All of which is to say..
Cosmic is talking about how people are labelling a new particle we are finding soon, hopefully , as the "God Particle" and how most physicists, really, really hate this label. This is the same particle that I posted about a long time ago; its discovery has a finite chance of creating a singularity (a cute little baby black hole .. a hungry little baby). In about two weeks we'll find out. Hopefully that post about the Higgs boson I made so long ago sidebarred the main thread of this blog: e-language (at my most noble) and kinky sex (more, please).
So I started digging into evolution because I saw the molecular beginnings of life as really kind of interesting in this regard. I used to live across the bay from a place called phosphorescent bay - and I heard of an article on how these really simple organisms signalled to ea. other. and felt like this had to be a part of the evolution of language. Evolution is an adaptive response to environmental change. And the fact that this planet is right in a comet path, helps the whole god particle - end-of-the-world scenario play deep. Life has been erased on a 20 million year cycle, on this planet. Hey look at me. I'm a trilobyte. Bam. Gone. Wow look, mom I'm a dinosaur.. whats that in the sky.. (here comes DA BOOM)(like it or not)
Sean (Cosmic) makes the point that the use of the word God in science weakens language. I don't think his post is a riff about God in and of itself, but rather about how we should avoid these dramatic terms when talking about semi-dangerous particle physics experiements. At least I think thats his point. He's pretty smart. He's probably making more than one point. I would read the thing if I were you.
Sean said that whenever he wants to say the word God, he has has gotten in the habit of saying "Stephen Hawking" instead. So my thing is, I think he's really adapting to a cultural demand for larger-than-life terms and language. Circa. 21st century.
Language evolution is really neat. Theres a really neat film where a new language is spoken. It's called Code 46 and unlike Sean, its set in a 23rd world where global warming has divided the world into barren zones, and cities. That worlds "Day" is our Night (so as to hide from the sun). In this film, spanish dominates. Passwords are "palabras". To say that your sorry, is to say "lo siento". Language, in Code 46, followed the least common denominator. It doesn't make it any more or less weak. The scene I have linked is one in which the main character is using an empathy virus to cross examine a worker in a factory that makes transit visas (known as papels) which are the modern day equivalent of both money, freedom and status.
Just as perhaps in our world, money is used as a social barrier, In that future world, the actions of most citizens are administered by a central AI computer (which is known as Phoenix). This computer prohibits certain citizens from travel in certain areas or doing certain things. Status is calculated semi-automatically and through your performance and capabilities you can be granted "papels" which are like transit visas to other cities. Quarantine is severe. Freedoms are limited.
In that future, marriages and the like are carefully administered. There is very little apparent expression of literature and art, and alot of simple survival. Before marriage, or even dating, for example, there are corner store geneticists who are consulted before any union. Code 46 is the law that requires two individuals to be genetically seperated before they are married or in union. In this dystopic vision of the future, many children are bred in batches, especially those individuals that are engineered for high security jobs (such as printing papel, or investigative work).
So the title of this post is "all of which is to say" - which comes from Sean's quote that rounds out his view on the evolution of certain terms in scientific communique - to wit -
"All of which is to say, religion is impoverishing our language. I want God back, damnit."
- Sean, Cosmic Variance
In other words, exploring whether or not using such terms actually helps. The chances of the world ending after this coming experiment are pretty small. But if they are, sure. We might say. "Oh God". I think in that context it doesn't weaken it, ie. a witness to the end of the world might use the lords name.
And so I agree with Sean, in that such terms should be deprecated from physics. For one thing, they are distracting. I have always preffered 'Higgs Boson' to 'energy of the vaccuum', and have not used the term 'God Particle' to ever refer to this boson. Actually what is this little beast? (excerpt from the exploratorium website)
An oft-cited analogy describes it well: Imagine you're at a Hollywood party. The crowd is rather thick, and evenly distributed around the room, chatting. When the big star arrives, the people nearest the door gather around her. As she moves through the party, she attracts the people closest to her, and those she moves away from return to their other conversations. By gathering a fawning cluster of people around her, she's gained momentum, an indication of mass. She's harder to slow down than she would be without the crowd. Once she's stopped, it's harder to get her going again.
This clustering effect is the Higgs mechanism, postulated by British physicist Peter Higgs in the 1960s. The theory hypothesizes that a sort of lattice, referred to as the Higgs field, fills the universe. This is something like an electromagnetic field, in that it affects the particles that move through it, but it is also related to the physics of solid materials. Scientists know that when an electron passes through a positively charged crystal lattice of atoms (a solid), the electron's mass can increase as much as 40 times. The same might be true in the Higgs field: a particle moving through it creates a little bit of distortion -- like the crowd around the star at the party -- and that lends mass to the particle
So they are trying to discover the lattice of everything. So they call it the god particle.
I mean. the reporters. Physicists hate this term. Is it appropriate?