Saturday, 19 November 2011

Science vs Religion - Speeding Neutrinos

You may recall back in September how a group of scientists working at CERN had appeared to show that neutrinos can travel faster than light - something which Einstein's Theory of Relativity was thought to have shown to be impossible and which has been a basic principle of physics for a century.

I wrote a short blog on the lessons we can draw from this and the approach these scientists were taking  when comparing science with religion.

It has now been reported that an attempt to validate the CERN data has not only confirmed the findings but has added support to them by analysing the results of 20 more specific neutrino events where the speed of individual neutrinos has been measured and which all support the findings by arriving at the detector some 60 nanoseconds BEFORE they should have done if travelling at the speed of light.

Now, what will we expect to see in the scientific community?  Will we see scientists looking gloomy and crestfallen, feeling their entire life has been wasted believing a lie?  Will we see creative denialism as scientists find ways to ignore the findings, including name-calling, character assassination of the CERN scientists and impugning their motives?  Will we even see them accused of heresy with demands that they be excommunicated from the scientific community?

Or will we see a buzz of excitement and lots of new hypotheses being proposed and tested as this area of science is re-examined and re-assessed and it's implications worked through into other branches of science?

Could these findings lead us closer even to the elusive 'Grand Unifying Theory' which is assumed will bring together Relativity and Quantum Mechanics which currently don't quite join up. One thing we can be sure of is that science will incorporate this new knowledge if it turns out to be fully vindicated.  It will not be ignored and dismissed as some ineffable mystery too deep for mere mortals to understand.

What do you think would happen if a bunch of theologians came up with some research findings which showed that an especially cherished religious principle, say original sin, or the existence of souls, was fundamentally wrong and the entire field of religion needed to be revised, reassessed and adjusted to take into account these new, verified, findings?

Couldn't happen, you say?

Of course it couldn't happen.  No theologians or even Creation 'scientists' are actively looking for reasons to think their fundamental principles are wrong.  Indeed, many of them have even sworn an oath never to 'discover' anything which isn't in full accord with their paymasters' religious dogma.

Religion isn't about discovering truth; it's about enforcing dogma. (Tweet this)

1 comment :

  1. Growing up in Catholic schools, I was often turned to St. Thomas's proofs for the logical answer to religion. I always noticed how almost every single one was based on cause and effect, progressive time. Does this mean neutrinos will demolish such theories?

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