The Occasional Shippment

Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.

The Substance of Things Hoped For (Higgs and Faith)

So here’s something that I don’t quite get: for the last 50 years, scientists have “believed” that the Higgs boson particle exists. The Standard Model of physics doesn’t make sense without it, and scientists have spent an inordinate amount of time and money (over 10 billion dollars) trying to prove that it does exist.

They have, in essence, been working on, with and by faith. Faith being “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

If faith can play this big of a role in science, why do Christians get dinged so often for it? Every time I read an article on the CNN Belief Blog, the comments are overrun by snarky atheists degrading Christians for having faith. “Prove it,” they say, “prove that God exists.”

I’ll get back to that in a second.

What makes the faith/science comparison even more interesting to me in the context of the Higgs boson is that if you look back to an article from December 2011, you’ll see that scientists even admitted that when they confirm the existence of the particle, it won’t be because they could actually see it.

Try this quote on for size: “Scientists say Higgs boson particles won’t be discovered by actually observing the particles themselves. They will be discovered by observing how other particles react to them.”

So, scientists can base their understanding of the universe on something they’re not even sure exists, all the while knowing that they won’t actually be able to see it even if it’s right in front of their eyes? Apparently, yes.

There’s just something poetic about the fact that what has now been confirmed as one of the greatest discoveries in physics in the last 30-40 years was only possible because there were people who believed strongly enough that it did—people who knew that the world as they understood it didn’t make sense without it.

For me, God is something that without which, most things in my life don’t make sense. And the next time that an atheist says “prove it,” I’ll politely remind them that even in science, proof comes in many forms.

I may not be able to see God Himself, but I can see Him in the reaction of everything else in—and around—me, and that’s more than enough evidence for me.


4 comments on “The Substance of Things Hoped For (Higgs and Faith)

  1. S. Johnson
    July 6, 2012

    This shows a complete ignorance of science. The non-existent Christian victimization card was cute though.

    • JZ
      July 6, 2012

      First, thanks for your comment. I am not claiming to be a scientist; I am simply drawing parallels between the story of the Higgs boson as it has been reported and my experience with, and understanding of, the Christian faith.

      With that said, I welcome all perspectives and enjoy healthy debate. However, surface-level statements without any supporting information don’t add much to the conversation. I am genuinely interested in hearing what someone with an opposing viewpoint (and perhaps a more advanced understanding of particle physics) thinks about the topic, so I invite you to share more of your perspective.

    • Lyssa
      July 7, 2012

      I think you are confusing a simplified understanding of a complex subject for ignorance. If ignorance is defined as simplifying a subject so that people who do not have PhDs in the subject can understand and comment on it, than there would be no point in schools of any kind at any level.

      You also seem to be confusing the articulation of an observed phenomenon (the popular argument from atheists that God cannot exist because there is no proof) for a protestation of victimization. This is a phenomenon clearly shown in any conversation, civil or uncivil, between any theist and any atheist discussing God. It is actually the essence of science to make observations and draw questions from them, so in that, she is showing a better understanding and application of science than you are.

      If she is wrong, testify to the wrong. Use this for an opportunity to increase our understanding, to enlighten your world a bit. As a Christian and as a lover of knowledge, I love honest, intellectual dialogue between conflicting worldviews. This dialogue takes patience and a true desire to understand from all sides, but it is such a rewarding experience for all involved.

      But if you’re not willing to do that, don’t just hurl an insult and run like a ten-year-old who is worried about getting beat up. It demeans you and the subject.

      • JZ
        July 7, 2012

        Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Lyssa! I appreciate you bringing your perspective to the topic. Have a great day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 5, 2012 by in Faith, Favorite Posts, Life and tagged , , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 55 other followers

%d bloggers like this: