Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Hadron Collidor and Organized Religion

There has been a fair amount of talk about the impending "end of the world" due to the start-up of the Hadron particle accelerator. (Links here and here, to name a few.) It's a pretty daunting task that the particle physicists are trying to tackle, namely, trying to prove that there is one Grand Unified Theory that links the mechanic, physical laws of motion that you and I know about and the laws that govern the sub-atomic world. Einstein got close, but gravity gave him fits when trying to factor this known force into the way that space-time behaves. An even more troubling thought for these really smart scientists of the 1900's was whether light is a particle or a wave. Guess what? It behaves like both. Seems like a simple statement, but it has profound implications, think about it. Design an experiment to prove those two seemingly incongruent states. These guys did it before computers ever existed...

When the scientists power up the Hadron collidor, the world will hold its "collective breath". The hope is to use the accelerator to generate energies high enough to annihilate matter with its corresponding anti-matter. The fear is that if this collision occurs, the amount of energy released might destroy the world as we know it. While I don't buy it, I also must add that the folks who state this "end of the world" theory probably can't explain the nuclear weak force, a boson, or the spin of a quark, let alone explain why an electron's position around the nucleus of and atom at any given time cannot be precisely know if you can determine it's velocity at that time, and vice versa, ala de Broglie and Mr. Schrodinger...In the sub-atomic world, particles appear and disappear such that their position is modeled as a cloud that represents its probabilistic density function ("electron starts at point A, and is moving Z m/s on this vector, so we should be able to predict it's position after time Y, but in the subatomic world you can't, because the particle also behaves like a wave and not like a pendulum...")

So that's a nice segway given that the "Pope" has decided to come and visit us...(If truly altruistic, why not go to a third world country like in Africa?...Think about it) Organized religion's absolutism is a tremendous force over the weak minded. Those that succumb are the same people who wait in line at the toll booths because to get "EZ-Pass" might mean they are empowered to help themselves. In this post I've singled out those lost souls who sit in the pews on sunday, but the people who watch Oprah looking for life lessons are one in the same. Oprah doesn't care about you, you're an asset, a set of eyeballs that by watching, generates more ad revenue for the show that makes her money. Stop thinking it's anything else, or that Oprah cares.

This "de-motivational" poster is great, if I could make it into a T-shirt, I'd wear it at a local church on a Sunday just to remind myself why education, or simply having your own opinion is important: