Now, look. We know virtually nothing about quantum physics and whatnot. And so we have an open mind, and $3 billion doesn’t seem like a lot of money for a facility and project like the Large Hadron Collider.
Have at it, we say. And it certainly looks way cool:
But the whole thing doesn’t sound so much like “science” as some weird 21st century form of mysticism:
Our guide introduced herself as a researcher of dark matter. Like a United Nations for science, more than 10,000 researchers from over a hundred countries work at CERN. They are collectively tackling questions like: What is the universe? What is it made of? How did we come about? How did life begin? How does it work?
As we said, we’re open minded. But when “science” expressly endeavors to exceed its traditional boundaries there is cause for skepticism, and maybe even a little concern: We wouldn’t be the first:
Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein, as Victor rebels against the laws of nature (how life is naturally made) and as a result is punished by his creation…Prometheus became a figure who represented human striving, particularly the quest for scientific knowledge, and the risk of overreaching or unintended consequences. In particular, he was regarded in the Romantic era as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could also result in tragedy: Mary Shelley, for instance, gave The Modern Prometheus as the subtitle to her novel Frankenstein.
The question “What is the universe?” isn’t really different in substance from “Why is there something rather than nothing?” The latter has traditionally been the concern of philosophy, not science. The former is just a science-y way of putting it.
Perhaps all areas of inquiry run out to their extremes….meet. Do you think CERN would give us $3 billion or so to test that hypothesis?