Inflation—all in the ‘Dark’

The Higgs boson messes with cosmic inflation


Published: July 31, 2014
“It took $10 billion, the world’s largest particle accelerator and decades of research, but now scientists are convinced: The universe doesn’t exist.” [emphasis added]

Or so says a web news article1 titled “It’s okay. Nothing really matters. We don’t actually exist, anyway. Or so the Higgs boson particle suggests.” Well, what’s this all about?


Figure 1

Cosmology PhD student Robert Hogan, of King’s College London, told a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society2 at the University of Portsmouth on June 24th, that what has been learnt about the Higgs boson and the idea of cosmic inflation (that supposedly propelled the early universe into an enormous volume increase3 over a very short time, a quintillionth of a quintillionth of a second after the alleged big bang) does not add up.

The Higgs boson, the so-called ‘God’ particle,4 is supposed to give mass to all elementary particles, according to the standard model of particle physics. By combining what we know of the Higgs boson and the standard model of particle physics with the idea of cosmic inflation as supposedly determined from the recent research of the BICEP2 Collaboration team, Hogan has come to the conclusion that the universe, as we know it, should not exist.

The BICEP2 Collaboration, which used a South-Pole-based telescope to look at the CMB radiation in a very small region of the sky, concluded that the B-mode polarization they observed in the CMB photons was indicative of primordial gravitational waves soon after the big bang. It was claimed as both a ‘direct’ and a ‘smoking gun’ detection of the big bang.

By comparing the microscopic with the macroscopic it seems something does not add up. The energy in the universe due to the ‘inflaton-field’ (see shortly) is more than sufficient to force the Higgs-field into a regime whereby the rapidly expanding universe would have suddenly and rapidly collapsed back into the singularity.5 In other words, the universe never was stable and vanished before it ever got going. But of course we are here discussing this so someone got it wrong.

The irony is that now that this problem has been realised, those with the worldview that ‘the big bang must be correct’, are now discussing new physics that allows the universe to exist, even though the standard model of particle physics says it should not.

This may be illustrated with the following graph.


Figure 2

Theorists have proposed various models of inflation.6

The cosmic inflation was supposedly driven by what is called an inflaton field, which is an as-yet-unidentified field, akin to an unstable electric field. This is an unknown proposed to explain what powered cosmic inflation. It is nothing short of new physics. And they would very much like the inflaton to be identified with the Higgs boson.

Large-field inflation models, as the name implies, result in large changes but theorists favour small-field inflation models. These are inherently more stable and this keeps weird quantum effects under control.

These models were tested against the recent data of the BICEP2 Collaboration. The large-field inflation model is now currently favoured by those results, not small-field inflation. But theorists don’t like this because to make inflation persist long enough to stretch the universe as flat7 as it is, the amplitude of the inflaton field must have changed immensely.


Figure 38

And the Higgs boson models produce small-field inflation. Therefore they are disfavoured by the new BICEP2 data. The small-field models predict much weaker swirls than BICEP saw. So those models are now dead.

But Hogan’s approach to the Higgs boson means that the universe should be ‘sitting’ in a valley of the ‘Higgs field’, which tells us why all particles have mass. See Figure 3. But, according to him, there is a different valley, which is much deeper, and the universe is prevented from falling into it by a large energy barrier.

As mentioned above, from BICEP2 data this necessarily must be a large-field model, and is inherently unstable. It follows from this approach then that the universe would have been subject to large quantum fluctuations during the cosmic inflation phase, ‘kicking’ it over the energy barrier into the other valley of the Higgs field, within a fraction of a second. Consequently the universe should have quickly collapsed in a big crunch. That means it should have disappeared back into the singularity from whence it supposedly came. Hogan says:

“This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn’t be around to discuss it.”

At least that much should be self-evident!

That means theorists are backed into a corner. The Higgs boson is at odds with the allowable inflaton-field models from the BICEP2 data and they are forced to accept an inherently unstable universe model. They are left with the need for more unknown new physics to plug up the hole.

We see experimental science again at odds with so-called big bang cosmogony, particularly the inflationary start to their universe. The latter is historical science as it tries to reconstruct history, but the contradiction introduced by the Higgs boson means that they have to find new physics from the dark side (again9) to save the standard big bang model.

Hogan is bound by his own big bang worldview when he concludes that the standard model of particle physics may be deficient, suggesting something could be missing there:

“If BICEP2 is shown to be correct, it tells us that there has to be interesting new particle physics beyond the standard model,” Hogan said.10

In short, if the BICEP2 data were ‘confirmed’, he would favour the unverifiable inflation interpretation over the experimentally sound theory of particle physics. This clearly illustrates the effect of a worldview.

Then there are those who have reacted to these problems by making any connection with particle physics irrelevant—by invoking the multiverse as an explanation for the failure of String theory to predict any meaningful model.11

The multiverse is an all-purpose excuse for not being able to explain anything about particle physics. They argue that particle physics is random and inexplicable, different at different points of the multiverse. Different ‘universes’ in the multiverse must have different laws of physics, which does not leave you with much confidence that anything you test in the lab has any relevance to the origin of the universe.

But inflation is preferred over any alternative, which must explain why a big bang universe leaves the universe so flat—that is, Euclidean space. As one blogger in support of cosmic evolution wrote (bold emphases added):

“But the inflationary claim is more spectacular because it was even more unexpected. Inflation was Alan Guth’s attempt to explain why the early universe after the Big Bang was so very “flat,” which is to say, why the force of the explosion matched the force of gravity to one part in 1060. To put this in perspective, there are about 1080 protons in the visible universe, so 1020 protons, about one grain of sand, would have unbalanced the Big Bang, causing it either to recollapse into a black hole, or to expand so fast as to never form stars and galaxies. One grain of sand more, one grain less and we would not be here.”12

Wow, talk about faith! That is some faith!

The concept of inflation was motivated, not by the science, but by a philosophical argument to explain the universe we live in without a Creator, an Intelligent Designer. Evidence in support of inflation was unlikely but necessary, else they would be left in an intolerable position.

So what caused the big bang? If there is no Creator then there is no First Cause. Some theorists have hypothetically constructed a cause before the big bang using mathematical arguments with some new exotic theories. For example, some suggest colliding higher-dimensional membranes. But that involves untestable String theory, higher dimensional brane-worlds, M-theory and other weird stuff, where membranes representing some higher dimension spaces supposedly collided producing the big bang of this universe, and maybe many others.


I would not be surprised if after reading this, you feel like you are ‘still in the dark’. The Higgs boson and the standard theory of particle physics, which is the most successful physical theory ever developed by man, is at odds with the theory of cosmic inflation. That tension is such that the universe, as we know it, should not exist. But it does! Therefore the science of how the universe started in a big bang is all in the dark.

This is, again, a case of where cosmic inflation must be given essential help to survive—some suggesting new physics is needed to solve this quandary (the mess with the Higgs boson). The big bang paradigm is believed as fact, so one more new unknown must be invented that allows the universe to exist.

Yet inflation was in the first instance invoked to eliminate the Creator, because of, among other things, what was perceived as a serious fine-tuning problem for the standard big bang model. But the inflation scenario that is favoured by the BICEP2 data, is disfavoured by the God particle. However, the Higgs boson detection has now been put at a confidence limit of 99.999999999%13 which is much, much higher than that for the detection of cosmic inflation, via the signature of primordial gravitational waves, which has now been thrown into doubt.14

References and notes

  1. It’s okay. Nothing really matters. We don’t actually exist, anyway. Or so the Higgs Boson particle suggests, 27 June 2014; Return to text.
  2. Should the Higgs boson have caused our Universe to collapse?, 20 June 2014, Return to text.
  3. By a factor of 1078 in a period 10-32’s starting about 10-36’s after the big bang; See Return to text.
  4. De Repentigny, M.B., Looking for the God Particle at the Large Hadron Collider, J. of Creation 22(3):77-83, 2008. Return to text.
  5. The assumption is that the universe arose out of a singularity by a quantum fluctuation of some false vacuum field. The latter is another unknown, which will be discussed elsewhere. Return to text.
  6. Cho, A., The Morning After, Inflation Result Causes Headaches, Science 344(4):19,20, 2014 Return to text.
  7. Flat means the geometry of the universe is Euclidean. Return to text.
  8. Ref. 2. Return to text.
  9. E.g. dark matter, dark energy, etc. –unknown fudge factors to explain unknowns. See Big bang fudge factors. Return to text.
  10. Ref. 2. Return to text.
  11. String theory is based on the idea that tiny vibrating strings are the fundamental units of all particles in the universe. The universe is 10 or 11 dimensional or even more if you include super-symmetry (SUSY). The problem is that there are something like 10500 different possible models of reality and so String theory is essentially untestable. Return to text.
  12. Sheldon, R., Bang for the Buck: What the BICEP2 Consortium’s Discovery Means, 19 March 2014; Return to text.
  13. Anthony, S., CERN now 99.999999999% sure it has found the Higgs boson, 17 December 2012; Return to text.
  14. Hartnett, J.G., The authors of the claimed biggest astrophysics discovery of the century admit they may have been wrong, 3 July 2014; Return to text.
By a factor of 1078 in a period 10-32’s starting about 10-36’s after the big bang; See
De Repentigny, M.B.,
The assumption is that the universe arose out of a singularity by a quantum fluctuation of some false vacuum field. The latter is another unknown, which will be discussed elsewhere.
Cho, A., The Morning After, Inflation Result Causes Headaches, Science 344(4):19,20, 2014
Flat means the geometry of the universe is Euclidean.
Ref. 2.
E.g. dark matter, dark energy, etc. –unknown fudge factors to explain unknowns. See
Ref. 2.
String theory is based on the idea that tiny vibrating strings are the fundamental units of all particles in the universe. The universe is 10 or 11 dimensional or even more if you include super-symmetry (SUSY). The problem is that there are something like 10500 different possible models of reality and so String theory is essentially untestable.
Sheldon, R.,
Anthony, S.,
Hartnett, J.G.,

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Readers’ comments
Terry P., Australia, 30 July 2014
”The multiverse is an all-purpose excuse for not being able to explain anything about particle physics.” They are definitely getting warmer:         “But the Day of the Lord will come; it will come, unexpected as a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a great rushing sound, the elements will disintegrate in flames, and the earth with all that is in it will be laid bare.         Since the whole universe is to break up in this way, think what sort of people you ought to be, what devout and dedicated lives you should live! Look eagerly for the coming of the Day of God and work to hasten it on; that day will set the heavens ablaze until they fall apart, and will melt the elements in flames. But we have this promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice. — 2P§3:10-13” “THEN I SAW a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had vanished, and there was no longer any sea. — Rev§21:1”
C. S., Australia, 30 July 2014
On a related note, if the universe came from nothing, or if the universe or "multiverse" is eternal, then (even though it's huge) the universe/multiverse falls under the definition of being a "perpetual motion machine" or an "over unity" machine, both of which are uncontroversially dismissed as being scientifically IMPOSSIBLE! (See Mythbusters 2004, Episode 24, 2nd segment: "Free Energy"; and Dawkins' "Greatest Show on Earth", about 2/3 through chapter 13) To put it another way - if Krauss is correct on his "universe from nothing", then he has a solution for all the world's energy shortages (just get matter and energy from nothing), and all the world's pollution problems (just add antimatter to pollution, to get nothing). In the face of claims of a universe from nothing, perhaps we should adopt the approach of the U.S. patents office, when dealing with patent applications for perpetual motion machines: reject all such applications without a working model! Now, please excuse the thought: if God exists, then He also appears to fall under the definition of being a perpetual motion machine, but this is not really anything new - God is reputedly exists from everlasting to everlasting and upholds the universe from moment to moment. And note that it is only material perpetual motion machines that science dismisses as impossible - God is also reputably immaterial. So, we are left with a choice with between the unscientific belief in an "over unity", "perpetual motion machine" universe/multiverse, or belief in a perpetual, immaterial God. Science appears to direct us to God!
John Hartnett responds
Chris, I would strengthen the argument to say 'the God who exists eternally, the great I AM—the self-existent One, is the only solution to the origin of the universe. He is immaterial, eternal and omnipotent. He is the only possible first cause to the universe.' In other words, I would not use the word 'if' as the universe cannot exist without Him.
Bart M., Australia, 31 July 2014
And I thought we creationists were the people who believed in fairy stories.
Chris H., Australia, 31 July 2014
It always amazes me that such intelligent people can be so dumb. Unfortunately they choose to be, because they can't accept the truth. Which bears out Romans 1:20-22 Amp. They make themselves simpletons.
Victor B., Australia, 31 July 2014
The Universe exists (we know it does :) - it is a fact. However " --- The big bang paradigm is believed as a fact, so one more new unknown must be invented that allows the universe to exist" . That which is unknown for the universe to exist, biblical creationists know- The Creator, Redeemer and Judge (Acts 17: 23-28)
larry C., United States, 31 July 2014
Interesting and a fun article to read however I not enjoy the ad hominem on the scientific community. These type of attacks weaken the article. A vast majority of scientists simply follow the evidence and currently the evidence suggests a universe that is a few billion years in age and beginning from a point.Scientists are not demonic drones infested with the endless desire to disprove god while ignoring in the mountain of evidence supporting god. So what is the truth? Well, we have no scientific evidence of god and evidence supporting an older universe, evolution, and the big bang overwhelm the evidence supporting creationism. For some people, our hardwired, evolution installed, method of thinking lends a strong emotional hook for superstitions...seeing thieves in the shadows. To support creationism (and also in my opinion to support any negative or cutting religous judgment) the foundation of creationism (or the negative judgement) must be proved. This foundation is the proving of the bedrock of any religion, the proving of the religion's god. All fallacies attacking a scientifically founded belief, including ad hominem, do not offer any countering evidence supporting god or creationism. Simply stated, a person can't prove the strength of his or her home by burning the home of another person. Evidence must be given for any assertion and disproving one assertion does not prove another.
John Hartnett responds
There is no ad hominem attack on anyone, nor is/was it implied. There is some humour here as you acknowledge, but it is from the conclusions of the researchers themselves. But let me state that I in no way believe their beliefs are inconsistent with their own worldview, which they strongly hold, and they are only operating under those assumptions. There is no intention in the article to suggest anything other than the obviously ridiculous state that modern cosmology has led to. It is the cosmology that is being criticised, as it should be. You do not understand the science of origins if you believe you can 'prove' one explanation or another. Cosmology is not science, in the usual testable laboratory sense, and creationists do not try to 'prove' the biblical account. It is believed by faith because God said so. But one thing we can do to test cosmological models and models of origins, we can examine the evidence to see if there are contradictions, and inconsistencies with those models. Of course all are still subject to the aforementioned assumptions. No evidence stands on its own, it is always interpreted by the researcher, within his worldview or religious belief system. And the models must stand scrutiny, be criticised, or they are not worth having. Your house burning analogy is flawed, but so is the big bang.
Errol B., Australia, 31 July 2014
Unfortunately, I know Christians with less faith than Krauss, Guth and the rest of these intelligent people, Psalm 14:1 describes them differently. Reading between the lines in ‘New Scientist, The Collection Issue 2, The Unknown Universe’, suggests there’s nowhere near as much consensus as some would like to admit. There seems to be opposing models popping up everywhere. Do any models exist where known math & physics actually support it & if the math supports multiple opposing models, what would that mean? Is there any confirmed atheistic prediction existing, in any field, which is highly exclusive and specific? I'm still searching. Is CMB radiation the best they can offer?
John Hartnett responds
The cosmological models are 'highly degenerate', which means there are many possible models to describe the same observations. This is the nature of cosmology, which is not really science. They do have more than the CMB but all of it is subject to the same pre-suppositions. All of it is interpreted in light of the standard cosmological worldview. See Big bang fudge factors.
Ryan B., United States, 31 July 2014
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:4 ESV)
R. D., United Kingdom, 31 July 2014
Dr. Hartnett wrote a few years back that "... many experts don’t [that is, believe in the big bang], and expect the weight of the anomalies to eventually sink it." More anomalies turn-up by the year, so it seems. This new set of absurdities which people can say and write (apparently without a trace of jest) is like that quasar which was found embedded in a nearby galaxy a few years back and all the others. The big bang has been living on borrowed time for decades. And - despite what the status-quo-supporting propaganda will tell you - there are many top-notch physicists out there, Dr. Hartnett among them, who have already discarded it. That number is only going to keep growing. Praise God, not all physicists are so blinded by worldviews that they can't work-out obvious truths. Max Planck's new generation which doesn't accept old ideas seems to be coming to fruition again. Surely it's time for a paradigm-shift soon! (Though as to what'll come next, it's anyone's guess. Let's hope not something worse still!)
John Hartnett responds
If and when a paradigm shift comes, it will not be to the worldview of the biblical Genesis narrative. That conclusion is quite evident from the sin-nature of man. He strives, willingly and unwillingly, to prove there is no God, no Creator, hence he believes he escapes the eternal judgment by redefining it out of existence. The ostrich with his head in the sand I think. Nevertheless, I believe we already see what is coming: the multiverse. It is the "perfect" solution. The hypothesis is that our universe is just one of many. Call it "cosmological natural selection" (Lee Smolin has, Physics Today 67(3):41, March 2014), where our universe is the result of trillions of years of evolution of many past ancestor universes that went through a process of them coming out of a blackhole which evaporates leaving a new expanding region of spacetime. Each time a new universe is 'created' and the laws of physics are slightly different. Really those laws are "the creator". But this thinking starts with the denial of the Creator God.
Peter D., Australia, 1 August 2014
"The Universe exists (we know it does :) - it is a fact. However " --- The big bang paradigm is believed as a fact, so one more new unknown must be invented that allows the universe to exist" . And we get castigated for proposing "God of the Gaps" theories.
Ulf K., Australia, 1 August 2014
Hi John, Q: Has the Higg's Boson been found? I understand that the definition of the Higgs Boson is: no charge (neutral) and no spin. How can these attributes be discovered in its extremely short life time in the Swiss experiment? I have listened to evolutionary scientists being interviewed shortly after the so-called discovery of the Higgs boson (Hb) and they were cautious in replying to the question whether the Hb has indeed been found, they said "... a Higgs-boson-like particle has been discovered". I would appreciate your comments on this. cheers Ulf
John Hartnett responds
If you read the article in the link on Ref 13. you will read that it has been found with a 5 sigma confidence limit. Normally 4 sigma is considered a detection. This is a statement about the probability of the detection being correct, and not a false positive by some random fluke. The process is repeatable experimental physics. It can be trusted as much as you can continue to repeat and get that detection limit. See Our galaxy near the centre of concentric spherical shells of galaxies? for a discussion on sigmas.
L. H., United States, 1 August 2014
One just has to ask why If God doesn't exist and the Bible is not true, then why do some people spend so much time and energy trying to disprove Him! Truth is not that difficult to defend. It is observed in reality. Falsehood however, must be defended by deceptive unreal speculations and contrived stories. The problem is that lots of people have a skewed view of reality, therefore the theories that are proposed do not have to be accurate but just be perceived as intelligent. Because most people will assume that any theory proposed by a scientist or professor must be true, they will not take the time to investigate it for themselves.
Vernon K., United States, 1 August 2014
John, from the article linked at 13: "Over the last few months you may have noticed the use of the phrase “Higgs-like,” rather than “Higgs boson.” This is because CERN and the scientific community can’t be certain that they’ve actually found the Higgs boson — all they know is that they’ve found a particle, with a mass of around 125 GeV, that behaves as predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. " Notice that they are now only claiming a Higgs LIKE particle as they CANNOT know yet. From Miles Mathis: "In new data revealed on December 3, 2012, the LHC is now admitting they have at least two new Higgs masses very near to one another. They are calling one a di-photon Higgs and the other a 4-lepton Higgs, but that is just speculation. The reported masses are 123.5 and 126.6. Also curious is that they are now calling their particles “Higgs-like.”, reporting on Stephen Hawking's FPP prize, said, An identical cash prize of $3 million (£1.8million) was shared between the seven scientists who led the effort to discover a Higgs-like particle at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. So they already appear to be backpedaling from the Higgs claim." So they have actually found TWO particles they think are candidates and are speculating about their possible types. NO ONE IS SAYING THE HIGGS HAS BEEN FOUND!! Well, no one who knows what is happening and is being honest. I would also point out that the article linked at 13 appears to have left out some information leading to misunderstanding of what IS going on there!!
John Hartnett responds
It would be fair to say though that the Higgs has been found as much as the accelerating universe has been found. Both have been given Nobel prizes. But I would say more so for the Higgs because it is based on local laboratory experiments. Whereas cosmology, especially Inflation, really is just not science in that sense.