Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
13

Higgs Boson and the Great Scam of Modern Physics

Heh! "Physics would appear to have gotten away with it: a decades-long campaign of hype, propaganda, and outright deception that saw a ragtag bunch of social misfits swindle the world out of billions of dollars, monies which as of this writing have not been returned. What follows is the story, if not of an outright hoax, then at least of the most audacious and effective PR campaign in the history of science." Mmm, remember a little while ago when all we could talk about was Higgs Boson? Well, good for you, you helped some custodians maintain a bazillion-dollar tunnel. What's that you say? Science is great and amazing? Sure! It's also intensely boring, dusty and full of lack of revelations and even potential revelations.

More from Bruno Maddox's trip to Geneva:

Since about 1940 or so, this is what physicists have been doing, essentially: building ever larger mechanical fingers with which to flick harder and harder at the great tangle of invisible sheets that surrounds us, and since about 1960 or so a consensus has gradually formed as to how many different sheets there are, how they're wrapped, and what they're made of, etc. That theory is called "the Standard Model," and one part of it was supplied in 1964 by a guy called Peter Higgs. Prior to '64, it had been observed, as it were, that while several of the tangled bedsheets making up our reality behaved in some respects like a very thin lightweight fabric—gossamer, say—the wrinkles produced in them by our flicking were much shallower than they should have been, as if the sheets were actually made of something heavier. Higgs's suggestion—again, as it were—was that lying just beyond the sheets, there might be a blanket, causing the sheets not to dent so deeply when we flicked them. Oh yeah, said people in the physics community. That might be it, and a new era of even harder flicking began, in hopes of putting a dent in the blanket itself, thus proving it existed and that the Standard Model's theory of what the other sheets were made of and how they were tangled was correct…. Indeed, from the moment Peter Higgs first proposed the field in 1964, to the nonmoment they almost-confirmed its existence over the past year, it has never been thought to account for more than 1 percent of all the mass in the universe. That's right. One percent, which any mathematician can tell you is just not very much. Yes, it may be thought of as a blanket mixed up in the tangle of sheets that surrounds us, but it's only mixed up with some of the sheets. It isn't some ultimate Counterpane of Reality, as we'd rather been led to believe. Is it "the thing without which we could not exist"? No, it is a thing without which we could not exist, and down at the subatomic level there's literally a buttload of them.

And now here we are. Good thing God is dead, he'd be so mad about all this.

13 Comments / Post A Comment

Jared (#1,227)

He had me until "literally a buttload." Such imprecision is unbecoming a fuming skeptic.

Ganya (#5,212)

"It came as news to me . . . .": you don't say, sir. You don't say.

Seriously, Internet, does everybody have to write like you now?

deepomega (#1,720)

One percent is a lot, though. Maybe next time, actually ask a mathematician instead of just rhetorically invoking one.

skahammer (#587)

@deepomega That's right. Any rhetorician could tell you that's a classic dick move.

BadUncle (#153)

@deepomega Yeah, Wall Street is propelled by the sub-percentage world of basis points. I wonder if there's a sub-basis particle.

hershmire (#233,671)

That piece is unreadable. What editor let that out the door?

Anarcissie (#3,748)

I don't know about CERN — it seems to me the only reason governments would be spending so much money would be the hope of finding new ways to blow things up. However, physics, weird old Quantum Mechanics in particular, has produced the computer and the network, and without them I wouldn't be reading this article or commenting on it. And more stuff like that is on the way. So it's not all gaseous. Or it is, but….

BadUncle (#153)

Higgs's suggestion—again, as it were—was that lying just beyond the sheets, there might be a blanket, causing the sheets not to dent so deeply when we flicked them.

And that's when I stopped shopping for a unified field theory at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

HOW DARE SCIENCE TAKE A LONG TIME AND PERHAPS BE AN IMPRECISE EXPLORATION OF VARIOUS HYPOTHESES UNTIL A USEFUL THEORY HAS BEEN DEVELOPED, AS IT HAS BEEN FOR LITERALLY ALL OF TIME.

beatbeatbeat (#3,187)

"…while several of the tangled bedsheets making up our reality behaved in some respects like a very thin lightweight fabric—gossamer, say—the wrinkles produced in them by our flicking were much shallower than they should have been, as if the sheets were actually made of something heavier…there might be a blanket, causing the sheets not to dent so deeply when we flicked them."

Well, The Third Policeman makes a lot more sense now. Thanks Science!

Testkopien6 (#237,858)

GOOD

Turboslut (#1,036)

Yawn.

Overwrought, bloated prose? Check
Curse words for the sake of in-your-face "edginess"? Check
A vanishingly small nugget of comprehension wrapped in a lot of turgid metaphors? Check

Scum (#1,847)

Assuming that this Bruno Maddox is the first Bruno Maddox I found when I typed Bruno Maddox into google, and that is more than robust enough for me, I am going to make the ancillary assumption that the article is a load of crap. I have know way of knowing that of course, maybe Bruno is dat science dude, but that is the core problem with this kind of science writing. To know if a piece is truly informative you'd have to be priorly informed which defeats the purpose entirely. I'd like to know about science without have to get busy with all those equations and shit but that is the only real way. Taking stuff like this seriously only serves to develop an undeserved pretence of knowledge.

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