How refreshing at this time of year to read your report "God particle scientist hits out at atheist professor" (December 28).
Professor Peter Higgs has done well to distance himself from the tiresome message that we are no more than thinking animals, preached by his fellow scientist, Professor Richard Dawkins.
Prof Dawkins does not need to convince me that when I look up into the night sky I will not see God in the face. What he doesn't wish to accept is that as I also find no evidence of the expanding theory of the universe I could then draw conclusions. The fact is that a very large proportion of scientific knowledge is hidden from the man in the street well beyond the level of evidence found in secondary school experiments. It is therefore based on faith in others. Theirs is a search for knowledge and understanding but not for meaning.
The high priests of science expect the public to have unquestioning faith in them personally and their scientific method. They demand, for example, that we believe there is probably stuff called baryonic dark matter.
In attempts to explain this to the layman they sound no different than high clergy trying to explain to someone the concept of the holy trinity or the resurrection. The one claims authority due to years of research with rarefied mathematical data while the other claims to maintain a state of grace.
I suspect the tolerant view of religious faith expressed by Prof Higgs was developed or at least influenced by the fact he sustained his own type of faith since his theory of 1963 that the so-called "God particle" did exist. The fact the Large Hadron Collider has recently proved such a particle does in fact exist seems irrelevant to the argument about faith. Like my gazing into the still night sky, it proves nothing about the big bang theory because scientists would tell me I have the wrong expectation.
I suggest what 83-year-old Prof Higgs has discovered is that it was his scientific faith which has given his life meaning and not the particle discovery itself.
Prof Dawkins has found no meaning in his life that I can recognise yet he endeavours to criticise those who spend their lives searching for a meaning for existing. I am certain I will not find one from him.
46 Breadie Drive,
I can't stand intolerance; there's an oxymoron for you. As in the case of Prof Higgs, it is always refreshing to discover academics who don't assume the mantle of a deity by proclaiming categorically that God does not exist; it makes me more comfortable in my agnostic stance.
How anyone can be dismissive of any theory without being in possession of every possible fact beats me, but I'm not an academic and not God. Then again part of me could be.
I can, for example, differentiate in my mind between the proven reality of organised religions and the possible existence of something humanity has traditionally described as God or gods, a subtlety that appears to escape Prof Dawkins but not Prof Higgs. At that point my brain is incapable of constructing the questions never mind computing the answers, a scenario with which Prof Dawkins appears to be completely unfamiliar.
David J Crawford,
131 Shuna Street, Glasgow.