Recently, when scientists at the CERN research centre near Geneva, Switzerland, claimed to have spotted a sub-atomic particle “consistent” with the ‘Higgs Boson’* aka ‘God particle’, the first thought that struck me was – ‘will science ever eliminate our religion in future’?
Having said that, I do not mean that I am anti-science; on the contrary, I love science and I genuinely salute all science geniuses for their selfless service in exploring new things behind the scenes. But the comparison of the ‘Higgs boson’ to God has disheartened me as it can create a colossal puzzle in the human mind, especially the laymen.
As I contemplate about the Higgs boson being referred to as ‘God Particle’, I wonder how and why this ‘perplexing particle’ has been so designated. Though science has been outstandingly luminous and has unraveled innumerable mystifying miracles, I felt it’s simply unfair to compare God with our worldly wisdom.
To me, comparing God wi
th human’s insight is nothing but a futile and foolish act. The mortal being can simply investigate God’s creation and be awed by it because HE is beyond description and the source of all creation.
Even Peter Higgs, the man behind the ‘Higgs boson’, and who himself is an atheist, expressed his displeasure about the particle being nicknamed as the “God particle”, as he believes the term “might offend people who are religious”.
Not just him, but the scientific community too strongly disliked the epithet and regarded it as inappropriate sensationalism since the particle has nothing to do with God, nor has any mystical associations.
It is believed that this nickname for the ‘Higgs boson’ is attributed to US Nobel prize winner Leon Lederman, the author of the book – ‘The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?’ But it is said that Lederman actually wanted to name the particle as “goddamn particle” to reflect the failure to find it, but his editor wouldn’t let him do so.
No doubt, the scientific theories about the origin of the universe always contradict the religious teachings. While the biblical account of the creation of the universe can be found in the book of Genesis, science has different versions on it.
But, I believe religion and science can also network synergistically and generate new, interesting ideas when co-coordinated wisely.
However, media on the other hand, with its impact on the society today, should be cautious enough when branding a term - be it a scientific research or any kind of innovative work, because giving a wrong appellation can mislead people thereby creating huge bafflement and confusion in the minds of the people.
I wish the ‘Higgs boson’ particle had not been dubbed as ‘God Particle’, although its discovery is a new chapter in particle physics.
*(Higgs boson- is a never-before-seen subatomic particle long thought to be a fundamental building block of the universe. Scientists believe that the Higgs boson is the particle that gives all matter its mass.)
(The views expressed by the author are personal)