Dr. Vijay Bhatkar,
I appreciate your work in the Param projects, India’s earliest computing accomplishments; and your many projects since. Param projects had done us proud. I have interests in high-performance computing myself. However, we at Nirmukta are disappointed at these claims of your endorsement of this scam that is “Midbrain Activation” (MA hence forth), on behalf of FRAMBE.
MA trainers undergo 3-days of “training”, less training than modern medical facilities perhaps train their janitors and other unskilled staff. They seem to have an extremely low understanding of science, its epistemology, its critical methods and their importance.
The paranormal claims that these MA trainers make are most absurd. A good 12th class student, majoring in Science, knows enough Physics and Biology, to understand that the claims are patently absurd. They are nothing more than parlor tricks; great at parties and stage shows; but fraud, when sold as truth or as products. As you may know, most Indians however, are not yet scientifically minded (painfully, sometimes experts who should know better included), and fall prey for statements of folk understanding of science such as Right Brain and Left Brain differences, the vulnerabilities that these MA trainers craftily employ to tug at the strings of trust. We feel that it is utterly unethical for anyone to prey with pseudoscience, upon the natural desire of all Indian parents, to see their children reach the highest intellectual heights they can.
The MA people have not demonstrated a commitment to truth. To give an example of their scruples, just a few days ago, it was demonstrated in this very forum, that the FRAMBE web site was a blatant rip off, of a major US neuroscience lab, IMHRO, within University of California, with unambiguous claims, that its researchers work for FRAMBE, and that its endorsements are FRAMBE’s own. After being outed, FRAMBE has hastily removed the fraudulent content. As it stands, the web site is still in copyright violation of the IMHRO web site.
Currently, using your endorsement, they are desperately trying to set you up as an infallible deity of sorts, behind whose national awards they think they can find a safe refuge from critique. But we both know that science does not work in this way. Rejection of infallibility of persons is at the very crux of Enlightenment, the seed of science. Arguments and evidence matter; persons and their eminence do not… when it comes to the pursuit of truth. I regard Newton as the greatest mind in history. Yet, I recognize the pseudoscience of his lifelong pursuit of bible codes, the pursuit of which, he is said to have spent more time on, than actual science. In his wake, we recognize and celebrate his accomplishments that have forever changed our view of the Universe, but cast aside his irrational and religious thought. No one may defend the pseudoscience of the bible codes and hide behind Newton. The arguments and evidence will have to carry their own weight.
I would like to think that these MA scammers have only temporarily hoodwinked you, to win your trust, by playing on your personal views of spirituality and Indian tradition. It is perhaps because you have little experience in dealing with pseudoscience scams, that you were not able to critically evaluate their demonstration. Perhaps it is because you have no formal training in Biology, Neuroscience or Cognitive Psychology… that you felt overwhelmed by the pseudoscience jargon that the MA trainers used. In any case, I urge you to consult with your scientific peers in academia, from any reputed university, in these relevant fields, to understand the complete lack of feasibility of these claims and the high standards of truth required to prove such claims. As a decorated public intellectual, you have a high standard of responsibility before endorsing anything.
However, if you feel that you are entirely convinced of these claims and feel comfortable in throwing your weight behind these claims, to defend MA with scientific arguments, I would like to invite you to an open debate on Nirmukta with me, formally on behalf of Nirmukta. As a note ahead, I am just as academically trained as you are, albeit in the disciplines of actual relevance here. I passionately defend the methods of science. You can find my critique of Dr. B.M. Hegde, who has promoted quantum mysticism (well beyond his actual expertise, which is in Cardiology) in a national newspaper, here.
Nirmukta sent my article to a very reputed quantum physicist from IIT to ensure that I did not misrepresent quantum mechanics, as Dr. Hegde did. Our goal is that science is properly represented. We do not push our personal views on science, but articulate those of the scientific consensus. A separate expert opinion would not be necessary in this case. I am quite adequately qualified academically to speak for science in these matters. So let us talk, scientist to scientist, in the language of science.