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Submitted by: Suyash Agrawal

Guided by: Mr.Harshvardhan

Q.1 Write the summary on the given topic ?


The Bhaktivedanta Institute at Rome and Kolkata is organizing the Second International Congress on Life and Its Origin Exploration from Science and Spiritual/Religious Traditions in Rome from November 11 to 14, 2004. It is an interdisciplinary project and scholars from various fields of science and spiritual disciplines of the world will participate in this Congress.

DR. T.D. Singh (His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami) was the one who organized the conference. He was a scientist and spritualist known for his pioneering efforts in the synthesis of science and religion for a deeper understanding of life and the universe. The congress was a humble attempt to carry aout his grand vission for harmonizing the modern culture through the synthesis of science and spirituality.
Purpose of the conference:

Most scientific studies and conferences on Life and its Origin are focussed on examining whether life, a living cell, could be a product of complex molecular reactions of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, water, etc. through chemical evolution. However, the present knowledge of molecular paradigm of life alone is unable to fully describe and understand life and its origin. Although scientists can synthesize some basic chemicals in the laboratory which are important components for living beings, the answer to the fundamental question, 'what is life?' is still quite far away. The purpose of the present conference is to examine seriously the deeper insights of life and its origin through the inter-disciplinary approach of science and spirituality/theology incorporating the religious principle that life is a spiritual particle. This will be done by drawing inspirations from major religious/spiritual traditions of the world, especially from the ancient Vedantic tradition of India. Also a part of the purpose is to carefully examine the scientific data from the religious viewpoint and to

generate some new research projects for the scientific study of life, its meaning and purpose, consciousness, and God.

Q.2) What are the inspiring points of the conference?

The existing molecular paradigms for explaining life and its origin, such as Oparin's model of coacervates, Fox's model of protenoid microspheres, Cairns-Smith's model of clay as our grandfather, Christian de Duve's thioester model, Miller's electrical discharge reactions to stimulate lightening in a so-called primordial gaseous mixture of H2, H2O, NH3, CH4, etc., of the presumed primordial or early earth, the RNA world, etc., seem to be quite insufficient for understanding life and its origin. The incredible improbability of the evolution of a living cell from a cosmic molecular soup against many odds of known laboratory chemical reaction conditions, for example, maintaining an optimum pH, reaction time, proper concentration of reacting molecules, reaction medium(solid or liquid phase), overcoming the thermodynamic barrier, isolation of reaction products, and so on, forces us to consider with utmost seriousness a deeper and broader study of life beyond the molecular paradigm. According to the major spiritual traditions of the world, especially the ancient Vedantic tradition of India, there is a spiritual dimension to life which accounts for the purpose and meaning in life. The indication is that there is a fundamental spiritual particle of life called atman(in Sanskrit). According to Vedantic literatures, the seed of life atman or `spiriton' or the soul is injected by the Supreme Lord in the womb of mother nature and by the interaction of `spiriton' with the material particles, various life forms develop on earth. This paradigm will also form the scientific argument about the existence of God and His creation.

Thus we have two models: (i) First, the pure material scientific model, which proclaims that molecules will lead to life called molecular evolution or molecules to combination of (a)molecules, and (b)atman('spiriton' or life particle or soul) or matter + spiriton will lead to life and can be represented as , consciousness is a quality of atman(life). We can find support of the second model from the following statement of Niels Bohr, "We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has even a remote bearing on consciousness. Yet all of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence, consciousness must be part of nature, or more generally, or reality, which means that, quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must also consider laws of quite a different nature." In the Vedantic worldview consciousness is a spiritual quality of life. John Eccles, the Nobel Laureate neuro-psychologist further echoed, "There is a fundamental mystery in my personal existence, transcending the biological account of the development of my body and my brain. That belief, of course, is in keeping with the religious concept of the soul and with its special creation by God." This, in the present conference it would be very fruitful to make a serious attempt to examine and incorporate the viewpoints of spiritual traditions in the scientific study of life and its origin. Through this conference we would attempt to answer the questions such as: 1. Can the state of the art scientific knowledge satisfactorily explain phenomena like consciousness, bio-diversity, cloning, and the origin of life? Or how could current scientific studies help in explaining consciousness which is the primary quality of life? 2. How could we interpret the experimental findings related to life and its origin from the religious/spiritual wisdom?

3. What kind of new spiritual meaning and knowledge might we obtain through an integrated, interdisciplinary study of life and its origin? 4. Can a focus on life's origin from various spiritual traditions of the world help us to better understand evolution? 5. What are the possible means to introduce some of the wisdoms from religious/spiritual traditions of the world into the scientific mainstream? Unlike most of the conferences on life and its origin, which mainly comprise of either scientists or religionists, the present conference will provide a very fertile and open platform to both scientists and reigionists to come together and exchange their views to explore together the most important knowledge - the knowledge of life and God. By exploring these questions or those posed by the conference participants and through the dialogues, presentation of invited papers, interaction of the participants, and by taking a broadly interdisciplinary perspective, this conference will provide a vital stratigic step in broadening our understanding of life and its origin and scientific understanding of God's plan for the universe and to generate some possible future research areas for the study of life and its origin. Darwin never really discussed the actual origin of life in his famed book On the Origin of Species. He was more concerned with the mechanisms of evolutionary change as seen in the diversity of life today, as well as the few trophies of nature found in fossils. His next most (semi)popular volume also would not examine this question but instead dealt a harder blow to the ego of humanity by putting us under the microscope of evolutionary detection. Contemporary writers, armed with more information and separated from churchly matters, are in close reach of answering, or at least understanding more fully, how life originated. Peter Ward and Don Brownlee's Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe is a stellar example of clear writing on a

complex issue. For to ask "What is life?"or about the astronomical and geological forces that helped or hindered life's origin requires patience with the intended audience. The authors offer "a long grocery list of ingredients seemingly necessary to make a planet teeming with life." The first is the formation of the planet itself, its location in a solar system (its potential habitable zone), its debris-catching neighbor (in our case Jupiter) and even its location in the galaxy, where "celestial catastrophes" like supernovae, impacting bodies, extreme radiation and heat would prove fatal for any beginning life, never mind its ability to sustain itself. In our solar system are examples of lifeless planets. And we can see why. Proximity to the sun, rotational axis, orbital motion and largescale impactsall can prove detrimental. Impacts were rather common in the early solar system. Until most of the impacting agents subsided, life did not have a chance to take off. (How many other planets had the right stuff early on in their evolution but were globally wiped out?) Yet some of these early colliding agents may have, in fact, contributed some of the necessary biochemical seeds of life. These seeds may have been amino acids, from which proteins evolved. Then the problem of complexity arose, more commonly referred to as the chicken-and-egg conundrum: Proteins had to be already present to assemble the molecules whose job it is to assemble proteins in the first place. Ward and Brownlee favor a hypothesis with an RNA catalyst forming first. Yet an RNA scenario would limit the choices of origination, because RNA is more temperature-sensitive than DNA. The RNA-first idea would rule out such suspects for the origination of life as thermophilic microbes like those found near hydrothermal vents. Rather, mesophiles, organisms that accept warm but not hot temperatures, would be more suitable. Eventually, as complex genes developed, all three taxonomic domainsArchaea, Bacteria and Eucaryaemerged. Realizing that eukaryotic-cell development took time, on the order of a billion years,

the authors note that "the jump from single-celled organisms to organisms of multiple cells requires numerous evolutionary steps," even more so for animals. Not to mention alterations in atmospheric conditions, specifically the shift toward the higher ratio of oxygen similar to today. Ward and Brownlee summarize many of the current lines of early biotic research, particularly the consequences of the near-fatal global glaciations 2.4 billion years ago and 800650 million years ago, "when Earth teetered dangerously close to becoming too cold for any life." The challenges our planet has faced throughout its history should also provide exemplary "challenge[s] to astrobiology." For example, was the Cambrian Explosion, a biological event some 600 million years ago that saw the rapid emergence of all the phyla we see today (perhaps even more), "inevitable once a certain level of biological organization had evolved"? The fact that it took 3 billion years from the emergence of life to reach this level of multicellular organization suggests "that forming animal life is a much more difficult ? project than the initial formation of nonanimal life," considering all the hoops and near-fatal consequences. Maintaining diversity, however, is still a tricky business, as seen in mass extinction. Admittedly, mass extinction may have provided avenues or spaces for previously submissive taxa to radiate, but, as Ward and Brownlee report, the near global calamities are obvious. Among the culprits: the famed asteroid/comet impact scenario, minor alterations in the axial spin of the planets, energy output of the sun, radiation emissions, ice and runaway greenhouse gases. Thus, the events astronomical, geological (including plate tectonics, apparently unique to our planet) and biologicaltabulated require sober realization that higher forms of animal life are rare. In reformulating the famous Drake equation, which tabulates the mathematical potential of intelligent life in the universe, Ward and

Brownlee have their own "Rare Earth Equation," which puts more restrictive parameters on the existence of higher animals on other worlds. Each component in the equation is multiplied after the other so that if each component nears zero, the entire equation will have a lower value. Through our galactic, planetary, geological and biological history, we may have emerged, through time, as the only voice in the stellar choir. In The Emergence of Life on Earth, Iris Fry's focus is a little different more biological, less astronomical and geological. The author contends that "life based on carbon and water is anything but a rare phenomenon" and stays away from the issue of higher or lower life forms. From the Greeks to Aquinas, the emergence of species was a nonissue, according to the church and the notion of spontaneous generation. With spontaneous generation, no matter how much the natural philosophers poked and prodded, an intelligent designer was still behind the cause. Although Darwin implied greatly as to a mechanism of species transmutation, the issue of spontaneous generation would not see its downfall until the experimentation of Pasteur in the latter half of the 19th century. With this, the possible mechanisms of life's origin remained in limbo but only for a short time. The publications of Alexander Oparin and J. B. S. Haldane in the 1920s "proposed for the first time," Fry notes, "specific hypotheses about the geographical conditions on an ancient Earth and the constituents of the early atmosphere that made this synthesis possible." Oparin, by understanding colloid chemistry, found that when certain polymers reach a critical level, two distinct reactions occur. As microdroplets form, they gather more substances and "a sort of primitive metabolism" takes place. The droplets grow and eventually divide. Down the evolutionary line, "while the first creatures exploited the chemical energy stored in organic substances in the environment, those

that followed were forced to rely on alternative means to produce energy," a form of natural selection. Haldane proposed that the prebiotic chemical soup was stirred and changed through ultraviolet radiation. The origin-of-lifers got a boost in the 1950s with the work of Stanley Miller, who was able to synthesize organic molecules in a laboratory version of the primordial world. But were the originators of life proteins or replicating molecules? Like Ward and Brownlee, Fry, in much more exhausting detail, describes the chicken-and-egg problem, the evolution of possible solutions, and, coming to the fore, the so-called RNA world hypothesis. It is at this point that Fry hints at matters seemingly external to the issue of the scientific pursuits in the origin-of-life question. Whereas Ward and Brownlee used earth history to an astrobiological end, Fry notes that as the issue of the origin of life became more possible to discover, hence more publicly known, the social implications, primarily the religious overtones, emerged as relevant. The chicken-and-egg problem has provoked many creationists to label this as a crisis in science, whereas scientists "consider it a challenge that calls for new ideas about the mechanisms responsible for the emergence of life under prebiotic conditions." Fry then outlines several developments that include the inorganic "scaffolding" model from which organic molecules could have arisen and the recently discovered ribosymes that "catalyze the cutting and joining of segments of RNA." This latter discovery may constitute some of the nuts and bolts of the RNA world. The final third of The Emergence of Life on Earth examines sociological and religious implications. Despite the pursuit's being unfathomable to a creationist who believes the "intelligent design" doctrine, the search

for how life emerged requires a scientific methodology, and testing empirical evidence promotes the search for knowledge. The Emergence of Life on Earth does not describe the roles external forces played in evolution, like those outlined by Ward and Brownlee, but this may be an unfair comparison. And even if Fry has provided far more detail than the general reader can consume, the intensity of the research outlined, the novel solutions and the sociological implications won't be underestimated by anyone. These are two worthwhile journeys back to the beginning of life.

Q.3)What are the applications if this topic ?

Humanities are acadamic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical or critical, as distinguished from the mainly emperical approaches of the natural sciences. Thus for all students the studies of humanities is very important because it inculcates to a sense of well being within the students apart from the scientific and practical outlook they achieve from their curriculum and main subjects . So, the education of engineer is incomplete without the study of humanities. Humanities teaches about our environment assets and their behavior as well as how the human race has evlved and affected it . it also makes us face our spiritual side which we often neglect in our day to day life.philosophy is an integral part humanities. Philosophyetymologically,the love of wisdom is generally the study of problems concerning matter such as existence, knowledge, justification,

truth, justice,right, and wrong ,beauty, validity,mind and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addresing these issues by its critical, generally systematic approch and its relince on reasoned argument , rather than experiment. Philosophy used to be a very comprehensive term,including what havesubsequently become seprate disciplines , such as physics . today , the main fields of philosophy are logic,metatphysics and epistemolgy.Still,there continues to be plenty of overlap wit other disciplines ; the field of sematics , for examples , brings philosophy into contact with linguistics . philosophy is very essential , and to be included in our life for our existence as a cheerful being It conforts us about sustainable development ,sustainable development(sd)is a pattrn of resource use , that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so thatthese needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come (sometimes tought as ELF- environment,local people, future).The term was used by the Bruntland commission which coined what has become the most often quoted defination of sustainable development as development thatmeets the need of the presnt without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable develop0ement ties together cocern for the carrying capacity of natural system with social challanges facing humanities.