Such was the hype in billing the CERN results that the science teams were forced to come up with something definite. And that has persisted despite scientists soon questioning the fundamentalist claims: the Higgs boson does not relate to the neutrino, gravity or ‘dark matter’ and could be a composite particle.
Now it’s downgraded to a “a Higgs-like particle”: the recent $3million Fundamental Physics Prize was awarded for discovering “a Higgs-like particle at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”.
But the British media continues in ignorance, encouraged by the aging Peter Higgs and the award of a New Year “honour”. An interview reprinted from El Mundo reports the Higgs particle in mystical terms:
“In 1963 Higgs predicted the existence of a force-carrying particle, part of an invisible energy field that filled the vacuum throughout the observable universe. Without the field, or something like it, we would not be here. The field clings to the smallest fundamental particles and gives them mass. The field, which switched on moments after the big bang, allowed particles to come together and form all the atoms and molecules around today.”
Peter Higgs played this up, disclosing emotion over-riding science:
What was so overwhelming really was the response of the audience at Cern. It wasn’t like a scientific seminar, it was like the end of a football match when the home team has won, and that was what was overwhelming to me, to be a part of that …
So cocky is Higgs that he ventures to defend religious beliefs, arguing in the El Mundo interview, that science and religion were not incompatible. He attacked Richard Dawkins for ‘fundamentalism’, without appreciating how closely he fits the Dawkins cap:
“The true scientist, however passionately he may ‘believe’, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will.”