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Mar 07, 1997 05:54 AM
by Bart Lidofsky

Gregg Bartle wrote:
> Sorry, Titus, but Dr. Matrix is a total fabrication of Gardner's. The point,
> beyond fascinating mathematical games, is, in fact, to ridicule areas like
> numerology. Prometheus Books is the publishing arm of CSICOP (Center for
> Scientific Claims Of the Paranormal), the major skeptical, debunking in the
> United States as well as publishers of the excellent, if sometimes
> infuriating, magazine 'Skeptical Inquirer'.

	CSICOP is somewhat tarnished by a religious mission; the major members
are fundamentalist atheists (consider atheism to be a matter of fact
rather than opinion, anybody who believes in any form of divinity should
be committed to an insane asylum, etc.).  A somewhat better group is the
Skeptics Society, who publish Skeptic magazine, which frequently
presents both sides of the story. James Randi, now that he has his own
foundation, is very much improving; he is recognizing the difference
between people committing fraud and people who genuinely believe in what
they are doing, and concentrating on the former rather than the latter.

	I have found that the level of postmodernist attitudes towards science
among Theosophists to be surprisingly high. When James Randi sponsored a
nursing group who wanted to test Therapeutic Touch (I was slightly
involved as a contact person trying to round of TT practitioners for
them to test), a lot of the practitioners I asked responded with,
"Therapeutic Touch isn't a MEN'S science, which needs to be tested. It
is a WIMMEN'S science, and all we need is our own intution to prove it."
Unfortunately, they want to have it both ways, and to allow TT courses
to count towards their science requirement in nursing school, and to
have BS's awarded for majors in Therapeutic Touch.

	The problem that I see with postmodernist views towards science among
Theosophists is that, in the postmodernist view, the ego is what reigns
supreme. In other words, Truth is determined entirely by the lower self,
and anybody's statement on Truth (or even fact) is as good as anybody
else's (ignoring the story of the postmodernist philosopher who
demonstrated that green was red and red was green, and would have
published it, but he died in an auto accident on the way to his
publisher). I don't really see the Theosophists who are taking the
postmodernist perspective as being anti-Theosophical, but more as being
lazy. Why bother learning science when it is all a matter of opinion
anyway? Didn't Einstein disprove Newton? (for those here who don't have
a science background, the answer is no, Einstein did NOT disprove
Newton; he merely showed that Newton's laws were special cases of a more
general principle).

	In any case, I have found that many common interpretations of the early
Theosohpical writings are in direct conflict with scientific knowledge
(as opposed to philosophy of science, "mechanistic beliefs" being
philosophy and not science). A good example was that members of the 4th
root race were 45 feet tall, humanoid in form, and our physical
anscestors. I will not go into all the reasons why it would take a major
scientific revolution (for example, having the laws of physics change
radically over a period of a few hundred thousand years without our
being able to notice it in geological evidence), but it leaves three
major possibilities:

1) Our scientific knowledge is wrong.
2) Blavatsky was wrong.
3) Our interpretation of Blavatsky is wrong.

	Certainly, since Blavatsky does not claim infallibility (nor do the
Mahatmas, as their letters went through students who might not have
gotten the words right, even if what the Mahatmas intended to say was
correct), #2 is a tempting possibility. The postmodernists, of course,
will hang on #1. But, not wishing to unnecessarily multiply entities, I
would soonest look at #3. I have yet to find in the Primary Literature
(and would love it if someone could point it out to me) anything which
definitely says that the 4th root race were the PHYSICAL anscestors of
the 5th root race, nor anything saying that it was humanoid in form. It
certainly can be inferred from what was written, but it is not stated
outright. This leads one to think that, while monads theoretically
cannot be reincarnated into lower species, they CAN be reincarnated into
HIGHER species.

	Now, this is PURE conjecture, but look at the ancient stories of
friendship between humans and dolphins. And consider the relative size
of dolphins and whales, and the size variations of the 4th root race
reported in the Primary Literature. Could it be that the 4th root race
were aquatic mammals? That dolphins and whales are the physical remnants
of the 4th root race, their monads long ago having moved on to the more
complex humanoids? Could dolphins have something to do with the fact
that, at one point, a species of ape decided to leave the comfort of its
trees, and start using intelligence and tools to survive? Or is there a
better theory?

	Be that as it may, I strongly recommend reading the skeptical magazines
as an excercise in discrimination, and as part of the 2nd objective.

	Bart Lidofsky

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