Scientific and theological illiteracy

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Commenting on media scares about the CERN 'Big Bang' experiment, Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society think tank Ekklesia, commented: "We live in a world hugely dependent on science, and sometimes tempted towards dogmatically thinking that scientific endeavour can exhaust all quest for human knowledge - yet at the same time, the public struggles to understand how science works, the media is prey to sensationalist nonsense, and people remain superstitious about things they don't comprehend."

According to the predominant current theory, particles acquire their mass through interactions with an all-pervading field carried by the Higgs boson "god particle".

Barrow added: "The reference to the Higgs boson as 'the god particle' shows, in a casual way, that scientific illiteracy can also be matched by a theological kind. This assumes that God is some alien intrusion or explanatory theory being squeezed into the 'natural order' or, alternatively, being rendered redundant by it. Rather, to speak of God's creativity is to speak of the whole fabric of life, not certain bits of it or "holes" within it, as gift rather than manipulation."

Latest astronomical observations suggest that ordinary matter - such as the galaxies, gas, stars and planets - makes up just 4 per cent of the Universe. The rest is dark matter (23 per cent) and dark energy (73 per cent). Physicists think the CERN experiment could provide clues about the nature of this mysterious "stuff".

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More on the CERN experiment from the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7604293.stm

From Ekklesia on religion and science: 'Theology, science and the problem of ID' - http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/6707 and 'What difference does God make today?', section 2 - http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/4921