In2-MeC

newly discovered entries of In2-DeepFreeze       First Generation Animations

IBSA (ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Sadhana Asrama), Govardhana, India
14 February 2004

A series of articles from the Internet by Alex Paterson
(http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/)

A CRITIQUE OF WESTERN SCIENCE

The technological triumphs of science over the past 300 years--of which Newtonian Physics is considered the foundation--provided strong support for the concept that the universe was entirely a physical phenomenon associated with the concepts of Philosophical Materialism. 1

Ironically, this is not a position embraced by Newton himself. For him the creation of the Universe was inconceivable without divine intervention of a superior intelligence or Creator. Newton believed God created the universe as a system governed by mechanical laws and once it had been created, it could be studied and understood as such.

"However, whilst Newton's followers kept the image of the universe as a deterministic super machine, they disposed of the notion of an overlighting intelligent creative principle as an unnecessary and embarrassing leftover from the 'irrational' dark ages. Sensory data about material reality ('objective' data) became the only permissible source of information in all branches of science. " (Stanislav Grof)2

The concept that the universe was essentially a 'material' system operating under the laws of Newtonian Mechanics reflected the basic metaphysical assumption of Philosophical Materialism and, because it seemed to describe so well much of what has been observed about the Universe, it came to dominate entirely the thinking in all disciplines of science including biology, medicine, psychology, psychiatry etc. From the perspective of philosophical materialism, 'matter' is the elemental stuff comprising the universe and logically the scientific discipline concerned with the study of 'matter'--namely physics-- became the pre-eminent scientific discipline to which all other disciplines were subordinate. 3

"The determined application of this logic ensured that the findings of other disciplines were not allowed to be in conflict with the basic theories of physics, resulting in the systematic suppression or misinterpretation of findings in many fields that could not be brought into consonance with the materialistic worldview. " (Stanislav Grof )4

As Grof quite rightly states:

"This strategy was a serious violation of the basic principles of science. Strictly speaking, scientific theories apply only to the observations on which they are based and they cannot be automatically extrapolated to other disciplines. Thus for example, theories about the human psyche should be based on observations of psychological processes, not on the theories that physicists have made about the material world. . . . The criterion for the validity of scientific findings and concepts in a certain area should be based on the rigour of the scientific method with which they were obtained and not on the compatibility with the theories of another field " (Grof)5

Exacerbating this situation has been the tendency of many scientists to adhere--without questioning--to outdated theories taught to them by their mentors and peers and then mistake them for being accurate and definitive descriptions of reality.

This distortion of the scientific principle has become so entrenched within contemporary Western Culture--that any new evidence suggesting that the basic paradigm underlying the contemporary scientific understanding of reality may be flawed--is routinely dismissed without proper investigation. No other better example of this sort of behaviour can be found than with Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Thus, despite the lack of any empirical evidence in support of it, and the growing list of seemingly insurmountable technical 'problems' associated with the finer details of the theory, Darwinists continue to argue that the mutation-selection mechanism associated with the theory must have produced the changes required for the evolution of new life forms--not because the mechanism has been observed to work or that there is some irrefutable scientific proof of the same--but rather because their guiding philosophy assures them that in the absence of an overlighting 'Creative Principle', no other means is available to do the job. In other words, the theory must be right because in their eyes, there is no alternative! 6

In a sense the scientific community has forgotten its purpose (raison d'etre) and the underlying ethic pertaining to that purpose.

True scientific procedure calls for keeping an open mind to all phenomena whilst maintaining a questioning attitude at the same time and being prepared to modify or dispose of any theory that no longer accommodates evidence collected in a systematic manner. 7

Today most academics professing to be scientists do not observe this process--but rather display an uncritical adherence to a materialistic philosophy taught them by their peers and superiors and because of this, they tend to ignore or treat as 'unreal' phenomena that do not fit into the orthodox paradigm of reality. 8

This process has resulted in contemporary science becoming ensnared in a very limited view of reality and the nature of the universe. This position is summed up succinctly by Cornell University professor, William Provine, who said:

". . . modern science directly implies that the world is organised strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable . . . " 9

Now of course, Professor Provine's position is a philosophical one and is not based on any empirical evidence and as such is a breach of the very principles underlying scientific technique. Professor Provine is entitled to hold and express any philosophical position he so chooses, but he is not entitled to imply the philosophical position expressed above is somehow based on scientific methodology because "science it ain't". 10

By defining and adhering to such a proscriptive interpretation of reality, contemporary 'science' is denying itself the opportunity to contribute to an extraordinary new chapter in human understanding as to the nature of reality and who we are.

Professor Provine's inability to distinguish between 'science' and 'philosophy' is very destructive of true scientific endeavour because his views as a senior respected scientist clearly affects the thinking of those who look up to him as their superior. Most scientists, like the general public, acquire the vast majority of their knowledge and values on what they are taught by their peers and mentors, and not on what they personally experience. It is for this reason that Professor Provine's views are so prevalent within the scientific community and why so many aspects of science have become moribund.

So how will Western Science deal with the plethora of 'New Age'11 phenomena now being discovered?

If history is anything to go by, the contemporary scientific community will almost certainly embrace an orthodox position and embark on a concerted campaign of trenchant denial about 'New Age' phenomena. However, this is not such a bad thing, as practically all the major advances in human knowledge and understanding have emanated from the minds of dissenters who have rejected the orthodox position of their contemporaries and postulated what were considered heresies at the time. Presumably, the issues pertaining to the plethora of 'New Age' phenomena now being discovered (and their wider implications) will be treated no differently from any new 'heresy'. As with all matters, eventually the truth will become recognised as "self evident" and future generations will look back at the position of contemporary orthodox science in much the same way we now view our ancestors who fervently believed the earth was flat!12

NOTE: Article based in part on extracts from:
    'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof (p232 - p235)
    'Darwin on Trial' by Phillip Johnson (p126)

FOOTNOTES

  1. See: PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM by Alex Paterson
  2. 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof p232
  3. Even the Oxford dictionary definitions of science, objective, material and physical reflect the pervading bias in support of Philosophical Materialism:
    "Science: noun: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of, and experiment with, phenomena, especially concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe (see also natural science). "
    Objective: adjective: - external to the mind; actually existing; real (Source Oxford Dictionary)
    Material: noun: - the matter from which a thing is made (Source Oxford Dictionary)
    Physical: noun - of matter, meaning made of matter (Source Oxford Dictionary)
  4. 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof p232
  5. 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof p232 & p235
  6. See: A Critique of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Alex Paterson
  7. DEFINITIONS:
    Science is defined as a systematic and orderly arrangement of knowledge. (Source: Websters Dictionary)
    Scientific Procedure or Scientific Methodology is defined as the method to 'exact science' consisting of:
    a) Careful and abundant observation and experiment.
    b) Generalisation of the results into formulated laws and statements. (Source: Websters Dictionary)
    Exact Science is defined as "a science admitting of absolute or quantitative precision". (Source Oxford Dictionary)
  8. See: PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM by Alex Paterson
  9. Source: 'Darwin on Trial' by Phillip Johnson (p126)
  10. It is fundamental to a free pluralistic society that any person is free to embrace whatever philosophy he/she so chooses irrespective of how "silly" it might appear to others, so long as those views don't infringe on the rights of others. The health and growth of a society is inextricably bound up with the ability of dissenters to question the orthodox values of the society, for only through such a process can a society experiment with new ideas and grow.
  11. New Age: There are many definitions assigned to the phrase 'New Age', but for the purpose of this article 'New Age' is defined as phenomena and concepts that do not fit the materialistic paradigm of contemporary Western society and are therefore considered "unreal". Phenomena that fit this definition include spirituality, a plethora of techniques associated with alternative medicine and spiritual healing, paranormal phenomena in all its forms and view points about reality that do not accord with "philosophical materialism". It also includes a series of scientific experiments involving DNA and consciousness conducted since the 1940s that defy understanding by the conventional scientific community and which have been collated by Gregg Braden (and others) in the late 1990s.
    See: Gregg Braden Website
  12. The Three Stages of Truth: Historically, the 'truth' about most issues usually goes through three distinct phases known colloquially as "the three stages of truth". During the first stage, the issue goes unnoticed and is ignored; the second stage is characterised by vehement denial; whilst the third stage witnesses the truth being finally recognised as self evident!

Copyright Alex Paterson 2000

THE OBSERVER EFFECT

Fundamental to contemporary Quantum Theory is the notion that there is no phenomenon until it is observed. This effect is known as the 'Observer Effect'. 1

The implications of the 'Observer Effect' are profound because, if true, it means that before anything can manifest in the physical universe it must first be observed. Presumably observation cannot occur without the pre-existence of some sort of consciousness to do the observing. The Observer Effect clearly implies that the physical Universe is the direct result of 'consciousness'.

This notion has a striking resemblance to perennial esoteric theory which asserts that all phenomena are the result of the consciousness of a single overlighting Creative Principle or the Mind of God.

There is a delicious irony in all this. Contemporary Western scientific theory postulates that human consciousness is solely a result of the workings of a physical brain, yet if the observer effect is correct, the physical matter comprising a brain cannot come into existence until it is the subject of observation by some pre-existing consciousness.

NOTE: For an excellent introduction to Quantum Physics in laymen's terms see:
    'A World with a View' by Ross Rhodes
    'A Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics' by Ross Rhodes

FOOTNOTES

  1. The still-dominant "Copenhagen interpretation" of Quantum Theory developed by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, and others says two basic things:
    Reality is identical with the totality of observed phenomena (which means reality does not exist in the absence of observation), and
    Quantum mechanics is a complete description of reality; no deeper understanding is possible.

(SOURCE: David Bohm by Will Keepin)

Copyright Alex Paterson 1999

 

A CRITIQUE OF
DARWIN'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION

(Part 1)

by

Alex Paterson

This is the first of a two part article questioning Darwin's Theory of Evolution on scientific grounds.

INTRODUCTION

It is clear that the physical Universe, including life on Earth, is an evolutionary process. Darwin's Theory of Evolution is but just one theory as to how this process occurred with regard to the evolution of 'life' on this planet and is considered by most educated humans to be a self-evident fact, yet rather surprisingly careful scrutiny reveals a dearth of empirical scientific evidence to support it. 1

If there were ever a case of "never letting the truth get in the way of a good story" then this would appear to be such a case. The following article briefly outlines the manifest shortcomings associated with Darwin's Theory and is written to promote thought and discussion about this issue. You are invited to agree with, disagree with, seek clarification about or critique the article if you so wish.

DARWIN'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION postulates that 'life' 2 on Earth arose from non-living matter entirely by way of some unknown, 'unconscious', mechanistic, natural process on a pre-biotic earth and then proceeded to evolve into more complex life forms almost exclusively by way of a random mutation and natural selection process, 3 and all occurring without the involvement of an over lighting consciousness or 'creator'.

Darwin's model of evolution, known as "the survival of the fittest", is widely accepted by most of the contemporary scientific community, as well as the general public, as a "fact of life" as there is little doubt this process does play a significant part in changing the characteristics within the pre-existing gene pool of a species. (a process known as micro-evolution within species) On the face of it, Darwin's theory is so elegantly simple and in accordance with so many of the day-to-day observations of modern genetics that indeed it does appear to be self evident.

However, close examination of a whole raft of scientific data reveals the absence of virtually any empirical scientific evidence in support of the theory, either regarding the alleged spontaneous generation of life in first place, let alone the evolution of life forms from one species into another. If anything, the fossil evidence to date indicates the spontaneous appearance, without the existence of any earlier related life forms, of a vast number of life forms around 600 million years ago known as the 'Cambrian explosion', followed by very long periods (tens of millions of years) of minor changes occurring within species (a process known as Stasis) and the absence of any examples of possible evolutionary links between species prior to, during, or after this period.

But, as biochemist Michael Behe points out in his book, 'Darwin's Black Box', the most serious flaw in Darwin's Theory is that due to the 'irreducible complexity' associated with the biochemistry at a molecular and cellular level, the theory cannot be applied to the evolution of life at this fundamental level, which implies other factors must be operating in the evolutionary process. 4

IMPORTANT NOTE 1: It should not be construed that this criticism of Darwin's Theory implies that the author does not believe that life on Earth is the product of some form of evolution, as it clearly is--but rather that the evolutionary model put forward by neo-Darwinists is flawed because it is not supported by any empirical scientific evidence.

IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY is defined as the base level of complexity below which a system no longer functions. Thus an irreducibly complex system is one comprising several unique interacting components that contribute to the basic function of the 'system' and wherein the removal of just one component renders the whole system no longer functional. An irreducibly complex system cannot 'evolve' by slight, successive modifications to a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part, is by definition non-functional and as such would have no purpose and presumably could not be the subject of 'natural selection'. 5

Contemporary society is full of irreducibly complex man-made devices, yet in comparison with the complexity of life at a biochemical level, they are just child's play. The common mouse trap is an excellent example of a simple, yet irreducibly complex machine. It comprises ten parts of which the absence of just one renders the trap unserviceable. Irreducibly complex systems like a mousetrap cannot evolve via the Darwinian model of gradual minor changes. In the case of a mouse trap, you can't start with a wooden platform, catch a few mice, add a spring, catch a few more mice and so on. The whole system has to be complete before you can catch any mice. It's all or nothing. As Behe explains in great detail, the irreducible complexity associated with just a simple single cell organism at a biochemical level is of staggering proportions involving a cascade of non-redundant, exquisitely related processes to support it and all implying careful design.

Realistically, if Darwin's theory can't begin to explain the 'evolution' of a system as simple as a ten part mouse trap, what hope has it got in explaining the development of the complex biochemistry associated with a single cell organism, let alone higher life forms? 6

Darwin knew that his theory of gradual evolution by natural selection carried a heavy burden. As he said in his book, 'The Origin of Species':

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. " 7

Darwin postulated his theory long before the irreducible complexity of life at a biochemical level was understood and it is difficult to believe that, given his above statement, even he could support his theory today.

So why is Darwin's theory still so trenchantly defended despite the lack of any empirical evidence in support of it and the increasing body of evidence against it? The answer lies in history. Contemporary Western society is rooted in a concept of reality known as Philosophical Materialism.

PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM came into prominence associated with the 'Age of Reason' which arose partly as a reaction to the stifling religious dogma of 16th-18th century Europe. Philosophical Materialism postulates that the Universe is essentially a three dimensional materialistic phenomena and that 'life' on earth somehow arose out of a freak fortuitous event aeons ago by way of some unknown, 'unconscious' and mechanistic process in strict accordance with the 'fixed' laws of physics. Philosophical Materialism totally rejects as "superstitious nonsense" the concept of a 'Creative Principle' or 'Universal Consciousness' over lighting the creation of the Universe in general or the evolution of life on Earth in particular, as this is totally at odds with the basic premise of that philosophy.

Because Darwin's Theory of Evolution (as presented by neo-Darwinists) is in complete accordance with this philosophy, it has become entrenched as the official creation story of contemporary Western culture and is trenchantly defended by the scientific community despite growing evidence of the manifest shortcomings of the theory. Most scientists hold firmly to this theory--not because the mechanism has been observed to work, or that there is some irrefutable scientific proof of the same--but rather because their guiding philosophy assures them that in the absence of an over lighting 'Creative Principle', no other means are available to do the job. In other words, the theory must be right because, in their eyes, there is no alternative! 8

THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS relates to a process fundamental to the Physical Universe in which all inanimate matter eventually breaks down into it's constituent parts with the passage of time. (i. e. all matter becomes less complex over time) A corollary of this law is the observation that inanimate matter never spontaneously organises itself into more complex forms. Thus for example, a car will eventually disintegrate into a pile of rust, but a pile of rust will never spontaneously build itself up into a car. The only matter known to Western Science to defy Second Law of Thermodynamics is that associated with organic LIFE.

From a scientific point of view, the proposition that something as incredibly diverse and irreducibly complex as life - and which is characterised by order, purpose and the ability to reproduce itself (in other words, displaying consciousness) - could have spontaneously defied the Second Law of Thermodynamics and come into being out of the relatively simple primordial environment of pre-biotic earth by way of some unknown, 'unconscious', purposeless, mechanistic process, smacks to many (including the author) of being bogus science. The fact that no empirical evidence in support of such a notion has ever been discovered or put forward almost defies belief that such a theory could become the predominant 'scientific' view of reality. Presumably, under normal circumstances such a notion would have been rejected without a second thought. However, Darwin's Theory of Evolution is not just another theory to be tested and discarded if it doesn't match the findings of objective scientific analysis - it is a theory rooted in the essence of Philosophical Materialism and the very basis of the 'science' that represents that philosophy. Under these circumstances, discarding such a theory is clearly unthinkable because the actual intellectual authority of contemporary Western science is at stake.

CONCLUSION

American lawyer and author, Phillip Johnson, succinctly sums up the shortcomings regarding Darwin's Theory of Evolution in his book 'Darwin on Trail':

"The argument of 'Darwin on Trial' is that we know a great deal less (about evolution) than has been claimed. In particular, we do not know how the immensely complex organ systems of plants and animals could have been created by mindless and purposeless natural processes, as Darwinists say they must have been. Darwinian theory attributes biological complexity to the accumulation of adaptive micro-mutations by natural selection, but the creative power of this hypothetical mechanism has never been demonstrated, and the fossil evidence is inconsistent with the claim that biological creation occurred in that way. The philosophically important part of the Darwinian theory - its mechanism for creating complex things that did not exist before - is therefore not really empirical science at all, but rather a deduction from naturalistic philosophy. In brief, what makes me a "critic of (Darwinian) evolution" is that I distinguish between naturalistic philosophy and empirical science, and oppose the former when it comes cloaked in the authority of the latter. " 9

FOOTNOTES:

  1. 'Empirical' is defined as based on observation and experiment, not theory. (Source: Oxford Dictionary 1991)
  2. 'Life' has a number of definitions, but for the purpose of this document it is defined as "matter capable of organised complexity and the ability to reproduce itself". (Alex Paterson)
  3.  To quote Michael Behe in his book, 'Darwins Black Box': "Because Darwin observed there were variations between populations in all species, he reasoned that the ones whose chance variations (mutations) gave them an advantage in the struggle for life, would tend to survive and reproduce, out competing the less favoured ones and passing on the advantageous characteristics to their offspring. By this method characteristics of the species would gradually change and over great periods of time great changes would occur. " Source: 'Darwin's Black Box' by Michael Behe (pXI)
  4. It should not be construed that this criticism of Darwin's Theory implies that the author does not believe that life on Earth is the product of some form of evolution, as it clearly is - but rather that the evolutionary model put forward by neo-Darwinists is flawed because it is not supported by any empirical scientific evidence.
  5. 'Darwin's Black Box' by Michael Behe (p39)
  6. Behe argues that "no one has ever explained in detailed scientific fashion how mutation and natural selection could build the complex, intricate structures associated with life at a micro biochemical level. " Source: 'Darwin's Black Box' (p176)
  7. 'The Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin, 6th edition 1988 New York University press (p154)
  8. For more on this subject see: PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM by Alex Paterson
  9. 'Darwin on Trial' by Phillip Johnson (p158)

A CRITIQUE OF
DARWIN'S THEORY OF EVOLUTION

(Part 2)

The Implications of the
Irreducible Complexity of Life

by

Alex Paterson

This is the second of a two part article questioning Darwin's Theory of Evolution on scientific grounds.

IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY

The relatively recent discovery of the irreducible complexity 1 inherent in so many of life's processes, especially at a biochemical 2 level, has profound implications regarding the nature of the Universe, as it cannot be explained by Darwin's Theory of Evolution and unambiguously indicates that 'life' is the result of intelligent design. In the absence of any other known 'mechanistic' process, intelligent design clearly infers the existence of a 'Creator' or 'Creative Principle'. 3

It is for this reason that the 'scientific mainstream' has refused even to acknowledge the issues surrounding the irreducible complexity inherent in so many of life's processes. The reluctance of the scientific community to deal with this issue or consider the implications of intelligent design regarding 'life' has nothing to do with a lack of empirical evidence to support it--but rather has its roots in a historical chauvinism 4 against anything suggesting the existence of a creator. This almost paranoid reluctance to consider the obvious is ironic as it serves only to limit scientific endeavour and in many respects is reminiscent of the stifling religious dogma that led to the 'age of reason' and modern scientific methodology in the first place. 5

In a sense the scientific community has forgotten its purpose (raison d'etre) and the underlying ethic pertaining to that purpose. True scientific procedure calls for keeping an open mind to all phenomena whilst maintaining a questioning attitude at the same time and being prepared to modify or dispose of any theory that no longer accommodates evidence collected in a systematic manner. Today most academics professing to be scientists do not observe this process, but rather display an uncritical adherence to a materialistic philosophy taught them by their superiors. Because of this, contemporary science has become ensnared in a very limited view of reality and the nature of the universe. This position is summed up succinctly by Cornell University professor, William Provine, who said:

". . . modern science directly implies that the world is organised strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable . . . " 6

Now of course, Professor Provine's position is a philosophical one and is not based on any empirical evidence and as such is a breach of the very principles underlying scientific technique. Professor Provine is entitled to hold and express any philosophical position he so chooses, but he is not entitled to imply the philosophical position expressed above is somehow based on scientific methodology because "science it ain't". 7

By defining and adhering to such a proscriptive interpretation of reality, contemporary 'science' is denying itself the opportunity to contribute to an extraordinary new chapter in human understanding as to the nature of the Universe and who we are.

Professor Provine's inability to distinguish between 'science' and 'philosophy' is very destructive of true scientific endeavour because his views, as a senior respected scientist, clearly affects the thinking of those who look up to him as their superior. Most scientists, like the general public, acquire the vast majority of their knowledge and values about reality on what they are taught by their peers and superiors--and not on what they personally experience. It is for this reason that Professor Provine's views are so prevalent within the scientific community and why so many aspects of science have become moribund.

So how will 'science' deal with the implications of irreducible complexity associated with life?

If history is anything to go by, the contemporary scientific community will almost certainly embrace an orthodox position and embark on a concerted campaign of trenchant denial about the issue. However, this is not such a bad thing, as practically all the major advances in human knowledge and understanding have emanated from the minds of dissenters who have rejected the orthodox position of their contemporaries and postulated what were considered heresies at the time. Presumably, the issues pertaining to the irreducible complexity of life and its wider implications will be treated no differently from any new 'heresy'. As with all matters, eventually the truth will become recognised as "self evident" and future generations will look back at the position of contemporary science in much the same way we now view our ancestors who fervently believed the earth was flat! 8

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Irreducible Complexity is defined as the base level of complexity below which a system no longer functions. Thus an irreducibly complex system is one comprising several unique interacting components that contribute to the basic function of the 'system' and wherein the removal of just one component renders the whole system no longer functional. An irreducibly complex system cannot 'evolve' by slight, successive modifications to a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is, by definition, non-functional and as such would have no purpose and presumably could not be the subject of 'natural selection'. (Source: 'Darwins Black Box' by Michael Behe p39)
  2. Biochemistry is defined as the "chemistry of the processes fundamental to life and characteristic of life" (Source: Oxford Dictionary 1991)
  3. The unearthing of the irreducible complexity of life at a biochemical level is as profound a discovery as Copernicus's and Galileo's ideas regarding the nature of the solar system, Newton's theory about gravity and the Laws of Motion, Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Quantum Physics because, like those findings, it radically redefines human perception of reality. Like all major discoveries, the significance of it has gone unnoticed by most and it will take at least a generation or two before that significance is recognised and acted upon.
  4. Chauvinism is defined as "a blind and absurd devotion to an obsolete cause". (Source: Websters Dictionary)
  5. It is worth remembering that five hundred years ago most humans believed that the earth was flat, and anyone who had the temerity to suggest otherwise invariably was burnt at the stake. It was this sort of stifling religious dogma that eventually gave rise to the conventional scientific processes associated with the 'Age of Reason'.
  6. Source: 'Darwin on Trial' by Phillip Johnson (p126)
  7. It is fundamental to a free pluralistic society that any person is free to embrace whatever philosophy he/she so chooses irrespective of how "silly" it might appear to others, so long as those views don't infringe upon the rights of others. The health and growth of a society is inextricably bound up with the ability of dissenters to question the orthodox values of the society, for only through such a process can a society experiment with new ideas and grow.
  8. The Three Stages of Truth: Historically, the 'truth' about most issues usually goes through three distinct phases known colloquially as "the three stages of truth". During the first stage, the issue goes unnoticed and is ignored; the second stage is characterised by vehement denial; whilst the third stage witnesses the truth about the issue being finally recognised as self evident!

Copyright Alex Paterson 1999

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