Sunday, February 04, 2018

More on the Aryan nonsense

Professor Subhash Kak quotes Vernant and Olender 1992, Pannikar 1997 in the following; the highlighted sentences really caught my attention:
Now we know that to speak of a “pure” race is meaningless since all external characteristics of humans are defined in a continuum. In the 19th century atmosphere of European triumphalism, what obtained in Europe was taken to be normative. With hindsight it is hard to believe that these ideas were not contested more vigorously.
Although this was the age which marked the true beginnings of modern science, old myths continued to exercise great power. When it was found that the languages of India and Europe were related in structure and vocabulary, the West responded with “a tissue of scholarly myths. These myths were steeped in erudition, informed by profound knowledge of Hebrew and Sanskrit, fortified by comparative study of linguistic data, mythology, and religion, and shaped by the effort to relate linguistic structures, forms of thought, and features of civilization. Yet they were also myths, fantasies of the social imagination, at every level. The comparative philology of the most ancient languages was a quest for origins, an attempt to return to a privileged moment in time when God, man, and natural forces still lived in mutual transparency. The plunge into the distant past in search of `roots’ went hand in hand with a never forgotten faith in a meaningful history, whose course, guided by the Providence of the one God, could be understood only in the light of Christian revelation.
As scholars established the disciplines of Semitic and Indo-European studies, they also invented the mythical figures of the Hebrew and the Aryan, a providential pair which, by revealing to the people of the Christianized West the secret of their identity, also bestowed upon them the patent of nobility that justified their spiritual, religious, and political domination of the world.” (Vernant 1992)
Although the term Aryan never had a racial connotation in the Indian texts, the scholars insisted that this was the sense in which the term ought to be understood. It was further assumed that Aryan meant European by race. By doing so Europe claimed for itself all of the “Aryan” texts as a part of its own forgotten past. The West considered itself the inheritor of the imagination and the mythic past of the Aryan and the idea of the monotheism of the Hebrew. This dual inheritance was the mark of the imperial destiny of the West. Despite his monotheism, the poor Jew, since he lacked Aryan blood, should have seen “the dark silhouette of the death camps and the rising smoke of the ovens.” (Vernant 1992). On the other hand, the Asiatic mixed-blood Aryan had no future but that of the serf. He could somewhat redeem himself if he rejected all but the earliest core of his inheritance, that existed when the Aryans in India were a pure race. For scholars such as Max Muller this became ultimately a religious issue. Echoing Augustine, Muller saw in his own religious faith a way for progress of the Asiatic. We would smile at it now but he said, “Christianity was simply the name `of the true religion,’ a religion that was already known to the ancients and indeed had been around `since the beginning of the human race.”‘ (See Olender, 1992) But ideas – bad and good – never die. Muller’s idea has recently been resurrected in the guise that Christianity is the fulfillment of Vedic revelation! (E.g. Panikkar, 1977).

 Olender's book is The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century.  The blurb at

Friday, January 26, 2018

Aryan Mathematics!

(Wiki) Walter William Rouse Ball, known as W. W. Rouse Ball (14 August 1850 – 4 April 1925), was a British mathematician, lawyer, and fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1878 to 1905.....Educated at University College School, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1870, became a scholar and first Smith's Prizeman, and gained his BA in 1874 as second Wrangler. He became a Fellow of Trinity in 1875, and remained one for the rest of his life.
Ball wrote "A Short Account of the history of Mathematics", seems to have been first published in 1888, and went through four editions with revisions by the author, the last one which appeared in 1908.  Dover published an edition in 1960, and also published an edition in 2010 .

A quote from Ball:

The Hindoos, like the Chinese, have pretended that they are the most ancient people on the face of the earth, and that to them all sciences owe their creation. But it is probable that these pretensions have no foundation; and in fact no science or useful art (except a rather fantastic architecture and sculpture) can be definitely traced back to the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula prior to the Aryan invasion. This invasion seems to have taken place at some time in the latter half of the fifth century or in the sixth century, when a tribe of Aryans entered India by the north-west frontier, and established themselves as rulers over a large part of the country. Their descendants, wherever they have kept their blood pure, may still be recognised by their superiority over the races they originally conquered; but as is the case with the modern Europeans, they found the climate trying and gradually degenerated.  For the first two or three centuries they, however, retained their intellectual vigour, and produced one or two writers of great ability.

Monday, January 22, 2018 data on India


Notice also how the data is collected (in the footnote).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Quote of the day, actually from January 13th.  This is the National Public Radio game show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".   In the Bluff the Listener segment, three bizarre stories are read out, only one of which is true, and the listener is supposed to guess which one that is.

Transcript here, or audio here.

The quote? Ah, yes!
See, this is the Silicon Valley, where everybody's got Asperger's syndrome or has to act like they do.

Monday, January 15, 2018

IBM's predictions from December 2013

In a nutshell, IBM says:
  • The classroom will learn you.
  • Buying local will beat online.
  • Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well.
  • A digital guardian will protect you online.
  • The city will help you live in it.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Lemuria and the Aryan-Dravidian "debate" in India

Please read this.

To understand the Dravidianists of today, it is absolutely essential to understand the history and mythology of the ancient Tamil country.

According to this history and mythology, in really really really ancient times (nobody has told us how ancient), the eastern, western and southern parts of today’s Kanyakumari were attached to a really really really vast tract of land known as Lemuria or Kumari Nadu or Kumari Kandam. This really really really vast tract of land was subsequently submerged in the sea. The Tamils who survived this catastrophe migrated northwards.

And then in a short period, these Tamils migrated further northwards and occupied all of Bharata, and also made as their home today’s Pakistan and Afghanistan. The language they spoke in those days has today transformed into what is known as Brahui.

Today’s Dravidianists claim that because the Aryans invaded from outside, the ancient Tamils were exterminated from the northern parts of India, and also that because the invasion was unsuccessful south of the Vindhyas, the Tamils lived in peace and prosperity in these areas.
 And this:
It was 10 at night when this happened. The Tamil Professor directly went to the Vice Chancellor’s house and gave him an adverse report of what had occurred at the dinner. “You have filled the [History Endowment] Committee with only Aryans! The Aryan members have naturally selected another Aryan as the speaker. And you endorsed their selection. Now look what has happened—a direct humiliation of Tamil itself! A massive, utter humiliation!”

I later learned that the Vice Chancellor had erupted in fury, twirled his moustache and patted his biceps.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

David Frum: who and what Trump is

David Frum in The Atlantic:

Who and what Donald Trump is has been known to everyone and anyone who cared to know for years and decades. Before he was president, he was the country’s leading racist conspiracy theorist. Before he was the country’s leading racist conspiracy theorist, he was a celebrity gameshow host. Before he was a celebrity gameshow host, he was the multi-bankrupt least trusted name in real estate. Before he was the multi-bankrupt least trusted name in real estate, he was the protege of Roy Cohn’s repeatedly accused of ties to organized crime. From the start, Donald Trump was a man of many secrets, but no mysteries. Inscribed indelibly on the public record were the reasons for responsible people to do everything in their power to bar him from the presidency.

Instead, since he announced his candidacy in mid-2015, Donald Trump has been enabled and protected.

The enabling and protecting not only continues. It accelerates.

In 2016, there were voters who genuinely, in good faith, believed that Donald Trump was a capable business leader, moderate on social issues, who cared about the troubles of working class white America—and would do something to help. There may well still be some people who believe this—but nowhere near enough to sustain a presidency.

What sustains Trump now is the support of people who know what he is, but back him anyway. Republican political elites who know him for what he is, but who back him because they believe they can control and use him; conservative media elites who sense what he is, but who delight in the cultural wars he provokes; rank-and-file conservatives who care more about their grievances and hatreds than the governance of the country.