September 3 2008

Ever see the movie ‘The Return of the Fly’? Its about a scientist who invents a machine that disassembles the atomic structure of a body and reassembles it elsewhere. The problem comes when the inventor puts himself into the machine and fails to notice a fly entering the chamber with him. Out the other end comes a human body with a fly’s head

fly brain

and a fly’s body with a human head

another fly brain

Whoops! Sorry Dubya, this is meant to be a non-political column….

Anyway, nowadays scientists are admitting that flies do actually have intelligence (no offence again to George Bush) 

A recent article on BBC news reported that scientists in America have discovered why flies are so difficult to swat: 

August 29 2008

Researchers in the US say that they have solved the mystery of why flies are so hard to swat.

They think the fly’s ability to dodge being hit is due to its fast acting brain and an ability to plan ahead.

High speed, high resolution video recordings revealed the insects quickly work out where a threat is coming from and prepare an escape route. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.Over the years there have been different theories put forward to explain the fly’s uncanny ability to outwit our whacking endeavours.But scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) say it is down to quick-fire intelligence and good planning. They filmed a series of experiments with fruit flies and a looming swatter. The researchers discovered that long before the fly leaps it calculates the location of the threat and comes up with an escape plan.Flies put their bodies into pre-flight mode very rapidly – Within 100 milliseconds of spotting the swatter they can position their centre of mass in the right way so that a simple extension of their legs propels them away from any threat.The scientists found that flies were able to put themselves into this rapid reaction position no matter whether they were grooming, feeding or simply walking.According to Caltech’s Professor Michael Dickinson this illustrates the speed and complexity of the fly’s brain.Threat perception:

“We’ve found that when the fly makes planning movements prior to take-off, it takes into account its body position at the time it first sees the threat,” he explained.

“Our experiments showed that the fly somehow ‘knows’ whether it needs to make large or small postural changes.

“This means the fly must integrate visual information from its eyes which tell it where the threat is approaching from, with mechano-sensory information from its legs, which tells it how to move to reach the proper pre-flight pose.”

Without the use of high speed cameras and huge expenditure, Srila Prabhupada, with a little use of transcendental intelligence, pointed out that all creatures are souls, sentient beings equipped with the five senses, a mind and intelligence:

[TD 6 – unpublished] December 14th 1976 – Hyderabad

Early this morning at 5:30 a.m. I answered Prabhupada’s call and went in to his room. He had been working on the Ninth Canto and now his night’s labor was finished. When I entered, it was to find him peering intently at the base of his desk lamp. Many small insects were lying there and Prabhupada pointed to them. He indicated one tiny fellow crawling across his desk and he put his finger just in front of it, blocking its progress. Immediately the insect began to walk around the obstacle. Again Prabhupada put his finger in front and again the creature maneuvered past. “Just see,” Prabhupada said, indicating it with an upward move of his eyebrows. “Every living being is complete. This attraction to light means the mind is present. They have all thinking, feeling and willing.”

 And if there is intelligence at work in such insects, this is indicative of a higher source of intelligence:

 [TD 3] July 5 1976 – Washington DC

Sadäpüta started to talk about some of the problems faced when making presentations of Kåñëa consciousness to students, so Çréla Prabhupäda clarified what our approach should be. “No, no. We don’t condemn the scientists. We say that ‘Take credit as much as you can. But why do you defy the existence of God?’ That is our protest.”
Sadäpüta said it was because they want to be God.
“That is their foolishness,” Çréla Prabhupäda said. “Have we not published that ‘You have created 747. All right, take credit. But you cannot make a mosquito with pilot. Can you?’ ‘No.’ ‘So how can you defy the supreme creator?’ We are taking it, there is supreme creator.”
Svarüpa Dämodara said, “That basic point they find it hard to understand.”
“Because they are blind,” Prabhupäda said. “It is common sense, that you have created the 747. So somebody must have created this, a small insect. This is common sense. You cannot see Him, that is your bad fortune; but somebody has done it.”
Båñäkapi said, “To be able to be so fooled, that is the greatest wonder. How it’s so obvious that there’s a creator, but yet one can say there is no creator.”
Çréla Prabhupäda agreed. “That is foolishness. That we are protesting, that ‘You rascal, you stop this nonsense talking.’ There is son and there is mother; there must be father. This is conclusion. And, ‘I do not see father. I do not see that.’ But without father, how there can be son? This is intelligence.”
One of the devotees found Prabhupäda’s earlier response to Sadäpüta’s question ambiguous. “On the one hand you say the scientists are rascals, and on the other you say not to condemn them.”
Çréla Prabhupäda’s answer was pellucid; there was no contradiction. “No, rascal means when they say there is no God, then they are rascals. Here is a scientist—he does not say that there is no God. Anyone who says there is no God, he’s a rascal, he may be scientist, philosopher or anyone.”
A constant theme of Prabhupäda’s preaching is the logic of recognizing that if there is a mother and offspring, then there must also be a father.

1. Madhava_bbsr
September 4th, 2008 at 8:32 am

Hari-sauri Prabhu wrote:

“(no offence again to George Bush)”

What about offending the poor flies? I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone stuck a picture of George Bush’s head over my body. 🙂

2. domainmaster
January 2nd, 2009 at 2:45 am


Thank you! I would now go on this blog every day!

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