by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

[NOTE—For the original article and a previous update, see Higgs Boson—The “God Particle”? and Higgs Boson—The “God Particle”? (Update), respectively]

We have been closely monitoring the progress of the search for the elusive “Higgs Boson” particle—presumptuously dubbed the “God Particle” by many scientists (see Miller, 2011a and Miller, 2011b for previous discussion). The hunt has been a roller coaster ride, with scientists thinking they have found the particle and then changing their minds time and again. The Higgs Boson particle is “thought to be the fundamental unit of matter” (“Has Quest for the Elusive…?” 2011). In theory, it could explain how other elementary particles have mass. The particle is a theoretical elementary particle that is predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics, but which had yet to be observed by physicists through experimentation, until now—or so scientists hope. On July 4, 2012, scientists sent shockwaves through the world as they announced that they believe, with well over 99% certainty, that they have found the Higgs Boson particle using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator located in Switzerland (“The Elusive Particle…,” 2012; see May, 2012 for more information on the LHC). How significant is this find to the believer? If there is a “God Particle,” does that mean the “Big Bang” is true? Does it mean that something can come from nothing? Does it mean that there is no God?

Why do many call it the “God Particle”? Technically, according to the National Post, the name “God Particle” is an abbreviated form of its original, profane designation—“The God-d*** Particle” (a name used by Nobel physicist Leon Lederman as a draft title for a book), referring to the frustrations scientists have been going through trying to find the Higgs Boson. So, it actually had nothing to do with God. However, apparently, the name was abbreviated to “The God Particle” to avoid offending readers—as though the abbreviated description is any less profane (“Higgs Boson Hunt Over…,” 2012). The result of this name designation has been to give the impression that the particle is “God-like” and somehow eliminates the necessity of a God in creating the Universe while substantiating the Big Bang Theory. So, to Big Bang-believers today, the Higgs Boson is not just an energy particle which they believe gives an object its mass, but rather, it is “a theoretical energy particle which many scientists believe helped give mass to the disparate matter spawned by the Big Bang” (“Scientists Close In…,” 2010, emp. added). Big Bang theorists consider its existence “crucial to forming the cosmos after the Big Bang” (2010, emp. added). Therefore, the particle is “god-like” to such sadly deluded individuals, since it, in theory, “gives mass” and helped “form” the cosmos….

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