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Topic: Science

Reading Complexity: Easy
The recipes seemed good. Monkeys love it. But scientists may have to eat some pretty strange words. Thirty-eight years ago what is arguably the greatest mystery ever puzzled over by scientists—the origin of life—seemed virtually solved by a single simple experiment.” This is how the February 1991 issue of Scientific American begins a review of theories of the origin of life. The simple...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Science: The Vedic View In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a group of scientists, mainly from the Los Alamos National Laboratories, once held a conference on “Artificial Life.” The theme of the conference, which I attended, was that the essence of life lies not in biological substance but in patterned organization. If this idea is valid, the thinking goes, life forms should be able to set themselves up...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In Ancient India’s Vedic literatures we find a cosmic calendar that shows the cycle of ages—and how to break out of it. How long we live greatly depends on what kind of body we have. For example, an insect might stay around for only a month, while a human being sometimes lasts for 100 years. And as the time-honored Bhagavad-gita informs us, the inhabitants of planetary systems higher than ours...
Reading Complexity: Easy
While scientific discoveries test religious dogma, religious and paranormal experiences challenge scientific theories. God and the Laws of Physics In the Vaishnava tradition of India, God is defined as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan: the unlimited light of pure being underlying nature, the Lord within the heart, and the supreme transcendental Person. In Christian tradition, a similar idea can...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In a book review in Scientific American, Harvard evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould points out that many scientists see no contradiction between traditional religious beliefs and the world view of modern science. Noting that many evolutionists have been devout Christians, he concludes, “Either half my colleagues are enormously stupid, or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible with...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Do we need old stones and bones to verify the Vedic view of history? Were our ancestors ape-like beings, hunters by nature who gradually learned to plow the field? Or were they highly civilized, advanced both technologically and spiritually? What is the real story of human history? The Vedas and their supplements assert that human beings today descended from far superior human beings and that...
Reading Complexity: Easy
The distinquished British scientist Michael Polanyi speaks of something he finds “unbelievable.” What is that? For three hundred years, he says, writers who contested the idea that life can be explained by physics and chemistry “argued by affirming that living things are not, or not wholly, machinelike.” What’s wrong with that? Instead, Polanyi says, those writers should have been “pointing out...
Reading Complexity: Easy
The experimenter himself takes the place of test tubes and microscopes in the scientific search for the Absolute Truth. Today the tendency is widespread among people all over the world to think that religion means nothing but sentiment and blind faith. In the past, people would turn to religion to find real knowledge and real guidance for their lives. But the development of modern science has led...
Reading Complexity: Easy
On September 21, 1995, Hindu communities all over the world were electrified by news of temple deities accepting offerings of milk. According to the stories, when deities of Ganesha, Lord Siva, and others were offered spoonfuls of milk, the milk would mysteriously disappear. It seemed that the deities were showing their divine power by mystically drinking the milk. In India, “The gatekeeper of...
Reading Complexity: Easy
“All reputable evolutionary biologists now agree that the evolution of life is directed by the process of natural selection, and by nothing else.” With these words Sir Julian Huxley summed up the consensus of learned opinion at the Darwin Centennial Celebration in 1959. Among the eminent biologists and evolutionists attending the celebration, great confidence prevailed that the origin of living...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Can they clone a human being? They can. They will. They may already have. Does a clone have a soul? Yes. A clone has consciousness, and consciousness means soul. How does the soul enter the cloned body? No problem. It already happens in nature, with identical twins. One cell splits into two bodies, and by Krishna’s arrangement a soul enters both. Is there any history of cloning in the Vedic...
Reading Complexity: Medium
At first glance, the cosmology of the Srimad-Bhagavatam might seem like a wild fantasy. Here are four ways to make sense of it all. The inquisitive human mind naturally yearns to understand the universe and man’s place within it. Today scientists rely on powerful telescopes and sophisticated computers to formulate cosmological theories. In former times, people got their information from...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Is the existence of the soul merely a myth propagated by fuzzy-minded fanatics—or a fact verifiable by a nonmechanistic science? The prevailing view among modern scientists is that a human being is in essence a complex machine. According to this view, our life and consciousness have their source in the interactions of our bodily parts—neurons in the brain, organelles in the cells, and so on....
Reading Complexity: Medium
Omni: “So then, aren’t you artificial life guys playing God?” Chris Langton: “Well, yeah, in a way I have to admit it.” The dream of creating life is hard to resist. For many years, artificial intelligence seemed a sure way to this goal. Researchers at universities like MIT would regularly claim that within ten years computers would surpass humans in intelligence. But decades passed, and by the...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Although scientists would like to assume that in the past, inert chemicals combined to produce life, as yet no one has ever observed such an event. In addition, although scientists have many theories about how life is working inside the cell, they have not been able to combine the constituent chemicals to form living cells, even in controlled laboratory settings. Thus, the claim of molecular...
Reading Complexity: Medium
One of the most fundamental ideas in modern evolutionary biology is that the physical structures of living organisms can transform from one into another through a series of small modifications, without departing from the realm of potentially useful forms. For example, the foreleg of a lizard can, according to this principle, gradually transform into the wing of a bird, and the lizard’s scales can...
Reading Complexity: Medium
The search for the source of inspiration in science, mathematics, and art leads beyond the mechanistic framework of present-day biological theory. Here we will examine how human beings acquire knowledge in science, mathematics, and art. Our focus shall primarily be on the formation of ideas and hypotheses in science and mathematics, since the formal nature of these subjects tends to put the...
Reading Complexity: Medium
A unit of measure known as the yojana hints at advanced astronomical knowledge in the ancient Vedic civilization. An encyclopedia article states that in early times length was defined by the breadth of the palm or hand, and the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (the cubit). The article goes on to say, "Such standards were both changeable and perishable, and only within modern...
Reading Complexity: Medium
The deeper scientists probe into the nature of perception, the farther away their subject recedes. The idea that now dominates the life sciences is that life can be completely understood within the framework of chemistry and physics. Those who subscribe to this viewpoint say that we can explain all features of life—from the metabolic functioning of cells up to the mental phenomena of thinking,...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Modern science tells us that anatomically modern man has been around for only about 100,000 years. The Vedic writings say he has been here a lot longer. Now a book from the Bhaktivedanta Institute takes a new look at the scientific evidence. That evidence, says the book, has been fudged. The authors are Michael Cremo (Drutakarma Dasa) and Richard Thompson (Sadaputa Dasa), both regular...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Traditional Chinese stories tell of a monkey named Sun who goes through remarkable adventures. In one story, two “harpooners of death” capture him, claiming he has reached the limit of his destiny on earth and is due to be taken to the underworld. The story’s translator tells us that according to the Chinese the constellation Nan Teou, the Southern Dipper, decides everyone’s death, and the...
Reading Complexity: Medium
At a conference of the Isthmus Institute in Dallas, Texas, Dr. John Hagelin, a highly qualified physicist, gave a lecture tying together modern physics and ancient Vedic science. In the words of Lee Cullum, who covered the conference for the Dallas Times Herald, Hagelin showed that “ordinary awareness of the details of life can be transcended by unbounded awareness of the unified field, the basis...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Ernan McMullin, a physicist, philosopher, and Catholic priest in the Department of Philosophy at Notre Dame University, has given careful thought to the relation between religion and modern science. In the introduction to his book Evolution and Creation, he offers some advice he calls “valuable direction for the contemporary Christian”: When an apparent conflict arises between a strongly...
Reading Complexity: Medium
“Probability is the most important concept in modern science, especially as nobody has the slightest idea what it means. —Bertrand Russell Throughout human history, philosophers and seekers of knowledge have sought to discover a single fundamental cause underlying all the phenomena of the universe, Since the rise of Western science in the late Renaissance, many scientists have also felt impelled...
Reading Complexity: Medium
In The Late Eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, European scholars and scientists began to come in contact with the culture of India. Many were impressed by the antiquity of Vedic civilization and the deep spiritual and material knowledge contained in the Vedic literature. But other European intellectuals were dismayed by these developments. For example, in 1825 the British scholar John...
Reading Complexity: Medium
On a Caribbean island, a butterfly flutters briefly to the left instead of to the right. As a result, swirls of air produced by its wings move in a slightly different way than they would have. A few days later, a hurricane gradually building force in the Caribbean veers into the Florida coast instead of heading out to sea. Could the hurricane’s change in course have been caused by the altered...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Perhaps the main reason for the widespread dismissal of religion as “blind faith” is that many systems of theistic thought are not backed up by any verifiable direct interaction with the Supreme Person. Why is this so, we may ask, if the Supreme Person is as readily accessible as the proponents of bhakti-yoga claim? The following statement from Srimad-Bhagavatam [2.6.41] suggests an...
Reading Complexity: Hard
Can a machine be conscious? Science fiction writers often try to solve the problems of old age and death by taking advantage of the idea that a human being is essentially a complex machine. In a typical scene, doctors and technicians scan the head of the dying Samuel Jones with a “cerebroscope,” a highly sensitive instrument that records in full detail the synaptic connections of the neurons in...
Reading Complexity: Hard
Although quantum mechanics has been around since before World War II, many scientists refer to it as the new physics. They suggest that it conveys deep insights into the nature of consciousness, insights that confirm the mystical teachings of yogis and herald a new age of enhanced awareness. But does quantum mechanics (or QM) truly reveal anything about consciousness and its role in nature? A...
Reading Complexity: Hard
a.k.a. "Brain, neurons, vision, soul, consciousness, observer, optic nerve, computer" During a TV show entitled “Inside Information,” vision scientist V. S. Ramachandran of the University of California at San Diego made some interesting points about how we see. He said that if you ask the man in the street how vision works, he would say there is an image on the retina of the eye. The optic nerve...
Reading Complexity: Hard
In recent years the idea that life can be reduced to chemistry and physics has become very prominent in the life sciences. According to this idea, all living organisms, including human beings, are simply aggregates of molecules interacting in accordance with chemical and physical laws. This conception of life has found particular emphasis in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, where...
Reading Complexity: Hard
In a 1987 article in the prestigious journal Nature, three biochemists published a study of mitochondrial DNA’s from 147 people living on five continents. The biochemists stated, “All these mitochondrial DNA’s stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived about 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa.” The story became a sensation. The woman was called the African Eve, and Newsweek put her...
Reading Complexity: Hard
Imagine that man travels into outer space on a rocket at near the speed of light and then returns to earth. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the man will find he has not aged as much as his identical twin brother who stayed home. Time will have passed more slowly on the rapidly moving rocket than on the slow-moving earth. This disparity in the passage of time is often called time...
Reading Complexity: Hard
All human knowledge, be it “religious” or “scientific,” must ascend toward the Absolute Truth. The following is Part II of a paper presented at the World Congress for the Synthesis of Science and Religion, held January 9-12, 1986, in Bombay. The paper was originally entitled ‘The Contribution of Bhagavata-dharma Toward a ‘Scientific Religion’ and a ‘Religious Science.’ ” INTRODUCTORY NOTE: This...