Don’t Call it the ‘God Particle’ Anymore…

Check out Sean Carroll‘s talk, along with all the other ones from the American Humanist Association conference this past weekend, right here.

(via AHA’s Tumblr)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • WallofSleep

    Heh. The funny thing is the dude who coined that term actually wanted to call it the “Goddamn Particle”, but the publisher wouldn’t allow it.

    • Michael W Busch

      It’s true. As in “that goddamn particle is hard to find”.

  • Dan Arel

    I was at this talk at the AHA conference. It was nothing short of amazing and hilarious.

  • A3Kr0n

    That’s pretty sweet!

  • MargueriteF

    Bwa ha ha, this has actually been inserted into the Wikipedia article on the Higgs Boson: “In mainstream media the Higgs boson is often referred to as the ‘God particle,’ from a 1993 book on the topic; the sobriquet is strongly disliked by many physicists, who regard it as inappropriate sensationalism. It can now no longer be called the god particle though. Unlike God, there is evidence of its existence.” I imagine this will be edited soon:-).

    • MargueriteF

      ETA: As I expected, the last two sentences have been removed.

      • WallofSleep

        We’ll see how long that lasts.


    • WallofSleep

      I wonder, if someone made an edit that credited Carroll as saying this at the conference, would that remain on the wiki?

  • Rain

    Don’t get too happy now people…

    The Higgs boson may be responsible for holding the universe together, but Jesus holds the “God particle” in its place.

    The universe would fall apart if it weren’t for Jesus. Because the Bible. (According to Joe Carter anyway.)

    • allein


      • Matt

        Pretty sure he was the dude who became a superhero because he went back in time or something. You’re welcome.

      • Rain

        Whoever he is he’s a fundy a blogger/huckster and knows how the universe is held together with magic Jesus glue I guess.

        • allein

          OK. I googled the name and found a baseball player. Didn’t figure that was the right Joe Carter.

        • baal

          I would be happier with the christians if they didn’t constantly imagine their buddy touching everything all the time.

  • Tanner B James

    Seems legit.

  • SeekerLancer

    Well played.

  • DERP

    Well played, and true.

  • bmaddocks

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Consider this:
    1. God, by definition, is the greatest possible being.
    2. We have a concept of God in our mind.
    3. Something that exists in reality is greater than something that exists just in the mind.
    4. Therefore, God must exist in reality.

    • closetatheist

      So if we imagine it and assign qualities to it then it is real? That must mean that every child’s imaginary friend is no longer imaginary once it has been imagined! What good news for every lonely kid out there….

    • Whirlwitch

      Your logic is flawed. The statement “Something that exists in reality is greater than something that exists just in the mind.” does not mean that something that exists in the mind exists in a greater form – or any form – in reality.

      Example: as a school assignment, I invented an animal. I drew detailed pictures of it, and made up lots of detail about it. It existed as a concept in my mind, also in those I showed my assignment to. This did not mean that my animal existed either as a result of my work, or independently of it.

      • bmaddocks

        You are correct. However, I didn’t say that if it exists in the mind it has to exist in reality. What I said was that if god is, by definition (I.e. what are attributes of a god, what is a god, etc.) the greatest possible being then god exists in reality because that which exists in reality is greater than that which exists in just the mind. Read up on the ontological argument for existence of god. Hard to invalidate.

    • kam86

      The ontological argument for the existence of God holds little credibility with modern philosophers. By extension, this argument implies anything that is perfect (e.g., the perfect sandwich) must exist, which is obviously not true of most “perfect” things (I’ve certianly never had a perfect sandwich). This spurious line of reasoning is rebutted well by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason:

      “The mere concept of what God is does not entail his existence. While we may conceive of God as having the property of being all-powerful, existing is not a property of a thing at all. (More specifically, existence is not a perfection.) [...] God’s existence concerns whether our concept of God corresponds to anything real, and pure reason cannot tell us that (unless the concept of God is self-contradictory, in which case God cannot exist). We can show that the classic ontological argument fails by keeping the erroneous second premise and replacing the first one with: ‘Utopia is the most perfect (the greatest) society conceivable.’ The parallel conclusion that Utopia (or ‘the greatest car,’ or whatever) must exist is clearly false. Only observation could determine that such things exist.” (Augustine, 1997)