From  the  book  “PROOF  OF  GOD”

by  Ptolemy  Tompkins  and  Bernard  Haisch

"You're Soaring in It."

“Okay of protons, neutrons, and electrons. But protons and neutrons are actually not the solid little BB-type things we see in textbooks, but are themselves made up of particles. And those, it seems, are made of... what? Energy, right?"

"Particles are essentially just congealed littleknots of energy. Because, of course, energy and matter are, at bottom, the same thing.n

"Roger that. Particles are essentially - just congealed little knots of energy. Because, of course, energy and matter are, at bottom, the same thing. That's what Einstein discovered, and what he told the world about in his famous theorem E = mc2, where c' equals the speed of light, about 670,000,000 miles per hour, or 186,000 miles per second."

"It's funny," I said. "That equation is one that just about everyone knows. Yet to someone not comfortable with mathematics, it is just hopelessly remote. I mean, why does the energy contained in a certain unit of matter equal that unit of matter times the speed of light squared?"

"Don't get hung up on the numbers," Bernie said. "That just reflects the system of units we use to measure these things: units that are in essence arbitrary, like your speedometer registering speed in miles per hour in the US but kilometers per hour in Europe. What really matters is that it is possible to change one thing (motion) into another, different thing (energy). What does matter is that the speed of light is the limit, in our universe, for how fast something can go. Neither light nor anything else can go faster. Why does light travel at that speed? The cheap and easy answer—which, I'm afraid, is the one we're going to have to stay with, if you don't want this book to explode into a physics textbook—is because that number is a constant of the world we live in—the world of space-time. It's one of the irreducible giv-ens of the world we find ourselves living in. Why does energy equal matter times the speed of light squared? We are dealing with absolute fundamentals here—the wood and the nails God used to construct our universe. As we will, I think, discover later, there are often no good answers (other than the God one) for why our universe is constructed in such a way that this or that mathematical equation happens to be able to describe it. These are simply the nature and dimensions of the materials with which God built the tabernacle of our universe."

"Okay, fair enough," I said. "But so, to get back to particles— the smallest known objects in our universe. I understand how they are very squirrelly things to deal with, that they don't like to hold still, to be confined in one place at one time. But... why don't they come equipped with mass?"

"Because," said Bernie, "as we covered when we talked about the Higgs Field, nothing in the universe actually possesses mass. Particles, and hence all the things that are made up of them (that is, everything in the world, including you and me and this desk and those trees outside the window and whatever else you might want to name) only appear to have mass. This means that in order to appear to be solid, to be massy, particles need something to resist their motion."

"Nothing in the universe actually

possesses mass. Particles, and hence all

the things that are made up of them ...

only appear to have mass."

"You mean, something to rub up against?"

"Sure. Kind of like moving through molasses. Whenever a particle speeds up, it encounters resistance. But resistance from what? That's the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. It could be the Higgs Field or it could be something else."

"So," I said, "truth be told, there's nothing solid in the universe at all."

"Well, it depends on how you look at it. But yes, if you are talking about something like a marble or a ball bearing that seems solid to us, you could definitely say there's no such thing in the universe. Marbles and ball bearings are swirling clouds of energy, that's all. There's nothing to them."

"Marbles and ball bearings are swirling clouds of energy, that's all. There's nothing to them."

"Okay," I said. "But the reason we are able to have the illusion of solidity—the reason I can feel the coins in my pocket, or this chair I'm sitting in, as being solid, as being actually there—that's because of the Higgs Field. The field these particles rub up against that makes them appear to have mass. The Higgs Field is like this universal, invisible 'stuff' that's absolutely everywhere. We can't see it, we can't feel it, but because it's there, when particles move against it, they create a kind of friction, and that rubbing against the field, if you will, gives them the appearance of having mass."

"Right," said Bernie. "That's exactly what the Higgs Field does. It's a kind of super molasses .. .that is, if it really exists."

It looked like I was on my way to getting Bernie to talk some more about his potential discovery after all.

"So you're disputing that those people who found the Higgs Field, and the Higgs Boson, or 'God Particle,' really found what they thought they found."

"That's too strong a statement. They found something" Bernie said. "They found what looks, from preliminary analysis, to be a new kind of particle, and might quite possibly be the Higgs Particle. Now, the Higgs Particle has been around for a while. It was first hypothesized to exist in papers published in 1964 by six authors, one of whom was a theoretical physicist named Peter Higgs. The existence of the particle would have tied up a number of vexing questions in the physics field, not least of which was the question of what allows apparent mass to exist in our universe. Consequently, physicists have been searching for it ever since."

"So, just to be clear," I said, "we're talking about two things here—the Higgs Particle and the Higgs Field. Why are both so important?"

"Because," said Bernie, "fields and particles are two sides of the same coin. Every particle has a field that it acts in relation to. All particles possess their own fields. So if you have a Higgs Particle, it follows that there's a Higgs Field out there, and that it's this field that has the function of creating virtual mass, and hence virtual matter. Without that particle, and the field that goes along with it, there would be no mass in the universe. So when the Higgs Particle was (apparently) discovered, that meant, to simplify things quite a bit, that the Higgs Field had been discovered too. So it's thought that those scientists discovered the answer to one of the great questions physicists had been trying to answer: What creates the feeling of solidity, of mass, in the world? What gives the world its permanence and stability?"

I had to admit that I still didn't have much of a grasp on what the Higgs Field was. Truth be told, I didn't have a grasp on what any kind of field was. I certainly got that fields, whatever they were, were important—were central—if you wanted to get even the most basic understanding of what the material world was and how it worked. But somehow the word "field" itself held me back.

I mean, what is a field?

My mind went back to those koi in my aquarium in Nyack. It seemed like a gamble (I could only take this physics for bone-heads thing so far), but I decided to take it.

"So look," I said. "It seems to me that if you're going to give me a basic understanding of the kind of universe you live in, which is clearly closer to reality than the one I'm living in, I'm going to have to understand what a field is. But I have to tell you, I don't have the remotest grasp of what a field really is. I can't envision it.

"So let me try something out on you. I have these fish back home. Koi, you know, like goldfish. Every night, when Fd go to bed, Fd stare at those koi, and Fd watch them bump up against the walls of their aquarium, and when we started our talks, and I got into your books, I found myself thinking that fields are kind of like the water those fish were in. They completely lived in that water, yet they were so much in it that they scarcely took notice of it. So . . . for the purposes of this book, can I envision a field as being somewhat like the water in that aquarium? They're invisible, everywhere-present elements that we're totally immersed in, even though we don't notice them, don't experience them, at all?"

"They're invisible, everywhere-present

elements that we're totally immersed

in, even though we don't notice them,

don't experience them, at all?"

Bernie thought for a moment. "Sure, the fish tank analogy works."

"So . . . you're not that surprised that I don't really understand what fields are?"

"Well, no," said Bernie. "Because the fact of the matter is that no one does. In fact, they may very well not exist at all."

"They don't exist either I give up."

"It's like this," said Bernie. "Let's say one particle, or one atom, affects another particle, or atom, and that they're some distance apart—a few feet, say. It doesn't really matter. Let's say there was no physical contact between the two particles or atoms, yet somehow one affected the other. How do you explain this? Science explains it by suggesting fields, or invisible forces that are present everywhere, through which matter in one place can affect matter in some other place. The fields are a kind of projection of the properties of the particle, such as the electric charge."

"Well, that's helpful. So there are different kinds of fields in the universe, and we're going to leave it at that, because it sounds like science doesn't have a complete handle on what fields are anyway. But…. given that there are different kinds of fields in the universe (even though you just told me that fields might not even exist either), is the Higgs Field the only one we need to worry about?"

"Far from it," said Bernie. "In fact, the whole reason that my associates and I took issue with the Higgs Field was because there was this other field, much closer to hand, that we felt would do the job of explaining the existence of mass in our universe much better. That field is called the Zero Point Field. Let's do a quick thought experiment. If you were to take a cubic centimeter of space and suck every last atom of oxygen, nitrogen, and whatever else out of it, so that, atomically and molecularly speaking, there was absolutely nothing left in that cubic centimeter of space, what would you have left?"

"Urn. A vacuum?" I ventured.

"Yes," said Bernie, "you would have a vacuum, if it were possible for an absolute vacuum to exist in our universe. However, it isn't. Everywhere, at every moment, trillions upon trillions of particles are coming into existence and then disappearing back out of it. They pop into existence, then either crash into each other so that both are instantly annihilated, or they simply pop back out of existence on their own. And they do this so fast-— something along the lines of a trillion trillionth a second in any cubic centimeter in the world around you—that they don't exist long enough to have any kind of measurable effect on the world."

"One cubic centimeter of empty space in this room has enough energy in it to blow up the universe, or at least a good chunk of it"

"Okay," I said. "But…. they're there, even if they come into existence and go out of existence so fast that they don't have an effect on the world ... other than creating inertia."

"Yes," said Bernie. "Though, as the Soviet nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov proposed, they may also produce gravitation— but that's another story. The gist is this: one cubic centimeter of empty space' in this room has enough energy in it to blow up the universe. The Zero Point Field is an invisible but vast sea of energy that moves in and out of existence so fast that it might as well not be there as far as we're concerned. Except that it is there. And it's so powerful that if you could harness it, one cubic centimeter of empty' space would provide enough energy to solve all of humanity's energy needs for the rest of humankind's time on earth, no matter how long that might be.

"If you could harness it, one cubic centimeter of'empty space would provide enough energy to solve all of humanity s energy needs for the rest of humankind's time on earth, no matter how long that might be.... That fact—and

it is a fact—is a potent illustration of just how much we miss of the real world, living, as we do, bound by our five senses and the limitations of our human minds''

"If nothing else, that fact—and it is a fact that this Zero Point Field does exist—is a potent illustration of just how much we miss of the real world, living, as we do, bound by our five senses and the limitations of our human minds. Mystics—both the many Christian ones and those, of other faiths as well—are, I believe, capable of connecting intuitively with aspects of our world that normal people can't. They have had glimpses into that world of energy and fire that is hiding behind this presumably ordinary, presumably humdrum world that science has purported to have explained. But for ordinary people like you and me, the existence of something like the Zero Point Field must be confined to theory. Something, in short, we must take on faith."

"So," I asked, "could somebody harness that energy?"

"Not now, not today," said Bernie. "But someday …. who knows? And not only does the Zero Point Field potentially hold the solution to our energy dilemmas; it may also allow us to harness the force of gravity, so that objects—no matter how heavy—could be moved with no effort at all. The Field also might hold the key to how we might be able to build crafts capable of traveling to other worlds—worlds far too distant, now, for our technology to come even close to getting to. This obviously also raises the question of whether other civilizations have used this technique to get here—something I'm not qualified to comment on beyond simply raising the possibility.”

"But of course, this is all just wild guessing. Yet the wild theories of today often become the realities of tomorrow. That's why Arthur C. Clarke used the theory that Rueda, Puthoff, and I came up with in a novel of his—an adaptation of which," he said with apparent amusement, "appeared in this 'scientific journal.'"

Bernie reached behind him to fumble among some papers, and produced, to my surprise, the March 1998 edition of Playboy.

On page 76 of the magazine was a story written by Clarke and Stephen Baxter called "The Wire Continuum."

"In the story," Bernie said, "Clarke and Baxter create something called the 'HRP Effect.' The HRP standing for Haisch, Rueda, and Puthoff. Of course,. Clarke was writing science fiction, but I was flattered that he thought enough of our theory to build an elaborate, and carefully researched, story around it."

"Wow," I said. "So you're part of an Arthur C. Clarke story in Playboy. Looks like that whole scientific immortality challenge has already been met."

"Well," said Bernie, "they call it science fiction for a reason. Nonetheless, as people like to say, yesterday's science fiction often becomes tomorrow's scientific fact, and though it's way too premature to think about such possibilities in any but the most theoretical of ways, think of all the feats science performs today that were unthinkable a hundred, or fifty, or even twenty years ago."

"So what does the name 'Zero Point Field' mean?"

"The 'Zero' in 'Zero Point Field' comes from the fact that the field is still present at absolute zero temperature, the coldest temperature possible, when most atomic processes grind to a halt. What that means, in essence, is that the power of the Zero Point Field is so unimaginably great that it transcends temperature itself. All of which is to say that the Zero Point Field is a force that's powerful far, far beyond our capacity to imagine. It makes the power in a nuclear explosion look like firecrackers. It could toast our universe in a microseconc yet here we are, right now, existing in the very midst of it.' "You're soaking in it',' I said, absently. "What?" said Bernie.

"It's a commercial from the seventies," I said. "For Palmolive dishwashing liquid. There's this woman named Madge. She was, like, a beautician I think. Anyhow, in the commercial, she's doing this woman's fingers, soaking them in this liquid. Madge talks to the woman about how she should use Palmolive dishwashing liquid, because it softens your hands while you do the dishes. Then she says to the lady: 'You know you're soaking in it.' The lady freaks out, and says: 'Dishwashing liquid?' And then Madge says: 'Relax, it's Palmolive.'"

"I never saw it," said Bernie. "Too bad I missed that one, I guess."

"Wow, really? Well," I said, "you probably watched a good deal less TV in the seventies than I did. Anyhow, it just somehow reminded me of the commercial, what you were saying about how we're all immersed in this incredible field of energy right now, but we don't even know it. It also makes me think of the lines 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" "What?" Bernie said, perhaps gearing up for another memory of a seventies television commercial.

"You know," I said. "Paul says it in Acts. He talks about God as something, or Someone, in whom 'we live, and move, and have our being.' I always liked that, because the words give me this sense of total immersion in God. They make me think about how, like I said, I'm like a fish that doesn't know what water is, because I'm totally immersed in it."

Bernie looked a bit annoyed: "I hope you're not getting all new agey about this. People who have probably never taken a physics course tell me stuff like that: saying the Zero Point Field is God."

He gave me an "I'm checking you out" look, and then continued.

"To acknowledge the reality of the Zero Point Field, and its possible role in creating the illusion of the solid world, is science. To call the Zero Point Field God is simply to take tantalizingly complex and mysterious scientific facts and reduce them to woolly, cool-sounding words that don't tell us anything. God could not be the Zero Point Field. God isn't anything in this universe we live in. He transcends it, is beyond it, is in no way caught up in its mechanisms. That's standard theology, but it's also the first thing to take into account if you want to risk talking about 'God' and 'science' in the same breath. That's why I get so upset about all these books that talk about the Zero Point Field as if it's this mystical thing, the answer to the big question of where God is and what he's like. Well, God may have made sure that our Universe came with a Zero Point Field but that is a far, far cry from saying that God is the Zero Point Field. That's just absurd.”……….

"God, the fifteenth-century German philosopher and theologian Nicholas of Cusa wrote, is a circle whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere. I see a connection here: The field is an everywhere-present but completely invisible and undetectable ocean of light that makes the world feel solid. In doing so, it allows us to have a physical universe, or rather an apparent physical universe, to live and move through. Like God, the field lends us our being. Like God it is closer to us than our own jugular vein. Like God it is invisible yet everywhere. No wonder so many new-age writers have been talking it up.

"Yes," Bernie said. "And as I said, that's just the problem. We shouldn't get too fixated on the Zero Point Field, especially as the Higgs Particle may prove to be as mighty a discovery as many people think it is. We need to wait and see. I'll also keep the Zero Point Field inertia model in my back pocket for the time being. The reason I wanted to write this book with you is because in my observation therf is more and more evidence forthcoming, and forthcoming from the realm of twenty-first century science, that there is some kind of a great intelligence behind the laws of nature. It goes way beyond the Higgs or Zero Point Field. The evidence of a great creative intelligence ranges from the bizarre behavior of quantum experiments to the evolution of the cosmos. People should know this. This is the kind of knowledge you should take into account when you decide what you truly believe.

"It's amazing, the things we don't know," Bernie said. "It's also amazing what we do know, and it's amazing what a help to a lot of people those things could be if they were just told about them ... which, again, is why I want to do this book."

"Science can be an enormous help to people who are struggling with their faith. Most people who don't believe in God do so for so-called 'commonsense' reasons. Well, I’m sorry to have to tell them, but the commonsense world we all spend our time in doesn't exist.

"Yes," I said. "That's why I want to do it too." "That's good news. Because despite what you usually hear, science can be an enormous help to people who are struggling with their faith. Most people who don't believe in God do so for so-called commonsense' reasons. Well, I'm sorry to have to tell them, but the commonsense world we all spend our time in doesn't exist. Actually, I'm happy to tell them that. It's sort of a 'Go Tell It on the Mountain' kind of thing. It's a total fantasy that's been foisted on us by certain members of the scientific community, and we accept it because the scientific discoveries that could free us from this fantasy have taken place in regions far too small, and far too large, for our ordinary tools of perception, and our ordinary ways of thinking, to understand.

"Our eyes can't see quantum interactions. They can't see subatomic particles banging against one another, or coming into and out of existence. And, for that matter, our minds can't even envision them. These events take place on a level that we are not equipped to perceive, or even fully understand, in the commonsense way we understand how one ball on a pool table knocks another ball into a pocket. We, both of us right now, are immersed in the Zero Point Field, but neither of us can see or feel it. A fact like this, to most people, feels like a hopelessly abstract fantasy—something which, even if it is true, has nothing to do with their day-to-day lives.

"But make no mistake: it's that world, not the ordinary, commonsense one we think we're living in, that's the real one."

"And knowing this can help us," I said.

"Enormously!" said Bernie; "To become aware of the realities of our universe, the realities revealed by science only in recent, and sometimes very recent, years—this can offer us tremendous help in understanding our lives, and ourselves. Most important, knowing about that world can help pump genuine meaning back into life. We have this idea—because it's fed to us constantly—that science has robbed the world of meaning. But science hasn't done that. In fact, the situation is just the opposite. Science is an aid to faith, not a hindrance to it."

I thought I understood what he was getting at. Human beings are spiritual beings first and physical beings second. Our physicality is important, in the context of our navigating this current world as the physical beings we plainly are. But in the end, the physical world is an illusion. It's just not there. God lends the world its garment of solidity, just as he lends us everything else. You may own the biggest diamond in the world, but that diamond is nothing more than a swirling mass of energy disguising itself as something solid. The one genuine reality, the one true rock of realness amid all this vast, whirling, roiling sea of supercharged nothingness, is something else altogether. I thought I understood what he was getting at Human beings are spiritual beings first and physical beings second. Our physicality is important, in the context of our navigating this current world as the physical beings we plainly are. But in the end, the physical world is an illusion.

"If matter isn't real," I asked Bernie, "what is real? Does anything," I asked, ripping off Little Feat, "really exist at all?"

"Absolutely," said Bernie.

"What?" I asked.

"We'll get to that," he said.

Down the hall, Marsha was seeing her pupil to the door. She poked her head in and asked if we were ready for something to eat.

"So," said Marsha. "Have you guys put together a bestseller in there yet?"

It had, of course, been my work on Proof of Heaven that had made Bernie interested in me as someone who could help him bring his message to a larger audience. I was confident that I could do so, but I was also anxious that things stayed in perspective.

I told Marsha that though I was proud of the work I'd done on Proof of Heaven, helping to transform a four-hundred-page manuscript into a slim page-turner, Eben's story was so extraordinary that it basically sold itself.

"Turning particle physics into a pulse-pounding page-turner," I said, "is going to be a little more challenging. But even though it's a stretch to say that Bernie has a popular' message, I think it's an important one that will connect with readers. There have been way too many bestsellers by writers who do a sloppy job of preaching that God doesn't exist. The world needs more books by non-sloppy scientists who believe He does."

I asked Marsha if she'd read Proof of Heaven.

"Yes, I did," she said. "And it rang a lot of bells. When I was sixteen, I had a near-death experience during my spring break from high school. My family-—my father, Rankin, my mother, Mildred, and my sister, Marian, and I—were visiting some friends who we had a vacation share with at Rio del Mar, just south of Santa Cruz. The Wrights had two boys about Marian's and my age, and we four decided to wade out into the ocean and body surf.

"We were having a grand time until a large wave crashed over me, pulled me under, and then swept me out to sea. I was terrified, seeing the shore grow further and further away, and I screamed to my friends for help, and soon our parents ran out to see what all the commotion was about. As I drifted further out, something totally unexpected took place.

"I gradually slipped into a strangely relaxed state, and another reality suddenly descended on me. It felt like I was now existing in a realm between life and death. Several oP my relatives who had died and passed on to the other side appeared around me, holding me afloat in what felt like a sumptuous halo of love. I saw my grandmother Blanche Sims, my grandfather James Sims, my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sims; my grandmother Rose Michaelis and my grandfather John Michaelis. I think there were more ancestors going back several hundred years, but I didn't recognize them, just felt they were there, and that they were related to me. They spoke to me mentally and said, 'Don't worry, we will hold you afloat until rescue arrives. It's not time for you to die yet.'

"I felt like I was floodecl with love—almost drowning in it, just as, moments before, I felt I was drowning in the water. I was in such an altered emotional state that even though I was a good swimmer, I didn't feel the need to swim to keep afloat. I just put my head back in the water and floated.

"Eventually, a surfer managed to paddle out to where I was and helped me climb onto his surfboard. He took us in a direction perpendicular to the current that had swept me out, and then swung us around in a circular pattern until we reached the beach. He really knew what he was doing. Meanwhile my father had attempted to rescue me by going out in an inner tube, but was immediately swept in an opposite direction from us. A second surfer went after him, and got him back to shore using a similar strategy to the one that the surfer who rescued me used. It was certainly a lesson in how little I understood about how the ocean works. These surfers seemed to be doing things that made no sense, paddling in what seemed a direction that would lead us further out to sea. Yet they knew the currents, and how a stream of water that might seem to be taking you out to sea will eventually circle around and take you right back to land. They were precisely the people who needed to be at the beach that day, to bring both my father and me safely back to shore.

"As good as I felt when I was out there, my body was actually in very bad shape. I had hypothermia, and had to soak in a tub of hot water for about an hour before I stopped shaking. Gradually the feeling of peace and presence receded, and I turned back into what I was: a teenager who had barely escaped drowning. It turned out the ocean currents were extremely strong that day, and unfortunately another person was swept out to sea and drowned not far from where I'd been. I'm extremely grateful not only that those surfers were there, but that I was able to be open to the love that kept me afloat."