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Thread: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

  1. #1

    Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    I am often embarrassed when some Hindus like here and here and here and here justify hindu traditions and philosophy with brainy-sounding gibberish just so it makes people impressed. Why do we have this need to keep shielding our beliefs under the lofty 'scientific' label? Can't we just practice our religion because we think it is fun (and more importantly, safe)?

    As a student of science and a Hindu, I think we should stop trying to justify our religion with pseudo-science. It puts off both the educated and the uneducated people, and makes us seem incredibly stupid and exploitative.

    I do not mean to offend - my apologies if I have. But I think you all will agree with me that there are some aspects to Sanatana Dharma that are not in conflict with humane ethics and perhaps even science. Nyayavadis and Vaishesikas were early atomists. Advaita gives an elaborate theoretical concept of interconnectedness that we can find in nature.

    These should be presented, but we don't have to keep attaching intellectual-sounding gibberish terminology to ridiculous concepts (like 'Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it') just to justify our religion.

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    What irks me the most is when scientific formulae and instructions to build cars, aeroplanes and batteries are claimed to exist in the Vedas.
    namastE astu bhagavan vishveshvarAya mahAdevAya tryaMbakAya|
    tripurAntakAya trikAgnikAlAya kAlAgnirudrAya nIlakaNThAya mRtyuJNjayAya sarveshvarAya sadAshivAya shrIman mAhAdevAya ||

    Om shrImAtrE namah

    sarvam shrI umA-mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu


    A Shaivite library
    http://www.scribd.com/HinduismLibrary

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Vannakkam Analyzer,

    I'm glad you brought this up. I might choose to differ. Yes, I've definitely felt weird myself when reading stuff about scientific discoveries connected to Hinduism and the Vedas. But of course, I also feel proud.

    To tell you the truth, I really, really feel that there is a huge, urgent need to research Hinduism in all possible aspects right now, so connecting scientific discoveries with Hinduism shouldn't be pushed aside just because we should remain modest or keep to ourselves. If we don't do this now, there is a possibility that we might never research or connect the dots at all. And with that, future generations would lose vital facts about our religion. All because we(the present few generations) chose to be modest about it? What you mentioned is not wrong, and I feel the same sometimes, but if others are interested in proving and researching, why not let them? We might never know the truth if not.

    From my observations, born Hindus are getting further and further away from Hinduism as the generations go by. Every new generation of Hindus born are becoming more universalist in their outlook. Most hardly care about Hinduism already, let alone study its ancient scientific discoveries. So why not let those who are still interested research it thoroughly and make all sorts of connections? One day, eventually, we'll know for sure if the scientific stuff mentioned in the Vedas were true or not.

    Unless if the justification seems extremely impossible. But if it's possible, why not give it a try? That's how we learn and new discoveries are made.

    IMHO, I think this feeling of 'needing to justify' stems from complex feelings of trying to prove to others, especially the westerners, that our religion and culture is 'great' too. Years of colonialism and proselytism by Europeans and Muslims have left the Hindu religious intellectual classes having an immense need to assert themselves in proving the truth of our(Indian/Hindu) 'greatness'. And to add to that, we also love showing that our religion and culture is the oldest and what not. Nothing wrong with that, but when scientific discoveries and lost civilisations supposedly using flying vehicles and stuff are brought into the scene repeatedly, it gets you feeling weird. Of course there's always a possibility of these having existed.

    So why not let it be? And those who are interested can continue researching.



    Aum Namah Shivaya

  4. #4

    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Quote Originally Posted by the_analyzer View Post
    I am often embarrassed when some Hindus like here and here and here and here justify hindu traditions and philosophy with brainy-sounding gibberish just so it makes people impressed. Why do we have this need to keep shielding our beliefs under the lofty 'scientific' label? Can't we just practice our religion because we think it is fun (and more importantly, safe)?

    As a student of science and a Hindu, I think we should stop trying to justify our religion with pseudo-science. It puts off both the educated and the uneducated people, and makes us seem incredibly stupid and exploitative.

    I do not mean to offend - my apologies if I have. But I think you all will agree with me that there are some aspects to Sanatana Dharma that are not in conflict with humane ethics and perhaps even science. Nyayavadis and Vaishesikas were early atomists. Advaita gives an elaborate theoretical concept of interconnectedness that we can find in nature.

    These should be presented, but we don't have to keep attaching intellectual-sounding gibberish terminology to ridiculous concepts (like 'Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it') just to justify our religion.
    I am sorry to say this but your post is a classic example of brainy-sounding gibberish.

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Quote Originally Posted by the_analyzer View Post
    These should be presented, but we don't have to keep attaching intellectual-sounding gibberish terminology to ridiculous concepts (like 'Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it') just to justify our religion.
    This is not phrased scientifically based on credible sources, but there are many health promoting compounds that can be absorbed transdermally. Whether abhir is health promoting, I don't know, but turmeric which is also used as a paste for the skin in Hindu ceremonies, has many health benefits.

    I am not a fan of how reformists have tried to revision the Vedas based on the scientific ideas of their times, because it was largely based on imagination and shame of one's own religion. But there are many signs that the ancient Indians possessed tremendous knowledge of weaponry and space travel. This is not revisionism, but is directly mentioned in the shastras.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_analyzer View Post
    I do not mean to offend - my apologies if I have. But I think you all will agree with me that there are some aspects to Sanatana Dharma that are not in conflict with humane ethics and perhaps even science. Nyayavadis and Vaishesikas were early atomists. Advaita gives an elaborate theoretical concept of interconnectedness that we can find in nature.
    Hinduism does not have to conform to humanism and "modern" science. We also don't need to emphasize parts of Hinduism that appear to conform with western philosophical ideas or modern science. On the one hand you criticise Hindus for looking scientific justifications for their beliefs and on the other hand you try to do the same thing with nyaya, vaisheshika and advaita vedanta.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_analyzer View Post
    As a student of science and a Hindu, I think we should stop trying to justify our religion with pseudo-science. It puts off both the educated and the uneducated people, and makes us seem incredibly stupid and exploitative.
    The revisionism of Dayananda and Vivekananda involves ignoring the traditional interpretation of the shastras in favour of new interpretations that conform well to humanism, post enlightenment rationalism, monotheism and the popular scientific ideas of the time. I am strongly opposed to this.

    But in this article the idea of an Aryan Invasion is also taken as a hard scientific truth. There is a major problem with western history as a science. Hindus have all right to use their own indigenous and traditional sources, instead of accounts recorded by the Greeks, Persians, Arabs or the British. That is not pseudo science. Also, comparing the epistemology of the ancient Indian traditions with western ones is not pseudo science. Jyotish is also not pseudo science, but is more of an arte scienza.
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 30 March 2013 at 09:19 AM.

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Analyzer, I'd completely agree with you and Omkara. The claims made by "Vedic Scientists" are utterly ridiculous and without any scientific merit. Why can't we Hindus just appreciate our religion for what it is instead of embracing lies? And make no mistake: if you investigate these claims fully and have the proper scientific training, you'll find that the claims are outright lies.

    I think that reconciliation of what we believe with science comes about by not imposing literal interpretations on our Scriptures (which we already do not do!), not by making preposterous claims that ancient Indians had knowledge of human cloning or the theory of gravity.

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Vannakkam: Still, it is unwise to just chuck all stuff from historical cultures as nonsense. The area that really irks me is herbals, but it may stand out as different from other areas. Here in North America, we have lost a lot of knowledge due to European superiority complex regarding "My way is smarter." This despite the fact that the natives cured them of scurvy using tree bark.

    Just now westerner medicine is researching turmeric, chillies, curry leaf, etc, and finding all these crazy health benefits.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Quote Originally Posted by sanjaya View Post
    I think that reconciliation of what we believe with science comes about by not imposing literal interpretations on our Scriptures (which we already do not do!), not by making preposterous claims that ancient Indians had knowledge of human cloning or the theory of gravity.
    Knowledge of gravity was known by ancient Indian scholars like Brahmagupta, they did not have an exact mathematical formula for gravitational speed on earth, but the concept of gravity already existed before Newton.

    "Scholars have declared that the globe of the earth is in the midst of heaven, and that Mount Meru, the home of Devas, as well as Vadavamukha below, is the home of their opponents; the Daitya and Dhanava belong to it. But his below is according to them is only a relative one. Disregarding this, we say that the earth on all its sides is the same; all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy things fall down to the earth by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to attract and to keep things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that of fire to burn, and that of wind to set in motion… The earth is the only low thing, and seeds always return to it, in whatever direction you may throw them away, and never rise upwards from the earth." ~Brahmagupta



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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Swampy subject this one.

    I agree with Sahasra on this one, in lots of fields Hindus displayed great knowledge since ancient times.

    But there's also a lot of dishonest religious justification that tries to validate religion on the basis of science. This also shows us how science became like a packaged judgemental worldview and not a mode of seeking.

    Whenever people go on ranting about how religion is irrational and against science, I just tell them to remind of the Hindus, developing great science and religious/philosophy at the same time.

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    Re: Looking stupid trying to justify pseudo-science

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    Knowledge of gravity was known by ancient Indian scholars like Brahmagupta, they did not have an exact mathematical formula for gravitational speed on earth, but the concept of gravity already existed before Newton.

    "Scholars have declared that the globe of the earth is in the midst of heaven, and that Mount Meru, the home of Devas, as well as Vadavamukha below, is the home of their opponents; the Daitya and Dhanava belong to it. But his below is according to them is only a relative one. Disregarding this, we say that the earth on all its sides is the same; all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy things fall down to the earth by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to attract and to keep things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that of fire to burn, and that of wind to set in motion… The earth is the only low thing, and seeds always return to it, in whatever direction you may throw them away, and never rise upwards from the earth." ~Brahmagupta
    Well the Greeks knew this too. I'm sure lots of ancient cultures did. Knowledge of gravity is fairly obvious, after all, since any natural philosopher who sits down and thinks about his environment for a few minutes will notice it. On a sidenote, I'd add that the Greeks were also aware of the shape of the earth, since a Greek person devised the means of calculating the earth's radius using shadow lengths measured during an equinox. But knowing that gravity exists is different from constructing a theory of gravity, whereby the effect of gravity can be generalized and quantified. Newton was the first to do this. Yeah, he was a Westerner, but who cares? I want to stress that Brahmagupta was an excellent mathematician and astronomer. But he didn't postulate a theory of gravity. At best, the above quote is an observation that things fall.

    Here's the thing: Indians have made real contributions to science. People could be talking about Chandrasekhar and Ramanujan. And there are plenty of modern day Indian scientists as well. But to say that ancient Indians (or anyone before Newton, for that matter) knew how gravity worked is just patently wrong. And if anyone wants to prove me wrong I'd love to see a formulation of a theory of gravity from the Vedic period. It weakens the Hindu position, in my opinion, when we make such ridiculous claims that can be easily falsified. Why don't we celebrate real Indian accomplishments instead of making things up?

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