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Wednesday 2 February 2011


As was mentioned last week I am leading a group at the University of Kelaniya that studies various aspects of the Rajarata Chronic Kidney Disease Unidentified Etiology (RCKDunet). I am not a western scientist or a mathematician but happen to be the Dean of a Faculty of Western Science in a University that had a Buddhist background but is Judaic Christian in culture at present due to the hegemony of western Christian modernity to which very few among the so called educated people object. I teach what may be called Mathematical Physics in the western jargon at the university but I know what rubbish it is. I repeatedly criticize the content I have to teach, and the students are bewildered.

I lead this group simply because I am interested in finding the cause of this deadly disease and a cure, and also because I have a hunch that the ancient Sinhala wisdom can be shown to be superior to modern western medicine based in the western Judaic Christian culture, as a result of the exercise. If somebody says it is against the so called scientific method and the spirit of science all that I have to say is that there is no scientific method as such and that the spirit of science is not that spiritual. I am a politician of sort, though not a member of any political party but an avowed enemy of western Christian modernity and allied knowledge that has suppressed our people during the last few centuries.

As can be expected there is opposition to the work carried out by the group at Kelaniya which consists of academics from the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics of the University as well as lecturers from the Faculties of Medicine at the Universities of Peradeniya and Rajarata. First a nasty rumor was spread to the effect that our group had copied the results of some other groups. This was exposed in no time as none of the other groups that study the causes of RCKDunet had come out with Arsenic and Mercury contaminated in the so called drinking water of the areas in Rajarata affected with the disease. Surely a group cannot copy something that is not available in the database or the result sheets of another group. However, it has to be mentioned that mere presence of Arsenic and Mercury in “drinking water” is not sufficient for the spread of the disease. The hardness of water is also a factor and there is a hypothesis that Calcium and Magnesium salts responsible for the hardness of water form the relevant arsenates and/or the arsenites in vivo.

The second objection to the work of our group comes from people who think that our investigation is based on extra sensory perceptions. I do not know how they came to this inference but I must say that there are so many concepts in western science that are not sensory perceptible. If they think that our group obtained the idea to test for certain chemicals through divine intervention, then all that I can state is that the way one gets an idea is immaterial to the practice of western science or of any system of knowledge for that matter. Take the famous example of the Benzene ring. It is said that Kekule had the basic idea of the Benzene ring in a dream. How did Planck get the idea of the quantum or Einstein get the postulates of special relativity? The way a person gets ideas is irrelevant though not irreverent, and it is the investigation of the idea that is important.

In any event in western science it was Ernst Mach, the Philosopher and physicist who objected to the use of extrasensory concepts to explain phenomena in Physics. In his scheme atoms among other things were not to be used and he objected to what are known as inertial frames of reference in Newtonian Mechanics. It is not essential to know what these devils are but it is sufficient to know that Mach influenced young Einstein so much that in his formulation of General Relativity he did away with inertial frames and also with the so called gravitational force (field).

However very few people, including the so called scientists in Sri Lanka, know that according to Einstein there is no gravitational force (forget the difference between the force and the field). The other day I was surprised to hear a “scientist” claiming that the gravitational force is sensory perceptible as it can be felt. Now unfortunately most of the “scientists” in Sri Lanka have ended up as scientists by chance. They most probably did not have any idea of becoming a scientist while they were at school, and ended up in a Faculty related to science as a result of not obtaining sufficient marks to enter a Faculty of Medicine or Engineering. They may be called “chance scientists” who having excelled at examinations have ended up in Universities or research institutes. Their hard work has to be appreciated but their knowledge of the philosophy of science and related matters very often could be improved to say the least.

If the particular “scientist” knew that according to Einstein there is no gravitational force he would not have said that the gravitational force could be felt. I just wondered how the feeling of something “proves” that the particular thing is sensory perceptible, as feeling need not be associated with any one of the five sense organs referred to in western science. It has to emphasized that though mind is considered as an indriya (loosely a sense organ) in Buddhist literature it is not so in western science. If on the other hand the gravitational force is felt by this “scientist” through a certain sense organ I am curious to know what this sense organ is as Einstein appears not to have had this particular sense organ.

The “scientists” who object to concepts or ideas that are not sensory perceptible are invited to get me some electrons. I suppose all the “scientists” are familiar with electrons and they should not have any trouble in hunting or shopping for (incidentally there is not much of difference between hunting and shopping, the major difference being that the former was practiced by males while the females are engaged in the latter) a few electrons. However, these electrons have to be sensory perceptible and acceptable to the “scientists”. If Mach was living the “scientists” could have consulted him.

Once the “scientists” bring these sensory perceptible electrons we may organize a symposium, workshop, or whatever it is, on sensory perceptible objects with some grant from a western agency in at least a four star hotel, with lunch of course, and get another grant to publish the proceedings. Just one last question as one of my colleagues associated with the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) used to say at the end of a discussion. Now what about the RCKDunet?

Copyright Prof. Nalin De Silva