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Higgs Boson and Indication of Gods Existence

Autumn Rounds-Knox
RELS 4330: Science and Christianity
October 9, 2015

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Stephen Hawking bet one hundred dollars that the Higgs boson particle would
never be found. When Peter Higgs discovered the Higgs boson and won a Nobel Prize for
it, Hawking lost one hundred dollars. In simple terms, the Higgs boson is a particle that
gives mass to other particles. The Higgs boson particle has been described as the God
Particle.1 One can imagine why Stephen Hawking, proclaimed atheist, would not want
anything referred to as God Particle entering physicists turf. So the question is, does
the discovery of the Higgs boson give any indication of Gods existence? Although
discovery of the Higgs boson has claimed to have nothing to do with God, it is the unique
characteristics of the Higgs boson and the perseverance of its discovery that has given
new indications of Gods existence. This paper will argue that the Higgs boson does in
fact have something to say about Gods existence. First, providing appropriate
background of the Higgs boson particle and the history of physicists complicated
relationship with God. Then give evidence to support my claim, followed by addressing a
couple counterclaims. Finally, conclude with what the Higgs boson could mean for the
relationship between science and religion.
What exactly is Higgs boson? Higgs boson is the fundamental particle of nature.2 It is
common knowledge, at least to someone who has taken a physics course, that there are
two kinds of particles. There are particles that make up matter and particles that carry
forces. Force carrying particles hold matter particles together. Higgs boson is very unique
1Stephen Hawking: Boring Higgs Boson Discovery Cost Me $100.
Accessed September 22, 2015.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/stephen_hawking_hates_the_h
iggs_boson/.
2Carroll, Sean. The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt
for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. Penguin,
2012. (3)

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compared to these particles.3 The Higgs boson arises from the Higgs field.4 Everything
in the known universe moves through the Higgs field.5 So why is the Higgs boson so
special?
Higgs boson is so important because without Higgs field and Higgs boson everything
would be massless.6 The Higgs boson is an extremely hard topic for the average person to
understand. Years could be spent researching and defining Higgs boson, so for the
purposes of this paper just focus on the fact that Higgs boson is known to give other
particles mass and without it everything would be massless. Because of the actions of the
Higgs boson, physicists have given it godlike characteristics.
Leon Lederman, one of the worlds great experimental physicists, coined the term God
Particle.7 He actually regretted calling it God particle; however journalist loved the
term.8 Many claim Higgs boson actually has nothing to do with God, and it is just a
really important particle everyone should get to know. I think that is down playing the
spiritual complexity of the discovery of the Higgs boson. I argue that the excitement of
the particle should raise some kind of religious speculation.
Its interesting to see why some physicists have given godlike characteristics to this
particle. Physicists have had a longstanding complicated relationship with God. Most
physicists use God as simply a metaphor and others go back and forth between believing
in Him and not believing in Him. Many physicists believe in apatheism or ignosticism.
This means they are simply just not interested in the existence of God. So you can see
3Ibid., 4.
4Ibid.
5Ibid.
6Ibid.
7Ibid., 14.
8Ibid.

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why Physicists argue that the Higgs boson has nothing to do with God. Their reasoning is
simply because they are not concerned with Gods existence.
For those of us who are concerned with Gods existence the Gods Particle
cannot be over looked. Alister McGrath, professor of Theology at Kings College
London, states that the Higgs Boson is a particle of Faith. 9 He states:

The observations themselves didnt prove the existence of the Higgs boson. Rather, the
idea of the Higgs boson explained observations so well that those in the know came to
believe it really existed. One day, technology might be good enough to allow it to be
actually observed. But we dont need to wait until then before we start believing in it.10

This statement was made before the discovery of the Higgs boson. But even when the
Higgs boson was just an idea, intelligent scientists were adamant that the Higgs boson
particle existed. The idea of the Higgs boson made so much sense to them that they
believed it existed before it was actually observed. He continues to explain that science
is not all about proving; its about discovering the best explanation of what we see.11 He
explains that we realize that some explanations lie beyond proof. 12 I believe that the
discovery of Higgs boson shows that we do not have to see something for it to exist. If
the idea of something, such as God, explains everything so well then that is enough to
believe He exist. One day God can reveal Himself to us, like the Higgs boson. The Higgs
boson shows us that an observation of something, like God, doesnt prove His existence,
9 McGrath, Alister. "Higgs boson: the particle of faith." The Daily
Telegraph(2011).
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid.

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but the idea of God and how that idea is the best explanation of making sense of
everything is enough to verify His existence.
Many scientists, like Stephen Hawking, did not believe there was such a thing as the
Higgs boson particle. However, many scientists had faith in the particle even though they
could not see it yet. So the Higgs boson particle itself does not say much about God;
however, the faith scientist had in the particle even though they could not see it does. The
struggle in discovering the Higgs boson does shed new light on the theory of Gods
existence. It shows the power of faith in believing something you cannot see. It gives
hope in the idea that although we cannot see something now, doesnt mean it doesnt
exist. Through faith you will eventually discover what you cannot see. Just like the Higgs
boson particle, the God Particle, we cannot see God, but we have faith that He is there
and one day He will reveal Himself to us. I believe God wanted to make this discovery
available to us to show the power of faith in things you cannot see. He wanted us to
realize this power and apply it to the theory of His existence. I think we must view the
Higgs boson particle as an element of Gods creativity.
The Higgs boson does further disprove the traditional theory of creation but
doesnt disprove Gods existence. Many people think that the universe came from nothing
and there is no need or reason for God to exist. One argument is that the Higgs boson has
no relation to God simply because God does not exist. He is not needed in the world.
Scientists argue there is no need for God in science. Nuclear scientist, from The European
Organization of Nuclear Research, Tony Philips describes the Higgs boson particle as
another nail in the coffin of religion.13 But will science ever fully explain everything?
13
DoesTheHiggsBosonDiscoveryResolveTheReligionScienceDebate?The
HuffingtonPost.AccessedSeptember23,2015.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip
claytonphd/relationshipbetweenscie_b_1653976.html.

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Many argue that there is simply no place for God in science. But science can
never fully explain everything in this world. So what is left to explain what science
cannot? The discovery of the Higgs boson doesnt show that God is not needed. The
Higgs bosons God like characteristics go against the establish laws of nature and are
unlike anything scientist have ever discovered before. God is the best explanation for
these God like characteristics.
A strong argument against my position is that mass and the Higgs boson are only
connected because of natural law. Therefore, God cannot be connected to scientific
theory because natural law cannot explain this connection.14 I argue that if God acts
against laws of nature in the form of miracles then why shouldnt we be able to represent
God and His actions in science. He is above all and acts above the laws of nature. When
something doesnt follow the laws of nature God should to make sense of it. The power
God has to explain the unexplained is similar to the power the Higgs boson has to explain
the unexplained. This similarity connects them and gives hope that the existence of the
Higgs boson is directly proportional to the existence to God. However, science will never
be able to fully represent the God. God is beyond the means of science and will never be
able to be fully described through scientific theory. God is not governed through natural
laws. But the Higgs boson is a good start in understanding the faith we should have in
Gods existence.
Another opposing position is that God is often misrepresented through science.
Halvorson explains, if we attempted to represent God by means of a mathematical
structure, then we would be committing ourselves to claims about God to which we are
14 Halvorson, Hans. "Why methodological naturalism?." (2014).

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not entitled; and, whats worse, we would lose all of the information that theists think has
been revealed about God (e.g. that he is just and loving).15 He thinks if we look to
science for indications about God, then we are replacing the revealed concept of God
with a man made concept.16 We would then be misrepresenting God and losing sight in
the important claims of Him. I feel as if this claim is a stretch. You cannot say that if you
look for God in every aspect of your life, including the beauty of science, that you forget
about the all other spiritual information revealed to us by God. There is just no way to
come to that conclusion. He also doesnt explain or give an explanation on how he has
come to this conclusion; therefore, invalidating this argument.
He states that it is Judeo-Christian- Islamic tradition that God reveals himself through
ordinary people not abstract science.17 Meaning science including the, Higgs boson, is not
ordinary enough for God to reveal himself through. What if God considers abstract
science as ordinary? I think that Gods definition and our definition of ordinary is
completely different than ours. Something so complex and miraculous, as the discovery
of the Higgs boson, could be considered as ordinary to God. So to say that God reveals
himself through ordinary people and not abstract science is putting a limitation on God.
God has no limitations nothing is too complex for God to reveal himself to us. We should
look for God and reflect how God is acting in our lives through on every aspect of our
lives. Including abstract and ordinary people or events.
What does the Higgs boson mean for the relationship between science and religion? To
answer these questions we must first get over the close-mindedness in relating the two.
To say that God has no place in science is extremely close-minded. The Higgs boson
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid

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shows that there is a Higgs field. Everything travels through the Higgs field. With out
traveling through the Higgs field the Higgs boson would not give mass to other
particles, and everything would be massless. So the discover of the Higgs boson raises
the next question, who or how is the Higgs field controlled? The Higgs boson raises the
next question, that to answer, you must be open-minded. One of the founders of Quantum
Mechanics, Max Planck, states:

All matter arises and persists only due to a force that causes the atomic particles to
vibrate, holding them together in the tiniest of solar systems, the atom. Yet in the whole
of the universe there is no force that is either intelligent or eternal, and we must therefore
assume that behind this force there is a conscious, intelligent Mind or Spirit. This is the
very origin of all matter18

Higgs boson is so beautiful and unique that God is the only explanation to its beauty. This
event is opening the worlds heart and minds to the idea that science and God (an
important concept of religion) can both be used to explain a phenomenon.
Both science and religion have their limitations. There is no doubt that new
discoveries in science make us question our traditional religious views of things, and
there is no doubt that our traditional religious views make us ignore the reality of these
new findings. A close-minded scientist is no smarter than a close-minded religious
person. These close-minded people will not realize that religion and science are both
18 Hu, Huping, and Maoxin Wu. Dawn of a Brave New World: Higgs Discovery & the
God Particle. Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 3, no. 7 (August 1,
2012). http://www.jcer.com/index.php/jcj/article/view/238.

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needed to fully explain or make since of things. Science will never answer the question of
purpose of life. Religion is the only explanation we have for answering this. Religion fills
in the gaps science cannot explain. Integrating science and religion is the only why we
can fully explain something. The Higgs boson discovery confirms the importance of
integration to explain things.

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