Friday, January 26, 2018

Vedic and Puranic Theory of Evolution - Darwin's Theory of Evolution



Dr. Satyapal Singh, presently Union Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development made a comment on Darwin's theory of evolution. Indian Express in its website carried this remark ( Updated January 22, 2018). "“Darwin’s theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curriculum. Since the man is seen on Earth he has always been a man,” the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development while speaking to reporters in Aurangabad on Friday."
(http://indianexpress.com/article/india/darwins-theory-of-evolution-is-scientifically-wrong-says-union-minister-satyapal-singh-5032749/)

There is a furore on this statement.  Indian Express further carried a statement by a group of scientists of India (Updated January 23. 2018). The  following passages are in the statement

"We, the scientists, science communicators and scientifically-oriented members of the public, are deeply pained by your claim."

"When a minister working for human resource development in the country makes such claims, it harms the scientific community’s efforts to propagate scientific thoughts and rationality through critical education and modern scientific research. It also diminishes the image of the country at the global level and reduces faith of the international historical research community in the genuine research by the Indian researchers."
(http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/satyapal-singh-darwin-evolution-theory-scientists-pm-modi-dear-minister-5035204/)

The incident that occurred cannot be understood from the paper reports. I could not get any more detail from the internet based documents. But certainly the protest of the group of scientists is very strong and focused.

Should we examine the state of the theory of any phenomenon  with ideas that germinate in us in response the data and research output that is assimilated by us? Or are we bound by the existing dominant paradigm to suppress our thinking process?

In this situation Dr. Satyapal Singh is a scientist himself having acquired a PhD degree. He made a remark in a discussion with newspaper reports. He could have presented a paper in a research conference or he could have published it in a journal. But it so happened that he made the remark in an interaction with reporters. But basically, can he make a comment or express an opinion on scientific theories or not? Dr. Satyapal Singh's academic qualifications are "M.Sc., M. Phill (Chemistry); M.A., Ph.D. (Public Administration); M.B.A. (Strategic Management)
Educated at Meerut University, University of Delhi and University of Wollongong, Australia" according to Lok Sabha records. (http://164.100.47.194/Loksabha/Members/MemberBioprofile.aspx?mpsno=4600).    According to Wikipedia "He is a post-graduate in chemistry from Digambar Jain College, Baraut and has also done M Phil in Chemistry from Delhi University. He has secured an MBA from Australia and also has a MA in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Naxalism from Nagpur University." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyapal_Singh)

If Dr. Singh is not convinced with theory of Darwin as explained by Darwin and the scientists that followed him and if he expresses that view of his, the scientific community of India has to live with it and allow Dr. Singh and other scientists who are influenced by him to do their scientific pursuit on this topic. A remark by the Minister may not immediately lead to removal of theory of Darwin from books. But it may results in a doubt being expressed about the theory in some subject or others. In the academic institutions of the country, only science is not being taught. Many other subjects are being taught. Also, all scientists are not against the concept of God and religion. There are many scientists who believe in the concept of God and religion. Science is also suspect, as new theories or investigations refute the old theories. In the case of religion also, many earlier or ancient ideas were rejected by some or many. We call our tradition, Sanatan Dharma, and say it remains new always indicating that we are willing to change as per our understanding. In this context, in the light of the controversy created by a remark against Darwin's theory, Indian scientists have to do a literature review of their ancient  knowledge on this topic.

My early review pointed out to a book by Mackenzie Brown, "Hindu Perspectives on Evolution: Darwin, Dharma, and Design, C. Mackenzie Brown, Routledge, 19-Jan-2012 - Religion" The Google Books page gives a brief description of the book in this passage.


"Providing new insights into the contemporary creationist-evolution debates, this book looks at the Hindu cultural-religious traditions of India, the Hindu Dharma traditions. By focusing on the interaction of religion and science in a Hindu context, it offers a global context for understanding contemporary creationist-evolution conflicts and tensions utilizing a critical analysis of Hindu perspectives on these issues. The cultural and political as well as theological nature of these conflicts is illustrated by drawing attention to parallels with contemporary Islamic and Buddhist responses to modern science and Darwinism.

The book explores various ancient and classical Hindu models to explain the origin of the universe encompassing creationist as well as evolutionary—but non-Darwinian—interpretations of how we came to be. Complex schemes of cosmic evolution were developed, alongside creationist proofs for the existence of God utilizing distinctly Hindu versions of the design argument. After examining diverse elements of the Hindu Dharmic traditions that laid the groundwork for an ambivalent response to Darwinism when it first became known in India, the book highlights the significance of the colonial context. Analysing critically the question of compatibility between traditional Dharmic theories of knowledge and the epistemological assumptions underlying contemporary scientific methodology, the book raises broad questions regarding the frequently alleged harmony of Hinduism, the eternal Dharma, with modern science, and with Darwinian evolution in particular."

The book points out that research on the Darwin's evolution theory is continuing in other disciplines. Indian thought is being still examined to see its meaning in the light of our recent thinking which may not have considered the Indian explorations and accumulated knowledge in this regard. Certainly, Dr. Satyapal Singh created an interest in inquisitive Indian researchers to know more about Indian thought on the issue of spirituality and materialism.

I shall continue my exploration into the topic further.




Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_views_on_evolution

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ian Stevenson - Reincarnation Research

Dr. Ian Stevenson's Reincarnation Research 
By Kevin Williams

Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) was a psychiatrist who worked for the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 50 years. He was Chair of the Department of Psychiatry from 1957 to 1967, the Carlson Professor of Psychiatry from 1967 to 2001, and a Research Professor of Psychiatry from 2002 until his death.

He was also the founder and Director of the University of Virginia's Division of Perceptual Studies investigating parapsychological phenomena such as (1)  reincarnation, (2) near-death experiences, (3) out-of-body experiences, (4) after-death communications, (5) deathbed visions, (6) altered states of consciousness and psi. His researches were made possible by an estate left by an entrepreneur for investigating specially these areas.

He did rigorous research. He found evidence suggesting that memories and physical injuries can be transferred from one lifetime to another. He traveled extensively over a period of 40 years, investigating 3,000 cases of children around the world who recalled having past lives. His meticulous research presented evidence that such children had unusual abilities, illnesses, phobias and philias which could not be explained by the environment or heredity.

Read the full article and refer the bibliography of research papers by Ian Stevenson.
http://www.near-death.com/reincarnation/research/ian-stevenson.html



Evidence against Socio-Psychological Hypothesis

Contrary to expectation, B and A cases of India and Sri Lanka all yielded
approximately equal percentages of correct statements and the average overall number
of statements was lower for the A cases. These findings suggest that the sociopsychological
process of "creating" more, and more correct, statements after the families
meet does not take place or at least does not influence the data to a measurable degree.
The very fact that B cases exist indicates that a meeting between families is not a
necessary condition for the occurrence of CORT. Because the data appear not to confirm
the essential predictions derived from the socio-psychological hypothesis, this hypothesis
seems unable to explain CORT.
Conclusion
No evidence was obtained to support the hypothesis that socio-psychological
circumstances promote a false elaboration of apparent memories of previous lives.
Sybo A. Schouten, Ph.D.
Ian Stevenson, M.D.
in Paper: The Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease
Issue: Volume 186(8), August 1998, pp 504-506
Does the Socio-Psychological Hypothesis Explain Cases of the Reincarnation Type?



Bibliography

Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics?
By Jesse Bering on November 2, 2013
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/ian-stevensone28099s-case-for-the-afterlife-are-we-e28098skepticse28099-really-just-cynics/

Friday, July 22, 2016

Alcohol also causes Cancer - Seven types of cancer




In a review  in the journal Addiction, Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, pointed out that  alcohol is responsible for  cancer of the mouth and throat, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, bowel and breast.


She said alcohol is estimated to be the reason for 5.8 per cent of cancer deaths worldwide. Heavy drinking increases risk, but even people who drink at low levels are at risk.

http://www.msn.com/en-in/health/medical/alcohol-causes-seven-types-of-cancer-and-probably-others-study-finds/ar-BBuEPOO?li=AAggbRN&ocid=SK2MDHP

Sunday, March 6, 2016

9 March - Science Quiz 3



1. Who is the father of automobile?

2. Who is the father of chemotherapy?

3. Who is the father of industrial engineering?

4. Who is the father of geology?

5. Who is the father of periodic table of elements?

6. Who is the father of cybernetics?

7. Who is the father of hydrogen bomb?

8. Who is the father of brain surgery?

9. Who is the father of eugenics

10. Who is the father of physiology?






Related
http://www.abc.net.au/science/games/quizzes/2010/chemistry/

8 March - Science Quiz 2



1. Which was the first computer language?

2.Who discovered the first Home erectus fossil - the Java Apeman?

3. Which is the first weather satellite?

4. What is the name of the first test-tube baby?

5. Which is the first fully synthetic fibre?

6. 

7 March - Science Quiz 1



1. Who used the computer language for the first time for his computer

2. Who built the first Cyclotron machine to accelerate electric particles to high energies?

3. Who developed the technique to produce the first test tube baby?

4. Who observed the atmosphere of venus first?

5. Who built the first nuclear reactor "atomic pile"?

6. Who first gave the concept of atom?

7. Who found the size of earth correctly first?

8. Who built the first electron microscope?

9. Who first detected radio waves?

10. Who was the first to the first scientist/engineer to work out the principles of rocketry?