Bhaktivedanta Institute Lectures

Interview Discussing Parallels

Thompson offers a comprehensive synopsis of his book, Alien Identities (also titled Parallels: Ancient Insights into Modern UFO Phenomena), in this hour and a half interview. He explains that after examining a vast array of UFO accounts gathered over recent decades, he pieced together a comprehensive survey suggesting compelling similarities among divergent contemporary accounts, as well as with testimonies from ancient culture. Thompson reports intriguing parallels in areas including remote viewing, paranormal research, and Christian mysticism.

God & the Laws of Physics

Beginning with the concept of deterministic chaos, which describes immeasurably small forces magnifying into a large effect, coupled with insights drawn from quantum mechanics involving probability distribution, Thompson examines Eugene Wigner’s analysis of the conscious observer and the laws of physics. He then expands upon this discussion by considering several natural systems such as butterfly wing diffraction gratings, E. coli flagella, and DNA gyrase, that suggest complexity in light of contemporary evolutionary theory.

Origin of Living Systems

At an academic gathering of scientists at the University of Houston–Clear Lake, Thompson describes bio-molecular systems that appear to challenge neo-Darwinian perspectives. In one example, he discusses an analysis involving algorithmic information theory that corresponds to constructs found within the Puranic traditions, which identify with subtle energies such as mind, intelligence, and false ego.

Discussions on Puranic Cosmology

In a 40-minute conversation involving production details for a video project, Thompson explores philosophical nuances identified with Puranic cosmography. He further considers limitations identified with a “literal” interpretation colored by modern discourse, subsequently projected upon ancient discourse. Thompson raises numerous questions, such as: “How does Bhu-mandala relate to the earth of our experience,” and “Why are there different representations” offered within the Puranic tradition?

Evolutionary Theory

Thompson’s introduction to this seminar examines both the contrasts and comparisons between Gaudiya Vaisnava perspectives of the natural world and neo-Darwinian analyses. Since the Bhagavat Purana presents a life-centered worldview in contrast to scientific perspectives that consider life as a by-product of matter, that could suggest an essential conflict.

Can a Machine Be Conscious?

In the second presentation from the series, Thompson explores concepts identified with Alan Turing that consider human beings as material machines. Thompson suggests concerns arise when analyzing these issues in light of higher order constructs such as intelligence and consciousness.

Opinions of Scientists

This recording was part of a set of slide show presentations illustrating modern and ancient views of the natural world and life’s origins. In this presentation, Thompson examines existential perplexities identified with contemporary reductionist theories that focus on life as a “chemical and organizational structure of patterns.”

Is Evolution Fact?

Thompson discusses creationism-evolutionism debates while exploring a principle fundamental to Darwinian theory: that mechanistic processes governed by random events transform one life form into another. He introduces complexity to this paradigm by considering biological issues involving DNA gyrase function and E. coli flagella. Thompson proposes examples such as these present relevant challenges to an exclusively mechanistic paradigm.

UFOs

Mainstream scientists and other intellectuals generally consider cross-cultural historical accounts of unidentified aerial phenomena as superstition. But the similarity of the mystic tales of ethereal beings found within the Vedic and other ancient traditions, with details reported in numerous contemporary accounts, gives Thompson pause. He suggests the possibility that aspects of modern Western cultural transmission inhibits the experience of subtle levels of perception.

Time According to the Vedas

Puranic concepts of time as “an active potency of the Supreme which manipulates the material energy,” can appear incompatible with Einstein's analysis of time as a geometric coordinate in the fabric of space. All the same, Thompson considers the rich complexity of the Puranic accounts, which include calculation of time based on atomic action, the motion of the stars and planets in terms of arc-seconds, and time dilation over cosmic distances.

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