Thursday, July 05, 2012

What Does the "God Particle" Mean for God Talk?


We have all heard the news that the so called "God particle" has been found through a "atom smasher" and this confirms our basic view of the universe. This is the Higgs Boson particle that gives mass to the universe. Actually, it's only confirmed to be "a Higgs Boson," there are about five types it's too soon to say which type. The discoveries helps to anchor the basic theory now has prominence in big bang and sub atomic particles. Atheists are quick to jump on the bang wagon declare this a victory over religion. On the CARM board an atheist postor called "Jagella" says:
"God particle found" posts 5 and 10
Crock, the apparent discovery of the Higgs boson demonstrates that science, once again, is the way to know the world we live in. As we make such discoveries, we keep closing the gaps that some people put gods into. To maintain belief in whatever god you believe in, you often need to ignore or deny these kinds of scientific discoveries.

The Higg's boson also known as "the God particle" is a hypothetical subatomic particle that has been reported to have been recently discovered. Bosons are particles that carry forces such as the strong nuclear force. The Higg's boson reputedly gives mass to objects. Mass is a measure of inertia or the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest or a body in motion to stay in motion.

So what might the discovery of the Higg's boson have to do with atheism? Well, I suppose that now we can safely say that no god gives mass to objects! Broadly speaking, the more we know about nature, as Carl Sagan has said, the less there is for God to do. Scientists are quickly closing the gaps that one god or other used to fit into to "explain" some aspect of nature. I predict that the Higgs boson will continue this trend, and a full, naturalistic explanation for existence will soon be available if it isn't already available.

Now we can say safely that no god gives mass to objects? That conjures up the ancient view of God opening doors in the volt of heaven to pour water through into rain. I've always known that the atheist straw God was basally a big man in the sky but this is absurd. This "Jagella" person must be desperate to get God out of the picture. I guess if the wind blows form the West that totally disproves God. Or if moss grows on the north side of a tree this person rests easy form the fear of hell. The truth of it is this has nothing to do with God at all. Calling "God particle" hardly makes it a test of God's existence. It's still a problem to determine where the particle came from the basic set of laws and the whole set up that could produce a particle. That assumes that the real reason to believe in God is based upon the need to explain things. When will get it the point that the only thing scinece is going to tell us about God is the potential nature of the way he did things.

There are a couple of more important points to be made about the discovery. First we should notice the tenuous nature of the language used to describe it:

CBC News

"We can safely conclude something new is there. … All the evidence suggests it's the Higgs boson, but the results released today just aren't strong enough to conclude that it is the Higgs."

Sinervo said he expects the CERN research teams to have two to three times more data to analyse by the end of the year.

"Will we be able to conclude that it is the Higgs by the end of the year? It depends what you mean by 'conclude,' but we'll at least have some strong data," he said.

Does this mean they don't really know now? why does it have to be confirmed? Why can't they conclude it now?

National Geographic Daily News

Although preliminary, the results show a so-called five-sigma of significance, which means that there is only a one in a million chance that the Higgs-like signal the teams observed is a statistical fluke...

CERN head Heuer called today's announcement a "historic milestone" but cautioned that much work lies ahead as physicists attempt to confirm the newfound particle's identity and further probe its properties...

For example, though the teams are certain the new particle has the proper mass for the predicted Higgs boson, they still need to determine whether it behaves as the God particle is thought to behave—and therefore what its role in the creation and maintenance of the universe is...

A two-sigma finding translates to about a 95 percent chance that results are not due to a statistical fluke.

While that might seem impressive, it falls short of the stringent five-sigma level that high-energy physicists traditionally require for an official discovery. Five sigma means there's a less than one in a million probability that a finding is due to chance.

That all really sounds pretty uncertain.I'm not suggesting that we can't trust it. The point is they don't get a microscope that's really powerful and take a picture of the particle. They have not seen the particle itself. They smash atoms together and try to identify what comes out, the only way to do that is to judge by the effects it probably has upon larger particles. They can only do that by determining that what those particles are doing is indicative of it.
"The Higgs boson is the only one that remains undetected in experiments because it lives for only a tiny fraction of a second before decaying into other subatomic particles, such as photons, muons or leptons. The only way to measure it is to measure the products of its decay." (CBC News ibid)
It's the effect upon other practicals and its consistency with theory that tells them what's going on. I have said before that scinece doesn't prove (according to Popper) it only disproves or offers explainations. Those explaintions don't give us truth they give 'verisimilitude.' That's the appearance of truth through probability. That's what this is. No one is going to have a bunch of hoopla about verisimilitude. Can you see thee guys at CERN making a big deal out "We have verisimilitude!" Ho ray!

Another important aspect that this discovery holds for us in relation to real God concepts is this is another illustration of the concept of c0-detmerinate. I have previously illustrated the co-determinate through the relation between sub atomic particles and theory, by using the neutrino. In the same way neutrinos are not found directly but it is their effect upon other particles that indicate their presence. The co-determinate is like the relationship between the footprint in the snow and the foot that made it. The two always go together and one indicates the presence of the other. The relation between Higgs boson and other particles is another example of a co-determinate.

Of course the atheists all say "O but you are just assuming a relationship between experience and god you can't really prove it's there. The theroy of Higg's assumed a relatinoship before it could prove that boson was there. It's because the test meets the assumptions that we can assume it fulfills theoretical expectations and that is the predictive power of scinece. The thing applies in the co-determine in any issue. The theoretical relationship between divine and experience is there due to the place of the experince in the creation of religion. So then finding the experience and the effects it produces is just fulfillment theoretical expectations; meaning, scientific predictive power helps to demonstrate the rational warrant for belief.


Kristen said...

Good post. I don't think a particle of any kind should be called a "God particle." It leads to direct misunderstanding of what the word "God" signifies.

Metacrock said...

the media named it. figures. I was once at a central America protest where the reporter assigned to cover it for the Dallas Paper didn't know where central America was.