Is “Higgs boson” a creative particle or energy field? Can we thus infer an “anti-God particle,” as anti-matter opposes matter, or dark energy battles gravity?
Any covenant with Godhead, in my book, comes down to Creation. Genesis, the source of time, space, and being; in short, existence. Especially our piddling existence. Without creation as we know it, we’d be deficient in mass, not even rocks; or with multiverse speculations, we could also be someone else, who knows where, gabbing with utter aliens. Because we esteem existence (over all the sorry alternatives), let us greet the New Year by honoring the force that could well have made something real out of, well, something not. The “God Particle.” Hallelujah!
If this particle is a particle. Could be more an energy or force field, but let’s not quibble yet about what stabilizes mass, from atoms to black holes. Hark, this herald angel sings, glory to the brand-new king, the Higgs boson “God particle,” as the media (and some scientists) sing forth. And good news, too, for all of our enlightened defiance against the noxious rearguard, a.k.a. Biblical literalism — folks “born-again” looking backwards, stuck in an outdated 2000 year-old, flat earth-centered time warp.
Without creation, what sort of enduring covenant could exist between the consciousness that dies, in short us, and something greater, higher, farther out? And more permanent we hope than rocks. Science is “tantalizingly close” to explaining man’s ultimate free-lunch quandary — what makes something from nothing (or chaos)? Fundamentalists, beware — here’s an ever-present catalyst that refudiates that humanized, Old Testament figure notorious for bad temper, non-negotiable demands, and playing favorites. On the line, if physics identifies the source of creation, boom goes the creditability for our most famous creation myth, part of our cultural, moralistic dogma to make tribes pray, shamans honored, and offspring obedient.
Outside is inside
Happily, the God Particle evokes no impatient, abstract father figure but the very catalyst that facilitates mass, as the glue-like Higgs boson, per one scientist, “surrounds us and penetrates us, binding the galaxy together.” Does not reality depend wholly on something that gives mass to the otherwise massless? Not Darwin, Freud nor Einstein introduced this ultimate root of the root, delivering a big-time, dope-smack to outdated Bronze Age creation fables.
Alas, even this breakthrough will not free fundamentalists from their most onerous fallacy. How can one tribe’s assemblage of texts, inscribed by fallen men as specified by the Eden story, be declared inerrant because they say so? How can anyone take on faith alone what every century since 1500 has progressively discredited as fable? Not only is the earth not fixed, flat nor immobile, we’re not the center of anything (except human ego); further, there’s no “up there” there for heaven, no species (with or without souls) that was created perfect and immutable, and DNA stamps our link to all other life. We are, in defiance of zealotry, the offspring of this earth, linked by proteins (and atoms, thus Higgs) to everything, and especially to everything that reproduces. All else is noise.
What rational being proposes a humanoid first mover who “in the beginning” out of the void “created the heavens and the earth”? That’s just so Old Testament, signaling the true “void” was human knowledge, lacking the technology, mindsets, and hard-won evidence that conveys orderly creation. We don’t look to the Bible for medical cures, shape of the earth, structure/motion of our solar system, genealogical precision, geographic accuracy, nor historical veracity. Why then swallow its take on creation hook, line and sinker?
Epic Battle: Knowledge vs. Ignorance
First breakthrough insight from the God particle: truth is not “out there, up there or far away,” but inside our elemental core, every atom, and every process that ultimately defines what human means. We exist only because quantum stuff, like quarks, got ordered into the push-pull of strong and weak forces in universal play. We think because something like the God Particle (or its cousins) organized energy (or fields) into mass, starting the pinball game of life, its own “ineluctable modality of the visible,” in James Joyce’s phrase.
The Bible isn’t only wrongheaded about the origin and structure of the universe, for me it presents an intellectual dead end. If some humanoid simply created everything — as a gift to his self-regard — then creation becomes an effect without an engaging, revelatory cause. Science now suggests “creation” is far older, and far more bewitching, than today’s novelty, that 19th C. marvel called Creationism. In the epic, unending battle between knowledge and ignorance — the only battle truly worth fighting for — science now takes on Creationists and the Rapture. The real, adult intellectual and spiritual action is not fixating Genesis, but distinguishing reality from delusional, solipsistic leaps of faith.
Confirmation of the Higgs boson (or related forces) complicates creation in all the right ways, without demolishing what we already know. Further, the Higgs, by informing mass, advances the great, remaining mystery — what causes gravity — allowing tantalizing peeks inside the inside. For those mystic-minded, the God particle reinforces notions of supersymmetry, proposing every known type of particle has an undiscovered twin. That helps physicists explain how elemental forces behaved when the universe was young. We’re not talking 5000 years ago either, but when stuff tussled across primordial, contending battlegrounds — some forces favoring connectedness (the order of the cosmos) and some “darker,” expansive, more entropic backing random movement.
Science the Great Unifier
This discovery so transcends Genesis we could have a whole new narrative bridging science with philosophy, even religion, for we embrace the architecture of order itself, with mass, direction, even implied values called meaning. Intriguingly enough, finding this God particle answers to predictions from the 1960s, just like anti-matter, predicted in 1928, was confirmed by 1932. Of course, attributing god-like attributes to quanta doesn’t disprove the existence of an ultimate power (a galactic force field) but we happily leave behind that paternalistic master of ceremonies evoking light and day and night as if a stage director with an infinite budget.
I have for years made noises that Godhead relates to electro-magnetism and atomic valance, for I come from an industry (high end audio) that applies electricity, electron flows, and shifting energy fields. Loudspeakers, for example, translate tiny electric pulses into the physical motion of sound waves re-created in your very room. Now we explore well beyond to ponder special catalysts, without any big guy in the sky, but how sub-atomic smithereens became you and me — and even those rigid fundamentalists down the street. Now that’s a unifying, reassuring winter solstice miracle that gets my blood flowing and my head reassured we may be more than just chemicals colliding. We are insightful creators ourselves.