Sunday, 8 July 2012

Does the Higgs Boson Disprove God's Existence?

Hi Folks,

Some Atheists have recently been jumping up and down thinking that the discovery of the Higgs Boson disproves God's existence. This is quite sad as this is clear proof that many atheists 1) don't know anything about science, let along physics and 2) they don't really think their beliefs through. In other words, aside a few flashy slogans like "if God created everything, then who created God?" and "I don't believe in things I can't see", they're just a bunch of unreflective cult-minded secularists (here they are very similar to some irrational religious fanatics whom they ironically spew their vitriol against). Of course, not all atheists are like this, but I can say that a great deal are.

Anyways, what is the Higgs Boson? Not surprisingly, Wikipedia gives the best summary and definition:
The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is a proposed elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson is named afterPeter Higgs who, along with others, proposed the mechanism that suggested such a particle in 1964. The existence of the Higgs boson and the associated Higgs field would be the simplest known method to explain why certain other elementary particles have mass. In this theory, an unseenfield permeates all of space; this field has a non-zero value everywhere, even in its lowest energy state, and various other elementary particles obtain mass when they interact with it. The Higgs boson—the smallest possible excitation of this field—is predicted to exist by the same theory, and as this would be detectable, it has been the target of a long search in particle physics. One of the primary goals of the Large Hadron Collider ("LHC") at CERNin GenevaSwitzerland—one of the most complicated scientific instruments ever built—was to test the existence of the Higgs boson and measure its properties which would allow physicists to confirm this cornerstone of modern theory.
In other words, the Higgs Boson is an element that is part of the Standard Model for Particle Physics. It explains why matter has mass. For example, a photon has no mass, and an electron has a little mass. The Higgs Boson is what gives matter mass.

Now think about it, how does a particle that gives mass to matter disprove God's existence? As an ex-atheist, I can't think of anything, let alone physicists who have made no such argument. If anything, it just shows the beauty of the universe and the intricacies of creation. With that said, even modern arguments that are used to prove God's existence (the cosmological argument, the fine-tuning of the universe) actually depend on the Standard Model. So a discovery like this merely reinforces a theory of the universe that has been adopted to argue for God's existence.

There is, however, another question. Why is the Higgs Boson sometimes called the God Particle? This name, as far as I know, as coined by Leon Lederman in his book The God Particle (1993). The reason why he called it such is because the Higgs Boson underlies every physical object in existence and just like God, it is very hard to detect. I think this is quite interesting given that it is testament to the fact that something may permeate all of existence yet be almost impossible to detect (which flies right in the face of anti-theistic rhetoric).

1 comment:

  1. What? Atheists who don't understand theology and science? How shocking! Check out this post I just wrote today: