Assault on Rationality, political strategy? dr. james kottoor

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James kottoorScientific temper or Irrationality based on crackpot mythology?           

“Assault on or vilification of Rationality” and “Glorification or facelift of Irrationality” is the central theme of Sanjay Rajoura’s article in the Hindu. Please read it  below. 

The cherished goal is to dethrone “Lead Kindly Light” of Cardinal Newman and to enthrone belief in “blind, brute forces of darkness” to guide the onward march of Bharat of unity in multiplicity, into further depths of decline and degradation, instead of scaling the intended  heights of progress and well being in all fields! 

Blind leading Blind

“Blind leading the blind is bound to fall into bottomless pit,” is what experience and wisdom of ages have taught us always. Frequent changes and speed with which they happen, are unstoppable; the question is, if they are taking the country forward or backward! 

Recall the recent posts in CCV, ‘Age of darkness’ by TJS George and commentary on it by Varghese Pamplanil expressing their worst fears and angst about the present political leadership, led and abetted by the unscientific, ante-deluvian and mythical or puranic thinking of the RSS and their cohorts wedded to a dream of unreachable Hindu Rastra.

Old is gold dream!

For them ‘Old is gold’. Plastic surgery was first done in Mahabharata times (e.g. Genesh head), so also air planes (Pushpak Viman) and internet; Babas and Sadhus  were and are better placed than Statesmen with modern scientific know-how to lead the ignorant masses as CMs and MLAs and what not!

What are  all these, if not signs of the dawn of an era of irrationality, due to a certain obsession with ‘crack-pot, unverifiable, pseudo-sciences’ like astrology, palmistry and mythology which the so-called political pundits use, at best, as a fig leaf to cover their intellectual nakedness.

What is worse, these ideas are given wide, speedy and unfettered publicity through multiple relay-races where the ‘batton of stupidities’ is handed over by millions of ‘Pracharaks’ to their nearest neighbor across the country.

Criminal silence!

If the country is going from equality, fraternity, human rights of a ‘Vasudeiva Kudumbakam’ or ‘Loka samasta sukhino Bavanthu’ vision of the Indian Constitution, it is because of the criminal neglect of the so-called good, enlightened intellectuals who keep their mouths shut. Instead why don’t they, which must include all of us, to  speak up and demonstrate in public space as is happening now in US against proliferation of guns, or in Europe and Russia against human right violations by the financially and  politically strong?

In religious domain

Similar things are happening equally in the field of organized religions like Islam and ‘Churchianity’ (divided and fighting churches for domination). Religion is for uniting people, not dividing them in the name of a definitely invisible  God one may choose to believe in or not. 

If one chooses to believe in such an invisible One, he has to see and serve Him, in his visible brothers and sisters, created in God’s own image and likeness, especially  the poor, marginalized, toiling and sweating in the fields, as Tagore points out.Those who stay put in air conditioned  comfort zones can never be godly, least of all religious! james kottoor, editor ccv


Please read  below the Article of Sanjay  in the Hindu

Into the brave new age of irrationality – Sanjay Rajoura, in ‘The Hindu MAY 04, 2018

The assault on rationality is part of a concerted political strategy! 

UPDATED: MAY 04, 2018 00:33 IST

Much has been written and said about the assault on liberal arts under way in India since the new political era dawned. But the real assault is on science and rationality. And it has not been difficult to mount this attack. 

For long, India has as a nation proudly claimed to be a society of belief. And Indians like to assert that faith is a ‘way of life’ here. Terms such as modernity, rational thinking and scientific analysis are often frowned upon, and misdiagnosed as disrespect to Indian culture.

Freshly minted spokesmodel

In recent years, we have entered a new era. I call it the Era of Irrationality. The new Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, is the freshly minted spokesmodel of this bold, new era.

There appears to be a relay race among people in public positions, each one making an astonishingly ridiculous claim and then passing on the baton. Mr. Deb’s claim that the Internet existed in the times of the Mahabharata is the latest. But there have been several other persons before that: Ganesh was the first example of plastic surgery, Darwin’s theory of evolution is hokum because nobody has seen monkeys turning into humans, and that Stephen Hawking had said that Vedas have a theory superior to Einstein’s E = mc2.

Such statements have made us the laughing stock of the global scientific community. But more importantly, they also undermine the significant scientific achievements we have made post-Independence.

We cannot even dismiss these as random remarks by the fringe, the babas and the sadhus. These claims are often made by public officials (it’s another matter that the babas and sadhus are now occupying several public offices). The assault on rationality is a consequence of a concerted strategy of political forces. As rational thinking thins, the same political forces fatten.

We Indians have never really adopted the scientific temper, irrespective of our education. It’s evident from our obsession with crackpot sciences such as astrology and palmistry in our daily lives. However, in the past four years, the belief in pseudo-sciences has gained a political fig leaf as have tall, unverifiable claims on science.

The cultivation of scientific temper involves asking questions and demanding empirical evidence. It has no place for blind faith. The ruling political dispensation is uncomfortable with questioning Indians. But at the same time, it also wants to come across as a dispensation that champions a 21st century modern India. Therein lies a catch-22 situation.

So, they have devised a devious strategy to invest in the culture of blind belief. They already have a willing constituency. Ludicrous statements like those mentioned above — made by leaders in positions of power with alarming frequency — go on to legitimise and boost the Era of Irrationality.

An unscientific society makes the job of an incompetent ruler a lot easier. No questions are asked; not even basic ones. The ruler has to just make a claim and the believers will worship him. Rather than conforming, a truly rational community often questions disparity, exploitation, persecution on the basis of caste, religion or gender. It demands answers and accountability for such violations, which are often based on irrational whims. Hence rationality must be on top of the casualty list followed quickly by the minorities, Dalits, women, liberals. For the ‘Irrationality project’ to succeed, the ruler needs a willing suspension of disbelief on a mass scale.

Science v. technology

The vigour with which the government is making an assault on the scientific temper only confirms that it is actually frightened of it. This is the reason why authoritarian regimes are often intolerant of those who champion the spirit of science, but encourage scientists who will launch satellites and develop nuclear weapons — even as they break coconuts, chant hymns and press “Enter” with their fingers laden with auspicious stones.

These ‘techno-scientists’ are what I call ‘the DJs of the scientific community’. And they are often the establishment’s yes-men and yes-women.

The founders of the Constitution were aware of this. Hence the words “scientific temper” and “the spirit of inquiry and reform” find place in the Constitution, along with “secular” (belatedly), “equality” and “rights”. To dismantle secularism, dilute equality and pushback rights, it is imperative to destroy a scientific temperament.

The indoctrination against the scientific temper begins very early in our lives. It starts in our families and communities where young minds are aggressively discouraged from questioning authority and asking questions. An upper caste child for example may be forced to follow customs, which among others include practising and subscribing to the age-old caste system. The same methodology is used to impose fixed gender, sexual and religious identities. As a result, we are hardwired to be casteist, majoritarian and misogynist.

The final step in the ‘Irrationality project’ is to inject with regularity, preposterous, over-the-top claims about the nation’s past. It effectively blurs vision of the present.The world is busy studying string theory, the god particle in a cyclotron, quantum mechanics. But we are busy expanding our chest size with claims of a fantastic yore. (Sanjay Rajoura is a stand-up artist and an atheist}

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