The God Particle returns—the total victory of materialism impends!
is being made of the discovery (or is it the about-to-be discovery?) of the so-called Higgs Boson, also known as The God Particle. The about-to-be discovery of the God Particle was also in the news just three years ago, and I commented
on it. Here is the opening part of the March 2009 entry (to see the lively discussion which followed, in which various all-knowing atheists showed up whom I showed to be not so all-knowing, go to the original post):
Christopher Potter writes in the New York Post:
- end of initial entry -
If the hype is to be believed, scientists may be mere weeks away from answering one of the most mysterious questions of existence: Why is there anything at all? The long search for the so-called “God particle” may soon be over. And if it is, there will be Nobel Prizes all round for everyone in on the discovery.
Hmm, yes, “if” the hype is to be believed …we are just weeks away from knowing why the universe exists!
The hypothetical God particle, by the way, is something that, one billionth of a second after the Big Bang occurred, changed massless light to something with mass, and thus initiated the material universe. But where did the light come from? Not from a particle, Mr. Potter.
The article, which is unusually long for the Post, ends with a panegyric to science:
Science insists on our commonality. DNA analysis shows us that everyone alive today shares a mother who lived in Africa some 150,000 years ago. Our DNA also shows us that we are descended not just from apes but from slime, a story that takes our descent back some 3 billion years. But the story does not stop there. We are, as poets often remind us, made of star dust. In turn, the stars themselves are clouds of hydrogen gas that condensed and ignited. And even further back in time, before there was any hydrogen gas, the universe was once—for the merest moment in time after the Big Bang—a curious landscape in which there was a field of energy made out of Higgs bosons.
The search for the ultimate truth of existence—through science! The search for the ultimate human unity and the overcoming of all human divisiveness—through science! Even The Greatest Story Ever Told—told by science! Why is it that materialists, atheists, secular humanists, Communists, Randians, and Nazis, who all deny the existence of God, are always trying to create a substitute God? I mean, what is their problem?
The story of science as we understand it today can now trace our descent—and the descent of all things—back to the origins of the universe. Surely that makes science the greatest story ever told. In a world filled with divisiveness of all kinds, how wonderful to be reminded that we are all in this together.
Let’s put it this way. Given that even the people who vociferously and dogmatically insist on the non-existence of God keep constructing some kind of God, doesn’t that suggest that the need for God is built into human nature? And if that need is built into our nature, doesn’t that tell us something objective about the universe? For example, we have a built-in need for food, and guess what? Food exists! The desire for food is not just a pathetic wish to escape from the anxiety and meaninglessness of a universe without food. Our desire for food actually corresponds with, fits with, the real world. Similarly, people have a built-in need for the companionship of the other sex, and guess what? The other sex exists! Our desire for the other sex is not just a delusory attempt to console ourselves in a lonely universe without the other sex. Similarly, people have a built-in need to understand things, and guess what? The world is intelligible! Our desire for intelligibility is not just our projection onto an unintelligible universe of our childhood experience that things make sense. So, since people have a built-in need for God, doesn’t that suggest that … God exists? Why, then, keep coming up with these tacky substitutes—material equality, the Brotherhood of Man, the German germ plasm, John Galt, even the God particle? Why not look for the real thing?
As evidence of what I’ve just said, just as I was writing this, an atheist commenter named Anon sent me a link to William Lobdell’s book Losing My Religion. The atheists have become evangels, sending out atheist books to people to win them over to atheism. Pretty soon they’ll be going door to door, like Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Sage McLaughlin writes:
A few thoughts on your very funny post.
First, it cannot be emphasized enough that the existence of the Higgs boson has been pretty certain for a long time, and that one of the ways that the physicists at CERN knew that this was the long anticipated particle was precisely that it had the qualities that universal scientific consensus predicted. Actually getting confirmation of the particle’s existence through direct observation is a very significant accomplishment, but it isn’t as though it adds very much in the short term to our store of knowledge of quantum physics.
Second, I have been looking forward to this “breakthrough” for some time, for the precise reason that most atheists—and not just the garden variety type, but atheist evangelists—seem to regard the final cataloging of nature as the ultimate scientific triumph over God when, in fact, it is simply science reaching the end of its appointed course. It would seem that a great many people are in for a shock. For if the end of that course ever should be reached, they will see that it is a dead end, and that all the big questions remain unanswered. It is precisely the vastness of human ignorance that gives thoroughgoing materialists this ability to spin out laughable poetics about the wonders of science, and its promise to answer all human querying into the nature of things, and ultimately to satisfy all our deepest desires. I call it the atheism of the gaps—for wherever there remains some mystery, there is some room for the atheist to entice the unwary with his promises of golden vistas of enlightenment that shall soon follow on our mastery of the secrets of the universe.
In fact, as I said, material science is doomed to terminate in the ultimate dead end. All questions being answered into the activity of fields, particles, energy, and so forth will not move us one inch closer to a satisfactory answer to the question of why all this meticulously cataloged stuff exists in the first place. Science consists of descriptive statements of what the physical universe “does,” and can give us some knowledge of the causal relations between material phenomena. But expanding that picture to encompass the entirety of the universe will not, I predict, lead to the shedding of a single tear of joy or wonder. It will not inspire people to write poetry, but rather to shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, that’s that.” Only the massive gap between what we know and what there is to know permits the atheist materialist to peddle his low and discreditable mockery of real aesthetics.
I remember one particularly thin and pathetic scientistic book called Skeptics and True Believers (I remember it so well because its awfulness actually helped convince me that the professional atheists might just be full of it). The final chapter included what is by now a tiresome kind of ritual paean to the good, beautiful, and true that concludes all these miserable atheist tracts. After spending some two hundred pages hammering on that life is essentially without transcendent purpose and that anyone who believes otherwise is simply acting from sheerest irrational prejudice, the author lightly invites us to join him in musing that, “Life is a flame that dances on the face of creation,” and that science will enable us truly to appreciate the true beauty of it, and all the usual pseudo-poetic claptrap. I saw right away that, not only was he cynically playing on the common man’s ineradicable intuition that we are lit from within by more than mindless matter, but he was stooping even to such a contemptible tactic as to use the word “creation” to describe his supposedly uncreated universe. Within two years I was a believing Christian.
This is going overlong, but your post reminded me of all this and I thought it worth sharing.
Corey N. writes:
To the best of my knowledge, physicists themselves hardly ever use that term in referring to the Higgs boson. None of the physicists I have ever talked to have used such a term. It is my understanding that the term is the result of an attempted popularization and dumbing-down of the matter for the masses, by people who are not directly connected with the research and do not respect the audience they are writing for. To the extent the phrase might be used with a straight face by any physicist, it would be in the sense of verifying something that they believed was true but were not previously certain, and thus confirming that they do, in fact, have a good understanding of one of the most basic aspects of the functioning of the universe—in short, in the sense of seeing that God really did devise the universe to function in this particular way, and that they really are looking at some of the basic machinery of reality, and the direct handiwork of such a Deity as might be responsible for devising it. In that sense, it is a term of respect.
Verifying the existence of this particle has no implications whatsoever as to the why of anything, merely the how, and no physicist worth his salt would argue otherwise. Journalists might claim so, but when journalists don’t like the truth, they make up something they like better. [LA replies: As a long-time reader, Corey should know that VFR is not hospitable to good-cop / bad-cop arguments, particularly the one that distinguishes “good” scientists” from “bad” science journalists. As I’ve pointed out many times, the scientists and the journalists operate as part of a single complex, trying to inculcate society with a certain view. If the scientists really believed that the term “God particle” was false and distorting what their work was about, they would have communicated their concern to the media in the most forceful way, and the use of “God particle” would have decreased or disappeared. But clearly they have not taken any serious steps to oppose the use of the term. They go along with it, and even use it themselves.]
I should also point out that cosmology and the physics involved in studying it does not address the root cause of anything either. It is a reasonably rigorous science: it begins purely from observation of things such as the cosmic background radiation and the general correlation of red shift with distance, and applies experimentally verifiable behavior to attempt to make sense of this. Complaining that this is creating a substitute God misses the mark; when you do so, you are in fact complaining about people looking into HOW things happened. I cannot ever approve of replacing logical questions with unanswerable mysteries. In a rational and lawful universe organized by a lawful and just Deity, if things did not happen in this manner, the evidence would not indicate so—but it does.
In Islam, as I am sure you know, there is no cause and effect: everything at every moment is the result of the will of Allah at that moment, which might change the very next moment. Such a universe is not predictable and not lawful, and thus not understandable. A ruler who changes laws on a whim is not a good and just ruler. If the universe is not created by evil, its laws must be rational and predictable and understandable—perhaps not by limited human minds, but at least theoretically understandable by some level of intellect, and therefore always worthy of rational investigation.
The initial cause of things, the reason why the universe is configured as it is, the precise reasons why any number of certain constants of subatomic physics have the apparently arbitrary values they do—quantum mechanics and cosmology do not answer this, don’t even pretend to. (I do not speak of string theory or the various multiverse thought experiments, which do not rise to the level of science yet, as they cannot present experimentally verifiable hypotheses.) But there are a very large number of questions that can be answered that these sciences are well suited for, and verifying the existence of the Higgs is fitting in one of the last pieces of a mostly-complete puzzle, the completion of which will represent a better understanding of the reality in which we live, and a more clear understanding of what questions remain to be asked.
In short, this discovery is not cause for ridicule.
I have not been ridiculing any genuine discovery, to the extent that there is any genuine discovery here. I have been ridiculing the hype with which the discovery is presented, hype aimed at making people believe that science has found or is about to find the answer to the existence of the universe. And, as I said above, the scientists and the journalists are partners in this enterprise. You want to defend pure science. You don’t acknowledge how, since the 19th century, science, the search for understanding of material phenomena, has progressively merged with scientism, the ideology which says that the only truths that exist and are worth knowing are scientific, material truths.
Jonah O. writes:
I just thought I would pipe in to say that I think the conservative “opposition” (for, really, how can one oppose such a thing?) to the discovery of the Higgs Boson is overblown and misplaced. Maybe liberals are materialists, maybe they really will use this discovery to attempt to advance this misplaced and de-spiritualized view of Creation—but this is not merely some partisan, tactical thing. This is a truly fascinating phenomenon we have, through our God-given ability to perceive and to comprehend the universe that surrounds us and of which we are part, managed at great length to behold. A little wonder is all I ask, or maybe a conservative, religious/spiritual counter-approach to the phenomenon. Merely ridiculing it is counter-productive, incurious, and feeds into the worst liberal stereotypes. This is a great insight into the uncanny form of Creation.
Nonsense. As I just said to Corey N., I haven’t been ridiculing any genuine discovery. I have been ridiculing the hype with which the discovery has been presented. And I have a good record on this subject. Every time I have ridiculed such hype, it turned out to be hype. Remember Ida, the 47 million year old primate? It was an interesting and important discovery. But the authorities who tell us what to think, including the supposedly sacred and pure scientists, presented it as vastly more significant than it really was. In fact, the hype was so bad in this instance that ultimately even Time magazine denounced it. But that was a notable exception to the rule of the Scientism-Media Complex.
Ben M. writes:
Corey N. writes:
“To the best of my knowledge, physicists themselves hardly ever use that term in referring to the Higgs boson. None of the physicists I have ever talked to have used such a term. It is my understanding that the term is the result of an attempted popularization and dumbing-down of the matter for the masses, by people who are not directly connected with the research and do not respect the audience they are writing for.”
WRONG! The term was coined by Leon Lederman (Nobel Prize for Physics 1988).
This morning, Don Imus interviewed Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and co-founder of string field theory, on the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
Dr. Kaku discusses the collider and the process. He says that he is 99.999 percent confident that they have found the Higgs Boson, that “the probability of mistake is one part in three million.” (I’ve bolded his key passage.)
Imus: So, we have the discovery of Higgs Boson. Why they do they call it Higgs by the way?
Kaku goes on to explain why the Higgs Boson is the key to the diversity in the universe and speculates that Elvis may well be alive in a parallel universe.
Kaku: It was Peter Higgs that proposed this mechanism. However the media has called it the “God Particle.” That makes physicists cringe when we hear that. However, there is some truth to calling it the God Particle. You see the bible says that God said “Let there be light” and that sets the universe into motion. We physicists believe that there was an explosion 13.7 billion years ago—the big bang—that set the universe, the galaxies, and the stars in motion. But, then the question is; what put the “bang” in the Big Bang? (chuckles to himself) What set it off, what was the match? What was the match, the fuse, the spark that set off the big bang? We think it was a Higgs like particle like the one that we just discovered a few days ago that was in fact the trigger that set off the Big Bang. So, if we really understand the Higgs Boson and other types of Higgs Bosons we understand how the universe was created. And of course, the stars, the galaxies, you, me, the Earth, love—all of it the consequence of that particle.
Imus: So does this place you and others at odds with those who believe that God created all of this?
Kaku: No. Some people say that God created the Higgs Boson. In which case that would be the fuse, the match that lit the Big Bang. So, we physicist take no position on this. Some people think that perhaps the bang banged by itself. Some people say that God created the Higgs Boson and that’s what set it off, because you need a match to set off an explosion, right? So, it’s up to you to make a decision on that point.
Perfect! He confirms everything I’ve said about the scientists, and he blasts the good cop / bad cop excuse to smithereens. The scientists do most devoutly believe that the Higgs Boson is God or the God Particle.
And notice how he tries to have it both ways. First he says that scientists “cringe” at the expression “God Particle.” Then he makes clear that they embrace it.
And that’s why the scientists haven’t done anything to get the media to stop using the term, which I said they must do if they want to prove that they actually oppose it. They don’t correct the media, because they don’t oppose the media’s hype, they agree with it.
And by the way, lest anyone be fooled (though many will be), Kaku’s irenic remark that God could have created the Higgs boson does not lessen at all the materialist thrust of his statement. Anyone, out of a wish to avoid hostility or to set boob bait for the bubbas, can add the word “God” onto a materialist construction. But such a God is a mere verbal place-holder, signifying nothing. What Kaku is saying is that the material universe created itself. But, with his place-holder God, he allows the theists to imagine that the scientists are acknowledging the possible truth of theism.
It’s the same way with the Theo-Darwinians (most of them Catholics devoutly adhering to the Church’s embrace of Darwinism), who believe that God allowed for a materialist, directionless process to create all living beings including man, and then, at the very end, God suddenly entered the picture and injected the soul into the human form.
Ben M. writes:
I would like our scientifically minded correspondents to explain this to us. How does a non-mass particle give mass to other non-mass particles? Non-mass particles interacting with other non-mass particles imbue these particle configurations with mass? Is this like creating something out of nothing? The particle of the gaps theory?
Ben M. writes:
According to this article explaining how the Higgs boson gives mass to non-mass particles,
The Higgs is associated with an invisible field predicted to permeate throughout all of space interacting with particles to give them mass.
Oh so the Higgs Boson requires something else—an invisible field permeating throughout all of space. The author says “this field is simply posited to exist.” Is that like an a priori assumption? An invisible, unproven variable?
First and foremost is the question of how the invisible background field tied to the existence of the Higgs came to be and why it has the properties it does. This field is simply posited to exist, and apparently it does.
Then the author goes on to say that “the Higgslike particle takes us a step closer to solving the mystery of the universe.” The particle doesn’t solve the mystery of the universe, it just takes us a step closer. The particle isn’t exactly a Higgs Boson, it is “Higgslike.”
This game of finding particles only to posit some other unknown is an infinite regress. A step towards but always not quite there. Like Zeno’s paradox of never crossing a room when one takes a step half the distance with each step. Has physics become a shell game?
And this unknown, all-permeating force field is a throwback to the old ether theory with which Einstein found problems. The ether supposedly permeated all of space allowing waves to travel through it using it as a medium. It was junked in the 20th century and now it is back in another guise. Very circular this game of physics.
Alan Roebuck writes:
Although my undergraduate degree is in physics, that was thirty years ago, and contemporary particle physics is too esoteric for my tastes, so I don’t know much about the technical side. But there is one important point I want to add.
Nowadays, every particle has an associated field; that’s how the particle interacts with other particles. And physicists are really excited about the Higgs Boson because of its field, which would suffuse all of space and play a primary role in all material processes.
The physicist Bonald writes at the Orthosphere:
A problem did arise with the weak nuclear force, or rather with the theory that describes both the weak force and electromagnetism: the symmetry you need to get the right forces doesn’t allow you to add masses either to the gauge bosons (in particular, the W and Z, which we know are very massive) or to fermions. Time to chuck the whole gauge symmetry idea? Another solution was found. The gauge symmetry does allow you to introduce new fields and allow them to interact in lots of ways with your old fields. But mass isn’t an interaction, right? A massive particle has mass all the time, not just when it’s scattering off something else. Well, suppose this new field is everywhere, suffusing all of space, and the known particles are interacting with it all the time. They’re really massless and would like to shoot off at the speed of light, but this new field is like tar they have to wade through.
So it’s not just another particle for the sub-atomic zoo; it’s a new theory of how matter and space work. That’s why they’re so excited.
Of course, none of this makes their grand pseudo-theological language valid.
M. Jose writes:
One thing I find interesting about the Higgs boson is the way that it has been presented. The implication from most of the presentations is that the existence of the Higgs boson is the make-or-break for the materialist big bang theory, so that its existence is confirmation of materialism.
In reality, the entire discussion of the boson on Wikipedia does not contain the words “big” or “bang,” and there are also listed alternative models for “electroweak symmetry breaking,” which is what the Higgs boson is supposed to do.
In other words, the Higgs boson can be understood outside of trying to explain the big bang, and if it did not exist, there would be other mechanisms proposed to explain its proposed effects, meaning that physicists would likely still be trying to find a mechanism for the big bang. So its discovery does not, I think, make the big bang theory, nor would its absence break it. Meaning, in short, that this discovery does not prove materialism in the way that people are trying to claim.
I think this is rather like those who want to infer Godless molecules-to-man evolution from the development of antibiotic resistance.
Right. Then why the hype? The liberal psyche and the liberal culture demand it.
I’ll try to expand on this later.
[Note, July 14: I’ve finally gotten around to explaining what I mean by “The liberal psyche and the liberal culture demand it.”]
Paul Henri writes (July 5):
The term “God Particle” was a catch phrase coined by Prof. Leon Lederman to promote the construction of the superconducting supercollider in Texas way back in the early ’90s, which is when I read his book with the same title. My interest was piqued because I was living only 20 minutes away from where the huge magnets were to be constructed; it meant a lot of jobs to my area. Lederman admitted in his book that the discovery would not mean the discovery of God but was just an advertising gimmick. (My opinion at the time was to let Europe build it, which they did, or to invite Europe to share the costs because the data was going to be shared by everyone anyway.) I read the book because I am an ex-science major, and I had already read most of the non-mathematical science books at my small-town library. (I lived there four years.)
Paul Henri writes:
To the extent scientists use the phrase God particle, they do so not out of belief but as a ham-handed attempt to attack the belief in God. It is similar to people in public conversation using the word nigger matter-of-factly. It was acceptable because it encouraged the underlying desire that blacks should be segregated,not because of a belief that blacks were inhuman. Scientists don’t believe that religious people are inhuman, but many do believe that religious people should be segregated.
The God particle is an embarrassment to many scientists, who realize that the God particle (the Higgs boson) is, like the Bohr atom, a human analogy used in an attempt to make complex mathematical ideas concrete. For goodness sake, they know an electron can be in two places at the same time instead of spinning like a planet around the sun.
Many scientists (except Dawkins) have moved beyond triteness because of sites like this. No longer can the editorial staffs of scientific journals hold back free thinkers. On the Net, the scientists must stand in the intimidating, majestic courtroom alone while smart people shoot arrows at them.
Ben M. writes:
The way “knowledge” about the Higgs Boson is being described implies a lot of uncertainty.
Yahoo’s technology blog: “Some physicists believe that it will be too challenging to get definitive information about the Higgs boson from the mess.”
Does that sound like certainty and clarity? Getting “definitive” information will be a problem?
How about this sentence which sounds more like a Darwinian promissory note:
“No matter what machine comes next, the recent discovery with the LHC is just one step on the long journey to a better understanding of physics.”
It’s just one step on a long journey? How long is that journey and how many steps needed to take it?
“Although there has been much celebration about the LHC finding very convincing evidence of the Higgs boson particle’s existence … ”
Very convincing evidence. Is the evidence not simply convincing? Why use the words, “very convincing”? It’s either there or not, either convincing or not. “Very convincing” makes it sound like it is statistically, not empirically convincing. “Very” is a relational term.
Some more of the same language: “After all, it has taken years of investigation just to determine that the particle almost certainly does exist in the first place.” It “almost certainly does exist?” Almost? The word “almost” combined with “certainly” yields exactly what evidential certainty?
This whole series of statements reminds one of Darwin’s Origin of Species in which the words “probably” and “possibly” dominate the verbal landscape of the book.
Jeff W. writes:
Two quotes from John Calvin help explain what is happening here:
“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.”
“Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”
Scientists who make idols of science and of their own intelligence, and then focus on those idols to the exclusion of God, are then, like other idolaters, abandoned by God, who gives them over to debased minds as is described in Romans 1. Individually or collectively, if people want to remain sane, they must worship God alone.
It is obvious to me that the Higgs boson is a created thing, and not the Creator, and thus should not be exalted by any sane person. Yet scientists seem ready to make another idol of it.
I like that: “a perpetual factory of idols.”
At the same time, while I agree with Calvin that our intelligence, in the absence of recognition of higher truth, keeps producing idols, the main idol being the human intellect itself, I would say that he takes his criticism of human intelligence too far. He took it so far as to argue, in the opening pages of his Institutes, that the gulf between man and God is so great that man can know nothing about God, which is another way of saying that man can know nothing of truth. Calvin radically downgraded the human intellect. That is very far from the Bible and Christianity as I understand them. God created the world through his Word, the Logos. The Logos is the principle of intelligibility, the quality of being understandable. At the highest level the Logos is the Christ, who makes God intelligible to man. At the ordinary level of human experience, the Logos, the principle of intelligibility, makes the world intelligible to man.
Pope Benedict, in his excellent Regensburg lecture in 2006 (which he cowardly abandoned under pressure from Muslims), also stressed the point that God is reasonable, as contrasted with the the Muslims’ god who is a being of pure whim and will.
Clark Coleman writes:
Re your “Ida” fossil entry, I followed the Higgs boson discussion back through your references to the Ida fossil hype to reach the original discussion of the Wikipedia page for the Ida fossil. It is interesting that someone (probably long ago) cleaned up all the “human-like” claims in the article. Here is the current version of the paragraph in question:
The lemur-like skeleton of the fossil features primate characteristics of grasping hands with opposable thumbs and nails instead of claws. These would have provided a “precision grip” which, for Ida, was useful for climbing and gathering fruit. Ida also has flexible arms and relatively short limbs. The fossil is missing two anatomical features found in modern lemurs: a grooming claw on the foot and a fused row of teeth, a toothcomb, in the bottom jaw.
So, this primate has primate characteristics. I guess that confirms that it is a primate!
Clark Coleman writes:
M. Jose seems to speak as if “Big Bang” equals “materialism.” There is no such logical equation of the two. In fact, it has been embarrassing to the materialist astronomers that many astronomers have been accepting Christianity in recent years as one discovery after another confirmed the Big Bang hypothesis. Previously, these new converts could just be agnostic, saying “We don’t know what happened.” As we narrow in on a single beginning point, the obvious question is, “How can you have a beginning?” All of the materialist nonsense about multiverses, and universes creating themselves from quantum uncertainties and so on, look like the special pleading that they are to an honest mind. Hence, many of those honest minds have become Christian. The situation contrasts sharply to the rigidly enforced orthodoxy in the field of biology.
I recommend “The Creator and the Cosmos” by Hugh Ross to those interested in the astronomical evidences of a Creator.
David P. writes:
CERN scientists also published that neutrinos traveled faster then light. Then oops, they forgot something, but stood by their results. Another group at CERN then did the same measurement and published that neutrinos did not travel faster then light.
No news since then.
What is going on at CERN? Most of Britain’s science budget is gobbled up by CERN, leaving most physical science in the UK starved of funding. Valuable work that needs to be done, has not been done, and scientists have left the UK because of this.
So what if they discovered a particle that is responsible for mass. The next question is what causes the H boson to give rise to a Higgs field. At this level of fundamentals, it is necessary to ask what a field is, rather then just a statement that it is a mathematical function that is pervasive in space. What is space? Where did it come from?
Fundamental questions such as time and space, existence of fields, what they are, cannot be answered by organised science funded by governments, and run by committees and administrators. If that is, they ever can.
Since Einstein, Physics has been trapped in a force field from which they have not found a way to escape from. Massive funding is not the answer. Its the lone individual who thinks with humility on the mystery/puzzle that God has created for our amusement, who will lets Physics out of the trap.
Andrea C. writes:
Hi. “Irenic”—nicely done. Went to the dictionary for that one, it was very interesting. Most of the “uses in sentences” were about religious subject matter. Thanks.
Ben M. writes:
This isn’t necessarily for publication, just some final, skeptical musings on this “discovery.” You’ve mentioned the bad faith usage of the term “God Particle.” There is also another aspect to this bad faith. Lay people are expecting that this “particle” is a real thing—a small ball of substance located somewhere in space.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 05, 2012 06:11 PM | Send
Yet one of VFR’s correspondents (Paul Henri) writes that,
The God particle is an embarrassment to many scientists, who realize that the God particle (the Higgs boson) is, like the Bohr atom, a human analogy used in an attempt to make complex mathematical ideas concrete.
Well, what is it? A real, material, empirical piece of stuff or an analogy, a mathematical idea? Physicists are using the word “particle” in the same dishonest way as they are using the word “God.” Is it a particle like a grain of sand or not? The lay person is not expecting a “particle” to be a symbol, an analogy, or a mathematical relationship, but a hard, round little ball that does things as it moves (like a billiard ball). To call the Higgs Boson a particle, only to redefine it as a mental construct, is a bait and switch tactic. We tell the world of laymen one thing but behind their backs we do something different.
Also, Alan Roebuck writes,
Although my undergraduate degree is in physics, that was thirty years ago, and contemporary particle physics is too esoteric for my tastes, so I don’t know much about the technical side.
Then how can he intelligently comment on this finding? He also is at the disposal of imaginary ideas, analogies, and mental constructs.
Mr. Roebuck continues:
Its field, which would suffuse all of space and play a primary role in all material processes …
Where is the empirical evidence that this particle’s “field” suffuses all of space? Has anyone probed the galaxies beyond our solar system? If the particle is not a true, granular piece of material reality but a relational, mathematical construct, how “real” is its field? What is “real” about this particle—its substance or its field? Notice how its effects shift from its substance to its field. It’s no longer a small, circular ball but an amorphous cloud.
So it appears that not only is the association of the word “God” with this particle fraudulent, so is the very usage of the word “particle.”
Perhaps I’m particularizing things too much but I can’t help but think of Saul Bellow and Martin Heidegger. Heidegger poetizes the Biblical story of the Fall in his writings, so that we have a secular human fall without Adam, God, Eden, or the serpent. In the novel Herzog, Moses Herzog sends Heidegger a note asking him, “Sir, on what were we standing when we fell?”