Physicists say they’ve found “god particle”. Wonder if they’ll name it the “obamanon.” Any bets on when the ACLU will sue to disallow any future public funding for physics research?

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

GhostntheMachine March 14, 2013 at 5:43 am

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Yeah, but will they try to teach it in schools?

Ruben March 14, 2013 at 6:28 am

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The ACLU will have a new legal theory by which they’ll now oppose everything: the separation of church and static state.

Navyvet2 March 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

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Yep we found it, BUT we need more money to fully research this. Bah!

ThatOtherGuy March 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

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And watch a whole bunch more particles fall out….

Tell me when they find the Free Will particle

Joe Redfield March 14, 2013 at 9:30 am

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Progressive physicists are looking for the Free Money particle.

Alien March 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

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You can blame dumb journalists for pushing the term God Particle..

Physicists refer to it by the proper Standard Model terminology

Kip Hooker March 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

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I’ve been dissapointed that the Standard Model is seemingly being confirmed. I freely admit much of this is absolute Greek to me . . . but I’d hoped for something a bit more elegant.

Alien March 14, 2013 at 10:26 am

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I agree.. maybe in future days, at higher energies, they can find a more elegant thing responsible for the Particle Zoo

KW Willy March 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

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I thought it was called the “Higgs Bosun”. Yes, no? Or is it just “the Corporate Greed” or the “Ron Pile”??

PsychoDad March 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

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Wow. That was about the most uninformative story ever.
Here’s something with a little more meat on its bones for anyone interested:

andre53 March 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

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As the old southern saying goes, “a cat can have kittens in an oven, but it don’t make them biscuits.” Just because you gave it the name “God …” doesn’t change the fact that it’s just another piece of the physical universe, what it explains notwithstanding.

When you find, in the physical universe, the cause that is not also an effect of something else, let me know. Then we can talk.

Sidekick March 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

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I’m glad to see you back. Your posts cause me to nod my head in agreement every time.

andre53 March 15, 2013 at 3:32 am

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1st, it’s not even like I’m all that religious. I condsider myself a deist with gnostic overtones in the Eastern Orthodox tradition (but culturally only). But if I really explain what I believe, a devout Catholic or Born-again Christian would most likely say “oh, so you’re basically an atheist”.

Having said that, science is still science. And I am a science leaning person. And it’s that little prime cause thing that has yet to be explained. So they’ll answer the Q from the previous post with “well, it was the big bang”. They now say “it had no cause. It just happened.”

And I’d reply, “oh really? And that would still be in accordance with the laws of conservation of mass and energy?”

“well, there were no laws before then. They were created with the big bang”.

“Okay, so what you’re saying is that the laws that applied prior to the creation of the physical universe were necessarily not of this physical universe, therefore a completely different set of parameters must apply. NOW we’re getting someplace. Therefore I would suggest that you bag the extraordinarily expensive colliders and accelerators (not that I’m against playing with these toys -they do have some good uses), because with them, you are only looking at the physical universe, therefore the only thing you will EVER find is something that is the effect of something else.”

Sidekick March 15, 2013 at 6:05 am

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There I go nodding again. I have no science background to speak of but I try to employ logic. When the “science” crowd changes the rules to suit its argument (that can apply to AGW equally as well) then there really is no science just dogma. I’m not overly religious either but I am convinced “someone” pushed the first domino that was, itself, created by “someone”. The more we walk back the Big Bang or any other scientific theory that deals with the origins of life the more I am convinced that those theories which feature the absence of a creator is some sort of confirmation bias wrapped in the need for a prearranged conclusion that dismisses any theological/metaphysical possibilities.

Alien March 15, 2013 at 6:42 am

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This may be possible, but you should at least concede that those predisposed to believe in a Creator are also vulnerable to the same confirmation bias

The only reason we get to “walk back” anything is because of the works of Science. At this point, we’ve walked things back a phenomenal amount of time.. billions of years wholly unimagined by ancient Abrahamic texts.

If you believe in any of the metrics produced by science, then you have the odd condition where the Creator waited untold eons to speak to lifeforms on a planet practically lost in an uncountable plenitude of worlds. Then He leaves them works on parchment and papyrus, through interactions with a Chosen few, only to end communication with the species as they proceed towards greater knowledge, communication capacity, and increased dominion over the earth and its surround..

The works of Science are for more interesting. I have little interest in communicating with an entity via the medium of another person’s thoughts. God should leave a note..

Sidekick March 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

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I take your points but I do not believe that time has relevance for a Creator. the eons you refer to is a man made concept. I think you may be conflating the Creator…Prime Mover, whatever with the “man-made God” who supposedly speaks to a select few. Pope or Pontiff is taken from the Roman word for bridge as in a bridge from man to God. I don’t buy that. That being said, I think science does make it possible to walk back the sequence of events or at least give the walk back some context.

I guess I don’t believe in randomness to the degree that would be required to create the universe. There is order and that came from somewhere.

Alien March 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

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If you’re willing to extend definition of Prime Mover to include many things, perhaps something like an Alien (not me) Corporate Lab from Universe X experimenting with Reality, i’m game. But that begs the question, where did that Lab come from?

Most people who talk about Creator or Prime Mover end up collapsing it back into a singular sentient omnipotent being, often characterized as male, and that’s just another way of saying God to me.

Even if we assume God is the Prime Mover, bearing probably the highest possible incarnation of Order imaginable (by definition, really)… where did THAT order come from? Answers that suggest God is beyond Time, clasification, or even such questioning, are just evasive to me.

On the other hand, replication emerging out of lower-order chaotic events has been demonstrated in multiple mediums by science. They just haven’t managed to demonstrate this from base organics to DNA. I don’t rule out that DNA may have been engineered.. by something, either.

Its just a lot of unknowns, still. Until we’ve really got starships spreading out into the universe, we’re still in the dark. But that’s why I love science, because its most likely to get me eyes on the problem.

Sidekick March 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

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I like science because it solves everything from mundane everyday problems (dustbuster) to the origins of the universe. That being said, I think we are more or less on the same plane we still do not know enough to say one way or the other how we got here. You definitely have a better grasp on the hard sciences, I’m just a business/liberal arts wanker who tries to look at things as logically as possible.

Alien March 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

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I enjoy the flow of your logic. Really liked that letter you wrote to politician regarding assault weapons ban a couple weeks back–just can’t remember if I mentioned or not. Ye still gots me thinking about SSRIs and the madness of anti-depressants that also can claim suicidal thoughts as side-effect

edit: i mean seriously, perhaps its time to add homicidal thoughts to the disclaimer

sa_rose March 16, 2013 at 8:09 am

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I agree with the science as you have described it, and rightly or wrongly, it seems to confirm a Creator. In th case of the Christian or Jewish God, the mythology in the Bible follows the development of the universe and of this planet in particular. THe idea that there were no rules until the big bang, actually supports the Biblical story fo everything being chaos until God stepped in and ade the planets, the moons, etc. The development of life on earth follows the creation strory order as well. Once can loook at the Bible and mmake the argument that GOD was theexplanation an uneducated peoples came up with to explain the unexplanable, or that aliens ( not you) seeded life on the planet, but you can see how for many of us, science is not in conflict with a belief in God, the creator.

sa_rose March 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

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I see there are some hardline atheists reading this thread who can’t compromise in any way!

Alien March 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

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This is how I more fully realized my agnosticism. Athiests do not tolerate one conceding they Don’t Know

andre53 March 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

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You have to separate the statement “someone had to push the first domino” and/or something about a prime cause from a bunch of material written by humans and assigned a significance associated with an anthropomorphized God.

I also in agreement with Sidekick on the time issue. If every cause (every thing, really), in the physical universe is also the effect of something else, then the first cause must necessarily not be of the physical universe. And that exclusion includes time. Time is purely a physical universe phenomena.

andre53 March 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

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Once you “change the rules” as you say, you no longer are doing science. You are now pushing an agenda. You’re doing advocacy, or something like that. And it really does not matter whether you have a PhD in climatology, Presleyology (not sure if they give grad degrees in that, but they at least at one time offered that major at U of Memphis), or you’re just some raving whack-job at an OWS shit-in. You’re not doing science, and you’re not using your degree to pull any wool over my eyes, at least.

Using logic is going to put you ahead of most “scientists”. Just like any profession, trade, etc., there are people who really “get it” on a conceptual level, and there’s people who are nothing more than robots. Doctors who just look up your symptoms in a book and prescribe a pharmaceutical, engineers who just plug numbers into fomulas or better yet, just do the same thing you did before on the last project.

Just off the top of my head, the 80/20 rule probably would be a close approximation. Originally, it was “in any group, social or professional, or the whole human race for that matter, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I would venture a guess that if you use logic without bias, you would be ahead of 80% of educated people in a field of science, who not only can not analyze without bias, but don’t even recognize bias when they are using it.

And the 80/20 rule would apply to the 20% who do 80% of the work, meaning then that 4% of the people do 64% of the work, and taking it another step, 0.8% of the people do 51.2% of the work.

Alien March 15, 2013 at 6:29 am

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This is interesting, but astrophysicists do not claim that there was No Cause. I generally find this to be the argument of those pushing for a sentient Creator working with intent. Science is replete with debate over conditions that led to the Big Bang

andre53 March 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

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I have heard the proposition put forth that there was no cause to the big bang. It just happened. Not sure how widespread this notion is among credible scientists, but it is at least lurking around out there.

And on that subject, I am not saying “there you go, there’s the proof that God exists”. What I am saying is that IMO, either that cause, or whatever earlier cause may be hypothesised as the first, must necessarily be not of the physical universe AS WE KNOW IT. That does not mean that we can not ever know it. But somewhere along the line I believe that humans will find universes other than this one and their laws may be completely different in ways we can not concieve of.

Alien March 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

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OK I’m with you.. Forgive me on a couple points:

1) I read too much into Primer Mover/First Cause talk, because there is significant overlap in terminology with Intelligent Design theory. I have a couple Christian friends, also scientifically minded, who take this approach in discussions. They are not satisfied with the idea of a non-sentient apparatus pushing that first domino (who built the apparatus?)

2) You are right to say the notion of No Cause behind The Big Bang is common. I tend to dismiss it as either the thoughtless expression of a layperson, or the mischaracterization of the position by opponents of all secular cosmological theory. The scientists I’m acquainted with, or read, argue over a variety of theories that presage the Big Bang as we know it in this universe.

So, when you start talking about other universes, I say I’m with you there. There are numerous cyclic models that incorporate the interactions within some multiverse being responsible for the birth of our own (e.g. ekpyrotic, loop quantum cosmology, etc). I see a lot of that in science rags

Then again.. that’s just a lot more dominoes to explain? Hurts my head..

andre53 March 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm

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” that’s just a lot more dominoes to explain?”


Yes, it is.

We could bust through to a whole new set of parameters that explain how all that energy from the big bang came to be from no energy, and simply open a new can of dominos, and start a new cycle of discoveries.

The one thing that I have to say about the intelligent design people is that there seems to be some movement away from the anthropomorphised God. Most of those qualities that are and have been assigned to God violate the whole concept of prime mover unmoved.

E.g., God gets mad about this or that in the world. Well, anger is a reaction, meaning that God was the effect of something? See where I’m going with that?

The only thing we can say for certain is that it all started somewhere somehow. Maybe someday we’ll find out that there was an ethereal being hanging out with nothing to do that day. Or something like the bratty superbeing that decided to play god with the starship Enterprise. Or maybe (probably) not.

Basically, the intelligent design theory as presently promoted is an attempt to sound less mystical. And the idea that the big bang “just happened” is the scientific way of telling the int design people “leave me the hell alone and stop bugging me with the ‘what was the cause’ questions”

GhostntheMachine March 15, 2013 at 6:12 am

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What Kick said. And that pesky singularity strikes again. fwiw, I think science and religion are in much closer agreement than makes either comfortable, kinda fun watching them squirm sometimes. A jesuit priest came up with the big bang theory to illustrate his side of the story after all. Let the games begin(again).

Alien March 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

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Not only priest, but artillery officer in WW1.. which leads me to reflect upon his math skills (survive the Belgian blood and mud, and you are probably both lucky and pretty damn competent).

Alien March 15, 2013 at 6:31 am

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“god particle” is a stupid term pushed by journalists and purveyors of linkbait. Scientists would rather have called it the “goddamned particle” because it was so difficult to pin down

Progressive Hemrrhoid March 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm

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What they have actually discovered is the infinitely massive federal spending particle. Just a speck of this material exerts such a pull, no budget cuts can escape it.

Neo-7 March 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

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I think if we all knew what was best for us , we ought best be calling it the ” Obama Particle “. —- She who shall not be named

sa_rose March 16, 2013 at 8:13 am

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Actually we have been looking for the “god” particle for much lionger than Obama was on anyone’s radar. And it isn’t just Americans getting funding to look for it. This is a world wide search involving physicists from many countries.

Alien March 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

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Its really too bad they killed the SSC in Texas back in 93. It was on our radar too, in late 80s.. Upstate NY was a candidate site, but TX had more clout in WH and congress. Looking back, it was chump change for solid science

GhostntheMachine March 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

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Am I remembering right… we’d already spent like a billion, tunnels dug, and the ultra-right religious wackjobs killed it? Swear I can remember reading it in an honest to goodness dead tree issue of Discover mag. That’s what I meant by it sometimes being fun to laugh at both sides squirming.

Alien March 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm

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I’d have to say Discover probably being biased there.. We had our share of wackos in NY who were terrified of that much experimental physics whirling around under their small town feet. That’s to be expected and it wasn’t apparent that is was coming in any particular political stripe (even my saying small town is probably biased, but that’s where the protests were)

The guy who fought to kill it in congress was a Dem from Kansas.. he had pretty broad bi-partisan support because of deficit hawking in ’93 (it was overbudget, after all.. by todays numbers, laughable). The Senate kept saving the SSC and the House kept trying to kill it until they succeeded. Clinton wrote a letter supporting it but didn’t fight like Bush did previously (GHWB threatened to veto any bill that cut its funding, Clinton made no such threat)..

Texas lost considerable clout when Clinton came in (not only replacing Bush, but also pulling Bentsen over to Treasury, plucking him out of key committee chairmanship.. Senate Financing maybe?). A lot of it was just hardball politics. I thought I noticed a trend of midwestern Dems opposing (and a key GOP Oakie as well), and can’t help but think Texas envy (amazingly enough, the day before SSC killed, the House had closely voted to continue funding the ISS, and that was lots of NASA scratch for Texas)

I love CERN and I’m happy for them and all, but the Desertron would’ve attained something like 3 times the energy of the LHC. That science should’ve been here, and it was a big loss for Texas in particular. I think some private company scooped up the core facilities last year, and the tunnels are full of water now

sa_rose March 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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Actually when they started building, it was found that Fire ants liked the site as much as te scientists. They were drawn to the activity, or the vibration,or something. Never heard that the ultra right got it canned, though I am sure they were happy to see it go. It probably wouldn’t have even been on their radar if they hadn’t dubbed it the GOD particle.

wingater March 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

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Yep. Shit happens.