In Geneva the CERN LHC is open for business. LHC standing for Large Hadron Collider and no, unfortunately it is not the world's newest and largest bumper car park. It is a 27km ring of underground magnets designed to fire proton's at each other at nearly the speed of light. The idea is to recreate, with a markedly smaller bang, the aftermath of the Big Bang and hopefully see some hither to unseen particles which will give us some clue as to how the universe was created. The cost of Earth's newest theme park for geeks: 6 billion Euros to date ($9 Billion U.S.) .
Particle physicists have gone as far as they can with previous experimental data and so in the spirit of progress they have built a bigger experiment, the LHC. While they know what they hope to find (sort of), they have no way of knowing what they will actually find. The "x" factor is real and they embrace that. It's the very spirit of discovery and perhaps even a noble effort. After all, I might be writing from Europe or Asia had not some brave souls embraced the "x" factor, disregarded the idea that the Earth was flat and set sail around the globe (Actually those explorers were just greedy and desperate, but its too early for me to make that correlation). But what if the Earth was flat? Well I'd be writing from another continent and those explorers would be floating out towards the edge of the Milky Way. No earth shattering tragedy there, relatively speaking. However, in the case of the LHC the stakes are considerably higher. If they are wrong no one will be falling off the Earth. If they are wrong the Earth will fall out of existence!
Yes, there are those who are concerned that these experiments might bring about the total annihilation of Earth. Who are they? Most are probably crackpots like me who don't have degrees in Physics, but a few concerned critics do have degrees and good reputations. The doomsayers are worried that these new experiments might create a mini Black Hole or "Strangelets" which convert matter to something completely unpalatable to us. The experimenters say they don't "think" they will, but "if" they do there won't be any harm.
I am not really up on my Astrophysics so I can't say for sure, but I'm not aware of any experiential, physical or observational data on Black Holes or Strangelets which leads me to believe they know anything more of substance about them than your local preacher can prove about God. It now appears that their motivation to disprove God is so great they are willing to paradoxically debate him face to face!? Consider how science has moved closer to religion. Faith is the major component of religion and now science is prepared, on the "faith" that they are not wrong, to gamble in an effort to discredit "Faith"! Hmmm? Zealots? These guys are playing with matches. "Oh be quiet Smokey the Bear. We know what we are doing!" What child doesn't think the very same thing?
I'm personally not very comfortable with scientists using words like "we don't think" and "if we create a black hole" when Earth is at risk. Do I think it will happen? No. But just in case I'm updating my intergalactic will. Of course, unless the legal system in the alternate universe we will be sucked into recognizes Earth law, this will be wasted time. Could it happen? Yes. Why, because the brains behind this don't know what will happen. That's the whole point of the experiment. They aren't trying to verify anything. They are looking for new fodder. They have finished their book "Science through the 20th Century" and are desperately searching for a story line to their next best seller "Fun things to think about in the 21st Century" even if they need to cook it up in a laboratory Petri dish.
Particularly worrisome is my understanding that their back up plan (that any created black holes will evaporate) is based on "Hawking Radiation". This 30 year old theory very nicely explained away quite a few theoretical problems in its day. However, more recently it has become considered possibly obsolete due to the fact that newer evidence has come to light which also very nicely explains away those same theoretical snags of yesteryear. In short, "Hawking Radiation" may or may not be correct.
With the Strangelets they predict that their positive charge won't attract any matter and so they won't be a problem. However, for every positive there is a negative. You don't have to be a genius to realize that! The fact that at least one (but not all) reputable scientist(s) has posited that it is possible for a nasty negative Strangelet to be created makes one question whether or not IQ tests have any validity at all!
There goes the neighborhood! If just one negative Strangelet moves in our property values will plummet. It would convert all Earth's matter into similar Strangelets. Great for the Strangelet market, not so good for the housing market! But then again the housing market is in shambles and maybe it would be fun being a "Strangeling", you never know.
The other day telephones lines got crossed and I listened in on a long distance conversation-
Voice: "Hello, and thank you for calling Universal Life Insurance. How may I help you?"
Earth: "Hello, am I covered for mini Black Holes under the Hawking Clause?"
Universal Life Customer service: "Hmm, well Earth I'll have to get back to you. I'm not sure if the "Hawking Radiation clause" in your insurance policy covers mini black holes or not. If you tell me the size of the black hole I'll take it to our legal department and clarify."
Earth: "Let's say nothing bigger than an atom, but my how they grow up fast. And get back to me quickly with an answer. If it's a matter of a higher premium I'll send a check today!"
Universal Life Customer Service: "Yes, Ma'am. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
Earth: "Yes. What about Strangelets? Am I covered for them?"
ULCS: "Yes and No. You are covered for Postive Strangelets, but due to the inherent risk of
Negative Strangelets they can not be covered. I'm sorry."
Earth: " Yeah, me too!"
We might get away with this, but it is still troubling. My concern is the mentality which continuously inquires "how can we do this?" without ever stopping to ask "should we do this?" Or honestly and sincerely asking "why do we want to do this?". Scientists can be addicts too! Fabricating job security isn't noble. To blindly allow the scientific community to create situations which allow it to justify its continued existence is irresponsible of the taxpayers. Or more directly the governments forcing the taxpayers to cough up the money. Self perpetuation isn't lost on corporations either. Gillette will soon discover evidence that shows that 5 shaving blades aren't enough, but six will do the trick. Does anyone really believe we need 5 or 6 blades? Not me, I'm holding out for ten! But the fact is that taxpayers aren't obliged to pay for that research.
Are not some of the sciences falling prey to narcissistic qualities? Six billion euros is a pretty big habit we are supporting! What do we actually get from this research, even if we allow for success? Undoubtedly these people have brains parents will all be genetically opting for in their children, but does that mean they can't be mistakenly led down a road best left un-traveled?
I should state here that I have no stake in whether or not they prove or disprove the existence of God. To me that question is as irrelevant as the question as to whether or not the Big Bang theory is correct. Both are interesting questions, but neither in my opinion make one iota of difference in day to day life! But I have to admit, you never know when one of these questions will pop up on Final Jeopardy! Then again, I never saw anyone win 6 billion bucks on Jeopardy!
How many scientists does it take to change a light bulb? I don't know, but if you don't pay attention it could cost billions! So if the Human race still exists the next time scientists ask for a ridiculous amount of money for their next experiment I suggest we round them all up in one place to discuss the matter. This will be simple, we will just tell them we've discovered another "matter". Then we should lock them in until they see that they should be concentrating their collective intelligence on something of real world value. It begs the question; Are geniuses more predisposed to the psychotic fear of "not knowing"? I'm sure there is a scientist out there who will happily take research money to find out!