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January 26, 2009
How real science works
The Large Hadron Collider is the largest collaborative scientific effort in history. It involves more than 2000 scientists from 34 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. It has taken 14 years to build at a cost of $8 billion and is scheduled to begin serious research work later this year.
And that work is mindboggling. The Collider seeks to accomplish nothing less than giving us a view of what the universe was like about one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang when the 4 fundamental forces in the universe – electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and gravitation – first split apart. By sending particle beams in opposite directions along a 17 mile underground circular track and accelerating them to near light speed while directing the particles with superconducting magnets to points where they are likely to collide, scientists hope to unravel some of the basic mysteries of the universe. Dark matter, extra dimensions, the nature of gravity, perhaps the fate of the universe itself could be revealed by these collisions and the subatomic particles they leave behind.
This kind of research cannot be done in the basement of a leaky house, as the legendary physicist Ernest Rutherford did when he conducted his groundbreaking work in the structure of the atom at the turn of the 20th century. It requires massive government funding to accomplish. The same can be said for virtually every other scientific discipline – space exploration, gene and DNA research, and climate change are no different. The days when a Rutherford or Edison could set up a lab and run it on a shoestring while making seminal discoveries about the universe are behind us.
Government funding means taxpayers are footing the bill for these research projects. As such, we should have a say when the potential exists for cataclysmic effects to occur as a result of experiments. We are very careful not to allow some altered genes outside of very tightly controlled labs because no one knows what the effects of that gene mixing with the biology that already exists on planet earth would be.
And as far as the Hadron Collider is concerned, very serious questions have been raised about some of the effects of the research on the planet – questions that we taxpayers need to have answered even if the possibility of disaster is extremely remote.
That possibility of disaster -- at first dismissed by the lead scientists involved in the project -- has now been raised to an uncomfortable level of risk.
Basically, the scientists began to run the numbers again, just to be on the safe side. And what they discovered was that one possible danger - the formation of "mini-black holes" that generate so much gravity that even light cannot escape -- may be greater than first believed.
I post this for two reasons. First, I think it fascinating to contemplate the work that will be done at CERN. Secondly, if you wish an example of how the scientific process works - as opposed to how dishonest and fraudulent global warming science has become -- you need look no further than CERN and how scientists are responding to questions about their data.
They are not standing up and calling the skeptics "nazis." They are not saying that their detractors are paid mouthpieces for opposing interests. They are not trying to shut scientific opponents out of debate.
They are acting like real scientists and reworking their hypotheses, double checking their data, answering their critics, and challenging their own beliefs. This has been the way of true science for 500 years in the western world. And it stands in stark contrast to those who follow the global warming belief system who seek to silence any opposition to their dogmatic pronouncements by claiming "the debate is over" or making other equally unscientific observations.
It is extremely doubtful there is much danger from the Hadron Collider ending the world. The potential problems have been studied for more than a decade by the greatest minds in physics and it has been determined the risk is ridiculously low.
But any change in the risk factor must be answered by project scientists, proving once again the efficacy of the scientific method and the fraud and hackery of the global warming religionists.
Hat Tip: Instapundit