In search of the God particle
- URL to an interesting article in Newsweek
An interview with physicist Steven Weinberg. Weinberg discusses the search
for the Higgs boson and how the discovery may or may not affect our view of
the universe and possible impact on religions
First few paragraphs
After this experiment, will we have a final theory of how the universe was
It is possible that this experiment will give theoretical physicists a
brilliant new idea that will explain all the particles and all the forces that we
know and bring everything together in a beautiful mathematically consistent
theory. But it is very unlikely that a final theory will come just from this
experiment. If had to bet, I would bet it won't be that easy.
As we come closer to developing an ultimate theory of the universe, how will
this impact religion?
As science explains more and more, there is less and less need for religious
explanations. Originally, in the history of human beings, everything was
mysterious. Fire, rain, birth, death, all seemed to require the action of some
kind of divine being. As time has passed, we have explained more and more in a
purely naturalistic way. This doesn't contradict religion, but it does takes
away one of the original motivations for religion.
You've said that Darwin's theory of natural selection was the biggest step
in this direction. What about the possible findings in particle physics?
I don't think that discoveries in elementary particle physics in themselves
are likely to have anything like the impact of Darwin's theory. After all, I
don't know of any religious people who say that the breaking of the symmetry
between the weak and the electromagnetic interactions requires divine
intervention. Discovering the Higgs boson, confirming the theory of electroweak
symmetry breaking, is not going to upset people's religion."
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