous words about duct tape), it is unlikely that we will be able merely by an act of will to use that energy to move objects and bend weak minds. Then again, my midi-chlorian count is low, and that may be the real reason for my Han Solo-like skepticism.
Then again, maybe it is my lack of great ability when it comes to mathematics. Those interested in the work Haisch and his colleagues have done on these cutting-edge and pioneering aspects of contemporary physics should read his actual scientific papers. At one point in his book (p.85), Haisch places the average number of readers for any given scientific paper at .6, so you could play a part in making Haisch’s numbers above average!