Posts Tagged With: Peter Higgs

The Goddamned Particle And a Rant About Confusion Over What Is and Is Not Science

By: Rachel Womek

I have a few more musings on the Higgs particle. So those of you who read the article I posted last time know that the Higgs us the particle that gives mass to everything in the universe, if you didn’t read that article here is a brief explanation.  This essential property which allows matter to exist as we know it, including you and me has caused the term God particle to describe the Higgs. Unfortunately this nickname has caused some to mistakenly assume that the Higgs may be evidence for a deity, while you Constant Readers no doubt know better, for the record let me me state that this is absolutely not the case. When Noble prize winning physicist Leon Lederman wrote his book The God Particle he joked that what he really wanted to call the book was The Goddamned Particle…because the particle was so goddamned hard to find…but for obvious reasons couldn’t. Peter Higgs, for whom the particle is named for, is also not a fan of the nickname. I’d wager the majority of physicists aren’t.

The reason for the frustration is that for the religious layperson with little to no interest in science the moniker is very confusing and misleading. The name can even be seen in more than one misleading way. On the one hand it can be seen as evidence for a God, which it isn’t, or on the other hand the name could be seen as an insult to religion. Either way the misconception simply detracts from the wonder of the actual discovery.

Let me make this clear: physicists are asking HOW not WHY. Why is not science and is not relevant to the discovery.

When science and fundamental religion mix people get hurt and confused. Confused as to what exactly science is and what it does. Science is the exploration and description of reality and we explore and describe using the scientific method. According to Webster’s science is:  “knowledge attained through study or practice,” or “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world. Furthermore science is always falsifiable. Which is why I died a little bit inside when I saw Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J Behe sitting next to Origin Of Species at a used book store this morning. A book full of non-falsifiable conjecture and ambiguity does not in any circumstances deserve to be given any sort of credence as established scientific theory. Especially when they seek to bypass accepted methods of legitimately seeking an answer and publishing their findings in scientific journals yet somehow managed to get their work included in a section with real science.

I handed the book over to the perplexed clerk and informed him it did not belong in the evolution section.

Don’t get me wrong I am not at all anti-religion, I am an agnostic and I follow a religious practice, but religion is not science and it should not claim to be.

Categories: Bull, Life, Nerd | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Musings on Life, Liberty and The Pursuit Of The Higgs Boson Plus World News

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We hope that you Constant Reader’s had a happy Higg’s Boson Day. I know I (Rachel) did! Kiki was apathetic. If you haven’t seen the story and video of the researchers announcing that they have discovered a particle consistent with a Higg’s Boson it can be seen here. What an amazing breakthrough in the advancement of our understanding of the Universe! Congratulations to Peter Higgs and all the researchers at the LHC! This is truly a momentous historical occasion and a great prize to anyone with the wonder and curiosity to explore our reality.

It was also the Fourth of July, once my (Kiki’s) favorite holiday. Fireworks were awesome when I was a kid. But, like Christmas and Halloween, Independence Day has lost its sparkle with the onset of adulthood. Actually, I had forgotten that it was the Fourth of July until my friend called to see if I wanted to go to the city show. I realized at that moment that I was drinking English Breakfast Tea and watching British mysteries. Apparently, somewhere in my twenties, I turned loyalist.

I, Rachel, haven’t been patriotic in years and I intend to keep it that way. In my opinion slavish dedication to demarcated portions of land creates great boundary to equal human rights, and while I’m proud that our Forefathers stood up against an oppressive government today our so called Independence Day has become in fact a celebration of oppressive government. Can’t we instead celebrate something like the discovery of the Higg’s Boson, a testament to the beautiful aspects of human nature that can resonate throughout the world? Here, Kiki roles her eyes, not out of disagreement, exactly, but because Rachel is literature made real–she is Fanny Price made flesh, but without the whole marrying her cousin thing. No mindlessness for this gal! Unless of course, it’s in Skyrim…

Here’s some news:

Iran says it can attack Israel and US military bases minutes after an attack.

Pakistan supply rout reopened.

Here are some cool words people don’t really use anymore and they are nicely illustrated.

Here is a Smithsonian post about a really weird, decades old, unsolved death (they don’t even know how the guy died).

We had plenty more to blog about, but there is a man here who is insanely distracting and not in a good way, so we are ending this here and blog more tomorrow.

Categories: Celebration, Free Speech, Life, Nerd, Social Equity, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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