So, Professor Peter Higgs wants us to stop referring to the Higgs boson as the “God particle” because he is an atheist (your report, 8 April).
The professor’s understanding of the term differs from mine.
I have always thought that the nickname was applied because the discovery of the boson finally removed any last vestige of the need to believe in a supernatural “god” to explain the origins of the universe. As such, it should tie in nicely with atheism. Since prehistoric times, man has invented religious beliefs to explain phenomena that did not accord with the level of scientific knowledge of the time. That state of ignorance no longer exists.
Indeed, the Christian churches should welcome the discovery of the Higgs boson, as it allows them to promote the moral philosophy preached by Jesus without the need to muddy the waters with any mythical god or imaginary concepts such as virgin birth or resurrection.
James D Brown
I’m glad Professor Higgs has objected to his boson being dubbed “the God particle”. This appellation was used to imply that a certain sub-atomic entity somehow rendered God superfluous, but the Higgs boson is of no great philosophical significance. If only all scientists could follow this example and resist adding wild amateur philosophical speculations to their empirical work.