August 02, 2012
High energy physics is not an area where plant pathologists and chaplains have any real expertise. But since Chaplain Chris Roussell made comments about the “purported” discovery of the Higgs boson, I would like to comment on his letter to The Advocate of July 17.
I see no conflict between science and religion, as Chris Roussell implies, where physicists are trying to explain such things as weak and strong nuclear forces, electromagnetism, dark matter and dark energy. Man has always tried to make sense of and to explain his surroundings, the world, the solar system, our galaxy and the universe. To suggest that current scientific efforts come from “a deep desire” on the part of scientists “to get rid of God” sounds patently silly. I suggest there is a wide range of religious beliefs among world scientists, including physicists, that includes nonbelievers, just as in any other large group of people.
Roussell also questioned whether the amount of evidence gathered and interpreted by two independently working teams at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) is sufficient to declare that the Higgs boson was actually found. The scientists involved were confident enough (confidence level of 99.99997 percent) in their evidence to announce to the world, at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia, this past July 4, that the elusive boson had been found.
It should be noted that the 83-year-old Peter Higgs, who first postulated the existence of the particle that bears his name, was in attendance at the Melbourne Conference.
retired plant pathologist