Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Higgs Boson?
Every believer has his or her own doubt instigator. For some, it's the problem of pain. How can there be a good God when there is so much indescribable suffering in the world? The problem of pain has made me question God's character, but never his existence.
For others, it's God's intangibility: "I can't see, hear, taste, touch, or sense God's presence, therefore he must not exist." But that doesn't really get to me, either. I'm willing to accept that there is a dimension to life that is inaccessible through the five senses.
No, for me, it's science that causes an attosecond of doubt. What we're learning about creation through astronomy and physics leaves me shaking in my boots. This past July, scientists presented evidence for a particle called the Higgs boson, or the "God particle." In simple terms, the Higgs boson lends credence to the Big Bang theory because it explains why particles have mass—and why, in turn, we exist. Without the Higgs boson, the universe would have energy but no mass.
Some scientists claim that the discovery is a severe blow to religion. One Cambridge professor said the Higgs boson was "another nail in the coffin of religion"; Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University argued that the Higgs boson "posits a new story of our creation" independent of a supernatural creator. The Higgs boson, scientists argue, tells us how something came from nothing.
One month later, on August 5, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars with the hopes that it could provide evidence that the Red Planet once—or possibly still—harbored life. Some claim that, contrary to what the Vatican says, life on Mars will similarly disprove the Jewish and Christian creation narrative and thus, all religions as well.
And this month, the Dark Energy Camera, a 570-megapixel digital telescopic camera positioned on an arid Chilean mountaintop, took its first photos of deep space. Each photo can capture up to 100,000 galaxies that are up to 8 billion miles away. Over the next five years, the camera will photograph no less than 300 million galaxies.
Since the 1920s, scientists have known that the universe is expanding, but most assumed that gravity would slow this expansion and eventually cause the universe to collapse or contract. But in the 1990s, researchers determined that the universe isn't slowing, it's expanding. For this to be possible, another force had to be counteracting gravity and pushing apart the cosmos. Imagine putting several dots on a deflated balloon. As you filled up the balloon with air, those dots would spread further apart.