What the micro black hole fear mongering really is about June 12, 2008Posted by dorigo in personal, physics, science.
Tags: black holes, LHC
I was slightly surprised this morning to read the following comment from my friend Kea, after I had answered in slightly provocative terms to the umpteenth comment of some anti-LHC activist promoting the modern-day equivalent of a raid with torches:
Tommaso, to be honest, I am a bit tired of this LHC-safety-case bashing. Even given all the usual reasonable arguments, how sure are you that you have accounted for all your hidden assumptions? I’m a theorist, and the only I thing I know for sure is that NOBODY knows what we’ll see at the LHC.
I wish to paste here my answer to Kea, because I think the heart of the matter must not be mistaken.
I am of course unable to be sure of what the LHC will produce, if black holes or red dragons. But I am sure that the advancement of science calls for boldness in opening doors leading into the unknown. And I am in favor of the small risks the package includes. The question, to me, is not whether the risk is zero or tiny. It is whether we must insist for rationality in our choices or be led by hysteria. And I have my own answer. Therefore I will, sorry, insist in bashing these clowns whenever they pester this site with their oddities.
Now, I am sure Kea agrees with my statement. I think she just wants to communicate that we might end up feigning more confidence than we really possess. After all, it is not so uncommon to find fanatics among scientists too: we are humans. Granted: but fear mongering is to be addressed before we clean up our own home.
UPDATE: on a second thought, there is nothing wrong in principle with raising objections about the LHC or whatever other scientific endeavour, if done respectfully. And following Voltaire, I have to remind myself that I defend the right to speak of those who disagree with me. So I have to offer a partial retractatio: I will not “bash those clowns” as they “pester this site with their oddities”, but rather counter their arguments with rationality. Not forgetting that I want to have my share of fun as I do it 😉