Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is the Higgs boson the Atheist particle?

Lawrence Krauss has a breathless piece How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story of Our Creation on the Daily Beast. Here argues that the existence of the Higgs boson validates the inflationary model of the early universe, leading to the following final paragraph:
If these bold, some would say arrogant, notions derive support from the remarkable results at the Large Hadron Collider, they may reinforce two potentially uncomfortable possibilities: first, that many features of our universe, including our existence, may be accidental consequences of conditions associated with the universe’s birth; and second, that creating “stuff” from “no stuff” seems to be no problem at all—everything we see could have emerged as a purposeless quantum burp in space or perhaps a quantum burp of space itself. Humans, with their remarkable tools and their remarkable brains, may have just taken a giant step toward replacing metaphysical speculation with empirically verifiable knowledge. The Higgs particle is now arguably more relevant than God.
I find this a rather weak argument. I don't think the existence of the Higgs field is really of any greater philosophical significance than any other important scientific discovery. Just because we can explain something does not mean that God is not involved. This was the age old issue discussed by Laplace and Napoleon.
Increasing scientific knowledge is only a problem if you subscribe to the problematic notion of "the God of the Gaps" and/or you believe that science and theology are competing for the same intellectual territory.

A Biblical view of Creation is that God [YHWH in the Old Testament, and the Father of Jesus Christ] upholds and sustains the universe and governs the laws that scientists discover. Because we are made in the image of this Creator God we have the amazing ability to actually discover what these laws are.
Just because we can understand something in natural terms does not prove that God is not involved. Furthermore, we are still always left with the questions:
Why are the laws what they are?
What is the significance of the fact that they lead to our existence?

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