The search for the ‘God Particle’ An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab [Episcopal News Service] Last month news accounts were breathlessly reporting that physicists were ready to announce that they’d discovered, at long last, the Higgs Boson – the so-called “God Particle.” The news, when it came out, was much less exciting than the earlier reports seemed to indicate. There was no discovery. There was instead essentially just an announcement that there was one last drawer to open to find the particle. And that the drawer would be opened sometime this coming year.The Higgs particle’s existence is predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It’s a very successful model at explaining the odd, counter-intuitive world of elementary particles. It has a lot of confirmed predictions to its credit. But there’s one missing piece, the Higgs boson, a keystone that needs to exist but has not yet been confirmed. The Higgs particle is a boson, a class of particles that connects the forces of the world to their expressions. In essence, the Higgs is the particle whose existence explains why some elementary particles have masses and some don’t. It was nicknamed the “God particle” by an author who wrote a popularized explanation of the theory. Physicists don’t really like the term. Nor does this particular priest.If scientists do, in fact, confirm the existence of the Higgs particle later this year, it will be a major triumph of the Standard Model. It will mean that we have effectively discovered a way to view almost all the major forces of Nature (electricity, magnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces) as different manifestations of one underlying phenomenon. (Gravity still stubbornly refuses to be folded into the structure.) The confirmation will be the capstone of a more than a century’s worth of work.But if the Higgs particle isn’t in that last drawer — well, then things will get very interesting. Because the Standard Model works very well. But it will be shown to be wrong. And when science is wrong, it gets very exciting. Because it means that physicists will all have to go back to the beginning, figure out where they went wrong, and look to see where they might fix up a new view of reality.This happens with some regularity in Physics. It happened in the time of Copernicus and Kepler. It happened when Einstein showed the errors with Newton’s model. It happened as Bohr et al showed errors with both Einstein and Newton. If it happens again, well and good! More Nobel prizes to be won! (Scientists like winning prizes.)The possibility that the Higgs won’t be found is worth reflecting on. Because the furor that would result shows the difference between the scientific method and religious practice. Science is always striving to find new and more successful ways to view the world. And when something is wrong, it means that whole existing edifice is supposed to be tossed aside and a new one created. Woe to any philosophy or theology that depends on the structures being discarded.Christianity, on the other hand, starts with a story to which we have a responsibility to conform our lives; the story of God’s creation and love of Creation, our role within that Creation and the unique expression of God’s will for us in the person of Jesus. Rather than overturning the story and starting over again, we draw close to the story and discover new facets and ways to apply a universal and timeless truth to our lives. Science changes the account to fit the present observations.The two enterprises are often seen as being in conflict. But they’re not really. They are using different methodologies to draw as close as possible to Truth. In my mind they’ve always been complementary to each other, best used in conversation with one another.So keep that in mind when the results of the search for the Higgs Particle are announced. If it’s found – yay. If it’s not found – then YAY! Either way, the scientific endeavor will continue to try to hunt the truth, no matter how elusive. And faith will continue to seek enlightenment by its contemplation of the truth already delivered.—The Very Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely is dean of Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona. He holds degrees in physics and astronomy from Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Delaware, in addition to a master of divinity degree from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. This commentary first appeared on the website of the Diocese of Arizona. Rector Albany, NY Rector Shreveport, LA Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Rector Belleville, IL February 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm Dear Nicholas,Thank you for this article; you explain the “God Particle” clearly and consisely. I am an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Minnesota, and just returned from a visit to my parents in Rio Verde AZ. While there my mom (age 86), dad (age 90) and I (not telling!) were talking about the intersection of God and science. None of us can grasp how some people think of the two as completely separate. Your article got me to thinking that people in Rio Verde would be interested in hearing you speak on the above subject. They are always interested in having speakers on engaging topics at the community church there. I am sending your article and contact information to them. Thank you again!Blessings, Mary Youth Minister Lorton, VA Comments (3) Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Doug Desper says: Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Martinsville, VA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Washington, DC January 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm GREAT article – someone else besides the usual roundtable of commentators with their political and social engineering therories.Great theological premises. This can teach and preach! Much more worthy of our Church than the ever-tiring angst of which we have grown accustomed to reading here. Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Associate Rector Columbus, GA Cheryl Kopec says: Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Collierville, TN Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Submit a Job Listing Submit an Event Listing Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Rector Hopkinsville, KY Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Rector Bath, NC Featured Jobs & Calls Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK January 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm Great article — looking forward to more on this and similar topics! Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH By Nicholas KniselyPosted Jan 27, 2012 Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Featured Events Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Press Release Service Curate Diocese of Nebraska Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector Tampa, FL AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Rector Pittsburgh, PA Mary Phelps says: Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Submit a Press Release Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector Smithfield, NC Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Comments are closed.