Michio Kaku on the God Particle (the Higgs Boson) and String Theory

A fascinating clip:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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19 Responses to Michio Kaku on the God Particle (the Higgs Boson) and String Theory

  1. IzaakMak says:

    That is so cool. I love that guy! 😀

  2. Paradigm says:

    That’s religion for atheists. Pretending that God is within the realm of the senses. It sells because atheists are religious too. They always have some ideology or big theory as a substitute for the real thing.

    • santitafarella says:

      I see no problem conceding that science possesses a religious (in the sense of a binding together) impulse. But how would a universe functioning like a symphony preclude God’s existence? And doesn’t every form of theism amount to an “ideology or big theory” about the universe and our place in it?

      That scientists seek out a unified theory of the universe using empiricism (as opposed to other epistemic methods like faith, authority, revelation, or religious experience) is hardly something to be dismissive concerning.

      It makes more sense to be caustic toward the dubious epistemic methods of religion.

      —Santi

    • Attempting to understand the universe through what we can see, measure and reason .. versus arbitrarily making up nonsense. That is the difference.

    • CVi says:

      Religion
      Pronunciation: /rɪˈlɪdʒ(ə)n/
      noun
      the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods

      Apparently you don’t understand atheism or agnosticism. As Santi pointed out, religion is epistemic, not empiric, just as you just did. You have a preconceived conclusion, so you are making a false comparison to support your conclusion, it shows who’s the narrow minded one.

      Seeking empirical truth is not religion. And “God particle” is a popular (popular as in “non scientific”, “for the masses”, media, headline) term for the Higgs boson, I personally have a distaste for the word.

      • Though, some hard atheists can be viewed as dogmatic. And of course dogmatism is a quality shared by many religious people. An agnostic stance, I think, is a much safer position, epistemologically speaking. Thus, it’s much easier to fend off the dismissive arguments of scientifically ignorant religious people.

  3. Paradigm says:

    I’m not opposed to unifying theories. It’s when they sell science as religion they go wrong. That’s insinuating that you can be religous without faith. And of course that’s what atheists want to hear. It’s business, astrology for intellectuals. Sure there are crazy religious theories that are better explained with science. But two wrongs do not make one right.

    Jared: There is more than one way to understand the world. If Kaku was more honest he would say like you, that one of these ways is nonsense. I don’t agree with that but I respect it.

    • @Paradigm – What do you mean by “there is more than one way to understand the world?” I am not being a jerk, I honestly mean it. It seems that only through observation, objectivity and quantification can we come to any real truths about the world. We cannot gain any insight into how the universe works simply by pondering it (without testing it). Religion did this for many 1000s of years and it manifested as paranormal explanations for the things that today we understand the real, physical reasons behind: natural disasters, illness, tides, eclipses, etc.

      About people .. the story is a bit different. So much about what an individual will do is based on emotions that are subjective and not necessarily directly tied to measurable effect. This is why religion takes hold of people. It gives them a basis for emotions that are often very subjective: desires and fears. Insights into the self can be gained by pondering religion and philosophy, but those insights do not change our understanding of the universe unless they drive us to scientific ways of understanding the universe.

      • concerned christian says:

        Jared: You said “We cannot gain any insight into how the universe works simply by pondering it (without testing it). Religion did this for many 1000s of years.” This was not religion, this was how most of the Greek Philosophers developed their understanding of the World, they succeeded in many areas and failed miserably in some fields. The Church simply adopted what they inherited from Socrates, Plato and to some extent Aristotle.
        This is also the main distinction between theoretical and applied physics until today, theoretical physicists come with a theory and start looking for data to validate their theory and if the data did not agree with their theory they question the data not their theory. After many attempts at finding data they like, they finally give up and change the theory.

  4. Paradigm says:

    Jared: The world is not just the world of the senses. We can experience a spiritual reality too, that can be grasped through faith and intuition. The fact that religion tried to explain the world of the senses is of course a failure, just like being pseudo-religious with theoretical physics is today.

    • @Paradigm – What is a “spiritual reality” other than emotion and feelings? Looking at the universe and sensing wonder, feeling like a spec of dust, feeling a desire to know where you belong .. us atheists feel these things too. But I don’t have answers other than to say that if I work to advance the species, then maybe .. someday .. we will be smart enough to figure it out. Any answers I might propose are based entirely on emotion and desire. Religion lets people place their emotions and desires on par with the physical universe. This has been the cause of both a lot of good and a lot of bad through human history.

      When you see all the work done recently on human cognition, brain function and self .. it becomes apparent just how flimsy any set of beliefs based purely on emotion become. Santi posted a few links on consciousness over the last 6 months that really drive this home.

      • Paradigm says:

        The spiritual reality is when you sense, feel, intuite or whatever, something that is not in the sensory realm but you are nevertheless certain it’s there. Like music. When you hear Mozart or Wagner you hear the ideas being expressed in their music. No scientist has ever competed with them or been able to explain why some sequences of sound make sense and other don’t. With all the work done on human cognition it seems like they would be getting somewhere with that don’t you think?

      • But no music holds the same value to all people – which is why I quantify it as subjective emotion. Some people love the classics, other love Jimmy Hendrix. 🙂 Each person has his own Mozart. If different things can be true to different people, then nothing is true.

  5. Posted too early …

    If things can be true to one person, yet false to another, then what REALLY makes something true. This is the dilemma for religion. Who is your savior? Who is your prophet? One answer is as good as another as long as it strikes you as true.

  6. Paradigm says:

    Music is much more objective than you might suspect. People will like a certain kind of music because of the sound rather than the music itself or because of other secondary qualities, image, identity etc. But with time those qualities fade. If you look at classical music and opera you will find a striking consensus about which composers are good and which parts of their respective production is the best. Most people actively interested in this music rank Bach, Mozart and Verdi very high, Dvorak, Liszt in the middle and Mussorgskij and Donizetti further down. And most people seriously interested in contemporary music will agree that Jimmie Hendrix is one of the top in his field. So no, each person does not have his own Mozart.

    But we all perceive reality in our own way so it will always be subjective to some extent. The color red is objective in the sense that it is a certain wavelength, but some like it others don’t. This is the same with spiritual reality, there is a subject perceiving it so it becomes subjective in the sense that “red is annoying” is a true statements for some but not for others.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think there is another aspect to the question of what reality is. We, in our individual pursuits, may perceive the objective, and we will express our understanding subjectively. The more elusive quality of faith is shared in community. Several individuals can influence one another in their search for answers to life’s questions. Questions like, “does anyone care about me?” Faith in “a power greater than myself,” can grow through human interaction, several seeking the answers and in the seeking, we find community and relationship. On the human scale, as we accept that we are always in the process of understanding, we give space to one another, respect for each human being’s right to his or her uncertainty. The absolute is a given. The expression of it is various, and it includes human emotion. Human emotion can lead us to wish for acceptance of differences. Somehow, humans need to come to an emotional understanding of our common needs and desires so that God can manifest there.

  8. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words
    in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you
    know. The style and design look great though!

    Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos

  9. Anonymous says:

    You can see the god particle do I have to explain it to you

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