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Probably (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171134)

just a higg-up.

Huzzah! (1)

NortySpock (1966236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171136)

Statistics and the scientific method triumph again!

Good News Everyone, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171312)

I've just discovered the very rare and elusive Higgs Boson and in the process created a black hole that will most likely consume the earth and destroy the our entire solar system... oh nevermind It's just a statistical fluctuation.

Re:Good News Everyone, (1)

MichaelJE2 (833360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172306)

If you didn't read that in Professor Farnsworth's voice, you lose.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171442)

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable in statistics and physics can explain this bit to me?

That means the odds of it being the real Higgs have fallen, from more than 99% to 95%, the opposite of what researchers would hope with additional data.

To the layman, it sounds like they were very certain it was evidence of the Higgs, and now they're just very certain? Or are 95-99% odds considered low in particle physics? I mean, if additional data dropped your level of certainty a little bit, wouldn't you be more suspicious of the conditions of the additional sample set, than of a real detection event?

Re:Huzzah! (3, Informative)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171554)

That's not an accurate way of looking at the statistics, but it's a common mistake (and most likely one I've made myself).

The confidence levels (such as 99%, 95%) tell you very little directly about the probability that a result is correct. What they do tell you is the probability of getting a false positive - if you were to do 100 separate searches at a 95% confidence interval, you'd get a positive result in about 5 even if there were no Higgs there.

Given the number of potential places to search and the number of experiments done, you'd expect some false positives at these confidence levels. The standard for claiming a discovery is 5 sigma, which is something like a 99.9999% confidence level.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172102)

Thanks for answering without being condescending. It's a bit difficult to wrap my mind around without really understanding the testing "question" and what constitutes a positive or negative result. But it sounds like the important thing is that 5% chance of false positives is considered far, far too high to make any conclusive statements regarding detection of the higgs.

They'll never find it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171148)

Or so says the state of Texas.

Why am I not surprised? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171228)

The Higgs boson is as elusive as Charlie Sheen at an AA or NA meeting.

The Higgs Deception (2)

ScooterComputer (10306) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171266)

"probably just a statistical fluctuation"...or is that exactly what the Higgs Boson WANTS us to think???

That sneaky particle...

Re:The Higgs Deception (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171880)

There is an 87.7% certainty that HB is a statistical fluctuation.

Fluctuations (1)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172756)

Well, fluc you Amelicans too!

such is the life of a bump hunter (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171300)

I did bump hunting for my PhD in particles a decade and a half ago. This is the way life goes -- you get a signal that almost has enough significance to really believe -- then it collapses when you pile in more data. If a journal is filled with papers each having a single p=0.05 result, then one out of 20 of them is reasonably expected to be wrong!

Re:such is the life of a bump hunter (3, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171384)

"What did you get your PhD in?"

"Bump hunting."

Makes it sound like you had much more fun in grad school than most people do, somehow ...

Re:such is the life of a bump hunter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171790)

Ummmm my PhD in particles was in Elementary Particle Physics? Actually I was a bump killer -- pretty good at figuring out why spurious bumps appeared in various analyses. :) The comment about P=0.05 was a jab at the medical field where its used with religious zeal.

Re:such is the life of a bump hunter (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171414)

May well be worse than that in practice thanks to publication bias.

Of course, in particle physics p=0.05 (a mere 2 sigma) is nowhere near enough to claim a discovery.

Why put the champagne back? (1)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171328)

They could just as well have celebrated the statistical fluctuation. Gee, these physicists really don't know how to party.

Keyword is "probably" (1)

imyy4u3 (1290108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171336)

So they don't know if it was a "statistical fluctuation" - it may have been in fact the Higgs boson. Basically, they don't know. Point is, the Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon and the massive W and Z bosons, which mediate the weak force. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's very important - it would help us better understand radioactive decay and just the universe in general - the Higgs boson has also been called "the God particle." Its existence would in theory allow time travel - it would also allow us to jump in and out of dimensions - so whether or not it exists is indeed very important - but they need to stop reporting on "oops" and "maybe's" until they have a definitive answer. No use in getting our hopes up just to dash them away...

Re:Keyword is "probably" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172496)

"it would also allow us to jump in and out of dimensions"

  That's awesome, where can I get one?

Oh wait, if I have to ask that question..

*bzzzp*

Re:Keyword is "probably" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172560)

The first half of the parent post is a rather straight forward description of what the Higgs boson does and is above average compared to a lot of the other stuff you see about it online. The second half is rather the opposite, and I don't know where this time travel and manipulating dimension junk comes from. While exciting to fundamental physics, the Higgs boson is not some gateway to science fiction technology under current theories.

Ceapskates (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171418)

They probably tried to get by with just one shark for every two lasers. Cheapskates.

There is no Higgs Boson (0)

sciencewatcher (1699186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171436)

The models that we are using today to describe the universe are hopelessly inadequate. In my view there is no Higgs boson. A whole lot of stuff that we consider fundamental today in reality should be derived from underlying properties. Mass and gravity as most noticeable examples. There is no Higgs, but keep looking so that everyone else can be convinced it does not exist.

Re:There is no Higgs Boson (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171868)

Translation: I'm a complete fucktard who reads the first paragraphs of SciAm articles, and somehow, due to the extraordinary combination of intellectual arrogance and a near lack of intellectual function, I shall post these grand declarative statements on /.!

Re:There is no Higgs Boson (4, Informative)

Lore17 (1318959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171960)

The Kruger-Dunning effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect [wikipedia.org] . The less you know about something, the more certain you are that your intuitions about it are correct.

Re:There is no Higgs Boson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172778)

Translation: I'm heavily invested in the current paradigm, and anything that threatens my potential earning power makes me get very emotional!

Re:There is no Higgs Boson (3, Insightful)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173662)

I'm afraid that for your viewpoint to qualify as real science you have to get your hands dirty and come up with a competing theory that not only explains all of the measurements that have been performed in the past (not just by hand-waving arguments but actual numbers) and also makes predictions that can be tested. Do you have one of these or is this just some gut feeling?

God Particle (1, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171444)

Aptly named the God Particle. Lots of people believe it exists, without any substantial proof that it exists at all. Faith in Science ...

Re:God Particle (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171598)

What kind of "faith" exposes itself to falsification through experimentation? What kind of "faith" in an entity has all of its greatest practitioners carving out all the places where we can be sure it doesn't exist, and prepared to face the potential truth that it simply doesn't at all? What kind of "faith" is based on making educated guesses at first, but ultimately wanting to know one way or another, of demanding evidence?

Oh right, no kind of faith. That's kinda what "faith" means.

But go ahead and keep on projecting.

Re:God Particle (-1, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171654)

Science is "looking" for the Higgs Boson particle. They THINK (believe) it exists, but have no "Proof" it exists. They are falsifying NOTHING by looking for it. Eventually, they will either find it, or not find it. IF they don't find it, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it just means that they can't find it.

But the point I was making was that people BELIEVE it exists, and are looking for it, without any proof that it DOES exist. In fact, we're spending BILLIONS of looking for it, so I actually hope they DO find it. But as of this moment, it makes a perfect example of where FAITH gets applied by those that deny it has any real value.

Re:God Particle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171714)

And still, what exactly was your point?
Nobody here was denying anything, you are just shitstirring for no reason.

Mark all these troll / flamebait / off-topic mods, we don't need these crap-posts here too.

Re:God Particle (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171756)

shitstrirring

word is hilarious!

Re:God Particle (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171870)

While there is no proof it exists, there is an objectively rational basis to presume that it does.

However, it presumes that our current understanding of the physical universe is actually right.

This has worked before for discovering new particles... so there is some precedent, but it's still hardly irrefutable.

Cite a single objectively rational basis for believing in God.

Re:God Particle (-1, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172226)

Cite a single objectively rational basis for believing in God.

There is none. There is no reason to believe he/she/it doesn't exist either. There is no reason why people who don't believe he exists go apeshit crazy at the sound of the word "god", but they do. And the amazing thing is they think they are being rational.

It would be more rational to ignore people who believe in god, aliens, ghosts, or whatever ...

Re:God Particle (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172434)

There are indeed rational reasons for anyone who cares to look, and there have been for thousands of years. If you cared to hear such arguments (and honestly, it would look rather bad if after such statements you refused to let yourself hear them), I would be happy you to point you in the right direction.

Re:God Particle (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172578)

So start pointing...

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173792)

There certainly are reasons to believe in the non-existence of a god. The problem of evil, for example, if you are particularly talking about an omnibenevolent god. The lack of any observed intervention by a god. Circular arguments about where a god would come from (who created the creator?). Occam's razor. The "God of the gaps" problem: God keeps getting smaller as science explains more; what happens when we have a theory of everything?

Basically God has failed any (scientifically valid) test of his existence. That is evidence against existence.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173882)

Reading what you say, I cannot help but think that your remarks are like those of a character in somebody's dream who is trying to logically refute the existence of the dreamer.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37174036)

Pascals wager: a) Believe in God. If he exists, you're going heaven. If not, you haven't lost much. b) Don't believe in God. If he exists, you're going to Hell.

Re:God Particle (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172394)

Principle of causation, that for every effect (my existance), there is a cause, combined with the fact that we know that we exist (our very postulating it proves it, as a non-entity can not have rational thought), and the fact that the universe can manifestly not create itself (to do so would be to invoke nonsense).

Throw in a dose of entropy (how can chaos organize itself into a stable state for the big bang?), and the question of why a stable state such as the "big bang ball" would proceed without some causative agent into a non-stable state (rapidly expanding universe)?

And a further dose of "if there is neither a causative agent, nor an initial ball, why has the eternity that must therefore have already passed not violated the laws of thermodynamics through cyclical crunch-bangs?"

I would also point out that, unless I am massively missing something, Stephen Hawking's latest statement about "gravity...[causing] the universe to create itself" is manifestly irrational-- it defies reason. How can something create itself, when an act of creation requires that said target not already exist?

Incidentally, I am not trolling. I would love if someone could provide answers to these, I have never had the chance to ask why rationally arriving at the belief that there MUST have been a prime mover is less credible than the multiple-worlds theorems out there or the infinite crunch-bang cycles, or else spontaneous generation. No matter what angle I look at it from, it seems to me that there must be at least SOMETHING that is self-existent and eternal in order for us to exist now.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172802)

Principle of causation, that for every effect (my existance), there is a cause ...

Introducing a new cause (god) does not solve this problem. This is not an argument for the existence of god.

Throw in a dose of entropy ...

The second law of thermodynamics captures the evolution of the universe. It really doesn't say anything about the initial conditions. Again, you are asking questions about what caused the big bang. Quite frankly, the energy scale immediately following the big bang is so huge that we will probably never be able to understand the behavior of physics immediately following the big bang, much less before.

And a further dose of "if there is neither a causative agent, nor an initial ball, why has the eternity that must therefore have already passed not violated the laws of thermodynamics through cyclical crunch-bangs?"

The second law of thermo is kind of weird, but only from a theoretical perspective. Look into the ergodic theorem. In particular, we actually expect cyclic behavior from a mathematical perspective (Did I just blow your mind? This mathematical fact blows mine every time I hear it).

How can something create itself, when an act of creation requires that said target not already exist?

This is as good an argument against god as it is against the big bang.

"Multiple-worlds" is actually not all that strange if your understand QM deeply. Infinite big bang/crunch kind of make sense from ergodic theory (though no new information could be transmitted through the crunch/bang to the other side, so it is basically an unscientific postulate, and irrelevant). Spontaneous generation is no more or less reasonable than god (speaking mathematically). But neither then is a giant ape-monkey or FSM. These aren't arguments for god. The arguments for the big bang are that it DOES explain phenomena. Whereas a god or FSM does not.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172966)

The argument, I believe, is that while mere existence may not require any cause, events that actually happen do.

Existence only requires a cause when it is known that something happened to cause it to exist.

Something clearly happened to make the universe, and by scientific observation, we can place its age at roughly 13.5 billion years.

No origins are ever claimed for God. God is not an event... Godly simply is.

If the universe were a static and unchanging place, being without any measurable age whatsoever, your first remark would be a much more justified position.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173084)

I disagree that there is a difference, logically. But, more importantly, even accepting your premise, a God that never changes (and therefore is permitted to "exist" without "causation") is a God that cannot make a decision, and therefore may never act (and therefore cannot create the universe). Theologians have managed to convince themselves that God somehow solves the "prime-mover problem," but, like epistemological nihilism, there is no "logical" way out. You must simply make some assumption, or reason from some premise.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173202)

You seem be presuming that there would be some restrictions on what a God who exists entirely outside of time would be able to do. God would be capable of making a decision because he was there to effect that decsion, *producing* change, not necessarily actually being changed by anything which "preceded" it outside of himself.

Anyways... you are missing the point. my only position was that God had no beginning.

Unless you are prepared to make the exact same claim for the universe, it seems rather moot to compare them.

Re:God Particle (1)

porl (932021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173112)

This is as good an argument against god as it is against the big bang.

Couldn't have said it better. The number of people i've heard say 'but it makes no sense that the universe just appeared' but are happy to just accept that some god presence can do exactly the same thing they just dismissed as nonsense astounds me.

To me it is the equivalent of answering 'but how does....' with 'magic'.

Re:God Particle (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172826)

Throw in a dose of entropy (how can chaos organize itself into a stable state for the big bang?

You ask some reasonable questions, but this is the one that I feel like replying to-

You would do better to ask how chaos can avoid organizing itself into a stable state for the big bang. By definition, anything that can happen in a chaotic system must eventually happen, no? One of the better analogies I've heard is that if an immortal were to patiently and repeatedly shuffle a deck of cards, the shuffling would eventually order the cards by suit and face value. This is improbable, but not impossible, and there's all eternity to wait for the proper conditions to arise.

It being possible also means it's obliged to happen eventually, and it only has to happen once to produce this conversation via a long and torturous route.

Darned if answering one question didn't make me feel like answering another:

"I have never had the chance to ask why rationally arriving at the belief that there MUST have been a prime mover is less credible..."

The reason is known as the law of parsimony or Occam's Razor [wikipedia.org] . We can either have a prime mover that has always existed (with a universe that has a definite beginning), or a universe that has always existed (with no prime mover). It's bad enough to violate causation (each scenario does that- either the prime mover or the universe are assumed to have no antecedent), but the existence of a prime mover is an additional assumption that has no explicative power.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173098)

We can either have a prime mover that has always existed (with a universe that has a definite beginning), or a universe that has always existed (with no prime mover).

So what does that mean, exactly, when we know that the universe hasn't always existed? If it must be one or the other, given that as long as 13.5 billion years ago is, it's still not forever, than one *must* be rationally forced to conclude that God exists.

Wow... you just did a whole lot of believers in God a really big favor.

Re:God Particle (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173384)

I have always thought of God (If he exists) and the Big Bang as one.
An infinite amount of potential energy seething chaotically, timelessly.
Then ...

By definition, anything that can happen in a chaotic system must eventually happen, no?

It does. Out of the chaos is born a decision. A decision made with knowledge. A decision to create.
Rules applied. Potential realized.
God becomes and the universe is created at once. Both being the same thing. Both existing then and now. Both changed.

I don't know. I think it is a beautiful merge of Science and God.
And God created Science and Science was good.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173888)

There's a really simple answer to the "first cause" question, and that's that there was no first time. There is no time zero. There is no minimum time. In math-speak, it's an open set. Every instant was preceded by another instant--note that this does NOT require an infinite number of seconds, just an infinite resolution. That avoids the problem with first cause.

As another poster points out, even if you do postulate a god as a creator, you have the question what created the creator. Having a universe without cause is logically simpler than a universe with a creator who had no cause.

Re:God Particle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172066)

Science is "looking" for the Higgs Boson particle. They THINK (believe) it exists, but have no "Proof" it exists. They are falsifying NOTHING by looking for it.

Nonsense. The Higgs Boson is a predicted particle of the Standard Model, and the same theory which predicts it also constrains the energies over which it could exist. Many parts of this range have already been excluded. If all of this range is excluded, then they have falsified the prediction made by the Standard Model.

If something like the Higgs nevertheless exists, it isn't the one predicted by the Standard Model. That prediction will have been falsified.

But the point I was making was that people BELIEVE it exists, and are looking for it, without any proof that it DOES exist. In fact, we're spending BILLIONS of looking for it, so I actually hope they DO find it. But as of this moment, it makes a perfect example of where FAITH gets applied by those that deny it has any real value.

You're playing a semantic trick by going from "think" to "believe" to "faith", changing definitions at each step so you can use them as synonyms while the meaning you arrive at has no relationship to where we started.

Scientists think the Higgs Boson exists based on the many extensively verified predictions of the Standard Model. It is not faith, it is a guess educated by the very best knowledge available to humanity at this point in time. But because scientists do NOT have "faith" in the existence of the Higgs, they must test it because that is the only way to acquire the evidence they require. Scientists want to change think into know -- even if it's knowing that what they thought before was wrong.

That is not faith.

The only faith a scientist needs, if it can yet be called that, is the faith that the universe operates under rules that can be tested, and that human minds could eventually unravel the mysteries.

Re:God Particle (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172900)

The only faith a scientist needs, if it can yet be called that, is the faith that the universe operates under rules that can be tested, and that human minds could eventually unravel the mysteries.

I'd argue that that is a testable prediction too.

Re:God Particle (1)

Mab_Mass (903149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172078)

It is definitely true that people are looking for the Higgs Boson based upon faith, but the trouble is that faith is an overloaded word.

The faith in science asks you to take nothing for granted. You can ask, "Why do we think the Higgs Boson exists?" and, eventually, this line of questioning will drill down to a point that references repeatable, reliable observations in the physical world. Now, it is true that most people (myself included) aren't going to go through that line of questioning and drill down into that level of detail, but a fundamental concept of science is that any statement is subject to questioning, testing, and review. What religious folks point to as "faith" in science ultimately boils down to faith in the peer-review process and its ability to (eventually) converge on the truth.

Contrast that to religion. Ultimately, religion makes claims that cannot be verified in the physical world and that ultimately come down to lines of reasoning like, "It is true because I feel it is true" or reference to the authority of tradition, often in the form of some kind of holy book. The final leap of faith is much larger, and for some, more extreme, religious claims, involves deliberately ignoring those repeatable facts of the physical world.

Ultimately, I agree with you that both science and religion rely upon a certain amount of faith, but do not think for a moment that this makes them the same.

Re:God Particle (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172952)

Was Aristarchus of Samos relying on faith when he proposed a heliocentric solar system in the 3rd century BC, deliberately ignoring the repeatable facts that the epicyclists brought up against his theory, such as that they couldn't measure parallax motion of the stars? But was he right?

Re:God Particle (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173158)

The faith in science asks you to take nothing for granted.

This actually isn't quite true. There is one fundamental assumption that science makes. It assumes that all phenomena are the result of natural laws acting on stuff. There is also a lesser assumption that this is actually explainable.

The result is that if a god (pick any god you care to name) or some other supernatural entity came down and worked some miracles, the miracles would be studied and once enough data was gathered, appropriate modifications to the currently understood physical laws would be made. Experiments would be done, PhD thesis would be written and eventually a Nobel prize or two might be awarded. In the end, everybody (at least the scientists) would be happy that the understanding of the universe had been improved. Atheists would continue not to believe in god and believers would continue to believe.

Re:God Particle (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172816)

They are falsifying NOTHING by looking for it. Eventually, they will either find it, or not find it. IF they don't find it, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it just means that they can't find it.

It does falsify SOMETHING, because the theory predicts that we will find it. If we cannot find it then the theory must be wrong.

But the point I was making was that people BELIEVE it exists, and are looking for it, without any proof that it DOES exist.

Scientists don't believe. They EXPECT based on past observations. Those past observations are evidence that it DOES exist.

In fact, we're spending BILLIONS of looking for it, so I actually hope they DO find it.

We're spending BILLIONS of dollars to find out whether it exists or not. Whether or not we find it we will know the answer to that question, so we really can't lose.

But as of this moment, it makes a perfect example of where FAITH gets applied by those that deny it has any real value.

It makes a perfect example of people making predictions from past observations and testing them through experiment. If that's what you mean by FAITH I'm all for it!

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172868)

No dear sir, a criminal does not get arrested on FAITH. It's not on FAITH that you expect your car to fixed by your service station (the obligatory car analogy). It's not on FAITH that you expect your spongecake to be set after 35 minutes in the oven. That is what we ordinary people call reasonable assumption.

Caps does not make it any more valuable.

Re:God Particle (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172910)

If we already had proof that it does or doesn't exist, we wouldn't need to go looking. That's what science is, to go looking for the unknown and the unexplained and you can't do that without observation. And of course if we're spending BILLIONS we spend them where we think there's something interesting, not just trying things at random. And that's the whole difference, faith is happy just to be faith. A scientist may believe in a model but he always wants to test it against reality. You are quite clearly showing your ignorance since there's some rather hard limitations on what the Higgs has to be in order to be as predicted, possibly we'll find something completely different or nothing at all but then it won't be Higgs.

Re:God Particle (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173178)

The difference between the presentation of the Higgs Boson and God is slight, but important.

Whenever I read about the Higgs, the reader is reminded that it has not yet been located, it is being rigorously searched for, and/or it is a best-guess theory that fits nicely into the Standard Model. It is assumed to exist, though I have a feeling nobody would be terribly upset if a better theory came around to account for its lack of existence.

Whenever I read about God, it's implicitly assumed that he exists, he's good, and he can read your mind.

There's an order of magnitude of difference between these two "faiths" and assuming they are, in any way, guilty of the same logical fallacies is preposterous.

Re:God Particle (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173526)

Looking for the aether (and failing to do so with the Michelson-Morley experiment) is a hallmark of science and ended up with the acceptance of the theory of relativity.

Just not finding the Higgs boson where we expect it to be could already lead to many discoveries or changes. This is not useless science, it WILL have impacts one way or another. There is also a relatively high probability that a definitive result will arise, either by finding it or concluding it does not exist (always within reasonable doubt).

Unlike religion, science isn't about absolutes; never has there been "proof" in science, merely elements leading to believe one theory is more true than the other... Until contradictory evidence appears to shatter it or force us to improve it.

Re:God Particle (4, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171700)

In this case, it looks like he really is projecting. Projecting a giant "WHOOOOOOSH!" right past you.

Re:God Particle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172108)

Read their other replies; they aren't joking.

Re:God Particle (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172194)

What kind of "faith" exposes itself to falsification through experimentation? What kind of "faith" in an entity has all of its greatest practitioners carving out all the places where we can be sure it doesn't exist, and prepared to face the potential truth that it simply doesn't at all? What kind of "faith" is based on making educated guesses at first, but ultimately wanting to know one way or another, of demanding evidence?

One that has no problem changing its beliefs? If you take someone else's word for something its faith so unless you understand why they are saying this is not the Boson they're looking for and how they got the evidence to come to that conclusion its faith for you.

Re:God Particle (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172356)

That's not a faith, and taking your logic to it's outcome, then nothing can be learned 2nd hand, and science doesn't exist...

Re:God Particle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172418)

One that has no problem changing its beliefs? If you take someone else's word for something its faith so unless you understand why they are saying this is not the Boson they're looking for and how they got the evidence to come to that conclusion its faith for you.

Even if I was fully versed in all the physics, the engineering of the LHC and the detectors involved, and all statistical analysis, I'd still be taking their word that what they were saying actually happened. Without actually reproducing their experiment from the digging of the subterranean chamber on up, I would have to take their word for it.

So sure, it's trivially true to say that anything which you have not personally experienced* you are taking on "faith", but in saying so you have trivialized the meaning of "faith". "Thinking something to probably be true, pending anything contrary showing up" is not what most people mean when they say "faith". It is not what the OP meant.

* And of course even then, perception can be deceiving.

Re:God Particle (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173350)

Okay now we're just debating semantics. When you say faith you mean "religious belief system" religions can change too (usually not as easily). I'm merely pointing out the silliness of people who think they're so much better because their answer requires less faith. You still believe what people tell you to believe.

Re:God Particle (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172466)

Who says theists never change their beliefs? I have corrected them many times when I have been shown to be incorrect.

I would hazard that anyone who is unwilling to be corrected is unable to even read the Bible correctly.

Re:God Particle (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172358)

> Oh right, no kind of faith. That's kinda what "faith" means.

I'll probably get down-modded for pointing out your ignorance, and I know that faith is the atheist's F word around here, but you are sadly confused that there is only one type of faith. There is a world of difference between blind faith and real faith.

FACT: If you have beliefs, you have faith.

You have faith that your little set of beliefs is "good enough." I presume that over the course of your lifetime you have changed your beliefs as you have learnt to accept higher forms of truth, and learned to let go of falsehoods.

If you don't have faith in your beliefs, then WHY do you have your beliefs in the first place?!

e.g.
You have _faith_ that the Scientific process leads us to a better understanding of [how] the universe [works.] I _implore_ you to prove this! If not, you are simply taking the value of Science on faith!

You have _faith_ that the Sun will come up tomorrow. Probability & Statistically speaking the odds are dam near 100%. However, this is faith, not a fact. And just so you grok it: The Wright Brothers had _faith_ that their _airplane_ would fly. They didn't have any proof until AFTER they demonstrated it.

Stop confusing blind faith with real faith.

--
Dark Matter and Dark Energy is the aether of the 20th/21st century.

Re:God Particle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172670)

I'll probably get down-modded for pointing out your ignorance, and I know that faith is the atheist's F word around here, but you are sadly confused that there is only one type of faith. There is a world of difference between blind faith and real faith.

First, I am not an atheist. Second I know there are many definitions of "faith", including very trivial ones where other words serve better to express the intended meaning. I was presuming we were talking about "faith" of types where the OP's original and subsequent statements were meaningful, not banal and pointless.

Assuming you mean something not banal and pointless, then I'm at a loss for what you're characterizing as "blind" vs "real" faith. What is faith in God? What is faith in the potential of humanity? What is the faith that I won't fall through my chair due to a chance alignment of 10^40 electrons in my ass? "Blind" or "Real"?

You have _faith_ that the Scientific process leads us to a better understanding of [how] the universe [works.

Indeed, as I said in another post, I have faith that the universe operates under a set of consistent rules, and that the human brain could eventually through many generations of effort understand their mysteries. This is indeed a very real kind of faith.

You have _faith_ that the Sun will come up tomorrow. Probability & Statistically speaking the odds are dam near 100%. However, this is faith, not a fact.

Er, well, while normally a perfectly serviceable simplification, in this case thinking of the "sun coming up" is the wrong way to think of it. The sun never "comes up". The earth rotates bringing different portions of the planet into view of the sun. So what I really believe is that so long as the earth is still rotating, and nobody from the day time side of the earth reports that the sun mysteriously winked out in the middle of the day, that the part of earth I occupy will be illuminated in turn.

Is there some probability -- conditional probability based on an incomplete understanding of the universe -- that Conservation of Momentum and Energy are wrong and the earth can just spontaneously stop rotating or the sun just stop radiating, and that it will do so tonight? I guess so. If that's your definition of "faith" then it's technically true but also the most trivial and meaningless definition of faith that has been used in this whole thread.

Is that what you mean by "real faith"? Anything you take to be true (so long as it still appears to remain true), no matter how unlikely it is that it be false?

What about things that are more likely to be untrue, but for which there is little investment? Is it "blind" or "real" faith I have in the pizza delivery person bringing me my pizza instead of a pizza I disliked. I even went so far as to not go to the grocery store and acquire alternative sources of food, because I believed I would receive a tasty pizza. Is that "faith"? "blind" or "real"?

And more importantly, why are we sullying something as powerful as faith by using it to describe something so banal and trivial?

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173140)

Do you have faith in the ratings agencies?

Re:God Particle (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173782)

Your definition of 'real faith' sounds more like 'expectation' to me. Personally I expect the sun to come up tomorrow, if it doesn't I would be very surprised. It would however be very interesting.

With regards to your comment that scientists have *faith* that the Scientific process leads us to a better understanding of the universe - the very fact that you are using a computer to send this message is clearly evidence that it does. Unless you think that computers just magically appear in factories?

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172758)

What kind of "faith" exposes itself to falsification through experimentation? What kind of "faith" in an entity has all of its greatest practitioners carving out all the places where we can be sure it doesn't exist, and prepared to face the potential truth that it simply doesn't at all? What kind of "faith" is based on making educated guesses at first, but ultimately wanting to know one way or another, of demanding evidence?

Oh right, no kind of faith. That's kinda what "faith" means.

But go ahead and keep on projecting.

Tell that to the investors of the LHC.

Re:God Particle (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173126)

Tell that to the investors of the LHC.

Uh okay but I'm pretty sure they already know.

Re:God Particle (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172840)

Perhaps you aren't acquainted with Buddhism. From the Kalama Sutra (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html):

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.'

Re:God Particle (1)

PapaSmurphy (249954) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171662)

And lots of people believe it doesn't exist, just like lots believe God don't exist. Skepticism in Science ...

What was your point again?

Re:God Particle (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171726)

People believe it exists, that is proof of faith in science. Skepticism is good but irrelevant to my point.

Re:God Particle (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171906)

Scientists who see a theory that in many other respects explaining observations also predicting a particle that is more difficult to find. Yes, the Standard Model may end up having to be heavily modified if Higgs cannot be found, but throwing out an entire theory prematurely seems pretty bizarre to me.

Re:God Particle (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172148)

Higgs Boson can exist even if we can't find it. Dumping the whole theory or modifying it significantly because we can't find it, is equally troubling to me.

Re:God Particle (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172348)

That's science... If the theory predicts the Higgs should be found at a certain range, and it isn't, then the theory was wrong, and it's back to the drawing board. This really isn't that hard of a concept to grasp if you want to. I have a feeling though that you just like the game you're playing.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172588)

You obviously do not understand how the Standard Model (or physics, in general) works. I suggest understanding basic mechanics, basic E&M, and quantum mechanics before trying to comment on something as complicated as QFT. Let me assure you that your mind will be blown a million times on the way. Have fun!

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173306)

Something so complex seems more like the arcane, arbitrary explanations of religion than truth :) Like epicycles had to be true because it's just obvious the planets move in circles, and besides the model's predictions are good *enough* for anything you should ever want it for (except space travel, but now you're just talking crazy, man can't get to the moon!).

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172488)

If I throw a stone, I believe that it will fall back down, even though it might not. Perhaps gravity will cease to pull just as I throw. I don't know if that will happen, but I have good reason to believe that it won't, so that is what I believe. The fellow on the other side of the street believes that a super-natural being watches him and hears his prayers and acts in the world in ways so mysterious that His existence fits any sequence of events imaginable. You can label both things faith if you want to, but that doesn't make them the same.

Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171958)

...no worries, we will just argue whether it was created or if it evolved.

Re:God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172314)

"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" - Voltaire

Re:God Particle (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173320)

Yeah, we can build holodecks where God exists or where we are gods or where the laws of physics are whatever we feel like...

Re:God Particle (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172544)

You don't know much about the higgs if you think that their is no evidence that it exists.
No experimental viewing of the higgs does not equal no evidence.
Their is lots and lots of experimental and theoretical evidence that it exists, still since we have yet to find it after searching for so long the evidence against it is also adding up.

Re:God Particle (1)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172968)

Actually it is exactly the other way around. The fact that they spend billions to confirm its hypothesised existence, rather than just take it for granted, is a consequence of their lack of faith.

Re:God Particle (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173250)

A scientist: the God particle may well be unfindable, but we're gonna keep on looking until we find something. A religious: don't bother looking for God, he's unfindable.

Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171472)

Those of you (probably most of you) that want transporters, replicators, and ftl travel DO NOT WANT them to find anything that looks like the higgs. Finding it would validate existing models. Those models exclude all that stuff you wish was real.

The idea here is to not find a higgs and to find something else previously unknown. Not finding it will invalidate the current models. This is a good thing.

Jedi Voice (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172050)

This is not the Higgs you're looking for.

Re:Do not want (1)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172988)

I'm torn on this. On one hand I would like them to find it as validation of all of the great work done in creating and verifying the Standard Model (and as a way of justifying the $$$ spent in finding it). But on the other hand, i kinda hope they don't, because some of the coolest advances in science have come from the "Hmm, that's odd, i wonder what happening here" factor.

LHC Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37171532)

I tried so hard, and got so far
But in the end, it wasn't even matter
I had pro-tons, and smashed them all
But W bosons don't even matter

Re:LHC Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172294)

What is Higgs? Boson don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more.

I'm not surprized they are not progressing (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171642)

They need more energy credits. I know that Chairman Yang has repeatedly suggested that a series of three boreholes are completed near the capital, which would allow the commencement of discovering the secrets of pre-sentient algorithms. Once this happens, it's only a matter of building enough condensers to harvest the required food to grow a larger population of Thinkers. With a viable mind/machine interface in addition to the overwhelming benefits of telepathy in battling the the Hive drones, transcendence is assured. The discovery of the Higgs will be a happy coincidence, not to mention the realization of finally being able to live peaceably with the mindworms.

My Bet (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171774)

My Bet is that the Higgs doesn't exist. It's only in the standard model to support Massless particles like Massless Neutrinos, but the Solor Neutrino Problem [wikipedia.org] already puts serious cracks in that assumption. So my bet is that there is no such thing as a massless particle.

Re:My Bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37172012)

Natures null value. Ha ha, keep looking suckas!

Re:My Bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173732)

photon?

I've heard this before, and it didn't end well (1)

OverkillTASF (670675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37171866)

It's probably nothing... probably... but... well, no... we're well within normal bounds again. Continuing sequence.

this just in... (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172242)

...there is no news to report regarding the higgs boson particle.

Who says that the Higgs has any mass at all (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37172714)

It seems like all the questions about the Higgs particle and it's properties is everybody's best guess.
The energy of the Higgs could be as high as 10^16 TeV implied by the standard model.
If it is just above 100 TeV then we wont be able to produce it in our labs anywhere in the near future. 10^16 TeV then forget about it.
Maybe we should spend more time on physics models that can be tested instead of hanging on to wild theories with hundreds of free parameters that nobody understands anyway.
All this guessing is really just turning science into a religion.
Try with some new ideas.

No Higgs Boson? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37173252)

I'm pretty sure there's one under my couch...

Re:No Higgs Boson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37173354)

It's next to the ether wind, surrounded by all that dark matter...

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