Higgs particle found?

| 21 Comments

The physics community is all a-twitter (figuratively and literally) over the announcement today from CERN that two independent teams have detected a particle that has properties consistent with those hypothesized for the Higgs boson, the particle that gives matter mass. Ethan at Starts With a Bang has some background here and has set up a trap for stories on it here.

What caught my eye today, though, was a Reuters story on the discovery. In it we read

[The Higgs boson] is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe. The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.

Lovely!

21 Comments

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

That is a good comparison, as far as it goes–that is, as far as it is meant to go.

But if one were to seek to fault evolutionary theory via that comparison (as some IDiots would be prone to do), it would not be so hard to do. The standard model is thought by many physicists to be incomplete, not like evolutionary theory is likely to be incomplete (more mechanisms likely to be found, for example), rather missing in some very fundamental aspects. Thus string theory and some other ideas.

So while I do think it’s a fine comparison, I can see how anti-science types could misuse it.

Glen Davidson

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Well, duhh. Since it’s the “God Particle”, the physicists have proven God!

Just Bob said: Well, duhh. Since it’s the “God Particle”, the physicists have proven God!

Of course! How could I have missed that?

Well, duhh. Since it’s the “God Particle”, the physicists have proven God!

Well, obviously! Or at least, to the oblivious!

The standard model is thought by many physicists to be incomplete,

Dark matter, for example. Oh, and after that, dark energy. Or was dark energy hypothesized first? Oh well.

The physics community is all a-twitter (figuratively and literally)

Twittering is for the birds! (Robbie Ray said so!)

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Heh, they can’t.

One physicist’s blog that I read said that the Higgs, being discovered where it is, basically means that the standard model is correct and multiple-dimensions, string theory, and all that is pretty much out the window. There’s no need for it anymore. Kind of like there’s no need for a Cosmological constant if the universe really is expanding.

I’m very interested in what all the string theorists are going to do with this.

ogremk5 said:

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Heh, they can’t.

One physicist’s blog that I read said that the Higgs, being discovered where it is, basically means that the standard model is correct and multiple-dimensions, string theory, and all that is pretty much out the window. There’s no need for it anymore. Kind of like there’s no need for a Cosmological constant if the universe really is expanding.

I’m very interested in what all the string theorists are going to do with this.

I don’t claim any great knowledge of these matters, but I never understood the Higgs boson to be a problem for string theory. This is what is said by basically the first reasonably good source I could find in a search:

Finding a Higgs boson thus strongly supports the supersymmetric Standard Model, which in turn supports the notion that string theory is indeed the right approach to nature. If so, it is very likely that more confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson will be discovered in the next few years at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where data collection will begin in March 2001.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/a[…]-higgs-boson

Glen Davidson

Unless I’m missing something, that is. It could be that Higgs isn’t coming out to the mass calculated by string theory–but I simply don’t know either way about that.

I don’t even know if the evidence thus far pins down the mass of the putative Higgs boson sufficiently to make string theory look likely or unlikely.

Glen Davidson

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Clearly, this discovery has no impact whatsoever on creationists.

They will make exactly the same dishonest type of claims that this supports them, as they would if stories about a failure to find the Higgs boson were circulating.

They will twist it, but no more or less than they would twist an exact opposite story.

Neither this nor any other reality-based discovery has any impact on them.

I’m with harold.

Higgs boson discovered: creationists say it’s proof that god created everything and evolution is wrong.

Higgs boson shown not to exist: creationists say it’s proof that god created everything and evolution is wrong.

Higgs boson found selling magazines in the subway: creationists say it’s proof that god created everything and evolution is wrong.

I’m debating a christian who says gods are necessary to understand reality at The Blaze. It’s the usual scintillating give-and-take:

Let’s contrast the discovery of the Higgs boson with religious delusion.

The Higgs boson was predicted by the Standard Model, the theory of subatomic particles which is to physics as the theory of evolution is to biology. No gods, no supernatural powers, were of any use at all to the thinkers who made that brilliant prediction.

But prediction, no matter how plausible, was not enough to establish the real world existence of the Higgs boson. To do that, it was necessary to acquire objective, testable evidence, and to get such evidence, men built the most complex machine ever constructed. Yet no matter how complex, no matter how sophisticated, no gods were needed to design and build and operate it. Gods are entirely superfluous to the large hadron collider.

Deep math, on the other hand, IS necessary, to demonstrate that the evidence is trustworthy. But you don’t need gods for statistics, or for any math.

It will take years to understand and explain all the results of the LHC experiments, but no gods will be used in that process. All the scientists who labored to achieve the ability to comprehend the recondite data from this experiment did so without the slightest recourse to gods. All the technicians and engineers who studied and worked to make the LHC function did so without the least need for gods.

That’s reality, folks. Without evidence, no gods need apply. The only people who insist on the necessity of gods in reality are those with a pathological compulsion to see gods where there are none.

You don’t believe in classical mathematics remember? That would require accepting the Principle of Non Contradiction. You refused the validity of that principle in our last conversation. You wouldn’t hypocritically reject the PNC when it proved some belief you held were false but then accept it when it suited you otherwise would you? That would be intellectually dishonest, a lie so to speak wouldn’t it?

ogremk5 said:

One physicist’s blog that I read said that the Higgs, being discovered where it is, basically means that the standard model is correct and multiple-dimensions, string theory, and all that is pretty much out the window. There’s no need for it anymore. Kind of like there’s no need for a Cosmological constant if the universe really is expanding.

I’m very interested in what all the string theorists are going to do with this.

I don’t think that’s right. The Higgs completes the Standard Model, but does nothing to resolve the issues that suggest the existence of physics beyond the Standard Model, things like the existence of multiple generations of particles, the large number of free parameters in the model, and the puzzling existence of low-energy physics despite the (presumed) very high energy physics at the (presumed) grand unification scale. The main impetus for string theory was the search for a quantum theory of gravity, and the Higgs has nothing to say about that at all.

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Uncommon Descent now has an article about it. They decided to take the tack of downplaying the whole discovery. Their article consists entirely of quibbling about the current measurement uncertainty and saying that there is more work physicists need to do.

eric said:

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Uncommon Descent now has an article about it. They decided to take the tack of downplaying the whole discovery. Their article consists entirely of quibbling about the current measurement uncertainty and saying that there is more work physicists need to do.

In other venues, I’ve noted a trend for vaccine denial to be moving in the direction of, or at least creating a comfortable reception for the advocates of, germ theory denial. I’ve noted that this could be an unsurprising development given emotional ego attachment to the denial. It started as a false claim that mercury-containing preservatives cause autism. You’d think it would die, then, that was shown to be false and mercury containing preservatives aren’t used any more. Everybody won. But instead, the denial is gripped with an emotional obsessiveness, so that now the “movement”, once spurred by now-irrelevant thimersol/autism claims, insists that vaccines cause everything for every possible reason, and that vaccines are ineffective - and the latter leads inevitably to germ theory denial.

Likewise, ID is a cover for YEC, and YEC is actually more physics denial than evolution denial.

Granville Sewell appears to be a tragic, demented figure. Here he is on UD arguing with Sal Cordova, because even Sal Cordova isn’t denialist enough for him. And, tragically for someone with his background, doing it by resorting to childish “ain’t no tornado never made a jet plane in them there junk yards” arguments. http://www.uncommondescent.com/inte[…]to-scordova/

“The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.”

I think it’s closer to “The model is for physicists what the Modern Synthesis is for biologists.”

There is room for growth for both Modern Synthesis of the 1930s to talk about epigenetic and horizontal gene transfer mechanisms and alternate RNA codings as there is room for the Standard model of the 1960s to be led by the evidence to some form of supersymmetry, technicolor, or string theory that is only a tiny one-part-in-a-trillion contribution to the physics we see now.

ogremk5 said:

SensuousCurmudgeon said:

Great news for the particle physicists, but I’m wondering how the creationists can twist this to their advantage.

Heh, they can’t.

One physicist’s blog that I read said that the Higgs, being discovered where it is, basically means that the standard model is correct and multiple-dimensions, string theory, and all that is pretty much out the window. There’s no need for it anymore. Kind of like there’s no need for a Cosmological constant if the universe really is expanding.

I’m very interested in what all the string theorists are going to do with this.

String theory is proposed primarily to reconcile QM with GR. Wde would still need something String theory Higgs or no Higgs.

I know some of the folks involved in this experiment. Gordy Kane won a $100 bet with Stephen Hawking. He is quite pleased with the findings so far.

None of you understand the creationist mind.

Most creationists predicted that the Higgs would never be discovered. They were anti-Higgs because its discovery would mean physicists are smart. Fundamentalist religion is all about envy, and the desire to undermine scientific authority, by portraying scientists as stupid to a Muggle audience (non-scientists).

So long as creationists could say, “Oh, those ATHEISTS need the Higgs boson, but where is it?” they could portray physicists as stupid. And making scientists look stupid is their main purpose.

So now they’ll either

1. go into denial mode (“No one can SEE the Higgs boson– so it is believed on faith!”)

or

2. Assert that the discovery of the Higgs actually proves every word in the Bible is true.

For an example of the first, here’s a vicious anti-scientist ass**** attacking physicists, see: “Scientist’s ‘God Particle’ evidence built on same foundation as Christian faith.” By Radell Smith. July 2, 2012. http://www.examiner.com/article/sci[…]istian-faith

For an example of the second, this is from Answers in Genesis’ :

Witch Dr. Jason Lisle writes: “Given the alleged secular claims about the LHC, it is somewhat ironic that the very existence of such a machine is a confirmation of biblical creation. God has promised in Genesis 8:22 to uphold the universe in a consistent way such that the basic cycles of nature are uniform. So, we have God’s Word that the laws of physics will be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday. Such consistency is what makes science possible; God upholds the universe in a consistent way. Without such a promise, experiments like the LHC (or any other scientific experiment) would be completely useless.

But in a big bang, evolutionary universe, there is no guarantee that nature will have such uniformity. The fact that it has in the past is irrelevant to the future, unless we already assumed uniformity between the future and the past. All scientists must presuppose that nature is orderly in order for scientific testing to be meaningful. For instance, measuring the speed of a ball rolling down an inclined plane would be pointless if the force of gravity were constantly changing in an unpredictable way.

Whatever scientists discover about the universe from the LHC, it will show that the universe is upheld by God in a consistent way. This will therefore confirm that the Bible is true.” [http://www.answersingenesis.org/art[…]ron-collider]

I plan to write a blog post summarizing the incredible bull**** that creationists say about physics.

They were wrong about exoplanets, wrong about missing neutrinos from solar fusion, and now wrong about the Higgs boson. You’re 0-for-3, witch doctors.

diogeneslamp0 said:

For an example of the second, this is from Answers in Genesis’ :

Jason Lisle, formerly of AiG Wrote:

God has promised in Genesis 8:22 to uphold the universe in a consistent way such that the basic cycles of nature are uniform. So, we have God’s Word that the laws of physics will be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday. Such consistency is what makes science possible; God upholds the universe in a consistent way. Without such a promise, experiments like the LHC (or any other scientific experiment) would be completely useless.

What an ironic statement. The whole premise of AiG is that you can’t depend on what the laws of physics were in the past (“historic science”); therefore everything was started by a sectarian deity 6000 years ago. Lisle even “solved the distant starlight problem” by changing the laws of physics in the past.

Lisle is now at the ICR.

Oh, and creationists were wrong about vitalism in the 1920’s. So they’re 0 for 4.

As for Jason Lisle, why do we hear the loudest yelps for the “Uniformity of natural law” coming from those who demand countless violations of every law of physics, chemistry, biology and geology to explain the origin of time, space, energy, matter, life, biochemistry, animals, plants, minerals, geological strata, all fossils, biocomplexity and everything else everywhere.

Virtually all creationists will literally say literally anything to support their underlying claim that (their personal interpretation of) a literal reading of the Bible is literally what happened. If what the creationist has just pulled out of his ass contradicts what he previously pulled out is not his/her/its own fault: it is the fault of the evil unbelieving, God-hating God-hater who had the evil gall to point the contradiction out.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 4, 2012 10:22 AM.

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