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.
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.