Godless Particle

July 6, 2012

It’s a coincidence that I happened to be reading The Grand Design (by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow) when news of the confirmation of the Higgs Boson was announced. (I’m trying to fill some holes in a limited physics education.)

Many who read these pages probably bristle at that description – God Particle – for various reasons: it’s not much of a description at all; it’s got nothing to do with whether God exists or not; and the guy who coined the term, Nobel Prize-winner Leon Lederman , really wanted to call it the “goddamn particle” since it was so elusive. Oh, and on a related note, the eponymous Peter Higgs is an atheist.

God Particle. Please. If anything, the new (overwhelming) evidence for this particle paints God into a tinier corner than he was already in. It answers one more question about how the universe works that God doesn’t. This evidence allows us to focus more directly on a path to more discovery about the nature of mass, time, and space.

It renders the notion of God a little more irrelevant.

This step in our understanding of Nature sweeps God aside a tad more because God has no predictive or explanatory power.Science makes wonderfully accurate predictions about how matter and energy interact. It explains with great detail and consistency how life persists, how planets move, how waves behave and scads of other processes that interact with our lives every day.

God (at least the God of Abraham), on the other hand, is capricious, and offers no explanations that shed light on what might happen next. One day devout Christians drown in a New Orleans flood, the next devout Muslims are crushed to death in a Turkish earthquake. What will he do next? We never know.

No, this isn’t a God particle at all. This is a science particle. Science predicted it. Science built the Large Hadron Collider that generated it. And science detected it.

The champagne being poured after this discovery sparkled in labs, universities, and halls of science all over the world while the God partisans search for the next gap of human knowledge to cling to.


#1 Patrick McCarthy (Guest) on Friday July 06, 2012 at 5:17pm

funny as can be dude

#2 gavin brannan (Guest) on Monday July 09, 2012 at 1:46pm

I was wondering; can an atheist be truly open minded?
Most religious people I know who are Christian and even some Reformed Jews )whish is what I am) are as closed minded as Charles Manson. They recognize black amd white.  However, I find life to be mostly grey with compromise being the corner stone of social order. 
Can an atheist hold a true unbiased conversation with someone, even a moderate, without thinking that the religious person is nuts! Is religion really the opiat of the masses?
Questions are the only way to come to a mutual understanding of each other.
Gavin Brannan

#3 Compubacter (Guest) on Monday July 09, 2012 at 4:49pm

Atheism is defined as the absence of belief in god. Therefore an atheist can be open or closed minded. Gavin, your black and white stereotyping of atheism betrays what you espouse. I find atheism to be an ideal position for understanding, as it is a state of reduced bias.

As Carl Sagan said “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” I suspect your idea of a true, unbiased, conversation requires the listener to accept what you say at face value. Absolute truths are not found by compromise.

This article reminds me of the book “Science as a Candle in the Dark.” Indeed, the candle just got a little brighter.

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