Physicists have believed for a long time, that the reason particles have mass, is that it is bestowed upon them by the bounteous nature of the Higgs field. Now the discovery of a god-particle with a mass of around 125 GeV, is being seen as a sign from the gods that they have been right all along.

Some heretics have been murmuring, that believing in the Higgs field is pointless, because it leads to no useful predictions about particle masses. Indeed they have pointed out that the Higgs field is so totally devoid of predictive power, that they actually had to search between 85 and 400+ GeV, before they found a candidate that they could anoint as the god-particle.

What these heretics fail to understand, is the true purpose of the Higgs mechanism. By comparison, when the tribal elders were asked what caused the rain, they soon learnt to say it was caused by the rain-god. In the same way that the Higgs field makes no predictions about the masses of particles, so too believing in the rain-god is of no help in predicting the rain. However the rain-god was still useful, because instead of the tribal elders looking stupid by admitting that they had not the foggiest idea what caused the rain, they could instead appear clever by invoking the rain-god; and the rest of the tribe could feel proud that they had such clever elders.

350 years ago, Isaac Newton was sat under an apple tree, contemplating the cause of gravity, when he had a brainwave. He realised that assigning a cause to gravity was pointless, unless the theory actually made testable predictions about its effects.

The other day, I was sat under an apple tree, contemplating the cause of mass; when the ghost of Newton appeared to me, and told me that hypothesising about the cause of mass, has no place in experimental philosophy, unless the theory produced is capable of actually predicting the masses of particles. Deeply honoured that the ghost of so great a prophet as Newton, should deign to visit a humble peasant such as myself, I then set about devising a particle theory that made specific predictions about particle masses. I then checked the theory against published data, and found it worked very well.

The major problem with my theory, is that like most correct physics, it is very boring. In my theory there are not 6 different types of quark, all available in 3 colours; nor is there a matching complement of anti-quarks; and not even a menagerie of cute little gluons; and worst of all, I have completely washed my hands of the god-particle. In fact my theory would probably be of no interest to a religious person at all, as it explains all of particle physics on the basis of positive and negative charges.  However if you have an interest in experimental philosophy, you might want to check out my Home page for more details.


© William Newtspeare, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to William Newtspeare, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.