Vanity thought #1493. Double whammy

I’ve just read a couple of rebuttals to creationists’ claims that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. Evolutionists seem to be sure creationists have been soundly defeated but I remain unconvinced. They would say that it’s just me being stubborn and stupid, and they have a point, but I honestly tried to find a solid argument to consider in their presentations. Unfortunately, they are big on form but awfully short on substance.

Their “form” includes generously sticking denigrating labels on everything creationists say. They do not simply report the opposing arguments but they decorate them with words such as ignorant and dishonest. To me it seems this is the most convincing part of their argument because it sets the mind into a rejection mode. No matter what creationists say, it will be rejected because no one wants to associate with ignorance and dishonesty. The space for honest inquiry shrinks and hardly anything ever gets through. Sometimes these labels might be justified because no one is perfect but evolutionists exaggerate the problem to comical levels.

Next level in their arguments is calling creationists on misquoting. One interesting thing about creationism as a science is that they always find some quotes from established scientists to support their views. Most of the time these scientists do not and will not associate themselves with creationism in any public setting so to evolutionists all the quotes look out of context and sometime outright distorting. Isaac Asimov, for example, is quoted in support of evolution breaking the laws of thermodynamics but evolutionists bring up his other quotes where he says this argument against evolution is based on ignorance. Who’s got time to trace this “he said she said” back and forth?

The quotes used by creationists stand very solid on their own but it might be true that the overall direction of authors’ thought is the opposite. I see it as taking a different look at the same facts. One makes a statement but others interpret it differently, happens all the time, especially in politics. The statement in itself might be factually true and so evolutionists, rather than screaming “he didn’t mean that”, should deal with facts and try to disprove clear cut statements, otherwise creationists have all the right to build their own theory from these known facts. To say that “you don’t understand, there’s also this and that addendum that must be considered” is simply saying that creationists didn’t do their homework, but they did.

Evolutionists can’t state a law but when it’s called into application start spouting millions of conditions no one has ever heard of before. Everything becomes a special case for them and for every statement they invent an infinite number of qualifiers. “Catch me if you can,” they are like busted kids spinning lies one after another and nothing is ever said for certain. “Can you understand everything I just said,” they challenge creationists, to which creationists reply “You don’t understand what you just said yourself, you are spamming, and you are far out of the agreed framework. Maybe what you say is true, maybe it’s not, but as far as this debate goes, it’s inadmissible.”

Oh, btw, creationism is a theory, not knowledge. At its heart there’s the Bible but beyond that it’s mere speculation, albeit a benign one.

At this point I’m not even sure there’s any more to evolutionists’ presentation on this subject. There’s some wishful thinking and bold proclamations but nothing to consider seriously. I’m not going to indulge in pondering possible validity to their insistence that evolution here on Earth is just some localized case of naturally rising complexity and is driven by thermodynamics, that evolution is our peculiar way to dissipate Sun’s energy pouring down on Earth.

They must as some point realize that to us it doesn’t look like we as humans are driven by heat dissipation demands at all. This is simply ridiculous (from materialistic POV), but they don’t even touch on it. They could say that first life was a product of heat dissipation but then it started organizing itself. That would fit with their generally accepted theory – first life was created according to strict natural laws but then it learned to organize and reproduce itself, developed consciousness etc. In this case it still breaks the second law of thermodynamics because we clearly have an insatiable urge to order things according to our will, not let them decay into chaos. We can’t stand chaos, and according to thermodynamics it’s unnatural.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be of big help here because it explains where the active principle in the universe comes from. First there was mahā tattva, the aggregate, non-differentiated material energy, and then, by the glance of the Lord, it got agitated and started ordering itself. The Lord shook it and various things fell out. First it shook up the space, then the force appeared, then the energy, and so on.

In some of our books a great importance is given to the details of this process and I never understood why until this point, until I started considering this law of thermodynamics. After all, we do have occasional increases of order in some places but eventually all order decays, so where does this initial push come from? What made the universe to release so much energy that the ripples are still all around us?

We live here, on Earth, because the Sun has enough materials to produce energy for many billions of years. There are many intricate ways how this energy eventually trickles down into our stomachs but the Sun is still our only source. As this energy dissipates it transforms many times and takes many forms but it still doesn’t explain life, more on that in a moment. What is important here is that we should look for the source of energy beyond the Sun – where did it all come from? And, ultimately, what caused the Big Bang?

Even from scientific POV something must have cased the universe to appear, to unravel that infinitely small ball of time and space which released all the energy. They don’t have an answer but we do – Kṛṣṇa. He is the active principle that starts the universe, an outside force that causes everything to move, develop, and grow.

The second active principle is life, the spirit souls. As parts and parcels of the Lord and as constitutionally similar to Him we also bring the impetus to order and control the matter. Scientists can’t explain life and they can’t explain, or rather dance around the issue of the Big Bang.

To better understand their predicament we should look at the big picture – it’s not just us, living entities, who break the second law of thermodynamics, but God, too. He was the original “troublemaker” who brought order to chaos (well, it wasn’t chaos exactly, but rather absence of order and differentiation). Faced with the problem of life scientists can try to attribute it to dull matter or to the consequence of God’s initial creation, ie Big Bang. None of these explanations are satisfactory, of course, because living entities are agents of desire and order in themselves. We are similar to God in our wish to create and control but science denies our existence. At best they attribute us to consequences of the Big Bang, without giving us any independence or independent origins.

So, the second law of thermodynamics was actually broken twice, or, in other words, every time the dull matter comes with contact spiritual energy, be it God or jīva tattva, doesn’t really matter.

Science aside, the relationships between us as spirit souls and material energy is complicated because we can’t move it ourselves but that is the subject of free will and how it’s conducted in the material world. Bottom line is that we are an active principle and we do bring order to chaos, and break the laws of thermodynamics all the time. And so does God, to a far greater degree.

Lastly, I titled this post “double whammy” and it was a tribute to the language normally used in this kind of conversations. It doesn’t mean what people think it does. Evolutionists can’t care less about my blog and so talking about inflicting some double whammy damage on them is silly. I believe it’s more appropriate to apply this double whammy to my own doubts, whether I admit to having them or not. I’m not preaching to scientists here, I’m preaching to myself, and at this stage me convincing myself is relatively more important than trying to convert some evolutionists.

Vanity thought #1492. Entropy

Yesterday I mentioned thermodynamics and how saṅkīrtana might fit with that. Afaik, it doesn’t, but there are two diametrically opposite views on this subject and in their struggle they revolve around the concept of entropy.

Mathematically, entropy is very simple, there are clear formulas, one can memorize them and continue using them for the rest of his scientific or engineering life without ever giving it a second thought. The problem lies in understanding what entropy actually means. I don’t think I have an easy answer to that but that won’t stop me from proceeding. It never stops anyone from talking about entropy and I’m not an exception.

“If you would please turn to the page 5 of your textbook,” one can imagine the reassuring voice of his professor. These days, however, one turns to the page on Wikipedia instead and there everything seems to be known, understood, and comforting, just as it was in school. Right from the top, for example, one would read that entropy is a measure of disorder. But then others campaign for purging this definition and they have managed to erase it from college textbooks by 2005, probably from high school books by now, too. They deem it misleading and unscientific. Craps, just as I was getting the hang of it.

This is an example of how a concept so common and basic in science gets redefined over and over again, each time with the air of sacrosanct permanency. How often do you think of the meaning of entropy? Chances are, next time you decide to ponder this concept they’d have it redefined already. If you buy their “we know we had problems but now it’s all fixed” assurances it’s up to you.

It’s not actually a problem with entropy itself but with trying to explain what it means to others. Even discarded definitions are still correct to a large degree but they’ve decided that students might get the wrong ideas and it would be better to approach entropy from a different angle.

The problem is that entropy as it was “discovered” in science is counter-intuitive and we are forced to deal with double negatives right from the start. “Entropy of an isolated system can never decrease.” Try to wrap your mind around “can never decrease”. It’s “can”, but then “never”, and also “decrease” instead of “increase”. As soon as you start manipulating systems it becomes impossible to keep all your negatives in order and once I’ve noticed two obvious errors in internet articles claiming to clarify the issue I gave up.

What happens if you start heating up a pot of water? Temperature increases but entropy moves in the opposite direction and so now you are talking about decrease in disorder. Should it mean increase in order then? If you look at the water in the pot with bubbles forming at the bottom you wouldn’t call it “increase in order”. That’s how it becomes very confusing very fast.

At some point one will be forced to give and just hope that real scientists have figured tit all our and definition changes are only cosmetic so that it would look prettier and easier to understand. It hasn’t become easier for me but maybe others are luckier.

Alternatively, one can give up and hope that creationists have figured it out, too, because they continue to argue this particular point about entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, and they aren’t fools either.

In a nutshell their challenge is very simple – according to thermodynamics a system should descend into chaos, not evolve into humans hell bent on organizing the nature. Evolution is the opposite of creating chaos, that’s obvious. Scientists reply that the Earth is not an isolated system, we have Sun rays warming it up all the time, and so thermodynamics shouldn’t be applied the way creationists do here. This doesn’t stop creationists, of course, and then the ugly side of entropy raises its head and everyone gets lost in the formulas and their meanings.

Scientists say that influx of energy into the system can produce order and give an example of electricity turning water into ice crystals in the fridge. Creationists reply that you can’t just put electrodes in the water and expect it would work. Ice crystals in one part of the machine are possible only because there’s heat generated in another and so their orderliness is offset by disorderly hot air elsewhere, and so this whole apparatus requires input of more than just electricity but clever engineering, too. They say that you can’t exclude engineers from your “isolated” system.

Scientists then reply that localized increases of entropy (or is its decreases? I can never tell) are observable in nature and there’s been even a Nobel prize awarded for research in this subject. The gist of that discovery is that when a system faces a large energy influx some “dissipative structures” can be formed to help disperse this energy. Structure means order, and so creationist argument is defeated.

Not so fast, creationists say, there’s a huge gap between turbulent gases flowing in a pattern and creation of life. Dissipative structures as an explanation for evolution is a rather new idea and most evolutionists haven’t heard of it yet, much less explain how it could actually work. The latest is that if you shine light on some atoms they will eventually orderly turn in such a way as to facilitate dispersal of incoming energy. This driver behind the evolution also disperses with Darwin’s natural selection but I’m sure they’ll be able to somehow reconcile the two just as I’m sure it won’t convince the creationists.

In a bigger picture, it’s obvious that Sun can heat up glaciers, ice would melt and flow down as a river, and a river would gradually arrange sand and rocks so that they would not obstruct its flow, but if you start from this obvious observation and declare that this is how the life has emerged you won’t impress anybody, so they talk about “dissipative structures” instead. The way I see it, at the very best this theory can explain creation of the “primordial soup”, existence of which creationists do not deny. It says nothing about emergence of life, however, and they’ve been zapping electricity through their soup in the lab for half a century now with no success.

There’s also something about creation of amino-acids that contradicts the second law but I have no brains left and I’d rather bring the subject back to saṅkīrtana, but let’s see how it goes, brains are unpredictable.

Vanity thought #1167. Pope’s roll

Fresh from embracing gay values and blessing divorcées, Pope Francis went to the altar of science and declared allegiance to Big Bang and evolution. I swear I’m not searching for Pope related news but he keeps saying outrageous things that get widely reported and sneak into my news feeds.

A couple of days ago the Pope was speaking at a Vatican science conference and he gave a speech where he said quite a few head turning things about the subject. It wasn’t impromptu speaking, he read from a paper, words carefully selected by his speech writers and approved by himself. He meant what he said.

The speech was in Italian, I can’t understand it, but so far no one claimed that published bits were mistranslated or taken out of context. The only remaining problem is that news media might have put them in different contexts to stress their own narratives. I will probably do so, too, as Hare Kṛṣṇas we have our own story line to develop and Pope’s speech should be seen from our perspective, too.

Depending on what one considers important, there are several sentences to give most prominence to. I, for example, can’t get my head around “God is not a divine being..” but most media outlets focused on “or a magician” part of the speech, which came out twice.

Maybe it was a mistranslation here, I don’t know how any religious leader could say “God is not a divine being”. I don’t know what Pope Francis meant there, maybe just one particular aspect of God’s divinity that he refuses to acknowledge – the one where He acts as a creator. Maybe it’s so ridiculous that it’s not meant to be taken at a face value but then he also argued WHY God was not a divine being – in the magician part. He was serious. He stripped God of at least some of His divine powers.

Now, the most often quoted magician part is this:

    When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so.

Ummm, how would he know? It was this same Pope who said he can’t judge if gay priests are okay by God or not, so how can he claim to know what God did during the creation?

Again, I don’t know what he meant there. From Bible’s Genesis God appears to be pretty magical, creating the entire universe in just six days. Of course it could be argued whether Christians should read it literally, our Lord Brahmā’s day consists of a thousand of maha-yugas, untold billions in Earth’s years, so on that scale six days is not particularly fast. Still, Genesis stuff IS magical.

There’s also the point about Pope’s choice of words – what’s the difference between “magical” and “miraculous”? In this context it seems the Pope denies God’s miracles. He actually denies that God is “able to do everything”, with His alleged magic wand. I don’t know what kind of God he is talking about but God is able to EVERYTHING by definition.

From here Pope went on to justify evolution: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.” He also said that God gave creation full autonomy while also guaranteeing his constant presence in nature and people’s lives (how? what kind of presence?)

Perhaps Pope’s statements can be explained away and his new take on Genesis can be squeezed into familiar Christian tenets but I think whatever jugglery required for that would run into a myriad more questions from the orthodoxy. Can’t wait what Intelligent Design people respond to that.

Intelligent Design, btw, seems to be the main target of Pope’s attack. There was another Catholic scholar speaking at the same conference who went directly after the ID and in the end it seems Catholic church has embraced evolution through *natural* selection rather than the Creator’s direct involvement in the design.

Atheists jumped on it, the principle of “enemy of my enemy is my friend” worked fine here. Destroy the ID first and deal with Catholics later. Catholics do not seem to represent any real threat to atheism anyway, thanks to this Pope they have excluded God from every day life already, now God is just a sentimental notion for people to hang on to. God has no real powers, He doesn’t control anything, He gave us full autonomy, there are no God’s laws as opposed to nature’s laws, so who cares if Catholics still believe in Him or not.

This is where it can affect us because our ISKCON scientists tied their work with success of Intelligent Design. The strategy, afaik, is simple – sow doubts in Darvin’s natural selection, introduce the Creator, answer all subsequent questions from our books. So far, we have put all our efforts into discrediting evolution, Catholics embracing it would seem like a betrayal from people who were supposed to be our allies.

Well, it’s not up to me to judge, devotees working in science and with scientists might see the situation completely differently. Personally, I won’t be surprised if they ditch ID, too, and for the same reasons Pope did – it’s unfashionable.

Of course I don’t know what exactly moved the Pope to sign up for evolution without creator’s control but his overtures to atheists and gays were certainly influenced by public opinion. When he allowed communion for divorcées, for example, one of the cardinals explained that it would bring many more Catholics back to the churches again. Same attitude is evident in lots of Pope’s talks – how to make his church more appealing to the modern population, how to make it relevant again.

This is another area where his approach might impact ISKCON, too – we used to cite Catholic Church as an example of organization that remained conservative, did not compromise on its values or its teachings, and managed to keep its flock better than crowd pleasing protestants. From CC example we, and I meant our ISKCON strategists, concluded that “innovations” do not work in the long term. People go for them in the beginning but they won’t stay, they need commitments to something permanent, something they can sacrifice their momentarily interests for. Up until this Pope, Catholic church provided such a sanctuary and we thought we should not compromise on our practices, too.

CC changing course hasn’t changed the argument but now it must be cited with a disclaimer that we don’t know how these changes will affect the church in the next couple of generations. At least what happened from the revolution of the 60s and 70s up until now still stays.

Another popular point in Pope’s speech concerned the Big Bang. This one is not so important for us, however, not as much as denial of Intelligent Design. Theories about what caused the Big Bang are a dime a dozen, we don’t have a stake in that, it’s not described in our literature and we speculate about it just as everyone else. “Evolution”, however, was done by Lord Brahmā, and he does it every day when he wakes up, repopulates the universe with all the species from scratch. That we will not concede, not matter what the Pope says, though losing such an important ally is obviously disappointing.

OTOH, CC has accepted evolution half a century ago, long before Intelligent Design became a thing. The previous Pope seemed to lean towards ID but Catholic scholars speaking against it now weren’t born yesterday either, it’s just that they are given more prominence under the current regime.

Oh, and the best (or the worst) part of it was that this Pope delivered his evolution speech departing from the course set by the previous pontiff while unveiling a bust in Benedict’s honor. That looks mighty hypocritical to me.

Vanity thought #905. Slaughtered Ham

Yesterday’s post on Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate is here. The background, the debate format and the format in which I write about it are all discussed in that yesterday’s post.

So, in his five minute initial presentation Ken Ham talked about hijacking of the term science, which is an argument we can subscribe to, too. Modern science came to mean “naturalism”, meaning excluding all supernatural phenomena from consideration as bogus, meaning that God does not exist and cannot exist as an axiom. I wish Ham explored that aspect a bit further but he didn’t, it wasn’t the topic of the debate anyway.

What Ham focused on instead is difference between “observational” science and “historical” science. In Nye’s opening statement he denied that there’s such distinction in science but when Ham took the microphone again he presented a quote from a school textbook describing exactly that in exact same terms. Black eye for Nye, right?

Not really, the distinction Ham based all his presentation on is somewhat artificial. As Nye pointed out, all science is historical because all we can observe are clues left from the past, sometimes very close to us and sometimes removed millions of years away. We always interpret something we can’t see anymore, we are always external to the processes we study and we always have some intermediaries between us and the objects of our studies – instruments, senses, recording devices etc.

The difference Ham perceives between historical and observational science is the difference of confidence, difference of the amount of evidence, and only in the last place the fact that we weren’t there when things happened. No one was inside Hadron Collider when Higgs boson was caught, no was was anywhere near atomic explosions either. Are those examples of historical or observational science? This distinction doesn’t always make sense.

The rest of the presentation was on the points I discussed yesterday – there’s no difference between evolutionists and creationists, they all use the same methods, the same data, they just interpret it differently. Nye ignored that completely, even specific questions directed to him that were illustrated with slides.

Additionally, Ham presented predictions based on creationism, for some reason it also went straight past Nye. He could have challenged those predictions as trivial but instead, later in the debate, he kept asking for examples of such predictions, again and again even though they were listed on a screen by Ham.

Maybe the reason was that Ham made Bible based predictions about things that have already happened, like life coming from life or development of species form “kinds”. By the time Bible was recorded all kinds of dog breeds were already there, life had already came from life, intelligence already came from intelligence so they weren’t predictions in a true sense.

We can easily agree with Ham’s ideas some of which are almost word for word what he heard from Śrila Prabhupāda, and evolutionary orchard instead of evolutionary tree is a very interesting proposition that can help us understand how the entire universe is populated by only eight million plus species as said in the Vedas when there are tens of millions of species documented only on Earth.

Then there was Bill Nye’s turn to give a thirty minute presentation on validity of Young Earth Creationism and he just blew it away, predictably. At one point Bill exclaimed that there are trees which are older than Ham’s universe. 6,000 years, seriously? For all the claims against modern science there are limits to how much of it you can deny.

Even in Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can’t deny that pratyakṣa, direct experiences or nyāya, logic have a place in uncovering the truth, even Absolute Truth. Kṛṣṇa can easily override laws of nature but we can usually trust Him that laws of nature will stay in place and that our perception does reflect reality even if it’s actually illusion. Even if living under illusion we are still told to use our material nature to help in our spiritual progress.

Nye gave a couple of examples that are simply impossible for Ham to explain from YEC point of view. 680,000 seasonal layers in Antarctic ice, for example, could not have formed in four thousand years since flood. Not even four thousand years because we’ve been collecting observations about Earth for some two thousands of years already. We’ve never had 170 seasons a year that are needed to produce all the ice layers. It just doesn’t compute.

How did kangaroos hop over from Mt Ararat where Noah parked his ark to Australia without leaving any trace of their journey? How could they hop over the sea that separated Australia from Eurasia? Land bridge? If it was there only four thousand years ago – where did it disappear? No trace either.

Even Ham’s orchard theory of developing species from “kinds” created by God and saved on Noah’s ark doesn’t compute in his time frame. I don’t want to search the video for exact numbers but it was something like eleven new species need to appear EVERY day on average. Of course it doesn’t happen on average and we haven’t seen new species developed in the past two-three thousand years of recorded history so they all had to develop in a very very short period of time, and not by God by through regular mating and through evolution as accepted by YEC. Simply not possible.

There were some blunders in Nye’s presentation, too. He claimed that Noah’s ark couldn’t have been built because wooden ships of that size do not behave well at sea, that they twist in all possible ways and that they leak. It has been tried, he said, and he showed a slide with biggest ships in the world including the biggest wooden ship that sank shorty after being put to sea. Turned out that there are techniques that deal with this problem and that they have been tried and that in the very museum the debate took place there’s a model of Ark that demonstrates this very solution. Oops.

Still it was a massive ark and Noah built it all by himself, helped maybe by his wife and family, seven people altogether. That still doesn’t compute.

Having said that, no one seriously expected Ban Ham to prove that the Earth and the universe are indeed only six thousand years old. Maybe his fellow creationists did but as for everyone else – it’s a non-starter. What they can learn, and what we, as devotees, can look for in this debate, are questions about the limitations of the science itself. We know what they are but scientists refuse to admit them and it was a great opportunity to expose them to the general public.

Then there’s the idea of revelation that we and the creationists both agree on but it’s a no-no for scientists. Śrila Prabhupāda made it the central point of learning about the nature of the Absolute Truth and the only way to discover the nature of the Absolute Truth but it’s still a tall order for us. Ken Ham wasn’t afraid to push it publicly, though, and this could be the topic for the next part in my coverage of this debate.

Vanity thought #329. Getting on with science

I’m trudging along with “Advancements of Vedic Culture” I mentioned earlier, the initial excitement has worn off. Half way through the book something occurred to me, though, and I’m in two minds about it.

First thing is that the book actually betrays Vedic civilization. There are a couple of places where the underlying attitude shines clear – science is the king, we all came from monkeys, it’s just that ancient Indians were a little better at this than everyone else.

This is a hugely disappointing discovery and I’ve noticed this attitude quite a few times among people who outwardly profess to believe in God. Christians gloss over stories of the Old Testament, Muslims are proud of their medieval scientists, and now it came down to Hinduism, too.

These are reactions of people who don’t have any strong faith, only a faint hope that their beliefs might have some merit in them. These are the reactions of people firmly schooled in materialism and empirical science, people still convinced that the scientific method of learning about the world is absolute and supreme.

The only concession they give to the religion is that there might be something else there, beyond the experience of their material senses, but in no way that experience can overrule what they see with their own eyes, or someone else had seen and taught them about at school.

These are reactions of people who think that the material illusion is real.

Even when they appear to challenge the scientific view of history they still rely on the same empirical evidence and explanations, same kind of reasoning and arguments, and indoctrinate their followers in exactly the same way as scientists.

Christians do it with creationism where they just keep drilling into people that the universe is only seven thousand years old and hope that they would become immune to scientific arguments. I guess they figured out that if it works in politics it would work in religion, too. They do not (and cannot) explain why the science is wrong and their calculations are right, they just hope that if they repeat their lines often enough people will stop thinking about that.

“Advancement in Vedic Culture” is trying to do the same thing with Hinduism. It substitutes self-revealing knowledge passed down through the parampara system with twisting conclusions drawn from results of sensory experiences. It doesn’t say that Krishna lived five thousand years ago because that is what the gurus teach us, it says Krishna lived five thousand years ago because they found some empirical evidence for it.

By doing so it preaches materialism.

The second thing is that I don’t know whether this approach is right or wrong. As devotees we have certain lines drawn for us – that which leads to materialism and impersonalism is wrong, that which leads to developing of devotional service is right. In the big scheme of things both materialism and impersonalism is the philosophical service provided by the Lord for conditioned living souls desiring to forget about Him but, as I discussed yesterday, by accepting this service the living entities deprive themselves of their eternal knowledge and bliss and devotees shouldn’t be callous towards that.

The thing is that I don’t know where books like this, or preaching creationism in the West, lead their readers. I would happily give Stephen Knapp a benefit of doubt in this regard, I hope he knows what he is doing and he has a plan but I also have doubts that he fully realizes the power and the direction of the force he is unleashing, I don’t think anyone does.

He doesn’t present this book as a devotee and he doesn’t sneak in religious ideas, so far he sticks to empirical arguments only, and that is fair to his readers. He also clearly hopes that once the readers develop appreciation for the Vedic culture they will take Vedic scriptures a bit more seriously and start developing actual faith. In this way he increases people’s mode of goodness that is essential for practicing any religion. I hope that works.

On the down side we have a massive nationalistic movement in India that has nothing to do with serving the Lord and gets mentioned in the news mostly for barbaric violence towards Muslims or Christians. These people use Vedic traditions only to prove their own supremacy and I bet they would gulp books like this in one sitting. Who will take responsibility if it inspires someone to burn another train carriage full of people?

This is the danger of getting on with science – we think that we can inject ourselves into the workings of this world and came out clean. We think that we are transcendental and so won’t be affected by the laws of karma but that is not true. The blazing fire of material existence that we are engulfed in right now started with a one little spark of interest.

Alcoholism starts with the first beer and addiction to drugs starts with the first cigarette. No one takes those steps with the goal of becoming a drug addict or an alcoholic, it just happens, and so dabbling in science has all the potential to produce very very undesirable results.

Our life is short, we shouldn’t be spending it on dangerous things unless absolutely necessary, we should be very careful pouring our enthusiasm into clearly materialistic activities.