The 'Science' of Hindu Cosmology
#25
(15-Jun-2014, 09:10 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote:
(15-Jun-2014, 06:14 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: The fact that what is being studied is consciousness does not mean that a scientific approach cannot be taken.

First, who ever said that anything should not be studied with a scientific approach? You should show that the Hindus studied anything at all scientifically (I showed you how science works in my previous post) through meditation. You have not done that yet. Instead all you said in your original post went something like this. **The Hindus might have studied cosmic patterns expressed in the rhythms of the human body through meditation. But there might have been confusion about concepts such as numbers and duration. And so we can not say that their claims are superstitious non-sense.** That kind of argument from ignorance does not fly here.

And can you also please try to stick to the topic. Why did you jump from discussing the Universe or Cosmology to consciousness?

Let us go back to your first post. What cosmic patterns and rhythms of the human body are you talking about? Can you please list anything other than the 24 day-night cycles and the circadian rhythm? And explain how meditation (shutting your self off of from the world) helps you identifying the link between those cosmic patterns and circadian rhythm?

I didn't accuse anyone of saying a scientific approach should not be taken. I suggested that the Hindus whom you contrasted with real scientists and who you said worked within a completely evidence-free framework may actually have had such an approach. The fact that they worked in isolation would not necessarily have been unscientific considering the object of their study. As I explained, however, I was advancing reasons for not dismissing them out of hand rather than mounting a full-scale exposition and defence of yoga. I am not a practitioner of yoga and I am unqualified to say what regularities in the body or the world may become discernible to someone who has spent a lifetime cultivating attentiveness to minute changes. It merely strikes me as not unreasonable to suppose that the heightened sensitivity resulting from yogic practice could yield insights capable of contributing to to an accurate idea of the Universe. That idea might be provisional and partial, awaiting integration with other models, but it would not necessarily be ridiculous as you suggest.

Your idea that I changed the subject when I went from talking about the Universe to talking about consciousness illustrates what I said about variations in meaning. One of the conceptions of the Universe under discussion, if I understand it correctly, includes the idea that consciousness is the Universe's primary substance so I certainly wasn't straying from the topic. It is perhaps because you have nailed your colours so firmly to the other mast that you did not see this.

I appreciate your showing me how science works but could you show me how it should address the question of consciousness? We could then stop worrying about yoga and the Hindus.
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#26
(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: I suggested that the Hindus whom you contrasted with real scientists and who you said worked within a completely evidence-free framework may actually have had such an approach.

How do we verify that? How do we know that they were not making shit up about the Universe (or whatever is that you claim they studied) as they were coming out of their meditative slumber?

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: It merely strikes me as not unreasonable to suppose that the heightened sensitivity resulting from yogic practice could yield insights capable of contributing to to an accurate idea of the Universe.

Your standards of what is reasonable are too low.

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: One of the conceptions of the Universe under discussion, if I understand it correctly, includes the idea that consciousness is the Universe's primary substance

**consciousness is the Universe's primary substance**? At this point you are stepping in to Deepak Chopraesqe quackery. Again not acceptable to the world of science.

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: I appreciate your showing me how science works but could you show me how it should address the question of consciousness? We could then stop worrying about yoga and the Hindus.

The fact that consciousness is not fully understood does not add credence to the claim that age of Universe can be found by going into a meditative trance. Not sure if you understand that.
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#27
(16-Jun-2014, 04:45 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote:
(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: I suggested that the Hindus whom you contrasted with real scientists and who you said worked within a completely evidence-free framework may actually have had such an approach.

How do we verify that? How do we know that they were not making shit up about the Universe (or whatever is that you claim they studied) as they were coming out of their meditative slumber?

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: It merely strikes me as not unreasonable to suppose that the heightened sensitivity resulting from yogic practice could yield insights capable of contributing to to an accurate idea of the Universe.

Your standards of what is reasonable are too low.

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: One of the conceptions of the Universe under discussion, if I understand it correctly, includes the idea that consciousness is the Universe's primary substance

**consciousness is the Universe's primary substance**? At this point you are stepping in to Deepak Chopraesqe quackery. Again not acceptable to the world of science.

(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: I appreciate your showing me how science works but could you show me how it should address the question of consciousness? We could then stop worrying about yoga and the Hindus.

The fact that consciousness is not fully understood does not add credence to the claim that age of Universe can be found by going into a meditative trance. Not sure if you understand that.




"How do we verify that? How do we know that they were not making shit up about the Universe (or whatever is that you claim they studied) as they were coming out of their meditative slumber?"

We are not trying to verify that. I am not asserting it I am saying that we cannot dismiss it as a possibility. In certain areas such as the study of history or in criminal trials scientific standards of proof simply cannot be applied. We have to find other means of determining whether things are likely to be true or not.

"Your standards of what is reasonable are too low."
That is not a reasonable comment to make on the basis of the discussion so far.

**consciousness is the Universe's primary substance**? At this point you are stepping in to Deepak Chopraesqe quackery. Again not acceptable to the world of science.

I believe Deepak Chopra is alive today. I was referring to an ancient Hindu idea. Of course to refer to consciousness as substance creates semantic chaos but that - the confusion generated when the same words are used to refer to things in profoundly different traditions - is exactly what was under discussion. Perhaps the idea is better expressed in Sanskrit. By the way, you are not personally the world of science.

The fact that consciousness is not fully understood does not add credence to the claim that age of Universe can be found by going into a meditative trance. Not sure if you understand that.

"Fully understood?" There is no scientific explanation of consciousness, partial or otherwise. I thought you knew that, since the whole conversation has been predicated on it. If there were a scientific explanation or even a decent theory of consciousness why would I be talking about Hindus and meditation? I did not say that meditation could be used to ascertain the age of the Universe and the fact that you are caricaturing my views in that way suggests that no real communication is taking place.

Have a look at Bernardo Kastrup's website Metaphysical Speculations. Good afternoon..
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#28
It is difficult to argue with someone who make ridiculous claims (**It seems likely to me that the ancient Hindus arrived at their ideas of cosmology by means unfamiliar to modern science but quite valid in their own right.** from your first post). But as soon as confronted about the claim changes tack by saying that I was just speculating or entertaining the possibility and not making any claim.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: We are not trying to verify that. I am not asserting it I am saying that we cannot dismiss it as a possibility. In certain areas such as the study of history or in criminal trials scientific standards of proof simply cannot be applied. We have to find other means of determining whether things are likely to be true or not.

You have made a couple of special pleadings in your posts.

1) You want to ignore the fact that there is a huge discrepancy (several orders of magnitude) between what the Hindu conjured up from meditation and what the scientists say the age of Universe or the solar system is. The reason why you want to ignore the discrepancy is that the numbers and durations noted down by the ancients can be confusing to us today.

2) You want to relax standards of verification because we are talking about ancients.

With that kind of special pleadings will you ever be able to dismiss the possibility of anything? For example would you be able to dismiss the possibility of forecasting weather by reading goat entrails? This was also an ancient practice that produced wildly inaccurate predictions much like the predictions of the Hindu yogi claiming 100 trillion years (instead of 4 or 13 billion years) as the age of the earth or the universe. Would you also excuse the inaccuracy in the prediction from goat entrails to confusion about number and the unit of measurement of the thing (eg. rainfall or temperature) that was being forecasted? And would you also relax standards of verification because we are talking about ancients.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: "Fully understood?" There is no scientific explanation of consciousness, partial or otherwise. I thought you knew that, since the whole conversation has been predicated on it.

What do you mean we do not know anything about consciousness? If you are knocked on the head with a baseball bat with sufficient force you will lose consciousness. Seems we know one of ways to turn off consciousness. Of course there are a lot we do not know about consciousness. But how much we know about consciousness is totally irrelevant to your claim (speculation or whatever you call it) that you can find accurate information about the Universe by going into a meditative trance.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: Have a look at Bernardo Kastrup's website Metaphysical Speculations.

Will do once he publishes his speculations in Physical Review Letters.

PS: You also made a link between cosmic patterns and rhythms of human body. When questioned you again wiggled out of it. Was the link you proposed also a speculation or was that a claim?
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#29
(17-Jun-2014, 04:33 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: It is difficult to argue with someone who make ridiculous claims (**It seems likely to me that the ancient Hindus arrived at their ideas of cosmology by means unfamiliar to modern science but quite valid in their own right.** from your first post). But as soon as confronted about the claim changes tack by saying that I was just speculating or entertaining the possibility and not making any claim.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: We are not trying to verify that. I am not asserting it I am saying that we cannot dismiss it as a possibility. In certain areas such as the study of history or in criminal trials scientific standards of proof simply cannot be applied. We have to find other means of determining whether things are likely to be true or not.

You have made a couple of special pleadings in your posts.

1) You want to ignore the fact that there is a huge discrepancy (several orders of magnitude) between what the Hindu conjured up from meditation and what the scientists say the age of Universe or the solar system is. The reason why you want to ignore the discrepancy is that the numbers and durations noted down by the ancients can be confusing to us today.

2) You want to relax standards of verification because we are talking about ancients.

With that kind of special pleadings will you ever be able to dismiss the possibility of anything? For example would you be able to dismiss the possibility of forecasting weather by reading goat entrails? This was also an ancient practice that produced wildly inaccurate predictions much like the predictions of the Hindu yogi claiming 100 trillion years (instead of 4 or 13 billion years) as the age of the earth or the universe. Would you also excuse the inaccuracy in the prediction from goat entrails to confusion about number and the unit of measurement of the thing (eg. rainfall or temperature) that was being forecasted? And would you also relax standards of verification because we are talking about ancients.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: "Fully understood?" There is no scientific explanation of consciousness, partial or otherwise. I thought you knew that, since the whole conversation has been predicated on it.

What do you mean we do not know anything about consciousness? If you are knocked on the head with a baseball bat with sufficient force you will lose consciousness. Seems we know one of ways to turn off consciousness. Of course there are a lot we do not know about consciousness. But how much we know about consciousness is totally irrelevant to your claim (speculation or whatever you call it) that you can find accurate information about the Universe by going into a meditative trance.

(16-Jun-2014, 02:48 PM)Huolalupin Wrote: Have a look at Bernardo Kastrup's website Metaphysical Speculations.

Will do once he publishes his speculations in Physical Review Letters.

All I can do is repeat my last comment. We are not communicating. You have ignored most of what I said, selecting only a few statements which you have isolated from their context and given the meaning you want them to have so that you can argue with them. I'm not investing any more time in this. There is nothing of interest to me in the rantings of a nutcase who has made his sketchy idea of science into a substitute for religion. Manage your own anger.
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#30
(17-Jun-2014, 05:08 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: There is nothing of interest to me in the rantings of a nutcase who has made his sketchy idea of science into a substitute for religion. Manage your own anger.

Says the person who masks his religious apologia with a spineless veneer of reasonableness. He only considers (not claims) the possibility of the Hindu acquiring accurate information about the Universe via meditation as a reasonable proposition.

What a joke!
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#31
(16-Jun-2014, 03:50 AM)Huolalupin Wrote: It merely strikes me as not unreasonable to suppose that the heightened sensitivity resulting from yogic practice could yield insights capable of contributing to to an accurate idea of the Universe. That idea might be provisional and partial, awaiting integration with other models, but it would not necessarily be ridiculous as you suggest.

Meditation etc. can yield insights into subjective experiences, which you may term states of mind, if you will. One must not depend on such purely subjective observations to arrive at conclusions about the objective world.

The heightened sensitivity you talk about is not sufficient in the pursuit of knowledge. While a cloistered existence may lead to altered states of mind, it greatly limits the ability of the observer(s) to study the world as a whole. One must believe in the unproven claim that the Universe and consciousness are intimately and actively linked in order to invest in the idea that mere cogitation can lead to lucid revelations about our environment.

It is strange that even after 'thousands' of years of fervent yogic,spiritual activities our rishis, super-yogis and other allied faqeers could not come up with satisfactory explanations for natural phenomena; occurrences of diseases(mental and otherwise) went unexplained; human anatomy, especially the brain and its functions were not properly known. The cosmos were grossly misunderstood( e.g. concentric arrangements of seas and the snake-turtle-elephant-Mount Meru hypothesis of the Puranas). The glory of the ancients fails to impress me.

People with deep insights into the very scheme of things are not expected to plead ignorance on these counts. Such systems of thought as fail to live up to the expectations they generate need serious reconsideration and revision. They cannot be considered reliable or consistent.It would be most incautious to use meditation as a guide to study anything beyond its subjective limits.

Huolalupin Wrote:We are not trying to verify that. I am not asserting it I am saying that we cannot dismiss it as a possibility. In certain areas such as the study of history or in criminal trials scientific standards of proof simply cannot be applied. We have to find other means of determining whether things are likely to be true or not.

What do people engaged in meditation study? Do they have a set of well-defined goals? What 'possibility' do you mean? Which 'things' do you mean? I would like to know more. How do you know that the scientific standards of proof cannot be applied to this situation? Historians and investigators try to be very meticulous in their methods. They duly acknowledge the boundaries within which emotions and subjective perceptions operate. Do yogis etc. have similar standards of admission?

I recall reading something about Marcel Proust and his reflections on time and life in general in one of your posts. He writes beautifully, doesn't he? I read his works years ago and from what I remember, the world he describes is intensely subjective. That fact does not detract from the merits of his books, especially that of À la recherche du temps perdu . His observations on the passage of time, its associations and memories are quite valid. His creatures operate in environments that have a multiplicity of intelligent agents,which are further characterized by human concerns and emotions. However, using Proustian literature to form ideas about the real,physical world and admitting it as proof in scientific discussions would be an error of the highest order( even though I remember him making no such claims).
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