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The Higgs Boson, The God Particle, and the Correlation Between Scientific and Religious Narratives

Lorns-Olaf Stahlberg
  • Heidelberg, Germany
Published Online: 2015-10-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0020


The Higgs mechanism – as part of the Standard Model of Elementary Particle Physics – is mostly considered to be a real physical process that brings about the mass of every elementary particle. Recent discussions show that there are alternative interpretations of it, differing from the common one in the spectrum and the features of some specific physical objects. This, in turn, shows that the problem of reference remains unsolved for physical theories: It is not obvious what kind of objects theoretical terms exactly refer to. Given the fact that the reference to the object level is ambiguous even in the natural sciences, what correlations can be established between scientific terms and religious expressions at all? Do ontic ambiguities make the dialogue between science and religion easier or more complicated? This article reflects on these questions by examining the possible significations (and interrelations) of scientific and religious signs in general as well as from the perspective of the individual. I suggest that religious storytelling and ritual practices can establish specific associations between scientific and religious worldviews under certain conditions – without confusing the different world-views conceptually.

Keywords: Higgs mechanism; semiotics; category mistake; metaphor; ritual


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About the article

Received: 2015-06-24

Accepted: 2015-09-23

Published Online: 2015-10-27

Citation Information: Open Theology, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0020. Export Citation

©2015 Lorns-Olaf Stahlberg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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