International Conference on “Is Science Able to Explain the Scientist?”
SCIENCE - SPIRITUALITY, 5 Aug 2013
On December 8, 2013 an International Conference ‘Science and Scientist – 2013’ will be held at Bhubaneswar, India.
‘Science and Scientist – 2013’ will be organized by Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science, Princeton, NJ, USA and Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute, Siliguri, West Bengal, India in collaboration with Synergy Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.
‘Science and Scientist – 2013’ is a premier forum for understanding the limitations of casual or mechanistic determinism in modern science and thereby exploring the Vedantic Paradigm as an alternative.
The Origin of Species was published by Charles Darwin in 1859. This had lead to a radical change in the people’s perception about life and world. For more than 150 years the only major focus of biologists has been to uphold the Darwinian vision intact. Evolution is a word not limited to biological evolution. Scientists claim that our universe and solar system have evolved from explosion of matter (Big bang theory) and chemical elements have evolved from simple matter. First life has evolved from dead chemicals (Abiogenesis), and complex organisms from simpler forms (Biological evolution). Theories like the Big Bang, Origin of Life, Darwinian Evolution, etc. are failing under the influence of new evidence and concepts created by the advancement of science itself. It is not an attack on science from without. It is a wholly internal critique of science by scientists according to strict scientific principles – ‘scientific critique of science’.
Modern science has generally been directed toward investigating the material world, excluding consideration of the conscious scientist who is essential to the whole process, since, of course, the very existence of the scientific endeavor itself depends upon consciousness. Complete scientific knowledge must consequently include both objective science and subjective consciousness. Modern science is based on causal determinism, which explains that: “every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature.” Hence, scientists assume that there is nothing uncaused or self-caused. By definition ‘Biology’ is a science meant for the study of life. However, many biologists in reality study abiology (study of matter/inanimate-objects – DNA, RNA, Protein, etc.) in the name of biology. Following a causal determinism, even today, several biologists believe that, as scientific technologies and knowledge advance, they can completely understand life based merely on the analysis of a living organism’s DNA sequence. They have a misconception that DNA contains all the secrets of life. These (a)biologists blindly presume that the traits and flaws of the body can be predicted, exclusively, based on an organism’s genes, and that such a determination is as simple as using the laws of mechanics to predict the motion of an inanimate object.
By itself a genome is an inert or inanimate object. DNA by itself can neither reproduce itself, nor produce a protein. Hence, an actual cellular function cannot be accomplished by DNA itself. The Human Genome Project scientists were calling DNA the ‘Book of Life’, but evidence establishes the imprudence of such claims. Even Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics and the corporate arm of the DNA sequencing project, stated :
“genes can’t possibly explain all of what makes us what we are.”
Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould also stated :
“The collapse of the doctrine of one gene for one protein, and one direction of causal flow from basic codes to elaborate totality, marks the failure of reductionism for the complex system we call cell biology.”
If environment alone cannot explain to us who we are, if the program for life is not in our genes, then where is it? The program for life is the cell itself – ‘an organic whole’, and it cannot be reduced any further. The cell, through signaling pathways, is also connected to larger wholes (other living cells/organisms) and to the environment (external world). We are individual organic wholes and are living in an organic whole. Hence, we are subservient to a universal organic whole – Supreme Absolute. Ancient, Vedantic literature like Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam have explained since antiquity that mere bodily analysis cannot help us understand who we are. Vedantic literature concludes that soul animates the bodies of living organisms and that sentience or consciousness is the symptom of the existence of soul. In other words, there is no program in the body of a living organism that we can read or analyze to understand the secret of life. Twenty-first century biology also explains that within each cell there are sentient regulatory networks of proteins that sense or evaluate alterations in the cellular environment and understand those signals so that the cell can create an appropriate response. Even the smallest living cells obtain information from their external environment and accordingly monitor their internal processes. Twenty-first century biologists, rejecting abiology, now accept all living organisms, including the smallest cells, as sentient beings. In the context of multicellular organisms, an American biologist, expert in bacterial genetics and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, James A. Shapiro states in his book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century,
“Without an elaborate sensory apparatus to pick up signals about chemicals in the environment (nutrients, poisons, signals emitted by other cells) or to keep track of intracellular events (DNA replication, organelle growth, oxidative damage), a cell’s opportunity to proliferate or contribute to whole-organism development would be severely restricted. Life requires cognition at all levels.”
The last sentence, “Life requires cognition at all levels” is the same paradigm that Vedanta has advocated since antiquity. Under the banner of ‘biologism’ or ‘biological determinism’, scientists believed that genetic determinism, environmental determinism, or a combination of both could supply the means to fully explain the principles of livings organisms. However, overcoming that illusion, the scientific evidence in 21st century biology establishes that life is an organic whole and it cannot be reduced any further to satisfy casual or mechanistic determinism.
We now know that living organisms within a species exhibit different behavior even in the absence of differences in the environment, and hence, individual organisms execute actual novel acts. Due to this, many scientists have been forced to conclude that living organisms possess ‘freewill’. Unlike dead matter (the motion of an inanimate object is determined by the laws of physics and chemistry), the prime symptom of life is that it exhibits freewill or self-determined behavior, which is volitional and intentional, and which is self-caused or self-initiated action. Hence, life is self-caused – ‘Life Comes from Life’, and abiogenesis – ‘First life came from non-Life’ – is only an illusion of determinism in (a)biology.
‘Science and Scientist – 2013’ will bring together leading Biologists, Engineers, Scientists and Academicians from around the world. The main goal of this conference is to provide a platform for the academic, scientific and industrial community to cultivate the proper spirit of inquiry for understanding ‘Life and Its Origin’ using science based progress in their respective research areas. The conference greatly encourages topics, in such areas as: ‘Failure of Biologism or Biological Determinism’, ‘Failure of Genetic Determinism – Life Beyond Genes’, ‘Debunking Darwinism’, ‘Scientific Critique of Science’, ‘Man and Machine’, ‘Logic of Life’, ‘Cognitive Biology’, ‘Freewill’, ‘Soul Hypothesis’, etc. The aim of the conference is to bring together worldwide leading researchers, developers, practitioners and educators interested in advancing the state of the art in ‘Life and Its Origin’ for exchanging knowledge that encompasses a broad range of disciplines among various distinct communities. It is expected that speakers will highlight new prospects for scientifically understanding life based on 21st century biology. The theme for this conference is innovative and meant for inspiring the researchers to understand the scientific validity of ancient Vedantic wisdom and thus confidently practice its conclusions by implementing them in their own lives. This conference shall provide a new forum for discussions on ‘Harmony of Science and Religion’.
1. Developmental Biology and Consciousness
2. Cognitive Biology
3. Self-Determination and Freewill
4. Body, Mind and Consciousness
5. Bioinformatics and Consciousness
6. Understanding Biodiversity from 21st Century Biology
7. Systems Biology and Consciousness
8. Origin of Life
9. Soul Hypothesis
1. Logic of Life
2. Man and Machine
3. Debunking Darwinism
4. Failure of Genetic Determinism – Life Beyond Genes
5. Failure of Biologism or Biological Determinism
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