Jastrowwho is considered by many to be one of the greatest science writers of our timecertainly is no creationist. But as a scientist who is an astrophysicist, he has written often on the inescapable conclusion that the Universe had a beginning. Consider, for example, these statements from his pen:
Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time.... About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 47,105).
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
But Dr. Barrow went even further when he noted:
As the implications of the quantum picture of matter were explored more fully, a further radically new consequence appears that was to impinge upon the concept of the vacuum. Werner Heisenberg showed that there were complementary pairs of attributes of things which could not be measured simultaneously with arbitrary precision, even with perfect instruments. This restriction on measurement became known as the Uncertainty Principle. One pair of complementary attributes limited by the Uncertainty Principle is the combination of position and momentum. Thus we cannot know at once where something is and how it is moving with arbitrary precision .
The Uncertainty Principle and the quantum theory revolutionised our conception of the vacuum. We can no longer sustain the simple idea that a vacuum is just an empty box. If we could say that there were no particles in a box, that it was completely empty of all mass and energy, then we would have to violate the Uncertainty Principle because we would require perfect information about motion at every point and about the energy of the system at a given instant of time .
This discovery at the heart of the quantum description of matter means that the concept of a vacuum must be somewhat realigned. It is no longer to be associated with the idea of the void and of nothingness or empty space. Rather, it is merely the emptiest possible state in the sense of the state that possesses the lowest possible energy; the state from which no further energy can be removed (2000, pp. 204,205,
Barrow, John D. (2000), The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe (New York: Pantheon).
As you know, it’s already built-in to the Dirac and Klein-Gordon equations, and it’s happening to infinite orders every time an electron experiences the attraction of a proton (for example.) There’s nothing exotic about it. The exchange of gauge bosons holding the world together can’t happen without it.
The Casimir effect is the result of exclusion of certain wave lengths based upon the distance the plates are apart. The wave lengths exist due to the Universe which generates the waves of energy, so the Casimir effect has nothing to do with how a Universe could come into existence.