In “This Just In: Brainless Boson Outwits Scientists” In (American Thinker, June 16, 2012), Terry L. Mirll offers some thoughts on the curious cosmology drama of the Higgs boson (“God particle”) and why it matters so much to so many.
First, consider the desperate language:
Consider, for instance, this recent headline from the Christian Science Monitor: “CERN Scientists Excruciatingly Close to Discovering Higgs Boson.” Got that? Not just close. Not just really close, nor really, really close, but “excruciatingly” close. As in, “So close a damsel butterfly could ne’er slip her dew-glisten’d wing betwixt them.” That kind of close!
Not to be outdone by the CSM, Reuters offers: “Big Bang Particle Discovery Closer: Scientists.” Rather than quibble as to the degree of closeness, the headline makes the standard appeal to authority. Real, for-true, bona fide scientists are making this claim, for those of you who may have thought the claim was coming from Girl Scout Troop 428.
Why? Mirll suggests,
Here’s an idea the science media seem to neglect altogether: the failure to find the Higgs boson may indicate a serious flaw in our formulation of the Standard Model. The issue has never been that the Higgs boson must exist, but that it must exist if the Standard Model is at all true. The Standard Model, in turn, is true only if Big Bang Cosmology is real. This leaves the scientist with only two options: find that damn Higgs boson, or reformulate the Standard Model by finding other options than the Big Bang, maybe even toss it out altogether.
To insist that the former option, for the sake of the latter, must be realized puts the particle physicist in an unfortunate position — rather like a child trying to pound a piece of jigsaw puzzle into place when it may fit elsewhere.
A lot of us would miss the Big Bang. The grandeur, the simplicity.
(Some of us had treated the Higgs soap opera as just that, “Where oh where has my little Higgs gone … where oh where can it be …. ” But maybe not.)