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Saturday, October 04, 2008

GOD, Physics, and the Hadron

The world of science is beside itself with anticipation that the new Hadron Collider will finally demonstrate the non-existence of God. This marvelous machine is intended to demonstrate the existence of the Higgs Boson which is a particle that gives mass in some magical way to all other particles. Of course the real problem is that there really are no particles at all, that is none of the particles that scientists like to play with and that are discussed and taught around the world really exist. The Hadron Collider is not only supposed to locate the Higgs Boson but it is also expected to give insight into what happened in the instant of the Big Bang. Unfortunately the real objective is to understand the “science” behind the Big Bang without having to actually come to grips with God, because the truly important questions will remain unanswered.

Prior to the Big Bang there was no space, no time, no energy, no particles, nothing – nothing at all. So what was there? Well no one knows – that is no scientist knows and certainly no atheist knows – there was nothing. So the first question if there was nothing then what triggered the Big Bang? Remember the first thing that the Big Bang had to do was to create space itself because the expanding universe had to fit into something and that was space. Once there was a space then there was a place for all of that incredible energy. So the second question must be what kind of energy was initially created? Well it must have been light (does that sound familiar), heat, and radiation plus other forms of energy but not necessarily gravity, because there was no mass because there were no particles – just energy.

Now this energy was expanding and filling space at an incredible speed, but less than the speed of light. But somehow all of this energy began to coalesce into particles – subatomic particles but precisely how this was done is mostly speculation because there were no particles so there couldn’t be any gravity, but then light has mass because it is composed of photons but were photons created as part of the Big Bang? Light has some really mysterious properties because while it has mass and can be bent by gravity it also acts as a wave so was the light emitted in the Big Bang a wave or a burst of particles? Apparently almost immediately after the Big Bang the released energy began to form particles, a process that apparently remains hidden since it is not ongoing and cannot be duplicated. So once these sub-atomic particles formed they immediately began to join together to create protons, electrons, and neutrons. These are the universal particles that make up the entire universe and everything in it, except of course dark matter—whatever that is- gravity, and the other forces and particles that remain invisible. The really important point is that everything in the universe is pure energy and why that energy has mass is unknown. Of course this what the Higgs Boson is supposed to do – it is supposed to the particle that produces mass in these energy fields called protons, photons, neutrons, and electrons.

The theory is that in the instant following the Big Bang all of this energy began to take on mass and coalesce into particles and then atoms and then molecules, which produced the various elements, which collected together under the influence of gravity which ultimately created all of the stars and planets. All of this can be explained by science even though parts remain speculative. Unfortunately some very uncomfortable questions remain, not the least of which is what caused the Bib Bang in the first place and where did that pin point of energy come from? Beyond that is why do things that are virtually invisible have mass? If every proton, electron, and neutron in the universe is identical why do some have life? Why do some think and some do not? How did life begin? These are the questions the Higgs Boson is supposed to provide the pathway to answers.

Of course it doesn’t take much of a stretch if you subscribe to the myth of God, to come up with some rather simple answers. When you read the first chapters of Genesis you get a pretty accurate, if somewhat poetic, description of the creation of the universe and life on Earth. Somehow I think the Hadron Super Collider will produce some interesting observations but no answers to any of these questions.

3 comments:

James Jr said...

Of course what started it all is a big mystery, but some progress is being made as to what might have triggered the big bang.

I prefer the speculative work at open source physics project BigCrash.org, that energy existed prior to the big bang and it coalesced in one location slowly before finally exploding into the universe of matter we see and exist in today.

Royce said...

Interesting point but if space and time did not yet exist where did the energy come from and where was it? Of course God could be described as the energy source. The entire objective of science today seems to be to prove that their is no God. I'm not quite ready to declare God as irrelevant or dead.

James Jr said...

Where did the energy come from, yes that is probably the biggest mystery.

Theories differ, but evidence appears to suggest that energy (dark energy) may exist all around us. This energy may be the 'Higgs field' that may cause matter to measure "weight forces" when accelerated such as by gravity fields. (mass.bigcrash.org open source physics theory)