When Lyn Evans fired up the world’s most powerful particle accelerator last September, he hoped to unlock the mysteries of the so-called big bang. The high-energy reactions were supposed to recreate some details of this event. Doomsayers, in contrast, worried about creating a black hole that would devour the earth.

While neither event has yet happened (breakdowns soon created a delay of several months), the project’s researchers plan to continue testing the $6 billion Large Hadron Collider. Specifically, they are smashing photons into each other, hoping to create the as-yet unobserved Higgs boson (nicknamed the “god particle”), which would help them explain why matter would have mass in the standard model of particle physics.

Whatever researchers find, it’s likely they will try to finesse their ideas about what happened after the alleged big bang. But scientific experiments do not technically prove anything about one-time events in the past, whether the big bang or even the true creation event. Both views are based on presuppositions and must be accepted by faith. Based on their chosen starting point, scientists then interpret the evidence.

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