While many people are excited by the scientific possibilities now offered by CERNâ€™s Large Hadron Collider, not everyone in the international community is thrilled by this piece of technological wonder and its capabilities. Known as the LHC for short, the machine is set deep underground, running in a circle that is seventeen miles long. It hurls protons around just a fraction under the speed of light, and then smashes them into each other. The LHC was constructed in hopes that it could answer questions about quantum mechanics, string theory, and possibly find dimensions other than the four that we are currently aware of.
Though it sounds like a fascinating, wondrous piece of technology, the particle collider at CERN has raised controversy and protest in some of the worldâ€™s religious communities. Along with searching for proof to answer scientific postulations like string theory, scientists are also looking to use the Large Hadron Collider to perhaps find the theoretical particle called the Higgs boson. This particle would explain what gives matter its mass, and thus would account for the entire universeâ€™s existence. The Higgs boson, also nicknamed the God particle, is the reason for the religious opposition to the LHC.
The possibility of finding the actual cause of our existence right here on Earth, in an incredibly large piece of equipment built by science, is seen as a huge threat to religion. Many religious groups may believe that this would undermine the idea that a god or gods created our world and the universe in which it lies. The discovery that there actually is a Higgs boson, or God particle, which gave mass to matter would be seen as scienceâ€™s proof that God does not exist. It may be that the highly religious see the potential of the LHC as a threat to their faith.
Currently, we do not understand the origins of some of the smallest particles in our universe. With the Large Hadron Collider and its ability to cause particle collisions, scientists hope to find solid explanations to such theories. Of course, the origin of mass is one of the biggest questions science, and religion, struggles to answer. While the LHC may provide the solution for scientists, religion has always had an answer for the faithful: a god or gods, which is responsible for our presence, and the existence of everything else we know. It is for this reason that many in the religious community find the operation of the Large Hadron Collider to be controversial.