July 24, 2012
The announcement on The Advocate’s July 5 front page that “Scientists celebrate likely evidence of Higgs boson” provides a good opportunity to reflect on the relationship between science and religion. In fact, the term “God particle” used to explain the suspected subatomic building block that gives all things mass is, in itself, an invitation to consider how science and religion can relate to each other.
The implication of the term “God particle,” as well as the attitude of physicists (especially of noted atheist Stephen Hawking) appears to suggest that this discovery somehow dismisses the existence of God. It is important to remember, however, that what the scientists have discovered is not yet definitive, and if (or when) it does become definitive, it simply has the capacity to explain “how” the world came into being, not “why” the world came into being, which is the realm of religion and theology. Even if the Higgs boson is proven, the simple question of “Where did Higgs boson come from?” leaves the physicists with unfinished business.
I find it interesting that so much money has been spent on this research. According to your article, $10 billion on the Large Hadron Collider alone, not to mention the grants, salaries and experiments that have been conducted apart from that particle collider. Why so much money in search of the “God particle”? I suspect that, in part, so much is spent out of a deep desire to somehow get rid of God.
Furthermore, the fact that “out of 500 trillion collisions, just several dozen produced “events with significant data” does not come close to earning “indisputable proof” status.
While many atheists mock the religious faithful for having faith in a God that cannot be proven scientifically, it is amazing that so many of them are excited by an elemental building block which your own headline describes as “likely,” has not been definitely proven and has, thus far, had a miniscule amount of success — not on proving Higgs boson’s existence — but merely “significant data.” “Several dozen” out of “500 trillion” is not the kind of overwhelming statistic that puts the question of God to rest.
For those who choose to put their faith in a yet unproven building block as an explanation for our existence, let those of us who know with every fiber of our being that God made the building block welcome their achievement with a sincere love and appreciation for their work. After all, “how” God made the world is not nearly as important as “why” God made the world.