Tamil words in English

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at UCLINK.BERKELEY.EDU
Sat Feb 28 21:56:45 UTC 1998

After a couple of days of "not pressing the button," here goes:

Sn. Subrahmanya wrote:

>Since Rajaram is not here to defend himself we cannot make blanket statements
>about his qualifications. Personally, I think Rajaram has enough scientific
>training to atleast recognize irrational speculations.

More recently, Robert J. Zydenbos wrote:

>Earlier in this list we had a mathematician declaring linguists
>idiots, and now Ramanna is an authority on linguistics because he
>is a nuclear physicist... this is decadent.

And Lars Martin Fosse had written:

>There is nothing wrong in challenging the AIT, as long as it is done in a
>competent manner. But let me ask you as a physicist: Do you accept a
>challenge against physical theory from a person without adequate
>mathematical knowledge and no proper qualifications in physics? If you were
>a geophysicist, would you spend much time discussing the reality of the
>earth's rotundity with a member of the "Flat Earth Society" (there really is
>- or at least recently was - such a thing)?

Another example, maybe closer to home than the Flat Earth Society, is
Richard L. Thompson's attempt at rationalizing Swami Prabhupada's comments
on the flight to the Moon.

A few quotes from a longish discussion:

"Srila Prabhupada has often said that the astronauts have never actually
visited the Moon...these statements mainly fall into two categories (1) that
the demigods will not allow human beings to enter higher planets because
human beings are not qualified to do so, and (2) that the astronauts have
not experienced the celestial opulences actually existing on the Moon, and
therefore they could not have gone there."

" ...he [Prabhupada] comments that since the moon-god is the presiding deity
of vegetation, there must be vegetation on the moon, and yet the scientists
say that it is a barren desert... he argues that those who reach the moon
attain a life of 10,000 years, and thus the astronauts could not have gone."

"...This leaves open the question of whether or not the astronauts traveled in
three-dimensional space to the moon that we directly perceive in the sky..."

"...This brings us to the question of whether or not there was a moon hoax."

"...Prabhupada mentioned a few tentative possibilities as to what might have
actually transpired on the moon flight, and he expressed general doubts as
to the honesty of the people involved with space exploration.  In this area
there are many opportunities for cheating, and there is evidence suggesting
that some cheating has taken place.  However, to obtain conclusive proof of
large-scale cheating would be very difficult, and possibly dangerous."

Dangerous?  Is NASA involved in a massive coverup?  Are the men in black
lurking behind our computer monitors while the black helicopters hover above
our campuses?

Now, R. Thompson is described on the book's cover as having received a Ph.D.
in mathematics from Cornell University, and as having done research in
quantum theory and mathematical biology at the State University of New York
and at Cambridge University (UK).  Have Dr. Thompson's scientific
credentials helped him here?  Would our physicist friends on Indology
consider this an appropriate discussion for a scientific forum on space
exploration, because one has to keep an open mind?

The ref. is: Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy, Richard L. Thompson, 1989.
Bhaktivedanta Book trust (U.S.), pp. 130-134.

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
University of California, Berkeley

P.S.  Although he probably won't live to be 10,000, John Glenn, who is over
seventy, will again go out into space.  Or will this just be another one of
NASA's Hollywood-esque tricks?

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