The (pseudo) science of Gayatri Mantra
#1
Tongue 
This was discussed sometime back in our Facebook group, but I thought it would be better to have it here as it will be more readily accessible to search engines. At the same time let us also look at the art of creating pseudo science.

(The source article which illustrates the scientific validity of Gayatri Mantra)

Step 1: Start with stating of known facts. Here they are about stars, planets and the Milky Way galaxy:

Quote:The modern astrophysics and astronomy tell us that our Galaxy called Milky Way or Akash-Ganga contains approximately 100,000 million of stars. Each star is like our sun having its own planet system. We know that the moon moves round the earth and the earth moves round the sun along with the moon. All planets round the sun.

Step 2: Make a subtle transition from the logical to the illogical:

Quote:Bhur the earth, bhuvah the planets (solar family), swah the Galaxy. We observe that when an ordinary fan with a speed of 900 RPM (rotations Per minute) moves, it makes noise. Then, one can imagine, what great noise would be created when the galaxies move with a speed of 20,000 miles per second.

The statement that a fast rotating fan makes some noise is a fact. But that happens only when there is a medium to conduct sound. If a fan rotates in vacuum, whatever its speed be, there will be no sound. By ignoring the fact that sound needs a medium to propagate, the author has subtly made a transition into the illogical by stating that a rotating galaxy also makes a sound implicitly assuming that it propagates through vacuum. (ok, before you say it, I agree that is a not so subtle transition if you know some elementary physics. The same can't be said of people who subscribe to pseudo science).

Step 3: Now that the illogical has been established as a fact, use it to declare a truth:

Quote:This is what this portion of the mantra explains that the sound produced due to the fast-moving earth, planets and galaxies is Om. The sound was heard during meditation by Rishi Vishvamitra, who mentioned it too their colleagues. All of them, then unanimously decided to call this sound Om the name of God, because this sound is available in all the three periods of time, hence it is set (permanent).

Step 4: Spice it up with more sciency sounding stuff:

Quote:This sound Om heard during samadhi was called by all the seers nada-Brahma a very great noise), but not a noise that is normally beyond a specific amplitude and limits of decibels suited to human hearing. Hence the rishis called this sound Udgith musical sound of the above, i.e., heaven.

Quote:They also noticed that the infinite mass of galaxies moving with a velocity of 20,000 miles/second was generating a kinetic energy= 1/2MV2 and this was balancing the total energy consumption of the cosmos.Hence they named it Pranavah, which means the body (vapu) or storehouse of energy (prana).

Step 5: Finally reinterpret the original text with the illogically concluded facts

Quote:The earth (bhur), the planets (bhuvah), and the galaxies (swah) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound produced is Om, (the name of formless God.) That God (tat), who manifests Himself in the form of light of suns (savitur) is worthy of bowing / respect (varenyam). We all, therefore, should meditate (dheemahi) upon the light (bhargo) of that deity (devasya) and also do chanting of Om. May He (yo) guide in right direction (prachodayat) our (nah) intellect dhiyo

There it is. A 5 step program to make anything true. Maybe I should attach an infinite no. of Sri's before my name, grow a foot long beard and milk the gullible masses for truck loads of money.
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#2
Lije, excellent analysis!

I particularly like your point about how they present some true facts at first and then transition into nonsense. This is actually exactly the same strategy that people like Deepak Chopra use. In fact, I mentioned the technique, with a few examples, in my video on Chopra (not sure if you've seen it).

You should indeed trademark your 5-step program. It would actually make a good satirical piece on Nirmukta, if you ever felt like writing one. Biggrin

Regarding exposing the pseudosicence that accompanies modern interpretations of the Gayatri Mantra, I doubt if we can make an impact on google. There are way too many blind believers touting the nonsense on their websites. But let's keep on trying nevertheless. This is a much better format for us to discuss such things, not just for search engines and other folks, but also for future reference and discussion within our community!
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
[+] 1 user Likes Ajita Kamal's post
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#3
(04-May-2010, 03:20 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: .... In fact, I mentioned the technique, with a few examples, in my video on Chopra (not sure if you've seen it).

Yes I remember seeing it. Something like "Deepak Chopra, The New Age Shaman".

Quote:Regarding exposing the pseudosicence that accompanies modern interpretations of the Gayatri Mantra, I doubt if we can make an impact on google.

You are right. I don't expect this to make any impact. But if somebody searches for "pseudoscience gayatri mantra" in google, hopefully this will show up. Right now nothing useful shows up.
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#4
Brilliant analysis!

And instead of people finding this on searching for pseudoscience, I hope they read this while searching for the science of this mantra!

It surely would make a good piece for Nirmukta.
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#5
Quote:We observe that when an ordinary fan with a speed of 900 RPM ..

It is not even amusing .Who wrote this nonsense?.
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#6
Well done Lije! And thanks for bringing it here.

This is the kind of post that should represent Nirmukta. We got a long way to go.
"The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it with its skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age." -Carl Sagan
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#7
(30-Sep-2011, 07:12 PM)praty Wrote: This is the kind of post that should represent Nirmukta. We got a long way to go.

Not sure if you are being sarcastic. Nimukta represents a lot of things, as can be seen here.
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#8
No, no. I sparing use sarcasm. It was appreciation.
Maybe I should've said, "this is one of the best Nirmukta posts I've seen lately".

Sorry, I have a problem in being coherent sometimes.
"The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it with its skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age." -Carl Sagan
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