“God Particle” Discovery Means Woes for Atheists?

Check this out: http://i.imgur.com/Y69cF.png According to some Tweeters, the recent (probable) discovery of the Higgs Boson (unfortunately tagged “The God Particle” by physicist Leon Lederman) has some people once again writing obituaries for atheism. Of course, it seems unlikely that these particular individuals have advanced degrees in physics, philosophy, or theology, so their pronouncements should be given the weight of something lighter than a Higgs Boson. Still, the response should surprise no one. Maybe someone should suggest to physicists that they stop using any God metaphors. There will always be those who take them literally.

About Keith Parsons
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16342860692268708455 Angra Mainyu

    Good point.

    I think it's not the physicists' fault, but I still wish they didn't use those metaphors.

    Incidentally, there are other words that tend to give that result, particularly 'creation'.

    I've seen plenty of TV documentaries where scientists talk about things like the 'creation of our universe', 'the universe was created in such-and-such way', etc.
    Of course, they do not mean anything remotely like the actions of an agent, and it's not their fault if sometimes people misunderstand or relate that to the idea of agency, but I would prefer if they used words like 'formation of the universe', 'the universe developed from a previous state in such-and-such ways', etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Something that I've seen mentioned in a couple of places, but not many, is that the original nickname for the Higgs Boson was "goddamned particle" because it was so hard to find.

    Do a search on "goddamned particle" or here is one of many links:


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14408364244593519914 Matt DeStefano

    NPR actually interviewed Victoria Martin, who lectures at the University of Edinburg and asked about the name. She said

    "[ in response to - What did Higgs think about the name "God particle?"] I'm sure – I actually haven't ever asked him this directly, but I'm sure he doesn't like it. Almost all particle physicists detest that name. It was actually Leon Lederman, who's a Nobel laureate, that came up with it. But he was trying to call it "that goddamn particle," and that wasn't allowed by the publishers so it became the "God particle.""

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16342860692268708455 Angra Mainyu

    That's definitely an improvement.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06904274555582940911 Mark Chalmers

    I remember some time ago the "creation scientists" talked about a gap in scientific knowledge, in that we didn't understand the mechanism behind imparting mass. They said that because we could find what was holding everything together, it was proof of how's hand constantly guiding the universe….the scientific response being that they could make sense of it in theory and if it was ever proven, there would be a particle performing this suggested function of God. The discovery of the higgs should mean obits for ID.