Home » Intelligent Design, Science » This is Science? But some folks claim ID isn’t? Why?

This is Science? But some folks claim ID isn’t? Why?

So let’s take a look around and see what passes for science today. One article comes to mind as an example of the peculiar, and it’s from The New York Times. This article explains how some scientists, probably considered mainstream, have posited that tiny particles are abhorred by nature, so nature, knowing that physicists will discover these tiny particles in the future, sabotages the equipment the  that the physicists intend on using.

More than a year after an explosion of sparks, soot and frigid helium shut it down, the world’s biggest and most expensive physics experiment, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is poised to start up again…

I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather. Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, put this idea forward in a series of papers with titles like “Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal” and “Search for Future Influence From LHC,” posted on the physics Web site arXiv.org in the last year and a half.

And some folks still consider the proposition of straightforward intelligent design in nature to be beyond science? I mean, we know that intelligent agents design things, do we know that particles are abhorred by clairvoyant nature and that she intentionally sabotages our equipment?

Now, I’m all for strange theories, this universe is a strange place, but let’s be consistent in what we deem scientific.

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17 Responses to This is Science? But some folks claim ID isn’t? Why?

  1. These people are insane. They should be stopped as soon as possible from destroying science, so we can salvage what is left of it.

  2. I was looking at this earlier today and I think it’s a prank by a couple of geeks with nothing better to do while they wait for the techies to repair the LHC. What is more troubling is that the prank is being mistaken for “serious science” by otherwise serious scientists. There was another prank someone pulled on the philosophers of science a few years ago.

    The authors clear up some of the mystery by describing their model as starting with “a series of not completely convincing, but still suggestive, assumptions”.

    Some more excitable corners of the physics blogosphere have been considerably less polite about the theory.

    Even more fun is Nielsen and Ninomiya’s suggestion of how their theory might be tested: with a card game.

    First, take a million or so cards, each scribbled with a future fate for the LHC. Make them overwhelmingly read “carry on”, but add just one or two saying “shut the thing down”.

    If you pull one of the “shut down” ones at random, you have pretty good proof that the Higgs is trying to tell you something from the future.

    I don’t know what happens if you disobey the warning: perhaps that’s where the thing with the black holes that eat the world come in.

    I’m not sure anyone in charge needs my advice on this, but I’d be tempted to go ahead with the LHC restart anyway, just on the off-chance Nielsen and Ninomiya are wrong.

    http://www.newscientist.com/bl.....s-sab.html

    The article contains links to the papers by Nielsen and Ninomaya – I don’t understand the math but the text has a definite whiff of the whimsical.

  3. Is it possible that the problems of the Large Hadron Collider are bigger and more expensive than formerly realized?

    Golly, if my washing machine bust and I couldn’t get it fixed and didn’t have any idea what to do next – and was under pressure to account for what happened – I might resort to a mystifying story to gain time.

    Like, people do that.

    The way a squid squirts a big cloud of ink.

    Oh wait. It IS a big cloud of ink.

    Good luck finding out what’s really going on.

  4. I agree that it seems to be taking longer than expected to repair the collider.

    But on the matter of straightforward intelligent design, its anything but straightforward. Assuming a ‘designer’ sounds seductively benign, but it requires the total upheaval of everything we have ever understood about science, a far greater leap than evolution. Evolution at least obeys the basic laws of physics as we understand them, but a designer is like adding God to the mix.

  5. Notes from the USA,

    I really, really hope this whole thing is a prank, but if the NY Times reported it, it must be news… if so,

    I WANT my NICKEL!!!!

    As I understand it, my fearless congressional leaders balked at spending a gazillion dollars to build that atom-smasher in Texas, but the USA remains on the hook for the much of the funding of that broken toy secreted under France/Switzerland.

    I admit to dropping a penny for a laser pointer on EBAY (shipping: $4.99!!), but that was my choice. I figure I am out at least a nickel for my taxed-share of the Higgs-boson sniffer. Since it doesn’t work, I want a refund.

    Thank you, moderators, for allowing me this forum to request my check for five cents from the NSF. you may not know this, but I already will have received that nickel yesterday. (Its a Higgs-boson nickel)

    You may complain that I am nuts, but in fact I am just “creating my own reality.”

    That is the law in the US. (see US Supreme Court ruling, “Casey”). Not only that, creating your own reality now appears to be “scientific” as we borrow explanations from the future.

  6. If a priest, even a very nice one, would have said that GOD is making sure that the LHC failled, most media outlet would have scream in horror. Can you picture that? :-)
    They would have ask the pope to apologise or even to resign (well not likely to happen, lol).

    If you ask people who they would trust more between religion and science, they would automatically tell you science.

    They would then give you a lot of “rational” reasons for it: “thank to science we get cured, thank to science we went on the moon, science is neutral(noone has ever kill in the name of science, right?),scientists are honest, etc..” They will also tell you what is science: you know: “hypothesis, experiments, falsification criteria of popper, objectivity, honesty, etc..”
    And then, just in case you still don’t get it, they would tell you how much suffering religion has bring to the world: religious wars, propaganda, hatred, fight against the nice scientists (such as Galileo for example), dogmatism, etc…
    Obviously, there something wrong in this way of thinking. Not that I want to defend religion. It just that here we are comparing two different things that can’t or shouldn’t be compared. We are comparing science, as it should be (in theory), with religion as it actually exist (the ugly side of religion).
    Obviously, we want to compare science with religion, we should use the same benchmark, the same method.

    Either we compare then on the “theory side” (most religion promote peace, love inside the family and between neighbours, etc..) or on the more “real” side (scientists have also murder millions of people… see Elena Ceausescu or have been involved in designing powerful WMD).

    But it’s unlikely that you will hear someone moaning about science. Even though it possess an evil side too.

  7. Graham,

    Evolution at least obeys the basic laws of physics as we understand them, but a designer is like adding God to the mix.

    We have a precedent for it, things that are designed by humans. We have no precedent for random happenstance to make designed things. And all design, of course, obeys the laws of physics, which are not really laws, just repetitions. Since we do not perceive these “laws” by reason, (since there is no premise: conclusion reasonableness that we can discern from these repetitions), we only call them laws since they are regular, but there is no “reason” why they couldn’t have been otherwise, for they are not mental necessities like 2+2=4, they are only descriptions of events that appear regularly.

  8. Hey, I read the novel! Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer. Now they’ve made it into a TV series, only they changed the plot because they figured the public wouldn’t understand the LHC search for the Higgs boson particle.

  9. It kinda makes sense…if time branches…but it doesn’t if this particle “destroyed” the timelines that generated it, then would it ever have been existed in the first palfce to destroy the time path to that point?

    Seems more paradoxical than logical.

  10. I wonder if this could explain the sudden unexplainably weird urges I’ve had recently to move to Switzerland, break into the LHC and hang uncooked turkey’s in the main collider tunnel.

  11. I don’t think anyone claimed this was science. I think everyone, including the scientists themselves, views it as speculation.

  12. 12

    Tim, actually you received this nickel thirty years ago. It was a preemptive reimbursement. The Higgs-boson particles did it for you in a successful future bid to de-fund the project.

  13. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

    Gregory Benford has a rather neat solution to the grandfather paradox in his 1980 SF novel Timescape. If he is right then the sabotage from the future wouldn’t work.

  14. 14
    William J. Murray

    The difference between science and non-science lies in the terminology. As long as the terminology sounds materialistic and mainstream-ish, it’s all good.

  15. Clive,

    We have a precedent for it, things that are designed by humans. We have no precedent for random happenstance to make designed things.

    Except for serendipity, where random happenstance results in important, unexpected observation.

  16. TeePegg,

    Except for serendipity, where random happenstance results in important, unexpected observation.

    Serendipity is finding something good when you were looking for something else. In that vain, your comment makes no sense. Random happenstance doesn’t build things more complicated than even the world’s most complicated wristwatch. It just doesn’t my friend. I’m sorry that you had to hear it from me.

  17. LOL

    That’s an awesome theory!! I love it. It’s so scientific. xD

    At least ID is based off of observable evidence, mainly, the creation of complex objects and machines by intelligent agents.

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