Excerpt from a discussion of Growing Earth and Growing Universe theory. Writer is an independent researcher.
I consider comic book artist (or writer) a very high profession indeed. There must be untold millions of people, both children and former children (i.e., adults like me), that have been profoundly influenced by comics -- particularly at the most impressionable of ages, when one is first learning to read for pleasure ... when the capability of abstract thinking is just emerging ... when ethics and values imparted by one's parents may for the first time be coming under examination ... when the first pure instinct of curiosity about science and the broader world around us is forming.
For those who are not true fans of the medium, it is impossible to express its power in the development of a young mind. I know this from first-hand experience. I truly believe, as I have since the first moment I read the words, fresh off the comic stand, that "With great power comes great responsibility." Similarly, I still know of no greater expression, in fiction or otherwise, of the boundless potential of the human soul than Reed Richards' decision to save Galactus at the end of the classic first encounter. And as for science---well ... if something I learned in comics about science has not been explicitly contradicted by subsequent knowledge ... then, deep down, I probably still believe it.
That's the crux of the matter. Comic books are not merely the cradle of mythology for our age, but touch the soul of the emerging intellect, making an indelible impression. Comic book artists are hence crucially important teachers, on several levels ... and on a scale undreamt of by classroom teachers or professors. Thus, a comic book artist is fully subject to Ben Parker's famous principle of ethics.
So ... over the life of two gentlemen of roughly the same age, Stan Lee and Professor Peter Higgs (of Higgs boson fame), I have absolutely no question in my mind whose contribution to this world is greater ... whose opinions and insights have mattered more over the years of two illustrious careers. It is Stan Lee, hands down (even though I do wish for Dr. Higgs to be vindicated and awarded immortality for his role in the path to the "primary theory.")
Frankly, if Peter Higgs had never existed, someone else would have formulated his theory without too much delay. However, if Stan Lee had never existed (and Jack Kirby of course), then ... well ... in my view the universe would be an irrevocably different and lesser place.