Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Exposing major deceits by guru Sathya Sai Baba in India, incl. murders cover-up & widely alleged sexual abuse

Archive for September 25th, 2008

G. Venkataraman’s out-dated and fallacious ideas – part two

Posted by robertpriddy on September 25, 2008

Let me apologise for the length needed to refute the glib and superficial ideas of Sathya Sai Baba’s chief propagandist and spokesman, former nuclear scientist, Professor G.  Venkataraman, about science and scientists, and also for the relative heaviness of the subject… though it is an important one.
It seems that this retired physicist has fallen for the temptation to take upon himself the mantle of philosopher, without having had the requisite training or having worked analytically on the main philosophies and theologies of the world.  Not only that, he has donned the role of a spiritual adviser working directly on behalf of God Almighty, Creator of the Universe. Why then, I ask myself, was he wearing such a long face and showed such lack of animation when I met him on two occasions together with V.K. Narasimhan in the 1990s.

Sathya Sai Baba, having repeatedly shown himself to be intellectually bankrupt, is defended by his servitor on the grounds that it is only in the heart – not the head – that one can understand God. Such is the view of this propagandist and amateur ‘life philosopher’ Dr. G. Venkarataman, a former physicist who has taken to debunking scientists in favour of  the man he fully believes to be God Incarnate and Creator of the Universe, Sathya Sai Baba.

Venkarataman: “Thanks to this tremendous leap forward in scientific knowledge, all of which has occurred in about fifty short years – and this includes not only physics and astronomy but every scientific discipline all the way to molecular biology – scientists have become very cocky and arrogant.
Comment: What is cockier and more arrogant than Venkataraman’s preaching that Sathya Sai Baba is the Creator of the Entire Universe?’ How would he know? He has to rely entirely on the infinitely cocky, arrogant claim of his benefactor!)

Venkarataman: The current dogma of Science is that a theory of Science might be accepted based on currently known facts but must not be regarded as the eternal truth; there could well be new discoveries that disprove existing theories or limit their scope.
(Comment: This is exactly the rejection of dogma, nothing more or less. Famously, science does not deal in dogmas at all, but in hypotheses which are more or less likely, while  Venkataraman and Sai Baba are dogmatists par excellence.)

Venkarataman: Everything is subservient to logic and must be applicable within the boundaries as stipulated by Science. In particular, the prevailing belief is that Science progresses best by a systematic effort to prove wrong currently accepted hypotheses. Any proposition that refuses to accept these terms and look beyond does not deserve the attention of scientists.
(Comment: Venkataraman’s idea of the philosophy of science is highly distorted. Scientists are continually developing very far-reaching and new hypotheses which, initially, go far beyond systematic effort. But they are not conjured up out of thin air and the superstition of ancient texts and beliefs, for the take their departure from what is already known. The falsification of currently-accepted hypotheses is but one limited aspect of scientific method, which constantly proposes new hypotheses. [Nor is Popper’s thesis is the be-all and end-all of modern philosophy of science].

Venkarataman: That is the way scientists of today operate. Logical analysis is supreme and hypothesis becomes a fact only when tested thoroughly by experiments. The problem surfaces when one starts asking questions that lie beyond the purview of Science as is currently accepted. Are there such things at all that lie beyond Science? Of course there are, like LIFE, for example. Ask a scientist to define life, and you would find he is in trouble straightaway. Yes he would give all kinds of shady and cagey answers but he cannot really answer the question. Some would honestly say, “Listen, I cannot answer that question; it is beyond Science as we currently know it.” Others more arrogant would say, “Well, I cannot answer it now but be assured that one day Science would be able to answer that question. You do not need to invoke God and all that to explain life.”
(Comment: Not so! Biologists define life at all its levels in very exact and reproducible empirical ways. Human life is the subject of study of the historical, social and psychological sciences. Venkataraman ignores this, presumably because he regards ‘life’ is something or other which is detached from the physical realm, the non-physical ‘subject’ of empty speculation and dogma of the priesthoods and misguided metaphysicians who would “invoke God”. Sciences study life, not the supposed ‘afterlife’ on which the Sai Baba doctrine and the dearest hopes of his devotees are fixated.)

Venkataraman: “In short, Science, which is bound by Space and Time, is related to the gross inanimate world. It does not, as it stands, extend to the subtle world to which we have access through our senses.
Comment: Venkataraman is bound by space and time, I think! Or does he claim to travel beyond it ‘astrally’ or by some undisclosed means? Science is far from limited to study of the ”inanimate world”. Biology, psychology, sociology and many, many other disciplines study the animate world and ‘human life’).

Venkataraman: This is particularly evident when one considers Consciousness. Even scientists admit that there is a thing called Consciousness but ask them to define it, and they would throw up their hands.
(Comment: It is a grossly false characterisation of scientists that scientists ‘throw up their hands’ when asked about consciousness. Firstly, modern philosophers have defined and studied consciousness phenomenologically – starting from Brentano, Husserl and Sartre (whose main work ‘Being and Nothingness’ is entirely about the epistemology of consciousness and being). For them, there is no consciousness without an ‘object’ it is directed towards. It cannot reflect on itself without objectifying itself.
As to natural science, it has in recent decades becomes the subject of intensive research in neuro-biology and neuro-psychology, which make use of amazing technologies like magnetic resonance and supercomputing as developed for studying where, how and when experiences arise in the brain as conscious stimuli. A ground-breaking scientist in this field is neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwich of the Maudsley Hospital, Surrey who uses the latest technological marvels to study the brain in unusual states, including meditation and not least after heart failure. He is of the opinion that the evidence indicates that mind and brain are separate, but he goes no further towards positing transcendental experience, other ‘spiritual’ realms or independently existing Super-Consciousness. These are so far matters of mere belief, not verified knowledge.)

Venkataraman: This being the case, scientists, if they have any sense of humility, would recognise their boundaries and limitations and not comment on things they do not know about. When they lose their humility, they become arrogant and arrogance blinds one to basics.
(Comment: With this knife Venkataraman cuts off his own right hand with lacking sense of humility in all his certainties and comments he makes on things he does not know about).

Venkarataman: Consider a biologist. Most biologists would not know much about the theory of relativity although almost everyone would know that it was Einstein who gave that theory. Ask a biologist, “Do you believe in the theory of relativity?” He would promptly say yes, even though he has not studied it and in fact knows practically nothing about it. How come? Because he has faith in Einstein.
(Comment: One knows others through oneself, Venkataraman! Biologists do not ‘believe’ in the theory of relativity because they have faith in Einstein. What primitive prejudices Venkataraman holds! Biologists are scientists and very few will not have a far wider appreciation of the methods and conceptions involved in relativity than most layman – besides which the history of the theory of relativity and its vast success in predicting far-reaching previously undreamt phenomena is known to all who have a basic science education. Even most laymen know a lot about it, and have faith in the world community of scientists – and the consensus of hundreds of thousands of brilliant researchers)

Venkarataman: I am dismissed for having faith in God based on what Adi Shankara has taught and experienced, but it is OK for a biologist to have total faith in relativity without understanding a word of it, just because he has faith in Einstein. I would call this double standards.
(Comment: Adi Shankara was not a scientist, of course, but a speculative theologist. One has either to believe in him or not, there is nothing empirical about his doctrine. It is entirely subjective in concept and practice. That’s the rub!)

Venkarataman: “In the same way, anyone in principle can have the Darshan of the Divine, like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did; however, if someone wants God to appear before him, then that calls for special effort on the part of that person. It is very much like in experimental science.”
Comment: Not at all like in experimental science. It is more likely a process of self-hypnosis, self-mystification and untestable subjective ‘experiences ‘ or illusions. Venkataraman suggests that he knows this, and that he got God to appear before him. However, I too have seen and met the one he believes to be God – Sathya Sai Baba – many times, but he is no God and no efforts comparable to those of experimental science were required on my part. Venkataraman may instead be trying to imply that he has had a total vision of God as the Cosmos – a vishvarupadarshan or some such fantastic claim, but perhaps he has already shown to be confused and deluded enough to discount such a possibility. I am not saying that it is impossible through intensive self-programming and fanatical concentration to conjure up experiences of deities, devils, saints and Satans, but that it is a capacity of the deranged human mind to be triggered to have many kinds of fantastic experience in the realms of illusion.

Venkarataman: “Most intellectuals, scientists being prominent among them, try to explain all that we see through the “Head” alone but when it comes to God, the “Heart” HAS to come into the picture. The Heart being BEYOND the Mind, the tools of Science will not work; instead, we need the tools of meta-science or meta-physics, if you will. It is at this point that the modern physicist loses patience, makes his sarcastic comments and withdraws with the feeling that those who believe in God need to be pitied rather than censured.”
Partly sarcastic final comment: Venkataraman makes lots of sarcastic comments about scientists, but they merely pity him, no doubt, with reason which is pitying, not thereby heartless. Sarcasm has its function too, even if it is exceptional in not having been created by God, of course! He lays claim to knowing that the HEART is beyond the mind. However, the word ‘heart’ has come to mean much the same as ‘the seat of emotions’. It can be filled with envy, lust and hate (as Sathya Sai Baba so often argues) yet at the same time the Sai dogma is that the Eternal Soul has its seat in the heart which is pure, at the core of which there is akasa, that compassion arises in the heart lotus, that the heart ‘chackra’ must be awakened, and cleansed so that God can enter (but he is also supposed to be there all the time … and so on and so forth. It is all a confused and contradictory manner of speaking, frequently employed in an attempt to denigrate common sense, reason, logic and anything that can be considered as sceptical, agnostic etc. or belonging to the ‘head’. Thus, compassion and love are in no way inspired by our thoughts (the head) or by reason (as in the case of poor old Immanuel Kant and many others). But it is largely a false opposition in terms only, for the thought (head) and emotions (heart) are always intertwined, dialectically related and are often so closely in full agreement as to be unified, even in non-spiritual people (believe it or not). The whole confusion arises from the false dichotomy between the body and the mind (or soul), between the physical cosmos or and the imagined spiritual heavens, hells or whatever. It seems that Prof G. Venkataraman has ‘lost his head’ – or wants to – and is proud of it into the bargain.

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