The ideas of quantum zero-point energy may be used to evaluate forces arising in electromagnetism, nuclear physics, and pair theory. This article is a review of the calculations involving electromagnetic theory, where the forces are termed long-ranged van der Waals forces, or retarded dispersion forces. Experimental confirmation of the calculations is pointed out when possible. Inasmuch as long-range van der Waals forces have been evaluated by a number of quantum field-theoretic methods, there is an attempt made to understand the success of the zero-point energy calculations in the context of quantum field theory. There appears to be a close connection between the electromagnetic zero-point calculations and pair theory. It is noted that only in the case of electromagnetism are the forces arising from zero-point energy found to be cut-off independent. Heuristic connections between zero-point energy and semiclassical fluctuation phenomena are noted throughout the analysis.