Part Five 4th September 2004 4

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Morning program. The India Experience team stayed in a large building in the woods outside of Turku. The building normally serves as the clubhouse of a hiking organization.

Standing before the University of Turku. I am with Tattavada Prabhu, the Helsinki temple president.

Today, on the afternoon of 30 September, I am to give a talk to the students and faculty of the philosophy department.

Before the attendees arrive, I write key points of my presentation on the whiteboard.

Both the devotees and the philosophy department faculty were surprised at how many attendees there were for my talk. Attendance was voluntary; students were not obliged by the university to come. But so many came that extra chairs had to be brought in from other rooms.

Here I explain that empiricism relies upon the "correspondence theory of knowledge", which holds that our language must correspond to physical objects readily evident to the senses in order for us to say anything true and meaningful. For example, the term "green felt pen" makes valid sense because it corresponds to a physically apparent green felt pen. Then I went on to tell why this theory of knowledge is deficient.

After the lecture, Tattvavada Prabhu and I met with faculty members for herbal tea and prasadam cake and cookies.

After the tea party, I spent some time with Juha-Pekka Pellonpaa, a member of the physics faculty who holds a Ph.D. in quantum physics. His specialty is quantum field theory, which is concerned with the mathematical "ether" in which quantum events take place. We had a lively discussion.

Here Dr. Pellonpaa explains the workings of a special microscope that is used to "see" objects as small as a single atom. The microscope has an extremely tiny electrified needle as its sensor. When the needle is brought near an atom, the microscope registers an image that looks like a ball. "We call these balls atoms," Pellonpaa explained. "However, when we change the microscope's needle, then the image of the ball looks different from the way it did with the old needle. So I don't know that we are really seeing atoms with this instrument."

Dr. Pellonpaa told me that the modern conception of the size of the universe is based upon assumptions that he personally is not convinced of. "I don't believe in the Big Bang theory," he said. He is very interested in the Vedas and had many questions about Vedic atomism and cosmology.

Helsinki, Finland
3 October 2004

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