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Large Hadron Collider continues to confuse

Published: 27 September 2008 (GMT+10)
Robert Elliott, Water baloon exploding
A water balloon explodes after being punctured by a knife.

This week we feature two friendly inquiries about our article on the first shot of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) last week, to which Russ Humphreys replies, plus one very encouraging feedback that refers to one of Dr Humphreys’ articles.

The LHC is being promoted as setting out to prove the Big Bang by the discovery of the Higgs Boson. If from a Creation stand point the Big Bang is a myth, what will the discovery of this particle show?

Dr Stephen B, England

Dear Dr B

Thanks for your interest in this topic. I think discovery of the Higgs boson would help with a unified field theory, and shed new light on the mystery of matter. But as you implied, it is only accelerator-financing hype that the Higgs would take the Big Bang out of the realm of science fiction. Lots of other cosmologies are possible, with or without a Higgs boson.

Cordially in Christ—Russ Humphreys

I know that speeds do not add up arithmetically when one approaches light speed, but I do not understand how 2 particles of 7 TeV each traveling in opposite direction could have the same effect or energy (if I understood the comment well) as one particle of 200,000 TeV. Would like a bit more on this.

S Dimitrijevic,1 Queensland, Australia

Dear Mr Dimitrijevic

I’m glad you are thinking about this. You’ve hit upon the big reason high-energy particle physicists prefer to fling two protons of equal energies together (hence the name ‘collider’), rather than to throw one high-energy proton (say a cosmic ray) at a stationary proton. There is a huge energy advantage.

When a moving billiard ball (number 1) hits a stationary ball (number 2), the physics law of conservation of momentum requires that ball 2 carry off almost all of the energy of ball 1, with very little energy left over to do such things as heat the two balls. Even if we were to put some glue on the balls, so that they would stick together, the amount of heat generated (corresponding to what would generate new particles in the LHC) would be half the original energy of ball 1.

‘A 50% loss of useful energy isn’t too bad’, you might say. But, as you implied, when the balls are moving close to the speed of light, relativity rears its confusing head. It turns out2 that at high energies the energy advantage of the collider over (say) a cosmic-ray proton is:


So it would take a cosmic ray proton with an energy of (7,000 × 14 TeV) ≈ 100,000 TeV to get the same results as the LHC would get by colliding two 7 TeV protons. I made a mistake when I wrote “200,000 TeV” before. That shows you should not expect human scientists to be infallible, not even a creationist physicist … especially when the latter is in a hurry!

Keep thinking—Russ Humphreys

Hello CMI,

I don’t want to ask anything, and I don’t need a reply: I only want to thank you.

I have always found your ministry a great blessing, and been very thankful for it, but lately I have been getting into some debates with atheists, who of course stake everything on evolution and will fight for it with a violence and malice that could only come from Satan himself. I am not even a scientist and could never hope to be able to counter the arguments myself, but I am almost always able to find what I need on this site, and appreciate it as never before!

Photo by nojay, Scottish Cathedral

As Russell Humphreys says in his article on Expelled . sometimes you can become inured to the evil of evolutionary thinking and start to take it as a given—until something will shake you up and open your eyes again to see just how far our society has moved from God’s truth. For me, what did it was going onto an atheist website and seeing for myself the desperate ugliness of spiritual rebellion there.

At times like that it is very good indeed to know that the good fight IS being fought, that God has not left himself without witnesses. Even though so many of the Churches have sold out and embraced Darwin, CMI is valiant for truth!

Scotland is a land that once was soaked in the Scriptures, and in God’s good providence may yet be again, if only, through work like yours, evolution can be exposed for the deadly lie it is. I thank you, and salute you, and say this from the bottom of my heart: May he exceedingly bless, and pour out the riches of his grace upon you, and may he prosper the work of your hand—as I know he has done, and is doing, and will do.

I’ll see you in Heaven!

Jenny G, Scotland

Thanks for your kind words, Jenny. We’re glad that the ministry, which we can only keep doing with the help of folk such as yourself, has been an encouragement to you.

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  1. Mr Dimitrijevic specifically asked for his surname to be used in publication. We normally only use first name plus initial. Return to text.
  2. Jackson, J. D., Classical Electrodynamics, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1962, p. 399, topmost of the three equations that share the number (12.38). His E’ is my ‘collider energy’, his E1 is my ‘cosmic ray energy’, and his m2 is my ‘rest energy of proton’. Or look up ‘center of mass’ in a book or Internet article on ‘relativistic kinematics’. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Christopher M.
Dear CMI,

I love your website and I'm a very frequent visitor and I'm always interested in arguments in favor of the Word of God. Recently, I've come across a few arguments made by atheists that I'm kind of struggling to find the answer to. I don't fully understand things like the Big Bang theory or quantum physics, so it's a little difficult for me to research on this subject and find counterarguments. I've read several of Creation's articles about this subject, including your article "If God Created the Universe Then Who Created God?" However, I still have a few lingering questions.

When it comes to asking an atheist "How did everything begin?," are we on the same foundation when they ask us about God's "origins" and we say that He has always existed? I've heard a few say that there are some hypotheses out there about how particles could come from nothing (I've even heard one make a claim about particles popping into and out of existence today). I'll be honest, I don't know the specifics of these claims, but they seem to think that they have something to fall back on when we try to counter them.

On the subject of always existing, I remember an argument made in favor of the oscillating universe. Detroit-based Christian radio talk show host Bob Dutko (I'm not sure if you can hear his broadcasts in Australia) was debating an atheist he knew who wrote a book on the subject (I cannot remember the name, something like "The Age of Reason," but I'm probably confusing that with Thomas Paine's book on deism, but it was something along those lines) where he suggested that the universe either came about through the Big Bang, or has always existed. Dutko pointed out that the heat death of the universe would have occurred long ago if that were the case, and the atheist stated that the reason that that hasn't happened is that the universe is experiencing a case where it is repeatedly expanding and collapsing. Dutko countered that by saying that if that were the case, each time that happened, energy would be lost (according to the laws of thermodynamics). The atheist stated that there are situations where the laws of thermodynamics may not apply or that we haven't proven whether or not the laws of thermodynamics can be broken in some situations (he also claimed that Dutko's understanding of the laws of thermodynamics isn't that great, but it sounded right to me). That sounds to me like a cop-out, but I'm not the expert.

Carl Wieland
Dutko was right; the 2LT is the most secure law of science known, applies to everything in existence so far as we know (in, particular, the whole universe of matter-energy, whether seen or unseen. The burden of proof is on anyone who would claim that it could somehow ever have been different, and it seems frankly bizarre once one understands that law. My forthcoming new small book on the subject will show how it is the issue of randomness and probability which actually leads to the 2LT, and I know few informed atheists who would dare to claim that it somehow could ever have been inapplicable. So, on to the issue of things coming into existence spontaneously; yes, it can be demonstrated that particles and anti-particles spontaneously appear out of the quantum vacuum, but for anything to appear according to the laws of quantum mechanics, it is not appearing out of absolute nothing, because for one things, the laws of quantum mechanics have to be in existence.

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