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Date Posted: 11:49
Author: Mike Drake - 6 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Burbank, Microfiche and Statistical Blunders
In reply to: Waqidi - 6 Jun 2001 's message, "Re: Burbank, Microfiche and Statistical Blunders" on 11:46


As I said, I’ve discussed this issue thoroughly. Arguments from gaps in current scientific understanding about dark matter* to the plausibility of the Yogananda’s/Yukteswar’s stellar companion idea are pure non sequitur.

I have nothing more to say on this unless someone can state a plausible (not “far out”) and coherent model of a binary system comprising our Sun and a stellar companion at a 24,000 year periodicity that would yield perturbations so “subtle” as to be undetectable by modern instruments. Your model need not be mathematical, but it must at least broadly cohere with modern observations, and with the Yogananda/Yukteswar hypothesis itself.**

Keep in mind though that Ketch has questioned whether Yogananda even subscribed to the notion, and I may have conflated Yogananda’s and Yukteswar’s doctrines on this. I have to research this, so you may well want to save your energy before trying to forge a revolutionary new theory of dark matter gravitation.


Burbank spoke of the “immortality” of humans in terms of their influence after they pass on.*** Similarly, Burbank’s figurative or loose talk about “supreme intelligence” hardly confirms theism of any sort. And it does seem rather strange to say that a person who counts the word ‘god’ as “meaningless” is nonetheless a theist of some sort. (The semantics of ‘theism’ and ‘atheism’ are notoriously problematic.) Anyway, I will stipulate that Burbank was not an atheist in the strong sense, if only to end debate on a side issue (albeit one I may have inadvertently introduced).

As to the dueling quotations: You can challenge a false attribution when you are alive; you can’t when you are dead. The paper quoted Burbank while he was alive***; Yogananda long after he had died. Thus, while Burbank could have challenged the the authenticity of the paper’s report, he couldn’t have done so with Yogananda’s. (Incidentally: What happened when the paper falsely reported your own father’s demise? I take it the error was corrected somehow?)

I quite agree that “a fundamental aspect of Burbank's belief system” is at issue. All the more reason for Burbank to have challenged the news report if it were true.

Thus, while it is not “circular” to suppose Yogananda’s account facially is just as reliable as the paper’s, it is, ceteris paribus, incorrect.

* Incidentally, and again, the existence of dark matter was postulated, and dark heavenly bodies are today continually discovered, because of PREDICTABLE GRAVITATIONAL EFFECTS on visible bodies. Dark matter is just matter that is currently unseen, and very few contemporary astrophysicists seriously consider the notion that we need a major revision of gravity to understand the gravitational properties of dark matter in its interaction with other, visible bodies. See, e.g., the Scientific American article at http://www.sciam.com/specialissues/0398cosmos/0398rubin.html.

** And the model you gesture to doesn’t: the Yogananda/Yukteswar hypothesis is that, which is that “[the Sun] takes some star for its dual and REVOLVES ABOUT IT [my emphasis] in about 24,000 years." You are describing something quite different.

*** And even if Burbank had died before the article appeared, the article still had the virtue of being roughly contemporaneous (and therefore not subject to the dissipation of memory through the passage of years).

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