Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Three pigs for Doctor Higgs

Deus ex machina at CERN

Fortunately someone turned off Dad's new flat-screen before I could draw my gun.  I guess my family knows me well enough to predict my reaction to the CNN headline about how "Science" might have found "proof of God" but my Colt Mustang .380 was safely locked out of reached in the car anyway. 

If you've read my rants long enough you probably know my frustration with arguments that attempt to prove some  concept of God since any of them, even if they weren't fallacious, don't argue for any one of the infinitely possible concepts of any deity over another, but of course, CNN was just being coy so that the viewers wouldn't tune out during the endless commercial breaks.  If we had waited long enough we would have  found out that they were only speculating further about a possible July 4th announcement by CERN that they have observed a Higgs Boson; that thing not one person in 10,000 is able to describe, but nonetheless knows as the "God Particle." What must he weigh if he's composed of such heavy particles?

I've often wondered why a incomprehensibly small yet massive particle  might have anything more or less to do with God than another. God after all seems to exist in some massless form;  in some formless, ineffable state that can interact with matter and energy, but is composed of some undefinable, self- negating, insubstantial non particulate substance one calls "pure spirit" and is therefore free from the constraints imposed by the universe on matter and energy.  Does not God also claim neutrinos and neutrons as well? If we create such particles artificially, aren't we creating gods, or at least "godstuff?"

The Higgs particle, if it exists, is postulated to  explain the property we call mass in the classical model of physics.  If gods have mass, it's hard to allow them divine properties if the universe is consistent and it's also hard to explain how some subatomic particle pertains exclusively to Krishna rather than Yahweh or Puff the Magic Dragon and maybe harder to explain why any god could not create a universe without inertia if he wanted to.  Can a boson be a trinity or a pantheistic infinity?  Crank up the accelerator because inquiring minds want to know.

If it were up to me, I'd have called it the ego particle but if it had been up to the Nobel Prize winner and Director of Fermilab, Leon Lederman who coined the regrettable term in his pop-Science book The God Particle and launched the meme that sunk a billion minds, it would have been called The Goddamn Particle but for his editor's objections. How I wish that editor had had more courage and that we'd been spared the endlessly dimwitted godbothering about some subatomic particle being "proof of God."

Of course those  who are prematurely jubilating today about how science proves God -- those disciples of those who have been battling against science for centuries, aren't going to accept the actual scientific proof of the age of "the world" or anything else that challenges their celebrated certainties and I doubt they'll feel remorse about the closing of Fermilab's accelerator for lack of funds, giving the opportunity for divine revelation to foreigners.  If those those atheistic, socialistic geeks, buried with their witches circle under the soil of Europe were the ones to prove that the Bible and all our holy Christian beliefs in all their wholly different forms are true, so much the better.


RR said...

Hey Capt... nice post.
It frustrates me too ... especially in my "astrophysics grad student" guise... I hear this god-particle nonsense from friends and have to explain that it simply confirms a large part of the Standard Model of Particle physics that was postulated more than 50 years ago.
It's yet another piece of the puzzle and, if as expected, the 4+ sigma confirmation is to be announced, its truly a triumph for those rarified brains we call theoretical physicists.

Capt. Fogg said...

It's a joke, isn't it? Physics proves Jerusalem isn't the center of the universe and it's "only a hypothesis" but that there's another predicted particle that explains mass -- why that's PROOF OF GOD!

Do you need an accelerator to find the idiot particle?