I recently became aware of a theory that may answer that question. It was on a special about Stephen Hawking . Basically, he said at the moment of the Big Bang the universe was a super dense particle, or singularity, smaller than a proton. It randomly exploded to become the known universe. He goes on to say that the universe has only two things, energy and space. Based on Einstein's work matter is also a form of energy. There are positive energies (stars, planets, comets) and negative energy (gravity). When all these energies are added together the resulting sum of the entire universe will be....................zero! So there you are. There is still nothing.
Of course any bible-thumper will declare that the stupidest thing they ever heard.
Having worked on projects that required regular infusions of taxpayer money, I know the importance of persuading the government to provide the money. I provided some of the data for people who wrote the proposals.
Evidence-free goddidits serve a purpose: to persuade the government to provide money.
The hardware is expensive. So are the people.
A downstrean beneficiary?
The military. The government might want to weaponize space.
In the interest of accuracy, it's not the government that might want to weaponize space. It's people in government who might want to.
During the fearful, and costly, Cold War with the Soviet Union, people who wanted to wind it down said:
It's not the their people versus our people. It's not their military versus our military. It's their paranoids versus our paranoids.
Well anyways - the various theories of how the Big Bang happened and what was "before" it, do need to be testable. That's a basic requirement for a physics theory.
Roger Penrose talks about tests of his "conformal cyclic cosmology" theory.
Recently there were claims that evidence of gravitational waves had been found, that came from an inflation phase right after the Big Bang, This claim now seems dubious, though.
Yeah, Luara. I was hoping a peer would suggest another cause.
I was hoping a peer would suggest another cause.
Me too, for a different reason. I like Penrose's conformal cyclic cosmology. His alternative to inflation. Penrose doesn't like inflation.
I don't like cosmological inflation much either. Not that I know much about it, but on cursory inspection it seems like a bizarre, giant kludge.
Quantum physics has put physicists on their rears, trying to figure it out and then trying to tell the public how it works, and how it has different rules than Newton's Laws. The notion of a dense particle exploding to become a whole universe makes more sense the other creation stories told around the Earth and throughout time. If the universe has only two things, energy and space, I wonder where time fits into the scheme? Oh well, I don't know how a sperm fertilizes an egg that turns into a human being such as Hawking, so why should I know anything about quantum physics? I just know I get goose bumps when I listen to the likes of Hawking, Tyson, Greene, Capra, Carroll, Brian Cox, Feynman, just to name a few.
D.A. [Devil's Advocate] here. The universe consists of more than just two things, energy and space. You forgot God. For every Hawking there are hundreds of hungry mouths to feed. We are lucky in having a few scientists who can educate dunces like me.
D.A. also. You, James, are not a dunce.
Five dollars, please.
Victor J. Stenger et al., have posited (not unreasonably) that the reason there is something rather than nothing, is because "something" is more stable. Recall the old saying: "Nature abhors a vacuum".
Anthony, in my experience of the world, "something" is always changing and "nothing" remains stable.