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7 Ridiculous Things People Believe About the 'God Particle'

#3. Trying to Sound Smarter

You know what makes you think you know better than decades of particle physics research? Thirty seconds of Yahoo! Science headlines! No, sorry, I meant "brain damage." I don't know how I could get those things confused.

Comment on New York Times

Here you see someone trying to sound smart by combining all three of the sciencey words they know in one sentence, and "sciencey" isn't a word. These comments are followed by a few paragraphs of Wikipedia that got concussed as they fell into a mental blender. I've heard many debates like this before, but they're way less fun when the person responsible isn't distributing the joints and thereby paying for your time.

Comment on New York Times
We really hope you skipped over most of that.

When someone's talking about the Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism without knowing 90.9 percent of those syllables, they may be trying to show off their intelligence in the wrong arena. And trying to show off the wrong thing. It's the intellectual equivalent of the emperor's new clothes.

#2. Conspiracy Lunacy

Comment on New York Times

comment on Daily Mail

Conspiracy theorists are the exact opposite of scientists, throwing away data that doesn't fit their existing theories. They're also the opposite of scientists because scientists are listened to and useful and tend to shower. Some commenters find it mighty suspicious that this Large Hadron Collider detected a particle after people spent a lot of money on it, and like Scrooge McDuck, "a big pile of money" seems to be their entire point. Also, neither usually wears pants.

Disney
Pictured: Scrooge McDuck literally wiping his ass with money.

I've worked in academia, and the idea that scientists are making it up to continue idling on their handsome pay is the most hilarious sentence I've ever seen.

The best part is how these commenters never even suggest that the data is fake. The idea of there even being data doesn't impinge on their lives, possibly reflected by their tinfoil hats, but more likely because the idea of anyone ever backing up anything they say has never occurred to them. LHC runs generate two terabytes of data a day. That's more than the porn consumption of many entire countries (with some crosstalk as people mistype "hadrons"). If you wanted to fake that much data, it would be less trouble to create another universe where your theories are correct.

Getty
"Also, in this universe glasses are sexy on men, too."

Besides, if CERN scientists wanted to turn to crime for money, well, they live in an international underground complex filled with more scientific hardware than the TARDIS. They're already four-quarters Bond villains. If they turned to crime, it wouldn't be by scribbling made-up numbers.

United Artists
Auric Goldfinger was actually researching vasectomy procedures.

#1. Someone Said "God" Once

Tweets via DerpParticle

The idea of a "God particle" is useful when you're learning about the Higgs boson, because it tells you to stop learning from that person. It was apparently meant to be the "goddamn" particle because it was so hard to find, but the publisher removed the expletive and then knew a best-sellingly inaccurate title when he saw one. Physicists hate the term. Higgs hates the term. It's like discovering a vital new gene in neurology and calling it the Kardashian: bringing in a lot of completely unrelated material and distracting everyone who has to work with it.

Wikimedia commons
This is the real reality show.

Most religious people have no problem with science. Science takes care of the physical, religion has the spiritual. It's like carrying a laptop and a bottle of cola in the same bag: They do different things, and as long as one doesn't spill all over the other, you've got no problems. Also, only assholes pressurize their cola to spray it all over other people. Unfortunately, for a vocal minority, the word "God" is a higher function "OFF" switch.

comment on Daily Mail

Some responses view the entire particle accelerator as religious persecution. When someone thinks multiple nations spent a billion euros to target their spiritual beliefs, the only thing bigger than their ego is its insanity. Religious authorities no longer make pronouncements about astrophysical issues because of that Galileo thing. Physicists don't storm into Mass demanding to run the transubstantiated body of Christ through a mass spectrometer because that would be disrespectful and pointless.

Getty
Man, our Lord really needs to cut down on the cholesterol.

If your faith is threatened by advanced particle physics smaller than a millionth of a speck of dust, the problem isn't with the physics. Science isn't versus religion, in the same way it isn't versus soccer players or morris dancers -- they just want them to stay out of the lab so they can get on with the work. And even if it was, an army of scientists building a vast underground proton cannon to aim it at your god would only prove your religion right in the most awesome possible way.

Luke McKinney has also Examined the Olympic Idiocy of NBC and Remembers the 5 Best Bits of Total Recall. He also tumbles and responds to every tweet.

For more super-science, check out 6 Man-Made Materials You Won't Believe Exist and 6 Things You Won't Believe Science Can Do With DNA.

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