Neutrinos not faster than light, evolution safe!

Last year, when bemused physicists reported the apparent discovery of faster than light neutrinos, a shock wave ran through the news media, despite professional physicists the world over pointing out that it was almost certainly a technical cockup (ISTR the original experimenters suggested such). In the bizarre world of creationism, the potential upset to such a well-entrenched scientific theory as Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was seen as evidence that the whole edifice of evolutionary biology was teetering on the brink. Here for example is a brief piece by David Klinghoffer at the oddly named Evolution News and Views (which is a mouthpiece for Intelligent Design creationism) – “Another One Bites the Dust?”. Here, Klinghoffer makes a very brief point:

If you think Darwin’s theory of evolution is as secure as Einstein’s theory of special relativity, well…maybe you’re right. [followed by a slightly longer quotation from The Guardian]

Well, actually I do (and did) think that modern evolutionary biology is pretty secure.  And as it turns out, physicists’ expectations that there was something wrong with the experimental set-up are supported – news reports indicate that the faster than light neutrinos weren’t faster than light, but that the data are explained by a loose fibre optic cable connecting GPS devices. You can read the reports at the journal Science’s website: BREAKING NEWS: Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results – ScienceInsider.

 

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