I've been reading most of the threads here in particle physics forum. Recently, I noted a couple of threads started by enotstrebor which were a bit impolitic. Nevertheless, they raised some issues which are similar to those I have myself with the Standard Model as well Quantum Mechanics in general. I am new to physics. I have no formal training in physics. Nevertheless, I am attempting to teach myself so that I can eventually have competent conversations with actual physicists. I have been studying a few hours a day for about a year and a half. I am learning the math, I am learning the basics. I don't know how long it will take to reach the level I seek but I am progressing and I understand more and more each week. I have always had an extreme aptitude for science and math so I'm not worried about having enough smarts to learn the concepts, I just have a lot of ground to cover. Still, one thing has bothered me from the beginning, the progression of the complexity of the theory over time starting about the 1930s. In particular, as physicists dug deeper in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they found that matter as we sense it was composed of complex arrangements of simpler components; that most of what we sensed were molecules. Then they discovered atoms, which were simpler and fewer. Scientists then learned that atoms were, in turn, composed of simpler particles, the electron, the proton, and then they eventually discovered the neutron. Now, try as they might, in the last 70 years or so since the particle accelerator was invented, scientists have been unable to separate out anything more fundamental. Sure, if they add lots of energy, then they get lots of cool particles, the particle soup, if you will, just like cosmic rays generate in our atmosphere, but none of the particles that comprise the proton or neutron (namely quarks) have been found in isolation. The following is what seems to be the case from my limited neophyte perspective, we have a progression that goes from many complex to fewer less complex components with the complexity at the upper layers arising from emergent phenomena at the level of the interaction of the simpler components. In their most complex arrangement, we have: Animals -> Organs -> Cells -> Molecules -> Atoms -> Protons, Neutrons and Electrons. More -> Less. Complex -> Simple. A nice steady progression over decades. Then starting in the 1930s with the advent of quantum mechanics and particle physics leading up to the Standard Model in the 1970s, we started to get the opposite, as I. I. Rabi stated after the discovery of the muon, "Who ordered this?" The theory started getting more and more complex. The number of particles started increasing and the complexity of the theories started increasing. Which brings me back to the beginning and enostrebor's posts about the Higgs Mechanism. My best understanding of the Higgs mechanism was it's description in Bruce Schumm's book Deep Down Things. His description is for the layman, I suspect it will be a full year or more before I'm really conversant with the math required to understand the non-layman's version of the theories, so that's what I'm stuck with of the moment. Schumm clearly believes in the Standard Model as he says it has "breathtaking beauty." Martin Perl, who won the 1995 Nobel for his discovery of the tauon, calls the book: "an ambitious and very successful non-mathematical description of the nature and significance of the world of elementary particles and forces" so I am assuming that he doesn't make any big errors in his descriptions. When I read the description of the Higgs mechanism and the Higgs field in Deep Down Things, I said to myself, "You've got to be kidding me?" It seemed to me like a massive hack. Like there was a piece of data that didn't fit the theory so the Higgs Mechanism was bolted on in an attempt to repair it, that there was no other reason for it. That was my impression. Now I don't know enough to have a real opinion on the matter, certainly, so I have to assume I'm missing some piece of knowledge that will cause me to think otherwise in the future. Nevertheless, when I see a discussion of the Higgs here and elsewhere, I try to follow it in the hope that the discussion will provide a clue as to what I'm missing. But when I read the post from enotstrebor concerning Wikipedia's entry on the Higgs Mechanism, it seemed to me that he raised a valid point that I didn't see addressed here. Namely, that we know that there is something wrong with either the Standard model or our theory of gravity. There are problems somewhere even by the admission of Paul Langacker (in his brief description of the standard model here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0901.0241v1), he devotes 1/4 of his paper or 10 pages to discussions of what he calls: "Problems with the Standard Model." At least one source of the problems may very well be in the parts of the Standard Model that led to the requirement of the Higgs mechanism, it seems to me. So a dogmatic statement in Wikipedia is misplaced. Instead of saying: "Although the evidence for the Higgs mechanism is overwhelming…" it seems to me that it should say: "There is considerable evidence for the Higgs mechanism, and it is widely accepted among particle physicists,…" or something like that. "Overwhelming" is a word that make a judgement, it implies a winner in a struggle. It is therefore dogmatic. I believe that dogmatic statements serve science poorly except when they relate to experimental observation. The history of science is filled with theoretical dogmatism that was subsequently overturned. A study of 19th century aether theories is one well-known example. The choice of wording may seem trivial, but it is not. One choice admits the possibility of the theory being wrong, the other does not. Do you have any suggestions for what to study that will help me to understand the Higgs Mechanism in another light? Am I missing something that makes "overwhelming" the best word here?