Quantum mechanics, Reality, Vedanta and the nature of 'scientific method'
#13
@arvindiyer and others,


Just as an extension of my previous comment........


Re of arvindiyer: The 'origin of the Universe' and the 'human mental states' are both phenomena that can be addressed within a naturalistic framework with the scientific method, and positing supernatural entities like an all-pervading 'Consciousness' add no explanatory or predictive power to the scientific treatments of these phenomena.



Let us see! You may well agree that human consciousness is a scientific reality. Then will you please let me know whether the same science has been able to catch/prove this 'consciousness' as an ‘evidence’ using the 'scientific methods'?


a) If yes: Is it measurable? How it differs from that of other species? and therefore whether it qualifies as a 'scientific evidence' accordingly etc.


b) If not: To what extent it is justified to expect from Vedanta etc to prove its claim regarding the 'universal consciousness' etc using the same 'scientific methods' which even fails to prove the case of a known and real 'human consciousness' and the very concept of 'scientific methods' being, in turn, based on this very 'human consciousness'?


c) If otherwise: Pending the issue of final decision (with no time limits prescribed) to what extent it is justified to pass the burden to prove its case based on 'scientific evidence' on the Vedanta? Why not the science itself is getting caught in the unbreakable circular argument of 'reason and logic' for its own reasons stated as in (b)? In other words, science is a study of cause-effect. The original cause is still unknown (e.g. reasons for big bang, initial energy etc) and it is calling the ‘effect’ i.e. 'scientific method/evidence' etc to be a sole criteria without ever knowing and understanding the original cause. It seems to be gross absurd based on logic, reason, and critical thinking!!


Please note that these questions have much relevance and may help me bring out precisely my line of pure 'scientific argument'. Please help me.
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#14
(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: @arvindiyer and others,


Just as an extension of my previous comment........


Re of arvindiyer: The 'origin of the Universe' and the 'human mental states' are both phenomena that can be addressed within a naturalistic framework with the scientific method, and positing supernatural entities like an all-pervading 'Consciousness' add no explanatory or predictive power to the scientific treatments of these phenomena.



Let us see! You may well agree that human consciousness is a scientific reality. Then will you please let me know whether the same science has been able to catch/prove this 'consciousness' as an ‘evidence’ using the 'scientific methods'?

I don't know about others, but I am beginning to lose patience.here. I think it will be far better if you straightaway get to your point, tell us what you want to tell us and then we give you our opinions on that.

I am not even sure what the statement "has been able to catch/prove this 'consciousness' as an 'evidence' using the 'scientific methods?" means. What does it mean by proving evidence? Something is proved using evidence, not vice-versa.

If you want to know what's naturalistic explanation for consciousness then you can find something here and here. If you want more, just search for "Daniel Dennett consciousness" on youtube.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: a) If yes: Is it measurable? How it differs from that of other species? and therefore whether it qualifies as a 'scientific evidence' accordingly etc.
You can start here to learn how some animals are not that different from humans, with respect to consciousness etc. More or less it typically boils down to complexity.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: b) If not: To what extent it is justified to expect from Vedanta etc to prove its claim regarding the 'universal consciousness' etc using the same 'scientific methods' which even fails to prove the case of a known and real 'human consciousness' and the very concept of 'scientific methods' being, in turn, based on this very 'human consciousness'?
I think you are missing something very basic. Human consciousness presence/absence is not really under contention. The tricky problem is figuring out its nature, and just like any spectrum, identification of the band that stands for conscious beings. This cannot be equated with propositions like universal consciousness for which there isn't any iota of evidence.

And "scientific method" doesn't really depend on human consciousness. It is just tuned for human learning. There are some biocentric concepts about it but it can really be contented that scientific method can exist without humans.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: c) If otherwise: Pending the issue of final decision (with no time limits prescribed) to what extent it is justified to pass the burden to prove its case based on 'scientific evidence' on the Vedanta? Why not the science itself is getting caught in the unbreakable circular argument of 'reason and logic' for its own reasons stated as in (b)? In other words, science is a study of cause-effect. The original cause is still unknown (e.g. reasons for big bang, initial energy etc) and it is calling the ‘effect’ i.e. 'scientific method/evidence' etc to be a sole criteria without ever knowing and understanding the original cause. It seems to be gross absurd based on logic, reason, and critical thinking!!


Please note that these questions have much relevance and may help me bring out precisely my line of pure 'scientific argument'. Please help me.

Dude, it really sounds like you have total messed up concepts. A law describes cause-effect relationship. It needn't necessarily be a cause or effect in itself. Scientific method is neither a cause nor an effect, because it is NOT an event. Its a method. And why do you keep insisting on that without the knowledge of first cause nothing can be achieved. Thats so not true. We now have a decent enough knowledge about accurate positions of celestial bodies in past, present or future.
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#15
(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: Then will you please let me know whether the same science has been able to catch/prove this 'consciousness' as an ‘evidence’ using the 'scientific methods'?

For anyone willing to invest the sufficient amount of time and seriousness that this topic deserves, one useful resource can be this series of video lectures by Prof. Christof Koch.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: a) If yes: Is it measurable? How it differs from that of other species? and therefore whether it qualifies as a 'scientific evidence' accordingly etc.

The range of voluntary actions and intelligent decision-making that different species are capable of, can be compared using a number of ingenious experimental paradigm, some of which are vividly demonstrated in the documentary 'The Human Ape'.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: b) If not: To what extent it is justified to expect from Vedanta etc to prove its claim regarding the 'universal consciousness' etc using the same 'scientific methods' which even fails to prove the case of a known and real 'human consciousness' and the very concept of 'scientific methods' being, in turn, based on this very 'human consciousness'?

Every school of thought is 'permitted' to treat certain claims as axiomatic and proceed from there. However, eventually the predictions resulting from these axioms must show some pay-off in terms of how well they can explain observed phenomena. Also, the Principle of Parsimony, i.e. Occam's Razor is applicable in choosing how many assumptions to make and how many propositions to treat as axiomatic. In studying questions like the origin of the Universe and human mental states, there is greater economy of assumptions in studying it from a standpoint of Eliminative Materialism. Positing as axiomatic the existence of entities that are complex by definition, such as God or a universal Consciousness, is an approach that fails the test of parsimony and is hence not proven useful in promoting scientific advances.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: Pending the issue of final decision (with no time limits prescribed) to what extent it is justified to pass the burden to prove its case based on 'scientific evidence' on the Vedanta?

Nobody expected a pre-scientific belief system from antiquity to conform to the scientific method and it is only after incessant boasts of apologists that Vedanta is compatible with and in fact a superset of Science, that they are naturally being asked to back up these boasts with evidence of how scientific advance was furthered by Vedanta.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: Why not the science itself is getting caught in the unbreakable circular argument of 'reason and logic' for its own reasons stated as in (b)? In other words, science is a study of cause-effect. The original cause is still unknown (e.g. reasons for big bang, initial energy etc) and it is calling the ‘effect’ i.e. 'scientific method/evidence' etc to be a sole criteria without ever knowing and understanding the original cause

There is no circularity here in scientific explanations of both the evolution of the Universe as well as the evolution of human behaviors, in that both begin with parsimonious assumptions and explain the emergence of complexity therefrom. A complete series on the emergence of complexity can be read here. It is the religious/spiritual view that is subject to infinite regress by positing one type of complexity as a cause for the other, thus leading to the question what caused the original complexity. The 'causeless cause' line which is resorted to by apologists of nearly every faith, is critically examined here both from a philosophical as well as a physical sciences perspective.

(15-Dec-2011, 08:38 PM)ramesh Wrote: Please note that these questions have much relevance and may help me bring out precisely my line of pure 'scientific argument'.

Does it seem reasonable to you to award yourself a repeated self-certification that your approach is scientific, while at the same time consistently ignore and give excuses for ignoring the abundance of educational resources for science presented in the above comment trail? Does it seem reasonable for you to assume that no time limits are applicable and members here have all the time in the world to issue repeated clarifications on issues that have been addressed umpteen number of times previously, simply because you are unwilling to expend the effort to read the resources suggested and instead prefer to proclaim pending proof the primacy of Vedanta over science?


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#16
(15-Dec-2011, 10:48 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: Every school of thought is 'permitted' to treat certain claims as axiomatic and proceed from there. However, eventually the predictions resulting from these axioms must show some pay-off in terms of how well they can explain observed phenomena. Also, the Principle of Parsimony, i.e. Occam's Razor is applicable in choosing how many assumptions to make and how many propositions to treat as axiomatic. In studying questions like the origin of the Universe and human mental states, there is greater economy of assumptions in studying it from a standpoint of Eliminative Materialism. Positing as axiomatic the existence of entities that are complex by definition, such as God or a universal Consciousness, is an approach that fails the test of parsimony and is hence not proven useful in promoting scientific advances.

Also falsifiability is an important aspect of any scientific theory. A theory can't be just logical, it has to be in accord with observations.
And lastly, a theory has to be useful, it should add to human knowledge by being able to make "falsifiable predictions". Would be interested to know what has been predicted by positing the existence of universal consciousness.
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#17
Dear all,

Before some of you run out of your patience I would like to summarise my findings on 'science, scientific method' based on few comments of yours and the materials you have referred to me so far as follows and put up my case with Vedanta.


1. Quantum effects are as of yet irreconcilable with questions at the scale of the sum total of the energy of the universe. Quantum effects have not been scientifically linked to "what we feel as "real""
Perception is getting a sense of reality, but by the highly successful process of inductive reasoning we conlude that the more reasonable explanation for our intersubjective perceptions, often mathematically ergo objectively verified, is that reality is real. Woo, is also real.-------Kamal

2. And here is the answer to your question. The epistemic limits apply for all knowledge systems. They are all probabilistic. Be it science or Vedanta. However science makes the limits known explicitly, but Vedanta demands that it be accepted on faith that it has no such limits. ---------Lije

3. If you are referring to Big Bang then yes there are some aspects that are currently mystery for Science.----- Kanad.


Only above sort of comments are bit closer to what I tried to get from you.

And here is an example of how I get misunderstood by you.

Kanad ----A law describes cause-effect relationship. It needn't necessarily be a cause or effect in itself. Scientific method is neither a cause nor an effect, because it is NOT an event. Its a method. And why do you keep insisting on that without the knowledge of first cause nothing can be achieved. Thats so not true. We now have a decent enough knowledge about accurate positions of celestial bodies in past, present or future.


My sense: A law comes from human beings. Human beings come from the existence of the ‘energy’. And cause of the first energy is unexplained. It is in this sense that the ‘law’ or ‘constituents of scientific method’ and so ‘the scientific method’ are cause of the ‘initial energy’ which is unexplained. That sum total energy of the universe is zero badly fails to explain “the perception of human being ‘about the reality’” is itself a reality. Thus science fails to explain the ‘infinite regresses’ of energy in sharp contrast to how Vedanta succeeds in explaining the same stated below.


Thus in short ‘the realm or field of activity of the science begins with energy and end with the energy. It is simply the different forms of energy that science deals with and cannot deal with anything else in principle’. Science in principle cannot know what was there before this first energy and what would be there after the last energy in accordance with the 1st law of thermodynamics.



The following comments come somewhat close to what I propose to interpret about Vedanta.


And "scientific method" doesn't really depend on human consciousness. It is just tuned for human learning. There are some biocentric concepts about it but it can really be contented that scientific method can exist without humans.--------Kanad



Now the turn of Vedanta.


The realm of Vedanta begins with the cause of ‘this first energy’ or in addressing the ‘infinite regress’ of energy and it hardly deals with the ‘forms of the energy’ as has been the case with the modern science. So far all the achievements of the science deal with ‘forms of energy’ and virtually there is no progress in addressing the ‘very cause’ of the ‘first energy’. Vedanta is a sort of ‘biocentric concept’ where it is absurd to state that ‘scientific method’ don’t really depend on human consciousness unlike as the Kanad stated. In Vedanta ‘energy’ is an effect of the ‘consciousness’. It is the science which thinks ‘consciousness’ to be an effect of ‘energy’ or is yet to be accounted for unlike in the Vedanta ‘everything’ in the universe or universe itself is an effect of ‘consciousness’ and this very ‘consciousness’ has nothing to do with the energy or its form as an effect of the same. In Vedanta ‘energy’ is non matter unlike in the science. As such Vedanta has never been in contradiction with the science as their realms differ and therefore ‘scientific methods’ which are meaningful in the realm of science are totally irrelevant in Vedantic approach. It is simply the sharpened logic and reason that alone can lead to the understanding the claim of Vedanta.


Examples:

1. In a dim light rope can be taken for a snake, crack in the earth etc by different persons seeing it. For a person seeing a snake in the rope, snake is a reality. Here rope is the truth and this truth is meaningless for the man seeing a snake in the rope since he is unaware of the rope. Here Vedanta calls the rope to be ‘Brahman’ (truth) and Sanke as ‘mithya’. Mithaya thing has all the attributes of the reality as long as ‘truth’ is unknown. Once the truth (rope) becomes known ‘mithya’ things loses its reality. An aspect of human beings which makes him see both the ‘snake’ and ‘rope’ is called ‘consciousness’ in Vedanta. It is alone which runs common to the ‘mithya’ (universe) and rope (truth), thus the concept of ‘universal consciousness’

For a modern human being this snake is like universe, modern science (or set of mass i.e.energy, time and space etc) and concept of ‘truth’ is an anathema for it since this truth is unknown whereas Vedanta calls it by name ‘Brahman’. Vedanta for sure states that once the knowledge of rope dawns the snake is identified with the rope. Thus there is no problem of ‘infinite regression’ in the Vedanta unlike the same problem in the modern science. There is no concept of God (and so the rebirth, heaven, sin etc almost infinite things as prevalent in Hinduism) as truth in the Vedanta. God is just an arrangement for unqualified (less in logical and reasoning ability) people to have their problems solved just as the factor ‘x’ in the algebraic equations of the mathematics which is discarded in the end after the solution has been found.


Thus Vedanta never contradicts science but paves a way for stabilization of human race on individual, social, political level which science can never do by prescribing the duties according to the abilities of an individual to understand and grasp the things as detailed in the ‘Dvaita system’. Geeta describes this system as ‘change is the law of nature’. Therefore in accordance with place and time system has to be defined. Thus Vedanta boosts the science very healthily and in a sound manner which science alone cannot do.

Now anymore elaboration about the Vedanta would be waste because Vedanta states that ‘man can know only that much to which he questions’. The stage at which man stops questioning that stage itself becomes a truth for him. There does exist a stage when no further queries arise and that is knowledge of ‘Brahman’. Bhagawad Geeta, Vichar Sagar etc are always in the form of question-answer. The more the person asks logical and well reasoned questions the closer he would be to the truth/knowledge. Therefore your further queries could be answered only if you put up logical and well reasoned sincere questions. I repeat I have nothing to do with spirituality, religion, faith, belief etc.

I regret none of your references dealt with this sort of content which I always intended for. Let you be precise and either I would be dismissed or worth to be considered, I would be equally happy in either case. I regret my expression skill but believe in you ability to understand my sense.
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#18
Ramesh,

A discussion that is not based on some common ground will not go anywhere. I tried to answer your question on such a common ground (logic and reason) and said this:

(13-Dec-2011, 11:26 PM)Lije Wrote: An assertion like that is in the same category as that of a scientologist asserting that Xenu is real. This is simple logic, a proof by contradiction. When you justify Vedanta, using the very same premises, absurd conclusions can be arrived at. Science does not lead to contradictions because it accepts that it can be wrong, is amenable to correction and it relies on the assumptions mentioned earlier which have to be false in order for it to lead to contradictions.

You seem to have overlooked it and instead are accusing people of not posing "logical and well reasoned sincere questions".

You have also expanded the scope of the discussion by including morality and then using that new point to address earlier arguments which were solely concerned with science. The right thing to do would be to compare a moral system based on science like cultural naturalism with Vedanta. But that is an entirely different topic altogether.
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#19
(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: That sum total energy of the universe is zero badly fails to explain “the perception of human being ‘about the reality’” is itself a reality.

Human senses evolved to survive in 'Middle World' and hence human perception is not-well matched and is even misleading when making inferences about phenomena in astronomical and quantum scales. This TED talk offers several illustrations of this.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: Science in principle cannot know what was there before this first energy and what would be there after the last energy in accordance with the 1st law of thermodynamics.

What is 'last energy'? What is 'first energy'? Prof. Wadhawan's article, linked in earlier in this thread as well, explains how the First Law of Thermodynamics remains inviolate even during what has been called 'the moment of Creation'. Prof. Wadhawan's initiative to explain these concepts in very accessible language not assuming much preparation is a useful resource for those who wish to clear misconceptions and learn more about Science. It is another matter that some would wish to mine scientific literature to cherish and guard their own misconceptions.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: As such Vedanta has never been in contradiction with the science as their realms differ and therefore ‘scientific methods’ which are meaningful in the realm of science are totally irrelevant in Vedantic approach.

Many Vedantists, who despite historical evidence to the contrary consider Vedas, Vedanta and Puranas to be a seamless whole, conveniently ignore the fact that there are some empirical and falsifiable claims endorsed by Vedanta which do in fact 'trespass' upon the realm of Science and can in fact be shown to be false. For example, what the scriptures dear to many Vedantists say about the age of the Universe, can be shown to be unsubstantiated.

More importantly, if indeed there is mutual irrelevance, why is there so much anxiety among Vedanta enthusiasts to appear scientific?

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: In a dim light rope can be taken for a snake, crack in the earth etc by different persons seeing it.

You don't need Vedanta to tell apart a rope from a snake. A torch will do. Comparing reports from ten different people with the same torch will help. To account for flaws in human perception, Science has evolved a battery of measures, which were mentioned even in an earlier link which predictably was dismissed as irrelevant, as is typical among apologists unaware of their own ongoing confirmation bias.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: God is just an arrangement for unqualified (less in logical and reasoning ability) people to have their problems solved just as the factor ‘x’ in the algebraic equations of the mathematics which is discarded in the end after the solution has been found.

When a solution is offered, it is a good idea to first outline what the problem is. If the problem is the origin of the Universe and the description and prediction of natural phenomena, then positing 'Creators', 'Preservers' and 'Destroyers' as placeholder variables is compatible neither with the principle of parsimony nor with falsifiability as explained earlier, and hence does not belong to Science. It may well belong to the realm of fiction and must be treated as such, and in that case, these discussions are better of in fiction book clubs than in a forum dedicated to advancing Science and Freethought.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: Thus Vedanta never contradicts science but paves a way for stabilization of human race on individual, social, political level which science can never do by prescribing the duties according to the abilities of an individual to understand and grasp the things as detailed in the ‘Dvaita system’.

First off, the 'Dvaita system' requires assuming several supernatural phenomena as its core tenets and therefore by the tests of parsimony and falsifiability is rendered unacceptable at the outset itself as a 'scientific approach'. As for the methods of social organization that enjoy Vedantic sanction, some objections can be read here and here.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: I regret my expression skill but believe in you ability to understand my sense.

I will conclude with a question for all apologists. All you apologists who rue your lack of expression and rue your interlocutor's lack of understanding, but continue ad nauseam with the same admittedly faulty expression, why don't you consider following your own scriptures' counsel for silence and surrender to a higher will?

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#20
(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: Dear all,

Before some of you run out of your patience I would like to summarise my findings on 'science, scientific method' based on few comments of yours and the materials you have referred to me so far as follows and put up my case with Vedanta.


1. Quantum effects are as of yet irreconcilable with questions at the scale of the sum total of the energy of the universe. Quantum effects have not been scientifically linked to "what we feel as "real""
Perception is getting a sense of reality, but by the highly successful process of inductive reasoning we conlude that the more reasonable explanation for our intersubjective perceptions, often mathematically ergo objectively verified, is that reality is real. Woo, is also real.-------Kamal
If I understand correctly, Kamal's statement was in a different context. You are doing a lot of cherry picking here. Me and Arvind posted some links that propose theories of how universe could have arisen from nothing. Why are you ignoring those?

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: And here is an example of how I get misunderstood by you.

Kanad ----A law describes cause-effect relationship. It needn't necessarily be a cause or effect in itself. Scientific method is neither a cause nor an effect, because it is NOT an event. Its a method. And why do you keep insisting on that without the knowledge of first cause nothing can be achieved. Thats so not true. We now have a decent enough knowledge about accurate positions of celestial bodies in past, present or future.


My sense: A law comes from human beings. Human beings come from the existence of the ‘energy’. And cause of the first energy is unexplained. It is in this sense that the ‘law’ or ‘constituents of scientific method’ and so ‘the scientific method’ are cause of the ‘initial energy’ which is unexplained.
This is longest tautological post that I have come across. You are proving what you are assuming to be true. To elaborate, you presume that laws HAVE to be dependent on some kind of consciousness and thus posit a universal consciousness. How about trying to challenge your belief and replace with a very simple concept, i.e. laws are nothing but sets of rules and do NOT need any consciousness for their existence?

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: That sum total energy of the universe is zero badly fails to explain “the perception of human being ‘about the reality’” is itself a reality. Thus science fails to explain the ‘infinite regresses’ of energy in sharp contrast to how Vedanta succeeds in explaining the same stated below.
Huh?? Just stating something doesn't make it true. How has sum total energy of universe being zero failed? I seriously suspect if you understand the concept of "energy". This is scientific concept and not the "woo term for explaining anything that cannot be seen or felt".

Thus there is no "infinite regress" that Science has failed to explain. Something can come out of nothing and thus there is no infinite regress.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: Thus in short ‘the realm or field of activity of the science begins with energy and end with the energy. It is simply the different forms of energy that science deals with and cannot deal with anything else in principle’. Science in principle cannot know what was there before this first energy and what would be there after the last energy in accordance with the 1st law of thermodynamics.
Lot of nonsense as Arvind has already pointed out.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: Now the turn of Vedanta.

The realm of Vedanta begins with the cause of ‘this first energy’ or in addressing the ‘infinite regress’ of energy and it hardly deals with the ‘forms of the energy’ as has been the case with the modern science. So far all the achievements of the science deal with ‘forms of energy’ and virtually there is no progress in addressing the ‘very cause’ of the ‘first energy’. Vedanta is a sort of ‘biocentric concept’ where it is absurd to state that ‘scientific method’ don’t really depend on human consciousness unlike as the Kanad stated. In Vedanta ‘energy’ is an effect of the ‘consciousness’. It is the science which thinks ‘consciousness’ to be an effect of ‘energy’ or is yet to be accounted for unlike in the Vedanta ‘everything’ in the universe or universe itself is an effect of ‘consciousness’ and this very ‘consciousness’ has nothing to do with the energy or its form as an effect of the same. In Vedanta ‘energy’ is non matter unlike in the science. As such Vedanta has never been in contradiction with the science as their realms differ and therefore ‘scientific methods’ which are meaningful in the realm of science are totally irrelevant in Vedantic approach. It is simply the sharpened logic and reason that alone can lead to the understanding the claim of Vedanta.

Examples: 
1. In a dim light rope can be taken for a snake, crack in the earth etc by different persons seeing it. For a person seeing a snake in the rope, snake is a reality. Here rope is the truth and this truth is meaningless for the man seeing a snake in the rope since he is unaware of the rope. Here Vedanta calls the rope to be ‘Brahman’ (truth) and Sanke as ‘mithya’. Mithaya thing has all the attributes of the reality as long as ‘truth’ is unknown. Once the truth (rope) becomes known ‘mithya’ things loses its reality. An aspect of human beings which makes him see both the ‘snake’ and ‘rope’ is called ‘consciousness’ in Vedanta. It is alone which runs common to the ‘mithya’ (universe) and rope (truth), thus the concept of ‘universal consciousness’
Hmm... ever heard of something called "cartesian duality"? This whole concept of mind and matter has been around for a long time and in last century we have high evidence to regard this as unnecessary dichotomy. You can refer to Bertrand Russel's work to understand how this dichotomy is not required.

(20-Dec-2011, 10:14 PM)ramesh Wrote: For a modern human being this snake is like universe, modern science (or set of mass i.e.energy, time and space etc) and concept of ‘truth’ is an anathema for it since this truth is unknown whereas Vedanta calls it by name ‘Brahman’. Vedanta for sure states that once the knowledge of rope dawns the snake is identified with the rope. Thus there is no problem of ‘infinite regression’ in the Vedanta unlike the same problem in the modern science. There is no concept of God (and so the rebirth, heaven, sin etc almost infinite things as prevalent in Hinduism) as truth in the Vedanta. God is just an arrangement for unqualified (less in logical and reasoning ability) people to have their problems solved just as the factor ‘x’ in the algebraic equations of the mathematics which is discarded in the end after the solution has been found.


Thus Vedanta never contradicts science but paves a way for stabilization of human race on individual, social, political level which science can never do by prescribing the duties according to the abilities of an individual to understand and grasp the things as detailed in the ‘Dvaita system’. Geeta describes this system as ‘change is the law of nature’. Therefore in accordance with place and time system has to be defined. Thus Vedanta boosts the science very healthily and in a sound manner which science alone cannot do.

Now anymore elaboration about the Vedanta would be waste because Vedanta states that ‘man can know only that much to which he questions’. The stage at which man stops questioning that stage itself becomes a truth for him. There does exist a stage when no further queries arise and that is knowledge of ‘Brahman’. Bhagawad Geeta, Vichar Sagar etc are always in the form of question-answer. The more the person asks logical and well reasoned questions the closer he would be to the truth/knowledge. Therefore your further queries could be answered only if you put up logical and well reasoned sincere questions. I repeat I have nothing to do with spirituality, religion, faith, belief etc.

I regret none of your references dealt with this sort of content which I always intended for. Let you be precise and either I would be dismissed or worth to be considered, I would be equally happy in either case. I regret my expression skill but believe in you ability to understand my sense.
This is just digressing into altogether different topic of Ethics, as pointed out by Lije.

Seriously, I don't think you are as "rational" as you claim to be. You are not making slightest of the effort to read the links that have been posted. You seem to have already made up your mind and then involving in a lot of "confirmation bias"
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#21
@Lije,

Re: When you justify Vedanta, using the very same premises, absurd conclusions can be arrived at. Science does not lead to contradictions because it accepts that it can be wrong, is amenable to correction and it relies on the assumptions mentioned earlier which have to be false in order for it to lead to contradictions.

Instead I would have been grateful to you had you stated me what absurd conclusions can be arrived at when I justify Vedanta. I still pray you state me at least one such conclusion which is absurd and arrived at by Vedanta. It may at once help ascertain both of us as to our lines of thinking on which we have been moving so far and thereby help us know our kind of logic, reason and imagination so that we can be upto that.

Then perhaps I would be able to know the meaning of your “A discussion that is not based on some common ground will not go anywhere”. Here I fail to understand what you mean by this ‘some common ground’. That calling me devoid of ‘logic and reason’ without detailing the same with ‘logic and reason’ itself would make a mockery of ‘reason and logic’.

Also “The epistemic limits apply for all knowledge systems. They are all probabilistic. Be it science or Vedanta. However science makes the limits known explicitly, but Vedanta demands that it be accepted on faith that it has no such limits”. Please let me know what ‘Faith’ Vedanta has demanded so far? Vedas say ‘neti, neti’ i.e. you are not this, you are not that etc about ‘Brahman’ when it comes to the description of it for others and still he is conscious of what it is.

@ arvindiyer

Since the beginning my focus has been on that ‘sum total energy of the universe is zero and still so far the science has failed to account for the actual reality as we see it’. All of your links/references etc just lead to ‘something can be produced from nothing’ but none of them reconciles itself with ‘nothing can be produced and destroyed-1st law of thermodynamics’

OR in words of Kamal “Quantum effects are as of yet irreconcilable with questions at the scale of the sum total of the energy of the universe. Quantum effects have not been scientifically linked to "what we feel as "real""
Perception is getting a sense of reality, but by the highly successful process of inductive reasoning we conlude that the more reasonable explanation for our intersubjective perceptions, often mathematically ergo objectively verified, is that reality is real. Woo, is also real”.

OR in words of Kanad “If you are referring to Big Bang then yes there are some aspects that are currently mystery for Science”

This is where Vedanta succeeds with concepts of ‘Brahman’ and ‘Maya’ without any trace of belief or any unscientific way.

@Kanad Kanhere

Re: Me and Arvind posted some links that propose theories of how universe could have arisen from nothing. Why are you ignoring those?

Kanad, I am not ignoring those but definitely you are missing what I am asking! If something can arise from nothing then please reconcile it with ‘nothing can be produced nor can be destroyed’- 1st law of thermodynamics (here nothing means no energy). Definitely you all are purposely neglecting my question on how this could match the ‘reality’ perception of human beings with ‘net zero energy’. I could not understand why you do not touch this my question since the beginning. Links/references you referred are either unsatisfactory or unrelated. I request you directly to put it here explicitly if it is really so and can be debated.

Re: You are proving what you are assuming to be true. To elaborate, you presume that laws HAVE to be dependent on some kind of consciousness and thus posit a universal consciousness. How about trying to challenge your belief and replace with a very simple concept, i.e. laws are nothing but sets of rules and do NOT need any consciousness for their existence?

Let us suppose there is no consciousness. Will there be any thinking? Simply silence or what Vedas call ‘neti, neti’. Not to talk of belief, rules and laws there won’t be anything since there won’t be anything which thinks without consciousness. I agree I begin with ‘individual consciousness’ (since it is we who think) but do end with ‘universal consciousness’ which is not assumed to be true and is different from ‘individual consciousnesses and is what you call as reality. That these two are same and one is proved after logic and reason is altogether different thing.

But in respect of science how ‘zero (total sum) energy’ gives rise to ‘real (non zero) energy’ as everybody witnesses in day today life is the greatest challenge which a modern sciences faces today. (none of any of yours links explain this problem). Don’t answer again with ‘zero (total sum) energy’ links/references since that is the cause of the problem. Request you understand my question with patience.

Re: How has sum total energy of universe being zero failed? I seriously suspect if you understand the concept of "energy". This is scientific concept and not the "woo term for explaining anything that cannot be seen or felt". Thus there is no "infinite regress" that Science has failed to explain. Something can come out of nothing and thus there is no infinite regress.

Can you please reconcile ‘Something can come out of nothing’ and ‘energy cannot be created nor can be destroyed’ i.e. whatever exists is true and is quite different from ‘nothing’? And when the Vedanta say similar (not the same) that there exists nothing except maya you remain unconvinced without even making sufficient efforts to know even what this exactly Maya is.

When the science says ‘nothing can be created’ (1st laws of thermodynamics) it should follow that ‘there should be zero’ in the beginning and no quantum mechanics is necessary to prove the same. However you people believe only because quantum mechanics proves so. However I wonder the same conclusion as drawn by quantum mechanics (total sum zero) is also long ago drawn by Vedanta that ‘nothing in principle exists’ and what we see is just Maya (different forms of the apparent energy) but doesn’t call it ‘zero’ or ‘real’ but beyond both zero and real to be called as Maya is not being properly digested by you for want of ‘sharp reason and logic’. Maya is both real and unreal or none of both real and unreal depending upon the relative system in which the seer is situated e.g. snake as seen in rope in dim light. This is not tautology.

Also,

Kanad: And lastly, a theory has to be useful, it should add to human knowledge by being able to make "falsifiable predictions". Would be interested to know what has been predicted by positing the existence of universal consciousness.

It was just in response of the above that I stated “Thus Vedanta never contradicts science but paves a way for stabilization of human race on individual, social, political level which science can never do by prescribing the duties according to the abilities of an individual to understand and grasp the things as detailed in the ‘Dvaita system’. Geeta describes this system as ‘change is the law of nature’. Therefore in accordance with place and time system has to be defined. Thus Vedanta boosts the science very healthily and in a sound manner which science alone cannot do.”

Then you people commented….

Re: You have also expanded the scope of the discussion by including morality and then using that new point to address earlier arguments which were solely concerned with science.----------Lije
Re: This is just digressing into altogether different topic of Ethics, as pointed out by Lije.-----------Kanad

So friends you ask me for usefulness of Vedanta and when I state the same you comment me digressing into altogether different topics. I am disappointed by the lack of interest of you people in debating the basic issues which I raise or are raised by you and so appear you to me as of closed minds.

At the end let me request you one thing. All gods, puranas, Vedas, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Manusmriti, Varnashram, Vadas calculation of age of universe, birth, rebirth, Karm theory and all those host of other things which constitute Hinduism is part of ‘Maya’ and is never a truth but put forward for just the ease of ‘common man’ just exactly as the ‘modern science’ only means easing all the problems of the ‘man’ is also part of Maya. So just the way you are flexible about ‘science’ so has been the ‘hinduism’ flexible about all these things. Truth has been only the Brahaman about which Vedas themselves say ‘neti neti’ (not this not that) and has been central in explaining the relation between ‘zero energy of the universe’ and ‘reality felt by conscious man’. Had it been easier to put all the truth (perfect logic and reason) precisely in words everybody would have been equally happy and prosperous just by reading it. Things are not so! Science can’t be for the sake of ‘science’ alone. It has to be for ‘Human beings’ to whom ‘happiness, stability of mind’ etc does matter!

Pray not to take anything as derogatory/trolling/proselytising/evading simple questions which won’t be my purpose ever for which exactly I was banned on debate corner at the time when the real debate was about to take off. Actual reason was that they failed miserably to understand my simple questions and what I mean by them despite of my efforts. Yes it is hard. Are not you witnessing that my original/first question stands as it is and you say and still say I neglected all your links/references which explain the same and accuse me out of reason and logic? I started here where I was made to end on debate corner. After finding myself still there where I was at the first comment on this thread I am feeling disappointed, tired and seem to agree with Lije that ‘this won’t end’ but for reasons exactly opposite to him as already stated.

I am very thankful and grateful for having allowed to remain me here so far.
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#22
(28-Dec-2011, 05:06 PM)ramesh Wrote: @Kanad Kanhere

Re: Me and Arvind posted some links that propose theories of how universe could have arisen from nothing. Why are you ignoring those?

Kanad, I am not ignoring those but definitely you are missing what I am asking! If something can arise from nothing then please reconcile it with ‘nothing can be produced nor can be destroyed’- 1st law of thermodynamics (here nothing means no energy). Definitely you all are purposely neglecting my question on how this could match the ‘reality’ perception of human beings with ‘net zero energy’. I could not understand why you do not touch this my question since the beginning. Links/references you referred are either unsatisfactory or unrelated. I request you directly to put it here explicitly if it is really so and can be debated.

Why are you not ready to refer to the links that are posted. Why do you want it "directly put it here explicitly"? Are you too lazy to click?
Anyways as usual you did your cherry picking. Arvind had given a link to explain how big bang doesn't violate conservation of energy principle. Again posting the link.
But ofcourse you are too lazy to read it here is a copy paste of the final paragraphs for you

Quote:What happened at the Big Bang was that there was a simultaneous emergence of the gravitational interaction. There was an explosion of sorts, in which radiation (and, a little latter, matter) emerged. The universe has been expanding ever since then. Expansion means an increase in the distances between the celestial bodies. Such ever-increasing distances mean a build-up of negative energy, which gets compensated by the creation of an equivalent amount of matter.

This is how mass gets created out of 'nothing', and there is no violation of the law of mass/energy conservation. This 'nothing' is actually a vacuum, which has some remarkable properties which can be described in the language of quantum mechanics only. For the time being, suffice it to say that our universe emerged out of nothing, and this did not require the intervention of a Creator.

(28-Dec-2011, 05:06 PM)ramesh Wrote: Re: You are proving what you are assuming to be true. To elaborate, you presume that laws HAVE to be dependent on some kind of consciousness and thus posit a universal consciousness. How about trying to challenge your belief and replace with a very simple concept, i.e. laws are nothing but sets of rules and do NOT need any consciousness for their existence?

Let us suppose there is no consciousness. Will there be any thinking? Simply silence or what Vedas call ‘neti, neti’. Not to talk of belief, rules and laws there won’t be anything since there won’t be anything which thinks without consciousness. I agree I begin with ‘individual consciousness’ (since it is we who think) but do end with ‘universal consciousness’ which is not assumed to be true and is different from ‘individual consciousnesses and is what you call as reality. That these two are same and one is proved after logic and reason is altogether different thing.

A big confirmation bias. For just one second get out of the assumption that things exist ONLY IN THOUGHT. Just because there is no consciousness to assert an object's existence doesn't necessarily make the object non-existent.

(28-Dec-2011, 05:06 PM)ramesh Wrote: When the science says ‘nothing can be created’ (1st laws of thermodynamics) it should follow that ‘there should be zero’ in the beginning and no quantum mechanics is necessary to prove the same. However you people believe only because quantum mechanics proves so. However I wonder the same conclusion as drawn by quantum mechanics (total sum zero) is also long ago drawn by Vedanta that ‘nothing in principle exists’ and what we see is just Maya (different forms of the apparent energy) but doesn’t call it ‘zero’ or ‘real’ but beyond both zero and real to be called as Maya is not being properly digested by you for want of ‘sharp reason and logic’. Maya is both real and unreal or none of both real and unreal depending upon the relative system in which the seer is situated e.g. snake as seen in rope in dim light. This is not tautology.

What an argument. Your line of reasoning sounds like this
1. Something cannot come out of nothing
2. So lets name everything nothing (Maya), solves the problem.
You are talking semantics. Just redifining something doesn't change its nature.

(28-Dec-2011, 05:06 PM)ramesh Wrote: Also,

Kanad: And lastly, a theory has to be useful, it should add to human knowledge by being able to make "falsifiable predictions". Would be interested to know what has been predicted by positing the existence of universal consciousness.

It was just in response of the above that I stated “Thus Vedanta never contradicts science but paves a way for stabilization of human race on individual, social, political level which science can never do by prescribing the duties according to the abilities of an individual to understand and grasp the things as detailed in the ‘Dvaita system’. Geeta describes this system as ‘change is the law of nature’. Therefore in accordance with place and time system has to be defined. Thus Vedanta boosts the science very healthily and in a sound manner which science alone cannot do.”

Then you people commented….

Re: You have also expanded the scope of the discussion by including morality and then using that new point to address earlier arguments which were solely concerned with science.----------Lije
Re: This is just digressing into altogether different topic of Ethics, as pointed out by Lije.-----------Kanad

So friends you ask me for usefulness of Vedanta and when I state the same you comment me digressing into altogether different topics. I am disappointed by the lack of interest of you people in debating the basic issues which I raise or are raised by you and so appear you to me as of closed minds.

Are you kidding me. Useful here does not stand for the colloquial usage. Useful here meant "giving falsifiable predictions, there by giving us more insights into the nature of universe".

(28-Dec-2011, 05:06 PM)ramesh Wrote: At the end let me request you one thing. All gods, puranas, Vedas, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Manusmriti, Varnashram, Vadas calculation of age of universe, birth, rebirth, Karm theory and all those host of other things which constitute Hinduism is part of ‘Maya’ and is never a truth but put forward for just the ease of ‘common man’ just exactly as the ‘modern science’ only means easing all the problems of the ‘man’ is also part of Maya. So just the way you are flexible about ‘science’ so has been the ‘hinduism’ flexible about all these things. Truth has been only the Brahaman about which Vedas themselves say ‘neti neti’ (not this not that) and has been central in explaining the relation between ‘zero energy of the universe’ and ‘reality felt by conscious man’. Had it been easier to put all the truth (perfect logic and reason) precisely in words everybody would have been equally happy and prosperous just by reading it. Things are not so! Science can’t be for the sake of ‘science’ alone. It has to be for ‘Human beings’ to whom ‘happiness, stability of mind’ etc does matter!

Utter gibberish. I had already stated that purpose of science is to understand details about univese, the laws governing it etc. What humanity does from that knowledge is not the scope of Science. That falls in the domain of Ethics.

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#23
@Kanad,

Re: Why are you not ready to refer to the links that are posted. Why do you want it "directly put it here explicitly"? Are you too lazy to click? Anyways as usual you did your cherry picking. Arvind had given a link to explain how big bang doesn't violate conservation of energy principle. Again posting the link.But of course you are too lazy to read it here is a copy paste of the final paragraphs for you

Kanad, will you ever understand what I write? I repeat: I am not ignoring those but definitely you are missing what I am asking.

It means that I read the link in detail and found it irrelevant. Now that you have quoted let me clear it how. You quoted: “What happened at the Big Bang was that there was a simultaneous emergence of the gravitational interaction. ……….etc

Now, Why it was irrelevant?

Has this quote anything to do with what I asked “Definitely you all are purposely neglecting my question on how this could match the ‘reality’ perception of human beings with ‘net zero energy”. I began this thread by asking “Quantum fluctuations states that the sum total of energy in this universe is zero. What we see is simply a feedback mechanism that results in this variation". If it is so what we feel as 'real' is no more a real thing! It's simply a 'mechanism' which gives the sense of 'reality' and there isn't anything as 'real' in the universe. In the light of this what is the significance of 'scientific method' that you expect 'Vedanta' to follow? Isn't that 'scientific method' a non-reality? Vedanta says exactly the same that 'Jaganmithya' i.e. World is 'Mithya' i.e. appears to be real but not exactly so and never contradicts the science.”.

How is that this comment of mine has not considered what has been stated in your quote? In fact my comment begins only after having considered your quote. And you say I am too lazy. Had had said so I would have received 20% or more warning or would have been banned like in a debate corner (sorry! But that has been my experience)

Further Wadhwan says in his comment “Apparently, there is another, unknown , form of matter that is a full 90% of all matter, as indicated indirectly by the gravitational effects. It is called dark matter” and “This is what made me make the (admittedly speculative and simplistic) statement you have focused on- //Such ever-increasing distances mean a build-up of negative energy, which gets compensated by the creation of an equivalent amount of matter.//”.

So I request you kindly to understand what I am asking for. Here is different version. What is that which caused this ‘big bang’? Will this cause and effect sequence would ever end? Isn’t this ‘infinite regression’?

So my friend admit clearly that science is yet to know the ‘reality’, unknown dark matter/energy etc and that it is admittedly speculative in words of the very Wadhwan to whom you are quoting and that realm of Vedanta deals with what science is yet to know and therefore asking for ‘scientific method’ is irrelevant for Vedanta.

Essence: Be patient enough to understand what I mean.

I am restricting this comment only for 1st para of yours for effectiveness of the debate. After having settled this I would move to your next para of comment.
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#24
(28-Dec-2011, 08:00 PM)ramesh Wrote: Kanad, will you ever understand what I write? I repeat: I am not ignoring those but definitely you are missing what I am asking.

You are in a forum of freethinkers hell bent on pushing your point of view which none of subscribe to (duh!). So for you it will seem that we are missing the point. Learn to speak our language and maybe then your complaints will have some validity.
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