A Candle in the Dark

A look on science, politics, religion and events

The power of faith

with 9 comments

Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India released a perfectly normal statement.

The Archaeological Survey of India on Wednesday asserted in the Supreme Court that there was no evidence to prove that Ramar Sethu/Adam’s bridge was man-made. It is a natural formation made up of shoals/sand bars, which are possessed of their particular shape and form due to several millennia of wave action and sedimentation.

That’s a perfectly logical and valid statement based on current experimental observations and scientific reasoning. In fact, they even highlighted why they don’t think it’s man-made.

“The existence of human remains, whether in the form of bones etc. or in the form of other artefacts, is primary to prove archaeologically the existence and veracity of a historical fact. No such human remains have been discovered at the site of the formation known as Adam’s bridge.

And from another interview,

Explaining the bridge’s geological history, he said both the Palk Strait and the GoM were once part of the Cauvery basin, which was formed during the separation of India and Antarctica about 70 million years ago during the `Gondwana period.’ They were combined till a ridge was formed in the region owing to thinning of earth’s crust. The development of this ridge augmented the coral growth in the region. “The coral cover acted as a `sand trapper’ leading to the formation of Rameswaram Island,” Dr. Ramanujam said.

Then, the ASI added this

In its affidavit filed in the Sethusamudram case, the ASI said “the petitioners [Subramanian Swamy and others] while seeking relief [not to damage Ramar Sethu] have primarily relied upon the contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharitmanas by Tulasidas and other mythological texts, which admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature, but which cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein.”

which was predictably followed by much outrage for daring to offend the sacred beliefs and accusations that the affidavit amounts to “pouring contempt on crores of Hindus”, and “hurting the religious sentiments of millions”.

The government has set in motion the process of questioning religious beliefs. We will launch a nationwide movement if it does not withdraw immediately this blasphemous submission questioning the very existence of Lord Ram

Ack, how dare the government apply science to “question” our sacred beliefs? How arrogant of the government to presume that observation, logic and reason can dare to question our most cherished and mightiest of faiths, which forms an integral part our glorious culture and heritage?

What else, but the blind power of faith, would make people disregard scientific evidence and continue believing in whatever silly personal fantasy which pleases them?

On a more important note, I’d like to use this situation to highlight something else. In cases such as this, when some scientists claim that the bridge is indeed man-made (although, not remotely related to the Ramayana), how does one know what the current scientific consensus is? Herein lies the importance of peer-reviewed work, which ensures that only unbiased, scientific facts are published.

References
No evidence to prove Ramar Sethu is man-made – The Hindu
BJP mulls movement on Lord Ram – Hindustan Times
It’s not a man-made structure

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Written by parseval

September 13, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Posted in politics, religion

9 Responses

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  1. Hello Author,

    You have neatly highlighted the other facts that ASI has submitted to the court. ASI has indeed a good homework before it submitted its point of the view to the court.

    But I fail to understand that just because ASI could not verify the historical records of the epic Ramayana, it can say that these are just myths and characters out of a mythical story. We do have several architectural heritage in India which are several centuries, a few which are even several thousand years old, wherein recordings of Rama, Sita and the happenings of his lifetime are recorded. Isn’t this proof enough for ASI.

    Or does it regard these proof as mere stories that are retold time and again till date. If this is so you ought to question the rationale existence of the prophets of all religion.

    Thanks,

    Raghuraman

    September 14, 2007 at 7:27 pm

  2. The Ramayana, like Beowulf, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and other works of great literary value, is an epic. However, that does not mean it’s historically accurate. Few people believe that the events depicted in the Odyssey or the Iliad are historically very accurate.

    Further, there are many inconsistencies with the story of the Ramayana. For a simple example, given our understanding of evolution and the large amount of scientific evidence which supports it, it’s quite ludicrous to literally interpret the Ramayana which says that the three stripes on the Indian squirrel were due to a blessing. Although theologians may say that this is merely an allegory, it’s not possible to independently verify which part of the epic is factual, and which parts are merely allegories.

    Arguably, the power of the Ramayana as a holy text, like most holy texts, comes from the depiction of supernatural events (which have no basis in science), and where every sentence is irrefutably accepted as truth, based on faith alone.

    parseval

    September 15, 2007 at 11:37 am

  3. […] the review by Confused published in Desipundit [8]) like that of The Great Bong [9], Jaafna [10], Parseval [11], Reality Check [12], all of whom, using the results of the experiments conducted recently and […]

  4. Dude, when there are people who believe that a river is flowing from someone’s locks and stuff, it doesn’t take long for them to add a ‘b’ at the beginning of a ridge.

    Raghuraman, your “proof — the sculptures and paintings — were created way after Ramayana and Bharatha were written. People like to lend images to popular stories, and what better venue to do it but temples! Especially when the artists themselves are soaked in faith…
    The lives of prophets of other religions are simply better documented — in other words, they happened more recently in the timeline. And supernaturality is kept as much out of their equation as possible (I’m talking of Buddha, Mohammed, etc). However, our religion has too many calm and smiling sermoners (I refuse to use the word ‘prophets’) — and there is no evidence that they were not fictional characters.

    To Parseval again:
    This comes in an Agatha Christie book: “One believes what one wishes to believe.” And I can tell you umpteen instances in our life to illustrate it. Quality post!

    Nirmal

    September 18, 2007 at 12:46 pm

  5. Sheesh. Typo.
    “proof”

    Nirmal

    September 18, 2007 at 12:47 pm

  6. […] the review by Confused published in Desipundit [8]) like that of The Great Bong [9], Jaafna [10], Parseval [11], Reality Check [12], Suvrat Kher [13] all of whom, using the results of the experiments […]

  7. […] the review by Confused published in Desipundit [8]) like that of The Great Bong [9], Jaafna [10], Parseval [11], Reality Check [12], Suvrat Kher [13] all of whom, using the results of the experiments […]

  8. […] the review by Confused published in Desipundit [8]) like that of The Great Bong [9], Jaafna [10], Parseval [11], Reality Check [12], Suvrat Kher [13] all of whom, using the results of the experiments […]

  9. […] the review by Confused published in Desipundit [8]) like that of The Great Bong [9], Jaafna [10], Parseval [11], Reality Check [12], Suvrat Kher [13] all of whom, using the results of the experiments […]


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