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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Search of The God Particle





The topic of Origins is one of my favourite fields of study, so I try to stay as informed as possible on various aspects of this vast subject. Recently The Large Hadron Collider built by CERN near Geneva, Switzerland has been much in the news, particularly in its stated aim to find The God Particle that apparently holds the keys to the mysteries of the Universe. I have been studying a great deal about the LHC and The God Particle or the Higgs boson as it is officially called to try and understand what it all means. I found an interesting article that was published back in 2008 in The National Geographic with glossy photos and all. I perused this article, and others rather carefully, and having done so I found that I was left with more questions than answers. Even some of the scientists working on the project do not really expect much in the way of answers, so all the media hype is just that, hype and nothing more. Although the journalist for NG, Joel Achenbach, titled his article, At the Heart of All Matter, it turns out that whatever is turned up at CERN may not really matter after all. Since Particle Physics and Quantum Physics is portrayed to hold all the answers like the Oracle of Delphi, or so we are told, I decided to take   some quotes from the NG article to show readers that when we read between the lines the picture is not so clear, and when we carefully peruse quotes from Particle Physicists themselves, we discover that they have few if any answers to the mysteries of the Universe. That even after 150 or so years since the first Quantum Physics theories were formulated, they remain just that UNPROVEN THEORIES, not gospel truth as we are (mis)led to believe!



In the following article, quotes from the National Geographic article titled ‘At the Heart of All Matter: The hunt for the God particle’ are followed by my comments that are highlighted in yellow.
...a particle accelerator-an atomic peashooter more powerful than any ever built. It's called the Large Hadron Collider, and its purpose is simple but ambitious: to crack the code of the physical world; to figure out what the universe is made of...Despite the well cultivated myth (by media and academia) that physicists know a great deal about how the universe came into existence, and what matter consists of, the fact is that most of Particle / Quantum Physics is THEORETICAL, if they already knew the answer why would they need to figure out what the universe is made of?
... If all goes right, matter will be transformed by the violent collisions into wads of energy, which will in turn condense back into various intriguing types of particles, some of them never seen before. What exactly are WADS OF ENERGY? And how are they sure that the ‘intriguing types of particles’ that are generated by this method have any significance whatsoever in determining the composition of matter? Is it not possible that this method would generate a completely new type of particle? If two high speed trains are smashed into each so that all that is left is a mangled unrecognizable mass, can it ever be determined how these trains were originally assembled?   
... The particle beam could drill a hole in just about anything... Sounds eerily like a laser gun or a directed energy weapon that can drill a hole in just about anything? How safe is this apparatus?
... physicists insist must be lurking in the deep substrate of reality. What exactly is the deep substrate of reality?
..But even an endeavor of this scale isn't going to answer all the important questions of matter and energy. Not a chance. This is because a century of particle physics has given us a fundamental truth: Reality doesn't reveal its secrets easily. Put it this way: The universe is a tough nut to crack. Once again it becomes apparent that more than two millennia after the Greeks began this inquiry, and after more than two hundred years since Newton, ‘Physics’ does not have any answers to the origins of the universe? If this endeavour will not answer ALL the important questions, will it answer any questions at all?
..Physics underwent one revolution after another. Einstein's special theory of relativity (1905) begat the general theory of relativity (1915), and suddenly even such reliable concepts as absolute space and absolute time had been discarded in favor of a mind-boggling space-time fabric in which two events can never be said to be simultaneous. Matter bends space; space directs how matter moves. Light is both a particle and a wave. Energy and mass are inter- changeable. Reality is probabilistic and not deterministic: Einstein didn't believe that God plays dice with the universe, but that became the scientific orthodoxy. I wonder if Einstein is really dead or does he live on in another space – time? The point here is that it is scientific to ‘theorise’ but theories without evidence are just that, ‘theories’ and nothing more! As we read on the author of the article will himself prove that the field of Particle Physics and Quantum Physics is almost all theory, not fact. If any of these theories had been proven already, like the Earth being round, there would be no need to build Large Hadron Colliders!
We know things today that Einstein, Rutherford, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and the rest of the great physicists of a century ago couldn't have imagined. But we're nowhere near a final theory of physical reality. ...are made of odd things called quarks and gluons—but already we're into a fuzzy zone. Those who start lighting candles and bowing down to do homage every time they hear the name ‘Einstein’ should pay close attention to the cat being let out of the bag by this science writer for National Geographic, But we're nowhere near a final theory of physical reality. The world of Particle / Quantum Physics is nowhere near to even formulating a FINAL THEORY that would explain the origin of the Universe, let alone proving it beyond doubt. Yet how many kids in class are taught THE BIG BANG THEORY as fact? The world of quarks and gluons is a fuzzy zone? You decide for yourself what that means!
... Their standard model, developed in the 1960s and 1970s, is widely viewed as unwieldy, like a contraption with too many loose ends and knobs and dangling bits. ... "We had a theory that started out really beautiful and elegant," says Joe Lykken, a theorist at Fermilab, "and then someone beat on it and made it really ugly." Unwieldy, loose ends, knobs, dangling bits? Would you hitch your horse to a wagon that was unwieldy, with loose ends, knobs and dangling bits?
The standard model can't explain several towering mysteries about the universe ...The big bang theory tells us that the known universe once had no dimensions at all...and laws of physics beyond our vision. I wonder why scientists in general, and physicists in particular, have a strong aversion to considering the possibility that they may be observing an intelligence at work, greater than their own? If there are laws of physics beyond our vision, why is it unscientific to consider that there may also be a Law Maker who wrote those laws?
...The LHC experiments may help physicists understand our good fortune to be in a universe... ...Since when did scientists start believing in ‘good fortune’, is it not their job to assign credible reasons to all their observations? Why is it incredible to consider that there may have been more than just ‘good fortune’ at work in the origin of the Universe?  
... the LHC could reveal the particles and forces that wrote the rules for everything that followed. It could help answer one of the most basic questions for any sentient being in our universe: What is this place?... There's one puzzle piece in particular that physicists hope to pick out of the debris from the LHC's high-energy collisions. Some call it the God particle...I have yet to see a particle write any rules; rules are based on intelligence, once again it raises the question that since everything in the physical world is subject to rules, is based on codes and language, like that of DNA, is it not more scientific and reasonable to look for a person(s) who wrote the rules rather particles. Instead of looking for the God particle, should scientists not be looking for an intelligent being or beings that may be called God?
... Building a contraption like the LHC to find the Higgs is a bit like embarking on a career as a stand-up comic with the hope that at some point in your career you'll happen to blurt out a joke that's not only side-splittingly funny but also a palindrome. While the author’s analogy may be valid, from what I have read of this device, the odds are even more astronomical, it may be like trying to find one particular grain of sand from among all the sand on all the beaches in the world. Is the expense really worth it or is there another purpose for which the LHC has been built?
Some U.S. money has gone into the LHC, which will cost billions of dollars: five, maybe ten—the exact number is elusive ... J├╝rgen Schukraft, who supervises an LHC experiment named ALICE (which will re-create conditions the same as those just after the big bang), ...As we will read further down in the article, the journalist contends that even if The God Particle is found, it may not really prove anything after all, but the cost of the project may have been as high as ten billion dollars! ALICE (in Wonderland?) If the conditions that supposedly existed at the instant of the Big Bang can be re-created should not there be another Big Bang, the beginning of another Universe? And if that does not happen, does the experiment then not disprove The Big Bang? There may be valid answers to these questions but these are just some questions that popped into my mind?
The cynic might say that there's no practical use for any of this, that there might be other uses for all the money and brainpower going into these particle guns. The sentence speaks for itself!
Many people at CERN are hoping they'll get more than just answers: They'd like to uncover some new mysteries. Seems like rather than looking for answers the CERN crew may just want to raise more questions!
John Ellis confided that he wouldn't even mind if the LHC failed to find a Higgs. "Many of us theorists would find that failure much more interesting than if we just find another boring old particle that some theorists predicted 45 years ago." This quote really boggled my mind, here the media has been telling us loudly that the purpose of this machine is to find the God particle, the answers to the mysteries of the Universe, and this scientist calls it a ‘BORING OLD PARTICLE’. If it is just a ‘boring old particle’, it can’t hold too many answers can it?
New puzzles seem a sure bet. ... One day I asked George Smoot, a Nobel laureate physicist, if he thinks our most basic questions will ever be answered. "It depends on how I'm feeling on any particular day," he said. "But every day I go to work I'm making a bet that the universe is simple, symmetric, and aesthetically pleasing—a universe that we humans, with our limited perspective, will someday understand." The preceding quote is from a Nobel laureate physicist, a scientist who is supposed to have all the answers but does not seem to have many. There is a major disconnect between what scientists really understand and what the public is made to think that they understand. Is this disconnect a mere coincidence or a carefully crafted ‘virtual reality’ to keep the masses feeling smug and warm, ‘Don’t worry, scientists have it all under control’, but do they? Ask yourself that question!  

3 comments:

  1. You just lost all credibility. It's perfectly fine to consider science and religion together. No one is saying that a creator didn't establish these rules and start the chain of events in motion - the unmoved mover, if you will. No one is saying they aren't compatible. They're 100% compatible.

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  2. They are know it all's.
    That's it.
    When some one has another idea they pretend they already proved you wrong meanwhile they prob don't even know what your talking about!
    Sad!

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  3. The only scientist to understand the universe was R Buckminster Fuller who based all his observations on eternal generalized principles.Therefore spiritual metaphysical principals which were true at all times and at all places in the universe/omniverse.This ever evolving series of observations or laws he called synergetics and it is the only true picture of our realm ever drawn by humans.

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