Paul Taylor comments

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

There has been so much misinformation and misunderstanding about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the experiments being done in it? What exactly is a hadron, and how big is a large one? What happens when they collide? Will the world end in a black hole, that will suck all the shares from every major banking institution into it? Or am I mixing my news stories?

A hadron is simply a class of particles of subatomic size. There are no large hadrons. It is the collider which is large, not the hadrons! Technically speaking, a hadron is a collection of quarks (even smaller particles), held together by the strong nuclear force. Both protons and neutrons are quarks. The LHC actually uses protons, so maybe it should be called a Proton Collider which is Large!

One rumour has it that the collision of protons, which are accelerated through the system by powerful electromagnets, could create a mini-black hole. The truth is that we don't know if that would happen, but, if it did, its mass would be caused by the mass and energy of the material in the LHC - which is very small - so an earth-swallowing black hole would not be formed.

Another rumour is that colliding protons travel into each other with a relative velocity greater than the speed of light. The flaw in this argument is caused by using Newtonian equations to measure an Einsteinian effect. The idea is that if two protons travelling in opposite directions both travel at 90% of the speed of light (c), they would collide with a relative velocity of 180% of the speed of light. In fact, this is not the case, because there is an adjustment factor in relative velocity calculations, such that the relative velocity would actually be about 95%c. At 'normal' velocities, with which we are familiar, the adjustment factor is so very small that the relative velocity approximates to the straight Newtonian vector addition.

The main rumour about the LHC is that it recreates conditions a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang. Contrary to popular imagination, it does not recreate a new Big Bang. Instead, it collides protons and gives measurements, which will then need to be interpreted. The measurements taken constitute real operational science. The interpretation of these results involves the presuppositions of the interpreter. In other words, if they believe in the Big Bang theory, they will interpret the results accordingly. After all, how can they otherwise claim to be reproducing the conditions just after the Big Bang? They do not know for sure what those conditions would have been. Therefore, they have created conditions according to their own beliefs, and will be able to interpret the results according to those beliefs. Actually, a very significant minority of astrophysicists don't even believe the Big Bang ever happened! This minority is not confined to creationists - a large number of non-creationist Big Bang sceptics have signed a statement on the web expressing their doubts about the Big Bang.

The LHC experimenters cannot realistically reproduce conditions just after the Big Bang, because they weren't there, and, if the Big Bang didn't happen, their results would be open to alternative explanations. We are reminded of God's comments to Job in Job 38, where He chides Job by effectively asking him "Were you there?". Why do Christians in particular insist on believing that the universe began in a manner which cannot be proved, according to a set of humanist presuppositions, devised by people who, when asked "were you there" would have to answer "No!" Why not instead accept the words of God, as recorded in Genesis, and as reiterated by Psalms, Isaiah, Colossians and the words of Jesus in the Gospels - the same Jesus, who, if asked "were you there" would answer "Yes" - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1) CR

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