The Scientific Worldview-Truth or Consequences?
By Dhanesvara Das
Finding the Truths with Science
In a relative world, such as the one we live in, how does one find truth? That quest is undertaken by many young adults as they try to make sense of the world, and I was one such seeker in my youth. My experiences in college played an important role in guiding my search, providing a proving ground on which to test different concepts as I came across them. The Arts almost immediately failed my litmus test, as learning and attending to the subjective prejudices of my instructors were more important to getting a good grade than was any attempt to find or discuss universal truths. Nobody there seemed to be interested in such ideas, so I quickly abandoned the arts for engineering.
Engineering college seemed to be illumined in high contrast “black and white”- the confusing shades-of-gray missing. Test questions were either right or wrong and not influenced by the instructor’s daily biorythms or other unknown or unknowable ephemeral influences too subtle for my developing understanding. I liked the fact that in engineering college 2+2 always equaled four, the second law of thermodynamics was as applicable on all continents, and that from theory one could extract principles that had the real-world results of dependable bridges, heavier-than-air flight, and communication using the electromagnetic spectrum. Here, I thought, I could find the genuine truths that applied everywhere-and-every-time, upon which to develop a reliable understanding of the world.
Likewise, I think that many people, probably even most, also consider science as that branch of study that has become the most powerful tool to discover and know the truths of our world.
The Scientific Method
Derived from the philosophy of rationality, and the principles of logic, scientific principles assert that the external world is real, that there is but one single reality, and the goal of science is to understand that reality. The scientific method requires the testing of ideas or postulates that are collected in a hypothesis, which will predict certain outcomes based upon logical deduction and known scientific principles. The hypothesis is then tested rigorously, and attempts should even be made to disprove it. After it withstands these challenges and its predictions are demonstrated to be correct, and as or even more importantly, not proven incorrect, the hypothesis may then be elevated to the status of a theory. Thus challenges, critiques, and testing of hypotheses are an integral and inseparable part of bona fide science.
At the time I was reassured with such an ideal understanding of science and I pursued graduate school, as much as my own personal quest for the truth as for other reasons. However, not only was I learning more about material science, I was also maturing and developing my understanding of the world about me. In fact, I learned as much or more about people and the world in those years as I did about science, and there was one lesson that combined both that had a major impact on me. The research that I was engaged in was meant to replace a much older, and factually inaccurate, method of determining the physical properties of metals. Somewhere along the line however, I was able to reason that just as my professor and I were working to upset a long-standing theory and assert a better one, someone at some future time would likely come along and unseat our theory with something better. Thus I began to see that certain aspects of science were not rigid or fixed truths, but more practically they were a collection of facts that best represented what people at any given time could understand.
In fact, it is flatly stated in scientific theory that no aspect of “knowledge” can be considered as the conclusive or absolute truth, for exactly the same reasons as I was able to discern-at any time a better idea may come along that will disprove the earlier ones.
This developing perception created an existential crisis in which I felt myself floundering in a Nietzschean-like world that was not grounded by any fixed principle. Where then do we find truth, or do we find any at all? The world of “science” now seemed as uncertain as the Arts and seemed to afford little to no shelter or succor in an increasingly relative and uncertain world.
Serendipitously however, it was just at this time that I was becoming acquainted with another approach to the truth-that of the Vedic perspective. Having learned about Vedic wisdom from a friend, I had acquired and began studying the Bhagavad-gita As It Is by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. The timing couldn’t have been better. As the scientific rug was being pulled out from under me, I seemed to step onto a magic carpet that carried me to an epistemological firmament, and at the same time provided a meaning to life that superseded everything I had known. And all this despite the fact that I couldn’t even pronounce many of the words. Over the years my continued study of the Bhagavad-gita has allowed me to better understand the nature of this world.
It is said that understanding a problem is 90% of its solution. And the great Einstein has instructed us that “problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” This is the advantage of the Bhagavad-gita, or Vedic worldview-it provides a perspective that is distinctly different from Western experience, and allows problems to be reframed in such a way that solutions are more readily apparent. Further, it’s a worldview that can account for all of the myriad experiences of human life. It is from theistic Vedic perspective that I have learned to view the world and its events, activities, and problems. In this paper I report on some of them-deviations in the sciences and other areas of academia.
Although most non-scientists generally think that science is relatively straight forward in its approach, in many of its practices it is becoming increasingly at odds with its own bona fide methods. Social scientist Karl Popper has analyzed the methods of science and his philosophical approach, called the hypothetico-deductive method, is widely accepted as the best approach to scientific logic. Despite the fact that the best practices are well-known they are not always used. Harvard Professor Emeritus Dr. Ernst Mayr, in his 1997 biology textbook writes that even among scientists there actually is a fair amount of confusion about what science really is, or how it should be practiced. Some say that science is limited to that which can be known by observation and experiment. Yet others say that by its influence science consists not simply of the true facts of the world, but also includes what scientists may say about the world-regardless of what the true state of the world may be-because their mere assertions carry great legitimacy due to the authority that science has achieved within society.
These ideas imply that science may be or is being used for purposes other than a search for truth. Indeed, some consider that beyond its usefulness in allowing us to create items helpful for our lives, science is being used as a system of power and means of social control. These uses of science are decidedly controversial, and are considered by many, especially in a democratic society, to exceed its legitimate boundaries. I share fully in this opinion and it is my premise in this article that science, especially within academia, flagrantly violates the legitimate limits of its domain and this has resulted in serious sociological consequences that go mostly unobserved by the general public.
Science As a Legitimizing Tool
The foundations of every culture largely rest upon existential stories
(worldviews) that explain how the world was created, who mankind is, and what our purpose is in this world. It is important that such existential explanations be offered because almost every individual requires answers for them. Every indigenous culture has a creation story which answers existential questions, and practically without exception these are theistically-based worldviews presented as historical truths within the culture itself. An intelligentsia, or priestly class, traditionally had the role of their interpretation for their general public. The creation story and nature of the answers to existential questions influence what types of activities are allowable, how the economies of the culture function, as well as the motivations and relationships of its people. Notably, many cultural religious worldviews that include a hierarchy of gods are often considered nothing more than myths by today’s condescending anthropologists. As we shall see, there is a motivation for such an interpretation.
It is worth noting that in more recent years, in both the east and west, the authority of the intelligentsia lies not with qualified individuals as was formerly the case, but has become established within institutions through which it can be passed on to others: the authority of the institution now replacing the qualification of the individual, with significant consequences to the body politic. Thus we now often find that instead of through qualification, positions of authority are achieved by inheritance or through some other mechanism of transfer of power. All too often these posts are acquired by persons unqualified for the position, and who may have ulterior motives for power and control. In the Roman church power was held by and transferred to the popes in repeated succession. Their declarations, issued as papal bulls, were the authoritative conclusions regarding any important matter. During the later half of the second millennium the locus of authority and source of the dominant worldview shifted from the Roman church and its popes to science and scientists respectively. Today it is the scientists and other academicians who have taken on the priestly role of defining the “true” nature of reality, and their declarations of today’s truths are passed on to the rest of us through their professional journals.
An important difference exists between our scientific and previous authorities. The scientific worldview is not derived from a theological source, but is in fact a socially constructed concept of reality, thus it requires legitimization that is unnecessary for religions. This legitimization is possible if it assumes the mantle of transcendence inherent in religion. Harvard University Professor and geneticist Richard Lewontin describes how an institution may do so in his book Biology As Ideology.
First “the institution as a whole must appear to derive from sources outside of ordinary human social struggle. It must not seem to be the creation of political, economic, or social forces, but to descend into society from a supra-human source” . . . second “the ideas, pronouncements, rules, and results of the institution’s activity must have a validity and a transcendent truth that goes beyond any possibility of human compromise or human error. Its explanations and pronouncements must seem to be true in an absolute sense and to derive somehow from an absolute source. They must be true for all time and all place” . . . and third “the institution must have a certain mystical and veiled quality so that its innermost operation is not completely transparent to everyone. It must have an esoteric language, which needs to be explained to the ordinary person by those who are especially knowledgeable and who can intervene between everyday life and mysterious sources of understanding and knowledge.”
It is not too difficult to deduce that these characteristics have actually been derived from religious worldviews and ideologies and applied to science. Consider that science claims to be objective, impartial, and nonpolitical, and that most scientists believe that science operates in an atmosphere free from political intrusion. The sciences such as physics and chemistry, are also seen to be universally true in all times and places, and the methods of science are constructed in such a way that they create a product or knowledge thought to be free from the ordinary human foibles of greed, envy or deceit. The scientific method (when properly practiced) is thus thought to result in universal truths, which we afford the title of laws, and which we must all accept simply as facts of life with nothing leftover to argue about. Science also uses an opaque language that is inaccessible to all but its members and which requires interpretation for the common man.
Writing with rare candor and openness for a highly recognized scientist, Lewontin unabashedly tells us that besides providing explanations of how the world works, and even irrespective of the practical truth of it’s claims, science has served this purpose of social legitimization with remarkable success. He explains that science can be seen as a social institution whose job is to fight an ideological battle within people’s minds, for the purpose of peacefully maintaining the existing social order.
The fact is that Lewontin is not making idle claims, because in many respects mainstream science is being used to support a political agenda. Scientific establishments both in academia and industry have settled into a fixed perception of reality that is not supported by scientific fact. Further, reputable and competent scientists are discovering and presenting sound scientific evidence that is being ignored and even suppressed. Where there should be controversy and debate we hear only the sounds of silence. And scientists who challenge this agenda are dealt with by derision, loss of respect, jobs, and even careers. Next let’s look at just some of a vast amount of evidence that demonstrates the deviations of science from its pure purpose of pursuing the truth.
The Failures and Transgressions of Modern Cosmology In modern cosmology a great deal rests upon what is called the red shift. Light from distant stars is shifted toward the red end of the visible spectrum. In physics this is called the Doppler effect and with sound it is the result of the increased frequency (higher tone) of the sound of an approaching object, decreasing (lower tone) as it passes. In astronomy it is assumed that this shift of frequency is also the result of velocity, and a lot is riding on this assumption since the red shift figures prominently into many astronomical calculations. These include among others the distance of stars and planets, the expansion of the universe, and the age of the universe since the Big Bang. So what’s going on in the field? That depends on where you look. Inside of academia and other establishment institutions the Big Bang and the red shift are presented as final conclusions with only some minor details to be worked out. But look elsewhere and you will find a controversy raging over both the interpretation of the red shift and the Big Bang itself. Astronomer Halton Arp was pushed out of his position at the Mt. Polomar observatory because he dared to challenge the prevailing interpretation of the red shift. He speaks to both the lack of professionalism in science as well as the limits on debate in his book Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science. He says there “What could be done, and is not done, however, is to use the observations to rule out a 75-year-old model [the Big Bang] which is presently unquestioned dogma. The mission of academia should be to explore-not perpetuate myth and superstition. Today, any newspaper, science magazine, or discussion of scientific funding, will take for granted that we know all the basic facts: that we live in an expanding universe, all created in an instant out of nothing, in which cosmic bodies started to condense from a hot medium about 15 billion years ago. The observations are not used to test this model . . . . It is embarrassing, and by now a little boring, to constantly read announcements about ever-more-distant and luminous high-redshift objects, blacker holes, and higher and higher percentages of undetectable matter…. For those who have examined the evidence on redshifts, and decided that redshifts are not primarily velocity … the important question arises as to how a disproved assumption could have become so dominant. These challenges come from many directions. In his article in 21st Century Science & Technology, Grote Reber writes mockingly about the assumptions of the Big Bang Theory and how they are being handled: “The whole business of Big Bang Creationism is very shaky and based upon dubious assumptions. The underlying questions have become lost in the sands of time and are no longer taught-even in astronomy schools! Lately, Big Bang Creationists have far overplayed their hand, making themselves look like fools. However, because the old-line scientific trade journals are also dominated by reactionary fuddy-duddies, there is not much opportunity for readers to examine the underlying issues.”
Are these examples of bona fide science that we thought our institutions were engaged in, or are these examples of propaganda and manipulation of public perception? Clearly they are the latter, and we are forced to wonder why. Nor are these two alone. There are many top-notch scientists who join in chorus with them challenging the reigning paradigm, but the public, and even students, hear nothing about the controversy. Further evidence of the deliberate false portrayal is provided by examining the Physics Department websites of many universities-none indicate any serious conflict surrounding the Big Bang Theory.
To be fair, the problems are mentioned by cosmologists, but almost without exception they are dismissed as being of little consequence, insignificant aberrations that will be cleared up with a little more tinkering, or else the theory is amended to accommodate what should be there, but isn’t (such as the “dark matter” that we hear so much about). But the almost unlimited tinkering involved to adjust a theory that does not allow or provide for scientific observations cannot be considered sound science. Scientific method says that theory must be established based on observation, and that it is not good science to continually amend theory that does not initially provide for subsequently observed phenomena. Any hypothesis or theory that does not adequately provide for observation is generally thrown out after a while, and a fresh theory developed that can accommodate all of the observations. Another way of saying this is that in science and philosophy the rule is that postulations are not to be made beyond necessity, yet the long list of problems of the BBT indicates that at least some concepts have been postulated beyond necessity. William Mitchell, in his book Cult of the Big Bang, thoroughly-documents more than thirty significant problems of the Big Bang hypothesis that are minimized by the academic establishment. So why is all of this being allowed to masquerade in the name of science? Mitchell says that enormous effort had been spent, and continues to be spent, in support of the Big Bang in a way that is not the method of impartial research, the supposed hallmark of pure science, and he questions how could good and talented men can participate in these endeavors. His conclusion is that other forces must be at work to corrupt the process. I couldn’t agree more. Science is losing its scientific character, taking on the look and feel of belief, and Geoffrey Burbidge, Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, for one, is willing to admit it: “Big bang cosmology is probably as widely believed as has been any theory of the universe in the history of Western civilization. It rests, however, on many untested, and [in] many cases, untestable assumptions. Indeed, big bang cosmology has become a bandwagon of thought that reflects faith as much as objective truth.” We wonder if these practices of “science” are unique to cosmology. Would that it were true. Manipulation of science can, unfortunately, be found everywhere-especially where the origins of life are concerned. Are Chemicals the Origin of Life?
After the Big Bang resulted in the construction of the planets, the next major feature of the scientific worldview is that life arose spontaneously from the “primordial soup”, a sea of chemicals that offered the unique circumstances for the constituent parts of living cells to self-assemble by chance combination. Darwin’s ideas of evolution have subsequently achieved the same dogmatic status as the Big Bang Theory: an established fact that all scientists accept and over which there is little remaining controversy
The suggestion is simple enough, but can chance chemical combinations actually form living cells? What is a cell? When Darwin first published Origin of the Species very little was known about biological systems and their complexity. One of Darwin’s great admirers during the nineteenth century, Ernst Haeckel, expressed the prevailing idea that cells were a “simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon,” something molecular biologist Michael Behe says we might liken to a homogeneous blob of Jell-O. Given the limitations of the microscopes of the time it was an entirely reasonable deduction that the cell could easily have been produced from inanimate material and simply come together by a chance combination of chemicals. It’s easy to assume something when you have no idea of the implications of the assumption. Much harder however when you actually understand what lies behind the assumption.
In the interim since the idea of evolution was first established, especially in the past twenty years, great advances have been made in understanding the inner-workings in the microscopic world of the living cell. The field of Molecular Biology has opened up the cell and exposed its fantastic workings, and we have learned that cells are made mostly of proteins, which are in turn made of amino acids. The twenty amino acids combine in chains of several hundred up to a thousand in very specific arrangements to form thousands of types of proteins, and in cells this is what we find-hundreds of thousands of proteins of hundreds of types-a typical cell contains ten million million atoms.
Since Darwinian theory assumes that life forms were created by the chance interaction of chemicals, how reasonable is it to assume that just one single protein molecule “self-assembles” by chance combination? By chance combination we mean that if the required amino acids were in the proximity of each other they would combine to form proteins. And now that we know the number of cell components that must be specifically ordered, this becomes a rather easy statistical calculation. Consider that even if all the atoms on the earth’s surface, including water, air, and the crust of the earth were made into conveniently available amino acids and 4 to 5 billion years were allowed, the odds are l0161 (1 with 161 zeros after it) to one that not one usable protein could have resulted from chance combinations, and it becomes even more impossible when we estimate the probability to develop a cell.
Morowitz has determined the probability for the origin of the organic precursors for the smallest likely living entity by random processes . . . The chances for producing the necessary molecules, amino acids, proteins, etc., for a cell one tenth the size of the smallest known to man is less than one in (10340)6 or 10 with 340 million zeros after it. Noting that mathematicians consider that any event with odds of less than 1 in 1050 to be flatly impossible, people such as Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, who, along with James Watson, determined DNA’s molecular structure, have come to this conclusion:
“If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how rare an event would this be? . . . Suppose the chain is about two hundred amino acids long; this is, if anything, rather less than the average length of proteins of all types. Since we have just twenty possibilities at each place, the number of possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some two hundred times. This is conveniently written 20 and is approximately equal to10260, that is, a one followed by 260 zeros. This number is quite beyond our everyday comprehension. The great majority of sequences can never have been synthesized at all, at any time.” (emphasis added)
Now, either the mathematical science of statistical probability it wrong, or else chemicals did not self-assemble by chance alone to create proteins, or cells or life. Since statistical probability is one of the most well-developed and tested sciences, we then come to the conclusion (if we are going to use the scientific method) that life did not arise from the chance combination of molecules. It can’t have happened by chance. Period. Full stop. Something else then must have been involved. That something is pointed to again and again in dozens of books over the past decade that demonstrate the impossibility of the now Neo-Darwinian theory. But has establishment science considered this evidence to throw out a discredited theory? No, biology walks in lock-step with cosmology in denying any scientific evidence that can upset the ruling paradigm that matter alone is the cause of all causes.
Amazingly, the controversies within biology follow the same pattern of obfuscation and denial that is found in cosmology. Like the Big Bang, Darwinian evolution has plenty of controversy, but it is not given an adequate intellectual or scientific response from the biology establishment. Instead of addressing the issues they are dismissed with scant attention often simply because of the source-Behe, Dembski and others are Christian creationists. It is falsely claimed that their ideology influences their science too much. Thus their arguments are shunted to the “fringes” of science and are given short-shrift in academic and professional journals. The only time that these challenges get a fair hearing is when the authors take their case to the public via the popular press, and now scores of books offer legitimate and sound scientific challenges to evolutionary theory.
Any intelligent individual who reads the above arguments can reasonably conclude that the chance evolutionary creation of all this world and its immense biological diversity is impossible. One needn’t have a long list of letters after his name to understand these concepts. Yet, although the controversy has been raging for decades, very little is changing. Even as far back as 1986 chemistry professor Robert Shapiro criticized several aspects of research on the origin of life. “We have reached a situation where a theory has been accepted as fact by some, and possible contrary evidence is shunted aside”. He concludes that “this is mythology rather than science.”
Scientific Make-Believe What to speak of discounting scientific challenges, it has been found that biology community actually participates in scientific fraud by perpetuating and teaching evolutionary concepts in college textbooks that have long since been proven false. In Icons Of Evolution author Jonathon Wells demonstrates that even advanced college textbooks, and publications from such esteemed institutions as The National Academy of Sciences, contain patently false and deliberately misleading statements about evolution. In his introduction he writes: “The following chapters compare the icons of evolution with published scientific evidence, and reveal that much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. This fact raises troubling questions about the status of Darwinian evolution. If the icons of evolution are supposed to be our best evidence for Darwin’s theory, and all of them are false or misleading, what does that tell us about the theory? Is it science, or myth? . . . The implications for American science are potentially far-reaching.” More than you probably knew.
In discussing what science does and how it does it Lewontin describes how science is being used to legitimate an entirely fictitious story-that of human sexual preference. It is worth quoting him at length. He says:
“Thus, the entire discussion of the evolutionary basis of human sexual preference is a made-up story, from beginning to end. Yet it is a story that appears in textbooks, in courses in high schools and universities, and in popular books and journals. It bears the legitimacy given to it by famous professors and by national and international media. It has the authority of science. In an important sense, it is science because science consists not simply of a collection of true facts about the world, but is the body of assertions and theories about the world made by people who are called scientists. It consists, in large part, of what scientists say about the world whatever the true state of the world might be. “Science is more than an institution devoted to the manipulation of the physical world. It also has a function in the formation of consciousness about the political and social world. Science in that sense is part of the general process of education, and the assertions of scientists are the basis for a great deal of the enterprise of forming consciousness. Education in general, and scientific education in particular, is meant not only to make us competent to manipulate the world but also to form our social attitudes.”
I am willing to bet that you didn’t know that the function of a scientific education was to convince your children that sexual preference, a disingenuous way of saying homosexual inclinations, is written in their genes, and therefore such inclinations must be “normal.”
E. O. Wilson the father of a theory called sociobiology which says that sexual and other human behaviors are determined only by our genes tells us that “human beings are absurdly easy to indoctrinate. They seek it.” Further he say that they are characterized by blind faith: “Man would rather believe than know.” I ask then, who is it that has given science (including Wilson) permission to determine what social attitudes we should be indoctrinated with? It certainly is not “mom and pop” because the overwhelming majority of people in most cultures consider homosexuality a social deviation and unacceptable. Who then is making such socially significant decisions in the name of science?
It becomes easier to see where this is all going by examining the conclusions of several fields of study together, so we’ll look at just a few more.
The story of prehistory from the field of Botany offers another interesting arena where we find lots of evidence of scientific make-believe. Since evolutionary theory demands that everything can only have evolved from a common ancestor, wild plants must have been the precursors of domesticated ones. When asked to explain the origins of our current domestic grains botanists offer the miraculous solution that with time and patience Neolithic farmers created them by crossbreeding wild species over hundreds of generations. That’s an entertaining answer, especially since doing so even defies our current bio-engineering abilities. The Botanical Garden BIN RAS in St. Petersburg, Russia, has not been able to cultivate wild rye into a new form of domestication in more than more 165 years of effort, even with the tools and understanding of modern biology. Their rye has lost none of its wild traits, especially the fragility of its stalk and its small grain. The hypothetical suggestion of Neolithic bioengineers is science? In the hypothetical-deductive scientific method it isn’t. It is simply a speculative story with many unscientific assumptions. As in biology, the “science” of botany attempts to go beyond the limits of its domain to explain events that cannot be tested. In this manner both fields are using the authority afforded them by their bona fide scientific findings to present a philosophy of life and legitimate a particular worldview.
Linguistics Not only do the “hard” sciences give evidence of a fixed worldview, but the social sciences are pressed into service to support the scientific worldview as well. In the field of linguistics languages are traced by what is called etymology, or the history of words through time and cultures. Uses of a particular word can be traced to their earlier counterparts from neighboring cultures. In this way changes in all languages are recorded-except for one-the language of ancient India, Sanskrit. It is a well recognized fact that the phonology (the speech sound) and morphology (the science of word formation) of the Sanskrit language is entirely different from all of the languages of the world, and that changes noted in all other languages are not to be found in Sanskrit. This is the actual history. Yet, on 2nd February 1786 Sir William Jones, in his Presidential speech for the Asiatic Society presented a fabricated theory about a “proto-language” that was supposed to have been the mother of all languages. This unknown language, “Indo-European” in origin, was designed to provide ancestry to Sanskrit language, and to provide a cover-story for the theory of the Aryan invasion.
It was Franz Bopp (1791-1867), a German linguist, and close associate of Jones who was the main person to popularize the term “Proto-Indo-European” or “Indo-European.” Bopp rejected the arguments of earlier linguists who considered Sanskrit to be the original language of the world. He was an active member of the Asiatic Society, and interestingly, the London Magazine gave excellent reviews of his works. The Proto-Indo-European language, despite the fact that it has never been shown to exist, is accepted today by academic linguists, as the root of languages in Europe, the Middle East, and India. Indology The history of India as presented in its Puranas and other texts such as the Mahabharata or Ramayana, is accepted as truth by hundreds of millions of India’s native population, but academia regards them simply as superstitious myth. In place of this history British “Indologists” have created a history for India suggesting that there were simply barbarians in the subcontinent before the hordes of the Aryan Invasion brought culture along with them. The attempt was made to have the Aryan invasion turn India’s ancient Vedas into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers. The articles of the Asiatic Researches were intentionally derogatory and presented false descriptions of Indian society, its history and religion. In 1828 an atheistic society was formed in Calcutta, and its founder and coworkers received great appreciation by the British, were welcomed in England, and praised by the writers of the Asiatic Society. In 1847 Max Müller was appointed by the East India Company to misinterpret the theme of the Vedas and construct a false history of India.
Recent scholarship is gradually correcting these attempts at revisionist history, so much so that even establishment scholars are now beginning to question the whole idea. In fact there was no Aryan Invasion. India’s culture is the oldest on the planet, and the mother of all other civilizations as supported by recent archeological finds in Orissa. On the banks of the Subarnarekha River was found evidence of a continuous culture extending from 2 million years ago to 5,000 BCE without a break. Why then all of the revisionist history? Because the history of India as the seat of the world’s theistic culture had to be altered if the materialistic worldview was to become the dominant paradigm of thought.
Archeology As reported elsewhere in these pages by Michael Cremo, a great deal of evidence demonstrating the great antiquity of human existence has been discarded from acceptable academic discussion and even hidden from public knowledge. This has been necessary to support the idea that mankind is the recent result (the last 25-50,000 years) of evolution. The fossil record in fact not only challenges that theory, it destroys it-if the evidence is admitted into academic consideration, which it is not.
Cremo and associates collected over 900 pages of evidence formerly published in professional journals, but allowed to slip into oblivion by the establishment archeology community. Remarkably, where establishment archeologists restrict human presence in the Americas to the last 15-20,000 years only, there is abundant evidence of older human presence. In the Americas evidence of human presence has been found from 125,000 years (the Sheguiandah, Canada artifacts) to over 600 million years (Dorchester, Massachusetts metallic vase).
Of course the immediate question that comes to mind is that if Cremo and team, a two-person research organization, have uncovered so much bona fide evidence of extreme human antiquity, then why hasn’t the remainder of the entire archeological profession acknowledged the same? Why, as in the case with cosmology, is there no debate within the profession about this evidence and the failure of the accepted theories to accommodate it?
Connecting the Dots In each of the areas reviewed above, the conclusions of all academic studies and research have something in common. That is, they all attempt to squeeze a square peg into a round hole in their efforts to support the scientific worldview, or dominant paradigm. Let’s remember that the scientific worldview follows something along these lines:
In an instant after the Big Bang all matter was created and the stars and planets gradually coalesced as matter cooled. On our planet only, by the sheerest of chances, chemicals self-assembled from a chemical primordial soup to spontaneously generate simple living creatures. Over vast spans of time and by individual chance mutations, one-at-a-time, one living thing gradually gave rise to another until the planet was filled with millions of varieties of life-fish, birds, plants, insects, animals, and ultimately, in only the last 25-50,000 years, your ancestors-homo sapiens sapiens-human beings. At first hardly distinguishable from animals we gradually became more and more civilized. We now stand at the pinnacle of evolution, and it doesn’t get any better than this. Remember-enjoy it as much as you can, because when you die, that’s it-game over.
This worldview is thought to be created in a composite manner, with the conclusions of all areas of study added together to complete the general picture. Cosmology tells about the beginnings of creation, and planetary formation. Biology tells us about how life was formed and how life processes work. The archeological record tells us how species evolved from one another and where and when mankind appeared and how he populated the planet. History gives us the story of various civilizations and tells us about our social evolution, and this picture is aided by the study of linguistics which map the social intercourse of civilizations. Anthropology (including Indology) tells us about primitive peoples and how they became civilized. Add it all up and the equal sign after it will tell you who we are, how we got here, and where we are going. It’s the modern West’s answer to the existential questions.
What’s wrong with this picture? It’s a Myth. Each field of study has somehow amended its conclusions to conveniently fit with this worldview, and irrespective of the practical truths of their claims, academia legitimizes this story. If you are an educated person who lives in the “real” world, and have given up other “myths” of life, this is what you are supposed to believe. However, it would appear as though academics have, as of yet, only convinced themselves, since 90% of Americans still believe in a creation story involving God. People tolerate this being taught to their children because of the authority of science, yet they continue to take them to church. However it appears that the relentless indoctrination campaign is showing results and that Americans are becoming sociological schizophrenics in an effort to reconcile science with religion. In a Gallup survey 38% of Americans believe that man has evolved from lower species but that this process was guided by God, and college indoctrinated students favor the story of godless evolution by 2 to 1.
If each field of study were to include all of its findings (that are now suppressed or re-interpreted) to create the composite picture, we would have a very different story.
Establishment Denial and Control There are a number of methods used in controlling the debate, none of which in the least fall into the category of bona fide science. Brian Martin, a senior lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Wollongong, Australia has studied what happens to scientists who challenge the dominant paradigm, and has written extensively on the subject. Rather than look at their actual findings and discuss their work on its own merit they become labeled as dissidents, and he says there is a standard set of ways for dealing with them: “Methods include denial of tenure, blocking publications, withdrawal of research grants, official reprimands, referral to psychiatrists, ostracism by colleagues, spreading of rumors, transfer to different locations or jobs, and dismissal . . . Initially I hadn’t even thought of suppression as a problem in science. Now I realize that it is pervasive.”
It can be argued that suppression, while effective in silencing individual dissidents, is even more effective in signaling to others what they might face if they step out of line. Observation of the treatment meted out to dissidents is enough to make most university professors and professional researchers use “professional discretion,” or “balanced judgment” in choosing their research topics and how they write about their findings. Over time they internalize their fears of loss of status, income or career in a way that leads to self-intimidation. Real restraints, such as external prohibitions, are then simply replaced by the “agreements of academic gentlemen.”
A specific example of such un-scientific treatment is provided by the response science writer Richard Milton received upon publication of his book Shattering the Myths of Darwinsm. The book set about challenging the evidence presented for evolution in establishments such as natural history museums all over the world. He writes in the preface to the 1997 reprint: “I didn’t expect science to welcome an inquisitive reporter, but I did expect the controversy to be conducted at a rational level, that people would rightly demand to inspect my evidence more closely and question me on the correctness of this or that fact.” He was shocked that although a leading article in the London Times praised the book saying that it could shake the “religion of evolution,” a review elsewhere by the Darwin evolutionist Richard Dawkins painted a darker picture: “the book is ‘loony,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘drivel’ and its author a ‘harmless fruitcake’ who ‘needs psychiatric help.'” Milton replies that “these intemperate responses betoken more than a squabble between an inquisitive journalist and a couple of reactionary academics. They raise a number of important questions of general public interest.”
Indeed they do. They bring into question the ability of establishment scientists to practice bona fide science, as well as the motives for such reactionary treatment of scientists, or others, who present ideas that appear to lie outside the boundaries of acceptable debate. They also raise questions about what those limits protect or defend.
Failures of Modern Science Looking deeply into these issues the following points show themselves: 1) sound scientific evidence is being ignored in many fields, especially when it threatens the dominant scientific worldview and/or established powerful interests; 2) acceptable debate within each discipline is limited to that which supports the established “scientific” worldview, which appears to have become a rigid dogma. These are implications that the principles of pure science are being subordinated to support a political agenda. This dynamic also appears to be operative in many of the social sciences; 3) going beyond their legitimate domain of knowing nature, people of the scientific profession are introducing many assumptions that are scientifically untenable and fall outside of legitimate scientific method. They also bring conclusions in the name of Theory, that have no scientific basis in fact, being only unsupported speculations and mere assertions; 4) in many cases science is exceeding its legitimate boundaries of determination of facts of material nature and is being used to legitimate a worldview, and promulgate its philosophy-even to indoctrinate an unsuspecting public. Exactly who is determining that philosophy is unknown; 5) knowledge of such uses of science are generally unknown by the general public, and it is doubtful that they would approve of such efforts; 6) the acceptable limits of debate are those that result in or promulgate an ideology that is implicitly atheistic: academic and “scientific” discussions allow no room for discussion of a spiritual element. Moreover there appears to be an orchestrated attempt across all branches of study to deviate from correct and true research, findings, or history, in order to give mutual support to the atheistic scientific worldview. Such efforts may be seen as attempts to control the thinking and understanding of the populace and may thus be considered propaganda of special interests.
The above issues are serious breaches of the authority and legitimate boundaries of science. In these cases science is indeed being used to support a social agenda as Lewontin claims. As this behavior becomes more widely recognized the institutions of science will be seen in the same light as the Roman church formerly was at the advent of the Reformation-as a means to restrict the understanding of people to impose a dogmatic and false reality. In other words, science is being used to support a political agenda. As people begin to understand the facts behind science’s actions, the worldview of science will lose its position in the eyes of many people. Due to the above causes I predict that the failure of the atheistic scientific worldview looms on the horizon.
People want the truth and they don’t like being controlled. When they find out that this is going on they will throw off the ideology of science and seek adequate alternative ways of understanding this world. If understanding the problem is 90% of the solution, we now stand at the threshold of the solution. The problem of the modern Western worldview is that it is artificially contrived to lead to and support an atheistic conclusions. The solution is a worldview that can accommodate the theistic and spiritual concepts and forces that are present in the world and which make their effects known through a variety of phenomena. I suggest that the Vedic worldview is the only candidate that has the necessary complexity and depth to explain all of humankind’s experience.
Controlling the Debate – To What End?
While biologists may claim chance in all affairs, practically speaking there is little experience of chance in human society. In law, commerce, and industry, all activities of strictly human endeavor, we get results only when a group of people set out with the intention to achieve them. Tell any lawmaker that the laws that he just passed happened simply by chance and he is likely to think that you are daft. He knows how hard he had to work to get the job done. Tell a businessman that he has been successful by chance and he’ll laugh in your face. He’s likely worked 80 hour weeks to make his business what it is, and at least he’s convinced that that definitely didn’t happen by chance. Similarly, since academia is an institution composed of people and managed by people, it is equally unlikely that any result happens there simply by chance. Therefore, I assert that it is not by chance that each field of study has developed limits on what is considered acceptable debate. These uniform results have been achieved only by the deliberate efforts of certain people. Who? And what is their motivation? Those are the next questions we want answered.
Interestingly for our case a similar phenomenon has been revealed in another area of human endeavor-the media. Just as we have trusted science to bring us the truths of the physical world, we have trusted journalists to investigate the matters of human affairs and bring us the truths of those events. Sad to say, it seems that our trust has been misplaced on both accounts.
A penetrating analysis of the media is told by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent. Drawing on decades of criticism and research they report that the media, far from being impartial in presenting the news, defend the economic, social and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.
In the opening paragraphs they write: “It is our view that, among their other functions, the media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well-positioned to shape and constrain media policy. This is normally not accomplished by crude intervention, but by the selection of right-thinking personnel and by the editors’ and working journalists’ internalization of priorities and definitions of news-worthiness that conform to the institution’s policy.”
The authors make no attempt to identify the powerful societal interests they speak of, yet we can take it that these are moneyed interests since money equates with power in our society. And why would the money interests want to control the media and scientific ideology? Again Lewontin gives us a clue. Throughout his book he claims that biology serves the purpose of legitimating a social order, and several times makes it clear that this is done intentionally to maintain the status quo. He frankly states that story of biology is meant to convince the public that the situation we now find ourselves in is inescapable since “the political structures of society-the competitive, entrepreneurial, hierarchical society in which we live and which differentially rewards different temperaments, different cognitive abilities, and different mental attitudes – is also determined by our DNA, and that it is, therefore, unchangeable.” (emphasis added)
That is, genes make culture. As Lewontin puts it “when we know what our DNA looks like, we will know why some of us are rich and some poor, some healthy and some sick, some powerful and some weak. We will also know why some societies are powerful and rich and others are weak and poor, why one nation, one sex, one race dominates another.”
The implication is that whatever our station in life is, we are all born this way, so just accept it, since it’s the natural order of things. Of course this is nothing more than a rigid caste system that justifies inequity and social discrimination by the religion of science.
What Path Will We Take To The Future?
E. O. Wilson, while suggesting that there is a biological basis for morality has written “the choice between transcendentalism and empiricism will be the coming century’s version of the struggle for men’s souls. Moral reasoning will either remain centered in theology and philosophy, or shift toward a scientific material analysis. Where it ultimately settles will depend on which worldview is more widely perceived to be correct.”
Will the atheistic scientific worldview finally wipe-out all other theistic notions of life and purpose, or will the understanding of the spiritual dimension of mankind and the goal of his release from material bondage become the dominant paradigm? Will we bequeath to future generations the transcendent truth of the Vedas or the consequences of a bankrupt and dead-end, materialistic ideology?
This article was previously published as a chapter in Vedic Culture: The Difference It can Make in Your LIfe
Dhanesvara Das received an M.S. degree in Engineering from the Univ. of Florida in 1973, and has studied Vedic wisdom since that time. He travels throughout E. Europe, Russia and India, teaching how to live according to the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita. He is the author of “Lessons in Spiritual Economics from the Bhagavad-gita – Part 1 Understanding and Solving the Economic Problem.”