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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

தாமஸ் ஆல்வா எடிசனும் ஒரு மீனும்


உலகப் புகழ் பெற்ற, ஆயிரத்துக்கும் மேற்பட்ட கண்டுபிடிப்புகளை உலகுக்குத் தந்த அறிவியல் அறிஞர் தாமஸ் ஆல்வா எடிசன், 1910 ஆம் ஆண்டு அக்டோபர் மாதம் 2 ஆம் தேதி, நியுயார்க் டைம்ஸ் என்னும் இதழுக்கு ஒரு பேட்டி அளித்திருந்தார். கடவுளின் கருணை பற்றி அவரிடம் கேட்கப்பட்ட்டபோது, அவர் சிரித்துக் கொண்டே சொன்னார், "இன்று மதியம் எனக்கு நல்ல மீன் உணவு எனக்குக் கிடைத்தது. அது கடவுளின் கருணை என்று கொண்டால், நான் உண்ட மீனையம் கடவுள்தான் படைத்திருக்க வேண்டும். அந்த மீனிடம் கடவுள் காட்டிய கருணை என்ன" என்று கேட்டுச் சிரித்தார். பிறகு அவரே சொன்னார். கடவுள் என்று ஒன்றும் இல்லை. எல்லாம் இயற்கைதான். இயற்கைதான் எல்லாவற்றையும் தீர்மானிக்கிறது. இயற்கைக்குக் கருணையோ, கொடூரத் தன்மையோ கிடையாது. இயற்கை தன் போக்கில் செயல்களைச் செய்து முடிக்கிறது என்றார் எடிசன்.

5 comments:

  1. I would like to add some more information that is related to this interview in NewYork Times by Edison. Many people who read this interview thought that Edison was expressing atheist ideas through his remarks, but that was not so. I quote below from the wikipedia page on Edison, which in turn refers to a letter he wrote following the public reaction to the interview:

    "Edison was accused of being an atheist for those remarks, and although he did not allow himself to be drawn into the controversy publicly, he clarified himself in a private letter:

    You have misunderstood the whole article, because you jumped to the conclusion that it denies the existence of God. There is no such denial, what you call God I call Nature, the Supreme intelligence that rules matter. All the article states is that it is doubtful in my opinion if our intelligence or soul or whatever one may call it lives hereafter as an entity or disperses back again from whence it came, scattered amongst the cells of which we are made."

    Edison expresses here a philosophical/theological standpoint called "Deism", which is different from both theism and atheism.

    Deism differs from theism in the sense that it rejects revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge and maintains that reason and observation are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.

    Deism differs from atheism mainly in two ways: One, Deists do not deny the existence of God but atheists do. Two, the way they see nature and natural phenomenon. I quote below from an article in the website of the World Union of Deists regarding the second difference:

    "The question that arises about nature is: is it a creation, eternal to nature, or an accident within nature. The Deist will maintain that it is a creation, but Deists will differ as to degree of involvement on the part of the Creator in the process. The atheist will counter that it is either eternal, or accidental. The final resolution of this problem will eventually be up to science to settle."

    Another interesting point about deists is that they differ among themselves in their belief about the immortality of the soul. Edison, for example, doubted the immortality of the soul, as his letter, quoted above, shows. Others, like Thomas Paine, had definitive beliefs about the concept. Thomas Paine stated in his book, The Age of Reason, "I believe in one God and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life".

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    1. நன்றி திரு வினோத்! கீதை விவாதத்திற்குப் பிறகு மீண்டும் உங்களை வலைத்தளத்தில் சந்திப்பது மகிழ்ச்சி. வழக்கம்போல், தேவையான கூடுதல் செய்திகளைக் சேர்த்துள்ளீர்கள். எனினும், நீங்கள் மேற்கோள் காட்டியுள்ள The final resolution of this problem will eventually be up to science to settle." என்னும் வரி தெளிவாக ஓர் உண்மையை உணர்த்துவதை மறுக்க மாட்டீர்கள் என்று நினைக்கிறேன்.

      I believe in one God and no more என்பது 'ஒன்றே குளம் ஒருவனே தேவன்'தானே! ஏகம், அநேகம் குறித்த விவாதங்களையும் நீங்கள் அறியாமல் இருக்க முடியாது. கடவுள் உண்டு, இல்லை என்பதைத் தாண்டி, ஒன்றா, பலவா என்னும் விவாதம் கடவுள் நம்பிக்கையின் உட்பகுதி என்றே கருதுகின்றேன்.

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    2. Good to hear from you too, Sir! I have been regularly following your posts ever since the Gita debate. I am glad you find my extra information useful.

      And yes, the line about science in the quote I mentioned is indeed telling a very important truth. As I had mentioned previously during the Gita debate, I am a scientist by profession, so I would be the last person to refute that statement. In fact, I quoted it along with the difference between deism and atheism to point out the importance of science in these philosophical debates. But, at the same time, it is also sadly true that the science as of today has not developed enough to talk about the topics touched by deism, theism, atheism etc. in a purely scientific way. We have, indeed, come a long way from the time of Aristotle, Galileo, Newton etc. but we still have a long way to go before we can talk about these things in a strong scientific way. Until then, we are only left with part-philosophical, part-scientific arguments, our individual beliefs and our experiences to guide us in such matters.

      Yes, it is indeed ஒன்றே குலம் ஒருவனே தேவன், though, strictly speaking, it does not mention குலம், but the idea is more or less the same. And ஏகம் is monism and அநேகம் is dualism(at least two)/ polyism, as you may be aware. Most of these philosophies(deism, monism, henotheism, pantheism, atheism etc) overlap a lot, and yet differ from each other significantly. This is why when Edison gave that interview, many people mistook his remarks as atheist, whereas he was speaking deism, as he clarified later.

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    3. 1) "I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. [Thomas Alva Edison, Columbian Magazine]"

      2) "So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk. [Thomas Edison]"

      3) "I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul... No, all this talk of an existence beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life - our desire to go on living - our dread of coming to an end. [Thomas Edison, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]"

      Source : http://atheism.about.com/library/quotes/bl_q_TAEdison.htm


      All these statements came from Mr. Edison, so he definitely not accepting the concept of Soul, Heaven, Hell, etc.,

      Wheather it is Deism or Atheism, Edison's main intent was to safeguard humanity which was exploited in the name of God, Religion, Soul, Heaven and Hell.

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    4. Yes, he opposed what we today call "Conventional religion". I say "Conventional" because Deists themselves have their own view of God, which also has not been proved scientifically, and hence Deism is also a religious concept(belief-based and not rational), though not conventional like Christianity, which he primarily opposed. So, he naturally opposed the Bible and its concepts of heaven, hell etc. And, as you have quoted, the "personal God" is what he opposed. Not God in general, which is where the significance of Edison being a Deist arises.

      In your second quote too, his mention of religion is directed towards conventional religion, not religion in general, since he himself was a deist, which is an unconventional religious concept(belief-based), but a religious concept nevertheless.

      I have already mentioned in my previous post that Edison did not believe in the immortality of the soul and his letter is proof of that.

      You seem to be talking as though I said Edison accepts the concepts of soul, hell and heaven. If that is so, then please note that I never said such things. I only said he is not an atheist, but a deist, which is significant in this context, since it shows that there are not just two extreme theological/philosophical standpoints(theism and atheism), but a lot of other standpoints in between these two extremes, and deism is one of them. In other words, any one who speaks against a particular concept of God or a religion is not necessarily one who does not believe in God or any religious concept at all! This is what Edison being a deist and not an atheist signifies, and that is why I mentioned this in my post.

      If Edison's main intent was to safeguard humanity from being exploited in the name of religion, then he, as a deist, gave people a different view of God, instead of the God of the Bible because he believed that Christianity, the main religion during his lifetime misled people. But he never said there is no God at all. I end this reply with Edison's own words:

      "I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt."[Source: The Freethinker (1970), G.W. Foote & Company, Volume 90, p. 147].

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