Quantum Woo: The God Particle

Quantum Woo: The God Particle January 5, 2015

Most scientists shudder at the use of the phrase “God particle.”  I don’t blame them, really.  The discovery in no way proves any kind of intelligent design from any pantheon.  All it does is prove the existence of a basic building block of reality that was suspected in theory.  That being said, it’s still really exciting, and it’s still one of the hidden secrets of the universe revealed through cutting-edge modern technology.  Here’s what Professor Stephen Hawking had to say about its significance:

Let me try to explain it as I, a layperson, understand it.

The so-called God particle is generally known as the Higgs-Boson.  It’s like the most subatomic of subatomic particles, and it’s a particle that causes everything to be given shape and form at the quantum level.  It’s the “mortar” that holds the bricks of the Universe together.  Higgs-Bosons create a sort of “force field” that holds quantum particles within its net, somewhat like a science fiction force field.

 

Basically, just as light seems massless but isn’t, all forms of energy have mass.  This is the particle that causes the internal tension that quantum particles together, just as electromagnetism holds atoms together and gravity holds planetary bodies together.

One thing that astounded me in reading about this amazing discovery is the fear born of ignorance that has appeared in reaction to it.  Some people believe that we’re messing with stuff that we “were never meant to mess with.”  Part of that comes with the “nuclear” association.  We have developed such an ingrained cultural fear of anything associated with nuclear physics due to two generations of the Cold War that we have a superstitious “plague fear” about it.  (Don’t get any radiation on me!  I might turn into a post-apocalyptic zombie; or the Hulk!)  This is not the way radiation works; the truth is, we’re bombarded by radiation all the time, and life could not exist without it (see the Sun much?  Kinda need that, don’t we?)  But part of it seems to be born out of a genuine fear that trying to understand too much about reality will cause God to come and smite us all for our impudence.  Speaking for myself, if that’s what God is all about, I don’t want to live in that world.  I am awestruck by the beauty and synchronicity of the natural Universe, and I believe that my Gods encourage me to reach ever-upwards and ever-onwards in a quest to understand it.  Now we’re just a little bit closer.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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