Vanity thought #1037. Cosmos E13

With all this football filling the air I almost forgot the last episode of Cosmos. There was noting special about it, though, just the usual fare of CGI, a quick roundup of cartoonish characters from the previous episodes (they were not just drawings, they were oversimplified and made to fit NDGT’s narrative, too), and a couple of tear jerking good-bye speeches by NDGT and Sagan himself.

The show started with a tribute to Sagan when NDGT talked about library of Alexandria, which was the topic of the first episode in Sagan’s original series. It was also the one that Sagan got wrong but NDGT was not in the mood to correct injustices so he just kept on drilling the same eurocentric, science vs religion, myth about the affair.

Sagan presented the story of Hypatia, a brilliant woman of Alexandria, and said that she was brutally murdered by a fundamentalist Christian mob for her scientific views. NDGT didn’t go into details but stayed faithful to the same narrative. When later the mob came to destroy the library, there was no one left to defend it.

Utter nonsense.

Library of Alexandria was destroyed by fire many centuries earlier and whatever remained was lost to some other causes. By the time of Hypatia there was no library to speak of and when the mob came they destroyed a part of the museum that held various pagan artifacts but no scrolls.

Hypatia herself was murdered in revenge for killing a monk brought to the city by a rival of her political patron. The mob didn’t care for her scientific or religious views, she was caught in a political struggle between two Christian leaders.

Science was never under Christian attack in those days anyway, Christians treated “pagan” science as they treated Egyptian gold – it was very welcome regardless of its origins. Alexandria, btw, was not really a Greek city, it was in Egypt, after all, and although its rulers were culturally Greek eventually they have become as Egyptian as general population there. It’s just that atheist promoters can’t give any credit to non-western, undemocratic Egyptians.

They say that Alexandria declined because of slavery but fail to notice that it was build and prospered on the backs of slaves, too. None of it is in the show but it’s a popular version of history flogged in various books and even Hollywood movies (which where most people learn their history from).

One more thing – it’s very unlikely that the library held up to a million scrolls, it wasn’t simply big enough, the actual number was maybe ten percent of that. Still, it was easily the biggest and the oldest library of its time in THAT part of the world. Chinese had their own libraries but who cares, certainly not NDGT and the writers of this show.

NDGT also claimed that Alexandrian library housed Greek translations of the Old Testament that were later used to write European translations of the Bible, if not for Alexandria, there’d be no Old Testament, he implies. Wrong. Medieval scribes and later printers had access to original Hebrew manuscripts, too, and they used them along with Greek Septuagint.

Hmm, so far I covered only the first two minutes of the episode, before even the opening sequence. At this rate I won’t finish this review today.

Moving on, in no particular order.

A lot has been said in this episode about scientific outlook in life. NDGT, for example, talked about a hypothetical planet somewhere in the Milky Way and their hypothetical civilization that thinks they know everything. It’s just one small, nearly invisible dot and so their confidence looks silly to us. Similarly, NDGT said, we cannot claim to know everything, it’s okay to admit that we don’t know things, that’s what makes science so wonderful.

Good point, but there’s another way to look at it, too.

NDGT admits that science doesn’t know everything but that is not our problem with it, our problem is that whatever they do claim to know is wrong, too. He somehow misses this point when he speaks about supernovae with absolute confidence that this is indeed what happens with those stars.

Atheists somehow say that they might be wrong and claim absolute knowledge over certain matters at the same time. Whenever they lecture us on physics or evolution they never express any doubts and so they do not live by their own principles (that they might hold erroneous views).

An example of their imperfect knowledge is the dark matter and dark energy that NDGT spent a considerable time on in this episode. Yes, it’s an example of something that science admits it doesn’t know, but a better way to look at it is to admit that it is our natural laws that do not correctly describe the nature rather than expect to find something that would make nature to comply.

Dark matter and dark energy is a perfect opportunity for us to re-examine our fundamental understanding about how the world works, just as Newtonian laws had to be re-examined a hundred years ago in light of theory of relativity and quantum physics.

Newton laws were not wrong, per se, but they described nature’s behavior only under certain conditions in a narrow range of possible values. Good enough for our every day life but useless if we go too small or too big or too fast.

Similarly, dark matter is more likely to produce a more complete theory of everything rather than try to fit yet unexplained and unobserved phenomena into our current laws. At some point our quantum mechanics and our relativity would become only a subset for that new theory, good enough for our present day concerns but fundamentally wrong when trying to explain the rest of the universe.

Therefore I think we can consider NDGT’s confidence in describing the workings of the distant stars or optimism about fitting dark matter in our present theories as a bit foolish.

Oh, one more “scientific” fact – NDGT claimed that manganese nodules in the ocean grow at a steady rate, very slowly, and so we can use their composition to find what effect cosmic radiation from supernovae explosions millions of years ago had on Earth. Except that these nodules can also grow much much faster, million times faster than NDGT asserts in this show. A rock he held in this hand could be grown in a lab in a few months, not billions of years. Lab conditions are, of course, not natural, but how can we know that over the course of those billions of years natural conditions were not favorable to super fast growth of those nodules? We can’t.

There was a big segment in this episode about Voyagers, space probes that have left the solar system and continued into the interstellar space. They are awesome, alright, but they also gave rise to two important realizations that we need to re-examine.

First is the inscriptions on one of these Voyagers. Sagan, who worked on this project back in the seventies, thought it would be cool to leave a message for aliens there. NDGT describes these inscriptions in detail but I want to challenge his assumptions.

First, he says that the only language we can communicate with alien civilization is that of science, and so representations of hydrogen molecules and positions of the known pulsars in the universe were inscribed to demonstrate our scientific prowess.

Well, science is not the only language, of course. What this message conveys is that we are an atheistic civilization that relies strictly on empirical knowledge and has no idea about the existence of God. This is not true, only *some* parts of our civilization are like that, but we also have a long history of cultivating transcendental knowledge, even if most of it is forgotten.

What’s more embarrassing is that Sagan didn’t know this part of our history at all, not that he just dismissed it as inconsequential. They didn’t include ANY representations of transcendence in that Voyager inscription, no images of Gods, no OM, nor symbols from Islam or Christianity, nothing, but they got the recording of Sagan’s son and brainwaves of his lusty wife.

How self-centered of him, despite their professed humility in the face of Cosmos.

That’s another point they love to talk about – how insignificant we all look in the big scheme of things. NDGT played a famous paragraph read by Sagan himself about the Earth being a pale blue dot, a last image sent by Voyager as it was drifting out of solar system.

Yes, we are small indeed and our interests here are insignificant, but that message should also be addressed to our modern atheistic rulers and scientific preachers who think they’ve got it all figured out and that they found one true science and true democracy to rule us all, and are not hesitant to kill others in its name.

Then, at the very end, NDGT went on again about how uplifting it is to be a scientist and to marvel at the universe, how humbling it is to admit our insignificance and how encouraging it is to admit deficiencies in our knowledge. He stressed that gaps in scientific knowledge are not its downside but its strength, that by not knowing everything we strive to know more, which is presumably not true of religionists.

Well, he might not be aware of it but religions do not claim to know everything either. It’s the starting point of their inquiry – the world cannot be known just as God cannot be known in full.

We do not claim to know all the answers and we state that it is impossible to know all the answers, but we know answers to some questions, the ones that are truly important.

Here’s where we diverge with atheists – they think that knowing everything in the universe, big and small, visible and invisible, is of utmost importance and that humanity should spend all its energy on discovering those things.

We treat them as trivial instead. We say that discovering our relationships with God is far more uplifting and inspiring than discovering the creation. If that’s what NDGT wants to do with his life, fine, but for us it’s “meh”.

It’s not that we don’t understand and don’t appreciate his feelings. What he is so excited about is like sex or alcoholism – we understand the attraction and we appreciate its power but it’s not what we would consciously cultivate in ourselves. Just like scientific process, these addictions have no limits, but that is not a reason for us to value them any higher. It’s just “meh”, we’d rather do something else.

Christians are more radical in their approach here. They claim God would smite and destroy anyone who’d dare to worship the creation but not the Creator, their God is vengeful that way. We are more laid back and accepting.

If NDGT feels awe and inspiration by observing Lord’s universal form – that’s great. Not as good as being inspired by the Lord Himself but better than being a self absorbed prick who thinks he is the center of the universe.

I’ll end this review with NDGT’s lesson on reducing one’s ego:

As with everything I said about NDGT – it’s good, it’s a step in the right direction, but we, as devotees, want to step a lot further.

Unfortunately, NDGT is being used as a tool in promoting gross atheism, and I don’t know if such gradual approach to self-realization will be of any use in Kali Yuga when our lives are short and we can’t afford to go slow.

All in all, Cosmos was a great show, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a talented and intelligent man, but none of that matters if the viewers are not given enough intelligence to start chanting the Holy Name, and in this aspect the show is of very limited value.

Vanity thought #1025. Cosmos E12

Another weekend is approaching and it’s time to review last week’s episode of Cosmos before new one hits the TV. This one was all about climate change, a rather non-controversial topic for us. At least it shifts the discussion away from dead end issues like evolution, here we and our fellow atheists can find a lot to agree on and raise less controversial questions that they haven’t been programmed to dismiss yet.

The episodes starts with “Once there was a world” and NDGT repeats this phrase at least three more times during the show. I don’t know why, probably to drill down the fact that we are responsible for our current situation and our future. Once he specifically made the point that this is what people in the future might say about our civilization if we don’t change our ways.

Totally agree, we must change our ways, this ugrakarmic way of life is unsustainable. The question is how, but more on that later.

Example of our bleak future is taken from Venus. NDGT says, and he backs up his statements with awesome CGI, so they must be true, that once Venus was as cool as Earth. Then something happened, oceans dried up and carbon was released into the atmosphere, creating a massive greenhouse effect that traps all the sunlight and burns everything on the surface.

He shows pictures taken on Venus from Soviet lander and they show a very inhospitable place. Was it a hoax just like we argue Moon landings was? Maybe, there’s a connection here to be made later, too.

Far from reaching any conclusion, I’m afraid we have to settle on the explanation that our senses do not register forms of life existing on higher planets like Venus or Moon, or the Sun itself. We should just shrug our shoulders and move on.

My first thought was that if Venus did all that to itself, why do we blame human civilization for global warming here on Earth? NDGT later explains that we have sufficient evidence of human activity effect on C02 in the atmosphere and resultant increase in temperature. Okay, what if Venus had a civilization just like ours and what we see there is our future, too? No one knows. Venus resurfaces itself so often that traces of prehistoric life there would have been burned and melted millions of years ago, but it’s an interesting thought to keep in mind.

Then the show takes us back to the Earth where CO2 is still regulated properly. NDGT explains the mechanics of greenhouse effect and there’s not much to argue there. I like how he talked about the Earth “breathing” and Earth’s body as if it was a living organism, which, of course, it is. I tend to think that this is how he actually views the stars and the planets – as living beings operating on a much larger scale than us so we don’t notice the usual signs of life. Earth takes a year to breath in and breath out, for example (in summer green forests fill the atmosphere with oxygen and in winter it’s replaced with carbon dioxide instead).

One minor point – most of the “breathing” is actually done by marine plankton and algae, forests contribute relatively little.

Then NDGT showed us the statistics of CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere over the period of thousands of years and there was a huge spike at the end of it – where we live now. There’s an important philosophical point to be made here which went past NDGT altogether.

This spike in CO2, undoubtedly deadly for our civilization, does not only coincide but is actually caused by our scientific progress. For thousands of years the Earth was able to regulate itself and people inhabiting it were in complete harmony with nature, then these scientists came along, invented progress, and now we are on the verge of extinction.

What is really grinding here is that these same scientists and atheists who destroyed the world as it existed for millennia keep telling us that their civilization will last forever. No, it won’t, own up to it – material progress is unsustainable, your model of society based on greed and progress is unsustainable, and your “civilization” will perish just like any other empire in world history. Your society will be replaced by someone with different values and those new people will also claim to last forever, and life under them would probably be even worse.

Then the show talked about positive feedback loops – ice melts, water surface increases and water absorbs more heat from the Sun than ice, so it gets even warmer and melts more ice, and so the system goes completely off balance in a very short period of time.

That’s fine, but there’s also a negative feedback loop at play – surface warms, water evaporates, which cools it, and then clouds shield the surface from heating up again. Water vapor itself is a major contributor to green house effect but clouds do protect us from the Sun so negative feedback loop is there, too. Btw, CO2 is important and if we add more of it into the atmosphere it’s bad but water vapor it responsible for up to 80% of greenhouse effect, minimizing our contribution.

As NDGT goes on and on about science and climate change and effect of coal and oil, question rises -who is he arguing with? Politicians? They are not going to pay attention to anything said on his show. Corporations responsible for maintaining the status quo, ala lead episode from earlier in the series? There’s nothing in the Bible to deny global warming though I bet there are some Christian groups who would oppose science as a matter of principle.

Young Earth Creationists, for example, do not support the man made climate change, but their opposition is not to the numbers themselves but to stretching them to pre-flood years, they can’t accept science that goes that far back in history.

As far as I understand Christianity, lots of them should view modern civilization as satanic and global warming as a due punishment.

IMO, NDGT rallies his faithful just for the adrenaline high, having actual opponents is not as important to them as feeling good about their righteousness. This, however, leads to the question of solutions.

We say that the entire modern, godless way of life needs to be abandoned and there’s no fix for our current problems except chanting the Holy Name that would quickly reduce our greed and desire for “progress” – the primary causes of our unfortunate situation.

NDGT, however, proposes solar and wind energy as a solution to fossil fuel burning. Somehow he didn’t say a word about nuclear energy and ongoing progress in that field. Apparently we are on the verge of building a clean, self-protecting reactor that would eradicate almost all the downsides connected with nuclear power plants. The returns on those is incomparable with wind and solar farms, if we get that reactor going we can change our CO2 emissions almost instantly, in a matter of a decade or two.

I suspect he stayed away from nuclear energy for “political” reasons – after Chernobyl and Fukushima no one wants to hear another word about nuclear power. Sometimes science needs to be sacrificed for the sake or preserving peace, which is understandable but that’s not he message this show was meant to convey.

I don’t know what our response to nuclear fusion or solar and wind farms should be. They seem legit – clean, sustainable, and that’s what our vegan friends pin their hopes on, too. They don’t like the notion of millions of farting cows (all the methane in the world contributes only about 7% to greenhouse effect, so cow farts are immaterial). Vegans prefer solar powered tractors instead. I don’t know what to say to that, not with any confidence.

Germany recently got the moment when 74% of their electricity was produced from clean power sources. That lasted maybe for a few hours but it’s still an impressive achievement. OTOH, their solar panel industry is bankrupt, last time I heard, and so is the biggest Chinese producer over in Asia.

Maybe the correct argument is similar to hybrid and electric cars – their production contributes more to greenhouse effect than savings from driving them, though some say that with improved technology solar panels got past the point where savings from using them started paying back handsomely, it’s the reality now. I don’t know what to say about wind, too.

I suppose these solutions can’t be implemented for other reasons than simple technology, namely greed. I don’t think the society is ready to implement them and take the resulting hit on their way of life, or that Chinese are not going to stop burning coal so whatever they do in the US will not save anyone.

NDGT had a perfect example there – solar power was on the verge of going mainstream in 1913 and then the WWI broke out and it was forgotten. We don’t have as much control over our global society as scientists lead us to believe. Millions of things can go wrong, and NDGT himself mentioned a butterfly effect in this show – what happens to us in everyday life is really out of our control, so even if we have all the ideal solutions it doesn’t mean we are free to apply them.

Ultimately, it leads to the same game of greed and hope. They always say that they have solutions but in the end they create only more problems, wind and solar is just their latest panacea. None of those worked out before, what makes NDGT think this one will be any different?

It still goes back to the life on Earth when everyone was living in a religious society of some sorts and there was no need for “progress”. By any calculation, it lasted thousands and thousands of years, it worked, it has been proven, yet this is precisely the kind of solution the atheists are not willing to accept.

NDGT presented another view of history – that of progress, from nomadic tribes to agriculture based society, which, presumably, lead to scientific revolution of three hundred years ago. We can explain emergence of agriculture as some sort of a transition between different yugas but invention of agriculture didn’t threaten survival of the Earth the way industrial revolution does. If they want a transition suitable for this age, it should be from agriculture (sacrifices) and temple building (cities) to harināma saṅkīrtana.

They can toy with wind power but that’s not the solution recommended in śāstra so it’s going to fail even if I can’t explain exactly how ATM.

The show ended with CGI of a perfect city of the future where there’s green everywhere and wheat grows on buildings’ roofs. It looks enticing but what would life there be like? It’s still a multi-layered monstrosity with elevated roads and trains. What would be attractive for people in this environment? I didn’t see any spaces for human interactions – dedicated parks or markets, much less temples. Why would people who spend most of their time communicating online want to live in such close proximity to each other? What would be the necessity for urban life in the future? Work? Not likely. Entertainment? Nope. The reasons we built cities in the past will not exist in the future, they hardly exist now, most of the city growth in the world is due to slums, and everyone seeking a good life has moved out ages ago

My final point, NDGT included parts of Kennedy speech about going to the Moon “by the end of this decade”. It was so easy back then even if now we have phones in our pockets which are more powerful than computers controlling their entire operation. The more we progress, the more difficult flight to the Moon becomes. No one even dares to make “by the end of the decade” predictions, it’s either unfeasible or impossible.

Back to the Venus lander – it survived there only for two hours, its cooling system couldn’t cope with the heat. Understandable, but consider how astronauts on the Moon spent up to two days there when surface temperature was hotter than oil in our cooking pans. How did they keep the air-conditioning going? On batteries! Right. We can’t get a phone working whole day on a full charge and they had batteries to cool their landing module and their spacesuits for days while being literally in a frying pan?

It just does not compute, and so far I haven’t seen any better answers to the cooling question.

Anyway, there’s only one more episode of this show left, so I am almost done, too. I got used to the opening sequence and familiar music so it’s probably a good time to stop watching it, but another feeling I noticed is that it got boring. All these arguments against atheism have a limit on their usefulness, at some point we must make a decision and never bother ourselves with them anymore. Most of our debates with them quickly run into various dead ends anyway.

Logic is helpful but it’s not the recommended method of self-realization in this age, it was suitable in Satya yuga but our intellect is too weak to make a decisive difference in our lives the way chanting does, we should never forget that

Vanity thought #1011. Cosmos E11

In this episode Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes on Bible flood story and that immediately raises atheists’ appetite for some good old Bible bashing. Instead of fighting back, however, I thought that in this review I’ll just make some general comments on the topics that appear interesting from Kṛṣṇa consciousness POV because criticizing NDGT has become boring and somewhat mean.

NDGT starts with glorifying the region of Mesopotamia as a cradle of our civilization. It was the place where humans had first cities and where they invented writing. Our first reaction would probably be to object because we insist that civilization has spread out of India and there are plenty of Hindu scholars who diligently search for proof of this, not counting Bhāgavatam version. On second thought, however, we might bee seeking dubious honors here.

From modern perspective cities are signals of progress, whoever got the biggest city first is considered more advanced. From Vedic perspective, however, cities are signs of increase of the mood of passion, a sign of deterioration. In Satya Yuga there were no cities and no varṇas, everyone was a brāhmaṇa engaged in meditation, and they didn’t hunker for anything else.

Society was at best agricultural but even then sages lived on whatever they could scavenge in the forests, they didn’t need organized food production. Cities developed out of agrarian societies when there was enough stuff produced to let some people dedicate themselves to various crafts and occupations and trade their products in exchange for food and more stuff. People just wanted to have more and cities helped them to fuel their greed.

From this POV, Mesopotamians degraded first and there’s nothing to be proud of here. Similarly, inventing writing is not a sign of progress but a sign of degrading memory, I don’t think there’s a need to explain that.

One more thing, though – NDGT mentioned that Accadian Princess Enheduanna was the first one to sign her works, practically the first woman we know the name of. We should put that in proper perspective, however – people didn’t sign their work earlier because they didn’t consider themselves as authors, they simply passed the knowledge along according to paramparā system. I understand in Vedic literature it’s easier to find the names of the predecessors rather than the names of the followers who put it in writing.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam describes how Śrila Vyāsadeva divided the Vedas and entrusted various branches to various disciples and how he complied Bhāgavatam itself, but we don’t know how it was written down and who did it. We know that it passed from Vyāsa to Śukadeva Gosvāmī to Sūta, then back to Vyāsa, and only then Vyāsa put it on paper, but that last step is omitted – the scribe himself didn’t feel that he made any contribution worth mentioning, unlike Śukadeva Gosvāmī, for example, who made Bhāgavatam sweeter than Vyāsa envisaged himself.

Anyway, Mesopotamia was mentioned for their literary creation, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and that work was mentioned because it has a story of the flood in it. By historical calculations Gilgamesh predates the Bible and so NDGT said that Bible borrowed Gilgamesh mythology. Well, that’s one way to look at it but I don’t see how it is better than saying that both books describe the same event that affected both societies. Different details would explain differences in the stories and even the Ark itself would have been remembered differently, too. We don’t care for Noah and the flood and therefore shouldn’t take sides in this argument, let Christians and scientists slug it out themselves.

Next part of the show was about life preserving itself through the metaphorical ark of DNA. For some reason NDGT went deep into panspermia fantasies. Panspermia is the idea that life is spread throughout the universe by asteroids and meteorites. There’s zero evidence for it and so it’s not even a theory, it’s strange that supposedly scientific show spent so much time on explaining it.

Actually, we shouldn’t have a problem with panspermia – according to Bhāgavatam life comes to earth from other planets via rain. It’s probably not exactly how life originated here first but that’s how living entities travel from planet to planet now, incarnating as demigods, then seeds of rice, then humans.

From the show perspective, however, panspermia doesn’t answer the question of origins of life, it just moves it away from the Earth to some distant worlds. The origin of life is a curious question – there’s a LAW of biogenesis in science which states that life comes from life but scientists refuse to accept it when it comes to life’s origin. It’s amazing to see them sidestep this obvious problem and insist that there was a case of abiogenesis somewhere many billions of years ago. They don’t allow such freedom for any other laws of nature, just this one, and only because it leads to the existence of the soul and God.

After dealing with fantasies of the past, NDGT went into fantasies of the future. Apparently he ended the episode with a key quote from Sagan himself and the build up to it was immaculate. People cried, again. Yet these fantasies sound as far removed from reality as panspermia, maybe even further.

NDGT started with the first radio signal sent into space and how it bounced back from the Moon and that gave people the idea that communicating with spaceships was possible. It happened maybe half a century before Sagan’s proud declarations, yet in this short period of time scientists imagined a great deal already. Looking back at them I can’t help but notice their extreme narcissism. Why do they assume that some fifty years of their progress would determine the future course of the entire universe? What is fifty years, or even three hundred years of modern science, on a cosmic scale? It’s nothing, it shouldn’t even register. On NDGT’s favorite cosmic calendar it’s not even a second, yet here they are, making grandiose plans of conquering the universe.

To be fair, at one point NDGT mentioned that our glorious inventions might not be used by advanced civilizations anymore, they might have moved on far better ways of communication than radio waves millions and billions years ago. Maybe they detect our radio signals but don’t answer precisely because they don’t want to talk to people who still use radios. Maybe our super duper radio telescopes broadcasting messages to the aliens are like a landline that they have disconnected a long time ago.

Another thing about this picture of progress is unhealthy optimism. NDGT makes progress a function of intelligence, according to him we just have to apply our knowledge in all seriousness. He gives an example of climate change that we know so much about yet people still refuse to acknowledge and do something about it. He gives examples of people carried away by fascist rhetorics and warns us that we shouldn’t be like them, that we should be rational.

I see two problems with this. First, it’s not clear that rationality would lead to progress. Much of the actual progress we see in everyday life is due to people being stupid and buying into all kinds of crazy ideas without thinking. That’s how scientists get their money – by inventing things and selling them to stupid people. Some of it sticks, of course, and becomes a widely recognized innovation, but I would argue that it wouldn’t be possible without mistakes and errors supported by sheer stupidity. Having lots of blind followers is not always a bad thing.

Truly intelligent people would forgo progress altogether and dedicate their lives to chanting instead, that shouldn’t be forgotten, too.

Another problem in betting on human intelligence is that as Kali Yuga progresses people’s discipline degrades. We might know a lot of good things but we do not have will power to implement them anymore. We know this from our own lives – how hard it is to follow all the rules and regulations we know are good for us. Ordinary folks are even less disciplined so I wouldn’t put any eggs into that basket.

It’s far more likely that we will end up like any civilization before us. We’ve seen the sunset of British empire already, we are looking at decline of the US going on right now. Chinese, when they overtake the world, might no be as scientifically minded and progress driven as idealists of the twentieth century. What will happen then? End of dreams?

Right now Chinese insist on their right to pollute the environment, it’s their turn to enjoy, they say, so by the time they realize that there’s a price to pay it might be too late.

I’m not saying that mad made global warming will wipe out modern civilization but the picture of eternal progress described in this show looks rather ridiculous. Everything dies, that’s another law of nature, why should our civilization be any different? Rationality fails us here again, just as in case of biogenesis.

It all comes down to the same thing – scientists proclaim their dedication to rationality and logic but fail to follow their own ideals. They say they think with their brains but as soon as they get overwhelmed by passion they forget all about that and behave as irrationally as anyone else

And that’s why truly intelligent people shouldn’t bother with any of that and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness instead.

Vanity thought #1004. Cosmos E10

It’s time to review the latest episode of Cosmos, called “The Electric Boy”. It was all about electricity and the life of Michael Faraday who contributed quite a lot to the field in the 19th century. There isn’t much to discuss there, really, but that won’t stop me, as usual.

The reaction to this episode was predictable even though there was slightly less drama than in some previous stories. Still, people were moved. One radio station ran a lighthearted show asking people what would make them cry and one dude called them up and said that he cried watching this episode. DJs didn’t know what to say, it seemed like a nerdy joke to them – first time they heard someone cry about science, but this dude was dead serious and he is not alone, there ARE people who cry watching Cosmos, it’s just so masterfully put together.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – they propagate science by appealing to people’s emotions. It’s not fair, it’s exactly what most religions do, too, but they get a flak for it and in some cases people even call for deprogrammers. This is the reality of the modern world – power lies not in truth or in facts or science or logic – it lies in the ability to brainwash as many people as possible by any means necessary.

That’s what lies at the heart of democracy, too. In olden times claims to power were proven by lineage, wealth, personal strength, the size of one’s army or amount of one’s slaves. These days you prove your worth by brainwashing people to vote for you. Same principle, different valuables to trade.

Powerful people who understand this know how to win elections and they succeed while people without power who buy into the idea of democracy find themselves frustrated again and again because it doesn’t deliver them what they expected – they do not become empowered by voting. Democracy wasn’t meant for them, it’s just the latest tool used by their rulers. Not even the latest because ruling classes moved onto milking lobbyists.

Back to Cosmos, however.

It does affect people and some even call it a “spiritual experience”, though spirituality itself is furthest from their minds when they think about it. They see this show as proof of scientific method, rationality and logic, not some spiritual awakening. The show is anti-religious, specifically targeting creationism, even though the presenter himself, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is, reportedly, an agnostic. Producers behind it have publicly declared Young Earth Creationism as their target.

Some people keep posting articles how each and every episode leaves creationists fuming. Reactions in religious circles are predictably hostile, of course, but often they are not without merit.

Take this episode, for example.

Michael Faraday was a devout Christian and NDGT said so right in the beginning but his religiosity was then implicitly dismissed as having nothing to do with science. Isaak Newton got mentioned again but not the fact that majority of his work was not on gravity and Newton’s laws but on interpreting the Bible. This part of history of science is always photoshopped out.

Episode after episode NDGT mentions scientist after scientist and lists their contributions, but only those that are advantageous to his agenda. Astronomer William Herschel from a few episode back was firmly against evolution, for example, he called natural selection “the law of higgledy piggledy”. Maxwell mentioned in this episode was not a big fan of evolution either, though his opposition to it is distorted by the creationists, afaik.

There’s one crucial quote from one of his books where he rejects evolution but this quote is taken out of context and relates not to evolution of life but to evolution of molecules. Still, Maxwell was Christian, too, and his faith had absolutely no problems with his science. It’s a false dichotomy propagated by modern scientists and you can see this on this show, too.

Michael Faraday’s case is a perfect example – his “discovery” that electricity, magnetism, and light are interconnected forces wasn’t simply a product of lab experiments but was based on his underlying belief that all forces in the universe come from the same Creator and so must be interconnected.

NDGT himself said in this episode “Faraday believed in the unity of nature” but what he didn’t say that this belief was based on the Bible. So, once again, no credit is given to religion but all goes to science.

Actually, the way NDGT tells the story, a lot of science is based on coincidences and underhanded tactics. Faraday, for example, got the attention of his mentor Humphry Davy not by displaying his scientific skills but by presenting his notes as a binded book (he worked for a printer at the time). Had he not pay special attention to presentation God knows what course science could have taken instead.

So much for ideas speaking for themselves. Like democracy, it’s what they tell the common folk while in real world access and presentation give one a giant leg up against competition.

Later in the show Faraday proved that electromagnetic field influences the light, too, by passing the light through a German glass brick that he got as a sample when Davy banished him to the glass factory. Faraday was becoming too famous which made his mentor, Davy, uncomfortable so he send Faraday out of sight to work on an unrelated subject – glass. Years later this one piece of glass made history. Faraday tried all kinds of substances to see if magnetism affects light but nothing worked, only this one imported glass brick, which coincidentally undergone a special treatment that greatly increased its capacity for polarization. They tried to reproduce a similar glass in England but failed so this brick was really unique. What a lucky coincidence indeed!

NDGT demonstrated in the show what would happen to the world if Faraday didn’t make his discoveries, and it all rests on two cases of luck – clever idea to bind notes into a book and a special piece of glass that Faraday wasn’t even supposed to find if it wasn’t for Davy’s clearly “unscientific” behavior.

As for this episodes blunders – there weren’t any big ones. It was a bit misleading of NDGT to show electromagnetic and gravitational fields as if they are connected. So far we don’t have even a good theory how it could be so. Well, we do – they are all Kṛṣṇa’s energies, I mean science doesn’t.

Another case of possible misunderstanding is NDGT’s example of birds using Earth’s magnetic field to navigate their migration routes. He didn’t say that we don’t know how this sense works but he implied that we do. There are several theories about it, none are conclusive, the exact mechanism is still unknown. What’s more – there are other animals who can sense magnetic field, too, and they all use different ways to do it, which means evolution’s workload has increased again.

Finally, I’ve said a lot about the power of this show – CGI, music, narrative – it all comes together nicely, and NDGT cements it all with his presence. It’s hard to feel negative about him even for us. Personally, I see a man who is totally fascinated by Lord’s creation and I appreciate it very much, I don’t see him as an enemy.

This doesn’t mean that he can’t be made fun of, as you can see in this slow motion video:

I don’t think this effect would work on everybody, NDGT is a perfect subject here.

And here is another example of people taking the show not too seriously:

Pic source

Vanity thought #998. Cosmos E9

Time to review the latest episode of Cosmos, before the next one airs in a couple of days. There are only a few episodes left so bear with me, I feel like I have to finish my coverage of this show as if it’s some kind of vrata.

This episode is called “The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth” and it deals with history of our planet, in twitter speak it was reduced to “Tyson takes on climate change” so that’s what I was expecting. Turns out it wasn’t about one singular issue of the day but climate changes throughout entire history, mass extinctions, ice ages and the like.

It was fairly interesting to watch but, continuing with the subject of uncalled for criticism I discussed yesterday, we can also find a lot of little things to whine about and unite against. Should we really do it? Should I give in to this urge to find faults and rally around them?

Well, as devotees we shouldn’t miss a chance to unite against science and atheism. Spiritually speaking it might not be kosher but as long a we live in the material bodies there’s no reason to reject circumstantial help to keep our minds at ease about our choice to consciously reject science. We need to define ourselves differently and bashing science for no good reason helps us to cement our new identity, so why not?

There are plenty of questions we can ask after this episode and some of them might have good, scientifically solid answers but I don’t know them yet, and, more importantly, I don’t really want to know. As I said, all we need for now is to spread FUD about science so that we can take shelter of Bhāgavatam instead. Real answers are for real scientists among us, devotees who could publish papers, attend seminars, and write books.

Hopefully, by the time those answers arrive we’ll develop enough devotion not to care anymore, mission accomplished.

Neil DeGrass Tyson started with describing Earth 350 million years ago, before we had flowers. I mentioned it already but his own timeline for appearance of flowers is off by some 160 million years. Latest estimates put them at 240 million years ago and that is close to the time he started off this time. In his version there were no flowers yet but there were lots of trees and there were giant insects.

NDGT explained giantism as a result of atmosphere rich in oxygen, nearly double of the modern level. I don’t know if they run any computer simulation to confirm that doubling amount of oxygen would make insects up to ten times bigger than they are now, I have my doubts that they can actually prove that. There were also non-giant insects at that time – what stopped them from growing?

We can also immediately say that if giant insects with longer lifespans were possible it means that humans could also live longer, as described in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Scientists will of course say that there were no humans at that time but all it means is that they haven’t found human fossils from that age, and why should they? According to Bhāgavatam those were highly cultured times, humans were relatively rare and they all burned bodies of their dead anyway, there shouldn’t be human fossils from that age at all.

There’s a question about evolution, too – with so much stuff going on why couldn’t bacteria learn to digest wood in those days? Trees were populating the Earth for millions and millions of years, insects got to the size of alligators, and yet bacteria, the most basic form of life, couldn’t evolve a chemical reaction to digest wood?

What does it say for time demands on evolution of complex life forms? Why don’t they ever run into such simple chemical problems? There are more bacteria living in our bodies than known stars in the universe and if they can’t solve wood processing for millions and millions of years, how long should it take us to evolve into what we are now?

Btw, I just noticed that living organisms eat only bodies of other living beings, never dull matter. We use minerals like salt but it’s not food per se, for food we need to eat others. Perhaps this could be discussed some other day because plants got photosynthesis going for them, too.

So, the whole planet was covered in trees, there was too much oxygen, those trees couldn’t decay, and when volcanoes erupted they all burned. Smoke and ashes blocked sunlight, planet went into a freeze, there was too much carbon dioxide that caused massive warming, ice on the ocean floor melted releasing methane that was even worse of the environment, and so we had the biggest extinction in Earth’s history.

If you read this passage carefully again it doesn’t make much sense and poses more questions than it answers, and the tale of extinctions was just getting started. I can’t count how many different ones were mentioned in this episode, for me it all became just a blur. One thing I know for certain – there was one rat that survived them all. I have no idea why this rat hadn’t evolved between all those extinctions but there it was, poking it’s nose out of the hole every time life of Earth got wiped out.

Just as I gave up on trying to follow the chain of extinctions, other wonderful things popped up here and there, like the land bridge from Asia to North America that suddenly opened up and allowed humans to spread from the Old to the New world. I know there are serious questions about this narrative, mostly to do with the timing of the migration but it’s too much for me to check it all out. Most likely there IS evidence of humans living in America before that bridge had appeared, but don’t take my word for it.

Another curious story was Mediterranean basin filling up. Somehow I’ve never heard of such development but maybe it’s just me. NDGT said the entire Mediterranean see got filled up through Gibraltar in only a year. I know there were books about Atlantis incorporating this kind of story but I never thought they had any actual basis. Maybe it’s true, scientifically speaking, but I have my doubts.

Another thing I’ve never heard about is gravitational effect Venus and Jupiter have on Earth’s orbit and declination of our axis. NDGT explained that it’s these effects that caused massive tectonic changes which are responsible for break up of the original continent of Pangea. I seriously doubt they have computer models confirming that, I mean gravitational effects of Jupiter and Venus. It could be, I guess, but it doesn’t sound like mainstream science to me.

One other thing that, in NDGT’s view, was caused by Venus and Jupiter is evolution of intelligence. He attributes it to climate changes that forced apes to descend on the ground in African savanna but we, as devotees, will always question this jump from monkeys to humans, that’s not how human intelligence came about no matter what they say, and they have zero evidence for it anyway.

Speaking of monkeys – trees burned up (not the same ones as in the beginning of the show) and that forced arboreal creatures to adapt to life on the ground and that’s how apes learned to walk. Walking freed their hands for more sophisticated things and that’s how monkeys became humans.

Question – no animal can survive in Africa by walking on two legs, they’d be immediately killed by any hungry predator. If you want to survive there you’d better learn how to run and running is always faster with four legs. I don’t know why, it’s just is.

In the show NDGT also said that monkeys developed opposing thumbs while still hanging in the trees but others say that our thumbs came as a result of working on the ground. This might be just a little mistake on NDGT’s part because it doesn’t really matter when we got thumbs. However, not long ago they’ve discovered a fossilized bone that is unique only to human hands, not to monkeys, not to apes, not even Australopithecus. Maybe Neanderthals had them but this bone is a million years older than any known human fossil – evolution was pushed back again. When I went to school humans were maybe a hundred – two hundred years old, now it’s been pushed to well over a million. Science…

Apart from technicalities, NDGT made some profound philosophical observations about our place in the history of the planet and the larger universe – turns out it’s Jupiter who decides when we will have another massive extinction. It’s Jupiter who pulls our continents apart, causes hot and viscous magma to swirl underneath Earth’s crust and trigger massive earthquakes or deadly volcanic eruptions. Fine, we’ve been saying that our lives are controlled by planets from the start but science denies that kind of control. Causing earthquakes is, somehow, okay with them, but nothing less than that.

Anyway, on itself this influence sounds reasonable but it also undermines the case of human made climate change. Those who deny it would point out NDGT’s own words and say that whatever we do doesn’t really matter, it’s out of our hands – not the message the show was trying to convey.

On the subject of earthquakes, NDGT made a short comment that they are caused by tectonic changes and it’s not God’s punishment for misbehaving. This is scientifically proven.

Four years ago one Iranian scholar argued that modern women dressing indecently lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery, which causes earthquakes. Some smartass woman decided to set up an experiment that she called a “boobquake” – get a large gathering of indecently dressed women and record seismic activity on that day. Nothing extraordinary happened and so the theory was proven wrong.

It doesn’t work that way, of course, karma takes a long time to mature and come to fruition. It might not cause earthquakes per se but it might put people in earthquake prone regions and so it’s not earthquakes that are punishment, it’s being there when it happens. Current earthquakes in Iran could be caused by their women frolicking in swimming suits long before their Islamic revolution, who knows

There was another philosophical declaration in the show – NDGT admitted that humans are full of faults, that scientists are imperfect. This is a huge step, atheists normally don’t admit it, but what NDGT proposed instead is that scientific method is perfect and it corrects our human imperfections.

I don’t know what to say to that, we use the same reasoning in support of our method – through paramparā. This could be an interesting topic for some other day.

And then there was an obligatory silly mistake. In the segment about Alfred Wegener, the man who first proposed that modern continents were torn apart from one gigantic proto-continent Pangea, NDGT said that he disappeared during his expedition in the Arctic, that he walked away never to be seen again. Actually, Wegener went out with another man, died, and was buried. His grave was discovered half a year later and he got a proper reburial. It’s the man who was with Wegener, Rasmus Villumsen, who was never seen again. Don’t they do any fact checking on that show?

Enough with criticism, though, there were several moments that we can seize upon to make our own case.

We very much agree with periodic flood and volcanoes destroying life on Earth. When NDGT showed a cliff in Nova Scotia demonstrating all those destructions we can say that it only confirms what is said in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam – in between yugas life is wiped out by fire and rains. Great, thank you, science.

Then NDGT said that India was an island once, he didn’t specify what exactly happened to bring it together with the rest of Asia but we can point out description of Bhū-maṇḍala from the Fifth Canto that deals with continents. Maybe this description doesn’t look correct today but Bhāgavatam is timeless, if every certain number of years (counted in millions) there clearly is Jambūdvīpa and the surrounding islands then we don’t ask for anything else, we should be satisfied that Bhāgavatam is indeed accurate.

Finally, when NDGT spoke about burning forests we have the story of Pracetās who did exactly the same thing – found the Earth completely covered in trees and burned them all.

Eventually Lord Brahmā intervened and trees produced a daughter that they offered to Pracetās to pacify them, as illustrated in this picture:

PRACETAS_BURNING_TREES_MARISHA_GIVEN_BY_BRAHMA-820x1024

Once again, Bhāgavatam rulez!

All in all, if we can convince ourselves that science is wrong and Bhāgavatam is correct, our goal is achieved and we can continue chanting and practicing devotional service with a peaceful mind. So what if some of these objections are questionable themselves? Our purpose is not to establish the truth – Bhāgavatam already does that, our purpose is to control our minds and develop our faith, everything else is secondary

Vanity thought #990. Cosmos E8

Weekend is approaching and this means new episode of Cosmos is coming up while I still haven’t addressed the previous one, number eight, called “Sisters of the Sun”. Last episode was dedicated to trivial matters and another episode about something like asbestos or peanut allergy would have ruined the show completely (in my view, of course). Luckily, this episode was all about grandeur – the stars and their lives.

It started off with a note I found myself completely in agreement with – the observation that our modern civilization with electricity providing for 24/7 activities unhindered by natural darkness added a lot of excitement but killed the stars. With all the bright lights, and Neil DeGrass Tyson showed some very prominent ones, like Eiffel Tower, we cannot see stars anymore. No big deal, one would think, but gazing in the night sky and seeing all those stars provided people with deep wonder and appreciation for millions and millions of years.

I, too, loved to lie on the back somewhere far away from civilization and look at the stars for hours, especially if I had a good company. Clear skies, warm summer weather, distance from the rest of the world – a perfect recipe for seeking a better reality, seeking connections to the worlds that might have all the answers and that are certainly more exciting than our drub life there on Earth. I was young then and I didn’t actually think life here was drub but comparing to the silent majesty of the stars it was nothing, just noise and distraction. I wanted to freeze those moments in time.

Maybe that love of star gazing was just a preparation for my eventual meeting with devotees, I like to think of it that way, but since then I kind of lost appreciation for the universe as manifestation of Kṛṣṇa. Even when I read Bhagavad Gītā for the first time and there was description of the universal form there I was genuinely unimpressed. Today I look at it and think that it was a big loss, I think that it would certainly help if I was able to see the universe as God’s energy rather than dreaded illusion hell bent on separating me from devotion.

Anyway, next NDGT ventured into some fluff about women in science, how bright minds flocked to America where women had all the rights, how some short-sighted pranksters referred to one particular group as “Pickering’s Harem” and how it was a woman, two of them, actually, who discovered a method to determine the age of the stars.

This particular episode in science history, however, had very little to do with emancipation. They called this group a harem for a reason – women were employed there over men not for their brains and brilliance but because they had been assigned menial and repetitive work. Similarly, when they invented telephones they put women at switchboards because that suited better for female nature, like knitting. It was not a symbol of emancipation but a symbol of stereotyping and casting women as inferior. If they employed slaves no one would praise Pickering for introducing slaves to science but NDGT turned it around and called employing women to do women’s job a sign of recognition of their equality. Oh well, it’s an educational program, it’s meant to brainwash people into a certain way of thinking, can’t blame NGDT for staying on point, it’s just how modern science actually works.

The rest of the show was mostly about stars – what they are, how are they formed, how they evolve, explaining all those red giants, white dwarfs, novas, supernovas, and even hypernovas. NDGT is an astrophysicist and he was in his own element, clearly excited to tell the audience something he personally feels very passionate about.

What can I say about it? We don’t care much about stars, even in astrology they play a secondary role to our local planets. I seriously doubt that we have enough material in Vedic literature to argue with astrophysicists about their theories. I don’t even know our stories about constellations similar to the ones NDGT quoted from native Americans, Greeks, and Australian aborigines, I’ve never read enough about nakṣatras. Would our Vedic stories be subject to the same condescending look from astronomers? Probably, but what does it matter? We don’t expect anything else from them anyway.

Checking the facts, NDGT managed to screw up again, even when talking about his own field, though it’s not clear how much of that was caused by trying to simplify the narration for general audience. None of the mistakes really matter to us anyway, they have no effect on our argument for Lord Brahmā creating the universe.

For that matter, I’m not even sure how much of that was created before Lord Brahmā was born. Maybe he is responsible only for creating life forms and suitable conditions for them to develop, including planets. Was he responsible for work on distant stars? What about other galaxies? We certainly don’t see them as big and important as astronomy does. Modern Hindu astrology views the universe and the solar system just as modern astronomers, Śrimad Bhāgavatam description is not fashionable anymore and it’s certainly not something I could speak with any confidence about.

As for NDGT mistakes – one was about binary stars and Sirius as an example. It does have a white dwarf but usually the process of transferring matter from one star to another and igniting huge nuclear explosions happens with dwarfs that are much much closer and take only a couple of days to orbit their bigger neighbor. In Sirius’ case the dwarf is very very far and takes fifty years to complete its orbit. NDGT should have known that Sirius is not the best illustration for the principle he was talking about but the principle itself still stands, so general public didn’t lose anything, except their sanity, of course, as it happens with all science shows.

Another mistake was related to complex nuclear reactions that happen with super nova collapses on itself. Supernovae look like explosions indeed but on the whole they actually consume energy rather than release it, an interesting factoid that show creators probably skipped for its distracting complexity. I don’t understand it myself, it’s just something pointed out by actual astrophysicists.

It must be said here that NDGT also glossed over how the stars get born. He said something about interstellar gas but there are no satisfactory theories explaining how gas would form into a star. It’s not how gases behave in our earthly environment – they never never form into anything and dissipate instead, why would they stick together in vacuum of space? It’s a big question to the whole science, not just this one TV show.

There’s also a related question about existence of blue stars – they burn their energy very very fast and so must have been born very very recently. Only red giants could have been born at the beginning of the universe while all blue stars, and there are so many of them, are newcomers. This raises the question of where they come from and why we have never ever seen them taking birth? This leads to questions about alleged stellar nurseries and, interestingly, the theory that stars must be born from stars. Too big a field for my little head.

And, finally, NDGT again said that light from the core of our Sun takes ten million years to reach its surface. That is not correct, latest estimate is only about two hundred thousand years. Where did he get his number from? No idea.

There is another curious theme running through this show – strange obsession with partying and drinking. There was a brief reference to partying in some of the early episodes. In the previous episode one Greek philosopher delivered an entire lecture while holding a glass and declared drinking the best answer to the mysteries of universe – when you crack them you understand that you have nothing better to do then drink. In this episode NDGT chose to delineate how energy from the Sun transforms into grapes, which then transforms into wine, which then stimulates NDGT brain functions, which then manifests through his voice cords as some sort of wisdom.

Hmm, I might actually agree with him on this. First, I totally agree with his appreciation for the greatness of the universe, I said it in the beginning and as the episode progressed I shared in it more and more. NDGT might not believe in the Creator but he, imo, has a very healthy respect for the creation, which is a good step up from being a self-absorbed conditioned being. He also always refers to things, in this episode to stars, as being alive, being born, growing up, having relationships, aging, and then dying.

Despite his proclaimed atheism and belief in science he can’t see the universe as dead matter, and in this I agree with him – it doesn’t look dead and dumb at all, the difference is that we see God behind it byt NDGT doesn’t. Now, if you appreciate the greatness of the universe then, when you look back at our lives here, they seem petty and insignificant. If you have no place for God or any greater beings and relationships you have nothing to look forward to and this leads to trying to dull the pain through drugs and drinking. It’s just a natural answer to the emptiness of our lives and realization of our false hopes. Some people drink out of happiness but in this case I’d give NDGT the benefit of doubt and assume he drinks because of depression caused by his better understanding of our insignificance than that of ordinary people. I mean he drinks because he sees through illusion and because, after rejecting God, he has no other alternative.

Maybe I’m wrong about this but wouldn’t it be the height of irony – science presenter realizes that without God life is meaningless and empty? I hope many more follow his steps here and this means that more people should take science very seriously. Then they will see how shallow our lives are and that science only leads them to appreciation of Creator’s power.

It’s a roundabout way but it’s still a step in the right direction. As long as people are not envious by nature, and science is against envy as its driving principle, the more they learn about the world and the universe the closer it takes them to God and eventually they’d become happy and eager to meet the Creator.

Hopefully, it will not be in the form of death.

Here’s an idea, though – let these people fight us about our beliefs and about our Hare Kṛṣṇa explanation of the universe. As long as they heard the Holy Name and saw our appreciation for it, death will bring them to a much much better position in the next life. So what if they disagree with us now – comparing to the benefits expecting them in the future it seems like only a minor inconvenience for us? We should take it as a sacrifice for the sake of saṅkīrtana, that’s what all our ācāryas do anyway – patiently tolerate fools and voluntarily submit themselves to the possibility of offenses, including offenses against the Holy Name.

We should not shy away from preaching because it might produce unpleasant results, preaching IS desire to accept unpleasant results for the sake of the Lord, that’s what makes it so glorious.

Vanity thought #982. Cosmos E7

Another episode of Cosmos rolled out a few days ago. The show is past its half way mark, they already covered big topics like evolution, origin of the universe, atoms etc and they have probably saved a couple of hard hitting topics for the finale, so now it’s just fluff to fill the spacetime.

This entire episode was about fight against lead contamination in consumer products. Wow, Space Time Odyssey indeed. Graphics were still superb, cartoons carried the rest, and there were a few stunning vistas, Grand Canyon included. What does Grand Canyon has got to do with lead poisoning? Quite a lot, actually, but nothing direct.

There were two converging themes to this episode and there was one man at the center of both – Clair Patterson. He lead scientific query into determining the age of the Earth and in the process discovered that we have too much lead in our environment. As if to make sure that this episode was not about origins of Earth, it was called “Clean Room” in reference to Patterson’s discovery of lead contamination in everyday objects.

Striving to build a cleanest possible lab was not going to catch many people imagination. Neither was using geology as the main science behind this episode. I’m referring to snobby attitude towards geology in communities practicing “real” science. Geology to science is like dentistry to medicine, or so the common wisdom goes.

Anyway, lets start at the beginning – on the edges of the Grand Canyon. With a little bit of help from the CGI department Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the presenter, managed to lift layers of sediments to demonstrate how they were formed over time. He picked out a couple of layers and explained how old they were and what kind of life was available on Earth when they were formed. This was a clear shoutout to Ken Ham from Nye-Ham debate earlier this year.

NDGT was a bit more generous than Bill Nye, though – he admitted that layers of sediment grow at wildly differing rates and sometimes a foot thick layer could take a thousand years to form and sometimes only a few days. He even mentioned floods – a clear tip of the hat to Young Earth Creationists.

OTOH, he also dismissed using Bible for Earth chronology but I don’t remember exactly why. He mentioned a Christian scientist who first calculated ages of Biblical dynasties and “begats” and traced them back from a real historical person but somehow it didn’t satisfy NDGT. That kind of scientific approach to history satisfied Isaac Newton but that’s not kind of history they mention on this show, which pretends that no scientist ever believed in Bible.

Instead, NDGT proposed an isotope based dating and the show explained the process very well – some radioactive elements found in nature are, well, radioactive, means they emit some rays and energy and as a result their molecular composition changes. In this case he talked about uranium and explained how it goes through a couple of such changes until it turns into lead, a stable element that does not decay anymore.

He then said that by knowing the rate of decay and the ratio of yet undecayed uranium to already decayed lead we can determine how long the process took. Then, by calculating the age of meteorites, we can guess how old is the cosmic matter that was used in forming the Earth itself.

This works only if their underlying theory of how Solar system was formed is correct, mind you. No one was able to demonstrate how exactly all those objects rotating around the Sun snowballed into planets. They say gravity did it but that’s not really an explanation until we can build some sort of a model demonstrating that it could actually be possible.

So, meteorite remains were taken from a crater in Arisona and given to that Claire Paterson to find how much lead was formed there already. Another guy was calculating the amount of uranium at the same time. His results were always consistent but Patterson’s were all over the place. That’s when he discovered that his lab must have been contaminated by lead from outside and he became a cleanliness freak, probably developed and OCD, too. In the cartoon he was shown walking around town and seeing lead contamination everywhere as if it was hallucination.

He build a clean lab, determined the age of the Earth, and continued to study lead levels in our environment. At the time lead was thought to be good for you and harmless, even though it was also developed into a chemical weapon and parts of the manufacturing for leaded petrol were handled under almost military rules.

Big oil and car companies employed their own scientists to prove that there’s nothing wrong with lead and that current levels were absolutely natural. Patterson didn’t believe that and studied lead levels in deep oceans and Antarctic ice. There was a bit of politics involved but in the end he could conclusively prove that lead epidemic was man made and therefore unnatural and dangerous. NDGT then showed a diagram of how ban on lead in consumer products affected lead levels in people.

He stopped there but there are theories now that this sudden ban on lead was responsible for crime wave of the eighties, as if lead addicts went cold turkey and couldn’t control themselves. Interesting.

That’s basically it for this episode. Nothing too controversial, no major wrongs, no obvious lies, nothing to dispute, really. We can say that uranium dating is unreliable and that we can’t know for sure that uranium’s rate of decay didn’t change over billions of years but, in principle, that is not a very strong argument. YEC people claim that dating of the same Grand Canyon using different isotopes gives its age anywhere between 500 million and 1.5 billion years but I’m too lazy to investigate if there are similar discrepancies with dating of meteorites.

Personally, my most memorable moment was when NDGT said “Earth was built”. I know he didn’t mean that but this phrasing clearly implies a creator. All his arguments cannot alter even his own basic understanding of what has happened, he just refuses to acknowledge it.

Another thing that I took from this episode is this – sometimes science looks solid and its findings indisputable, and yet they go against śāstra. What can we say then? Usually we look for errors in scientific judgment, we know they are there because conditioned life without errors is impossible, but what if we don’t find any? Should we believe science over Vedas then?

This could become a tough call for many but one thing we should remember – we live under the illusion that is meant to be believable. Actually, we can’t see past this illusion, if it wants to convince us that something is real it will always win and we will always lose. Beings far greater than us tested it and found themselves totally bewildered, so if it happens to us we shouldn’t panic. It is supposed to look this way – as solid, reliable, correct, unassailable truth.

As far as our bodies and minds go – that’s exactly what we should see in this world, and we do, every time we put our hopes into happiness derived from our senses.

So, if we remember this fact then we should rather cherish the moments when we see something clearly wrong and Vedas being clearly right, and we should not be surprised that at other times this vision goes away and illusion looks real.

Kṛṣṇa will never look as “real” as the illusion, holy name will never sound as “good” as Katy Perry and our Bhāgavatam classes will never be as well researched as modern science, that’s not what we should be going for. When we actually perceive Kṛṣṇa on the pages of Bhāgavatam He will look far more real than anything we see in this world but in a completely different way. He will appear as having a parallel existence, never quite crossing into this world but never really separated either, as per our philosophy.

What I am saying is that we shouldn’t expect to see the Lord with our material eyes and understand Him with our material brains, and so we shouldn’t expect our faith to be backed up by empirical observations either. I hope that makes sense.

Ultimately, it’s not either science or religion – both can be simultaneously true, one as part of an illusion, the other as a superior energy and a superior state of existence. We should not think that if science is winning than Kṛṣṇa is losing, they are not related that way, it’s only the materialists who think so but why should we believe them?

Their reasoning is useless for us and they won’t take us closer to Kṛṣṇa. So what if THEY like to think that way? Good for them, we have our own views and values.

Vanity thought #976. Cosmos E6

Being carried away by other things I almost forgot to catch up on my “favorite” science show. We are almost midway through the season and my mind is cast, nothing will change my opinion, and so here’s just more predictable criticism.

Even before watching this latest episode I knew what I would see – top notch presentation by starry eyed Neil DeGrasse Tyson backed up by awesome CGI imagery trying to cover up wrong scientific facts, stretched out interpretations, and shameless propaganda. I wasn’t disappointed.

On the other hand, there’s nothing really new to say so there was disappointment all around in the end.

Let’s go point by point – top notch presentation? Check. NDGT was again clearly in his own element, making human connections, speaking form his heart, and generally being very believable.

Was it inspiring? Yes, again some people on the web admitted to shedding tears while others, obviously teachers, couldn’t wait to show this episode in their classrooms. Apparently there are lesson plans being developed to go with each episode of the show, to me they appear rather boring but then I’m not a student. Here’s this episode’s pdf.

Was NDGT starry eyed? Sure he was. He always exudes exuberance and this episode was no different. Best moment was probably “trust the science” trick with a swinging ball.

cosmosBall

Of course it didn’t look like that in the show but somebody couldn’t contain himself and made a joke out of it.

Was there awesome CGI? Yes, there was. Personally I liked the tardigrades and I can see how people want to make plush pillows in their shape:

Tardigrade-Dont-Give-A-S-t

Japanese underground lake catching neutrinos also looked cool and very real but there were complaints about rendering of chlorophyll and the photosynthesis process but in this case it’s the content that should be criticized first, not presentation.

Photosynthesis, production of oxygen and storing energy in the form of sugars, is one of the most basic, absolutely necessary first steps to building life. It lies at the very beginning of the evolution, yet what NDGT had shown us was a very complex process with factory like precision, slicing and dicing atoms and storing them away.

It might not look anything like that in real life but still there are over a hundred proteins involved in photosynthesis and we still cannot replicate it in our laboratories. It is one of the best arguments AGAINST evolution through natural selection because that kind of complexity simply couldn’t appear on its own just through random combination of molecules.

This is one of the generic questions that evolutionists avoid at all costs – how come the deeper we go into how various life forms work on molecular level the more complex they become and yet there’s less and less time for these mechanisms to develop through evolution? Not to mention that we can’t even imagine how natural selection would have helped there at all.

There was another segment in this episode that NDGT glossed over, completely ignoring some serious questions about how evolution worked – the mechanics of smell.

He simply said that certain molecules trigger certain receptors in our noses which send signals to the brain where they pass very close to regions responsible for emotions and memories.

The latest I heard about smell, though, was that we, the humans, are much much better at it than previously believed. Turns out we have a lot of potential receptors that we can utilize to distinguish an astonishing number of extra smells.

Evolutionists’ answer to this is that these receptors are “pseudogenes”, leftovers from the time we needed to smell better than now.

The way pseudogenes work, however, is nothing like that. They are not simply leftovers, some of them are copied as if a backup, true, but many are also sliced and diced and planted in completely unrelated areas of our DNA and as such often serve as yet undetermined purposes.

This doesn’t disprove evolution per se but it certainly throws a wrench into an orderly, progressive picture of gradual changes presented in popular shows like Cosmos or third grade schoolbooks. But let’s not let facts interfere with a beautiful story, it’s not really about science, after all, it’s about propaganda.

Example from this show was introduction of two personalities from Ancient Greece era who were ahead of their time and invented democracy, partying, and drinking. This was just another cheap shot to give universal value to some current issues and thus justify our present preferences.

There’s a problem with this worldview, however – it has absolutely no justification on universal scale. Intelligent life is nothing special, it’s not a pinnacle of anything, it’s just one of the many many evolutionary steps. Dinosaurs thought they were bees knees once, too, and tardigrades had seen it all.

NDGT is just a latest kid on the block who thinks he is something special, let’s see how long this western civilization can survive before destroying itself. It has been around for only a couple of hundred years, nothing in cosmic terms, nothing at all.

As for factual errors in presentation – comet orchid of Madagascar has a very long spur but the pollen is not located at the bottom of it, as NDGT said, at the bottom is nectar and pollen is near the base, it’s on wikipedia but these “scientists” apparently don’t do any fact checking.

This little error in itself is nothing, I’m more appalled that NDGT called discovery of a moth that pollinates this orchid an evidence of evolution – it’s nothing of the sort. It’s just an observation – if this flower has this long spur, there must be an insect that can reach to the bottom of it or the flower couldn’t procreate. NGDT is reading something that is simply not there and he didn’t even try to demonstrate a connection.

Maybe they assume that their audience is not sophisticated enough to notice. Well, as I said, it’s not a science, it’s propaganda show.

Speaking of flowers – NGDT talked about their first historical appearance and got the date wrong. Latest discoveries of fossilized pollen move first flowering plants FOUR times earlier in the past than NGDT still thinks, and this show was supposed to catch up on latest scientific progress since Carl Sagan’s original thirty years ago.

Appearance of flowering plants so much earlier than previously thought should force evolutionists to reconsider all their models but that’s not actually so difficult – imagination plays a far more important part in evolutionary theory than anything else. Just like in this show, with power of imagination we can explain away anything and need not bother ourselves at all.

There was an example in this episode to illustrate importance of imagination over science. Towards the end of the show NDGT talked about thermonuclear reactions in the core of the Sun and he said that while the light from the Sun reaches Earth in only eight minutes, the photons from Sun’s core take ten million years to reach Sun’s surface (because their path is not straightforward). So he made a special point to say that light we see today comes to us from a very very long time ago, almost like a time machine.

The fact is, latest scientific estimates for this photon diffusion is only 170,000 years, not 10,000,000. This is again on wikipedia but no one bothered to check. Where did they get this ten million number? Probably their imagination, there’s no scientific basis behind it at all.

Well, I think I covered all I had to say about this episode. There were no new revelations and I had no new insights from Kṛṣṇa conscious point of view but I hope this post will slowly chip away at evolutionists’ attempts to pull wool over our eyes, that’s all I can hope for at the moment.

Vanity thought #965. Cosmos E5

I guess I’ll just follow the series and write something about each episode as they come out. Even if the show completely degenerates it would still be worthwhile to discuss its failures.

The latest episode, fifth in the series, was officially about the nature of light but Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the presenter, also spent a lot of time trying to hammer in his message about scientific method. Practically all the scientists he mentioned as having contributed to discovering the mysteries of light were also described as some sort of modern day humanitarians believing in democracy, pioneers that were born a few hundred years too early.

To be honest, at times the pitch appeared so cheesy I wanted to puke. By this measure it’s already the worst episode so far, and it’s not its only problem.

NDT started with ancient Chinese philosopher Mo Tsu. I’ve never heard of him but, apparently, NDT was faithful to history on this one. Mo Tsu, or however his name is spelt, there are many variations, was indeed the first one to build a sort of camera obscura. He also developed a kind of philosophy, mohism, many parts of which would resonate with modern vision of democracy saving people from totalitarianism and promoting equality for all.

NDT mentioned that Mo Tsu didn’t believe in fatalism and so thought that our future is in our hands, a very handy idea for modern atheism, but at the same time he excluded Mo Tsu’s belief in divine beings that award each one of us fruits of our karma.

Cherry picking historical facts to suit his own agenda, as usual.

Oh, and the fact that Mo Tsu was the first doesn’t mean that everyone else followed – he lived in China, on the other side of the world, and his followers were heavily prosecuted long before Chinese could have brought his invention to the West. Modern day Camera Obscuras were apparently invented without Chinese intervention.

There’s also one major blunder in the show – NDT claimed that China takes its name from the first Qin emperor. Not at all. Chinese word for their country, Zhōnghuá, simply means Middle Kingdom. The word China IS related to Qin but not to the emperor, instead it was the emperor who added the name of the state to his own title. The word Qin itself is of Sanksrit origin.

This might seem like a minor mistake but not if you take into account how evil that emperor was made to look on the show, burning books and burying “scientists” alive, and the implication that modern day China considers him important enough to have their country named after him. It’s just a cheap shot at geopolitical rival. Subtle but cheap, and based on distorting the facts.

Next the show moves onto the Muslims and how great and scientific there were about a thousand years ago. It’s a well deserved tribute from a western perspective, Indians might have different impressions of Muslim rule, but it still sounds less like a science show but a lesson on how to behave towards our Muslim brothers, how to see them as descendants of a great scientific tradition who had their present stolen by Islamic fundamentalists.

Well, some say that Islamic fundamentalists are not against science and democracy per se, theirs is a backlash against western colonialism first and foremost and things like science, rights, and democratic aspirations are just a collateral damage.

Then we are taken to Isaac Newton again, then again to Hershel, and in the process we are given a simple explanations of light spectrum, prisms, telescopes and the like. If you haven’t been paying attention to science classes at school, this show is just for you.

NDT also mentioned several amazing and unexplained things about the light as opposed to any other waves we observe in nature. How is it possible for photons to instantaneously accelerate from nothing to the speed of light, for example. He also finally mentioned that for those traveling at the speed of light time freezes but, unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate.

Maybe it’s just me, but we still talk about the speed of light as speed – as covering a certain distance in certain time, 300,000 kilometers in a second, for example. The reality, however, is that speed of light is infinity – it doesn’t take any time at all to cover any distance. One traveling at the speed of light is instantaneously transfered from here to the edge of the universe and back. Instantaneously as in no time at all.

We could say that such a person would be omnipresent. Or that light is omnipresent – the same photon exists simultaneously everywhere in the universe, it’s only in our time frame it might take it billions of years for light from a distant start to reach us here on Earth but for photons themselves time would not exist at all, they’d be simultaneously spread throughout the entire universe.

If you think about it, it’s a mind blowing revelation but mind blowing is not what this show is about, it’s about lulling people into a false sense of security that science has figured it all out.

Another thing that was misrepresented on the show is the electron. They made a cool CGI effect for electrons flying around protons and jumping orbits, it looked impressive, but the thing is that electron is not a thing, it’s a wave. It doesn’t fly around a nucleus per se, it’s a wave that vibrates around the nucleus, just as a guitar string vibrates between two points where it’s attached to the guitar itself.

If you really want to draw atoms with electrons in them you should draw diagrams showing probability of electrons’ locations, because that’s all we really know about it. Quantum mechanics is all about probabilities, not actual positions or values.

Sometimes electrons behave like particles, true, but without showing their wavelike properties it’s like taking a picture of one’s behind for a driving license photo. Yes, it’s your behind and you really have it but you should put a picture of your face as your identifying factor. There’s little benefit in arguing that people can be identified by their behinds as well, faces is what makes us easily distinguishable and that’s that. Similarly, drawing electrons without showing their waveform properties does them injustice.

It does injustice to those watching the show, too.

I guess the point of having this show is to catch as many ignorant, possibly retarded people as possible before Creationists lay their hands on them and brainwash them into believing that the Earth is only six thousand years old.

So it’s politics, not science.

It’s a fair game, I suppose, but then there’s also nothing wrong with exposing this show for what it is rather than for what it pretends to be.

Hmm, over a thousand words in this post and not one of them about Kṛṣṇa.

However, I propose to closely consider the idea of ordinary light displaying properties of Brahman. It won’t take us closer to Kṛṣṇa on its own but I sense there are a lot of indirect insights to be had there. Brahman realization is a natural step to knowing Bhagavān, too. Might be even necessary.

Vanity thought #963. Below zero

This year started with a quiet announcement that scientists have achieved a seemingly impossible feat – created a negative temperature. Actually, it wasn’t even for the first time but no one talks about it because the explanation is too technical for average people. Still, how could it be possible? Read on.

We all have been taught about absolute zero, 0k, the starting temperature point on Kelvin and Fahrenheit scales. By definition there cannot be a negative temperature then. Even 0k itself is unachievable, it’s just a theoretical limit. Thermodynamics, as we’ve been taught, do not allow for it for one simple reason – you can’t cool a system to the temperature of the coolant, you can approach it but the coolant will always be just a smidge cooler and your system will always be just a smidge warmer. We can’t cool a system to temperatures below the coolant either, so if we don’t have cold stuff at 0k temperature we can’t cool anything to it. How did they get negative temperatures then?

There’s a lot of weird, counterintuitive stuff going on at the edges of modern day science. Quantum mechanics is full of such illogical, irrational magic. There are things like uncertainty principle and quantum entanglement that go against everything we observe in real life, what to speak of matter being made of vibrating strings in twenty six different dimensions. This negative temperature, however, is not about quantum mechanics, it’s our familiar, general stuff science gone unhinged.

If we have a bowl of soup we take a spoon, put some soup into our mouth, and we will know whether it’s warm, cold, or burning hot. Indians are smarter than using spoons, they eat with their hands and so nothing dangerously hot can burn their tongues, they test the stuff with their fingers first. Not to be left behind, civilized westerners invented thermometers. You stick a thermometer in and you know the accurate temperature. It’s not only about soup, of course, we can measure temperatures of lots of things and then have weather shows to tell us about the results.

We can’t measure everything, though, and that would be unscientific, because in science we have theories and formulas and we can accurately calculate things like temperature or energy without actually touching the stuff.

So scientists pondered this for a while and came up with a mathematical definition of temperature. Turns out it’s a ratio between changes in energy and changes in entropy. Energy is easy – you heat soup up, you add energy, so the change is positive. What is entropy, however? It’s one of those things that thermodynamics can’t live without, it’s everywhere in their formulas, it’s one of their fundamental features, but it’s hard to define in layman’s terms and even if you do you’d be left wondering why you needed to invent such a complex thing in the first place.

For the purpose of this post, entropy is a degree of variety in a system. By system I mean a quantity of water, gas, etc, that we assume to be isolated from the rest of the world so we can control and measure all energy added or extracted from it, a pot of water on a stove, for example. So entropy is a degree of variety within such system, a degree of disorder.

When the pot of water is just sitting on the stove it’s temperature is uniform throughout, water is at a room temperature then. If we turn on gas and start heating it water at the bottom would become hotter, it will start rising up, and we will have a much bigger variety of temperatures in the pot – cold regions lowering down, hot steams rising up, it becomes a one big mess with bubbles everywhere – entropy increases, variety increases, disorder increases. At absolute zero there’s no energy in the system whatsoever, it’s absolutely uniform, so entropy is zero, too.

Now, usually in the observable world, if you add energy to the system you increase its entropy, so both changes are positive and so temperature, which is mathematically defined as a ratio of these two changes, is positive, too. To achieve negative temperature you need to add energy and see entropy decrease. Then one change will be negative, another positive, and the result of the division will become negative, too. Very simple.

Theoretically, it’s just straight math from fourth or six grade, I don’t remember. Is it possible in real life, though? Theoretically, yes, scientists have figured out such a system a long time ago. Practically, they manage to create it just in these past couple of years. How? Read on.

Entropy, variation, is actually variation in energy levels of all the molecules in the water or gas. Some have higher energy, some have lower. Usually higher energy means that molecules fly around faster, it means they have higher kinetic energy. That’s what they have taught us at school, too. There’s no limit on kinetic energy, even if molecules start flying at the speed of light there’s still no theoretical limit on how much kinetic energy they can have.

This means that if you heat up a system some molecules in it start moving faster. Say you warm the pot for one second, one molecule starts moving faster. Which one? You don’t know, there’s no way to know, any one out of millions in a pot could have move anywhere it wants. After two seconds there will be two of these rogue molecules moving somewhere at unknown speed, after three seconds three molecules will rise up. Where are they? It’s impossible to know, the variety in the system, entropy, increases exponentially.

That’s what we observe in everyday life and that’s why our temperature is always positive (not counting Celsius scale, of course).

What scientists proposed is a system where adding energy would not translate into movement of the molecules. There are other ways molecules and atoms can absorb energy while staying in one place. We still don’t know which ones out of millions absorbed it and in what way exactly, so entropy, variety, disorder, and uncertainty still rises, but not so fast anymore.

Then we imagine situation where we have very high degree of control over how exactly molecules absorb energy, let’s say they start spinning in a certain way. Molecules and atom spins are not random, though, there is only a certain number of possible speeds and directions, so our knowledge of the system becomes more and more complete. The disorder still rises as we add heat but not so fast anymore.

Then we reach a tipping point where we know that nearly ALL molecules are spinning in a certain way with a certain speed, nearly all of them reached their high state of energy. Now we have maybe 5% that are in the low state, then 4%, then 3% – this is where entropy, variety and disorder, decreases. We still add energy but entropy does not grow anymore, its change becomes negative, and so when we divide positive change in energy by negative change in entropy we get a negative result – negative temperature. Voila.

As I said, theoretically it’s a straight up math, practically it’s hard to achieve but not impossible. In this latest case they fixed atoms in space by using magnets and lasers so that they don’t move around anymore, then they kept adding energy to the point where nearly all the atoms were certain to be in their high spin state, and that gave them negative temperature.

Does it mean that it suddenly becomes colder than the absolute zero? No, it still becomes hotter than before. The weird part about this math is that with this formula of first rising and then falling entropy temperature starts at zero, reaches positive infinity, changes to negative infinity, and reaches “negative zero” after that. What could be more counterintuitive?

Our usual number scale start from negative infinity, reaches zero, and then goes to positive infinity. With their definition of temperature they cut this scale in half, took the right part, from “positive” zero to positive infinity, and glued it before the left part, so it became zero, positive infinity, negative infinity, and then zero again.

To avoid this mess some propose to redefine temperature in the formulas so that it grows in a traditional way. However, it would completely mess up how we perceive temperature in everyday life, and we can’t have that.

And this is I became so interested in this subject – science is not as straightforward and logical as people like Neil DeGrasse Tyson make it sound on shows like Cosmos. We still have nine episodes to go so there’s a possibility that he mentions some weird stuff later on but so far his narrative has been safe. Stick to grade school, generic science, avoid controversies, and if any counterintuitive subjects come up, like black holes from episode 4, drown people with CGI graphics and speeches of awesomeness and wonder without showing even a slightest sign of confusion.

If they presented people with science as it is, with all its complexities and obvious irrationality, lots of them would stick to reading the Bible where they are at least straightforward about God working in mysterious ways. NDT presents science as mysterious only in a sense that we still don’t know something, not in a sense that it doesn’t make sense in what we already know without some mind twisting explanations that leave everyone confused.

That entropy thing, the fundamental principle of all modern science, they still don’t agree on it. They agree on definitions but once you try to explain it in simple language there are all kinds of objections. Physics will explain it in a way that chemists would find incorrect, chemists will propose an explanation that statisticians might not be comfortable in return. Statisticians get involved because entropy is about disorder, which is a statistical distribution of all possible states, so it’s not only about temperature and physics, it’s about information systems, too.

What it ultimately leads to is that our illusion of knowing things about this world is just that – an illusion. The world appears logical and reasonable only within relatively narrow limits of our everyday experience and everyone, and I mean everyone, can be pushed to the limits where his brain would just explode with confusion. Science pushes these limits everyday but it hides its realizations from us to lull us into a false sense of security. If one dude figured it out then the rest of us don’t need to worry, they assume.

In the meantime we are being fed some fairy tales and given assurances about science to spare us the trauma of knowing the real thing, and we choose the safety of this illusion ourselves.

As devotees we shouldn’t fall for that, one way or another, we should know that this world is not safe nor sound. Today I talked about temperatures below absolute zero, earlier I talked about infinite addition making up a negative sum, or we could always mention things like birth, death, old age, and disease as everyone can easily understand that without racking their brains.

We should not trust this world at all.

PS. In case you wonder, that magic gas at negative temperatures is hot but not too hot. Without letting atoms fly around and increase their kinetic energy there’s a limit on how hot it could get. It’s not like you could stick your finger into it but it’s not as hot as boiling water. I think they mentioned that its total energy was less that that of one milliliter of hot water, so it’s nothing. Just weird math.