Thursday, May 26, 2005

The New Yorker: Darwin's Enemies

The New Yorker: Fact

This is a great article that brings out the badness of the new "intelligent design" theory. Well, I shouldn't say it is new for it has been around since time immemorial.

In the US, parts of which are extremely conservative, attempts are being made to project "I.D" as a valid explanation for the way things are.

This article brings out the crux of the ID theory and then goes to show why these ideas are faulty. A very thought provoking article.

Something that is similar to this is happening in India too - the truth is not being taught in classrooms and theories that are closer to the truth are getting suppressed.

The Aryan Invasion Theory has now been widely discredited. Why, scientists and historians are even speaking of an out-of-India theory wherein after a very early migration from Africa, which is supposed to be the place where all life began, into South Asia, man then migrated to other parts of Europe and the world.

Contrast this with the theory where "fair skinned Aryans" rode on their horses from the Eurasian steppes, conquered the "dark skinned natives" and drove them to South India. This theory, popularly known as the Aryan Invasion Theory, has been discredited for the past twenty years and more. But this unfortunately has caused a lot of harm - Hitler's Aryan myth had disastrous results. The DMK's half-baked self-hating ideology is also rooted in this Invasion theory. Even though this theory has been well discredited, secessionists, Islamic militants, Marxists and Christian Evangelists of various hues hold on very dearly to this theory as it serves their selfish needs.

As a result of all this, "Aryan Invasion" is what I studied in school. After "growing up", I now have developed a theory agnosticism. History is good - but should not be used for petty political and social gain. But the Truth, whatever it may be, is important and should not be subordinated to a pet political idea.

Acknowledging the "Aryan Invasion idea" as just a theory should be enough for children. Politics should not enter the classroom. But in India, as in the US, political attempts to brainwash a generation, have entered classrooms. This situation is indeed deplorable.

It is interesting - whatever government comes to power, the pet ideas of that Government are foisted on the people. Bush's Christist agenda is amply reflected in the ID vs. Evolution debate. The Congress party's anti-Hindu and anti-truth agenda and the BJP's pro-Hindu agenda are clearly reflected in their text book policies.

The article is thought provoking. But, though I am not an atheist, evolution still seems a viable theory to me.

Another idea that seems funny in Christism* is that God made Man in His own image. Why ? The dinosaurs probably thought that God was like them! The cats and dogs probably think that God made themin His image! Don't Christists fight against idolatory? Isn't making God a human shaped being idolatory? By restricting God to a human like appearance, they essentially limit what God is and isn't. This, according to me, is blasphemy. sanAtana dharma, Buddhism and most non-Semitic religions don't have this problem. Some parts of Hinduism like the Hare Krishnas, dvaitins and other devotional sects believe in a personal physical form of God, in spite of God being transcendental. But Advaitins place no such restriction on God. For God is what is and is free of attachment to any form. God can take a form or may not.

Darwin's theory is remarkable for its scope and simplicity. It is not a sacred cow but it looks like it is a very plausible theory. (As for Marx and Freud discussed in the article, the Christists are my friends)

*(not Christianity - as they derogatorily refer to other religions as 'isms and so I'm paying them back in the same coin. This terminology is courtesy Prof S Kalyanaraman)

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