In current public forums and gatherings, controversy over the relationship and dominance of science and religion has been fueled and escalated by both narrow minded religious fundamentalist and elitist academics stepping outside their realm of knowledge in an act of self-perceived and publicly emboldened authority.
Secular, atheistic, and anti-establishment sentiments are certainly understandable, and for me, even sometimes relatable to. Even centuries after Galileo’s Inquisition trial, religious suspicion and paranoia of scientific theory permeate the modern world despite the widely held view even amongst Christians that Galileo’s theories are correct. The willingness of the uninformed Christian to accept certain scientific theories but wholly reject others reveals a blatant truth that only the naïve could prove: Only when a theory is popularly criticized and opposed by other Christians and religious authority, do any rationalizations for the “inherent” conflict between science and God manifest. Before any spiritual opposition was made apparent to religious followers by Church members of authority, a plethora of scientific theories and implications based upon them go uncontested. Why? Because it is not even a matter of truth or deception to the hypothetical Christian in question until religious authorities assert their innate divine knowledge and influence their followers to share the same insecurity. The insecurity of religious leaders likely stems from the disunity that comes from the potential absence of the “necessity of faith in certain values” by the general population. With scientific theories, the validity of a theory is inherent in its capacity to be tested, challenged, and repeated without flaw. You do not have to take a theory on faith, you can see it in action for yourself if you wish to question its validity. Who knows, you might just be on to something.
It is the fact that scientific theory does not require a leap of faith that many on both sides of religious/scientific controversy draw the line of contest. Some see it as the “redeeming” aspect of science that trumps religion(s). Some see it as a logical fallacy used to promote secular policy and control. Where the Church capitalizes on the devotion of its followers to agree with the Church’s condemnation of scientific ideas that challenge the necessity of faith, the educated elite capitalize on something else: the lack of understanding and necessary knowledge to put a theory in proper context. In a new effort by academics to counter the criticism and power play of the Church, respected scientists in many fields are making public statements to garner public support for the survival of science. Some, like Richard Dawkins, have ridden the evolution controversy and then further fueled its continued existence by trying to persuade the public in the opinion that the theory of evolution and its implications discredit the existence of a God. In some cases, like Dr. Stephen Hawking, the declaration is brunt and unexpectedly lacking in explanation: “Science will win.” Being liberal, I was at first enticed by the prospect of accredited scientists explaining a worldview that would help justify my disdain for mainstream Christianity due to its rejection of homosexuals. However, being a scientist of my own ambitions, I realized the massive inconsistencies my ulterior motives had kept clouded by a muck of bias. In the interest of truth and constructing the most accurate theory possible, I found two things that make even the entire notion of any controversy to begin with a total sham.
One: The self-determined definition of science is the study of the natural, observable world, and not elements of the supernatural. The very definition of the bounds of science by general consensus of scientists excludes the capability of scientific theory to make any assumption or even resolution over the supernatural. It does not acknowledge a God, it does not disprove a God. It isn’t even agnostic. It just isn’t what science is concerned with. This specific part of the definition was likely made to stem the possibility of controversy in the future, it’s so straightforward that it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Thus, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking have shown themselves to be more interested in determining public opinion and no longer worthy of explaining the purpose of science. Furthermore, acknowledging that “science will win” implies that there is even a conflict at all, giving religious fundamentalists the illusion that they need to strengthen their resolve to prevail.
Two: Religious fundamentalists, like their academic elite counterparts, already lost because they pursued a conflict that didn’t actually exist. Acting on the misunderstanding of the meaning of theories and the urgency to follow through on faith without question, fundamentalists will refuse to accept any arguments to the contrary of theirs, even when the arguments take place solely on their “turf”. You can find biblical verses that actually support scientific ideas and oppose ancient assumptions. At the end of Genesis, it is concluded that the seven “days” are, verbatim, “the generations in which God created the earth.” An Earth that took millions of years to take the shape we know today follows along the lines of many geological, astronomical, and evolutionary theories of the origins of Earth. The only explanation for the stubborn tendency of fundamentalists to cling to beliefs of the world being much younger can only be that these fundamentalists have even neglected to take the time to read the bible on their own accord and without the direct “guidance” of their leaders.
So, to the subject of the title: what is the God particle anyway? Removing its magical, mystical label and replacing it with the original scientific term, it is the “Higgs Boson”. A Boson is one of three groups of elementary particles. Elementary particles are basically what comprise a subatomic particle, such as a neutron or proton (electrons are technically elementary particles). The three groups of elementary particles are Leptons, Quarks, and Gauge Bosons. What all the big fuss is about regarding the Higgs Boson is that its confirmed presence also proves the existence of the “Higgs Field”. The Higgs field is like a sort of energy grid that is present throughout the entire universe, and elementary particles passing through the field give rise to what we understand as mass. It is analogous to a swimmer in a pool; the friction the swimmer encounters against the water is akin to rise of mass from elementary particles “swimming” through the Higgs Field. While further developments into manipulating the Higgs field are a long ways off, the discovery of what gives origin to mass is a huge first step in a multitude of possibilities. Wasn’t my explanation so much better than the mystifying, conflict sparking, and unnecessary “God particle” routine? Isn’t it nice when someone shares knowledge rather than uses it for their own designs?
This video came out before the actual discovery but sums it all up pretty well: