I’ll get to the Mitt Romney connection in just a moment. But first a bit of background.
When scientists announced their discovery on July 4th of the Higgs boson–the so-called God particle that causes the universe to have mass and not just energy–it would seem to have answered once and for all a pressing question: “Did God create the material universe, and does He sustain it?”
The answer, discovered by physical experiment, is NO. It’s not a who but a what that created and sustains the material universe, and that what is the Higgs boson–the God particle. God’s actual existence with regard to this question is simply unnecessary.
But wait. Where did the Higgs boson itself come from? If you say that God made it and then uses the particle as the device by which the universe comes to possess matter, then you’ve saved the God hypothesis to go on living another day. The causal chain has to stop somewhere, so why not with God?
But why didn’t the chain stop before the Higgs boson? Why does God need the Higgs boson in the first place?
And what if the God particle had not been discovered? Would scientists have then gone in search of God as a causal explanation for matter in the universe, or would they have just sought another physical explanation of some sort?
Obviously, scientists would have renewed their search for a physical explanation. Why? Because that’s what scientists do. They kick the God hypothesis ever further down the causal road.
The fact that they’re successful at doing this so frequently and impressively ought to give the theist pause. Maybe there’s no God at the end of that causal road. Maybe explanation is a what and never a who all the way down.
Horton hears a who, as do theists, but scientists hear a what.
Here’s physicist and atheist Lawrence Krauss’s response to the Higgs boson news:
Humans, with their remarkable tools and their remarkable brains, may have just taken a giant step toward replacing metaphysical speculation with empirically verifiable knowledge.
Here’s another way to put this. If God exists, he’s like Mitt Romney at Bain Capital: he’s at the head of the company, but wherever something substantial actually occurs, his supporters must insist that he’s never the one directly pulling the trigger.
But then, where is Mitt Romney and God? Is there ever a there there?
The whole Higgs boson discovery raises the uncomfortable question about this peculiar hall of mirrors which we call God. Why is God shown once again to be so like Slim Shady–so like Mitt Romney? Is it possible that there’s actually nothing behind the curtain?