Readings — From the June 2008 issue

Fear Review

From an affidavit submitted March 21 by Luis Sancho to the U.S. District Court of Honolulu in support of a lawsuit against the Department of Energy, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Sancho, a cosmologist who specializes in time theory, is among plaintiffs seeking an injunction to halt further work on the Large Hadron Collider, located on the border of Switzerland and France.

I was initially in favor of funding the Large Hadron Collider—the biggest, most technologically advanced machine ever built. It is a superconductive, superfluid ring in which bundles of heavy atoms are to be accelerated to almost the speed of light and smashed together to replicate the awesome energies of the Big Bang and to create showers of heavy-mass particles found only in those first seconds when the universe was destroyed and re-created. Unfortunately, theoretical calculations show that the LHC could produce two kinds of dark matter—black holes and strange, ultradense quark matter—that are extremely dangerous, as both have been theoretically proven to swallow in a chain reaction the entirety of Earth. Thus, a cosmological bomb billions of times more powerful than the atomic bomb might be created at the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The exact probability of a runaway reaction that converts Earth into dark matter is unknown. The minimal risk as calculated by CERN allows for a 1 to 10 percent chance of extinguishing Earth. In the insurance business, a potential catastrophe’s “death toll” is calculated by multiplying the number of possible victims by the probability that the event will occur. A similar calculation (6,000,000,000 x 1–10%) shows that the LHC experiment would be, technically, the largest holocaust in history. It would also be the biggest environmental crime in history, far more harmful than global warming, as it would mean the destruction of all life-forms on the planet. Since the production of dark matter is neither necessary for the advancement of science nor safe for mankind, the LHC should be forbidden to operate. As we close Chernobyl-like plants for security reasons and forbid the reproduction of the Ebola virus in an open environment (though some specialized virologists would like to study it for research purposes), so should we forbid the reproduction of free, uncontrolled dark matter, even if its theorists would like to study it at CERN. The production of dark matter will not be a “new discovery,” nor will it advance the study of physics. Furthermore, CERN’s researchers will not be awarded a Nobel Prize—the ultimate goal of all experimentalists—if Earth is consumed.

From a psychological point of view, physicists are a curious group. We are responsible for creating scientific explanations for the nature of God and the universe, and we sometimes act with an arrogant fundamentalism. It is not strange that fundamentalist scientists behave like fundamentalist religious people. Both groups believe in their dogmas with such force that they can justify acts of collective murder all over the world. The callousness of physicists is proverbial among scientists. It should not be surprising, then, that CERN would commit a terrorist act by switching on the LHC. In layman’s terms, CERN is asking all of mankind to play a game of Russian roulette. This they propose to do in order to foster the career goals of a few thousand specialists. No group has the right to put at significant risk the life of a single human being without his express consent and knowledge, let alone the entire population of the planet. CERN’s efforts must be judged as acts of criminal negligence and irresponsibility that could harm billions of human beings, or worse, as a potential terrorist act. The director of CERN has said, “The LHC will be the closest we will ever be to God,” as the Big Bang is the violent beginning and end of the universe. I hope he is wrong.

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