Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's the End of the World as we know it

My two oldest kids both came home from their respective schools today worried that the world was about to end.
They both had friends who had told them about the Large Hadron Collider which made is maiden experiment today. The both had managed to mangle almost all of the details except for the fact that some people have raised the possibility that the LHC would create a black hole which would destroy the planet. (You'll be grateful to know that if you're reading this, the odds are that the planet wasn't destroyed).

I first heard about the LHC in the book Angels & Demons but didn't really understand the purpose of the world's biggest science experiment then, and having read a bit more over the past few days, still don't really get it.

If you're smarter than me, you may be able to make head or tail of this description from Fox News:

For those PWB readers who must know, the Collider is set up to accelerate protons to energies of 7 trillion electron volts, an amount referred to by one expert as “ … a heck of a lotta’ juice.” After revving up these little proton fellas and shooting them around the track for a while, they all smash together in a big proton pileup. The scientists, most of whom will be wearing 3-D goggles and rubber gloves, will then learn the mysteries of the universe.

Apparently, what the smart guys and gals hope to learn is what exactly happens when the Collider reaches temperatures and energies equal to those just after the Big Bang.
Avital seemed genuinely concerned that the World was about to end, and very interested as to what this whole experiment was about. I tried to explain it as best I could (which wasn't very).
She then asked a very profound question - "Is it true that these scientists are trying to find out how the world started? Don't they know that HaShem created the world?"

This question about the relationship between Torah and science was one that I was not prepared for - even though a few weeks ago during a discussion about dinosaurs, Yehoshua asked whether they lived millions of years ago, were they what caused the Tohu V'Vohu?

I tried to explain to Avital that Scientists weren't denying G-d, rather they were trying to discover HOW he created the world. Berashit describes creation in very general terms. Scientists are trying to fill in the blanks. In fact, this machine that they discovered is hopefully going to lead to what they call the God particle.

I'm not sure whether she followed what I was saying, but personally I've never felt that there is a contradiction between Torah and science. Particularly the Big Bang theory (or at least my limited understanding of it) seems to accept that the world started with a moment of creation - surely a creation implies a Creator (even though their are scientists who are dogmatic and try to deny this).

Anyway if you have an explanation of God and the Big Bang that even my 9 year old daughter could understand, feel free to leave a comment.

Ohh - and for those who are believers in Evolutionism, you may be interested to know that a miraculous image of Darwin appeared on a wall in Dayton.

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