Temple Pseudoscience

Written by May 19, 2012 12:52 pm 82 comments

Update: this article was translated and published here by the Polish rationalist group, Racjonalista.

A short post titled Why Visit Temples purporting to give scientific reasons for visiting temples is being shared in many social groups. This article strives to debunk it. For easy and effective understanding I will quote sentences from the article and my response to them.

Generally, a temple should be located a place where earth’s magnetic wave path passes through densely.

Is there such a place? “Magnetic wave passing through densely” – just because this sentence sounds “science-y” doesn’t make it pertinent. And what exactly is a “magnetic wave”???

A Hindu temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A Hindu temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo by Soman (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Now, these temples are located strategically at a place where the positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of north/south pole thrust.

Positive Energy? Let’s try to understand what is meant by this weasel word “Energy”. Borrowing Brian Dunnings’ words:

“Do you ever hear people talking about energy fields? What does that mean?

“Especially when the subject of New Age alternative medicine comes up, you’ll often hear people refer to energy fields. Life energy, spiritual energy, the body’s energy fields. That sure sounds pretty cool; is it actually a real thing that we can detect and use somehow? To answer that we have to start by understanding what energy really is. In short, energy is a measurement of something’s ability to do work. It’s measured in joules, after the 19th century physicist James Joule. Think of Einstein’s equation E = mc2. Energy is a function of mass. How much mass you can move a certain distance, is exactly how much energy you have.

“The electrical energy in this battery contains enough joules of work to move an electric train a certain distance. If I raise this weight, I input enough joules of potential kinetic energy to break six bones in my foot. That’s basically what ‘energy’ is. But that doesn’t seem to match very well with how we hear the word ‘energy’ being used. We’re told there are energy fields, that enlightened people can tap into and draw strength from. Like a glowing, hovering cloud of power, how you might envision a highly evolved creature from the original Star Trek series. That’s kind of what it sounds like an energy field is. New Age concepts like reiki or feng shui are entirely built upon the presumed existence of such fields.

“But the scientific definition of energy seems inadequate to explain these. Why is that? It’s because the word ‘energy’ has been hijacked for its scientific-sounding value. Real energy fields, like the electromagnetic field surrounding a magnet, the heat radiating from a warm body, or the gravitational field around a planet, have definite properties — and their strength, and thus their energy, can be precisely measured. On the other hand, New Age energy fields, like your bodies supposed ‘life energy’, have no describable properties, cannot be detected, and do no measurable work. We can’t say they don’t exist, but since they are undetectable, we can say that their existence is yet to be demonstrated.

“When you hear the word ‘energy’ being used in a sales pitch or an advertisement, pay very close attention to how it’s being used. If it’s anything other than a quantifiable measurement of work, the word is being misused and you are being misled. And now you have the tools to respond.”

In fact, the temple structure is built after the idol has been placed.

Does the idol draw all the “Energy” from that place or is it just placed in a place with full of “Energy”?  If it is the place that is important, then you accept that the idol is not important; and if you feel that the idol makes the “Energy” then you agree that the place was insignificant to begin with.

This *Moolasthanam* is where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum.

Has anybody measured it? It’s really not all that difficult.

We know that there are some copper plates, inscribed with Vedic scripts, buried beneath the Main Idol. What are they really? The copper plate absorbs earth’s magnetic waves and radiates it to the surroundings.

Perhaps, worth only the value of copper (excluding any worth it may have gained as a result of it being an ‘antique piece.’  Copper is not attracted to magnets. Iron and perhaps Steel, Cobalt and Nickel are attracted to a magnet. Surely NOT copper plates. Perhaps Copper wire can be turned into a magnet, by passing electrical current; but surely NOT copper plates.

Thus a person regularly visiting a temple and walking clockwise around the Main Idol receives the beamed magnetic waves and his body absorbs it.

Once again, human body cannot receive magnetic waves (whatever they are) and surely the body cannot absorb it.  If that was the case, then imagine what would happen during every Magnetic resonance scan.

This is a very slow process and a regular visit will let him absorb more of this positive energy.

As clearly explained earlier, this is a flagrant, malevolent or (perhaps) ignorant but definitely a despicable act of hijacking the word “Energy” to make some woo-woo SOUND scientific; all a cheap attempt to beguile a credulous audience.

Scientifically, it is the positive energy that we all require to have a healthy life.

“Scientifically?” This again is a flagrant and malevolent misuse of the word Science to gain credibility.

The lamp that is lit radiates heat energy and also provides light inside the sanctum to the priests or *poojaris* performing the pooja.|

I wonder why they need the light and heat. Can’t they just use their divine powers? Why shouldn’t they simply pray to some “Light bagawaan” and “Heat bagawaan” for the same?  Perhaps, they know the futility of praying to Agni bagawaan if they resorted ONLY to prayers.

The ringing of the bells and the chanting of prayers takes a worshipper into trance, thus not letting his mind waver.

It’s only when you have already been led to believe during impressionable childhood into thinking of it in undeserved high regard that you feel that it takes you into a trance!

When done in groups, this helps people forget personal problems for a while and relieve their stress.

Ever wondered why the same effect NEVER happens whenever a christian/ muslim/ jew/ atheist enters a temple? Why is it that only the hindu finds the effect in a hindu place of worship? Such gatherings and rituals are sometimes, quite appropriately, called “Serotonin factories.” It might give you a high. But it is a false high.

The fragrance from the flowers, the burning of camphor give out the chemical energy further aiding in a different good aura.

There is that weasel word “Energy.”  For fragrance, going to a garden or a park is a far better experience. And camphor fumes are best avoided. It can only harm, and can never help.  It can cause seizures, hallucinations, confusion, etc!

*Theertham*, the “holy” water used during the pooja to wash the idol is not plain water cleaning the dust off an idol. It is a concoction of Cardamom,*Karpura* (Benzoin), zaffron / saffron, *Tulsi* (Holy Basil), Clove, etc…

Actually it is not plain water but contaminated water. If you want such a concoction, then it will be far better and safer to cook it hygienically in the kitchen.

Washing the idol is to charge the water with the magnetic radiations thus increasing its medicinal values.

“Charge the water with magnetic radiations?” As already explained, the idol or even the copper plates are NOT magnetic. And one cannot just “charge” the water with magnetic radiations. That hypothesis can be presented for a thorough peer review and scientific analysis. Also, such a water can only cause illness, it can never be medicinal.

Three spoons of this holy water is distributed to devotees.

Why only three? Why not 2 or 4? What is the sanctity of that number?

Again, this water is mainly a source of magneto-therapy.

Magneto-therapy is a scam. It is another form of quackery and already pointed out, medical quackery is one of the most odious of all charlatanry.

Diagram of electromagnetic fields, from 'A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism' by James Clark Maxwell

From 'A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism' by James Clark Maxwell (image in public domain)

Besides, the clove essence protects one from tooth decay, the saffron & *Tulsi* leaves protects one from common cold and cough, cardamom and *Pachha Karpuram* (benzoin), act as mouth fresheners.

So, why not just take the clove essence to protect from tooth decay? It will be far better to just follow regular oral hygienic measures which are tried and definitely tested too. Saffron and Tulsi protect from common cold? Why not suggest these to all the people who are so paranoid about the common cold and especially against Swine Flu nowadays? After all, the H1N1 is also a common cold causing virus.  Who will be ready to forego vaccination in lieu of this holy “theertham”?

It is proved that *Theertham* is a very good blood purifier, as it is highly energized.

“Blood purification” is mainly the job of the kidneys and the liver. Unless they explain what they mean by such vague terminologies, these claims must be dismissed off contemptuously.  And ruthlessly too, for it is dangerous to fool people when it comes to medical and health issues.

This is why our elders used to suggest us to offer prayers at the temple so that you will be cured of many ailments.

This is secondary rationalization. The “elders” have never ever mentioned in any of the holy scriptures that THIS was the reason. You are just trying to beguile the innocent people. For your kind information, the so called elders had no valid ideas about what CAUSED the ailments.

When people go to a temple for the *Deepaaraadhana*, and when the doors open up, the positive energy gushes out onto the persons who are there.

What is the positive energy that gushes out?  Again that weasel word “Energy” is used.

The water that is sprinkled onto the assemblages passes on the energy to all.

How?

This also explains why men are not allowed to wear shirts at a few temples and women are requested to wear more ornaments during temple visits.

Why? Should only the men benefit and not the women? Once again goes to show how all religions are misogynistic to the core. In all probability the men are basically forced to be bare-chested so that they could identify who are all wearing the sacred thread and who are not. Nothing but organized, divinely codified and sanctioned discrimination.

Also, it is a practice to leave newly purchased jewels at an idol’s feet and then wear them with the idol’s blessings.

For what? And how does the idol bless the jewels and what is the effect of the blessing?

This act is now justified after reading this article. This act of “seeking divine blessings” before using any new article, like books or pens or automobiles may have stemmed from this through mere observation.

Well the article was nothing but a bunch of utterly baseless claims.

Energy lost in a day’s work is regained through a temple visit and one is refreshed slightly.

What is the energy lost and how does a temple visit help in regaining it?

The positive energy that is spread out in the entire temple and especially around where the main idol is placed, are simply absorbed by one’s body and mind.

How does one’s ‘body and mind’ absorb the ‘energy spread out?’

Did you know, every Vaishnava(Vishnu devotees), “must” visit a Vishnu temple twice every day in their location.

Why should it be a MUST? Do you know that every muslim MUST perform the prayers 5 times a day at specific times. Is it be considered MORE powerful than the Vaishnava practice? Surely 5>2, right?

Our practices are NOT some hard and fast rules framed by 1 man and his followers or God’s words in somebody’s dreams. All the rituals, all the practices are, in reality, well researched, studied and scientifically backed thesis which form the ways of nature to lead a good healthy life.

“Well researched”? Can we have references please? “Studied” by whom? Can I please have access to the peer reviewed papers on this? “Scientifically backed thesis”?  Do you have proof for it being scientifically backed? In fact, this is the antithesis of science. Taking the name of science to garner automatic respect should be challenged head on!

The scientific and research part of the practices are well camouflaged as “elder’s instructions” or “granny’s teaching’s” which should be obeyed as a mark of respect so as to once again, avoid stress to the mediocre brains.

Mediocre brains? How can you automatically assume that all human brains are mediocre? Isn’t it condescending on your part? As elaborated earlier, there is NOTHING scientific in all the practices. In fact, they are all thoroughly irrational. And there is no proper scientific research in any of it. This talk of irrational statements being “camouflaged” is a cheap attempt at secondary rationalization. These were dogmatic dictates that one must follow and is so typically religious.

Windmills - Wind energy converters

Wind energy converter. Photo by P0lyglut (CC BY-SA 2.0).

To sum up, whenever you hear the word “energy” being mentioned anywhere please substitute the word with “measurable work capability” and check if it still makes sense. If it does, then it is proper science (because that’s what it means in science); and if it sounds like nonsense then it indeed is nonsense and the person is trying to use the word “energy” just to sound scientific. E.g. “Positive energy”, “Negative energy”, “Spiritual energy” and “Divine energy”.

Similarly, whenever someone uses the word “vibration”, replace it with “uniform oscillation around a mean” or “a regular periodic variation about a mean”. If it still makes sense, then it is proper science (because that’s what it means in science); and if it sounds like nonsense then it indeed is nonsense and the person is trying to use the word “vibration” just to sound scientific. E.g., “Positive vibrations”, “Negative vibrations”, “Spiritual vibrations” and “Divine vibrations”.

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- who has written 2 posts on Nirmukta.

82 Comments

  • I must applaud you for having the patience to try and debunk claims which are so juvenile and ignorant, it almost seems like a waste of time trying to do so.

    It’s plain depressing that primary school concepts like magnetism can be lost on so many people – begs the question as to how effective our education really is. In my opinion, people just don’t seem to take science education seriously, in that, knowledge of physics and chemistry is viewed more as an entrance ticket to the IITs than what it really is for – explaining how the world works.

    And just a practical opinion on how positive energy can be tested. If someone doesn’t believe that metabolism is their source of energy, I invite them to reside for however long they like inside their source of positive energy, in this case the temple, without food. Water can be allowed because it gives no energy, well, alright fine, I’ll let them cheat. They can have Theertham as well.

  • Mr. Ganesh Veluswami thank you so much for taking out the time to post this article. Really informative.

  • Hi Ganesh,
    I have read this on your blog.. awesome work.. appreciate the patience to set some time n debunk each claim.. waiting for ur next article..
    In the meantime I’m spreading your word .. lol :)

  • So apparently going to temple is NOT for praying and asking for favors to imaginary, invisible sky people but rather to get your daily dose of magnetic “energy”? So why not just go for an MRI? You will get enough to last a few years 😛

  • Truly appreciate your patience to expose every pretentious statement! The post has been viral and now I believe it has a befitting answer! Great job.

  • Ha.. ha… ha…. it is real truth!!! Now a day we can see many claim like this! The scientist and technologist hard work and invent something, There are few lazy masses who shamelessly claiming that, it was written in their religious book or Veda very long past. Shameless!!! This kind of claims is spread in a organized way to attract ignorant masses, but a rationalist alone can counter this baseless rumors.

  • I observe that there are quite a number of atheists who are members of this site. My post is directed to those people in the “high IQ bracket”, who feel it’s rational to use science to debunk the existence of God. Personally, I know many who have become atheists, not because of a scientific temperament, but because life has been unfair to them – loss of dear ones, unexpected turn of events etc. Anyway, let me come to my question – why is science not able to explain many mysteries such as life, God? What is it that gives man the ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, which fundamentally makes him different from the other species? Definitely this is not some energy which can be described by E=mc^2. There are many things out there of which man knows nothing, because he doesn’t have the capacity to perceive it. For instance, can man perceive unparticled matter? No? Why? There are no laws of physics to explain it? Why? We don’t have the capacity to observe it? Unobservable things don’t exist? Man needs to be intelligent to accept that there are gradations of matter, which is beyond his cognizance. Or else, all scientists would have become atheists by now!

    “The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellation” – Einstein (The Faith of Scientists: In Their Own Words. Princeton University Press. p. 153)

    So when you, atheists, debunk the existence of God, do you intend to say that you are smarter than Einstein or other scientists such as Newton, Faraday, Kelvin, or Max Planck who acknowledged God?

    • ” People in the “high IQ bracket”, who feel it’s rational to use science to debunk the existence of God.”

      So by default, anyone who answers your post falls into this category of “high IQ bracket”, who feel it’s rational to use science to debunk the existence of God “. It is usually not a good idea to set your argument in such a way[1] . Coming to your comment, this post isn’t about debunking the existence of God. It is about pseudoscience being disseminated in the name of religion. Besides, atheists don’t have the burden to disprove god any more than people who believe in god have the burden to disprove Santa Clause. It is the person who makes the positive claim who has to provide reasons to believe their conclusion[2] One cannot prove a negative.[3]

      “Personally, I know many who have become atheists, not because of a scientific temperament, but because life has been unfair to them – loss of dear ones, unexpected turn of events etc”

      That maybe. But this information is irrelevant to the article or the remaining of your comment. We should try not to reach conclusions about a group (all atheists) based on observing an atypical sample size (atheists you know)[4] . I know that you did not conclude that all or most atheists are like the ones you personally know. But I felt that was the implied conclusion. If it isn’t, let’s move on.

      “why is science not able to explain many mysteries such as life, God?”

      Science does explain life on earth to a great extent[5][6][7][8] . But I assume that is not the answer you are looking for. If you are expecting science to confirm or deny the metaphysical/spiritual concept of life that you might already hold, or that which is expounded by the religion that you might be affiliated with, I’m sorry but that’s not how science works[9] .

      “What is it that gives man the ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong,”

      Society, Upbringing, Culture, Cognitive development can all have an influence on our moral compasses[10] . I’m using morality as the term for the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

      “[morality] which fundamentally makes him different from the other species? ”

      This assumes two things. One, that non-human animals don’t have morals at all. Two, morality is the only attribute that differentiates humans from animals. It has been hypothesized that non-human animals too could, to various degrees, empathise with the plight of their fellow animals[11] . I am not equating empathy with morality but I assume you would agree that empathy is, to a degree, essential for being moral. Therefore morality, so defined, looks more like a gradation rather than a black and white issue. Therefore the second premise that morality is all that differentiates humans from animals, is at the mercy of future research that may (or may not) explain more about moral behavior in non-humans. ……[Continue to {x}]

      “Definitely this is not some energy which can be described by E=mc^2.”

      There has been advances in neuroscience which tries to understand empathy in humans[12] . The brain, it seems processes ethical judgments, similar to the way it processes reason based judgements[13] . I am not concluding that therefore ethical judgements and fact based judgements are the same. I am just saying that we have just scratched the surface and we don’t know what lies ahead, therefore we should leave the playing field open and not close some areas (morality) as forbidden for science to enter.

      {x}…….. Even if all these research projects turn out to be inconclusive and that scientific enquiry simply cannot explain the ability to distinguish right from wrong, it still doesn’t matter. To say that since science cannot explain morality (or consciousness, life etc..) the explanation that I put forward (god, soul, atman, brahman etc..) are true would be to commit the fallacy of appealing to ignorance[14][15]

      “There are many things out there of which man knows nothing, because he doesn’t have the capacity to perceive it.”

      Assuming by “man” you mean “human”, and by “perceive” you mean by the senses, I totally agree.

      “For instance, can man perceive unparticled matter? No? Why? There are no laws of physics to explain it? Why? We don’t have the capacity to observe it? Unobservable things don’t exist?”

      I don’t know what “unparticled matter” is. A google search yielded articles that simply equate it to god. So without clearly defining the term, the rest of the questions in that sentence (except last one) cannot be fully answered. As for the last question “unobservable things don’t exist?”, No, we cannot assert something does not exist simply because we cannot observe it, and also we cannot assert something exists simply because we cannot observe it. It comes down to evidence. The question to ask is, “Is there sufficient reason to believe that X exists?”. What is meant by “sufficient evidence” depends on the conclusion that is reached. If the conclusion is an all-knowing all-powerful ever-pervasive, infinite, timeless entity, who also interferes in human affairs, then the evidence has to be equally extraordinary. But maybe you don’t mean that as the conclusion. In that case, moving on.

      “Man needs to be intelligent to accept that there are gradations of matter, which is beyond his cognizance. Or else, all scientists would have become atheists by now!”

      Again, without defining what “gradations of matter” means, it is impossible to fully understand your argument and reply. To me it just sounds like a roundabout way of saying ‘god’, but I don’t want to put arguments in your mouth. However, let me take the liberty of rephrasing that first sentence without ambiguity thus…

      “Humans need to be intelligent to accept that there are things that they do not yet know”.

      If you agree that this is a fair portrayal of your first sentence, your second sentence becomes a Non Sequitur[16] . Science thrives of things we don’t yet know. It is the constant quest to demystify and understand, with the help of sufficient evidence, that which is as of yet unknown that drives science. If we knew everything, there will not be any science.

      [I am ignoring that quote from Einstein for now. Will come back to it later]

      Another reason why the conclusion in the second sentence does not follow from the first sentence is that being an atheist does not mean one acknowledges the things that he/she does not yet know and tries to find evidences-based understanding of the same. It simply means, on one particular issue called the existence of god, this person, has concluded that there is not enough reason to believe in the entity. For all you know, an atheist might believe in the tooth fairy or santa claus. Some Buddhists who don’t believe in god might believe in reincarnation, even though there is probably equal amount of evidence for the existence of both.

      “So when you, atheists, debunk the existence of God,”
      We (speaking for myself) don’t. Refer to Endnote No.[3]

      “do you intend to say that you are smarter than Einstein or other scientists such as Newton, Faraday, Kelvin, or Max Planck who acknowledged God?”

      I guess the answer to the previous question makes this question irrelevant. But let me address the quote from Einstein. I’m not going to go into the content of the quote but the general idea that if scientists acknowledge the existence of god, then that gives sufficient reason to believe in god. This is appealing to irrelevant authority [17] . It begs the question, are scientists the right experts on the question of god?

      Nevertheless, even if we agree that the opinions of scientists carry weight in the question about god, suppose if enough scientists say there is no reason to believe in god, would that be evidence that god doesn’t exist? Or would you say, this is a spiritual matter on which science has no authority? Because I can get you a number of quotes by scientists, and even by Einstein himself, that question the existence of god and concludes that there isn’t enough evidence to believe. Therefore I hope we can agree that the quote from Einstein is rather irrelevant to the point being made.

      [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
      [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof
      [3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWJTUAezxAI
      [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasty_generalization
      [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection
      [6] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa79YA0PqdE
      [7] http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/mutations_01
      [8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dhSjKrLtPQ
      [9] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw
      [10] http://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=RuZSAQqnk1oC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=how+culture+affects+morality&ots=XF-vW6HINb&sig=3kKZB45YSy4AoI4SG0hCDnIaE50#v=onepage&q=how%20culture%20affects%20morality&f=false
      [11] http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=do-animals-feel-empathy
      [12] http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization.html
      [13] http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/09/30/fact-impact.html
      [14] http://www.fallacyfiles.org/ignorant.html
      [15] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HooeZrC76s0
      [16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)
      [17] http://www.fallacyfiles.org/authorit.html

      • “If you are expecting science to confirm or deny the metaphysical/spiritual concept of life that you might already hold, or that which is expounded by the religion that you might be affiliated with, I’m sorry but that’s not how science works[9].”

        Science does indeed work that way, Bala. o.O
        Science has its basis in answering questions, it may be about any belief, any religion, or any other aspect of life. That was a very factually incorrect point.

        • “Science has its basis in answering questions, it may be about any belief, any religion, or any other aspect of life.”

          I agree that science has its basis in answering questions, but we cannot presuppose the answer before even we try to attempt. In other words, religious beliefs posit a conclusion and says, “prove this right”. If it is proven right, it is said that “see, even science proves my religion true”. If science has nothing to say about it, even then the belief is considered “True until proven otherwise”. If scientific enquiry says there is no enough evidence to support the belief, then it becomes “a matter of belief” and not subject to “evidence”.

          Secondly, the concept you are trying to explain must be clearly stated and the terms properly defined. Mostly, I have found that this is not the case with metaphysical claims. The terms are rather vague and the definition shifts over time. This is not conducive for scientific enquiry.

          Thirdly, the metaphysical claim must be falsifiable. That is, there must be a reasonable way by which the claim can be proven to be not true. Moreover this has to be explained by the person who is making the claim, not the person who is trying to test it. From what I have seen, metaphysical claims fail in this regard. This is what I meant when I said science does not work that way. Hope this clarifies my original point.

          • Dear bala sir,
            A outstanding and befitting replay to a mesmerizing living lies, the lies which disturbed the human harmonic existence for thousands of year can be eliminated only by the rationalist people like you.
            These people are more beneficiary of gods for thousands of year. Unplugging of the fake belief has been continuously done by Buddha, Charavak, Periyar, Ambedkar and etc… It is difficult to snatch out a honey pot from them. Now a day they are also wearing rationalist mask, it is their cunningness to confuse the rationalist idea and mix falsehood in it.

    • First off, what does the number of atheists who visit this site have any bearing on the argument? In fact any member of any belief group could question the veracity of magnetism, energy and their relation to temples. You also seem to indicate that atheists seem to have some sort of intellectual elitism from your “high IQ” comment. Also welcome to Nirmukta: there are many members here including myself who have been raised in very liberal homes; have not suffered any orthodoxy and have come to our conclusions through logic and thought process. I am not angry with “god” for killing my relatives or for any other tragedies that he supposedly visits on believers and infidels alike.
      You are partly correct in the statement that Man does not have all the answers. But freethinkers seek the answers as reality dictates and follow where the data takes us. Entire frameworks will be destroyed and rebuilt if required. We believe in evidence and not in fiction no matter how cruel reality might be.
      The concept of free will and the complex roles involved in the formation of societies and justice/right and wrong are better understood by reading texts on sociology, psychology,anthropology and evolution. It is better to ask experts on these subjects to shed light on the matter rather than bluntly attributing the goodness of man to “god” or the supernatural. Also what is “gradation of matter”?
      We never claimed to be smarter than Einstein. Let him believe what he wanted. The disproving of god’s existence will in no way invalidate or denigrate his character or his contributions.
      Finally, I sense an undercurrent of aggression in your comment. You would have contributed far more if you tried to uphold your convictions on temples and “magnetic energy” rather than making obtuse arguments and accusations.

      Good day to you.

      • Hello,

        Let me apologize for not posting this in the correct page. I actually didn’t find an appropriate page to put this, so put it here in the recent post. I don’t wanna discuss anything about temple superstitions or what not, that was not the intent of my discussion.

        Ok wait, I’m not affiliated with any religion, nor do I intend to base my discussion on any particular religion’s point of view.

        See, the problem with science is that it’s simply based on what we can observe. We don’t have the ability to perceive things beyond 3 dimensions. Our observations and inferences would be different from that of say, a creature in a flatland. Yes, science can nicely explain many complex phenomenon which can be proved and verified by conducting experiments in this 3D space. But what If we change the frame of reference? Will it hold good? Let me explain it with a simple example –

        x + y + z = 6
        x – y – z = 0

        Now what science simply does it say x = 3, y = 2 as z is always 1 (a non-changing variable in this frame of reference). Well, what happens when z is not 1? Science says that cannot happen, because such a case is not observable. Well, let’s not just say that unobservable scenarios doesn’t exist or let’s simply hope for science to “catch up”.

        I find it really funny when science explains life to have begun from a bunch of proteins or whatever it is. If that is the case, then it would be possible to one day experiment and recreate this “unparticled matter” which fuels all living things. How would that be described as? Some energy which dictates the organs to work in tandem? Okay, let’s not go to experiments. How is a new life, a self-sustaining zygote created? Why hasn’t science been able to find out this mystery, with so much of progress in quantum physics or what not?

        I didn’t really have much time to respond to your replied specifically. Will do that later.

  • Finally a rebuttal to the hogwash that has gone viral. Have been waiting for this. Will share it. Thanks!

  • Some A.B.V.P and R.S.S Internet activists send such propaganda material to the unsuspecting youth & others who do not know the basics on magnetism.One such E-Mail was recd. by my grand-daughter which I promptly forwarded to DR.Prabhakar Kamath.His reply was ” Temples were built to fill the cavity in the belly of Priests. Those who have cavity in their brains go to temples” Stupid masses can never be educated.Only if education from Primary stage is planned on Reason and rational thinking some reform may take place. When ISRO sceintists take the model of space-ship to some temple for consecration what we can do except engaging ourselves in hair–splitting dialectics?

  • “Once again, human body cannot receive magnetic waves (whatever they are) and surely the body cannot absorb it.”

    Here is an interesting article:
    http://boingboing.net/2011/04/11/how-magnets-affect-t.html

    • Satish Chandra

      I think the intent of the pseudoscience was to imply that the body can benefit from the absorption of something, which can be seen to be ridiculous given the next statement of author (which you didn’t quote) – “If that was the case, then imagine what would happen during every Magnetic resonance scan.

      • Bioelectromagnetism. Read about it.
        Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioelectromagnetism

        “Biological cells use bioelectricity to store metabolic energy, to do work or trigger internal changes, and to signal one another. Bioelectromagnetism is the electric current produced by action potentials along with the magnetic fields they generate through the phenomenon of electromagnetism.”

        Now, how can the human body not absorb or be affected by magnetism? Or electricity? Or electromagnetism?

        I find the author’s assumption ridiculous, actually. I am not in support of any pseudoscience, I really don’t give a damn, seriously, I myself don’t believe in any God or whatever. I came across this article through a friend and thought there were certain things that the author of the article stated to be completely “ridiculous” whereas there is ample scientific proof for it. Which kind of pisses me off. Just because there is a propaganda attached to some article or someone, it does not mean that you have the right to ridicule everything associated with it. I personally believe that visiting temples, masjids, gurudwaras, etc can really lift people up, maybe its psychological (Placebo effect), but I believe there is more to it. I am not saying that the idols bestow divine grace upon the visitors and that is why temples must be visited and stuff, all I am saying is that if you have solid proof to negate some point with and are an expert about something, then go around talking about it. Also, just because some parts of the article are really really pathetic, don’t assume the others are too. Or prove it.

        • Satish Chandra

          The point isn’t just about absorption, but is also about the supposed benefits of the absorption, which you conveniently ignored.

          So I’m inclined to think that you think the author makes ridiculous assumptions because you approve of going to temples and don’t like the irrationality of it being pointed out, but not because the author actually makes ridiculous assumptions. I admit, the statement of the author isn’t accurate, in the sense that it uses the same terminology of pseudoscience, without being academic to satisfy the exacting standards of quote miners. But I wouldn’t call it ridiculous or pathetic especially when all you found was one statement taken out of context. Also read citation [2] in Bala’s comment.

          • I am not “conveniently” ignoring anything. It is not my job to take every single incorrect assumption from his article and prove how that assumption and that point is wrong. It is the reader’s job. If you want to so strongly support any silly little article, first find out if has a well-rooted scientific base to it. Also, your assumptions about me are incorrect. It would have been very nice of you to not to delve into personal things and stick to talking about the article in an objective manner. Which you unfortunately, failed to do. And there are so many things wrong with this article. But I have a life and I would like to invest my time and energy living it rather than invest it in trying to explain certain things to people who cannot objectively identify with things. Thank you.

  • thank u sir for giving this information but my mind still says beside this energies temples are built by some peoples to make us fool so i preferd not to visit it

  • Prof. V.N.K.Kumar

    It is a privilege, reading such a beautiful article. Ganesh sir, may your tribe thrive.

  • The religious rituals and practices have some meaning and function , if we practice them understanding their functions . These should not be performed keping in mind to receive the socalled God’s blessings and grace .The purose of visiting temple should not be with the narrow view of getting grace from God . Only those who are devotees visit temples . what do we mean devotion to God . see my interpretation by going through my articles why we go temples , Devotion to God and others in the website http://www.knssnair.com open link articles .
    Temple worship is a way of reforming ourselves and to help us cultivate virtues and eschew vices, which is the state of divinity . Those who follow bakthi marga take to temple worship , those who take karma marga take to virtuous acts and those who follow jnanamarga use their discrimanatory knowledge to be aware divinity in themselves .

    • Let me restate it with search and replace:

      Human sacrifice has some meaning and function, if we practice them understanding their functions . These should not be performed keeping in mind to receive the so called God’s blessings and grace .The purpose of sacrificing humans should not be with the narrow view of getting grace from God . Only those who are devotees sacrifice humans.

      Human sacrifice is a way of reforming ourselves and to help us cultivate virtues and eschew vices, which is the state of divinity .

      Thanks, I get it now.

    • I totally see your point,but that all this positive energy concept is nonsense.Its just that when a person introspects/meditates and in such well lit,windy,flagrant smelling surroundings and a certain feel good factor then he thinks there is something called positive energy.

      Its just that our civilization is still in nascent stage,need religion to feel good about oneself and do good deeds,just cannot justify that one should conduct himself in a good,selfless manner towards others without no promise of reward.

  • Just before you read my post and put me up in “Theist” or in the “Atheist” camp with your narrow scopes, a short note.

    Science and reason is good enough but good reason lies in being open-minded and understanding the context and importance of everything in life. I see there has been a wave of pro-atheism but pro-atheism does not entail anti-theism.

    Some salient points:
    1) I have a piece of advice for the author. The author has spent an overwhelming space and time trying to corner and counter every single bit of small trivia which was redundant. You could probably have just reviewed and gave your critique in a much simpler and more elegant manner. As the author mentioned, that this post in fact addresses the “credulous people”. The manner in which you have written your post makes it far less accessible to those “credulous people”. You have quoted extensively from sources and some of it is not even relevant. And you have done far more to rebuke and express your sentimentality over this matter than as a passive observer tried to show the facts and round it up.

    2)Also, please quit trying to scientifically counter with arguments just for the sake of it. Google does not mean that you quote up the first article that comes in the search.

    For example, the source claims copper absorbs and transmits electromagnetism. You have out of nowhere connected it to being a magnet. All conductors generally are good conductors of electromagnetism. Magnetism has nothing to do with it and is only a property which explains how a material behaves in presence of an external magnetic field.
    Now please, don’t try to Google “Copper Bad Conductor Electromagnetic Waves”

    3)I don’t know why nobody listened to SJ. He really made a valid point. Science has it’s limitations. It’s limited to what we can perceive. Science is not absolute. To crusade, taking it as the ultimate truth would be wrong. Again, we cannot live without Science. It has it’s applications everywhere. It brings certainty to our life because it is known. It helps in controlling our lives because science makes things predictable. Science is knowledge of the calculated. However don’t try to think that whatever is not science does not exist. There may be a lot that may exist and may not. Some of it is more obvious and we know that this just doesn’t make sense. But the crux of the matter is to stay open-minded. Just remember that everything has it’s own place. Don’t try to invade each other’s territory.

    Even though you don’t believe in temples, god and all the stuff and that is fine. And I am not talking about this article. But if somebody goes to temple, you don’t have to rebuke that person. He has faith, which will give more support to him than the cold reason will do.

    • I will let Ganesh (the author) answer the points about Magnetism/Electromagnetism but there are some general observations in your comment which I want to address.

      1. good reason lies in being open-minded and understanding the context and importance of everything in life.

      This is a common mistake that many make. Being open minded, in the context of being a freethinker, does not mean one accepts, or considers equally valid, all ideas and concepts irrespective of the nature of its content. Whatever the concept (about the natural world) that is being espoused, it has to pass through the filter of reason and logic in order to be considered [1]. But what about things like love, affection etc which cannot be explained through reason? I hear you say!. Right. I wouldn’t consider them empirical testable claims about the natural world. However, If I claim that, when a person loves another person, they emit positive energy that has the power to cleanse impure toxins from the body and prolong one’s life……. Here I am making an empirical claim that can be tested. Similarly, in the context of temples, If you say going to temple gives people psychological comfort and is a matter of belief, then that is a perfectly valid statement that I wouldn’t contest. But, If one brings in Electromagnetism and Science-sounding terms just to prop up their otherwise unsound claim, then they are trespassing into the territory of science where the claims will be put to test, as the author has rightly done so here.

      I think what you actually meant was, one should be considerate of the person who goes to temple as it is an important part of his/her life. But in that case you are missing the point of the article. It is not an attack on everyone who goes to temple. It is an attack on people who use pseudoscience to support their claim about going to temple. So by attacking that argument, the author is not saying that no one should go to temples. He is simply saying this is not a proper “Reason” for going to temple.

      2. Science has it’s limitations. It’s limited to what we can perceive. Science is not absolute. To crusade, taking it as the ultimate truth would be wrong….don’t try to think that whatever is not science does not exist. There may be a lot that may exist and may not.

      Science doesn’t claim ultimate truth. It simply tries to understand the natural world a little better than what we had before, always willing to admit mistakes and change based on proper evidence. However, there are a lot of things (like electromagnetism) about which we do have a fairly good understanding. Now if you want to challenge this understanding (or any other) because you think science has limitations, then you are most welcome to do so. But you have to play by the rules (reason, logic, evidence). It is not enough to simply point to holes in science. What are you replacing it with? Another claim? What evidence can you put forward to support that claim?

      As I mentioned in the reply to SJ, If you say there are so many things that humans haven’t figured out yet using the tools of science, I am totally with you. If you say there are areas of knowledge where the tools of science does not apply, I may not fully agree but I can understand what you mean. But then to conclude that therefore, it is good to go to temple because it gives out positive energy produced by magnetic poles, is just plain dishonest. As you rightly said ” Don’t try to invade each other’s territory”. Here the arguer is overtly invading the territory of science.

      And Finally,

      ” He has faith, which will give more support to him than the cold reason will do.”

      That’s a false dichotomy. If you are putting faith on one side of the equation, then you are right in putting reason on the other side of the equation. But here faith side of the equation is a bit loaded. It also includes “give more support”. I assume psychological support. In that case, you have to include “Humanism, compassion, Kindness” etc,(none of which need faith) on the Reason side of the equation. Then it will be a balanced argument.

      [1] http://nirmukta.com/what-is-freethought/

      • Okay. Here are some “facts”:

        (Going in reverse order of your essay, Bala.)
        When Drekthar said this:
        “But if somebody goes to temple, you don’t have to rebuke that person. He has faith, which will give more support to him than the cold reason will do.”
        (I am NOT conveniently ignoring ANYTHING here.)

        I think he meant to say that people seek support emotionally and mentally through praying and their belief in some God sitting in some temple who helps them and watches over them, it helps them be happy and content and mentally stable. Here is some proof: http://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/psewpa/halshs-00566120.html
        I have come across this research, and some other research that has much similarity to this, many times and it has been cited by many well renowned psychologists, but I could not find the other one. (And no, it is not that I could “conveniently” not find the other research article.) Furthermore, there is a lot of other research that shows that rationalists and people who rely heavily on logic have greater chances of suffering from depression, therefore Drekthar’s statement that “He has faith, which will give more support to him than the cold reason will do” holds true.

        “Science doesn’t claim ultimate truth. It simply tries to understand the natural world a little better than what we had before, always willing to admit mistakes and change based on proper evidence. However, there are a lot of things (like electromagnetism) about which we do have a fairly good understanding. Now if you want to challenge this understanding (or any other) because you think science has limitations, then you are most welcome to do so. But you have to play by the rules (reason, logic, evidence). It is not enough to simply point to holes in science. What are you replacing it with? Another claim? What evidence can you put forward to support that claim?”

        When you agree that science has its limitations then, making any assumption about something that we do not have much knowledge about, or rebuking people who are positive about it or blindly believing it or denying it, all these scenarios can be deemed to be inappropriate if you are being rational about it. Therefore, being open-minded is the way to go. The definition of being open-minded is, that, you are neither in denial or in absolute support of a fact unless you are presented with a good enough proof to deny or believe it. I do not see what is wrong with doing so. When you are admitting that science has its limitations and you are also not believing or denying anything based on your limited knowledge, then where is the problem? I understand that some theists deny the Theory Of Evolution because it is primarily based on empirical evidence (so they say), but this observable proof holds good to most of the scientific community, in this scenario, the ones in the denial of the theory are the ones that can be asked questions that you have asked, but otherwise, being open-minded is absolutely correct. And the context is very important.

        “As I mentioned in the reply to SJ, If you say there are so many things that humans haven’t figured out yet using the tools of science, I am totally with you. If you say there are areas of knowledge where the tools of science does not apply, I may not fully agree but I can understand what you mean. But then to conclude that therefore, it is good to go to temple because it gives out positive energy produced by magnetic poles, is just plain dishonest. As you rightly said ” Don’t try to invade each other’s territory”. Here the arguer is overtly invading the territory of science.”

        I think what is being concluded here is that in the process of being “rational” about something, please, for God’s sake, do not deny the fact that there is very good chance that all that we know, in the coming years, may be proven to be incorrect. Remember how many people believed that the Earth was flat and people were dissed for saying that it was round? Even though we are much more wiser than our ancestors, we are not really intelligent and knowledgeable enough to authorize ourselves to absolutely deny someone else’s beliefs and to judge them, because, again, what we know now might not be 100% true.

        “I think what you actually meant was, one should be considerate of the person who goes to temple as it is an important part of his/her life. But in that case you are missing the point of the article. It is not an attack on everyone who goes to temple. It is an attack on people who use pseudoscience to support their claim about going to temple. So by attacking that argument, the author is not saying that no one should go to temples. He is simply saying this is not a proper “Reason” for going to temple.”

        If this is so then the author should think again. Okay, fine, so you say that some aspects of that article are just very silly, and have incorrectly made scientific references. Fine. But the author has done so too. For all the people who are hungry for facts and dissatisfied with my previous posts, here we go:

        “Once again, human body cannot receive magnetic waves (whatever they are) and surely the body cannot absorb it. ”

        I have already given proof of how the body is affected by magnetism, tell me how can the body not be affected by magnetism if it does not absorb it? What are you kidding me? Where is the magnetic current going then? o.O It stimulates the brain cells, it stimulates certain parts of your brain to alter your speech! Of course the strength of this current has to be quite a lot, not a vague one. But it affects the body. Try to warp your head around this fact, please.

        Also read about Alpha Waves. Alpha Waves are basically the electric current in your brain. If anyone has studied physics, you have got to know how a bar magnet works. Bar magnet creates an electric current. That’s how the induction motor works. Magnetism creates electricity. Do you get it? If magnetism and electric current is related. How can magnetism not interfere with the electric current of the brain? After this comment. I am not going to explain how the body absorbs magnetic waves.

        “The ringing of the bells and the chanting of prayers takes a worshipper into trance, thus not letting his mind waver.”

        For this I would highly recommend the author to read more about attention and perception in the human mind. The human mind has a this awesome capacity to be able to focus on a certain thing, or stimulus for a long periods of time. This ability helps people perform tasks. It is called attention. Attention requires a stimulus to focus upon. A visual stimulus, an auditory stimulus or that of any other sensory modality. This statement simply highlights the very easily observable fact, that, when the mind focuses on something and practices how to stay focused on that object only and ignore the rest of the stimuli, his or her mind will learn to absolutely ignore the other stimuli and focus on only one thing and it will create a state similar to that of a trance because they will not react to any other stimuli but only to one stimuli (that which they choose to focus upon). If you cannot comprehend this, I am sorry, I cannot help you understand it. Its very basic and very easy to understand.

        “Ever wondered why the same effect NEVER happens whenever a christian/ muslim/ jew/ atheist enters a temple? Why is it that only the hindu finds the effect in a hindu place of worship? Such gatherings and rituals are sometimes, quite appropriately, called “Serotonin factories.” It might give you a high. But it is a false high.”

        It happens to Buddhist monks in Hindu temples, it happens to Pagans in a Moqsue, to Muslims, to Sufi poets, everyone. How can you say that it happens to only Hindus in temples? Did the article say so? It can happen to anyone who tries. I think the author took the statement out of context here, confining it to only Hindus.

        “The fragrance from the flowers, the burning of camphor give out the chemical energy further aiding in a different good aura.”

        Ever heard of aroma therapy or been to a spa? Try it, its quite relaxing.
        Here is “scientific” evidence:
        http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2809%2901857-0
        http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1751

        Usually the temples are associated with images and ideas of a place of sacredness and sanctity. When we visit temples we smell something fragrant always, the marigold flower in temples, roses in Mosques, it is not a very wild imagination to believe that these smells could trigger an emotional response in the person and make them feel safe, or maybe clean, or anything. Depends from person to person.

        *Theertham*, the “holy” water used during the pooja to wash the idol is not plain water cleaning the dust off an idol. It is a concoction of Cardamom,*Karpura* (Benzoin), zaffron / saffron, *Tulsi* (Holy Basil), Clove, etc…

        And later:
        “So, why not just take the clove essence to protect from tooth decay? It will be far better to just follow regular oral hygienic measures which are tried and definitely tested too. Saffron and Tulsi protect from common cold? Why not suggest these to all the people who are so paranoid about the common cold and especially against Swine Flu nowadays? After all, the H1N1 is also a common cold causing virus. Who will be ready to forego vaccination in lieu of this holy “theertham”?”

        Cloves, basil, camphor, saffron are what some of the medicines in allopathy have derived their composition from. There is no need to poke fun at religious practices rooted in very ancient times (they did not have MIMS India at that time, Sweethearts) that actually make quite a lot of sense if you look at it in proper context.

        “Charge the water with magnetic radiations?” As already explained, the idol or even the copper plates are NOT magnetic. And one cannot just “charge” the water with magnetic radiations. That hypothesis can be presented for a thorough peer review and scientific analysis.

        Then let it undergo scientific analysis before you indulge in any mockery.

        “This is why our elders used to suggest us to offer prayers at the temple so that you will be cured of many ailments.”

        Seriously, Do NOT underestimate the Placebo Effect.
        It might not cure cancer, but it can seriously work in mysterious ways 😛 (I am kidding!!!!!!!)

        Energy lost in a day’s work is regained through a temple visit and one is refreshed slightly.

        Again, might be due to Placebo Effect.

        “The scientific and research part of the practices are well camouflaged as “elder’s instructions” or “granny’s teaching’s” which should be obeyed as a mark of respect so as to once again, avoid stress to the mediocre brains.”

        Ever heard of Nani K Nuske? I hear they are quite effective. Okay fine, there was no need to taint the knowledge passed down from the elder’s with religion but please don’t tell me you never applied Haldi to your cuts and wounds and never drank Haldi waala doodh, or sniffed camphor to open up your clogged nose, and drank ginger tea to help with your cough, etc. It really works. You cannot deny it, there is SCIENTIFIC proof of it.

        So I find it really irritating how the author mocked the other article, took things out of context, and mocked ancient religious practices. It was not funny, it was sad. So, I conclude by saying that don’t be judgmental about people who visit temples. Live and let live. If you really want to fight religious propaganda go volunteer somewhere instead of posting ill-informed articles online. Let the pros handle it.

        • Satish Chandra

          You say –

          1. Science has limitations.
          2. We don’t have much knowledge about some things.
          3. Being open minded is important.

          So let’s apply your logic. For eons, it is believed that Unicorns exist. Though no evidence has been found for them, we can’t be 100% certain. Also, if Unicorns weren’t real, then how did people form the idea of Unicorns in the first place? Hence by being open-minded, there is a good chance that Unicorns exist and it folly to point out that believing in Unicorns is irrational. So it is much better to type out reams of comments on sites which point out the irrationality rather than acquaint the Unicorn-believers with reality.

          The same can be applied to an infinite set of objects which science thinks are non-existent. Like the The Dragon In Your Garage, Flying Spaghetti monster and so on.

          Your understanding of the placebo effect is incorrect.

          Regarding live and let live, you are preaching to the wrong set. Religious morals are demonstrably destructive and religious apologists like you would rather have a “life” on sites like this than fight repressive morals.

          • *FACEPALM*
            Dear dear Satish, you have yet again demonstrated you inability to stay objective. I request you to take 5 minutes, and think through what you are about to say before your make any personal comments or assumptions about me. Because it reflects upon you badly.

            Secondly, will you be so kind as so elaborate more on the Placebo Effect thing rather than just provide a link to it? It will help me better understand what you really want to say.

            Thirdly, I have also observed that people on this site have this strange problem with taking things out of context (which also includes the author of this post) and trying to then, talk about it, in doing so, let me tell you, you are making no sense and wasting your time and energy. Therefore you comment(Regarding live and let live, you are preaching to the wrong set. Religious morals are demonstrably destructive and religious apologists like you would rather have a “life” on sites like this than fight repressive morals.) holds no good, it is a waste, it is zilch, nada, zero. It is out of context. I was not talking about letting people go about murdering other people in the name of God, I was not addressing anything other than the fact that people must not be mocked if they hold a certain set of beliefs.

            Henceforth, please, think before you post a comment and read other’s comments carefully. Also if you have a problem with lengthy comments, it is your right to not to read them, exercise it. :)

          • Satish Chandra

            Secondly, will you be so kind as so elaborate more on the Placebo Effect thing rather than just provide a link to it? It will help me better understand what you really want to say.

            Placebo effect isn’t a mind of over matter thing. It is just a subjective perception of feeling better and is not indicative of the reduction of an ailment. That is of course overly-simplified and you should read the article.

            Thirdly, I have also observed that people on this site have this strange problem with taking things out of context

            Right, like how you quote-mine and then conclude that the author doesn’t know about effects of electromagnetism on the body. Since he is clueless about that, he gave an example of “what would happen during every Magnetic resonance scan.”. I would even add what would happen if hold cell phones near to our body, live in houses with electric wiring, sit in front of TVs, and sit in a car.

          • And regarding your cute little Unicorn example, it was also out of context. :)

            But still, I will play along. The essence of being open-minded is that there is not need for anyone to go around pointing to other people,”Hey there is no Unicorn! You all are just a bunch of clowns!” when the Unicorn is helping people stay happy and resilient.

            Therefore, live your life of rationality, stay happy, let others visit temples or believe in Unicorns, and let them stay happy. Unless some Unicorn believer throws a brick in your face because the Unicorn told them to, in that case, you MUST tell the Unicorn believer that there is no Unicorn and that they are Schizophrenic.

          • Satish Chandra

            Then you must not be knowing about pseudosciences getting government funding using the “religion is so scientific” nonsense. Religious apologists like you will conveniently ignore the status quo, that is irrational beliefs effect public discourse, setup the strawman of utopia where irrational beliefs are held only privately and don’t effect others at all, and then get all worked up when any attempt at breaking the status quo is made.

          • I know placebo effect. I just don’t understand how and what I know about it is wrong, or where I have wrongly given the example of it. I asked for that.

            “Right, like how you quote-mine and then conclude that the author doesn’t know about effects of electromagnetism on the body. Since he is clueless about that, he gave an example of “what would happen during every Magnetic resonance scan.”. I would even add what would happen if hold cell phones near to our body, live in houses with electric wiring, sit in front of TVs, and sit in a car.”

            I provided you with proper evidence. Also, read this:
            http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_f_o/health_effects_from_exposure_to_powerline_frequency_electric_and_magnetic_fields.pdf

            To quote from it:

            There was one biological effect which the majority (14 out of 19) of the Working Group found to have strong evidence; exposure to electric and magnetic fields affects bone repair and adaptation. The remaining 5 votes were for moderate evidence. There appears to be substantial, accumulating evidence that complex clinical exposures to PEMF have a
            significant effect on the primary bone healing processes. The studies of both osteotomy and spinal fusion show a robust effect. While quantification and analysis were weak in these two studies, they are prospective, randomized, double-blind trials, a rarity in the field of orthopedics. Perhaps the most convincing trial is that of the response of bone
            tissue during limb lengthening. While no effect on secondary bone healing was observed, there was significant inhibition of bone resorption and evidence of new bone formation.

          • Satish Chandra

            “This is why our elders used to suggest us to offer prayers at the temple so that you will be cured of many ailments.”

            Seriously, Do NOT underestimate the Placebo Effect.

            You overestimated the placebo effect. It cannot cure ailments.

            I provided you with proper evidence. Also, read this:

            Evidence for what? That certain magnetic fields have negligible effect on the human body? Or for the strawman that the author doesn’t know about effect of magnetic fields on the human body?

          • AT&T
            —-
            AT: “Dude, Dark matter is estimated to constitute 72% of the matter in the universe [1]”

            T:”Oh really? But how do YOU know for sure? I mean there are 300 billion stars in our galaxy alone and there are about 300 galaxies out there!”

            AT: “Science, duh!”

            T: “But how can I, sitting over here, validate this statement?”

            AT: “That’s what we have observed! You need to accept it unless you can disprove it (AIUYCDI)”

            T: “Disprove THAT? Lol no thanks. You win. But, what if you can’t actually observe a phenomenon?

            AT: “Yeah, we are actually struggling to come up with new cool terms like like black holes. You really can’t directly observe these things, even light can’t escape it. But yeah, we are coming up with some analysis of the magnetic fields and blah-blahs”

            T: “Sounds so cool! Okay figure this – A creature in the flatland would see a sphere in the outside world as a circle. So, when we make observations of entities such as black holes, wouldn’t that be very narrow and qualified?”

            AT: “I guess that’s more than enough for the earthlings. Nobody is gonna actually verify these observations because we know that they simply can’t ;)”

            T: “Hm. A simpler question : How do you know if the north pole is actually in the north or the south? I mean isn’t every observation relative to the observer? I could say that the apple falls up to the ground due to gravity”

            AT: “Laws are laws, dude. We make conclusions on what WE observe. The apple falls DOWN, not up.”

            T: “Exactly! What I meant to say is that all these observations depend on the frame of reference. I am pretty much sure that most of the laws in physics would fail if tested inside a black hole. (if at all it is possible)

            AT: “Of course. We have already acknowledge d that the laws of physics no longer apply there. We are coming up with a new framework to explain these”

            T: “Hmm. What about the big bang?”

            AT: “We have observed the oldest light in the cosmos, which is the most direct evidence”

            T: “How do you know if that is THE oldest light?”

            AT: “AIUYCDI”

            T: “Dude come on! You guys say it took place 3.75 billion years ago! It takes 6 minutes for light to reach from our near Sun to the Earth itself! Okay let me do some math. I love math!

            Distance of Sun & Earth – 149,597 870.7 Km
            Time taken for light to reach us- 6 mins

            3.75 billion years ago = 48469710106800 billion minutes ago.

            Distance = Speed x Time
            = 299792458 m / s X 48469710106800 x 60 s
            = 871851211887900870864000 Billion m
            = 871851211887900870864 Billion Km
            = 871851211887900870864000000000 Km

            Now, Why does this look like a very small figure?

            AT: “You need to have a basic understanding of our black hole science to comprehend this”

            T: “How about worm hole science? It’s like the new cool thing ;)”

            ———————

          • Satish Chandra

            SJ,

            I don’t think this discussion can get anymore juvenile than that. That dialog is at best a strawman caricature, arising out of ignorance of even the basics of what science is. Also, you can read this to know what cosmology is all about.

        • I will address the points you made about my comment and won’t go into details about this article.

          1. “I think he meant to say that people seek support emotionally and mentally through praying and their belief in some God sitting in some temple who helps them and watches over them, it helps them be happy and content and mentally stable. Here is some proof:”

          Just because something is comforting, does not make it true. The same relaxing mental and emotional support can be attained through other means too. Belief in god or going to temples is optional.

          2. “there is a lot of other research that shows that rationalists and people who rely heavily on logic have greater chances of suffering from depression, ”

          I need to see this “lot” of research.

          3. “When you agree that science has its limitations then, making any assumption about something …….can be deemed to be inappropriate if you are being rational about it. ”

          4. “The definition of being open-minded is, that, you are neither in denial or in absolute support of a fact unless you are presented with a good enough proof to deny or believe it. I do not see what is wrong with doing so.”

          I am not the one making assumptions. By “science has limitations” I did not mean “therefore every claim, however ridiculous, must be treated with equal respect”. There are a zillion “beliefs” out there and to be “open minded” to all of them will be counterproductive. Let me reiterate. It is the person who is making the *positive* claim (i.e. this exists) who needs to provide evidence. Until that evidence is provided, if I say I don’t believe that (negative claim), I am NOT being close minded. I am not making any assumptions. I am simply saying, I need more than your word to believe that piece of information.

          We all do this in our everyday lives all the time. Say we come across a financial scheme that looks suspicious. We don’t say, “oh, lets be open minded” and go invest our money. There is 50% chance that this is genuine. No. We wait for the evidence. Does this work? Where is the money coming from? What does the company get out of this deal? What about people who already invested? Did they get cheated? Until we are provided with evidence to such answers, we hold tight to our wallet. We might even joke about it with our friends and relatives. Similarly, until the person making the claims about such “magnetic waves” and “positive energy” can give us reasons why we should believe him/her, it is not close minded to say “that seems so unlikely to be true that I’m not going to believe it until I see some evidence”. And just like we joke about spurious financial schemes, we can joke about these claims too. Remember, we are making fun of the claim. Not the people believing in it.

          5. “please, for God’s sake, do not deny the fact that there is very good chance that all that we know, in the coming years, may be proven to be incorrect.”

          What do you mean by “Very good chance”? If it is very cloudy, it is ok to say there is a “very good chance” that it might rain. But if it is scorching summer and you say there is a “Very good chance” it is going to rain, is it too “rational” to ask for evidence, like say, a weather report that says a storm is approaching?

          6. “Remember how many people believed that the Earth was flat and people were dissed for saying that it was round?”

          Again, Simply saying “Earth is round” and demonstrating “Earth is round” with proof are two different things. Simply saying “Magnetic waves gives positive energy that are good for your body” or some such claim and proving in a controlled experiment are two different things.

          7″ we are not really intelligent and knowledgeable enough to authorize ourselves to absolutely deny someone else’s beliefs and to judge them, because, again, what we know now might not be 100% true.”

          No one is authorizing anyone here. And similarly no one is judging the person holding the belief. Like I mentioned before, the bulk of the ammunition is pointed at the person/persons who perpetuate such unsubstantiated pseudoscientific claims about reality.

          In science, there is a certain universal language spoken, understood by anyone in any corner of the world. Things like, logic, reason, evidence, sample size, probability, proof come up ever so often. As long as you are staying in the domain of “belief”, you are not obligated to play by the rules of science. A “belief” that going to temples causes physical wellbeing is not subject to rigorous scrutiny. But when you start making claims about reality using “science-sounding” terms like electromagnetism, you have left the domain of “belief” and entered the domain of science. If the idea that you are perpetuating does not hold up to the scrutiny, it will be tossed aside, no matter how old the belief is or which ancestor held them.

          If the person making the claim is confident and can back it up with enough supporting evidence, then there wouldn’t have been any need for this article or such lengthy exchanges. In fact, I would suggest you kindly find out who wrote that original article about visiting temples, and ask him/her where they got these information from and what evidence they are basing these on. I would have no problem in admitting I was wrong if I was shown the evidence.

          • “Belief in god or going to temples is optional.”

            Absolutely.

            Here are some links about the depression thing in theists and atheists:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9334555

            http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=161&page=2303&journalID=13

            Your examples about the money scheme and stuff are not in context, please try to understand, believing in something like religion is harmless, in fact it has been proven to be beneficial, however investing money somewhere by being open minded is a different ball-game altogether. It is a good example, but it does not have all the attributes of the subject of discussion.

            “What do you mean by “Very good chance”? If it is very cloudy, it is ok to say there is a “very good chance” that it might rain. But if it is scorching summer and you say there is a “Very good chance” it is going to rain, is it too “rational” to ask for evidence, like say, a weather report that says a storm is approaching?”

            Okay, by very good chance I mean a healthy possibility. There are so many things we don’t know about the Universe, and history is witness to the fact that things that people were so sure about in the past about the world have been wrong. So, considering how we don’t know very much about so many things, I say that there is a healthy chance that what we know might not hold good with what else we might discover. And I am not talking about God here, I am talking about science. And nobody said anything about not asking for evidence here. Ask. But don’t judge without having proper evidence.

            “Again, Simply saying “Earth is round” and demonstrating “Earth is round” with proof are two different things. Simply saying “Magnetic waves gives positive energy that are good for your body” or some such claim and proving in a controlled experiment are two different things.”

            In my reply to Satish I have given some evidence of it. Read it. The thing is, like this magnetic wave thing. It helps somehow, maybe tomorrow we will find out that it can be used to help in a more direct and an immediate way. Therefore, what is good is to be “open-minded”, and not say,”no”, say,”don’t know”. Because,”don’t know” is the truth and not “no” or “yes”.

            “No one is authorizing anyone here. And similarly no one is judging the person holding the belief. Like I mentioned before, the bulk of the ammunition is pointed at the person/persons who perpetuate such unsubstantiated pseudoscientific claims about reality.”

            In that case, the counter-claims have to be well-researched. Otherwise, you are giving the people using pseudoscience as a propaganda a chance to say that they were right or are at least partially correct. And judging, you might not be judging but the author certainly seems to be judging and mocking, which is disrespectful.

            “If the idea that you are perpetuating does not hold up to the scrutiny, it will be tossed aside, no matter how old the belief is or which ancestor held them.”

            This article fails to properly and correctly prove the arguments made in the other article to be completely incorrect. I agree with your statement but if it has to be applied to this article, then it holds no good. The author of this article should have at least acknowledged certain truths and possibilities, which he didn’t do. Which I thought was not good. So I commented. I did not comment here in support of the article asking people to go to temples. It was not my purpose.

            “If the person making the claim is confident and can back it up with enough supporting evidence, then there wouldn’t have been any need for this article or such lengthy exchanges.”

            Similarly, if this article was well-written and well-researched I would not be commenting here. Which I do not want to do but have to.

            Its all about the article for me. I want to kick the religious morons more than anyone, believe me. Its just that people commenting here, and the author really need to work on their “rationality” and knowledge about the claims that they make, or how they want to nullify other’s claims. And also, the etiquettes.

            “In fact, I would suggest you kindly find out who wrote that original article about visiting temples, and ask him/her where they got these information from and what evidence they are basing these on. I would have no problem in admitting I was wrong if I was shown the evidence.”

            I am appalled at how you fail to notice we are on the same team. I am just mad at the author for acting like an intellectual and writing this post about some article from some ill-informed quack when he himself is so ill-informed. What a paradox.

            All I wanted was to tell him, the author, to get this stuff right, I did not even comment I posted some links. But these people are so judgmental and jumping to conclusions here. And you tell me no one is being judgmental? Seriously? Then I *had* to waste my time posting lengthy comments.

            Now I have a grudge against the author of this article and that Satish guy who fails to understand anything I want to say and assumes stuff about people. Wow.

          • Satish Chandra

            What’s really sickening is your attitude of entitlement. If the “likes” this article has received counts for anything, a lot of people do like it. Your concern trolling isn’t needed. So take your own advice – you have the right to not visit this page and get all incensed. Exercise that right.

          • Since Thyme obviously supports the claims of the science-y article, couple of words:

            – If you claim something, or support a claim, the burden of proof is on you.

            – The “earth is flat” argument. I could easily use this in “Ages ago people used to believe in god, and now they don’t”.

            – God of the gaps. If we don’t understand something, it must be god.

            – The research links:

            1. The effects of power lines. If you read the article, it says there is not enough evidence, but as an important policy matter, advises caution. Also note statements like “About 44% of the population has 24-hour exposures above 0.1 μT”.

            There, they measured it. If temples “emit” magnetic waves, we should be able to measure them too, right?

            2. Aromatherapy. You don’t need temples to say, it feels good to smell something good.

            3. Depression and atheists: The second one states “After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts.”. Yeah right! It might as well have been titled “moral objections to suicide and its effect on depressed patients”. While on the same subject, how does this study explain suicide bombers?

            4. Religion and happiness study (NIH). This may be true, but not because of religion. Religion offers a platform for social interaction. And socially active people are happier. But, we could as well replace this with any other organization for mutual support, without the burden of stupid beliefs. May be we should have more studies like “happiness and membership in philatelic clubs”.

            Instead of unrelated studies, it would be great if Thyme could provide evidence of the claims in the original article. Such as “We measured magnetic fields in X temples, mosques, railway stations and abandoned warehouses, and it was found magnetic fields are Y higher in temples by a significant margin. The magnetic fields of temple visitors were found to increase by Z after the visit compared to control group”. Ah, right, you are a believer, so no evidence necessary. Back to square one.

  • Thyme and SJ!

    Rationality is nothing but understanding the nature, if you understand and go along with nature, you will not be requiring any mediator icons like god and his family, his home (temple?), his village and his relative of Thirty three crores! Most of the religious stuffs are against harmony of the nature. It induces Fight, flattery, cheating, hallucination, self mesmerizing on bad belief and etc… etc… The so called research about rationalist must be true because it is difficult to be wise in midst of fools! That too, if you have doubt about your perception of truth, it is more hell than anything else. Rationalist must be proud of being outstanding human, they should not oppose any thing; they must expose the foolishness and bring awareness. The rationalists are not from other planet, they arise out from existing mess, so it is difficult for them to fully desist from foul belief, that is their inner most mind oppose the new idea, this opposition within them sure land up in bad living style like hate, desertedness and etc.. I have heard a story of Ramakrishna bhramahamsas, wherein, he was hard working to attain superstitions but he was unlucky, since his kali matha icon not vanishes from his mind. Then he took a knife and wound his fore head to bypass that icon. After that he was able to mingle in the emptiness, in the nothingness and more to say he become super rationalist. This is the case for the Buddha, Jesus, Vallalar, osho… I think, I am missing some more super rationalists name here. Understanding of Buddha and Jesus by his follower must be gone wrong that’s what more irrationalism in their belief.

    Most of the theist comments in this post is meant to impose that which are all beyond our reach and knowledge is must be a god! The god has taken different dimension at different time like creator, savior, destroyer, Baptist, Shariaist and etc… Now, the god is brought to dead end by validating certification from scientist like Einstein, Max plank……. This is the situation of god! Slowly nothingness and unknowingness hold the banner of godliness, that is, the theist dissolving their stone according to scientific inventions. The gap between dark matter and light is depends on the neutrino role (god particles?) or some other particles, but we are not satisfied, we pretend to call it as a god! so god became particles. If at all god is there what is his interest specially in the earth that too in the human built construction?. The god who controls billions of galaxy, billions and billions of solar system travel all the way to the earth, which is almost less then Nano fraction of universe mass and perform all kind of dramas, scripts and etc…. here!
    It is purely chance our existence according to updated space exploration. The chance can be retained only if all human realize rationalism.

  • very interesting article. And a very hot discussions that followed. I would like to add further:
    1. Our ancients used some logic reasoning (though no line of reasoning given for most) but the conclusions drawn are now clearly known to be false. This however does not discredit our ancient people. Just as Newton’s theories, many of them flawed, but yet Newton is never discredited indeed he is the greatest scientist of all time.
    2. The problem is with the people of the present most of whom believe that the ancient wisdom is correct for all times to come.
    3. Many of these advocates of ancient wisdom couch their arguments in science-y sounding jargon to validate their logic. They conclude that ancients “knew” everything but did not elaborate because then the people were highly ignorant and could not have understood the logic.
    As regards to Dr. Menon’s comment, that visiting temples helps us to cultivate virtues and eschew violence, my observations are totally in contrast to his:
    I probably became an atheist after vising many temples during my childhood. The hypocrisy of both devotees and pujaris there made me think whether god really existed in that idol in the first place.
    In fact, open Eenadu telugu paper any day, you will notice the scams, frauds reported relating to Tirumala devasthanam. A fight broke out when the laddus ran out of stock. Devotees ransacked the furniture and police were called in. Another incident where one junior priest locks horns with the senior one. And these incidents occur with sickening regularity.
    I visited the famous Kashi Visvanath temple at Varanasi some time back. It is stinking hell hole. The greedy priests made a sore sight openly demanding money. So it the Puri Jagannath temple. And the list is endless. Certainly, one has to cultivate virtues and eschew vices anywhere else except in a temple.

    • DrA.Sreekumar Menon

      You have commented on my statement that temple worship helps to eschew our evils andcultivate vitues . What I meant that temple worship should help to refine us , if it is done in its true spirit . I have not commented temple work as it is today . If temples are centres are human exploitation, it is because the way they are run and the responsibility goes to those who run . My feelng is that people generally do not know the realpurpose to be served by worship in temples . They follw it simply as a ritual , For this we should not decry temples and temple worship. steps tobe taken to reform administration of temples .The prerequisitive of a devotee is eschewing evil tendencies and acquiring viryues.According to Astanga yoga of Pathanjali , self control and reformation of conduct is expected to be achieved by following intial steps like yama, niyama etc
      DrASreekumar Menon

      y

  • Dr. Prof. A V P Das

    thank you by enlightening article!! i also believe that temples was make for make fool people. i recommend that you debunk supertitions in other religions also to make this world a better place (sic). it will be my honour to meet you by person. jai science

  • Okay. But why then all the temples were built? What would be the reason if “everything” inside them were useless?
    Leave out modern day temples. I agree they are pure business minded.
    But take the ancient temples.
    If it was to make money, temple is not some compulsive way.!! Particularly many ancient temples which have marvelous architecture and so much of money spent on it. I do agree that people several centuries ago didn’t have any scientific knowledge. But neither they were super fools to build some building with that many intricacies, architecture and design. There must be some reason right?
    Also it also cannot be to show someone’s wealth. For that some can build palaces, memorials etc, not necessarily temples!

  • Nice article..case in point..reading all the comments here and many people still believe in the wisdom of ancients that has gone wrong..its history/past bias..whatever is associated with old,ancient (also natural) is revered upon.

    Great going,keep it up.

  • Very well-written and necessary article! Kudos to the writer and Nirmukta for this.

  • to be truly scientific, there’s no such thing as negative energy (thanks to quantum mechanics :) ).

  • Dude,

    you are asking so many whys. there is always an argument for an argument. alright you are putting all the science you or anybody knows. what if the science we all know is only a fraction of entire science that yet we have to discover which will prove entirely opposite to your views. there were flight (viman) even before our scientists came to know about so called energy or joules (whatever u call). There were nuclear bombs even before Einstien era. my point is, when you are arguing with the science you know, I wouldnt have to listen as its not the entire science that exists. But I should appreciate your effort to gather so much info about the temple to support your view.

  • Well written. Nowadays we see lots of people abusing scientific terms to fool people into believing their fantastic claims.
    Hindu temple symbolism isn’t an esoteric or elusive subject for the pseudo-scientists to blabber about. There are actual scientific (sociological in some cases) researches being done on it. There, they don’t use foolish terms like “positive vibration”, “spiritual vibration” and so on. This is one such article I found recently.

    http://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=hindu%20temple%20scientific%20research&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&ved=0CFoQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fciteseerx.ist.psu.edu%2Fviewdoc%2Fdownload%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.5.3035%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&ei=3jFxUJaWCYa4hAfq-YGwBg&usg=AFQjCNHyNLvgCVnsVuItBvXrqCLlU5BojQ

  • Suraj Sasidharan

    Have you ever stood in a two hour queue to purchase a movie ticket? Have you felt tired/thirsty/desperate at that time? Now, Have you ever stood in queue at “Guruvayoor Temple” for two hours? Have you felt tired/thirsty/desperate? .. I have done both of this a lot many times and I know why even my grand-mother can stand in the Guruvayoor temple queue for two hours. You can also visit a Jail and then a Temple and compare your state of body and mind on those visits and then think of energy/vibrations etc. Rather than searching on the net and copy-pasting, please experience things and post your experience. Spend some valuable time with your grand-parents (if they are Hindu), and they will tell you what you need to know.

    • “Have you ever stood in queue at “Guruvayoor Temple” for two hours? Have you felt tired/thirsty/desperate?” FYI, I have stood at the queue there and I sure have felt tired and desperate. Now, if there indeed is such a physical energy field there, it would act independent of the beliefs of the person. You didn’t feel tired probably because you believe in god and you believe standing in the queue is some kind of holy act there. I don’t believe so and hence I surely felt tired, which proves that the effect is nothing but placebo.

  • Have you ever stood in a two
    hour queue to purchase a
    movie ticket? Have you felt
    tired/thirsty/desperate at
    that time? Now, Have you
    ever stood in queue at “Guruvayoor Temple” for two
    hours? Have you felt tired/
    thirsty/desperate?
    sorry sashidarshan you are reacting without going deep into article. Article is all about hindu apologists who are spreading supertitions by mixing them with science. They are misusing the scientific terms like energy, vibrations and science. When you talk about peace in a temple than never forget muslims gets same kind of peace in mosques. Members of various cults use to spend hours in the que just to see their cult leader. They get same kind of peace in cult headquarter. And we know most cult leaders are fraud. So what you feel in temple is nothing to do with any kind of energy but with your mental state

  • Good Day
    Dear Westerner’s
    India is a very advanced country in field of “self development”
    Western world could not understand this advanced system’s and therefore the world is suffering.
    Western’s developed materialistic world.
    Vedic scientist put an Idol in this temple , so that common man ,who did not know this advanced science,would take the benefit.
    Some examples. The “clock” which shows the time. Here the time is accurate, but the movement is wrong. What is termed as clockwise , is basically ” Anti-Earth movement. Therefore no one is thinking of mother earth.see the pollution.
    Other examples: Kundilini yoga (very advanced).
    Brgds
    Ravi

    • This makes no sense. “Clockwise” is just a metaphor since people can easily relate to clocks.

      Pradakshinas are clockwise aren’t they? We could just as easily say the earth rotates “anti-pradakshina.”

      It doesn’t mean ancient Indians were “wrong,” since neither clocks nor pradakshina directions were meant to show anything asbout the earth’s motion.

  • Remove the individualistic attitude of knowing everything and gracing one’s opinion to be above other’s faith. Where science cannot reach faith reaches .

    • Captain Mandrake

      Suresh

      *Where science cannot reach faith reaches .*

      That is true. Science is constrained by evidence and reason. Faith does not have such constraints. So faith can take you places science can not hope to go.

  • How much of science we have studied especially quantum Physics? What is really meant scientific? Can you explain the effects in hypnotism in scientific terms?

    Thanks to all pseudo scientists for enlightening about science….

  • Thank you author for spending a good time to defy and argue with our present state of knowledge.

    I have been working on ancient monuments since last few years. With my wit I want to state few things

    1. Temples are not build after placing the idols. I have proof of foundation and platform beneath the main idol, that i have studied in a Sun Temple.

    2. Our present state of knowledge of structural engineering is devised after 1500AD ,mostly after 1700 AD after Euler, Timoshenko and other legends of this period. Where as most of the monuments/temple are built before that . E.g. Sun temple Konark 1238-1250AD
    So we are trying to explain a technique/concept with a knowledge which was evolved much after that.

    3. This is the gap, for which things seem baseless, absurd now. I completely agree with the lack of scientific proof to convince you, but things are not definitely baseless. We haven’t enough tools to explain it and understand it.

    For example- Puri Jagannath temple is 215ft ht (equivalent to 15 floor height ). But still gravagriha (main sanctum) has no shadow. You can see this amazing inexplicable truth in any clear sunny day.

    Dear scientist, perhaps I have not enough proof now to convince you that all ancient rituals and traditions are not baseless, as I still belong to a science that have not enough tools to explain everything.

    Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage (IISH) is working to explore these things. Many other people are too working. We too have a research group at IITK working on it.

    • Government providing huge sum of money and facility to the researcher on the hopes of getting useful returns, now it is deliberate these facility and funds or utilized for digging deeply into dream. What way these activity benefit India ? this is the question in the minds of few of rationalist. The common people not expect, you researcher to get awarded noble or some thing like that but make them independent of block Market buyer of Chinese product.

      A Farmer/Mason/Cobbler and many more people, feeding you like people by their sweat and blood, but it is pity to note the researchers are interested in a archeological works.

  • DrA.Sreekumar Menon

    Certainly we had very rich heritage . The traditional knowledge both in Material and spiritual Sciences was vast. We have not discovered even a portion of it .The socalled modern discoverries, which we attribute to west in most of the material sciences and Engineering to which we give credit to scientists of the west were already known during vedic period which goes back to 5000 to 1000 years BCE. This knowledge was also put into practice. So also the rituals and religious practices which were practiced then were based on scientific knowledge.The fat is that we lack knowledge underlying those rituals and practices and we practice most of them as meaningless exercise .We should know why we practice a ritual and imbibe the meaning behind it .Dr.A.SreekumarMenon

    • Dr ASM

      Where did you get this information that vedic period which goes back to 5000 to 1000 years BCE?

      Does not seem to be from any reliable history source!!

      The historical consensus among majority of the academics places the outer limits of the Vedic Age at 1800 BCE. Your estimate of 5000 BCE is way out of line with the chronology of Vedic timeline. Even the older Indus-Harappan civilization is not earlier than 2500 BCE.

      I picked this one to respond because of its chronological claim.

      The rest is typical Hindutva revisionist nonsense.

      The translations of these Vedic texts are in the public domain and claims can be subjected to verification.

      There are no descriptive theories or hypotheses relating to material sciences and Engineering in those Vedas,Upanishads and Puranas that are comparable to recent(last 300-400 years) findings and discoveries in those disciplines.

      Vivekananda and other latter revivalists (from whom the Hindutva bandwagon borrows its sales pitch) have indulged in imaginative revisionist interpretations of the some cryptic verses of the Vedas and Upanishads, which is a case of retrofitting modern knowledge to be read into ancient texts

  • Excellent article.

  • Some of the debunking points mentioned by you are wrong.Tulsi has an immune boosting activity,thus protecting from common cold by increasing your immunity.Just go to the web page of scientific journal-Pubmed and you would find numerous research studies on Tulsi.Secondly,Liver does the job of blood purification??Lungs do that job.The article explains the reasons behind people going to temples in that old era.When there were no antibiotics,preventive measures formed the basis of good health.Tulsi and other medicinal herbs are scientifically tested to prove their immune boosting active ingredients.So even today if herbs like tulsi are consumed on daily basis through various medicinal preparations,it would definitely help you boost your immune system,thus protecting you from diseases like common cold and viral infections.So your questioning regarding whether these herbs really improve our immune system is completely wrong.So please remove that point from your article.

    • Hi Ganesh Veluswami,

      Do you think you have scientifically posted the article condemning the facts. Though you intended to condemn the very own facts, you have lost the base of science even. Let me prove of the facts to you.
      -> As you said, copper doesn’t absorb magnetic waves. Is this correct?? Go to the basic modern Physics and know the fact.
      -> Doesn’t our body absorb Magnetic Radiation? If not why our modern science saying now that usage of mobile phones (Electro Magnetic Radiation) will harm human health drastically though not vividly. Go and check this.
      -> You said, how radiation is related to health. then how as i mentioned the harmful, the sooo very well versed useful mobile phones, are impacting health.
      -> Don’t simply neglect the usage of Tulsi and the above mentioned ones, think of why scientific people are fighting for patents on Tulsi, Termeric and many more if they are not that important.

      You should be general and rational think correctly on the mentioned points rather than simply going against the theme with the art of writing.

      • magnetic field lines don’t have a beginning or an end (a consequence of the absence of magnetic monopoles) So no , Copper or any material for that matter , can’t “absorb” magnetic “waves” (if you take them to be magnetic field lines) . However magnetic “waves” is a rather vague term – it might even refer to electro-magnetic waes. In case it refers to electro-magnetic waves (EM waves in short) – every material has some sort of absorption and transmission bandwidth i.e. absorbing EM waves is nothing special since all materials have that property. Also it is true that repeated exposure to high energy radiations can be harmful.

    • the liver does take part in blood purification within the body – This is what causes liver damage due to excessie drinking

  • Gaurav Mishra

    This is so nice!

  • If there is an abundance of ‘positive’ energy where temples are located, then, should we see the death of hundreds of people in front of the Kedarnath temple as a ‘positive’ development?

  • It is not the way to look at that temples are filled with positive energy and that those who visit temples would be absolutely safe.We should not see God as a superhuman being always ready to protect human beings and give them what ever they desire, in reonse to worship . It is a narrow minded view .Temple visit is expected to help to release positive energy in us, just like gym helps to build up health. We should not think that There is a super power outside us . Godsuperpower is everywhere including in each one of us . Temple worship should help us to realize that supreme power in each one of us . what people reap is what they sow .Those who commit sins will reap sorrows in the form of diseass and even death .Committing sin may not immediately follow by sorrows .There is a time gap .some people experience sorrows immediately, others take time to undergo the experience . It is a natural law . Temple worship is necessary, but for reasons common people hold now . See my Article can we find Gods in temples . in the above web site. open the web site, open link Articles and open DrA.SreekumarMenon’s rticles

    • Saurabh Pradhan

      POSITIVE ENERGY exists and it exists inside. Within us only. It may not be scientific though. In fact, all our beliefs are not scientific all the time.
      Imagine a place which is calm and soothing, where you can go and meditate. Where the whole atmosphere is built in such a way that it promotes the positive energy inside you. The bells, which are used not only in hinduism but it is related to many religions and beliefs. Even chinese people use wind-chimes for ‘positive energy’. All the cloves/tulsi/insense sticks/idol/the priest/prayers/temple hall, everything, it all provides an environment conducive to POSITIVE THOUGHTs. So, we call this place a TEMPLE.
      One may reject even the basic idea of Religion & God itself and call it not scientific. This positive energy doesn’t apply to them.

      • Captain Mandrake

        That is a lot of gibberish. I recommend you read high school (7th and 8th grade) physics text books to understand what the word “Energy” means.

  • amazing article

  • Subramanian Venkatraman

    As a Brahmin I only know one thing. All religions have evolved since their inception. While modern religions, I mean those religions which are just about a few thousand years old, have complete written records of their birth and growth, older religions do not have them in written form. The result is a lot of hearsay has been mixed with facts and this creates confusion. According to me “Facts are those which you believe to be so, with or without reason.” Information is pouring in from all sides nowadays. You do not investigate each and every information. You take for granted those information to be facts which you believe them to be and act upon them as you would like. Your beliefs are based upon your experience and experience depends upon your perception, emotional reaction and various other metrics of your own. That is why we have the world divided so much. No problem. If someone does not believe in the value of temples, so be it for him. For me it is still very valuable.

    • Your argument contains an implicit assumption that Hinduism is very old . No doubt , as you say, that very few ex-Hindu Atheists have the proclivity or even fewer the knowledge to distinguish between “criticisms” & “polemics” of what is this new phenomenon of Hinduism.
      But then if sections of Hindus have the right to believe in or propagate balderdash & some even bigotry , why do you think sections of ex-Hindus should not have the right to same??

      ##No problem. If someone does not believe in the value of temples, so be it for him. ##
      Thanks .

      ##For me it is still very valuable.##

      They are valuable to you despite the corruption , caste discrimination, Brahmin supremacism ,superstitions etc that have always plagued them since the beginning ? You exhibited the same emotional argument that you were complaining of .Instead why squander wealth on these unworthy structures , when the same can be used for welfare of the needy instead of priests.If you want Hindu-bashing or even anti-Hinduism to stop then instead of defending the untenable & then complaining , fight for Reforms .Also stop defending Hindu beliefs , just for the sake of defending .Pay heeds to “real criticisms” of Hinduism,instead of conflating them with “polemics” & then overlooking them.

  • Explain the double slit experiment with the same reasoning power you used above. Explain the quantum physics anomalies with the same reasoning ? Explain why the fundametal forces are there in the universe ? The scientists say that the fundamental forces are there by default and one has to accept it and then goes on building his scientific philosophy on the accepted belief. Is it not that the scientist also blindly belives on the existence of fundamental forces like a religious bigot who believes that god always existed? reason has its limits and is good if used reasonably

    • Scientists , “blindly believe”?
      In the absence of knowledge , they make hypothesis, which are essential for further study & keep it , as long as it works , if it does not they trash it. But it is always made sure that hypothesis is not taken as a fundamental truth , unlike what the religious people ,not necessarily just the bigots , do.

  • It’s good to read the pro-science arguments. It helps regulate our individual beliefs and question our personal assumptions. Nonetheless, it is sad to note that there are many who need to believe by disproving a belief. It is easier to disprove than to prove what cannot be proven. Hence the believer does not wish to prove. He only believes. And his beliefs are his own. They do not weaken. In fact, most times they grow stronger. Particularly when challenged by the views of a non-believer.

    Energy is a fact. That there are various forms of energy is a fact. Humans have only very limited capabilities of sensing these energies. That is also a fact. We then turn to scientific and mathematical methods for measuring energies and continue to make astonishing discoveries. Will we one day create ways and means of measuring all energies in this universe? Maybe. Is there such a thing as ‘spiritual energy’? And if so, how can we prove or disprove its existence?

    To the believer, these questions are already answered. Only the believer knows the answer. For he believes…

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