Have Scientists Discovered the "God Particle"?
Ever since the introduction of the "Big Bang" theory (not the TV show, the scientific theory about the origin of the universe), scientists have been in search of evidence to confirm their theory. As an aside, Sir Fred Hoyle, who was one of the world's leading astronomers and an atheist for most of his life, when he first heard of this new theory regarding our universe’s beginnings, utterly rejected it and sarcastically called it the “Big Bang” and the name stuck! And now you know… the rest of the story. Well, an interesting bit of trivia anyway.
Getting back to our news item. Last week (July 4, 2012), scientists announced that they had discovered the ever elusive “Higgs-Boson” particle (also known to some as the “God particle”). This article is simply intended to be an initial, very brief commentary, as opposed to a lesson in particle physics (you can thank me later). There have always been numerous scientific problems with the Big Bang theory and scientists have continually proposed other ideas to help sustain this theory. The problem is that many of those ideas have also needed further conjecture to be plausible. I am referring to things such as super-inflation, dark matter, dark energy, string theory, sparticles and yes, the Higgs-Boson (“God”) particle. Please don’t misunderstand. They are not looking for God; they are looking for things that they believe make God unnecessary. One of the biggest questions in physics today is why particles have mass. The existence of this particle would help explain why the elementary particles do indeed have mass and subsequently would help explain all of the forces that hold our universe together.
They have not actually seen this particle (and can’t) but they believe they have seen the exact type of phenomenon they would expect if this particle truly does exist (while smashing particle beams together in the 16.5 mile long Large Hadron Collider on the French/Swiss border).
Finding the Higgs-Boson would certainly be consistent with the Big Bang theory… but it doesn’t actually prove it. Consider the following simpler example. Let’s say early one morning lying in bed, you had a theory that it rained out all during the night while you slept. If this is true, the grass would be wet. You get up, have a bowl of Lucky Charms (hey it’s my article) and then walk outside. Much to your excitement, you notice that the grass is indeed wet. You conclude that your theory must be correct.
The problem with this logic is that there are other reasons the grass might be wet. Maybe it’s just the dew. Maybe your neighbor watered your lawn. Maybe someone spilled water just in the area you are standing (i.e. the whole yard really isn’t wet). So it is true that if it rained the grass would be wet, but not necessarily true that if the grass is wet, it rained. In our news story, it would be true that if there really was a Big Bang (the way they believe) then there should be a Higgs-Boson particle. However, it doesn’t follow that just because there might be a particle of this sort, that there was a Big Bang.
Summaring… if the Higgs-Boson particle truly was discovered (and so far, it looks like it might have been) it would be a really cool thing! It’s just that it would not at all be evidence against the existence of God, the Bible or the Genesis creation account. If anything, it shows more and more of the intricate design of our universe. This would be an example of some very good and exciting “operational science”… something creationists don’t disagree with, as opposed to “historical science” which involves a lot of assumptions and guesses. That is where the controversy lies… different scientists have different guesses as to what they think happened a long time ago when no one was around to observe it, we can’t repeat it in the laboratory and can’t test it directly. These guesses and assumptions are largely colored by one’s worldview, starting point or bias. Different biases will produce different assumptions and hence, different interpretations of the data that we observe in the present.
If you have any further questions about God, creation, Christianity or the Bible, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can even arrange a FREE ENGAGEMENT or seminar at your church, school, conference or camp.
Author: Jay Seegert (Co-Founder & Principal Lecturer, Creation Education Center)