Salim Solaiman


This conversation is closed.

Why are eastern religions/spirituality spreading all over the world, similarly science from the west conquered the world ?

It's not a religion/spirituality vs science debate.
For some time I've been wondering why it's so. Religions / spirituality from the east seems to be dominating the world to a great extent, while science from the west has established complete domination.

That doesn't mean , in east there was never any science nor it means west was missing spirituality / religion completely since the dawn of civilization. It's a broad observation.

Is my observation right ?
If right , what can explain it better ? Sociology, environmental factor ? Or any other factor can explain it better.
If my observation is wrong, why do you think so ?

Would love to hear your views, logics, reasoning ...............

Closing Statement from Salim Solaiman

Thanks for all who participated in to the debate. Though at the end we could not the answer of the main premise.
Discussion rather took a spin which religions are eastern or which not. Main debate for sometime in this regard was about christianity , majority considered Christianity to be eastern which is also my view point.

There wer very good discussion on other matters mostly on religions , specifically hinduism. It's a learning for me as a originator of discussion to be more careful about use of words in poster otherwise debate can spin in different way than its original purpose.

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    Oct 17 2011: To Thomas & Natasha:

    " am not saying what eastern philosophy and religion are; I am saying, I do not expect them to have all the answers."

    That is similar to saying you don't think music has all the answers. In this case it is the music of silence, the sound of all sounds. You are talking about relative knowledge, eastern religion/philosophy refers to the self in many respects (at least that's where it begins for it manifests it's self to everything) you can call it many things: silence, eternity, changeless, stillness, presence, oneness. But they are all the same. And no it is not a stretch to explain it in one sentence, in fact once you know it the words should cease, they are all a reference to the same state, ex. in hinduism all the gods are a reflection of brahma (the eternal unity) in Buddhism it is awakening, in taoism it is the yin and yang showing that once you are one you are already the other (also taoism gives you a bunch of contradictions to show you), in Zen it is implementing this into everyday activity so everything becomes an art rather than a chore, if you go to the west it is the garden of eden where there is unity and perfection. The people who have achieved this are often called Buddhas or christs or sages or even gods in hinduism.

    Yes I think we have the same view on the subject here. I wouldn't separate them with the words knowing and knowledge but that doesn't really matter. In the west we once considered experience and science a part of the same discipline, I think they called it logos back then. It started when they tried to make an indivisible unit called the atom, after this all of western thought had a core belief of division and each person being an individual amongst many. In modern times however science is starting to realize that this is not true as there is no smallest unit and that the whole is an integrated system of basically energy.

    I could refine this all but I think you guys will understand despite err.
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus,

      You seem to have taken something I have NOT said and elevated it to a major point I was TRYING to say. The fact that I did not mention what I think eastern philosophy is, is not addressed by what I did say (that I do not expect it to have all the answers ... to make that "concrete" ... I do not expect eastern philosophy to have anything to say about what movie will win an Oscar or whether we will find the Higgs Boson.)

      The rest of your conversation is interesting and I agree with much of what you say but you are not including ALL of the eastern philosophies (nor could I, I do not know all of them!) but some of them (that I do know) are not adequately addressed by your single sentence. It's a good sentence and has broad applications but it is not universal. If you would like to pursue this, we can ... should we open another conversation to do so?
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        Oct 17 2011: First paragraph: Agreed, thanks

        Second paragraph: Thanks, I do how ever think that all of them, of course I could be wrong so I would enjoy it if any body could find an example against it. In my sentence I was referring to the ultimate point and not the method. If you want to make this an other conversation I think that would be very interesting. I seem to have a strange record of my conversations being deleted despite seeing others with topics that I would consider farther away from Ted's mission of ideas worth spreading.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          The major Eastern philosophy that has nothing to do with "being" would, I suppose, be Confucianism.

          And I suppose if we wanted to "split hairs" we could say Buddhism is not about being but rather about "non-being."

          Christianity (which I consider Eastern) is not really about being at all: it is about salvation and redemption.

          Others that are not really about "being" include Legalism, Shinto, Maoism, Jainism, and so on.

          Jainism is an interesting one because, in some ways, it is about "being" but it is also about "liberation" and it does not advocate the existence of God (neither does Buddhism.)

          Lots of existing Eastern philosophies are syncretic so we have many that pick and choose the features they like from other schools of thought.

          And if we look at many philosophies and religions, they have a "mystical" branch that might have something to do with being (or not) - like Kabbalah, Sufis, Sahaja, Catholic Spiritualism, and so on.
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        Oct 19 2011: Thomas:

        By the 6th century BC. the chinese already had a sophisticated social system, they had both intellectual structure and mystical search. Confucianism served as the intellectual division while taoism the mystical one. However it was always thought that the highest aim of philosophy should be to transcend the world of everyday life and reach a higher plane of consciousness. So maybe your right but confucianism wasn't meant to be understood as an isolated philosophy.

        Non-being implies that there is no unity of all and you are in isolation. In fact non being could be interpreted as a state of mind where you are gripped with time and change. I have heard someone say Buddhism is about extinguishing one self, this is true but only your subjective self. Basically they are the same: being of all and non-being of you.

        Christianity uses different words but that doesn't mean they don't mean the same thing. Salvation is possible through Jesus Christ. Christ means one who is pure. He says god is within me, it is a metaphor. We can all be Christs just as we can be Buddhas, the objective or unity or god is within us.
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          Oct 19 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          I think what you are demonstrating is we can reframe pretty much anything we want to make it fit any view we like. Which is sort of what we all do ... Probably most of the time.

          Confucius (apparently) did not intend his philosophy, which was primarily focussed on statecraft, to be co-opted by anything, which would include Buddhism and Taoism. It was. And now we have a "Mash up" that is more prevalent than "pure" Confucianism.

          Your revisioning of Christianity is interesting and is as valid as any other, I suppose. I doubt that many Christians would agree with you.

          But the point remains: Not all eastern philosophies are about being.

          If we would like to revision all of them to fit that model, of course, we can. But, again, I don't think everyone would agree with us.

          Is it important to you that all eastern philosophies be about being?
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        Oct 19 2011: Thanks Thomas (for some reason to me, there is no "reply" button in any of the "Thumbs up" of Thomas). So I am posting it here.
    • Oct 17 2011: Hi, Thadeus!
      Thank you for the comment! Actually i would like you to "refine this all"
      You know how pleasant the moment of recognition is, when you have just vague ideas about,
      and meet someone who has a clear vision /at least, much clearer/ It's a real joy!
      Nice to meet you!
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        Oct 19 2011: I don't know much:

        Beautiful is how it should be, mind is the questionnaire is the interpreter, you cannot tell me who you are, but you can dance it. You cannot tell me who you are, you can only smile it. You cannot tell me who you are, but you will live it. God is a reference to all and unity comes within us if we no longer resist. If we experience this unity we are in an eternal moment. In the universe everything is the center, for example you, you are in the center of a world of movement, time and change but what does the center do? It doesn't move, you are in the stillness of eternity. So everything is both in time and in stillness. Ii is a changeless change. In mythology it is not uncommon to be both released and bound by the chains of life. You can dance with you body and and be still with your mind. In meditation one observes but it's much more than simple observation it is an experience. Prejudices cloud us while awareness is the blooming of a flower.

        Basically language creates a problem where the more articulate you get, the more a word loses it's dynamism. Also it is easy to get stuck in the word rather than it's reference. Everything is here except for us. Just to take any confusion away I don't practiced any religion.

        Nice to meet you too!
        • Oct 19 2011: Thadeus!
          Strangely enough, but I understand what you are saying, without , actually, understanding
          what i understand.../?!?!/ I'd like to ask here "Did I make myself plain?
          Yes,language is a clumsy thing when you really have something to say!
          You said you didn't know much, but I've got the impression that you know enough to be close the state "he who knows does not speak" You tried to explain/ what? "everything", "the essence"../ through paradoxes, it means that you are pretty close!
          Paradox is almost the silence,but it can be heard and shared. And maybe I've managed to hear or I think i have :)

          You said:"Just to take any confusion away I don't practiced any religion".

          - neither do I, but I am quite religious in some way, or maybe '"religious" is not the right word, I don't know. Frankly, I am quite comfortable with not knowing.

          Thank you for your response, please, keep sharing, you have a lot to share!

          Thank you!
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          Oct 21 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You say, "Frankly, I am quite comfortable with not knowing."

          This is absolute gold - a beautiful foundation from which unlimited learning becomes possible.

          Nurture this feeling.
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus. There are two issues you seem to confuse. One is "knowing everything" and the other is pursuit of knowing. No real scientist ever claimed that we know all (through science or otherwise). The same way I have not met any single respected, sensible religious guru, from any religion who claim that we now know all! That's why they pray regularly, to seek wisdom from some divine source they believe. Even all mighty God do pray daily and regularly to do the same, as per Hindu and other religions arose from Hinduism (like Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism), whom I have more and easy access to.
      There is a branch of Hinduism who does not believe in God. They and some ancient Hindu, Sanskrit scripture like "Sankhya- tattva-kaumudi" argues that:
      "a perfect God can have no need to create a world, and if God's motive is kindness, Samkhya questions whether it is reasonable to call into existence beings who while non-existent had no suffering. Samkhya postulates that a benevolent deity ought to create only happy creatures, not an imperfect world like the real world"!
      Before Newton, apple used to come down due to God, before reproductive biology human birth was an act of God etc. Before moon landing, Allah and few other fairy creatures used to live in the Moon. Before many mountaineers Lord Shiva used to live in Kailash, In the Himalayas. Many do still believe all those, but that is democracy where even a fool has his right to live in his own fool's world!
      Yes, we do not know a lot more, than we know. But that does not warrant some supernatural explanation. If we believe in those supernatural power or God, our ability to explore and extend the limit of our current knowledge will erode significantly. You are participating here not because of God or his/her divine help, but because some people explored the world, challenged the limit of human ability and knowledge, and then invented computer and internet.
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        Oct 19 2011: Jayanta:

        You mis understand me, I am not talking about a supernatural explanation of life. I am talking about the presence, where there is no interpretation but only experience only being. This state of mind cannot be explained in words so different religions use different methods of referring to it, some through metaphors (Christianity & Hinduism) some through contradictions (Taoism), and through art (Zen).

        I am not quite sure what you mean by "knowing all" and the "pursuit of knowledge". I am not claiming that scientists no all either. I was simply questioning the meaning of knowledge. For example you can find everything you want to about a flower but no matter how much you find there will be something missing, and this is what oneness and presence refers to, one can simply allow and stop questioning the flower and experiences it's beauty.

        This branch of Hinduism is impersonating God. God is not someone that chooses God is everything and a Buddha is a mirror that reflects all that is. Perfection is already here it is us that interprets and so create the imperfection that they mentioned.

        Your examples show how people have mis understood God. I am not talking about the metaphor of religion but it's reference.
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          Oct 19 2011: Nice conversation Jayanta and Thadeus. I enjoyed that. Thanks.
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          Oct 19 2011: Thanks Thadeus for clarifying your view.
          you made a point and I almost agree with that. Almost, because if you define GOD as expression of humane quality of our life and beauty, then I have no problem. It's like exploring photography. One is the technical (Scientific) side of a photograph and the other is the art or creativity side. We need the technology to express the art, but our MAIN target to is express our own world (through picture)- the "art" part. We cannot achieve the "art" part without (or denying) technology. The same way technology has no meaning if we do not have the sense of purpose (in this case, sense of "art"), focus on the "bigger picture".
          I personally think there is no conflict between science and religion, as many believe or might expect. BUT that will only be true IF we keep in mind the real meaning of religion and can logically follow its gradual evolution. The people whom we think are the founding fathers, invented “religion” to seek truth, as I indicated many times before.
          During the course of evolution we lost the focus and forgot the real meaning of religion (or spirituality broadly). We started following some (mostly) meaningless rituals in the name of religion/spirituality. There comes the conflict. Meditation is not just sitting idle in a specific posture for a period of time to watch soap operas or sports on TV later. It was to prepare our mind to be able to concentrate on more challenging problems. A true religious person will not undertake any sort of corruption or dishonesty using some mundane rituals as shield. The same is true for a scientist.
          It is immaterial to me if you gather strength by thinking some real (e.g. our own parents, spouses, children, friends etc) or imaginary (God, Goddess etc) figures or from personal conviction of logic and facts (as atheists do) if you are an honest person with the ability to think clearly and the courage to talk straight.
  • Oct 15 2011: Hi Salim,
    I am facing the same "Reply button' problem now!
    Hopefully my posts will be found by Kathy and Thomas.

    Hi, Kathy!
    It's nice to see you here, and i agree with what you've said:
    Eastern religion is philosophy and philosophy is science.

    Religious doctrine (beyond the 'story' level) is deeply scientific.

    There is no separating the science from religious doctrine.
    But you've perpetuated naturally the division "science from the west" and ""philosophy of the east" .
    Why do we talk about East/West science, philosophy, teaching, approach... whatever , not North/South ?
    Why do we take for granted that the East is the cradle of spirituality and the West's contribution is rationalism and logic ?
    Are there any theories in sacred teachings, can the Bible provide us with an answer or any helpful suggestion?
    Thank you!

    May i jump in?
    Don't you agree that all divisions are illusions hence not real?
    Why it should be different with sacred teachings, religion, philosophy and science?
    Why not to view them as the seemingly divergent pathways to the same summit? It's human quest for truth.
    I don't have quotations handy, but as far as i remember David Bohm said that that this division is temporary, It didn't
    exist in the past he saw no reason why it should go on to the future.
    The famous Albert Einstein words: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind"
    And here on TED, Wade Davis: "I recently made a film called "The Buddhist Science of the Mind" Why did we use the word "science" ?
    What is science but the empirical pursuit of the truth? What is Buddhism but 2,500 years of empirical observation as to the nature of mind?"
    So, Kathy's view is well recognised actually, and maybe it's an attempt to restore reality,and she is in a good company here : )
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      Oct 16 2011: Hi Natasha,

      Thanks for your comments. And of course, you may jump in ... that's why we're here.

      I agree with much of what you say. My comments were directed specifically to Kathy who seems to have a hard time reconciling "western science" and "eastern philosophy." For example, she assumes "western science" has not studied "eastern philosophy" which is clearly nonsense. Each are human endeavours and both have been embraced, studied, rejected, integrated and/or modified by many individuals throughout our history.

      Her position seems to be that if the "rest of us" do not see the world (and describe it) using terms she is familiar with, that we do not understand the nature of reality... and that she does.

      Do I think "western science" has all the answers?


      Do I think "eastern philosophy" has all the answers?


      And as you say, I do not even see the world in terms of East and West or Science and Philosophy. However, if I am having a conversation with someone who does, those are the terms I am constrained to use.
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        Oct 16 2011: "Do I think "eastern philosophy" has all the answers?


        Actually most of eastern philosophy and religion is not about the answer but exactly the opposite. It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being.
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          Oct 16 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          I am not saying what eastern philosophy and religion are; I am saying, I do not expect them to have all the answers.

          Also, to explain all of eastern philosophy and religion with a single sentence - It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being - is a bit of stretch, don't you think?
        • Oct 16 2011: Thadeus,
          "Actually most of eastern philosophy and religion is not about the answer but exactly the opposite. It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being."

          -Yes! And maybe it's possible to start from this point. It"s how "knowing" differs from "knowledge" .
          Knowing comes from insight, knowledge from asking questions and finding answers.
          Eastern tradition of knowing taps to the "whole', directly, without fracturing it ,
          it deeply colours the thinking, behaviour and attitude. It's where religions were born.,
          as the attempt through stories and tales to bring to the material world the reflection of untellable, highest truth, which can't be attained through mind, hence separation.
          And knowledge, which is the risky division of One into Many, has the virtue of materialisation, it's highly applicable and resulted in western technological wizardry.
          I don't know, does it make any sense in reference to Salim's question, what do you think?
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      Oct 16 2011: Also, to clarify an etymological point: Philosophy is not generally considered a science. It is sometimes classified as a social science, as opposed to a natural science.

      [I understand the implication of the author (Kathy) is to elevate Eastern Philosophy to the stature of Western Science, or perhaps above it, but simply implying this is so does not make it so.]

      The word "philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom."

      Of course, science has been applied to the practice of philosophy; and there is a "philosophy of science" but philosophy itself is a general term used to describe everything from the study of language and metaphysics to magic realism and neurophilosophy. Adding a modifier, "Eastern," does not alter this fact.
      • Oct 16 2011: Hi, Thomas!
        Thank you for the comments! Your confrontation with Kathy is your personal endeavor
        and sorry for "jumping in", but as for me, I am listening to both of you, avidly :)
        Thank you!
        and on your comment above:

        [I understand the implication of the author (Kathy) is to elevate Eastern Philosophy to the stature of Western Science
        , or perhaps above it, but simply implying this is so does not make it so.]
        I don't think Eastern Philosophy needs any elevation, neither Western Science does,
        and it is not the point, the point is that Philosophy and Science came from the one source and initially were not divided.
        btw. Don't you think that Western Science now is in terrible need for " love of wisdom"?
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          Oct 16 2011: Hi Natasha,

          Yes, I agree with you. Neither "eastern philosophy" nor "western science" need to be "elevated" or "denigrated." Both are what they are.

          What is "better," math or poetry?

          Neither. Unless what you want to do is to solve an equation or, say, trigger an emotion. Then one might be better applied than the other - in a particular circumstance.

          In one branch of eastern philosophy or religion there exists the concept of "enlightenment" (in others there are concepts like liberation, and so on.) It is said (in one branch of eastern philosophy) there are four different paths to enlightenment.

          Assuming there is an experience that we would interpret as enlightenment (say a sense of knowing, as you use the term), it makes sense that anyone who used one path to achieve such a state would assume their path was the only path, particularly if they didn't know about the other three.

          And, of course, in other branches of eastern philosophy the idea of "enlightenment" would be seen as a delusion and there would be other "higher" goals that we should aspire to.

          The outcome of most any "spiritual practice" occurs within the individual, some would say within an individual's brain (the left temporal lobe, for example) and the individual whose experience is, say, transcendent, might have a tendency to generalize their experience and elevate it to the ranks of "ultimate truth."

          This is a common occurrence.

          The interesting thing is that if these individuals simply watched themselves, they would (probably) notice that their "ultimate truth" of "yesterday" has been subsumed by an "greater" truth "today."

          Do I think science needs a love of wisdom? No, not really.

          Do I think scientists do? It wouldn't hurt.

          But some of us prefer knowledge to wisdom. And that goes just as much for those of us who embrace eastern philosophies as for those who embrace western science. Not all of us who are "yogis" or "yoginis" are particularly wise.

          We each get to make our own choices.
      • Oct 17 2011: Hi, Thomas!
        Thanks for the comment.
        I generally agree with what you've said and appreciate your sharing,
        but may i ask you to clarify some points?
        As far as i know, there are four stages of enlightenment, you mentioned four different paths.
        Can you elaborate?

        You said:And, of course, in other branches of eastern philosophy the idea of "enlightenment"
        would be seen as a delusion and there would be other "higher" goals that we should aspire to."

        Like what? I think, everything will come with. Who is greater than Buddha , Jesus?

        And talking about ""spiritual practice" I agree, it's individual quest, but it doesn't mean that these people, who are on the path don't do anything for the common good, on the contrary, they do a lot, seemingly doing nothing, they just influence, they make a real difference, not even by intention, it just happens.
        And , yes,"common occurrence", I don't think that those who claim for "ultimate truth" are really close to one, you know, "the real beauty is in the shadow, it doesn't recognise itself" But i believe that a true Teacher will come when, when we are ready.

        "ultimate truth" of "yesterday" has been subsumed by an "greater" truth "today."

        -"ultimate truth" is timeless.

        "Do I think science needs a love of wisdom? No, not really.

        Do I think scientists do? It wouldn't hurt."
        - I guess it would, not literally, on physical level, but it requires changing the attitude, and it's not easy.

        You are right, choices are very important, i try to "embrace eastern philosophies " and "western science'" and reach the point when they are not divided, but currently, i am in the first grade / here I'm flattering myself/ it's a long , long way to go, but I enjoy the way whatever the result, if any :)

        Thank you for help!
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          Hmmmm ... you have asked a lot of questions. I don't have time now for a full response but let me say this: Sometimes we have to be literal sometimes we have to be figurative and context changes everything. Some of your questions begin in one context (what I said) and end in another (what you ask.) And sometimes you are being literal when it might be better to be figurative and vice versa.

          I'll try to be more specific later. I gotta go for now.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You ask, "... you mentioned four different paths [to enlightenment] ... Can you elaborate?"

          Yes, I can but I am not sure it will be useful. As you know, there are many schools of thought and, while, some use similar words, they often use them in a unique ways. So what one means when they say "enlightenment" might not be what the other means.

          The four "paths" to enlightenment (mentioned in one philosophy) are: devotion, action, intellect, and scripture. There are fancy sanskrit words for them but saying them in sanskrit doesn't make them any more special or any more meaningful.

          You also ask "... what [is higher than enlightenment?]

          Not all eastern philosophies have as their goal enlightenment. Some would see pursuing enlightenment as self-indulgent and frivolous. "Buddhism" is not the only eastern philosophy - I mention several more in my post to Thadeus Frei. And "technically" Buddhists strive for Nirvana (not "quite" the same as "enlightenment.")

          I'm not sure where this question comes from - Who is greater than Buddha , Jesus? - but I am not implying anyone is great or that anyone is greater than anyone else.

          "It wouldn't hurt" is an English idiom. It means, more or less, "it's not a bad idea" it has nothing to do with physical pain (sorry, I should be more aware when posting on an international forum.)

          You say you "..enjoy the way whatever the result, if any :)" That's pretty much the whole game right there. Have fun. Enjoy yourself and be open to the possibility of ... well, anything.

          You mention a "true Teacher will come when, when we are ready." I have heard this before. I've even used a similar phrase myself. It might be true. If you're looking for a Teacher, keep an open mind and an open heart, and you will probably find one.

          Let me give you some personal advice, if a teacher asks you to "believe" in anything, or to follow "established" religious doctrine, they may not be the teacher you are looking for. A true teacher needs no doctrine.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          I just noticed I missed one of your more important points: "ultimate truth is timeless."

          I suppose this is true but the point I am making is human beings are not timeless. We are born, we live in a four-dimensional universe (some would say eleven-dimensional; others infinitely-dimensional universe) and we die.

          During the time we are here, it is common for us to assume we have "discovered" the "ultimate truth" only to "re-discover" a "more ultimate truth" as our understanding deepens. It is not the underlying "truth" that has changed it is our perception of it and, yet, we quite naturally feel that, with every new epiphany, we have embraced "ultimate truth" in its entirety.

          Now we "know."

          It would seem obvious to me that anyone who goes through this process of growth would simply abandon the concept of "ultimate" and enjoy the process of continuous discovery. But we seem to like "certainty" so we write our discovery-of-today into a concrete treatise and it becomes the religion-of-tomorrow (maybe our own personal religion but religion nonetheless.)

          We call these treatises: dogma, doctrine, laws, our personal code, and so on.

          I think one of the strengths of science is it embraces this process of constant rediscovery - it actively attempts to falsify what is believed to be true (no matter how strong the evidence appears to be.)

          Religion, on the other hand, tends to defend established doctrine and dogma (no matter how weak the evidence appears to be.)

          And that might be one reason science has spread all over the world and is embraced by most communities (with the exception of the ultra-religious.)
      • Oct 17 2011: Thanks, Thomas!
        From now ""It wouldn't hurt" is my favourite English idiom! :)
        and sorry for questioning a lot,
        thank you for your time!
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You're welcome.

          There's no need to be sorry for the questions. I'm here because I enjoy the conversations and participate in the ones I want to.
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      Oct 16 2011: HI Natasha. You may like to hear what more matured, older Einstein said about religion when you say, "The famous Albert Einstein words: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind".
      here it is: "Albert Einstein on January 3rd 1954, a year before his death. It says (as published in in many newspapers, including “The Telegraph” of UK on 13th May 2008)- “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God. He wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.”

      Many also site Stephen Hawking with his "Brief time of History" book. They also forget or over look what he said later about God , "Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God":
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy. Nice story. Keep it up! :)
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          QUOTE: "Neither Einstein nor Hawkings delved beyond the story level of any holy doctrine, so to quote them with regard to God and/or religion is not only meaningless, but as ill-conceived as going to a butcher for electrical services."

          And you know this how?

          Because they don't use your nomenclature? You asked them? You read their books on science?

          It seems you feel you have the "spiritual authority" to comment on everyone's relationship to "God." Is that correct?
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          You say you know this "as someone who does have deeper comprehension of scripture, it is quite evident from their comments that they lack knowledge of same."

          So you would have no objection, I presume, if I were to use the same principle with you?

          For example, if it were as obvious to me that you lack certain knowledge as it is obvious to you that Einstein and Hawking "lack knowledge" you would have no objection if I point that out to you directly?

          Or is this something only you can do?

          You seem to think I have a negative impression of you Kathy. Why is that?

          I don't. I'm sure you are a very nice person.

          Are you so attached to your worldview you cannot separate your "self" from it. Do you think when I am talking about your worldview, I am talking about you?

          I am not talking about "you."

          For instance, when you make claims such as this: " ... when it comes to God and religion, the man [Stephen Hawking] is an ignoramus who has no business passing off his opinions with the same authority with which he speaks of physics" - which does strike me as a negative and personal attack on Mr Hawking, by the way - when I comment on it, I am commenting on what you have written not on you. However, you do seem to take offence if I suggest you might be overstating your case.

          Once again, your comments imply (not you) YOUR WORLDVIEW is the standard by which others' should be measured.

          You say, "... I do know doctrine and if someone in a position of authority as an esteemed scientist gives his OPINION about God and religion as if it, too, comes from a position of authority, I take issue with it."

          The implication is YOUR opinion about "doctrine" is, if not factual, then, at least, superior to HIS opinion about doctrine simply because you have chosen to immerse yourself deeply in ONE particular doctrine.

          Why is it you think YOUR doctrine (or the doctrine you believe in) is superior to, say, the Pope' s, Thomas Merton's, Sathya Sai Baba's, Stephen Hawking's, or mine?
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          The 2000 character limit makes it hard to clarify certain points. For instance, I AM talking about your WORLDVIEW not YOU but, of course, your worldview does not have agency, you do. So I do understand how you might takes things personally. I hope you will accept this as clarification that my comments are directed at what you say and to a certain extent your relationship to your ideas.
        • Oct 17 2011: Kathy,

          Quote: "Hawkins' made a bold statement in claiming God did not create the universe. Of course, he had a new book to sell and controversy sells. His authority, however, is in physics, not God or religion or holy doctrine.

          So if it's physics you wish to understand, by all means, consult Steven Hawking, because he's got a genius in his field, but when it comes to God and religion, the man is an ignoramus who has no business passing off his opinions with the same authority with which he speaks of physics.

          So no, Thomas, once again you are not correct in your consistently negative perception of me. I do not feel I have the 'spiritual authority' to comment on 'everyone's relationship to God'. But I do know doctrine and if someone in a position of authority as an esteemed scientist gives his OPINION about God and religion as if it, too, comes from a position of authority, I take issue with it."

          I think you confuse fact for personal belief regularly. A respected scientist uses evidence that stands up to a much higher scrutiny in forming his views, therefore, those views are often given much more weight than a "non-respected scientist" or regular observer. Hawkins and Einstein happen to be respected scientists and as such, their views use actual evidence their formations.

          Your beliefs are fine and I respect them and you, but I do not agree with them. In this day and age, I am surprised every time I find find an educated person who refers to the Zodiac with any form of reverence. I am okay with you believing what you believe, but to pass it off as fact is where I get hung up.

          Astrology =/= Modern Science. (I guess I don't respect all of your beliefs, but still respect your right to believe them)
      • Oct 17 2011: Jayanta,
        Thanks for your time, I appreciate it,
        It was interesting to hear how "more matured, older Einstein' dealt with this issue,
        /maybe he was in bad mood, sorry for my innocent blesphemy/ , but really it doesn't change a lot
        may i quote myself / ! :) , not to repeat how i understand the famous Einstein's expression /

        A comment on Conversation: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." -Albert Einstein Discuss your opinions!
        Jul 17 2011: Einstein shared Spinoza's belief in "Deus sive Natura",
        he believed that Universe is alive and responsive, "Whatever is, is in god",
        as far as I know he never practiced any main- stream religion, so to avoid ambiguity ,
        don't take the term "religion" literally.
        I think by "religion" Einstein meant the sense of the the sacred in life,
        He was one who understood that "we can never grasp the totality of existence from deduction alone "

        Thank you for the link, I've heard a lot about Hawking's new statement but didn't ponder it, so i am not ready to discuss it,hopefully i will be later :)

        Thank you
        Thomas, thanks! It was a slip: )
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          Oct 17 2011: Someone made reference to "Hawkin's" statement and now it's being replicated. Just to clarify, his name is "Stephen Hawking." (Not "Hawkin.")
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha.
          We, not so famous people quote Eisntein or Hawking as many people believe more on them. If I say that I realized non-existence of God at much earlier stage than both Eisntein or Hawking then people may laugh at me. But when I quote those people, then many will think, although still many may not believe their conclusions.
          I do not support the culture of quotation, (the same way I do not support the culture of reference letters while applying for jobs), but that does not make much difference to those people who do believe in quotations (or the employer who is asking for reference letters and in the position to decide).
          If you ask me personally, I will describe myself as a Hindu who does not believe in God, does not believe in re-birth or caste system (and many other such "rituals" many Hindus believe) but gives very high importance to understanding "reality" of the world with full integrity and honesty. And I have no problem to accept that as my "religion".
          If Einstein or Pope or a priest or anyone else says something that does not convince me logically, I reject it. I do not follow Einstein or a celibate priest when it comes to maintaining a family, sidelining my wife for my professional success or understanding biology.
          But many "religious" people do not think that way. Many really believe what an uneducated or semi-educated priests or clergymen say about ANY issue, about anything they know nothing about, that include science and logic.
          They cherry pick on issues that suit their purposes. So using contraceptive or any birth control mechanism or even vaccine as anti-religion; simply because "God" "does not like it" (as if God whispered to them) or that is "not mentioned in holy books" like Bible or Quran. But the same priest or other 'religious" people have no problem to accept use of many technologies or tools that are also not mentioned in those holy books or God forgot to tell about those- e.g use of gun, computer, car, internet etc.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Jayanta,

          I gave you a "thumb up" even though I'm a big fan of quotes (I collect them.)
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    Oct 15 2011: Hi Kathy

    I am fine to be wrong....but finding a bit difficulty with your logic .....'Eastern religion is philosophy and philosophy is science" so you mean science is religion ? Is that what you want to say ?

    Well I am not going in to that discussion as there were couple such discussions in good length here in TED cenversation and focus of discussion here also is not that point.

    What's is your thought about Western Religion ? Are not those science as well (as per your logic)? If not why ?

    Why Eastern Religion (which is science according to your obeservation) couldn't bring any scientific breakthrough then ?

    So central & fundamental question of the main premise still unanswered.........

    Note : Don't know why 'Reply" button is not working so posted my reply to Kathy's point here.
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      Oct 16 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K; her post has since been deleted.]


      This is why I find your observation to be wrong:

      Eastern religion is religion [not philosophy] and philosophy is philosophy [not science].

      Religious doctrine (beyond the 'story' level) is Religious doctrine [not science.]

      You say, "There is no separating the science from religious doctrine." [Would that be, Catholic religious doctrine; Buddhist religious doctrine; or Kathy's religious doctrine?]

      You say, "Perhaps if "science from the west" studied "philosophy of the east" with the same critical exactitude it applies towards the manifested, materialistic aspect of nature, it might advance its knowledge exponentially by realizing that the energy field is the organizing structure for that which is manifested as 'matter'."

      Perhaps you are anthropomorphising science and so creating an internal perceptual misconception that distorts your vision of reality.

      Or do you simply expect "science" to accept your worldview as absolutely true?
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    Oct 13 2011: Dear Edison, I do not agree with you. there is no "reply" button in your last post. So I am posting as general.
    I am just quoting one para from mt blog. No science, no Darwin or evolution ever supported "intelligent design" theory. I myself is a geneticist and molecular biologist and followed the "intelligent design" controversy closely.
    Many cannot stop the temptation to cite famous people, mainly famous scientists like Einstein to “prove” religion. Let me quote a letter written by no other but older, more matured Albert Einstein on January 3rd 1954, a year before his death. It says (as published in in many newspapers, including “The Telegraph” of UK on 13th May 2008)- “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God. He wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.”

    if you really believe in "intelligent design" theory, as propagated by the so many religious groups, then you also should read few more neutral , logical and legal views on the same topic. Probably the following Pew Research Forum website might help you.

    You also can read the full story and try to follow the logic- why “(US) Judge rules against ‘intelligent design’: ‘Religious alternative’ to evolution barred from public-school science classes”.
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    Oct 13 2011: Hi Salim, My guess on this one is that most eastern religions appear to be inwardly directed. They are not trying to impose any way of acting upon others. It seems to me that they tend to be peaceful as well and that is a message that most people are more open to these days.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Debra
      Thanks for dropping by here.
      Hmmm that's answer , perception was looking for. May be your point is part of the answer.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Tee Cee
      Happy to see you here.
      Well I wanted to open the discussion on a very fundamental level, as your rightly pointed out.
      Now I realized because of my wording , discussion is moving more towards in different direction. That's my fault , but not editing anything to keep free flow of thoughts and discussion.

      Learnt the impact of my poor communication skill at least :)

      Have a good day.
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    Oct 12 2011: i don't think that eastern spirituality/religion spreads more to the west then western s/r to the east. i bet we find much more christians in the middle east and asia than muslims and hindus/buddhists in europe. and most of those muslims are immigrants.

    if you refer to the latest times, especially in africa, it might be true. christianity lost its momentum to spread some time ago. however, i believe it is simply because west becomes less religious, while the middle east remains mostly religious. it will change soon as progress arrives there.
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      Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

      Christianity is an Eastern religion too.

      There was a split between what became "Eastern" and "Western" Christianity about 1000 years ago. Christ was, reportedly, born in Nazareth.

      If you think "the West" has become less religious, you probably haven't spent much time in The United States of America, or South America.
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        Oct 12 2011: you have a rather novel approach to religions.

        and a rather novel approach to percents too. number of religious people, defined by anyhow, is way lower in the US than in india, pakistan, egypt or iran.

        and you have a novel approach to the term "western" too. south america never was a part of the "west".
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          Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

          I don't recall mentioning percentages (having glanced up I see that neither you nor I made any note of percentages.)

          I simply pointed out that Christianity is an Eastern religion; and I implied religion in "The West*" (and that would include any country in the "western hemisphere") has not declined as much as we might expect.

          Much of Europe (which we would also include in "The West") is an exception. Religion in many countries there is less pronounced now than it was in the past. Of course, there are exceptions even there.

          * From Wiki: "The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident (from Latin: occidens "sunset, west"; as contrasted with the Orient), is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe (plus Greece, Cyprus)and the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of, Northern, and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand."
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        Oct 12 2011: indeed, the term "west" includes south america. however, it does not change anything, because it was not central in my argument.

        my argument was that christianity did not come from the east. it was inherited from the roman empire. and then it travelled to the east and all other parts of the world, and quite successful at that.

        and also my argument was that the west is way less religious than the east, and that can be the reason for the recent trend, which is spiritual/religious influence of the west is falling. (if it is indeed falling, of which i'm not certain.) even the US, the last bastion of religion in the advanced world, is less religious than an average developing nation (perhaps with the exception of china).

        so congratulations, you managed to completely miss the essence of my point.
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          Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

          Are we going to have another one of those discussions where you are so sure I am wrong that you simply have to be right.

          My comment is quite simple: Christianity is an Eastern religion. The fact that it was adopted by the West; and that you were introduced to it in the West; and that you are from the West, might alter your perception but it does not alter the fact that Christ and his disciples are from the East and that the religion was literally walked out of the region.

          Christianity was not inherited from the roman empire. It was not even adopted by Rome until Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus (c. 272 - 337) mandated it as the state religion of Rome (he also gave us the cross as a symbol of the faith.)

          QUOTE: "...congratulations, you managed to completely miss the essence of my point."

          Oh, you mean the point that the east is way more religious than the west unless we take The United States and China off the table and that the "spiritual/religious influence of the west is falling. (if it is indeed falling, of which i'm not certain.)?"

          That point?
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        Oct 12 2011: Like Thomas I also see Christianity as an Eastern Religion. Yes with the split of Christianity in west it took different form by taking more cultural elements in it but isn't the main theme same ?

        Something like Islam originating in Middle East as it spreaded over different country, with inclusion of socio cultural elements , it became different in different part while main theme remained same.

        So it happens with other religions I guess......
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          Oct 12 2011: well, if you simply define all religions eastern, than it is not a surprise that all religion comes from the east, is it? but i would like to see the rationale behind calling christianity eastern.
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          Oct 12 2011: QUOTE: "i would like to see the rationale behind calling christianity eastern."

          Well, I would think Christ and his original disciples coming from "the East" would be rationale enough. Is there another you would prefer?
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          Oct 13 2011: Hi Salim,

          When I read your original question, I had a hard time thinking of any major religion that comes from the West ... aside from those of the indigenous peoples and even those are marginal in their distribution.

          It makes sense. Religions are, to use the current phrase, memetic institutions. They exist for the primary purpose of spreading their core beliefs and influencing events.

          The cradle of civilization is the east so it stands to reason that that is where our first memes would be developed, and from where, well-adapted memes would spread.
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        Oct 13 2011: the idea that principles of christianity would originate in asia is old, unfounded and irrelevant. in that sense, all things originate in africa.
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          Oct 13 2011: QUOTE: "the idea that principles of christianity would originate in asia is old, unfounded and irrelevant. in that sense, all things originate in africa."

          Did someone say the principles of Christianity originated in Asia? Or are you using "Asia" as a synonym for "East?"

          Your arguments seem a little hard to follow ... it seems you make stuff up as you go along.

          First, South America is not the "West" ... then, indeed, it is. Then Christianity is not Eastern ... then it is irrelevant. We flip from "East" to "Asia" and so on.

          How we got Africa in here, I am not quite sure ... although some of the oldest known churches are in Ethiopia ... carved out of solid rock.

          And - on the Africa theme - not too long ago, a decade or so, an American Evangelical Christian suggested that Africans would soon be sending missionaries to America. Why? Because the African Church was growing much faster than the Churches anywhere else.

          Perhaps we should go farther back to the Big Bang?


          Just out of curiosity, where do you think the principles of Christianity originated?
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          Oct 13 2011: If you mean that Christianity is for a great part derived from the Isis culture that originated in Egypt, Africa, you're right.
          If you mean our first ancestors that moved from Africa you're talking non sense.
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      Oct 13 2011: Krisztian, I didn't say all religions are eastern, in my orgininal post it is clear that I agreed there was religions or spirituality in west as well , but finally those didn't sustain long nor those spreaded over like major religions of east. You might have reservation about the words East & West taking literal sense keeping geography in mind , here I used the word as these words are usually used which may sometime even sound like Developed & Underdeveloped (as you coined ).

      I agree with your point underdeveloped countries seem to be more into spirituality and religions compared to developed one.

      As @ Thomas mentioned that we are not talking about numbers. Even if a small portion of population of developed coutries who are indigenous to those soil (to rule out immigration factor) , what religion they are following ?

      Being Abrahamic origin Christianity is eastern one. Also the point of Thomas about original deciples looks very valid point to me.

      What's your thoughts not considering Christianity not being Eastern ?What's your thoughts about the spread of religious / spiritual thoughts of underdeveloped countries to developed countries' indigenous people even if it is in small scale (taking most are not spiritual) ?
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        Oct 13 2011: exactly not. i used the word east and west as i suspect you did, west would be the european and stuff, and east would be asia and middle east.

        but i consider the roman empire as the cradle of the european civilization. and christianity is originated in the roman empire. at that time, the entire notion of west and east just does not work, there was no west back then. and by the time the west came to life, it was already based on christian principles. more to that, by the time the middle east become the middle east as we know it, christianity was largely eliminated there. later it attempted to go back with an army, under the name crusades. but they were thrown out again.

        so in no stretch i can see christianity spreading from the east to the west.
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          Oct 13 2011: Krisztián,

          You certainly have a rather novel approach to how to establish context ... let's shift from "now" to, say, 2000 years ago in Rome and centre our discussion from that particular vantage point.

          Sure, why not?

          Even so:

          Christianity is (still) an Eastern religion (that was adopted by the West - or, from our historic vantage point, WILL BE adopted by the West.)

          Is this one of those times when it would be so much easier if we just listened to you?
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        Oct 13 2011: "Christianity DID NOT originate in the roman empire."

        ugh, eer, uhm, ... wut?
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          Oct 13 2011: It did originate in the Roman Empire but in the part of the Empire called Asia Minor
          Ideas that formed the foundation of Christianity were found over all places where Alexander the Great had gone through.
          At those same places Christianity spread out in the first centuries AD.
          It wasn't until after the fall of Rome before it was forced upon the peoples of Northern Europe.
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          Oct 13 2011: QUOTE: "Christianity DID NOT originate in the roman empire."

          Yes, you're right that was an error (and you will note I deleted it.)

          My point, poorly stated, was that Christianity did not originate in the Roman Empire per se. It originated with Christ and his followers who happened to be in the Roman empire.* I thought the point too fine to be relevant ... and, as you point out, technically it's wrong.

          * The fact that it has "picked up" any number of themes, concepts, and motifs from other religions is an interesting addendum.
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    Oct 19 2011: If you read ancient "Hindu" book (for many it is "holy" book, based on true story), Ramayana, you will notice how demons (e.g Ravana) and "lesser" important creatures (e.g Monkey army) are described. Ramayana was written by saint Valmiki, a North Indian (probably) upper caste people who (most probably) resemble Aryans (with fair skin, tall, etc etc). Monkey army was from the kingdom of Kiskindha, which is now in Southern Indian state of Karnataka (with IT capital of India, Bangalore, as its capital). It is the (generally followed) description of south Indians in the eyes of North. The same is true for Ravana (from Sri Lanka) or any other demons in that epic.
    If we critically analyse such "religious" books, you will find so many such examples which does not go well with true or perceived intention of religion.
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      Oct 18 2011: [This is a response to a large post made by Kathy K; the quotes are hers. Her comments filled 4 or 5 windows - maybe more. They have since been deleted.]

      My Goodness Kathy, You have certainly put a lot of thought into this. You do realize there is a 2000 character limit for a reason. You will forgive me if I do not get around to reading all that you have posted.

      I will address one or two points in this first window.

      QUOTE (Kathy quoting me and her reply:) "'For example, [you assume] 'western science' has not studied 'eastern philosophy' which is clearly nonsense.' ... I [Kathy] made no such assumption, nor is it what I stated."

      Yes, I suppose if we are going to get technical (and there's nothing wrong with that!) I believe what you said, Kathy, was something along the lines of "western science" has not studied "eastern philosophy" with the same "rigour" it has applied to more material matters (pun intended.) Do I really need to be so precise in my references to what you have said? Can you not "fill in the blanks?" (We do have a 2000 character limit, you know?)

      QUOTE: "This is a prime example of how you MIS-perceived what I actually stated, because you are shading it with the color of your own perspective."

      I do not think I misperceived your meaning at all; your meaning is: western science has not studied eastern philosophy to a standard (the rigour) you believe it warrants. Whether they have or not actually studied eastern philosophy with the rigour that is applied to more mundane matters seems to have escaped you (how do you know they have not ... because they do not talk about energy pendulums swinging through - not from - astrological houses in spirals?)

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      Oct 18 2011: (Cont'd)

      [This is a response to a large post made by Kathy K; the quotes are hers. Her comments filled 4 or 5 windows - maybe more. They have since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: "I do understand the 'nature of reality' ..."

      Well, I admire your confidence.

      QUOTE: " ... but never said that *you* don't or that Natasha doesn't ... only that 'Science' limits itself to the manifested and there is more to 'reality' than that which it 'tangible' or that can be 'scientifically proven'."

      Again, if we want to get technical, I suppose this is true. But when, for example, you refer to Stephen Hawking as an ignoramus because he does not understand God, and you do, the implications is quite clear: You think you understand the nature of reality (it includes God) and he does not (it does not, he says, need to include God.)

      There are many such comments you make - some directed at "science," in general, some directed at individuals (me, Hawking, Einstein, etc) and they imply you know the nature of reality and "we" do not. I do not wish to scan through your posts to find specific examples but have a look yourself, they are not that hard to find.

      I think another person has commented that you seem to elevate your belief to the realm of fact. This does seem to be the case.

      As I say, I have nothing against you personally (I don't know you) but I find no reason to accept what you say as true simply because you say it is, when, in fact, much of what you say is utter nonsense.

      If you choose to take that personally, that is your prerogative. But it is directed at what you say, not you.

      The era when we have to "respect beliefs" has waned.
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      Oct 18 2011: Oh my, I have noticed that you have continued to write while I was responding.

      Do you think you might be overreacting just a little?

      Anyway, Kathy, I am sure you are every nice person and it is wonderful that you find so much certainty and comfort in what you believe.

      I do not share your beliefs although some of what you say does have merit.

      I have no intention of reading the rest of your post.
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      Oct 16 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K - the quotes are hers. Her original post has since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: " ... my experience of reality is crystalline - (literally!) - ::smile::"

      Ah, Kathy, so you are saying reality (or your experience of it) is literally "crystalline?"

      Your "reality" certainly sounds interesting.

      QUOTE: "[My worldview] is true for *me* and it is from my personal knowledge and experience that I speak."

      This is a most excellent position to adopt.

      QUOTE: "If you have an actual argument to offer, then do so. If you are here for conversation, then by all means, converse. But for you to copy my entire post just to express your acrimony against me is wholly unwarranted, immature and churlish. ... Kindly refrain from referring to me in your comments."

      I have absolutely no acrimony for you whatsoever. And I think my arguments are quite clear. If they are not clear to you, perhaps you could ask a specific question. If I can answer it, and want to, I will do so.

      I do find some of your assertions to be a little extreme - and that you do not usually preface them with a qualifier such as "It is true for 'me'" it does make some of them sound like you believe them to be universally true.

      And I shall refer to your comments if I wish ... if you choose to take my comments about your "philosophy" personally, that is your prerogative.

      I shall disregard the comments that you have directed to me personally they seem somewhat emotional and unbecoming of an advanced being.
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      Oct 17 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K - the quote is hers. Her original post has since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: "Further, in terms of east and west, information swings like a pendulum in direct proportion to the 'masculine' and 'feminine' forces. The 'pendulum' is currently (and has, since the early 60's, when the first influences of the Aquarian Age began, has been) 'in swing' with the 'feminine force' which has resulted in the feminist movement, more women in politics, more female spiritual leaders, women gaining power -- Oprah. (lol) In men, it's been recognized exhibited by men being more in touch with their emotions, men becoming more nurturing (Mr. Mom) et cetera. Further edification available upon request. ;-)

      Considering the history of the evolution of religion as it *seemingly* traveled from east to west, it might appear as though 'religion/philosophy' comes 'from' the east, and science comes 'from' the west when in fact, it is really the same force of intelligence 'swinging' through (not from) or more apropos, 'evolving' through different lenses of the Zodiac in its equatorial precession. The movement 'seems' linear, 'appears' circular, yet *is* spiral."


      Is this the science you are comparing to Hawking's, Einstein's, and "The West's?"
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    Oct 16 2011: The term religion and science or east or west is not very helpful to understand either philosophy or quest for new, novel knowledge (later known as "science").
    Now let's think the incidence of Galileo. Someone before him "discovered" that sun moves round the earth. That person or group of people were successful to convince it to others. They were also successful to add that as religious "truth". Later when Galileo said something different, there was conflict. So someone thought about and realized that sun revolves around earth, much before Copernicus or Galileo started pondering on the same issue. Right? His observation or analysis might be wrong, but his effort was not. Is that "religious" or "scientific"?
    If you read many ancient texts, scriptures (popularly described as religious) you will understand that many are full of systemic observation and analysis of specific issues of nature, human body etc. Analysis of dream was "religious" just a few decades ago, not any more. If we visit the Sun temple in Konark in Orissa in India, one can easily understand how science (e.g astrology, architecture, climatology, even science of human sexuality) was mixed with religion and depicted all over the "religious" temple. And that is not so rare case in the world.

    Even in history of "modern" science, some biologists actually "observed" miniature adult human figure (Homunculus) in human sperm under microscope. That data was even published in a mainstream, famous research journal.

    Many here may be surprised to know that many even in this 21st century believe that "The whole scheme from Copernicanism to Big Bangism is a factless lie"
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Jayanta,

      I don't think many of us would be surprised to know a lot of us believe science is a lie. For instance, a significant portion of the American people believe the world is about 6000 years old. Some of us believe we reincarnate after we die (and may come back as a bug, for example.) Some of us believe God breathes the universe into existence. Others believe we go to heaven or hell and still others believe our molecules are dispersed and recycled and that's about it.

      In the meantime, life keeps on rolling along.
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      Oct 17 2011: Jayanta, just curious , you are telling that there are some publication on someone seeing adult human figure in Sperm ? Is that so ?
      Didn't they see anything in ovum?
      Sperm is just half of the Human Story...........

      Though discussion point is something else , want to hear that.... why knowledge was so divergent (whether one agree or not to call those East Vs West doesn't matter some even can say where is North & South, does not mattter) Fundametally I see scientific breakthrough & religious /. spiritual thoughts not coming from same root ..... discussion is not what is right or what is wrong .....rather why thoughts were divergent? What influenced that divergence ?
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        Oct 17 2011: It was "observed" during early development of microscope in 17th and 18th century. Few scientists observed miniature adult body in Human sperm (as it was easy to get and manageable under microscope, on a glass slide) . Check the pic:

        One of the major problems with any observation (and later analysis) based subject is- many people see what they want to see, NOT what is actually there. The same is true for "seeing" God or demons. Most of such imaginary sightings (that include UFOs) occur during 2-4 AM, at early morning. It has correlation how human brain functions; how memories, images are stored and retrieved in our brain and brain function with nutritional status of body. Most of the trans ("Bhor" in Bangla) status of human body need some pre-requisites to be fulfilled- e.g physical starvation, intense thinking about a person or incident/image, monotonous ("rhythmic") or dull surroundings and so on.
        that is true for many religious fundamentalism as well. They see what they want to see, rather than what is actually there.

        Coming to your next Qs. I think, there is NO divergence so far spirituality or "seeking truth" (you may call it "science") is concerned. Scientific breakthroughs are the consequences of free thinking, characteristics of a open society (where divergent opinions and conflicts of ideology are well accepted and openly debated with full honesty and integrity). The day "eastern" civilizations ceased to become one of such societies, it lost its ability to contribute equally to the pursuit of knowledge, seeking truth, "science".
        Western civilizations shaped "spirituality" differently, in a more tangible way, rather than in a self-defeating, vague way (as "eastern" philosophy tried to do after its encounter with "modern" religions and post-industrial colonization). That's why nature,cows and many other animals are more cared for in Western countries, as compared to "Hindu" India who condider it as "holy"
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        Oct 17 2011: Cont:
        That's why despite of having campuses of many famous Western universities (e.g Harvard medical school) & affluent "research" institutions, not many scientific breakthroughs are and will come from those Middle Eastern, Asian or African countries.

        I do acknowledge that mere having a PhD degree in a science subject or a job with "scientist" designation does NOT make anyone a Scientist. Majority are mere technicians than Scientists.

        Today's "education", even in many western countries, no longer grooms people to become a better, civilized human being. It only teaches us the art and knowledge to serve our master (employer), gather degrees (to distinguish ourselves from others) and most importantly, accumulate money by whatever means deemed necessary. It enables us to survive with a degree of personal comfort, but hardly prepares us to dream of a better world. That is equally true for science education, more so for conservative "eastern" societies (with highly feudal, hierarchical society where asking questions are not encouraged, conflicting views are not tolerated much) than more open "west".

        When knowledge and tools for seeking truth (avoiding the term "science" here) was limited, older Eastern civilizations used more theoretical and hypothetical approach. Many consider that as "religion" or "philosophy" than more practical approach by more recent "western" civilizations, when tools and techniques to seek truth were more refined and abundant.
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          Oct 17 2011: Jayanta your time spent and thoughts in this discussion is really appreciated. As you see there is no difference between two knowledges I.e. science & religion , what is /are reason/s of having different outcome?
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        Oct 17 2011: If you agree that people undertake spirituality to mentally comfort them, to soothe one’s "inner" disturbances, then you need to know what makes people comfortable. For many, logical analysis, clarity in thinking gives more comfort than uncertainty. uncertainty & illogical issues make me uncomfortable and sometimes restless. Here we shd remember the difference between "uncertainty" & "adventure".
        Mainly two types of people go/went to the East (from West) for spiritual quest. The first group is of frustrated, disillusioned (mostly) youths who failed to guide themselves in “materialistic”, market oriented Western societies. The second is more matured people seeking wisdom from different type of sources, probably in a different form as well, in the East. The first group of people gets comfort after surrendering themselves to those rituals and convincing themselves (most probably in a “mob psychology” after witnessing so many people trusting the same) that some supernatural power is in control. So they need not to worry much, as that supernatural power already has decided what is destined for them! That “surrender” gives them the mental relief. The stability gives them the direction and allows them to focus towards some activities where some of them excel.
        The other group of people excels more in their analysis, creative art/science when they witness a totally different angle of the art/science, discovering new ideas, knowing novel knowledge that was previously unknown to them. That's how many "western" scientists, poets etc got benefitted from “eastern” civilizations. The slow pace and low accountability (in materialistic terms) in Eastern societies allowed them more time to invest in personal/family affairs, which is also translated into “inner peace”.
        If you spend one hour in a calm, comfortable place to “meditate” as compared to run or drive in a busy street, what makes you feel better? Do you need any religion to make you feel better in that sense? Not really.
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        Oct 17 2011: There are two types of Gurus in any Eastern society, including India. The major type is the ones who could not get any job, hardly any meaningful education but nice talkers with excellent PR capability. They find it more attractive to do Guru-ism and cheat people, foreigner preferred as they can pay more. They very well understood that, we, general human beings, do not count how many times our horoscope correctly told our future, as compared to how many times it failed!
        The second type is the rarest, almost extinct in present day India with free-market economy. They are the one with ancient “Hindu” mentality who seek wisdom and try to guide others to have a more worthy life. They talk less about religion but preach about honesty, integrity and ability to fight for truth. One such Hindu priest was Vivekananda. His approach and view towards religion/Hinduism change a lot after his visit to US. The same can be said for many great Indian spiritual and scientific leaders, including (Asia's First Nobel laureate) Rabindra Nath Tagore. It is a both way traffic: East to West and West to East. I have no data to know how many people from East visited West and vice versa. Probably number from West to east in more, mainly due to economic prosperity.
        Such people are there in West as well, but equally aloof from common people and hustle bustle of big cities/towns. Western consumerism does not advertise them and they also do not like to be advertised (unlike the pseudo-gurus in the east). The other type is also there in the West and gets plenty of propaganda and money, many in form of “motivational speakers”.

        Just like religious gurus, It is equally hard to find a true Scientists these days, who is interested and capable to seek truth and have the courage to fight for it (than to distort and/or sale it for personal or corporate benefit). That's why over-selling of scientific findings and mediocrity is spreading and establishing in both applied and academic research these days.
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        Oct 17 2011: Hi Salim,
        Your previous message has no "reply" button. So I'm replying it here. You said, "As you see there is no difference between two knowledges I.e. science & religion , what is /are reason/s of having different outcome?"
        As I clearly indicated several times, I do not think there is different outcome. It is the same outcome when situations are the same. The difference in outcome (I presume you want to say quality or life and dependence of technology/Science vs "religion" in "east" and "west") is simply due to difference in socio-political situations and change (mainly after post-industrial revolution colonization) in those two areas.
        Now, when eastern societies are changing more towards West (accepting free market, more individual freedom, more access to freely interact with others, more access to wealth etc) the same western pattern is emerging, in spiritualism, science and associated social changes (rise in divorce rate, decrease in religious faith, courage to stand up against fundamentalism & autocracy etc).
        When we remove or reduced those socio-political factors (that govern financial policies as well), we see the same effect in our "eastern" societies as well. I can say, equilibrium is being restored. It will take time but surely is in the the process of doing so.
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          Oct 19 2011: Hi Jayanta
          East is going to west even migrating to west for better quality of life , whether it's higher income, social security , better study (mostly scientific studies) etc etc......

          People from west is not migrating to East they are just coming to get the essence of eastern spirituality...... is it "Grass is greener on the other side " syndrome?

          More over if we look in to the demoghraphics , WEST is more skewed to older population (development syndrome ?) while EAST is more skewed to younger population, so for practical reason of supply demand issue this physical migration is happening from East to west.

          West need work force to keep their economy moving , while East don't have enogh job to offer the youth force it has ..........

          What will be the impact of this movement .........will eastern spirituality bring more influenec on idegenous people of west ?
          Will eastern population will bring back science and technology what the learned in west back to their country if at all the come back home ?

          I know many don't want to agree , East West, North South, 1st Worold Third World kind of division , may be they are at the higher level of consciouness but in general term these are there .... these are visible.....these have impact as well.
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        Oct 19 2011: Salim, Your new post also does not have the "reply" button. So I am posting here.

        Yes, there will be consequences for that massive migration from East to West. In fact many consequences are already visible in western societies. Not many are positive, in any way (scientific or spiritual). Majority of those people who migrates to the West are not basically gifted in their understanding or practice of either religion or science. Overwhelmingly majority of Indian and Bangladeshis, we meet in the West are vary naive in representing their "own" social, scientific or spiritual issues. Mostly are from highly corrupt, privileged rich & feudal family backgrounds (mainly those who migrated before 90s IT boom). They mostly follow popular rituals, than understanding religion- be it Islam or Hinduism or something else. Majority are not that talented (scientifically/technically) but simply fulfilling the demand of cheap, easily exploitable trained manpower or "technical coolie" (we can discuss that in another thread).
        Majority of Muslim people migrating to the west, are trying to impose/follow the same customs for which they fled/migrated in the first place. many from the next generation of those immigrants suffer from Identity crisis. It gives a wrong impression to local people. but it also opened communication channel. That hopefully will be more valuable to exchange ideas in the future.
        Many next generation Indians (e.g Russel Peter in US/Canada or Sanjib Bhaskar's "Goodness Gracious me" in BBC TV) and Muslim immigrants made huge impact through comedy to make local people understand these "alien" or "eastern" cultures. You can check Russel Peter shows in Youtube. you may like it. But It will also help you to understand India, from a foreigner's view, simply because I can criticize India being an "Indian", but others are not (not politically correct or even allowed)! It is the same "majority" vs "minority" issue in any country.
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          Oct 21 2011: Hi Jayanta
          Yes the migration of workforce from East to West is just due to economic reason which applies for both , I mean people from East going there for better wage (not in terms of that country norm , but in terms of their home country norm , they convert each foriegn courrency into their home currency then feel that they are getting more than their home country). Most (I am sure about Bangladeshis) are doing jobs those westerns don't want to do, minorty are "Technical Coolie" (nicely coined by you, liked it ) Interestingly I found after going there they become more ritualistic than they were in home country.... why it is so ?

          May be again it's the identity crisis (in another thread I discussed this point of identity crisis of subcontinental people and their generation & my metaphore is they are like transplanted organ).

          Point is that to attract mass with something , no one need to have high level of spiritual or scientific knowledge even if they have it to attract mass they seldom need to apply that, just need a bit of showmanship........thats why thinking what could be the impact on indegenous western people with this migration.

          On the other hand due to demographic structure of west they need work force.
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    Oct 16 2011: I tried to find out when the term "holy war" or "crusade" appeared in history. I could not find any mention of those "religious" wars before Christianity appeared in the world. We also need to remember that few other mainstream religions evolved during the same time.

    In one example, "In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod attempt a comprehensive listing of wars in history. They document 1763 wars overall, of which 123 (7%) have been classified to involve a religious conflict" ( None of those religious wars dates prior to birth of Jesus/Christianity (of course, that does not mean Jesus or his religion preached or was involved in all such religious wars). That's one of the reasons why I am telling that older religions was not "expansionist" before they came into conflict with "modern" religions. Correct me if I am wrong.
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    Oct 16 2011: Dear Salim. The "reply" button is not there in ur last post. So I am posting n general.
    I never said that there was no war in ancient time. I only say that none of those wars in ancient India or anywhere else was fought due to religious reasons. I am fully aware that many wars are purely political reasons but used religion as a shield. But those are the more "modern" concept.
    Firstly both the Hindu scriptures and the "Dharmayudhdha", you mentioned, are mere imaginary. Those two epic books can be considered as great novels of ancient India. Anything written in Sanskrit need not to be true!
    None of those wars and characters you mentioned are any historic facts, proven till date. Let's do not confuse mythology with history.
    But I agree with you that, "all wars ,tyrrany bloodshed happened due the GREED of WEALTH & POWER with a mask of Religion only". and that "GREED of WEALTH & POWER" is not restricted among politicians and kings but also present among many "religious" leaders.
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    Oct 16 2011: As I said my one of my blogs, "Early evolution of religion ushered the dawn of scientific research" (

    Ancient religions are more inclined to have idol worshipping. They have many Gods to take care of natural causes like wind, rain, flood, life threatening animals, birth, death etc. Examples of such religion are Hinduism, religions in ancient Egypt, Greece etc. Many tribes in India and abroad practice this type of religion with many Gods and idol worshipping. More recent religions like Islam, Christianity are more like ideology. Almost all of such recent religions conceive a single God. The person who introduced that ideology became the prophet, mostly the “last” prophet. Such differences indicate the motive behind introduction of such religions. It's like establishing an ideology than to motivate survival of a group of people. The same analogy can be drawn to other non-religious socio-political evolutions, e.g Marxism. It’s the same psychology with which a king rules his subjects and advertises his supremacy. Evolution of recent religions was possible as life became easier. Creation and spread of such recent religions also affected more ancient religions. Leaders of those ancient religions tried to invent new rituals to strengthen their grips over power, and wealth associated with power. “Satidaha” (burning of brides), caste division, no beef eating, many marriages by men but not by women etc by Hindus are some of this type of new rituals. As people from different religions came closer, competition to prove ones’ supremacy became more intense.

    To maintain the social order and supremacy, group-leaders did not encourage asking question. They started implementing their own version of “truth” in the name of religion. It became the norm. Gradually every religion started demanding un-questionable faith. “Search for truth” soon became the fight to establish one’s own version of truth.
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      Oct 16 2011: Hi Jayanta
      It's not a discussion on any particular religion. Points may come about any particular religion as example of discussion. I know the concept of "everyone born Hindu" which also a challenge as that very concept is barrier for anyone from other religion wants to embrace Hinduism. Which Caste s/he will be in , even if with that Supreme Court ruling someone can embrace Hinduism as it's highly caste based?

      With British law on "Satidaha" (ritual of burning a widow alive), and later with the effort of great social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy & Ishwar Chandra Bidyasagar, widows also got the opportunity of getting remarried , which brought some flexibility in Hinduism.

      Civil law country law can try to bring many reform on any religion , how much that is accepted by Religious Godfathers and how much it can integrate that law into mainstream that is always a challenge. Still heredetary law of Hinduism of is not in favor of Women., thats also a challenge.

      Moreover here the discussion is not focused only in 20th or 19th Century.... discussion is over much broader time frame in a global scale..

      However you can check this link for your refernce
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        Oct 16 2011: I just gave an example to highlight how religions are/were distorted and how "older" religions are more "scientific" (encourage seeking truth) and how evolution of religion affected societies and scientific quest, both in east and west. And what I mentioned there is true for almost any religion, at least main stream religions and applicable in global scale.

        FYI, "Satidaha", you mentioned, was never a part of Hindu religion. In reality, Hindu religion accepted both polyandry and polygyny, allowed marriage of both men and women after the death or separation/divorce from/of its spouse. If you read ancient Indian/Hindu history before Muslim invasion (i.e before 1190 AD) in India (e.g Indian subcontinent), you will understand it more clearly. As I mentioned in my blog, arrival of "newer" religions affected "older" religions.
        In this specific case of "satidaha", previously it was highly restricted among few warrior communities manly to prevent physical abuse, sexual slavery of women and leaking of political secrets/info to rival kings. But later, after Muslim rule established in India, It was introduced more broadly, as a social ritual, mainly to grab property of the diseased husband by killing his 'rightful" owner, i.e his wife. Like many other social customs/rituals, that barbaric practice was propagated in the name of religion. In reality majority of the so-called religious dictates that forced Indian women behind "purdah", confining them to household work and start of converting Indian society into a highly conservative one started after foreign invasion, started with the Muslims.

        In that sense, Western civilizations (where religion had a major role) were more conservative to grant women "equal" status. E.g Oxford university in Britain allowed women membership only after 1920. It had great implications by not allowing half of its population to work outside home, to get higher education and undertake scientific research.
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        Oct 16 2011: More importantly, "older" religions are not expansionists. Unlike "newer" religions like Christianity or Islam, religious people & kings in ancient India or Egypt or Greece did not undertake war (or any form of colonization) to impose or expand its religious faith, as I think.
        Both Buddhism and Jainism are offshoot, many say "reformed version", of Hinduism. You will find mild version of religious aggression in those two (not in a violent way though).
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          Oct 16 2011: Dear JayantaI am really perplexed with the spin you are bringing in the discussion, sorry to say.

          Now you are telling
          Ancient India , Greece, Egypt all were war free ???

          What were those then in ancient India as described In Mohavartha, Ramyana from Indian Perspective , only myth ? What does it mean by the term "Dharmayudhdha" in Hindu scripture ? Who is Arjuna, Vima, Kangsha, Karna, Rama, Laksman.................

          What were those then in ancient Greece named as Trojan War, Battle of Marathon, Persian War,Pelopponesian War ?

          In ancient Egypt , what are those named as Ethiopic War,Battle of Kadesh,Battle of Meggido, War of Seti etc

          No need of reading war history , just following ART & Paintings of ancient India, Greece & Egypt can beam enough light.

          Not going to make the list longer as again telling that's not the point of discussion in this thread.

          I believe there was never ever any war in the world for the reason of expanding any religion. All wars ,tyrrany bloodshed happened due the GREED of WEALTH & POWER with a mask of Religion only.
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    Oct 15 2011: @Salim, @Natasha : Good Question....there can't be a direct answer to this one...
    what i can come up with right now is that....its like a one knows who'll win until the race starts....the person in the first lane may be faster or may be in the last of them may be EAST and one of them may be never know.....
    in the first race WEST gets a head start.....but in some other race EAST gets a head start...
    it cant be predicted before it starts....

    um...does that make sense??
    are you getting my view?? um....
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      Oct 15 2011: Actually many religious ideas came from the west west , the problem is they are no longer credible ideas in the religious communities. Go to Greece and you will see what were temples devoted to Appolo. Norse societies had their deities, while the Celts had theirs. For the most part these religions were local so when people began to form empires many ways were loss. On the other hand eastern religions tend to be less concrete so they can pass easier to culture to culture. Even Hindu who has a set of Gods and Goddess can pass from culture to culture with more ease than any western religion because Hindu deities do not look like any one group of people, but rather are quite alien looking.
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        Oct 15 2011: Hi Anthony
        No disagreement about presence of religious thoughts in west.
        Greek Epics with all beauty coquered the world but not the religion.
        Interestingly there are lot of similarity between Greece Myths & Indian Myths (Hindu Myths).

        What you wanted to mean by saying 'eastern religions tend to be less concrete"?
        Your thought about ability of cultural blending sounds interesting.... curious to hear more about that.
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          Oct 15 2011: Well for the most part I think the west anthropomorphied their Gods, and Goddess, while many eastern religions do not even have deities. Twoism, Buddhism, Shinto, all shied away from a god figure. Even 2 of the 3 Abrahamic religion had taboos against pictorial depictions of there God. Of course Christianity made the most ground in the west but they ignored the whole no graven images and were media savvy enough to change the Jesus image to match the people they were selling it to. I really doubt the US would be a Christain nation if Jesus looked like someone the of Arabic descent. and as I said earlier Hindu Gods look just as alien to a Hindu as anyone in the world. I think this has a lot to do with it. No one wants there God to look like people from somewhere else. For whatever reason the west made the Gods look like them so its hard for other people to want to join, while in the east people either decoupled God from religion
          (or better yet never joined the 2) or made them look like no one so it was more welcoming to all.
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        Oct 16 2011: Hi Anthony
        Good observation and thoughts those are.
        Your central point seems to me spreadability of religion depends on it's adaptability or blendability to different culture and social norms.

        Just as an example , usually Hinduism is not open to conversion and once one leaves Hinduism can't back. Jainism , accepts conversion but very strict with rituals and so on............

        Widely spreaded religions seems had better adaptability. Don't know much about ancient religious thoughts of Greece or other religions of West , how adaptable those were...

        Definitely science has got much more adaptability and applicability which made it more spreadable.....
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          Oct 16 2011: Hi Salim, your observation probably is not true. Hinduism is the only mainstream religion that does not require any formal initiation or baptism type ceremony. It is said, "all humankind are born Hindu". probably that's why there is no "taking back" ceremony.
          In more strict or legal terms (as defined by Indian Supreme Court in 1996), "Hinduism is a way of life". Anyone following that life style can be considered a Hindu. Lately, few Hindu religious leaders introduced a "conversion" procedure to counter the religious conversions, mainly by Muslims and Christians.
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          Oct 16 2011: Yes I'm not sure on the old European beliefs either , but I am assuming since their deities are so reflective ( in appearance and function) as members of their society outsiders would not have these beliefs resonate with them. I wonder how much of it has to do with how cosmopolitan a culture is when a belief system develops. Would Christianity hold such value on evangelizing if not for the roads that Rome built. Contrast this with Judaism which sprung out of more tribal people living in a nomadic fashion, where being wary of outsiders is somewhat necessary to insure survival and their emphasis on making it difficult to convert. Any rate it is a fascinating philosophical conversation.
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      Oct 16 2011: Thomas:
      I think what is trying to be said here is that science and religion are two sides of the same capacity for knowing. After all we are all referring to the same experience (the universe) in all the disciplines (science, art, religion, mysticism etc.). What do you mean " beyond the 'story' level", it seems that it is in the story line that the confusion is stirred and once you have risen above that, that one is able to appreciate it and necessarily not the doctrine.

      Also lets not suggest that some of us have an, "internal perceptual misconception that distorts your vision of reality".
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        Oct 16 2011: Hi Thadeus,

        Perhaps, you are right, some people might be trying to say, "science and religion are two sides of the same capacity for knowing." However, that is not the point I am addressing.

        One respondent seems to think eastern philosophy and religious doctrine are equal to or superior than western science. And says that if "science from the west" studied "philosophy of the east" with the same critical exactitude it applies towards the manifested, materialistic aspect of nature, it might advance its knowledge exponentially by realizing that the energy field is the organizing structure for that which is manifested as 'matter'." (- Kathy K)

        The implications are vast: One, that "science from the west" HAS NOT studied "philosophy of the east" with the same critical exactitude it applies towards the manifested, materialistic aspect of nature."

        She believes this to be true. Why? Because "science from the west" will not (for example) tell you what happens after you die. She will. Such is the exactitude of her science or should I say the exactitude of her "philosophy of the east."

        QUOTE: "Also lets not suggest that some of us have an, "internal perceptual misconception that distorts your vision of reality".

        Why not?

        We all do. (If we didn't we wouldn't be having this conversation ... or any other; we would just look at one another and nod knowingly.)
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          Oct 17 2011: Do you not think Religion and philosophy are equal to science? If so maybe that is what Kathy meant by having science learning from eastern philosophy/religion.
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        Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus,

        You ask, "Do [I] not think Religion and philosophy are equal to science?

        It's a false dichotomy. That's like asking you if you think painting is equal to music; or if math is equal to cinema.

        QUOTE: "If so maybe that is what Kathy meant by having science learning from eastern philosophy/religion."

        Science cannot "learn" anything. Scientists can.

        Do I think some scientists would benefit by embracing eastern philosophy?

        I know several that have.

        Beyond that, I don't really think my opinion is relevant.

        Do you think eastern philosophers would benefit by embracing empirical science?
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          Oct 17 2011: Good point thanks for clarifying. But your word choice of "embrace" may be what I was thinking.
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    Oct 14 2011: I just told that story to emphasize that spread of specific religion sometimes has nothing to do with "religious" reasons but more personal and/or financial reasons. In context of India, both Islam and Christianity are "western" religions and spread to "east" India.
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      Oct 14 2011: Yes, often religions spread, or are suppressed, for political reasons (Constantine adopting Christianity, for example was, some believe, a political decision.)

      Geographically, I suppose we could say everything is "western." Or "eastern." The world is, after all, still a sphere.
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    Oct 14 2011: Now let me tell some reality about religious conversion in some Asian countries in Indian subcontinent. Just a few decades ago there were massive conversion going on from Hinduism to Islam and Christianity. Conversion to Islam was mainly confined to a communist state of Kerala and Christianity in almost all tribal areas in India and few specific pockets in southern India. Almost all conversion to Islam was to get jobs in Middle East. A major part of the state economy of Kerala now comes from remittance from Middle east. Conversion to Christianity was to get food and education, sponsored by western money to different Christian organizations. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charities is also no exception. They exchange service for religion. It is like, "give me your religion, then I'll serve you". That is not selfless service.
    Of course some blame goes to heinous caste system among Hindus. Majority, if not all of such conversions are restricted to "lower caste" Hindus.
    Islam also has an added advantage. It directly talks about revenge, incites poor, less-privileged people from other religion to "seek justice" (mostly though violent means). I personally attended few Friday mosque "prayers" in India and witnessed it. That is very attractive to those semi-educated or illiterate people. It does not take much talent to understand why religious minorities (mainly Hindus, Christians etc) is almost vanished from Muslim majority countries in Indian subcontinent (mainly Bangladesh and Pakistan). There are some examples of converted person became famous but that happened later and religion have almost no role in that. I am not aware of a single instance where the person embraced Islam or Christianity or any other religion due to love for Mohammad or Christ or for his messages or to promote peace, prosperity of the world, to mankind!
    I also have not heard or met a single well established, well educated religious person to get converted to other religion, in any country.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Jayanta,

      Much of what you say is also happening in Africa where Christian and Muslim missionaries "compete" for converts.

      It is well established that we (humans) are not as smart as we think we are; and that we are very easily convinced of ... well, just about anything (cf Philip G. Zimbardo et al.)

      There are lots of examples of established people converting to or from a belief system: for instance: Bahaa el Din Ahmed Hussein el-Akkad; Mohammed Hegazy; Nagla al-Imam; Simone Weil; Bob Marley; Pandita Ramabai; Alexander Russell Webb; David Benjamin Keldani; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Omar Sharif; Zhang Chengzhi; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
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        Oct 14 2011: Thanks Thomas. I missed that important info you gave. Thanks again.
        Another reason for "spread" for some religious beliefs are high rate of birth among many communities that is not only encouraged but tactfully coerced to its followers. In India already with very high population and population density, many Christian organizations are offering INR 10,000 (~$ 278) for fifth (yes, fifth) child.
        Growth rate of a specific religion also dictates its "spread" and it is directly related to mainly to education and to some extent economic condition of the followers.
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    Oct 13 2011: Development of Eastern spirituality (and religion) is also connected with local people's inability to protect themselves, to protect their ways of lives against massive onslaught of foreign invasion. It became more frustrating for them as many were having superior knowledge and technology (as compared to the invaders) yet they could not protect their lands and culture (ways of life). Probably many people in the west do not know that India and China was a major world scientific power. Finest technology, tools used to come from China (as per Nat Geo documentary). India was one of the best places of knowledge and scientific research when most of the western world was not close to "civilization" (as we know today and as compared to those ancient civilizations in East). In reality, Indian society never learned what is democracy, what justice means since long; long before we got independence, long before British occupied the land. It is so contrasting if we think that a king, Gopala, in the Indian state of Bengal was among the first few democratically elected kings in the world (around 750 AD). One wonders how such a society reached its current state!
    Nalanda university in India was one of the first & great organised universities in the world. It was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khalji around 1200 AD, signifying the start of decline of Indian education and society. Those foreign invaders, first by the Middle Eastern or Central Asian Muslims and then Europeans (mainly the British) imposed a drastic change on our ways of lives. Many people, mainly men, used so many excuses to hide our own inability to protect our culture, our women, our ways of lives. Many such excuses took shape in form of religious dictates, distorted version of "tradition" and more awfully in the name of love for peace.
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      Oct 13 2011: Dear Jayanta
      This discussion is not limited to indian sub continent.
      Agree about the power of science of ancient India and China (please refer to my original post , where it is clearly mentioned)
      Question is why Scinece of India or China couldn't conquer the world ?
      Why those science failed to give birth a Industrial revolution?

      The other point from your post it is clear, definitely science of invadors were more powerful to occupy the land , why indigenous science couldn't defend that invasion or even later why that invador science just spreaded a new religion to indigenous people only?

      In side note , please also consider how the inhumane caste system pushed and still pushing poor , marginal people of low caste to embrace a new religion..... though that's not the point of discussion here.
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        Oct 13 2011: Good question, Salim. To know the answer you need to go little deeper, although I indicated it in my earlier posts. You need to know about geographical and climate of those countries along with its history.
        In case of China, it was change of guard that created problem in scientific development and emphasized "cultural" one. During Tang and Han dynasties China was the best in technology, as per Nat Geo and other sources ( During recent times, even the communists did the same mistake in 60s-70s("cultural revolution").

        In case of India, it was a little different story. Most of the ancient civilizations developed in highly fertile land where life was much easier. Those people did not think that someone can fight for basic necessities. Although they developed one of the best universities, achieved many distinction in many areas of science and technology, they did not undertake any military venture (never invaded other countries per se), did not undertake development of arms & ammunition. They could not prevent even the mild attacks by few hundred invaders. It is true for invasions by Alexander the great, or Genghis khan or Taimur Lang or subsequent invaders. We forgot that chanting the mantra of peace will never guarantee peace. Peace also have a price and only those deserve peace who are prepared and ready to pay that price.

        By the way, science is science- there is no east or west, no religion. Structure of DNA, laws of motion, properties of electron, mathematics etc are the same in any country and religion. It will not be right to say "modern" science as "western".
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          Oct 13 2011: Science becomes only science when it is proven in systematic way.
          All laws , structure, properties were there and many are also still there , but it only become science when it is proven.

          Labelling it in to east west does not really mean that Eastern Science is different from west, or DNA structures are different or law of motion changes .............. This labelling is just to specify people from which part came up with these knowledge.
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    Oct 13 2011: I think its because the history of easten thought/science has alot too offer the west and people are catching on to this. The "mystic quality" of both science and religion in the west has suffered alot since the enlightement and the industrial revolution.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Jacob
      Your point is appreciated.
      Don't you feel industrial revolution is a milestone for Science & Technology to spread all over the world?
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        Oct 14 2011: Sure. It's just that some parts of the world understand both the limits and implications of putting too much value on the purpose of science. I am sure the definition varies throughout the world.
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    Oct 13 2011: people connect to eastern religion more as they read about it or come to know about Mr Thomas Jones says above...he had a hard time thinking of major religion coming from west....east has always been more into religion than the west...
    As far as technology goes....Its a race against time...if you can develop your own technology soon enough you do not need to follow....western technology is dominating because we cant afford to re-build that same technology wasting time and money in the process instead of just borrowing it and using it for the good of our own country/organization..etc.
    Focus should always be on invention of something new...not something that already exists in the west :)
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Vishnu
      Agree with you , there is no need to re-invent wheel by any....when something is readily available.
      But question is why for so many years east couldn't spread it's science as it could with it's spirituality & vice versa with west.
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        Oct 14 2011: probably because they focused on spirituality :)
        west focused on technology...they are like the pioneers of technology...east is just catching up and even competing now....
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          Oct 14 2011: East is not catching up in true sense. It is the slowing down of innovation and invention in the west (due to corporatization of higher education and broken research system to promote talents) and ease to get older technology to newer customers/countries. Spreading of technology is more easier and faster due to stagnation of western markets, improvement of communication technology and accessibility.
        • Oct 14 2011: Vishnu, Salim
          "probably because they focused on spirituality :)
          west focused on technology."
          -Most likely, but the question remains: Why?
          What were those factors, that at the root level, somehow presuggested their choices?
          In the comment below Andriaan Braan introduced a very interesting idea:
          "One thing that seems to come out of that interpretation of the Bible text is the concept that
          East is where the Divine is (but not literally!). And the West could be seen as the meaning of humanity and thus what is from humanity."
          The idea looks totally bizarre from the scientific point of view, but maybe there is
          no scientific answer to this question. Maybe theology can help or astrology? I mean sacred astrology.
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          Oct 14 2011: Hi Natasha
          You just asked the question that I was about to ..... which is "WHY" ?
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    Oct 12 2011: To cut the long story short, religion was developed to make societies more organized and to involve majority population to participate in different activities or rituals for betterment of the society. Religion made implementing the rules much easier. Both remuneration and punishment was introduced. It gave rise to the concept of virtue and vice. Breaking the rules was equated to sin or vice while obeying those became virtues.
    Here we need to remember that there are differences among religion, culture and tradition, although one influences others.

    Religion took a massive blow to serve its original intended purpose as we invented constitution, laws and lately democracy to maintain social discipline. This presented a great dilemma for many, particularly for those who live in secular democracies like the USA.

    We can see the influence of religion is more in least developed countries, where corruption is high, national institutions are weak, law and order implementation is as good as non-existent, people have less faith on their government to help or solve their problems. It is totally different thing to pass laws, to have a great book, called constitution than having an effective, functional system to deliver justice and basic services.
    Many jokingly say that if you live in such a country (e.g Indian subcontinent), you do not have much option but to believe in God!
    • Oct 12 2011: While this is a popular opinion it has no actual support in fact. The development of religion is much more complicated than you offer.
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        Oct 13 2011: Such as?
        One can attain all those spirituality, mental peace, undertake meditation, have very high ethical and moral standard (as usually associated with religion) without believing in any religion or totally denying existence of God.
        There are enough circumstantial evidence that rise in religious faith or number of "believers" are inversely related to social and national development. You can get an indication if you analyse Middle East (mainly Iran-Iraq and Egypt) before Islam appeared into picture and then rapid downfall of that once highly prosperous, progressive piece of land. The same can be said for US, as compared to other developed countries.
        • Oct 13 2011: Yes, 'one' can have those things, strange how you very seldom actually meet that 'one' though. Hypothetical and circumstantial is not support, it is simply an attempt to support an opinion. I have no interest in arguing the validity of religion one way or the other, simply that the opinion you offered is not supported by fact. Religion was actually "developed" by people interested in spiritual issues, not in legal or political issues as you state above. It may have since become that (or may not), but it was most definitely not developed for that purpose.
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          Oct 13 2011: Hi Mike,

          Actually, Jayanta Chatterjee opinion is supported by quite a bit of research. You could probably find some of it on a "Sceptic" website.

          Some research indicates that a secular basis for morality results in "better" behaviour than does religious-based morality. Again, if you're interested, you can find quite a bit of research on it.

          Also, Jayanta Chatterjee's opinion that "One can attain all those spirituality, mental peace, undertake meditation, have very high ethical and moral standard (as usually associated with religion) without believing in any religion or totally denying existence of God," is a pretty good description of Buddhism.
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      Oct 13 2011: Thanks Jayanta for your post.
      So what do you think being the reason spread of eastern spiritulaity or religon globally (other than immigration factor) & why western spirituality did not spread similarly?
      Reason of spread of western science in global scale seems rather simple as it was coming with tangible benefits to humankind but I am pondering why Eastern part was missing that kind of scientific thoughts?
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        Oct 13 2011: First I like to remind you that I do not think "eastern " religion is spreading. Islam is a different story. I will discuss about its spread (mostly confined among socially and economically backward people in Africa and few other countries).

        Dear Salim. It seems that you are from Bangladesh and can read Bengali (Bangla). If that is true, then I will suggest you to read an article published in the reputed Bengali magazine, “Desh” (2nd February 2011 issue). You will get an indication (not direct answer), at least regarding Hinduism, the largest religion in Indian subcontinent till British divided the country on religious basic. Here I am quoting a para from my own blog (
        Our own Achariya Prafulla Chandra Roy, the noted chemist and among the first few Indian entrepreneurs to set up knowledge based Industry, Bengal Chemical, in India on 12th April, 1901, once tried to identify “since when and why India cannot undertake objective scientific research” (my own translation from Bengali texts). After a long investigation he wrote a book, “History of Hindu Chemistry”. There he identified distorted interpretation and practice of religion (more specifically the Hindu religion) and heinous caste system as the root cause. In an article titled, “knowledge of technical arts and decline of scientific spirit”, he was more elaborate. He specifically identified two people – first one is Saint Shankaracharaya and then saint Manu (who introduced stricter caste based social division and marriage among Hindus). For a quick reference one can check the short article published in reputed Bengali magazine, “Desh” (2nd February 2011 issue). The sad state of affairs of Hindus (and Bengalis) becomes clear when we find madness to celebrate 150 years of Rabindranath Tagore but not even a fraction to remember this great Indian scientist and entrepreneur (1861-1944).
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          Oct 13 2011: Dear Jayanta
          Nice to meet you. Yes I am Bangladeshi Bangali, so Bangla is my mother tongue, will check "Desh" you referred.

          Friend I didn't say it's spreading , rather it's a past tense.

          Definitely looking in to statistics , it's clearly visible these days rather aethism is on rise. I don't mind rise of anything until it becomes a threat to greater humankind.
          My view is that religion rather caused lot's bloodshed in the history of humankind then anything else. Well one can argue it was used by political or economical reason by tyrants yes that's true but they could do that as elements were there in religion.

          However the discussion here is not that, nor I am focusing to any particular religion, whether it's Islam. Hinduism, Christianity or simple spirituality. Quite sometime I have beening pondering, why spirituality / religion of certain part (I see branding it as Eastern already brought some differences of opinions , that;s fine as long as the discussion is a fruitful one , not diverting to any unnecessary debate) dominated all over the world (keeping migration issue in mind) on the other hand science of other part conquered the world.

          Nothing wrong in both cases, just looking for answer , why mankind of different palces took different routes ?

          As Frans mentioned here about the use of military & political power spreading one or the other religion in certain part of the world which was not indigenous to that part, I agree with that.

          Again it brings question , the military power or political power enforced a new religion had it's scientific knowledge which was just used to develop miltary power , why that base of science of those power was so confined to keep people under control in a very ruthless way ?
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        Oct 13 2011: Eastern "spirituality" (rather than "religion") got little more acceptance in western world during 70s. Many dissolutioned, frustrated people tried to find peace from Eastern spirituality. Media in those Eastern countries advertised that too much. If a western person talks, writes in Bengali (or any other eastern language) or celebrate local festival, stay with some local people it becomes news. His/her local host(s) also get huge attention among peers. When a German like Guntar Grass writes a book on Kolkata (Calcutta) Bengali media portraited as if a vast majority of Germany or German intelligentsia became infatuated with Bengali culture. The same can be said about Hindu saint, Vivekananda, after his Chicago visit. Even now many Hindu Bengalis think that whole USA think about him and impressed about Hindu religion. None of these are true, even a fraction.
        We (people from eastern countries) try to seek recognition from Western world. It is true for almost any aspect, be it religion or literature, movie, science etc. When we get we advertise it like anything. So common people in those Eastern countries, who never visit those countries (Germany or USA as I mentioned earlier) get a wrong idea. Nobody knows or even cares how many Indian or Bagnladeshi or African people get converted to Christianity (although it was invented in Asia, but it's main spread was possible in the West and then spread all over). IF a Bangladeshi women writes in English or roam in the streets of Chicago, it is not news, but if any white American woman does the same in Dakha it instantly becomes news.
        That attitude developed due to many years of foreign rules in majority of eastern countries. Our own culture and confidence eroded to such an extent that we look to others to find recognition. Our own talensts got local recognition only when western world recognized him/her, e.g Satyajit Ray (film maker), Satyen Bose (Scientist, discoverer of Boson theory), Jhumpa Lahiri (literatur
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        Oct 13 2011: The root of many of the evils (e.g lack of self-confidence, rampant corruption, nepotism, different sets of rules for different people (depending on religion, caste, closeness to the ruling elites etc), failure of national governments, hunger for foreign (mainly Western) recognition etc) goes back to sudden change in our social evolution due to foreign invasions. Those Invaders imposed their culture, their ethics, their laws (that started rampant discrimination and sowed the seed for today's corruption and nepotism) and prevented the gradual social (and mental) evolution in those places. Such invasions changed religious demography of many eastern nations, including India and Bangladesh. Islam first arrived India subcontinent after 1192 AD and not as a common religion but as THE religion of the rulers. It had and still has huge consequences.
        In Indian subcontinent it all started with Muslim invasion from Mid-east and central Asia and continues with Europeans, mainly British.
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        Oct 13 2011: QUOTE: "Even in some part of Europe Islam was spreaded with the power of cruelity of sword. This power of sword was also backed by science , but why their science stopped there and failed to conquer world that's what I am wondering ?"

        I'm not sure their science "stopped there."

        Certainly, there have been times when knowledge has been suppressed - The Dark Ages in Europe from 6th to 13th centuries; Burning of the books and burying of the scholars (焚书坑儒) in China from 213 and 206 BC - an echo of which we could hear in The Cultural Revolution centuries later; and so on - but the impact is sometimes exaggerated. For instance, it seems "The Dark Ages" may not have been as dark as the term implies.

        Ideas have a tendency to reemerge, even if they are suppressed, so we have, as an example, "The Renaissance" which has been explained, in part, by a rediscovery of the science of earlier Islamic scientists and scholars.

        Another interesting idea is that science and technology are advanced when nations are in conflict with one another. Each "King" tries to surpass his neighbouring peers - if not for military ascendency, then, at least, for prestige.

        In nations where conflict has been "subdued" and decisions can be made, more or less, centrally (such as in China during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)) science and technology do not flourish.

        But, again, ideas have a tendency to reassert themselves so now we adopt "what works" (generally speaking) no matter where the idea originated (generally speaking.)
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      Oct 13 2011: Hi Jayanta
      As you said:"Here we need to remember that there are differences among religion, culture and tradition, although one influences others.", I doubt that this is true.

      In certain places at certain times there's a clear distinction between the three concepts but for most time and places it was all one and the same. It is civilazation that tries over and over to implement those distinctions but with natural developed cultures such distinction is futile.

      Indeed there were many invaders within places that brought their own culture and made this a rule for everyone, nevertheless old cultures lived on in a more hidden way. Often they just replaced names from deities without really making any change. Even today in Italy I saw churches where the cross was placed behind the door of entrance while in front a statue of Maria was worshipped.
      Different Goddesses had to change name like Juno, Venus, Minerva, they all live on in the hearts of the people, their culture and tradition.
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        Oct 13 2011: The short answer for your Qs is- lack of communication among common people (from East and West, from different countries with different culture and religion). With technology, mainly Internet, we are having this conversation. If common people were able to communicate more freely and frequently, I doubt if the (mis)use of religion (or any other issue) would have divided world so much, caused so much conflict and blood shed. Religion is the single most important cause of human suffering and conflict since ages, till today.
        British common people did not know what majority of British rulers did to India, to general Indian people. They met few sycophant (and highly corrupt, backbone-less) Indians in those elite British universities, cities and believed that all Indian people praise British rule, British queen, wear 3 piece suits (in Indian weather) and drink whiskey! The same was true for Americans (about India) before IT revolution. My perception about western world (including religion and science) underwent a sea change after I started living in Europe and US. Most of the stories, we hear (while in India) is either highly distorted or totally wrong (although some are true). The same is probably true for general westerners, about their perceptions of India or any other "eastern" societies, religion.
        Many Indians still do not understand why Mother Teresa is so famous in western world while many in India does not give her any more credit than many other charitable (religious) organizations. My personal experience (I am originally from Kolkata, where mother worked and had her HQ) with missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa's organization) convinced me that many other organizations (e.g Ram Krishna Mission or Bharat Sebashram Sangh) do much better, self-less charity to humanity. But that is not so important to Christian majority and powerful Western world.
        It is the lack of communication that creates problem. Few people exploit that and make a mess of it.
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          Oct 13 2011: Didn't know I had Qs. But indeed free exchange of though around the world is the greatest enemy for regimes that depend on the strategy of 'divide and rule.'

          British common people knew what they were told. The same here in The Netherlands with Indonesia. At first all stories were told by the military. Later as more people could see the real situation the opinion changed dramatically. At a certain point the pressure on the ruling class came from both sides: the oppressed and their own subjects.

          Fact was that in-between most indigenous peoples in the colonies were bereft from their original cultures. The structures by which they were organized was replaced by corrupt collaborators. After independency those creeps held power and formed their own maffia like ruling classes. This happened in most former colonies.
          This new order was welcomed by Western nations because they only had to deal with those corrupt leaders that had no interest in people’s rights and needs and sold everything of worth abroad.

          Mother Theresa was an Icon to give the Christian part a good feeling about themselves. Yet she was remarkable but of course not the only one. Remember that all what's done with love is well done independent of the background of any person.
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    Oct 12 2011: QUOTE: "Why are eastern religions/spirituality spreading all over the world, similarly science from the west conquered the world?"

    The simple answer is: Because people spread ideas that are meaningful to them and we tend to adopt things that work.

    So if someone finds meaning in religion, they share the ideas with others and, as we are much the same, some will embrace similar beliefs whether they be Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, Wicca, or Yoga, (or even capitalism, socialism, or communism) etc., etc., etc.

    And the benefits of science are appreciated by virtually everyone, regardless of their beliefs. So we all live in "houses," use insulation, heat, and a/c; most drive cars, use telecommunications, etc., etc., etc.
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    Oct 12 2011: Spread and development of science was more even (in East and West) before industrialization in 18th century (in UK). Eastern science in many ancient Eastern civilizations (e.g in China, India, Mid East, Egypt etc) was no less developed as compared to any other Western civilization (e.g in Greece or Italy).
    Development of indigenous science and "objective research" in all those Eastern civilizations took a massive blow after industrialization. It coincided with imperial colonization from West to East.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Jayanta
      In my original post , I didn't say that there was no science in East or other part as you mentioned. Question was why that couldn't sustain? Why that sceintific knowledge of East couldn't give birth to something like "industrial revolution" as happened in west?

      Imperial colonization was also backed up by science, moreover that also brought missionaries to spread Christiniaty (which I & some other fellow TEDstr see as an Eastern religion , while others differ) in the parts they invaded. But science was more dominant than their missionary effort......why it was so?
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        Oct 14 2011: Hi Salim. As I said earlier, Science was there almost uniformly all over the world, in all major civilizations that we are aware of. Now we know that even many "primitive" tribes, civilizations previously unknown or less appreciated also had almost same degree of scientific and technological sophistication (e.g Inca civilization as found in Peru's Machu Pichu).
        Science generally works in increment. When It reached a stage of "industrialization", it coincided with colonization. There are some indications (I cannot say "proof") that industrialization made colonization a necessity to feed the growing need for raw materials and man power (mainly as slaves) and later to sale, impose its products. That specific trend, started by Europeans, enhanced their need and then capability to invest more on scientific research and quest for novel knowledge that are more practical need oriented than simply "spirituality". That capability and development was not matched by "eastern" civilizations, mainly because they did not find it necessary (to have a prosperous life by snatching from others). There are historical proof that traders (mostly Hindus) from Indus valley civilization (in present Punjab area of India and Pakistan) had good business relationship with Mesopotamia (Iran-Iraq) and Egyptian civilization. Some also suggest that ancient Greece were also in that business loop. But none of those interactions resulted in any colonization (religious or economic). Even Muslim invasion in India did not actually resulted in colonization (although it had huge impact on indigenous education, science and technology), as they settled in India.
        But every thing changed after European style industrialization. In fact it is said that slum culture started after that. Previously there was poverty, but not filthy slums or ghetto culture. It is almost impossible to find filthy open drains, slums in the poorest villages. Just set up a factory there, you will get all, almost instantly.
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        Oct 14 2011: That's why we see a huge increment of novel discoveries (mainly in Europe) during world-wars (mainly WWII by Germans). Those colonial powers also actively prevented, discouraged their subjects to develop indigenous science & industry (as Brits did in India). But they did introduce their education system (which helped later), mainly to produce servants and clerks to help them to rule (not govern). Those colonial powers also rejected local talents, knowledge and undertook massive propaganda (mainly among fellow Westerners) to portray a negative image of the colonies and its people (that included its scientific achievements).
        Let me put it in more recent context. If you analyse the trend of scientific/technological development in many developed countries you will understand that quest for novel knowledge is not exactly the same in different countries. Japan invest more in applied research while current global scientific powerhouse (as per number of research publications) USA invest more on basic research. Not many novel theories or ground breaking scientific discoveries comes from japan but they are excellent to use existing knowledge to make novel products that can win global market.
        Now if you go little further and analyse how and why the position of "science super-power" shifts, you will quickly realize that it closely follows one nation's political and associated financial muscle. Not a single country in the world achieved super-power status by first becoming a science super-power. It is always other way round. It is also believed that this trend of shifting 'super power" status is ending now and US will lose that status soon (many believe within 10-15 yrs). And then there will be no more super-power and development of science will be more even (at least within least corrupt, developed countries). If developing countries (East or West) can minimize corruption (in governance) and nepotism (in education and research sector) they also can reap the benefit.
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    Oct 12 2011: It will not be right to say that "eastern religions/spirituality spreading all over the world". In most, if not all, of the developed countries the faith on and influence of religion is decreasing.
    In fact, Pew Research Center survey, concluded that, "atheists and agnostics are among the highest-scoring groups in a survey of religious knowledge, outperforming “believers”. If we re-frame that statement, we can safely say that those people who know more about religion believe less in it.
    For more you can read my blog, "Early evolution of religion ushered the dawn of scientific research" (
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    Oct 12 2011: Hi Salim
    Spirituality and religion are different things.
    A person can be spiritual and not believing anything or belonging to no one religion.
    The other way around is also possible, a person that belongs to an religion but isn't spiritual at all.
    Spirituality is natural, it is being in contact with your natural self without too much distortions and conditioning from society.
    Buddhism and Taoism you can see as a guiding-system to reach that natural state of being and live none the less within society. Being in the world but not of the world.
    In this it fills that part of values that mere science is missing. For this it has the sympathy with lots of people all over the world that abandoned religion for all stupidities that has slipped into it.
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      Oct 12 2011: Hi Frans
      Agree religion and spirituality is different, also agree what you said about Buddhism & Taoism. It seems to me spirituality & also religion both are of eastern origin, so just pondering why it's so. I am not saying in west there was no spirituality, definitely there was but later spirituality of east becam dominant.... why it's so ?
      Any idea, thoughts?

      The other point in many cases spirituality actually evolve from religion. Religion to me seems to be more ritualistic and visible externally with someone who practice it, while spirituality is less ritualistic and more in to innerself of someone......

      You know in my country (muslim dominant) there are a number of spiriutual muslim groups who are more humane .....and look for unity of humankind rejecting divisionism of mainstream Islam , so mainstream mostly consider them not as muslim even.......
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        Oct 13 2011: Hi Salim
        Yes there is definitely a clear answer to your question: “why Eastern religion became dominant in the West”.

        At the time Christianity was founded it a was a political mean to unite the people against the Roman occupation.
        Centuries later the same Romans used that trick to their advantage in ordaining Christianity as the official religion preceded by the emperor. With that act the emperor placed himself back in the center of his empire.
        All peoples in the West and North that had their own spiritual cultures had to be converted to Christianity. Those that refused were killed.

        For your other point I would say that religions are evolved from spirituality and used or misused by the ruling class to control the people. By those rules ritual rules were dictated for all and called religion.

        In India and Persia many wise man lived who for the same reason had to succumb to Islam. They are called Sufi. Sufi had to obey the rules but did preserve their wisdom until now.
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          Oct 13 2011: Frans , I agree what you said about the adoption process of Christianity in Roman empire. Same is true for other religion as well. I mean use of politics and military power in spreading religion like Islam, say in Indian sub-continent where it came with the Mongols mostly.

          Even in some part of Europe Islam was spreaded with the power of cruelity of sword. This power of sword was also backed by science , but why their science stopped there and failed to conquer world that's what I am wondering ?

          The other point is that with force religion which is more ritualistic can be enforced but spirituality which is in more mental domain that can't be.

          What's your thought about that?

          And after forceful adoption , how that religion went in to the spiritual domain?

          You are right about Sufis, there are some other such small spiritual group in my part of the world who are more humane i.e. "BAULs". They took a different path to fight tyranny of ritualistic religion, which is music...... they spread their thoughts through mystical words and lovely music ...........
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        Oct 13 2011: Salim, I don't see what you say with this line? "This power of sword was also backed by science , but why their science stopped there and failed to conquer world that's what I am wondering ?"

        I can tell that Islam tried to go North to Russia but the Cossacks kicked them out all the time. Also the Turks tried to invade Europe but stopped as they tried to take Vienna, Austria. The first 3 to 4 centuries of Islam they occupied So. Spain where they were driven out during the crusades.

        Forcing religion up to other cultures leaves a division among the people. As I said in another answer in this thread, even today the heathen faith is still alive in Italy even close to the Vatican. Yet the ruling classes fight this ever where they can. In Latin America the Indio's live their culture as their ancestors just mixed up a little so they look Christians. In Island they didn't want to become Christians but one day the head of state said something like: we live our own ways but we must look a Christian nation to be able to trade overseas.
        So in all you can see that a lot of Christianity is only on the outside.

        Religion never went in any spiritual domain. It was politics and the baseline of society. Yet nevertheless among them were often very spiritual people but those people were spiritual despite religion and not because of religion.

        I'm curious what you mean with "science of the sword"?
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          Oct 13 2011: Frans sorry for my poor communication. I wanted to mean military power of invaders was also a result of scientific knowledge. But their science seems was limited to just to strengthen their evil military power only.

          I am not in support of spreading religion thru blood shed or invasion or even politics rather I see historically religion brought only division and bloodshed among human kind which is still there in this era of scientific development !

          Yes in my earlier post here I told it seems to me spirituality is different. A spiritual person need not to be religious really.........very seldom religious people become spiritual.
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        Oct 13 2011: The answer on why science only was used for power is a story in itself.

        It has to do with the basic organization of the peoples of the world.
        From India up to Ireland communities were ruled by warlords in a continual competition for security. The winner always was equipped with better weaponry or strategy.

        The Chinese had gunpowder which they only used for firecrackers but with the silk route there came an exchange of technologies and ideas. So it didn't take much time before it was found that it was a mighty weapon as well.

        So it was a continuing arms race that pushed technology for three thousand years and hasn't ended yet.

        In this respect the world is changing for the better because there is ever more collaboration between nations in the direction of a world community. This can only be a good thing as power is shared with all people in respect for all people.
  • Oct 11 2011: I believe some of it but not all has to do with the religion of dominance. I the east the religion that dominates is Christianity. Christians believe that even if christianity was originated in the west the promises of the jews was inherited or passed to them (gentiles) and spread to the east and the MAJORITY of the christian put the religion first and some of them even see Science as a SIN. Mean wile the West Religions do not see Science as a threat to their religion and is not condemn by the religious leaders. Not that the west has better Science or Scientist because that is debatable but when it comes to perceptions, I can understand your point.
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      Oct 13 2011: Thanks Edison for your thoughts.
      Sometimes I also think that may be in west religion never thought science as threat.... but what about pre-renaissance period ?

      Not only science but also any free thought, parctice of art , literature were grasping to get a bit of fresh air under the iron fist of religion....
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        Oct 13 2011: Your perception that "in west religion never tought science as threat" is not right. Starting from the days of Galileo, till recent "intelligent design" (to describe evolution, mainly in US) by many Christians clearly indicate that scientific (meaning logical) thinking is considered a great threat to almost any religion. When free thinking spreads, influence of religion diminishes.
        Many novel concepts of modern science was invented in the East. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that basic medical science was invented in East (including Latin American civilizations like Inca, Aztec etc) and West (mainly Roman empire).
        About 75% of modern medicine comes from plants and have major roots in ancient Indian, Hindu text (Rig)veda. But people hardly talk or trust (Indian) "traditional" medicine, while "modern" allopathic "western" medicine dominates even in that part of the world. Even now it is almost impossible to do "objective" focused scientific research in India (or in China), despite of huge funding and so many institutes/universities with world class physical infrastructure. All we do is imitation and BPO job, no novel research, even in IT.
        Eastern quest for scientific research, search for truth stopped after certain time and then West picked up the torch of "modern" science. Then domination and invasion of Western powers all over the world helped the propaganda of "western" science and diminishing the influence, glory of "eastern" science.
        If you ask an Indian- who invented radio? The answer will be "Jagadish Chandra Bose". But an Westerner will reply Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor. After careful research (date and time wise) one can safely say that it was JC Bose, not Marconi who actually invented radio. But world knew more about European Marconi than British ruled Indian, JC Bose.
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          Oct 13 2011: Please read what I wrote after that fragment of the sentence you referring and also my last line of that post.

          When you mention" 75% of modern medicine came from plants which have major roots Hindu Text Rig(vedah)" did you look in to the statistics of global pharmaceutical market to kofind how many of those are synthetical? Can you find a formula of cancer medicine from Rig(vedah) spending some time behind it?

          This discussion is neither to proof any holy book being more scientific than other nor to proof supermacy of any particular culture (as you are referring repeatedly how Bengali inventors were neglected by globe) . Please be sure I am also not a less Bengali but here the scope is more global .
        • Oct 13 2011: Jayanta, I appreciate your point of view but all I am saying is that TODAY in the west their is people like Discovery Fellow Richard Weikart that investigates how scientific discoveries in genetics have affected religious views of God. Mendelian genetics were hailed early on as confirmation of creationist views, since it entails the mere reshuffling of pre-existing genetic traits without providing a mechanism for creating new ones. MANY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE EMBRACED BOTH EVOLUTION AND MENDELIAN GENETICS, however, and materialists embraced the discovery of DNA as providing a mechanism for generating new traits. YET DNA HAS ALSO INSPIRED BELIEF IN GOD, as the famous painter Salvador Dali said, "And now the announcement of Watson and Crick about DNA. THIS IS FOR ME THE REAL PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD." (pg. 479) Weikart concludes by assessing current controversies over whether genetic engineering should be permitted. This tells me that todays western world are accepting HARMONY between Science and God. Therefore, there is more freedom to focus on science without the old persecution believe in the earlier years. In the Eastern world its impossible to talk to the dominating religion about science. Their children are being race with the believe that science and SATAN are the same.
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    Oct 11 2011: ever heard of the 60'S? thats when the pratice of eastern religion/spirtuality spreaded across the states.
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      Oct 12 2011: Why, though? was it because monotheism was too rigid about sexuality and because scientific knowledge could be responsible of disasters?
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        Oct 13 2011: Well my guess would be that in the 60s many people were introduced to a certain plant that originated in India that had an affect on how they thought. Take up the habits and customs of a people and it follows that your thought patterns will follow suit.
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      Oct 12 2011: Around 1900 a lot of people got interested in Eastern wisdom.
      This went on half a century before The Beatles came along and popularized it by their engagement with Maharishi Yogi.

      Ever heard of Hazrat Inayat Kahn, Carl. G. Jung, H. P. Blavatsky, Sir Richard Burton, George Gurdjieff?
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        Oct 12 2011: im not saying thats not true, but you can not say it was as relevant in the 1900 than it was in the 60"s. though i would say a lot of it was because it was the alternative to western relgion, and 60's wasnt really about what was the norm. not that i have to tell you.
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    Oct 11 2011: It's not hard too see why science spreads all over the world. People enjoy knowledge, and especially knowledge they can use.

    Why do eastern superstitions do so well, chakra, feng shui, qi cong, accupuncture, ...? I suppose it's nostalgia for a time when our lives were ruled by silly principles. Monotheism is out of fashion in most modern societies, so this does the trick. Also, the fact that science is getting harder to grasp pushes people to give up on any attempts to rationnally figure out reality.
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      Oct 12 2011: You have your opinion so don't keep it back.

      Gerald, do you have a clue why it is that a lot of scientists can appreciate Buddhism or Taoism?
      They should know better don’t they?
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        Oct 12 2011: I haven't read about any superstitious scientist. I'm sure there are, but their books seem hard to find in libraries.
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          Oct 12 2011: Gerald,
          what do you mean with superstition in relation to Buddhism?
          I've looked the word up again to see if it has any meaning beyond the Dutch word from which we translate it. That isn't the case.
          Superstition is believe other than the church approves of.

          Within Qigong or Chi Kung as in Yoga, one is practicing that which gives better health of mind and body. What has this to do with superstition?
          The result can be that one becomes more aware and sensitive but that is natural and not supernatural. Supernatural is a stupid invention from religious people to demonize superstition which in itself does not exist.

          There is a mechanism in men, and animals as well that looks like superstition. It is the preference for good things. If you had at some place a good experience you are likely to go to that place more often and with a bad experience you avoid this place. Monkeys know that way the best fruit trees in their surroundings and so on. If a child thinks something to be bad or good it will act the same way even without any reason if the thought is the result of believe. This has nothing to do with spirituality but simple people can mix this all up.
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          Oct 12 2011: Sorry to jump. Gerald, I think there is a clear difference between a "true" scientist (by virtue of own, independent logical thinking ability) and "professional" scientist (by virtue of university degree and/or job designation). Knowing few techniques, rot memorization of some laws of science does not make anyone a scientist but surely can get him a PhD degree in science and a job with "scientist" designation.
          There are many "scientists" I have seen, also worked with who are highly superstitious, (for example) wear too many rings to "rectify their misfortune due to wrong positions of planets (astrology)" !