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Could energy exist without the laws of physics?

  1. Oct 21, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post on PF, so bear with me if I mess up the format of my first post. I have a question that's been racking my mind for a while. The Big Bang theory says that GR leads back to a Singularity of infinte amount of energy sqeezed into a zero-dimensional dot. Let's assume for a while that our assumptions of the singularity were true and that things went like that with the beginning of the Universe. So my question is:

    How would it be possible for energy to construct a universe that could harbour life if there were no physical laws, physical constants and fundamental forces to govern that energy during the creation of the universe and its existence for close to 15 billion years?

    If ALL the laws of physics plus the constants - speed of light c, P=3.141529..., etc were there within the singularity together with all the energy in a bundle, what explanation would a secular atheistic scientist give for this? Aren't all the laws of physics that we've discovered and the thousands that we have not yet that govern the universe, plus the constants, a kind of a DNA, a blueprint of the singularity that directed the unfolding and existence of the universe?

    Does anyone believe the singularity was not governed by any laws? Is it possible at all for anything, including energy, to exist without being governed by physical laws? If it was governed by a different set of laws than the ones that "took over" shortly after the Big Bing(our current laws of physics), there would have to be transitional laws, right?

    I don't subscribe to any religion, IMO they are all wrong. I am more inclined to accept the "religion" of Einstein or Stephen Hawking of a "God"(more like a creator/s/) that wants to remain anonymous.

    What is your take on the above questions. Are they answerable?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2008 #2


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    Hi WaveJumper, welcome to PF!.

    I don't know if it is useful to speak of "an infinite amount of energy squeezed into a zero-dimensional dot" at all, and if the current physical theories have anything to say about times just before some small time after the big bang. But ok, let's assume (although I don't think you're actually using this assumption later on).

    I guess it wouldn't. Luckily, we think we have discovered quite some physical laws already, so that this is a purely theoretical "what-if" question.

    I don't really see what you mean by physical laws being in the singularity together. Physical laws are not inside a singularity. In my point of view, a singularity is just a mathematical construct, which indicates that the theory is not sufficient anymore; experience has learned that often there is another theory to replace it which does work or that the question doesn't make sense in the first place (comparable to the r = 0 "singularity" in Coulombs law).

    I have no idea what a secular atheistic scientist is, so I'll pass on that one :wink:

    I think you are again attaching too much value to the singularity here.

    I guess that even if there are no physical laws, then that would be a physical law as well (something like: "the energy density is random"). Probably that would still allow for statistics to be applied, wouldn't it?

    Depends on how "different" they are. General relativity looks very different from Newtonian mechanics, but you can get from one to the other by taking appropriate limits.

    Maybe within a philosophical context, yes. But I'm a physicist, not a philosopher, so I think this is about all I can say.
  4. Oct 21, 2008 #3

    Thanks for the welcome and thanks for trying to tackle those difficult questions.

    I always thought our laws of physics and the constants that govern the universe sprang out of the singularity at the Big Bang. I don't see where else they might have come from, they couldn't have come from the uncreated(the non-existing) or another dimension. IMO, if there ever was a singularity, "everything"(all the energy) it contained must have been highly pre-structured and highly ordered by laws within it, so as to allow the ordely unfolding and existence of a universe that could support life.

    Even if we abandon the singularity in favour of a zero energy universe, we are still stuck with the same question - how could a quantum fluctuation(an energy particle) without the guidance of physical laws create a universe? Where would those laws and constants come from?
  5. Oct 22, 2008 #4


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    So basically the question reduces to:
    a) what happens "at" the singularity (e.g. when t descends to zero :smile:); and
    b) what was "there" "before" the Big Bang?

  6. Oct 22, 2008 #5
    No, not really. The question is:

    At the big bang there was only energy. Now 15 billion years there is still just an ocean of energy that we recognise as universe. The question is where did those laws of physics and chemistry come from that allowed the energy of the singularity to transform into energy that could be recognised by us as a "material" universe 15 billion years later that could harbour life(whatever meaning you attribute to this illusion). The whole universe is nothing but an ocean of energy, that's what QFT says and there is pretty solid proof that it's correct. Reality is an illusion, it's a construct of the mind that discerns the arrangement of energies as reality, but it's still just quantum fields interacting among each other.

    Bsically, the whole universe is just + and -, it's electromagnetism plus gravity(although we don't know precisely what gravity is). Everything we see in our "reality" is the 117 atoms found in the periodic table, which are nothing but a positive and a negative charge acting on one another(proton-electron bonding plus covalent bonding).

    So, since everything is just energy, at the singularity as well as now 15 billion years later, there must have been laws that governed this "arrangement" of energy to its current state.

    Where did those laws come from? Energy, not being subejct to laws, is worthless and meaningless. I don't think it can exist like that, we think of "exist" as something governed by laws, that's the human perspective, the human logic.

    So where did those laws come from? Doesn't it scream - "designers!"? How would - chance, luck or coincidence explain this?

    We are a tiny speck of energy floating in an endless ocean of energy and this tiny speck has a very special "air" of existence, how could this be uncaused?

    PS. Bear with me, English is not my native language, if i have to i can go over again certain points that might not be clear in the context of the conversation.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  7. Oct 22, 2008 #6


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    Religious discussions, such as Intelligent Design, are not allowed here. If this is what you are pushing, the thread will be locked/deleted.
  8. Oct 22, 2008 #7

    Yes i am aware of that rule and i had no intention of introducing ID. I thought someone could come up with an idea that would explain the origin of our physical laws and constants as a natural process arising from the Big Bang and whether physical laws are needed for the existence of energy. I believe they are mandatory - look at an atom, even an electron has an orbit that may or may not be overlapping with that of other electrons, so it's obviously following physical laws.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  9. Oct 23, 2008 #8
    Here is what i've just found on the question of the origin of the physical laws and constants. It's by Michio Kaku and the second is by Stephen Hawking:

    "Scientists believe in a Big Bang that started the universe. But then we have to ask what happened before the Big Bang. Then we have to ask where the laws of physics came from. Personally, I think that the laws of physics are the only ones possible, that all other laws are mathematically inconsistent. Thus, God probably had no choice in creating the universe, as Einstein believed."

    "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"
    ~Stephen Hawking

    Initially, when i posted this thread, i had no idea the question was unanswerable. I thought physics and science in general had a model to tackle this issue that somehow had evaded my attention.
  10. Oct 23, 2008 #9


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    Is it just me, or did you just do what I said some posts ago? :smile:
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