Earth's imminent demise looms as scientists fire up the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator yet built. So argue a handful of scientists who claim that the LHC will produce black holes that will destroy Earth from the inside out. The same claim was leveled against another accelerator (the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider or RHIC) before it turned on nearly a decade ago. After eight years of operation Earth shows no signs of destruction, and we expect the same results after years of LHC operation.
Part of what fuels the doomsday scenarios is the enormous energies achieved in the particle collisions produced by these machines. Most people don't realize that nature continually produces particle collisions with even higher energies. In fact, the energies of these naturally occurring collisions exceed those produced in particle accelerators by a factor of one million. Yet Earth remains unscathed despite this continual bath of high-energy cosmic-rays.
Instead of bringing about ruination of the planet, the LHC promises to dramatically advance our understanding of the universe. The powerful machine allows scientists to recreate conditions from earlier in the universe than ever before. Data from the LHC will almost certainly answer the long-standing particle-physics question of why the fundamental particles have the masses they do. It also has a good chance to answer a long-standing puzzle in astrophysics by producing particles that scientists think may comprise the mysterious dark matter detected by astronomers. It may even provide evidence that additional spatial dimensions exist beyond the three we normally experience.
Although scientists offer educated guesses for answers to these questions, they must wait for the data and results to come out of the LHC for verification. Based on past experience Reasons To Believe expects these results will continue to support the Christian faith as well as provide even new reasons to trust the validity of Scripture.