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Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu
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mohankarthik Offline
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Post: #1
Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

Hey

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-pag...233677.ece .

I dont even know where to begin! Take your shots people!
(This post was last modified: 18-07-2011 03:12 PM by donatello.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

(17-07-2011 07:36 AM)mohankarthik Wrote:  Hey

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-pag...33677.ece.

I dont even know where to begin! Take your shots people!

I was just going to post this here after I saw Sunil post it on the FB group. I'll request those who commented there to post here (mainly Pratibha, who dissected some of his points brilliantly), but first here is a little background on BM Hegde. From wikipedia:

Quote:Belle Monappa Hegde, better known as B. M. Hegde, is a physician, educational administrator and the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award.

Quote:Hegde is a medical practitioner and has a M.B.B.S from Madras University, a M.D. from Lucknow University, a FRCP from London University, a FRCPI from Dublin University as well as a FACC and a FAMS.[citation needed] He has also received training in cardiology from Harvard Medical School under Bernard Lown, a Nobel Laureate.

Quote:Hegde is visiting faculty at many universities.[citation needed] He also serves as head of the Mangalore chapter of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,[citation needed] and has served as former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University.[citation needed] He has also authored several books in English and Kannada apart from publishing several medical research papers

So it is this "distinguished scholar" who has written this piece of absolute drivel on The Hindu. I will now request that the others post here, so that we can deconstruct his article properly and offer a more accurate version of the facts.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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LMC Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

There is an extra . in mahankartik's post and so link doesn't open use this

This article just reminds us of how important is our movement in India , and how harmful are the beliefs imposed on children , here is a person who has been awarded the padambushan award [Image: 1zflqw2.jpg]
yet you will find him reviewing and praising several mind-over matter books [Image: 123xvmg.jpg], here he is with our favourite deepak chopra, he himself has authored various books including one on astrology(# 34) and believes that it should be taught as subject ,
in his own words Address the cause, not the problem(although i am not convinced, we need to address the problem as well )
clearly the cause here is his cognitive dissonace, he tries to reconcile the beliefs that he holds sacred to what he has studied by bridging the gap which has caused his biased views ,it happens, his quotes:

Quote:The god concept also has a place because it is the faith and the belief thereof that is what keeps mankind tranquil.
Quote:This brings us to the Indian wisdom that education is humility and humility is the best genetic characteristic.
Quote:The Indian wisdom of Vasudai eva kutumbakam (World is but one large family) is a very, very scientific concept in today's new biology.
funny
clearly since he caters to the nostalgia of various indians , his criticism would be a tough sell, ,but still...,so now to the problem
right from the start he exploits the common hatred to modern medicine
Quote:The overambitious geneticists were boasting that they would find a gene for every human ill but ended up with just 1,000 more genes compared to a small round worm in the human gut. (human 25,000 vs. the round worm's 24,000 genes).
then rants about how current view of genetics are overambitious , his 1000 extra genes point actually first appeared in The Biology of Belief
first of all that information is wrong the best guess to date is 20,500.
secondly simple difference of 4,000 does not undermine the difference in complexity since besides numbers there is also difference in other factors, roundworms are dramatically different from humans not in their number of genes, but in the number of protein interactions in their bodies and ofcourse sizes there are better ways to represent complexity than only numbers his outrage is well displayed in his quote
Quote: Of course, those scientists are the ones that get all the grants and the research papers in the “respectable” peer reviewed journals. Those who tell the truth get brickbats!
funny
Quote:Science should limit itself to unravelling the mysteries of nature and never try to teach nature a lesson or two, based on whims and fancies.
link this has been discussed before
Quote: Now one understands how thousands of women having the BRAC1 gene, etc., are dying daily with the fear of breast cancer and might even get that cancer solely owing to fear
link
Sleep rest later...
(This post was last modified: 18-07-2011 05:28 AM by LMC.)
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Pratibha Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

That was excellent Lalit. Adding on to what I wrote earlier in the FB forum:

Quote:“Genes play a vital role in diabetes and cancer and many of the modern day killers,” threatens an article in one of the popular weeklies. “Doctors should be aware of family history of a disease,” prints the medical textbook even. “Do not read health books, you may die of a misprint,” was the opinion of Mark Twain, an all time wise guy.


Unfortunately, for Dr. Hegde, the weeklies and textbooks are right. There is no cause for undermining the importance of family history in the development of disease. For single gene (Mendelian) disorders, in the most part, if you carry the genetic defect, you develop the condition. In the case of multifactorial disorders, I concede, the genotype-phenotype correlation is not that clear. This is because, more than one gene could be involved in the pathogenesis of such conditions, with the added complication of the environment influencing the pathogenesis. However, recent Genome Wide Association Studies have made great progress in understanding the genetic basis of multifactorial disorders. To turn a blind eye to the role that genes play in the development of disease conditions is to ignore one of the most fundamental aspects of disease pathogenesis.

Quote:His (Lamarck's) theory fits with new the age biologists' finding that immune systems adapt themselves to their environment for survival. Darwin's Origin of Species has a chapter that talks only of “struggle and violence” for survival behind evolutionary advancement — survival of the fittest. Biology has changed a lot since then but diehard Darwinists hang on to his coat tails.


The immune system of every individual human adpats itself with each new foreign body it encounters. However, this adaptation is a somatic change that cannot be transferred to the individual's children. And this is the basic flaw in Lamarckism. Somatic adaptations made during an organism's lifetime do not contribute to evolution, simply because they are not passed on to the offspring. Modern evolutionists still follow Darwinism because its basic premises, of generation of variation, and natural selection, are still valid.

Quote:Now one understands how thousands of women having the BRAC1 gene, etc., are dying daily with the fear of breast cancer and might even get that cancer solely owing to fear. There are efforts to unravel the human genome and make life miserable for everyone.

Right.. they're dying out of fear. The five-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer has nothing to do with it.

Quote:Human metagenome should teach mankind that every action of mankind could only be accomplished with the permission of those foreign genes along with our own. This brings us to the Indian wisdom that education is humility and humility is the best genetic characteristic.

I'm sorry, I don't even understand what he's on about here. Huh

Quote:The gene requires its environment for penetrance to show its prowess. The last action depends not on genes but on proteins that are more powerful than the genes.

Dr. Hegde forgot to mention that these proteins themselves are encoded by the genes that he so blithely dismisses.

Quote:This new science of epi-genetics is growing by leaps and bounds and soon we will unravel the secrets of happy living with camaraderie and co-operation in place of bloody wars and struggle to come up in life.

What does epigenetics have to do with World peace? Thinking

Quote:At the cellular level, every human (animal) cell is an independent “person” with feelings and capacity to survive all by itself.
Quote:Each cell in our body, of which there are 10{+1}{+4} in all, is a complete organism and is capable of doing almost all the functions of a man including locomotion.

This is so not true. Each human cell lives in an environment in close association with other cells and tissues. Given certain culture conditions, many cells can be grown over generations in the lab. But this is an artificial culture, designed specifically for that particular cell type. Without such a growth medium, no human cell/tissue can survive on its own, independent of the organism.

Quote:Epigenetics — control above the genes — has completely uprooted our conventional beliefs. Epigenetics literally means that our life experiences control our biology and not vice versa.

There is no denying that epigenetic modifications are a very important part of growth and development. But, 'life experiences controlling biology' is a gross misrepresentation. Most epigenetic changes are written in the human genome itself, and there are genes that are responsible for carrying out this function. We do have evidence of chemicals causing epigenetic changes, and resulting in diseases like cancers, but for the most part, this would again be in a background of genetic susceptibility to such a modification.
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LMC Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

Quote:Diseases are not organ-based entities but mind-body based. Human mind is in every cell and hatred might even make our own cells hate our other cells. .
from the start i had been assuming that we have a case of either biased person or liar but some of his articles make me wonder if there really is much weight to his achievements in our mug-and-puke system and plagiarist system there was a lovely episode of jaspal bhatti on this ROTFL besides we had a similar discussion here this brings up an interesting topic but will require a separate thread , i think there have been enough discussions about the mind-over-matter crap ever since the how the bleep do we know documentary came out and pratibha has taken up main points of the article but i also want to discuss how harmful can his views be considering how influential he is, just so you know he has also written articles validating the anti-vaccine campaigns that were hot some time ago , besides endorsing homeopathy,astrology ,reiki,ayurveda, in particular i would like to discuss this quote ,
Quote:Now one understands how thousands of women having the BRAC1 gene, etc., are dying daily with the fear of breast cancer and might even get that cancer solely owing to fear. There are efforts to unravel the human genome and make life miserable for everyone.
pratibha has already discussed this but i also want to point out why it is important and that efforts are not to make life miserable for anyone, this discovery is important, because it can help in early diagnosis and perhaps even prevention ,b m hegde statements in this case can be dangerous as he is saying that high risk people should stop worrying about cancer, stop worrying about diagnosis since it is basically fear that causes it , needless to say this attitude could be life-threatening
also his quote
Quote:The environment is also vitiated by gene transfer not only in a single species but genes could jump from species to species in the environment, the inter species and intraspecies gene transfer mechanisms bring to fore the dreaded fear of genetic engineering. There are studies now that show that genetically engineered foods alter the intestinal bacterial flora by transferring their artificially injecting genes on to those beneficial gut germs! This could alter our immune system for ever, creating a new immune deficiency syndrome deadlier than AIDS!
His fear of genetic engineering is clear, the main concerns of these people is their repulsion to anything unnatural , because it was not made so by god
In 2002, Zambia cut off the flow of Genetically Modified Food (mostly maize) from UN's World Food Programme. This left a famine-stricken population without food aid([Image: 33kc7zo.gif])

firstly we cannot ignore the benefits of genetically-modified foods pest resistance,herbicide tolerance,disease resistance,cold tolerance,drought tolerance, obviously there are certain risks and genes do jump from species to species but that is mostly in plants where cross-breeding is easy, this can cause generation of "superweeds" but of course there are solutions such as avoiding pollen transfer to keep them apart , but on the whole, with the exception of possible allergenicity, scientists believe that genetically modified foods do not present a risk to human health., ofcourse there were certain experimental foods that could have been harmful
anyhow back to tomatoes and intestines
The fear that intestinal bacterial genes to produce deadly germs and undo our immune system intestinal bacterial genes to produce deadly germs and undo our immune system is not supported by the scientific evidence also see (1,2)
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Lije Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

Quote:Human metagenome should teach mankind that every action of mankind could only be accomplished with the permission of those foreign genes along with our own. This brings us to the Indian wisdom that education is humility and humility is the best genetic characteristic.

Mixing morality and science. Not good.

But let us analyze what he means by "humility". He is arguing from Brahmanism and to take one example according it, humility involves accepting the dharma of one's Varna no matter how badly they suck at it. Why? Cause The Good Book says so.

Quote:The Indian wisdom of Vasudaieva kutumbakam (World is but one large family) is a very, very scientific concept in today's new biology.

Here's an organization that seems to take Vasudaieva kutumbakam seriously enough to include it as their tag line (much like how Nirmukta takes its tag line "Promoting Science and Freethought in India" seriously). Scientific indeed Rolleyes
(This post was last modified: 18-07-2011 06:56 PM by Lije.)
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karatalaamalaka Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

On qualification: just because someone has a PhD/MD in some field doesn't mean his/her thinking will be rational. There is a high likelihood it will be, but it is not a certainty. I know engineering PhDs who don't fully believe in evolutionary biology, and physicists who doubt global warming and epidemiology. The system need not necessarily be screwed up (ref. Jaspal Bhatti's caricature) to produce Dr. BM Hegde-types.

It is disturbing that The Hindu, being one of the few serious newspapers of India agrees to publish such trash.
(This post was last modified: 18-07-2011 10:31 PM by karatalaamalaka.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

Quote:His (Lamarck's) theory fits with new the age biologists' finding that immune systems adapt themselves to their environment for survival. Darwin's Origin of Species has a chapter that talks only of “struggle and violence” for survival behind evolutionary advancement — survival of the fittest. Biology has changed a lot since then but diehard Darwinists hang on to his coat tails.

Pratibha has already dissected this very well. I have a couple of points to add.

I'm trying to figure out what he means by "new the age biologists". Does he mean new age biologists? Confounding. In any case, the immune response has little to do with Lamarck's theory, as pointed out above, and descent with modification, coupled with natural selection is by far the more powerful force in evolution. I must slightly disagree with Pratibha though, because it has indeed been demonstrated that certain minor Lamarckian effects are real. For example, exposure to certain chemicals by women long before they are pregnant has been shown to influence not just their children, but also their children's children. But this fact is insignificant in the context and Pratibha is absolutely correct to dismiss Lamarck's theory, because Darwinian evolution is the actual mechanism behind evolution. Even the slight Lamarckian effects that we observe are mediated by Darwinian evolution.

There is, however, another issue here- the distortion of Darwin's words, and evolution in general.

Hegde, like many anti-evolutionists, brings up the term "survival of the fittest" in the context of Darwin's Origin. This is ill-informed. Darwin preferred a more neutral phrase in his book- the "struggle for existence". The phrase "survival of the fittest" was coined by Herbert Spencer, and has since become famous. The fact is, Darwin actually spoke about cooperation as well, and was actually the first person to suggest that group level selection forces could be at work in biological evolution of individuals and species. In his book The Descent of Man, he says
Quote:"those communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring."
It took over 100 years before this idea entered mainstream biology in regards to group selection theory. Darwin also had things to say about kin selection, and even suggested reciprocity as a possible evolutionary mechanism behind cooperation between members of the same species.

Darwin also talks about numerous cases of cooperation between different species as a mechanism for competition against the forces of nature. In any case, we have come a long way since Darwin. Anyone who thinks that the theory of biological evolution by natural selection is myopic because depends on competition alone, is attacking a caricature. Not only is there cooperation between organisms, but there are also other forces such as recombination, biased mutation, genetic drift etc that are involved in evolution.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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Ritu Jain Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

Quote:One of my patients, a mother of a boy, makes life miserable for the boy and the whole family fearing that he will be a diabetic soon as his father and uncle are diabetics and one cousin also has diabetes.‎

She has every right to watch out since Indian men are genetically predisposed to diabetes as have several recent studies found out, e.g. article by Jared Diamond
http://www.nature.com/natu​re/journal/v4...9478a.html

Quote:Geneticists are yet to recover from the shock of a human metagenome which has trillions of genes that it will take another century at least to unravel, even if all the science institutions in the world were to work only on those genes. T...here are human genes, germ genes, viral genes and their metabolites genes (germinomes, virinomes, and metabolomes, together called the human metagenome) inside the meta-genome‎

What kind of bullshit is this. germinome, virinome, metabolome? As I understand, the metagenome is the genes of the 1000s of bacteria that live in our gut, and they have been found to all together have 3.3 million non-redundant genes (ORFs) not trillions. We may already know the functions of many of these genes, once we look at them more carefully. Most of the genes are to help the bacteria survive in the human gut not vice-versa.

Quote:Was Lamarck just a little bit right?” This tongue-in-cheek heading speaks for itself.‎

To quote from the tongue in cheek article "Although these new findings do not support Lamarck's overall concept, they do raise the possibility that 'epimutations' as they are called could play a role in evolution"
Hegde is trying to stretch the possibility a little far.

Quote:There are studies now that show that genetically engineered foods alter the intestinal bacterial flora by transferring their artificially injecting genes on to those beneficial gut germs! This could alter our immune system for ever, creating a new immune deficiency syndrome deadlier than AIDS!‎

This is again the false propaganda to get people scared of GM foods. Let me quote from the Nature Biotechnology article he has cited "The transgene did not survive passage through the intact gastrointestinal tract of human subjects fed GM soya.....we conclude that gene transfer did not occur during the feeding experiment."
Why is he trying to misrepresent the authors conclusion?
(This post was last modified: 19-07-2011 10:20 AM by Lije.)
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avvs Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

(18-07-2011 10:31 PM)karatalaamalaka Wrote:  On qualification: just because someone has a PhD/MD in some field doesn't mean his/her thinking will be rational. There is a high likelihood it will be, but it is not a certainty. I know engineering PhDs who don't fully believe in evolutionary biology, and physicists who doubt global warming and epidemiology.

The acquisition of Ph.D/M.D. or any degrees is routinely done by confirming or expanding paradigms in many cases. The work tends to be meticulous, internally consistent in logic, and often adds one more marble to the existing box. But it is the paradigm changers that impact society - as Thomas Kuhn might say. Such changers, those thinking outside the box, may venture to do so without the support of the same internal logic that guided their own work in the box which could lead to errors. I wonder if Dr. Hegde has dared to jump outside his own box to arrive at such surprising conclusions!
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

(31-07-2011 08:27 AM)avvs Wrote:  The acquisition of Ph.D/M.D. or any degrees is routinely done by confirming or expanding paradigms in many cases. The work tends to be meticulous, internally consistent in logic, and often adds one more marble to the existing box. But it is the paradigm changers that impact society - as Thomas Kuhn might say. Such changers, those thinking outside the box, may venture to do so without the support of the same internal logic that guided their own work in the box which could lead to errors. I wonder if Dr. Hegde has dared to jump outside his own box to arrive at such surprising conclusions!

You are right, of course, about how paradigm changers impact society. But let us not dismiss the adding of marbles to the existing box (not saying you are, but just adding some context). For example, knowledge of biochemical pathways or the roles of specific genes can be furthered through systematic application of tried and tested methodology. And those are extremely valuable marbles. But as you say, there comes a point in science when a new paradigm is required to create an explosion of opportunities in understanding.

In Hegde's case, he is not changing the paradigm. He is clutching at straws in order to support his mystical new-age notions. New scientific paradigms usually do not violate known and well-supported scientific theories. New scientific paradigms work over the foundation of what is already known. A good example is the subject of Complexity in the physical sciences. It is, at best, a stretch to say that Hegde is advancing new scientific paradigms. A reasonable assertion would be that he is advancing pseudoscientific and mystical ideas under the guise of promoting new scientific paradigms.

I apologize if I have misunderstood what you were saying. Your last two sentences seem to imply that Hegde was not being logically consistent, so I think I am not essentially disagreeing what you have said. I just wanted to add a little more to the idea of new scientific paradigms in general, and present my thought that Hegde is not advancing anything of the sort.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 31-07-2011 09:11 AM by Ajita Kamal.)
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sojourner Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Prof. BM Hegde on The Hindu

I just saw this thread today. Hegde makes Deepak Chopra look rational. The below quotes are particularly nonsensical:

Each cell in our body is a complete organism

(There is a) human mind is in every cell
-----------------------------------------
Even a human mind in a human body is a myth.
-----------------------------------------
Until I found Nirmukta, I used to argue the freethinker position in the Iyer/Iyengar network on Facebook. There are people there who would eat up this Hegde article lock, stock, and barrel. I am half tempted to post a link to it there.
(This post was last modified: 11-08-2011 04:57 AM by sojourner.)
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