What If Matter Is Different Than How Science Describes It?
The clash of ideologies between science and religion-this book argues-is based on an incorrect understanding of matter, disconnected from consciousness, and an incorrect notion of God, disconnected from matter, space and time. The ideas of soul, morality, God and afterlife can also be scientific, but in a new science that studies meanings instead of objects.
Informed by Vedic philosophy, this book is structured into 10 short essays:
Is the Apple Really Red? provides an overview of the Vedic view of matter, which is described as symbols of meaning rather than meaningless things. The relation between this notion of matter and problems of realism and empiricism in science are discussed.
Is Free Will an Illusion? argues against the materialist interpretation of Libet’s experiment, which claims free will is an illusion. The author discusses the Vedic view of free will and shows how it is consistent with Libet’s own conclusion about his experiments.
Evolution-Mind over Matter critiques the molecular theory of evolution, showing that in an ecosystem no single living being can individually mutate into another species; these mutations would be reversed by the ecosystem. The essay argues that evolution needs to be explained by the collective changes to the ecosystem as a whole.
Intelligent Design and Vedic Philosophy discusses how ID theorists trace complexity in nature to a design by God, but this does not help in the formulation of scientific theories. What if there are deeper properties in matter arising from the existence of the mind and design is a property of the mind, not an act of God?
Impersonalism, Voidism and Science discusses how impersonal and voidistic notions about religion view form or information in nature as an accident rather than a fundamental feature of reality. The essay discusses how the idea of form leads to a new science, but that science can only be based on a personalistic notion about religion.
Why God’s Existence Is a Scientific Question accepts Richard Dawkins’s argument for the non-existence of God but shows that its conclusion (that God does not exist) is flawed because God’s existence implies a different view of matter than prevalent in current science. The essay discusses problems of incompleteness in science and connects them to the new view of matter, which can not only change science but also indicate the existence of God.
Space-Time and God connects the Vedic notion of God to a new view about space-time. The essay shows how God is simultaneously detached and related to the material world and our experience of it. The Vedas describe the universe as created by four forms of God and the essay connects them to the creation of a semantic universe.
Are the Vedas Polytheistic? attempts to debunk the common misconception that Vedic religion is polytheistic. In fact, various forms of God in Vedic philosophy are parts of a single form and are created from the single form just as various pots can be created from the idea of potness.
Science and Ritualism discusses the Vedic science of rituals and how it's based on a semantic rather than physical notion of matter. The problems of religious imagery and symbolism are connected to the need for treating space and time as forms rather than formlessness.
Do Miracles Violate Scientific Laws? discusses the classic conflict between choice and determinism in nature. What if the laws of nature are laws of choice, and one can be free of these laws through proper action? God is already free of the laws and living beings can be free as well.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although the book announces itself rather understated as an incursion into the interstices of the science vs religion debate, I found it to be much more. It is first of all a primer on the Vedic unique way of viewing the world and what it can offer us today, as we’re setting up departments for the study of consciousness and the mind and trying to figure out whether we really have free will or where all the information inside the cell comes from. For people who’ve only heard about “Hindu” thought and its applications to science, this is a great introduction, presenting a diversity of ideas, but which are mainly connected through the fact that, in Vedic philosophy, the world has a semantic nature. Now exactly what that means it’s a long discussion. But one of those semantic features is that material objects have the capacity to refer to other objects, just like in a language you can use names of people to refer to those people. At least this is what I understood. Essay number 1 goes straight into the essence of this issue. I’m a fan of Eastern philosophies, East-West dialogues and I was already familiar with concepts such as karma, prana, the cycles of time and Indian philosophy in general, but I still gained brand new information from these essays. Particularly relevant for me was the essay number 5 about the impersonalist vs personalist stance, linking spiritual nihilism and impersonalism with how modern science views reality and putting forward the personalist point of view, something rarely being done in books about Indian philosophy. Second, the book is an understated provocation to reductionists of all fields of science. If you believe that there’s nothing beyond matter and that free will, meaning, information, mind, consciousness are all just illusions of matter, arising by chance, then the author has some perplexing questions for you. For me, the most fascinating essay of all (something I’ve never seen done before in such a revealing and concise manner) is essay number 7 “Space-Time and God”. Without spoiling it for people, I must say I was impressed with how a reality that contains meanings, minds and consciousness must also logically have to contain a supreme consciousness that manifests in four ways simultaneously: being outside in space, being everywhere in space, being the origin of space and, finally, being Time, unfolding the events in space in a specific order. After reading this essay, my views on the various forms of God in Hinduism, such as the many forms of Vishnu and Shiva, have become much clearer.