QR4.4.7 The God Particle

That massive particles pop out of empty space created a problem for the standard model. The W boson mass had to come from somewhere so the answer was of course another field! The Higgs particle was needed to sustain the particle business, so the search for the Higgs became the holy grail of physics, attracting over 30 billion dollars in funding. Then in 2012, after a fifty-year search, CERN found a resonance in the right range and physicists all over the world breathed a sigh of relief, calling it the “God particle”, perhaps because it answered their prayers. Finding a million, million, million, millionth of a second 125GeV signal meant the standard model lived on!

Yet despite its general acceptance, the evidence for the Higgs particle is surprisingly weak, as it:

1. Doesn’t explain mass. The Higgs flash adds no value to general relativity, our best theory of mass to date, nor does it explain the dark energy and dark matter that is most of the universe. Its only role is to rescue the standard model:

“… the Higgs field allows us to reconcile … how … weak interactions work, that’s a far cry from explaining the origin of mass or why the different masses have the values they do.(Wilczek, 2008) p202

So the Higgs isn’t about mass creation at all but about sustaining the standard model of particles.

2. Is medieval circular logic. If a massive Higgs particle creates mass, what gives it mass? If another Higgs, what gives it mass and so on? A Higgs particle that begets itself is indeed a God particle! Some say the field itself creates the mass but what then does the Higgs boson do? Weren’t bosons invented to avoid invisible fields causing visible effects in the first place? That like creates like harks back to the medieval fallacy that only water can cause wetness. Science debunked this by showing that water comes from hydrogen and oxygen gases that aren’t watery at all. Instead of the circular logic that mass creates mass, in quantum realism mass comes from the energy of photons.

3. Is impossible by quantum theory. In a carefully crafted press release, CERN claimed that zero-spin would confirm the Higgs then found it so but quantum theory clearly states that a spin-zero point particle with mass is impossible (Comay, 2009). All known point particles with mass are spin-half particles and only matter-antimatter mixes like mesons have spin zero. Since not-yet-found higher order mesons have zero-spin, are in that mass range and have the same photon decay and detection frequency, “The Higgs” is more likely a top or anti-top meson.

In essence, the Higgs is a medieval circular logic that explains at best 4% of the mass of the universe in a way that is impossible according to quantum theory. That what at best explains at best a tiny fraction of the mass of the universe is now called the “origin of mass” is a tribute to the power of marketing not science.

The Higgs is the culmination of the belief that inert particles can only be pushed around by other particles. To sustain this vision, physics had to invent virtual particles that don’t exist in any normal sense. The grand irony of it all is that physical realism today is now justified by a multitude of unreal virtual agents! For example, consider what it implies about the matter around us:

The Higgs mechanism is often said to account for the origins of mass in the visible universe. This statement, however, is incorrect. The mass of quarks accounts for only 2 percent of the mass of the proton and the neutron, respectively. The other 98 percent, we think, arises largely from the actions of gluons. But how gluons help to generate proton and neutron mass is not evident, because they themselves are massless.” (Ent, Ulrich, & Venugopalan, 2015)

It is true that nearly all an atom’s mass comes from the protons and neutrons in its nucleus and most of their mass comes not from quarks but the virtual gluons binding them. It follows that, according to current physics, nearly all the mass we see around us comes from massless virtual particles!

Actually, the Higgs is an imaginary agent created to explain another imaginary agent created to explain an observed effect, namely neutron decay. When a theory uses one invisible thing to explain another it becomes a theoretical house of cards. It is telling that years after apparently finding the “god particle”, it hasn’t led to a single other discovery or benefit.